Miles 20-Finish, the Olympic team picks itself....

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Lots can happen in a marathon race, dear friends. Magdelena Lewy Boulet ran her race, from the start, she just did not have any takers. Deena Kastor ran her race from the start, she just had twenty close friends with her, and Blake Russell learnt from 2004, and has six runners on her back, wanting third place almost as much as her...

I am reminded of a comment that 1968 Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, Bill Toomey once said to me, " To win the medal, to win your event, you have to want more than anyone else in the field. You have to covet that medal...." Well, there was lots of coveting here---who would persevere?

Miles 20----21

Deena Kastor is in second place, hitting twenty miles in 1:55:02, cutting the lead down to seventy-seconds. Magdelena Lewy-Boulet hit twenty miles in 1:53:47 and is starting to look tired, but still has her great form and her stride is still on!

Kastor is focused and has put fifty-seven seconds between her and Blake Russell, who has seven seconds on Desiree Devilla, who is running in fourth. Russell hit twenty miles in 1:55:53, Desiree Devilla in 1:56:01 in fourth, Zoila Gomez in fifth place in 1:56: 33 and Melissa White in 1:56.56.

Magdelena Lewy-Boulet ran her slowest mile, 5:59, for mile 21, hitting that in 1:59:44. Kastor has made up fifteen seconds in the last mile! Deena has closed the gap to fifty-six seconds between her and Lewy-Boulet. Kastor has a lead over third by forty-four seconds. Temperature is 59 degrees.

The 35 kilometer point, 21.75 miles was passed by Lewy Boulet in 2:04:04, and she knows is she is being chased. She has run the last three miles in 5:54, 5:50 and it is only going to get tougher.

MIles 22-24 Wicked Wicked Gravity

Okay, there is this song by Jim Carroll ( from a seminal album, Catholic Boy-must buy it),
called Gravity. One of the refrains is Wicked, Wicked Gravity.

Gravity was playing out it's real job, as Deena Kastor began that unstoppable move from second to first place. At mile fourteen, Kastor was one minute, fifty six seconds back. By 22 miles, where Lewy-Boulet ran 2::05:05, the lead was down to thirty seconds!

Mile 23, hit in 2:11: 33 and wicked gravity and the unstoppable rush of Deena Kastor was not going to be stopped. Magdelena Lewy-Boulet did not fall apart, Deena was running like only Deena Kastor can run.

The lead changes......Kastor Makes the Dream a Reality

Kastor came up the left side of the highway and Lewy-Boulet was running up the right side of the highway. At two hours, sixteen minutes, and just about ten seconds, Deena came charging by and Lewy-Boulet cut across the road, to get in behind her. " My only tactic to get to the left to get my water bottle, I had missed one early on.." noted Kastor.

Lewy-Boulet stayed with the hard charging Kastor for about fifteen seconds. By mile 24, hit in 2:17:11, Deena Kastor had taken the lead and was racing to the finish....

"The moment that I got in to pulling into the lead, it was a testament to, kind of, succumbing to second place in middle of the race and then to rally. My coach told me to define myself that day, today before the race, I was drawing on the strength of my teammates. My team, Running USA at Mammoth Lakes gave me the strength to start pushing to Magdelena and gather that strength to moving into first place, it moves you to the finish line and gives you the energy to make it to the finish line, " noted Deena Kastor.

Kastor was running hard, Arms pumping, stride perfect, and she was confident. What a difference a few miles make! Kastor would later comment, " There were some middle miles there where I thought I had made the wrong race plan, Magdelena looked so good. The gap started to shorten again, and I started to get some confidence. It was the second half of the last lap that I started to feel confident."

Kastor hit 40 kilometers in 2:21:55, and she already had a twenty second lead! She was unstoppable, and continued that way through twenty-five miles, which she hit in 2: 22:49.

How good was Kastor feeling? Well, at the last turn, about twenty-five miles, she made the turn and waved to the crowd, but Deena Kastor was on! She was running in control, 5:30 miles, one after another and she was in lead.

and now, the Olympic team.....

For Deena Kastor, the last 1.22 miles were a celebration. The crowds down Boylston were screaming madly and someone gave her a flag with about a half mile to go! Kastor continued to increase her pace as she came closer and closer to her dream, to be finishing first in the women's Olympic Trials, running a fine 2:29:35. Deena, improved on her 2004 position in the Olympic trials with her first here, from second

Magdelena Lewy-Boulet, who made the gamble she did not see, held on for second place, with a fine time of 2:30:19. " The plan was to run the pace I was running, the plan
was not to run by myself. The picture of Blake was in my mind. I went out in 1:14, the plan was to run 1:15, I then expected the ladies to be there in the end, no doubt." Magdelena improved on her fifth position from the last Olympic Trials!

Blake Russell, the fourth finisher in the 2004 Olympic Trials, ran a very disciplined race, that showed her strengths and held on for third, with a fine time of 2:32:40. Blake had fought off the bids of Mary Akor, then Desiree Devilla (who was seven seconds down at one time), and had fifty-three seconds of comfort when she crossed the finish line. As she embraced her husband, the tears were flowing....

Joan Benoit Samuelson, who finished 90th in 2:49:08 in her fourth running in an Olympic Trials ( we believe that she has qualified for seven!), noted the following:

" Like the traditional Boston course, my marathon career has been a roller coaster. Never say never, will run another marathon. I trained very hard this winter, very tough, very challenging. I had a plan and a goal, so I dealt with the weather conditions. So I have friends and family members, so I might join them. I felt strong today, feel surprisingly good today. My career? It has been a great run. I came on in the running scene in Boston with the Boston Marathon and what is now the Tufts 10k. To be able to go out there today with the best that the sport has to over, Deena thanks for your kind words. I told the press that Deena would be the next American record holder, I am handing the torch to her now, and she certainly will.

Blake Russell commented after the race, " I was hoping that I was not in trouble. I thought that she (Magdelena) looked really strong. Alot can happen in those miles, though. I made sure I did not panic, I opened up the gap a little and they gave me a run for the money."

In fourth position was Zoila Gomez, in her second marathon, who ran a superb race! Zoila is one of sixteen kids, a graduate of Adams State and a new American citizen ( 2006). She has won several Division three titles and has no sponsor. She was wearing one of the seventy five gift sets that Nike and USATF sent out to un sponsored athletes.

In fifth position, was Terra Moody, who ran 2:33:54, a great personal best. Terra has been training in Boulder, but is from the Chicago metro area.

We will have another piece in about an hour, but for now, I will end with a quote from one of my favorite athletes, the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon, Lorraine Moller. The Kiwi marathon goddess, and formidable scrabble player said this to me after the race, " It worked out as it should, Deena is a great marathoner, Magdelena earned it, and Blake did too!"

Enough said. In a field of 153 starters, in a crowd of 100,000 plus fans, the country was treated to an Olympic Trials most will not forget. A huge gamble as seen by many was a logical move by Magdelena Lewy Boulet. A conservative start by Deena Kastor and Blake Russell ended with Deena Kastor showing that she is a serious pick for a Beijing medal, and Blake Russell showed how tough of a marathoner she really is. Joan Benoit Samuelson, in her final Olympic trials showing, ran 2:49:08 for 90th place and noted," What a wonderful team for the Olympic Trials marathon. I pass the torch to Deena, and
she has handled it well."

Another update soon, with top finishers and some final comments....

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