Klosterhalfen sets German national record as 4 Texas soil records fall at Texas Qualifier
Humid and windy conditions in Austin presented a slight challenge to athletes in search of Olympic Trials and Olympic Games qualifying marks this weekend at the Texas Qualifier, a two-day track meet focused on pacing athletes to elite times in the 800 meters, 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, but the inaugural event still produced a slew of the fastest distance times ever run on Texas soil.
The standout performance of the weekend was the Saturday night curtain-closer — the women’s 10K — as 24-year-old Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Nike lapped the entire field and set a new German national record of 31 minutes, 1.71 seconds, breaking the nearly 30-year-old mark of 31:03.62, set by Catherine Ulrich in 1991. Klosterhalfen also achieved the Olympic Games standard of 31:25 in what was her debut at the distance.
“I feel a bit on a different planet,” Klosterhalfen said after the race. “I can’t believe I’m running in Texas and I’m very happy and overwhelmed. Honestly, I was a bit afraid of falling off the pace, with so many laps, I was thinking if I might get hungry on the way ... I am very thankful for the opportunity.”
Klosterhalfen, who trains mainly in Portland with Nike coach Pete Julian but traveled to Texas straight from training camp in Phoenix, has already established herself as one of the top distance runners in the world. She is the 2019 World Championships bronze medalist in the 5K and has run some of the fastest-ever times in world history in events ranging from the mile to the 5K.
Now, she adds the 10K to her arsenal ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“The first goal was just to run the Olympic standard,” she said of her record time. “We decided very spontaneously to run this race in case there’s not an opportunity before the Olympics ... The Olympics is still a long way to go, I have to get a good start into the summer season and then I’ll look at what the Olympics will bring.”
Klosterhalfen’s time also set a new record for the fastest time ever run on Texas soil, shattering Francie Larrieu-Smith’s 1991 mark of 31:28.52.
Two other athletes achieved the Olympic standard on Saturday night: Ajeé Wilson of adidas in the 800 meters, clocking 1:58.93, and Elle Purrier of New Balance in the 5K, running 15:08.61. Both times set new records for times run on Texas soil.
There was one more new Texas soil record in the men’s 1,500-meter run, as Canada’s Justyn Knight of Reebok won the event in 3:36.62.
The event was held at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Barton Creek, though the location was kept under wraps to the public until race day to prevent crowds from forming in order to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.