Eric, Andrew PR in Raleigh

The ZAP Endurance team made the quick drive down the mountain to Raleigh last week for the Raleigh Relays. The trio of racers came away with 2 new PR’s and an outdoor track PR.

Eric van der Els was the first ZAP athlete to take to the track in the 1500m. Eric last competed on the track in December of 2022 and it had been nearly 2 years since his last 1500m. The race went out quickly, passing the opening 300m in 42 seconds. As a result, Eric went out near the back of the field, content to find a spot on the rail. As the pace slowed through the middle of the race Eric began to slide his way up in the pack, picking his spots to close small gaps as they appeared and position himself for the final lap.

Entering the bell, Eric was a half a second off the lead and ready to strike. Eric closed well over the final 400m, clipping off a 56.9 second final lap. His tactical prowess and finishing speed lifted Eric to a 5th place finish, a performance he was pleased with after being away from the distance for so long. He also came away with a big 2 second personal best, running 3:41.63.

Eric wrapped up his day by pacing a section of the 5000m through 2 miles in 8:52. He will be back in action in 2 weeks where he’ll run the 5000m at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Los Angeles.

Josh Izewski was next up for the ZAP team. After placing 8th at the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, Josh was stepping down in a big way to run the 5000m on the track. The race was largely just to run a race before toeing the line at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler this coming weekend. But despite it being a “rust buster” effort coming off the Trials Josh still clocked a 13:59, the fastest 5000m he’s ever run on an outdoor track, and his first track race since 2018.

Andrew closed out the night for the ZAP men where he ran in the fastest section of the men’s 5000m. Andrew’s last time on the track was 2019, and his 5000m personal best dated back to 2014 when he ran 13:40.

At the start, Andrew quickly established position in the top 5 and settled into 13:30 pace with the rest of the lead pack. The race ran steady through the opening 3,000m, which Andrew passed in 8:07. By that point one of the pacemakers had dropped back, another competitor had stepped to the side to let Andrew pass, and he found himself in the lead moments later. As the group moved past 2 miles Andrew slowed slightly, gearing up for a final push to the finish.

Andrew relinquished the lead 2 laps from the finish as the field bunched. He tucked into the lead group, and as they moved into the bell lap the pace began to quicken. The leaders began to pull away on the back stretch, but Andrew closed well around the final curve to close slightly and secure a 5th place finish. His final lap of 60 seconds gave him a new personal best of 13:35 in a strong return to the track.

Andrew will join join Josh and teammate Tristin Van Ord at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler this coming Sunday in Washington D.C. The race will also serve as the US 10 Mile Championships. You can expect to see Andrew back on the track in the next 6 weeks as he eyes the Olympic Track and Field Trials in June.

You can find full results of the race here. (Eric competed in section 14 of the 1500m, Josh in section 8 of the 5000m, and Andrew in section 9 of the 5000m.)

Photos courtesy of Tim Meigs.

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