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Why are runners dumping the Nike Oregon Project?

Additions and departures seem to be the recent trend with the high-performance training group

Nike Oregon Project

The Nike Oregon Project has seen significant turnover in the last 12 months.

A number of notable athletes have departed, as well as joined in place of the exiting athletes, the high-profile training group headed by Alberto Salazar out of the Portland, Ore area. The controversial group has been in the news on countless occasions in recent years because of alleged misuse of medications for performance-enhancing benefits. Salazar has denied all allegations.

The most recent athlete to move away from Portland (albeit he’s still training under the guidance of Salazar from afar) is Matt Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic champion over 1,500m. Prior to Centrowitz, Mo Farah, one of the great runners of this generation, announced that he was moving back to England to pursue the marathon. Canadian Cam Levins left the Oregon Project in June 2017. (Mary Cain left the group in October 2016.)


The group, which trains at Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., has added as many athletes as have departed in recent months and years. In 2017, additions included IAAF World Championships bronze medallist over 800m Clayton Murphy, world indoor champion Yomif Kejelcha and former NCAA star Craig Engels. No women have joined the group since Sifan Hassan in late 2016, according to the team’s roster page.


Jordan Hasay and Galen Rupp, both marathoners, are two of the group’s longest-serving members. Rupp has been coached by Salazar since he was 15 and the group’s success peaked in 2012 when Rupp and Farah went 1-2 in the men’s 10,000m at the London Olympics. Hasay, one of the fastest American marathoners in history, joined the Oregon Project in 2013. Shannon Rowbury too joined the Oregon Project in 2013.

A number of factors have led to the departure of athletes including for different types of training (Farah), returning to near their hometown (Centrowitz) or because the training didn’t fit with their personal history (Levins).