This time of year everyone is focused on the big competitions – Rome, Paris, Zurich, Oslo, New York, Lausanne, London, etc. It’s those locations that have the big budgets and the ability to bring in the big names and provide the ticket buyer with the splashy results.
Every once in a while, however, the little out of the way meets attract enough athletes looking for an extra meet, or a tune up prior to a “big” meet, to get some pretty good results. Such was the case yesterday, as the little town of Lignano Sabiaddoro in Italy, as American women did a number in the 800 meters. To be honest I had never even heard of the town until I was scanning through results earlier today. And even then nothing was really striking as I scanned through.
10.10 to win the men’s 100. 45.85 took the 400. 22.71 the women’s 200. But then I got to the women’s 800 and the following results:
The times are huge for our women. Personal bests for Johnson, Uceny and Beckwith. Johnson’s mark moves her into the all time top 10 American women at #9. Most importantly it continues the improvement US women have been showing in the middle distances over the past two seasons. It’s a big race for Johnson who has shown talent in the past but just hasn’t been able to break through. Perhaps this will be her race. Uceny has been improving like crazy in both the 800/1500 this season, and looks ready to step up and be a major competitor.
Add in Anna Pierce (5th here, but had a late start to her season), Christin Wurth Thomas (who ran a big 1500 just this past week), Maggie Vessey (2nd here but broke through last year at 1:57.84), Shannon Rowbury, Jenny Barringer, and Phoebe Wright (in the middle of a big breakout season), and suddenly we’re looking very strong in the middle distances for women!
I’m looking forward to great things from this group in the very near future.