Oregon Running Phenom Galen Rupp Announces Half Marathon Debut

By David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved –

On the heels of taking back his USA indoor 5000m record in Birmingham last month, Galen Rupp announced yesterday that he will run his first half-marathon at the NYC Half in New York City on Sunday, March 20.  Rupp, with his coach of 11 years, Alberto Salazar, explained on a conference call yesterday hosted by the New York Road Runners that they decided to take on America’s richest half-marathon after the New Zealand earthquake scuttled their plans to run a 10,000m in Christchurch.

“Talking to Kara (Goucher) and Dathan (Ritzenhein) about the atmosphere, there’s definitely a mystique about New York,” Rupp said.  “Running through New York City is something that really gets you fired up.  I’m just super excited to be running there.”

For Rupp, 24, this will be the longest race of his career and his second road race (he finished second at the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 5-K last Thanksgiving in San Jose, Calif., in 13:39 behind training partner Alan Webb).  His 10,000m personal best of 27:10.74 is similar to a 1:00:26 half-marathon, according to one reliable conversion formula.

However, Rupp said he wasn’t worried about time.

“We’re just trying keep it simple,” he said of his approach to the race.  He continued: “To stay as relaxed as we can and see how it goes.”

Salazar said the primary benefit for Rupp was that the race would “take him out of his comfort zone.”

“Obviously, I’m all in favor of Galen running this race,” said Salazar who joined Rupp on the conference call from Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.  He added: “I thought Galen had done a significant amount of training, much more based on higher mileage… I thought that this half-marathon would be an opportunity for him to really see what all that training had amounted to.”

At the NYC Half, Rupp will face a field of top Americans, including 2009 ING New York City Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi, 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials champion Ryan Hall, three-time 10,000m Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, many-time USA road running championships podium finisher Jason Lehmkuhle, and rising star Patrick Smyth.  Richard Finn, the New York Road Runners media director, said on the call that a slate of top international athletes would be announced in a few days.

“I think this is simply a huge announcement today,” said New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg who will direct the race which will have about 10,000 runners and a $100,000 prize money purse.  “We are simply ecstatic to welcome Galen Rupp to a New York Road Runners event.”

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