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Symmonds Eyes 1000 Record at NYRR Millrose Games

Published by
ArmoryTrack.com   Jan 16th 2014, 6:00pm

Symmonds Eyes 1000 Record at NYRR Millrose Games

By Doug Binder for ArmoryTrack.com

Without a major global championship to contend for in 2014, Nick Symmonds is building his year around the idea of running fast and setting records.

The NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory on Feb. 15 is the first event that Symmonds has starred on his calendar. The five-time U.S. champion in the 800 meters outdoors will go for the American record in the 1,000 meters. David Krummenacker has held that record since 2002 at 2:17.86. (And Robbie Andrews just missed it in 2013 at The Armory with 2:17.90).

“I think it’s very apparent that the (kilometer) is a better distance for me than an 800,” said Symmonds Wednesday from his training camp in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. “Coming through (800) in 1:49 or 1:50 and kicking off that pace is something I’m very excited about trying to do.”

Symmonds, who turned 30 last month, has been testing the 1,500 meters since his fifth-place finish in the 800 at the 2012 Olympics.

So the 1,000 could in fact be his natural sweet spot.

But this is also a winter when a lot of things are changing for Symmonds. He has switched shoe companies, moving from Nike to Brooks, and that means a change of coaches, too. And the change will eventually entail a move from Eugene-Springfield, Ore. to Seattle.

At the moment, Symmonds is leading a nomadic lifestyle. He’ll spend most of this month in Mexico, training at 6,000 feet. In February, he’ll be traveling on the weekends but staying in Seattle. In March, he hopes to be in Poland for the World Indoor Championships. And in April, there is a planned training stint in Flagstaff, Ariz.

“It has been a lot of change. I’ve always lived a bit of a nomadic lifestyle going in search of warm weather and altitude during the winters,” Symmonds said. “I’m trying to take this one small step at a time. The first step was getting used to using the Brooks gear and being down here (in Mexico) I’ve had a chance to go through all the different items and found that that’s a very easy transition to make because they make phenomenal products.”

Symmonds is never shy on promotion or speaking his mind, whether it be on gay rights, animal rights or gun laws. The biochemistry major from Division III Willamette University in Salem, Ore. has also been a vocal advocate for athletes’ rights and a proponent for a new financial model to support professional track and field.

He is also learning as he goes how best to express his views and not let his words overshadow his performance.

In 2012, after auctioning off space on his shoulder for ad space and taking on the rules governing athletes’ sponsorship limitations, Symmonds went to Australia for winter training and found that he couldn’t break 1:48 for the 800.

“I crossed the line between fighting the good fight and taking it to the point where it was costing my physical and mental health,” Symmonds said. “I have to tread that line very lightly.”

There is much to occupy him, between his racing schedule and his re-locating, in 2014.

“I just need to focus on the indoor season right now and hopefully (by the end of it) my house will have sold,” Symmonds said. “I have two houses and four businesses in Springfield and Eugene that I have to unload before I can move.”

Symmonds said he plans to be ready to break a record when he arrives in New York next month.

“When you go to The Armory and you see the intimate atmosphere, you see people going crazy and you get mobbed by kids wanting your autograph, that makes it exciting for me and that’s why I’m excited to run a full indoor season, but especially this race at The Armory.”

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