Born To Run
Robby Andrews and Ben Malone didn't have the performances they were looking for on Friday night but the two of them shared a proud New Jersey track moment nonetheless.
Andrews, less than a year into his budding pro career after starring at Manalapan High School, went gunning for the American record in the 1,000 meters and came up a whisker short, in 2:17.90.
About half an hour later, Malone, a senior from Pascack Valley High, took at shot at Andrews' high school national record in the 1,000, coming up short after getting boxed in early (2:25.82).
Andrews was trackside to watch Malone's race and photographer John Nepolitan took a photo of the two of them together.
"Seeing Robby run that fast before me was inspiring," Malone said. "He's a New Jersey legend. I was close to (his record) last year. He's a great guy. I hope to be mentioned in the same category (as him) some day."
Malone's interactions with Andrews have been brief. They met for the first time at Icahn Stadium last June at the Adidas Grand Prix. But Malone said Andrews' achievements are a source of inspiration and state pride.
"I watched how he ran in high school and at Virginia, and he was obviously incredible," Malone said. "I've heard my name compared to him before a few times. He's very inspiring to me."
Andrews is genuinely impressed that there is another wave of talent coming up behind him and challenging his records.
"It's exciting," he said. "It keeps the sport alive. When I ran that (high school record) thousand, I wish Alan (Webb) was here watching me, but I probably would have been a little more nervous. Ben's obviously a great talent. (He ran) 1:49 last year, 2:23 last year. You just look at his stride. He looks like a throroughbred."
Malone didn't feel any extra pressure running for Andrews' record while being watched by the man himself.
"Actually it got me even more excited," he said. "I'm sure he wanted to see race and it got me more pumped."
Andrews and Malone will compete in the same meet again. Both are entered in their respective sections of the mile at the Millrose Games on Feb. 16.