Thursday, August 4, 2011

Field Of Dreams

We were surrounded by farm fields in the middle of nowhere, Belgium. It seemed as if we were driving in the wrong direction. I can’t recall even seeing a sign for Oordegem. We were lost... Then, poking up just beyond the tops of the trees ahead to our left were some light standards. Really? This is where the track is? This is where we’re going to try and run some 3:34’s for 1500m?
It was hard to believe.
The track itself was actually really nice. There was a small stadium, a bar, a short woodchip trail for warm up and a very fast surface.

It reminded me of Field of Dreams.

The temperature was perfect and it was dead calm. Other than a couple of random raindrops, you couldn’t ask for a more ideal setting to run a race. Kyle Smith and I were meant to set the pace. He was going through 800-900m and I was going to 1000-1100m depending on how we felt. The agent who set up the race gave everyone a specific order to run in. I’ve never heard of anything like that before. It seemed a little weird. When Nate mentioned that he didn’t want to be right behind me in 3rd, he almost got tossed to the B heat. That was that, everyone had their positions.

We went through the first 400m in 56 high, 57. We put in a bit of a surge there after getting yelled at to pick it up and my legs didn’t feel too good. I was worried I might not make it. Then, by 600m, they felt fine again. We came through the 800m mark in 1:54.0 and I felt great. Kyle swung out at about 850m and I took over from there. I hit the 1000m mark in 2:21 low (a new pb! Ha) and felt fine. I kept it going up the home straight and hit the bell in 2:36.0. The race was on.

Nate continued to push the pace up the back straight until the Ethiopian athlete took over at maybe 200-150m to go. Ciaran O Lionaird (Irishman) came flying up out of nowhere around the turn and battled the Ethiopian all the way to the line. Nate was hanging on and Taylor was making a late push…
1st and 2nd were both 3:34!? I couldn’t believe it. There was certainly some magic in the air on this night. Now we just had to hope Nate and Taylor weren’t too far back…Unfortunately, they came up just shy of the standard with a 3:35.80 and 3:36.71, respectively.
Nonetheless, a great race for everyone involved.

I know some people have been skeptical about the times, but I saw it happen and had 3:35 low on my watch for Nate. It was legit.

Time for the Canadian boys to take another crack at it Saturday in Ninove. This time, I’ll actually be racing. Hopefully, I didn’t leave my best effort of the season on the track as a rabbit!!

   - Linc


  1. Good job Matt- should be a good stimulus for you and make a slightly more relaxed pace in your next race feel comfortable! Hope you and the rest of the crew have good races in Ninove.
    Oh and BTW - I raced in Oredegem 5 years ago and the MD said he would provide accommodations for the first 4 nights (came straight over). We stayed in those little huts on the wood chip trail. It felt like being at camp with no activities...ah the memories.

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