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June 29, 2017

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USAs: the good, the bad, and the incredibly hot

So, it’s already been a week since USAs (ummm where did the time go?!). The weekend action up in Sacramento was smoking, both the performances and the heat, and we wanted to recap this special event.

As most of you know, we are talking about the USATF Outdoor National Championships that took place last Thursday through Sunday in Sacramento. This ain’t your average track meet. This is only for the best of the best, the cream of the crop, as the athletes competed to punch their ticket to London for the World Championships later this year.  Not everyone gets to participate in USAs, but rather each athlete had to qualify for his or her respective event based upon a rigorous time standard, and then wait to get accepted into the meet.  In other words, no Average Joes allowed.

We were unbelievably and indescribably proud to send five rabbitPROs, one rabbitELITE, and two other rabbit friends to USAs this year. Who dat you ask? From our rabbitPRO squad, we had:

Plus, we had rabbitELITE Alex Bellavance in the Men’s 20k race walk, SRA (the club is sponsored by rabbit) athlete Erika Barr in the steeplechase, and rabbit friend Allie Kieffer in the 10k.

It was such an honor to see rabbit represented in this top-notch event with rabbit athletes competing against the very best in the country. Anyone who followed along either on TV or online already knows how well these athletes performed and how incredible their races were.  But, you may not really grasp the full extent of what they did. 

So, you probably already heard… it was hot in Sacramento. How hot? It was fire-breathing dragon, I can’t move, the outside world feels like an oven, I’ve never sweat this much in my life, fry a 10lb steak on the sidewalk, hot. Between Thursday and Sunday, the daily high ranged from 90 degrees to 110 degrees. Yes, that’s right. On Thursday, when the steeplechase prelims and the 10k finals were run, Sacramento hit a high of 110 degrees. So, we can just say that the conditions were less than ideal. 

USATF did a good job of moving race start times to avoid the hottest part of the day, and athletes were kept in an air-conditioned warm-up area, but, it was still just brutal. So, huge kudos to all the athletes, including all the junior athletes, who competed last weekend.  Given those circumstances, the results were inevitably, a little strange. Some athletes suffered more than others, some seem unaffected, but everyone ended the weekend with a sunburn and dehydration.

But, despite the brutal heat, our athletes still crushed!! Of course, the athletes probably wished they had run a little faster or placed a little higher because people, it’s running and we all, always, wish we had run a little faster!  That’s why we compete in the first place.  Still, we are so impressed with how it all shook out and how amazing our athletes performed. So, let’s talk about them!

Sarah Pease took 7th overall in the final of the 3,000m steeplechase in a time of 9:47:41. The prelim was run on Thursday evening (the hottest day of the weekend), but the final was run at 2:30pm on Saturday in the blazing hot glare of the afternoon sun. I’m sure those water pits felt nicer than usual! Sarah had a great race, finishing smooth and strong amongst the greatest in the nation. Sarah, you are a stud!!

Rachel Schilkowsky, while not advancing to the finals in the steeple, had a very impressive race in the prelims. Rachel did not know that she got accepted into race until the last minute, and after battling through a few injuries and setbacks over the last few weeks, was stoked to make the starting line and have a successful race. You can read more of Rachel’s recap in her own blog post. We are so proud and happy for Rachel and excited to see her continue finish out her steeple season over the next few weeks.

Now, let’s talk about the 10k. So, the 10k was held on Thursday night and it was probably just about 90 degrees when the gun went off. Annnnd, the field was stacked. So, it was not going to be an easy day at the oval office for these ladies. 

Nonetheless, Kaitlin Goodman battled strong and showed the grit of a true competitor and finished in an impressive 15th overall in the 10k.

Amy Schnittger also battled strong and did the best she could.  Amy got super late notice that she got into the race and was actually enjoying a break when she found out (and was surfing in SoCal a few days prior to the race). But, she couldn’t miss the opportunity to race and she did her very best. Ultimately, the heat got to her and she had to pull out, but this lady is truly talented and she will be back on the big stage next year!

Alycia Cridebring also got relatively late notice that she made it into the women’s 5k, but luckily for her, she is a Sacramento resident and didn’t have to travel far! Alycia finished 15th overall with a very strong time of 15:47.40 given the intense heat. Just like the 10k, the 5k field was stacked, and Alycia raced smart, smooth and graceful (like always). She is just a beautiful runner to watch.  Congrats Alycia!! We are so proud of you.

Our rabbitELITE team member, Alex Bellavance competed in the men’s 20k race walk, which was held early in the morning on Sunday. And Alex had a great race, set a huge PR, and finished 5th overall in the time of 1:32:39:35.  Dude, Alex, you are a stud!!

Also, as mentioned above, Erika Barr of the SRA had a solid race in the steeplechase. Although not advancing to the finals, she raced strong and proud on her home turf. A rabbit friend, Allie Kiefer also raced the 10k, and had a very strong and impressive race.  Allie finished 11th overall in the 10k, and she looked soooo smooth for the last mile or so, and was picking people off left and right.  This lady is a freaking stud, who just ran the World Standard a few weeks ago at the Portland Track Festival. Allie is going to continue to do amazing things and we were honored to have her on the track repping rabbit.  Congrats Allie!

USAs never disappoints, and it truly didn’t this year. We had such a blast cheering for our PROs on the track, and hanging out with them in the Sacramento heat.  It’s such an honor for us to be a part of their journeys, through every up and down, during the ebbs and the flows.  We are so proud of each of our athletes and simply cannot wait until next year! Go Team USA!!

PC: Rob Schanz and Michael Scott


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