One of the country’s best runners makes New Hampshire his home

  • Dage Minors

  • Franklin Pierce’s Dage Minors is one of the top track athletes in the nation. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/27/2017 6:08:08 AM

Most of the country’s great collegiate track programs are located in the South, and there’s a reason for that. Nobody should want to have to work out in the cold and rain.

Still, one of the best runners in the country is right here in Rindge in Franklin Pierce senior Dage Minors.

A Bermuda native, Minors was not a highly recruited high schooler at St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont, but this winter earned his second All-American honor, was named Northeast-10 Track Athlete of the Year, and ran the fifth fastest 800m in NCAA Division II, ever.

“I played soccer in Bermuda, but it didn’t really drive me like running is,” he said. “I love track, I am a true fan of track.”

That why he was on the track at Conant High School on Tuesday for his last workout before competing at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, one of the sports most famed, respected outdoor events. The temperature got as high as 45 degrees during that workout, and it never stopped raining.

Minors did a short warmup and speed drills with teammates who are mile-specialists. Minors is an 800m runner. He ran the fastest time in Division II this indoor season with a 1:48.7 effort at Boston University.

He said that run, which led all Division II athletes for the season, “Didn’t come out of nowhere, but if felt like it came out of nowhere.”

After the warmup, the interval workout began with four 400m repeats with short walking rest in between. Minors clocked each in about 58 seconds.

It was a voluminous workout for the middle-distance crew because the biggest team meet of the year was a week and a half later. This year, the Northeast-10 conference championship is in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Minors hopes to repeat his indoor performance as champion and lift his team.

“Right now it’s all about team stuff,” he said. “It’s a long season and this time is about the team.”

The team-oriented culture is one of the reasons Minors is so happy at FPU. He called the Ravens a family, and emphasized that they all want to be there.

“They run because they like to run, and like they want to prove a point,” he said. “We have each other’s backs.”

The second part of the Tuesday interval workout was three 300m sprints paced to feel like racing an 800m. Minors hit these is about 42 seconds.

Coach Zach Emerson said the idea behind the workout was to make them tired, then make them try to run faster, which makes them more tired. His philosophy is to keep most running feeling easy to keep runners like Minors healthy for the long season, which stretches until the national championship at the end of May, and hopefully beyond.

“When I was in the recruiting process, most coaches told me I was one of a hundred guys they were recruiting,” Minors remembers. “Emerson saw something in me that other coaches didn’t see in me, and took a chance on me.”

As the rain kept falling, the workout got faster. Minors hit two 200m sprints in about 24 seconds before doing an all-out 100m.

Speed was important this week as a final tune up before Penn Relays, where Minors and his teammates will run in front of tens of thousands of competitors and spectators from across the country. Emerson called it, “Such an incredible adrenaline high.” Minors just thinks it’s fun.

“It’s no-stress, just fun,” he said. “We get to see a lot of pros, celebrities, tons of fans.”

He will be anchoring two relay teams, a 4x800m unit on Saturday in front of a packed stadium, and a sprint medley relay on Friday that could make history.

According to Emerson, no one in the collegiate race had an anchor leg faster than 1:50, which Minors can do. If the first three legs keep the Ravens in contact with other teams, its possible they become what he thinks would be the first Division II team to go top-three at Penn Relays.

The workout ended with two more 400m intervals, just for good measure. Minors ran each in just over 60 seconds before doing a cool down jog and returning to campus.

He loves Franklin Pierce because it is a small school that fosters community, he said. He is studying sports and recreation management in the hopes of keeping running in his life for a long time.

“I can see myself coaching track and field for the rest of my life,” he said. “I love it and hope I can take what I learned and pass it along.”

But in the short-term, Minors hopes to improve upon his national fourth place from the winter. Having taken a red-shirt year last spring, he is a junior in outdoor track with another year of eligibility. Despite what he called quality competition, he will be among the favorites for a national title.

Oh, and the team ran one more workout before getting in a Philly-bound van on Wednesday morning. It was even colder then. Good thing they love it.


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