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Galen Rupp Reflects on His Big Year

By Steve Ritchie - Special to the Statesman Journal
August 21, 2009
Galen Rupp

BERLIN - 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 everybody better."

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."

 
 

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