Mammoth Track Club 2020 Season Recap

The year 2020 started out pretty well for the Mammoth Track Club Elite Team. Reid Buchanan and Nico Montanez both ran 1:01 for the half marathon in Houston, Tim Gorman had two top 10 performances at our U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships, running well in the 1-mile and 2-mile races in Albuquerque, NM. Then a week later, Nico toed the line at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, where for a majority of the race was running in the lead pack only to fade in the final miles to 20th place, respectable for his first Olympic Trials appearance.

During the summer, Reid raced on the track in Utah, Nico set a personal best on the track at 10,000m in L.A. and Grace Barnett ran a personal best time in the 5,000m in Boston. All of these races were, of course, adhering to strict COVID-19 protocols, where each athlete had to have two negative tests before entering into the stadium and each athlete had to keep their mask on until the final minutes before toing the starting line. Getting these tests were a bit of a challenge for us living in Mono County (Mammoth Lakes), where tests had to be sent to labs in San Francisco, Orange County or Los Angeles, which took an extra few days! Coaches were subject to these protocols as well, but we had to prove just one negative test prior to entering into the stadium and masks had to remain on 100% of the time while our athletes warmed up and raced. As soon as the athletes were done racing, coaches and athletes had to get out of there!

This December our elite team saw some action both on the track and in the marathon. Grace set another personal best at 5,000m, running a stunning time of 15:37 (5:00 mile pace). This time is likely to nab her a top 20 spot on the 2020 year-end list. At the same meet (The Track Meet in San Juan Capistrano), Reid and Nico raced the 10,000m. In classic Reid style, he ran aggressively with the lead pack for the first half of the race, they clocked 13:50 at halfway (5,000m), but the pace proved too much for him and he faded just a little and crossed the finish line in 28:07, just 9 seconds off of his personal best. Next up at The Track Meet was Nico! He ran a staggering personal best time of 28:38!

The Marathon Project

A short two weeks later both Nico and Reid headed to Chandler, AZ for a shot at a fast time at The Marathon Project. This race was host to 50 men and 50 women, mainly from around the U.S., with a few foreign athletes there to achieve the Olympic Marathon Standard Time of 2:11:30 for men and 2:29:30 for women. This venue was selected for its perfect weather conditions in December and pancake flat, smooth running surface! I’ve been in the elite marathoning scene for 20 years and I have never seen such perfect running factors that would produce a faster time.

The elements of this race were much different from those found in a big city marathon such as London, Tokyo or Chicago. While those courses are fast, they come with pressure to perform as most athletes are being paid to show up and compete for prize money. The race in Arizona, well, each athlete had to pay their own way there, pay an entry fee, and at the last minute, prize money was announced! Much different than these athletes are used to, a sign of the times I guess.

Looking Ahead for the Mammoth Track Club

The U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials are set to be hosted at the end of June in Eugene, OR. Our athletes are looking to focus all of their energy training for this 10-day event. With that said, I’m hopeful that the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan go off without a hitch in August! As of January, the Games are a GO!

Andrew Kastor

Andrew currently resides in Mammoth Lakes with his wife Deena (Olympic Marathon bronze medalist and American Record holder in the marathon and half-marathon) and their daughter, Piper Bloom. He’s the head coach for the Mammoth Track Club.

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