Who Is The Greatest American Distance Runner Of All Time? Vote Now

American Distance GOAT: The Big Dance Kicks Off In Earnest

By LetsRun.com
April 8, 2020

(Editor’s note: Letsrun has created 64-athlete bracket to determine who is the Greatest American Distance Runner of All Time? If you missed the intro to the tournament, catch up here.)

The play-in game in LetsRun.com’s American Distance GOAT bracket is in the books, and it played out much like the 2004 Olympic Trials men’s 1500, with American mile record holder Alan Webb (68.8%) laying waste to his competitors. Former 10,000 AR holder Chris Solinsky (19.0%) and Western States 100 course record holder Jim Walmsley (12.1%) finished well back.

There’s no rest for Webb, however. His reward? A first-round matchup with Frank Shorter, one of the top four seeds in our bracket (the others: Bernard LagatJoan Benoit Samuelson, and Deena Kastor).

That’s one of several tasty matchups in the round of 64, which features 32 matchups spread across four regions (two men’s, two women’s). Voting is now open, and runs through midnight ET on Thursday night.

Some of the other matchups we’ll be watching:

Article continues below player.

1) Bernard Lagat vs. 16) Abdi Abdirahman (Lagat Region)
The two men — who have combined to make 10 Olympic teams — have been racing each other for 20+ years, most recently at the Olympic Marathon Trials in February.

8) Steve Prefontaine vs. 9) Bob Kennedy (Lagat Region)
The iconic ’70s runner against the iconic ’90s runner.

5) Alberto Salazar vs. 12) Billy Mills (Lagat Region)
Can Mills, the 1964 Olympic 10,000 champ, spring another upset against one of the most controversial men in American distance running?

3) Jim Ryun vs. 14) Marty Liquori (Lagat Region)
The famed on-track rivalry between two of America’s greatest milers hits the internet.

7) Dave Wottle vs. 10) Donavan Brazier (Lagat Region)
Both men won global championships and set American records over 800 meters.

6) Khalid Khannouchi vs. 11) Ryan Hall (Lagat Region)
The American record holder in the marathon against America’s fastest ever marathoner.

4) Shelby Houlihan vs. 13) Jordan Hasay (Kastor Region)
The NOP may be dead, but the Bowerman-NOP rivalry lives on in this matchup.

3) Emma Coburn vs. 14) Courtney Frerichs (Benoit Region)
Coburn has dominated her rival (she’s 15-1 in her career vs. Frerichs), but the one loss looms large: it was the race in which Frerichs set the American record.



For an overview of how the tournament works, click here.


The bracket schedule will play out as follows. All voting closes at midnight ET on the final day of each round.

-Play-in game: April 6-7
-Round of 64: April 8-9
-Round of 32: April 10-11
-Round of 16: April 12-13
-Quarterfinals: April 14-15
-Semifinals: April 16-17
-Final: April 18-19
-Winner revealed: April 20


You can view the entire bracket below:

Want More? Join The Supporters Club Today
Support independent journalism and get:
  • Exclusive Access to VIP Supporters Club Content
  • Bonus Podcasts Every Friday
  • Free LetsRun.com Shirt (Annual Subscribers)
  • Exclusive Discounts
  • Enhanced Message Boards