At the head of the pack

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September 21, 2007

4:41 AM

__Ed Moran ’03 caps off best professional season with Pan-Am gold__

Coming into 2007, Ed Moran ’03 planned to focus on achieving the World Championships “A” Standard at 5,000 meters. Little did he know that in his first attempt he would earn the “A” standard and set a personal best en route to his best season yet as a professional runner for Nike. For the record, Moran set three personal bests, earned three top-five finishes at USA Championship events and won the gold medal at the Pan American Games over 5,000-m during 2007.

p. Moran’s win at Pan Ams stands out among the rest of his accomplishments, and rightly so, as he set a Pan Ams record, timing 13 minutes and 25.6 seconds for the 5,000-m; moreover, Moran became the first American to medal at 5,000-m since Matt Centrowitz won gold in 1979.

p. Originally, Moran’s plans for the race were only to medal, but prior to the race he changed his mindset and formulated a race plan for the next day’s event.

p. “I have the tendency the night before to kind of have a visualization session of the race to kind of work myself through what the sensations are probably going to feel like at different points of the race,” Moran said. “At that point it was, ‘you’re here, why not just put it out there and see if you can go for the win.’ ”

p. After that change of focus, Moran determined that if the race went out slow he would make a move at around 3,000-m, and that if the pace was fast he would wait until 4,000-m. As it turned out, the two Mexican runners, Juan Luis Barrios and Jose David Galvan, made it an honestly paced race from the start.

p. “Starting the race I felt terrible. It was for the first probably about 800 to a mile I was really sluggish and I was kind of worried of what was going on,” Moran said. “It was probably around that mile mark. I don’t know what happened, but everything started to come together again.”

p. By the two-mile mark, Moran made up his mind that he would go for the victory. With 1,000-m remaining, Moran pushed the pace, dropping around a 59-second quarter to open a gap that would not be closed. Eventually, with the help of a jumbotron, Moran confirmed the distance he had gained on his competitors and put the finishing touches on his victory.

p.“[I] crossed the finish [and] it actually took a couple minutes to actually hit me. I didn’t really understand the gravity of the victory until I went back, grabbed my stuff [and] sat down for a few minutes. Then it automatically hits you and it’s like, not only did I win, but with a Pan Am record,” Moran said. “As of right now it was probably the greatest win of my life.”

p. At the beginning of the year, running at Pan Ams was not Moran’s primary goal. The focus had been to earn a spot on the U.S. roster for the World Championships, but a fifth-place showing at the USA Track and Field Championships in June sent Moran to Rio de Janeiro instead of Osaka for the World Championships.

p. “It took the wind out of my sails a little bit and it was one of those things that, ultimately, it was probably very good for me,” Moran said. “I went in there with high expectations, expecting to be able to just kind of walk away with the top-three and then you get your head kicked in. It kind of makes you sit back and reevaluate what you’re doing.”

p. Moran came into the 5km at the U.S. Championships a little less sharp than he would have liked due to a hamstring injury, but prior to the U.S. Championships he had set two personal bests, running 13:20.35 for 5,000-m at the Mt. SAC Relays and 27:43.13 over 10,000-m at Stanford’s Payton Jordan Invitational. Those times also satisfied “A” standards for the World Championships.

p. Even with a disappointing USA Championship, Moran rebounded well, taking third in the USA Men’s 10km Championships at Peachtree in Atlanta, finishing behind sub-one hour half marathoner Ryan Hall and race-winner Abdi Abdirahman. Moran added another personal best, 7:50.34 for 3,000-m, at the DN Galan meet in Stockholm to finish off his current cycle.

p. “I would say even more than the PR’s, staying healthy for an entire season has been a huge confidence boost,” Moran said. “To actually get through an entire cycle healthy and still move forward, that’s just meant a whole lot to me.”

p. Staying healthy allows Moran to build upon the successes of 2007 as he prepares for Olympic qualifying in 2008.

p. “Now, I think that I’m ready to take that next step to be consistently in the top five in the country at distances five to 10,000 meters,” Moran said.

p. With that new mindset, Moran will approach 2008 with a singular focus on the U.S. Olympic Trials next June and July and with hopes for a trip to Beijing.

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