Runner David Torrence is off to a fast start in preparation for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Malibu long distance runner finished third in the men’s 1,000-meter race at the American Track League meet last Saturday in Houston.
Torrence posted a running time of 2 minutes, 21.75 seconds in the race, which put him behind the competition’s top two finishers — Clayton Murphy and Matthew Centrowitz — but in front of the race’s six other runners.
The 30-year-old Hoka One One team member’s performance in the track event came in the midst of his training in Arizona with other professional and Olympic-bound runners and a few weeks before he adorns the red and white colors of the Peru National Team in the summer games.
At the Olympics, which begin on Aug. 5, Torrence will race in the 5,000-meter event against 36 to 40 runners from across the globe. The race, which equates to a run of about 3.1 miles, is a competition Torrence has had past success in.
At the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Torrence — competing for the U.S. — won a silver medal with a time of 13:46.60 in the event.
The fleet-footed runner is one of several athletes with Malibu or Pepperdine connections competing in the world’s top sporting spectacle, which goes until Aug. 21.
The former Berkley athlete, whose mother, Malibu Realtor Bianca Torrence, is a native of Peru, is one of 24 athletes — three are also distance runners — set to represent Brazil’s neighboring country at the multisport spectacle.
Torrence has been running trails in Flagstaff, Ariz., known to distance runners across the globe for its dry weather, high altitude and variety of flat and hilly trails, in order to get ready for the Olympics.
“I train at a higher altitude to increase my blood flow production, and it also allows me to train a little less hard,” he said. “I don’t have to go as fast but I get similar benefits. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life.”
The athlete also hits the track at a local high school and college to train.
Torrence will compete in a 1,500-meter race on July 29 in Eugene, Ore. as one more tune-up for the Olympics.
He said his goal between now and the Olympic’s preliminary 5,000-meter run on Aug. 17 is to not mess up anything.
“It’s more about staying prepared than it is about trying to get fitter between now and the games,” Torrence said. “Staying injury-free is the biggest thing.”
The Malibuite said when he gets to Brazil he is going to be focused.
“I’m going to work very hard to try and not get caught up in the emotion of it all,” Torrence said. “I will be there 12 days before my race, so a lot of time I will be the Athletes Village twiddling my thumbs. If I can be there relaxed and focused on my plans, I will stay, but if it’s too crazy or loud I may just book a flight to Peru and stay there for a week before my race.”
Torrence said when he lines up on the starting line for his first race, he will be geared toward winning.
“Stay relaxed, stay focused,” he said. “I’m not there as much for the experience. I’m there to compete. The experience is great, but I believe I can be one of the best in the world.”
Torrence continued: “I want to qualify for the final, then give it everything that I’ve got on the last day.”