Trying to run the Worlds “A” standard of 13:15? Indoors? Sounds so crazy it just might work… especially when you have six world-class teammates committed to that goal and willing to work together. (Doesn’t hurt to have an 8:13 steepler pacing, either.) Tonight, Matt Tegenkamp, Lopez Lomong, Evan Jager, Andrew Bumbalough and Elliott Heath (plus teammate Chris Derrick) will hit the track at the Armory in New York City for the Columbia Last Chance meet. A meet designed for college runners to achieve NCAA standards, Jerry’s Jets have their sights set on the World-level standard, instead. The opportunity was made possible with help from the New York Road Runners, and some of the KIMbia athletes racing shared their thoughts on what to expect…
TEGENKAMP: First and foremost this is about taking care of business. Getting the “A” out of the way this early in the season allows us to be much more flexible during the outdoor season. However, the “A” standard is going to be a serious beast, as the days of 13:20 are behind us. 13:15 is a serious effort and we need a serious “bonus” to drive us to the line. What could be better than bragging rights?
BUMBALOUGH: It has a “take care of business” element because I definitely want to knock out the A standard for the world championships. However, that would involve a PR in the event which is always easier said than done. But I do feel like my fitness is really good and the mile and 2-mile earlier this season have helped prepare me to be ready for tonight.
HEATH: There will probably be a little bit of a workout element to it because it will likely just be a line of our guys. But the A Standard requires a 12 second pr from me, so that makes the race a little more serious than a practice for me. No doubt there will be some bragging rights on the line though.
TEGENKAMP: On one hand we have a very fast time to hit that will keep the pace honest all the way to the finish line. On the other hand each of us want to beat the other so we will be grinding and digging deep to beat as many training mates as possible.
JAGER: I know that the one and only goal for tomorrow is to run under 13:15 to get the “A” standard out of the way. What I have been thinking about the most, actually, is that I need to make sure I beat at least one of the guys in the group. I can’t have another repeat of the “Dash to the Finish” 5k from a year ago.
Why choose a low key college last-chance meet? In a phrase, the Armory…
TEGENKAMP: The group wanted an “atmosphere” to run in. I have not raced in the Armory but it is clearly a fast track with great fan support. Even on short notice for the event I would expect nothing less from the NYC area (so I’ve been told).
HEATH: I personally have never raced at the Armory so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve heard it has a “home crowd” type atmosphere for almost everyone who races there so hopefully I can feed off that.
JAGER: What I really liked about the Armory from running here two weeks ago at the Millrose Games was how close the crowd is to the track. The seats themselves are almost right on top of you and then there were kids lining the track on both curves. It makes for a very exciting atmosphere.
BUMBALOUGH: I have good collegiate memories from the Armory. The track itself, as well as the fans that fill it up. Several Big East conference championships were held there while I was at Georgetown.
TEGENKAMP: As for predictions, I am old and this is going to be really hard for me.
JAGER: I think that C.D. (Chris Derrick) is going to start his “kick” before Dan Huling even finishes his pacing duties at 3000m. Matt will probably bump elbows and generally try to push everyone around during the race.
HEATH: I’m anticipating a really hard race. Besides that the only thing I really predict with any confidence is that Bumbi will be right behind Jager for most of the race.
JAGER: I predict that Bumby is going to sit directly behind me the whole race, let me do all the work for him and then TRY to out kick me at the end… again. Lopez will probably miss count the laps again, finish the race before he actually starts his kick (thinking he still has 400m to go) and still break the American Record.
BUMBALOUGH: Something tells me Lopez is going to be right on with the lap count..
JAGER: And I have nothing mean to say about Elliott. He’s just too nice of a guy.