Q: Fast Times or Victories?

Here’s a hypothetical for Lauren:

Let’s say you’re running in a non-championship European 5,000m race against a solid, respectable field. Maybe not every top 5k runner–since that rarely happens in a non-championship race–but definitely a respectable sampling, including a couple recent medalists even.

Which outcome at this point in your career would you be prouder of:

  • 4th place, top American and a new American record time?
  • or a win in a more tactical race with a modest PR?




Blake, that is an easy one.

In any Diamond League 5k, I’d take the win in a tactical race with a modest PR. Hell, I’d take the win in a tactical race with NO PR over 4th place/top American/new American Record.

Sound crazy?

This is how I see it: The point of having a race is to put a bunch of talented athletes together and see who will win…who can handle the variables and obstacles on that particular day and be victorious.  Nothing is more gratifying that that for me. Even with a slow time, if I come out ahead of a sampling of the “world’s best,” that means I handled the obstacles of that day better than everyone else. All wins are equal, so long as they are clean. Gold medals don’t come with parenthesis saying (won in a slow time).

Getting a “good time” is the best consolation prize if I can’t win.  Its a familiar saying on the circuit when someone gets smoked but sets a PR…”It’s a PR…I’ll take it!”  In short, nothing beats the feeling of victory, except maybe the feeling of a victory in record time!

As for records themselves, they mean very little to me. If I were to break the American Record, of course I’d be doing cartwheels around the infield like a maniac because I would have done something no American has done before, but someone else can break it a week later. I’d be more excited about the fact that my record time will likely make me more competitive with the highest level of athletes in the World…giving me a shot to earn a future win.

Lets face it: the faster and dirtier sports get, the less its even worth thinking about records.  To me, a record book in any sport is like reading “Ripley’s Believe it or Not;” some of its legit, but the rest is a freak-show. How can anyone tell the difference anymore?  Read the women’s 3k world record, for example, and tell me your reaction is not similar to this or this!

Alright, there you have it Blake.  Thanks for the question, and for participating in the debate.