When Will Seidel moved to Denver, he expected that the fitness-crazed city would have a track club. But a cursory Google search and a few postings on LetsRun.com turned up nothing. “The run clubs in town are very supportive, but their focus is overwhelmingly on marathons and road racing, not track and definitely not mid-distance,” Seidel says.
For a sport that has the highest participation in high school after football, track has a hard time finding a foothold after school. The joy of the post-collegiate track club—which Seidel and I found out after running together on New York’s Central Park Track Club—is not in its intensity, but the fact that it’s an inherently communal sport. Even a recreational masters runner can participate to a high level with an elite 800-meter runner in training. And an eight-hour track meet is a quick way to bond.
So, Seidel had no other option but to start the Denver Track Club. His email list includes about 25 people who show up semi-regularly to do twice-weekly workouts like 200 repeats at the South High School track near Washington Park or hill repeats in the Highlands. It’s a mix of mid-distance and long distance runners—more guys than girls at this point—and Seidel’s goal is to eventually make Denver Track Club a destination team for NCAA talent and become competitive on the national level. The United States is cranking out an unbelievable number of mid-distance talent and Seidel sees no reason why we can’t bring them here. But, in the end, his goal for each athlete is to perform their best. No matter what level. No matter what age.
To help, he’s enlisted the coaching prowess of James Hatch, a former University of Arkansas 800-meter runner and All-American, to draft the workouts and whip the group into shape. A group he hopes will continue to grow in both post-collegiate and masters-level runners. Track, he believes, is a sport people don’t know they’re missing. And it’s a nice respite from the rigors of endurance training. “To me, I’ve never understood the attraction of a marathon,” Seidel says. “I will spend the rest of my life trying to run the 800 as fast as I can. I want to do a lot of things in my life, but the window to run your fastest time is a small one. I’m faster in the 400 and 200 than I ever been. For me, that’s motivation.”
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