Former Alberto Salazar athlete and Nike Oregon Project member Galen Rupp has announced that he’s working with NAU (Northern Arizona University) coach Mike Smith. The two-time Olympic medallist had been coached by Salazar since high school but was forced to make a change following the coach’s four-year ban for doping violations.
Shortly after Salazar was banned (in the middle of the 2019 Doha World Championships) Nike closed the door on one of its most successful training groups. This left the runner seeking new coaching and Rupp chose Smith.
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“This to me is ultimately the real sign of a team; It’s not what you do when you’re on top of the mountain forever, it’s moments like this. Let’s see how NAU responds. This to me is the coaching.” Video by @flotrack of @coach_mike_smith’s thoughts on the NAU men’s runner-up finish at XC Nationals 🔗 in bio for full interview #NAUStrong⚒🌲💪
Smith is one of the most successful men’s distance running coaches currently working in the NCAA. He helped the NAU men to back-to-back cross-country championships in 2017 and 2018. Rupp has reportedly been working with the coach for several months. The runner told The Oregonian that he plans to remain in Oregon but will have his training overseen by Smith. Rupp is currently training for the upcoming US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta.
Rupp’s most recent race was the 2019 Chicago Marathon where he pulled out with 7K to go. The runner had sustained a calf strain that he couldn’t push through come race day. His former teammate Jordan Hasay also didn’t finish the race.
Where the former NOP runners have gone for coaching
Jordan Hasay – Paula Radcliffe
Galen Rupp – Mike Smith
Clayton Murphy – Lee Labadie
Many former NOP members are reportedly training under former NOP assistant coach Pete Julian.