SANTEE, CALIF. – John Nunn won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Men’s 50 km Race Walk in 4:04:41 to lead a fast race that saw multiple American and course records set Sunday in Santee, Calif.
Olympians at the 20 km distance, Nunn and Tim Seaman, both of San Diego, pushed each other throughout the race with several changes of the lead as both walked well under the Olympic “B” standard of 4:09. Seaman finished second in 4:05:50. The duo led the way for the top five men to better the previous course record of 4:28:53 set in 2009 by current race director Philip Dunn.
The athletes were greeted to near perfect conditions in the 40’s and 50’s as they covered the 1.25 km loop on the streets of Santee. The 50 kilometer distance required the athletes to complete 40 laps on the course. This 31 mile distance is the longest track and field event offered in the Olympics.
From the early stages of the race a pack of five men emerged as the lead pack including: Nunn, Seamain, Ben Shorey (Kenosha, Wisc.), Patrick Stroupe (Armstrong, Mo.) and Erich Cordero (Pompano Beach, Fla.). The men remained within feet of each other with no one separating from the others. The group pushed the pace to come through the half-way point well under the Olympic “B” standard pace of 4:09. At 25 km, the top four men split 2:03:35, with Cordero falling back slightly.
At 35 km, the race began in earnest as Nunn surged ahead of his competitors to quickly build a 20-30 meter lead over Seaman. Nunn held his lead for nearly 10 km before Seaman was able to reel him back in to take the lead at the 45 km mark. From there it was a two man race as the two walked shoulder-to-shoulder for the next two laps of the course. The two veterans pushed one another and extended their lead as the pulled out of sight of Shorey and Stroupe.
Going into the bell lap, Nunn pulled away by nearly 50 meters over Seaman and never looked back as he extended his lead by one minute and twelve seconds to win the Olympic Trials and set the course record of 4:04:38. Nunn’s time improves his PR by nearly ten minutes.
Seaman finished as the runner-up in 4:05:50, while Shorey rounded out the podium taking third in 4:17:30. Stroupe set a PR by more than seven minutes to finish fourth in 4:19:43, and Cordero finished fifth in 4:28:03.
The fast pace of the day also produced numerous American Records. Erin Taylor-Talcott (Owego, N.Y.) not only became the first woman allowed to compete as a guest in the 50 km Olympic Trials, but also recorded three American Records en route to her historic finish. Talcott first established the 25 km record in 2:13:38 before bettering her own 35 km record in 3:08:33 and finally setting the 50 km record by nearly six minutes with her sixth place finish of 4:33:23. Allen James (Sanborn, N.Y.) also added his name to the record books for the 45-49 division with his 35 km split of 3:06:35. James went on to finish seventh in 4:39:25.
Today’s race served as the selector for Team USA for both the 2012 Olympic Games and the IAAF World Race Walking Cup. For details on the selection to both teams, visit www.usatf.org.
John Nunn – “You know it has been a long road to get back. I didn’t make the team in ‘08 and it was a hard push. My daughter was 6-months-old when I went in ’04, and I really wanted to give her a chance to come and see it again. It is a dream come true to make it again, and to know she can experience that and have it in her mind for the rest of her life to go and see me compete in the Olympics.
“Hopefully it made the race really exciting. I know that about 38 km in, I pulled away from Tim [Seaman], then he pulled away at 43 km, and made it look like I was standing still. When I caught him it was like’ what the heck, who is going to pull this off?’. It was a long walk to be that close in the end.
Tim Seaman – “Very few people believed in me, the boys from Cuyamaca were out here today and they really, really motivated me and I couldn’t have done it without them. I’m 39 years old, I almost got my PR. I did the best I could, and I couldn’t have done better.”
Ben Shorey –“It went well. I wanted to go and see what I could do. We were all walking for a B and I tried to go as long as I could with the other guys, but they both have way more training years on me. It is just going to be a few more years for me. The people were awesome today, the course was great.”
Erin Taylor-Talcott –“It is pretty cool to set the records. I was hoping for two of them, but I didn’t even know about the third – the 25k. But that’s mostly because it hadn’t been in the books.
“I’m most proud of getting here, it was a fight to get here and luckily there were enough people that saw the bigger vision. It was a chance for women to show that we can do this too. There is inequality in our sport and it is time to see if we can get that fixed.”
For more information on the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Men’s 50 km Race Walk, visit www.usatf.org.