Race Results Weekly: Rupp Hopes Wanamaker Mile Gets Him Faster By David Monti (c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
YORK (28-Jan) -- When he steps on the track Friday night for the
Wanamaker Mile at the 101st Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden,
Galen Rupp will be looking well past the finish line, all the way to
Eugene, Ore. It will be there in six months time that the 21 year-old
NCAA 10,000m record holder will be trying to make his first Olympic
team, and he wants to be ready if his 10,000m qualifying race comes
down to a kick.
"Obviously, the 10-K is my best event and that's
what I'll be running this summer and at the Trials," Rupp said at
today's New York Track Writers' luncheon as he sat next to his coach,
Alberto Salazar. "The goal this winter is to drop down in distance."
who is on a leave of absence from the University of Oregon, has yet to
break four minutes for the mile. He has terrific endurance, evidenced
by his 27:33.48 10,000m personal best. But improving his raw speed,
Salazar said, will give him another tool to win longer races, even if
it means losing in the short term.
"I'm going to take my licks," said Rupp boyishly.
last Saturday's Reebok Boston Indoor Games, Rupp also ran the mile and
finished sixth in 4:02.02, his best-ever time indoors (he's run 4:01.8
outdoors). He was disappointed, however, hoping to run faster.
was a little pissed off that the time wasn't faster," he said of the
Boston race where he got boxed in a few times. "It was definitely a
Friday's race won't be any easier. Rupp
will be up against double world champion and five-time Wanamaker Mile
champion Bernard Lagat, 2005 world 5000m bronze medalist Craig Mottram
(who won the 3000m in Boston last Saturday), and 2006 Commonwealth
Games 1500m gold medalist Nick Willis. But Rupp is excited, not
"The goal is to get in there and stick my nose in
it," he said. When asked if he had good closing speed he smiled and
offered, "Maybe not quite as fast as Lagat."
Rupp finished 11th
at last summer's IAAF World Championships last summer in Osaka in the
10,000m, a meet which gave him his first taste of a major track
championship and an inkling of what the Olympic Games might be like.
"It's a pretty big deal," he said of the world championships. "It was
pretty unbelievable just seeing the guys who are the best in the world."
the prospect of competing at that level again which spurred Rupp to
take a break from school to focus on training. He has temporarily
relocated to Portland where he can be close to Salazar, who acted as
his coach even when he was training at the University of Oregon under
head coach Vin Lananna. Salazar and Lananna are close, speaking nearly
every day, and they worked to coordinate Rupp's workouts with the rest
of the Oregon team's. Last November, Oregon won the NCAA Cross Country
Championships and Rupp finished second to Liberty's Josh McDougal in a
long sprint finish.
"Obviously, it's a unique situation," said
Rupp of his arrangement with Salazar and Lananna. "All my workouts
come from Alberto. Alberto tries to work in things with the team."
who convinced Rupp to quit soccer in high school and focus on running,
is bringing his athlete along slowly, making sure he can enjoy a long
career at a high level. He pointed to some of his own overzealous
training which may have shortened his own career. "I won't run him
more than 100 miles a week outside," said Salazar who recalls thinking
to himself, 'don't screw this up,' when he started coaching Rupp.
participation in soccer helped him develop superior coordination,
Salazar said, which partly explains Rupp's superior running form.
Salazar remembers being in Utah for altitude training with Rupp, and
they came along a pick-up game of soccer. He and Rupp both looked at
"I bet him he couldn't juggle it 15 times," Salazar recalled. "He juggled it 150 times."
has one more race for the indoor season: a two mile in Birmingham on
Feb. 16. After that, he'll focus on preparing for the Olympic Trials
in Eugene which open on June 27. Rupp's 10,000m race is on July 4.
"I'm anticipating it will be one of the hardest 10-K's I've ever run," he said.