Rupp was one of the standout performers at the 2010 U.S. Olympic Trials, winning his premier event, the 10,000 meters, then upsetting Bernard Lagat to prevail in the 5000-meter final. His performance was another step forward in a career that’s featured steady, gradual improvement.
Rupp’s introduction to track and field was amazingly similar to that of his training partner Mo Farah. Like his British counterpart, soccer was Rupp’s favorite sport growing up, before a coach became impressed by the running ability he displayed on the field. In Rupp’s case, several coaches detected his running potential, the first being his mother, Jamie, a middle school track coach. But young Galen showed little interest in running. Indeed, Jamie had to offer her son a reward of a McDonald’s meal in exchange for running with her.
Rupp was playing varsity soccer as a high school freshman when his mother convinced him to meet the school’s new cross country coach, former marathon standout Alberto Salazar. Soon Rupp was practicing soccer most of the week, with one day set aside for cross country training. By the time he left high school Rupp was one of the top junior distance runners in the U.S. Based on Salazar’s advice, Rupp then decided to run for the University of Oregon.
Rupp had a strong college career, with his senior season being his major breakthrough. Rupp was the first distance runner to win six NCAA championships in one school year, beginning with the cross country title in the fall of 2008. Early in 2009 he captured indoor championships in the 3000 and 5000 meters, and ran on Oregon’s victorious distance medley relay team. He then capped the 2009 outdoor season with NCAA titles in the 5000 and 10,000 meters.
Rupp made his first two U.S. senior national teams while still attending Oregon. He went on to finish 11th in the 10,000 meters at the 2007 World Championships and 13th at the 2008 Olympics. He’s since finished eighth and seventh, respectively, at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships in the 10,000, and was ninth at Daegu in the 5000 meters. Rupp took fifth place in the 3000 meters at the 2010 World Indoor Championships.
Rupp, who still trains with Salazar, has run everything from 800 meters to the half marathon and may eventually settle in as a marathon runner. Rupp has broken four minutes in the mile (3:57.72 in 2010) and ran his first half marathon in 1:00:30, the third-best run in U.S. history at that time. He set the U.S. 10,000-meter record of 26:48.00 in Brussels in 2011.
- Height: 5-feet-11
- Weight: 138 pounds
- Birth date: May 8, 1986
- Hometown: Portland, Oregon
- Personal best: 7:42.40 (3000 meters); 12:58.90 (5000 meters); 26:48.00 (10,000 meters)