Sixth Place in 10

Ritzenhein takes sixth in World 10,000-meter race

August 27, 2009 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA Former Rockford runner and two-time Olympic athlete Dathan Ritzenhein placed sixth in the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany, in the 10,000-meter race on Monday, August 17. It is an amazing accomplishment: the fourth-fastest time ever run by an American in the event, the second-fastest ever by a native-born American. Ritzenhein said after the race he was very happy, and this event is somewhat of a milestone. “It was tough, but I felt very good and was able to hang in there and run very well. I feel like it was sort of a breakthrough race for me,” he stated. “What got me so excited is that I closed the gap and made the thought of winning medals at the Olympics and World Championships seem a real possibility. The advance I made over this summer has been dramatic and I am so excited about just being competitive again. I recall in Osaka in ‘07, I was ninth, but I got lapped and was way out of contention. This time I was able to stay in contact, and really hung in there. The race was difficult because we started at a modest pace, but the middle was incredibly fast. I think I averaged 64-second laps for a couple miles.” Ritzenhein began running at age ten, his father Jerry Ritzenhein said. “He wasn’t very fast at first. He had to work hard and keep working hard. Pretty soon he came into his own.” Ritzenhein married his high school sweetheart and another Rockford running star, Kalin Toedebusch. They now have a daughter, Addison and reside in Oregon. Ritzenhein’s father said distance runners peak in their mid-thirties, so Dathan has plenty of career ahead of him. He is hopeful his son will compete again as an Olympic athlete. “This is his life career. He has a long career ahead of him and has an Olympics or two in his future. That’s his hope.” He also said part of Dathan’s success was the great start he had in Rockford athletics. “He had a great time here in Rockford.” “The life of a professional distance runner is not always easy,” Ritzenhein commented. “There is a lot of hard work and pressure to perform, it can be monotonous, and […]