Thursday, March 10, 2016

Why Making U.S. Teams is Important to Naturalized Citizen Lopez Lomong

Lopez Lomong competes in the 2012 Olympics. He hopes to make another U.S. team at this weekend’s indoor national championships. Photo by PhotoRun.

For two-time Olympian Lopez Lomong and his Bowerman Track Club teammates, it’s highly convenient that the U.S. and world indoor championships will be held on consecutive weekends in their training base of Portland, Oregon. But Lopez would be aiming for a top finish in the 3,000 meters at USAs on Friday, and the subsequent spot on the world indoor team, regardless of the meets’ locations.

“The opportunity to race against the world best is never one to be missed,” he says. “In 2012 I competed in indoor worlds in Istanbul, and it gave me a chance to test out tactics against the world’s most elite runners. I learned a lot about what it would take to be on the Olympic stage and chase after a medal. You can never be fully prepared for the feeling of stepping into the Olympic stadium, but world indoor still gives a good taste and is like an Olympic testing bed. Everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are really magnified on that little indoor track!”

As a former Lost Boy from Sudan who was the American team’s flag bearer at the 2008 Olympics, Lopez has another motivation to wear the U.S. uniform—to be a counterargument to the harsh language on immigration that’s marked much of the U.S. presidential campaign.

“I think the discussion around immigration is one that will define the U.S. for many years to come,” he says. “Running has allowed me the platform to speak about the conflicts in South Sudan, the need to use athletics and sport in general to achieve greater goals, and this year about the importance of embracing immigrants.

“I will certainly be proudly representing the U.S. again this year and forever thankful to the people who opened their arms to me to give me a second chance. I pray that we as a country continue to believe in the American dream that is built upon our great diversity.”

Lopez qualified for indoor nationals with an indoor 3,000-meter PR of 7:43.01 at the Millrose Games on February 20. After years of battling muscle and nerve issues, he says a new focus on recovery has him feeling strong and agile. “The key for me is health so that when I line up I can pour everything into the race without any concern about pain,” he says.

Perhaps fitting for someone with such a broad international outlook, Lopez did much of his base training for this season on the other side of the world. His wife, Brittany Morreale, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, is currently stationed in Adelaide, Australia. Lopez joined her there for three months, training with a local group known as Team Tempo. He’s already pining to return.

“I am really encouraging [BTC coach] Jerry [Schumacher] to bring more of the team down next year so we can escape the cold, rainy Portland winter and train on the amazing park lands in the perfect Adelaide weather,” Lopez says.

After, of course, he makes one or more U.S. teams in this Olympic year.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Led by Emily Infeld, Lots of PRs at Millrose Games

Placing third in the deepest indoor 5,000-meter race in U.S. history, Emily Infeld set a personal best of 15:00.91 at Saturday’s Millrose Games in New York City.

Also at the meet, Evan Jager placed fourth in the 3,000 in 7:40.10, just off his indoor PR, and Lopez Lomong ran an indoor personal best of 7:43.01 to place ninth in the race. Six days after setting a 3,000-meter PR in Boston, Laura Thweatt ran an indoor PR of 15:35.24 for seventh place in the 5,000.

Emily’s time bettered the outdoor 5,000 PR of 15:07.18 she set last June, and puts her third on the all-time U.S. indoor list.

The time was all the more impressive as it came in her first race of the season. Also of note: It gives Emily the Olympic standard in the event.

 

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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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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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