Following his 5th-place finish at the 2016 U.S. 50K Road Championships in a time of 3:06:54, SENSEMAN has been selected to the 2016 U.S. 50K Team that will compete in Doha, Qatar on November 11th.
Having proven that he’s among America’s 50K road running elite, SENSEMAN will now have a chance to match up against the world’s best in November.
You’ve been selected to your first U.S. national team. How does it feel?
It’s really a dream come true. I’m still in shock a little bit. It’s amazing. You know last year I interviewed two guys from the team, Tony Migliozzi and Zach Ornelas. What they had been able to do at Worlds last year was incredible. It was really inspiring. These guys are sub-2:20 marathoners and I’ve only managed to run a 2:36 marathon. Now suddenly I’m on the team with these guys and it feels a little surreal, almost like I was selected by accident. But I guess when it comes to 50K I’ve closed that gap a little and I’m not so far behind these fast marathoners.
I think most runners aspire to make a national team—I’ve certainly dreamt of doing so for a long time. When I first started running back in 2008, I was training for my first marathon—I finished that marathon in 3 hours and 37 minutes—and I would run around the track at night, running something like eight minutes per mile, and thought I was flying and would imagine that I was racing in a stadium at a big event. It’s funny to think about now. I mean I was hardly an average runner when I started, but deep down I had this desire to be great and I really believed that one day I would become something as a runner. I don’t know if there’s a more emphatic way to prove that you’re something as a runner than to make a national team.
So you were surprised to make the team. How did you find out?
I was surprised; I didn’t expect it. I was trying to make the U.S. 100K team this year and I ran a really strong 50K along the way. Ultimately I didn’t perform well at the 100K National Championship and I failed to make the 100K team. I was really down about it, I was beating myself up, and it never occurred to me that I had performed well enough to make the 50K team. But about a week ago I got an email stating that I was the first alternate for the team and then two days later I received another email saying that I had been added to the six-man team. Now I have flights booked to Doha. It happened fast.
You know, I’m constantly around people that are faster than me. Most people I run with, and train with, and most people that I know in the running community, they’re almost all faster than me, at least up to the marathon distance. I never saw myself as an elite 50K road runner, but obviously my time at the National Championships this year was strong. I thought it was a good time too, but I thought of all these people who I figured would have beaten me on the day if they had raced it. Why not choose one of those guys? In any case, I got chosen.
Now that you’re on the team, it’s probably sunk in that you’ll be competing at your first World Championships in less than two months. What are your feelings about that?
I’m really excited. I’m extremely honored to represent the United States. I don’t want to let my country down, my team down, or myself down, so I have to start training and doing everything I can to put myself in a position to perform well in Doha. I had a few other goals and goal races this year, but I’m putting all that aside. The 50K is my focus for the last portion of this year. I have eight weeks to get ready, so that’s where my focus turns now. I just hope that training goes well and the race goes well for me, and that I can feel proud about my performance once I cross that finish line.
Find Eric SENSEMAN in Doha competing at the IAU 50K World Championships on November 11th.
Discover more about Eric SENSEMAN on his Twitter and Instagram.