RunBlogRun opines: I first found out about Craig Virgin heading to a track meet while I was a freshman at DeSmet. It was the spring of 1973, and this guy from Illinois was just destroying the competition. I remember seeing Craig Virgin on the cover of the 1975 TFN after his battle with Nick Rose at the NCAA Cross country. Virgin was an amazing runner, with his World XC wins, his Olympic Trials battle in 1980 with Herb Lindsay, and his battle with Seko and Rodgers at the Boston Marathon, among others.
Jeff Benjamin reached out to Craig Virgin regarding his thoughts on Miruts Yifter, who passed away last month.
“I was the guy who gave him the nickname “Yifter the Shifter”, recounted fellow competitor and Running Legend Craig Virgin recently. Jokingly he added, “I should have copyrighted it!”
However, what seemed to be unable to copyright were the racing tactics, abilities and style of Yifter. It seemed to competitors, fans and spectators that no matter what strategy was thrown at him, Yifter was always able to adapt to it successfully.
Virgin, a 3-time Olympian and one of America’s Greatest distance runners, experienced Yifter’s abilities firsthand, particularly in 1979 in the Montreal World Cup 10,000 meter race.
Author Randy Sharer is collaborating with Virgin in a soon to be released biography entitled “Virgin Territory, The Story of Craig Virgin, America’s Renaissance Runner” .
Here is an excerpt about Virgin’s race with Yifter from that fabled race–