Texas Qualifier — A Fast 10K For Konstanze Klosterhalfen

A track-debut 31:01.71 gave Konstanze Klosterhalfen both an Olympic qualifier and a German Record. (KEVIN MORRIS)

AUSTIN, TEXAS, February 26-27 — Of all the times and places Konstanze Klosterhalfen might have broken Germany’s almost-three-decades-old 10,000 record, the Texas Qualifier was the most improbable. But there she was, one of the world’s top runners, circling the track at a tiny high school on the outskirts of town — with almost no one there to cheer her on.

These are the strange times we live in.

The 24-year-old Klosterhalfen was one of dozens of world-class runners who flocked to this rare opportunity to race, organized semi-secretly by Trials Of Miles Racing, to chase either an Olympic Trials or Olympic Games qualifying time. The location, St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, was kept secret until the last minute so as not to draw crowds.

The event — in 72-degree (22C) but humid conditions — didn’t produce quite as many qualifiers as hoped, but Klosterhalfen’s impressive, almost entirely solo 31:01.71 provided an exciting climax to the weekend.

Pacemaking through 3K produced the laps in the low 75s necessary to hit the Olympic standard of 31:25.00, but when Keira D’Amato had to take the reins, she faltered. After three laps in the 76–78 range, Klosterhalfen received a “go for it” gesture from her coach and took off on her own with stereotypical German precision, returning to 73–75 territory.

The announcer proclaimed that Kathrin Wessel’s national record was under threat, spurring Klosterhalfen to a 68.89 final circuit, shaving 1.91 off the old mark. She lapped the entire field, with D’Amato coming 2nd in a PR 32:16.82.

An ecstatic Klosterhalfen admitted that claiming a record had not been her intention, explaining, “Not at all. I’ve never run a [track] 10K before and I was a bit nervous because of the length of the race. I just ran and then my coach said ‘Now you pick it up and you can make it.’

“The goal was just to run the Olympic standard. We decided very spontaneously to run this race in case there was no opportunity before the Olympics. So we decided a few days ago.”

She found the solo running to her liking: “This felt easier than running behind and trying not to step into each other and I really like running in front.”

Asked why she would come all the way to this obscure location for the run, she said, “I’ve never been to Texas. I’ve been in Phoenix for a training camp and I’m training in the United States, so it’s not such a long way.

“I have a great team and there is always somebody to run with,” she says of Pete Julian’s training group. “There is always somebody for speed and somebody for longer distance. We’re always mixing it up. It’s very nice. I’m thankful for this team.”

So if she’s breaking records in February, where will that put her by summer? “I forget it’s just February,” she said. “I’m used to the German seasons. I think ‘It’s such nice weather’ and then, ‘Oh, it’s just February.’ Yeah, it was the first step into the summer season, just a little step for the training block and I’m excited to go back to work.

“I hope [for] sub-31. It’s not such a long way. We’ll see, that was the first 10K, and first I want to run a few 5K and 1500, maybe a few 800. I’m still not a 10K runner.”

Is a 5K/10K double in Tokyo possible? “The Olympics is still a long way away,” she said.

Also achieving Oly standards were Ajee’ Wilson in the 800 (1:58.93) and Elinor Purrier in the 5000 (15:08.61).

Purrier said she gained useful information for her ’21 campaign. “I remembered how much a 5K hurts and how much I really hope I can do the 1500,” she laughed. “I definitely am happy with my training right now and I think [the 5,000] is a really good option for me so I’m not counting it out.”

A recently announced change in the OT schedule, putting both finals on the same night, “definitely makes it harder to make a decision.”

Wilson said she was grateful for the chance to compete: “Any chance to run fast is one we’re trying to take, given the times. Being in the atmosphere, seeing everyone that’s usually on the circuit kind of helps you get into it more. Even going through my warmup yesterday in the premeet, seeing familiar faces and being back in the atmosphere kind of [flips] a switch.”

In the Friday night session, Michigan prep Hobbs Kessler had high hopes for a fast 1500, but fell early and trudged home last in 3:52.80. On Saturday he ran the prep 1600 and won in 4:08.53 (worth 4:09.98 for a mile).


TEXAS QUALIFIER MEN’S RESULTS

800(2/26): 1. Josh Hoey (adi) 1:47.66 PR; 2. Olivier Desmueles’ (Can) 1:48.50 PR.

800: 1. Isaiah Harris (Nik) 1:46.19; 2. Jesus López’ (Mex) 1:46.25; 3. Michael Rhoads (USAF) 1:47.32; 4. Sam Ellison (unat) 1:47.36; 5. Drew Piazza (NBal) 1:48.61.

1500s

1500(2/26): 1. Ryan Adams (unat) 3:38.17 PR; 2. Talem Franco (unat) 3:39.18 PR; 3. Alex Rogers (ReebB) 3:39.47 PR; 4. Jeff Thies (adiTinE) 3:39.62 PR; 5. Jack Anstey’ (IlSt) 3:39.73 PR; 6. Isaac Updike (EmpE) 3:41.47 PR;… 10. Hobbs Kessler (MiHS) 3:52.80 (fell).

1500: 1. Justyn Knight’ (Can) 3:36.62; 2. Amos Bartelsmeyer’ (Ger) 3:37.01; 3. Charlie Hunter’ (Or) 3:37.61 PR; 4. Sam Prakel (adi) 3:38.05; 5. Johnny Gregorek (Asics) 3:39.24; 6. Kasey Knevelbaard (WesFly) 3:40.09 PR; 7. Vincent Ciattei (Nik) 3:40.54; 8. Paul Ryan (WaSt) 3:40.89 PR; 9. Nick Willis’ (NZ) 3:41.09; 10. Craig Nowak (unat) 3:41.16; 11. James Randon (SaucF) 3:41.67; 12. Eric Jenkins (Nik) 3:41.85; 13. James West’ (GB) 3:42.68; 14. Pat Casey (UArm) 3:43.76; 15. Josh Thompson (NikBow) 3:44.35.

5000s

5000(2/26): 1. Craig Engels (Nik) 13:36.91 PR; 2. Donn Cabral (unat) 13:37.28; 3. Sydney Gidabuday (TinE) 13:37.93; 4. Jackson Mestler (unat) 13:39.23 PR; 5. Obsa Ali (Asics) 13:39.27 PR; 6. Frank Lara (RRP) 13:40.07 PR; 7. Brian Barraza (TinE) 13:42.39; 8. Dan Curts (unat) 13:43.02 PR; 9. Alex Monroe (unat) 13:48.21; 10. Farah Abdulkarim’ (Can) 13:49.42.

5000: 1. Mason Ferlic (unat) 13:25.92 PR; 2. Hillary Bor (Hoka) 13:26.74 PR; 3. Biya Simbassa (unat) 13:27.70; 4. Kirubel Erassa (Hoka) 13:34.52; 5. Willy Fink (UArm) 13:42.69; 6. Ben Flanagan’ (Can) 13:44.87.

10,000s

10,000(2/26): 1. Sid Vaughn (HokaNAZ) 28:39.37; 2. Nico Montanez (MammTC) 28:41.00; 3. Nick Hauger (HokaNAZ) 28:42.30 PR; 4. Luke Beattie (UtSt) 28:51.88 PR; 5. Tim McGowan (BAA) 28:58.84.

10,000: 1. Zouhair Talbi’ (Mor) 28:12.41; 2. Tsegay Tuemay’ (Eri) 28:46.71; 3. Sam Chelanga (unat) 28:57.73; 4. Benjamin Eidenschink (unat) 28:58.23.

TEXAS QUALIFIER WOMEN’S RESULTS

800s

800(2/26): 1. Roisin Willis (WiHS) 2:03.85 PR (x, 8 HS);

2. Sophia Gorriaran (RIHS) 2:04.20; 3. Susan Ejore’ (Ken) 2:04.83; 4. Brooke Feldmeier (adi) 2:04.85; 5. Kelsey Harris (unat) 2:06.35; 6. Brenna Detra (BAA) 2:06.63; 7. Carsyn Johnson (CSTC) 2:07.23; 8. Olga Kosichenko (CPTC) 2:07.41; 9. Savannah Camacho-Colon (EP) 2:08.95.

800: 1. Ajee’ Wilson (adi) 1:58.93; 2. Kaela Edwards (adi) 1:59.86; 3. Hannah Segrave’ (GB) 2:01.33; 4. Adelle Tracey’ (GB) 2:01.56; 5. Ce’Aira Brown (Hoka) 2:02.15; 6. Kate Grace (Nik) 2:02.76; 7. Alexa Efraimson (Nik) 2:03.28; 8. Sammy Watson (adi) 2:03.30; 9. Kendra Chambers (Ois) 2:03.77.

1500s

1500(2/26): 1. Laura Galvan’ (Mex) 4:12.80; 2. Amanda Eccleston (Brk) 4:12.89; 3. Dani Aragon (EmpE) 4:14.90; 4. Dana Mecke (CSTC) 4:15.09.

1500: 1. Gabriela DeBues-Stafford’ (Can) 4:10.09; 2. Sinclaire Johnson (NikBowTC) 4:10.75; 3. Shannon Osika (Nik) 4:10.84; 4. Cory McGee (NBal) 4:11.90; 5. Nikki Hiltz (adi) 4:14.28; 6. Sara Vaughn (NYAC) 4:14.59; 7. Jenna Westaway’ (Can) 4:18.87.

5000s

5000(2/26): 1. Andrea Limon’ (Mex) 15:28.47 PR; 2. Carmela Cardama’ (Spa) 15:31.40 PR; 3. Leah Falland (OnAC) 15:32.61 PR; 4. Carrie Verdon (TmBou) 15:38.61 PR; 5. Maddie Alm (Boss) 15:39.42 PR; 6. Grayson Murphy (SaucF) 15:44.61 PR; 7. Emily Oren (OnAC) 15:46.39; 8. Gabrielle Jennings (unat) 15:47.57 PR; 9. Sammy George (unat) 15:48.32 PR; 10. Millie Paladino (NBal) 15:49.46 PR.

5000: 1. Elle Purrier (NBal) 15:08.61; 2. Weini Kelati’ (Eri) 15:13.12 NR; 3. Josette Norris (ReebB) 15:19.31 PR; 4. Rachel Schneider (UArm) 15:23.25; 5. Emma Coburn (NBal) 15:24.76 PR; 6. Laura Galván’ (Mex) 15:28.20; 7. Shannon Lokedi’ (Ken) 15:30.98; 8. Julie-Anne Staehli’ (Can) 15:32.46 PR; 9. Emily Lipari (adi) 15:42.73.

10,000s

10,000(2/26): 1. Valeriya Zinenko’ (Ukr) 32:43.15; 2. Molly Grabill (Nomad) 32:46.95 PR; 3. Tansey Lystad (BouU) 33:19.54 PR; 4. Katy Kunc (Tracksm) 33:23.39 PR; 5. Bria Wetsch (BouU) 33:26.12 PR; 6. Hannah Dorman (Hoka) 33:29.07; 7. Maddie Ivy (unat) 33:31.83 PR; 8. Brittney Feivor (unat) 33:42.00 PR; 9. Catarina Rocha (OcS) 33:56.60.

10,000: 1. Konstanze Klosterhalfen’ (Ger) 31:01.71 NR; 2. Keira D’Amato (Nik) 32:16.82 PR; 3. Biruktayit Degefa’ (Eth) 32:19.31 PR; 4. Emily Durgin (UArm) 32:41.46; 5. Makena Morley (Asics) 33:05.16; 6. Limon’ 33:16.68 PR; 7. Diane Nukuri (Asics) 33:30.70; 8. Lindsay Flanagan (Asics) 33:44.04.

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