Saturday, January 14, 2012

Flanagan Shatters Olympic Marathon Trials Record in Houston

Davila, Goucher also make Olympic Marathon team in deepest women's Trials ever

By: Jim Gerweck, Running USA wire

HOUSTON - (January 14, 2012) - On a weekend when sports wagering spiked, if you bet the chalk at the women's Olympic Marathon Trials, you hit the trifecta.

Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher, the pre-race favorites on most pundits' form charts, came through as predicted, running the fastest times in the deepest race in the 28-year history of the event. Flanagan (left, PhotoRun), 30, who has been on two Olympic track squads, showed she's made the transition to marathoner a complete one, pulling away from Davila in the final miles to a 2 hour, 25 minute, 38 second Trials and USA Championship record win, and a PR by 3:02. Davila, 28, who came within two seconds of winning the Boston Marathon last April, made her first Olympic team, 17 seconds back. And Goucher, 33, relatively short on training after taking 2010 off to have a baby, won the war of attrition for the coveted third spot and made her second Olympic team in 2:26:06.

"It was really encouraging to win and set a big PR," Flanagan said afterward. "But there's more to come, more work to be done to put myself in contention for a medal in London."

Flanagan and Davila were the prohibitive pre-race favorites to make the team, while Goucher was more of an unknown quantity. "I've never been so nervous, never wanted anything so much," she said. "Ask Shalane, I've been a wreck."

Fortunately, the race played into her favor, going out at a pedestrian 6:11 first mile. "The longer it stayed like that, the happier I was," Goucher said.

Davila, lacking the track credentials of the two Oregon TC training mates, felt the opposite. "I knew my job was to keep that pace strong, not let it get too soft," she said. "I did the job I needed to do, although I think it cost me a little in the last miles. I had mixed feelings, wanting to make one last push to try to catch Shalane, but also aware that Kara was right there and wanting to protect the place I had."

Davila got help in whittling down the early lead pack, which numbered close to a dozen, from former Arizona State teammate Amy Hastings, who made several aggressive moves in the lead that shed several members of the pack, including Trials defending champ Deena Kastor, who wound up sixth in 2:30:40.

"I knew there were some amazing women up there," said Hastings, 27, a member of the same Mammoth Track Club training group as Kastor. Running only her second marathon, Hastings said, "I felt like I had to stir the waters and maybe if any of them dropped. I think I just ran out of fuel near the end. The last mile was kind of emotional, but it was a great experience that will help me in four years."

Davila made the same sort of mistakes in Boston four years ago, and that race served as the springboard to her ascension in the upper echelon of American women's marathoning. For her, the future looks bright.

But the present might be even more promising for the U.S. women's marathon team for London, with multiple Olympic and World Championships medals and Marathon Majors top placings among them. "This is an amazing squad," said Davila. "I'm glad to be a part of it."

For Kastor, a 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, it was bittersweet: "Houston created a great stage for the athletes to shine. I gave it my best today. I stayed engaged the entire 26.2 miles so I couldn't ask for more, it just wasn't enough today."

Linda Somers Smith, 50, set a U.S. 50-54 age group record in 2:37:36, good for 28th overall. Somers Smith has qualified for a record 7 Olympic Marathon Trials and in Houston, she finished her 5th Trials overall.

Overall, it was the first time that five women were under 2:30 at the Olympic Marathon Trials and the race produced the #1-4 and #8 all-time Olympic Trials performances and it was the deepest women's Trials ever with best times for place (#1-15). In addition, 35 women set personal records on the multi-loop course.

8th U.S. Women's Olympic Marathon Trials
Houston, TX, Saturday, January 14, 2012

1) Shalane Flanagan (OR), 2:25:38*, $54,000#
2) Desiree Davila (MI), 2:25:55, $43,000#
3) Kara Goucher (OR), 2:26:06, $32,000#
4) Amy Hastings (CA), 2:27:17, $21,000
5) Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (GA), 2:29:45, $15,500
6) Deena Kastor (CA), 2:30:40, $10,000
7) Clara Grandt (WV), 2:30:46, $8000
8) Alissa McKaig (NC), 2:31:56, $7000
9) Dot McMahan (MI), 2:32:16, $6000
10) Magdalena Lewy Boulet (CA), 2:33:42, $4000
*Olympic Trials, USA Championship, U.S. Women-Only and personal records (previous records, 2:28:25, Colleen De Reuck, 2004; 2:25:53, Kara Goucher, 2008; 2:26:26, Julie Brown, 1983 and 2:28:40, 2010).
#includes USATF prize money; plus $20,000 bonus for Olympic Marathon participation

For full results and more, go to:

 this article Courtesy of Running USA wire

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