Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What really happened at US Champs

Before I dive into US Champs, I want to give a quick shout out to Jack Hostettler and Starting Line Designs for continuing to help me write my blog and continue to provide good content that readers would want to see.  They were able to put together the header for my blog that you see cool is that?!?

Sacramento was quite an experience.  I was excited to get out to a new facility and test out my fitness in this "off" year of track and field.  I was very pleased with where my fitness was at and I knew that I was ready to have a great performance.  The first two rounds felt good.  My legs didn't have quite the pop that I was expecting but I got the job done and made it into the final.  It was my second consecutive US final and I was looking to place on the podium this time.

Now...I want to give you the story of what actually happened in the final, and not what you might have heard on websites, message boards, seen on video replay, or in photos that were taken from 100 yards away on top of the press box of the stadium.  I got out hard because I knew the guys wanted to fly.  I tucked into 4th place at 200 meters on the outside of lane 1.  I sat off of Charles Jock's shoulder seeing that we had gone through at a fast pace.  On the turn, his right leg was in his back kick and made contact with my left hand.  This caused him to stumble and fall.  As he fell, his body started to come across my body.  When you're running that fast, your first instinct is to do anything you can to keep yourself out of trouble.  I was unaware of it at the time but I placed my hand on his shoulder as a natural reaction.  I did not push on him as he went to the ground.  The next few moments were a blur and the next thing I knew, I was 400 meters into the race.  I tried to regroup mentally but for some reason, I couldn't get back into focus and things started to go down hill from there.  I felt like I was running in quick sand during the last 150 meters and was just excited to see the finish line.

I would never purposely do anything to cause a competitor to fall.  It was unfortunate what happened, and I was glad to hear that Charles was not seriously injured afterwards.  Incidents like that occur in our sport.  I wish it had not and I could have raced all seven guys without a hiccup in the race, to prove our fitness.  Afterwards, I was told that I was disqualified.  USATF was very fair to me during my protesting process.  I filed my protest and was luckily reinstated in the results after the officials deliberated.  It wasn't a fun experience what happened...but it's all part of racing at this level.

Now it's time for me to move on and forget about US Champs.  The European season is upon us!  I fly out tomorrow night and I will be competing in four meets over the next two and a half weeks.  I even get to dabble in a little 1500 action!  It will be the first time I race the distance since college and I'm excited to see where I'm at.  Here is my schedule...

July 6 - Padova, Italy (800 meters)
July 8 - Lignano, Italy (1500 meters)
July 12 - Kortrijk, Belgium (800 meters)
July 19 - Heusden, Belgium (800 meters)

I will be posting photos on Instagram (@RuttRun) and Twitter (@Mike_Rutt) in order to keep everyone updated on my results and travel adventures!

Lastly, I would like to point out the success that the New Jersey/New York Track Club had at US Champs.  We sent 19 athletes to the meet which is more than any other team sent.  And we had athletes in the final of every event that we entered!  We have come a long way since I first joined the club in 2011.  We don't have all of the facilities and resources that other clubs have, but we suck it up and get the job done!

For questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to post below or email me directly at!

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