Akili Parekh is all smiles after running an outstanding 3200m race at Arcadia Invitational
ARCADIA- This place is not for the weak and weary-minded, there is no doubt about that. And to think there were more than a handful of people who snickered and questioned why Akili Parekh decided to enter into the "home of national records" invitational when they saw his name among the entrants several weeks ago. Maybe it was that Parekh missed the entire indoor track season to deal with a stress fracture to his leg. The pundits still were not convinced as late as last weekend when opened his season at a small meet, competing in the 800m.
The senior from Chicago Latin has a legacy built on his older sister Ava Parekh who ran marvelously among the carnage two times. Oh, Akili ran a respectable 9:21.77 here a year ago- he appeared more than ready at the outset of perhaps the biggest races of his career.
Parekh got things started with a touch of patience and conservativism in terms of racing. This is something that he had to learn after being a front-runner for most of his prep career. He was buried in section two of three of the open 3200m.
Parekh started with 68, 69, 71, and 68 circuits that brought him to the 1600 in 4:38. His form and body language was intact as he entered the all-important fifth lap. Parekh passed the test by running 67.70 (the fastest of any running including the winner) and it enabled him to close the final two laps and produce a state-leading 9:15.55!
The most important lesson taught here is perseverance and self-belief even when you sometimes don't have it or others around you feel the same.