The first day at Hayward was wet. Not the typical NW mist, but heavy downpour. The stands were filled with poncho and trashbag covered track fans. I should say the uncovered stands. The covered stands clapped their dry happy hands. My hands were pruned from the rain.
We thought we were going to enjoy a reprieve as we headed to the 10k. But just as the men’s race was about to start, the skies opened with the heaviest downpour of the day. It was unbelievable. At first everyone hunkered down trying to stay dry, but within minutes gave up. There was a lot of laughing up in the uncovered world of, we didn’t believe it could get wetter but here we were.
The puddle, more like a lake, on the first turn grew and grew with every lap as Rupp, and men’s field splashed through the 10k. Rupp won the race in 27:53.33. But my eyes were on Dathan Ritzenhein, who I’d seen in January narrowly miss his chance at the Olympic marathon. He not only needed to place in the top three last night, but also do it under the A standard. The announcer reminded us and him of it every lap. The crowd was out of their seats crazy, as they round the last turn. He made it!
10K Men Headed to London
Of course after the men’s race came the race I was waiting for. Amy Hastings, Shalane Flanagan, Amy Hastings… Like Dathan she missed her Olympic marathon ticket to London in January. Watching her struggle through that race was heartbreaking. The marathon has a way of breaking a person into a way that you seem to see all their thoughts. The emotion is on their face, nothing to hide it.
The women’s race started in slightly less rain than the men’s race. Hastings already had the A standard, so girl just needed that top three. She ran smart and strong. Meanwhile, Deborah Maier went out ahead of the pack. At first the crowd wrote her off, then lap after lap… they started to cheer for her. Men around me were muttering, well I thought she’d be eaten up by the pack by now. Eventually she was. Amy Hasting took the lead midway through the race. In the last 250 Shalane took the lead. Then Rogers. Then Amy Hastings and Shalane Flanagan cranked around Rogers. Amy was gunning for that finish. She was fire in her eyes, her face showed that she was going down to the bottom to find this finish.
She won! I was trying not to cry at this point. She looked shocked, like waking up from a dream to a dream. She collapsed to the track in exhaustion and amazement. When the women regrouped the announcer explained who was actually going to the Olympic Games. Shalane was only going to be running the marathon, so her spot was up for grabs. Then Natosha Rogers didn’t have the A standard! The next woman to have the A standard was Lisa Uhl and then 7th place Cherobon-Bawcom.
Women Headed To London
It was an amazing day and night at Hayward! That’s day one. My sister and I stayed to watch the awards despite being soaked to the bone. Joan Benoit Samuelson awarded each woman. Deena Kastor was there to congratulate them. She pulled out of the 10K due to injury.
Oh! Highlight of the day: Sally and I both met Joanie and got our tickets signed. Her namesake tickets. Day 1.
THE DAILY RUNDOWN
Yesterday – June 21
Opening Ceremony 4pm (rain)
800m 5pm Kate Grace Races – 6th in heat 2, 2:04 Sally’s recap coming.
10000m 7:30pm (women)
Today - June 22
800m semi-finals 4:30pm (women first)
400m semi-finals 5pm (men first)
1,500m Decathalon Men 5:30pm
100m Final Women 5:52