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Serianni Disappointed with Race Walk PR

Hayward Field was just waking up when the gun went off to start the Men’s 20,000 meter Race Walk at 7:30 this morning. Compared to the afternoon and evening attendance at these Trials, the stands were practically deserted. This isn’t surprising when you take into consideration the early hour, the time it takes to complete the race (over an hour) and the lack of glory and understanding of the Race Walk. This doesn't stop the athletes from competing though, and it didn’t stop Dan Serianni from achieving a personal record when two days ago he wasn't even sure if he’d be able to compete.

Competing in his first Race Walk competition at Junior Nationals in 2009, Serianni hadn’t intended to be a Race Walk competitor: “I wanted to come to the Junior Nationals for the 1,500 or 5,000 and I missed the standard by some agonizingly close margin. But by serendipity I had fooled around with the Walk and actually hit the junior standard. I put in about three and a half weeks of hard walking training and surprised myself by going from a last place seed to a fourth place finish.”

Though Serianni’s time this morning was a 9-second personal best for him—1:32:16.26 (that’s one hour, 32 minutes, and 16.26 seconds)—he was less than thrilled. “It was ok. It was by no means fabulous, but not horrendous.” This personal record is only nine seconds faster than his best time from a month ago. A 9-second improvement over one month, for him, is not that great. He placed fourth overall in the Race Walk and did not achieve the A Standard to make the U.S. Olympic Team, but that’s not why he was disappointed.

“The past two weeks have not been very good preparation-wise, so I came here and I was kind of off my residual fitness. I would have expected better had I had a much better two weeks. I would have expected a lot better. A couple days ago I wasn't even sure I was going to break 1:40.”

When asked what he’d been struggling with for the past two weeks that threw his performance into question, it was clear he didn't really want to talk about it. “A lot of problems. Just stuff—all of it coming together at the same time. This little injury here, and that problem there. Stuff.”

Next weekend, Serianni will compete in the 20K Race Walk at the NACAC U-23 Championships in Guanajuato, Mexico. (“NACAC U-23” stands for North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships for athletes 23 years old and under.)

Contributed by Amber James

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