Dan Schaffer capped off his rookie year with a 3rd place showing at the Sir Walter Miler last Friday night, August 4th. The race, famous on the circuit for it’s raucous crowd support, lived up to the hype. Fans crowded onto the outside 4 lanes of the track and and were 5-deep on the homestretch. Their enthusiasm was rewarded with a thrilling finish on the homestretch.
The scheduled pace was set to be at meet record pace of 3:52, but it was clear within the first 200m of the race nobody was keen on tucking in behind the pacer at that speed. As a result the pace was relatively moderate through the opening 1/4 mile, covered in 60 seconds. Dan was positioned on the inside rail, halfway between the front and back of the tightly bunched group. With the halfway mark passed in 2:00, positions didn’t change much at all with the entire field tightly bunched.
Once the rabbit stepped off after 1,000m the pace slowed slightly with the pack coming through in 3:01 at the bell. At that point, it was anybody’s race as everyone in the field was within 1/2 second of the lead. Dan had been pinned to the rail since the early stages of the race. And with the slower pace he had no chance to escape the tight box he found himself in. Repeatedly having to get his arms up to defend his space, Dan remained mid-pack with nowhere to run.
Despite the slow pace, the racers continued to eye each other up as they hit the backstretch. As they approached the final turn with 200m to go the pack spread wide with athletes trying to gain position on the bend. Dan remained tucked into the group waiting for a lane to open. As they churned around the final curve the pack began to spread out ever so slightly and with 150m to go Dan found his opening.
He hit the after burners and started moving up on the outside of the group. Having to swing wide around the curve for clear running, Dan was in 5th place with 100m remaining. Storming down the homestretch faster than anyone else in the race, Dan found himself gaining on the leaders, crossing the line in 3rd.
His finishing time of 3:58.57 wasn’t a personal best, but it did break his own ZAP record he set earlier this year at the Penn Relays. Dan walked away from his 2023 season on a high note, with one of his best performances of the year, which you can watch in it’s entirety below. You can also view the final results here.