In pursuit of his dream of competing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Masters track coach Isaac Updike has hit the ground running.
Updike will wrap up his Olympic trials in the next few weeks and already has seen his hard work pay off. At the Oregon Relays in Eugene this past April, he ran the steeplechase in 8:17.74 with a final lap in 59.13, clocking the fastest time in the world so far this year and under the Olympic standard of 8:22.00.
“Steeplechase is a very different event from the rest of the track,” Updike said about the obstacle track event. “Having to navigate not only other runners but barriers and a water pit creates an exciting and different event every time you run a steeple.”
Since fall 2018, the Olympic hopeful has coached varsity cross country, indoor track and field and varsity outdoor track and field at Masters. This past year he also taught physical education at the Middle School, but left in the spring to begin his intensive training.
Director of Athletics Logan Condon praised Updike for the invaluable experience he brings to the school community as both a former collegiate and current professional runner: “He is a very positive individual who brings a lot of energy and knowledge to our students.”
Aidan Lothian ’22 said Updike’s genuine love of running has inspired him. “His excitement for the sport made us feel as though he was one of us, helping many of us realize that we too could reach our goals if we pushed ourselves hard enough.”
“Isaac strikes the perfect balance as a coach,” said Logan Schiciano ’21. “He has high expectations for us and pushes us hard in workouts, but he also understands that we are high schoolers who have busy lives and other things that take up our time other than track.”
Updike admits he has learned a lot from coaching these young runners. “I am able to remind myself that I should also be having fun and get to be a part of a ‘simpler’ running time where you get to hang out with friends and just be in the moment and work hard on that day.”
Updike, who currently splits his time between New York and Arizona, surprised his runners a few weeks ago when he showed up to cheer them on at a home track meet. “The kids have done a fantastic job this past year staying positive while there was cancellation after cancellation due to COVID,” Updike said. “I love to see their patience and perseverance paying off.”