by Dathan Ritzenhein | Mar 04, 2013 |
I want to take a moment to apologize to for some comments I made to Runner’s World this week about the World XC Championships. I understand there has been some backlash and I really regret how my comments came off.
I was asked if I was sad to not be attending the World XC Championships. I thoughtlessly said that the race was no longer significant, and that was why I was not running it. That comment came off as careless and wrong. I know that, especially to the athletes who are competing there, it can be a very important step in international development. I experienced that at one point in my career; winning a bronze medal in 2001 in the junior race really changed my perspective on what was possible. I would never want to minimize the importance that it can hold to other athletes.
What I really wanted to say was that, at this point in my career, it isn’t the right choice for me to go there this spring. The World XC Championships is still an incredibly deep field of runners and you have to be very sharp to be competitive. It is going to be a long year for me; I want to have a great track season and still be ready to run a great marathon in October. That means I need to be in a phase of training right now that is much more geared toward being ready for a half-marathon. Having run the World XC Championships multiple times, I know you need to be sharp. I recall going out faster in that race than any other race I have run and still being buried!
World XC is an amazing race with great loyal fans. That makes it one of the most amazing experiences out there for an athlete to be part of. That is one reason why it’s unfortunate that it’s now held only every two years and that, reportedly, there is no longer much interest from bidders to host the event. So to the athletes competing and the fans who were upset, I apologize for my earlier comments and wish our team USA the best of luck!