Waite learns from her stay on world stage

bROm hOban cEn­TRaL TExaS Run­nIng

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTSBRIEFING -

For­mer all-Amer­ica run­ner Len­nie Waite wrapped up her col­le­giate ca­reer at Rice Uni­ver­sity a cou­ple of years ago, but the lessons on the track keep com­ing.

Waite will soon re­turn home to Austin af­ter spend­ing the sum­mer com­pet­ing in Europe. She will come back with a new per­spec­tive on her sport.

“At this level — on the world stage — it’s like be­ing a fresh­man at Rice all over again,” said Waite, who has been do­ing re­search and train­ing at Lough­bor­ough Uni­ver­sity in Lough­bor­ough, Eng­land, since June 1. “I’m in awe of many of the ath­letes, but as I train with them, I’ve learned that I can run at that level if I con­tinue to ap­ply my­self.”

Waite started off the sum­mer well, com­pet­ing in War­saw, Poland, where she fin­ished the 3,000-me­ter steeplechase in 9 min­utes, 54.88 sec­onds on June 10. She then dropped down to 1,500 me­ters, clock­ing a time of 4:18.25 in Wat­ford, Eng­land.

A week ago, she took sec­ond in the steeplechase at the Scot­tish Cham­pi­onships in Dun­fermline, fin­ish­ing in a some­what dis­ap­point­ing 10:21.

“I’ve been hav­ing some stom­ach is­sues, and this last week or so, I’ve been both­ered by a metatarsal in­jury,” Waite said. “So rather than con­tinue to race here, I’ll be headed back to Austin on Aug. 2.”

Waite, who grad­u­ated from Rice with de­grees in eco­nom­ics, psy­chol­ogy and man­age­rial stud­ies, is now pur­su­ing a doc­tor­ate in in­dus­trial/or­ga­ni­za­tional psy­chol­ogy from the Uni­ver­sity of Hous­ton. Al­though she doesn’t race of­ten on Austin’s roads, we may be see­ing more of her as she trains for the Com­mon­wealth Games in Delhi, In­dia, in Oc­to­ber.

“Maybe some lo­cal 5Ks for speed work,” said Waite, who won the women’s elite di­vi­sion of the Congress Av­enue Mile in May, fin­ish­ing in 4:46.

What’s a Texan do­ing com­pet­ing in the Com­mon­wealth Games, an ath­letic show­case for the United King­dom and many for­mer Bri­tish colonies?

Waite was born to Bri­tish par­ents and com­petes in­ter­na­tion­ally for the UK, al­though she’ll race for Scot­land at the Com­mon­wealth Games. Born in Pais­ley, Scot­land, be­fore her fam­ily moved to Austin when she was 7, Waite is Scot­land’s na­tional cham­pion and record­holder in the steeplechase, based on a 9:50.48 fin­ish in June 2009.

Af­ter tak­ing the next week or two off, Waite will train un­der the watch­ful eye of Rice’s track and cross coun­try coach, Jim Bevin.

“Jim and I have great re­la­tion­ship,” Waite said. “With­out him, I wouldn’t be run­ning. In fact, be­ing in Europe has been tough be­cause he’s nor­mally on hand to give me a lot of feed­back.”

“I’ve worked with Len­nie for six years now,” Bevin said. “She started as an 800-me­ter run­ner, and I’d say by her sec­ond year at Rice, she was al­ready a good run­ner. And she’s con­tin­ued to im­press and im­prove through­out her run­ning ca­reer.

“The truth is very few peo­ple reach her level, and she still has a ways to go. Her pro­gres­sion has been straight­for­ward un­til re­cently — she’s had some stom­ach prob­lems and a foot in­jury — but it’s bet­ter that it hap­pened now. Some bumps in the road are good at this point, rather than later, be­cause we’re hop­ing to get her to the Olympics in 2012. She’s made the sac­ri­fices, but it’s not al­ways a smooth road. So we’ll take this and learn from it.”

Notes: Chalk up an­other Iron­man vic­tory for Austin triath­lete Amy Cot­trill Marsh, whose time for the 2.4-mile, 112-mile bike and 26.2mile run at Lake Placid, N.Y., this past week­end was 9 hours, 27 min­utes and 30 sec­onds. It was the sec­ond Iron­man ti­tle this year for Marsh, a for­mer col­le­giate swim­mer who grew up in Rochester, N.Y., moved to Austin in 2001, and started com­pet­ing in triathlons in 2002. … On July 20 at the IAAF World Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships in Monc­ton, New Brunswick, Cedar Park’s Parker Stin­son fin­ished sixth in the 10,000 me­ters with a time of 29:32.23, the best fin­ish ever by an Amer­i­can at the event. For­mer Rice run­ner Len­nie Waite has spent the past two months com­pet­ing in Europe.

Brom Hoban

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.