DAEGU, South Korea - Mike Morgan turned in the top performance of the morning for Team USA as he finished the men’s marathon in 2:18:30 to place 31st on the final day of the IAAF World Track and Field Championships.
The men ran a looped course through the streets of Downtown Daegu. The morning was slightly overcast, with a finishing temperature of 79 degrees and humidity recorded as high as 65 percent.
The American men ran in a pack in the early portions of the race. At the 5 km split all five men were within one second of each other in 16:05-16:06 in places 51-55 with one Russian mixing it up in the American pack.
Jeffrey Eggleston (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Mike Morgan (Rochester Hills, Mich.) stayed together in the 51st and 52nd position through 10 km in 32:00/32:02; however, the rest of the American pack began to string out at this point. Mike Sayenko (Bellevue, Wash.) joined a pair of Spanish runners to hit the split in 32:10 in 55th place. Sergio Reyes (Palmdale, Calif.) and Nick Arciniaga (Flagstaff, Ariz.) joined efforts to run 57th and 58th in 32:17.
Over the next 5 km, Eggleston significantly improved his position by passing seven runners to take the 43rd spot and split 15 km in 47:40. Morgan passed a few competitors as well to move into 49th and run 17 seconds behind Eggleston.
By the halfway point, the conservative start taken by Eggleston and Morgan paid off as they again passed more athletes to position themselves in 37th and 38th places respectively. Eggleston stayed on the shoulder of a Russian athlete to split 1:07:09, while Morgan joined an Israeli athlete to split 1:07:41. Reyes and Sayenko ran in a pair at 53rd/54th place and came through in 1:08:48. Arciniaga ran in 59th at 1:10:07.
Over the next 10 km, Eggleston and Morgan continued their gradual improvement as Eggleston moved to 35th and split at 25 km 1:19:37 with a Japanese athlete, and Morgan found himself running in no-man’s land but improved to 37th in 1:20:12. During the next 5 km, the two Americans moved closer together as they came through 30 km in 32nd and 33rd with only 17 seconds separating the pair (1:35:16/1:36:48).
But once Morgan moved alongside Eggleston, he gained momentum and blew past nine runners in only five kilometers. Morgan moved into first for Team USA and went through the 35 km mark in 24th place in 1:52:49. Eggleston fell back slightly to 35th in 1:54:05.
At the 40 km mark, Morgan lost two spots and split 2:10:08, while Eggleston dropped one spot to 36th (2:14:22).
Coming into the finish, Morgan fell to the ground with only meters to go, but was able to get up and cross the line in 2:18:30. Sayenko was the next finisher for Team USA in 2:22:49 for 37th place. Eggleston finished in 2:23:33 for 39th place, Arciniaga took 41st in 2:24:06 and Reyes rounded out the squad in 45th place in 2:29:15.
In the team marathon world cup standings, Team USA finished in 7th place with a combined time (first three finishers) of 7:04:52.
"I was running with some Spaniards up until 15k, when I got dropped. At that point, the pain got pretty rough, and all the negative thoughts started popping up. Then I started getting into a zone; running by myself helped, then I got into a groove, running 3:25 kilos. I ran like that the rest of the way, and started picking people off. The pain in the foot calmed down, though it never got worse, but I felt it the rest of the way. My goal was to finish in the top 20-25, and it wasn't exactly the race I was looking for."
“It was tough out there. I tried to play it conservative, I was 1:07:40 at the half and felt great at 30k, Then 35k..boom. Just like any marathon but even worse today. The silent killer was humidity and the sun peaking through a little bit that last 5k didn’t help. Then I had a nice wipeout...before the line, got up and walked it in. I still felt terrible and it’s 10 minutes later...I felt very prepared, but I was in survival mode that second half.”
“I certainly had higher expectations going into this. I felt like I was in good enough shape to run a personal best. In every marathon I’ve run in the last four I have really good instincts, so I went out in 1:07, which is 2:14 pace and it felt a little tougher than it usually does out there, but I committed myself to that pace. I wasn’t sitting back and trying to be top-20, I really put myself in the mix. With 12k to go, it felt really bad, but I was not going to quit. I have a USA singlet on; I’m not going to stop. Obviously I am very disappointed with this result, and it is just going to leave me hungry for Pan-Am’s next month.”
“Things were just not going my way from the start. Well, first 5k felt alright. I was running with these guys and almost immediately after I grabbed my first bottle I felt like I got a charlie horse in my right quad, and a couple of K later I got a few side cramps, from there it was just downhill. I got a couple good winds where I was able to speed up and pass some guys, but it was just ugly overall. Not a good day. I’m not the kind of guy to drop out of a race, I came here to represent the USA and run a marathon.”
Competition concludes this evening at the Daegu Stadium. For full results visit www.iaaf.org