Welcome back for another week. You know, I didn’t write so much this week, mainly because I spent all weekend away, hiking and exploring in Ohio. I think this was my first two-day off stretch since October, you have to take advantage of any opportunity you get. Unless Michigan makes a run in the Big Ten Tourney, there will be some quality track viewin’ on Saturday. But anyhow, read on, this week containing more of my own thoughts than ever before.
THE TEN K
I tend to make some questionable decisions on whether to watch sporting events live. This has been a lifelong occurrence. My first Michigan football game was the ’94 Colorado game. Being up 2 scores late in the 4th quarter, game in hand, my dad and I left early. All the Hansons folks and friends done with the 10k, nothing left to watch, a day in a running store in the midst of March Madness ahead of me? Let’s turn off The TEN and rest up.
Wrong again, 27 minutes later, after realizing that Grant Fisher was in the 10k, I turned it back on again, missing everything. American record, annihilating Rupp’s previous mark. I saw a tweet that encapsulated Fisher pretty well, the gist of it being that he’s a NCAA Champ, sub-4 HS miler, Olympian in the 5k/10k, indoor 5k record holder, outdoor 10k record holder. And only 24 years old. We’ve seen him in our scene for many years and he races like a wily vet, it seems as if he’s been around for ages. But he’s so young with many miles left on his legs.
Grant was on pace through 6k to barely nip the previous record, his close showed tremendous strength and a bit of that miler speed. He ran his final 4k in 10:29, his final 1600m in 4:07, and closed in 58. To be able to close as he did off the pace that was there through 23, 24 laps sets him up well for the inevitable tactical race at Worlds.
Earlier in the week, Jeff Hollobaugh had posted an interview with Grant, taken after his 12:53 in Boston. He mentions his decision to race THE TEN instead of World Indoors, but also looks back at his college mindset, high school balancing act with soccer, and hopes for the future. It’s a great, multi-faceted interview that delves into tougher topics, definitely worth a read.
I did mention there were some Hansons people running, here’s how they performed:
Amy Davis – 32:05, 8 sec. PB
Olivia Pratt – 32:45
Natosha Rogers – 31:16, World Qualifier
Daniel Soto – 29:06
Alec Sandusky – 28:35, 5 sec. PB
JP Flavin – 28:36, 22 sec. PB
I can’t explain the ebb and flow of these. Last week, at least 15 that came across my feed, this week, only six:
Juan David Hernandez (GR Ottawa Hills > Aquinas)
Taylor Moyer (Howell > Saginaw Valley)
Clayton Kuiper (Lake Orion > Central Michigan)
Elizabeth Sliman (Croswell-Lexington > SC4)
Kyler Dean (Vicksburg > Muskegon CC)
Carson Lafferty (Rockford > Aquinas)
GATE RIVER RUN
Distance running as a competitive sport gives us many disciplines and specialties. Mountain running, cross country, trails, track. Just this year, USATF has overseen cross country, 3k racewalk, 35k racewalk, 100 mile, and indoor track. In the road running realm, you’ll have the standard distances, but also the oddball ones. The Gate River Run would definitely qualify as oddball given our American measurements, but 15k is a nice, precise number in the metric world.
Anyhow, Gate River, with its odd distance and Floridian mountain (a bridge) was home to the 15k USATF National Championship. Zach Panning and Wilkerson Given were the lone Michiganders competing in the championship arena. Panning and a group of eight, including Hillary Bor and Galen Rupp, packed up through 8. Then at the aforementioned bridge, strategically placed in that last mile, Nico Montanez surged ahead and wasn’t matched by others. The camera crew covered his move, covered his dominating final mile, but we didn’t see the carnage in the chase pack. Panning came through the line in 43:31, finishing 8th, just seconds behind Rupp.
Some may convey disappointment finishing at the back end of the leaders, but I look to compare. Panning ran the same course two years ago and finished nearly 75 seconds slower. I don’t recall any adverse conditions on that date two years ago and the change from the OG Hyperion Elite to the HE2 is significant, but not 75 seconds so. Thus, it follows in theory that Zach should see significant improvements on his track times this spring and summer. And he’s shown that running ain’t theory, recently proven by finishing 11th at the Olympic Trials 10k when seeded dead last.
Beginning of Track Ramblings
The outdoor track season officially begins on Monday. What I plan to do is write about Qualifying Standards next week, Regional changes the following week, then after that, we should have some results to look at. And I plan on doing rankings for each crew, in the same vein that USTFCCCA has been doing with colleges: hurdles, jumps, distance, sprints, throws, vault.
For now, I want to speak from more of a store perspective. I assume that most reading this are set up in terms of regular shoes, gear, socks, etc. And I’ll also assume that most reading this are higher-end athletes looking for a competitive advantage. A quick search on Nike’s site shows no Air Zoom Victory below Men’s 11 and hardly any Dragonfly below size 9. My suggestion? Don’t worry about the brand! Brooks Wire 7 is sliiightly heavier, in my mind more responsive, cheaper, and there’s stock available. Another option would be a road racing shoe. Alphafly, Hyperion Elite, Endorphin Pro, Metaspeed, FuelCell RC Elite, amongst others. These might not be an advantage at an 800, but they’re gonna be an advantage at the 16/32 over a spike you can’t even order.
I really don’t want to promote, but I understand that track shoes are an added expense for many families, so I’ll just say this here once. We’re having our Track Day at Hansons on Sunday. Deeper discounts than you’ll receive all year (unless your coach has set up a Team Night). I know Playmakers and Ann Arbor Running Company have done similar events/deals. I can’t imagine why a store wouldn’t want to incentivize families to come, so call or roll up to your local shops and find out how they can help you.
Some Big ‘Ole Spreadsheets
Track is so damn expansive that it’s all but impossible for one man to give a preview or review of every division, athletes, teams, relays. So I did what I do best, create some spreadsheets. Hopefully these cover everyone running, I’m sure I missed a few names. If you an error or omission, you know how to find me.