By John L. Pitts
Robert Scribner is back.
The former Tupelo High School and Mississippi State distance running standout is back in the Magnolia State – and he’s back in good running form.
Scribner, 28, recently returned to Starkville after spending several years training and competing for a team in Michigan.
And in his first race of the season, he won the Mercedes Half-Marathon on Sunday in Birmingham.
Scribner led a field of 3,400 finishers in 1:05:38.
“I missed my personal record at the distance by about 30 seconds, but considering the course was hilly it was a really strong performance,” Scribner said Monday. “It’s equivalent to my best time at the distance.”
And it was a good confidence boost as Scribner, who won an MHSAA cross country title in 2003, wrestles with his future as a runner.
“I kinda wanted it to go well, to prove to myself that I still have a future in running, that I can still improve,” he said. “Conditions were perfect. It was a great day to race.”
On the road
Scribner worked for 31⁄2 years with the Michigan-based Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon trials and sharing in the 2013 USA Track and Field 8k club championship.
“I certainly had a great experience there and learned a lot,” he said. “I thought I needed a change of setting, to see where my running might take me.”
To start, it’s taken him back to Starkville, where he’s working as a volunteer coach with the Mississippi State track team. “I’m running with those guy a lot, trying to help out however I can,” Scribner said. “Maybe I can edge into the coaching profession.”
On Saturday, he plans to run the Oxford Run for Hope half-marathon – “a fun way to get a workout in,” he said.
And Scribner is looking forward to running in some other events that he’s missed, including Tupelo’s Gum Tree 10k and perhaps the Coca-Cola 10k in Corinth, both in May.
“I’m excited to run some of these races around here,” he said. “In Michigan, I was just another guy running. Around here, to run well in a race like the one in Birmingham just seems to mean more.”