No. 106, Revisited—4th Visit [Runners]

Photo Courtesy of IWU Parents
Photo Courtesy of IWU Parents

“OK, 5,000-meter final, NAIA indoor championships. I ran the race of my life in the prelim, it felt so easy, I PR’d by like 10 seconds. It just kind of came out of left field. So going into the final I’m like, Man, anything can happen. I wanted to give myself a chance to finish hopefully in the top three, maybe even win it if I could. Me and coach had talked about our strategy for the race, and our strategy was to really start kicking home with 600 meters left—it was a 300-meter track, so with two laps to go. I noticed with what was three laps to go, they had two up on the card. I started realizing then that they could ring it [the bell] next time, but I thought they’d get it fixed. There was some lap traffic starting to happen. We came around the next lap, and I’d been consistently closing the gap on the top three guys. By that point, with two laps to go—one on the board—it was about a two- or three-second gap, and I was feeling pretty good. They rang the bell, and all three of those guys took off, and I had to make a call at that moment. I could try to chase them, probably not catch anybody and be totally spent, or I could make things interesting—force a decision. I kind of protected my spot; I went a little bit faster than maybe I would have wanted to. Held on to fourth, and then just kept rolling. I remember looking directly at the guy counting the laps, and I’m exaggerating saying I’ll never forget his face, but his face was definitely telling a story about his internal dialogue as I ran past him. I didn’t know if anyone took off after me. I ran that last lap in a little bit of confusion. I finished the race, and I turned around and saw my teammates going nuts. It sure felt like I won. It was really cool. They ultimately decided to go with the 4,700-meter results. I kind of looked at it as the best of both worlds, because if they would have given it to me, it had an asterisk. And frankly, I think the best I could’ve done in that race was second. I don’t think I could have won. But now I don’t have to handle that, I don’t have to worry about people saying, ‘That’s not a legitimate national title because the officials screwed it up.’ But I still had those moments after the race, and for like an hour it was just kind of floating on cloud nine. When I finished and turned around and saw 20 guys and girls in IWU stuff just going bananas, it was something I will not forget—a really neat moment. … I didn’t know what I was going to do with the plaque—I didn’t know if I wanted to scratch out fourth and put first, or scratch out 5,000 and put 4,700. The coolest thing for me was that I was the subject of a topic that trended on the LetsRun message boards; that will never happen again.”

Neno (speaker) leads the pack in the photo above.

No. 104, Revisited—3rd Visit [Runners]

Photo Courtesy of IWU Parents
Photo Courtesy of IWU Parents

“This year, at Wake Forest, I’m running the 5K. The goal is to break 15 [minutes] for the first time. Nothing exciting happens really until the end. I see that I’m going to break 15 minutes—I see 14:55, 56, and I’m just like, ‘I did it.’ So I put my hands up—I was in fourth [place]. Right as I put my hands up, some guy passes me right at the line. That has been one of the highlights, or lowlights, for me—highlights for everybody else.”

Jacob ran 14:57.54. His teammates said the funniest thing about it was that it looked like he was celebrating fourth place.

Nos. 95, 96 & 97, Revisited [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

Right: “I want to do a road mile. I want to break 16 in the 5K. I have wanted to break 17 in the 5K for a long time for cross-country, and I did it in my 6K on Sunday. I was so happy when I saw the time. Because that was my high school PR [17:00.2]. And we don’t run 5K very often [in college]. For so long I was like, ‘I can’t break my high school time.’ But I finally did it.”

“Talk about Coach McGuire. What has he taught you that you’ll take with you beyond Michigan?”

Right: “Tough love, don’t feel sorry for yourself, and just work hard. … There’s a level of accountability on the team, and so whenever there’s a period of no leadership and no seniors making sure everyone’s running enough miles, then the team’s way worse for a few years. … He really lets us create our own culture. He knows that even if he tried to create our culture, he couldn’t. You know what I mean? He’s one person, there’s 30 of us.”

Center: “He’s not really that involved in every single aspect of our training. He doesn’t tell us how many miles to run—it’s up to us. We adjust it to how we feel and how our bodies are reacting to it. … [Coach McGuire] is old enough and wise enough to know that this is the best way it works.”

No. 89 [Runners]

Photo by James Rogers
Photo by James Rogers

“I brought a flag just so that, when my teammates were running by, they could see that and know that we were out there supporting them.”

“Did you make the flag yourself?”

“Yes I did.”

“Out of what?”

“A few years ago I ran a 5K—my town has a little festival, and they had a 5K, so I turned [the race’s] shirt inside-out and made a flag out of it. The pole is a broomstick.”

“Who would you say is your biggest running inspiration?”

“My sister really got me to start running. She was the first person in our family to really start running, and everybody else in my family after her just kept running.”