Decorated race walker Tim Seaman retires after USA Indoor Championships
American race walker Tim Seaman (New York, N.Y.) will line-up one last time Sunday, Feb. 23, before officially announcing his retirement after USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque this weekend.
“I think it’s the right time,” said Seaman, whose race walking legacy has been a history in the making. “I don’t think I could match my 2013 season of winning USA Indoors at 40-years-old and USA Outdoors at 41,” he continued. “I can’t top that, so I think it’s better to go out on top.
“USATF has given me the opportunity to travel across the world, to make great friends and to have unforgettable memories. Their assistance over the years has been irreplaceable. I set 12 American records in my career. I still have eight of them. The opportunity to wear “USA” across your chest is something that only USA Track & Field could have given me and that really means a lot.”
Seaman’s storied career began when his high school coach encouraged him to compete as a miler because the team needed extra points at an event on Long Island. Seaman accepted the challenge, laced up and set his race walking destiny in motion. The summer following his senior year, he became a 10 km Junior National Champion with a time of 49:36.14, and he received a college scholarship to the University of Wisconsin Parkside.
As a collegiate athlete, Seaman became the school’s first four-time NAIA race walk champion, propelling his career into the elite, national race walking scene.
At USA Championships alone, Seaman became a 13-time Indoor 5,000m RW champion, winning consecutive years from 1998-2007, and in 2009, 2010 and 2013. He is a seven-time USA 20 km champion, winning in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2014, and he was the USA 10 km champion in 2010. In all, Seaman now holds an astonishing eight separate American records, and his 13 USA Indoor titles rank highest in the sport’s history.
Seaman competed in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, but his greatest performance came four years later when he surpassed the previous top American Olympic time, finishing 1:25:42 at the Athens 2004 Games.
“My first Olympics didn’t go exactly as I wanted,” he said, “but my second Olympic Games was the highest place for an American in the last 28 years. And for that, I’m proud.”
Transitioning into a role as a full-time coach has been bittersweet for Seaman, but he now sees his impact on the next generation of race walkers and takes pride in their success.
“The second fastest ever is Trevor Barron, whom I coached,” said an honored Seaman. “He walked faster than me in London, and he is the only American to ever walk faster than me. The pinnacle moment of my coaching career is knowing that two-thirds of the Americans in London in racewalking walked the fastest times ever by Americans at the Olympics.”
Currently also the coach at Cuyamaca Community College in San Diego, Seaman continues the final phase of his professional career with reminders of the journey.
“I’ve had a very long career, and I’m really happy for the opportunities provided to me by USA Track & Field and the New York Athletic Club.” He met my wife Rachel (Lavelle) Seaman at the 2006 IAAF World Cup in Spain, and he made many financial sacrifices to compete after college in addition to moving across the country and overcoming the setbacks of nagging injuries.”
Despite the memories and sentiments along the way, Seaman looks ahead remembering every voice of encouragement , especially his first. Even his faithful Coach Manhardt rode a bicycle beside him during Seaman’s final preparations for the last competition of his legendary career.