Tonight is the eve of Pre Classic 2014. The meet which hosts the best of the best athletes in track & field begins tomorrow in Eugene, Oregon. This is a place where magic has happened for Alan in 2001 (setting the 3:53 high school record), 2004 (winning the Bowerman mile in 3:50.85), and 2005 (setting the former American Record in the 2 mile – 8:11.48). Here is once again another blog dedicated to Alan’s success starting with the mile back in 2001. Also check out Pre Classic’s Top 10 events of the 2000s. Final blog will be posted tomorrow.
Keira D’Amato holds a special place to us in our heart. She is responsible for our initial encounter back in early 2007. Without Keira we would have never met and would still remain lost seeking a soul mate. Formerly Keira Carlstrom, she was a beast runner boasting PRs of 16:09 (5000m), 9:15 (3000m), 4:38 (mile). She is currently pregnant so less than beast status except for the reality that in the near future she will be soon to resemble an actual beast come November.
Starting at Oakton High (rival to South Lakes) she began her running success in 9th grade winning the JV cross country race at Burke Lake (Monroe Parker Invite) – where Alan also stunned the onlookers with his varsity win. At American University she became a 3x All American in cross country, and once on the track at 5000m. Eventually Alan and her became close buds in the same training group under Scott Raczko, until injuries (one including glass shattering on her foot coming out of the shower) forced her to look into post-running career opportunities. One of these being an MC at all the cool kids in the DC area’s birthday party, but more recently director of marketing at Potomac River Running and now MilestonePod.
Keira on Alan
Alan and I came from the same high school athletic district. His low key performances were almost equally impressive to watch, even if he was doing a workout during the district/regional meet. Everyone in our district (I’m sure region and state as well), were huge supporters of Alan. My Oakton HS track team held a viewing party the day that Alan broke the high school national record at the Prefontaine classic back in 2001. Everyone was jammed packed into my teammates basement watching in anticipation as Alan lined up against all of our running idols (including El Guerrouj – he was in the same race as El Guerrouj… are you serious?!?!?!)! As Alan went into his last lap, we all knew with his famous kick he would be very close to breaking the record and everyone in the room was on their feet cheering (like cheering thousands of miles away would actually help Alan run faster). With his monster kick surging past many in the field – my whole team went nuts. We were so proud of Alan, as if he were our high school teammate. I will never forget that day. It was surreal seeing the guy who wins every event in our district shatter a 25 year national record. We all knew he could do it, but I mean, watching it happen was simply amazing.
Outdoor State Meet
I take great pride in being the one to introduce Alan to his wonderful wife Julia. Only recently I realized Alan may have had some hand in introducing my husband (Anthony) to me. The year Alan ran the 3:53 high school mile, the press was onto Alan’s accomplishments and started following him early on. Newspaper journalists would flock to our district, regional, and state meets with hope they would be there to witness one of his many record breaking races. The state meet his senior year was no exception, drawing all sorts of press including Sport Illustrated. Due to the all press, the VA state meet heightened security and procedures and now featured a press section which you would need to flash a pass to enter. Somehow, as moms of the years would, my mom and my husband’s mom were able to get their hands on some press passes and enter the VIP zone. As the only two moms in the arena surrounded by legit journalists and professional photographers – they spotted each other and immediately became friends. After the meet was over, my mom came to me saying she met the nicest lady with cute sons that go to Midlothian High School. Little did I know at the time, one of those sons would eventually become my husband!! So, thank you Alan!!! Alan set the state 800 record that day, beating the competition by over 5 seconds (which in an 800 is HUGE!).
The 2nd Best Runner in the District
One of the best runners to ever go through my high school, Matt Maline, was the same year as Alan. Matt qualified for the World Cross Country championships his senior year in high school (made the USA junior national team) and was an extremely talented runner. The thing that sucked for Matt was he was in the same district as Alan Webb, so it was pretty much impossible for Matt to even win a district title. Matt was second to Alan at the district meet, the regional meet, and state meet. It’s funny to me the runner up at the state meet couldn’t even win the district. I can’t remember if it was at the regional or district meet, but there was a news article that was published directly after that summed up Matt’s pain perfectly. The article described Matt leading the 5k race through 2 miles and Alan breezing by him. Matt’s quote from the article went something like this “Around 2 miles, Alan effortlessly went by me. Turns out he was doing a workout and was only supposed to run the last mile hard. The kicker was when Alan passed me, he was wearing trainers and one shoe was untied.” Again, this quote comes from a member of our 2001 Jr. National Team… but only the 2nd best runner in the district.
Jacob Frey has also been in Alan’s life a long time. Hailing from the VA, these guys were high school rivals at one point. They first met on a cross country course when Alan was a freshman at South Lakes and Jacob was a junior also competing (like Keira) at Oakton. Jacob went on to run at William and Mary (one of the 3 recruiting visits Alan made). Jacob would run with Alan when he was back in town during his days as an elite runner for Saucony (winner at Austin Marathon; PR of 2:16, Pan Am Games & Trials Qualifier) Recently Jacob has taken his energy into his professional career outside of running. A successful attorney he became Minneapolis City Council member in 2013.