Juneau's Jim Shine became just the third runner from Alaska to finish a 10,000-meter track race in under 29 minutes, narrowly missing the U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying time in the process.
Shine, a runner at Western State College of Gunnison, Colo., was making his 10K debut April 14 at the Mount SAC (San Antonio College) Relays in Walnut Creek, Calif., when he posted a time of 28 minutes, 53.94 seconds to take 15th place in the invitational open/university race. Shine was the third collegian in the race, which had 45 starters and featured several national team members from Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Tanzania and other countries. The U.S. Olympic Trial qualifying time is 28:50.
Despite coming off a 2-week-long bout with bronchitis and sinus problems that left him vomiting blood, Shine posted a time that is currently ranked eighth by Track & Field magazine. It is also the top-ranked time in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, which includes Western State among its schools, and the race qualified Shine for the NCAA Division II national championships next month.
``I knew I'd be under 29 minutes if I got in the right race,'' Shine said by phone from Gunnison, Colo. ``I'd been sick for the two weeks before, but I knew it was just a matter of if I got healthy enough and got into the right race. I wasn't as nervous until I saw the field. I was a bit intimidated at first.''
The only other Alaskans to run faster than 29 minutes in a track 10K are 1984 Olympian Don Clary of Anchorage, whose personal record is 28:07, and current U.S. marathon record holder David Morris of Chugiak, who is one of the favorites to qualify for the marathon in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney next month in Pittsburgh and is the only American to meet the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Team qualifying standard this season.
``This was my first 10,000 on the track,'' Shine said. ``I'd run one 10K on the road and two in cross country, but on the track it's a whole different story.''
Shine is only a sophomore in track eligibility, but plans to graduate in December and figures this is his senior season.
Last year he narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Division II national championships in the 5,000 meters, but so far this spring he's already qualified for both the 5,000 and the 10,000. Shine, who was a junior in cross-country running eligibility this past fall, has also earned two all-American honors this year - for his ninth-place cross-country running finish at nationals and a third-place finish in the 5,000 at the indoor track nationals with a time of 13:59.95.
Shine said he plans to enter a meet at Stanford University May 5-7 where he hopes to make the U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying time of 13:47 in the 5,000. Then, on May 8-10, Shine will compete in the RMAC championships at Western where he plans to run the 1,500 and the 5,000. Shine said he may run in both the 5,000 and the 10,000 at nationals two weeks later, but he may save his best 10,000 effort for a meet in Vancouver, British Columbia, a week later.
``In my next 10K, if I run the same race, with the experience I've gained I think I can drop 10 to 15 seconds,'' Shine said. ``This was a good learning experience for me and I'm looking forward to trying to make the Olympic Trials.''
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