Footlocker-West & Natl's, Galen Rupp - 2002


The Foot Locker National Finals were held in San Diego’s Balboa Park this year, the site of many of the previous 23 finals (previously the Kinney Championships. Only 32 boys from around the country—each one a champion in his own area—qualify for this meet. To say that these qualifiers are treated like royalty might be understating what actually happens. Galen appears to be healthy—no illnesses—but in relieving the stress on his metatarsal his plantar fascia has become sore; sore enough that he has difficulty in jogging the course on Friday. Of course, Dr. Salazar works so diligently on the foot that Galen proclaims on Saturday morning, “This might be the first day in over a month that nothing hurts.” On a beautiful San Diego morning, the gun goes off, and all is well. By the mile—a leisurely first mile considering the wealth of talent in the field—Galen doesn’t look like his normal self. By one and a half miles the leaders have a gap, and by two miles it is clear that it won’t be our junior star’s day. He falls back to about 15th with ¾ mile to go but makes a spirited run in the last 800m to move into 10th before, with about 300m left, he staggers, collapses, and hyperventilates to the point that he certainly will not finish. A somewhat difficult hour later Galen—with a large ice pack on his foot—is smiling with the other West finalists. By lunchtime talk has turned to the spring/summer track season and his intended domination of those who beat him today. Although his foot is sore he ought to be running easily within the month. It was a pretty good season. frankie out.


I know you've all been sitting by the computer waiting to hear about the FootLocker Regional. Without further ado (I use to think it was 'further adieu'), here's the story. Galen has not had what you'd call a fantastic five weeks since the state meet. The week of the Border Clash (Nov 17) he got strep throat, but, with the proper medication, seemed to be fine. Then his foot got awfully sore; Coach Salazar found that he could train--with absolutely no pain in his foot--if he ran downhill. For about a week he trained on the treadmill with a slight downward grade--and he continued to train incredibly well. Before Thanksgiving he got a sinus infection, but he seemed to come out of that pretty quickly as well. Going into the race we knew that he ought to make the top 8 and qualify, but given his recent difficulties I was still a bit nervous (Alberto was not). Galen's plan in this race was to run hard enough to reach the track (250m to go) in 4th or 5th place so that he wouldn't have to worry about being outkicked for 8th. As usual, he did exactly what he planned. First mile was rather easy (4:45), then the course goes up the switchbacks and gets rid of some of the pretenders. Down the hill to a mile and a half about 16 guys are still in the hunt. Galen is at or near the front all of the time but clearly is not pushing the pace. Up Poop-Out Hill he leads thru two miles in about 9:58 and strings the group out; at this point there are only nine left. As they crest Reservoir Hill (about 2 1/2 miles) there are only eight left in the lead group and Galen knows this so he eases off. He enters the track in 3rd or 4th and cruises in 6th. Could he have won the race? Well, I asked him that and here's what he said: "Well, I imagine so, but it would have taken a totally different mind set going into the race." My guess--and hope--is that he'll have that different mind set this Saturday in San Diego. The races are early in San Diego; you can get results pretty quickly at: One week to go. frankie out. (Ed. Dave Frank used to coach at St Francis HS and now coaches where Galen goes.)