Even at Nationals

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Tim Even couldn’t think of a better way to end his collegiate track career.

After a solid showing at the Division III Track & Field Championships in Troy, N.Y., the 23-year-old from Stoneham, who attended the University of Southern Maine, received an invite to the Nationals in southern California in late May.

“The Top 20 were selected so I made my first trip to Nationals. It was an awesome experience,” he said. “There were thousands of people there (in the stadium) and some incredible athletes who I had seen before — definitely admired from afar and had a chance to meet and talk to — that was pretty cool. I still can’t believe it happened. It is still sinking in. They treated us like kings out there.”

Initially, Even thought his collegiate career ended at the Regionals.

“I found out late that I was going to compete, so I really didn’t have time to get nervous about it,” the former Fryeburg Academy champion runner said. “At Nationals, you check in about an hour before the event, you sit for about a half hour secluded from everyone, and then they march you out onto the track. There were people everywhere. It’s wicked cool.”

Even placed eighth in his 1,500-meter heat with a time of 3 minutes, 58 seconds. The national champion from Wisconsin competed in Even’s heat.

“All things considered, I was happy with my effort,” Even said. “I found out about going on Tuesday or Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. that I had made it and was on a plane 12 hours later, landed, racing maybe 12-13 hours after landing. I thought I raced pretty well. I hung in there. It was a great way to close out my college career.”

Since Nationals, Even has been working out and competing in local races to prepare for the TD Beach to Beacon race in Cape Elizabeth on Aug. 4. He placed second at the Bridgton 4 on the Fourth, and won the Harrison Rec 5K Run by the Lake last week (see accompanying story).

“I’m trying to get ready for the Beach to Beacon race, but I am still riding high from the Nationals experience,” he said.

One of the “beauties” of competitive running is the willingness of athletes to talk about their training regimens and approaches to racing. Even claims much of his success has been the result of desire and mentoring.

“Things can get frustrating for a while. I have had a lot of frustrations with running. There were times I questioned what I was doing and even why I was running at all. You feel like you have hit a wall. You have people beating you that you don’t think should be beating you. People getting better that you used to destroy. But, you need to stick with it. It will come together,” he said. “I was able to put together a season and a half of really good running, which got me out to California. Don’t get frustrated and don’t give up.”

He was always willing to listen to others in hope of becoming a top-flight runner.

“I had people, like Brendan Dagan and Mike Lansing, give me advice about running when I was coming up in high school. They mentored me,” he said. “I raced against Miles Bartlett and Kevin Floster (both from Lake Region), but they also mentored me. That’s the beauty of the sport. You make yourself better by helping others.”

Serving as an assistant director at Camp Susan Curtis this summer, Even plans to continue grad work this fall at the University of Southern Maine. And, he would like to do some coaching.

“Running is one of those sports you have to pass on to the next generation of runners,” he said.

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