BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — University of New Mexico track and field seniors Adam Bitchell and Patrick Zacharias ran to personal bests in some early-season action Friday at the Hoosier Open in Bloomington, Ind.
Bitchell, hailing from Aberystwyth, Wales, raced to a career-best clocking of 13 minutes, 44.70 seconds in the 5,000-meter run at Gladstein Fieldhouse, while Albuquerque native Zacharias tallied his own personal record at 14:09.85.
As of Sunday morning, Bitchell’s time leads the nation in the 5K, with Zacharias at third in the NCAA.
Just 20 days removed from top-100 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November (where Bitchell placed 53rd overall and Zacharias 61st), the duo tried to translate their cross-country fitness to the track and register nationally relevant times before the new year.
And both did just that, with Bitchell claiming second place and Zacharias fifth place in the race.
Bitchell also parlayed that performance into the third-best 5000-meter time in New Mexico history, four seconds behind teammate and school record-holder Luke Caldwell (13:40.39). Bitchell’s previous best was 13:57.61.
Bitchell also claimed the Welsh national record for the indoor 5000, besting the former record of 13:51.14 set by Adrian Leek in 1981.
For Zacharias, he ranks right outside the program’s top 10, but still shattered his personal best of 14:35.81.
New Mexico won’t open team action until Jan. 18, when it hosts the Lobo Collegiate Open at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque.