In His Own Words: Coach David Behm - Detweiller Dreams

Getting to run at Detweiller was one of my earliest running goals. This is the mecca of Illinois cross country. Craig Virgin, world cross country champion, still holds the record from the early 70’s. 19 days before Thanksgiving there is not a place on earth like Detweiller Park. Being top 25 and an All-Stater was my goal from the first race I ever ran as a 7th grader.
The first time I ran at Detweiller was my freshman year. Our team took 5th in the regionals and 5th in the sectionals to make it to state. It was the first time in school history that anyone had run in the state meet, let alone a whole team. I had never been in such a place, huge crowd, fan busses, an atmosphere of craziness. Cross Country at its finest. I ran a personal best that day by five seconds, too bad it was in the first mile. I was so pumped up and excited, I went under five minutes. That first mile was incredible, the most exciting time of my life up
to that point. It ended quickly, I died, and finished 112. I remember lying on the ground after that race determined to be prepared for the next time. Certainly not a top 25 performance.
Sophomore year I ran well, went out at 5:12, finished 42nd. At the start of the race it was snowing so hard we could not see the first turn. I ran the best three miles of my life. I remember lying on the ground after that race determined to be prepared for the next time I raced at Detweiller. Top 25 and All-State was so close.
The next time was one of the most disappointing moments of my life. 1980. It still is to this very day. I trained hard during the summer, ran really hard all season, focused to be an All-Stater, my school’s very first. I ran a pretty good race, finished 18th. I was elated.  I had done it.  All-State my junior year!  I got myself into a nice pair of pants and shirt and headed to the awards ceremony. As they started calling out the All-Staters and giving awards, they called out 15th place first. Wait!  Top 25 has always been All-State. What was going on?  They had changed the number of runners to receive all state honors from 25 to 15. The crowd booed and hissed. They had to stop the ceremony as coaches walked out on the gym floor to protest. All that work, all those miles, all those Friday nights in bed by ten. I remember sitting on those bleachers and crying, but deciding to be on that podium the next time I met Detweiller.  

My senior year I was focused to be in the front pack, I even lead the race for a while. Running around the final turn and through the curve at the pine tree in the front pack was exciting. The crowd was going crazy, the energy was unbelievable. I ended up taking 7th. Finally got the All State recognition I had been focused on for six years. I can remember laying in the grass after the race thinking I would never have another chance to race here again.   
How wrong I was. Now I get to coach a team to run at the mecca of cross country running. To inspire runners to strive for that feeling we get when we get to be the best we can be. Every time I walk onto the course at Detweiller I still get that same rush that same feeling of excitement. This is the place to race. This week we race at the Notre Dame Richard Springs invitational at Detweiller. Can’t wait.

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