The New York TimesThe New York Times

Meet the runner who leads every pack and then vanishes

By Scott Cacciola

25 Feb 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

Erik Sowinski is a professional pacer, helping Olympians and world champion athletes to set records without competing himself. According to The NYT, he’s the best in the world at dropping out.

Erik Sowinski had one job earlier this month at the Millrose Games in New York: to run a half-mile, or about 800 meters, in 1 minute, 53 seconds.

Before the race, Sowinski experienced his usual butterflies, an electric mix of nerves and excitement that signaled it was time to perform. Sure enough, Sowinski immediately bolted to the front of a 13-man field before an enthusiastic crowd at the Armory in Washington Heights.

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