Kipyego shows her range, clocks another world-leading mark

A week after clocking the world-leading time in the 1,500 meters, Oregon Track Club Elite’s Sally Kipyego grabbed another world-best mark, this time in the 10,000, with a blistering mark of 30 minutes, 38.35 seconds to win the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University on Sunday night.

Running the 25-lap event for the first time since setting the NCAA record of 31:25.45 three years ago, Kipyego traded leads with OTC Elite Portland’s Shalane Flanagan and bettered Flanagan’s kick down the home stretch to take home the win.

Kipyego’s time, which came only nine days after she ran a world-leading 4:06.23 in the Oregon Relays 1,500, was well below the IAAF World Championships ‘A’ Standard of 31:45 – a barrier cleared by eight runners in the stacked race.

“Our biggest objective was to get the qualifier, and we wanted to make sure she didn’t run too quickly,” OTC Elite coach Mark Rowland said. “I haven’t seen her run (a 10k) before, and she looked strong. We’re not sure if that’s the event she’ll go for (at the Kenyan team trials). She’ll run the 5k at Prefontaine and then we’ll see.”

The men’s 10k was a little more “nerve-wracking” for Rowland, though OTC’s Chris Thompson and Kevin Chelimo were right in the mix from the start – going for the World Championships and Olympics ‘A’ Standard of 27:40. Thompson also had the United Kingdom record of 27:18.14 in his sights, but, according the Rowland, that was third on his list of priorities.

A national record was not to be for Thompson on Sunday, though both he and Chelimo dipped well below the ‘A’ Standard. Thompson came through the finish line in fourth place at 27:27.36, and Chelimo was ninth in 27:30.50. Chelimo’s mark took nearly one minute off his PR, while Thompson’s time bettered the 27:29.61 PB he ran at Stanford a year ago. In all, 13 men nabbed the qualifying time.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Rowland said of the men’s 10k. “The discrepancies of the qualifier were tighter, it was big field, and we didn’t want (Thompson) to get sucked into running too quick. He had to deal with challenges during the race, but he felt comfortable through it, and he did a very professional job.”

“Getting a PB from it was a bonus really,” Rowland added. “I know he was thinking about going for the British record, and if the pace had been such then so be it, but it was third on the list of priorities.”

Second on Thompson’s list was to better fellow Brit Mo Farah’s best 10k time (27:28.86), which he accomplished.

For Chelimo, the 10k was a huge breakout. His previous best of 28:21.29 was recorded over four years ago.

“The race worked perfectly for Kevin,” Rowland said. “The depth and numbers assisted him and when the pace softened it enabled the secondary group to lock onto the back (of the lead pack). He was disciplined in his approach, and it was a massive improvement.”

Ben Bruce started Sunday evening off for the OTC Elite crew with an 8:26.90, third-place finish in the 3,000 steeplechase. It was Bruce’s fastest opening steeple ever and nearly two seconds faster than the 8:28.76 he clocked at Stanford last year. He did just miss the IAAF World Championships ‘A’ Standard for steeple though – which is 8:23.10.

“Ben had to do a lot of the early work,” Rowland said. “Not getting the qualifier tinged it a bit, but he got the ball rolling. It was his first chase of the year, and I’m happy with his shape.”

Bruce will get another shot at the qualifying time in the Shanghai Diamond League meet on May 15. Then he is slated to run the steeplechase at the Prefontaine Classic on June 4.

In the women’s 1,500, Geena Gall took eighth in the ‘A’ Section with a personal-best time of 4:12.23; Bridget Franek was sixth in the ‘B’ Section with a mark of 4:18.13.

“It was encouraging,” Rowland said of Gall’s performance. “It was a solid run, and I’m comfortable with where she’s at right now.”

Rowland was also encouraged by Franek’s result and is looking forward to seeing her opening 3,000 steeplechase this coming Friday at the Oregon Twilight.

In the men’s 1,500, Stephen Pifer clocked a 3:42.02 to take seventh.

“Pife ran exceptionally well,” Rowland added. “This is a transition year for him. He’s trying to see if he’s capable to do the (steeple) chase, but he’s in good shape, he ran solid and closed well”

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 On Saturday at the Penn Relays, three more OTC Elite athletes competed in the USA versus The World Distance Medley Relay. Russell Brown anchored the USA Red team to a third place showing with a 3:57.36 split in the mile, while Nick Symmonds ran the 800 leg for the USA Blue team. Running for second-place Australia was OTC’s Lachlan Renshaw, who clocked the fastest 800-leg of the night with a 1:46.29.

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Stanford plus Penn equals one busy weekend

Hello everyone!

I am SO excited for my teammates this weekend. The majority of our team will be competing on Sunday night at the Payton Jordan Invite at Stanford, where fast times and stiff competition is always expected.

At 7:25pm, Ben Bruce will start the group off, running his first 3,000 meter steeplechase this season.

The 1500’s are next, starting at 7:37pm. Geena is in the first heat with 15 women who are capable of running 4:10 or faster. Crazy! But great for Geena. Bridget will be in the second heat, which will also be fast. Pifer is looking to get his wheels spinning in the men’s race that includes Lopez Lomong, A.J. Acosta and Andrew Bumbalough to name a few.

Sally is running the women’s 10k at 9:18. Don’t miss this!! We all know she’s in incredible shape…who knows what she can do with some competition! Molly Huddle and Shalane Flanagan are also listed to run. The men’s 10k will be exciting too—Thommo (Chris Thompson) and Kevin Chelimo (Sally’s husband) are running against a stacked field, including Matt Tegenkamp and Chris Solinsky from the OTC group in Portland.

BUT! Before all of that goes down, we’ve got Penn Relays to look forward to on Saturday! Nick Symmonds and Russell Brown were asked to represent Team USA in the USA vs. The World DMR, and Lachlan Renshaw will be running on the Australian team.

Good luck to everyone!! I’ll be sitting on the edge of my seat all weekend, keeping up with results and cheering everyone on from New York. The Penn Relays will be on ESPN2 starting at 5:00 Pacific Time, and the Payton Jordan invite will be streamed live on flotrack.com.

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Happy Easter!

****IMPORTANT MESSAGE****MY BIRTHDAY IS TOMORROW**** (just saying)

But back to today. Happy Easter everyone! If you’re a runner, Easter Sunday usually means doing a long run early and then pigging out on ham, baked goods and chocolate bunnies the rest of the day. Or is that just me?

I’m super psyched for our team BRUNCH at the Electric Station this afternoon. Rinker keeps calling it dinner, but who has dinner at 2 pm? No sir, that is brunch. And I want a waffle bar!

Anyway, I hope you all got to check out the Oregon Relays this weekend because there were some great performances! One Friday night, Sally got the ball rolling in the 1500, running 4:06. The FASTEST time in the WORLD this year!!!! By herself. Incredible. She obviously has a very exciting season coming up! Jordan McNamara ran the men’s 1500, taking second with an incredible kick.

After the 1500s, Bridget, Julia and I ran the 5k. Julia took it out for us, which wasn’t easy in that wind, but did a great job. It was Julia’s first time racing since 2009? Welcome back Julia! She was just a pacer this time, but it was a good tune up for the rest of the season. I stepped off the track with three laps to go. Long story…here’s the short version: I’m going through a rough time. And as Coach Row said, I gotta “get my shit together.” It happens. Enough said.

Bridget, on the other hand, ran strong and finished second to Brie Felnagle. I can’t wait to see Bridget get after it in the Steeple! Seth ran the men’s 5k, finishing in 13:57. That was his first race in two years!! Not a bad opener, I’d say.

On Saturday, Geena and Tyler both won the 800 with ease. Geena ran 2:02.04, which is the fastest time in the country and 4th in the world this season so far. And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Tyler ran 1:47.75 looking super smooth! He was dead last for the first lap, and then passed the entire field on the back stretch of the second lap before cruising it in to the finish. Nicely done Tyler!

Pifer finished it up for us on Saturday, running the 3,000-meter steeplechase and finishing second. It was his first time running the full distance (his steeple debut was at the Oregon Preview which was only 2k). His technique continues to improve, so it’ll be fun to watch him progress in this event throughout the season.

So overall, a great start to the season for OTC. Check back Thursday to see what’s on tap for next weekend. Laters!

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Ready for 2011 Oregon Relays!

Hello everyone! Welcome to our new OTCElite blog! Nicole Blood here…I’m really excited to get rolling with these weekly blog posts to help fans get to know our team a little better and update you all on our progress as we approach the 2011 USA Nationals this June….in EUGENE! Wahooo! I hope it’s already marked on your calendars, because it’s been highlighted on ours since last June.

The majority of our group was training at altitude in Flagstaff for the past four or five weeks, but they returned this Wednesday, just in time to freshen up and have some fun this weekend at the Oregon Relays! And I’m sure they wanted to be here for my birthday on Monday…just saying. Anyway, the weather is supposed to be nice (knock on wood), and the races are stacked, so I hope you’re all planning to attend!

On Friday night, Jordan McNamara and Kevin Chelimo will be in the Men’s 1500, and Seth Summerside will run the 5k. Ashton Eaton will throw the discus. On the women’s side, Sally Kipyego will run the 1500, and Julia Lucas, Bridget Franek and I will run the 5k.

On Saturday, Stephen Pifer will run the 3000 meter steeplechase, and Tyler Mulder and Geena Gall will run the 800.

Nothing is set in stone, but that’s the plan for now. We hope to see you there!

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