American distance runner Chris Solinsky, the first man to break 27 minutes for 10,000 meters, has announced his retirement, according to agent Tom Ratcliffe.
Solinsky, 31, was hoping to make a comeback and attempt to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team on the track at July's Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. A series of injuries hindered his return from a hamstring injury in 2011.
“This summer I felt like I was getting rolling again,” Solinsky said in a press release. “But in the fall I had Achilles tendinitis in my right leg that was slowing me down, and then my left calf seized up and I had a heavy limp. By the first of the year I hadn’t run regularly for six weeks. I thought, ‘I can’t even do simple stuff without falling apart. How am I going to get to the Trials, much less qualify for the Olympics?’”
Solinsky never made an Olympic team but is the second fastest American man at 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters with personal bests of 12:55.53 and 26:59.60 respectively. He stunned the running community as he ran his 10,000 meter personal best in his debut at the distance at the 2010 Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University.
Watch Solinsky's final two laps of his American record below:
The Stevens Point, Wis. native also has five NCAA titles from his time as a member of the Wisconsin Badgers. He turned professional and followed his coach Jerry Schumacher to train in Portland, Ore as a member of the Bowerman Track Club. His former Wisconsin teammate and Bowerman Track Club training partner Matt Tegenkamp announced his retirement earlier in the year as well.
Solinsky is a coach at William and Mary since autumn 2014. He will continue coaching after his retirement.
“As a racer I liked to stick my neck out there, and I preach that a little to the team,” Solinsky says in the release. “I tell them, ‘Give yourself a chance to surprise yourself.’ That means different things for different people. Maybe you get yourself in a position you didn’t think you could be in, and with the adrenaline pumping you see what happens. You can’t be afraid of failure because if you are you’ll never succeed at the level you might be capable of.”
- Chris Chavez