TRACK FEATURE | Bumbalough Leaves Adversity in the Dust
Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Updated: Saturday, April 23, 2011 19:04
"He's definitely thriving and doing a great job," Schumacher said. "His increase in performances that we're seeing are more of a function of [the fact] that he was well taken care of as a collegiate athlete and really prepared properly to give him opportunities to step up his game when put in an environment where he needs to."
The first pay date was at the USA cross country championships, where Bumbalough broke from the pack late in the 12K race to finish second overall with a time of 35:52. That performance guaranteed him a spot on the USA national team, which then travelled to Spain for the world championships in March.
While the experience of competing on the world stage was invaluable for Bumbalough, his performance was lacking. He struggled in the heat and, at 78th place, was the last American runner to cross the line,.
"It's going to serve me well that I kind of went and got my butt kicked a little bit," Bumbalough said. "Next time that I go and get myself into an event like that I'll be ready."
However, it's been Bumbalough's performance on the track last month that has caught the attention of many in the track world. Running in the 5K at the Melbourne Track Classic that featured Lagat and teammates Chris Solinsky, Matt Tegenkamp and Nelson, Bumbalough turned in one of the best rookie performances of the year. Bumbalough kept up with the pace by staying with teammates Solinsky and Tegenkamp for as long as he could, finishing fifth and setting a new PR by nearly 15 seconds with a time of 13:16.
"I knew that if I just hung on the pace with Matt and Chris and Lagat until a couple laps to go I would hit the time and that's exactly how the race unfolded," Bumbalough said.
The performance came of no surprise to Schumacher, who saw the big PR coming in Bumbalough's training.
"Now it's getting to the point where I see athletes handling a certain type of work, and those types of workouts and it kind of gives me an idea of where we are at," Schumacher said. "I was quite confident that Andrew could run at 13:20."
The time was well under the IAAF ‘A' standard of 13:20, which athletes must beat to be eligible to compete at the world championships. Now that the ‘A' standard is out of the way, Bumbalough's focus will be entirely on the 5K at the USA championships in Eugene at the end of June. Bumbalough must be one of the top three finishers in order to punch his ticket to the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
For Bumbalough, accomplishing his goal of one day running professionally has been rewarding. But like a good runner in any distance race, he isn't content with just starting out fast.
"Getting here is one thing, but just really proving myself and really pushing myself to the ultimate limit of what I'm able to achieve is what I want to do."