Endurance: Alysia Montano

Pregnant runner has U.S. outdoors buzzing

June, 27, 2014
Jun 27
The 2014 U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships got underway Thursday in Sacramento, Calif., with preliminary heats in the sprints and middle distance races, and there were plenty of notable performances.

Most inspiring moment: Defending U.S. 800-meter champion Alysia Montano is six weeks away from delivering her first baby, but that did not stop her from racing on Thursday.

The five-time U.S. champion finished in last place with a time of 2:32.13 and will not advance to the semi-finals, but her run garnered plenty of attention and created plenty of buzz.

This was her first race of the 2014 season following a 2013 campaign in which Montano finished fourth at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.

Performance of the night: Kim Conley trains in Sacramento and graduated from University of California-Davis, and she used the the home field to her advantage Thursday night while to capturing her first 10,000-meter outdoor title. Going into the bell lap, Conley out-kicked a surging Jordan Hasay of the Nike Oregon Project for a 65 second final 400-meters. She threw her arms up in the air as she crossed the finish line in 32:02 for the victory.

Last year’s U.S. Champion, Shalane Flanagan, announced her withdrawal from the race earlier in the week as she continues to train for a fall marathon.

Least surprising moment: 2012 Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp captured his sixth consecutive national title at 10,000 meters. Chris Derrick of the Bowerman Track Club pulled ahead at the 5,000-meter mark, hoping to wear down Rupp’s kick, but with 500 meters to go Rupp unleashed his signature kick to win in 28:12.07.

Rupp broke his own 10,000-meter American record earlier this season at the 2014 Prefontaine Classic, finishing in 26:44.36. He is also entered in the 5,000-meter run at the championships, which is scheduled for Friday night. Coach Alberto Salazar has pointed out the Meeting Areva in Paris on July 5 as a possible target for Rupp's next fast 5,000-meter race.

Most surprising moment: Nike’s David Torrence failed to advance to the 1,500-meter final after an indoor season in which he set the American record at 1,000 meters. Torrence also split 3:36.6 running a courageous second leg for the United States against Kenya at the IAAF World Relays on May 25. Torrence told reporters afterwards that his legs could not respond to the fast pace in the second half of the race. He recently switched coaches and is now training under coach Jama Aden.

Elsewhere, Ford Palmer of the New Jersey-New York track club spends time as a lifeguard and bartender when he is not running in circles. Palmer ran for Monmouth University but never broke the four-minute barrier for the mile, yet going into the final 200 meters in Sacramento he managed to pass Torrence and other former NCAA stars to clinch a spot in the semifinals.

The 23-year-old ran a personal best of 3:41.68 for 1,500 meters to beat two-time Olympian Nate Brannen at the Halifax Aileen Meagher International Meet. With no plans to travel to Europe for the summer, Palmer aims to peak in the final.

Records fall at 106th Millrose Games

February, 18, 2013
Bernard LagatAP Photo/Frank Franklin IIBernard Lagat regained the U.S. record in the 2-mile by running 8:09.49 on Saturday at The Armory.
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

NEW YORK -- In a span of nearly 85 minutes at the Millrose Games on Saturday night at The Armory, a total of seven records were broken in the distance disciplines, making for one of the most memorable renditions of the meet in its 106-year history. Five of seven evening races measuring 600 meters and up saw either an American, junior, collegiate or meet record go, causing the capacity crowd to stand for a majority of the evening session.

Watch ESPN3's replay of the meet Video

"The fans were amazing. Tonight was a special night," said four-time Olympian Bernard Lagat, champion of the men's two-mile. Aiming to break the U.S. mark of 8:09.72, Lagat would need every last second to surpass Galen Rupp as America's fastest 2-miler, a title he held previously.

Through the mile in roughly 4:06, Lagat knew he needed to negative split the rest of the way if he wanted to hold every American record from the 1,500 to the 5,000. Ever so slightly pushing on the accelerator, Lagat found himself alone in front with the Oregon Track Club Elite's Evan Jager and Andrew Bumbalough, as well as Canadian Cam Levins, in tow.

"When it showed me with four laps to go, I still thought I had enough left," said Lagat. "But I was behind [record pace] for a long time."

Only with a quarter mile remaining did Lagat create a buffer ahead of the trio. With the bell signaling one lap left, Lagat used the kick that earned him two Olympic medals to unleash a 28.82 circuit, just getting him under Rupp's mark. The 38-year-old had timed 8:09.49, a mere .23 ahead of Rupp's best.

"A record is a record," said Lagat, accompanied by his smiling son Miika. "I've always said the record is a measure. And the fast times are a measure of how excellent you've been."

The records in the 2-mile discipline didn't end with Lagat, though. Just as the champion was drifting into lane two and breaking the tape, a bound and determined Edward Cheserek was taking off on his last lap. The Kenyan from St. Benedict's Prep in nearby Newark, N.J., was gunning for Gerry Lindgren's 49-year-old prep mark of 8:40.0.

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