One Year Ago, He Was a 14:00/28:43 No-Name; Now He’s a 28:00 4th Placer At The Olympic Trials
By Jonathan Gault
January 12, 2017
When Northern Arizona Elite’s Scott Fauble toes the line for Sunday’s Aramco Houston Half Marathon, the 25-year-old will be expected to challenge for top American honors. But Fauble, who enjoyed rousing success in his first full year as a professional in 2016, wasn’t the most attractive professional prospect upon graduation from the University of Portland in 2015. Though he had finished 13th and 12th in his last two NCAA XC appearances, his track PBs weren’t incredible (14:00/28:43) and he had developed a stress fracture, which he tried (unsuccessfully) to run through in his final race at the NCAA outdoor championships in June. He wound up with NAZ Elite, and after he got healthy, he strung together some good training in the fall before traveling to Scotland for the Great Edinburgh XCountry in January 2016. In that race, Fauble ran with the leaders and took the lead with a half mile to go. Though he ultimately wound up third behind Garrett Heath and Mo Farah, the performance proved to be a turning point in Fauble’s career.
“There’s two kinds of breakthrough races that I’ve seen,” said Fauble’s coach Ben Rosario. “You’ve got your breakthrough, like, let’s say Ryan Hall’s breakthrough [half marathon] at Houston, which is a good example considering the timing. When [Ryan] ran that, all the interviews afterwards, he was just like, ‘Oh, I felt great.’ And those happen every once in a while where you just feel like a million bucks. And that’s one kind of breakthrough.
“But the kind of breakthrough [Scott] had in Edinburgh really wasn’t that kind. It’s not like he felt that great, in fact, he almost got dropped a couple of different times. But it was more so the kind of breakthrough where he just put his head down and just went and just didn’t care about how he felt. And it worked, and he pulled it off. And I think he’s sort of done that pretty much every race since. He’s been able to get the most out of his body every time since.”
Rosario said that after the Edinburgh race, it was as if a switch had been flipped in Fauble’s head. Fauble saw how hard he could push his body, that he could compete at a high level against good competition, and from then possessed an unshakeable confidence in his own abilities.
“His biggest strength is his mind, really,” Rosario said. “And that’s what’s helping him make all these improvements. I really think it’s his mental approach, that’s what separates him from what I’ve seen.”
Rosario felt that Portland had prepared Fauble well for a professional career and didn’t make any significant changes to his training, instead choosing to just gradually increase his mileage (he was around 80 mpw by the end of college) and the intensity of Fauble’s workouts.
It worked. In Fauble’s first race on the track in 2016, he slashed 43 seconds off his 10k pb to run 28:00 at the Stanford Invite in April. Four weeks later, he took second at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships. After taking sixth at the BolderBOULDER 10K on May 30, he convinced himself that he was going to make the Olympic team in the 10,000 meters — despite the fact that he did not even have the Olympic standard. He wound up finishing fourth at the Trials.
“He can get really locked in on something like I’ve rarely seen,” Rosario said. “The Trials..he got into this mode, I don’t know man, it was like a trance, for a month, month and a half where he just convinced himself that that was what he was going to do. And then he went out and he dang near did it.”
Now Fauble’s focus has shifted to next month’s U.S. Cross Country Championships, where he’ll attempt to make the World XC team. Beyond that, a possible fall marathon debut looms. But first, Houston, where Fauble’s main goal is to smash his 63:06 personal best.
“He can run way faster,” Rosario said. “His workouts have been really good. I don’t know that we have a real [time in mind], especially with the weather.”
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