Fear and Loathing from Eugene, Day 1: Grant Fisher is the King of his Domain, Eight Takeaways from Day 1

Okay, I needed a title for this series, so get over it. I love Hunter S. Thompson and Seinfeld, so what a better combo.

Here we go:

1. I was surprised as heck about the very good crowd on day one. The hotels and most Air BnBs have priced normal families and middle-class folks out of the Trials. So, people are very creative. Many of our HOKA Aggie friends are staying in the Dorms, which I did in 2008, 2012, and 2016. It is the best deal in town at $120 a night for a single room, with 3 meals. I found an Air Bn B for $98 a night in a quiet neighborhood with Wifi, and the host, Lynette, has been magnificent.

2. I discovered DoorDash, which I had never used before and am happy with! I also Found Cafe Yum and, of course, a Bagel shop. Add a Starbucks, and I am set for ten days.

3. Parker Valby and Elle St. Pierre are the most impressive. Who will be the surprise in the women’s 5,000m? Neither heat was pushing it, but Elle St. Pierre looks to be in scary fitness, and Parker Valby has found that combination of cross-training and mileage to stay healthy. I suspect that she has marathon talent, but not off 40 miles a week.

The first heat of the W 5000m, Parker Valby, Elle St. Pierre, Kara Schweizer, photo by Chuck Aragon for RunBlogRun

4. Ryan Crouser’s miracle. Paul Doyle, agent for the aforementioned shot put deity, noted that, “Twelve days ago, I did not know if Ryan would be able to compete.” That is pretty darn scary. Ryan used one throw in the qualifying round to move on.’

Ryan Crouser takes Budapest shot put! 19 Aufust 2023, photo by Kevin Morris

5. The men’s 1,500-meter heats are brutal. With the semi-finals coming on Saturday, this will be a scary, tough series of races. Yared Nuguse, Hobbs Kessler, and Cole Hocker all look deadly. And who will be the surprise?

Cole Hocker, heats, June 21, 2024, 1,500m, photo by Chuck Aragon.

6. The day started with Quincy Wilson, all of sixteen, breaking U18 WR from 1979 with his 44.66. Mike Norman and Vernon Norwood all looked good, but this poised sophomore in high school could make the team!
Quincy Wilson breaks the venerable record of Derek Robinson with his 44.66! photo by Chuck Aragon
7. Sha’Carri had an untied shoe and stumbled at the start. She kept her composure and took the lead about 40 meters, running a 10.88 and dominating the heats in the Women’s 100 meters!
Sha’Carri stumbles and recovers, winning in 10.88, heat 1, W100m, photo by Chuck Aragon.

8. The Men’s 10,000 meters was a very satisfying race. I am unsure how I feel about World Rankings (confusing) and the extra tough Olympic standards, but the field showed that we have athletes who dream. Sam Chelanga, 39 years old, bolted to the lead. In 2010, he ran a 27:08 PB. Andrew Colling ran his PB in the final, pushing the pace over the last laps, and Connor Mantz put it all out there from laps 1-10, considering quitting after two miles. Jonathan Gault, esteemed writer for LetsRun.com, reminded us that Connor thinks that in every race, he does not do it.

The Men’s 10,000m medalists: Woody Kincaid, silver, Grant Fisher, gold, Nico Young, bronze, photo by Chuck Aragon,

In the end, Grant Fisher, Woody Kincaid, and Nico Young are the team, all 3 with qualifying standards (only 4 Americans have hit that standard of 27:00). Grant Fisher, America’s real hope for a medal at 5,000m and 10,000m, took off with 1200m to go, running 62 seconds, then, 60 seconds, and finally, 58 seconds. Woody Kincaid blasted the last lap in 53 plus and Nico Young and Drew Hunter battled. Nico is the collegiate record holder, having just signed with adidas, and Drew Hunter, who went pro after high school, ran his most impressive race, in my mind of his career with his 4th place in the 10,000m. Watch the Tinman Elite athlete complete in the 5,000m next week.

See you all on day 2!

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