Marius Acker made a surprise return for the final Fidelity Fun Run last week and showed that his veteran legs still have plenty of life left in them.
Acker came second in the 2-mile run, finishing in 10 minutes, 26 seconds, which was 20 seconds behind the series champ Dominic Dyer.
Acker coaches Dyer and many other youngsters who train with Derek Larner’s Middle Distance Runners Club. The MDRs are maturing fast and beginning to win many road races.
“In a competitive field it’s always good to finish on the podium,” said Acker. “In that race I managed to run just below my set target and I was happy to push MDR Will Edwards (10:30) to a personal best time for him over this distance.”
Acker set a time goal for the race and after a quarter of a mile Joanna Mansi and a big group of runners were ahead of him. “I focused on not going out too fast with Dom and on running an even pace as most start too fast and then fade later in the race.”
Acker’s steady pace soon paid dividends and when he got to the three-quarter mile mark, Dyer was ahead. Only Edwards was still with him, with many runners who had started too quickly falling off the pace.
This season, Acker wants to see all the MDRs improving on their times and running technique and discipline.
“There is a lot of talent among the MDRs but, without discipline and training on their own, their performance will not improve,” he said. “There is the goal of getting to CARIFTA for some of them but I will be satisfied if they just improve on their personal best times and develop a love for running.”
Installing a passion for running in the group is more important than achieving results, he said, adding that he hopes to see them still running in 10 years because most youngsters stop running in their late teens.
Larner is off island for a couple of weeks and Acker is in charge of coaching. “Coach Larner is doing a fantastic job with the MDR group and I am thankful for the opportunity to work alongside him as assistant coach,” Acker said.
“We both have a love for the sport of running and we have a different approach to running and the MDRs are getting a mix of his and my own experience over different distances from different continents.”