After seeing Ryan Hall’s impressive growth last weekend, I had to see how he stacked up amongst other well-known bearded runners.
Written by: Mario Fraioli
I had the good fortune of spending some time with Ryan Hall this past weekend at the Endurance LIVE Consumer Show & Awards Gala here in San Diego. I almost didn’t recognize the American half-marathon record holder hiding behind the out-of-control offshoot emanating from his chin. The growth was so gnarly it almost didn’t look real.
“I stuck it on there this morning,” he joked.
Ryan’s gargantuan growth of gnarlyness reminded me of my former college rival, Nate Jenkins, who was rockin’ this Paul Bunyan-like beard two years ago in the 3,000-meter final at the U.S. Indoor Championships. I was instantly fascinated, and went on a search earlier this week to see what other well-known runners had full-on facial fuzz that rivaled Ryan’s. My mind was instantly blown! In my research I discovered The Running Beard Movement Facebook Page, a page “created as a place for all bearded runners and those who support them to celebrate and promote the greatness of all forms of running beards!” Trust me, it’s worth three minutes of your time.
So without further ado I present to you the results of my recent research. Click on the images below to see who made the cut, and why. Warning: Pogonophobics please proceed with caution.
Top-5 Bearded Runners Of All-Time: Ryan Hall (Honorable Mention)
Honorable Mention: Ryan Hall Since he was the motivation for coming up with this list, how could I not include him? The usually clean-cut Californian turned more than a few heads this past weekend in San Diego with his badass beard. Will he show up with all hairs still intact on his chinny chin chin this weekend in Houston? I won't say, but it's all the more reason to tune into the race! Photo: Kurt Hoy
Top-5 Bearded Runners Of All Time: #4 Nate Jenkins
4. Nate Jenkins Since finishing seventh at the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2007, Nate has developed quite the fan following for his relentless work ethic and fearless racing. After the 2009 U.S. Indoor Track & Field Championships, however, that fan base nearly doubled—and it had nothing to do with his performance in the 3,000-meter final. Like Fam, it all comes back to the beard.
Top-5 Bearded Runners Of All Time: #3 Lee Fidler
3. Lee Fidler Who? Just look at this picture of Fidler (with Benji Durden, another consideration for this list, in tow on the bike) and tell me his beard doesn't deserve to be acknowledged. Fidler's beard deserves a lot of credit, even if the two-time Olympic Trials qualifier who finished 11th at the 1975 Boston Marathon doesn't get nearly the recognition he deserves for his athletic achievements. Photo: Running Times/Lee Fidler
Top-5 Bearded Runners Of All Time: #5 Anton Krupicka
5. Anton Krupicka If Jesus were a distance runner, Anton Krupicka would be the man he tried to emulate. Consistency is the key to success in distance running and the same holds true for keeping a good growth going. Anton has 'em both down pat.
Top-5 Bearded Runners Of All Time: #2 Fred Lebow
2. Fred Lebow While the others on this list have facial hair that's come and gone throughout the years, Lebow's is iconic. You can't think of the founder of the New York City Marathon without thinking of his brilliant beard, and the fully filled-in chops that went with it. Photo: Sports Illustrated
Top-5 Bearded Runners Of All Time: #1 Anthony Famiglietti
1. Anthony Famiglietti Adding to the electricity and excitement of the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene was the nest of hair resting on Fam's chin. I encourage you to check out the image of his beard in the shot above: it's got length, depth and a hint of unruliness. It wasn't talent, luck or determination that got Fam on the Olympic team in the steeplechase. It was all the beard. Photo: OregonianPhoto