Benzie relay team edges Olympian Nick Willis in Mile fundraiser
"They came to run tonight. It's something they will talk about for the rest of their lives, too: the time they got to go and beat an Olympic medalist."
By Chris Dobrowolski, The Record Eagle
For Noah Robotham, Max Okros, Joey Johnston and Jeffrey Crouch, Monday was a day none of the four is soon to forget.
It was the day they teamed up to beat an Olympian.
The four Benzie Central runners edged New Zealand Olympian Nick Willis by two seconds in the Back the Track fundraiser held in downtown Beulah.
"I thought we would be a little bit behind him, like probably five or 10 seconds behind him," said Robotham. "He was about five to 10 meters ahead of me (when I got the handoff). Just seeing him running right there I was thinking, 'O.K., I can get him,' and I just went for it."
The event, which helped raise money for improvements to the track at Benzie Central High School, featured Willis running the Mile against 15 4x400-meter relay teams who entered. Robotham, the anchor leg for his team — dubbed the Bearded Warriors — used that late push to surge past Willis near the end of the race to finish first in a time of 3 minutes, 56 seconds. Willis, who has a personal record time of 3:49 in the Mile and was the silver medalist at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, finished in 3:58.
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