Fast Women: Big win and a trumpet for Kellyn Taylor
HOKA NAZ Elite goes 1-2 in Iowa.
Issue 249, sponsored by New Balance
Kellyn Taylor wins the USATF 7 Mile Championships
Seven months after having her daughter, Keagan, Kellyn Taylor won Saturday’s USATF 7 Mile Championships, hosted by the Bix 7, in Davenport, Iowa. It was Taylor’s second national title, and this one had special significance. “It’s cool just doing things that I think some people think you can’t do after having a kid, and just proving to myself that I’m still able to run well and compete with the best of them,” she told Fast Women. “And showing you can still do hard things, even though you have a family.”
Taylor, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Ednah Kurgat, and Annie Frisbie separated themselves from the rest of the field early, on a course Taylor described as “hilly as heck.” By halfway, Frisbie had fallen off and it was down to three. And shortly after, Taylor and Tuliamuk, teammates who both run for HOKA Northern Arizona (NAZ) Elite, made it a two-woman race, pulling away from Kurgat. Tuliamuk opened up a gap in the final miles, but Taylor remained within striking distance. And with less than a half mile remaining, Taylor made her move, drawing even with Tuliamuk, and then going by.
Taylor extended her lead to the finish and won, 36:33 to 36:38, on a hot and humid morning. Taylor earned $12,500 for the win, along with an unusual trophy. It includes a working trumpet, which elicited some questions at the airport on her way home from the race.
The trumpet is a nod to jazz musician and Davenport native Bix Beiderbecke, whom the race was named after. And it was kind of fitting, because Taylor used to play trumpet, when she was in middle school. She grew up only three and a half hours away from Davenport, in Sussex, Wisconsin, so her parents came to cheer her on over the weekend. And while they’re supportive of her running career, Taylor’s mother reminded her that she wasn’t very good at the trumpet.
With the arrival of Keagan at the end of December, Taylor became a mother of four. She had her first child, Kylyn, now 13, at the start of her post-collegiate running career, and has fostered many young children over the years, which led to the adoption of Koen, 5, in 2022, and Kaisley, 19 months, in March.
Taylor, who recently turned 37, took a “naively optimistic” approach to her pregnancy and the postpartum period, and it’s gone very smoothly so far. “I’m lucky it’s been as easy as it could be, I suppose,” she said. “You still have all the things that you have to go through, but I think that I’ve had it much easier than some women do.”
Taylor thinks her body just handles pregnancy well in general. She was able to train all the way through, even doing a workout at almost 39 weeks, before delivering four days before her due date. And she’s definitely an outlier when it comes to returning to running—she did her first postpartum run only six days after giving birth. She has made sure to point out that her timeline isn’t anyone else’s, everyone is different, and it’s important to listen to one’s body.
“There was really no rush, it was just more that my body felt pretty good,” she said. If anything didn’t feel right, she backed off immediately. And as her training has ramped up while she’s breastfeeding, she’s made sure to eat well, sleep enough, see a pelvic floor PT, take calcium and vitamin D, and be extra diligent about listening to her body.
Breastfeeding also requires some extra work when she travels to races. Taylor posted a photo of some full milk storage bags on Instagram after the race and wrote, “The other side of work this weekend.” She travels with a cooler bag and ice packs, so she can transport the milk home from races.
The Bix 7 was Taylor’s third race back since having Keagan. In early June, she ran 15:39.62 for 5,000m at the Portland Track Festival, and a week later, she finished eighth at the New York Mini 10K, running 32:15. And she’s now training for a to-be-announced fall marathon. It will be her first marathon in super shoes. Because HOKA was a bit later to develop a super shoe, Taylor’s first race in them was last November’s Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K, where she ran 17:16, while 32 weeks pregnant.
“I’m super excited to experience that and see where it takes my marathoning,” she said. I think it’s obviously a huge element now in the running world. It’s kind of changed everything and hopefully that will be reflected in my times. It’s crazy to think that they wouldn’t make a big difference.”
Taylor is also looking forward to proving to herself that she still has what it takes to succeed in the marathon. “I've been out of it for so long, and I’ve honestly been told by races, ‘You haven’t done much lately,’” she said. “I’ve actually done quite a bit. I haven’t raced a lot, [they’re] right, but I have a pretty good reason.”
NAZ Elite recently announced the departure of their former head coach, Alan Culpepper, but Taylor says that hasn’t affected her much, because she was pregnant when he arrived and has been coached by interim head coach Jenna Wrieden in her return. And Wrieden also bounces ideas off of the team’s executive director, Ben Rosario, who coached Taylor for most of her professional career.
The team has been riding a wave of success, which includes Lauren Hagans’ win in her marathon debut at Grandma’s Marathon, and Krissy Gear’s steeplechase win at the USATF Outdoor Championships. And now Taylor’s national title. Taylor says part of that is the positive team dynamic. “Everybody’s kind of everyone else’s biggest fan, so that makes it exciting and fun, and makes you want to be better,” she said.
NAZ Elite has more mothers than any other professional team in the U.S. Tuliamuk has a two-year-old, Steph Bruce is currently pregnant with her third child, and Paige Wood is pregnant with her first. Taylor has felt supported in her decision to take a step back from racing to grow her family. HOKA even re-signed her while she was pregnant.
And while Taylor has made incredible progress in her postpartum return, she believes her running is only going to get better. “I think there’s only an upside from here,” she said. “We’ll see what happens, but I think there are a lot of good things on the horizon.”
Thanks to New Balance for supporting Fast Women
If you read the article about super shoes in last week’s New York Times (gift link), you know that we still have a lot to learn about their benefits. But there’s no question they’re a big part of the reason so many records are falling these days. I don’t race anymore (though I’d never say never), but if I did, I would definitely be experimenting with which super shoes work best for me.
The first shoe I would try is the FuelCell SuperComp Elite v3. I’d also consider the FuelCell SuperComp Pacer, the shoe Emily Sisson set the half marathon record in, especially for races in the 5K to half marathon range. (And I’m a fan of the current colorway.) I know it’s not designed to be a racing shoe, but the FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 would also be a contender, especially for a marathon, because I’ve honestly never raced a marathon in a racing shoe. And I love that all three shoes come in both standard and wide widths, because so many shoes, especially racing shoes, do not.
Other News and Links
Chicago Marathon organizers had already announced that Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich, Emily Sisson, and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands will run the October 8 race. But last week they announced that they’ll be joined by Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei (2:17:43 PR) and Ethiopians Genzebe Dibaba (2:18:05), Sutume Kebede (2:18:12), Tigist Girma (2:18:52), and Ababel Yesheneh (2:20:51). Thanks to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials being held at the beginning of February, the race will have a stronger American field than usual. Some of the athletes who would normally run New York a month later have chosen Chicago partially so they’ll have more time before the Trials. And Chicago’s fast course doesn’t hurt. The U.S. runners in the race include Des Linden, Emma Bates, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Nell Rojas, Molly Seidel, Dakotah Lindwurm, Sara Vaughn, Gabi Rooker, Diane Nukuri, and Maggie Montoya. Susannah Scaroni and Switzerland’s Manuela Schär headline the wheelchair race.
Evelyn Watta wrote a nice piece on Faith Kipyegon. “[I have proved that] you can take a maternity break and come back even stronger,” Kiypegon told Watta. “Before I gave birth to Alyn, I never ran a world record, but now I am here with Alyn and the world record. I want to be an inspiration to many.” And this piece looks at an NN Running Team track workout that included Kipyegon.
Speaking of Kipyegon, thanks to her, Jeopardy had to issue a correction last week. The answer was correct when the episode was taped, but not when it aired. It’s probably safest not to ask any records-based questions for a while, as records are falling at such a quick rate.
New Generation Track and Field hosts a camp for high level runners and media creators under age 19, which, in their words, “brings together the best young minds in the running world.” Last week, they posted some photos from a camp photoshoot with a “2000s high school movie type bullying” theme. There was a photo of a girl being shoved in a locker and some photos of a girl’s head supposedly being dunked in a toilet. (It was really a fish tank.) Emma Gee commented on one of the posts, “ngl this ‘bullying/hazing’ photoshoot theme is super disappointing.” Commenters quickly turned on her, making homophobic comments. Gee explains how things unfolded in this post. Calling out problematic things in the running community can be uncomfortable, but I appreciate Gee bringing attention to this. New Gen originally posted a statement—I think it was meant to be an apology, but it wasn’t, really—on their Instagram page, but they have since removed it, along with the photos.
Heather MacLean announced that her season is over due to stress reactions in her femur and tibia.
You can read more of the details in this post from Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, but the bottom line is that she’s been dealing with pain in her SI joint, and she was surprised that having her IUD removed provided some immediate relief. I shared her post on Instagram and several people DMed me to tell me about similar experiences.
According to The Daily Mail, a track & field-focused Netflix documentary that is in the works will feature some of the world’s best sprinters, including Dina Asher-Smith, Noah Lyles, and Fred Kerley. The name and release date are still TBA.
Great Britain announced its team for the world championships last week and there were a number of notable absences. UK Athletics made a policy that they’d send only those who met the world standard to Budapest, even if they had the world ranking to earn a spot at the championships. The policy was announced a year ago, but there’s been more outcry as more people have seen how it’s all playing out. Roughly 20 athletes will miss out on competing at worlds because of the policy, and some of them are threatening legal action.
The World Championships qualification period ended yesterday, so it will soon become clear who is running what at the world championships next month. I’m particularly curious about which U.S. women will wind up running the 5,000m and 10,000m. It’s unclear both because it depends on who decides to double in the 5,000m and 10,000m, and whether Natosha Rogers and potentially Weini Kelati are ranked high enough in the latter to have a chance at a spot.
Courtney Dauwalter announced that after winning the Western States 100 and Hardrock 100 in a three-week span, she’s adding another 100-miler, UTMB, to her race calendar. The race will take place September 1.
Texas grad Valery Tobias, who has run 2:00.31 for 800m, joined the Brooks Beasts.
Sanya Richards-Ross posted a fun pregnancy announcement.
Madie Boreman set an American record in the 2,000m steeplechase at the British Milers Club Grand Prix on Saturday, winning in 6:09.81. The record was previously held by Stephanie Garcia, who ran 6:14.66 in 2014. The distance isn’t run often, other than at the high school level, and Courtney Frerichs’ 3,000m steeplechase American record, 8:57.77, is a faster per kilometer pace. But it was a strong run. Great Britain’s Alex Bell won the 800m in 1:59.28 and hit the Olympic standard. Australia’s Lauren Ryan, who runs for UA Mission Run Baltimore Distance, won the 3,000m in 8:53.75. (Results)
At the Meeting International Schifflange in Luxembourg, Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo won the 800m in 2:00.78, and McKenna Keegan finished second in 2:00.88. (Results)
Kaela Edwards won Boulder’s Mile High Mile in 4:34.48. (Results)
Regan Yee won the steeplechase at the Canadian Track & Field Championships, running 9:24.82. She was followed by a couple of recent NCAA competitors—Ceili McCabe in second (9:25.98) and Grace Fetherstonhaugh in third (9:31.27). Lucia Stafford won the 1500m in 4:09.52, outkicking new pro Simone Plourde, who took second in 4:10.36. (Results)
At the Guardian Mile, a point-to-point road mile in Cleveland, Ethiopia’s Tigist Ketema went out hard, splitting roughly 61 seconds for the first quarter mile and opening up a huge lead. At halfway, which she hit in 2:13, Ketema still led by six seconds, but the chase pack was starting to close in on her. South Africa’s Carina Viljoen caught Ketema with just under a quarter to go, but Ketema had another gear and pulled away to win, 4:28 to 4:30. Taylor Werner finished third in 4:32. (Results | Race replay)
Last Monday, Savannah Berry won the Deseret News 10K in 31:43, and Makenna Myler, who had her second child four months ago, finished second in 32:48. Recent Weber State graduate Billie Hatch, who is training for the Chicago Marathon, won the half marathon in 1:13:00. Both races are downhill, but that’s offset somewhat by the fact that they’re held at altitude, in Salt Lake City. (Results)
Roberta Groner won the NYRR Team Championship 5-miler, running 27:08. (Results)
Here’s one distance world record I missed from last week’s USATF Masters Outdoor Championships: Dot Sowerby, 90, set a world 1500m record for the 90–94 age group, running 11:30.62. She took 64 seconds off the previous record. Sowerby did a variety of events at the meet, including the shot put, which she also won.
I appreciated Carmen Graves’ honesty as she discussed her season and her new sponsorship deal on The Rambling Runner.
Ednah Kurgat told the story of her USATF 6K title on Women’s Running Stories.
Courtney Dauwalter talked about her Western States/Hardrock double on the Ali on the Run Show. And Shane Quinn and Tony D’Amato, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato’s husbands, talked about what it takes to be a supportive running spouse, and much more, on a separate episode of the show.
Sasha Gollish talked about her career, and both she and host Carrie Tollefson shared their experience with perimenopause/menopause on C Tolle Run. (Side note: If you’re looking for a good menopause resource, I recommend Dr. Jen Gunter’s The Menopause Manifesto.)
If you’re looking for more frequent updates during the week, you can follow Fast Women on Instagram, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and now Threads as well. (Once there’s a desktop version, I’ll be using Threads a lot more.)
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