With 400 meters to go in the 800 it looked like anyone's race.
But looks can be deceiving.
Spectators at the PPAC League Meet in Fountain had seen a similar scene play out barely 80 minutes earlier.
Ben Conlin gradually shifted gears out in Lane 2, moving into position for perhaps the most grueling part of the 800 - the third 200. Or, the first 200 of the second lap. Or, the furthest point from the finish.
It feels that way, at least.
This race, the 800, would be decided in the final 100. Per the usual. But with each stride Conlin seemed to only grow stronger.
The Rampart senior did what he had done less than an hour-and-a-half earlier - he turned on the boosters.
Conlin unleashed a furious kick to runaway with the 800 in 1:55.79 for a 5A. No 3. Boutelle finished second in 1:56.77, while Maline was third in 1:56.90.
And as impressive as Conlin's time was, and how he raced, there was more to the story.
As mentioned earlier, about 80 minutes before Conlin claimed the 800, he won the 1,600 - in 4:15.69, a 5A No. 4. The race went down to the final 500 where Conlin surged hard. Erik Le Roux responded, giving chase around the corner and into the final lap. It was only in the final 200 where the thin yarn that tied the two together broke. Le Roux finished second in 4:18.95 - a 4A No. 2. Boutelle was third in 4:20.56, just ahead of Knox Exton's 4:21.86.
Conlin's last lap?
And that was Win No. 2 of his 24-hour rampage over the distance events at the PPAC League Meet. The day before he won the 3,200 in 9:34.60. Maline was a close second in 9:40.59
It's clear that we've reached June, or, the final three weeks of the 2021 Colorado track and field season, because everyone appears to familiarizing themselves with gritting it out.
In other words: Pain.
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