Tuesday, September 16, 2014

There Are No Barriers

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.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jager Claims Third Straight US Steeple Title

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.


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Monday, June 9, 2014

Jager Lowers Mile PB at Pre

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.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Flanagan, Quigley Top Americans at Bolder Boulder

Shalane Flanagan placed second in the women’s race at the 36th Annual Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day… despite being fresh — or, more accurately, particularly “un-fresh” — off her personal best marathon run in Boston just weeks prior. With a 10k performance of 33:05, Flanagan was 34-seconds clear of 3rd place — captured by top road runner Risper Gesabwa of Kenya — and 53-second ahead of Deena Kastor, who took fourth.

Over on the men’s side, local resident Sean Quigley claimed the top finish among all Americans in his own backyard. Against a solid international field, Quigley placed 7th overall — ahead of top compatriots Ryan Hall, Bobby Curtis and Ben Bruce — clocking 30:04 over the challenging 10k course.

Brent Vaughn also placed in the top 25, as a member of Team USA – Blue. Despite Quigley’s strong run, his “White” squad only took 7th place in the team result. However, Shalane led Team USA – Red to tie Team Kenya in second place with 22 points.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Thweatt Leads Big KIMbia Runs at Stanford

The Payton Jordan Invitational is renowned as the place to go for fast 5- and 10-thousands on American soil and 2014 solidified that reputation even further. Among KIMbia athletes, the most head-turning performance came from Boulder Track Club’s Laura Thweatt who ran 15:04 for fourth place for an absolutely massive PB of 30-plus seconds. That time ranks her #5 in the world so far this year… heady stuff for an athlete whose highest conference finish in college was third. The Lee Troop-coached athlete will have a quick turn-around next run the pro mile event at the Twin Cities Marathon on Thursday.

Lopez Lomong was the top KIMbia finisher in a hot men’s 5000, setting a new lifetime best on the outdoor oval. His 13:07.95 was good for 3rd place and stands less than a second away Read the full article

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