East­side run­ners take on Peachtree Road Race

The Covington News - - Sports - Michael John­son-Weeks Spe­cial to The News

East­side High School se­niors Michael John­sonWeeks and Austin Knight par­tic­i­pated in the an­nual Peachtree Road Race on Mon­day.

It was the sixth Peachtree for Michael, who ran the event in 41:41 and placed 648 out of a field of 60,000. That time was enough to earn him elite sta­tus.

“My track coach, Gary Tyn­dall, and I have been work­ing on a new train­ing pro­gram since Novem­ber,” Michael said. “Af­ter the con­clu­sion of the 2011 track sea­son, we adapted the workout to al­low for longer dis­tance races so that I could get a head start with cross coun­try.”

Austin, who is also a Peachtree vet­eran, ran the course in 56:22. Austin said that he was run­ning for fun this year and not stress­ing out about try­ing to make a spe­cific time. He was ac­com­pa­nied by his par­ents, Tommy and Dana, and his brother Travis, who ran a time of 39:21. Travis Knight grad­u­ated from New­ton High School and now at­tends Ge­or­gia Col­lege and State Univer­sity, where he runs cross coun­try.

Michael ran USATF sum­mer track with the World­Wide Track club and the Ruff Rid­ers Track club. He par­tic­i­pated in the Atlanta Track Club all-comer meets at Emory Univer­sity from May to mid-June and then ran in the USATF Ju­nior Olympics June 1619, where he set a per­sonal record of 4:30 in the 1,500 me­ter.

“My goal for the Peachtree this year was sub40,” John­son-Weeks said. “So I didn't quite make it; I wasn’t fully pre­pared for the long hills along the Peachtree route and I think it shows in my fi­nal time.

I will def­i­nitely be adding more ter­rain work to my train­ing pro­gram.

“My goal for this cross coun­try sea­son is to break the school record of 17:49 set by Sam John­son and hope­fully break 17 min­utes in the 5-k.”

In ad­di­tion to his cur­rent track train­ing, Michael be­gan sum­mer cross coun­try train­ing with East­side Coach Leah Carlisle two weeks ago.

Michael has been run­ning track since sev­enth grade and cross coun­try since 10th grade.

Austin has been run­ning cross coun­try for East­side since his fresh­man year.

“Hope­fully this race will help us in the cross coun­try sea­son,” Michael said. “It would be great to make a third con­sec­u­tive state ap­pear­ance. I feel very good about the tal­ent we have re­turn­ing and im­prov­ing this sea­son, and I’m glad we have Coach Carlisle as our coach.”

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