Alberto Salazar

Alberto Salazar

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Alberto Salazar
Height 5'11" (181 cm)
Weight 141 lbs (64 kg)
Nationality United States
PR 1,500 – 3:44.6 (1979); 2 miles – 8:24.2i (1980); 5K – 13:11.93 (1982); 10K – 27:25.61 (1982); Mara – 2:08:13 (1981)
Born August 7, 1958 at Havana, Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
College Oregon
Club Athletics West

Alberto Bauday Salazar (1958-) is an American runner who dominated the marathon in the 1980s. Born in Cuba, Salazar immigrated to the United States with his family. They ultimately moved to Wayland, Massachusetts, where Salazar competed in track and field in high school. Salazar is best known for his consecutive wins at the New York City Marathons in the early 1980s and his American track records of 13:11.93 for 5,000 m (July 6, 1982 - Stockholm) and 27:25.61 for 10,000 m - (June 26, 1982 - Oslo).


Athletic career

Salazar excelled as a high school runner. He was the state cross country champion in 1975 and trained wıth the well known Greater Boston Track Club (whose members ıncluded Bill Rodgers, Randy Thomas, and Greg Meyer). He then ran for the University of Oregon where he won numerous All American honors, was a member of the 1977 NCAA cross country championship team, won the individual NCAA cross country championship in 1978, and finished third in the Olympic Trials 10,000 meter race to make the 1980 Olympic team (but did not compete in Moscow due to the U.S. boycott.) Salazar broke the American indoor 5,000 meter record in February, 1981 at the Millrose Games in New York (his 13:22.6 beating the old AR by nearly 20 seconds as he finished second behind Suleiman Nyambui, who broke the indoor world record with a 13:20.4).

From 1980 through 1982, Salazar won three consecutive New York City Marathons. His first-ever marathon, the 1980 New York City race, resulted in a 2:09:41 win, at the time the fastest American debut and the second-fastest time recorded by a U.S. runner (behind Bill Rodgers' 2:09:27 at Boston in 1979). In 1981, Salazar appeared to have set a world record at the New York City Marathon of 2:08:13. However, the course was found on re-measurement to be about 148 meters, or about 27 seconds, short.

In 1982, he won his first and only Boston Marathon in the famous "Duel in the Sun" with Dick Beardsley. Salazar won the race in an exciting sprint finish and collapsed at the end before being taken to an emergency room. Salazar ended the year ranked #1 in the world in the marathon by [[Track and Field News]] magazine for his wins in Boston and New York, #1 in the their North American Road Rankings for his American 10K road record win of 28:04 at the Orange Bowl 10K and his course record of 31:53 at the Falmouth 7.1 mile road race (his second win and course record there), #8 in the world (and #1 American with an AR of 13:11.93) in the 5,000 meters, and #2 in the world in the 10,000 meters (with an AR of 27:25.61).

Salazar also succeeded in cross country, earning several All American honors in collegiate and postcollegiate national championships. He won the 1978 NCAA national cross country championship in cold, snowy conditions. He was also the U.S. national cross country champion in 1979 and ran well at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, finishing second in 1982 and fourth in 1983.

In addition to a fourth place finish (only one second behind the top three placers) at the 1983 World Cross Country Championships, Salazar twice broke the American 10K road record in 1983 running 28:02 and 28:01 at the Americas 10K and Continental Homes 10K, respectively. Track & Field News ranked him #1 in its North American Road Rankings for 1983. He was also the 10,000 meter national track champion in 1981 and 1983. However, he finished last in the 10,000 meters at the 1983 World Championships in Athletics while suffering from bronchitis and was beaten for the first time in the marathon, finishing fifth at the Rotterdam marathon in April (2:10:08) and then fifth again at Fukuoka in December (2:09:21).

In 1984, Salazar was a member of the United States Olympic Marathon Team, along with Pete Pfitzinger and John Tuttle, but finished fifteenth in 2:14:19 under the hot Los Angeles sun.

Salazar's competitive decline is often attributed to a reported blow-out after the 1982 Boston Marathon (his famous "Duel in the Sun" with Dick Beardsley), after which his athletic performance gradually declined to the point at which he could barely jog. Salazar recounts falling into a "more-is-better" mindset which led him to reason that if 120 miles per week yielded a certain level of success, then 180 or even 200 miles would bring even better results. This intense and grueling regimen of such extremely high mileage ultimately led to a breakdown of his immune system, and he found himself frequently sick, injured, and otherwise unable to continue training. The downward spiral of his marathon career culminated in his disappointing fifteenth place at the 1984 Summer Olympics. He was later diagnosed with anemia. The story of Salazar's 1982 win at the Boston Marathon and his subsequent competitive decline is told in Duel in the Sun, a book by John Brant.

After several years of inactivity, in 1994 Salazar won the prestigious 90 km (56 mile) Comrades Marathon. Salazar stated that Prozac played a role in motivating him to succeed in professional running again; the actual effect of the drug on his performance remains controversial.

Post-competitive career

Salazar coaches the Nike Oregon Project. Aimed at producing Olympic-caliber athletes, project members who have trained under Salazar's tutelage include Galen Rupp, Joaquin Chapa (son of former teammate and NCAA 5,000 meter champion Rudy Chapa), brothers Alec and Scott Wall, Collin Stark-Benz, brothers John and James Connelly, Richard Smith, Dave Davis, Adam Goucher, Kara Goucher, Josh Rohatinsky, Amy Begley and Dan Browne.[1]

He was inducted into the RRCA Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

Salazar ran in the New York City Marathon in 2006, at age 48, serving as a pacesetter for Lance Armstrong, the 7-time winner of the Tour de France, who was attempting his first marathon. Salazar was primarily responsible for guiding Armstrong for the first 10 miles of the race, while Joan Benoit Samuelson oversaw the next 10, and Hicham El Guerrouj the final 6.2. With their pacing, Armstrong met his three hour goal, finishing in 2:59:36.

On Saturday, June 30, 2007, he experienced a heart attack,[2][3][4] and surgeons have since implanted a defibrillator in his chest.[1] He has been shifting his coaching duties to Jerry Schumacher.[1]

Salazar, who led Galen Rupp, Dathan Ritzenhein and Kara Goucher to career best performances the 2009 season, was named the 2009 Nike Coach of the Year by USA Track & Field.[5]

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Retrieved 2009-01-28.
  2. three time New York City marathon winner Salazar hospitalized with heart problem, USA Today
  3. Salazar in fair condition after heart attack, The Oregonian, July 2, 2007
  4. Salazar released from hospital one week after heart attack, USA Today, July 8, 2007
  5. Salazar Named Nike Coach of the Year Retrieved 2009-11-28