Team Run Eugene

Avila shows recovery with 1,500-meter win

Eric Avila showed he has recovered from a yearlong bout with anemia, winning the men’s 1,500 Friday night at the Oregon Relays.

Avila, who runs for Team Run Eugene, finished in 3 minutes, 43.86 seconds, two seconds ahead of Oregon’s Chris Brewer. Just a year ago, competing at the Mt. SAC Invitational, he had run all-out but barely broke two minutes in the 800. He found out the next day he was anemic.

“Every time I ran over 75 miles a week I was dead,” he said. “I kept telling my coach I can’t believe there are guys running 100-plus mile weeks throughout the year.”

Avila has learned that in order to be at the top of his game, he has to keep a close eye on his iron levels. Now that he is in control of his body and healthy, he can go back to tough training he craves.

Avila is coming off a five-week stint at altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona and is still debating whether he wants to focus on the 1,500 or the 5,000 this season. “I feel way more confident in the 5,000 right now,” said Avila. “A 5,000 is coming up in the next month, but I do want to hit the standard in the 1,500.”

The field stayed together for most of the race until Avila made his move.

“It felt fast the whole time, and I was at 200 to go and was waiting for them to just blast it,” he said. “But they never picked it up, so I was like, ‘I guess I’ll go around them.’”

While Avila may have moved down in distance after altitude training, Harun Abda of Oregon Track Club decided to move up before he starts his training in Flagstaff.

“We are in the middle of tough training right now, and I train like a 400-800 guy,” said Abda. “I came out here to have fun, but when you get to the track you are always gonna be competitive.”

Abda finished fourth in 3:45.49, a new personal best. “I ran this for the first time ever two years ago,” he said. “That was also my last time.”

The reason Abda came back to the event is because he believes that racing longer distances sets him up to be a stronger runner when he cuts down to the faster races later in the season.

He will be joining the rest of his teammates in Flagstaff this coming Monday.



Women’s steeplechase: Mattox fights through a ‘tough’ event

For Kimber Mattox, Friday’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Oregon Twilight Meet felt tough. But it’s the steeplechase, she said, and “it’s always a tough race.”

It didn’t appear that way, though. Mattox, a former Oregon distance runner who now competes for Team Run Eugene, outpaced the rest of the field in the final 1,000 meters by a considerable margin, ultimately winning in 10 minutes, 7.62 seconds.


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