June 6, 2014
Former University of Cincinnati track & field standout Eric Finan completed a lifelong dream Thursday night as he ran his first ever sub-four minute mile to win the 2014 Adrian Martinez Classic in Concord, Massachusetts and defeat 2012 Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano.
Breaking the four-minute barrier has always been a benchmark for elite runners, and Finan joined that exclusive group at Concord-Carlisle High School, breaking the tape with a lifetime-best of 3:58.73. The 2012 UC graduate won the race, besting Manzano, who was the feature athlete of the meet.
“I still feel like I am on cloud nine,” said Finan, who runs professionally for Team USA Minnesota, the day after running his sub-four mile. “I might have slept 20 minutes last night because I was so jacked afterwards. I’m not sure if it has really sunken in quite yet. Running under four minutes in the mile has been a dream of mine since high school”
Finan graduated from UC in 2012 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. The two-time All-American in both cross country and track & field set four school records while at UC. In addition, he was the 2011 BIG EAST Cross Country Champion and also won the BIG EAST 5,000m crown in 2012.
The former UC standout was in fifth heading into the final lap, but the New Richmond, Ohio native made his move with 200 meters to go as he hopped into the third lane and went nose-to-nose with Manzano. Finan pulled away from the Olympian with about 75 meters to go and then was battling two other runners for the win. All three leaned for the tape at the finish, and Finan came away with the victory by one-hundredth of a second, defeating Hamish Carson of New Zealand.
“I crossed the line at 3:01 for the bell lap, and I knew I had a 59 in me for the final lap,” Finan recalled. “I was sitting back on the backstretch, but I thought to myself I better make a move or I might regret not going for it. As I came around the final turn, all I was thinking about was breaking four [minute]. The thought of winning the race didn’t hit me until I was about 10 meters away. That is when I told myself I better lean, and I was fortunate enough to pull off the win by one-hundredth of a second.”
The victory and time were both surprises to Finan, who had not run the mile since the 2010 indoor season for the Bearcats.
“I had been running some 1,500’s this year, but my coach [Dennis Barker] and I felt this would be a great tune-up race before my 5k next week in Portland,” said Finan. “I’ve always considered the 5k my race.”
Next week, Finan will head to Portland, Oregon to run the 5,000m at the Portland Track Festival. In the 5k, he hopes to run under 13:32 to meet the ‘A’ qualifying standard for the USA Track & Field Championships, scheduled for June 26-29 in Sacramento, California. Currently, his lifetime personal-best time is 13:44.91, which is the Cincinnati school record.
“It should be a good race in Portland,” Finan stated. “There will be a good field, and we will have a good rabbit. My confidence is pretty high right now, so I hope to get under the ‘A’ standard to make the field of 30 for the USA Track & Field Championships.”