The 10,000m is a living, breathing chess match. Sometimes, it is you against the field, and sometimes it is you against 25 laps. In Texas, Konstanze Klostehalen battled the wind, the humidty and the 25 laps, setting a new German record and recording an Olympic qualifier at 10,000m.
When I inteviewed Pete Julian a couple months back, Pete told me how much that he was was enjoying coaching the athletes in his club. At the Texas Qualifier, Pete Julian had Craig Engels (who won the 5,000m in 13:36.91) and Konstanze Klosterhalfen at the meet.
This was to be the first 10,000m by Konstanze Klosterhalfen. Koko, as she is called, has PBs that impress: 800m at 1:59.65, 1,500m at 3:58.92, 3000m at 8:20.07 and 5,000m at 14:26.76.
The 10,000m is a tough event.
1972 Olympic gold medalist Frank Shorter once told SI writer Kenny Moore (4th in said 1972 Olympic marathon) that the 10,000m was like being cut with a very sharp knife. The 10,000m is deceptive. When one is doing well, one is putting one lap after another at a pace that is achievable, when one takes one lap at a time. We will discuss a tough one another time.
Pete Julian was not looking or Koko to blast one. This was a test, as is the way Julian appoaches competitions. Pete Julian wanted to see how easy that Koko can get an Olympic qualifier. The challenges were Mother Nature this time.
The pace was 75 seconds a lap, just about five minutes a mile, about 31:25 pace at 10,000m. That would get Klosterhalen the Olympic qualiying time. At about 3000m (7 1/2 laps), Keira D’Amato took the lead, hoping to get 3 more laps at the same pace. The two mile was hit in 10:01, and then, the humidtiy made its presence known.
Humidty is a silent challenger. Competing at 10,000m, hell, 2 miles in humidty can challenge an athlete. Koko admitted, like most athletes in Texas, to be challenged by the humidity.
Konstanze Klostehalen stayed behind D’Amato, who put 3 laps at 76-78 together. At this time, Koko knew she was falling off the pace, and she looked at Coach Pete Julian, who gave her a sign to take off.
Koko began going a bit faster, hitting 73-75 pace. That would get he back on pace. Olympic qualifying pace.
In the 10,000m, it s amazing how one feels when one is on. Koko was on, really on. She was going much quicker in the second 5000m than the opening 5000m. With one lap to go, the announcer noted that Koko was within reach of the German National record, set by Catherine Ulrich in 1991. The time? 31:03.62.
Koko put a final lap in, taking on 68.69 to cover that lap, completing the 10,000m in 31:01.71. Just a tick under two seconds faster than the old German record.
Kostanze Klosterhalen won the 10,000m, lapping the field, (Keira D’Amato was second in 32:16.82).
Pete Julian knew exactly what he was doing. Koko got the Olympic qualifier and a new German National record.
Koko told the media post event: ” I feel a bit on a different planet…I was a bit afaid of falling off the pace, …I am vey thankful fo the opportunity.”
The big questions this week have been about Koko going 5000m and 10,000m. It is just too early to think about that. Pete Julian is preparing his athletes to have choices in the global championship years. He is giving them the tools to win in major events.
In Doha, Konstanze Klosterhalfen took the bonze in the 5000m in 14:28.53. Koko had also won the silver medal in 2019 in the 3000m at the EAA Indoor Champs (she had taken the silver in the Belgade 2017 EAA Indoor Champs).
What will she run in Tokyo?
Only time will tell.
Pete Julian is giving his athletes options as they prepar for the upcoming global championships.
One event at a time.
Konstanze Klosterhalfen ðŸ‡©ðŸ‡ª set a German record of 31:01.71 on her 10,000m debut in Austin. ðŸ’¥
Klosterhalfen now has the following PBs:
10,000m 31:01.71 pic.twitter.com/q0LWfhhTLI
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) February 28, 2021