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Degrees of Separation: Entire U.S. marathon team has link to Mammoth

April 13, 2012

Kara Goucher, training in Mammoth for nearly all of April. Photo/Wikimedia Commons

Here’s an idea you can run with:

Take any marathon runner at this summer’s Olympics, then link him or her to Mammoth.

It shouldn’t be hard.

Unlike the parlor game “Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon,” the entire U.S. contingent in London is at least one degree from Mammoth.

In addition, many of the other top distance runners also have various degrees of separation from Mammoth, meaning that at one time or another, they have lived or trained here.

Tourism director John Urdi made sure the Town Council knew about that last week at the council’s regular meeting, and High Sierra Striders coach Andrew Kastor reinforced Urdi’s remarks in a rundown (so to speak) of the status of the Mammoth Track Club’s athletes.

It’s a remarkable list, by any standard of athletics.

The three representatives on the U.S. women’s marathon team are Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan and Desiree Davila. 

Goucher is spending all of this month in Mammoth to train. Flanagan and Davila are regulars on Mammoth’s roads.

On the men’s side, there is Meb Kefleghizi, who lives here, along with Ryan Hall, two degrees of separation away, having dropped out of the Mammoth Track Club after several years.

Third among the men is Somali-American Abdihakem Abdirahman, who starred at the University of Tuscon and gained U.S. citizenship in 2000. He trained here in 2004.

But why stop with the marathoners?

Mammoth Track Club’s Morgan Uceny is ranked No. 1 in the world in the 1500 meters, and her star should be shining brightly by the time she gets to Eugene.

Alistair Cragg, a Mammoth Track Club member and a 5k winner in San Diego last week, has been named to the Irish Olympic team.

“All of our athletes have a great shot,” Kastor said, referring to the Olympic Trials in Eugene. June 21-July 1.

He specifically named Scott Bauhs in the 5k and 10k and Jen Rhines.

Angela Bizzari is a strong candidate in the 5k, while Amy Hastings, who was fourth in the marathon trials, will be running the 10k with Bizzari. 

Deena Kastor, meanwhile, will be trying to make her fourth Olympic team, and the others will be trying to make their first.

Anna Pierce will be trying to make her second team; Rhines will be trying to make her fourth; and Mammoth Track Club runner Partick Smyth, a seven-time All-American at the University of Notre Dame, and a Big East champion at 5,000m and 10,000m (twice), will be looking to make the team.

Kevin Bacon, however, won’t be there. He’s too busy making movies and creating more degrees of separation in Hollywood.

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