Athletes Assess Their Chances at Marathon Trials
by David Monti
(c) Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
HOUSTON (13-Jan) -- Poked and prodded by reporters here yesterday, athletes competing in tomorrow's USA Olympic Marathon Trials gave their assessments of their fitness and their chances in the race. Here some excerpts from with they said (comments have been edited and condensed):
Nick Arciniaga (McMillan Elite/adidas):
"Put $100 on place," he said if you were betting on him. "A lot of guys have better credentials, but you've got to have it on race day."
Brett Gotcher (McMillan Elite/adidas):
"I'm always the kind of buy who likes to be under the radar, but right there," he said of his racing tactics. "You have to have the confidence to hold back. You have to make game-time decisions and be confident with it." He added: "Everyone who is toeing the line thinks they have a shot."
Stephanie Rothstein (McMillan Elite/adidas):
"I see it going fast, but controlled," she predicted of the early pace. "We see how Desi (Davila) runs and how her coaches are (they like to push the pace). I have a lot of confidence running on my own in a marathon."
Jason Lehmkuhle (Team USA Minnesota/Saucony):
"It's been the most seamless preparation since the the last Trials. Every year the competition gets deeper with more guys moving up the marathon. I've run a PR (personal record) every year since age 30 (at different distances). Have I figured out the marathon? I don't know. I don't know if that's happened for me yet. There will certainly be some pain and carnage; that's part of the game of the marathon."
Shalane Flanagan (Nike Oregon Track Club):
"It's just a really harsh event. There's still something which can go wrong; that's the nature of the marathon. I'm prepared for anything and everything. Jerry (Schumacher, her coach) prepared us physically for all times of scenarios. On any given day, anything can happen. We could leave a medal contender home. To me (the Trials system) is fair."
Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (MarathonGuide.com):
"It makes me feel great to come from some local races in Alabama (to this level). Flagstaff is awesome, but the weather is a little unpredictable. In November, we had two feet of snow." On the possibility of making the team: "It would be crazy. This (America) is where I learned everything about running (she was not a runner in Kenya). It's been amazing."
Kara Goucher (Nike Oregon Track Club):
On getting hit by a car while training in Las Vegas last month: "It scared the guy (driver) more than me." On parting ways with her previous coach Alberto Salazar: "I ate a lot of ice cream and cried a lot." On the fairness of the Trials as a team selection method: "How would you select the team? The only person we would put in there is Desi (Davila, who had the fastest qualifying time). The most fair way is to put everybody out there and have at it." On her fitness: "This is so different than when I qualified for the last Olympics at Beijing. Then, I had more room for error." (she also said that her son, Colt, would be with her mother and her sister in the family viewing area).
Desiree Davila (Hansons-Brooks):
"It went very well," she said of her training. "The best one so far." On the possibility of a a fast race: "I prefer an honest race, but I don't mind sitting around and waiting." Of her position as the top athlete in the Hansons group: "I don't know if I consider myself a leader. I don't think there is one person who stands out in the group." On Deena Kastor's ability to rally and make a fourth Olympic Team: "I'm unsure; she's Deena Kastor so you can't count her out. She can always surprise you." On the possibility of making the team with her Arizona State roommate Amy Hastings: "That would pretty much be the best thing ever."
Amy Hastings (Mammoth Track Club/Brooks):
On the possibility of making the team with her former Arizona State roommate Desiree Davila: "Absolutely! We've been thinking about it from eight to nine years ago. I just can't imagine anything better. (But) neither of us will give each other an inch. I know how bad she wants it and how hard she's been working." On the chances of her MTC teammate Deena Kastor: "Everybody should always be worried about Deena. She's doing very well." On her training: "Every day I go to practice with this race on my mind. I'm not sure (what will happen), but I'll do whatever it takes."