Before a race, runners herd into the Call Room.
The Call Room is only required to measure 1.2 square meters–or about the size of a 3.5-by-3.5-foot square–per athlete. That can force rivals to anxiously wait for their race together in tight quarters. Some pace back and forth, staring down competitors like an angry bull. Others keep to themselves, blocking out distractions with noise-cancelling headphones.
“Races are won and lost back there,” said U.S. sprinter English Gardner.
At the 2014 U.S. National Championships, four-time defending 800m champion Alysia Montaño sat on the Call Room floor and observed the theater of nervous energy.
A half-eaten sandwich rested on her nearly eight-months-pregnant belly.
Little did she know that her next two laps would make her an international media sensation, forever branding her as the “Running Mom.”
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