ZAP-Reebok had three athletes compete at the US Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa last month, and for each of them it was their first appearance at the National Championships. Mary Ballinger was the first to race in the Women’s 3000m steeplechase preliminary round and was in ideal position with just over three laps remaining before she clipped a barrier and went to the track, unable to advance to the final. It was not the end of the season for Ballinger however, as she raced this past weekend at the Birmingham Diamond League Meet where she competed against several of the best athletes in the world. Ballinger posted the 3rd fastest time of her career and will race a 1500m race in Belgium tomorrow evening.
Later that same evening, Tyler Pennel toed the line in the Men’s 10,000m run. Pennel, battling many of the country’s best as well as the 80 degree weather turned in a fine performance in a tactical final. The race was slow through the first half, but contained dramatic surging much of the second. Pennel managed the race well and moved up steadily through the race until the final push came with just under 2 miles to go. Pennel was able to move well the final 6 laps, despite the yo-yo pace for much of the way, and finish in 10th place.
Cameron Bean competed in the Men’s 3000m steeplechase preliminary round and fought through the brutal mid-day heat to make the final in his first US Championship appearance. Bean concluded his year with a 14th place finish in the final, and has posted a PR in each of his first 3 seasons as a ZAP-Reebok athlete, finishing this season with a best of 8:32.
Sarah Crouch made her half marathon debut at the US Half Marathon Championships the same weekend the track athletes were competing in Des Moines. Crouch, and teammate Esther Erb, were just a few hours up the road in Duluth, MN and both had impressive runs. Crouch ran an impressive 1:13:34 in her first half marathon while Erb broke 1:15 for the first time with a time of 1:14:35. Cole Atkins was forced to drop out of the men’s race with a calf injury, but he was back two weeks later to run the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta.