Mack Driving to Fulfill an Olympic Dream
June 22, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. - Bobby Mack never really left NC State.
Since he ran his final distance race for the Wolfpack in 2008, he has stayed tethered to the program as a volunteer assistant, as he pursued a professional race career and his Olympic dreams.
Mack, who is in his fourth year as a volunteer coach for veteran Rollie Geiger, will try to fulfill those dreams tonight, as he participates in the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., in the men’s 10,000 meters. He’s one of five current and former Wolfpack athletes and volunteer assistants who will compete in the 12-day trials.
Mack’s 10K race is slated to begin at 9:45 p.m. EDT at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. Live television coverage will be available beginning at 9 p.m. on the NBC Sports network.
“I’ve been working hard to train for this since my college career ended,” Mack said before he left Raleigh. “I think I am the best prepared I’ve ever been for a race like this.”
Mack, an assistant manager at Capital Run/Walk in Raleigh’s Cameron Village, is the reigning U.S. Cross Country Champion, which he won in February in St. Louis, as well as the reigning champion of the U.S. national 8,000-meter road race last fall. Last summer, he represented the U.S. in the World Cross Country Championships in Scotland.
Mack also used his NCAA postgraduate scholarship to complete his Master’s degree in education, while pursuing his running career.
Since his last race with the Wolfpack in 2008, the Winston-Salem native has shaved more than two minutes off his career time in the 10,000 meters. He finished 14th against an international field in the event at the 2012 Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford in April with a time of 27:53.52.
He’s not only looking to finish in the top three in the field of 24 to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, but also to get the Olympic qualifying time of 27:45. It’s a strong field, led by top seed Galen Rupp with a time of 26:48.
“All I can ask for is to be in the race when it comes down to the last couple of laps,” Mack said. “I just want to be in position to make a kick at the end and try to end up in the top three.”
On Monday, both junior Ryan Hill and volunteer assistant Stephen Furst will compete in the preliminary round of the men’s 5,000 meters, looking to advance to Thursday’s finals. Former Wolfpack cross country All-American Julia Lucas, who now lives in Eugene, also will run on Monday in the women’s 5,000 meters.
Volunteer assistant Eric Broadbent, who competed collegiately at West Chester University and joined NC State's corps of volunteer assistants in March, is one of 22 competitors in the men’s decathlon, which begins competition on Friday. Broadbent is the 2012 U.S. indoor champion in the men's heptathlon.