Isaac Updike

The longest and best season of Isaac Updike’s racing career – the 31-year-old from Ketchikan toed the start line at least once in 12 straight months – closed with his Diamond League debut in Xiamen, China, on Saturday.

Updike finished 16th among 18 runners in his specialty, the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He clocked 8 minutes, 27.37 seconds, which is not what he was looking for – his personal best is 8:17.47, run earlier this summer in Nice, France – but about three seconds faster than he performed in finishing 16th at the World Championships in August in Budapest, Hungary.

“I felt better than the (World Championship) final, but still a pretty mediocre performance given the results earlier this year,’’ Updike texted. “But that is not surprising (given) how early I started and what I accomplished this year.’’

Updike three times ran the steeplechase in the 8:17s, the most he’s ever put together. He made his first Team USA global championship squad courtesy of his third-place finish at the USA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in July. He defended his steeplechase title at the prestigious Penn Relays. And he racked personal bests across four events – the steeple, 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters.

Updike’s racing journey in the last year has taken him from coast to coast in the U.S., as well as to France, Belgium, Hungary and China. In all, from last October to this month, he raced 17 times – 13 times on the track and four times on the road.

Given making his first global team, landing on a national championship podium for the first time, setting personal bests in four events and making his Diamond League debut – the Diamond League is the highest level on the elite track circuit – 2023 easily marks the finest season of Updike’s career.

Updike, who is sponsored by Under Armour, will return to Flagstaff, Ariz., to begin his offseason training entering an Olympic year. The 2024 Summer Olympics are in Paris.

“Excited for some downtime and getting into fall training,’’ Updike texted.

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