By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer
This was a good winter for Jason Meany. A senior at Christian Brothers Academy in Dewitt, Meany ran the indoor track season of his life, winning three Section 3 titles, two New York State titles, one Eastern States championship, and All-America honors in the Nationals.
Meany's harvest of medals began at Manley Field House on February 12. Meany pulled a hat trick, winning the Section 3 Class C championship in the 3,200 meters, the 1,600 meters and the 1,000 meters, all on the same night.
The following week, Meany won the Section 3 State qualifier 3,200-meter race in a personal record 9:17.0. Later in the evening, he finished fourth in the 1,600 meters, earning the anchor spot on Section 3's distance medley relay team.
Meany's run at the State qualifier earned him an invitation to the 63rd running of the prestigious Eastern States Championships in New York City. Running for the first time against many of his competitors, Meany started the 3,200-meter race cautiously. He separated himself from the field after the first mile, and dropped his last competitor in the final 400 meters. He won the race in a personal record 9:16.92.
The win at Eastern States gave Meany the fastest seed time in the New York State High School Championship at the Carrier Dome on March 7. Meany won the 3,200-meter race in 9:18.86, his first indoor State title. However, it was Meany's come-from-behind win in the Intersectional Distance Medley Relay that brought the crowd to their feet. That victory resulted in a new Championship record time of 8:53.71, and gave Section 3 the NYSPHSAA and Federation Championship titles.
Finally, on March 15 at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Meany ran another 2-mile personal record of 9:14.42, to finish second in the National Scholastic Indoor Championship, and earn All-America honors.
Jason Meany described himself as a terrible runner in sixth grade. He found his stride by seventh grade, and finished his first track season at CBA undefeated. He ran cross-country the following fall, and improved steadily in high school. He won the outdoor State title in the 1,600 meters as a sophomore, and the outdoor 3,200-meter title as a junior.
I had an opportunity to run with Jason last June, as he prepared for the National Outdoor Track Championship in Raleigh, NC. My tempo run coincided with his easy day, so I tagged along for a couple of miles. I listened to Jason describe his passion for running and his training habits.
A typical training cycle includes one day for strength, one day for speed, one day for long base, and a couple of easy days. During the summer, Meany increases his running to 80 miles per week for two weeks, then backs off. In a typical speed workout, he runs a mile under 4:40, followed by six 400-meter sprints in 65 to 70 seconds. For his base slow long workouts, he runs 12 to 15 miles. Meany also pays special attention to his diet. He eats four meals per day with a lot of carbohydrates. He increases his protein intake during intense training to aid in recovery.
Several Division I colleges are recruiting Meany, as he winds down his high school career. His recent string of victories can only enhance his prospects of running in college while working towards a degree in Chemistry. He plans to specialize eventually in higher education, and expects to continue running and competing well beyond college.
Meany puts his heart into his running, and keeps his sights set on his goals. In a roomful of ribbons and medals, one goal stands out in simple words, a sub-9 minute 2-mile race. Meany expects to reach this goal on the way to qualifying for next summer's Junior World Championship in France.
In seventh grade, Jason Meany was nicknamed "Flea" to distinguish him from another Jason. Since then, his fans have cheered him on with "Go Flea", to the tune of the "Go Pre" chant that filled Haywood Field in Eugene a generation ago. Meany certainly has the talent and dedication to become the next Prefontaine of American distance running.
Kamal Jabbour has followed Flea's running throughout high school. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. He maintains The Syracuse Running Page and receives email at email@example.com.