Tuesday, December 7, 2010


"Ritz had won with grit, sweat, resolve. He won with talent and guts. He won because he understood that victory doesn't come cheap, and he was willing to pay the price." -Amby Burfoot talking about Dathan Ritzenhein

While Runners World certainly isnt my favorite magazine (and is, of course, berated my most "serious runners") it does, occasionally publish some decent articles. This is one of them. Well, not exactly, because it is really quite a bit better than decent and definitely worth a read. The article is a narrative of the 2000 Foot Locker Cross Country National Championship with background information on three of the best distance runners in the US today, Alan Webb, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Ryan Hall. While there were 32 runners total, those 3, were head and shoulders above the rest. What makes that race so special is not only how great these three were while they were in high school, but how they have lived up to and some would say exceeded lofty expectations.

The story is especially poignant for me personally for a couple of reasons. First of all, I was helping out at the finish of that epic race, so I got to see the excitement firsthand. More importantly though, these three are the same age as me, so I've followed their careers from the beginning, as they were gaining national prominence about the time I was getting into running. Seeing them continue to break barriers (RH breaking 1h for the half marathon, DH breaking BK's American record in the 5k, AW breaking SS's American record in the mile) and get faster has provided extra motivation and inspiration for me to work hard and stay focused.

So maybe most people won't have the same level of nostalgia that I did while reading the piece. Regardless, it is still well worth the read both for the thrilling narrative and for the insightful training and racing tips.

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