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Turn Back The Clock: High School Careers Revisited

INTERVIEW WITH TIM BROE

Welcome to Turn Back The Clock: High School Careers Revisited where we we interview the world's top distance runners about their high school (and college careers). LetsRun.com had a lengthy and refreshing conversation with #1 ranked US steeplechaser Tim Broe today from his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan - where Broe trains under the guidance of Michigan coach Ron Warhurst with the likes of Kevin Sullivan, Paul McMullen, Alan Webb and Nathan Brannen.    

Broe has been on quite a roll the last few years and seems eager to mark himself as America's #1 mid-distance talent.  In 2000, Broe finished his collegiate career at Alabama by winning the NCAA title, improving his steeple p.r. by more than 20 seconds and just missed out on making the Olympics straight out of college by an agonizing .09 of a second.

In 2001, his first year as full-time professional, Broe continued to excel.  Never afraid to mix it up and race, Broe won both the USA 4k xc title and the 3k indoor title during the winter and was one of the few to compete at both the world indoor track and field championships and world cross country championships.  Outdoors, Broe made his first world championship team in the steeplechase and advanced to the finals in Edmonton.  He also lowered his steeple best by another 7 seconds to 8:14  - making him the 5th fastest American ever - and  putting him well within striking distance of Henry Marsh's American record of 8:09.17.  

The 24-year old Broe isn't resting on his laurels as he opened up the 2002 campaign last weekend with the fastest time in the world in the 3k and a 7:49 clocking, in a race that included a sickening 4:04.5 final 1600 meters. 

This Sunday, Broe will run another 3k at the adidas Boston Indoor Games - the first meet on the 2002 USATF Golden Spike Tour - where a $25,000 bonus is being offered for the American record of 7:39.


The Time Broe File
Height: 5-11
Weight: 175
Born: June 20, 1977 in Peoria, Ill.
Current Residence: Ann Arbor, Mich.
High School: East Peoria Community HS '95
College: Alabama '99
Coach: Ron Warhurst 

PROGRESSION
9th:1600m: 4:29; 3200m: 9:25-9:30.
10th: 1600m: 4:18; 3200m:9:10
11th: 1600m: 4:16; 3200m: 9:08
12th: 1600m: 4:16; 3200m: 9:12
Illinois State champion in 3200 and cross country junior and senior years.
Footlocker Finalist junior and senior year (10th place).
Collegiate highlight: 2000 NCAA champion in steeplechase.
PRs:
3000m steeple 8:14.62 (2001); 3,000m: 7:39.45 (2001); 5,000m (13:24.13) 

Click here for page listing IAAF statistics on Broe.

Interview conducted on January 23, 2002 by Robert Johnson.

LRC: Can you tell us a little about how you got into running? What made you stick with the sport?
TB: I started when I was in 7th grade. I didn't do any other sports and all of my buddies were doing track. They were discus throwers and shot putters so I just went out for the team as well. I wasn't a world beater and don't have any great stories to reveal from junior high.
      I was real competitive though and would just run myself into the ground,and it just snowballed from there. I just kept getting a little better, but I didn't do anything real special when I was in high school.

LRC: What do you view as the highlights of your high school career?
TB: I won the state title in both the 2 mile and cross country both my junior and senior years.

LRC: How did your career develop from year to year? What was your rate of progression?
T
B: I ran really well as a freshman. My first race outdoors, I ran 4:29 for 1600 meters. That to this day was one of my best races ever. In the 3200, I think I ran about 9:30 or 9:25.  As a sophomore, I ran 9:10 and 4:18. Junior year - 9:08 and 4:16. Senior year, I had mono all year and didn't run as well - 9:12 and 4:16.

LRC: Didn't you also make it to Footlocker in cross country a couple times? And weren't you sent home from Footlocker your junior year and forbidden from competing?  What exactly happened there? Some of the greatest rumors in the history of track and field seem to be circulating around about that episode. Can you we ask you what really happened?
TB: It's true. My junior year, I got expelled. I'm sorry though as I don't have a great story. I don't know where people came up with all of those wild stories.  Basically, they had all sorts of official functions that you were supposed to go to.  On the Friday night before the race, they had an evening dinner and I didn't feel like going. I had a friend in town with me so we went out to grab a pizza and a movie. I didn't think they would even notice. When I got back, they were really, really pissed with me. They told me they had to make an example of somebody.
      I got sent home the next morning and didn't even get to watch the meet.  They wouldn't even let me go back into my hotel room - I had to sleep on a couch. I'm sorry I don't have any cool stories for you.  I didn't go to Mexico to buy drugs or anything which I'm sure you've heard.
      The thing that sucked about the whole thing was that the movie was terrible. That what was most disappointing. It was "A Dangerous World" - I think - with Kevin Costner.
      My senior year, though, I went back and got 10th even though I was sick as a dog.

LRC: If you were asked by a high schooler for one word of advice, what would it be?
TB
: I would say, "Get yourself some short term goals and also some long term goals. Work hard towards them but don't take it too seriously along the way. You've got to try to have fun. If you take it too seriously, it gets boring and becomes work. Just turn your thinking cap off and have fun with it."

LRC: How did you end up choosing to go to Alabama for college? It's not exactly a collegiate powerhouse in distance running?
TB
: I had a really good time when I went there on my recruiting trip. They had something pretty good going on there (with the program) but I ended up showing up at the worst possible time. The head coach quit and then there were some NCAA violations and we couldn't recruit anyone.  Most of the guys who were supposed to be part of my recruiting class ended up not showing up.
      Alabama really was the only school that offered me a full-ride. There were some other schools that offered me scholarships but they didn't really have a distance program and I didn't want to go somewhere and be the only guy on the team.  There were other schools where I did want to go to but they either didn't bother to call or didn't want to offer me a scholarship.  

LRC: What schools did you want to go to?
TB: I say I wish I had gone to Michigan, but I had a great time at Alabama and it was a good learning experience. We had some ups and downs but if I had gone to Michigan I wouldn't be where I am now so it all worked out great.

Click here if you want to read Broe's interview about his professional running career and specifically his plans for the 2002 season.

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