Postcard from Beijing: Rowbury qualifies for 1,500 finals

San Francisco’s Shannon Rowbury is an Olympic finalist. Now America’s No. 4 all-time metric miler would like to finally bring The City a women’s track and field medal. The color isn’t important this year.

The 2002 Sacred Heart Cathedral grad had the fourth-fastest time in Thursday night’s 1,500-meter semifinals, 4 minutes, 3.89 seconds, to make the field of 12 for Saturday’s title race at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium. The Sunset District resident was also fourth in her heat, won by Nancy Langat of Kenya in 4:03.02. Rowbury’s time would have easily won the two earlier semis.

“Ideally you want to try to be an auto-qualifier [finish in the top three], but I knew this heat was fast,” she said.

The top three finishers from each semi advanced automatically, along with the next three best times overall.

The top five times all came from Rowbury’s third heat.

“It’s always interesting with the rounds,” she said. “You want to run hard, but you hope that you have something left for Saturday. I got a little tired at the end, but there were good things to learn before Saturday. This is an amazing field of women. I’m very excited to have another chance,  I’m just going to put myself in the race and run smart.”

After receiving her master’s degree from Duke in humanities, Rowbury returned to her San Francisco home this year, training on tracks at City College of San Francisco and on the Peninsula.

San Francisco native and College of San Mateo sports information director Fred Baer is covering his ninth Olympic Games as a journalist and is providing The Examiner with a behind-the-scenes view of the Beijing Games.

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