A Pleasant Rain


Jay Wallace,


Umbrellas replaced soccer balls as the most popular accessories at Summer Track #5 on Thursday July 1, 2010. The trees stood still as statues while a steady but soft rain fell most of the evening. There weren’t many complaints; after a sweltering June, this was downright refreshing.

The rain and proximity to a holiday weekend may have reduced the turnout some, but there was no shortage of enthusiasm. The Capital City Christian Cruisers brought a large contingent of red T-shirt clad girls and boys. This appears to be a very supportive, all-comers group that does a good job balancing competitiveness with having fun. They are coached by 1984 Olympic 4 x 400 gold medalist Walter McCoy who was there with them this evening. He kept a low profile, however, as the kids were the stars at this meet. The “independents” ran strong as well, including one young man – couldn’t have been more than 4 – who smiled along the backstretch of the 400 meters as his flickering shoe lights shone on through the rain.

In the adult male 400, we all ran in one heat. I learned just how humbling it feels to run in the same race as some of the best local young men at this distance. I ran what – for me – was a decent quarter, but the winner finished before I had even completed the last curve. This is no exaggeration. He must have gone sub-50. I will try to find his name if only to watch his progress in scholastic competition.

The summer GP feature event was the 1600 meter run. Kirsten Baggett ran alone in front of the women’s event to win her second consecutive summer GP race in 6:43. Lisa Cox finished in 7:12, making it a Masters double. Speaking of celebrities, Rosalie Myers entered and finished this race. Daughter Jacque provided encouragement on the last 2 laps after finishing her race. It was nice to see Rosalie back.

The men’s 1600 was a little more closely contested. This author, apparently inspired by the cool conditions and that fast 400, started in 72 and then “settled in” to what I thought was a decent pace. Big no-no; second lap: 78 seconds, a full 6 second slowdown. As you are mentally preparing for Breakfast on the Track in a few weeks, learn from my lapse in concentration. One never “settles in” at this distance. Doing so will invariably cause a much slower than expected lap and throw you off your target pace, causing a frantic scramble to make things up. Stephen Cox and Ryan Truchelut maintained a better focus. They followed a race strategy that seemed to mirror the types run by so many world class middle distance tracksters these days; that is, run slower than peak pace for ¾ of the race then blast the last quarter. Truchelut prevailed in the end. They both finished in the mid-4:50’s but I’m sure they are capable of much faster. Keith Howell also had a strong finish to clock a 4:59.

There are 3 weeks left of summer track. Time goes fast. If you want to revisit what it feels like to experience that burn in the gut a track race delivers, come on out. Or just come to enjoy the camaraderie and watch some fast kids.