Oly Trials – spectator’s view

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Zeke 14 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #1379

    Zeke
    Member

    Alright, here’s my spectator’s race report on the Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials. For those of you that never saw the course map, this was an awesome course for spectating. I was able to bounce back and forth between 3 spots (each about a 1 minute jog apart) and see the runners at roughly miles 3, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 16, 19, 20.5, 22.5 and 26.

    After reading about the men’s race, I thought the women’s would follow the same pattern with the favorites staying in a pack and biding their time. Needless to say I was shocked when I saw Blake Russell leading by 45 seconds at the 3 mile marker. I’ve never had to report what was going on in a race while it happened, so I wasn’t really prepared to give Senthil an update. I told him Russell was leading by about 45 seconds and that DeReuck and Kastor were leading the chase pack, but that’s all I really knew. Afterwards I learned Russell ran a 5:05 2nd mile. Hmmm, no wonder no one went with her.

    Next, I walked over to the 10k mark where they had an official clock, so I was able to get my watch in synch. I also had enough time to look at my paperwork and put some of the top names with bib #s and figure out that I needed to track how far back everyone was from the leaders. Russell had increased her lead to 1:00 at the 10k mark (33:30). I was a little surprised to see that Kastor and Mosqueda were already going after Russell and had put 17 seconds on DeReuck, Rhines, Boulet, Spangler and Youngquist. Granted Russell was seeded #4, so it wasn’t a break away like Teddy Mitchell from the men’s race. However, I still thought it was a little early to go after her.

    Just after 9 miles Kastor had broken away from Mosqueda and closed to within 45 seconds of Russell. Mosqueda was now running solo, 1:14 behind the lead. Rhines, Boulet and DeReuck were still running together, 1:39 behind Russell. The rest of the leaders began to get strung out with Spangler another 16 seconds back, followed by Youngquist and Hanscom. Running together, Wells and Beck rounded out the top-11, 2:37 behind Russell.

    Just before mile 13 I was able to watch DeReuck blow by Mosqueda to move into third place. Looking at the half splits, Kastor was 43 seconds back of Russell’s 1:12:17. DeReuck was +1:24 and Mosqueda was about +1:30. Rhines and Boulet were still working together in 5th and 6th (+2:15), as were Wells and Youngquist in 9th and 10th (+3:11). In between those two couples were Hanscom (+2:41) and Spangler (+2:44). Beck, still in 11th, was dropping back slightly (+3:21).

    Between miles 13 and 16, only Kastor and DeReuck were able to close on Russell, making up 28 and 19 seconds, respectively. Mosqueda lost another 17 seconds, Boulet and Rhines lost 9, Hanscom 4, Spangler 53, Youngquist and Wells 29, and Beck 24.

    As you read this now, you probably think I have all this down as it’s happening and know exactly what’s going on. However, with all the bib #s, mile markers, split times, times behind the leader, etc. floating around in my head, it was a little difficult to keep it all straight. By now I figured Kastor and DeReuck were going to catch Russell. It was just a matter of whether Russell could hang on for 3rd or not. I also knew I’d be able to see the runners at 20.5 and 22.5 and I wanted to pay very close attention to the top 5 or 6 runners at those spots.

    When I saw the runners again at 20.5, Kastor was now in 1st, 36 seconds up on DeReuck. While Russell had fallen to 3rd (+:44), she was still 1:39 up on Mosqueda in 4th. While Boulet and Rhines were still working together, they’d only made up 12 seconds on Russell over the last 4.5 miles and were still 2:12 down.

    At 22.5, DeReuck had made up 7 seconds on Kastor, but was still 29 seconds down. Next came Russell, down 1:20. More importantly would be how large her lead was over 4th. Looking down the road about 200 meters, I saw Mosqueda stop and walk and eventually DNF. As a result, Rhines, who’d broken away from Boulet, was now in 4th. She made up 52 seconds on Russell over the last 2 miles and was now only 1:20 down. Hmmm, if she continued to make up 26 seconds a mile, she’d pass Russell around mile 25.5 to 26. Boulet was making up ground on Russell too, but she was now 26 seconds behind Rhines.

    While walking to my final vantage point, about 200 meters before the 26 mile mark, Senthil called to say that DeReuck had passed Kastor around the 24 mile mark. I was a little surprised, since that meant she was running about 20 seconds per mile faster than Kastor, whom I thought still looked pretty strong the last time I saw her. As I waited for the runners to pass I was surprised that no one was really standing where I was. The vast majority of spectators were lining the last .2 miles of the course. After watching DeReuck and Kastor go by, I was in perfect position to watch Rhines pass Russell on her way to 3rd place. I wish I had a digital camera to capture that image.

    The St. Louis paper mentioned that 27 women PR’d, including 13 of the top-20. I thought it was interesting that only 2 women ran negative splits and only 5 women ran even or near-even (within 40 seconds) splits. Obviously, my choice for race of the day goes to Rhines. Not only did she bide her time and put herself in position to run a fast last 10k, but she was always working with someone, until she decided to go after Russell. I also thought Hanscom ran a great race, PRing by 6:06. Wells ran smart too, as she worked Beck and then Youngquist for the majority of the race. On the other end of the spectrum, Kim Fitchen-Young’s 1:17:45/1:42:41 => 3:00:26 looks brutal.

    Overall, it was a great time. Who followed our live coverage? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. I think there are some things we can improve upon. Not having someone on the press truck didn’t help our coverage. I would love to have been able to report on more than the top 6 or 7 runners. It seems that’s what all the websites were doing. There may be a niche for a website that focuses on all the runners. That’d give the friends and families that couldn’t make the trip a chance to see their runners progression. Well, we have 4 years to think about it.

  • #14076

    Double
    Member

    Zeke,

    A most excellent report. Sounded like a barn burner.

  • #14077

    Jeff
    Member

    Wow, how exciting. Were you by yourself the whole time, or did you have someone there helping you keep track of numbers and names? If you were by yourself, would it had been easier to have a helper? Maybe someone to keep track of the stop watch and/or keep account of the clip board or whatever you were taking notes on?

    Cool report. Thanks for sharing,

    Jeff

  • #14078

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Zeke, very fascinating report and a stark contrast from mine. As I was busy taking pictures, I didn’t have the numbers so I was noticing who was working together, who looked good, who looked like they were in trouble, etc. It will be interesting to see how our reports compare and contrast.

    I would also be interested in feedback on the coverage. Anyone reading this who was following here? If so, I’d greatly appreciate comments. Zeke, I saw your e-mail yesterday but didn’t get a chance to reply. I think there are things we definitely can improve on in the future and I hope to do one or two big races a year which means I will have practice managing the details. However, my initial response is that this turned out pretty well for this being a first attempt at providing live updates for everyone involved and for not having anyone on the press truck. I hope you didn’t find that covering the race for the site took away from your enjoyment of watching the race.

  • #14079

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I just read our reports side by side. It’s interesting to see that. While you were getting all the facts and numbers down, I was more watching the race develop and noticing how the runners looked. Our reports are definitely of the same race but there are points where my perception of what was going on don’t seem to match what you had with the numbers. I guess sometimes, just looking at runners, you can get a perception of a runner closing a gap or extending a lead when it may not have really happened.

    I’ll get both of these officially and permanently added to the site this evening.

    At the start of the race, conditions were nearly ideal. Temperatures I would guess in the low 40s, just a slight breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. The only problem I could foresee would be, without the wind and with the sun, how warm would it get as the morning went on? Fortunately, with a 7:00 start, things wouldn’t get as bad as would be possible with a later start.

    All the big names were there. Deena Kastor, Colleen De Reuck, Deeja Youngquist, Blake Russell, Sylvia Mosqueda, Magdalena Lewy Boulet, Sara Wells, Jenny Spangler, and all the rest were looking primed and ready to go. This was shaping up to be an interesting race before it even started.

    As the gun went off, the whole field remained packed for the first lap on the Washington University track with the two favorites, Kastor and De Reuck, prominently positioned in the front. On the second lap, a sizable lead pack started separating a bit from the rest of the field, again with Kastor and De Reuck present right up in the front. On the third lap, Russell gapped the lead pack at a fairly blistering pace for early in a marathon. After a fairly pedestrian first half mile, Russell seemed determined to either make the top three earn their spot or run away with first. It seemed as though I was not the only one who was surprised by such an early break by one of the contenders. I thought this looked like a suicide mission.

    Unfortunately, I chose the wrong mode of transportation to get back to the rest of the course, as the media bus got caught in traffic. I still did get back in time to see the runners around the 6 mile mark. Russell was still holding a good lead but Kastor and Mosqueda seemed to be interested in reeling her back in. Behind them were most of the other contenders, including De Reuck, Boulet, and Youngquist, along with some surprise faces such as Jen Rhines, who I didn’t even recognize for quite some time.

    At the 10 mile mark, it looked like more of the same. Russell was still leading Kastor but Kastor seemed to be closing the gap, Mosqueda was still solidly in third place but no longer running with Kastor, and those chasing included the same faces. It took me somewhat by surprise that De Reuck wasn’t doing more to get into position. As the runners came back by approaching the 12 mile mark, Russell opened the gap up a bit again but Kastor was still looking strong and seemed to just be waiting for the right time to go in for the kill. While Russell looked like she was racing, Kastor looked like she was out for a morning stroll at that point. The chase pack was still looking the same. Mosqueda still in third with De Reuck, Boulet, and Rhines looking like the ones who would still be in contention.

    As the runners were approaching mile 17, it was obvious that Kastor had decided to make her move. She seemed to be in a different gear and had drastically closed in on Russell. It was now only a matter of time until she would take the lead. Behind the top two, De Reuck passed Mosqueda for third place and Boulet and Rhines were also closing in on Mosqueda. It was looking like there would be quite the battle for third, as Russell was fading back to that position and there were four competitors within relatively close range waiting for her back there. As the runners made their way toward mile 19, Kastor had taken the lead and was looking strong. Russell was struggling but seemed to be solidly in the top three. De Reuck, though, was running strong and looked like she had second. The big question was whether Mosqueda could regroup and pass Russell for the final spot.

    With about three miles to go, Kastor seemed to have a good lead but De Reuck was closing in. While Kastor looked like she was struggling, De Reuck looked strong. I couldn’t help but think of one year ago, when De Reuck had a good lead at this exact point but she looked to be struggling and Sara Wells was running strong. Last year, Wells passed De Reuck at about the 25 mile mark to take the win but I just couldn’t see that happening in this race. In third was still Russell. I left for the finish before I could see some important developments behind Russell, though. While Mosqueda had dropped out, Jen Rhines was making a big move and setting herself up for a shot at the Olympics.

    At the finish line, it was announced that De Reuck had passed Kastor on the final loop of the course. I had this sudden feeling of deja vu, as this was the same announcement I heard last year except it was Wells passing De Reuck. I couldn’t help but wonder if the same thing had gone through De Reuck’s mind. Maybe she had learned something about this course at last year’s race that she used to her advantage in this race. De Reuck opened up the gap and ended up winning with an Olympic Trials record time of 2:28:25. Kastor held on for second in 2:29:38. To my surprise, I did not see Blake Russell coming in next. After a moment, the announcer stated that third place was Jen Rhines. She made her big move for third and, just before the 26 mile mark, passed Russell for third place and the final spot on the Olympic team. After a very brave and even more impressive run, Russell came up just a bit short in fourth. After working together for much of the race with Rhines, Boulet finished strong in fifth. Heather Hanscom finished in sixth, while Sara Wells came in for seventh, Deeja Youngquist held on to eighth, Susannah Beck got ninth, and Jenny Spangler finished tenth.

  • #14080

    Jason
    Member

    I was wondering if it is true that Russell had to stop twice to get rocks out of her shoe. i read it some where but didn’t see it in your reports. Anyway it sounds like an exciting race to watch. I would have been there, as our team was going to ran at Washington, but for some reason half of the team didn’t want to ride on a bus that far. But I did get access to a computer in our hotel in Decorah to get the first half of the race reports, but then i had to go to our meet. I thought who guys did a good job getting the info up there. It was nice knowing the gaps and being able to compare them every few miles to see who was making moves. I was very suprised when it said that russell had broke away by 45 sec at 3 miles.

    Ryan, do you know why Joe didn’t run at Washington U? I had talked to him about a week or two before the meet and he seemed excited to run the 5-k

  • #14081

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Jason, it was Kastor who had to stop twice to get a rock out of her shoe. She said in the press conference that she had a big rock in her shoe right under the ball of her foot. She stopped once, couldn’t get it out and started running again. A little later, she decided she couldn’t run for over half of the race with it in there so she sat down on a curb to work on it.

    I believe Joe did run at the track meet. Sounded like he didn’t have a good one. When Marshall and I got there, Joe was talking about a 16 minute 5k.

  • #14082

    Zeke
    Member
    Jeff wrote:
    Were you by yourself the whole time, or did you have someone there helping you keep track of numbers and names? If you were by yourself, would it had been easier to have a helper? Maybe someone to keep track of the stop watch and/or keep account of the clip board or whatever you were taking notes on?Jeff

    Jeff,

    Glad you liked the report. I was with a friend and his 2 daughters. He was reading some of the splits to me, but I was able to handle most of it by myself since the gals were pretty strung out by 10K.

    If I were doing it over, I’d make sure I had a clipboard and maybe even some type of pre-printed form. I’d also make sure whoever’s updating the website had the bib # and name info. Then I could just read off bib #s and times and let him/her look up the names. For some reason I felt a little rushed when I talked to Senthil on the phone. I probably should have just slowed down and taken my time.

    Sure it’d be great to have another helper, but it’s hard to get enough bodies to travel a long way to some of these events. It probably wouldn’t have hurt to have someone helping Senthil either.

    Lots of room for improvement, but still a great experience.

  • #14083

    Zeke
    Member
    Ryan wrote:
    I hope you didn’t find that covering the race for the site took away from your enjoyment of watching the race.

    Ryan,

    Not at all. I don’t think covering the race for the site change how I’d have watched the race at all. I think it was better for me because I was actually writing splits down and seeing how they grew or shrank. Otherwise, I’m usually just watching runners go by with no way to tell how they’re doing, relative to everyone else.

    Also, with the loop course there were a couple of places where I could stand for 10 minutes before moving to the next location. This allowed me to see more of the middle of the pack, including a lot of the Minnesota women.

  • #14084

    Jason
    Member

    I guess it would make more sense that it was Kastor becase she was catching Blake in the middle of the race and then the lead grew for a few miles.

  • #14085

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    Zeke wrote:
    I’d also make sure whoever’s updating the website had the bib # and name info. Then I could just read off bib #s and times and let him/her look up the names.

    Actually, I did make sure Senthil knew where to get the list of entries by bib numbers. I should have double checked with him that he had that list by his side and informed both you and Marshall. Lesson learned, I will cover my bases on that front next time.

    Zeke wrote:
    Lots of room for improvement, but still a great experience.

    I agree, there are a lot of things that could have done better. I feel, and I hope everyone else does, that this came out quite well overall, whether for a first attempt at live updates or not. However, there are a lot of things I learned (like what I just mentioned above) that can make things go more smoothly in the future.

    Zeke wrote:
    Also, with the loop course there were a couple of places where I could stand for 10 minutes before moving to the next location. This allowed me to see more of the middle of the pack, including a lot of the Minnesota women.

    This is a huge benefit that I took advantage of last year by placing pictures of many of the runners, not just the leaders, in the race on the website. I intend to do the same eventually this year. Of course, as with any outlet, complete coverage of the leaders comes first. Once that is done, though, I hope to get a number of pictures of those who were not in the top 5-10 on the site.

  • #14086

    Zeke
    Member

    Of course, as with any outlet, complete coverage of the leaders comes first.

    Yeah I agree, but I think there’d be a “huge” market for tracking the other 100 runners in the race. Even if you just gave updates at 10k, half and 20 miles. I didn’t think we were that strapped for time and resources. Once you had a format set up, I don’t think it’d be too hard.

    The key would be to market what you’re doing to the runners and their friends, families and fans. If those people aren’t aware of what you’re doing, it’s a waste because the average fan doesn’t care what Sharon Stubler is doing in 72nd place. You also have to be able to follow through with what you say you will.

    The guy I was with at the race got his photos back. He had one picture left when we were standing near the finish. He was able to get a photo of Rhines about 20 feet behind Russell. However, he took the photo way too soon because Russell is literally .5 cm tall in the photo. It would have been awesome if he’d waited about 20 more seconds. Oh well, live and learn.

  • #14087

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    Zeke wrote:
    Yeah I agree, but I think there’d be a “huge” market for tracking the other 100 runners in the race. Even if you just gave updates at 10k, half and 20 miles. I didn’t think we were that strapped for time and resources. Once you had a format set up, I don’t think it’d be too hard.

    I’m with you on that. It could be a good draw and I don’t think it would take much more in terms of resources than what we had. Heck, if it’s marketed to the runners and people who know them, we could put up bib numbers with splits and the people should know the bib number of the runner they are interested in. Then, we wouldn’t have someone like Senthil going nuts trying to type in 125 different names. The key to this and the difficult part of this, though, would be to market to the right people as you mentioned. Of course, I have time to think about that.

    Zeke wrote:
    The guy I was with at the race got his photos back. He had one picture left when we were standing near the finish. He was able to get a photo of Rhines about 20 feet behind Russell. However, he took the photo way too soon because Russell is literally .5 cm tall in the photo. It would have been awesome if he’d waited about 20 more seconds. Oh well, live and learn.

    I think we all do this at times. Take a look at some of the pictures that I have from Chicago 2002. Especially Paula finishing. I started taking pictures so early that, even with sequential shooting, I didn’t get any pictures as she got closer to me because the memory in my camera filled up and it stopped shooting. I started shooting about 10-15 seconds too soon. This was the first large race with elite runners I took pictures at, though, and I was too anxious and not patient enough. I learned from that mistake, though, and wait until the runners are closer now. I realized that one or two close-up pictures are better than 5 pictures from far away.

  • #14088

    Anonymous

    Hey Samens, I actually did run at the Washington U race in the 5k however, it went really poorly. My goal coming into the race was to run around a 15:30, and by the end of the season get that time down to around 15:10. For some unknown reason, the race just didn’t work out for me. I guess that kind of sums up how my last year has been going… one day it looks like I’m on the right track to running good times, and then the next day I’ll run horribly. I’m really lacking consistency in both training and racing right now which is making it tough to gain any confidence. In any case, how come you weren’t at the race? Weren’t you supposed to be in the 5k as well?

  • #14089

    Jason
    Member

    Hey Joe. Our team decided to go to the Norse Relays in Decorah instead. Not sure why but about half the team didn’t want to travel so far to a meet. They didn’t even have the 5k but had the 10k. It was really windy, around 25-30 mph, so it turned out to be a tempo run more then anything.

  • #14090

    Anonymous

    Hey Samen’s, is there any truth to Vircks transferring to River Falls?

  • #14091

    Jason
    Member

    Yeah there is. I didn’t believe it when coach first told us but he was here this weekend and said he was for sure coming. I didn’t get a chance to see him when he was here but a few of the guys went for a run with him.

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