Bob Kennedy (won NCAA XC championships as a freshman, Olympian and first non-African to run under 13 min for 5000m) often does analysis/commentary for the NCAA XC championships. I watched most of both the men’s and women’s D1 race this past weekend and Bob had some funny/insightful things to say about racing, coaching and XC. This is all paraphrasing…
Regarding the 10k course distance: Yeah, I don’t know, as long as it’s kind of close to about 10k… it doesn’t matter much… the goal is to place as high as possible, not time yourself for 10 kilometers.
Regarding milers and middle distance runners in XC: A great kick doesn’t matter nearly as much at this level over 10 kilometers. Really, the best runners have done the lactate threshold work and know how to manage that fine line (threshold) and know how much is left in the tank toward the end of the race.
Regarding the 10k length: 10k XC races hurt really bad but once you submit to that and just settle into the pain, then you can find your limits and race your best.
Regarding becoming a coach: :::laughing::: I (Bob Kennedy) would be a terrible coach because my advice would be so simple: why can’t you just run faster? — clearly he understands that he was a highly talented athlete and that highly talented athletes often do not make great coaches.
Regarding Patrick Tiernan pushing a good pace throughout the race: A lot of respect for Patrick to not fall into the trap of just letting Ed Cheserek control the tempo the entire race. If one is to beat someone of that caliber you have to make them make decisions about the race they may not want to or are not immediately comfortable with. Ultimately Cheserek is a phenomenal athlete and the strategy didn’t work but a lot of congratulations to Tiernan for at least challenging for the first 8k.
It's nice to have someone with insight doing the commentary for these races.