Hope is a fragile commodity, best supported by unwavering preparation and clench-jawed determination, qualities familiar to any who call themselves distance runners, regardless of the speed they may achieve. There is reason, then, to be hopeful in this spring of 2011 that the U.S. distance running momentum that peaked with Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor’s Olympic Marathon medals in Athens 2004 can be regained, and even surpassed.
Today, with modest support for U.S. distance running training camps coming from the USATF Foundation’s U.S. Distance Project and Running USA’s annual conference auction, joined by the more robust contributions coming from New York Road Runners Circle of Champions initiative, and Nike’s Oregon Project, the overall support for U.S. distance running is multi-dimensional, though still modest compared to the Japanese corporate model which pours millions into their professional camps. We also have RRCA’s Roads Scholars program which contributes grants to individual runners rather than training camps. But with each new U.S. effort, the overall support gains added weight. (more…)