PORTLAND — Sprinting, Abshir Horor believes, is the glamorous part of track and field.

“If you look at the superstars,” Horor said, “it’s the sprinters. They’re the ones who get all the attention.”

Horor, a sophomore on the Waynflete boys’ track team, regards the distance runners as the workhorses who spend their time pounding the pavement and logging miles and miles, pushing themselves and their endurance to the limit.

“With long distance, a lot of work goes into it,” Horor said. “That’s just all about the mental part of running.”

Quickly, though, Horor has made the transition from dazzle to doggedness.

He’s gone from being a short-distance sprinting specialist to the Flyers’ top boys’ distance runner, and is seeded fifth in the 1,600 meters at today’s Western Maine Conference track and field championships in Yarmouth.

It wasn’t too long ago that Horor was part of the more glamorous element of the sport. Just last year, he was in his first season as a sprinter with the Flyers. He placed 21st at the Class C championships in the 400 (57.53 seconds) and ran a leg of the 1,600 relay.

But during the winter, Waynflete Coach Brian Gillespie saw something else in Horor. And during a basketball game, no less.

“With his leg strength, I wanted to get him into middle distance,” Gillespie said. “The first time he ran the 800 he ran it in 2:10, and that showed me this kid is going to be a distance runner.

“We talked about it and I told him, ‘you’re a good soccer player. You’re a good basketball player. But you can be an exceptional distance runner.’ “

Gillespie believes there are three components to distance running: ability, knowledge and experience. Gillespie can coach and teach Horor to be a better distance runner, but the only way to implement those tools is for Horor to compete.

Horor agrees.

“It’s about the experience,” said Horor, who is also seeded 11th in the 800. “I’ve never run competitively before, but knowing when to pick up the speed and to slow it down is important. And my coach has really helped me at it.”

Initially, though, distance running was a tough sell for Horor.

“The first time, my coach told me, ‘let’s try the 800.’ ” Horor said. “And I said, ‘that’s too long!’ But when I tried it I was like, OK, that worked. But it was more calm than the 200. The next day, I went for the mile.”

Horor ran his first competitive mile on May 4 in a four-team meet at Greely, finishing second with a time of 4:45.3.

At a Western Maine Conference meet May 14 at Greely, where Waynflete was a late entry and competed only as individuals, Horor finished second to Alex Moser of York but ran the mile in 4:39, a time that would automatically qualify him for the Class A, B and C championships.

At Fryeburg Academy on May 21, Horor was second in the 1,600 (4:40.9) behind Silas Eastman of Fryeburg (4:38.12) and was third in the 800 (2:09.02).

His success came with an easy realization.

“I guess now I’m doing distance,” Horor said.

The best part of distance running? The same kind of glamour that ultimately a sprinter gets, too.

“We prepare well for each race at practice, and we run hard in practice,” Horor said. “Once I reach the finish line, that’s the best.”

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

[email protected]