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Willis v. Torrence Trash Talk, Set for Showdown

Published by
RunnerSpace.com/Pro   on May 7 2014, 03:02 PM

The Brawl on Nicollet Mall!

Published by Twin Cities in Motion on May 7, 2014

Minutes after Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis broke David Torrence’s Medtronic TC 1 Mile course record last year, Torrence formally declared that he would take his record back in 2014. The friendly call-out – Torrence congratulated Willis as well, it should be noted – departed from distance running’s typically non-confrontational code. 

Wondering what the sport would look like with a bit more of boxing’s swagger, we asked Willis and Torrence to take their gloves off and raise the rhetorical volume ahead of their upcoming duel at Thursday’s Medtronic TC 1 Mile. We’re dubbing the battle between the defending champion and course record holder (Willis) and the event’s lone three-time champ (Torrence) the “Brawl on Nicollet Mall.” 

Here’s how our two champs – tongues firmly in cheek – weighed in before the race:

David, level with us, didn’t you find it sneaky that Nick Willis chose to race the Medtronic TC 1 Mile in a year when you didn't compete?

Torrence:  Yes, it was very sneaky. Extremely typical of a New Zealander. A real challenger would have declared the assault on my record, allowing a response for me to defend. But he struck when my back was turned. I should have expected nothing less from a Kiwi.

Nick, you slowed down before the finish line in last year's race, is it true you did that to spare David Torrence’s feelings, not wanting to break his record by too much?

Willis:  Oh is that who held the record?  I wasn't really sure who this David Torrence character everyone was referring to at the press conference last year.  In all seriousness, I eased up so David might not be scared off and not return the following year.  Had it been too fast, he might have stuck to downhill miles in Berkeley

David, there was a bit of a tailwind last year.  Is it true you told friends that Nick wouldn’t have broken 4:00, if not for the weather last year?

Torrence:  I told my friends that the weather at last year's Medtronic TC 1 Mile was so ridiculously performance enhancing that I was surprised that the new record was even allowed. An unbelievable SIX MEN broke four minutes that day, when in the past it was just one: myself. The numbers don't lie, 2013 was an outlier. But when I return, no matter the conditions, I will show him what a real sub-4 minute mile in downtown Minneapolis looks like. 

Willis:  A tail wind on that course also means cold air from the frozen Canadian Tundra.  We froze on the start line. Bring a warm southerly any day!!!

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