5 Things You Should Know About the 10,000 Meters

June 22, 2012 at 1:00pm EST | by Barbara Huebner, NYRR News Service
  1. The weather. At 7:00 PDT tonight, the forecast is for 59 degrees and a chance of rain. Not great for a big track and field meet, but to the men and women running for a spot on the 10,000-meter team on the opening day of action at Hayward Field, we might as well be talking 82 degrees and sunny at the beach on the first day of summer vacation. Unless, of course, you already have the Olympic “A” standard (27:45 for men, 31:45 for women). For the men, that total is eight; for the women, it’s just four, and one of them—Shalane Flanagan—has already committed to running only the marathon in London. Those “A” athletes were likely hoping for conditions akin to Atlanta in July, because even if one of their rivals finished in the top three, they wouldn’t make the Olympic team unless they ran fast enough to attain the “A.” Dathan Ritzenhein and Aaron Braun—the No. 9 and 10 seeds for the men, just outside the standard—are smiling, while Amy Hastings, Lisa Uhl, and Janet Cherobon-Bawcom now may need to do better than just finishing the race to make the team. For the complete start lists, click here and here.
  2. The pacers. Well, no, not official pacers—the Trials don’t have those. But smart money is on Flanagan to help her OTC Elite teammate Lisa Uhl make the team, while Ritzenhein will likely stick to his heavily favored Nike Oregon Project training partner Galen Rupp.
  3. The “B” leaders. While no one will be surprised if Ritzenhein, who finished fourth in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in January, makes the team, the No. 4 women’s seed, Alisha Williams, who trains with the Boulder Running Company, is largely unknown but on a roll. Williams, 30, ran 2:35:09 to finish 14th in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in her debut, and she’s lowered her 10,000-meter personal best this year by well over a minute, to 32:03.07.
  4. The veteran. Katie McGregor finished fourth at 10,000 meters in both 2004 and 2008, and four years ago she gave one of the bravest, classiest post-race interviews many journalists had ever heard, praising the dramatic performance of Amy Yoder Begley, who beat her out for a spot on the team with a breathtaking last lap: “Great night for the 10K for women. It’s great to see women’s distance running going so well. So I’m proud of our girls.” She’s back tonight. McGregor will have to run faster than she has since 2007 to make the team, but regardless of the outcome, you can count on the 34-year-old Team USA Minnesota veteran to handle it with class.
  5. The kid. After his third-place finish at 10,000 meters at his final NCAA Championships earlier this month, Stanford’s Chris Derrick is being called the best distance runner never to win an NCAA title. But his Trials qualifying time of 27:31:38 is a U.S. collegiate record and the fastest time run by an American this year, so the rookie could well make up for his NCAA disappointment with a bigger prize.
Categories: Pro Athletes