Mike Rossi did our wedding. Such a pro and I never had an elite runner show so much interest in my own jogging. He signed my breasts afterwards.
Funny deja vu feeling. I met Alan Webb and wife and baby in a stroller in Eugene outside of church during OT in 2016. I met Jim Ryun with wife and baby in a stroller, when we were both living in Santa Barbara about 40 years before.
The bigger picture that doesnt resonate with most pros is that the fan is the reason the pro is allowed to be pro. The athlete-fan relationship in our sport is much more.compact than MLB, NBA or NFl. A lot of pro runners are actually pretentious, superficial and uptight egomaniacs. They are offended when bystanders dont know who they are or their significance.
I like hearing Bernard Lagat stories because his demeanor implicates this overall understanding. One of the more pro moments I saw with him was when Flotrack flagged him down after a road race and even though he was in a rush and kids were ansy in the background (to get on the bus) he stood there and took it. I wouldve personally not been as composed. Nick Symmonds, although outspoken, also understood this athlete-fan relationship and also understood the althete-organization relationship almost too well. Symmonds felt it was his duty to do interviews. Love him or hate him, Justin Gatlin understands too.
The fan is the ticket sale. The fan is the instagram follower. The fan is the message board poster. The fan wears t-shirts. The fans buy subscriptions. The fans coach the youth. The fans run themselves in shoe brands they identify with.
That said, I think Erik Sowinski is the most down to earth interaction I've ever encountered. This is a straight up nice guy who genuinely cares about. He is humble .
Jim Ryun. I met him at the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville, AR back in the early 90s. My college teammate and myself saw him walking through the mall. We walked up and asked if he was indeed Jim Ryun because we were not completely certain. He was very down to earth and pleasant to talk with.
Sir John Walker
Kyle Merber, Chris Derrick, Eric Avila, Kate Grace, Jenny Simpson, Jordan Hasay and the legend... Meb. I must say, I've yet to meet a "bad" pro.
In no particular order
Lots of experiences wrote:
I use to work at Nike back in the day and was around many of the pro athletes then. This was 10 years ago, so mostly athletes from that era, but have had more interactions with pros since then.
Gouchers - amazing people, very caring.
Abdi - friendly to everyone, awesome guy.
Lauren Fleshman - very nice, especially if she thinks you're someone important. But a good person for sure.
Matt Tegenkamp - an d*ck, acted like an a**hole after he got more success.
Chris Solinsky - Nice guy, Tegenkamp would try to get him to act like him, but he wouldn't.
Dathan Ritz - super nice, was friendly to everyone, not cocky.
Shannon Rowbury - stuck up, only nice if she thought you were someone.
Jordan Hasay - sweetheart, super nice, kind of awkward, but a great person.
Nick Symmonds - cocky, not a horrible guy, but just has a big ego.
Shalane Flannagan - Incredibly nice, would talk to anyone.
No opinion on Rupp?
Rupp is a good guy. He beat my son by over a minute in cross country race, and when he heard my son say he wanted to quit running because he got beat so bad, Galen came over and talked to him, cheered him up and all. Good guy!
Lopez Lomong. Bumped into him working out in Park City. Couldn't have been nicer. Stopped his workout to stop and talk, asked more questions about myself than I could ask him.
Jordan Hasay. Or as I call her Jordan Hussy. I ground her hard. I think I damaged the bulimic frame.
Have to say, not a pro runner, but met Ariana Washington at Penn Relays after she had just won the 4x1 for Oregon. Super happy girl, seemed like someone who would be fun to have as a teammate.
Also have met Robby Andrews twice and he's down-to-earth. Just a likable dude.