INDIANAPOLIS - Ryan Bak (Bend, Ore.) has been named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after running his debut road marathon at the California International Marathon in 2:14:17 as the top American finisher.
Bak finished second overall and well under the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon standard of 2:19:00. Bak ran a near even race as he came through the halfway point in 1:07:17.
“I was elated and very happy to finish second and run as fast as I did,” Bak said. “I hit halfway and felt very comfortable. As each mile clicked off I felt great. With 10 km to go, I knew I’d be under the standard and I started to get excited.”
Bak retired from competitive racing in 2009 and returned to running this July when he relocated to Bend, Oregon. Bak was a Division III standout at Trinity College before representing the Oregon Track Club as a 5,000m runner. Bak competed in both the 2004 and 2008 trials on the track in the 5,000m.
Since Bak has returned to training this summer, he has explored longer trail races including both the USA 50 km and Marathon Trail Championships, where Bak finished as the runner-up to his training partner Max King.
“I’m exploring longer stuff and I think it suits me better than shorter and faster stuff on the track,” Bak said. “I’ve finally found my niche and it feels great.”
Now in its tenth year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on www.usatf.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
Winners: January 5, Bill Tribou; January 12, Tyler Sorensen; January 20, Josh Cox; January 26,Ben Shorey; February 2, Ashton Eaton; February 9, Ashton Eaton; February 16, Bernard Lagat; February 23, Ryan Crouser; March 2, Jillian Camarena-Williams; March 10, Bill Collins; March 16, Miles Batty; March 23, Shalane Flanagan; March 30, John Nunn; April 6, Aries Merritt; April 13, Gunnar Nixon; April 20, Desiree Davila; April 27, Nolan Shaheed; May 4, Emma Coburn; May 11, Willie Gault; May 18, English Gardner; May 25, Kibwé Johnson; June 1, Khadevis Robinson; June 8, Carmelita Jeter; June 15, Lukas Verzbicas; June 22, Aisling Cuffe; June 29, Trevor Barron; July 6, Aldrich Bailey; July 13, Jillian Camarena-Williams; July 20, Johnnye Valien; July 27, Bernard Lagat; August 3, Marcus Krah; August 9, Leo Manzano; August 17, Magdalena Lewy Boulet; August 24, Brigetta Barrett; September 7, LaShinda Demus; September 14, Kasie Enman; September 21, Galen Rupp; September 28, Max King; October 5, Kathryn Martin; October 13, William Boland; October 19, Janet Cherobon-Bawcom; October 26, Michael Wardian; November 2 Sara Hall; November 9, Meb Keflezighi; November 16, Shalane Flanagan; November 23, Ryan Haebe; November 30, Dave Talcott; December 7, Ryan Bak