Under optimal track conditions, a Thoroughbred horse will gallop through a quarter-mile in roughly 24 seconds on a good day.
Besides the physiological differences between White River High track star Marcus Dickson and a fiery stallion, there is one glaring dissimilarity between the two: Dickson’s people never have to go to the whip.
He is strictly self-motivated and has a motor that never stops.
During his three years of unwavering devotion to the Hornet track and cross country programs, the competitive Dickson, who will be a senior in the fall, has set school records in the 800- and 400-meter dashes.
This spring, he added two individual state track titles to his career’s earlier relay crown.
As the conclusion of the 2011 regular season drew near, Dickson ran the 400 in 49.23 seconds at an South Puget Sound League dual meet in Tacoma.
The other White River record Dickson owns is in the 800-meter run. Dickson eclipsed the long-standing WRHS mark in late May at the Class 2A subdistrict track and field festival, staged at Sumner’s Sunset Chev Stadium, where he scorched the track with a time of 1:53.52.
While the vaunted 800-meter event may not be Dickson’s favorite, it definitely is the one he is most proficient in and it’s in his bloodlines.
“Until a few years ago my grandfather, Paul Dickson held a record in the 800-meter dash that he set back in the mid-’50s at Enumclaw High School. Gramps is fond of saying that he set that record on a dirt track,” the grandson said with a chuckle.
Being a team player, there is one competition Dickson cherishes above all others. As a sophomore he participated in the state champion 4×400 relay squad with his brother Mat, and the Green twins, Colin and Kramer. The foursome captured first place with a clocking of 3:22.
In late May, Dickson was back at the state meet, part of a different 4×400 relay team.
Dickson’s White River coach, Jerry Scheidt, noted that, as the fastest member of the squad, Dickson runs the anchor leg.
“When he was handed the baton, he was trailing the pacesetter by a good 20 yards,” Scheidt said. “He is so darn fast, though, that he made up that deficit by the time everyone crossed the finish line and we missed winning gold by an inch at 3:24.
“Watching that race on film is still one of the more amazing things I’ve ever witnessed.”
Dickson explained that he had already won golds in the 800 and 1,600 earlier in the morning on that fateful day, so by the time he ran the anchor in the 4×400, he was physically spent.
“My legs were absolutely on fire, but it was a good burn…a competitive burn,” he said.
While Dickson has piled up impressive accomplishments, it’s understood he has not yet reached his full potential. The gifted speed merchant was born with what sports scientists refer to as “fast twitch muscles” but unlike many other, he has the versatility to maintain top speeds over a mile’s distance.
Thanks to advancements in informational technology, anything that Dickson accomplishes is immediately available throughout the running community. Every college track coach in the country can keep tabs on elite competitors everywhere.
A half dozen institutions have already notified Dickson he is on their radar, including Stanford University, the University of Oregon and Louisiana State University’s fine track and field programs.
But Dickson, whose family’s religious roots run deep in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, maintains he may want to follow his siblings to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Both of Dickson’s sisters have chosen to study there and brother Mat is currently toiling toward his degree, running track and preparing for an upcoming mission to Russia.
Dickson pads running resume with two more titles
Marcus Dickson has added two prestigious titles to his running resumé since the end of the high school season.
He traveled June 4 to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., and the Border Duel Track Classic, joining competitors from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. He captured first place in the 800 meters with a personal record time of 1 minute, 52.6 seconds, setting a meet record in the process.
A week later, Dickson was at the Portland Track Festival, also staged at Lewis and Clark College. He ran the mile in 4:13.60, again claiming first-place honors with a personal-record time.