2011 USA Outdoor: Shalane Flanagan wins 10,000 meters in 30:59.73, by Larry Eder

Flanagan-Kipyego-Payton11.JPGShalane Flanagan, 2011 Payton Jordan Invitational, photo by PhotoRun.net

Shalane Flanagan, as the video from the shoe addicts notes, is 'middle distance running royalty." Both her parents were elite runners, her mother, a marathoner, and her father, a world class cross country runner. Flanagan showed her royalty with a superb win over 10,000 meters, running 30:59.97, with a final lap of 57.3! 

Flanagan was the bronze medalist in Beijing in 2008: only the second American women to EVER do that ( the other, yes, was Lynn Jennings back in 1992). Flanagan is a gutty runner. Yet, it has only been in this past year that Shalane Flanagan has truly come into her own.

In November 2010, Flanagan took second in a truly tactical marathon, the ING NYCM. A marathon known for its fast times, this years marathon was a world champs simulation, where Flanagan showed her stuff and took the battle to the finish line.

In March 2011, Shalane Flanagan took the bronze medal at the World Cross Country Championships! The U.S. team she was on took a bronze! That may be the most significant race that Flanagan had run, well up til tonight.

On May 1, Shalane Flanagan and Sally Kipyego battled over 25 laps at the Payton Jordan Invitational's Kim McDonald 10,000m, with Kipyego just getting the victory. On June 4, Shalane Flanagan pressed hard in the 4th and 5th kilometers, only to miss the AR for 5,000 meters by a few seconds; she had faltered a bit over the last fifty meters, showing, that yes, Shalane is indeed human.

Tonight, Shalane Flanagan showed her stuff. Running from the front the entire race, Flanagan pursued her goal of a sub 31:00 with the the focus needed to medal in Daegu, Korea. Running a superb 57.3 last lap, Flanagan ran 30:59.97.

Surprising, the battle for the second through fifth was probably more fascinating of a story than Flanagan's win. The truth be told, Shalane Flanagan makes her wins look easy-and they are anything but not! This was her fourth sub 31:00 10,000 meter run-she now ranks equal third on the list with a few women you might know, one whose name is Paula Radcliffe.

The 10,000 meter race is as much a race of mental anguish as it is a physical challenge. Running 25 laps on a 400 meter track, running as close to one's maximum is no easy feat. Two time Olympic medalist Frank Shorter noted that running such a race was like cutting one self with a very sharp knife, the cut was deep and the pain was excruciating.

There was a time in the 10,000 meters, where Shalane Flanagan was just running all out, 73-74s, with twenty-five meters back, Jenn Rhines and Kara Goucher were battling for second place, with another fifty meters back, Magda Lewy Boulet and Desi Davila was trying to close the gap.

I was sitting about 100 meters from the finish line, as Alberto Salazar encouraged Kara and Amy Yoder Begley. Then, the brothers Hanson were cheerleading Desi Davila and Richie Boulet, himself a 3:52 miler (on Hayward's track) was encouraging his wife, Magda Lewy.

If one can go back to one's modest competitive days, one will remember a point in the 10,000 meters race-no man's land-about 7,000 meters into the race, where one is trying to fight the fatigue, the actual pain that comes from fast distance running, while trying to stay on pace.

There was a time, in this race, where Flanagan was flying around the track, with Jenn Rhines and Kara Goucher within steps of each other, and Desi Davila, slowly gaining on the pack in front of her, and Magda Lewy Boulet, obviously trying to concentrate, but also in pain.

Amy Begley, back from surgery, was running a gutty race, one that we have all done. Trying to get back into racing fitness requires racing-that simple. Begley battled herself and the track, for twenty five laps, showing herself to be tough and resilient. Begley finished sixth in 32:34.75.

Magda Lewy Boulet had battled with Desi Davila for sixteen laps, when Desi began to pull away. Magda is one tough athlete. Jack Daniels, her coach, told me at Boston this past April that Magda was one of his toughest athletes. This tough athlete finished fifth, running 31:48.58, her personal best.

Desi Davila, the second place runner at Boston this past April ran very close to making the US team. Davila ran 31:37.14, her personal best. She tried to run down Jenn Rhines for third place, but to no avail.

Jenn Rhines, the three time Olympian, continues to show her moxie with a gutty third place here. Rhines, who held off Kara Goucher for sixteen or so laps, finished third in 31:30.

Kara Goucher, less than one year from having a baby, best day ever, as she ran 31:16.65. Goucher pressed Rhines until lap 19, where she went by Rhines, moved into second and built a major lead. 

Shalane Flanagan showed that she is frightfully consistent. We saw her later, after the race, at Thrill on the Grill gathering, and Shalane said, " I feel great, a little tired, but that is about it!"
Nothing more can be said here!   

Oh, and if that is not enough, one of the true track geek of geeks, K. Ken Nakamura, notes the following on the 10,000 meter that was run tonight:

Women's 10000m stats from Eugene 

1)  Desiree Davila became 24th American woman to crack 32 min for 10000m 
2)  Magdalena Lewy-Boulet became 25th American women to crack 32 min for 10000m.  
3)  Five American women cracked 32min for 10000m in Eugene.  
     This (five Americans) is the most ever in a single race.  
      Previously, four American women cracked 32 min in 
      2005 Cardinal Invitational, 2005 USA National in Carson and in GP in Helsinki in 2006. 
4)   Shalane Flanagan cracked 31 min for the 4th time in her career.  
      She is now tied with Sun Yingjie, Lornah Kiplagat, Ingrid Kristiansen, Galina Bogomolova, 
      Ejegayehu Dibaba and Derartu Tulu for having run third most sub-31 min 10000m.  
      Radcliffe lead with 8 and Werknesh Kidane has five.

Athlete NameAffiliationTime
1Shalane FlanaganOregon TC Elite30:59.97
2Kara GoucherOregon TC Elite31:16.65
3Jennifer Rhinesadidas31:30.37
4Desiree DavilaHansons-Brooks Distance Projec31:37.14
5Magdalena Lewy BouletSaucony31:48.58
6Amy BegleyNike32:34.75
7Anne BersagelNew Balance Silicon Valley / A32:54.08
8Cassandra SladeBoulder Running Company/adidas32:55.98
9Sarah Porterunattached32:57.15
10Allison Grace MorganZAP Fitness Reebok32:57.57
11Emily BrownTeam USA Minnesota / Asics33:00.74
12Danielle StackIowa State University33:04.17
13Katherine NewberryNew York Athletic Club (NYAC)33:05.31
14Kathryn MatthewsBoston U33:11.00
15Addie BracyCarrboro Athletics Club33:13.75
16Nicole FeestBoulder Running Company/adidas33:15.70
17Tara Erdmannunattached33:17.54
18Stephanie MarcyStanford33:18.18
19Bridget LyonsGeorgia33:24.95
20Alisha WilliamsBoulder Running Company/adidas33:32.59
21Liz CostelloTennessee33:52.55
22Jeannette FaberBoston AA33:52.95
23Kim RuckClemson University33:54.64
24Kristina VeghSun Elite34:05.64
25Kara MillhousePenn State34:22.20
26Zoila Gomezunattached34:24.77
DNFMegan HoganTeam USA Minnesota / Asics
DNFRachel BoothNew Balance Silicon Valley / A

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