Progress for the 2016 Olympic Triathlon Champion
Just over two years ago (HERE), twice ITU World Champion and Rio 2016, Gold medal winner, Gwen Jorgensen began her ‘triathlete to runner’ transition in Seattle. Indoors, over 5,000m, she ran 15:15.54 for the distance, six months after the birth of her son. It was an impressive debut and certainly ahead of what most were predicting at the time.
— Gwen Jorgensen (@gwenjorgensen) February 10, 2018
In truth – in my eyes – statistically at least, that was as good as it got. After her 11th place at the 2018 Chicago Marathon, I questioned (HERE), after reviewing all of her performances from 5,000m through the marathon, whether her stated goal over the 26.2 mile distance was the ‘wrong’ one – with that debut race being far superior to all that followed.
Surgery in 2019 meant a year on the sidelines, and in December 2019 Gwen confirmed that she would be returning to the track, and aiming at the U.S. Olympic Trials at 5,000m and/or 10,000m. A wise decision.
Two weeks ago, Gwen raced in that same race in Seattle – and sixth place / 15:47.20 (more than 30 slower than that first outing in 2018), was surely not the confidence-boosting post-injury return that she was looking for.
— Gwen Jorgensen (@gwenjorgensen) February 17, 2020
Two weeks on the situation is looking significantly brighter, as last night in Boston, Gwen cut almost five seconds from her personal best time, when finishing fifth – the race dominated by the German, Konstanze Klosterhalfen. [UPDATE – Klosterhalfen smashed the European Indoor record by 17 seconds in the process].
For some context, four British athletes ran faster than that in 2019 (Laura Weightman, Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir and Melissa Courtney-Bryant), all sub-15 minutes, with Weightman the quickest at 14:44:57, when finishing seventh in the final of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha.
The Bronze medal winner in Doha was Boston winner, Klosterhalfen, who ran a slightly quicker time of 14:28.43 to her run last night.
U.S. women’s distance running is currently strong – there were three other American women ahead of Gwen last night – but given the frustrations of the last two years, surgery and recovery, a personal best time will be a very welcome boost en-route to the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.
Boston University Last Chance Invitational – Thursday 27th February 2020
1st – Konstanze Klosterhalfen (GER) – 14:30.79
2nd – Vanessa Fraser (USA) – 14:48.51
3rd – Emily Infield (USA) – 14:51.91
4th – Courtney Frerichs (USA) – 15:02.91
5th – Gwen Jorgensen (USA) – 15:10.98
— Gwen Jorgensen (@gwenjorgensen) February 28, 2020