This story was corrected. An explanation follows.Every 24 hours the average American walks 2.56 miles, according to a 2010 study by The New York Times. During the course of 90 minutes at the Interstate Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships on May 12, Joey Chapin had to cover 3.5 miles between three separate races.
The Georgetown Prep senior was hardly affected by the demanding workload, leading his Little Hoyas to first place in the team standings by a 20-point margin. Landon School took second place.
Chapin ran the fourth-fastest 1,600-meter time in the state this season (4 minutes, 19.37 seconds) — his first time running sub-4:20 — to take a two-second victory. In the next 85 minutes he added second-place finishes in the 800 and the 3,200. Georgetown Prep coach Greg Dunston called Chapin's sub-10:20 time in the 3,200 “an easy jog.”
“I've never had a runner be able to handle these three events in that meet,” Dunston said. “Joey did something that his brother, Ramsey, a fine runner himself, couldn't do. It's a tough triple.”
Chapin was hardly interested in running the 2-mile event. The senior trained hard all year for the 3,200 relay, in which he would only be responsible for 800 meters, just so he wouldn't have to run the longer event. Unfortunately for Chapin, the relay took place on May 10, the first day of the meet, giving him a full day's rest before having to tackle the monster workload on the second and final day.
“To be honest I was a little psyched out,” said Chapin of running the 3,200. “I always dreaded the 2-mile but coach said, 'You were the IAC cross country champion. Let them worry about you. You run your race.'”
As for his more favorable event, the 3,200 relay, the Little Hoyas took first for the second consecutive year, thanks to a cool head and a strong anchor leg from Chapin.
There was some miscommunication on the final exchange between Sam Posniewski and Chapin, winding up with the baton clattering to the ground as Sam Dodge from St. Albans barreled past them.
“I wanted to get out fast to make it so that [Dodge] had to work to get me,” Chapin remembered. “I turned my head too early. On the last race of my senior year I drop it for the first time ever. It's kind of embarrassing.”
In spite of the mishap, Chapin didn't go out too hard in the first of his two laps in an effort to hastily regain the lead Posniewski had built for him.
“He didn't panic,” Dunston said. “He just casually picked it up and then ran a 2:01 for the win.”
The Little Hoyas finished in 8:20.26 — nearly 20 seconds off their blistering 8:01.19 winning time in 2011 — but still good enough to edge St. Albans by one second.
Both Dunston and Chapin said the senior hasn't yet learned how to run his own race, often letting others take control to pace off of them. In the 800 meters at the IAC Championships he let Posniewski take the lead and based the next two laps of off him. The two finished first and second.
At the Viking Invitational at Walt Whitman High School on April 21, he found himself among the two best public school distance runners in Montgomery County this year, Thomas S. Wootton's Josh Trzeciak and Winston Churchill's William Conway.
He split the two entering the last lap when Trzeciak made his burst. But Chapin didn't chase the Wootton junior, opting to lag behind and stick with Conway, expecting that Conway eventually would pick up his pace. But it didn't happen and Trzeciak wound up stealing the show, leaving Chapin and Conway in a battle for second, which the Georgetown Prep senior won with an impressive kick in the final 200 meters.
“When Josh made his move I wasn't able to respond,” Chapin said. “He ran a great race and Will ran a great race. I actually surprised myself by having more left than him. He normally has more speed at the end.”
At the IAC Championships, Chapin again let another runner — this time Dodge from St. Albans — set the pace in the 1,600. But in that meet he didn't time his final kick based on another competitor.
Dunston had specific instructions for his star senior.
“Make a hard move with 300 [meters] left,” Dunston said he told Chapin. “If [Dodge] reacts, sit on his shoulder until 165 [meters] were left and then go again.”
“Joey made his move with 300 [meters] remaining and Sam didn't respond. And then Joey made his final kick with 165 [meters] left. I've told him all year that he could run 4:15 or better but he needs someone to set up the race for him.”
After the race Chapin told Dunston that his personal record time of 4:19.37 felt “easy.”
“Even after the 2-mile my legs felt strong,” Chapin said. “[Dunston] peaked us perfectly.”
Chapin said he thought about entering another race after the IAC Championships but he thought better of it.
“I'm a senior,” he said. “I figured I should enjoy my last week.”
Chapin will head to Dartmouth College in the fall, and he's not sure what events he'll run at the Ivy League school. But there is one thing he can be certain of: The future holds plenty more miles for him to cover.
firstname.lastname@example.orgWootton's Josh Trzeciak is a junior.