This interview arrived this evening! Special thanks to Galen Rupp and Ricky Simms for making this interview happen. Special thanks to Jeff Benjamin, senior writer for RunBlogRun for speaking with Galen Rupp.
We at @RunBlogRun have observed Galen Rupp racing since 1994-1995. I believe it was David Frank, coach at Central Catholic in Portland, Oregon, who asked me to join him at AAU Junior 5000m, which was being held at San Jose City College. He wanted me to see this young Oregon kid, Galen Rupp. Galen took second or third that day.
I have watched Galen Rupp since then, and am fascinated with his journey from high school to college to elite, to Olympic hopeful to two-time Olympic medalists to three-time Olympian. The journey continues…
RunBlogRun EXCLUSIVE Interview – Galen Rupp Looks Back & Forward After Tokyo!
By Jeff Benjamin
As always, American Marathoner Galen Rupp came to the Olympic Games ready to take on the world’s best.
But this time, 2012 10K Silver Medalist & 2016 Rio Bronze Marathoner fell off the leaders and finished 8th with a tine of 2 Hours, 11 Minutes, and 41 Seconds.
Here are Galen’s comments a week after his performance.
RBR, #1. After taking a deep breath and looking back at your Olympic race how are you feeling about it?
Galen Rupp: “I am still disappointed as I had high hopes heading into the Olympics. Looking back it was a tremendous opportunity and unfortunately didn’t go the way I had hoped. I was very proud of the way I competed. I have never died like that before from that far out, and that is something that I need to learn from. I am so excited to have another opportunity to race so soon though with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon coming up in October. I had just started to get on a roll with training in the weeks leading up to the Olympic Marathon and hope to keep that momentum going these next few months.”
RBR, #2: Any feelings about how you might have done things differently or are you satisfied that you were as prepared both physically and mentally as you could be?
Galen Rupp: “Whenever you have a disappointing race it is only a waste if you don’t learn from it and grow from it. I did the best I could. Things could have gone a little bit better in the buildup but as I mentioned above, I was really training well in the several weeks leading up to the Olympic marathon. I had a few minor injuries that I wished hadn’t happened but that is a part of training for such a grueling event. It was just a little bit too little too late. Nothing can replace months of steady training but my workouts had been really good in July before heading over to Japan.”
RBR, #3: Why did eventual Champion Eliud Kipchoge turn around to you during the race? Was he inviting you to take the pace up?
Galen Rupp: “It was just some friendly conversation during the race! I can’t remember exactly but a lot of people talk during a marathon.”
RBR, #4: You’re 35 now – How has training, racing and recovery changed for you as you’ve gotten older?
Galen Rupp: “Recovery has become more of an emphasis but you still have to train hard. I might take an extra day between tough workouts where in the past I could really stack them together. It certainly was easier to recover from things 10 years ago! But my body is feeling good again and I am coming off of the Olympic marathon well. Right now it is a balance of making sure I rest and recover, but am still training so that I can continue to build off of all the work I did before the Olympics. I also think that as I get older it is more important to keep focusing on speedwork. That might sound counter-intuitive given that my focus is on the marathon but I think that you have to constantly be working on speed and keeping all of the speed that you can as you get older. Just running longer, slower intervals all the time is not the answer”.
RBR, # 5. What are your plans, if any, for this Fall?
Galen Rupp: “I am going to be running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this fall! I am so excited for it and cannot wait to be back there racing. The city of Chicago has such a special place in my heart and I have so many fond memories of competing there. Other than that I don’t have any plans at the moment. Right now my entire focus and energy have been on resting and recovering from the Olympic marathon so that I can get back to training for Chicago. Given the quick turnaround from the Olympics, I think it might be better to get in a good block of training before Chicago but you never know, a race beforehand might fit in well given how things go these next few weeks”.
RBR, #6: You’re a student of the Sport – in 1984 Carlos Lopes won the Olympic Marathon at age 37 – are you still motivated and ready to race in the years to come?
Galen Rupp: “Without question! I still thoroughly enjoy the training and and believe that I have much more to give at the marathon distance.”
RBR, #7: Next year’s World Champs are on your one turf – any definitive plans at this point or waiting to see how things progress?
Galen Rupp: “No definitive plans yet but I can certainly say I could not be more excited for the World Championships to be coming to Oregon. I cannot wait for Oregon to host the world’s best athletes it is going to be spectacular. It really is a dream come true to have the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in my home state, where I grew up and went to school.”
RBR, #8: What advice can you give to young runners who wish to learn something about your Olympic performance this year?
Galen Rupp: “Disappointing races happen, but it is how you deal with them afterward that will shape you as an athlete. As long as you learn from them, grow, and make changes then you will come out better in the long run. It is always important to really evaluate a performance, whether a race or workout and constantly be learning. Growth isn’t always an easy or smooth process, but some of the biggest gains you make come from disappointing performances.”
Jeff Benjamin asked us to thank Galen Rupp for his thoughtful interviews, and Ricky Simms, of Pace Sports Management, who always supports the sport.