Dathan Ritzenhein leads 10,000 meters, Des Moines, June 2013,
Dathan Ritzenhein came to Chicago in 2012, and after two months of great training, ran a 2:07.47, setting a personal best and showing, in his seventh marathon, that he might just have found his distance.
Finding his distance? Ritz, as he is known, has run a former AR at 5,000 meters in 12:56.27, a 10,000 meters PB of 27:22.28, and a half marathon in 60:00-yep, that is sixty minutes flat!
” In last year’s Chicago race, I was on 2:06.40 pace until about 21-22 miles, then, I did not fall apart, I just slowed down five or ten seconds a mile. It was tough.”
That was how Dathan Ritzenhein described his mind boggling run last year over the marathon in Chicago. Dathan had a strange year in 2012. He barely missed the Olympic marathon team, which was devastating to Ritz. Ritzenhein followed that up with a gutty run at the Olympic Trials 10,000 meters, where he not only took third in the race, but he also pushed the so long that he also got the Olympic “A” standard.
On August 4, 2012, in front of 80,000 screaming fans in London’s Olympic stadium, Dathan Ritzenhein competed in his third Olympic Games, running 27:45.90, for 13th in the 10,000 meters.
Two months, three days later, in the windy city, Dathan Ritzenhein ran 2:07.47 for ninth place in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. ” It was the result of a year of healthy training, and I changed my nutritional approach. I did not have any stomach issues in Chicago, and that, for me, was a real first.”
In 2013, it was, thank God, more of the same. Dathan had a second year of relatively healthy running. On February 2, 2013, Dathan ran 35:44 for second in the USA Cross Country Championships 12 in St.Louis. ” I thought that would be my last cross country race, but, now, with Boulder hosting the USA Cross Country the next two years, well, I have to think about that…” noted a smiling Dathan Ritzenhein.
On March 17, Dathan finished third in the NYC half marathon running 1:01.10. Wilson Kipsang won that race.
Dathan then concentrated on short racing-some track events. ” I think that the fast racing and fast training really helps me on the roads.” noted Ritz.
In four races, over two months, Dathan went from a 3,000 meters, where he took second (Oregon Twilight 3,000 meters on May 3, 2013) in 7:47.65, to a nice 5,000 meters in 13:17.38, right behind Mo Farah in the USATF High performance Meet 5,000 meters at Occidental College on May 17, 2013.
At the Nike Prefontaine, on June 1, Dathan Ritzenhein ran 13:09.53 in one of the deepest 5,000 meters ever run on US soil. Dathan was ninth in his second 5,000 meters of the year.
” I think that having a track season really helps me prepare for the long races, as the speed really helps my training and my toughness.” noted Ritz.
On June 20, 2013, Dathan ran a gutty 10,000 meters in hot, humid conditions, trying to break the field, and doing exactly that. The only person he did not break was Galen Rupp, who finished first. Dathan finished second in 28;49.66, in a race where time meant nothing, and the top three places meant all.
July 27, 2013 found Dathan in London once again, nearly a year after his London Olympic race, Dathan took fifth in the Sainbury Anniversary Games 3,000 meters in 7:44.68. Dathan followed that race up with his tenth place in the Moscow 10,000 meters, where he ran 27:37.90. ” I was racing until a kilometer to go, and then, I just could not stay with them.” was how Dathan characterized his Moscow race this past summer.
Ritzenhein then spent the rest of the summer and fall training in solitaire for Chicago. ” Everybody was on vacation. I did most of my hard runs on my own, including my long runs. I knew early on in 2013, say, January or February, that I would be racing in Chicago in October. It feels great to have the race coming in two days. I want to run fast, but I also have to be careful. I am not going out in 61:45 for the half marathon. 62:45-63 minutes at the half means about perfect for me.” noted Dathan.
When this writer noted that three minutes per kilometer equals a 2:06.45, Dathan did not flinch; he knows that 2:06.45 is in his sights.
Just how fast will Dathan Ritzenhein run on Sunday in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon? Well, under good conditions, Dathan Ritzenhein, with two good years of training under his belt, his nutritional habits in good order, and his confidence up, can run much faster than he has in the past.
Like Dathan, we will just have to wait until Sunday, October 13, 2013.
And that is less than two days away…..
Dathan Ritzenhein, March 2013, NYRR Half,