Brett and Adam are entering into the “thick” of the track season. Brett has been running the 3200 meter (2 mile) race at the varsity level. His time has been right around 12:00 minutes, with his best being 11:55. He hasn’t placed very high, but seems to be improving as he runs against older, stronger guys.
Adam runs the 1600 meter (1 mile) race mostly on the Jr. High level, but has competed in 1-2 varsity races. His time has been right around 6:10 minutes, with his best being 6:02. His goal this year is to beat 5:55.
A track meet has a very different tempo compared to other sports. When you watch a football or basketball game, there is almost constant action. Track however seems to be periods of inactivity interrupted with a race. However, as you look over the field, there is always something happening. Runners are warming up or cooling down. Field event people are jumping or throwing.
Short distance events take place in front of the grandstand. This allows for a great deal of audience participation as they cheer their runners towards the finish line. However, when you’re a distance runner, there are a lot of quiet spots around the track as you circle the 4 or 8 laps it takes to run 1600 or 3200 meters. I always felt it was particularly challenging for the 3200 meter runners as their event is second to last. The meet has been going on for 3 1/2 to 4 hrs and the sun is ready to set. People are anxious for the last event, the 4 x400 relay and to go home. Yet here we have these dedicated kids who have waited all night to perform their event. The crowd is thinner and the cheering might not be as loud, but that doesn’t stop them from “leaving it all on the track” as we say.
Once you understand how a track meet flows, it really is a great event. Listening to the crowd roar as the lead runner crosses the finish line can send shivers down your spine. It does mine.