Reassurance Is For Suckers — A Run With David Torrence
I was in the gym coaching when I learned David Torrence had died. I didn't believe it. I immediately sent a text to his coach, Ricky Soos at Altis. He confirmed it. I stopped the practice. My skin turned cold, I started to sweat, my pupils dilated, I was nauseous, I became pale and felt weak — the symptoms of shock. I needed a long moment to compose myself.
I still get choked up thinking about a distance running world without DT. He was a firecracker and shining star our sport needed. In many ways, he was my generation's Prefontaine. A fiery, loud mouth, outgoing, dynamic Olympic talent, yet a genuine soul who always made time for fans and tragically left us far too soon. I miss him dearly.
Many years ago David and I were out for an easy run together. It was the morning after a track meet I had directed which he raced, albeit poorly. I tried to cheer him up, offering him reassurance a fast mark or win was in his near future.
He quickly corrected me, "Reassurance is for suckers! I make my own magic."
David understood you could never remove the doubt or fear associated with racing. For him, it was a compass, a guide, a signpost to let him know he was on the correct path. En route to the mountaintop. He embraced the fear and danced with it.
The Adro 1 Mile at the 2017 Adrian Martinez Classic in early June was the site of his second to last victory. He ran a meet record of 3:53.21. You can watch it here. And I suggest you do.
It was a brilliantly executed race. He placed himself in podium position (after the pacemakers) for the entire first 3/4 then bolted to the lead with 250m to go, found another gear 100m later and won by 1.5 seconds — a gap entirely achieved the last 17 seconds of racing. It was a class field and he dispatched them with ease. Impressive.
Like Babe Ruth, DT struck out a lot. He was human and had his failings. Yet, like Babe Ruth, he too hit many home runs. David knew he had greatness in him and wasn't afraid to step up to the plate swinging for the fences. I hope this sentiment becomes an enduring part of his legacy. His bold efforts and bright spirit deserve it.
Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm