Dathan Ritzenhein Running 2011 Virgin London Marathon

By LetsRun.com
January 9, 2011

LetsRun.com has learned that former American 5,000-meter record holder and 2009 World Half Marathon bronze medallist Dathan Ritzenhein will run the star-studded 2011 Virgin London Marathon this April.

In Edinburgh at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race, Alberto Salazar told LetsRun.com that his marathon pupil, Dathan Ritzenhein, will run in London. (Update 1/10/2011: London has confirmed the news here).

London likely will be Ritz's final marathon before the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, Texas, which are a year and five days from today. Ritzenhein was the top American at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, finishing a very respectable 9th. In London, he'll be trying to improve upon his 2:10:00 PR, set in London in 2009.

Ritz will have his hands full in London. London is regarded by LetsRun.com as the most competitive marathon in the World outside of the Olympics or the World Championships and this year's men's field is slated to be one of its best ever, assuming the world's best marathoner, Sammy Wanjiru, settles the domestic violence charges against him and races. In addition to Wanjiru, it features the #2 marathoner in the world, Tsegaye Kebede (winner in London last year, second to Wanjiru in an epic duel in Chicago this year) and the fastest marathoner in the world in 2010, Patrick Makau, not to mention World Champions Abel Kirui and Jaouad Gharib.

While Ritz pulled out of the BUPA Great Edinburgh XC race due to a slight injury, Salazar said the problem is not serious and he expects Ritzenhein to be ready for London. In our conversation with Alberto (video below), Alberto indicated that with Ritz, the focus is clearly on the marathon and keeping him healthy for the marathon, although Alberto said, "I believe and Dathan believes that he wants to be competitive in these other events."

Injuries Have Prevented Big Enough Base For Ritz; He Likely Won't Run More Than 110 A Week

As for staying healthy for the marathon, Salazar indicated that the lack of a solid base due to injuries was the main reason for Dathan's disappointing 2:12:33 8th-place finish in New York. Alberto said Dathan did run 100 miles a week for 12 weeks before New York, but during the 12 weeks before that, Dathan was only running 40-50 miles a week.

Alberto said, "He missed a lot of weeks of running ... Three months of training, you're not going to get a big base. That's the key for us now - to keep him healthy so he gets that big base and doesn't have four weeks at 50."  London is 14 weeks from today.

Salazar said Dathan has run up to 110 miles a week in the past. Alberto, however, doesn't see Dathan running much more than that (presumably because of his frequent injury problems. Alberto in the part of the interview below on Galen Rupp says he sees Rupp running 120-130 miles a week down the road). Alberto said, "Dathan has been able to run 110 and be healthy. That's something we're going to shoot for and do some extra cross training that gives him the equivalent of higher mileage ... I don't know if I'll have him try and run more than 110 a week."

The embedded clip below starts 7:30 into out talk, where Alberto talks exclusively about Dathan for the final 1:16. The first part of the interview is about Galen Rupp, Rupp's race in Edinburgh and  Rupp's training (Rupp is running 110 miles a week now, and averaged 80 miles a week last year). We'll have more on Rupp and Alberto later, but wanted to get out the London news and focus this piece on Ritzenhein.

Alberto on Dathan's New York Performance and Marathon Training

The previous London field minus Ritz was announced here, and Salazar was not sure why the word on Ritz was not out yet.

Update: January 10, 2011: London today announced Dathan Ritzenhein is in the field, along with Americans Jason Lehmkuhle (9th at Boston this year), Mo Trafeh (1:00:39 half-marathon, debut), Patrick Smyth (debut, runner-up at US cross last year),  Stephan Shay (brother of Ryan), and former Kiwi Michael Aish.  27:29 Aussie Collis Birmingham is also making his debut. Full release here.

On the boards: Ritz Running London

More Edinburgh: *LRC  Team Race: Mo Farah Over Galen Rupp, Europe Over USA
*LRC International Races: Kipchoge Over Kiprop, Masai Over Cheruiyot
*More LRC Edinburgh Interviews: Galen Rupp, Mo Farah, Bobby Mack, Stephen Furst, Matt Gabrielson, Scott Bauhs

Disclosure: Nova International, the organizers of the Great Edinburgh race, paid for LetsRun.com's Weldon Johnson's travel and accommodations to attend the 2011 Great Edinburgh XC Race from his vacation in Spain.

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