IAAF World Junior Championships Inspire Graham
July 26, 2010
CHICAGO - Matthew Graham wanted to extend this dream-come-true moment for just one more race.
The DePaul All-BIG EAST Conference distance runner had realized one of his biggest goals when he qualified for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada.
Graham was among 45 athletes who represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland in this prestigious event.
The Blue Demon junior needed to finish among the top 12 in the preliminary heats of the 3,000-meter steeplechase to qualify for Sunday's final.
He was entered in heat two and wound up eighth with a time of 9:09.36 last Friday and did not advance.
In an excerpt from an e-mail to DePaul cross country coach Pat Savage, Graham wrote:
"So I am not sure if you saw the results but it didn't go well. I was 8th in my heat and would have qualified for the final comfortably had I ran close to my (personal best).
"But on the bright side, I learned a lot about the next stage of running and just how good these guys are. In the call room, I felt like I was 12 years old again---I was so nervous.
"The top two runners in my heat ran 8:28!!! They took the race through the 1km in about 2:45 with me at about 2:50, and that (threw) off my entire race.
"But after talking to the coaches, I was able to take a lot of positives from it. I mean, for starters, not many people can say they have been to a world championships.
"But more importantly, it has given me a lot of drive to get better. Essentially, I won't be happy with my next outdoor season unless I make finals at NCAA's and then my senior year medal and gain the Olympic B standard.
"Outside of the NCAA's next season, my goals are the European U23 track and field championships with the steeple standard set at 8:40..."
"P.S. I felt really special tonight as two people asked me to sign their shirts."