The team began to warm up 1.5 miles as usual. We all matched in our warm up attire, this time with white jackets and black pants. We got back to camp for stretching, then went to the start for drills and strides. The team looked good in warm ups and it was a promising day for PR's. We gathered in our circle for a prayer and then went to the meeting with race officials.
The gun blasted and a quick start followed. I sprinted off the line and to the front; I never have a problem leading the race, but I especially felt comfortable doing so on my home course. I created a little separation between myself and the rest of the field and continued forward with momentum. By the half mile mark, I was around 2:15, exactly where we wanted to be and even banked some time. I ended up coming through the mile at about 4:33-4:35 and felt comfortable. However, I knew that Conant Smith was going to be on the move to make up ground. The second mile is always the toughest at VOA, so I knew if I could get through that, I'd be able to hold off Conant for the last 1.1 miles. I maintained about a 15 meter lead through the second mile mark, running 9:25 or so and still felt pretty good. The last little uphill in the course was conquered without much problem and coming down with 800m to go, I had more to give. I broke out what Coach Thomas calls the 'Horter Hands' with 500m to go and started to kick. At this point the crowd was motivating me to the finish and I crossed the line in 14:49. I didn't feel like this was an extremely tiring effort which I felt like promised better times for me in the future.
Overall, I felt like the race went very well. It was a statement race that told myself and our team that we can run with the best and be competitive. At this point, close to commitment and close to wrapping up my final high school season, I'm just trying to have as much fun as I possibly can and feel good doing it. I'm sure that a lot of seniors can relate to this. Yes, it's about the championships and winning races still, but it's also about embracing the final season of a sport that's given you so much in high school. I've been extremely blessed with endless support and great health throughout my career, so the least I can do is run a good time in front of my community and friends.
Dustin Horter was pleased with his 14:49.40 effort, but he feels like he's got more to give.