Garcia Back on Track, Seeking Speed for Shot at Olympics Marathon

Eduardo Garcia

Following a stellar track and cross-country career at the University of Florida, Eduardo Garcia, who is now with the Greenville Elite Track Club and the Virgin Islands National Track and Field Team (VITFF), continues his transition to the roads and has, in addition to his collegiate best, put in some impressive road performances, including V.I. national records for the 10K, half-marathon and the marathon.

Recently he came back to the track to work on speed for the marathon with a 14:31 5K at the 49er Classic for second place in Charlotte, N.C.

This past weekend, as he tells it: “I ran at the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K in Charleston, S.C. It is the third largest 10K and fifth largest road race in the United States. The race attracts runners from all over the world including Kenya and Ethiopia.

I placed 10th overall and was the third American to finish the race. My time was 29:57, which is a road 10K personal best and should be a new USVI National Record.

I felt a little rocky at the start, but after I got onto the onramp of the bridge, I got into a nice rhythm and settled into a nice pace. I felt very strong and within myself for the duration of the race.”

How his coach Mike Caldwell describes the race: “ASCIS Greenville Track Club-ELITE’s Eddie Garcia ran 29:57 to place 10th overall in South Carolina’s largest road race. On an overcast and humid morning, the 2015 Southeastern Conference 10K champion covered the first half of the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K race in 15:18. He then ran the second half of the race, which includes the decline coming down the bridge, in 14:39. Garcia was the third American to finish as Colin Beenie (29:01) was 7th and Jordan Mann (29:54) 9th. The first six finishers were either Kenyan or Ethiopian as the winner, Kenya’s Silas Kipruto, ran a speedy 27:58.

With the gun-time temperature at 66 degrees and the humidity hovering near 95 percent, the 6.2-mile race presented challenges, but a thick fog settled over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and light winds made the course not as daunting as in years past. There were 29,230 finishers.”

All good news.

The not-so-good news for Garcia and the National Track and Field Team members is the recently announced qualification system for the Tokyo Olympics from the IAAF (International Association of Athletic Federations). It includes a stipulation for a multi-tiered qualifying method… make the standard or make ranking on the world list or perform at a specific level in targeted races or all of the above? [sic]

Unfortunately, the 2:18 finish for Garcia in the January Houston, which would have qualified for 2016 Rio Olympics marathon, will not make the 2:11! Standard for Tokyo. There is apparent pushback on the announcement from national federations worldwide — athletes, coaches and agents among others. VITFF is closely monitoring this development and will take steps to address it.