Track Shorts 2017: Lap 8

AthleteBiz Team with Stephanie Garcia and Amanada Eccleston following the Sir Walter Miler on August 4 in Raleigh, NC

The World Championships in London have garnered much of the sport’s attention and we’ll be back next week to report on that action.  In the meantime, we need to catch up on some of the results from Europe, take a quick look at the roads and check in on a fun event in Raleigh NC.

The View from Europe

July was an interesting month on the track with athletes chasing PRs and quality competition.  The travel itinerary included towns like Dublin, Monaco, Madrid, Liege, Cork, Padova, Heusden, and Rabat.  Some of the highlights included Erik Sowinski continuing a string of solid performances with a 1:45.12 in Monaco and a 1:46.62 in Padova.  Reid Buchanan got a W in Cork as he took the 3000 in 7:50.26. Also in Cork, Cecilia Barowski and Dana Mecke went 3/5 as part of a USA 1-5 sweep in the 800, Curtis Beach took 2nd in the 400H, claiming the same result the week prior at the Morton Games, and Lauren Paquette finished 3rd in a stellar field at Cork with a time of 8:56.  Hurdlers Queen Harrison (12.84 win in Padova) and Jasmin Stowers (12.75 in Monaco) continued to highlight that the US hurdles team might have been the toughest team to make in the world.  Amanda Eccleston and Stephanie Garcia did nice work in Heusden with their 4:04.34 and 4:04.63 1500s.

Don’t Forget the Roads

At USATF 7 mile championships (an odd distance?), Reid Buchanan stayed hot with his 5th place finish.  On the women’s side, Sara Hall was 3rd and Sarah Pease – apparently not missing the steeplechase barriers at all – was 6th..  At the Liberty Mile, ABers Kyle Merber, Riley Masters, and Chad Noelle went  2nd,  3rd, and 10th  respectively.  Lauren Johnson was 2nd in the women’s race.

Love the One You’re With (musical accompaniment from Stephen Stills)

The Sir Walter Miler

Not at the World Championships?  Well, instead of just sitting there “waiting for something to do,” many of the top USA middle distance runners headed down to Raleigh for the Sir Walter Miler on the night the WC kicked off.  The night was fun and loud and featured some fast running; full credit to the participants who gave the night a celebratory feel, even as many might have, on the whole, rather been in London.

The schedule was short and varied – a denim mile, a mixed 4 x 400 relay, a beer-league 4 x 400 relay and the featured men’s and women’s miles.  Raleigh was the perfect venue, with a great local running community and a track at Meredith College that allowed for the intimate fan experience the organizers were seeking.  Did we mention the Raleigh Brewery was across the street serving adult beverages?  And we had AB staff (Jack and Aaron) on hand for live reporting.


ABers made a mark immediately as Heather Wilson, finally running after a serious hamstring injury, crushed the official blue jeans record of 5:29 with her 4:58.  She shared that she’s not quite ready to lace ‘em up against the best but was willing to compete in a race that required all participants to compete in blue jeans.

In the men’s feature race, ABer Donnie Cowart shocked himself by running oh-so-close to sub 4, clocking 4:00.37 to be exact.  You see, Donnie had shut down his racing season a few weeks ago and only agreed at the last minute to be part of the field when someone scratched.  Asked if he knew he had a 4 minute mile in those legs, his response was a pithy and emphatic “no.”  Up front, Drew Hunter unleashed a great kick to beat Craig Engels in 3:57.32.

Related: Crazy Running: A 15 Year Journey to 4 Minutes, by Donnie Cowart from the 2014 Sir Walter Miler

The women’s race feature 5 ABers (pictured below).  Fans closed in on both sides of the track, making for what Jeff Caron described as a “Tour de France” atmosphere.  Respecting the heat, the field went out cautiously but picked up speed with each lap.  Heading into the last 200, eight runners were still in a tight pack.  Stephanie Garcia launched a kick and seemed to have the race in hand until Amanda Eccleston found another gear and overtook Stephanie in the last couple strides.  Rachel Schneider (“it’s been a disappointing season but I feel pretty fit now”) was 5th, Heather Kampf (making another big step forward in her recovery) was 7th and Lauren Paquette was 9th.

Lauren Paquette
Lauren Paquette
Rachel Schneider
Rachel Schneider
Heather Kampf
Heather Kampf
Stephanie Garcia and Amanda Eccleston
Stephanie Garcia and Amanda Eccleston

Full results here: http://www.resultsrrtiming. com/2017sirwalter/

Yes, many might have wished that they were in London that night but the competitors at the Sir Walter Miler provided us with a great showing of the competition and camaraderie that makes our sport great, regardless of the venue.

A postscript – Two days after the Sir Walter Miler, Rachel Schneider got right back into action and won the Newburyport (MA) High Street road mile.

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