Slippery Rock women’s track and field senior Jenny Picot unexpectedly ran into the record books on Saturday at the Bucknell Outdoor Classic.
“I always wanted to break the record, but that day I just wanted to break 17:00,” Picot said. “I was able to see the clock during the race, but I had no idea how fast I was going during the race.”
The distance runner placed fifth in the 5000-meter with a time of 16:45.80 to start off the day for SRU. Not only did she break the original record of 16:50.54, but she set a new personal best by 28 seconds. Only Division I athletes and club runners beat her.
Picot said it may have been one of her best efforts she has ever given. Keeping up with the pack of the beginning of the race was exhausting, but she said she pushed herself beyond her limits.
“I don’t really remember the end of the race,” Picot said. “I remember I fell to the ground. I guess I must have been tired.”
Picot’s effort was worth it and did not go unnoticed. Slippery Rock track and field head coach John Papa said that a race like that takes a lot of courage for any athlete to run.
“16:45 is a significant record without a doubt,” Papa said. “There aren’t many ladies running below 17:00.”
That day was Picot’s day. All of the conditions a long distance runner would want, Papa said, were right there and Picot took advantage of it.
“I knew she had the ability to go below 17:00, but the conditions have to be right for that to happen,” Papa said. “It may have been luck, but that day at Bucknell was perfect.”
Neither Picot nor Papa know when a day like this will come again, or if it ever will, but that day put Picot in position to potentially compete with some of the best competition in the country.
Picot is ranked first in the PSAC by 13 seconds, and sits at 14th in the country. If she can remain in the top 20 she will qualify for nationals.
She realizes that once she gets to her championship meets, that time will no longer matter.
“I may be ranked first, but you never know what can happen,” Picot said. “At championship meets, doing so many other events, it’s all about strategy.”