GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For Parker Stinson, the Amway River Bank Run was the place to be.
The Boulder, Colorado native came to Grand Rapids not to just compete in the 2019 men’s 25K race, but to win it.
As the race moved along and the finish line crept closer into view, he knew had done more than just earn the crown of the event.
“I won this race probably 12 times in my head over the last week,” Stinson said. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I tried to focus on letting those thoughts in, processing them and having the execution to do that and be excited about winning.”
On Saturday, Stinson shattered an American record.
“Today when that started to happen, I had envisioned it so many times that I just lived in the moment,” Stinson said.
With a final time of 1:13:47.120, Stinson broke Chris Landry’s previous United States men’s 25K record of 1:14:18, which was set in the 2014 River Bank Run.
Stinson said this was a testament to the work he has put in to train for the event.
Some people judged him for the way he ran or believed he couldn’t compete at this high of a level.
But now he owns a piece of history in this sport.
“I know I can do this,” Stinson said as he struggled. “I do it every day at practice. This is why I do it.”
Stinson said the weather couldn’t have been more perfect and the course was “great.”
The course was full of all sorts of hills and twists, but none slowed the former Oregon track and field member from sketching his name into the history books.
“I was looking forward to it, not the last two or three miles, I didn’t like that but the hills I was okay with,” he said.
Stinson knew he had to keep his composure during the race. If he got ahead of himself, he would lose it.
When Stinson was entering the final miles, he locked in mentally to stay patient and let the miles come to him. He was trying to avoid having his muscles tighten up or slow himself down.
Stinson focused on relaxing and living in the moment.
“I do it so many times in practice, and no one is there to help me,” Stinson said. “It is way easier (at the River Bank Run) when there are video cameras and stuff like that.”
As Stinson finally approached the finish line, knowing he had broken the record with just a few more feet ahead of him, he let his emotion out.
He waved his fists in the air, clenching them tightly with a grin from cheek to cheek. When he passed the finish line, he slowed himself down and gripped his knees with the palms of his hands.
He thought back to all the days of training and how hard he worked to get to this point. While Stinson remembers past success, this one meant a little more.
“I never thought I’d be an American record holder and yeah, it is off-distance, but I chose to run here,” Stinson said. “Anyone else can choose to run the 25K and break that record. It takes effort to do that.”