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HomeProfessionalBlowing Rock's Vestri, Ford have 'massive' performances at 10K in London

Blowing Rock’s Vestri, Ford have ‘massive’ performances at 10K in London

By David Rogers. LONDON — In what can only be described as an “awesome” trip across the pond, two Blowing Rock-based athletes clipped significant time off their respective personal bests at the 10,000 meters’ distance.

Vestri finishes No. 3 in elite international field

Both members of the ZAP Endurance professional running team, Amanda Vestri bettered her previous personal best by 44 seconds in claiming the No. 3 finishing spot (31:10.52) in the Night of 10,000 Meters PBs premier women’s division race, hosted at the Parliament Hill Fields Athletic Track in north London.  Vestri, a former star collegiate performer at Syracuse University, joined the ZAP team last September and has been making steady progress as she aims for the U.S. Olympic Team qualifying races in June.  According to World Athletics, Vestri’s previous personal best was as a collegian in March 2023, 32:08.26, in Palo Alto, Calif. World Athletics also lists her May 18 race in London as the 8th-best American at the 10,000 meters distance.

Vestri was one of two Americans to finish in the top three of the elite international field of 31 runners. Fiona O’Keefe of the U.S finished No. 2, her time of 31:03.46 within a half-second of Great Britain’s Megan Keith at No. 1 (31:03.02).

Ryan Ford earns ‘Top 10’

Blowing Rock’s Ryan Ford also took considerable time off his previous personal best on the Parliament Hill track, finishing No. 10 in the elite international field of 39 male runners, crossing the line in 27:40.80.  World Athletics lists his previous best as 28:09.53, in a Walnut, Calif. race in May 2023.

Ford was just 18 seconds behind the No. 1 runner, Mohamed Ismael of Djibouti. Ford was the second U.S. runner to cross the finish line, the first being Paul Chelimo at No. 3, just over six seconds ahead.

“It was a great night,” said ZAP Endurance head coach Pete Rea after the two races were completed. “These were massive personal bests for Amanda and Ryan as they prepare for June’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Ore. Lowering a personal best gets harder and harder as you go faster and faster.”

Vestri’s performance in London is just the latest in a series of accomplishments since joining ZAP Endurance. In September 2023, she placed No. 4 in the USATF 10 Championships in Northport, N.Y., then followed that up on Dec. 3 by placing No. 8 out of 200 top-ranked collegiate and professional runners in Boston at 5,000 meters. A week later she captured the USATF National Cross Country title in Tallahassee, Fla., then won the Oskar Blues 4-Miler in Brevard, N.C. before winning “The Ten” (10,000 meters) as part of a stacked field in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., this past March. Just over a month ago, Vestri, placed No. 3 in an elite international field at 5,000 meters in Azusa Pacific, Calif., qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials at that distance in the process.

Ford and ZAP teammate Dan Schaffer finished 1-2 last November in the Richmond Half Marathon, with Ford just 18 seconds off the U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying standard for the marathon. The former collegiate runner at Iowa State and Tennessee-Martin is transitioning from middle and shorter distance races to the marathon, but for the 2024 Olympics, he will be trying to qualify for the U.S. team in Eugene at the 5,000 meters or 10,000 meters distances.

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