Sunday, October 05, 2014

Mbarak Hussein Proves He's Still the Master and Soon to be a Father

Mbarak Hussein finishing win number five.
Mbarak Hussein, 49 years young,  won his fifth Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Masters title and US Masters Marathon Championship.  More importantly, he had to rush home as his wife appears to be ready to give birth to the couple's first child, nine days early.

Hussein will undoubtedly teach the child patience, a virtue that has served his father well in his long career.  Hussein set off on Sunday in hopes that he could get a qualifying time for the US Olympic Marathon Trials.  For awhile he thought he might be going out too fast because he could see the lead pack not that far in front of him.  Either they were going too slow or he was going too fast, he said.  Turns out the young guys in the pack were going too slow.

Hussein wasn't concerned with their race tactics, however, he had the dual challenge of being able to outrun two other  younger, faster Masters, Kevin Castille and Michael Wardian.  Castille was looking for an Olympic Trials qualifying time, but he couldn't handle the pace.  While he was in front of Hussein for much of the race, Hussein caught and passed by 20 miles and the real threat came from Wardian, who had gone out about a minute slower through the half marathon, but was picking up ground as the race unfolded.  By 24 miles he was only 26 seconds back of Hussein.

When the pair approached 25 miles an official called out: "first Master," to Hussein, followed shortly afterward by "second Master."  Wardian cringed.  He saw Hussein pick up the pace in recognition that somebody behind him was closing on him.  "I wasn't going to turn around to look until after I got to the top of the last hill," said Hussein.  When he did he saw Wardian and accelerated again, timing it going around a a corner and, for a short time, "invisible" and out of contact with Wardian..

Wardian knew his chance to catch Hussein by surprise was gone.  He kept trying to close, but the moment had passed.  Hussein had "sprinted," he said, around that  corner to deliver the psychological blow of being out of sight.  While he had slowed down over the last half, there was still fuel in the tank and Hussein used it to win the Masters title by 18 seconds.

Always patient, Hussein had kept a reserve in case he needed it.  He needed all of it to hold off Wardian's challenge.  After the race, Hussein could only hope that his first child would have a little patience as well and not rush his entry into the world before his father could get there to see it.

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