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Clearing the air at Day 1 of USATF Outdoors

Clearing the air at Day 1 of USATF Outdoors

| On 26, Jun 2015

The air was thick on and off the track at day one in Eugene. 90+ degree temps felt more like North Carolina, and less like Oregon, with heavy debate about how the night would end, reverberating all over Hayward. In the end, the performances on the track outshined those off, and the true competition got under way.

Of the few finals on day one, the 10k’s were certainly the highlight (for me). The pack of Shalane Flanagan, Molly Huddle, Emily Infeld, Emily Sisson, Amy Hastings Cragg, and  Alexi Pappas were together for much of the race, before one by one, like a scene from the Hunger Games, runners were cast off into the heat to fend for themselves. One by one, their bell would toll. Ultimately, Huddle did what most people thought, and kicked home for victory, making a strong move over the seasoned Flanagan, and the rebounding Infeld, for the decisive win. The will be the strongest Women’s 10k field we’ve sent to the World Championships in a long time.

On the Men’s side, the pace was quick from the gun. Aaron Braun, Diego Estrada, Tyler Pennel, and Aron Rono traded leads before Galen Rupp dug in and made his move with 1000 meters to go. Fresh off a Diamond League 5000 win in New York, Ben True hung on the best he could, and made his first World team. Hassan Mead was also elated on doing the same, and then the melee began…

Journalists from at least three continents circled the mixed zone in anticipation of Rupp’s entry; many with specific questions to ask. They were all greeted with a Darren Treasure-procured response that would make a well groomed Nuke LaLoosh, or a post-divorce Tiger Woods smile. Plenty of “I stand with Alberto” and “the statement came out yesterday” didn’t fill the voids for those with recorders and notebooks, but certainly did for the Oregon Project.

Rupp finished his questioning, headed to the practice field behind Hayward Field to cool down, while Alberto Salazar and the Oregon Project team looked on and high fived in victory. Johnny Drama would be proud. Salazar was on an off the phone, and you could tell a weight had been lifted. As many do after the races finish at Hayward, myself, and many other fans and athletes headed over the Hoka One One-tattooed Wild Duck Saloon in search of sustenance and Oregonian hops. We were indeed joined by the all black-clad power team, in what was a true victory lap. Galen and Alberto joined friends and family, including Matt Centrowitz and his father, for a post-win celebration at the duck. Eyes were focused, and smiles were abound, as they appeared pleased to have hurdled the allegations and the competition, that was day one at Historic Hayward Field.

Beyond the 10k’s, aside from a Ryan Bailey DQ, the 100 prelims went mostly to form, as did the Womens Steeplechase prelims. The Mens 1500 prelim fields were shuffled just hours before the race, which left some strong competitors miffed, and out of luck for Saturdays final. Charles Jock and Brandon Johnson were casualties from the first 800 rounds, while Marquis Dendy made jumping nearly 28 and a half feet look easy. And much, much more…

I’ll have more commentary on the “Running Our Mouths” podcast later today, but below are a few tweets from the scene on day one.

Seen and heard from Day 1 at Hayward


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