If you have just about had it with quarantining and lack of live sporting events, take heart that professional runners (did you know that's a thing? Seriously, these athletes are paid to run/recover/race/represent shoe companies) are working hard and are ready to perform as evidenced by some truly inspiring performances this weekend.
In case you aren't a full on track aficionado (no shame in that, it's not the most widely publicized sport in the U.S.), during the months of December-early March we have a season called Indoor Track. This is exactly what it sounds like: a track oval with a rubberized surface housed inside a large athletic complex. The standard indoor track is half as long (circumference wise) as an outdoor track (200m vs. 400m) and the curves are usual banked. Although, there are a few what are called "oversized" indoor tracks, namely the Dempsey Track at the University of Washington which in 307 meters long. In addition, there are also unbanked tracks - like the indoor track we used to have at the University of Florida in the old ODome. Unbanked tracks are usually slower than banked tracks due to some rather complicated physics from which I will spare you all. And oversized tracks are usually the fastest, also because of reduction of torque, etc.
I should also mention that due to COVID-19 concerns and safety protocol, all meets currently are being held with no spectators.
Here are a few blurry memories of some of my old indoor track races (including the old UF indoor track where the spectators sit above the track, hence the angle of the photo)
Running a 3k in Boston. Below photo I am trying to pass a runner on the turn. Do not try this. Very tricky to do and you will end up running longer. Pass on the straightaways.
My friends are cheering for me from the balcony bleachers. I loved running on this UF track.
Now that we have that all settled. Here's some of what went down the past two days in the indoor track world.
Friday, February 12th. University of Arkansas. Best Men's Mile "Race" in NCAA history
The University of Oregon men brought it. This "race" was composed entirely of Ducks, and therefore, one could argue that it was a glorified time trial. However, no one can argue with the times these men posted. The winning time was by Cooper Teare in 3:50.39 which is a new NCAA record and second place Cole Hocker also bested the previous record of 3:52.01 by Ed Cheserek (also formerly of Oregon) by running 3:50.55. Third place Charlie Hunter ran 3:53.49, which was good enough for a new Australian record.
Check out the incredible race (especially the final lap) here:
Saturday, February 13th. Ocean breeze Athletic Complex. New Balance Indoor Games.
This meet mostly consisted of professional athletes (whereas the Arkansas meet was collegiate and pro). Overall, within 4 hours at this track on Staten Island 11 National Records fell, including 4 very exciting American Records. Here is a quick rundown:
Bryce Hoppel, Kansas Alum broke David Torrence's previous record of 2:16.76 with a 2:16.27. These tenths of a second may seem minuscule, but when you are already running at top speed, a these fractions matter! Take the men's 800m, for further example.
Brazier didn't know he broke his own American Record until a several moments after the race. The score board initially read 1:44.22 which remarkably matches exactly his previous record. It wasn't until the official results came in after reviewing the finish line cameras that Brazier's time was officially recorded as 1:44.21. And just like that, he get the win, the record, and the money bonus for running it. Oh, and both Brazier and Hoppel led the race from the gun, as did the next champion I describe below (with the exception of the early pace setter, which is a discussion for another time!)
Women's 2 mile
These women are FIT! Both Elle Purrier and Emma Coburn both completely SMASHED the previous American 2 -mile record of 9:18.35 set in 2015 by great Jennifer Simpson, with Purrier running 9:10.28 and Coburn (who is a steeplechase specialist) came home in 9:15.71. Eight seconds over 2 miles is A LOT to break an already VERY solid record. Third place Julie-Ann Staehi also set a national record for Canada in 9:22.66. This race is beautiful to watch as these women are strong, focused, competitive and true professionals. A pandemic and zero spectators will not slow them down. Look for more impressive times and performances in the upcoming months.
Sending you all some love on this rainy Valentine's Day in north central Florida! Hope you can find some ways bring some sunshine into your day (placing an online shoes and socks order at Sudasfitfoot.com/shop is a great way to give yourself some productive retail therapy - they are helping you stay mentally and physically healthy and supporting a local small business! 😂😍👟📦💕🎁)
Stay well, FitFooters!