Tim Bergsten created this Ning Network.

He's not a regular guy.

Despite the testimony of many who know him well who say, "He's just a regular guy, who happens to have competed in the Olympics three times.

As we crunched gravel under our hundred dollar shoes, I tried not to say anything stupid that Justin Chaston would hear at least. Being a new runner, I'm still star struck by these famous folk. Winners of local races are one thing, but Justin is on another level.

So Tuesday when I showed up at the High Altitude Running Team's speed work session, there was Justin, just one of the guys. Except he wasn't. On tap for the evening were three sets of nine-minute intervals at threshold pace (whatever that really means... I was hitting my threshold in car on the way over). I am training for my first big race since high school - the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile. Justin's looking at breaking the British Master's record for the steeplechase.

We all ran a few minutes together to warm up and I got a sense that Justin was a regular guy but he was also just being nice to the rest of us as we tried to keep our cool. OK, that may have just been me. Gosh, it is was like being on stage with Justin Bieber (if I were a pre-teen American Idol wannabee). Where else in the world could I have this experience?

But when the lights went up so to speak and the clock started ticking on the first of our three sets it was showtime, Justin was gone like WMD's in Iraq. He did lap me once as we ran mile repeats at Monument Valley Park. It was exhilarating! For three steps... OK... two steps, I was running with a champion. I was running fast. Justin smiled. I faked a cramp. My brush with greatness was over.

The Colorado Springs running community is great because guys like Justin and Matt Carpenter , Lisa Rainsberger and a host of other truly world-class athletes are playing in our back yard everyday and most don't mind if you join them... if you can keep up.

Why would we live anywhere else? Why would we participate in any other sport?

I love golf, but I'll never get a chance to tee it up with Jack Nicklaus, but in running, it's a regular guy's/gal's sport. Just keep your cool.

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Comment by Tim Bergsten on May 25, 2011 at 10:12pm
Yeah, that's my take on Justin as well. Very down to earth ...  but he does run like the wind itself.

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