2016 IAAF World Indoor Athletics Champs: Moment of Larry, Day Three


Berian_BorisFV1a-Worlds16.JPgBoris Berian, photo by PhotoRun.net

The story is so uplifting for some, they just can not believe it. Take a talented distance runner who just is not ready or into college. Find him a bit out of college, and working at McDonalds. Then, talk him into training again with his old coach, but a new club started by a pretty talented distance runner (Brenda Martinez and her hubby). Watch the guy run, get back into shape and begin to improve.

Then, watch track geeks, (c'est moi), drop their jaws when Boris runs with the big boys in Europe. Watch him almost make a US team for the World Champs Outdoors.

But, this is indoors, and will it be a different story?

Read on, gentle reader.....

Boris Berian is a tough runner. An 800 meter guy built like Herb Lindsay, one the country's finest long distance runners in the 1970s and early 1980s, Herb had some guns on those arms. Boris does too.

At the US Indoor Champs, Boris just took the lead and crushed it, winning and not looking back.

In the rounds at the Worlds, Boris stayed out of trouble and made it through with ease, with Antoine Gakeme, winning his heat in 1:48.09, with Berian at 1:48.55 in second.

He is much tougher now, perhaps the missed opportunity in 2015 opened his eyes, and gave him the vision he needed to move on.

The final on Saturday was looked upon with much fascination. Mo Aman, the defending champion was there, as was Antoine Gakeme, Eric Solinski, and Boris Berian.

Many thought he would medal, but few thought he would dominate.

Boris Berian got out hard, and hit the 200 meters in 23.92, which is fast! Continuing his hard front running, Berian hit the 400 meters in 49.73, which really turned some eyeballs. That is David Rudisha speed, and David was in Australia, or Kenya, right now.

Boris Berian looked focused and driven. He was running smooth, but with power. That is what blows many away, but if you remember, Boris Berian is to 2016 what Alberto Juantorena was to 1976. Boris Berian is a California version of Alberto Juantorena.

Boris continued his driven display of front running through 600 meters in 1:17:37, when the rest of the field woke up and tried to gain on him. For about fifty meters, Boris seemed like he was taking a quick break to gather himself for the run home.

I was hoping that I was not watching a law of Physics being proven, that if you go out too fast, you come back real fast.

Boris Berian willed himself over that last 200 meters. That last 200 meters of the 800 meters, where the lactic acid is nearly up in your throat and six little voices are whispering, no screaming, no begging, "please stop, Coach Vigil will understand. Boris, this is your right hamstring, I have no energy left and I want a sauna." You ignore those voices and you just drive on, which is what Boris Berian did.

The 800 meters is 200 meters too long for a perfect race. The 800 meters is a race where time and pain mold into one, and twenty five seconds of pain moves to thirty-two.

Boris Berian held on, and pushed to the finish, where he won his first World Indoor title in 1:45.83, to the resounding cheers of the partisan crowd. But, in truth, everyone was a fan of Boris Berian on Saturday night at the Oregon Convention Center.

Boris Berian put that carbuncle of self doubt that we all have, away at about 680 meters to 700 meters, when he made the decions to charge on. His face was full of pain and drive, and his arms were pumping and his legs had to follow. No choice after he committed.

My MOMENT OF LARRY for night three is Boris Berian's race, but specifically, when he won it, between 600 and 700 meters, when, the brain shuts off, the eyes flutter, and the lungs just beg for mercy.

Boris Berian conquered all. But, something tells me, he did that on some cold as hell night, doing intervals, when no one is there but Coach, you a few joggers, and someone with a rubgy ball.

Runners are creatures of habit and comfort. Nothing is comfortable about a fast speed session, or a long, grueling series of 600 meters and 1000 meters, but it gives one a sense of comfort, or relief.

And in this amazing setting, as Boris Berian was running his race, not far back, Eric Sowinski was moving well, and, running his race, Eric Sowinski took the bronze, surpassing the defending champion, Mo Aman. Eric is a great guy, determined runner and picked up his first international medal, as the US went 1-3.


Boris Berian, photo by PhotoRun.net

Earlier this afternoon, I was speaking to VP of Running Product at New Balance, Tom Carleo. I was speaking to him about Boris Berian, and he told me the reason he ran so well was, (jokingly), "because of the shoes." I concurred, wisely, to Boris Berian's club sponsor, New Balance.

The shoes sured helped, and the sponsorship really helps, but Boris Berian has some brass ones.

And his race is something to behold. Watch it and Watch it and Watch it. And remember, Boris Berian's 800 meters is our Moment of Larry for Day Three of the 2016 IAAF World Athletics Championships!

Berian-SowinskiFL-WorInd16.jpgBoris Berian, Eric Sowinski, photo by PhotoRun.net

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