ZAP Trio Looking for Trials Qualifiers

A trio of ZAP Endurance athletes are competing at the premier 10,000m track even if the season, The Ten, in Los Angeles tomorrow night, March 16th. Ryan Ford, Dan Schaffer, and Amanda Vestri are competing, aiming for marks that will qualify them for this summer’s Olympic Trials.

The Ten is setup exclusively for athletes to run Olympic & Olympic Trials qualifying marks at 10,000m. Annually, there is 1, maybe 2 races at 10,000m that have fields strong enough to pull athletes to these kind of times. Even globally, there are less than a handful of races of that kind of qualify. It’s unique to the 10,000m, and because of this the meet this weekend will bring in the very best US athletes as well as athletes from all across the globe.

There are 2 races for each gender, one race where the target is the Olympic Standard and one race where the target is the Olympic Trials standard. All 3 ZAP athletes will be in the races targeting the Trials standard.

After suffering a piriformis injury that forced her to miss the US Cross Country Championships in January, this race was originally scratched from Amanda’s schedule. However, over the last 2 weeks her fitness has returned rapidly and Coach Pete Rea decided she was ready to compete this weekend instead of waiting until May.

It’s a rarity to decide last minute to run a race, especially one of this caliber, but for Amanda, it was a decision that reflected the nature of the opportunity and the rapid return of fitness following a break this winter. Her race is scheduled to be paced through 5k at just under 16:00, a faster pace than her current 32:08 PR. She will be looking to finish strong and run under 32:00 for the first time in her career. The Olympic Trials automatic standard is 31:30, but it’s highly unlikely to take a time that fast to earn a spot in the field.

On the men’s side, Dan will be making his 10k debut after focusing on shorter distances a year ago where he competed in the 1500m at the US Outdoor Championships. Ryan wi be returning to the distance after running a big personal best and ZAP record of 28:09 a year ago. Both athletes will have their eye on that mark as well as running under 28:00. Their race is scheduled to be paces at 13:50-55 through the opening 5k, with the intention of targeting the US Olympic Trials automatic qualifying standard of 27:45. 

In contrast to the Olympic Marathon Trials where if you run the you’re qualified and if you don’t then you’re not, on the track there is a specific field size target. The idea is that there is an automatic standard that guarantees you entry if you hit it, but that standard is set knowing it is unlikely to fill the full field. After that, the selection process simply goes down the list of fastest times until the field size is set. If for some reason more athletes run the automatic standard than the target field size the field size will be expanded to include all automatic qualifiers.

The Ten will be streamed live on Flotrack (subscription required). Amanda’s race begins at 7:30pm pacific time (4:30pm est) with Dan and Ryan to follow at 8:08pm pacific. Live results will be available here.