Nicole Tully celebrates after winning the mile at the Hoka One One Adrian Martinez Classic in Concord, Mass., in 4:31.4h (photo by Chris Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly)
I venture to this meet each year, because it reminds me what our sport is truly about. Running races, simply and with joy, and talking about it. The 177 athletes who were there this year was a huge increase from the 55 from last year.
Kudos to HOKA ONE ONE on making this meet possible. Quite impressed with Nicole Tully, Robbie Andrews and the two 5000 meters.
Most of all, great to see all of my friends in New England.
TULLY, D’AGOSTINO EARN WINS AT HOKA ONE ONE ADRIAN MARTINEZ CLASSIC
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission
CONCORD, Mass. (05-Jun) — With the sun setting to the west and temperatures dropping on a cool, crisp evening, thrilling races played out here at the Hoka One One Adrian Martinez Classic. Nicole Tully set a world leading mark of 4:31.4h in the mile, while Abbey D’Agostino made a strong statement with her 15:23.66 win in the 5000m. Among the other winners on the night were Robby Andrews, Ryan Martin, McKayla Fricker, and Reed Connor.
TULLY WINS WILD WOMEN’S MILE
It would take a ferocious sprint, a little bit of luck, and some sponsor spirit for Nicole Tully to win the women’s mile. Through 800 meters in roughly, the 28-year-old found herself right where she wanted to be, tucked among the lead pack with Rachel Schneider and Hannah Fields alongside. Fields was racing in her professional debut, but still without a sponsor wore here Oklahoma Baptist University kit.
Moving into second at the bell, Tully still had a boatload of competitors around her. Down the backstretch and around the final turn, it appeared as if runners were getting bumped and jostled left and right, too many bodies in too small of a space. That caused Tully to shuffle backwards a bit before hitting the final straight.
Managing to avoid trouble, Tully charged hard with Amanda Eccleston, Schneider, Fields, and Cory McGee.
“I think I went from sixth all the way to first [in the final straight],” described Tully. “I tried to channel my inner sprinter and maybe with 40 to go I was like ‘I might be able to do this,’ and with 20 to go I was like ‘lean, lean, lean.’ So I did and I got it!”
Tully did indeed get the win, but it came down to a photo finish. Fields ran step for step through the line with Tully, and both were awarded the time of 4:31.4h. After reviewing the finish, officials gave Tully the victory. Schneider, Eccleston, and McGee rounded out the top five, 4:31.8h, 4:32.0h, and 4:32.1h their times (a brief power surge caused a loss of electricity in the timing area so athletes were given hand times).
“For me it’s just all about the competitive effort. You run the race and you try and win. To be able to close like that over the last 200m, it’s similar to how I closed at Oxy [where she placed second in heat 2 of the 1500m],” she said. “I was really happy that no matter how the race is going I can bring it home.”
Tully said she felt like she had a bit of extra motivation in the fact that her sponsor, Hoka One One, was hosting the meet.
“I figured I had to show up at the Hoka meet! They’ve done such a great job recruiting athletes and really supporting us to our journey of USA’s and the Olympic Trials next year,” she said. “It’s kind of like a home-field advantage kind of vibe, so I had to bring it home for Hoka.”
In her professional debut, Fields was pleased with the runner-up showing.
“She barely got me but great finish on her part,” said Fields, whose 1500m personal best is far slower than Tully’s at 4:13.26. “I was super overwhelmed at first, in a field of people who were just as good if not better than me. I was just trying to stay calm and do what I had to do.”
HEALTHY D’AGOSTINO MAKES STATEMENT WITH 5000M WIN
On, at the Stanford Payton Jordan Invitational, Abbey D’Agostino walked off the track after timing a disappointing 15:42.79 for 5000m and finishing well back in 21st position. Just over a month later, D’Agostino feels she is in much better shape, proven by a strong performance to win the 5000m here in 15:23.66.
Determined to earn the U.S. Championships 5000m qualifying standard time of 15:26.00, D’Agostino positioned herself right behind the rabbits, with Ireland’s Mary Cullen and American Desiree Linden steps behind. Through 3000m in, it was clear the winner would come from this trio.
Shortly after the two-mile mark, D’Agostino went to another gear, lengthening the gap back to Cullen and Linden. It would only grow in the race’s final mile before D’Agostino broke the tape with a 3.57-second margin of victory.
“Workouts have been going really well, so I was like ‘I’m ready.’ I have to get myself out there; USA’s is coming up,” said an upbeat D’Agostino, fully healed from a stress reaction that kept her out of nearly all of this past cross country and indoor track seasons.
From her mood when speaking with the media, it was clear that D’Agostino is over the moon to be back and competing well again. “It’s crazy to think where I was onat Stanford and where I am now. Honestly, just putting together the miles. I thankfully don’t have to be in the pool anymore. Just logging those miles and getting good sleep, just all the right things.”
Linden would pass Cullen for second with just under a lap to go, going on to finish second in 15:27.13; Cullen was third in 15:29.99. This was only Linden’s second track race since 2011. She will do a 10,000m in Oregon next weekend with hopes of racing the discipline at the U.S. Championships, then again at the World Championships, Pan-Am Games, or another international competition. She will not do a fall marathon this year, she said.
“Welcome back, right?!” said Linden with a smile, signalling her return to the track. “I’m working on getting quicker, that’s what I’ve got to do.”
Arms crossed trying to keep warm after her race, she continued: “This is a nice start and I’m looking to improve upon it.”
ANDREWS USES PATENTED KICK TO WIN MILE
Robby Andrews, the 2011 NCAA 800m champion, struck again, as he so often does in tactical half-mile or mile races. The men’s mile went out at a pedestrian pace, splitting 2:00.6 through halfway and approximatelyat 3/4 of a mile. It was so slow and bunched that a 10,000 meter specialist, David McNeil of Australia, led at the bell.
With 350 meters to go, the elite milers of the field –including Ford Palmer, Julian Matthews, and Lee Emanuel– moved right up, jostling one another for the best position. Andrews momentarily found himself in sixth position down the backstretch, yet pounced at the opportunity to begin his quest for the front when a half-lap remained.
At the end of the curve, Andrews was on the pole, a spot he’d control through the tap
e in 3:57.15. Palmer held on for second in 3:58.42, with European Indoor Championships silver medalist Emanuel third in 3:58.60. Matthews, fourth in 3:58.71, was the last man to dip under .
“It wasn’t too fast and I felt pretty comfortable,” said Andrews, the reigning USA Indoor 1000m champion. “They did all the work for me [laughs]. It was a great field and I wanted to be careful, didn’t want to mess anything up. I tried to be as conservative as possible.”
MARTIN, FRICKER WIN CLOSE 800M CONTESTS
Fast finishing speed was needed to claim both the men’s and women’s 800m crowns, which Ryan Martin and McKayla Fricker did in 1:46.74 and 2:03.57, respectively.
Martin led after the rabbit stepped off through 400 meters, and maintained the lead until Mike Rutt pulled up on his shoulder with 100 meters left. Rutt’s valiant effort to take over made it a photo-finish. From afar it looked as if Rutt had pulled off the come-from-behind victory. Yet the finish photo said a different story, with Martin winning by a mere four-one hundredths of a second, 1:46.74 to 1:46.78.
“I heard a bunch of people right behind me and I could see shadows on the ground so I knew it was going to be a tight finish. I didn’t want it to be that close!” said Martin.
Less than a week after setting her 800m personal best at the Prefontaine Classic, McKayla Fricker toed the line again for two laps. Around the final bend there were five women in contention for the title, yet Fricker had the best closing speed. She’d cross the line in 2:03.57, with Stephanie Charnigo second in 2:04.20.
CONNOR CREDITS TEAM FOR 5000M CROWN
Reed Connor may have won the 5000m, but he told Race Results Weekly that he couldn’t have done it without the help of his New Jersey-New York Track Club teammates. One of the few pure long-distance-oriented men on the team, Connor often has to split training time with the 1500m/mile specialists (Kyle Merber and Ford Palmer, among others), and 3000m steeplechase ace Donn Cabral.
With 200 meters to go and still five men in contention, Connor had the confidence to make a bold last move. Having trained with some of the best milers in America, he knew he had a fast set of wheels on him. They propelled him to a 13:34.68 win.
“When you go, you go!” he said. “The biggest thing is having so many training partners that aren’t just good, they are great… That’s kind of what you saw out there today — the combination of strength and speed from my training partners, and it’s coming together with a great coach [Coach Frank “Gags” Gagliano] that leads us on the way.”
MASTERS WORLD RECORD AND MORE
In the mixed seniors mile race, 71-year-old Jan Holmquist clocked a 70+ Masters world record of 6:37.21. The previous world record was 6:47.91, set by American Jeanne Daprano in 2007.
“It’s fantastic, it’s wonderful,” said Holmquist, who didn’t start running competitively until she was in her 50’s, at the urging of her daughter. “I’m a road racer, but this makes me want to get back on the track!”
A pair of Ivy League students in James Randon (Yale) and Ned Willig (Brown) took home wins in the first sections of the mile and 800m, respectively. Randon set a personal best of 4:00.43 in the mile. He’ll have another chance to dip underfor the first time at the Harvard-Yale-Oxford-Cambridge Quad Meet later this summer, when he races at Iffley Road in Oxford — the same track that Roger Bannister first broke four minutes. Willig clocked 1:48.08 for his win in the first section of the 800m.
Bethany Praska won the first heat of the women’s 800m in 2:04.76.