Behold Of The State Championship Bandit Runner

The "Bandit" in yellow attempts a quick getaway during the first mile of the 2A championship

It happens in almost every championship where that one so-called deranged runner decides to abort without regard to team, self, or coaches pre-race plans. It's that ominous feeling we all get when the runner bolts way out in front of the leading pack, and attempts to win the race during the opening stages. But more often than not the result ends horribly for the runner. 

Hinsdale South senior Brett Haffner kind of fit the profile of a long ranger. His personal bests were average to mid-average by Illinois big school standards: 4:29/9:40/14:56. But he was good enough to race in an Orthodox position and still earn all-state honors. Still, with a decision to quickly and boldly bolt out to a sizable lead on the field at the first mile at 4:41-42. He would later pay in the second mile with a 5:07.  Be as it may, Haffner still earned all-state honors in 15:06- his second fastest time of the season.

Was it your plan to go and be a bandit? Tell us how you planned your strategy.

That was not the plan. I had set a goal much much earlier in that season, and that was to really compete at the state meet, and I certainly did that. The reasoning behind "the bandit" was that when I had gotten out to the first turn, I was on that front line, yet it didn't feel blazing fast at that point. So I decided to take the race into my own hands, because it appeared that nobody else was going to do so. I would have expected guys like [Jake] Gebhardt, [Matt] Richtman, or [Jack] Becker to get out pretty hard, so seeing that not happen was a bit of a surprise, and it gave me the opportunity that I seized: the lead.

Did you feel at any point when the pack caught up to you, that you had made a "grave" mistake and could be in danger of not only finishing in all-state territory, but well behind guys you would regularly beat?

I knew that the main contenders would catch me eventually, but I knew I could be strong enough to retain a good place for the rest of the race. I knew I certainly wouldn't be top 5 after those guys came by me, but I also knew I could gut it out to still achieve an all state finish. I wasn't going to give up, by any means. I never got to a point where I was extremely gassed.