Grace, O'Connor, And Felnagle Ready For First Test Of 2017 At UW Preview

@norcaldistance Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 9.29.27 PM.png

Some of the U.S.'s best distance professionals will open their 2017 seasons at the Washington Preview this Saturday LIVE on FloTrack. The NorCal Distance Project trio of Kate Grace, Leah O'Connor, and Brie Felnagle will line up in the 3000m to test their fitness and kick off the new year.

The group arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona to kick off a month of training at 7000 feet in mid December. The mountain town is home to several professional runners and groups, like Hoka One One's NAZ Elite, but at any month in the year Flagstaff is a temporary training home to the world's best athletes. Grace, O'Connor, and Felnagle are new teammates--O'Connor joined in September and Felnagle in November--and the trip was the perfect mix of hard training and forming friendships.

"It's been good for us to get to know each other," O'Connor said. "We all do kind of specialize in different events, but when we all come together there are certain points in different workouts where somebody else strength kind of leads us to more quality work maybe than we would have been able to do on our own."

O'Connor joined the group in September after suffering a partial tear in her plantar fascia before the Olympic Trials. The 9:18 3K steeplechaser--the third-fastest American ever after Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson--finished 14th in the Trials final and knew she needed a change.

Related Read: Leah O'Connor Joins NorCal Distance Project

For Felnagle, the familiarity of NorCal Distance coach Drew Wartenburg and Olympian Kim Conley led her to move from her native Washington to Sacramento.

"I've actually known Drew since high school," Felnagle said. "I had that connection. Knowing him and Kim personally made it not as much of a change."

Felnagle was the 2007 NCAA champion in the 1500m running for the University of North Carolina and has been training in Washington, most recently with the Beasts Track Club, ever since. She set PBs in the 1500m (4:05) and 5K (15:14) in 2013 and qualified for the IAAF World cross country championships in 2015.

"I think we've all had a day where we weren't feeling it," Felnagle said of the training in Flagstaff. "It's so nice to just be able to latch onto someone else's energy."

"Comparing to the outdoor season, speedy workouts [leading up to the indoor season] are harder," Grace added. "But that's always kind of the case because you're basically hitting those speeds for the first time."

This Saturday in Seattle will be the trio's first big test of 2017. They'll be rabbited by their teammate, Olympian Kim Conley, who coincidentally won this race last year in 9:01.

For Felnagle and Grace, their return to the Dempsey Indoor facility will be a familiar one. Their current 3K PBs of 8:54 and 8:55 come from finishing first and second, respectively, at the 2013 UW Invite. FloTrack has the highlights to prove it:



Watch the UW Indoor Preview LIVE on FloTrack this Saturday, January 14!

Christian Coleman Crushes 60m World Record In His Season Opener

DT8ZhghXkAY1zsK-1.jpg

Today, in his first meet of the year, Christian Coleman set the bar for his season incredibly high and put the world on notice. 

Vincent Crisp Runs Fastest Collegiate Time Ever For 600 Yards

Kirby Lee VincentCrisp.jpg

Texas Tech junior Vincent Crisp posted the fastest indoor collegiate mark of all time over 600 yards on Friday. Competing at the Texas Tech Red Raider Invitational in Lubbock, Texas, Crisp ran 1:08.16 and held off TCU’s Derrick Mokaleng, who ran 1:08.18.

Austin, Texas, Chasing History With Olympic Trials Bid

Capital.png

Austin, Texas, has hosted the NCAA track and field championships and currently stages one of the largest track meets of the calendar, the Texas Relays. The city has a robust road racing scene, bolstered by the presence of elite athletes and high-level training groups. But Austin has never hosted a USA track and field championship event — not for any distance on the roads, cross country or track and field. And certainly not the Olympic Trials. 

Justin Gatlin Switches Coaches After Investigation Uncovers Doping Scandal

Gatlin.jpg

Justin Gatlin has officially begun his career after Dennis Mitchell. Reuters reported on Friday that Gatlin is being coached by Brooks Johnson in Orlando, Florida. Gatlin fired Mitchell in December after Mitchell was implicated in a doping sting facilitated by the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph. 

Robert Kigen, Felix Kandie Headline Napoli City Half Marathon

NCHM-1024x556.jpg

Nobert Kigen and Felix Kandie of Kenya headline a men’s pro field aiming for a sub-60 minute performance at the fifth Napoli City Half Marathon in Naples, Italy.

Olympians, Top Collegians Clash At Larry Wieczorek Invitational

WC17+-+Fred+Kerley+-+400m+semi-1.jpg

The Larry Wieczorek Invitational this Friday and Saturday at the University of Iowa has it all: top professional athletes like Fred Kerley, Olympic champions and world record holders like Aries Merritt, and defending NCAA champions like Mikiah Brisco of LSU. 

Centro Passing On Indoors In 2018

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports CentroWillis.jpg

Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz is skipping the indoor season and instead will race outdoors in Australia. 

20 Events You Cannot Miss at The VA Showcase!

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Tyrese Cooper

The 2017 VA Showcase saw 11 U.S. No. 1 performances, two national records, and its alumni went on to win a staggering 33 indoor national titles. Needless to say, it was the greatest regular season meet of all time. 

Mondo's Swedish Indoor Record, Men's Pole Vault Summit Marks Invalidated

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Mondo eighth at Worlds 2017

By Becca Peter of @PoleVaultPower

The 2018 UCS/Spirit National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada, featured some of the best elite performances in the event’s 28-year history, including world-leading marks by Mondo Duplantis and Sandi Morris.

FloTrack To Stream 16 International Events For UK And Ireland

© James Lang-USA TODAY Sports Chris O'Hare

FloTrack will live-stream the following 16 events exclusively for subscribers in the United Kingdom and Ireland.