SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Alysia Montano took two laps at nationals while pregnant with her first child. It was only fair she do the same with baby No 2.
Five months pregnant, the 800-meter runner finished more than 19 seconds behind the winning time Thursday night at the U.S. track and field championships in scorching weather.
She never felt better.
“Amazing,” said Montano , who chased her nearly 3-year-old daughter around after the race.
Wearing a customized Wonder Woman top and the trademark flower in her hair, Montano finished in 2 minutes, 21.40 seconds to eclipse her previous-best pregnancy time by nearly 11 seconds. Of course, she was eight months pregnant when she attempted the endeavor in 2014 at the same track.
“Everyone is like, ‘Oh, you’re going to be faster than you were last time, because you’re less pregnant,” said Montano, whose personal-best time is 1:57.34 set in 2010. “I’m like, ‘I’m still pregnant.’”
She said she wasn’t worried about the 110-degree heat. She hydrated before the race and stayed in the shade until it was time to take the track.
“There’s something about coming out to any venue, not really expecting to win but just going along with the journey and seeing what comes out of it,” said Montano, who was dropped by her shoe sponsor and wore spikes decorated with flowers. “It’s been fantastic.”
Highlights from Day 1 of nationals:
Hassan Mead used a strong finish to break Galen Rupp’s streak of eight straight 10,000-meter national titles. Rupp wound up fifth in the final race of the night with the temperature nearly 30 degrees cooler.
“(Rupp) came and said congrats and I appreciate it. That’s world class of him,” Mead said.
HOT ON THEIR HEELS
The weather was certainly a hot topic. The trackside thermometer at one point read 111 degrees. “In the 100-meter dash, we got out on the track 30 minutes before our start time, and my feet were burning. My feet were on fire,” decathlete Trey Hardee said.
Shortly after finishing, Gabriele Grunewald’s competitors huddled around her and wished her well. This was Grunewald’s final 1,500-meter race of the season as she undergoes more chemotherapy to treat cancer that’s spread from her salivary gland to her liver.
“That was really sweet, just to have a little moment of solidarity among my competitors,” said Grunewald, who finished in 4:31.18. “It means a lot for them to acknowledge my struggle and be there for me. … There’s a sisterhood among all of us.”
Clayton Murphy advanced in the 800 and a few hours later moved on in the 1,500.
“Did what I needed to do today,” Murphy said. “Last race wasn’t pretty. But hey, got things done.”
“I was very confused as to how to stay warm because you are already so hot, but you also want to stay warm so I was confused,” said triple jump winner Keturah Orji of the University of Georgia.
FACTS & FIGURES
Although 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds plans to retire after the track season, he signed up for one more race — the Honolulu Marathon in December. “Got to keep setting goals,” Symmonds said. … 800-meter runner Ajee Wilson has eliminated beef from her diet. She had her American indoor record disqualified after the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced she tested positive for a prohibited substance that was ingested through contaminated meat. She won’t face a period of ineligibility. “I know myself. I know my heart. I know what happened,” she said. … Kara Winger won the javelin. … Molly Huddle pulled away on the last two laps to capture the 10,000.
Olympic silver medalist Tori Bowie had the top time in the first round of the women’s 100. She will be the favorite in Friday’s final. On the men’s side, NCAA champion Christian Coleman posted the fastest trip down the track.