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US Outdoor Championships
Anna Pierce, left, beats Nike teammate Erin Donohue to the line, winning the women's1500 meter run at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Saturday, June 26, 2010, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Doug Wells)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Bloomington Olympian Christin Wurth-Thomas wanted to lay it all on the line with 300 meters left in the 1,500-meter run at the USA Track and Field Championships Saturday at Drake Stadium, but she almost got laid out instead.

A slow pace and a bunched field contributed to a mid-race stumble by Wurth-Thomas, who recovered in time to place fourth in 4 minutes, 15.33 seconds. Ahead of her were fellow Olympians Anna Pierce (4:13.65), Erin Donohue (4:13.87) and Shannon Rowbury (4:14.41).

The 29-year-old Wurth-Thomas, the 2008 national indoor champion, was hoping to secure her first outdoor national title after finishing second in both 2009 and 2007. She was third at the time of the stumble, but was eighth with a lap to go. She sped the final lap in 60.7.

“You just get bumbled,” she said of a crash that saw Olympian Shalane Flanagan fall. “It happens. It’s a 1,500. That’s what 1,500s are about.”

Wurth-Thomas couldn’t tell who bumped who.

“All I know is I was almost going down,” she said. “I could have closed faster (without the fall), but it made me dig harder the last 200 which is what we wanted.”

Wurth-Thomas, who resides in Springdale, Ark., has a lifetime best of 3:59.98 which makes her one of only five U.S. women ever under 4:00. Her training was interrupted at the end of January by the first of three injuries suffered within a month.

“It was a rough year,” said Wurth-Thomas, who hopes her late start is followed by a fast finish as she leaves for Europe Tuesday for a series of races including stops at Madrid, Lausanne, Gateshead and Paris.

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