Last night, as I was writing in Guoman Towers, actually wide awake after a nice 70 minute walk with my son, Adam, I was planning my Saturday columns. Enjoying my pot of tea, I had a few moments to speak with Josh Cox and Ben Rosario. Josh Cox holds the AR for 50k and is a prominent sports agent and manager. Ben Rosario is the coach/Advisor/Founder of HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite.
Kellyn Taylor, USA XC, February 2017, photo by PhotoRun.net
In the few years that HOKA Northern Arizona Elite has existed, they have provided us with stars new and old. Last month, I saw some fine performances, with Stephanie Bruce taking second in the 10,000m (31:51.98), a PB by 18 seconds. Her husband, Ben Bruce joined the sub 28:10 club with a 19 second PB (28:09.29), just behind Martin Hehir (28:08.60).
Right behind Stephanie Bruce was Kellyn Taylor, who lead until halfway, finishing sixth in 32:16.78. What I figured out later, was that Kellyn Taylor was right in the middle of her final preparations for the Virgin Money London Marathon. In February, Kellyn Taylor had run the USA Cross Country (as did the HOKA Northern Arizona Elite team).
When I asked Ben Rosario, a man who exudes positivism, where Kellyn Taylor is in terms of fitness, he was quite confident in her fitness. I noted, that is time to write a piece on Kellyn Taylor and our admiration of her talent, drive and focus.
In 2016, Kellyn Taylor woke many up with her performances at the Olympic Trials. In the marathon, she charged to the lead much earlier than her advisors had suggested and gutted out a sixth place. I believe that she would have been, with a bit more patience, in the total fight for third place.
In the women’s 10,000 meters, Kellyn Taylor fared much better, but still oh so close to the Olympic team, finishing fourth in the 10,000 meters. As one might expect, the emotional and physical price of racing at such a high level is high, and Kellyn Taylor, quite rightly, withdrew from a fall marathon, to give herself a break.
Over the winter, in cross country, Kellyn Taylor did well, built up her fitness and has shown strong fitness, despite a rigorous training program that builds strength, endurance and confidence.
How fast will Kellyn Taylor run in London Marathon?
Kellyn Taylor, climbing hills, one at a time, photo by PhotoRun.net
That will have to be seen, but our guess is 2:25-2:26. There will be pacers at 2:18 pace and 2:26 pace. The pack for the second group should be substantial, as several Europeans want to run in the 2:25-2:26 range.
I believe that Kellyn Taylor can run much, much faster. But, Ben Rosario is one smart cookie. He realizes that Kellyn needs some more experience and a confidence booster. This very talented multi tasker (graduated from fireman school, raising daughter, elite athlete) is focusing on the Virgin Money London Marathon.
Kellyn Taylor is a relative new comer to the sport of running. That she is an immensely talented athlete, with drive and focus is uncontested. The lesson that Ben Rosario endeavors to show Kellyn Taylor is the need for patience as an elite marathoner.
There is the Greek myth of Icarus. It is, I must admit, one of my favorites. Icarus, son of Daedelus, flew too near the sun, with wings made of feathers, and wax. By flying too close to the sun, the wax melted, and Icarus plunged into the sea.
Consider that myth when one thinks about marathoners. Marathoners fly too close to the sun when they run with abandon, but too fast, early on. Their bodies remind them that while their hearts want “faster, faster”, their bodies are reminded of the laws of nature. Run too fast early on, one chances a tough finish.
The marathon is a chess game. The marathon is also a lesson in energy management. It is also a lesson in emotional management. If one can control the drive to run too fast early on, one has increased the chance for success by fifty percent. If one can charge away with six miles to go, one has stayed out of trouble, and can chase down competitors over those last miles, increasing confidence and the success rate. Such is the dilema that confronts Kellyn Taylor.
Kellyn Taylor finished much better in the Trials than those with lesser drive would have finished. In London, if Kellyn Taylor can play it smart, she may be rewarded with a very fast time.
We wish the future firewoman the best of luck.
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