Solinsky retires from professional running career
Stevens Point native and former SPASH standout Chris
Solinsky announced he was ending his professional running career Wednesday,
Solinsky, the former American-record holder in the
10,000-meter run, had hoped to make the 2016 Olympics at 5,000 meters for
United States men’s track and field team.
Solinsky, 31, announced his retirement Wednesday on the
website for KIMbia Athletics, which represents some of the best distance
runners in the world.
“This summer I felt like I was
getting rolling again,” said Solinsky in the statement, “but in the fall I had
Achilles tendinitis in my right leg that was slowing me down, and then my left
calf seized up and I had a heavy limp. By the first of the year I hadn’t run
regularly for six weeks. I thought, ‘I can’t even do simple stuff without
falling apart. How am I going to get to the Trials, much less qualify for the
With personal bests of 12:55.53
for 5,000 meters and 26:59.60 for 10,000 meters, set in 2010, Solinsky is the
second-fastest American ever at both distances. But the following year, he
tripped over his dog while he was going down stairs, and what had been a
chronic left hamstring strain became a full-blown avulsion, in which the
hamstring tendons separated from his pelvis. He had surgery to reattach the
hamstring in September 2011.
“I was 100 percent convinced I
could get back to the level I’d been at (before surgery),” said Solinsky. In
the spring of 2013, he had his best post-surgery result, 13:23 for 5,000
meters. But he was unable to sustain solid training without injuries repeatedly
popping up. After deciding July’s Olympic Trials were out of the picture, “I
thought maybe I’d just keep running and compete when and where I can,” said
Solinsky. “But I don’t really want to do that. That would feel like I was
running for a paycheck, and running has never been like that for me.
“I’m very appreciative of what
Nike has done for me over the last nine years,” he said. “It didn’t feel fair
toward Nike to just be going through the motions. Nike was behind me 100
percent, maybe longer than they should have been. They were there once my
hamstring snapped off even when the times fell off.”
Solinsky was an eight-time State Champion in cross country
and track at SPASH. He ran cross country and track at the NCAA Division 1
University of Wisconsin, where he won five National Titles before he graduated
As a professional, he placed fifth in the 2008 Olympic
Trials in the 5,000 after he took the lead in the last lap. Later that year he
moved to Portland, Ore., to train with other professional distance runners.
In 2010, he set the American record in his 10,000-meter
debut at the Payton Jordan Invitational with a time of 26:59.
Since the fall of 2014, Solinsky has worked as an assistant
coach for the country and track teams at the College of William and Mary in
Williamsburg, VA, and will continue with his career in coaching.
“I knew early on I wanted to
coach,” said Solinsky. “I had two great coaches in high school, Donn Behnke and
Pat Leahy, and (college and pro coach) Jerry (Schumacher) has been a great
coach, friend and mentor. Seeing the impact they had made
me want to get into coaching.”