Alberto Salazar: The Great Rehabilitator?

Alberto Salazar has been tinkering with Dathan Ritzenhein's stride. Will it pay off?Alberto Salazar has been tinkering with Dathan Ritzenhein’s stride. Will it pay off on Sunday? Photo:

The three-time NYC Marathon champion has been working on Dathan Ritzenhein’s stride. Will his tinkering pay off for Ritz on Sunday?

As a coach, Alberto Salazar had become obsessed with optimizing his runners’ form. Ritzenhein left former coach Brad Hudson for Salazar last year in the hopes of revitalizing his struggling career.

“Alberto told me, ‘It’s imperative that you believe completely in what we’re going to do,’ ” Ritzenhein recalled, “ ‘because it will be completely different from anything you’ve been taught.’ ”

Ritzenhein, who will be running his second New York City Marathon on Sunday, finished 11th in his Big Apple debut in 2006, running 2:14:01. One year later he finished second to Ryan Hall at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Central Park.

Since making the switch to Salazar, Ritzenhein has revamped his running career, setting a then American record of 12:56.27 in the 5,000 meters on the track last summer, along with a sixth-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the IAAF Track & Field Championships. Last fall, he ran 60-flat at the IAAF World Half MArathon Championships, taking the bronze medal.

For More: The New Yorker

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