On his Instagram account, Isaac Updike of Ketchikan calls himself “Just an Alaskan out here trying to be good at jumping over puddles.”
On Saturday in Eugene, Oregon, he jumped over puddles better than anyone else in the world this year.
Updike won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Oregon Relays with a time that crushed his previous best and established a new world standard for the event this season. He finished in 8 minutes, 17.74 seconds, the fastest time in the world since Jan. 1.
Updike lopped nearly eight seconds off his previous-best time of 8:25.38, registered in a 2018 meet in Belgium. He finished nearly one second ahead of second-place Mason Ferlic (8:18.49) to claim $3,500 in prize money.
His time is well under the U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying mark of 8:32.00.
Updike, 29, runs for the Empire Elite Track Club in New York. He won the NAIA national steeplechase championship as a senior at Eastern Oregon in 2015, placed 12th in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and eighth at the 2019 U.S. national championships.
Updike was among the first group of professional athletes to compete on the newly renovated Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, which is the site for the Olympic Trials in June and the World Championships next year. The weekend meet included USA Track and Field races as well as college races.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Updike’s track team.