Two Lessons from Thursday night at the 2017 USATF Outdoors: want to win a 10,000m? You better have a killer finish!

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The 10,000 meters were the two big finals that kept the fans in the stands late into the evening, as the 10,000 meters were moved back one hour to keep the temperatures under 40 degrees Celcius/100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hotter than the temperatures were the finishes of winners Molly Huddle and Hassan Mead.

Huddle_MollyLeds-USOut17.jpGMolly Huddle pushes the pace late in the 10,000 meters, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 10,000 meters, held on Thursday night, could not have been more different. Very compelling, but, so different. Shalane Flanagan held the lead for 22 of the 25 laps. Molly Huddle moved away over the last three laps, using a strong last lap to cement the title. Molly Huddle ran 73.54, 69.58 and a final 65.03. At the bell, she had two seconds on the competition, and finished in 31:19.86. Emily Infeld screamed over the last lap, running 65.73, taking second in 31:22.67. In third place, Emily Sisson, Molly Huddle's training partner, made her first team, running 68.66, running 31.25.64 for third. In fourth, Shalane Flanagan, ran 31:31.12. It was a grinder, a tough race that trashed the rest of the field as the masters of the women's 10,000m battled on. Molly Huddle ran the speed out of everyone with that killing last kilometer.

Mead_HassanFV-USAout17 copy.jpg

Hassan Mead winning his first 10,000m US title! photo by PhotoRun.net

The men's race was one long fartlek workout, followed by an insane last 600 meters. The first 3000 meters were the same pace as the women's 10,000 meters. Sam Chelanga did a fartlekt workout, controlling the race from 2400 meters to 8400 meters. When racers would catch up with Chelanga, he would sprint away from the field. Diego Estrada, Galen Rupp, and others tried to catch Chelanga, but, for much of the race, Chelanga would sprint away, get rolled back in, sprint madly away, rinse repeat.

Galen Rupp seemd a bit irritated with the pace, as guys like Hassan Mead, Shadrak Chipchirchir just followed Chelanga, as close as they could get.

It was with 1600 meters that the pace got interesting. Hassan Mead, for example, ran 4.07.27 for the 1,600 meters, 3:03 for the 1200 meters, 1:57 for 800 meters and 55.22 for the last 400 meters. Much to the delight of Minnesota fans, Hassan Mead kept his cool and ran a scintilating last lap, holding off Shadrack Chipchirchir, US Army (29:01.68) in second and Leonard Korir, US Army (29:02.64), and Biya Simbassa, ADP (29:03.48) in fourth, and Galen Rupp, Nike Oregon Project (29:04.61), who missed out on his ninth straight title at 10,000 meters. Hassan Mead used his fine speed and made up for his 10,000m crisis in 2016. Happy to see Hassan do so well.

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