For four of the last five laps of the 3000 meters on Saturday night, Emma Coburn lead a menacing pack. Katie Mackey, Shelby Houlihan were on her shoulders. Houlihan has an exceptional kick. Katie Mackey was one of those athletes who has a kick, and had been in many, painfully close finishes. The only problem was, some of those races had not gone Katie’s way.
Our sport is unforgiving. No quarter is given, none is asked. The nicest person in the world, or the biggest pain in ass, does not get special dispensation. It is about who gets from point A to point B the fastest. It is in those final moments of the race, when the body is no longer willing and the heart does not demand compliance, that races are won and lost. Was Katie Follett Mackey ever going to make a big team?
Katie Mackey, photo by PhotoRun.net
I have thought, for sometime, that Katie Mackey is one of those athletes who is on the cusp of greatness. She has come so heartbreakingly close in the past.
Today, in Albuquerque, Katie Mackey ran a near perfect race. When Shelby Houlihan made that huge surge over the last lap, Katie went, and she battled Emma Coburn, the Olympic bronze medalist and World Champion at the the steeplechase, to the very end of the race.
In the final lap, Katie Mackey ran .17 faster over the last lap to make the U.S. team for Birmingham over Emma Coburn.
Consider that for a moment. That .17 of a second is margin of making or not making a team. The smile on Katie Mackey’s face was, well beatific. It is defined as “rapturous, joyous, serene, happy.”
And in this moment, all those close races, those tough workouts, went away.
I posted below the press release from Brooks, on the occasion of one of their athletes making a World Indoor team.
Brooks Beast Katie Mackey Rises, Wins Silver Medal at U.S. Indoor Championships
Pro track runner earns spot on Team USA at World Indoor Championships
Brooks Beast Katie Mackey stormed to a second-place finish in the women’s 3,000-meter run today at the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. Her silver medal performance secured her place on Team USA at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England.
“This year has been challenging with the amount of work I’ve had to do physically to come back from injury and mentally to trust Danny and our plan,” said Brooks Beast Katie Mackey. “Everything about today feels incredible, but the best part was when I crossed the line and saw my teammates crying they were so happy. That’s what I am going to think about at Worlds.”
Today’s achievement was made even sweeter for Mackey who has battled injury for the past year and been a world team alternate the past two years. In the final kick, Mackey showcased her resolve and held on to second place, crossing the line in 9 minutes, 1.68 seconds just behind winner Shelby Houlihan and ahead of third-place finisher Emma Coburn. The World Indoor Championships begin March 1.
“This is Katie in true form,” said Brooks Beasts Head Coach Danny Mackey. “Getting her healthy after her injury from last summer took a while, but we knew she was capable and hungry for her spot at Worlds. Her smile at the finish says it all.”
Brooks sponsors professional athletes like Mackey to inspire runners everywhere and to invest in the sport of running. Other investments into the sport include supporting Mackey’s team the Brooks Beasts and the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project, the Inspiring Coach of the Year Award which recognize coaches who create meaningful change in their communities and the Brooks Booster Club which supports underfunded high school track and cross country teams