What Makes Jimmy Run?
While most elite collegiate track athletes put in between 60-90 miles of training a week, 49er track star Jimmy Grabow routinely does 120. It’s a commitment that has paid off.
With a time of 13:44.04 at the Husky Invitation in Seattle, Wash. in early February, the CSULB graduate student set a school record for the indoor 5,000 meters, a mark that also gave him the seventh fastest time in the world and fifth best in the United States this year. It also earned him an automatic qualifying spot for this year’s NCAA Men’s Indoor Championships in March—Grabow’s first national championship competition.
He also ran a school-record 7:59.40 in the 3,000 meters at the indoor Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships in February, which qualified him for the NCAA Championships in that event.
So, how does a good high school runner turn into an elite athlete?
“I am more serious, more intense about it,” Grabow said of his running. “It’s a lifestyle now. I get up in the morning and go running. It’s what I like to do. I really enjoy it.”
“He has enormous drive and a huge, huge engine,” said CSULB distance coach Matt Roe. “He is one of the most driven athletes I have ever seen. He withstands high amounts of training doing 120 miles a week, and that’s every week. He’s just wired differently.”
Grabow readily admits he was “a nobody” while attending Rim of the World High School in Running Springs, Calif., but he transformed himself as a freshman at San Bernardino Valley College. His body went from 5-foot-2-inches and less than 100 pounds to 5-foot-7 and 115 pounds, a pretty standard frame for elite distance runners according to Roe.
“I think it was a matter of he just grew into his body and he matured mentally and emotionally as well,” said Roe. “He has such a passion for running and a complete commitment to the sport.”
“I just became driven when I went to JC,” said Grabow. “I had good mentors and teachers, a good network and support system. I just became more committed. I began getting better as a sophomore in junior college and when I came to Long Beach State it took off from there.”
Not only did his running improve, but so did his grades. He’s a first-team Academic All-American and has maintained a 4.0 grade point average while he earned his B.A. in history and as he moves towards completing his M.S. in counseling with an emphasis on student development in higher education.
“I think they feed off one another,” he said of his running and academic success. “I like to be good at whatever I do. I don’t like to waste my time.”
– Shayne Schroeder