Photos by Victah Sailor, Photo Run courtesy of Runner's World
DATHAN RITZENHEIN, THE MARATHON: Kids Running Interview|
We have known Dathan for a long time. Winter running in his early years, was the inspiration for our cross-country bookmark design. His original quotes still inspire our young people. Here is an updated interview with Dathan along with links to our archived articles.
- Carol Goodrow
KIDS RUNNING: Wow, you've come a long way. You're an Olympian now. Please tell us about your experience with the Olympics.
DATHAN: I can't believe it has been six months now. I was very lucky to make my second Olympic team, this time in the marathon. It was a great experience. The first time in Athens in the 10k, I was injured so it was very disappointing. I was much happier to get 9th this time and hopefully look forward to making another team and getting a medal.
KIDS RUNNING: Do you live in Eugene, Oregon? Why do they call Eugene Track Town? Should every child who loves to run visit Eugene?
DATHAN: Eugene is a great place to live. They call it Track Town, USA because the rich history here. The crowds are amazing at Hayward Field and they are very knowledgeable about all events. Every running fan needs to visit sometime.
KIDS RUNNING: What special skills do you need to be successful in the marathon? And what does it mean to be successful in the marathon?
DATHAN: To be a successful marathoner you need to run a lot of miles for a long time. It is an event that you should take a long term approach to and only when you are very strong from years of training.
KIDS RUNNING: Do you still run XC? What is XC?
DATHAN: I love XC. It is cross-country, which is over hills and on grass and mud. I still race every year and it makes me strong for the track season.
KIDS RUNNING: (The 10-year old kid question.) I'm a ten-year old kid and I KNOW I want to be a marathoner someday. What should I do now?
DATHAN: To be a good marathon one day, you have to stick with it every day. You have to train day in and day out for many years and you have to love to run. It will be a long term approach but you will see the benefits in your shorter distance races, too.
KIDS RUNNING: Please tell us about a running game you played.
DATHAN: We used to play tag all the time when I was a kid. It was great to have more than one person chasing because it made everyone run all the time, that way you never got any rest and got a better workout.
KIDS RUNNING: Will you encourage your own children to run?
DATHAN: I have a one-year-old daughter and as soon as she gets stronger I hope she will start running. It is great because so many different sports require the stamina from running. That way she can pick the sport that she loves the most. Of course being a runner, I hope she loves track and field and cross-country.
KIDS RUNNING: Are you part of a running family?
DATHAN: I come from a family that enjoyed training and racing, but they were not very good on the big scale, which should give everyone hope that they can be great! My grandfather was a great athlete, he did some boxing when he was younger, so that may be where my running talent came from. But I was not a great runner when I started. For the first few years I was just an average runner, but I got very good through hard work and running every day.
KIDS RUNNING: Healthy eating - what's your tip?
DATHAN: To eat healthy, I try to stay away from processed foods. I try to eat organic and natural foods so that I stay away from eating too much sugar. Sugar will rot your energy just like you teeth. Substitute the candy with something like warm bread, peanut butter, and honey.
KIDS RUNNING: Tell us about your most precious medal.
DATHAN: I don't put too much stock in medals, unless I can win one at the Olympics. You don't win every time but that doesn't mean that you ran bad, so I try not to use them to measure my success.
KIDS RUNNING: What's in your future?
DATHAN: I am running the London Marathon on April 26th. It is one of the best group of marathoners ever assembled, so I hope I can get in there and have a great race and improve on my P.R. After that I will run the track season and try to focus on my speed for the summer.
KIDS RUNNING: - A message for kids.
DATHAN: Remember to have fun and enjoy running, but don't forget to run hard. You can run hard and have fun at the same time, but you will improve a lot if you enjoy it.
LINKS: Dathan from the Early Years An oldie but goody.
Brown Bagging It
Kids Running Bookmarks Original Quotes from Dathan on the Cross-country Bookmark
Eugene, Oregon- Track Town, USA