Salazar: “Whatever Jerry or any of his guys do, we know we can do better.”
April 1, 2013
In a stunning development, it was announced today that legendary American runner Alberto Salazar, who made his mark in the marathon but also once held American records in the 5,000 and 10,000 before becoming known for being the coach of Mo Farah and Galen Rupp, is going to come out of retirement and compete once again at the 2013 Pre Classic.
In a specially set-up race that may be held in Eugene but may also be held in Palo Alto if the pollen count is too high, Salazar is going to race a rabbited mile. Yes, that’s right, the former long distance star is dropping down in distance and racing the mile.
At a press conference today in Eugene at the April Fools Tavern, Salazar sensed some pundits might be confused that he’d end a 22-year retirement (Salazar ran 28:49 in 1991) with a short mile race, so he started his press conference out by explaining the rationale behind the distance.
“Some message board rats recently reported that rival Nike coach Jerry Schumacher ran a 4:43 mile in practice. Well whatever Jerry or any of his guys do, we know we can do better,” said Salazar. “If I don’t beat him at Pre, I’ll figure out a way to do it down the road. Solinsky beat us to 26:59, but you don’t see a silver medal around his neck, do you?”
Salazar seemed confident today in his ability to go sub-4:43, but if he does so he’ll be in elite territory. The race will take place just weeks before Salazar’s 55th birthday on August 7th. The fastest mile ever run by a 55-year-old in human history is 4:35.04 by Australia’s Keith Bateman.
Thus, a sub-4:43 would at first glance seem to be a tall order but realize that Salazar is going to go after this goal for himself just like he goes after goals for the runners he coaches – with every available resource at his disposal.
Salazar said that he is going to employ Dathan Ritzenhein as his training partner and rabbit for the mile.
“Dathan is going to pace me in all of my intervals in practice and rabbit me in the actual race,” said Salazar. “It will be good for Dathan, as you always have to work on your speed. Also, since he got so much criticism for not going to World Cross-Country and because I want him to rabbit me, I’m going to have him run the World Half Marathon Champs in October instead of the Chicago marathon. The critics will shut up, and it’s all the same speed. A 4:34 mile is 60-flat for the half and I want him to train me to run 4:34.”
Quick Take #1: Since tilastopaja doesn’t even list a mile PR for Salazar, you might think a sub-4:43 is going to be a tall order for Salazar, but we think doubting him isn’t a wise move as he’s shown with Rupp and Farah that some runners get faster as they get older.