The Karhu athlete makes his first and second national teams before he knew it.
by Jon Gugala
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – “If Alan Webb had decided to run, then I wouldn’t have gone,” says Karhu athlete Joe Moore. “Thanks again, Alan Webb.”
Count this as Moore’s official statement of gratitude to the American record-holder for Moore making his first and second national teams, because, he says, it could have been Webb in his spot. At the 2012 Club Cross Country Championships, held in Lexington, Ky., on December 8, Moore was ninth and Webb was seventh. USA Track and Field invited the top athletes in order of finish to compete as part of Team USA in the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country race in Edinburgh, Scotland, on January 5.
The top six were the first invited. They accepted. It was then extended to Bobby Mack, the 2012 USA Cross Country Championships winner, as well as seventh and eighth place finishers Webb and Phillip Reid, respectively.
Reid and Mack said yes; Webb said no. So Moore received the final invite. It will be his first national team.
As part of a three-way team competition between the U.S., Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Europe, Moore joins a team of nine men, with the top six scoring in the 8-kilometer race.
Some runners come out of college expecting national teams as a given. But asked if he’d started to doubt it would happen, Moore, a Kansas State University alumnus who turned 29 in December, says, “Oh, yeah.”
“The last couple of years, that’s really what I’ve been working for, to sneak onto one of these teams,” he says.
It was big for Moore to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Team Trials Marathon, held this past January. That was part of making it to the “next level,” he says. For 2013, he has equally ambitious plans, and Club XC was part of that. He just wasn’t fully clear on what part.
The fact is, Moore says, for a national team, he didn’t know Club XC was a selector.
The plan was to earn a spot on the U.S. team for the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships on January 26 in Jamaica. And for that, he was using Club XC as a tune-up for the USA Cross Country Championships on . . . wait a second . . . February 2.
In previous years, USA XC preceded NACAC as its selector. Moore had muddled the dates, and after finishing in Lexington, he was surprised to have a stack of paperwork thrust into his hands. It soon became apparent that what he had viewed as a tune-up race for his Big Chance had likely earned him a spot not only on NACAC, but also on the Edinburgh squad. A week later, after Webb’s double demurring, it was official: Moore was in, and in both.
“[Club XC] is one of those races that fast people show up for, so if you can jump in and beat a few of them, it makes you look good,” Moore says. He adds that it was an important race for his team, the Twin Cities Track Club. (Teammate Mike Reneau was 13th.)
Now on his first national team, Moore says that a team event like cross country is a good fit, joking that he has an easier time letting himself down than he does a team. And it should also be mentioned that not only will this be his first time in Scotland, it will also be his first time in Europe, period—before this, he’d only been to Australia.
“I like to stay where I don’t have to learn stuff like different words,” he says, “so I can just impersonate accents and bug the hell out of the locals.”
To prepare for his first appearance representing the U.S., he says he’s been working on his impersonation of actor Mike Myers. “The only accent he ever does is ‘Crazy Scot,’” Moore says. “’Yelling Scottish Person’ is what I’m going for.”
January will be a busy month for Moore. After Scotland, he returns for a few days at home in Minnesota before flying south to Texas, where he paces a group of American men through a 1:06 half in the Chevron Houston Marathon on January 13. After a few days at home, he leaves for Jamaica and NACAC.
Joe Moore is on Twitter. All noteworthy Mike Myers quotes should be tweeted to @JoeMooreRunning. Learn more about the Bupa Great Edinburgh XCountry race here (http://www.greatrun.org/Events/Information.aspx?ctid=240&id=2).
Estevan De La Rosa