BEAVERTON (USA): US long distance runner Matt Tegenkamp has announced his retirement from competitive running. “Throughout my career, I lived 24/7, 365 days a year as an athlete. When I started the real build-up last fall for the [American Olympic] marathon trials, I realised I wasn’t willing to live like that anymore. I wasn’t fully vested, and that’s not what my career has been about,” he said in a statement.
Editor’s note: Matt Tegenkamp is one of the good ones.
A fine runner in high school, from Rolla, Missouri, Matt picked the University of Wisconsin, and began his coach/athlete relationships with Jerry Schumacher.
After college, Matt ran for Nike, and through his professional career, with the Nike Oregon Track Club to the Bowerman Athletic Club, to, most recently, the Bowerman Track Club.
Under the training culture of Jerry Schumacher, Matt Tegenkamp finely honed his racing skills and built to become a fine force in most of the races that he competed.
I truly enjoyed his World Cup in Athens 5000 meters. The World Cup was a fantastic battle between Saif Saaeed Shaheen, Mike Kigen and Matt Tegenkamp, Tegenkamp surprised some there, with his gutty run with some serious global studs.
Teegs gutted it out and finished third in the World Cup.
The 2007 Pre two mile, where Matt Tegenkamp ran a new American record of 8:07.07 showed Tegankamp’s fitness and racing style. The Pre Classic two mile was an great race.
The 5000 meter final in Osaka was my favorite race in Tegenkamp’s career. I remember watching off the turn, as Teegs came charging down the last 200 meters. He was still pretty far back, but, Tegenkamp kept running. With about seventy meters to go, Matt, it seemed to me, realised that he could medal.
Tegenkamps’ charge down the last seventy meters put him within a meter of taking the bronze. His fourth place was amazing. Not a total surprise, but the culmination of much hard work, and fine racing development. His 12:58 for 5000 meters is numero six on the US list.
In his piece at Sports Illustrated.com, Chris Chavez quotes Teegs as noting how much fun it was to be in the renaissance of American distance running. From Ryan Hall, to Chris Solinsky, to Alan Webb, Matt Tegenkamp was there.
In one of my favorite stories by Kenny Moore, Concentrate on the Chrysanthemums, Moore talks about a dream he had, where he ran his last mile in a three mile in four minutes, and then, turned to air vapor.
Matt Tegenkamp’s finest races were races of supreme effort, where his training and racing all came to fruition.
Matt knew it was time to begin a new journey. He noted that he was no longer ready to give his training his all. That comes in all athlete’s careers, some figure it out and retire, some stay too long.
Frank Shorter, the 1972 Olympic gold, and 1976 Olympic silver medalist noted that, of his 1980 Trials marathon performance, that he just could not give it his all anymore.
Tegenkamp understood himself.
It should be one of the moments that Jerry Schumacher smiles in pride, but also feels some sadness. His athletes not only know when to race, but when to call it a career.
His knowledge, hard won over thousands of miles and hundreds of races, will help in the development of Nike athletic shoes.
We wish Matt luck in his new endeavors, and will miss his gutty, courageous racing.
To read about most of his career, please check out the superb piece by Chris Chavez of SI.com: http://www.si.com/more-sports/2016/02/01/matt-tegenkamp-announces-retirement-track-and-field-bowerman-track-club