It was getting dark by the time distance runners Adina Lepp and Hanako Hjersman raced the 5000 meters at the Chabot Relays, held at Chabot College on April 4 and 5, but the two track and field Cyclones were undaunted both by the long day and the long race-even though it was the first time either of them had raced this distance on the track.
The 3.1-mile race often scares off the more timid distance runners who cannot conceive of going around and around a track for twelve and a half laps, but Adina and Hanako were undaunted.
Adina started the race with the race leaders, and came through her first mile in 6:30, a time only seconds off her best mile time this season. She continued for two more miles, never giving up the fight, clocking lap after controlled lap even faster than she had planned, and ended the race with an impressive third-place finish and a time of 21:10, shattering her cross country personal best time of 22:16.
We had talked a lot about this race ahead of time, because the 5k can be daunting on the track, both psychologically and physically. I gave both Adina and Hanako goal paces to shoot for based on their best track and field performances this season, and both of them blew past those times and ran even faster than anticipated. They’re getting to see the benefit of having back-to-back seasons of running; it’s exciting to see the team so fit and so confident on and off the track.
In addition to running a new personal best time, Adina set a new 5k school record. Mills finished second as a team at the Chabot Relays, and was filled with many more personal records and new school records.
This weekend at the Johnny Mathis Invitational at San Francisco State, Adina will try the grueling 3000m steeplechase, an event that includes solid hurdle barriers and a water pit. You can join the Mills fan van and support Mills track and field by coming to watch the meet.