The American record-holder didn’t mess around.
Written by: Mario Fraioli
One lap into the women’s 10,000 meter final on Thursday night and the race for first was already over.
Shalane Flanagan tore through the first 400 meters in just over 73 seconds, opening up a lead she continued to extend for the final 24 laps on her way to capturing the U.S. 10,000-meter title in dominating fashion. With a final lap of 67 seconds, Flanagan crossed the finish line in 30:59.97 to win by nearly 17 seconds over second-place finisher Kara Goucher.
“I wanted to run aggressively tonight,” Flanagan said after the race. “I just wanted to run hard and see who would play at my pace and run my own race.”
From the beginning it was clear that no one wanted to play with Flanagan, not Goucher, nor third-place finisher Jen Rhines (31:30.37).
“I got out pretty aggressively,” Goucher said. “And my coach yelled at me to relax and settle down. I’m real hard on myself, but this was a good race for me. I’m not quite there yet, but I feel like I will be in nine weeks.”
Tearing through three kilometers in 9:17.33, Flanagan had a six-second lead on Goucher and Rhines, who ran together through just past 7K. Flanagan continued to churn out lap after lap between 74 and 75 seconds, passing the 8K mark in 24:57, nine seconds up on Goucher, who had broken free from Rhines by that point.
“I felt very comfortable out there,” Flanagan admitted. “My coach told me to treat it as a tempo run for the first five miles, then be ready to go hard the last five laps.”
And go hard she did, ratcheting down the pace to 72 and 67 seconds for the final two circuits. It was Flanagan’s second sub-31 minute performance this year, which bodes well for a medal bid at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea nine weeks from now.
“The goal is to get back on the medal stand,” Flanagan said. “Having run under 31 twice now this season, I feel like I can be right up there.”