(Analysis by Laurence E. Richardson)
I asked the question last week and I will ask it again. Has age cost Fitman his speed?
This past Saturday at the Lehigh Fast Times, it sure looked like it.
Fitman posted a pedestrian 7.62 in the 60-meter-dash. This time was identical to the 7.62 he ran last week.
“I felt better during the race than the first week, but it was not reflected on the clock,” he said after the race.
“It is also close to impossible to post the same exact time in back-to-back meets.”
The more surprising and concerning issue for this reporter was the 200-meter dash.
With his former college track coach (ESU Chris Merli) and former college teammate turned head coach (WCU Jason Kilgore) looking on, Fitman posted a disastrous 25.52.
This is his career-worst performance in the open 200 and a few tenths slower than last week.
“I ran like I had a weighted vest on. That 200 was an absolute joke and I embarrassed myself.”
“I told you last week I couldn’t possibly run any slower. I lied!”
Indeed. For a deeper statistical analysis, I found Fitman’s last twelve 200-meter dash performances including Saturday:
6/14/16: 25.04 Germantown Academy
6/21/16: 25.33 Germantown Academy
7/5/16: 24.66 Germantown Academy
7/23/16: 24.18 Phoenixville
6/20/17: 24.03 Germantown Academy
6/24/17: 23.78 Phoenixville (post age 30 PR)
6/27/17: 24.46 Germantown Academy
7/11/17: 24.25 Germantown Academy
7/15/17: 23.85 Phoenixville
7/29/17: 23.90 Phoenixville
12/1/17: 25.38 Lehigh University
12/9/17: 25.52 Lehigh University (career worst)
In 2016 Fitman was just beginning to compete again after an 11-year hiatus from competitive track and field.
It is important to note that he was not in condition for those opening meets in 2016 and the times reflected it.
But 2017 was a different story.
I observed him make substantial progress over last season and through this summer. I witnessed a man training very hard. The man was on a mission.
Watching him train and then seeing these performances is perplexing. Has Father Time dropped the hammer on him?
From watching the race one thing that stood out to me was that Fitman is lacking speed endurance at this point in the season.
Unless this aspect of his conditioning improves, he will continue to be an absolute non-factor in the 200.
All athletes age as Father Time is undefeated. For Fitman’s sake, let’s hope he gets back on track or the retirement whispers will get louder.
Fitman competes again on January 20th, 2018 at the Collegeville Classic at Ursinus.
Laurence E. Richardson is the lead sports reporter for the Roslyn Media Group. He graduated from West Chester University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with a focus on reporting. He will provide commentary and oversight for The Fit Team throughout the year when they perform.