Inaugural Nick Symmonds Springfield 800 Is The First Of It's Kind In The US

Oct 15, 2012

The inaugural "Nick Symmonds Springfield 800" road race drew crowds Saturday in the adopted home of the five-time US Champion.

Eight-hundred meters - in a straight line. It's about a half mile and short enough to see the finish from the start line. But it's not a very common race. In fact, the Springfield 800 is the only officially-sanctioned adult road race of that length in the United States. It's named for two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds, who has called Springfield his home since 2006. The 800 meters is his event.

Symmonds: "The 800… obviously an event that's been great to me. I thought it would be really cool if people got a chance to run the eight themselves and see what 1:42 is all about. It took me 14 years to get down to 1:42 and I think that when you see it on the track it looks a little different than when you're running on the road."

Symmonds decided to run in the youth division, and crossed the finish line in near last place while urging a straggling kindergartner to keep going until the end. Symmonds set a personal best in the event at the London Olympics, finishing in fifth place.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio