With the coronavirus crisis wiping out the official high school outdoor season in Virginia and many other states, dedicated athletes are trying to salvage some form of competition in the form of time trials and virtual races to measure their level of fitness.
One local runner in Virginia went that route on Saturday morning in Midlothian junior Caroline Bowe. Bowe recently this past indoor season won her first individual state title for VHSL Class 5 in the 1000 mete rrun and ran personal bests of 2:57 for 1000 meters and 5:10 for the mile during the course of the winter.
Last spring as a sophomore, Bowe had run as fast as 2:16 for 800 meters but still wanted to keep training over the last few months for any hopes of the outdoor season to return or racing opportunities. While the official high school season is certainly declared over by the Governor's orders to shut down school and the VHSL also confirming the cancellation, Bowe decided to run a time trial with the help of pacing thru the first lap by U.S. Olympic Marathon trials qualifier and 15th place finisher Keira D'Amato (formerly Carlstrom maiden name as an all-time great runner for Oakton High School and American University).
The mother of two and local real estate agent, D'Amato has found a renewal in her running dominating local races and emerging nationally as one of the country's fastest marathoners after taking a break from competitive running to start a family. She was a Virginia state champion in cross country and track at Oakton and went onto earn NCAA All-American honors on four occasions at American University in Washington, D.C. including three times in cross country.
She married a former Midlothian high school runner in Anthony D'Amato and their family resides in the Midlothian area, which Keira is a regularly welcomed visitor at the Midlothian high school track practices by their long-time coach Stan Morgan. Caroline Bowe asked Keira D'Amato if she could coordinate a date to help pace her on the time trial, which worked out on a day that Keira was also going to be doing a track workout.
In the weekend time trial, D'Amato and Bowe went thru the first 400 meters together in 64 before Bowe was on her own to finish the last 200 meters. The Midlothian state champ finished off the time trial by chopping 4 seconds off her prior best clocked at 2:12.25 hand-held, which rounds up to a 2:12.3.
D'Amato actually had a workout prior to pacing duties on the time trial which she ran 3 miles at tempo pace on the track in 15:50 (5:17, 5:19, 5:13) and following a 5 minute active recovery then ran 2 miles at tempo pace in 10:20 (5:10, 5:08). The coronavirus shutdown impacted D'Amato's racing plans as well post-Marathon Trials as she had been selected to run for Team USA at the World Half Marathon Championships in Poland this past March which was canceled due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Bowe might possibly get at least one more time trial in this spring and maybe looking to lower her mile PR currently at 5:10. The junior year is often a critical time for high school track athletes to gain attention of college coaches and Bowe certainly will be doing that after running her 2:12 800 personal best during very challenging times for all runners to stay in shape and train.
Any high school athletes in Virginia looking to do any time trials this spring, feel free to contact us about those plans and coordinating someone to film your time trial for verification purposes at a safe social distance!