Reston's Alan Webb, a champion runner who missed the Olympics last summer despite a training regimen that involved soaking his legs in trash cans full of ice, is leaving our fair community and his former high school coach to continue training.
After two consecutive disappointing seasons, Alan Webb has decided to split with long-time coach Scott Raczko and leave his hometown of Reston, Va., to be coached by Alberto Salazar in Portland, Ore.As we said last summer, Webb faced a tough choice: Work in a climate-controlled, state-of-the-art training compound, quite possibly staffed by incredibly hot Nordic trainers wearing spandex... or jog along Reston Parkway. A tough choice, indeed.
Raczko has coached Webb for 10 years, guiding him to the U.S. prep record in the mile (3:53.43) in 2001 and to the U.S. record (3:46.91) in 2007, plus three national 1,500-meter titles.
Since the successes of 2007, Webb has struggled. He overtrained in 2008 and failed to make the Olympic team. Hamstring and Achilles tendon injuries undermined this season. Webb withdrew from the 1,500 final at the U.S. championships, forfeiting an opportunity to qualify for the world championships.
Salazar, reached by phone in Switzerland where he's supervising altitude training for some of his runners prior to the Aug.15-23 world championships in Berlin, said Webb visited Portland a few months ago and liked the facilities.
"Two weeks ago Alan called asking me to become his coach," Salazar said. "To be honest I was completely surprised by it."
Raczko has coached Webb since his sophomore year at South Lakes High School with the exception of the 2001-02 academic year when Webb was a freshman at the University of Michigan.