Olympic-Bound Americans Head To Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes is a popular high-altitude training destination for American Olympic runners. Photo: Los Angeles Times

Many athletes like Meb Keflezighi train there to stay competitive.

One could say that the 2009 ING New York City Marathon champion, Meb Keflezighi has “been to the mountaintop.”

The Eritrean-born American, who won the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon earlier this year in Houston, Texas, liked the mountains around Mammoth Lakes, California so much that he bought a house there.

Keflezighi made that decision 11 years ago. Now, he’s as comfortable as ever at altitude.

“We had a vision to be able to change U.S. distance running by coming here,” he said. “And the vision came true. This was a distance runner’s heaven.”

The benefits of high-altitude training aren’t newly discovered, which is why American runners have been coming to Mammoth’s thin air for years.

“When you anecdotally look at how many people are getting the medals and are training at altitude, there is enough evidence that most people shouldn’t overlook,” says Keflezighi’s coach, Bob Larsen.”You have to conclude that if your red blood mass increases dramatically when you’ve been at altitude for a while, you’re going to have an advantage when you get to sea level.”

For More: Los Angeles Times

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