Lecky breaks 3000m school record
Matt Lecky ’23 broke the school and facility record in the 3000-meter run at the Blue & Orange Invitational at Utica College on January 29, with a time of 8:16.18—2.38 seconds faster than previous record holder, Rensselaer alumnus Ben Fazio ’17 in a time of 8:18.57. In order to run this time, he would need to average 4:27 per mile, or 33.12 seconds per lap on a 200-meter track. The plan was simple, as said by Coach John Lynch, “two rabbits, two trains, when the rabbit drops work together to press the pace.” The rabbits pace the race with the next two people, the trains, and once the rabbits drop out, the trains work together to stay on pace and finish the race.
The race began fast, with a first lap of 30.92 seconds, led by pacers Davis Piercy ’23 and Fazio. Minutes went by and the main pack of the race settled in. Piercy piloted the first 1400 meters of the race, running each lap in about 34 seconds. Once the first seven laps were over, Piercy stepped off the track to let Fazio lead the way. He escorted one more lap—to the 1600-meter mark—just under one mile, in a time of 4:30.23.
Reflecting on the race, Fazio said, “[Piercy] did a great job, splitting really consistent laps and making it just about to the halfway point, which isn't easy to do in a 3K. [Lecky] was running so well he didn't really need me as a second pacer for very long.” After realizing they were five seconds behind pace, Lecky took the lead, speeding up the pace to 32.93 seconds for the ninth lap. After a slightly slower tenth lap, in 33.37 seconds, the race was on, with all of the following laps 33 seconds and under. Lecky hit the bell lap in a time of 7:46.38. To break the record, Lecky needed to run the last lap in 32.19 seconds. Lecky ran a 200-meter final split of 29.81 seconds, breaking the record by 2.38 seconds. After Lecky, John Reed (Gr) crossed the finish line in a time of 8:21.94, the fourth fastest in school history. A total of ten Engineers qualified for the Liberty League Championships in the 3000-meter race on the day. A qualifying time has to be under 8:55.00.
“It was really special to run with [Fazio] and work with him during the race,” said Lecky after the race. “Our team has established such a great culture; lots of alumni stay involved with the program and it really helps to have their support. It represents this team perfectly to have a record holder come back and help lead the next generation of RPI runners, and I’m really glad he was racing with us.” Reed agreed, saying, “It was awesome to be a part of this race. [Piercy] and [Fazio] led us out perfectly, and it’s always special lining up to race with the alumni.”
Click here to see the lap-by-lap splits for the race.