Today was the first race in seven months for 35-year-old Dathan Ritzenhein as he hadn’t toed the line since the NYC Half Marathon in March. Ritz got injured after that and had to miss the Boston Marathon, but believes speed and power are essential for running fast in the marathon so he ran the 5k here.
It was a shock to the system.
“I think it just solidified for me I’m never going back to the track,” he said.
We asked Ritz about the dearth of sub-2:10 marathoners in the US (he, Galen Rupp, and Abdi Abdirahman are the only active sub-2:10 guys in the US). He said he thought there were other guys with fast track credentials who could go sub-2:10 but that they wait too long to try the marathon. Ritz believes you need speed and to be in touch with it to run fast in the marathon.
“To run 4:50 (per mile for the marathon)… you have to have a big engine,” he said.
“I think a lot of the guys right now who have run fast for those shorter distances if they were to step out and did it right now (run the marathon) they probably could [run sub-2:10]. A lot of time they wait too long and don’t try it. [Then] they just go strictly to long stuff,” he said.
Ritz still thinks he can run fast. “Maybe I’m getting long in the tooth and maybe I’ll never run 2:06. I’d like to think if I can stay healthy I can run 2:08, 2:09,” he said.
Ritz will do a spring marathon and then focus on making the 2020 Olympic team. If he makes the team, he’ll definitely continue another year to cash in on his Olympic spot.
“If I make the team I’m definitely sticking around another year for the appearance fees,” he said. In general Ritz said, “As long as the fire is still there, [I’ll keep going].”
Ritz has shown if he’s healthy, he’ll likely be on the Olympic team (he’s made it three times), but that’s easier said than done. “That’s the lesson kids, don’t get hurt,” he said.
Ritz talks about Des Linden’s comments on him
Ritz joined the Hansons-Brooks team over a year ago, and this spring former team member Des Linden told LetsRun.com she wasn’t supportive of Ritz joining the team because of the anti-doping investigation on Ritz’s former team the Nike Oregon Project.
We asked Ritz what he thought of Des’ comments and whether they bothered him. “Not much bothers me. I’m the kind of person stuff rolls off my back. I don’t hold any grudges. I really wish Des the best. I think she’s great. Everyone has an opinion and that’s fine. I think most people who know me know I’m a good person….I’ll be cheering for her tomorrow,” he said.
When Ritz was asked if he wished he had done anything differently under the NOP he said, “There’s a lot of things I’d do differently in life in general, but to tell you the truth I’m ok with myself. I can’t get into everything with you but to tell you the truth I’m ok with myself. There’s things I’d change but I don’t walk around with regrets in life,” he said.
Full interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTptchpxE2c
Full article: http://www.letsrun.com/news/2018/11/paul-chelimo-wins-usatf-5k-champs-sprint-kipchirchir-emily-sisson-cruises/