Chasing Glory with Jake Edwards

Jake Edwards is an anomaly.  Youth rules the track in the mile and its metric equivalent, the 1500m.  But at age 31, Jake is continuing to light up the competition, running sub-4 miles and setting big PRs in the 1500m.

The CRC Elite record book is filled with highlights from Jake's running career, as the former CRC staffer has only gotten better with age.

This weekend, Jake will be competing at USATF Track & Field Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa.  He'll be racing in the 1500m alongside America's top milers, including Matt Centrowitz, the defending Olympic champion.  We caught up with Jake as he prepped for nationals where he'll run his first round of the 1500m on Friday.  You can watch him repping Columbus on the NBC Sports Network.

(Jake is also one of CRC's 15 Voices From the Pack as we celebrate CRC's 15th anniversary.  Check out the other stories at https://columbusrunning.com/blogs/news/crc15)

Jake after his recent 1500m PR

CRC: For those reading this who aren't familiar with your background, can you give us a quick recap of racing for Delaware Hayes & OSU? 

Jake Edwards: In high school, I was the 2007 Ohio state champion in the 1600m and placed 5th at Nike Outdoor Nationals in the mile. I had a pretty lackluster collegiate career plagued with injury, but managed a 4th place finish in the Big 10 1500m in 2011 and an appearance at the NCAA Championships. 

CRC: You're now a familiar face on the starting line of the mile, from road miles to the track, going back years.  Where do you find the motivation to continue training and racing a national class level, especially in a grueling event like the mile?
    JE: Motivation to continue training and racing is mainly my desire to fulfill untapped potential. I've always felt I'm a better runner than I've shown, and I want to perform to my utmost potential.
    There is also qualifying for the Olympic trials. I've missed qualifying in 2008, 2012, and 2016, so qualifying for and making the finals at the 2020 OT is always in my mind. It's one of my last, running related bucket list goals.

    Jake celebrates after winning the men's mile at the Drake Relays

    CRC: The Drake Relays is one of the most prestigious track meets in the US, and you won the men's mile there this year.  How long did it take to sink in that you'd won Drake?  What was that experience like this spring? 

      JE: It was pretty exciting. Earlier in the week I'd made my 2019 outdoor debut in the USATF Road Mile Championships. I placed 4th closing hard and knew I had more to give. I spent the rest of the week preparing myself mentally to be more aggressive so at Drake I ran rear the front and took off with a lap to go. 

       

      Jake has found success on both the track and the roads - as shown here as he takes down a field that includes multi-time Olympian Nate Brannen

      CRC: Coming off of Drake, you ran 3:38 in the 1500m at the Music City Distance Carnival, punching your ticket into USATF nationals.  What gave you the confidence that you were ready for a 1500m PR?  What can you tell us about this race? 

        JE: The whole spring I built confidence everytime I raced. At Drake I closed the last lap in 57 seconds in 39 degree weather and 20 mph wind. I told myself "ok, if you can close that fast in terrible weather, how fast can you go in good weather?" I raced at Occidental College two weeks later and ran 3:43, but knew I was not aggressive enough. At MCDC the pack got out fast and I hung back clicking off 59.Xs every lap. When I got to the last lap I was still way back, but swung wide and went around most of the field on the backstretch. I dug as hard as I ever had the last 100m and ended up second in 3:38.77, closing in 55 and knocking out the auto qualifier to USAs. I was excited by and proud of that race. At 31 years old I do not take PBs lightly.
         
        Jake racing to a sub-4 mile back in the retro CRC singlet in 2014

        CRC: As you head to USATFs, what's the feeling like?  What are your goals for nationals and beyond? 

          JE: Heading into USAs my goal is to make the final and improve my racing. I am the only thing that can keep me from being successful. I'm going to decide on a race plan with my coach  beforehand and stick to it regardless of how I feel. I know I have the necessary physical tools so now I just need to execute in a high stakes race.
          I have two other miles planned in August, one track and one road, but right now my focus is on making the final. After that, getting ready for 2020.

          Good luck to Jake from all of us!