Flanagan, Goucher 10th and 11th at Olympic Marathon
LONDON ÛÒ Team USAÛªs Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher of
Portland, Ore. finished within 16 seconds of one another as they
crossed the finish line in 10th and 11th place, respectively, in the
Olympic womenÛªs marathon during a rainy Sunday morning.
The race was won in an Olympic record of 2:23:07 by EthiopiaÛªs Tiki
Gelana, who pulled ahead of runner-up Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya over the
final half mile. Jeptoo finished in 2:23:12, with Tatyana Petrova
Arkhipova of Russia taking third in 2:23:29.
Flanagan and Goucher positioned themselves at or near the front of the
large lead pack from the start of the race, winding through the narrow,
rain-soaked street of London.
Training partners in Portland, Ore., Goucher ran in a red cap, Flanagan
in black, to fend off the rain. Running an even pace, they passed
through 5km in 17:20 and 10km in 34:46 as more than 50 women ran
together in a pack that stretched to 10 seconds from front to back. The
leaders hit 15 km in 52:11, and at 17 km, 16 women remained within just
1 second of each other.
By the 25km mark, a lead pack of six started to pull ahead, with
Flanagan running in 7th four seconds behind the leaders, and Goucher in
12th another two seconds back. Over the next two kilometers, Flanagan
tried to regain contact with the pack, but by the 28 km mark, only five
remained in the lead: Arkhipova, Gelana, Jeptoo and Mary Keitany and
Edna Kipagat of Kenya with Dibaba of Ethiopia running just off the pack
The race began in earnest after the 30km mark as the women began
trading positions. Reigning world champion Kiplagat struggled to
maintain the pace and fell off of the pack, only to rally and fall back
again. Meanwhile, Flanagan ran without the assistance of a pack as she
tried to close the gap on Kiplagat.
After 35 km Flanagan moved ahead of a fading Dibaba and Kiplagat, who
ultimately fell back to finish 23rd and 20th, respectively. But as some
of the favorites became casualties, two new women slipped into the mix
with Xiaolin Zhu of China and Tetyana Gamera-Shmyrko of Ukraine
speeding past Flanagan.
In the final 2 km, as Flanagan began to tire, Valeria Straneo of Italy
and Albina Mayorova of Russia moved past Flanagan, dropping her to
tenth. Goucher began to close the gap on her training partner with the
two ultimately finishing 16 seconds apart. Flanagan was 10th in 2:25:38
and Goucher 11th in 2:25:53.
TodayÛªs race marked FlanaganÛªs third race at the 26.2 mile distance and
her second-fastest time after her 2:25:38 U.S. Olympic Trials record
this January. This was the sixth marathon of GoucherÛªs career and only
one second off of the time she ran at the Olympic Trials.
American Desiree Davila (Rochester Hills, Mich.) dropped out with a hip injury after completing the initial 2.2 mile loop.
ÛÏThere were some really tough spots. It was tough just to let people
pass me, and I had no oomph to go with them. I tried to react, like in
a track race, but it is really different for me in the marathon. You
already have a lot of miles in your legs and it is so, so, so hard. I
could feel myself cramping, but it is what it is. The fans were
amazing; I couldnÛªt even hear my own thoughts. The fans were just
deafening. It was a lot of fun besides cramping and feeling awful.
ÛÏI just was hoping I could chomp away and get closer, and I did at
times, and I fell off at times. I was yo-yo-ing all over the place.
ÛÏOne minute I was wearing my hat, the next minute I felt hot in it. But
you know it was like Portland weather, IÛªm not fazed by it. ItÛªs like
ÛÏKara and I prepared our bodies and our minds the best we could, and we
knew that on any given day we are both really good competitors and can
run with the best. The ultimate goal was to get on the podium. This is
my third marathon and IÛªm learning every time. IÛªve got to make some
mistakes to get to that level.Û
ÛÏIÛªve got to be honest, when I saw her [Shalane] with two miles to go,
it actually broke my spirit. Because I thought one of us had a shot.
People mess up, and IÛªve trained so hard. I didn’t even know women
trained the way that I’ve trained with Shalane. I didn’t know it
existed. And I really thought that with the right window of
opportunity, one of us could deliver and unfortunately it didn’t come
race is just different. It was good for Shalane and I. We had no
intention of leading and matching everyone else’s cadence, but we
decided to stay up front because it was clean. Both times I tried to go
back to the second and third row, I got pushed and grunted at and
stepped on, so I thought, ‘What the heck, I’ll go ahead and lead the
Olympic marathon. I mean, I have no shot of winning this but I’ll lead
as long as they let me.Ûª
ÛÏI never really gave up. Every time I tried to press in that last lap,
my back just hurt so bad. It was really frustrating. [The cramps] started in adductors of right calf and then it went to my back. I
haven’t cramped since I ran the NYC Marathon. I honestly haven’t felt
that kind of pain since I pushed out a baby. I’m serious. Shalane
cramped very badly as well – same place, so we’re both a little
confused and annoyed.
ÛÏObviously IÛªm coming in a little beat up and injured, and this was the
first day of really testing it out on solid ground, and you donÛªt know
what you are going to get. I made it to 2.2 [miles] which is the first
loop. I could tell on the first turn that it wasnÛªt going to be right
today. You know, you canÛªt fake the marathon, and that is where we get
our confidence, from training and knowing what it means and training
hard. All of that has been missing by running on an Alter-G for
basically the last month.
ÛÏIÛªve been training for this race for the past three months, and I ran
into a problem a month out. IÛªve been training through pain and having
ups and downs and highs and lows. I do feel like you have to cross the
line to be an Olympian and to have that title. And I feel like IÛªve
earned that, obviously throughout my entire career, but the last month
especially. IÛªve put everything IÛªve had in to getting here and
hopefully getting the health and the fitness.
ÛÏThat was one of the hardest things getting to the start knowing that
there was a really good chance I would DNF, and IÛªve never done that
before. I donÛªt really know how to do that.Û