On Saturday September 20, 2014 in Lake Oswego, Oregon, Brittany Morreale and Lopez Lomong were married. They met while Lopez was in residence at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and Brittany was a student nearby at the US Air Force Academy. Brittany was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 2009 and earned a degree from Oxford in 2012.
Shalane Flanagan is no shy debutante on the Marathon Dance Floor. Don’t let her perky cheekbones and blonde ponytail fool you. This woman is driven and direct. Witness Shalane’s spot on 60 Minutes last April: she flat out announced to a national television audience that she was in the next week’s Boston Marathon to win it. Not do her best. Not try her hardest. No, she was there to win it for her hometown Boston. She told us how much the 2014 race meant to her after the senseless bombings at the previous year’s finish line. Shalane poured out her emotions. She wore her heart on her singlet.
And she almost pulled it off. Shalane broke every checkpoint Boston record all the way through the 30k mark as she ripped off a “fetch this” pace , a full
shadow ahead of her Kenyan and Ethiopian competitors who expected the usual tactical group-pack race. At 19 miles, Shalane began paying the lactate price. What surprised me was how tough she was when the wheels came off. As most of us know, when we reach that awful point in the Full Mary, the wheels not only come off, they roll away into a ditch somewhere. We start losing minutes per mile. But as trailing women passed Shalane, she didn’t crater. Crossing the finish line in 7th place, she set a PR by 3 minutes, running 2:22:02. Boston doesn’t allow pacemakers, but by throwing down the gauntlet, Shalane set up not one, but two course records as Rita Jeptoo and Buzunesh Deba both broke 2:20. They should send Flanagan a check!
Cut to Berlin. Shalane is gunning for the American Record. She’s already got the 10k pistol in her holster. It’s time to Tear down that Wall.”
Two years ago at Eugene’s Olympic Trials, a roguish journalist cut from Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s cloth, heralded the Coming of a new Steeple Star: long-haired , free-spirited Evan Jäger. Running only his 3rd barrier race, he dismissed the field and rocketed, blonde locks flopping beneath his headband, down the final straight to a delighted roar from the uber-educated fans. They knew they had seen something and someone special.
In Evan’s buildup to London’s Olympics, he raced in the Monaco steeple for his 4th ever water jump experience. There, in the opulent magic of Monaco, Jäger shattered the long-standing American record by naling an 8:06.81. This kind of novitiate stunning success is reminiscent of the miraculous surpises of Kenyans ,Daniel Komen and Moses Kiptanui, the latter a steepler himself.
Just a few days ago, Evan did it again at the Memorial Van Damme meet in Zurich. In this final Diamond League affair, Evan finished a stellar 3rd behind Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad and Jarius Birech who popped this season’s single sub-8 mark. The Bowerman Track Club’s phenom ran 8:04.71 to slice 2 seconds from his previous AR.
Next, Evan was off to Marrakech run his next Steeple at the Athletics Continental Cup in Morocco. He was one of two Chase entrants representing The Americas against other blocs such as Africa, Europe, and Asia. The prize money on offer, made the Diamond League meet winnings look like rear-of-running-short pocket change. Track and Road need to take a glimpse in the side mirror as Tennis and Golf -certainly no big bucks Brahmins when they started- blow by us in the passing lane because they draw media madness with their mountainous money payouts. Sad in a way, yes, that Green makes for envious fans; however, we can’t turn back the clock. But Evan has proven he can beat that clock,so we anxiously awaited results from the Marrakech Express. Evan did not disappoint.
One of Evan’s goals for this season was to work on his closing lap speed. When he set the AR last week, he finished with a 62.1. Decent, yes, but ,here at the Stade de Marrakech, Evan pushed the pace during the penultimate lap and more as he led until the last lap’s water jump against Jarius Birech, arguably this year’s best steeplechaser. Although Birech gritted through for the win, Evan cranked out a splendid 58.89 for a well-deserved and well-paid second place. Jäger can buy a lotta haircuts with $15,000 ! Not that he should cut those golden locks.
Evan Jager continued his clear, convincing run as America’s best steepler — not that anyone was doubting his status there. The American record holder confidently claimed his third consecutive national title in the event, clocking an 8:18.83 and a solid one-second victory.
In another display of remarkable consistency, Lopez Lomong came home in third place in the 1500m with his time of 3:39.10, marking the sixth time in the last seven years that he has taken a medal home from the US Championships. Meanwhile, their teammate Andrew Bumbalough produced a quality showing in the 5000m, going up against four runners with PB’s of 13:16 or better… and beating all but one. Bumbalough made a late bid for the win with two laps to go, and hung on for a runner-up finish to perennial champion Bernard Lagat. The Tennessee-native posted a 13:32.01 in his bid for his first track national title, marking one of the quicker efforts in recent USATF 5000m races.
Sean Quigley also showed nicely with a fourth-place finish in the 10,000m. Quigley was one of the last men standing in a deep field, as he hung in with the small breakaway pack that winnowed the pretenders from the contenders. His final time was 28:29 and his fourth-place finish represents his best showing at a US Championship on the track.
Stepping down in distance at the Prefontaine Classic — also known as Diamond League Eugene — Evan Jager lowered his lifetime best in the mile to 3:53.33 as he took third in the International Mile.
Though merely an appetizer to the entree that is the meet-closing Bowerman Mile, the International Mile showcased tremendous depth headlined by Olympic Silver Medalist Leo Manzano, as well as mile specialists who represented their countries at the IAAF World Relay Championships in the 4 x 1500m, such as Ryan Gregson (AUS), Charlie Grice (UK), Pat Casey (USA), and David Torrence (USA). Jager defeated all but Manzano and Jordan McNamara, and looks primed to run well in the event in which he holds the American record: the 3000m steeplechase. The Chicago-native is slated to contest his specialty at the Bislett Games in Oslo on Wednesday June 11th.
Also in the Pre International Mile, Jager’s teammate Lopez Lomong finished further back in 9th place, with a 3:54.28 to his name.