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Tales From The Track: Given how Isaac Updike felt Friday, his result was both hard, and yet not that hard, to stomach

by | May 18, 2024 | Cover Story, Running, Track and Field

Isaac Updike

At 32, we could assume professional runner Isaac Updike of Ketchikan has experienced it all – races where he felt fantastic, races where he felt flat, and everything in between.

Yet Friday night in Los Angeles, Updike endured stomach issues for the first time in his career.

The steeplechaser finished ninth in his signature event at the LA Grand Prix, clocking 8 minutes, 25.88 seconds. That’s not a terrible time, but shy of the 8:20.86 he dropped in a Diamond League meet in Qatar a week previous in his outdoor season opener, and well off his 8:17.47 personal best from 2023.

“Not entirely sure what led to this, but I had GI issues the entire race,’’ Updike texted. “Felt fine during the warmup, but from laps 2-7, things were happening.

“Definitely the most surreal and weird experience I’ve ever had. It’s a situation where you feel like you should drop out, but you don’t really have a good reason to – it’s not like you’re going to get hurt if you continue, so I stayed in, but (it) was impossible to focus.’’

Updike’s season is focused on the U.S. Olympic Trials, June 21-30, in Eugene, Oregon.

Updike last year reached the podium at a national championship for the first time with his third-place finish outdoors in the steeple. That earned him a spot in the World Championships – that marked the first time he has represented Team USA – and he advanced to the final in the 3,000-meter event over barriers and a water jump.

Updike, who is sponsored by Under Armour and trains with the brand’s Dark Sky group based in Flagstaff, Ariz., will run at least one more race before the Trials.

Updike said he will race the 1,500 meters at the Portland Track Festival, June 8-9, in Oregon.

The former Eastern Oregon University runner – he won an NAIA steeplechase title for the school – is Alaska’s fastest steeplechaser (8:17.47) and miler (3:55.17).

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