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Chayce hopes to challenge elite runners

Chayce Smith is focusing on winning the KPMG Bermuda Invitational Mile regardless of which race he enters the local or the elite event.

With International Race Weekend less than one month away, qualifiers for the Mile were determined at Sunday's trials at the National Sports Centre.

Smith, by far the fastest in those trials, stopped the clock at four minutes, 27.6 seconds, almost 25 seconds ahead of second-placed qualifier Darico Clarke (4:52.2). And he will be the odds on favourite should he run in the local Mile event Men's division on January 14.

But he'll also likely to be among the contenders for the Elite race should he be allowed to race in that category.

Bermuda Track and Field Association (BTFA) president Donna Watson is attempting to get the youngster into the Elite Division, with talks with the organisers yet to take place.

For Smith, it doesn't matter which race he enters, with his mind clearly on being the first across the finish line.

“I expect to win every race I compete in. The last couple times I have heard about the elite guys running 4.14 to 4.16 minute miles and I was running these times while in college, so I'm looking forward to running in this year's event,” said Smith.

“I don't consider myself the favourite because I wasn't planning to run the local men's mile, Donna said she will talk to the people at KPMG and see if I can run in the elite class, so I don't know what will be the final decision at the moment.

“I was disappointed in not being allowed to run in my spikes in the trial. I feel that if I'm running on the track I should be able to wear my spikes in the conditions, it was raining and windy.

“I went out really hard and was hitting my marks for the most part, and finished in 4.27, so it was a good performance for the day considering I had just caught a cold that day, so I can't complain.

“For the mile I'm going to try and run 4.15, that's my goal, and I'm just having fun at the moment.”

Smith has been put through his paces by 2004 US Olympic coach George Williams as well Bermudian Troy Douglas as he prepares for the upcoming event.

The youngster has had a good 2010, performing well both locally on the cross-country scene and internationally for his school, St. Augustine College.

While he did suffer a hamstring injury during his indoor season at St. Augustine that ruled him out of but the outdoor season as well as the CAC Games in Puerto Rico, Smith said the injury was behind him and is feeling better then ever.

“I have been away and that has helped me. I have learned a lot from George Williams, and helped over 30 Olympians and has shown me how to strive for excellence and how to take my mind out of Bermuda while being in Bermuda which is why I have been able to maintain a high standard.

“I've been training with Troy Douglas as well, working on body mechanics and all my techniques. I was injured while running at the indoor nationals and made it worse when I ran in the finals of the 800 metres, therefore I had to take the whole outdoor season off.

“It is my upper left hamstring and you can't just rush these sorts of things back too quickly, especially because it is on my turning leg.

“I wasn't in any shape to run CAC Games and wasn't going to race unprepared, but I feel good now.”

Chayce Smith leads from Jay Donawa during last Saturday's National Cross-Country Championships.

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Published December 15, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 15, 2010 at 6:58 am)

Chayce hopes to challenge elite runners

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