This race features American 800m record holder Donavan Brazier, an NCAA and World Champion. From the gun, Brazier doesn’t take the bait from frontrunner Nijel Amos, the 3rd fastest man in the distance’s history, who drops a 48 high on the first lap (which is world record pace). After the first lap, Brazier is a solid 30 meters back of Amos and the lead, way out of the picture. With only 200m to go, Brazier is still a good 25m back, with his chance of victory looking slim. However, in classic Amos fashion, lactic acid sets in, coupled with Brazier cashing in on the fact that he hadn’t taken the breakneck pace from the beginning. In the last 50 or so, you can just see Amos clawing his way towards the line, his legs like lead, and then Brazier zooming by him on the way to first place. There’s a great shot of him rounding the curve into the home stretch when he starts to really get moving that demonstrates how he has an extra gear that he’s able to shift into.
A UVA mid-distance legend, Robby Andrews is known to rely on his deadly kick, as it has brought him US high school records and national championships on every level. However, the time when it delivered the most was in the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships. A good two seconds back of the lead by the halfway point, it appears that a more realistic goal for Andrews is to not get last, rather than win. With a little more than 150 to go, however, his engine starts to rev. He swings all the way out into Lane 3 to get a clear path to the line, and then he puts his foot on the gas, holding it down until he captures a sub-1:45 time and an NCAA trophy. I’m a fan of this race not only because of Andrews’s connection with Charlottesville, but also because it shows a gutsy performance, one that comes down to his 12-and-change speed for the last 100.
Simply put, this is the original “stay back and kick” race. Long before Brazier and Andrews were using this strategy, the US’s Dave Wottle brought it to the mainstream in Munich. From the moment the starter’s pistol goes off, Wottle drops behind the pack, so much so that the announcers bring up the possibility that he’s injured. This race is made in the last 100 meters, when Wottle gets within the lead pack. Driven by the roar of the crowd, he improbably outlasts his Kenyan and Soviet rivals, winning by .03 seconds. What draws me and so many others to this race is the idea that a guy like Dave Wottle, running in his trademark golf cap, can win Olympic gold. From the looks of it, I’d peg him as the mailman as opposed to someone who can run 1:45. Nevertheless, his kick is a classic that will is unmatched in 800m history.
This was supposed to be released yesterday but we have had about 24 hours of technical difficulties. We are still having some but thought we would at least get this link out for now.
This week we decided to discuss our favorite Drew Hunter races with our own video. We got kinda carried away as our video ended up being 45 minutes long and we did much more than 3 races. We are obviously big fans of Drew! If you don't know who Drew is, he is one of Virginia and our countries best high school runners of all time. He went to Loudoun Valley High School and he went pro with Adidas immediately following high school. He is one of the founding members of Tinman Elite, which is based in Boulder, Colorado.
Every week we are going to try and give you a list of top three races. For me, races are the most exciting part of our sport. Some weeks we will feature races with American records. Some lists will include Albemarle athlete top finishes. Some may even see our own personal bests and experiences. To kick everything off, I wanted to start with my top three favorite local races. Hopefully you can picture running in these places and I’ve attached links to current race maps so you can check out the courses yourself!
by Coach Resnick
1. Charlottesville Ten Miler
One of the oldest races in town run along a challenging but great course. Trust me, this is a LOOOONG race. It is also the race I have run the most times in town. It’s also one of the first memories I have of Adrian. But if you can believe this, he was probably your age if I’m right. Think back a little more, I think it was 2007 and I was a second year in college. Adrian was simply on a long training run with this high school team through town. He was practically jogging and I was giving 110-115% to the race. Well I ran 1:03:40 that year, many thanks to Adrian and his teammates. The Charlottesville community turns out for this race and it is cool to have so many friends cheering you on along the way. Although I haven’t quite broken an hour in this race, that is a lifetime goal of mine, for sure. Some other fun experiences with this race are having run the race with my older brother, close friends, and a handful of Albemarle athletes over the years, including alumni Sam Forney. COURSE MAP
Photo from the 2013 Charlottesville Ten Miler, Adrian was just ahead of me at this point, but he ended up beating me by more than 2 minutes!
2. The Bill Steer’s Men’s 4-Miler
This is an amazing race, with an amazing cause and one that is special to me and my family. The Men’s 4-Miler donates its proceeds to Prostate cancer research. The race has had several different course variations, located both in the city and county, and I have run on a few. For a couple years, the race finished on the 50 yard line at Scott Stadium the home of the Cavaliers! Once the race was out at White Hall. Another time it finished right in front of the Amphitheater at UVA. My most recent finish was 25:54, just under 6:30 pace. But I have gone as fast as 23:06 with a helpful downhill finish. When the race is in town, it is pretty much an out and back on Rugby Road, with a turnaround near Grady Ave near. My favorite memory of this race was in 2011, ran on very similar courses which both ended in Scott Stadium. That summer, my dad, brothers and I won the family division of the race, with a family average under 7 mins a mile. It was the perfect Father’s Day gift! Plus it's always fun getting an award and some prizes. COURSE MAP (Hand drawn map, please ask if you need help understanding the course)
Photo from the 2014 Men's 4-Miler, you do not see Adrian in this photo because this is one of the few races I’ve bested him (but I think he was running with an Alemarle High School athlete)
3. Kiwanis Independence Day 5K
On July 4th, 2017 at approximately 7:30 in the morning, Will Mack and I took off from Hollymead Elementary School with one goal… to win the race. Eh, quite quickly we realized the need to change our goal, seeing the eventual race champion Ann Dunn take off and run way more than 30 seconds faster than us in the first mile. New goal was to lock-in, work together, break 20 mins, and last, but certainly not least, beat one another. The course is a simple loop that works its way around the Hollymead neighborhood of Albemarle County. Mostly on asphalt roads, but with a few segments on cement walking paths, there are no big hills that tested us, rather the heat, humidity and the fact that we were both wayyy out of shape. But having a teammate to work through the hard stuff we played off each other and kept a pace of around 6:20 per mile throughout the race. There is a little uphill in the last 500 meters or so of the race, heading back to the school. It was in that moment that this race will always paint my memory. Will unleashed a kick so nasty, that as a rising sophomore, I knew he would go onto big things. For the life of me there, no matter what I tried, there was NO way I could hold on. He took 8th place overall and I kept close enough to crack the top 10, watching him sprint in the whole way. We both broke 20 minutes that day, but it was the last time I was ever within 10 seconds of Will Mack in a race. He ran 19:39, I clocked 19:47. COURSE MAP (scroll to bottom of page)