Although Port Jefferson's James Burke considers himself a miler, he did a pretty good impression of a ''1,000-er'' Saturday at the Molloy Stanner Games at the Armory in Manhattan.
Burke won the 1,000 meters in 2 minutes, 26.75 seconds. With a time like that, the victory almost takes a backseat. The mark, tops in the country this season, according to milesplit.com, broke the Long Island record of 2:27.39, set by Chaminade's Sean Kelly last season, according to longislandxctf.com.
"That's awesome," Burke said, giggling as he heard the news. "L.I. is a pretty awesome place and I'm pretty excited to be the fastest 1,000-meter runner from there."
It did not feel like a record-setting day early on. First, Burke had an issue with his legs. After a hard workout Thursday, the senior said he was feeling the effects of allowing only one day of recovery before the race.
"I was just real sore," he said. "But, once I got my spikes on and stepped on the track, it all went away."
The other oddity was the race's early quick pace, according to the record holder.
"Ward Melville's Charlie Theiss brought us out through the first 600 a lot faster than most of us wanted to go," Burke said. "But that benefited us in the end."
Burke came through the 400-meter mark in 59 seconds and the 800 mark in 1:58, coach Rod Cawley said.
Burke describes the 1,000 as a 'fun' race. Though it doesn't carry the same cache as the mile, it certainly gets the blood flowing.
"It's short and fast and there's a lot of adrenaline flowing," he said. "There's less time in the race, so each move you make is more crucial. They're higher stakes and more fun."
Winning is always fun. Just ask Northport's Mike Brannigan, who is no stranger to the art of victory. Brannigan took the 3,200 in 9:09.77. That time is also tops in the country, according to milesplit.com.
"I hope I keep this up until March and New Balance Indoor Nationals," he said. "I'll see if I can drop my time."
Brannigan, as he often does, stayed toward the front of the pack for most of the race before jetting past the competition as the final lap began.
The senior said he's in "better track shape'' than he's ever been before.
"I run stronger workouts," Brannigan said. "I've got more track speed."
Copiague's Aaron McFadden won the 55-meter hurdles in 7.50 seconds. McFadden's 7.47 preliminary time was a personal best and is the second-fastest time in the state this season, according to milesplit.com.
"My main goal was to get a good time at my last Armory meet before I head back to Suffolk [for the league and county championships and state qualifiers]. I started so strong that I just had it."
Smithtown East's Dan Claxton won the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 7 inches.