Manzano Hopes To Regain USA Indoor 1500m Title Today - RRW
MANZANO HOPES TO REGAIN USA INDOOR 1500M TITLE TODAY
By David Monti
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
ALBUQUERQUE (26-Feb) -- Fresh off of nearly six weeks of altitude training in Mexico and with a "rust-buster" race under his belt, Leo Manzano hopes to recapture the USA indoor 1500m title here today at the Albuquerque Convention Center on the second and final day of the USA Indoor Championships.
In his last race at these championships here in 2010, Manzano, 27, prevailed in a tactical contest, running the slowest-ever winning time at these championships: 3:49.16. His margin of victory was just 15/100ths of a second, winning in the final sprint over Will Leer.
Manzano is looking for a confidence builder here today, after an otherwise excellent outdoor season last summer ended with a 13th place finish in his semi-final of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu. Manzano left the track with an icebag wrapped tightly to the back of his left thigh because of a hamstring injury.
"Pretty much, my season ended last year at the World Championships, not really what I wanted, what I expected," Manzano said in an interview with Race Results Weekly here yesterday. "It's something that kind of just happened. I ended up with a little injury."
Although he failed to notch a single personal best last year, Manzano competed well. He took third at the USA Outdoor Championships in the 1500m with a 52.2-second final 400 meters, ran a season's best 3:33.66 for 1500m, and won the Emsley Carr Memorial Mile at the Aviva London Grand Prix in 3:51.24, the fastest mile by an American last season. His performance in London, which came in early August, indicated that he was ready to race well at the World Championships before his hamstrings betrayed him.
"It was just a hamstring, more of a strain," Manzano said. "I don't know exactly what it was; it was kind of just a freakish thing." He continued, explaining that his left side was weaker than his right: "Actually, it wasn't the first time that it happened. I had it throughout the year last year. It was something I had to get together, to figure out. I think I've got it down now."
Manzano said that he has added a more robust weight-training program to his regular schedule to address his muscular weaknesses, which he said also included his back.
"Just trying to knock out all of the variables," he said.
This year, the USATF Open in Fayetteville, Ark., on Feb. 12, Manzano competed in the Hollister Mile, finishing eighth --and last-- in 3:57.92. He ran that race off of mostly endurance training under coach John Cook which brings his Austin Track Club team to San Luis Potosi, Mexico, every winter.
"I came out two weeks ago in Arkansas, ran 3:57, which was fine," Manzano said. "I think for the first one out, it's not bad."
For today's race, Manzano will have to be at his best to defeat national 1500m champion and world championships bronze medalist Matthew Centrowitz. On the same day Manzano was racing in Arkansas, Centrowitz won the NYRR Wanamaker Mile in New York in a USA-leading 3:53.92. Centrowitz had been training and racing only at sea level, so Manzano may have that advantage in Albuquerque's thin air.
"He's awesome, he's awesome," Manzano said of Centrowitz with a big smile. "I mean, incredible, you know? I think it's great that we have more guys coming in. It makes the sport that much better. I think it's fun competing against him."
While he's not training, Manzano has been moonlighting as an event organizer. His Manzano Mile (www.manzanomile.com), set for March 24, in Austin, Texas, where Manzano trains, will have about 150 runners competing in various sections of the mile, plus relays. The meet, which raises money for a foundation Manzano started to provide running shoes to children, will conclude with an open section in which Manzano plans to compete.
"It turned out to be a really fun thing," Manzano said of last year's inaugural Manzano Mile. "We had live music, races for every age group, and we had all the running shoe stores in Austin compete against each other. We had a division for media/celebrity people."
Last year's open winner was Britain's Tim Bailey who ran 4:09.6. Manzano said he, and Austin Track Club teammate Kyle Miller, will give the crowd a sub-four minute mile this year. He said that the Oregon Track Club's Stephen Pifer may act as their pacemaker.
"We're bringing this to the public absolutely free, no charge," Manzano said, sounding like a meet promoter. "I'm excited about it; it's going to be fun."