-9th 2008 Olympic Games Marathon
-5,000 meters – 12:56.27 (#3 all-time U.S.)
-10,000 meters – 27:22.28 (#6 all-time U.S.)
-3-time U.S. Cross Country Champion (’05, ’08, ’10)
-2003 NCAA Cross Country Champion
-Bronze Medalist 2009 World Half Marathon Championships
-6th 2009 IAAF World Championships – 10,000
Rockford High School (Rockford, MI)
-2-time Foot Locker National Cross Country Champion (‘99 & ’00)
-3-time National Scholastic 2-mile Champion
High School Bests:
-1600 - 4:05.90 3200 - 8:41.10 5,000 - 13:44.70
When Dathan Ritzenhein was 11 years old his father got on a health kick and started running. Mr. Ritzenhein had every intention of having his son tag along with him to stay active and participate in the local track club’s workouts and races. So when the club coach turned out to be the high school cross country coach it made sense for Dathan to join the team.
Dathan took to the trails and track like a duck to water. In 7th grade he ran 11:58 for two miles then in 8th grade 10:24. Two short years later he won the national scholastic 2-mile title. That fall he won the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championship in course record time. After that he became almost a cult-figure amongst high school cross country and track fans. He won his second national scholastic 2-mile championship in 2000. At the same time in other parts of the country there were two high school standouts named Ryan Hall and Alan Webb. For the next 6 months the high school internet buzz was all about the eventual showdown between the three at Footlocker. Dathan didn’t disappoint. He won the race by 20 seconds staking claim as arguably the best high school distance runner ever. He capped off his senior season by winning his third national scholastic 2-mile championship (8:44.43) and running the 5000 in 13:44.70!
It’s no surprise Dathan had multiple college offers to choose from. However he made only three college visits – Colorado, Michigan and Oregon. He chose to run for Mark Wetmore at Colorado because Wetmore’s program and coaching philosophy most closely mirrored his own. While at Colorado Dathan went on to become a 6-time All-American, NCAA cross country champion and set the American collegiate record in the 10,000.
After college things got even better for the star known simply as “Ritz”. He placed 2nd at the 2008 U.S Olympic Trials in the marathon and finished 9th at the Olympic Games. In 2009 he had a phenomenal year. In Zurich he set a then American record in the 5,000 running 12:56.27. He became the first American to medal at the World Half-Marathon Championships placing third in a blistering 60:00 flat. He also placed 6th in the 10,000 at the IAAF World Championships running 27:22.28 – the fastest by an American in a championship race.
There are so many questions one can have for Dathan. What was it like being Dathan Ritzenhein in high school? What did he do when he was injured? What are his pre-race rituals? You can find all this out and more just by asking him…at Aim High!
Dathan resides in Portland, OR with his wife Kalin, daughter Addison (almost 4) and son Jude (1). Dathan has known his wife since 6th grade. An accomplished runner herself, Kalin was All-American while at Colorado too. Dathan trains under U.S. distance running legend Alberto Salazar who heads up the Nike Oregon Project.
Contact: Jennifer & David Patruno
David at work: 315-472-0744
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