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Shorey 9th in 50k walk

Ben Shorey

Ben Shorey

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Ben Shorey of Team USA finished ninth in the men’s 50k race walk  in four hours, 33 minutes, 25 seconds at the XVI Pan American Games Saturday.

David Talcott (Owego, N.Y.), the oldest competitor in the field at 51 years ago, was disqualified after picking up a red card at the 6,500-meter mark.

The mile high altitude (elevation 5,138 feet), coupled with 94 percent humidity, proved detrimental in the 25-lap race contested on a 2,000-meter course along Avenue Vallarta by the Arcos de Guadalajara Monument.

“I felt fine. The whole first 20k I’m just hitting splits saying this is easy,” said Shorey, 28, who resides in Kenosha, Wis. “But when I hit 21k it literally felt like I threw a 20-pound backpack on and then I actually started having a hard time breathing and I said to myself  ‘yea, that would be the altitude. I still have 30k to go. This is not good.’”

Shorey had set a personal best of 4:16.01 en route to winning the 2011 50k race walk national championship in Tustin, Calif., Jan. 23.

Of the 16 race walkers that started, three did not finish, while Talcott was among the four who were disqualified.

Spurred by the partisan cheering crowd, Mexico’s Horacio Nava and Jose Ojeda captured the gold (3:48.58) and silver (3:49.16) medals, respectively. Jaime Quiyuch from Guatamela earned the bronze medal in 3:50.33.

Both Shorey and Talcott were quick to praise the Mexican crowd for their support.

“I have to say this was close to the best crowd I’ve ever experienced in this event,” said Shorey. “By the middle of the race, I’m sure we were four-deep all the way down. I think other than cheering for their team – Mexico – I think they cheered for us second most. It was unbelievable.”

“The crowd was just amazing,” added Talcott. “The people down here are great. They just love the sport.”

Pan American track and field competition concludes Sunday morning with the men’s marathon.