the situation is no different when it comes to running. i've never had a coach (except for motivation) and did not start any kind of running until the spring of 2010 - nothing in high school, and only the occasional once around the track in university if i saw a pretty girl worth following for several hundred metres before i passed out.
here are just a few of the runners that i've paid close attention to, for various reasons:
- haile gebrselassie - IMHO the greatest distance runner of all time. a dimnuitive figure with gobs of talent and just as big of a heart. depending on how old he might actually be, he may have set the world record time for a male marathoner when he was 40.
- geoffrey mutai - the person with the fastest finish of any marathon ever and arguably the best living marathoner. makes every race look like a easy jog in the park.
- ryan hall - one of the US' best distance runners, and outstanding man of faith. gives back to people generously, and i have tried in the past to mimic his form. his marathon training plan also helped me to achieve my current PB in the marathon (3:18:15).
- meb keflezighi - currently the #1 marathoner for the US. at 37 he's still kicking butt, having won the 2012 US Olympic Marathon trials and placing 4th at the London Olympic marathon. another inspiring man of faith too.
- desiree davila - i have a friend who trained with desiree as part of the hansons brooks distance project in michigan. desiree is one tough competitor, and now in the top three female US marathoners. i've adopted her arm carriage style in my own running.
- mary keitany - the favourite in just about any race in which she's entered. a powerhouse.
- tsegaye kebede - this guy is about the height of my honda civic, but probably has the stride length of a cadillac. unbelievable runner from ethiopia, having captured this year's chicago marathon in 2:04:38. i've adopted his leg position and stride pattern in my own running style.
- yuki kawauchi - my new favourite runner ... known as 'citizen runner' because he's the only person on this list who's not a full-time athlete (he holds down a day job just like me). runs like a maniac - having put together back to back marathons last fall within two weeks of one another, forking out $6000 for a plane ticket to a race in egypt because he missed the plane that the organizers paid for, and five out of the first six marathons he ran he ended up in the medical tent after crossing the finish line. he's told interviewers "Every time I run, it’s with the mindset that if I die at this race it’s OK." now that's a racer i can look up to.