SPRINGVILLE -- When Sean Maye discusses Sydney, Australia, he's not talking about urban planning.
Maye, 30, spends his days mapping Springville's future as an urban planner for the Utah County city of 20,000 residents. But when Maye's thoughts turn from Springville to Sydney, the former Brigham Young University track star has visions of Olympic stardom."The people around here are great fans," said Maye, a three-time Western Athletic Conference champion while at BYU. "It would be great to make the Olympic team and come back here, because I know everyone would really appreciate that."
Maye surprised the running world at the U.S. indoor championships in 1997, when he leaned just enough at the tape to finish fourth in the 400-meter dash. That gave him a spot on the U.S. team at the world championships in Paris, where he struck gold as a member of the 4 x 400-meter relay team.
Now, the quietly confident Maye, who landed a job with Springville after earning a master's degree in urban planning, has his sights set on next year's Olympic trials in Sacramento, Calif. He plans to compete in the 800-meter run with the goal of making the U.S. Olympic squad bound for Sydney.
Although he has been decorated as an athlete, Maye considers his job as a city planner and his role as a father of primary importance. He's just as happy discussing a new ordinance he crafted for planned unit development overlay zones as he is talking about his strategy for the 800.
"I have a full-time job, and this is what I want to do," said Maye, who has worked at Springville since mid-1998. "You could call running my second job."
For a hobbyist, Maye is not a bad runner. He was a top-flight track athlete in Atlanta while in high school, and he continued to win accolades at BYU. But the pinnacle of his running career so far came when he teamed with three of the United States' best 400-meter runners to win the world indoor championship relay.
The unassuming Maye doesn't brag or dwell on his accomplishments. He's too busy for that.
Maye often begins his day by running at 7 a.m. before heading into work. Some days, he takes a long lunch hour to run. Three nights a week, he lifts weights for two hours after spending time at home with his two children. And he can't disappoint the "50 or so of my closest friends" who log onto his personal, secure Web site each night for a rousing online game of "Quake III, Unreal Tournament."
Maye operates a Web server from his home that allows him to maintain the game as well as a Web site about music. He also runs his own running Web page (http://www.seanmaye.com).
Designing Web pages was something Maye picked up on his own while an undergraduate student. One day, he just bought a book and taught himself how to do it. Now, one of his running sponsors is Airswitch, a high-speed Internet company in Springville that gives Maye online access and plenty of server space.
Balancing a lot of pursuits is nothing new for Maye. As a youngster, he not only participated in athletics but also Boy Scouts of America. He earned the rank of Eagle and completed 46 merit badges, about twice the number necessary for Scouting's highest rank.
Within the span of just a few months in 1997, Maye became a father for the first time, finished his master's degree and won gold at the world championships.
"It's pretty much time management, and you can do it," he said.
Even if he made the Olympic team, Maye would not likely let his life change much. He says he plans to continue living in Utah because he enjoys the lifestyle and the high altitude benefits his training regimen.
Besides, Maye wouldn't want to leave because that would require abandoning some planning projects he started, like the planned development overlay zone ordinance and a new skate park in Springville he's helping to design. He's got enough on his mind about helping Springville deal responsibly with residential growth to keep him busy for quite a while.
Despite more common responsibilities, Maye focuses on just one thing when he laces up the running shoes: He wants to be numbered among the world's fastest men.
"When I step on the track, I feel like I'm 24," he said. "I'm always wired, and I still have a lot of energy."