ZAP rookie’s Ryan Ford and Dan Schaffer continued their successful 2023 campaign last weekend in Boston on the indoor track. Coming off his 12th place finish at the US XC Championships, Ryan returned to the track to post a 15 second indoor 5,000m PR of 13:29. Dan came into the weekend looking for a big PR in the mile, and while he didn’t get that, he did notch the 6th sub-4 minute mile of his career, running 3:59.
Dan was up first in the 2nd section of the men’s mile. The race was scheduled to be paced at 3:53 pace, but it turned into a more tactical affair as the rhythm lagged in the first 3/4 of a mile. Dan was positioned in the middle of the pack early on, taking a spot along the rail. With the slower pace the 13-man field was tightly compact, resulting in the type of physicality typically seen in championship races. Dan came through 3/4 of a mile just a hair under 4:00 pace, and while he wasn’t able to close the way he wanted, he did slide under 4:00, finishing in 3:59.95. Dan is excited to flip the script 6 days later in the 3,000m at the US Indoor Championships.
Ryan hit the track at 10:15pm Saturday night in the 2nd heat of the men’s 5,000m. He entered the race with an indoor PR of 13:44 and an overall best of 13:34 from last May. Ryan positioned himself in the back 1/3 of the race over the opening mile, which he passed in 4:20 – 2 seconds off the leader. The pack of 19 remained largely intact, stretching out along the 200m oval. The pace remained steady through the opening 3,000m, which Ryan passed in 8:08, roughly 13:35 pace for 5k.
After the pacer stepped off at 3,000m the race began to break up. Joey Nokes of BYU, jumped out to a lead, gapping the pack. As the group began to splinter Ryan methodically worked his way up the field. By the time he hit 4,000m in 10:52 he was in 2nd place, 3 seconds behind the leader. Then he began to separate from the group and give chase, quickly closing the gap to Nokes with 600m remaining.
With 600m to go Ryan elected to sit on Nokes shoulder and gather himself for the final sprint. As the duo approached the bell lap Ryan made a hard push for the lead but was rebuffed. Nokes would go on to hold off Ryan around the final curve to the finish. Ryan’s patience and savvy was rewarded with a new personal best time of 13:29.
Ryan will be back on the track in 3 weeks where he’ll be looking for another personal best. This time it will be at 10,000m at The Ten in Los Angeles.
Dan will be racing the 3,000m this Friday night at the US Indoor Championships in Albuquerque. He enters the meet with the 3rd fastest seed time. You can find all the details in our race preview here.