Galen Rupp's ascendant career as a world-class distance runner has now
reached a level where he can refer to an eighth place finish in the 10,000
meters at the 2009 World Track & Field Championships as "an off day."
After a whirlwind 12 months of near-continuous high-level training and
competition, Rupp, 23, is now headed for some much-needed rest and
downtime. His preparation for the World Meet was marred by a series of
minor but nagging injuries over the past two months, likely caused by the
intensity and length of his season.
During a one-on-one interview, held during a treatment session for a sore
groin, three days after his 10,000 meter race here in Berlin, Rupp said
that his training this summer had not been as good as it was earlier in
the year, and that he was a little disappointed in his race.
"It's been a long year for me. I had a great time doing all the NCAA stuff . . . but it took its toll on me," Rupp said. "With the injuries my
training hasn't been that great between the two meets . . . I lost a
little bit there - I guess it all kind of caught up to me."
Despite his fatigue and suffering from the effects of dehydration during
the race, Rupp moved up over the last two laps from 11th to 8th place -
his best finish in three tries at the world championships and Olympics. "We always fight hard to the finish," he said about how he was able to
finish the race strong. "No matter how you feel or how bad things are
going, you compete all the way through the line and never give up."
Rupp and his longtime coach Alberto Salazar will soon turn their attention
to taking the next steps toward becoming the best in the world. "Next year is going to be a real important year. There's not a world
championship meet but it is going to set us up for 2011 (Worlds) and 2012
(Olympic). It's going to be really important in terms of training and
getting a lot of races in . . . I'll take some good time off right now,
and it will be a little bit easier because I won't have to hurry back into
training for a cross country season. That will be really nice to stretch
things out, do everything right and build up slow to get ready for indoors
and outdoors next year.
Rupp has focused on the 10,000 meters and he doesn't see that changing. "The 10K, that's my bread and butter . . . That's where I am going to have
my best chance of success."
He also welcomes two new additions to his training group. Accomplished
marathoner Dathan Ritzenhein, who was sixth in the 10,000 in Berlin, is
now working with Salazar. Miler Alan Webb, who Rupp called "an
unbelievable talent," has announced that he will soon be moving to Oregon
and joining the group, too. "Just having great guys like that (to train with) is only going to make
The individual honors earned by Rupp this year were numerous, but Rupp
said that his favorite memory will be of his role in helping to rebuild
the Ducks' cross country and track programs. "I had such a great time with all my teammates down there (in Eugene) and
having a great team was something that was real special. When you think of
where the program was when I got there and where it is now, it was really
cool to be a part of that. Winning (NCAA team titles) indoors and in cross
country was fun. Experiencing the resurgence of that program and how happy
people were is probably my favorite memory of the whole thing."