The standards these athletes had to meet to be eligible for the Olympic Development program are 29:00/33:45 for the 10k, 14:00/16:15 for the 5k, and 2:20/2:42 for the marathon. These standards are the basis for the selection process although they are not set in stone. Other factors such as the athletes willingness to relocate to the Rochester area, the meets where they ran their times at, and also the size of the college that they attended come into play when the athletes are selected.
This opportunity provided by the Hansons is the best out there for runners coming out of college who have demonstrated the ability and wish to continue running, but haven’t quite advanced to the next level. The Olympics are the ultimate focus of the runners but more importantly all the runners here are taking part in this program to see how fast they can become. Everything here focuses around time to train. Our lifestyle is most accurately described as being like college only we don’t have classes or homework.
The approach realized in the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project incorporates the following four principles:
- Create an opportunity for successful college athletes to continue training beyond their college years.
- Provide an environment in which training can be the focus of those post-collegiate athletes (without the financial necessity of working full time or chasing after money in road races).
- Develop a center for those athletes to train together as a team.
- Incorporate the team members in local community activities to foster an excitement in the sport of distance running, and motivate future distance runners.
These are the two houses purchased by the Hansons to house the men of the Distance Project. Thanks to Brooks Running Inc., a third house was purchased to house the newly formed women’s team.
These houses located in the Rochester area provide a great training area for distance runners. It’s not the type of area that comes to mind when most people think of the Detroit Metro area. For everyday training there are plenty of dirt roads north of Rochester, the paint creek trail, and Stoney Creek Metro Park, which all offer great places to run. When it comes time to race, the southeast of Michigan offers some of the best competition in the Midwest. Whether it be races for cross-country or track, the colleges in the area prove to be an excellent resource for the program. Both these factors make it a great place to start a distance training program.