Behind the Renaissance of American Distance Running, by Martin Fritz Huber, for Outsideonline

Fritz Huber of asked several sources from within our sport on their thoughts on the reasons why there is a renaissance in American distance running. I was fortunate to be one of those sources.

The piece, shown below is well done. Fritz Huber has a nice, relaxed style and he should get more pieces on Outsideonline: he understands his subjects and communicates that knowledge.


The overall U.S. team performances were excellent. The best medal count since 1932 and, there were many who performned quite close to medals. The field events were well represented as well. However, some of our strongest events historically were less than stellar.

The more traditional events for the U.S. success could learn from the renaissance in American distance running and in field events. Everything in U.S. distance running has been questioned over the past 20 years. The exchange of ideas among coaches and athletes is key in changing current paradigms in our sport.

With a refreshed apporach to those events, the U.S. should gain even more medals in the future.

Behind the Renaissance of American Distance Running

Team USA had a historic run in Rio, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Over the last decade and a half, the U.S. managed has to develop a stable of distance runners who rival the best in the world.

Behind the Renaissance of American Distance Running

One of the high points for Team USA in Rio was when Matthew Centrowitz became the first American man to win the 1,500-meters since 1908. Photo: Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Unless you spent the second week of the Olympics distracted by the nocturnal escapades of certain swimmers, you probably noticed that Rio 2016 was one hell of a showing for U.S. middle- and long-distance runners. In events including and further than 800 meters, the American men and women combined for seven medals, their highest tally at an Olympics since 1912, when current distance powerhouse Kenya was still over 50 years away from becoming an independent republic.

One of the high points for Team USA came when Matthew Centrowitz used his tactical savvy and blistering closing speed to become the first American man to win the 1,500 meters since 1908. “It was surreal to watch, to finally see an American dude do that after such a long time,” U.S. mile record holder Alan Webb told “Somewhere along the way we hit this critical tipping point where it really clicked. Now, every time an American steps to the line at an international competition…you’re competing for a medal.”

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