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It's All in How You Run

By Chris Babcock, 10/19/16, 9:00AM CDT


Charging out from the start, waiting in the wings for the right moment, or fast to the finish, how do you do 5K?

For some it is simply a matter of lacing up their shoes and moving their arms and legs as quickly as they can for as long as they can, but for others there is an art to it. 

Your approach to a race could say more about you than you think

From the outside looking in running a race can seem like a simple thing. You put on your uniform, and spikes; toe the line, and when the starter gives the signal you run. From the outside it is that simple. But looking at a race, really looking at it you can see that there is more to it than that. Strategies develop: charge out hard and hold on; sit and wait to make a move in the middle;  or watch what develops in front of you and react are some of the things runners will do.

For Dillon Diekmann (12) the race was on from the start. He may not have shown it standing calmly with his teammates behind the three meter line waiting for the whistle to blow them all to the starting line like so many leaves moving in unison in front of a gust of wind, but he was about to charge out to the front of the 86 runner pack and control its pace and his destiny.

Not long after the gun sounded and Diekmann took to the lead a small group joined him, feeding off him and each other. They tested each other’s resolve throughout the course of the race by making subtle changes in their tempo and stride length to move them closer or further apart. Each one hoped they would be the one to cross the finish first. For now they all had a chance, including Diekmann.

The first mile was not a stretch at 5:09, it was not the fastest mile any of them had run in a race like this. The course ahead was pretty flat, with some twists and turns thrown in to make it interesting. As they ran the Fall colors melted into the background as some sort of beautiful noise that any other time they might have noted.

At 10:22 he passed the two mile mark, still in the pack but not leading, which isn’t important. The real challenge would come in the next mile and an eighth.

With the finish line looming not far ahead there were just a few moves left to make. Holding on would be the next big challenge, until the finishing sprint. At 400m to go Diekmann found himself in the top 5 now. That is where he would stay finishing fifth in 16:24.

Back in the pack, although closer than ever before Jack Spencer (12) was also running his race. The same tactics apply, but they are not as obvious when watching the middle of the pack. 

Spencer approaches every race with a can do attitude, and no fear of what challenges he knows are there nor those that crop up unexpectedly. There aren’t a whole lot of people that are going to out work him either.

During the course of the race Spencer looked strong, focused, and more determined than ever. In the end he earned himself honorable mention, placing 24th in a personal best time of 17:05, 27 seconds faster than he had ever run before.

There are many ways to cover the course of a race, but there is only one race course that everyone races. The way athletes approach the race shows something of who they are and who they hope to be. How will you cover your next course?