Over the next week or so, I will get the entire Rick Riley interview up on the blog. The first part, called Rick Riley, High School Running, Then and Now, will be available tomorrow morning.
The questions I sent to Rick jumped started our conversation and that's the way I'll present it - a conversation between the two of us, and an invitation for you to eavesdrop. If you want to add your own points, you can do that by email or in the comments section.
Below are the questions.
.1 Compared to kids today, you started running comparatively late – 9th grade, I think. Did you play other sports as a youth or was running your first foray into athletics?
2. You were a high school phenom in the 60’s, chasing Gerry Lindgren, another Spokane great, when the area was producing some of the finest distance runners in the country. How is the region different now than then?
3. You were running at the end of the amateur era when athletes who needed to make a living on their running had to take money under the table to maintain their amateur status or work to survive. We now live in an era of professional runners but a huge number of them still can’t make a living at the sport and still set training around jobs. First, what it like in that late 60’s/early 70’s period for you as an athlete?
4. And second, what kinds of changes would you like to see to allow more athletes treat running – in all the events, not just the sexy ones like the marathon – as a true profession?
5. You returned to coaching five or six years ago after more than twenty years away. The world changed a lot in that time. How has that affected the way that you coach?
6. You ran against – and beat! – Steve Prefontaine. Since his death, no one has stepped onto the American running scene and generated as much enthusiasm as Pre. What was it about Pre that made him special to the fans, caused them to chant his name? Was it a product of the time, the first great American Running Boom?
7. Do you see anyone on the horizon that can pick up the mantle from Pre?
8. Every runner has those special moments that become favorite memories, whether from a race, a training run, or an interaction with another runner. Do you have one that you feel comfortable sharing? (Rick, this one is pretty personal – if you don’t want to answer it, I’ll drop it from the article.)
9. If you had a magic wand and could change a few rules for xc and track, how would you rearrange things?
10. Lastly, you’re at an age where people begin to consider their legacy. I’ve watched as you have shared your knowledge with athletes generations removed from your years as a competitor. From your perspective as someone who reached the pinnacles of running, what one thing above all else would you like to impart to the young athletes?