I’m a serious contender, insists Chayce
Wiser from his disappointing performance a year ago when he placed 22nd overall, Chayce Smith is ready to be a serious contender in Friday’s May 24 Marathon Derby.
The 25-year-old Smith, whose time of 1:31.06 in 2012 doesn’t reflect the potential he showed when he ran a 1:20.37 time as a 19-year-old debutant in 2007 to finish fifth, has been training for the Derby since January and is a strong contender for another top five finish.
“Last year I basically underestimated the distance of the race, I did the speed preparation but I didn’t do the endurance,” said Smith yesterday. “I learned a lot from last, I was running in the top three and at the five mile mark I caught cramp and then walked and ran, walked and ran and came down 22nd.
“Last year I didn’t have any intention of beating Chris at all, I was just basically running down at a pace I thought I could keep because I was doing my mile repeats at that pace. But what I found out was because I wasn’t doing my long runs, speed only lasted so long. The race is not for the swiftest but for those who endure.”
Smith followed up the 2007 race (won by Larry Marshall) with a fourth-place finish in 1:15.32 in 2008, Chris Estwanik’s first year as champion. With better preparation Smith is aiming for his best performance yet.
“This year is a different preparation. I talked to Chris Estwanik about some training, I’ve also talked to some of the old marathon runners like Cal Bean, Geoff Smith (10K record holder) who was down here for the (International) 10K and he and Biwot (Kenyan middle distance runner Shadrack Biwot) gave me the best things to do for my preparation for May 24,” said Smith.
“I met him during the Front Street Mile when he came third one year and I came fourth and he wanted to know how can a guy who works and trains stay with a guy who is a professional athlete. Since he’s given me the advice I’ve been doing my mileage, I’ve laid off the track a little bit and still keeping my speed up.
“Since I decided I was going to train for May 24th, I’ve had five months training. The first two months was all about endurance and I popped out in the Lindo’s to Lindo’s Race with no speed work, just a slow endurance, and I came second to Stephen Allen. Since January I’ve been focused on May 24th so pretty much I expect a good race.
“When you talk about Chayce Smith, do not talk about last year, that was a bad race. I even stopped on the side of the road and had a glass of water with an old lady.”
News yesterday that champion Estwanik could miss the race through injury has thrown the race wide open with triathlete Tyler Butterfield, veteran Jay Donawa, Allen and Smith likely to be the main contenders for a first title as Lamont Marshall will also be absent this year.
“I’m pretty confident about any challenge that awaits me,” said Smith, speaking before hearing of Estwanik’s withdrawal.
“If you aim for the stars you might fall short but it is still going to be good.”