Hometown: Rockford, MI
Birthday: Dec 30, 1982
High School: Rockford High (MI)
College: Univ. of Colorado
Current Residence: Portland, OR
Coach: Alberto Salazar
Agent: Peter Stubbs
1500 - 3:42.99
3k - 7:39.03
2 mile - 8:11.74
5k - 12:56.27 AR
10k - 27:22.28
Half Marathon - 60:00
Marathon - 2:10
2009 World Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist; 6th at Worlcd Championships 10k;
U.S. men's 5,000m record holder; 2008 Olympic Trials Ė Menís Marathon runner-up; 2005 & 2008 USA 12 km Cross Country champion;
2004 NCAA Outdoor 5,000m runner-up; 2003 NCAA XC Champion; 2001 World XC Junior bronze medalist
After his American record in the 5k, Ritzenhein went on to win the bronze medal at the World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham, England
running 60:00 and setting a PR. In doing so he became the first American to medal at these championships.
At the Weltklasse Zurich meeting Ritzenhein smashed Bob Kennedy's American record of 12:58.21 in the 5,000 meters
by almost 2 seconds on August 28, 2009 by finishing third in 12 minutes 56.27 seconds. It was a 20 second personal
best for Ritzenhein, which makes him the third-fastest non-African in history. In his first race under new coach Alberto Salazar,
Ritzenhein finished sixth in a personal best time of 27:22.28 in the 10,000 meters at the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany,
posting the best time ever by an American at a World Championships and the fastest time by an American in 2009. His sixth-place finish is also the
best ever by an American at these World Championships. The London Marathon held great expectations for Ritzenhein as there was a loaded field of top marathoners
from all over the world and a fast course. Ritzenhein was looking to run a big personal best and place in the top five, however, the race didn't go as planned with Ritz
finishing in 2:10.00 and 11th place. Ritzenhein was the top finishing American in the menís marathon at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, finish in
placing ninth in 2:11:59. Ritzenhein put on an impressive display in finishing as the runner-up at the 2008 Olympic Trials- Menís Marathon with a personal
best time of 2:11:06, which improved greatly upon his previous PR of 2:14:01 from 2006. Also in 2007, Ritz showed his versatility through his 9th place
10,000m finish at the World Outdoor Championships in Osaka, Japan, and in setting a new personal best at 3,000m (7:39.03). 2006 was a
landmark season for Ritzenhein where he posted personal bests in the 5,000m, 10,000m, half-marathon and also had an impressive marathon debut with his 11th-place finish
at the New York City Marathon.
In 2005 he set a then personal best in the 5,000 meters (13:22.23),
and posted a win at the USA Cross Country Championships (12
km) and a shocking victory over many of the worldís best cross
country runners at the 2005 Reebok XC Challenge in Belfast,
Ireland. Just prior to the 2004 Olympic Trials, Ritzenhein
incurred his third career stress fracture. Despite
the pain, Ritzenhein competed at the Trials and ended his
10,000m race in Sacramento in 22nd place, fully breaking his
foot in the process. Having already secured the ďAĒ qualifying
standard for the Olympics, Ritzenhein earned his spot on the
team when Meb Keflezighi decided to only compete in the marathon
at Athens, and Bob Kennedy was unable to finish his Trials
race due to a sore Achilles. Ritz decided to forego his remaining eligiblity at CU and turn pro signing with Nike.
In the Olympics Ritzenhein was unable to finish
the 10,000m in Athens due to pain from calcium deposits in
Ritzenhein followed up his storied high school career by having a dominant college career.
He owned the American 10 km collegiate record (27:38.50),
four Big 12 Conference titles (2003 cross country, 2004 indoor
3,000-m, 5,000-m and outdoor 5 km), four All-American titles
(2001, 03 cross country, 2004 indoor and outdoor 5 km), the
10,000-m school record (27:38.50) and the nationís only undefeated
cross country season in 2003 to capture his first and only
NCAA crown. During 2003-2004,
he won the Pre-National Invitational, Big 12 Cross Country
Championship, NCAA Mountain Region Championship, and NCAA
Championship just 10 weeks after resuming training following
a femoral stress fracture to cap off the nationís only undefeated
season (792-0). He was the Big 12 Indoor Championships MVP
and Performer of the Year with wins in a 3k meet record (8:01.23)
and 5k. He was also a 5k All-American in 13:42.09, the second
fastest indoor 5k in CU history. During the outdoor campaign,
he finished sixth at the Stanford Invitational in an Olympic
Trials ďAĒ Standard, American Collegiate Record and 31-year
CU School Record 27:38:50 in his first-ever 10k on the track.
Eighteen hours later he claimed the Big 12 5 km title in Norman,
Okla., and went on to claim the NCAA Midwest Region 5 km crown
before an NCAA 5 km runner-up finish for his fourth, and subsequent
final, career All-American certificate.
Ritzenhein ("Ritz") emerged as a cult figure among high school track fans during his junior and senior years at Rockford High School,
especially since he graduated from high school in the same year as Alan Webb and Ryan Hall, America's other budding distance prodigies.
He set numerous state and national high school records during this time, notably in the 3200m race (8:41.10) and in the 5000m (13:44.70).
He won back-to-back regional (Midwest) and national titles in the Foot Locker high school championship races in the fall of 1999 and 2000,
setting the course records at each race which still stand today.
There was major build-up to the 2000 championships due to the impending clash between Ritz, Webb, and Hall. Ritz scored a resounding victory
over Webb and Hall in Orlando, Florida, running the 5k course in 14:35. Perhaps more impressive, the previous year he claimed an unexpected
national title while setting the course record in 14:29. As a senior in high school he set the Michigan high school 5k record of 14:10 at
state finals; second place was 15:05. He finished his high school career with six national championships.