Sacramento Running News

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US Outdoor Nationals: Days Four and Five

June 30, 2014 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Track

Simpson wins

Simpson wins in 4:04.96! (Photo courtesy of

Quiet has settled on Hornet Stadium. The fans are gone. The races and jumps are over. Now the post-event analysis can commence.

All in all, I think the event was a tremendous success. USATF is reporting final attendance numbers of 32,700, which doesn’t include the crowds that showed up for the shot put at the State Capitol. This far exceeded the promised minimum 22,500 that Event Director John Mansoor had promised to USATF in pitching Sacramento as host for the event.

The race of the weekend would have to be the women’s 400 meters, where Francena McCorory  edged out Sanya Richards-Ross in the last 100 meters and won in 49.48, which is the 5th fastest time by an American.

Or maybe it was the Women’s 1500, where we got to watch a super talented women’s field duke it out, Morgan Uceny fall down again, and Jenny Simpson win decisively, but not easily, over the surging Mary Cain and the tenacious Katie Mackey.

Or perhaps it was Oregon’s Devon Allen’s surprise (and narrow) win in the 110 meter hurdles, where he got to add “national champion” to “NCAA champion” to his resume.

It’s hard to say what the best would really be, but it was fun as anything to be hanging around Hornet Stadium for the past four days. The races were thrilling. Stadium records fell. Personal bests were earned by many. Athletes heaped praise on the Sacramento fans. And really, while it was hot, it wasn’t all that hot.

If you want a run-down of the day’s events, you can read USATF’s summary here, but the Sacramento Bee’s coverage has been pretty excellent. Here’s Monday’s article, and here is Sunday’s report. While you are at it, you might as well read what they published on Saturday, too.

Local Athlete Notes:

Stephanie Brown Trafton, of Sacramento finished in 4th in the discuss with a throw of 58.84. “Having it here at Sac State, I was a little nervous to tell the truth,” said Trafton. “I was looking forward to just having a calm meet but the adrenaline–pumping competitive juices get pumping and it doesn’t matter whether you’re in Beijing or London. I’m looking forward to coming back to Sacramento in 2017. I might be retired by then, but who knows, maybe I’ll come out of retirement just for that year. It’s great to be able to throw inside the stadium. You don’t get to do that at so many stadiums anymore.”

Chris Kirkwood, of Sacramento, finished 17th in the javelin, with a throw of 64.32 meters.

Some Random Thoughts About the Event:

Now that the event is over, here are a few thoughts I’ve been thinking.

  • There are die-hard track fans in Sacramento and it was fun having them all in one place.
  • Holding the shot-put at the State Capitol was genius. It was fun to watch, there were big crowds, and those athletes got to be the stars for a change.
  • The Hornet Stadium bleachers need an upgrade.  Seriously. The track and athlete facilities are state of the art, but the fans are still treated poorly. Those “temporary” bleachers and toilets have been there for as long as I can remember.
  • Some awnings or an overhang would also be nice. It’s pretty baking hot in the afternoon, even on the shady side of the stadium.
  • The food trucks were great! The food was pretty high quality and varied., and surprisingly not too expensive.
  • The beer, however, was lame. There are any number of local breweries who could have provided much better beer for the same price. Charging $6 for Coors Light should be a crime in this town, especially when we are fighting with Eugene (and Oregon) to keep the event here. The local food trucks were great, let’s do the same with the beer.
  • Don’t charge me $10 for parking in addition to the event fee. I don’t mind paying $10 for a single day, but $40 for the full event seems a bit pricey–particularly when transit and bicycle parking aren’t available. If USATF has to pay the venue for parking, then build it into the ticket price.
  • Spend $100 on signs! There weren’t signs explaining where to purchase tickets, where to find bathrooms, where the entrance to the venue was, what you could and couldn’t bring inside, etc.
  • USATF needs to advertise the event more aggressively. Hire a marketing firm. Give $5 tickets to high-school athletes and track clubs to fill the general admission seats.
  • Consider fiddling with the schedule to adjust for Sacramento’s heat. I know the sprinters like the heat for the faster times, but the distance events are better when it’s cooler. Let’s take advantage of the cooler mornings for the long runs and save the fans from baking in the sun on the last two afternoons.
  • Let’s do it again, soon! This time I’ll get my tickets earlier so I can be closer to the track!


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