Galen Rupp Excited To Take On North America’s Best Milers – 4 Takeaways From Friday’s Men’s Press Conference

Rupp: “Competition doesn’t get any better (than this). I’m really looking forward to it.”

February 7, 2014

The four featured men at the pre-race press conference for tomorrow’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix were Olympic silver medallists Galen Rupp (2012 10,000), Nick Willis (2008 1500), and Leo Manzano (2012 1500) and 2008 US flagbearer Lopez Lomong.

The good news for all track and field fans is that all four men said they are gunning for World Indoors next month in Poland. Who said 2014 wasn’t a year with a “Major” championship? If everyone would focus on World Indoors, the sport would have a major every year.

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We’ve embedded a long video from the main press conference at the end of this page if you’ve got time to spare but share with you now our four takeaways from the press conference.

1) Leo Manzano revealed that he’s moved on from both Ryan Ponsonby and the Austin Track Club and is now self-coached.

In the past, Leo didn’t focus on World Indoors but now that he’s self-coached, it’s more of a priority for him. He’s hoping to make it to World Indoors and recently ran a 2:20 1k in practice.

Our one on one interview with Manzano can be found here: LRC Leo Manzano reveals he’s now self-coached, hoping to represent USAs at 2014 World Indoors

Nick Willis, Galen Rupp, Leo Manzano, Lopez Lomong (click for photo gallery) Nick Willis, Galen Rupp, Leo Manzano, Lopez Lomong (click for photo gallery)

2) Galen Rupp said the reason he’s racing here and not chasing the American or World record in the mile is because the ultimate goal is World Indoors and he thinks he needed a ‘competitive race’ to prepare him for both USAs and Worlds.

“After thinking things over, I just thought that we had to get back to what the ultimate goal of what this indoor season was going to be – and for us it’s the World Indoor meet and the USA Championships in Albuquerque as well,’ said Rupp. “And when we took all of that into consideration, I thought the best thing to prepare me for those was to get in a competitive race and not just keep running by myself in these record attempts. That is what led to the decision to run here. I’m real happy (to be here) and thankful the meet was able to make room for me. I think it’s going to be a great race (for me) to run against these guys, and competition doesn’t get any better (than this). I’m really looking forward to it.”

Those quotes come about at the 3:00 minute mark of the video embedded below. At the 9:30 mark, Rupp says he’s focusing on “how I finish” and is going to work on his sprint mechanics at the end of the race tomorrow.

When asked about how Rupp’s relationship with coach Alberto Salazar is different now than when he first started being coached by Salazar early in his teens, Rupp said he’s now “a little more vocal” and more willing to “speak up” if he’s got a strong opinion about something. That being said, Rupp doesn’t want to ever be self-coached like Manzano and said he’s happy to “still let him (Alberto) worry” about the workouts.

Note: The Manzano coaching change didn’t come up in the main press conference so Rupp wasn’t referring to it directly.

3) Nick Willis thinks his endurance right now is a little bit better than his speed but overall things “tracking well” for him to “getting on the podium” at World Indoors in Sopot. 

4) Lopez Lomong said he and Jerry Schumacher both agreed that 2014 should be a year where his real focus is on the 5000, not 1500.

That being said, Lopez says he thinks he’s in a “pretty good position to go out” and “be competitive” in the mile tomorrow.

Lopez also talked about his 4 South Sundan Foundation and said that he and Ashton Eaton served as team leaders at the Hood to Coast Relay last fall and that they raised more than $500,000 for his foundation at the event.

Note the video below is taking forever to upload and should be available by roughly 10 pm ET.

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