By Peter Gambaccini | Full Article Link
Sally Meyerhoff, 25, won the USA 25K Championships on Sunday at the Fifth Third River Bank Run in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her 1:27:28 was second overall in the race behind Genoveva Kigen of Kenya, who was 12 seconds faster than Meyerhoff. (Magdalena Lewy Boulet was third overall and the USA 25K runner-up in 1:28:14).
Meyerhoff, who will be moving from Phoenix, Arizona, to Eugene, Oregon, this week, was fifth overall and the top American at P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon in January in 2:35:52. At the 2009 Cherry Blossom Ten Mile in Washington, D.C., her 54:38 (for seventh overall) was a U.S. record for a women-only race. Meyerhoff’s other 2009 results include a 10th place (first American) in the Lilac Bloomsday 12K in Spokane in 40:15 and a ninth in the USA 15K in Jacksonville in 51:08. She was fourth, and the first American, in the 2008 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half-Marathon in 1:12:52. Meyerhoff was 20th in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:39:39.
In NCAA Championships while she was at Duke University, she was seventh in the 10,000 outdoors in 2006, 16th in cross country in 2004, and 10th in the 5000 indoors in 2007. She was the ECAC Indoor 5000 champ in 2007 and the 3000 titlist in 2005; in 2004, she was Duke’s first female Atlantic Coast Conference cross country champion.
The 25K is distance people don’t do very often. As you’re running and pacing the race, is it that different from a half-marathon?
Sally Meyerhoff: I’ve only done, I think, about three half-marathons that I took pretty seriously. I’d say no, I didn’t really think of it as being very different. I just took it as a new distance.
Pacing it through the first 10 miles, is it pretty much the same?
SM:Yes. I didn’t think about that that much. I don’t even wear a watch lately when I run a race. I just knew this was going to be a race I wanted to win and I needed to race people. I knew, obviously, I was going to pay attention to some of the first splits to make sure it wasn’t ridiculously fast or too slow, but I didn’t really have a plan that I wanted to hit this split or that split.
Did you approach the race feeling it was an important USA Championships in which to beat the Americans, or were you also focusing on the few top foreign athletes who were also invited to Fifth Third?
SM: I actually didn’t even know they were going to have any non-U.S. athletes in the race until the day before, when I went to the athletes’ introduction. So when I found that out, I was kind of thinking “huh. Okay.” And then my agent told me the night before the race “do you realize there’s open money, too?” I went “what?” So when I was in the race, I knew for sure that I wanted to win, but I was confident I wanted to be at least top three overall, because that’s where the open money is.
I learned that, yeah, the foreigners come in. A lot of runners get intimidated by that or think they can’t run with them. But ever since the beginning of this year, I’ve been in races with really big international fields, and I’ve just told myself ‘well, if you want to be a world-class athlete, you have to start approaching the races like you can run with them.’ Yeah, I definitely had my eye on the woman (Kigen) who was out in front of Magdalena and I. And I was getting antsy to go a lot earlier than I actually did. I kind of wish I would have gone (after Kigen) earlier in the race.
Oh well…. I’m not the type who is easily satisfied after a race. I should have pulled away a lot sooner because I felt so good. Maybe I could have won the whole thing (over Kigen). I think about that. I think it’s a good thing. Eventually, hopefully things will keep clicking along and that kind of personality will pay off.
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