USATF National Club Track & FIeld Championships
July 11, 2015
(photo credit to Michael Scott)
Last Saturday, two Whippets—myself and Ned Cunningham—matched up with some seriously speedy club runners at the USATF National Club Track & Field Championships. The meet showcased NYC teams such as Central Park Track Club, who had an impressive showing, and also teams as far away as Denver, Colorado. Ned and I journeyed out to Icahn Stadium to represent the Whippets in the 5000 meters, arguably one of the most challenging races on the track.
I’d dug out my old spikes from college last night, realizing that this would be my first track race in over a year and a half. Ned, on the other hand, was moving to DC to start graduate school at Georgetown, so this would be one of his last NYC race appearances for a while. We both knew that we would be facing some strong competition, so neither of us could afford to leave anything on the line.First up on the track was the women’s 5000 meters. Twelve women, including myself, made up the first and only heat. As I jogged over to the starting line, a race official glanced at my singlet. In a serious tone, he said, “Dashing Whippets, huh? Did you know that a Whippet is actually a lightening fast dog that closely resembles a Greyhound.”
My response: “No, I didn’t know that…thanks…” As peculiar as this exchange was, this guy was the perfect remedy to my pre-race nerves. We lined up and the gun went off.
The first two laps were slow, a tactic I’d often experienced running in college. Essentially, the first few laps are under pace, and then the entire field picks up the pace dramatically. That’s exactly what happened here, and if I’d had a few more track workouts under my belt, I might have been more prepared for it.
I came through the first mile right where I wanted to be—at 5:44 pace—and I was able to hang on to the center pack with a few women from CPTC for a good while. A hot sun and track radiating with heat is a poor combo for a 5k race, so I struggled through the final mile, finishing 11th in 18:20. The top woman, of Denver Track Club, finished in 17:09.
Ned’s race was up next. He faced a tough field as well, and truly held his own, battling an even hotter sun. He crossed the line in 16:23 for 13th place. The top finisher from NJ NY Track Club ran 14:05, a time that is hardly human.
Ned and I both agreed that regardless of our performances, we were just psyched to be on the track. And, it was pretty cool to represent the Whippets in such a talented pool of runners. Last but not least, we were more than thankful to have Matt, his family, and several other Whippets there to cheer us on. Next, look out for the Whippets on July 21 at the final NYRR Tuesday Night at the Races meet.