Endurance: Bobby Mack

5 Questions with Bobby Mack

January, 24, 2013
Earlier this month, Bobby Mack, the reigning U.S. cross country champion and former standout runner at NC State, defeated a tough field at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country meet in Scotland to claim his first international victory.

Mack won the men's senior 8K race by just one second over Spain's Ayad Lamdassem in a thrilling duel that came down to the wire. The unsponsored Mack was also the national 8K road racing champion in 2011, and last spring ran 27:53 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, breaking 28 minutes for the first time.

In early February, Mack will head back to St. Louis to defend his national cross country title. Competitor.com caught up with him recently to talk about his recent success, the state of cross country running in the U.S. as well as his future goals.

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Were you surprised by your win in Edinburgh? How did the race go down from your perspective? What kind of strategy did you have going into it?

Having finished runner-up at Edinburgh in 2012 I think any competitive runner will say they want to improve for 2013. So the natural progression and goal for Edinburgh was to get the win or else I would be settling for something I've already accomplished. At the start, when they did the introductions for team captains, one of my U.S. teammates behind me yelled, "Lead us to victory, Bobby!" and that was the last thing I heard before the gun went off. I think it was Craig Forys that yelled, which was cool because the guys ran great and we got the team title as well. I stayed patient in this year's race, but didn't let a big gap form between myself and the lead group. In 2012 I let the lead pack get a little too far ahead and was never able to close the gap before the final move was made. This year's strategy consisted of running under control for the first 4K because the soft footing can really drain you if you overextend yourself early. When Tom Humphries of Great Britain started getting pretty far up on the group, I decided to push the pace a little and at least try to keep him within range. I wasn't worried about closing the gap on Humphries too quickly. I was fairly confident that the four-man pack of Lamdassem, Vernon, Lebid and myself would eventually start closing the gap. When Lamdassem made his move and took the lead with about 400 meters to go, I thought things were setting up for the same result of 2012 where he won and I got runner-up. This year, I was able to find that extra gear down the homestretch to get the win.

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