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