IOWA CITY, Iowa - Jeremy Fopma is accustomed to being alone. Still, the Marion senior must catch himself from drifting into his thoughts on those occasions.
Thursday served as a test. He ran solo during most of his victory at the Bob Brown Classic here.
"I felt pretty good. Towards the end, I got a little bored, kind of, so I slowed down some," he said.
The meet timers experienced an equipment malfunction for the boys race and did not have times available. Fopma easily outdistanced second-place finisher Aaron Loes of Monticello, however. Wilton's Buddy Darting grabbed third place.
Fopma is used to dealing with self motivation on the course and Thursday served as a reminder that he must stay focused on the task at hand.
"When you're by yourself, it's tougher to go fast," he said. "It was my first race of the season so it was good to see where I'm at by myself."
Fompa won the Class 3A state championship last season in a time of 16:02.6.
"The goal is to keep on winning and do what I did last year, but that's still a long ways away," he said. "You just have to keep working at it and set little goals here and there each week. When you fulfill those, they add up."
Loes didn't threaten Fopma but he finished second comfortably ahead of the other competitors.
"The first mile I felt like I may have been taking it a little too hard but then I started just hanging in there and staying with my pace," Loes said. "I kind of just went from there and I felt not too bad throughout the entire race."
Loes took 33rd at Saturday's Cedar Rapids Prairie Invitational in a time of 17:42.00. He felt he took a step forward on Thursday.
"I had a teammate (David Titman) last year, he was helping me push, but I have to try to do it on my own this year. I'm just trying to get out and not get stuck in the pack. You put yourself out there and something good can happen,'" he said.
Darting knew the competition would be tough. He wasn't intimidated and ran a strong race. He got out to a fast start.
"There were a lot of hills throughout the race, which was tough. I tried to power up the hills and stay strong," he said. "My eyes were on (Fopma) and I tried sticking with him as long as I could and kept up as long as I could and just went from there."