Long-distance running legend Joe Vigil followed a reclusive tribe of Mexican ultramarathoners into the Rocky Mountains hoping to find the secret of its success—and discovered a way of life. Excerpted from Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall, published by Alfred A. Knopf in May 2009.
Joe Vigil was head coach at Adams State College for nearly 30 years. Vigil led teams to 12 NAIA National Cross Country Championships and the 1995 NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championship, the last with a perfect score of 15 points. In cross-country and track & field, Vigil’s teams won a total of 19 national championships. His overall record at Adams State stands at 94.2 percent with 3,014 wins and 176 losses. Vigil was named National Coach of the Year on 14 different occasions. He also produced 425 All Americans and 87 individual national champions during his tenure at Adams State. Vigil has also had success in coaching post-collegiate athletes, including 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist in the marathon, Deena Drossin Kastor. He has served on 17 international coaching staffs including the World Cross Country Championships, the Pan American Games, the World Championships, and the Olympic Games.
Jon Sinclair’s career has been marked by consistency and longevity as a road racer with more wins and placings than any other male runner in modern road racing history. While at Colorado State University, Jon Sinclair set several long distance records, competed on two NCAA Cross Country teams along with the NCAA indoor nationals, and in 1979 he won two All-American awards. From 1981 to 1993, Jon Sinclair won 25 long distance road races. In 1984 he was the USA National 10,000 meter track champion and a finalist for the 5,000 meters in the 1984 Olympics along with being a finalist in the marathon in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. He is the current U.S. record holder for the 12km on the roads and former U.S. record holder for the 5km on the roads. Among numerous international team-racing achievements, Jon Sinclair is the all time cumulative men’s point leader in the Runner’s World Road Race Rankings. In 1995, he co-founded Anaerobic Management, an internet based coaching business.
Frank Shorter is an American former long-distance runner and is credited with igniting the running boom in the United States of the 1970s. Frank Shorter is the only American athlete to win two medals in the Olympic marathon event. He won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Summer Olympics, after finishing fifth in the Olympic 10,000m final. He also won the silver medal in the marathon at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
Shorter first achieved distinction by winning the 1969 NCAA 10,000m title during his senior year at Yale. He won his first U.S. national titles in 1970 in the 5000m and 10,000m events. He also was the U.S. national 10,000m champion in 1971, 1974, 1975 and 1977. Shorter won the U.S. National Cross Country Championships four times (1970, 1971, 1972, 1973). He was the U.S. Olympic Trials Champion in both the 10,000m run and the marathon in both 1972 and 1976. He also won both the 10,000m and the marathon at the 1971 Pan American Games. Shorter was a four-time winner of the Fukuoka Marathon (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974). A long-time resident of Boulder, Colorado, Frank co-founded the Bolder Boulder in 1979.
Pat Porter was one of the most dominant U.S. distance runners of the 1980s. Pat was a two time U.S. Olympian, running the 10,000m at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic games. In 1983 he set the World Record for a road 10K at 27:31.8. He won the silver medal at the 1985 IAAF World Cup, barely missing gold by six hundredths of a second. Pat was best known for his cross-country running accomplishments, winning a record eight consecutive USA Cross Country Championships from 1982 to 1989. Pat also represented the United States at the World Cross Country Championships each of these years. His best finish at the World Championships was 4th in 1984, followed by 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th place finishes throughout his career. On July 26, 2012, Pat was killed in an airplane crash along with his 15-year old son Connor and his son’s friend. Only days before his death, Pat had been inducted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs and was also inducted into the Adams State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 in Alamosa, Colorado. He was 53 years old.
Lorraine Moller is a former athlete from New Zealand who competed in track athletics and later specialized in the marathon. Lorraine’s international career lasted over 20 years and included three Commonwealth and four Olympic Games. She won the bronze medal in the marathon at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona at the age of 37. In 1985, Lorraine broke the New Zealand 1,500m record, running 4:10.35 at Brussels. Lorraine ran her first marathon on in 1979, winning Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota in 2:37:37. The time was the fastest ever by a New Zealander and the sixth fastest ever run by a woman. She then won her next seven marathons. She was a triple winner of the Osaka Ladies Marathon, and in 1984 won the Boston Marathon. Lorraine ran the marathon in four Olympic Games: 1984, placing 5th (2:28:34); 1988, placing 33rd (2:37:52);1992 placing 3rd (2:33:59); and 1996 placing 46th (2:42:21). She also won the silver medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, running 2:28:17, her lifetime best.
Colleen De Reuck is a long-distance runner from South Africa, who became an American citizen in 2000. She has had a long-lasting career, running in her forties, and made a total of four appearances at the Summer Olympics. She was a late bloomer and her first major success came in 1995 and 1996, when she won the Honolulu Marathon and the Berlin Marathon. Despite numerous appearances in the Summer Olympics and the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, medals never came on the track. After her transfer to compete for the United States in 2000, she won her first major world medals, taking the individual bronze and team silver at the 2002 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Another team bronze came at the following year’s championships and she won at the 2004 and 2005 USA Cross Country Championships. She continues to run and finished third at the Houston Half Marathon in 2009, finishing in 1:12:14.
Ted Castaneda’s career as a distance runner started during his prep years at Colorado Springs’ Palmer High School. From there he went on to the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he earned All-America honors four times in track and once in cross-country. His best times include a 3:58.5 mile, an 8:29 two-mile, a 28:30 in the 10k, and a 2-hour, 15-minute marathon. He also competed in two U.S. Olympic Trials (5,000m and 10,000m in 1976, marathon in 1980). Castaneda has served as head coach of the men’s cross country team at Colorado College since 1980, when he also started as a volunteer assistant with the track and field program. He took over as head coach for women’s cross-country in 1993 and for track and field in 1994. During his coaching tenure, 22 cross-country and track athletes have earned All-America honors.
“From Boulder to Alamosa and Denver to Gunnison, Colorado abounds with people who have made monumental contributions to the sport of distance running at the recreational, national and international levels.
“They have made this state an international running mecca, the envy of runners across the rest of the country, a home for multiple Olympic medalists, world champions and former world- record holders. They have helped make Denver-Boulder No. 1 in the U.S. for runners per capita and the Bolder Boulder one of the world’s largest road races.
“So it’s about time somebody created a Colorado Running Hall of Fame. Thanks to the organizers of the Colorado Colfax Marathon, the long-overdue Hall becomes a reality May 18.”