SteepleChic Anna Willard Wins Mile at Tyson Invite

Photo by Kirby Lee

The Nutrilite Women’s Mile at the Tyson Invitational Indoor Track & Field Meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas, was loaded: Anna Willard, 2008 Olympian in the 3000m Steeplechase; Treniere Clement, multiple USA 1500m Champ; Sally Kipyego, arguably the best NCAA distance runner ever, from Texas Tech; Brie Felnagle, another NCAA force from UNC; and Sarah Bowman, the NCAA leader in the Mile coming into the race.

Erica Fountain, the rabbit (pacemaker), took the pace out quickly, with the first 400m being run in 65.4 (that’s 4:22 pace). Off her shoulder ran Bowman, while the rest of the pack spread out behind them on the banked 200m oval. Fountain dropped out at the 600m mark and Bowman took over and pushed the pace. Hovering about ten meters back were Clement and Willard.

As the race progressed, Clement faced, Willard stayed on Bowman’s tail and Kipyego and Felnagle followed as Bowman went through 800m in about 2:15. Then Kipyego took over until two laps to go, when Willard decided to make her presence undeniable.

Felnagle had a great finish and threatened to catch Willard but the Olympian put down the hammer and won in a new PR 4:30.69, putting her 3rd on the 2009 World list. Kipyego (4:32.01) barely edged out Felnagle for 3rd (4:32.17), both runners taking over the top two spots on the 2009 NCAA list. Bowman hung on for 5th in 4:34.69, a PR and 3rd on the NCAA list.

Thanks to TrackShark.com for their Twitter updates during the race and their excellent coverage of the meet overall.

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