GETTING STUCK IN A BROKEN ELEVATOR at the ’18 NACAC in Toronto proved to be a stroke of extreme good fortune for Robyn Stevens. Mired in close, sweaty proximity to her that trying day was fellow walker Nick Christie. Well, one thing had led to another, and another. They got to be friends, then a lot more.
And just look at Saturday morning’s pair of twin OT 20Ks: just 5:25 after Christie completed a men’s win in 1:30:48, Stevens completed her women’s win in 1:35:13.
They’re boyfriend and girlfriend now, training partners in California and the love of each other’s lives. But are they Olympians? That’s still a bit of a stretch.
While Stevens may have compiled enough WA ranking points to put her in the global top-60 list, Christie’s just not sure of his Olympic status. But both were draped in American flags and exulted in their triumphs this Saturday morning in downtown Springfield.
Stevens, 38, would have been a top Olympic walking candidate a decade-plus ago, until some major injuries put her on the sidelines for a long stretch. “It’s been a long, long road,” she said, “but this win makes it all worthwhile.”
Just as Christie led the men’s event from start to finish, Stevens did the same in the concurrent women’s race. After her opening loop of the L-shaped 1-kilo course took 4:41, she sped it up to 4:33 and 4:34, and just once in her 20 circuits, the 18th in 5:01, did she go over 5:00.
So dominant was Stevens that her year-leading 1:35:13 clocking would have beaten 12 of the 15 men’s finishers.
Veteran rival Maria Michta-Coffey, the 2-time defending OT champion, was a distant 2nd in 1:39:25, with Miranda Melville 3rd in 1:40:39.
While Stevens’ Olympic nomination seems highly promising, she knows that it would be “doubly great if
Nick was named, too.” The Olympic outlook, however, remains cloudy for Michta-Coffey and Melville.
WOMEN’S 20K WALK RESULTS
(Springfield, June 26; 1-kilo road course)
1. Robyn Stevens (WolfRC) 1:35:13 (AL)
(22:57, 23:40 [46:37], 24:05 [1:10:42], 25:31) (46:37/49:36);
2. Maria Michta-Coffey (OisWalkUSA) 1:39:25;
3. Miranda Melville (NYAC) 1:40:39;
4. Stephanie Casey (Tracksm) 1:42:32;
5. Celina Lepe (unat) 1:43:00 PR;
6. Taylor Ewert (Ar) 1:43:41;
7. Amberly Melendez (HarrTC) 1:45:31;
8. Anali Cisneros (ElgS) 1:48:57;
9. Lauren Harris (Marist) 1:50:59;
10. Chelsea Conway (Shore) 1:54:25 PR;
11. Erin Taylor Talcott (Shore) 1:54:48;
12. Janelle Branch (Tracksm) 1:57:38 PR;
13. Kayla Shapiro (Marist) 2:01:53;
14. Katie Miale (unat) 2:07:03 PR;
… dq—Audrey Fox (unat).