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Scott MacPherson hitting his post-collegiate stride

Brom Hoban, Central Texas Runnin

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Scott MacPherson is a new guy on the block, and he's causing a stir in the Austin running community.

He's 23, fresh out of the University of Arkansas and running like the All-American that he has been.

MacPherson says he follows the advice of his Razorbacks coach, Chris Bucknam: "Be aggressive. Go after a goal. Be conservative during training, but when it comes to racing, give it all you've got."

In college, MacPherson took that advice and helped the Razorbacks live up to Arkansas' reputation as a distance running powerhouse. On the track, he focused on the steeplechase, eventually running a time of 8:38.87, seventh-best in school history. Later he extended his range to 10,000 meters.

At the 2009 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships , MacPherson helped the Razorbacks upset top-ranked Florida for the conference title on Florida's home turf. Over a three-day period, he won the steeplechase (8:44.08), finished third in the 10,000 meters (30:17.48) and took fourth in the 5,000 meters (14:05.57).

In his last SEC race at Arkansas last winter, MacPherson won the indoor 5,000 in a swift 13:49.57.

"He had some phenomenal performances ," says Bucknam. "Those marks will be part of Arkansas lore. He made a statement when he was here, and always did it with a smile on his face."

MacPherson, who hails from Plano, graduated in May, then returned to Texas in late August to train with coach Steve Sisson and Team Rogue Elite, which is dedicated to developing post-collegiate runners.

"I was working part-time in Fayetteville and wasn't going after my goals," says MacPherson. "But after talking to Steve, I came down to look around. I could tell immediately that we'd work well together. I've never been somewhere where I felt so at home so quickly. I couldn't be happier. I had no idea there'd be such a positive effect. Steve's training, Austin, the Rogue team - it's a perfect fit."

Last month, MacPherson upset Keith Pierce at the IBM Uptown Classic 10K, clocking 29:39 to Pierce's 30:22. Then, at the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Half Marathon on Nov. 14, MacPherson led Rogue to a sweep, winning in 1:04:26, ahead of teammates Darren Brown (1:05:45) and Erik Stanley (1:05:57).

"It was an awesome weekend for Rogue," says MacPherson. "It was my first half marathon, and Steve said just to go run it raw and see how it goes, use it as a learning experience."

What MacPherson learned is that it's a long race, that patience is important, and that he loves the distance.

"I'd say it's my favorite distance, because I think I'm a strength runner," says MacPherson. "I can run smoothly and consistently for a long time, and that's why I think I might be better at long distances than middle distances."

"I have a lot of respect for his ability," says Pierce. "At IBM, he didn't wait for anyone. He just shot straight to the front and dominated the race. I could see him doing well at the marathon."

MacPherson is running 90 to 100 miles a week, focusing on the 2011 USA Half Marathon Championships in Houston in January, and he is planning on running the Statesman Capitol 10,000 next spring. Long-term, he's targeting the Olympic marathon trials in 2012, also in Houston.

Says Bucknam, "Scott is two things: number one, he's an outstanding talent, and number two, he's a great person. I'm really proud of what he's accomplished. And I'm proud that he's proving himself in seeking the next step as a post-collegiate runner."

Upcoming races

Thursday

ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot 5-mile run, 9:30 a.m. at the Long Center. See www.thundercloud.com/index.php/trot

Saturday

Lights Spectacular 5K, 3 p.m. at the Pedernales Electric Co-op in Johnson City. See www.jcfirstchristian.org .