Birthday: May 28, 1965
Current Residence : NY
Hometown: Rockland County, NY
College: University of Rochester
10 km - 41:43
20 km - 1:24:29
1 mile - 6:00.72
Being a joker may get you laughs, it also may turn you from a runner to a race walker. When Dave McGovern was running for his high school track team, a friend of his race walked. One day, frustrated after a particularly bad running race, McGovern hopped in the race walk to get a workout and goof on his friend. As McGovern wasn't officially entered in the race, they disqualified him. This wouldn't have been so bad, but the officials believed that both guys were goofing around, so they were both disqualified which resulted in McGovern's team losing the meet by 1 point. McGovern's coach punished him by requiring him to race walk in every meet for the rest of the season. Even though McGovern continued to walk, he didn't take it seriously--many question if he ever has.
McGovern went on the University of Rochester, assuming he had left his race walking days behind him, but Andy Liles, the 1982 Junior National Champion, heard rumors about another race walker at the school and tracked McGovern down. Andy got McGovern back into it walking, until McGovern slipped on ice, while training, and broke his leg. When McGovern healed enough to walk, he used race walking as a form of rehab. Since the Junior Nationals were held in conjunction with the 1984 Olympic Trials in Los Angeles, McGovern decided to train for the meet since it sounded like a fun thing to do.
McGovern finished the 10,000-meter track race in 2nd place, but due to a lap-counting error during the 25-lap race, McGovern was required to walk an extra lap. On that lap, McGovern began puking violently and weaved into lane two just as Eric Schmook was trying to pass him on the inside. From a distance, it looked like Schmook hit McGovern to make him veer into the second lane and Schmook was DQ'd. In the end, McGovern finished 2nd and got a free trip to the Bahamas to compete in the Junior Pan Am Cup. McGovern's still competing and Eric Shmook has been MIA from the walking scene ever since. In McGovern's words, "fate's a funny thing.
McGovern made a quick transition to the senior ranks, earning a spot on the 1987 World Cup team, and entry into the 1988 Olympic 20K Trials where he placed 13th. McGovern continued to progress, finishing 5th in the 1992 trials (after recovering from hernia surgery and a bout of hepatitis in the months leading up to the trials.)
In 1994, McGovern decided to "get serious" heading to LaGrange, GA to train with the US's elite race walkers. He walked a 1:24:29 for 20K after an altitude training camp in Albuquerque, placing him 3rd (at the time) on the list of all-time fastest American race walkers. Assuming that if 5,000 ft. was good, 8,500ft. must be better, McGovern traveled to Mexico City to train at the Mexican Olympic Training Center. Unfortunately, the Mexicans were training to peak for the Olympics not the US Olympic Trails. Whereas they were going to be preparing for Atlanta's heat and humidity by training at sea level in Acapulco for 6 weeks before the Olympic Games, McGovern was getting acclimated to 60-degree temperatures and very low humidity in Mexico City right before the trials. Although he got into great shape training with the Mexicans, he was not prepared for Atlanta's weather and he had a horrible race at the trials.
After sacrificing so much and not making the team, McGovern retired from active training, and did not follow the training group when they moved to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. Instead he moved to Mobile, Alabama to be with his girlfriend, Monetta Roberts. He continued to race walk, but without the "other stuff" (weight training, stretching, cross-training, massage) his times declined. After cruising to a spot on the 1997 World Cup team, he failed to make the 1999 team, so he decided to try to get things back. He qualified for the 2000 Olympic Trials where he placed 8th. McGovern doesn't feel like the drop-off in his times is due to aging, just from losing some range of motion due to the lack of stretching and other supplemental training. So with the 2004 Olympics around the bend (and already qualified for the Trials at 20K and 50K ) he's ramping up to give some of the younger walkers a walk for their money.
2003 10th - 1:32:24.3 2002 5th - 1:29:33 2001 8th - 1:38:02 2000 10th - 1:35:28 1997 9th - 1:29:44 1996 7th - 1:24:29 1995 10th - 1:28:02 1994 5th - 1:29:57 1993 8th - 1:29:35 1992 7th - 1:28:37 1986 9th - 1:31:44
2003 4th - 4:31:30 2002 2nd - 3:58:13 2001 5th - 4:43:36
2000 2 hour - 24,432 40K - 3:38:36 1996 15K - 1:07:32 1995 2 hour - 23, 606 10K - 43:15 1994 40K - 3:28:03 10K - 42:56 1991 10K - 42:23 1990 30K - 2:42:18 1989 40K - 3:52:34 1988 10K - 44:04.1
20K World Cup
1997 - 112th - 1:33:29, Podebrady , Czech Republic
1995 - 97th - 1:40:02, Beijing, China
1993 - 59th K - 1:35:25, Monterrey, Mexico
1987 - DNS - New York, NY
20K World University Games
1991 - 10th - 1:29:27
20K Pan Am Cup
2001 - 19th - 1:39:33, Chula Vista , CA
2000 - DNF - Posa Rica , Mexico
1992 - 16th - Guatemala City, Guatemala
50K Pan Am Cup
2001 - 5th - 4:54:07, Cuenca , Ecuador
1990 - DNF - Xalapa, Mexico