Alligator interrupts Florida high school track practice

A high school track practice in Florida was recently interrupted by an unexpected guest: an alligator. Members of the Alonso High School track team in Tampa originally thought the gator was a log in the middle of the school’s field. When that log started to move, the team realized that it wasn’t a log at all and that they had a surprise spectator at that day’s practice.

“Yeah, so this interrupted practice,” read a Tweet from the Alonso High track and field team Twitter account. “Casually strolled across our path. Not a care in the world. Absent from photo are the Raven athletes whose track speed was never better.” A representative from the local school board spoke with a CBS News affiliate in Tampa, noting that Roger Mills, the team’s head coach, was the first to see the gator.

“Coach Mills says the athletes’ running times were record speed that day – wonder why,” the school board official said. “It was great practice for their district competition tomorrow at Alonso.” Few Canadian runners would know what it’s like to cross paths with an alligator on a run (and anyone who has had this experience didn’t see any gators in Canada), but we’re willing to bet that this would be a great motivator to drop some fast times in training.

Alligators can reportedly reach speeds of more than 17K per hour, which is quite impressive for an animal with such short legs. In running terms, this is 3:23 per-kilometre pace. Gators can lay down some quick times if they feel like it. The good news for any runners who do encounter a gator in the future like the Alonso High track team did is that these animals can’t maintain that speed for long, and their poor endurance will likely be the key to your getaway if one decides to chase you.

posted Saturday April 24th
by Running Magazine