Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Track Program Wk #6 – Championship Week


US National 800 Record
Over the last 5 weeks Charlotte has smothered with the most oppressive heat possible. Our Tuesday night track series often left runners wondering if they were actually running on the sun as the heat zapped the strength from their bodies.

Last night was nearly a complete 180. With the temperature in the upper 70s and a humidity that didn’t leave them sweating most runners found a bounce in their step.

The rest they say is history.

Start of the Open Mile
I saw some great efforts and great times last night. Chase led Bert out for about 600 meters and then Bert had to do the rest himself. His legs were pumping hard as he crossed the finish line with a great time. Steve, who has been nursing a quad injury, was back and running hard last night. He and Cory were battling for most of the mile race. Stan was back from vacation and was looking both fit and fast. Bobby and his daughter were pushing hard to lower their times for the summer.  Andrew led the open mile followed by Allison. If memory serves me correctly, this was Allison only week running in the series but she was also the fastest female with a time around 5:17.

In the 800 for either 60 to 64 or 65 to 69, a runner broke the US National record 2:26 (I think). Like I said, runners were flying last night.

The two big events of the evening were the 5000 and the 4 x 400 relay. Starting with the 5000, with the exception of a couple of laps Chad led wire to wire to win in 15:57. He looked strong the entire way. Danielle was calling splits for him and kept him on pace with each passing lap. David, who was looking for a 20 minute time, settled for a 21 minute time but still had a fantastic effort. Both Mike and Eric ran strong 5000 as well. Stan, Lisa, Rob, and Carroll opted for the 3200 event which started at the same time as the 5000. They equally ran strong and well.  

The night ended with the 4 x 400 teams. Relay races are some of the most exciting races to watch because it is probably the only time in a track meet where the word “team” effort plays a true role in the outcome of a race. The race was close but the Meredith’s Running Works team showed that they have some serious leg speed with a 4:12 (Don’t quote me) time.

Before wrapping up this post, I feel I really need to editorialize one point about our local summer track program. There is a lot of hard work that goes into making this series happen each and every year. Whether runners say it or not, I have to think they truly appreciate Tom, Tim, Steve, and the rest of the RFYL gang that puts on this series. They do a fantastic job and dont' get enough credit for their efforts.
100 Meters Sprint

But if there was one thing that I could change, it would be how they market their Championship week for this series. To runners that don’t have a history around Charlotte they think this week is only for the fastest runners. While, yes, there is typically one event for the fastest from the past 4 or 5 week (like this year), there are still open events. The way this final week is marketed; runners just don’t realize it, and most of the time they just skip the Championship week. I have lost count of how many times that I have been asked about Championship week and what it means.  The explanation literally just rolls off my tongue as if on a record player.

Otherwise, we have one of the best summer track programs around, and hopefully, it will remain strong and vibrant for many years to come.

See you next summer on the paper clip,

The Cool Down Runner




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