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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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

London Lowdown

After months of waiting, it’s finally here. The IAAF World Championships get under way in London on Friday night, and it’s set to be a busy one for KIMbia athletes.

Emily Infeld is the first into action on Saturday night, the Bowerman Track Club athlete taking to the track at 8:10pm local time (12:10pm PST/3:10PM EST). Two years ago in Beijing, she claimed a superb bronze medal in the 10,000m. Can she repeat those heroics in London? She goes there in outstanding form, having run a PB of 14:56.33 over 5000m in Heusden just under a fortnight ago.

Evan Jager will get his campaign under way on Sunday morning at 10:05am London time (2:05am PST/5:05AM EST). The 28-year-old has been the dominant athlete in his  event this season, blitzing the field to win the Monaco Diamond League in 8:01.29. Last year in Rio he sprinted to an Olympic silver medal behind Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto, who will be back in action in London. No American man has ever won a world title in the distance events; can Jager be the first?

Later that day, Amy Cragg will take to the streets of London a few miles away for the women’s marathon, which gets under way at 2pm local time (6am PST/9am EST). The 33-year-old has raced sparingly this year, but has shown her credentials each time she has. Last year she finished ninth in the Olympic marathon in Rio, and she seems primed to improve on that in London.

Colleen Quigley and Courtney Frerichs will have to wait a few days before they take to the track, the pair going in the heats of the 3000m steeplechase at 7:05pm next Wednesday (11:05am PST/1:05pm EST). Quigley finished third at the US Championships and warmed up for London with a huge 1500m PR of 4:03.93 a fortnight ago. Frerichs finished second at the US Championships and worked on her flat speed with a PR over 3000m in Lucerne earlier this month of 8:56.99.

The final KIMbia athlete to take to the track will be Marc Scott, our recent recruit, who will compete in the heats of the men’s 5000m at 8:05pm local time (12:05pm PST/ 3:05pm EST) on Wednesday night. He secured qualification by the skin of his teeth in recent weeks, running a lifetime best of 13:22.37 the day before the window closed for qualifiers. It should prove a memorable experience for the 22-year-old Brit, likely the first of many world championships.

 

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