Former Cross Country Assistant Coach Competes in Paralympic Games

Chris Hammer runs in 1500, 800 and marathon in London Games, with a best finish of ninth

Former Eastern graduate student and cross country/distance assistant coach Chris Hammer made a valiant effort at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, competing in three events and four races over the course of nine days, and running nearly 30 miles in the process.

Born without a left hand, Hammer competes in the T46 Classification. He placed ninth in the 1500, 10th in the marathon, and didn’t qualify for the finals in the 800.

In round one of the 1500 on Sept. 1, Hammer ran 4:03.41 to place sixth in his heat and qualify for the finals. In the finals on Sept. 4, Hammer improved on his prelim time by nearly two seconds, running 4:01.76 and placing ninth overall. Kenya’s Abraham Tarbei won the gold in the event, running 3:50.15, a world record for the T46 Class.

Prior to the games, Hammer’s time of 3:58.45 was second in the world in his classification. He had also won the gold medal at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

His next event was the first round of the 800 on Sept. 6, where he ran 2:04.68 to place ninth in his heat but did not reach the finals. Gunther Matzinger from Austria went on to win the gold in the 800, running a T46 world record time of 1:51.82.

Hammer concluded his London Games with the grueling 26.2 mile marathon on Sept. 9 in which he ran a season-best 2:50:30, good for 10th place overall. Brazil’s Tito Sena earned the gold medal in the event with a time of 2:30:40. According to Hammer, his training was more focused on the 1500 than his other events.

Hammer, a former All-American at Grand Valley State, graduated from Eastern with a degree in sports administration in the spring and will continue his hunt for a job when he returns from London. He one day hopes to coach cross country and track at the collegiate level.

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