mens olympic trials

The terrific threesome that will be representing the US next year!
(taken via my cell phone at the awards ceremony)

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wow…this morning was truly an emotional rollercoaster. this sport saw its share of highs and lows….a horrible, horrible tragedy…to what is going to be a super-strong team in Beijing next year.

The Flyers were given the opportunity to work the aid stations at the OT Trials. Who cares that I had to get up before dawn (hey, I wasn’t running a marathon the next day!)-when else do you have such a major event in your own backyard? I was assigned to the station just north of the finish line…so the runners would come by around miles 2, 11, 16 and 21…then we can try to see the finish!! I got there at 6:30 and helped set up…was still dark out, and boy was it chilly and windy. But the time went by fast, and before we knew it, the race had begun. And around 10 minutes in, we saw the lead vehicles, and then the runners!!! There was a surprise leader way in front (which we all thought would fade later,) but all the favorites were in the main pack. So cool to see these guys up close.

Since we had about 45 minutes to kill-a bunch of us got some coffee to warm us up, then we headed back to the station. And that was when we heard the news-that Ryan Shay had gone down around mile 5 1/2. All we knew was that he had been taken away in an ambulance-one of our teammates was hopeful that he’d be ok-mentioning that Salazar had a heart attack and is still alive today-but that news cast a dark shadow over our group for the time being. Man…words can’t describe what was going through my head at the time…what was probably going through all our heads…

When we saw the runners for miles 11 and 16-the pack was a little bit more strung out. (Not surprisingly-the early leader had dropped back quite a bit.) Was so cool cheering for the runners, seeing a lot of them up close…Hall, Ritz, Meb, Abdi, Sell…and a couple other dark horses that I was rooting for too…Matt Downin (a former Bergen County-ite, and winner of many NYRR races) and Josh Cox (of “The Bachelorette” fame!)

By mile 21-we all knew who had the race. Ryan Hall was absolutely flying, and had a sizeable lead at that point. Man…he was making it look so. damn. easy. Ritz was in second and he took a cup of water from the table I was at 🙂 As soon as the sweeper bike came by, a bunch of us dashed to the finish, to hopefully catch a glimpse of the winner breaking the tape…but too late!! But we heard the news-that the top 3 were Hall/Ritz/Sell…and Hall had won in 2:09!! Are you kidding me…less than a minute off his London time, on a course as tough as this…unbelievable!! Ritz showed once again that he owned Central Park…and Sell ran a very smart race. I’m very excited to see how this unfolds next summer!! Another men’s marathon medal for the US, perhaps?

And I’m very excited to see a great women’s race tomorrow as well…I’ll be at my usual vantage point, volunteering at mile 18. I’m hoping that Jelena 3-peats (and wins the WMM as well!) but I’m hoping Paula has a great race too.

And best of luck to everyone else running tomorrow!

(and my thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Ryan Shay.)

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One thought on “mens olympic trials

  1. So awful about Shay. Had to be something congenital, like the runner who died in Chicago this year. My brother’s best friend dropped dead on the basketball court at age 14 from a heart condition that was undetected up until his death. Not to trivialize Shay’s death at all, but I guess if you’re going to go, it’s better to die doing something you love. Still, what a horrible shock.

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