August 8, 2009
change of pace produces 4:17 mile
By Kevin Pates
At age 31, Jeremy Polson figures he’s still
improving as a runner. Race results in 2009 back up his theory.
The Duluthian has tied or set five personal bests
on the track or roads from one mile to 25 kilometers.
The most recent example was a mile in 4 minutes,
17.6 seconds Tuesday at the Wisconsin-Superior track in a weekly
Mini-Meet directed by Superior High School cross country coach Dan
Polson’s previous best was 4:18 in 2001.
“I consider myself a long-distance runner,
but it’s fun to see what you’re able to do in shorter
races,” Polson said this week. “You remember what it’s
like to really hurt in a race. It’s good for your confidence
to know you can run hard and not fall apart.”
The racing season is nearly over for Polson, who
leads the open men’s division in the 2009 Minnesota Running
Data Center rankings. He’s entered in today’s Minnesota
Distance Running Association 15-kilometer championships in Edina,
Minn.; the Minnesota Mile down Superior Street on Sept. 13; and
the TC 10-Miler from Minneapolis to St. Paul on Oct. 4. The AlBrook
High School teacher also coaches cross country, which begins practice
Being injury free (he’s been bothered by
plantar fasciitis) has aided Polson’s racing. He put in weekly
winter mileage of 120-130 miles and has scaled back to 90 during
the summer. Duluth Denfeld cross country and track coach Gary Lepisto
has worked with Polson since Polson’s days with the Hunters,
and is impressed by his versatility.
“When you run a marathon or half-marathon,
the top-end speed isn’t that important. Jeremy hasn’t
done much speed training, but he was able to come up with a fast
mile,” Lepisto said. “That’s about as fast as
his legs can turn over. He’s running as well as he has in
a couple of years.”
As a Denfeld senior in 1995-96, Polson was second
in the Class AA cross country meet and won the Class AA track 3,200
title, and then ran cross country and track at the University of
Minnesota, which meant primarily 5,000- and 10,000-meter races,
yet included a 4:09 indoor mile.
As a post-collegiate road racer, he ran 2:25:52
at the 2003 Chicago Marathon and 1:07:21 at the 2007 Earth Day Half-Marathon
in St. Cloud, Minn. He was the top finisher from the area in the
Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon on June 20 and won the Park Point
Five-Miler last month for the fifth time in his last five times
in the race.
At the UWS track, he had some help setting an
early mile pace from Scott Behling and Jordan Peterson of Duluth,
going through the quarter-mile in 60 seconds, 800 meters in 2:05
and 1,200 meters in 3:11. But Polson was on his own at the end with
Behling 26 seconds behind in 4:43.
There’s some incentive for doing well in
the Minnesota Mile with a prize money purse of $5,750 going to the
top six men and women. The winner in each division earns $2,000
and second place gets $1,250.
“I’ve read that a lot of distance
runners peak in their 30s, that’s why I’m expecting
some good years are still ahead,” said Polson, who received
a training grant this year from the Minnesota Elite Athlete Development