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Biofile Alberto Salazar Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Winner of three New York City Marathons.

DOB: August 7, 1958 In: Cuba 

First running memory: “I would say winning junior high school ‘field day’ 600 meters. First big race I ever won [smiles].”  

Running inspirations: “One was Steve Prefontaine…Dave Bedford from England…And Ron Clarke from Australia.” 

Hobbies/leisure activities: “Besides coaching and working at Nike – that’s pretty much my work and it’s a hobby. As far as leisure activities – it’s my family.” 

Favorite movie: Raging Bull with Robert DeNiro I loved.” 

Favorite TV show: “Law & Order.” 

Favorite ice cream flavor: “Light chocolate chip mint.” 

Favorite meal: “Arroz y pollo. It’s a Cuban dish, chicken with rice.”  

Current car: “BMW.” 

First car: “Was a yellow VW Rabbit.” 

First job: “Was busboy and a baker at a restaurant, Mel’s restaurant.” 

Childhood dream:  “For a while, a priest, and a policeman.” 

Greatest sports moment: “Running career…winning the Comrades Marathon (56 miles) in 1994 in South Africa. (Why that over New York City Marathon?) Because I’d been retired for a long time and it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life.” 

Most painful moment: “Comrades Marathon.” 

Funny career memory: “My father running the  New York City Marathon, running right behind me, and screwing up the timing system two years in a row. Because he was the second person to cross, so everybody was off by a place after that. So Fred Lebow – the last year – had two State Troopers assigned to my dad – to tackle him if he tried to cross the finish line [smiles].” 

Embarrassing career memory: “When in high school, lined up to race, pulled my sweats down and I forgot my shorts. I was in my underwear [smiles]. (What did you do?) Someone lent me a pair of shorts very quick.”  

Favorite marathon: “New York City Marathon.” 

Pre-race feeling: “Nervous but optimistic. A good anxiety.” 

Last vacation: “Every year we go to the Hawaii Marathon, then we take a vacation after it, my family and I.” 

Favorite runner to watch:  “Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia is my favorite runner of all. He has the most perfect biomechanics. He’s tough. Can handle anything.” 

People qualities most admired: “I would say integrity. And people who are charitable towards others.” 

Residence: Oregon. 

Career Accomplishments: Winner of  three consecutive New York City Marathons (1980, 1981, 1982); Winner of 1982 Boston Marathon; Winner of 1978 NCAA National Cross Country Championships; U.S. Olympian in 1980 (boycotted) and 1984 (finished in 15th place in marathon event); Coach of Nike Oregon Project.  

About Mark Malinowski

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