Coronavirus cuts season short for nationally-ranked runner

Mar 17, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — Alex Craig may have ran a 4:19 in the indoor track season for the mile, but there was one competitor that stopped his and many other runners’ seasons short: coronavirus. 

The junior at Old Rochester Regional High School qualified for the emerging elite mile at New Balance Indoor Track & Field Nationals in New York City after a strong season competing at collegiate-level meets as an unattached runner. 

Unfortunately, the meet was cancelled on March 11.

Craig said that he was disappointed that he didn’t have the opportunity to race, but was really happy with how his season went and said that it was a “great experience to race tactically” against collegiate athletes.

After a successful cross country season at Old Rochester Regional, with an eleventh place finish at the Massachusetts Cross Country State Championships, Craig came down with a hip injury that forced him to take two weeks off from regular training.

By the time he was healthy, league dual meets for the indoor season had already begun, so he made the decision to run unattached in meets at Boston University.

For training, he sought help from a familiar face: his mother, Julie Craig.

A competitor in the USA Track & Field Masters league, Julie used her knowledge of the sport and expertise from friends who are runners to coach him through the season.

She said that even when Alex started running cross country in middle school at age 12, “he knew his body really well.”

She worked with Alex to create a weekly training regimen, but when it came to racing, Julie said that he goes in with a plan and carries it out.

Alex knows this, and that skill helped him execute what he called a perfect race at the Boston University David Hemery Valentine Invitational on the weekend of March 13, running an 8:38 3000m.

His time converts to a 9:16 2-mile, which made him the fifth-fastest 2-mile runner in the nation in his grade level this season.

With a strong 2-mile, Alex decided to enter the mile at the Boston University Last Chance Meet.

Going into the race, Alex said he was confident that he could run a sub-4:30 mile. 

Not only did he run a sub-4:30 mile, but he ran a 4:19 mile, and his last 400m of 63 seconds was his fastest lap in his performance, a difficult feat to pull off at that pace. 

Although his indoor season was cut short and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association delayed the start of spring sports season to April 7, Alex isn’t as worried because he has another year of running, saying that the “sky's the limit” for what he can run.