Reckless Runner: Exclusive Interview With Anthony Famiglietti

Competitor.com: You weren’t on any of the start lists at the recent U.S. Outdoor Championships. What have you been up to? What are your goals in terms of the 2012 Olympics?

Anthony Famiglietti: I basically hit the reset button recently and kind of restarted from scratch in a build-up towards the 2012 Trials and ultimately the Olympic Games. I’m doing a very specific and tailored build-up to get ready for that. I’ve been in the sport a really long time now. I’ve been such a low-mileage guy and I’ve developed so slowly over the years. I wasn’t a high-school superstar; I wasn’t a college superstar. I didn’t really develop until I turned pro. So I’ve got a lot of longevity and I’m trying to make the most of it. I’ve faced different obstacles over the years that have kind of gotten in the way of me reaching my full potential, so I am saying, “What do I need to do to be a medalist?” I’ve already made the team twice. I’ve already been the U.S. Trials champion. I’ve come close to setting American records. I’ve kind of faltered, because of mistakes I’ve made or different illnesses that have come up or other weird stuff. Sometimes you have to sit down and really examine what it is you really want to achieve and what you have to do to get there. Sometimes that means making sacrifices. That’s what I’m trying to do right now.

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I’m still looking at the steeplechase. I think honestly that the steeple may be my best chance at a medal. I always like to see how I develop, because I’ve always surprised myself over the years with what I’ve been able to do off of different training. As you get older, sometimes your strengths are in different areas. I think I was born for the steeple. I can not run over hurdles for eight months and then go over hurdles and it feels like I did it yesterday. It’s hard to throw that away. So I think I’d like to give that a shot. But I never like to put anything in stone, because I tend to change my mind.

What do you think about the steeplechase as an event specific to Americans? Specific to the men, it seems like a lot of the fast guys who could do well in that event, maybe even medal, guys like Chris Solinsky, avoid it, because they don’t want to get hurt.

It is dangerous.

As a person who runs reckless and embodies a lot of the front-running spirit of someone like [Steve] Prefontaine, do you find that this caution and aversion to the steeple hurts the United States’ chances on the world stage?

You can’t blame them. Look at the guys who started running steeple when I did. They are almost all gone, because of injuries sustained while running steeplechase. Take for instance Tim Broe with his broken sesamoids in his foot from steepling. Gone. Daniel Lincoln’s was a steeple-related injury from what I can understand. Even Steve Slattery having to pull out recently from the prelims. He was a DNF. I’m nearly certain it was a steeple injury-related issue. And then look at guys like Robert Gary who took time away from training and moved to coaching probably sooner than he should have. I do think he had an injury that pushed him earlier towards coaching. The list goes on and on—people who ended their career because of the steeplechase. So, these guys and their coaches have a good reason to think that way.

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