Foley tests talent against top runners

Mike Landis, Editor
Galva senior Caelin Foley broke his own school record with a time of 9:39.14 at the Distance Night in Palatine.

Running against the best brought out the best in Galva High School distance runner Caelin Foley Saturday night.

The GHS senior was among 38 runners to compete in the 3200-meter run at the prestigious Distance Night in Palatine event. Foley lowered his own school record with a time of 9:39.14 in the meet that brings together many of the top distance runners from Illinois and throughout the Midwest.

“That was the goal going in — run a faster time than I ever have,” Foley said.

The event at Palatine High School’s Chic Anderson Stadium features nothing but distance races with multiple heats and age divisions in the 800, 1600 and 3200.

Runners in the 3200 had to post a time of 9:55 or better to even be considered for the race. Foley met that standard and jumped at the opportunity to test his ability against elite talent. 

“I’m not used to it because everyone there is so much faster,” Foley said. “It’s nice to actually go in and have people that I know are so much better than me to compete with.”

Foley ran in the slower of the two 3200 heats and finished 14th out of 19 runners, and 32nd overall out of 38 competitors.

“The atmosphere is really intense. Everyone is there to PR and run fast,” he said. “It’s all guys that are really good and will probably all be at the state meet.”

Foley was the only Class 1A runner in the 3200 field and his goal was to hang with the pack throughout the race.

“I was going to try to stick with the group and for most of the first mile we were all tight together,” Foley said. “For the first two or three laps, I was basically last and just hanging on.”

Foley finished with a kick, passing several runners in the final lap, to move up to 14th. For someone used to crossing the line first in this area, finishing 14th “felt weird,” but yet satisfying considering the caliber of competition.

“I didn’t feel like I ran that good of a race,” Foley said, “but at the same time I ran my best time ever.”

The Distance Night competition will serve Foley well as he sets his sights on a return trip to the Class 1A state meet next month.

“There’s always going to be somebody out there better than you,” Foley said, “and I was happy to run against that kind of competition.”

“I think it helped me a lot just knowing what I can do for the state meet,” he added. “Running 4:45 or around there for the first mile, I think that’s going to put me right in the front with the top guys at state. It gives me a lot of confidence going into the state meet that I can do that in the two mile.”