After about a month layoff from big-time racing, Gary Martin proved on Friday that he hasn't missed a beat at the Paul Short Run.
The Archbishop Wood senior ran the third fastest cross country 5K in Pennsylvania high school history, covering Lehigh University's course in 14:49 in what quickly became a solo effort. Martin dominated the White Race at Paul Short from start to finish en route to the nation's sixth fastest 5K so far this XC season.
Martin's 14:49 breaks the meet record, formerly held by Colin Abert at 14:55 from 2014. It is just off the course record, which still stands at 14:47 by Paul Springer at the PIAA District 1 Championships from 2006. Springer with his 14:47, along with Noah Affolder from the Carlisle Invitational in 2016, hold the fastest XC 5K times in state history.
* Watch the Boys White 5K from Paul Short above
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"Obviously I wanted to get the state record, but I'm pretty happy with the time," Martin said after the race. "Coming in, I thought the record was in reach, and I just missed it, so I can't complain too much, but it's a PR and a good day."
Martin and his Wood teammates competed in the White Race on Friday. The Brown Race normally sees bigger performances. But Martin would likely be mostly solo either way. He went out right at the pace he wanted to hit -- 4:45 -- and though he slowed a bit off his goal pace in the second mile in the up hill, he "let the legs fly" in the third mile to come home strong in 14:49.
The performance was speed rated by TullyRunners at 193, which registers as the seventh best in the nation this season. That trails four Newbury Park (CA) runners, Connecticut's Gavin Sherry, and Michigan's Riley Hough so far this year, per Tully.
Next up for Martin is a good test at the Manhattan Invitational at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New York next Saturday. That race is a 4K.
"I think I'm still getting used to running some cross country races and it's good to get the experience," Martin added. "I felt pretty smooth the whole way. I had a lot left in the end, which is something I haven't had in the end in the past, so I felt pretty good about that."