Canada's best athletes will seek to get or defend their top 2 positions on the Canadian ranking list at the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic on Monday evening June 8th at Swangard Stadium. The top 2 athletes on the Canadian list on June 14th will be selected to Team Canada for the Pan American Games in Toronto July 18 to 26.
Over 400 athletes from over a dozen countries will compete in the 32nd edition of this meet which honours our local Olympic medalist, Harry Jerome. Harry died prematurely at age 42 years and this meet was created to recognize his outstanding record breaking sprinting career at the University of Oregon and at the Commonwealth, Pan American and Olympic Games.
Surrey's Keffri Neal, now student at the University of Kentucky has entered the 800m and will face Canadian Olympian, Anthony Romaniw of Guelph as well as 2013 Jerome winner, Joe Abbott, a graduate of Washington State University. Joining the mix will be new comer, Boris Berian, who recently won the Payton Jordan Invitation in Palo Alto, CA.
Tickets are $25 for finish line and $10 for general admission and are available from our websitewww.harryjerome.com
Boris Berian: The Unknown Star of Payton Jordan
Meg Bellino on May 07, 2015
In the fastest section of the men’s 800m at the 2015 Payton Jordan Invitational, it wasn’t NCAA leader Shaquille Walker of BYU who came away with the win. Penn State All American Brannon Kidder or Brooks Beast member Mark Wieczorek didn’t cross the line first, either. Even Iowa State’s Edward Kemboi, the reigning NCAA indoor champion, faded to fifth place. So who claimed the number one spot at Payton Jordan? It was Boris Berian of the Big Bear Track Club who shocked the crowd and the running world by winning in 1:45.30, ranking him first in the U.S. and securing him with an IAAF “A” standard.
So who is Boris Berian? In 2012, Berian won two NCAA Division II 800m titles while at Adams State University. A Colorado Springs native, Berian’s 2012 best was 1:48.93 at the 2012 Payton Jordan Invite. School, however, wasn’t Berian’s first desire and he parted ways with the institution with the premise that training and competing would be his main priority. He got a job at McDonalds to support himself and his travel to meets.
Still, only a handful of races occurred through 2013 and 2014 for Berian with little improvement. This past October, everything changed.
Berian received a Facebook message from Daniel Guerrero, a member of the Big Bear Track Club. “He told me about the group, and told me I was welcome to join, and I was like ‘Yeah!’” Berian said.
Berian asked Guerrero what he needed to do to join the group and he responded with “Work hard, have a positive attitude.”
“That just came at the best timing,” Berian said.
Big Bear Lake, Calif. was made famous in the running world as the hometown of Ryan Hall, but now recently because of 800m World Bronze Medalist Brenda Martinez residing there and forming the training group with her husband, Carlos Handler.
Berian arrived in Big Bear just at the end of the group’s base training phase consisting of long runs, long tempos, and an overall emphasis on strength work.
“Carlos slowly got me into that just so I wouldn’t get hurt or anything,” Berian said. Now that it’s track season, the speed work is more frequent, but the main emphasis is always strength.
Berian’s indoor season was hightlighted by a fifth-place finish at the USATF Indoor Championships, running 1:16.57 in the 600m finals. The 800m, however, is where he is starting to turn heads.
He finished runner-up to Walker at the Sun Angel Track Classic in Tempe, Ariz., last month in 1:46.16.
At Payton Jordan, Berian tucked right behind the pacer, his teammate Guerrero, who led the field through 400m at 50.44 seconds. At 600m it looked as if Kemboi was challenging Berian, but he held him off and crossed the finish line under the IAAF “A” standard of 1:46.00, a feat he calls a “big relief.”
“I didn’t see any reason that I couldn’t [hit the “A” standard],” he said. “We always have a certain pace we have to hit for workouts, and from indoors to outdoors, the pace is getting a lot easier. Recovery is feeling better, so that big jump, I was surprised but at the same time I was kind of expecting it.”
Berian doesn’t know where he’ll race next, but is keeping a positive attitude. His Payton Jordan time and victory should open doors for the unsponsored athlete, and he’s got his teammate, Martinez, to thank for guidance. She is a model of success for the up-and-coming Big Bear Track Club, and is also their biggest fan.
“She’s the leader of positivity in the group,” Berian said. “I’m doing the same thing she’s doing. I’m working hard. I’m just gonna be real hopeful, stay positive like she does, and see what happens.”