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Shalane Flanagan Wins 3rd US 10,000m Title

BEATING THE HEAT, FLANAGAN WINS THIRD USA 10,000M TITLE
By David Monti

(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)

DES
MOINES, IOWA (20-Jun) — After a quick opening lap of 72 seconds,
Shalane Flanagan was never seriously challenged at the USA Outdoor
Track & Field Championships here tonight, winning her third USA
10,000m title by 34 seconds in 31:43.20, a Drake Stadium record. For
Flanagan, 31, an Olympic bronze medalist, it was her 15th overall
national title.

“Winning national titles are important because
it’s the step towards the next level,” said Flanagan, looking
thoroughly composed despite running in 84-degree (29C) temperatures.
“So, I think it’s important to win national titles to have a presence
in the U.S., and hopefully inspire and motivate people. I enjoy winning
national titles. I like the competition, the atmosphere; it’s important
to be here.”

With her victory, Flanagan is assured a spot on
the United States team for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in
August. For good measure, she again broke the IAAF “A” standard of
31:45.00 during the race and, in truth, would have earned a team berth
with a top-3 finish because she already possessed the standard prior to
the race.

Behind Flanagan, a spirited race played out for the
other two national team spots. In the early laps, Flanagan was joined
by her training partner Kara Goucher who stayed just on Flanagan’s
heels through 2400m. Goucher soon lost contact, and found herself
running alone while Jordan Hasay, Tara Erdmann and Amy Hastings worked
together to catch her. Hasay, who just completed her NCAA career at the
University of Oregon, is now a teammate of Erdmann’s at the
Nike-sponsored Oregon Project under coach Alberto Salazar, and the pair
were clearly working together.

“Once Amy took over, Jordan and
I knew we had to help her out to catch second place,” explained the
petite Erdmann who ran in the NCAA ranks for Loyola Marymount. “I think
we could both hear Alberto telling us when to take laps. It really
helped having Jordan because I knew if I was hurting she could take the
next lap.”

With nine laps remaining in the 25-lap race, Goucher only had three seconds on her chasers, and half a lap later she was passed.

“Once we got to Kara she didn’t respond, so like Tara said we just switched off the lead,” Hasay explained.

With
four laps to go, Hastings also began to drift back, leaving Erdmann and
Hasay to fight for second. Hasay surged ahead of her teammate at the
bell, and Erdmann was unable to catch her. The pair clocked 32:17.34
and 32:24.16, respectively, to earn provisional spots on the national
team.

Neither athlete is assured that they will run in Moscow
because they have yet to earn either the IAAF “A” or “B” (32:05.00)
standard for the event. Under USA Track & Field rules, they have
until July 20, to improve their times, something both the athletes and
their coach said they would do in a special mixed-gender race to be
held in Oregon, probably in Portland, in the coming weeks. While there
are several possible scenarios, should one athlete get the “A” and the
other the “B” they are both on the team because IAAF rules permit two
A’s and one B to make up a three-person team.

“Basically, we need one to get the ‘A’ and the other to get the ‘B’ and they can both go,” Salazar told Race Results Weekly.

Should
both women get only the “B” standard, fourth place Amy Hastings would
make the team with the highest placing “B” athlete because Hastings
already has the “A” standard from last summer’s Olympic Games. Should
neither women get the “A” or the “B,” Flanagan, Hastings and fifth
place Goucher would make the team because she has the “B” standard
already (she ran 31:46.64 at Stanford University last April).

Goucher,
who won a bronze medal at this distance at the 2007 IAAF World
Championships, was clearly disappointed with her race. She made no
excuses, but said that perhaps the fact that she is nearly 35 and ran a
marathon in April could have been a factor.

“I was just kind of
like trying to survive, trying to survive,” lamented Goucher, whose
grandparents had driven nearly 400 miles from Duluth to see her race.
She continued: “Boston was two months ago and I guess I’m not as young
as I used to be.”

PHOTO: Shalane Flanagan leads the early
laps of the women’s 10,000m at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field
Championships

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