Minty to run in U.S. National Track meet

Contact: William Sodoma
Date: February 23, 2007
BOSTON, Mass. ­-- Colby College graduate Jess Minty (Concord-Carlisle/Concord, Mass.) will step to the start line on Saturday like she has in so many races over her illustrious running career. Her heart, though, might be racing a little faster in the biggest race of her life.

Minty will run in the women’s mile at the U.S. National Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday at 5:55 p.m. at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. Minty will be the first Colby women’s track and field athlete to compete in a U.S. national meet. ESPN2 is scheduled to broadcast the meet from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Colby head coach Deb Aitken and some of Minty’s former teammates will be at the Reggie Lewis Center to watch the race.

“A runner like me doesn’t get too many opportunities like this one,” said Minty, a 2006 graduate. “I want to remember every step. I don’t want to be too star-struck though, because I do feel like I belong in the race this weekend. My racing has matured and I’m ready to go and experience what the next chapter of my running career might be like.”

Minty, who competes for New Balance Boston, will be going up against the top milers in the country Saturday. She is ranked 12th out of the 12 runners in the field with a time of 4:46.42. Minty ran that time at Boston University’s Valentine’s Classic two weeks ago, a meet where her old Colby teammates also participated.

Minty has shaved nearly 10 seconds off her best mile time she ran at Colby. Her top mile time with the Mules in an indoor meet was 4:55.46. The top seed in Saturday’s race is Shayne Culpepper, a two-time Olympian with a clocking of 4:31.35.

“I believe I can run faster and I’m hoping to do that this weekend,” Minty said. “I think I’m still learning how to run the mile. I’ve always considered myself an 800 meters runner. I’m slowly developing my confidence over this distance.”

Minty is one of the most talented runners to ever compete at Colby. A captain for all the teams she competed for, Minty earned All-America honors in cross country and indoor track and field. Minty finished in second place in the 800 meters at the indoor NCAA meet in 2005 and has earned numerous All-New England, All-NESCAC and All-State of Maine honors. She was the MVP of the cross country team in 2005 and helped the Mules to two straight fifth-place finishes at the NCAA meet in her junior and senior seasons.

Minty is a seven-time NESCAC All-Academic selection and earned Cosida District One All-Academic honors. She also won the prestigious Patty Valavanis Award, given to a senior female student-athlete who has demonstrated the qualities of academic and athletic excellence and personal leadership and sportsmanship that characterized Patty Valavanis’ career at Colby.

Minty’s work ethic on and off the track at Colby has carried over to her new life in Boston. She has a full-time job with the Analysis Group, an economic consulting firm in Boston. Minty still has found time to put herself in a field with the best milers in the United States.

“I don’t think I would recommend my training regimen to anyone,” Minty said. “I fit runs in during my lunch break, on treadmills at 9 p.m. after 11-hour days of work, and I do sit-ups in front of the TV while I try to catch up on the news. It makes me long for the days of practice from 4 to 6 p.m. at Colby.”

Minty took a break from running after graduating from Colby in late May and then built up her mileage to a point where she ran a half marathon in San Francisco this past fall. Her work with the New Balance team has made her physically and mentally stronger as well, according to Minty.

The hard work has paid off in a spot among the best the U.S. has to offer in the mile on Saturday. The top six finishers in the race qualify for the World Indoor Track and Field Championships.

“I hope I can stay focused and relaxed even with the amazing competition I’ll literally be bumping elbows with,” Minty said. “I consider it such an honor to be in the race, but I am hoping to improve my best time by going after these incredible women even if I’m left in the dust. I will be very content with finishing 12th of 12 if I am able to put forth my best effort.”