B.A.A. High Performance coach Terrence Mahon is currently in Beijing, China, coaching Team USA at the IAAF World Championships. He shared with us a blog on his time abroad, and what to look out for in the next few days!
Hello from Team USA here in Beijing, China. Today is Tuesday, Aug 25 and we are now on Day 4 of the World Athletics Championships.
Since my arrival in Narita, Japan on Aug 9 (home of the US Training Camp) it feels like I have been going non-stop and every day just blurs into the next one. As the women’s middle and long distance coach I am in charge of managing all of the workouts for the athletes in events ranging from the 800 meters on to the marathon. So that means I have been running from track workouts to tempo runs and even escorting a few of the ladies on some long runs along the Tokyo River. The logistics can be quite challenging, but with the support of the USATF staff it has all gone off quite well. It is hard to imagine how much it takes to plan for 130 athletes and their individual training regimes leading into a World Champs event. Yet we did it. All of our athletes are healthy, fit and excited to compete. In the first few days of the Championships we have already had some really outstanding performances on both the women’s and men’s teams – and I think that it is safe to say that the US middle and long distance runners are really making their mark on the global track & field scene.
Our greatest highlight so far has been in the women’s 10,000m. Newcomer Emily Infeld kicked home to the finish line with a ferocious kick to nip Molly Huddle (the B.A.A. 5K champion and American record holder) for the Bronze medal. It is an amazing achievement for such a young athlete and a true testament to the belief that she has in herself and her training environment. Followed closely behind Emily was Molly Huddle in 4th and then Shalane Flanagan in 6th place. To have 3 athletes finish in the top 6 at a global event was not something one would ever expect from the United States. Those accolades used to be reserved for the Kenyans and Ethiopians. Is it a changing of the guard? I don’t think so, but what I will say is that it shows that our athletes no longer think of themselves as second best. The belief and drive that these ladies possess is second to none – and that is what I believe is the most important ingredient in any distance running routine. At this time last year Emily Infeld was battling from injuries and scrapping it out at the Falmouth Road Race. Tonight she will be given a medal for her performance. None of us could have predicted it, but somewhere in the back of her mind she did.
Alongside the stellar performances of our 10k women was the equally impressive heats in the women’s 3k Steeplechase. All three of our athletes qualified for the final. This has never happened before in US history, but for these ladies it all came as matter of fact. And like their 10k counterparts I look for them to be in the medal hunt as well.
But tonight is all about the women’s 1500m. The metric mile has long been a crowd favorite and tonight should be no different. This field is one the best ever assembled. We have the new world record holder racing the European Champion as well as our two top US athletes Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury. Jenny is a previous World Champ as well as a silver medalist. Shannon is a previous bronze medalist and is the new American record holder in the event. We have never had two better women step on the line for a 1500m final. They will have their hands full with their fellow competitors, but I think they will both run tremendous races and it is my bet that one or both of them will be on the podium when all is said and done.
I will get back to you soon. I am off to the track. Enjoy the races.