Chris Solinsky after the 5,000 meters at the DN Galan Meeting. Victah noted, “perhaps
Chris needs shin guards…” A keen observation!
Jerry Schumacher loves what he does, coaching a great group of athletes, who want to improve and challenge the world. One of his athletes is Chris Solinsky. By luck, I have been able to watch Chris run since he was a junior in high school.
I was watching the DN Galan meet on Russian TV (just so you guys know, the Russian TV crew waxed poetically about Solinsky for about fifteen minutes-big fan base there!), and enjoyed seeing Chris run his most relaxed and tactical 5,000 meters ever. Staying out of trouble, Solinsky is learning how to stay focused, keep in the race, and make his move when it counts.
His shins exemplify what one of my favorite writers, John Parker (once a runner should be
memorized) called the Miles of Trials and Trials of Miles. One earns their personal bests in our sport, they do not come lightly.
Watching Solinsky hang in there when the crazy sprinting for their lives started was breath-taking! And to think, he comes from that high altitude training center, Stevens Creek, Wisconsin!
We are seeing something very special with Schumacher and his merry band of distance runners! Schumacher is a student of the sport. He reminds me of Bud Winter, Jim Bush,
Tom Tellez, only a distance coach. Like Joe Vigil, Bob Larsen, Sam Bell, Vinn Lannana
the others who stood in “the wilderness”, Schumacher is constantly learning, observing.
This was brought home to me in 1999, when Schumacher, Joe Hanson and myself shared a
late night of German beer with the late Arthur Lydiard. Jerry asked Arthur questions about
training, and Arthur, who loved to pass on his knowledge, had us all transfixed.
Alberto Salazar spoke about the goal of the Oregon Project to a TAFWA breakfast two years ago: to make American distance running global once again. From Jerry Schumacher, to Mark Rowland to Alberto Salazar, the Oregon project is one of the key reasons that US distance running is being respected around the world! Around the U.S., there are about twelve groups, training, looking for their way to become the best runners that they can be.
Congrats once again to Chris Solinsky and his 12:55.33!
Chris Solinsky, DN Galan Stockholm, en route…photo by PhotoRun.net.
Part of what Solinsky did so well in Stockholm was to run his own race:
he stayed out of trouble, well except for the stigmata on his shins.
There is always somewhere in a distance race where the runner has to
make that decision: commit or not commit. In any personal best race, there
is a terrifying place where the runner commits or stumbles. Solinsky
learnt from Oslo, and his coach, and committed here. It is a point where one
either accepts the pain, the place where one has not been before, and
embraces it or note. Solinsky was comitted in Stockholm….
As the race reached the final stretch, Chris Solinsky was there, with
Merga, Choge, Kiptoo, the best runners in the world! Solinsky is
in the groove here, digging in to run his best, race his best…..
Chris Solinsky ran a personal best in Stockholm. Most importantly, he
raced, and was there at the end. It is in those small improvements at this
level, that Chris will learn how to race with the best in the world. Each race
is about improvement, and Chris Solinsky continues on his journey, a long
way from Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
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