Friday night, he'll race the 5,000 meters. There are currently five runners registered for this event so he will have competition. This will hopefully push him to run his fastest. He needs to shave 79 seconds off of his 5K time to meet the Rio standard. The Desert Challenge will give us a good indication on whether that is possible. I hope it is.
Saturday night, Matt will race the 1500 meters. It is less likely that Matt will meet the Rio standard in this event, but he will race it anyway. It is a long way to travel to only do one event. Twenty people are scheduled to race this event.
Neither of these events at the Desert Challenge Games will impact his chances to make the US Team. The sole determinant for that is his times at Nationals in June. But as I have said before, we are expecting that he'll close in on that 79 second gap. I plan to have several posts between now and Saturday giving you updates on the Games and Matt promises to take lots of photos since I won't be there with him. However, the whole family will drive down to Charlotte in June. Who doesn't like a cheering section, right?!
I'm not the only one who is writing about Matt these days. There is an article on Matt in the Summer 2016 edition of Run Washington. If you're local, you can pick up a print copy in your local running store. I plan on picking up a lot. For those out of the area, here is a link to the digital copy (his piece starts on page 41). The photo was taken a few weeks ago on a freakishly cold day in April on Braddock Road, about a quarter mile from our house.
And finally, I'll put in another request for you to consider making a tax-deductible donation to Matt via the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes here to help offset Matt's travel expenses for this final push to make the U.S. Paralympic Track and Field Team. Other than a free Brooks running outfit and set of racers, we have funded this journey ourselves.