Karissa Schweizer made a stellar effort to stay with the lead pack as tempo picked up in the women’s 10,000-meter final Saturday afternoon at Hayward Field. But ultimately the member of the Bowerman Track Club could not match the closing speed of the best distance runners in the world.
Schweizer clocked a lifetime best of 30 minutes, 18.05 seconds on the second day of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, but that was enough for ninth place, with world record holder Letesenbet Gidi of Ethiopia hitting three other runners down home. Stretch to win gold in 30:09.94.
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“I think I missed the move in the last two laps,” said Schweizer. “I felt like there was going to be a big push in that group with two gone. I got lost behind someone else who fell and before I knew it I missed the move.
“I felt like I had the pace. I feel like I was definitely in the best shape of my life, so I was really happy to be there and if the best shape of my life is ninth, that’s it today.” I hope to keep improving it every year.”
Gidi, along with teammate Izgayehu Taye, moved in front of a huge lead pack around the 7,000-meter mark and twice had to box up Kenya’s Helen Obiri to keep the lead. With a dozen runners all in contention with two laps in it, the finish was a free one.
Coming into the final turn, 11 runners were within 0.05 seconds of the lead, with Gidi and Obiri jockeying for position at the bottom of the home stretch. The Hayward crowd roared as the two fought all the way to the finish line, with Giddy drifting wide and using his body to shore up Obiri on the tape by 0.08 seconds.
The most impressive moves were taken by Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi of Kenya and defending Olympic champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands.
Hassan finished 13th and Kipkemboi 16th with 200m remaining. But they exploded around the final turn and almost made everyone straight down the final. Kipkemboi earned the bronze medal with a time of 30:10.07 and Hassan – who hadn’t run a competitive 10,000 race since the Olympics last August – finished fourth in 30:10.56.
For Schweizer, her performance at the Tokyo Olympics improved when she dropped to 12th and was passed by the lead pack.
“I’m excited compared to last year. I just wanted to be in it this year so I really stuck my nose in it,” she said. “I knew the pace was way above my PR limit. I really wanted to go out there and try to compete.
“Last year I went away very disappointed because I fell behind in that race. So it’s really exciting for me to go there with two (lap) leaders. I hope I just stick my nose in there and keep showing and Hopefully one day it will work.”
Although it was not a podium finish for Schweizer, he felt loved by the Hayward Field crowd.
“That was unbelievable,” she said of the first time she held a World Championships meeting in America. “Going to Doha (in 2019) I just remember people saying ‘Go, USA!’ But here it was like, ‘Go, Karissa!’ It was just giving me chills because it felt like hometown.
“It’s been great, just looking at all the fans. This is Tracktown, so it’s really exciting for distance runners.”
This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Schweizer finished ninth in the loaded women’s 10,000 meters