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Ramstein’s Danny Edwards owns DODDS-Europe’s fastest time in the 3,000 meters this year, a school record 8:45 last week in Heidelberg.

Ramstein’s Danny Edwards owns DODDS-Europe’s fastest time in the 3,000 meters this year, a school record 8:45 last week in Heidelberg. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — It didn’t take much for Ramstein senior Danny Edwards to break the school record in the 3,000 meters last Saturday in Heidelberg — just endless preparation and a little help from a friend.

“It was kind of windy,” Edwards said of the conditions that he shrugged off to finish in a time of 8 minutes, 45 seconds, breaking the record of 8:52 set in 1989 by Brian Kun.

“At first, I just wanted to get the race out of the way.”

Once the race began, however, Europe’s reigning 3,000-meter champion got into it.

“My friend Jeremy (Brady of Heidelberg) offered to pace me,” Edwards said, “and he broke the wind for me for three laps. That really helped, and I probably didn’t thank him enough for that after the race. Then I just tried to hit the splits and run a fast final lap.”

“I was down at the other end of the track calling out splits,” Ramstein coach Steve Meadows said about that final lap, “but I had him in 8:45 or 8:46. I knew it was a fast time.”

Grasping just how fast requires some perspective. The time is nine seconds faster than anyone else in DODDS has run in the 3,000 this year. And it’s just 8.1 seconds slower than the 20-year-old DODDS-Europe record set by Baumholder’s Rick Jaster.

“We talked about the school record as a goal before the season,” Meadows said. “That one had been up there for a long time.”

It also had withstood some serious assaults by Ramstein’s continuing parade of distance stars.

“I’ve seen lots of teammates ... miss it,” Edwards said. “(The school record) means a lot to me.”

Adding to the mark’s value is the work Edwards put in to have a shot at it.

“I approached this year differently,” said Edwards. “I didn’t do any racing between cross country and track season. Instead, I tried to build a good base, running 60-80 miles per week. Then I began to work in intervals, trying to get used to a fast pace.”

Given that there are just two meets left in his high school career, the pace will be nothing but fast from here on out for Edwards.

“I’d like to repeat as 3,000-meter champion,” said Edwards, who’ll be running for the University of Colorado this fall, “but that will be tough.

“I’d also like to do well in the 1,500. I’m really looking forward that race.”

The 1,500 is loaded with fast qualifying times with Heidelberg’s Brady (4 minutes, 5 seconds); Ramstein’s Kyle Southard (4:05); and Lakenheath’s Greg Billington (4:08) all providing stiff competition. Edwards’ qualifying time is 4:06.

“He’s my speed demon,” Meadows said. He’s “the guy I always talk to my team about.”

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