Jason Hartman is now the top rated American male marathoner entered in the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013. Jason finished fourth last year in a very hot Boston Marathon. We have followed Jason from his junior year in high school on, as he would run well in FootLocker with his friend, Dathan Ritzenhein.
Jason Hartmann is not reading this article
By M. Nicole Nazzaro
He’s too busy training, coaching, or just taking life one day at a time to get involved in the hoopla around being the top American male entered in the 117th Boston Marathon. Jason Hartmann, a towering 6’3″ 32-year-old who towers over much of his competition in the elite marathoning world, placed fourth at last year’s Boston in scorching heat. The Michigan native began honing his craft as an undergraduate at Oregon – in his words, the “Taj Mahal of track stadiums and (track) programs.” For him, the marathon is a “big, huge prizefight” where absolutely anything can happen. No wonder he doesn’t have time to read many of his own press clips.
We caught up with Hartmann at the elite athletes’ press conference at the Boston Marathon on Friday, April 12, where we talked about the field, the weather, the challenges of the Boston course – and a couple of NFL quarterbacks who inspire him to push harder. Excerpts:
On his tactics for race day: ” I feel really good about where I’m at. With the marathon you kind of never know, but I’m really happy with how things have gone thus far. I’ve trained exceptionally well. I like to think of the marathon as a big huge prizefight. You could get knocked down, you can train perfectly for it and you can just get hit a number of times and get knocked out, you know? So it’s a relative unknown. All you can rely on is the training you’ve done.”
On being a physically unconventional marathoner: “Conventionally speaking, (Seattle Seahawks QB) Russell Wilson is a smaller guy (5′ 10-5/8”) in comparison to the average person, and me, I’m the opposite. So if you look at other people that I’m racing against, they tend to be a little smaller. For me, being a tall white guy, I tend to stick out a little more. I think it makes me a little more relatable because they see this guy who’s so unconventional (compared) to everybody else. Maybe I can inspire someone to do it that doesn’t look like “the norm.” “
On the difference between Chicago (a flat course where he owns a 2:11:06 PR) and Boston’s hills: “The hills in Boston come at a tough time in the race, so you have to plan for that. In the marathon, it’s all about competing in the last five miles. How you get there, the first twenty, is going to pay dividends in how you do in the end. Here, you need to be a little more patient. In Chicago, you can be a little more aggressive because you don’t have a huge amount of hills waiting for you at the end. But regardless, it’s still 26 miles and patience is a big key to success.”
On being the top American here (all three 2012 U.S. Olympians were entered but dropped out due to injury or illness): “It’s unfortunate that they had to drop out. They’re great athletes and exceptional human beings. I wish them all the best. I wish I had the opportunity to compete against them. To be honest, I didn’t train to race against them. I trained to run against everybody. I’m just here to compete. That (talk of being the top American entered) is all outside stuff, it’s out of my control. The only thing I can really focus on is myself. I don’t really read too many articles about myself, or pay attention to the “noise,” so to speak. The race will be what it will be at the end of the day. Everybody’s competition.”
On the difference between competing and coaching (he coaches New Balance high school indoor mile champion Elise Cranny): “Coaching is a different perspective. I used to coach at her high school (Niwot High School, outside Boulder) and applied for a job there. I didn’t end up getting the job but we wanted to continue the relationship. She’s a heck of a talent. There’s a lot of kids at every high school around there who have a great deal of talent, but aren’t necessarily willing to work with that talent. That’s what separates her. She’s obviously really talented, but what separates her is that she’s willing to pay the price to be really good. She’s willing to take the opportunity to be successful. That’s a testament to her.”
On a certain former University of Michigan quarterback: “When I was being recruited I went to a Michigan (football) game. I really like Tom Brady. His story is so compelling. It’s the ultimate great story. He was a low (NFL) draft pick, he was something like the 7th quarterback (on the depth bench) at Michigan and he worked his way up. That type of story is something people can relate to.”