Nicole Aish, Fasil Bizuneh and James Carney will take on the rest of the best U.S. cross country runners at San Diego’s Mission Bay Park on Saturday. We’ll have post-race reflections from them here this weekend. In the meantime, a few pre-race thoughts from Fasil and James.
What are your main goals for the race?
Fasil: I am going to get in there and mix it up with some of the best runners in the country and give myself the best possible chance to win my first national title.
James: Be assertive and aggressive. When the dust settles…hopefully I’ll be in the top 9.
If you make the team, will you run Worlds?
Fasil: I definitely plan on running Worlds after I qualify for the team on Saturday.
James: If I make the team, I would like to to make the trip to Scotland.
Are you in specific cross country shape, or just good general racing shape? (Or do you think there’s much of a difference between the two?)
Fasil: I don’t see too much of a difference between the two; nevertheless, I feel very strong and ready to compete over 12K.
James: When you’re fit, you’re fit. It doesn’t matter much if its a cross country course, a track, or a road race. I’m in base phase right now. I’m strong as hell, but maybe not that sharp yet.
The course in San Diego seems pretty straightforward. What’s the craziest cross country course you’ve raced on?
Fasil: When I ran World Jr XC in Belfast back in 1999, it was very muddy. There was a hill where you were running up a sidways slope, and people were sliding off that thing like crazy. I think my teamate Adam Tenforde fell three times and was covered in mud from head to toe at the end of it.
James: The XC trials in Houston 2003 was pretty crazy. You would sink up mid shin into the mud. However, I’d like to run Cinque Mulini in Italy sometime.