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I still have not found the words to describe the feeling I
had when a race timing official peeked his head out of the
timing trailer at the finish line, and gave us the thumbs up
and said
” US men, bronze medal”

A degree of disbelief ? Wanting to believe but not
wanting to get too excited for fear of the possibility of an
error? But then again, as we finished the team was greeted by Ricky and Joe,
they had been looking out for the team finishes and were saying….WE DID IT !

What an amazing feeling, after 4-5 years of believing that
the US men could medal. Years of being inspired by the
success of our women’s team.

For a solid year, my personal goal was to get back into the
top 10-15 at the World Trophy, but as I told my team mates the
night prior, I would gladly take 20-25th and 6th USA runner
if we could get a team medal!!

The whole week prior to the race, the buzz around town was
that the US men were very strong.
Ricky and Joe had been racing quite well in Europe all
summer….Our 4th -7th-9th place finishes in the Memorial
Partigiana Stellina race 3 weeks prior gave me a good
indication of what we were capable amongst the world’s
best mountain runners. I knew Eric would be every bit as
good as his 11th place finish 2 years ago….Matt and Zac
had solid times from Mt Washington, faster than what Ricky
and I had run 2 years ago…

The evening prior, we had our mens team meeting and my
message to the guy’s was clear…Each and every one of
us are capable of top 10-15-20 finishes. We just need to go
out and run and hope that at least 4 of us have great
runs….

As it turned out, Ricky did a super job leading the team and Joe ran incredible, Eric and
myself ( we wanted to be with Ricky and Joe, up front) ran
as hard as we could , fighting personal disappointment, but
not giving up for the sake of the team. Matt and Zac ran
very well and having it been their first world trophy, very
impressive…they will surely improve in year’s to come.

My thoughts this week….

Where do we go from here…

It is a wonderful thing to have
a men’s team that is so strong that on any given day we can
have a different lead runner and that each of us are capable
of high finishes at some of the worlds most competitive
mountain races..that our national championships are so
competitive that picking a winner prior to race day will
prove to be more and more difficult in the year’s to
come.

As Eric blogged earlier, in 2004, I firmly believed that
we could medal in the near future….

It is now 2008 and I believe some of my teammates have the potential, in year’s to come, of an individual medal, and most important of all..

..The Italian team is NOT unbeatable !

My initial reaction, when it was totally official that we
had the BRONZE ! Wow, I can retire happily now : ) but I
won’t ……………………………

The USA’s Mountain Team women/men/juniors continue to excel. We have some incredible athletes, old and experienced, young and upcoming. It will be great fun to be a continued part of USA Mountain running…..

Simon