Spent U.S. marathon teammates give their all

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 6, 2012 - 6:28 AM

Kara Goucher's pain spoke for her after a draining 26-plus miles. The former Duluth resident finished 11th, one spot behind friend and training partner Shalane Flanagan.

view larger photos

  

LONDON - Just before the start of the women's Olympic marathon, as the runners bounced on their toes and stared straight ahead, Kara Goucher leaned over and hugged her U.S. teammate and training partner, Shalane Flanagan.

Almost 2 1/2 hours later, Flanagan crossed the finish line and sat down, exhausted. Goucher, finishing right behind her, leaned over and touched her back. After a few moments, Flanagan wrapped her right arm around the taller Goucher's shoulders, and the two stumbled off the course.

Flanagan finished 10th and Goucher 11th, numbers that don't convey how tortured both looked as they stood in the rain, trying to stay on their feet long enough to finish a sentence.

"I'm honestly just kind of like, wow," said Goucher, the Duluth native who now lives in Portland, Ore. "I definitely left it all out there. This is the most pain I've been in since childbirth, basically.

"So I know I couldn't have done any more. It's disappointing ... but, honestly, there's nothing more I could have done."

Goucher leaned on a metal railing in the interview zone. She looked at the USA public relations representative and said: "It's hard to stand right now. I'm cramping that bad. I just want you to know I'm not being dramatic. It hurts."

After their prerace hug, Goucher and Flanagan ran with the leaders for almost a quarter of the race, but a group of Ethiopians and Kenyans broke away.

Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia would win in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 7 seconds, followed by Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo and Russia's fast-closing Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova. Flanagan finished 2:44 behind the leader and 16 seconds ahead of Goucher.

"I had to talk myself through some really tough spots, and just not give in to the pain," Flanagan said. "Your body automatically wants to back off. It's like putting your hand on a stove. It's a mental battle to keep pushing.

"Those last 4 miles were the toughest. Kara thrives off those last 4 miles. She sniffs the barn, where I'm like, 'Oh, my God, that's really far.'"

Flanagan won the U.S. Olympic trials, with Goucher finishing third. In the 2008 Olympics, in Beijing, Goucher finished 10th in the 10,000 meters and ninth in the 5,000.

While training near her Portland home this spring, Goucher sounded optimistic, saying, "Something big could happen in London." Sunday morning, after running a strange, scenic course that took her past a half-dozen British landmarks and down the occasional alley, Goucher sounded disappointed with her finish but proud of her pain tolerance.

"I am so cramped right now," she said, as she struggled to stand. "The course is more difficult than I thought it would be."

Was it the occasional hairpin turns that bothered her? "I think it was everything," she said. "The turns were really breaking your rhythm. A championship race is always different because there are surges at every water station, which you usually don't get in a smaller marathon."

Goucher, still bent at the waist, hanging on the railing, apologized. "I actually can't do this right now," she said. "I'm sorry. My back is cramping."

As an assistant helped Goucher, Flanagan said, "That was so hard," and then Flanagan, too, faltered and limped away, pain etched beneath the rain running down her face.

  • related content

  • Kara Goucher

  • WOMEN'S MARATHON

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Detroit - M. Scherzer 4:37 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Kansas City - J. Vargas 8:07 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Philadelphia 6:00 PM
Washington
Tampa Bay 6:30 PM
Florida
Minnesota 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 8:00 PM
Colorado
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Chicago 7:00 PM
Philadelphia
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close