Please note: The following article was part of our annual April Fool's prank. We are adding this disclaimer as this article appears high up in google search results. None of the following actually took place.
LetsRun.com Co-Founder Robert Johnson Arrested After Throwing Tantrum At Fairfax, VA Eatery
April 1 2011
LetsRun.com sadly must report that co-founder Robert Johnson was arrested Thursday night for simple assault after a tirade at a Five Guys restaurant in Fairfax, VA. The cops are alleging that after his order wasn't handled properly that Johnson became enraged and hit an Five Guys employee. Johnson denies the allegations and says he merely put pointed his finger at the employee.
Given the fact that legal charges are pending, LetsRun.com doesn't want to report everything, but we do feel an obligation to the LetsRun audience to report as much as possible. Both LetsRun and Robert are willing to admit that there is no doubt that an over-the-top, super-intense Johnson was on fine display Thursday night in Fairfax and that Johnson threw a tantrum that would put a middle schooler to shame. However, LRC and Johnson both deny that crime occurred.
What Happened According To Robert
On Wednesday night, upon hearing that Alan Webb had left Alberto Salazar and was looking for a new coach, Robert got in contact with his college roommate Chris Lear, author of Sub-4 (which was about Alan Webb's freshman year at Michigan), who passed on Webb's contact information. Robert then contacted Webb who agreed to have dinner with Robert at Five Guys on Thursday night so Robert could try to convince Webb to hire him and his former coach John Kellogg as his next coaches.
At Five Guys, Webb and Johnson both ordered and there were no problems with the order (by the way, LetsRun.com insiders might want to know that Webb ordered a little hamburger with lettuce and tomato off the Five Guys menu and credited Alberto Salazar with the order by telling Robert, "Last year, I would have ordered two large bacon cheeseburgers with everything on it, but the one thing Alberto did get right was convincing me I needed to lose weight.").
However, there were problems with Robert's pitch to Webb, as Webb didn't seem impressed by the fact that no Ivy League team has been able to touch the Cornell Big Red in outdoor track during Johnson's eight-year tenure at Cornell. Webb dismissively said something to the fact of, "First in the Ivy League? I think I'd rather take my chances with 4th in the ACC (a reference to UVA's Jason Vigilante, as the Cavaliers were 4th indoors this year) or 9th in the PAC-10 (a reference to James Li of Arizona, as the Wildcats were 9th at PAC-10s last year). Plus, everyone knows Cornell is a state school that is jumps-dominated and carried by Nathan Taylor."
While the initial conversation was kind of heated, Johnson, like any good college coach, didn't give up on trying to land a stud like Webb without a fight. Johnson tried to convince Webb that no system in the world was better at long-term development than the John Kellogg system, as proven by such past success stories like Bruce Hyde and Jimmy Wyner. Again Webb would have none of it - "Long term development? That's the same crap Ron Warhurst and Alberto Salazar were always talking about. I always want immediate results," said Webb. "As for Wyner and Hyde, I ran those guys' PRs in practice in high school. With Rojo coaching me, Jimmy won't even be able to teach me how to celebrate properly, as I won't be close to winning a damn thing."
With things getting more and more dicey, Robert Johnson didn't know exactly what to do, so he decided take a breather, get back in line and order milkshakes for dessert. By the way, Webb initially excitedly said he'd have a chocolate before saying to himself, "Bad Alan. Water only." When the order didn't come out correctly, Johnson exploded in anger at the Five Guys employee.
"Buddy, do you know how badly my day is going? And you can't even get a simple milkshake right. I should have never gotten in the car this morning. I should have just stayed home and gone to the f***ing Cornell workout," said Johnson to himself and the employee. "What should I do, just keep coaching Ivy Leaguers? Six hours of driving. It was f***ing pointless."
The Ivy Leaguer comment apparently confused the employee, as he thought Johnson was making fun of his education level when in reality Johnson was venting at that point about Webb. The Five Guys employee responded, "Excuse me? Are you calling me stupid?" At this point, Johnson totally lost it and the pointing/hitting incident that resulted in the arrest occurred after Johnson said, "I wasn't calling you stupid. But now that you asked ... I mean, how hard is it to make a milkshake? Certainly easier than getting Alan Webb to run well two years in a row."
What Happened According To Alan Webb
The second LetsRun.com co-founder Weldon Johnson did reach out to Alan Webb this morning, April 1st, and Webb had the following to say about the incident via email: "The whole incident was pretty bad and definitely a breach of professional decorum. I don't think Robert though actually hit the employee. I had my iphone with me. Why I didn't turn the camera on, though, I'm not sure. Actually, on second thought, at the time, I was just in shock and didn't want to embarrass anyone."