Poland makes successful return to home course

August 08, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

Kyle Poland didn't run the Admiral Stadium cross country course with his eyes closed, but he probably could have.

Poland felt right at home on the course where he ran so many times in middle school, high school and college, even though he hadn't competed there in a couple of years.

He came back Saturday for Coach Plummer's 5K Run, as a fund-raiser for the school's cross country program he once ran for. He was the top finisher among the Danville High School alumni in the 3.1-mile cross country race, and he was fourth overall with a time of 19 minutes, 16 seconds.

"It felt like I knew all the turns," Poland said. "I knew where the mole holes were."

Much has changed for Poland since he traipsed around the course while running for DHS and Centre College. He has evolved from runner to triathlete, competing in a handful of races each year and training others to do the same.


And given the kind of mileage he's used to putting in these days, Saturday's race was little more than a warmup jog.

Poland, 24, said he tries to compete in five or six large triathlons per year, and he's currently looking ahead to an October race in Raleigh, N.C., which he said will be his biggest race this year.

That race, called the Duke Blue Devil - Poland said given the name, he might compete in a University of Kentucky hat - will be at the full Ironman distances: a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2 mile run.

"I'm doing more big distances," he said. "Most of the ones I'm doing now are half-Ironmans, but I'm trying to do one full per year."

Poland was the men's 20-24 national long course champion in 2002, and he finished seventh in his age group at that season's world championships.

He competed on the professional level in 2003, won a half-Ironman race in Ohio earlier this year and was second about a month ago in an Illinois race, but Saturday's 5-kilometer race was his first competition since he suffered a cracked rib while mountain biking a few weeks ago.

When he isn't training or competing, Poland is working with other triathletes to improve their performance. He is a USA Triathlon-certified coach, and he said he is currently coaching about 10 people for triathlons at all distances.

He works for Wheelie Fun, a Lebanon, Ohio, shop specializing in high-performance bicycles and accessories for racing where he met the owner five years ago while on his way to a race and in need of tire repair.

Poland has been working at the shop for two years, and in April he married a fellow triathlete, Stephanie, who joined him in the field for Saturday's race.

Poland said he was glad to support the race and its namesake, longtime Danville cross country coach E.G. Plummer, and he was happy to see the runners he knew and the runners of the next generation.

"I was running with the Hempels and talking with Sarah Hempel, and she said their son Byron is in the seventh grade, and I remember that's about the time I started running," he said. "It's kind of nostalgic to come back."

Morgan shatters course record

Another local cross country alumnus, Daniel Morgan, a Boyle County High School graduate now running for George Washington University, shattered the race record Saturday with his time of 17:16.

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