Profile On The Man Who Once Beat Salazar

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jan. 5, 2011
Adrian Royle took on Alberto Salazar and won. Photo: This is Grimsby.

Adrian Royle took on Alberto Salazar and won. Photo: This is Grimsby.

He took on the best runners in the world and prevailed.

At the 1981 U.S. Cross-Country championships in Burbank, California, all eyes were on the likes of Alberto Salazar, Steve Scott, or Henry Rono. But the running world was in for a surprise that day when a young man from England ended up winning the race. His name is Adrian Royle. In a recent profile on Royle on a British Web site, Royle recalled that upset race.

“It was an absolutely loaded field,” he said. “We went off like a rocket up the first hill, before sweeping down on a gravel track. I had never gone off so fast in my life. I kept going, and was up towards the front with guys like Nick Rose and Alberto Salazar.”

Before that day, Royle had been running doubles up to 132 miles a week, taking just nine days off of running for the year. He trained in Reno, Nevada–a place he describes as “perfect for me. It was dry, with sunshine 360 days a year.”

For More: This is Grimsby

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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