Eric Jenkins runs the equivalent of a half marathon every day, totaling some 95 miles per week.
The hard works pays off. Last Friday, for example, the fourth-year star distance runner for the men’s track and field team won the 5,000-meter race at the New England Outdoor Championships at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass.; his time of 13 minutes, 18.57 seconds bested the second-place finisher’s mark by more than one minute.
Jenkins predicted his victory in the afternoon before the race, saying, “I’m not expecting too many obstacles. I’m pretty confident I can win.”
The week before, he led the Huskies to a third-place finish at the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Track and Field Championships at Towson University. He won the 800, setting a personal best with a time of 1:52.06, and broke the stadium record with a time of 3:47.33 in the 1,500.
“It wasn’t a crazy good time,” Jenkins said of his performance in the 1,500, “but I’m glad I got the win.
“The conference championships is the biggest meet of the year for the team,” he added. “Doing what I can for the team feels good.”
At 5-feet-9-inches and 133 pounds, Jenkins is in peak physical condition to dominate the sport. “I’m the leanest I’ve ever been,” he said. “Right now I’m at a perfect weight, but maybe next year I’ll lose a pound or two.”
His athletic resumé is filled with outstanding accomplishments and record-breaking achievements. Jenkins was named CAA Rookie of the Year in 2010. The following season, he became the first member of Northeastern’s cross-country program to compete in the NCAA Championship since 1993. As the only CAA runner to compete in the nationals, Jenkins bettered nearly three-quarters of the 252-man field by finishing in 67th place with a time of 30:31:5. He holds school records in the outdoor 5,000 (13:18.57) and two indoor events: the 3,000 meter (7:50.44) and the mile (3:58.11).
His next big challenge will be qualifying for the 5,000 at the 2013 Outdoor NCAA Track and Field Championships in June in Eugene, Ore. The preliminary round will take place on May 23–25 in Greensboro, N.C.
“I’m looking forward to trying to win the title,” Jenkins said. “If I won the national championship, it would be head and shoulders above any previous achievement.”
Unfortunately, one of his greatest achievements never made it to the record books. At the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Arkansas in March, Jenkins ran the 3,000 in 7:46.21, the third fastest time for an American. But his jubilation quickly turned to disappointment after finding out that he had been disqualified from the race for accidentally making contact with another runner.
“It was a great experience even though I was disqualified,” Jenkins said. “I know I’m up there with the best in the country. I’m the guy to beat.”