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May 19, 2017

A day at the races: The USATF Distance Classic Results & Reflection

Do you remember yesterday how I wrote an article with my predictions for the results of yesterday’s USATF Distance Classic? Sure you do. Do you also remember the tweet that I sent out stating that if I guessed the winners of all eight races I would eat my shoe? Since all of our devoted Citwits are also following me on Twitter, I imagine the answer is also yes.

Well, the meet was yesterday. I was there, in the flesh. I watched all the races. Let’s take a look at the results, my predictions, and how I stacked up.

Women’s 800m

My prediction: Brenda Martinez

Result: Brenda Martinez in a very fast 1:58.78

This is Brenda’s fastest time since 2013, when she ran 1:57.91 and won a silver medal at the World Championships in Moscow. A fun tidbit: in 2013 she opened her season with a 1:59, and followed that up with a 1:58. It’s 2017, and Martinez opened with a 1:59, and two weeks later just ran 1:58. Generally, I’m not a superstitious guy, but come on!

If you’re keeping score, I’m currently 1/1 in my predictions. ⅛ of my way to eating a shoe.

Men’s 800m

My prediction: Donavan Brazier

Result: Luke Matthews in 1:46.44

Brazier was a DNS. If I wanted to be a stickler, I could say that if he were in the race, he definitely would have won. I say this because Donavan Brazier doesn’t seem to be in the business of running 1:46 and losing.

My second guess for this race was Charles Jock, who finished in a less than paltry 1:51.72.

The score: I’ll call this an emotional victory. But in reality, I’m ½. Sorry folks, no shoe eatin’ here today.

Women’s 1500m

My prediction: Shannon Rowbury

Result: Sheila Reid in 4:07.07 (Rowbury behind in 4:07.17)

During this race was when I heard the two dads in front of me discussing their mutual admiration for controversial Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. While I was distracted by this conversation, the Canadian overtook American Record Holder Shannon Rowbury with about 30 meters to go, and they rubbed elbows all the way to the line. This was definitely one of the best races of the night.

The score: I’m 1 for 3 folks. Although this one was close.

Men’s 1500m

My prediction: Matthew Centrowitz Jr.

Result: Matthew Centrowitz Jr. in a steamy 3:33.41

I’ll be honest, I overlooked Mo Farah when making these predictions. When I saw him on the track, though, I got a little nervous. They announced him on the starting line, and his name was preceded by a laundry list of his accomplishments. After hearing something like that, I was shook. Of course Mo was going to win.

Gun goes off and it’s a four man race through most of it. It’s Mo, Centro, Chris O’Hare, and Hassan Mead. Farah at the bell, O’Hare givin’ him the slip on the back stretch, and then Centro, smooth as butter taking it home. How could we ever doubt Matt “like father like son” Centrowitz.

The score: HEY I WAS RIGHT, I’M 2 FOR 4

Women’s 3000m Steeple

My prediction: AND I QUOTE, “Mel Lawrence, with a nice final lap, and a finish that hovers around 9:40.”


This should honestly be worth ten points, because it’s exactly what Mel did. She looked great, kept her composure through some late race surging by Rachel Johnson & company. Had a few beautiful water barriers, and looked smooth to the finish, nipping Marissa Howard at the line.

The score: I’m on a roll, that’s 3 for 5.

Men’s 3000m Steeple

My prediction: Hillary Bor

The result: Hillary Bor in a world leading 8:23.08

This was Hillary’s race from the gun. He went out with the pacer, and eventually passed the dang dude before his pacing duties were finished. I can’t imagine passing the pacer generally works out, but Bor had the itch and he wanted to get it done. And get it done he did. A world lead for the man.

It was during this race that I saw a few kids walking around with what I thought was funnel cake. Turns out it was just a pretzel, and I saved myself a few dollars from the concession stand.

The score: 4 for 6. Call me Nostradamus.  

Women’s 5000m

My prediction: Natosha Rogers

Result: Laura Weightman in 15:08.23 (Natosha Rogers 2nd, in 15:08.29)

This was a great race. Four ladies in it for most of the race, and then the two heavy hitters taking it to each other over the last lap. It was Wightman coming down the home stretch, with Rogers nearly overtaking her at the line. I think this was about a 16 second PR for Rogers, who has had a nice comeback after a brief hiatus from her running career.

If you were following along on Twitter, this was the race my phone ran out of batteries. I had to summon a stranger from the infield to let me borrow their phone for the remainder of the meet. If you are that stranger, please log out of the Citius Twitter account. Thank you.

The score: Ugh. I feel like I should get half a point, at least. But whatever, 4 for 7.

Men’s 5000m

My prediction: Kirubel Erassa (though I did give a nod to his former OSU teammate Shadrack Kipchirchir)

Result: Shadrack Kipchirchir

It was very quickly a three man race, with Abbabiya Simbassa, Kipchirchir and Erassa breaking away from the field after the first lap. Simbassa and Kipchirchir would battle throughout, as Erassa faded with three laps to go. Reid Buchanan made a nice move in the chase pack to come away with fourth place, as Kipchirchir closed in something like 57 seconds to take home the title.

[Editor’s Note: this article originally and inaccurately cited Craig Lutz as the fourth place finisher. The writer of this story would like to offer his sincere condolences for his idiocy. Craig finished 5th. He did a nice job, too.]

After the race, people lingered around the track for a while while the Oregon Track Club guys, the NOP constituency ran post-race workouts, and throngs of thirsty teens hung around trying to get selfies. All of the athletes were very accommodating, and the venue is intimate–it’s a great opportunity for the kids to snag some autographs, or ensure that Mo Farah can hear your jeering.
Coming out of the meet, I think there were a handful of World Qualifying times, a few meet records broken, and plenty of fun had. If you’re still keeping score, I finished 4 for 8 with my predictions. Am I the track genius you guys want? No, but I’d like to think I’m the one you Citwits deserve. See you next time.


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