I did well as a distance runner in high school in the 80's and 90's. Clearly I had some talent and I worked hard. I loved the mile and that was my favorite event.
I remember very well my first mile race. It was the "alumni mile." During halftime of the Friday night home football game the cross country team challenged the alumni to a mile race.
I finished 5th and ran 5:05.
In the spring I ran 4:55 in my mile first race and my best that year was 4:49. I didn't even qualify to run at the district state meet that year.
As a sophomore I ran 4:40 and as a junior I ran 4:32.
I had some natural leg speed and I ran a lot of miles so I got stronger as I got older. I trained a lot during the off season and I always gave my all in races.
One day in February of 1991 I ran the perfect race on a perfect day and lowered my best from 4:32 to 4:24. I set the school record that day and that record stood for 18 years. Today the school record at my high school is 4:15.
The race I ran 4:24 was truly epic. It was at the state championships. Do you know what place I finished? I was 6th in that race.
In college I went on to run 4:16 in 1994 and that is my all-time personal best.
I tell you all this for what reason?
What is 4:57?
I was walking around the campus of a local high school on Monday. I thought is was cool that the Track and Fiend school records were on a board outside. Awesome! Of course I zeroed in on the distance records and was shocked and disturbed that the school record was 4:57.
What happened to my sport? Why can't kids run faster than 4:57? To be honest I really am deeply saddened by the trends nowadays. Distance running is a dying sport.
I guess today's blog is a little bit of a downer. I didn't mean for that but I always write about what is on my heart and to see my sport struggling so much is hard for me to take.
I know that distance running is Lake County Florida is a not a big thing. I know there as so many different options for kids in this day and age. I know that ball sports and team sports are more glamorous. It's to hot....the list goes on and on.
I really don't know the true reason for the nationwide decline in the sport of distance running.
I guess it just is what it is.
I will finish with a happy thought. I was a runner in high school and it helped to form who I am. Running was and still is a blessing to me. I am a runner. Running created life long bonds and friendships that I will never lose with people that are amazing. Running connected us.
The memories of the state titles and the championship can never be taken away from me. I was part of an era of fast runners that we may never see again. I am fine with that. Running has giving me so much and I am thankful.
I hope that you gained some incite or perhaps this post got you thinking a little bit. If you got value I would appreciate it you shared with others.
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