Grand Slam Central


March 30, 2007

Triple Crown's final jewel awaits runners


Two runners finished the Rodes City Run two weeks ago with a chance to win the Louisville Triple Crown of Running championship. One will go for it in the Papa John’s 10 Miler on Saturday morning, when another participation record could be broken.

Richmond, Ky., resident Jamie King-O’Shea, who won the women’s division in both the Anthem 5K Fitness Classic on March 3 and the Rodes City Run on March 17, hopes to become the 11th person to win the Triple Crown and the first since Susie Bush in 2004.

King-O’Shea - a 31-year-old mother of three who was profiled in a story on Thursday - has not raced more than 10 kilometers very often during her illustrious career, in which she has been a 16-time Ohio Valley Conference champion and four-time All-American at Eastern Kentucky University and also been a finalist in the 1,500 meters at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

But she thinks that her training since January, when she had a cast removed from her foot, has prepared her better for such a distance than for a race like the first leg of the Triple Crown.

“I was really scared about the 5K,” she said. “That’s normally one of my strongest races, but I hadn’t been doing much speed work. I just sat back and went for it with about 600 meters left. I was hoping that I could rely on speed I used to have and out-sprint everyone else.”

After pulling off that feat, she believed that the Triple Crown was within reach.

“I feel pretty good - pretty confident - going into this weekend,” she said.

King-O’Shea’s top challengers likely will be two-time defending champion Bonita Paul, a Bowling Green, Ky., resident who has not finished lower than second in four appearances in this race, and Bloomington, Ind., resident Heather May, a marathoner who runs for the Indiana Invaders.

Former Miami (Ohio) University All-American Chris Swisher, who now lives in Fishers, Ind., was the overall winner in both the Anthem 5K and the Rodes City Run. But he decided to look for another race as he tries to qualify for the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in June. Contrary to The Courier-Journal’s most recent reference, however, he is not running at the Stanford Invitational this weekend.

Grand Rapids, Mich., resident Kyle Baker and Richmond, Ky., resident James Mutuse probably would have been the favorites even with Swisher in the race. Baker ran in the USA Men’s 10 Mile Championship each of the last two years, when the race was part of the Papa John’s 10 Miler; he placed 17th in 2005 and 11th in 2006. Mutuse, who won the Triple Crown in 2002, was the top Kentuckian in both of those races and finished right behind Baker.

Baker was third in the Anthem 5K and second in the Rodes City Run. Mutuse was seventh in the Anthem 5K and fourth in the Rodes City Run.

Papa John’s 10 Miler administrator Pru Miller, who admitted that she is hoping for a King-O’Shea crowning, said that there were 5,337 entries through the end of early registration last weekend. She expects that number to reach between 6,200 and 6,300 after late registration today at the Brown & Williamson Club and tomorrow before the race.

“That’s been a trend,” she said. “I don’t think inclement weather will matter.”