Former Clarkstown North standout Dave McGovern qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50K racewalk in a last-chance qualifying event held December 20 at Rockland Lake State Park. In doing so, McGovern became the only man ever to qualify to compete in eight consecutive U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials. He broke a tie with hammer thrower and five-time Olympian Ed Burke.
McGovern, a Rockland Track & Field Hall of Fame inductee, clocked 5 hours 14 minutes 34 seconds for the 31.1-mile race, which consisted of 30 back-and-forth circuits on Knickerbocker Road just south of the Rockland Lake Fishing Station parking lot. The Olympic Trials qualifying mark is 5:15:00.
McGovern recently placed 8th at the 2015 U.S. 50K Championships in San Diego , but temperatures climbing into the 90s slowed times considerably. Temperatures for the December 20 event remained in the low 40s, ideal for long-distance racing.
A former Rockland County scholastic champion, McGovern has walked and run literally tens of thousands of miles around Rockland Lake, his “home course” while growing up in Congers. A longtime member of the U.S. national team, McGovern has competed for Team USA on nearly 20 international teams, including seven World Cups, and won 14 U.S. national championships during his 30-year career. “I guess I’m a bit of an Iron Horse,” McGovern said. “Although I never managed to make the Olympic team, I’ve been able to maintain a fairly high level of fitness for a long stretch. My father died of a heart attack at 46, which has been great motivation to keep fit. I don’t have any plans beyond the Olympic Trials, but I can’t imagine hanging up my shoes any time soon!”
Formerly a 20K (12.4-mile) specialist, McGovern placed 5th at the 1992 Olympic 20K Trials, and with a personal best of 1:24:29, he is the fastest 20K walker in U.S. history not to make an Olympic team. McGovern’s 50K personal best is 4:29:02 and his best 50K Trials finish was 7th in 2004. The 50K walk is the longest event on the Olympic program.
The Olympic 50K Trials are scheduled for February 21 in Santee , Calif.