Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Team USA Minnesotans End Successful Tour; Sean Graham PRs with 13:23.50

Team USA Minnesota's European contingent -- Jenelle Deatherage, Andrew Carlson, and Matt Gabrielson -- capped their brief tour of the Old Country with a some solid racing at the KBC Nacht Van De Atletiek in Huesden, Belgium over the weekend.

There, Deatherage finished 5th in the women's 1500 meters in a season-best 4:10.57. You can watch Deatherage's race HERE, via Flocast.

In the men's 5000 meters, Carlson ran a season-best 13:35.86 for 12th -- he's listed as Ian Carlson, for some reason, in the official results. Gabrielson clocked 13:38.96 for 15th, a little off the new PR he set a week before in Brasschaat, Belgium of 13:30.68.

In the same Heusden race, former Stillwater star Sean Graham who now competes for the Oregon Track Club, ran a PR 13:23.50.

You can watch video of the 5000 meters HERE, on Flocast.

It's Not "All Business" in Europe ... Watch Andrew Carlson, HERE, do some fine play-by-play on the for-fun Leuven 800 meters.

(My apologies for linking to the wrong race earlier.)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lundstrom 6th in Pan Am Marathon

Team USA Minnesota's Chris Lundstrom ran 2:18:05 to finish in 6th place in the Marathon at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Northfield native was not far off his personal best of 2:17:34. Franck Caldeira of Brazil won the event in 2:14:03.

Hopefully Lundstrom will recover quickly, as he plans to compete in the Olympic Marathon trials in New York City on November 3rd.

Additional Information on the Race form USATF ... Lundstrom and USA teammate Jacob Frey went out with the leaders through the first 5K but then backed off the pace. Frey and Lundstrom were sitting in twelfth and thirteenth through the half marathon, in 1:08:50 and Lundstrom in 1:09:09, respectively.

Both steadily moved up in the pack after that. With 5K left to go, it started to pour rain. The weather spurred Frey on and he increased his pace, crossing the finish line in fourth in 2 hours 16 minutes 44 seconds, a new personal best by 53 seconds.

Said Frey when he finished, "There was a downpour for a little while and it was nice. I love the rain."

Lundstrom finished in sixth in 2:18:05 and echoed Frey sentiments, saying "This weather was perfect for a marathon."

Both athletes felt that with a little bit more time, they could have pulled something out. Frey said he "felt great. I think if I would have had a couple more miles, I think I could have done something."

Lundstrom echoed the feelings, saying "a few more K's and maybe we could have gotten some medals."

Another Lundstrom Quote via Team USA Minnesota ... "Conditions were good with temperatures in the low to mid-60s and some rain, although it was windy at times. The first 5k had a big hill with a 25 meter rise, which doesn't sound like much, but it seemed pretty big to me. It went out super-slow, and then everyone took off in the next 5k. I started catching people after 25k. The field was really solid."

Photo courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Pan Am Results: Ferrell Takes 5000 Silver

St. Paul native Cack Ferrell ran 15:42 to win the silver medal in the women's 5,000 meters Friday at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Also on Friday, Shani Marks of Apple Valley leaped 45 feet, 8 inches to place fifth in the women's triple jump. Full results can be found at the official Pan Am games site.

On Saturday, Philip Dunn finished 8th in the men's 50K racewalk in a time of 4:15:47.

Results for the men's marathon – including Chris Lundstrom – should be posted early on Sunday morning.

Additional Content ... Ferrell told USATF after the race: "All things considered, I'm happy with my race. I led almost the whole time. My goal was either to win gold or run a good time and I didn't do either. The Olympic B Standard is 15:28. I would have liked to have gotten that."

Friday, July 27, 2007

Lundstrom Excited About Pan Am Marathon Sunday

Team USA Minnesota's Chris Lundstrom will compete in the closing event of the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday - the men's marathon. We got the Northfield High School and Stanford University alum's thoughts on the race recently.

On conditions in Rio ... From what I can tell, it will likely be a little warmer than ideal, but supposedly, the sea breezes keep temperatures fairly moderate. It is winter there, so it will probably not be as hot as it is here.

On the Pan Am course ... I understand that the course has some up and down in the first 5 miles, but then is quite flat for the rest of the way. It stays fairly close to the ocean as well, so again, hopefully there will be a cooling effect.

On representing the USA for the first time... I'm 31 and this is my first chance to represent the U.S. in international competition. The Pan Am Games happens only once every four years, so this opportunity may never arise again. I think I have a chance to go out and place pretty well in Rio, so that's exciting.

On preparing for the Olympic Trials afterward ... It's 13 weeks from the Pan Am Games marathon until the Olympic Trials in New York, and I'm fairly confident that I can recover and compete well in November. There is of course a risk of injury or just having a hard time recovering and getting back into the training routine. Hopefully, though, my experience will pay off and I'll be able to time things well to have two strong marathons.

Photo courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Emily Brown joins Team USA Minnesota

If you've followed Team USA Minnesota over the years, you probably won't learn anything new from Friday's Star Tribune article on the program. But if you pay attention to the photo that runs with the story, you will notice former Gophers star Emily Brown training with the group. A quick check of the Team USA MN website confirms that Brown is now on the roster. The Wisconsin native seems like a great addition to a group already loaded with talent.

Charlie's Addition ... If you look closely at the "box" that ran with Star-Tribune story, you'll see that Michelle Lilienthal, a former Wisconsin Badger, has also joined the team.

Body of Missing Former Stillwater Runner Found

Local news outlets are reporting that the body of Jon Francis, the former Stillwater High School runner who has been missing in the Sawtooth Mountains since July 15, 2006, has been found.

According to the Star-Tribune, a wilderness guide also found clothes, water bottles, and a pair of sunglasses in a gully on the north face of Grand Mogul Mountain, in the Sawtooth Range. The area where Francis' body was found is about 1,500 feet below the summit to which he had climbed before going missing.

Additional information about Francis (pictured), who was working as a counselor at the Luther Heights Bible Camp and was serving as Director of Youth Ministry at Ascension Lutheran Church in Ogden, Utah at the time of his death, can be found via the Jon Francis Foundation web-site.

Apple Raceberry Jam records Francis running 4:25.10 and 9:36.26 for 1600 and 3200 meters, respectively, during his senior season at Stillwater in 2000. He finished 16th in the 1999 MSHSL Class AA Cross Country Championships as well.

Photo courtesy of the Jon Francis Foundation.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday Grab Bag

We'll make it a catch-up, catch-all day today on DtB ... sundry items from around the sport to get up-to-date on what's happening in the state of Minnesota track and running.

Team Circuit Resumes ... The USATF - Minnesota Team Circuit gets back into action again this weekend at the Rice Street Mile. The Run N Fun women will attempt to lengthen their 50-43 point lead over GEAR in the open women's division in this the shortest event of the series. The RNF men will battle GEAR as well, they lead their rivals 86-84 in the grand prix's open men's division.

Only three events remain in the 2007 circuit -- the Rice Street Mile on July 28, the MDRA Minnesota 15K - USATF Minnesota Championship on August 12, and the City of Lakes 25K - USATF Minnesota Championship on September 9.

Team USA Minnesota Reminds Us ... that the ING New York City Marathon, hosts of the Men's Olympic Marathon Trials this fall, is raising money for the U.S. post-collegiate development programs it supports -- including Team USA Minnesota -- via a marathon late-entry donation program. The event has set aside 250 spots in this year's NYC Marathon on November 4 at $1,000 each with a goal of raising $250,000.

In addition, a $2,500 donation to the New York Road Runners through its NYRR Champion's Circle program will give donors guaranteed entry into the ING New York City Marathon in 2007, as well as complementary VIP finish line seating at men's trials, to be held in New York City's Central Park the day before annual marathon. Funds raised through Champion's Circle will also be directed to fund long-term development of professional USA distance runners.

The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Tells Us ... that there's a way to earn prize money at the race without breaking a sweat. The event is again hosting a Cheer Zone contest, offering cash awards to the top three award winners to be donated to a neighborhood school, non-profit association, or recreation/community center. The Cheer Zone contest is meant to be a way to recognize the neighborhoods that come out to support runners each year. Those interested in creating an Official Cheer Zone should register by August 1st.

Each cheer zone will be given a cheer zone starter kit with Thunder Sticks, spectator guides and decorating ideas to get creativity started. Official Cheer Zones will be judged on creativity and enthusiasm. Cash prizes will be awarded with $750 going to the first-place winners, $500 to second, and $250 to third.

Webb Pushes Holman Down The List ... There's a Minnesota angle to Alan Webb's new American Record of 3:46.91 in the mile. It, and Webb's 3:30.54 1500 this season, have moved Minnesota native Steve Holman down one notch on the U.S. all-time lists in both versions of the mile.

Holman's career best of 3:50.40 in the "actual" mile now ranks him as the 9th fastest American all-time. The former Richfield High School star fares better in the 1500 meter "metric mile" -- his 3:31.52 ranks him 5th on the list.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dunn Looking for Another Pan Am Medal

The Pan American Games are underway and Team USA has already earned two gold medals -- Sara Slattery and Ed Moran won the 10,000 and 5000 meters yesterday, respectively.

Four Minnesota athletes are wearing the red, white, and blue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this week: 50K racewalker Philip Dunn (pictured), 5000 meter runner Cack Ferrell, marathoner Chris Lundstrom, and triple jumper Shani Marks.

We recently traded e-mail with Dunn, a Carleton College graduate, about the Pan Am Games. Dunn won a bronze medal in the 50K walk at the 1999 Pan Ams in Winnipeg and is looking for further success when he competes Saturday.

DtB: Congrats on making the Pan Ams team. Are you looking forward to competing in those games again after the success you had in them 8 years ago?

Dunn: Absolutely. The Pan Am Games have a special place in my heart because of the success I had eight years ago in Winnipeg. I don't have many photos or posters from races up around the house, but I do have one from the awards ceremony at the 1999 Pan Ams. It's actually a photo of me up on the Jumbo-tron at the stadium. I'm waving to the crowd as my name is announced. That doesn't happen very often, so it was pretty special. The best thing about the photo, though, is that it was taken by my friend Jefferson Perez, 1996 Olympic gold medalist and 2003 & 2005 World Champion from Ecuador and he signed it, "Esta medalla la primera de muchas" (This medal the first of many!)

I've been to the Pan Ams twice before and one of the best things about them is that they are that rare combination of high-level competition and low-key congeniality. Most of the events are very competitive and each athlete strives to do his/her best, but the field sizes are smaller and we compete against each other often enough that it has the feel of a much smaller meet.

DtB: Describe how that 1999 race played out?

Dunn: The race was in Winnipeg, Manitoba at the end of July so it was hot and humid. There were probably only ten guys in the race with the two favorites from Mexico: Joel Sanchez and Carlos Mercenario. Canadian Tim Berrett was also likely to be a strong threat but there was a rumor he was using the race as a World Champs tune-up and might drop out at 35km. Other contenders included Hector Moreno from Colombia and a strong Cuban walker. My goal was to be cautious early because of the heat and move up throughout the race. The 50km often goes to the guy who can keep moving at the same pace when attrition takes out a lot of guys late in the race.

At the halfway mark, I was struggling a bit back in sixth place but I just kept moving along. I was locked in a battle with the Colombian and Cuban with the Mexicans and Canadian out in front of me. At 32km, the race blew open. The two Mexicans surged and pulled away from Berrett who ended up dropping out at 35km. Around that same time, I was able to drop the rest of the field and move into third where I stayed until the finish. I ended up throwing up near the finish and spent an hour or two in the medical tent with a couple IVs to rehydrate.

Meanwhile, there was some post-race controversy about one of the Mexicans receiving coaching from the sidelines (a new rule that had never previously been enforced) and he was temporarily disqualified moving me up into the silver medal position. He was reinstated by the time I left the medical tent. I've had much better races and been in better shape, but it was great to get a medal at a big international race.

DtB: What's your status for the World Championships this year?

Dunn: Despite finishing second at Nationals, I haven't been able to get the 'A' or 'B' standard this past year, so I won't be able to race in Osaka at Worlds. The U.S. is only sending one guy in the 50km and rumor has it he plans to pace a training partner from Norway before dropping out at 30km.

DtB: We understand congratulations are in order with the recent birth of your son. Has he changed things for you as an athlete already?

Dunn: Oh yeah! Our little bundle of sleeping, eating and pooping is keeping us busy already. My wife is wonderful and has been letting me get some rest during the night, but it's still hard to get the kind of sleep I need to prepare for a major race. In order to stay injury-free and healthy enough to train at a high level, I need every bit of recovery I can get. My respect for elite athletes who have kids and careers has gone way up in the past week.

Photo courtesy of USA Track & Field.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Gabrielson PRs Where Webb ARs

In the same Brasschaat, Belgium athletics meeting where Alan Webb broke Steve Scott's longstanding American Record in the mile, Team USA Minnesota's Matt Gabrielson established a new 5000 meter PR for himself, running 13:30.68.

Gabrielson (pictured, racing at the USA Cross Country Championships last February) finished 6th in the race which was won by Ethiopian Daba Bekana in 13:06.52.

Results of the meet can be found HERE; video of Gabrielson's race is HERE, via Flotrack.

"I have been waiting for three years for a personal best in the 5000," Gabrielson said in a Team USA Minnesota media release. "It has been a little bit of a rough road on the track for me but the lesson learned is to just keep plugging away."

You can watch Gabrielson say those words in the Flotrack post-race interview HERE.

Teammate Andrew Carlson, who fell in the previous race of the Team USA Minnesota contingent's European tour, finished 16th in the race in a season-best 13:44.99. Stillwater alum Luke Watson with 19th in 13:52.81.

Team USA Minnesota's Jenelle Deatherage, running in the 1500 meters, ran a season-best 4:11.36 for 5th.

"It was nice to see Matt get a PR as well as the "A" standard for the Olympic Trials," Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker said. "Andrew and Jenelle are also coming around. This is the kind of trip we were hoping for when these three athletes went to Europe this month."

According to the Team USA Minnesota release, Gabrielson and Carlson will conclude their European tour in the 5000 meters at the KBC Night of Athletics meet in Heusden, Belgium, on July 28. Gabrieslon suggested in his Brasschaat post-race interview, however, that he hopes to run 1500 at the meet.

Deatherage's schedule is also in flux, but may include an 800 meter race in Liege, Belgium, on July 25 and the 1500 in Heusden.

DtB's Matt Gabrielson File ...

World Cross Country: The Aftermath -- March 26, 2007

From Snowy New York to Sticky Mombasa -- March 21, 2007

Photo by Sean Hartnett.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Brandon Gleason Slowly Coming Back

Brandon Gleason, the Hamline University runner who was struck by an SUV while on a training run last winter, is running again and slowly healing roughly five months after his accident.

Gleason (pictured), who was ranked #6 in NCAA Division III in the indoor 5000 when he was struck, lost both his indoor and outdoor track seasons to the injury which broke his right tibia.

"It has been almost five months now and I have made tremendous progress my doctors have said," Gleason told DtB recently. "As far as activities go, I have no restrictions other then pain or what my body can handle."

"I got the go ahead to run on May 8th and I started up," the Kasson-Mantorville grad continued. "Just real easy running maybe 10-11 minute pace. I would run two days on and two days off and I would say I did this for about two weeks. But after that, I had such knee pain that I took off until June 11 and then I started to run 3 days on and 1 day off. During the week of June 11 I ran 12 miles, week of June 18 I ran 20 miles, week of June 25 I ran 20.5 miles."

Gleason did suffer another set-back, but planned to be back on his feet soon. He still has a torn meniscus and a deep bone marrow bruise at the top of his tibia, which his physician, Dr. Mike Torchia -- father of Gopher runner Mike Torchia -- thinks time will heal better than further surgery.

Despite the start-and-stop rhythm of his return, Gleason, who spent nine days in the hospital immediately after the accident and walked with a cane until late-April, is pleased with his progress.

"I never thought that I would have been running on May 8th, not even three months since the accident," he admitted. "My doctor told me that if 100 people had this same accident, 95 of them would still be using crutches, and would be on restrictions from work and other activities for at least one year."

At no time during the ordeal has Gleason never thought he'd have to give up the sport he loves.

"From day one up to now, I have always said I will be in Sports Illustrated for making a comeback," he joked. "But in all honesty I never had a chance to even think that a comeback wasn’t possible and this was because my teammates and other teams from across the state as well as the nation said that I would be back and be back faster. Therefore, that is why I think I have recovered the way I did, and it was due to what doctors call PMA – Positive Mental Attitude."

Gleason plans to don the red and gray of Hamline again next fall for his final cross country season.

"Currently, I have one cross country season and two track seasons (2 indoor and 2 outdoor)," he said of his eligibility. "However, I plan to use my season of cross country and only one season of track (one indoor and one outdoor). The reason for this is because in the winter of 2010 I plan to go to Brazil to student teach and I do not want to be a 24/25 year old undergrad."

"I plan to run the fall 2008 season of cross country," he said. "This is because my body is used to doing a year cycle which means a good summer of training, leading into fall, then winter and then finishing with a spring. Therefore, by taking a year off of school and just focusing on running and making a comeback, it will allow my body to get back to a cycle."

Related content ...

Brandon Gleason Update -- February 21, 2007

Hamline's Brandon Gleason Hit by Car, Badly Hurt -- February 14, 2007

Photo courtesy of Hamline University.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jenna Boren, 7th at Grandma's, Looks Ahead to the New York City Marathon

We got in touch with Jenna Boren recently. The TC Running Company affiliated star continued her streak of fast marathons with a seventh place finish at Grandma's last month, despite nursing an injury coming into the race.

With her ticket to the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials already in hand, Boren (pictured, winning the 2007 Human Race) now sets her sights on the New York City Marathon in November.

Here's DtB's exclusive interview ...

DtB: Unlike a lot of Minnesota women in the race at Grandma's, you had an Olympic Trails qualifying time already. Did that make it easier to see the positives in a non-PR race on a tough day weather-wise?

Boren: I think I was plain lucky at Grandmas this year. I had a few things to take the pressure off of me to run a PR. I had been injured and knew I wasn't in the best shape so I started out slow which probably saved me "in the long run" -- pun intended!

If I was trying to get a PR or qualify, I am sure I would have blown up. So, I think I was fortunate. I was just happy to finish in the 2:40s but bummed because I know a couple of my friends would have qualified if it was a better day!

DtB: How did the race play out for you?

Boren: I started out slower than I typically would. I let most of the women go early on and it was actually pretty relaxing because I wasn't worried about splits. I ran most of the race with Adam Lindahl (owner of TC Running Company) and he is a very entertaining guy. I spent quite a few miles laughing at him! I had no idea what place I was in so I just pretended I was in 10th place and had to hold on. I knew I couldn't catch the girl ahead of me but wanted to save enough energy in case someone came up on me. About an hour after the race, someone told me I was 7th which was a nice surprise!

DtB: What do you have planned between now and the Trails in Boston? A fall marathon?

Boren: I plan to run New York. When I got injured this spring, I decided to focus on later in the year to help me stay positive! New York is offering travel, hotel to the B standard qualifiers. I certainly didn't expect this offer but figure I should make use of it while I can! I can't imagine this opportunity will come again! To be in New York and watch the men [run their Olympic Trials] and then run a competitive marathon will be SO exciting!

DtB: Has it been a difficult adjustment for your training now that you're in professional practice as a chiropractor?

Boren: It can certainly be stressful because owning a start-up business makes me think I lost my mind somewhere in the past couple of years. however, my life right now is my job and running. I live very selfishly! I can run at 10 pm or 5 am. i am impressed at people who do it with a family. It is motivating for me to know many people who balance much, much more!

Photo by Pete Miller.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Garrett Heath Recounts European PR Tour

It's not only the Team USA folks that are racing in Europe ...

Former Winona High School star Garrett Heath wrote DtB yesterday with the scoop on his brief European tour. He and Stanford teammate Russell Brown ran meets in Switzerland and Germany recently. Heath, a finalist in both the NCAA and USA 1500 meters this spring, returned from the trip with fresh PRs in the 800 (1:49.71) and 1500 meters (3:39.96).

Here's Heath's take on the experience ...

Things didn’t always go smoothly in terms of train travel and language barriers, but all in all with the racing experience and sight seeing, it was a great trip. My teammate, Russell, and I ran two races while we were over here. The first race, which was mostly just a tune-up for the second one, was an 800m in Jona, Switzerland on the 8th of July.

We had two rabbits in this race, one for the first 400m and one to take us through 600m. We went out in about 53 for the first lap and I ended up running 1:49.71 for fourth or fifth place with my teammate winning in 1:47.96. Both were PRs for us.

The second race was the main focus of our trip and was a 1500m world championships qualifier in Cuxhaven, Germany on July 14th. Here we just had one rabbit that took us through 1100m. In this race, I got out a little slower than I wanted and worked into about 7th or 8th place, but still ended up coming through 400m in 57 and then through 800m in 1:57. We slowed down a bit on the 3rd lap and came though 1200m in 2:58. From there, I passed a couple of guys in the last 200m and ended up about 5th, in 3:39 with my teammate just ahead, also in 3:39. This was also a pr for me, but I felt like I could have gone a little faster had the race tactics have gone more smoothly.

There were a couple of differences between European racing and racing in the US. The first is that the runners competing are much more focused on achieving a good time rather than racing for place as is done in the US. This is much of the reason why we had rabbits for both races and was why both of our races went so fast.

Secondly, both races were much more physical than what we were used to in the US and I was a bit reluctant to push people back too much in races because I didn’t know the rules and didn’t want to upset the meet directors that had invited us to race. I later found out that much more pushing is tolerated over there and that it takes a lot more to get disqualified. All in all though, European racing was amazing because the people there get so into the races and treat the athletes ridiculously well. Both races were an event for the whole community with the second one inviting a band and having fireworks the night before.

One thing that quickly became apparent for us over there was the language barrier. One of my coaches is from Germany and speaks fluent German, but the other three of us on the trip didn’t know anything and there were many times where we were helpless to do just about anything. By the end, we had picked up on a few words, but mostly we just said a lot of “good mornings” and “thank yous” in German to people, as that is about all we were comfortable with.

I learned a lot about traveling and racing in Europe on this trip that will help me if I go back. We had a lot of fun and were able to race pretty well, but we also learned that we could have done a lot of things better to prepare for the travel logistics and pre-race strategy. We also realized how essential it is to have someone who speaks the language.

It is hard to be too disappointed with two PRs in two races, but both times I felt like I could have gone faster. Both times I ended up putting my self in hard position to close well in the last 300m, as I ended up being boxed until about the last 100m. This was partially due to the fact that the races were much different than what I was used to here in the US, but the experience is something that will help me to run faster next time.

Photo by Sean Hartnett; Heath competing at the USA Championships.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gent Wrap-Up: Graham Talks, Carlson Heals

Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker told DtB this morning that the injury Andrew Carlson sustained in a fall in the Gent 3000 meters on Sunday won't keep the former Golden Gopher star out of his upcoming meets in Europe.

"Andrew was able to do a workout yesterday," Barker said, "so he should be good to go for the Brasschaat 5k." The Brasschaat meet is scheduled for July 21. Carlson is also scheduled to run another 5000 at the Heusden meet on July 28.

You can see Carlson's wicked tumble on the Flocast video of the race HERE. Carlson's crash happens about three minutes into the footage.

Stillwater High School alum Sean Graham won the Gent race in 7:47.69. Flocast interviews the Oregon Track Club racer HERE.

Gent results can be found HERE ... then click "loopnummers"

Monday, July 16, 2007

Deatherage Clocks PR 3000; Gabrielson Runs Two Solid 1500s; Carlson Stumbles in 3000

Team USA Minnesota's Jenelle Deatherage clocked a 17 second PR for the 3000 meters at the Norwich Union meet in Great Britain running 8:57.36 for 6th place in the event.

Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker noted that the mark is the second fastest time in the event for an American woman this year and the fastest one outdoors in 2007.

Deatherage's run is the highlight of the early European racing for the Team USA Minnesota contingent based in Europe for a series of events this month.

On Friday, Matt Gabrielson clocked a 3:43.29 1500 meter time at a meet Kortrijk, Belgium. Footage of the race, via the good folks at Flotrack, is viewable HERE. Gabrielson is the fellow in yellow shorts who picks he ways through the field during the race and closes fast for 6th place.

(Note: Some result listings from this event have been inaccurate, but Barker confirmed the time and place to DtB.)

Gabrielson followed up that run with a 3:44.04 in Gent, Belgium today. We expect footage of that race to appear on Flotrack's Gent page later today. Barker was pleased with Gabrielson's 1500m races, thinking they boded well for his two upcoming forays over 5000m.

Andrew Carlson was the unlucky member of the Team USA Minnesota band. He raced in the 3000m at Gent, but fell and was a DNF. According to Barker, Carlson suffered "a significant leg wound."

Carlson is scheduled to run the same two 5000m races as Gabrielson -- the Brasschaat Internationale Meeting on July 21 and the Heusden meet on July 28.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Team USA Minnesota Trio to Start Euro Tour

We don't think they're going to print black tee-shirts with a list of the cities down the back, but Team USA Minnesota distance runners Matt Gabrielson, Andrew Carlson, and Jenelle Deatherage will be touring Europe for the rest of July.

The trio, which last competed at the USA Outdoor Championships in June, is looking to obtain qualifying marks for the 2008 Olympic Trials.

All of Gabrielson's and Carlson's meets will occur in Belgium. Gabrielson's first event is the Kortrijk Guldensporenmeeting on July 13 where he will run the 1500 meters. Both he and Carlson will travel to the Gent Feestenmeeting on July 15 where Gabrielson will compete in the 1500 and Carlson will race 3000 meters. The two will also be at the Brasschaat Internationale Meeting on July 21 and then conclude their series at the always-fast Heusden meet on July 28 running the 5000 meters at both events.

Deatherage will start her European campaign on July 15 at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Sheffield, England, where she will run the 3000 meters. She expects to compete in her specialty, the 1500 meters, at other meets still being scheduled. She has a best in the 1500 of 4:07.87.

"What I want to accomplish at these four meets in Belgium is pretty simple - PRs at 1500 and 5000," Gabrielson, who has a best in the 1500 of 3:42.01 and in the 5000 of 13:34.61, said in a Team USA Minnesota media release.

"I have two chances in each event to get a personal best so I'm just going to get after it. For 5000 especially, running under the Olympic Trials standard of 13:33 would be ideal. That would also get me the PR I'm looking for. The 1500s are just a nice set-up for the two 5k's. Everything has fallen into place for this trip. Now I just have to go and run fast, stay relaxed out there and just be as competitive as I can on the day."

Team USA sweeps the Minnesota Mile ... Right here at home, Team USA Minnesota athletes swept the top places in both women's and men's competition at the Grandma's Minnesota Mile in St. Paul on Thursday. Deatherage won the women's division of teammate Katie McGregor 4:46 to 4;49. In men's competition, Team USA Minnesota's Brad Lowery edged teammate Ryan Kleimenhagen 4:10 to 4:11.

Elliott Heath: Letter from Pan Am Juniors

Elliott Heath was kind enough to tell us about his experience -- which included a silver medal at 5000 meters -- at the Pan American Junior Championship in São Paulo, Brazil. He wrote us from the meet, but due to most of us being out of the DtB "office" this week, we're only getting to it (and a lot of other things) now ...

On the trip ... Starting at the beginning of the trip, it took a very long time to get here. A grand total of of 35 hours of travel (13 hour layover in Miami didn't help). But ever since I got here it has been great.

On being in São Paulo ... Most days until today consisted mainly of going over for workouts and then exploring the area around our hotel. Sao Paulo is such an enormous city that what I have seen probably makes up about one thousandth of its total area. On Wednesday most of the team took a bus to the ocean which is about 60k away but due to traffic it took about two and a half hours each way. Regardless the trip was really fun and it was great to get out of the city setting.

Race day ... Today was race day for me at about 4:30 local time so it was pretty much lay low until going over to the track. I am thankful that it is winter down here right now so that it isn't really hot. It has been sunny and about 70 every day so race conditions were pretty good.

Silver medal ... In the race I ended up finishing second behind a Mexico athlete [Diego Borrego] and right in front of a runner from Brazil [Robson Pereira de Lima]. The Mexican was 14:33 and the Brazilian and myself were both 14:34. The race was very similar to the race in Indianapolis. We got out pretty well and then settled in to come through the mile in 440. The second mile was a bit slower and we came through 3200 in the low 9:30's.

There were a couple surges in the next two laps but it eventually came down to the last lap with the Mexican taking off and setting the pace. I was in 4th with 400 to go and then and 3rd with 200 to go, a few strides back from the Mexican and the Brazilian. I was able to pass the Brazilian with about 20 to 30 meters left but the Mexican runner was too strong. The last 400 ended up being 56 so it was very similar to Indy.

Overall I was very happy with the race. It was great to make the podium. Now I am looking forward to watching the meet the next two days. It has been a really fun experience getting to know all of the other US athletes and some of the athletes from other nations. I am not looking forward to the long trip home on Monday.

Photo by Gene Niemi -- Heath winning his second straight MSHSL Class AA title at 3200 earlier this season.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Catching Up With Melissa Gacek

We asked Melissa Gacek a few questions about her fast Grandma's Marathon last month. Gacek currently leads the Minnesota Runner-of-the-Year standings.

You had the bittersweet luck to run a great race at Grandma's on a"slow" day. Were you more happy with the placing or bummed by just missing the Trials standard?

In light of the way the race went for the very talented competition, I was totally thrilled to a) take 8th overall, b) to help my team score the win, c) to win the money, and d) to get another sub 2:48 effort on the books, especially on a home course on what was said to be a hot day.

I had a lot of fun out there and enjoyed myself at the end, knowing I was probably going to be 1 minute off. I ran the last two miles in celebrationof good health. I knew at the half I was going to need to really nail it toget there, but knew I was feeling good enough to go for it. Towards the20-23 mark, I figured I’d either be the last to hit it or the first to miss.I had some trouble finding my water bottles… took the wrong one early, worried I might ruin someone’s chance to get their fluids…I actually stopped and ran it back, then still couldn’t find mine. (“Hello, this is a race, you don’t just stop.”)

I had to stop at about 4 other stations trying to find mine…I thought someone else took them or knocked them over…That might have attributed to some of my time problems. Guess I need windmills [on the bottles for identification] next time. Ona hot day you need your stuff.

What's next for you? Will you take a shot at the Trials standard again?

Absolutely. I have already applied to several fall races and will confirm adecision once housing arrangements are together. I’m designing a plan for additional leg strength work I want to add to prepare me as much as possible since I don’t do a ton of mileage or doubles. Kelly Mortenson, my coach, is putting together my running program.

You're tied for the lead in the Runner-of-the-Year standings. Is that something you'd like to win?

That would be outstanding.

You're a busy person with a career, a daughter, and a competitive running career. How do you make that all work?

I have a lot of help, and although I like to cook, we eat out a lot. Baby joggers, baby sitters, my husband and his family is awesome and nearby to help. My parents like to come up for big races if we ask. Training partners are a big help. I rely on Gloria Jansen, Kelly & Jim Ramacier and Staci Bennett to get me out the door by 5/5:30/6 am.

Catching Up With Jeremy Polson

As promised, we tracked down men's Runner-of-the-Year leader Jeremy Polson (at right in photo) to talk about his race at Grandma's marathon and his season so far ...

How disappointing was Grandma's for you? You were clearly fit and ready to go, but it was a really tough day for people.

I knew once that sun came out that it wasn't going to be a great day so that was disappointing. I knew I was ready to run fast based on my previous performances but the weather is something you cannot control. I am happy with how things have gone so far this year so it wasn't as disappointing as some people may think it was. It was a team race and I wanted to help my team members out. I am not the type to drop out.

How did the race play out for you?

I went out at 5:24 for the first mile and it felt okay but each mile down the road until around mile 8 I knew it was going to be difficult to maintain a pace to qualify. After mile 8 I started to make some decisions in my head. I either had to keep going and see what happened or back off and save my legs. I decided I was going to finish to help out the Run N Fun race team and that is what I did. I felt okay after the race and my legs recovered quickly.

Will you try to run another marathon soon?

I took three days off after Grandma's and I am planning on going to Chicago to take another shot at the standard. I am back to 90 miles this week and I plan to slowly bring it up to the 150 mile range and be ready to race October 7th.

What are you planning for the rest of 2007? You're leading the Runner-of-the-Year standings, is that something you'd like to win?

Like I said earlier I am not super disappointed about Grandma's because it is one race out of hundreds that I have done and I am certainly happy with how things have gone for me this year. I am leading the Runner of the Year standings and I have yet to run a 10K or a 25K. I plan on running the Hennepin Lake 10K and the City of the Lakes 25K. I ran both of those races in very hot weather the year I ran my first Chicago marathon and they were great fitness checks for me so I feel that they will be just as beneficial this time around.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Alicia Rue Wins Pam Am Juniors Pole Vault

University of Minnesota freshman pole vaulter Alicia Rue won the women's pole vault title at the Pan American Junior Games in São Paulo, Brazil on Sunday.

The Robbinsdale Armstrong grad cleared a PR 13-9 1/4 for the gold medal. Gabriella Duclos-Lasnier of Canada won the silver at 13-7 1/4; Keisa Monterola Suarez of Venezuela earned a bronze with 13-5 1/4.

Full results -- including makes and misses -- are HERE.

“This of the coolest and most honorable experiences I will ever have,” Rue said, in a Gopher media release, of standing on the podium with a gold medal and the national anthem playing. “It’s difficult to put in words. It was a great moment full of emotion where I couldn’t get the smile off my face.”

Rue (pictured) won one of 20 medals earned by the USA team in today's final day of competition at the meet.

Rue has blogged about her Pan Am Juniors experience since arriving in Brazil. You can read all here posts -- including the one describing her victory -- HERE.

Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Heath Earns Silver Medal at Pan Am Juniors

Winona's Elliott Heath earned a silver medal in the Pan American Junior Games 5000 meters, according to the results summary posted on Dyestat. In a kick for the gold medal against Mexico's Diego Borrego, Heath came up short 14:33.16 to 14:34.06.

The race caps a remarkable season for Heath who won the USA Junior titles in cross country and the 5000 meters, established a new all-time Minnesota best for 3200 meters, and defended is Class AA 3200m title.

Heath (pictured, left, winning his USA Junior 5000 title) will attend Stanford University this fall, joining his brother Garrett at the school.

Also ... Gopher pole vaulter Alicia Rue added another post to her Pam Am Juniors blog HERE. She competes Sunday.

Photo by Victor Sailer http://www.photorun.net.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Goucher Featured in Runner's World Interview

Duluth native Kara Goucher is featured in today's "A Brief Chat With" interview on the Runner's World web-site. You can find the interview HERE.

The interview appears to have taken place before Goucher's coach, Alberto Salazar, suffered his heart attack at the Nike track.

Update: Goucher says in THIS Oregonian story, that Salazar continues to coach her and her husband Adam from the hospital. "We were a little nervous," Goucher told Ken Goe, "but he's bounced right back."

Photo: Goucher in competition at the USA Outdoor Championships last month. Photo by Victor Sailer http://www.photorun.net/.

Polson, Cueno, and Gacek Lead Runner-of-the-Year Standings

Run N Fun's Jeremy Polson extended his men's open division lead in the Minnesota Running Data Center's Runner-of-the-Year standings in recently updated tabulations which include all of June's events.

While Polson was pulling away, however, the women's open division standings tightened up as previous leader Nicole Cueno of GEAR found herself tied with Run N Fun's Melissa Gacek in the standings

Polson leads GEAR's Pat Russell 60-52. GEAR's Josh Metcalf and Pete Gilman are 3rd and 4th with 46 and 44 points, respectively. Full men's open standings can be found HERE.

Gacek and Cueno are tied at 47 points. Just behind them lurk RNF's Angie Voight and Erin Ward with 46 and 45 points, respectively. Full women's open standings can be found HERE.

Chad Austin recently featured Cueno, a former NCAA Division III 1500 meter champion for Grinnell College, in THIS interview on his Running Minnesota web-site. DtB will feature its own short interviews with Gacek and Polson next week.

The Runner-of-the-Year age-group division leader board features lots of familiar names in Minnesota road racing like ... Shelly Larson, Kelly Mortenson, Sonya Anderson-Decker, Pat Billig, Kelly Keeler Ramacier, Digger Carlson, Janet Rosen, Bobby Paxton, Gloria Jansen, Denny Jordan, Kathryn Benhardus, Jim Graupner, Judy Cronen, Lee Stauffacher, Lois DeGonda, Gene Kalscheuer, Barbara Burhans, Greg Prom, Jill Kieser, and Burt Carlson.

Twin Cities 10 Mile Registration Lottery Opens

Feeling lucky?

The Medtronic TC 10 Mile registration lottery opens today and remains open until Sunday, July 15 at 10:00 p.m. On July 18, TCM officials will draw the entries accepted into the October 7 race -- which will also serve as the USA 10 Mile Championship for men.

Accepted entrants will be announced on July 20.

Officials are promoting two new features of the event this year: the field for the race as been expanded to 5,500 runners -- up 500 from last year -- and up to 10 runners may enter the lottery as a group for all-or-none acceptance.

"The Medtronic TC 10 Mile is a highly sought after race, so the lottery system gives runners a fair opportunity for registration,” TCM executive director Virginia Brophy Achman said in a media release. “Runners can only enter the lottery once and have the same chance of being selected whether they register the first or last day of the lottery.”

Thursday, July 05, 2007

McGregor top American at Peachtree

Katie McGregor was the third woman overall and the top American woman at the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta on Independence Day. McGregor's Team USA Minnesota teammates Jason Lehmkuhle and Andrew Carlson also ran well, finishing 11th and 20th, respectively. Peachtree served as the 2007 USA Men's 10K Championship race. Lehmkuhle and Carlson finished fourth and 11th among Americans in the Championship.

Matt Gabrielson returned to his native Iowa for the holiday and finished as the top American – sixth overall – at the Fifth Season 8K in Cedar Rapids.

In local 4th of July racing action, Chris Lundstrom and Deb Gormley took the titles at the Firecracker Run 10K in Excelsior.

Travel with Alicia Rue to Pan Am Juniors

Gopher pole vault star Alicia Rue, who competes at the Pan American Junior Championships in São Paulo, Brazil this weekend, is blogging from the event for the GopherSports.com web-site.

In her first installment, Rue, who is part of the 64-member USA women's and men's team attending the event, describes her travel to the meet and her initial impressions of the country.

"Very few people speak English," she notes, "so communication and asking questions is really difficult. Most of the area [where the team is housed] is hotels and business buildings and some little shops, a lot like down town Minneapolis (but dirtier)."

Rue competes on Sunday. Fellow Minnesotan Elliott Heath competes in the 5000 meters at the meet tomorrow.

Update: Rue's second blog post to GopherSports.com is HERE.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Carlson, Lehmkuhle, McGregor to Race Peachtree

Team USA Minnesota's Jason Lehmkuhle and Andrew Carlson will be part of a strong USA Championship field at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta tomorrow. Also competing in the annual July 4th running extravaganza is Team USA Minnesota's Katie McGregor who will race in the non-championship women's race.

Lehmkuhle was the first American at Peachtree in 2006 -- a non-championship year -- covering the 10K distance in 29:22 and placing 14th overall.

Lehmkuhle was 5th in the USA Half Marathon Championships and 5th again at the USA 15k Championships on the roads early this season. More recently, Lehmkuhle has had some tough outings on the pavement, suffering through a painful finish at the Boston Marathon and finishing 20th at the USA 25K Championship in May in 1:21:58.

Carlson will be running Peachtree for the first time. He recently ran the 5000 meters at the USA Outdoor Championships where he finished 16th in 13:55.22. Earlier this year he was fourth at the USA Half Marathon Championships and 10th at the USA 15k Championships.

Newly crowned USA 10,000 meter (track) champion Abdi Abdirahman and U.S. half marathon record holder and USA half-marathon champion Ryan Hall headline the USA Championship field, which also includes James Carney, Fasil Bizuneh, and Ryan Kirkpatrick.

Fridley native Marty Rosendahl will also compete.

Team USA Minnesota's McGregor recently placed 3rd in the USA Outdoor 10,000m to make the U.S. team for the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, in late August. McGregor ran Peachtree in 2006 and was the first American woman and 10th overall, finishing in 32:44. McGregor is a four-time national champion having won the 25k (2007), 10k road (2005 and 2006) and 10,000 meters (2005).

Top contenders in the women's race include Pauline Wangui of Kenya, Wude Ayalew of Ethiopia, and Kathy Butler of Great Britain.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Do it for the Kids: Volunteers Needed for Junior Olympic Regional

USATF Minnesota is hosting the Region VIII Junior Olympic Outdoor Track & Field Championships on July 12-15 at the University of St. Thomas and Macalester College. Meet Director Chris Dallager is seeking volunteers to assist with staging this large event.

The meet will feature some of the best young talent from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

If you have questions, or would like to volunteer, contact Dallager at chrisdallager@comcast.net

Marks, Ferrell, Dunn, and Lundstrom Make USA's Pan Am Roster

Three-time USA triple jump champion Shani Marks, St. Paul Academy & Summit School graduate Cack Ferrell, two-time Olympian Philip Dunn, and Chris Lundstrom of Team USA Minnesota are listed on the USA's official roster for the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Track and field competition at the games runs from July 22 to 29.

Former Golden Gopher Marks won the triple jump title at the USA Outdoor Championships last month. Ferrell, who trains with the Oregon Track Club, finished 6th at USAs in the 5000 meter run.

Dunn, a Carleton College graduate, won a bronze medal in the 1999 Pan Am Games 50K walk, the event he'll be contesting in Rio. Northfield High School graduate Lundstrom, who finished fourth at the Twin Cities Marathon last October, will compete in the marathon.

Junior Team ... As expected, Winona's Elliott Heath, the USA junior cross country and 5000 meter champ, is on the USA's Pan Am Junior Games team along with University of Minnesota pole vaulter Alicia Rue.

The Pan Am Juniors take place this weekend in Rio.