Murphy's law: Run far and run fast
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Coach and runner have two very different ways of explaining the same action, but one thing is certain: Island School junior Pierce Murphy excels at maintaining his speed over long distances.
Waimea coach Basil Scott, an electrical engineer who helps out Murphy, offers a mathematical equation — "a quantitative way to measure endurance," he explained. "(Murphy's) slowdown curve is flatter and better than anyone I've ever seen at holding that speed over longer and longer distances."
Murphy described it as "(maintaining) the same speed at different distances. After I do a short (practice run) at a fast pace, I'll do a longer one at the same pace.
"I think that's what he's talking about."
With endurance as his greatest asset, Murphy has the fastest 3,000-meter time in the state this year — 9 minutes, 0.3 seconds recorded at a Kaua'i Interscholastic Federation meet in April. That time is 23 seconds faster than anyone else in the state.
In the 1,500-meter run, Murphy ran 4:08.67 at the KIF Championships in April, close behind Jordan Thibodeau of Kamehameha, who ran 4:08.38 during the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Championships last weekend.
Murphy may not face the toughest competition on Kaua'i, so he travels off island — to Maui, O'ahu and California — to challenge himself. This week he'll be on O'ahu for the HHSAA/Island Movers Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday at Kamehameha Schools.
"This weekend I'll for sure have competition, so I'm hoping to get good times," said Murphy, who finished second in the 3,000 at last year's state meet.
Although in most meets he is running alone, Murphy is aware of his target tempo, and if "I slow down by a second or speed up, I can feel it," said Murphy, who uses that skill to stay on pace to hit certain marks.
"It's harder without competition, because there's nothing to compare yourself to if you slow down," he said. "But usually my dad or my coach yell my times out to me on the track."