ZAP Fitness-Reebok had 3 athletes compete at the US Track and Field Championships this past weekend in Des Moines, IA. Matt McClintock kicked off theZAP racing action Thursday night in the men’s 10,000m. McClintock positioned himself in the top 10 over the early laps of the race. The race started slowly with a congested pack passing the 5k mark in 14:51. The first injection of pace came just after the halfway mark when Shadrack Kipchirchir, the #3 all-time performer in US history, threw in 2 laps at 64 and 65 seconds. That move immediately whittled the lead pack down to 4 with McClintock taking up position 5 seconds back in the chase pack. However, after 2 laps the leaders slowed and the chase pack regained contact a half mile later. With the lead pack back to 6, including ZAP’s McClintock, there was little change over the following 3k. Despite some small increases in tempo heading into the final 2k McClintock remained in the pack of 6 as they approached the bell with one lap remaining. When the dust settled McClintock ended up with a 6th place finish, the highest finish at a track championship of his career.
The racing resumed the following afternoon when Brandon Doughty took to the track in the qualifying round of the men’s 3,000m steeplechase. Doughty was in the 1st of 2 heats with the top 5 in each heat automatically qualifying forSunday’s final along with the next 4 fastest times overall. Doughty’s heat was out quickly as the field strung out in single file line immediately. Doughty positioned himself in the back of the 13 man pack and as the laps clicked by he methodically moved his way up in the field. As the field moved into the final kilometer of the 3k race the top 5 racers started to create a small separation. Doughty dug deep over the final 2 laps to finish 8th in his heat, clocking a personal best time of 8:33.28 in the process. Doughty would have to wait until the 2nd heat finished to know if his time would get him through to the final. And despite the fact that this year was the fastest time it took in over 15 years to make the steeplechase final (maybe ever as I couldn’t fine results before 2001), Doughty’s time was fast enough to move on to Sunday.
On Sunday as Doughty was beginning to take to the track for the steeplechase final the field was sent back to the warm-up track and the stadium was evacuated due to weather. The delay would last for nearly 3 hours before racing resumed with the men’s steeplechase. Doughty, battling through a nagging achilles injury, ran a gutsy race in his first US Championship final to finish 13th in8:40. 35 minutes later his teammate Joe Stilin took to the track for the men’s 5,000m where he finished 14th in 14:05.
Next up for Stilin will be the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th in Atlanta, which will serve as this year’s US 10km Road Championship. McClintock will compete next at the Crazy 8’s 8k in Kingsport, TN on July 13th. Doughty finished his season in Des Moines and will be traveling to Tampa to visit the renowned, Dr, Brian Fullem, for treatment on his achilles injury.