Friday, April 1, 2011

Empire State of Mind: Brooklyn's Eddie Owens and the NYRR Half-Marathon

he choice before Eddie Owens was this: Leave on time for a 10-day Spring Break vacation in Italy or run in the New York City Half Marathon on very little training.

“It wasn’t a tough decision,” he said.

Owens, of course, ran in the 13.1-mile half marathon in Manhattan

March 20. And his impressive finish time of 1 hour, 7 minutes, 34 seconds – good for 37th in a field of top international pros, and the only teen in the top 100 – stands as one of the top high school distance running achievements of the year.

It’s better than that, in fact. There’s no official high school record for the half marathon, but the USATF lists the Junior record for the distance as 1:04:42, by 19-year-old Jay O’Keefe in 1983. But also lists all-time single-age bests, with Thom Hunt (1:08:07, 1975) holding the all-time age-17 mark (Owens’ age). Because the course was point-to-point, it is not record-eligible, but there’s no doubt it’s one of the best road efforts – beyond 10k – in prep history.

It all began on the heels of another attention-grabbing high school race that starred Lukas Verzbicas.