Portland Track Weekly: Things are Heating Up / by Scott Bush

You have to love this time of year! Great track and field competition across the country, amazing road racing performances and the weather is starting to warm up.

First Things First

Portland-resident and Nike athlete Shalane Flanagan was on '60 Minutes' last night. It's not every day (or even every decade) that a distance runner is profiled on the news and current events show, so for Flanagan to have a 12-minute feature segment is pretty darn special. Flanagan grew up in Massachusetts and is competing in next Monday's Boston Marathon (with a chance to win). If you haven't taken the time to watch it yet, do so NOW.

Now to the weekend recap:

Weekend Recap

Prep: The always amazing Arcadia Invitational took place over the weekend. No surprise, it inspired yet again! Where do we start? How about PTF alum Alexa Efraimson winning the 3,200m event in 9:55.92, the fifth fastest mark of all-time. Efraimson dominated from the start, while leading three others under 10:05. Fellow junior Allie Ostrander placed second in 10:03.66, senior Bethan Knights was third in 10:04.05 and senior Anna Maxwell placed fourth in 10:04.81. Oregon-bound Sarah Baxter did not compete.

While Efraimson paced one of the all-time amazing girls distance races, the boys 3,200m was just as remarkable. Twenty (TWENTY!!!) different boys broke the nine-minute barrier. 19 broke the barrier in the invitational race, while the "B" heat winner broke 9, too. California stud Blake Haney (and future Oregon Duck) won rather easily, unleashing his speed to finish in 8:46.80. Oh, and the future is looking bright, as eight of the twenty to dip under nine were juniors or sophomores. Wow!

A prep national record went down over the weekend in South Carolina. Shot putter Raven Saunders smashed Olympic medalist Michelle Carter's record, throwing 56-8.25, taking nearly two feet off the record. Incredible!

Pro: Not a whole lot took place on the track this past weekend, but the roads sure were busy...especially in London. The London Marathon yesterday was mighty impressive. Wilson Kipsang, owner of the marathon world record, won by a dominating 26 seconds, proving he's the best in the world and a finishing time of 2:04:29. Double Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah finished eighth overall in his marathon debut with a mark of 2:08:21.

On the women's side, world champion Edna Kiplagat won by a mere three seconds over fellow Kenyan Florence Kiplagat (no relation) in 2:20:21. The two pulled away from marathon debutant Tirunesh Dibaba when she dropped her water bottle at 30k. Dibaba finished a respectable third, less than 15 seconds back.

American, and Portland-resident, Ryan Vail was the top U.S. athlete with a tenth place finish and a new personal best of 2:10:57. Go, Ryan!

College: There were some very good collegiate marks, most sprints and field events, over this past weekend, but we'll save our collegiate energy for next weekend. Until then, start prepping your mind for the big-time relay meets ahead (Mt. SAC, Kansas, Drake and Penn).

Quick Reads

Here are three of our favorite articles from this past week, all definitely worth your time and attention.

Emma Bates is Breaking Out in Boise (Running Times)

Leo Manzano Signs with HOKA ONE ONE (HOKA ONE ONE)

Eugene Set to Bid for the 2019 World Outdoor Champs (Inside the Games)

Coming Up!

We're in the heart of the spring marathon season and starting the gradual crescendo of American track and field competition. Here is what's on tap for the next week:

The Boston Marathon is a week from today! Every year Boston gets the most attention of any American marathon, besides maybe New York, but you can bet this year will be even more powerful. Shalane Flanagan, Desi Linden, Meb Keflezighi and Jason Hartmann lead the American contingent. Time to get excited!