Coach John Cook has his hands full. He is coaching Shannon Rowbury and Shalane Flanagan, both athletes capable of medaling in Beijing. Cook is detail oriented, and a coaches’ coach, he knows how to get his athletes in shape and keep them focused. Case in point was when John got Shalane off the press table at the post event press conference after the 10,000 meters when she obviously was wiped out and needd to get her cooldown and drug test.
Shannon Rowbury’s third lap in her 1,500 meters at the adidas track classic on May 18, looked fast, but no one saw it coming as the former Bay Area (SF,CA) athlete ran a superb 4:01.6, leading the US lists. Then, Shannon makes it through the heats like a pro, and in tough windy conditions, wins the Olympic Trials with a long kick, running her last 400 meters in just over 60 seconds!
Last night, Shannon ran with World Champion Maryam Jamal and others in the 1,500 meters at the Gaz de France meet in Paris. In the end, it was Jamal and Rowbury, with Rowbury in second, and moving on Jamal. Shannon was rewarded with a fine 4:00.33 time for 1,500 meters, the third fastest in the world!
Shannon has the talent and form to do quite well in Beijing. Watch her in one month in front of the world stage, but Shannon Rowbury is my pick for top three in the women’s 1,500 meters in Beijing….
TRACK PROFILE Report #791
US 1500M CHAMPION ROWBURY PLEASED WITH FIRST INTERNATIONAL OUTING
By Bob Ramsak
(c) 2008 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved
PARIS — Shannon Rowbury had an important first date in the City of Lights last night. The occasion? The first true international 1500m outing since her emergence in the spring as the leading American over the metric mile. In a fast race, she trailed only the reigning world champion across the line with a career best performance, by any measure, a substantial success.
â€œI felt pretty smooth throughout,â€ said the 23-year-old Duke graduate, who lowered her best to 4:00.33 to finish behind Maryam Jamalâ€™s 3:59.99. â€œIt was a little bit choppy because we went out a little slowly and then they picked it up a bit. I was kind of locked into a rhythm.â€
Rowbury first made waves back home in May after she ran 4:01.61 at the adidas Track Classic in Carson, Calif., a near six second improvement. Indeed, prior to this season, her best in the event was just 4:12.31. Now, one month before the Olympics Games, sheâ€™s the third fastest woman in the world. And sheâ€™s relishing the opportunity to race against the worldâ€™s finest.
â€œWhen I PRâ€™ed in Carson, I was sort of by myself, it was easy,â€ she said. â€œYou could go wherever you wanted, you didnâ€™t have to fight for space. But this is great, to be against the best girls in the world and learn how to compete with them.â€
Although she came up short down the homestretch, she did narrow Jamalâ€™s gap noticeably over the waning strides, and was pleased with her ability to not let the world champion kick away from her.
â€œIt was just at the end of the race that I couldnâ€™t quite catch up to her,â€ she said. â€œI felt strong but I couldnâ€™t quite get there.â€
â€œ(Jamal) is obviously in great shape herself,â€ she continued. â€œI was just trying to stay relaxed and keep my form, and increased turnover. It was fun to have someone at the end of the race to be chasing after. So that was a new experience I havenâ€™t gotten to have for a while. It was great. I loved it.â€
In her post-race assessment, she said she was also satisfied with her ability to react as the race unfolded. Running comfortably in the middle of the pack initially, Rowbury decided to make a significant move with just over a lap to go.
â€œI got a little bit boxed in, and was happy that with about 500 to go Sarah Jamieson moved up, and I got out and went with her. I think that was an important move on my part, and that enabled me to go with (Ethiopian Gelete) Burka and Jamal. Maybe if Iâ€™d come out a little quicker I would have been closer. I wasnâ€™t sure where I was compared to those two. I wasnâ€™t taking myself out of the race but maybe I wasnâ€™t as quick to react as I might otherwise have been. But I can do that now in the Games.â€
Rowburyâ€™s first post-trials race came five days ago in Lignano, Italy, where she finished fourth in the 800, clocking 2:03.71. She wasnâ€™t particularly happy with the outing, but certainly didnâ€™t panic over the outcome either.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t so great,â€ she said, smiling. â€œMy head was still kind of spinning after the trials and travel, but I was happy to be able to bring it back together here. It was so fun just to be able to walk out into the stadium.â€
Unless she or coach John Cook have a change of heart, she isnâ€™t planning to race again until the first round of the 1500m in Beijing exactly one month from today.
â€œI think Iâ€™m just going to focus on training for the next month,â€ she said. â€œI was thinking about dong some other races but if this went well, we figured weâ€™d just go back home and focus on getting as fit an strong as possible before the Games. I still have four more weeks until the Games. Iâ€™m excited to be able to work.â€
Used with permission of Bob Ramsak, publisher of Track Profile