He described the race as "insane." With a 1:53 800-meter PR, John McGowan had as much speed as anyone else in the race, but after running with the leaders for three miles at hilly Sunken Meadow State Park, the playing field was leveled. Eight second separated the top eleven finishers and McGowan finished right in the middle of the lead pack in fifth place with a time of 15:46.2. It was a frenzied kick to the line by everyone involved.
He said that he was really happy after the race, and still somewhat surprised that his dream was actually becoming reality...if only he could hold his pen to fill out the paper work. All of the top ten runners were rushed into a tent to fill out paper work immediately following the race, but the tent offered little relief from the 30 mile per hour winds and 40 degree temperatures. He couldn't even grip his pen because his fingers were numb.
That was how John McGowan became the first resident of Washington DC to ever qualify for the Footlocker National Championship. You read correctly. In the first 31 years of the competition, there was never a finalist who lived in Washington DC. There have been qualifiers who were Maryland or Virginia residents and attended Washington DC schools, but never a male or female who lived in Washington DC until now.
After examining all of the archived Footlocker national championship results, no DC athletes are to be found. In an effort to confirm this discovery, I consulted the Footlocker gurus at Dyestat.com and received an email response that agreed with my findings. Dave Devine relayed SteveU's determination that he "can't find anything to the contrary." Devine went on to say that that was "pretty much the consensus here."
McGowan says that training goes on as usual for the next two weeks. The workouts get shorter and faster while the long runs become slower. He will do more speed work to sharpen up so that he can put himself in a position to kick down a number of runners in the final stretch. He knows that guys like Lukas Verzbicas will be tough to race, but he wants to finish in the top 15 and earn All-American status.