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, July 19, 2017

Hall of Fame award for Amy Cragg

Amy Cragg has been announced among a group of eight sportspeople to be inducted into the Arizona State Athletics Hall of Fame. The 33-year-old Kimbia athlete, a member of the Nike Bowerman Track Club, will be formally inducted during a luncheon on October 13 and introduced to the crowd at a home football game the following day.

Athletes become eligible for the Hall of  Fame 10 years after their senior class has graduated, and Cragg (nee Hastings) has certainly put together a career worthy of the honor. She was a 10-time All-American in track and cross country and an NCAA indoor champion over 5000m in 2006.

Since turning pro, Cragg has become one of America’s finest distance runners. She finished 11th in the Olympic 10,000m in 2012 and last year, in Rio, she finished ninth in the Olympic marathon, having won the Olympic Trials in Los Angeles earlier in the year in 2:28:20. So far this year she has raced sparingly, but has made it count when she toes the line. She clocked a personal best for the half marathon in Marugame, Japan in February, running 68:27, and finished second at the Payton Jordan Invitational over 10,000m in Stanford in May, running 31:17.20.

 

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Amy Cragg Named to World Championships Marathon Team

In what is technically known as a no-brainer, Amy Cragg was named today by USA Track and Field to the marathon squad for this summer’s World Championships in London.

Amy’s teammates will be Serena Burla and Laura Thweatt, both of who have set marathon personal bests this year. Amy, in contrast, has been focusing on shorter races before beginning her marathon build-up. In February, she set a PR of 68:27 at the Marugame Half Marathon in Japan. Last Friday, in her first track race since 2015, she was only 7 seconds off her 10,000-meter PR with her runner-up 31:17.20 performance at the Payton Jordan Invitational.

The World Champs marathon (both women’s and men’s races) will be run on Sunday, August 6. The women’s race over the four-loop course will start at 2 p.m. local time. Anyone who last year saw Amy win the Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles and then finish 9th in Rio knows she’ll be ready to roll regardless of the weather.

 

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Amy Cragg Turns Jeptoo Ban Into a Positive

Amy Cragg has a knack for turning what could be a negative into a positive. For example, finishing fourth in the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials motivated her to redouble her efforts on the track, resulting in winning the 10,000 at the Olympic Track Trials later that year. Now she’s converted the fallout from a former competitor’s drug bust into the seed for nurturing the next Amy Cragg.

In 2014, Amy finished fifth at the Chicago Marathon. Later that year, the initial winner, Rita Jeptoo, failed a drug test, and subsequently received a doping ban and erasure of her recent competitive record. The Chicago Marathon adjusted the results, moving Amy to fourth place, and awarded her the additional $5,000 in prize money that went with placing fourth.

Amy, in turn, is donating that $5,000 to Girls on the Run Chicago, that city’s branch of the nationwide program that uses running to teach young girls about self-confidence, goal setting, and other positive life skills.

“It is my biggest fear that kids will give up before they even try because their belief was robbed from them,” Amy says about the effect of dopers on young runners. “Programs like Girls on the Run provide a nurturing environment for girls to realize their full potential and connect with the community around them in a positive way. I have seen first-hand the power of running and the positive impact sport can play in the lives of kids. Running should be a sport for everyone, but to get kids out there and excited we need to give them heroes.”

Next up for Amy is a return to the track and the 10,000 at the Payton Jordan Invitational on Friday night.

 

 

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Amy Cragg Sets Half Marathon PR in Japan

Amy Cragg took almost a minute and a half off her half marathon personal best on Sunday, running 1:08:27 to finish second at the Marugame International Half Marathon in Japan. Olympic marathon silver medalist Eunice Kirwa of Bahrain won in 1:08:07.

Amy did a great job of pacing, hitting 10K in 32:21 and 20K in 64:56 (second 10K of 32:35).

Shalane Flanagan was also scheduled to run, but opted not to start the race. She’s been having lower back pain, which was made worse by the long flight to Japan.

The excellent blog Japan Running News has a full report on the race.

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