Re:RUN San Diego Meet Preview
One of the most unique presentations of a track meet this year takes place this Saturday in sunny San Diego. With general 5k and 10k road races taking place, leading into a four event, middle distance track showcase, Re:RUN works to bridge the gap between general road runners and the elite world of professional track and field. Will it work? That remains to be seen. Have the Re:RUN staff put together one of the better first-year meets in the U.S. in quite some time? Absolutely.
Of all the races at Re:RUN, the men’s 800m is perhaps the most anticipated. Leading the charge are middle distance standouts Duane Solomon and Erik Sowinski. Olympian Solomon is off to a blazing start in 2013. During the indoor season, Solomon broke the American 600m record with a time of 1:15.70, while Sowinski came back three weeks later to break it with his own 1:15.61 effort.
The two have carried over their dual to the 400m oval, meeting at the Mt. SAC Relays over 800 meters, where Solomon edged Sowinski by the slightest of margins, 1:46.03-1:46.05. With these two running close, Saturday’s 800m event is bound to be exciting.
While Solomon and Sowinski get much of the pre-race attention, do not discount Lopez Lomong, who opens up his outdoor season after a ridiculous indoor season. Lomong ran one of the finest indoor seasons in U.S. history, where he broke the American record over 5,000m with his 13:07.00 effort, while also throwing down a 3:51.21 mile effort and a 1:46.53 800m mark. Lomong has a PR of 1:45.59 over 800m and don’t be surprised if he lowers that PR again this weekend in San Diego.
Training partners Ryan Martin and Charles Jock have had rough starts to their seasons, but both are fully capable of pushing the 1:46 barrier. Jock DNF’d at Mt. SAC in the 800m, while Martin finished eighth in the race in 1:48.21. After finishing eighth in the mile at Drake last weekend, Martin is eyeing that breakthrough performance to get back on track.
Canadian Olympian Geoff Harris, Kenyan Olympian Boaz Lalang and American Mark Wieczorek are entered, as well. Lalang is a true darkhorse in the field, as he comes off a fifth place 3:59.64 mile effort at Drake and looks to get back to the elite 800m level he was running in 2010, when he crushed a 1:42.95 best.
Start List: Geoff Harris, Charles Jock, Boaz Lalang, Lopez Lomong, Ryan Martin, Duane Solomon, Erik Sowinski, Mark Wieczorek
In many ways, the women’s 800m field is more of a 1,500m field, with notable 1,500m standouts Brenda Martinez, Treniere Moser, Mary Cain and Sarah Brown in the field, but that doesn’t mean a sub-2:00 800m victory is out of the question.
Martinez enters as the odds-on-favorite after running a shocking 4:04.28 1,500m winning mark at Mt. SAC, then following that up with a 2:00.6 in the 4x800m relay last weekend at the Penn Relays, where she helped her USA team set the national record.
Following closely on Martinez’ heals, Moser is building off similar success. At the Payton Jordan Invitational, Moser beat a strong field with a dominating 4:06.40 1,500m performance. While she may lack the blistering speed of most two-lap stars, she certainly has plenty of veteran experience to draw from. Don’t be surprised to see Moser kicking down the field over the final 150 meters.
800m Olympians Lynsey Sharp and Geena Gall are also in the field. Gall is off to a tough start in 2013, finishing 11th in the USA 1 Mile Road Championships last week. She’s still proven herself over two laps though, so she’ll be in the mix. Meanwhile, Sharp, who’s still looking for a sub-2 minute time, enters Saturday’s meet with a 2:02.63 sixth place effort at Mt. SAC.
One athlete who’s been a bit overshadowed this week after her sixth place, 4:10.77, 1,500m Drake Relays effort, is Mary Cain. Yes, overshadowed. Her time at Drake broke her personal best (and U.S. high school national record), but Cain has yet to prove herself over two laps. It’ll be fun to watch how she handles what should be a very fast opening 400m.
Rounding out the field are former University of Tennessee teammates Chanelle Price, Brown and Phoebe Wright.
Price could very well take the title, coming in with a seasonal best of 2:02.81, set at the Florida Relays in early April. She's a seasoned veteran at this point and is fully capable of challenging the two-minute barrier at Re:RUN.
Known for her mile racing, not 800m racing, Brown is coming off a strong weekend in Des Moines, where she ran to a fourth place finish in the USA 1 Mile Road Championships and a seventh place, 4:11.31, finish in the Drake Relays 1,500m run.
Start List: Sarah Brown, Mary Cain, Geena Gall, Brenda Martinez, Treniere Moser, Chanelle Price, Lynsey Sharp, Phoebe Wright
A deep and talented field marks the men’s mile at Re:RUN San Diego. While there are no notable pre-race favorites, the field is very evenly matched, meaning a surprise or two could happen along the way.
Leading the charge are Canadians Nate Brannen and Cam Levins. The 2008 Olympian Brannen is coming off a tumultuous year, where he didn’t qualify for the London Olympics, but he did run a new best in the 1,500m (3:34.22). Opening up his outdoor season in San Diego, Brannen may not be in the sharpest shape just yet, but the former University of Michigan standout certainly knows how to put himself in races to win.
Levins, who joined Alberto Salazar and the Oregon Distance Project earlier this year, looks to maximize his leg speed in 2013. It’s been widely noted that both Mo Farah and Galen Rupp have fine-tuned their leg speed over the past few season, which is part of the reason why they earned gold and silver in London. With Levins, who is clearly an established 5k/10k runner, it’ll be interesting to see what type of wheels he’s acquired over the past few months.
Of all the athletes in the field, David Torrence has some of the biggest upside. For the past few seasons, the Bay Area athlete has flirted with top three American status in the 1,500m. After a very quiet start to his 2013 season, Torrence opens up in San Diego. Being a southern California native, Torrence will undoubtabley have strong crowd support, while looking to earn the victory.
Elsewhere, Peter van der Westhuizen flies in to San Diego off an inspiring third place mile performance at the Drake Relays. The South African is having a good start to his season and looks to carry that momentum to another PR. Same goes for New Zealand’s Zane Robertson and Ireland’s Paul Robinson, both of whom add international flavor to the event.
The field is rounded out by notable American 1,500m runners AJ Acosta, Travin Mahoney, Jordan McNamara and Tommy Schmitz, along with Mexican Pablo Solares, who’ll be looking to lower his Mexican national mile record. Of the four listed Americans, Mahoney enters with the biggest chance to pull off the victory, after his fifth place finish at the stacked USA 1 Mile Road Championships in Des Moines this past week.
An evenly matched field should lead to some exciting racing in the men’s mile on Saturday morning on the west coast.
Start List: AJ Acosta, Nate Brannen, Cam Levins, Travis Mahoney, Jordan McNamara, Zane Robertson, Paul Robinson, Tommy Schmitz, Pablo Solares, David Torrence, Peter van der Westhuizen
Similar to the men’s race, there is no clear-cut favorite to win. While there is plenty of talent in the women’s mile field, a closely matched list of competitors should create a race that’s neck-in-neck all the way to the finish line.
Canadian Olympian Hilary Stellingwerieff enters with a couple of very good early season performances. After a fourth place 800m effort at Mt. SAC, where she ran 2:02.39, Stellingwerieff came back to place second in the Payton Jordan Invitational 1,500m with a 4:09.02 time. She’s clearly in great shape and could be one to push the pace early.
After a tremendous runner-up 5,000m performance last weekend at the Payton Jordan Invitational, Katie Mackey should be eyeing a fast time Saturday. Mackey has proven herself as a top ten 1,500m runner in the United States over the past few seasons and her 15:23.65 effort at Payton Jordan proved she’s in fine shape.
One runner looking to rebound off a tough race last weekend is Chelsea Reilly. At the Stanford Invitational in April, Reilly continued her surprising rise to prominence, as she ran a big PR, placing third in the 5,000m in 15:13.24. While she staggered home to a 4:21.96 last place performance over 1,500m last weekend, Reilly has had few bad races since graduating from the University of California-Berkley, which means she should bounce back just fine this weekend in the mile.
Emily Infeld, who is coming off an extended training block at altitude, will test her early season speed. She competed for Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, where she placed 21st overall. While she might not be as sharp as some of the other runners in the field, she showed during the indoor season with her runner-up 3k effort to Reilly at the US Indoor Track and Field Championships, that when she steps on the track, she’s always ready to race.
Team USA Minnesota’s Heather Kampf is coming off a third place finish at the USA 1 Mile Road Championships last week and continues to show why she’s one of the most consistent middle distance runners in the country.
Brie Felnagle and Sara Vaughn are two athletes who certainly can’t be overlooked. Vaughn has consistently been one of the better milers in the United States and is showing no signs of slowing down in this post-Olympic year. Meanwhile, Felnagle continues to put up solid performances, especially her 15:29.14 5,000m finish at Payton Jordan last weekend.
Rounding out the key list of contenders are Lea Wallace, Zoe Buckman and former Florida State University champion Susan Kuijken. Wallace is intriguing in that she’s coming off a runner-up 800m performance of 2:01.86 at Mt. SAC, as well as a 2:02.0 4x8 split from the national record setting squad at the Penn Relays. Can she step up to the mile and have similar success?
Top level talent and deep fields generally create great racing situations and that’s certainly what Re:RUN San Diego has assembled in the women’s mile. Who takes the win Saturday morning? It’s anyone’s opportunity.
Start List: Zoe Buckman, Brie Felnagle, Emily Infeld, Heather Kampf, Susan Kuijken, Katie Mackey, Chelsea Reilly, Hilary Stellingwerieff, Sara Vaughn, Lea Wallace