Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jager, Frerichs and Quigley back in action in Birmingham

In his first outing since the World Championships in London, Evan Jager finished seventh in the Emsley Carr mile in Birmingham on Sunday afternoon, coming home in 3:57.39.

The race was won by Jake Wightman of Britain in 3:54.92 ahead of compatriot Chris O’Hare (3:55.01). Jager, the 3000m steeplechase bronze medalist in London, took up the pace shortly after the 800m mark, reached in 1:57.36, with the American leading through 1200m in 2:59.32.

However, he didn’t have the pace to match the mile specialists over the final 200m and had to settle for seventh on this occasion.

Courtney Frerichs, the world silver medalist in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, finished 14th in the 3000m in 8:53.99, a lifetime best. The race was won by Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands in 8:28.90.

Her teammate at the Nike Bowerman Track Club, Colleen Quigley, was in action in the women’s 1500m in Birmingham. She put the heartache of disqualification at the World Championships behind her with a ninth-place finish in 4:06.07. The race was won by Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum in 4:01.36.

Full results are here.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Super silver for Frerichs in London

Courtney Frerichs claimed a historic silver medal at the World Championships in London on Friday night, the 24-year-old from Missouri running a huge personal best of 9:03.77 to come home behind teammate Emma Coburn, who clocked an American record of 9:02.58 to take gold in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.

“Someone might need to pinch me,” Frerichs said. “It was complete shock. None of us expected this.”

In the hours before the race, Frerich’s coach Jerry Schumacher had told her to stick with Coburn for as long as possible, and that if she could manage that entering the final laps something special would be on the cards. “With one lap to go I looked up and thought: this is what he was talking about,” Frerichs said. “I have to go for this.”

“Frerichs admitted afterwards she had been inspired by her teammates at the Bowerman Track Club, Amy Cragg and Evan Jager, who took home medals for the U.S. in recent days.

“Seeing Amy find that level of grit and toughness, I told myself I wanted that level, to have that moment,” she said. “Seeing Evan too, he really went for it and put it all out there, so to see them do that gave me motivation that I can do it too.”

For more, check out Runner’s World.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Frerichs advances to world final

It was a night of mixed emotions for Kimbia athletes at the World Championships in London on Wednesday, with Courtney Frerichs advancing through her heat of the 3000m steeplechase by running 9:25.14 to finish third. The heat was won by Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya in 9:19.03.

“I wanted to get that big Q and that’s what it was all about,” said Frerichs. “My fitness is there. It’s the best I’ve ever felt running 9:25. In the final I want to improve upon my place from Rio, to try and run as fast as possible. I am so far beyond in fitness than I was at Pre. In the last six weeks it’s taken off.”

There was heartbreak, however, for Colleen Quigley, who cruised to automatic qualification in the first heat of the 3000m steeplechase but was disqualified for stepping on the inside line as she entered the home stretch with 500m to run.

Later in the night, Britain’s Marc Scott made his world championship debut in the heats of the men’s 5000m, finishing 18th in the second heat in 13:58.11, which was not enough to advance to Saturday’s final.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Jager claims historic bronze in London

Evan Jager created history for American distance running by becoming the first US man to win a medal in the steeplechase at the World Championships in London on Tuesday night, the 28-year-old Illinois native coming home third in 8:15.33 in a race won by Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya.

“I’m a little disappointed I didn’t come away with the win but happy I stayed in the top three and got a medal,” Jager said afterward. “I’m a little bummed.”

The early pace was slow, the athletes virtually jogging through the first kilometer in 2:51.81, which left all 15 athletes bunched together. With just more than a mile to run, Jager finally broke, powering to the front and injecting a huge surge.

“I wanted to make it hard,” he said. “We thought it was going to go slow the first kilometer and we said if that happens it’s better for me to get rid of guys by going hard with three or four laps to go to make it a strength race.”

“I was like: Oh my gosh, I hope I have enough left,” Jager said, recalling his thoughts up the home stretch as he hung on for bronze.

Kipruto took gold in 8:14.12 ahead of Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco to maintain Kenya’s stranglehold on the event, with Jager taking the first ever world medal in the event by an American.

For a full story on Jager’s feat and to watch his reaction, check out Runner’s World.

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Historic bronze for Amy Cragg

Amy Cragg claimed a historic bronze medal in the women’s marathon at the IAAF World Championships in London today, becoming the first American woman in 34 years to do so.

The 33-year-old KIMbia athlete unleashed a storming finish to get among the medals, very nearly taking second as she crossed the line in 2:27:18, the same time as silver medallist Edna Kiplagat. Bahrain’s Rose Chelimo took victory in 2:27:11.

“It feels amazing,” said Cragg after. “I can’t even believe it.”

The early pace had been slow, but Cragg began to whittle the leading pack with a move just before the 20-mile mark. She had vocal encouragement along the route from coach Jerry Schumacher and husband Alistair, among others.

“It was really painful, but it was worth every little bit of pain,” she said. “It was just a grind to the finish.”

For a full feature story on her outstanding performance, and video reaction from her, check out this story by Runner’s World.

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