Who won the 10000m Olympic Trials?
I can appreciate most any sport. Although it may not be my favorite sport to watch, to witness how truly driven athletes are and how they give it their all, day in and day out, always inspires me. Take the Miami Heat for example. Last year they lost in NBA Finals. Yet they came back this year wiser, better players, and played a phenomenal series against Oklahoma City, winning in 5 games. They wanted it and they rightfully won the title. One of the more somber moments of the night was watching Kevin Durant with his mom at the end of the game Thursday night. It was beyond heartbreaking. However, something tells me he will be back next year, playing better than ever before. Amazing athletes take their failures and learn from them. That is what makes them so amazing. And of course this same mentality and awesomeness can be applied to runners as well…
Back in January, the Olympic Marathon Trials took place in Houston. In both the men’s and women’s race, the saddest part was watching the fourth place finisher. Both Amy Hastings and Dathan Ritzenhein were so close, yet not close enough. Fourth place doesn’t get you a ticket to London. I remember watching Ritzenhein in tears and I almost cried with him. It was so sad. But as amazing athletes do, those fourth place finishers in the marathon, earned their ticket to London last night in the 10,000m Olympic Trials. I never knew watching 25 laps around a track could be so interesting.
Last night around 9:45 pm the men’s 10,000m was ready to start in Eugene, Oregon, and in very rainy conditions. I was excited for two reasons. First, this was the race Ritzenhein needed in order to secure his spot on the Olympic team. And second, Bobby Mack, a Raleigh resident who I know through a local running store, was also racing. (Of course I wanted to see Ritzenhein go to London, was I was ultimately Team Bobby.) The race last nigtht was a demonstration of how running is not only an individual sport, but also a team sport. Dathan needed the Olympic A standard to make the team (27:45:00), which he did not have. If he got the A standard and finished in the top three, he would make the team. Ritzenhein’s teammate, Galen Rupp, was the heavy favorite of the race. With his time of 26:48:00, he had the A standard, and only needed to finish in the top three. So what did they do? Rupp and Ritzenhein worked together, trading off leading the race, to ensure Ritzenhein got the 27:45 time he needed as well as finished in the top three. It worked. With one lap to go, Ritzenhein was in the top three and on pace to run a sub 27:45. Rupp then took off, easily sprinting the last lap and finishing in 27:25:33. Second place went to 30 year old Matt Tegenkamp (27:33:94) and Ritzenhein got his 3rd place finish, with a time of 27:39:94. He was so incredibly happy and it was so obvious during his post race interview. Bobby Mack ran an amazing race as well, and finished 9th.
The women’s race was a little more interesting. First, Shalane Flanagan was racing even though she had no intentions of being on the Olympic team (I’m sure the marathon is enough to train for). Second, only four women going into the race, Flanagan included, had the Olympic A standard of 31:45:00. The other three were Amy Hastings, Lisa Uhl, and Janet Bawcom. This meant that if nobody ran under 31:45:00, those three women automatically made the team. Right at about 8 minutes, Natasha Rogers was cut off and fell to the ground. She immediately go up and sprinted to the front. The commentators said she would be paying for that sprint later in the race, but that didn’t exactly happen. With one lap to go, Flanagan picked up the pace to take the lead. However Rogers, the girl who had previously fallen, passed both Hastings and Flanagan. With maybe 100 meters to go, Amy Hastings dug deep and found her inner jet. She flew past everyone with an intense look of pain on her face and finished first in 31:58:36. Rogers ended up finishing second, beating her previous best time by 42 seconds, with a time of 31:59:21. However, because she didn’t meet the Olympic A standard, she didn’t make the team. Flanagan finished third, in 31:59:69 and fourth place went to Lisa Uhl, who finished in 32:03:46. Bawcom finished seventh with a time of 32:17:06, but because she was the only other person who had the Olympic A standard, she is the third member of the Olympic team.
I really enjoy watching all that athletes can accomplish. They are the ultimate demonstration of hard work, drive, and determination. Two people finish fourth in the race of a lifetime and come back months later to rightfully earn their spot on the Olympic team. Another girl falls during the Olympic Trials, yet gets up and finishes in second place. This is only the trials! I can only imagine the exciting things that will happen in London. Did I mention I can’t wait for the Olympics? 34 days, 1 hour, and 55 minutes.
Amy Hastings, 1st place finisher
Want another example of what phenomenal athletes can do? Watch this video. It gives me goosebumps.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,