Sunday, January 15, 2012

Flanagan Becomes First KIMbia Olympic Qualifier of 2012

Turning in an impressive, historic performance in just her second-ever marathon, Shalane Flanagan punched her ticket for the London Games by winning the US Olympic Trials. Her time of 2:25:38 slashed just over three minutes from her previous personal best, set a Trials record, and is the 6th-fastest performance by an American woman, all-time. And as the #3 US performer ever, she now trails only Deena Drossin-Kastor and Joan Benoit-Samuelsson — each of whom won an Olympic medal at the distance.

After biding her time for the first two hours of running, Flanagan made a late break and won by seventeen seconds over Boston Marathon runner-up Desiree Davila; new teammate Kara Goucher became Shalane’s Olympic teammate, as well, thanks to her third-place finish. “I tried to view it as a track race for the last mile,” Flanagan said after the race. “I didn’t really enjoy that last mile. It felt really long.” Also representing KIMbia, Rebecca Donaghue made a very solid marathon debut in 2:35:57, good for 17th place.

Among the males, an early breakaway by the most heavily-credentialed runners put many of the KIMbia men in the chase pack, but James Carney still impressed with a breakthrough run into 9th place. His time of 2:12:23 far eclipsed a previous best of 2:15:50 and fulfilled the promise Carney continued to believe he had, despite earlier struggles with the marathon that included two DNF’s. Sean Quigley kept himself in the second pack up to the late miles in the race, and came home in 2:14:12 — a very quality first-effort at the distance.

Tomorrow — Sunday — Simon Bairu will take to the streets of Houston in the all-comers Houston Marathon, in search of a Canadian Olympic “A-plus” Standard of 2:11:29 or better.

Photo: Cheryl Treworgy / PrettySporty

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