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Catching Up With Legend Greg Meyer

Published by
Scott Bush   on May 7 2013, 09:33 PM

With the USA 25km Championships fast approaching (this Saturday!), we caught up with elite athlete coordinator Greg Meyer, discussing this year's field, the challenge of recruiting the best in the country this time of year and his views on what it's going to take in order for an American to win a World Marathon Major.

Yes, Meyer is the same guy who won the 1983 Boston Marathon...the last American male to win. 

Scott Bush (SB): How are the fields shaping up for this year's USA 25 km Championships?

Greg Meyer (GM): The men's and women's field are both strong this year, and while we've missed out on some of our Olympians, I feel we have very competitive fields in both races.  We have some familiar and some new faces.

SB: The USA 25 km Championships fall at a unique time in the season, during the track season and shortly after the spring major marathons. What's it like recruiting in some of the top talents in the U.S. this time of year?

GM: Our distance and the time of year create some challenges.  Many of the top people run a spring marathon.  We can't compete with the money they stand to earn at those major events.  Every now and then we get lucky with one whose training cycle seems to allow for the 25K distance. The track season also presents a challenge because many who don't run a spring marathon are getting ready for outdoor track and the 25K distance takes a couple of weeks to get out of your legs.  But again, every now and then we get a top track athlete who wants to test themselves at a distance longer than a half marathon but not a full marathon.

SB: What makes the Fifth Third River Bank Run a race professionals should consider running?

GM: I think if you talk to the athletes that have run hear, we try to make the weekend enjoyable.  We want them to have a great race, but we realize only one male and female actually wins.  It also provides an opportunity for an athlete to compete for a national championship, which we are very grateful to host.  We try to accommodate as many runners as possible in the elite field, working with the Athlete Development Program and other regional athletes to give them the experience of be treated like a great athlete.  We actually bring in more runners as elites than I believe Boston.  The quality isn't the same obviously, but the competitiveness is terrific.

SB: As someone who's run at a very high level and had some pretty major success, what's it going to take for an American male to win a major marathon sooner rather than later?

GM: For an American to win a major, NY, Boston, Chicago, one of our top athletes will need to dedicate at least 18 months of focus...of making that race their mission in life.   It can't be just "the" race their doing that season, they have to prioritize their training and racing for over a year in advance just to have the chance to win.  Without that directed focus, I'm afraid we'll continue to place but not win.  We have the talent in our men and women to do this...but they have to commit longer term to the process.

SB: As the elite athlete coordinator, what are your goals for each year?

GM: The goal for our race is simple really.  I want to see competitive races in each division, open and US.  I also want to give some young runners the opportunity to find out what it takes to race at a national level...and use this race as a stepping-stone to even greater things.

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