Tupelo’s Scribner 28th in Chicago

Tupelo’s Robert Scribner made a notable debut at the distance with Sunday’s 28th-place finish in the Chicago Marathon, even if he wasn’t completely satisfied.
“My main goal was to run under 2:19, which would qualify me for the Olympic Trials,” Scribner, the former Mississippi State distance running standout, said Sunday afternoon. “I ran really well for 25 miles.”
The 23-year-old finished his first marathon in 2:22.01, far to the front of a pack of nearly 35,000 runners who braved the cold weather at the start. He was eighth in his age group (20-24) and 16th among all American finishers.
“I was right on pace at the halfway point and then I got a little greedy,” Scribner said. “I picked up my pace a little for a few miles and it felt good at the time, but I paid pretty dearly at the end.
“Near the end was about the most painful couple of miles I have ever run.”
With the 2012 Olympics still a long way off, Scribner was philosophical about eventually reaching the qualifying standard for the U.S. trials. “I’ll have more chances,” he said.
For the last four months, Scribner said he has balanced work on his MBA in Starkville with 20 weekly hours of work as a graduate assistant and a training regimen intended to get him ready for Chicago. “It’s been pretty intense,” he said.
He averaged 95 to 105 miles of road work a week, with interval work that included running up to 23 miles at “a more relaxed pace,” and also running up to 15 miles at his preferred pace of a 5:13 mile.
Nothing in his training in Mississippi could duplicate the conditions in Chicago, where temperatures were in the 30s at the start of the race.
“It wasn’t really a problem,” Scribner said. “The ideal temperatures would be 45 to 50, but at least, surprisingly, it wasn’t too windy.”
Scribner awoke at 4 a.m. to make his way downtown for the 7:30 a.m. start. “It took forever to drive into the city and find a place to park,” he said. “In warming up and checking all my gear, you become aware of how many people are there. It was kinda hectic.”
With runners seeded according to their anticipated finish times, Scribner said he was “maybe 10 feet behind the starting line” when the starter’s gun went off.
“You run all over in a huge loop, a pretty flat course through downtown and all the different neighborhoods,” he said. “It was fun.”
Scribner will now return his attention to completing his MBA work and preparing to compete in cross country – he ran in the 2008 NCAAs and won the 2003 state Class 5A title at Tupelo High School – and 10K track events in 2010.
And he has Tupelo’s Gumtree 10K circled on his spring calendar. “I haven’t really had the chance to do the Gumtree,” he said. “I’m excited about that.”

Contact John L. Pitts at 678-1522 or john.pitts@djournal.com

John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal