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Jason Hartmann — May, 2013
Jason Hartmann finished fourth in both the 2013 and 2012 Boston Marathons where each time he was first American. He and Ryan Hall are the only U.S. men with back-to-back top four finishes at Boston in the past 30 years. Jason was also first American at the 2010 Chicago Marathon where he ran his personal best time of 2:11:06. He beat favored Kenyans in the latter stages of the race to win the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in 2:12:09. Jason finished tenth in the 2008 Olympic Trials Marathon. He placed ninth at the 2013 New York City Half Marathon in a personal best time of 1:01:52. Jason represented the U.S. in Championship races including 2006 World Cross Country, 2005 World Half Marathon, 2007 Pan American Games and 2000 World Junior Cross Country. He is a 2004 graduate of the University of Oregon where he was a six-time All-American, finished fourth in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2002 and 2003 along with a third place in 2001. He graduated from Rockford High School (Michigan) in 1999 where highlights included two Michigan MIHSAA Cross Country Championships in 1997 and 1998 and State titles in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters in 1998. His personal best times include: 5000 meters - 13:36.33; 10,000m - 28:15.22; 15k - 44:12; Half marathon – 1:01:52; Marathon - 2:11:06. He currently is dedicated full-time to being a professional runner. Additionally, he is Assistant Coach at Niwot High School. He resides in Boulder, Colorado with his dog and ‘main man,’ Maximus. Jason was very kind to spend nearly an hour and a half on the telephone for this interview eight days after the 2013 Boston Marathon.
GCR:Congratulations on your fourth place finish for the second straight year at the 2013 Boston Marathon. What does this say about your consistency and ability to race this hilly course since you and Ryan Hall are the only American men to have back-to-back top four finishes in the past 30 years?
JHI think that a big component in my success at Boston is really being honest with myself and assessing situations as they arise. A lot of times other runners, such as many of the Kenyans, race much more aggressively and make stronger moves. To be successful I can’t do that. I know where I am at and what I can do. I just try to run as even an effort as possible and, then at 21 miles when we get off of the Newton hills, that is kind of when my race begins. If a runner runs smart at Boston for the first 21 miles, then there can be a great day. I have been fortunate to be in those positions where I ran smart and a controlled effort, didn’t attack on the uphills and then I passed people during the last five or six miles.
GCR:It is interesting how you speak about running within yourself as so many people focus on times instead of effort and course difficulty. There were eight or nine competitors at this year’s Boston Marathon with personal best times under 2:07 and you still finished fourth. Do you feel that your strengths are better suited to running within yourself, a more challenging, hilly marathon course or a combination of both?
JHPeople do emphasize times, and one thing at Boston is you don’t know what you are going to get some days. We battled a headwind during the Newton hills and then coming toward the finish there was a headwind coming in off of the ocean. So we should look at relative times in the Boston Marathon. When I was fourth a year ago the gap from the winner to my time was similar to the year before when the winner ran 2:03:02 and Ryan Hall ran 2:04:58. The finishing times may vary, but the gaps to places may be close from year to year. I haven’t run 2:06 or 2:07, but it is a great equalizer course for me because it slows people down. Also, it’s not a rabbited race so there are strategies that play out to my benefit. I have been able to capitalize on other runners’ mistakes, focus on myself and to not really race until the latter stage of the marathon.
GCR:I would like to delve into details of your past two Boston Marathons, but let’s focus first on the horrific bombing done by terrorists near the Boston Marathon finish line. It must have been terrible to experience the shock of the terrorist bombing attack on Boston Marathon spectators a couple of hours after you finished. Where were you when you heard and describe the difference in post-race emotions before and after that terrible attack?
JHI was in drug testing after the race and then was back in my room responding to some text messages when the attack happened, though I wasn’t aware of the bombing. Suddenly my text messages weren’t going through which I thought was a little weird as I had just sent some without any problem. So I thought I might as well turn on the television. That is when I first noticed that 200 meters away the bombs had been detonated and there was complete chaos down there in the streets. We were basically locked down in our rooms until I left the next day. It definitely was a two-end spectrum as I did really well and at first was really excited and overjoyed. Then two hours later there was this huge tragedy, we didn’t know what was going on and what was going to happen. I was worried about friends and family and everyone who was around. I hoped everybody would get out of the situation safely. There was mass chaos; there was a level of uncertainty and being close to something like that really hit home to me. To be honest, when I flew home the next day I was almost as relieved when I landed in Denver as I was when I crossed the finish line.
GCR:Now that over a week has passed since the marathon, the terrorists have been killed or captured and it appears they acted alone, how have your thoughts changed or expanded?
JHI wouldn’t say that my outlook on running has changed or that my entries into races now could include an element of fear. I am going to continue to live my life and, God forbid, if something happens. I like to think that God is my bodyguard. My outlook hasn’t changed and I hope for the masses and running enthusiasts that it doesn’t. We are not an easy community to knock down. Whether you win or you finish 27,000th at the Boston Marathon, a lot of people know what runners go through, the pain they feel, the mindset we have of ‘I can overcome this’ and ‘I’m not going to let my tiredness or how much I’m hurting defeat me.’ I hope this unites us and will bring our community of runners to an even higher level.
GCR:Thank you for relating what happened on that tragic day. Now let’s get back to talking more about your racing and training. How was your buildup to this year’s Boston Marathon, what was your strategy and how confident were you in your prospects after your fourth place finish last year?
JHAs far as my buildup goes I felt very confident. I had trained really well and was focused on a great 12 to 14 week training block for the marathon. My mileage hovered around 130 miles for ten or eleven of those weeks. I was able to be very consistent and to absorb the work I was doing without being at or over the red line. I try to focus on consistency as I prepare myself the best I can and then the race will take care of itself. So I feel a sense of ease when I step to the line as I know I have done everything I possibly could and then there is no pressure. Whether it works out or not – that’s what the race is for. I take the confidence I have and whatever is going to happen, happens.
GCR:What did you do differently in training this year compared to last year with regard to peak mileage, number of long runs, length of long runs and inserting some race-pace tempo running into your long runs?
JHOn the long runs I usually run for time though after the first hour I am most often running six minute pace per mile or faster. It isn’t by design. I just run how I feel and sometimes get rolling a bit. I cover 24 miles in 2:30 sometimes, but it isn’t by design or a goal. Then I reflect on the long runs to assess my fitness level.
GCR:What are some of your favorite intense sessions as there seem to be elite runners who prefer different sessions such as tempo runs, repeat miles or repeat two-miles?
JHThere is a famous road here in Boulder called ‘Left Hand Canyon Road’ that goes up for 17 miles that many cyclists use. We start at the bottom and run up for five or six miles. It’s a gradual climb and for me it is a good ‘check workout.’ It helps me ensure that I’m not overtraining and it helps me to absorb the work I’m doing. I run probably 5:40 pace uphill from about 5,000 to 6,000 feet of elevation. It isn’t fast by comparison, but I get a hard effort and it’s great for my legs. I also run down the hill as I try to translate the work I do in preparation for the upcoming race’s course. Since the Boston Marathon has some downhill that can really beat up your legs I include that in my training focus.
GCR:Good race efforts at shorter distances are often an indicator of marathon racing fitness and your ninth-place finish in February at the New York City Half Marathon in 1:01.51 was a personal best by over than a minute. Did this give you a twin emotional lift that validated your training and physical lift as you could possibly run faster with the same effort?
JHIt did for sure. At that point I knew that I wouldn’t have to do anything crazy in training or chase fitness going into Boston. It was a really good assessment and evaluation as to where I was. Every time I line up at the starting line of a race I want to do well, but the main goal was still Boston. I got home two days later, did a long run and got back into training. But I didn’t have to do any heroic workouts or anything I hadn’t done previously. If I hadn’t run that well I may have made adjustments such as resting more before Boston with a three-week taper instead of the two-week taper which I did this time.
GCR:Getting back to the race this year, what were some of the ‘crunch points’ in the 2013 Boston Marathon where other runners made moves and you had to make decisions to cover their moves or to hold back that ultimately helped you in the end?
JHEarly on when the main players didn’t go with the lead and it was Rob Watson, Fernando Cabada and me taking the pace worked out well as we were able to work together. That paid dividends in the long run because that group of guys caught us after five or six miles, but they probably ran a 4:30 mile to catch us. For me that would have most likely affected my finish. Racing my own plan was key in the long term. A lot of the times the leaders opened gaps on me by throwing in ridiculous surges. I was probably running five minute pace while they would run maybe 4:45 pace uphill which is a huge difference. It isn’t to say that I can’t do that, but I try to run within myself and to capitalize on others’ mistakes.
GCR:When I spoke last summer with 2012 Boston Marathon champion, Wesley Korir, he said that is basically what he did last year in the heat – he held back during the surges and conserved his energy – so it sounds like your plan was similar in that it wasn’t the moves made, but avoiding moves that weren’t optimal.
JHYou have to respect the marathon distance and respect when the hills come in the Boston Marathon. They come and they come hard and it can deter you from having a positive performance there.
GCR:How do the huge, loud crowds affect you during the Boston Marathon?
JHBoston is a great equalizer in many ways because there are no controlled variables. The crowd can get you really pumped up at some stages and then when there aren’t as many fans in some places and they aren’t as loud there isn’t that extra ‘oomph’ and it is easy to feel exhausted. So a runner had to stay within himself and not get too caught up in the crowd.
GCR:Though you finished in fourth place at both the 2012 and 2013 Boston Marathons, the weather, expectations and other elements were different. Compare and contrast the two races.
JHWhen I went into the 2012 Boston Marathon I didn’t know what the future held and I was putting everything into that race. I actually had a job interview about the same time. I pursued that race with no regrets. At the starting line I knew that many runners would be taken out of their games because of the high heat. I thought that whatever happened was going to happen but that I wasn’t going to quit. A lot of people quit that day who had the potential to beat me if they stayed in the race, but I kept plugging away and plugging away and told myself I was doing well, to relax and that I’d be okay. This year I pursued it the same way in that there is no tomorrow for me. I figured that if this race was going to define my career that I wasn’t going to beat myself. There were times this year when my foot was hurting badly, but I told myself to relax and that I was all right. I talk to myself and am a coach to myself during the races. As I plug away and other runners are coming back to me I get more confidence. All of the fans are going crazy and I keep telling myself, ‘You can do it! You can do it!’ That has been beneficial to my success in both races.
GCR:Last year must have been interesting since you had a sub-par effort at the Olympic Trials Marathon. Did you just come into Boston thinking, ‘I had a bad day and just have to put it out of my mind?’
JHThe Trials did turn out really badly for me and, as I said earlier, I didn’t know what the future held for me after Boston. I wanted to get out of the dark room and move forward with my life. That was my thought process. I was planning to push myself, race the way I wanted to and to have no regrets. If it was going to be my last race there were going to be no regrets. There was comfort in that as I approached the race with nothing to lose. That is how I approach each of my races now.
GCR:You were scheduled to race last fall’s New York City Marathon before it was cancelled due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. How ready were you for a good effort, how disappointing was it to not race and why didn’t you race somewhere else in the next couple of weeks?
JHI was very disappointed as I felt very confident in my fitness. I had a slight injury but had cross trained hard. I didn’t get in my usual mileage to get ready, but I had trained for that one day, was comfortable with my readiness and felt confident. But there was an element that was out of our control with the weather and then the controversy started building. I was there and I wanted to race. But there was a human element out of my control. I would have raced if they held the race, but there could have been a bad backlash. Maybe some New Yorkers would have had a problem with the race or possibly something could have happened that was very bad. Ultimately they made the right decision and we didn’t get the opportunity to race. I equate it to working for six months as an actor for a Broadway play where you learn all of your lines and do the rehearsals and then on the opening night of the play it is cancelled. So it was frustrating. Afterward, it was an emotional week. I looked at other opportunities for racing and I felt that in the grand scheme of things it was a better decision to shut it down.
GCR:You ran your personal best of 2:11:06 and were the top American finisher at the 2010 Chicago Marathon. Do you hope to possibly take aim on that time this fall on a fast, flat marathon course?
JHI haven’t figured out my next steps. I train hard and then I relax hard if that’s the word. I haven’t looked at my next race down the line but I would definitely like a good opportunity to run fast. I ran my 2:11 in 78 degree heat so I would like the opportunity to go faster. But I would also like the opportunity to go to New York and experience what the New York City Marathon has to offer.
GCR:One of the hardships of professional distance running is the difficulty in securing adequate sponsorship money to pay the bills and to train, even for top runners like you. Are your prospects improving and what can be done to help the many athletes in the 2:12 to 2:18 range who want to compete so that we can build a deeper base of U.S. marathoners?
JHIf I had a family I definitely couldn’t continue to run and race at my level. But if you want to do it you will make it work. In Colorado there are lots of athletes who have part-time jobs, but as a sport we have to go past the shoe companies and try to get more sponsorships that aren’t related to running shoes. If you look at the Tour de France there are sponsors like Radio Shack who don’t have a direct link to cycling. But Radio Shack is willing to spend money on groups for promotion. We need more companies to take chances like that to improve our sport as far as getting more people to stay in the sport after college. Companies need to think outside of the box and take a chance on people. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but when you are discussing money with people it is difficult as their money is important to them for many reasons.
GCR:Your biggest victory was when you won the Twin Cities Marathon in 2009 on a course that has its share of rolling hills. What were the moves that led to your victory and how exciting was it to come down that final hill to the finish and to break the tape?
JHI was really nervous going into that race because I had an Achilles problem about three weeks before the race and I had to take about a week off. I had done some research on the course and had run the U.S. 10-mile Championships there the year before so I had a good idea of what the course was about. From 21 to 26 miles there is a gradual climb so I knew that the race would begin around there. I hadn’t had the greatest success off of the bat in the marathon so it gave me confidence in my ability to race well at the marathon distance. It gave me the opportunity to try to be one of the players who try to make the Olympic team.
GCR:You have represented the United States on the road, grass and track, at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, IAAF World Cross Country Championships and the Pan American Games. How does it feel to put on the United States singlet and to compete for your country?
JHYou really can’t duplicate that anywhere. It is a great honor. When you are competing in a sport it is the ultimate goal and it gives legitimacy to a lot of people who really don’t understand the sport. I’ve been asked if I was an Olympian and I have to answer that I am not, but I have had friends who have accomplished great things and made Olympic teams. Since Dathan Ritzenhein is one of my closest friends I may say that we’ve made three Olympic teams between us. It’s kind of funny since he made the three teams.
GCR:You’ve been running competitively for half of your life though you were more of a basketball player as a youth. How did you get started running and did you find success relatively quickly?
JHI was always the fastest kid in middle school if we ran a mile. I ran a lot with my dad but didn’t like it because he was always ultra-competitive. He was in better shape than me and he would trounce me. I got to where I didn’t want to run with him anymore because each time it would turn into a competitive race. So I thought I would just run to get in shape for basketball. Then I started beating my dad and getting more of a running buzz. But I wanted to play in the NBA and pursued basketball very hard. Before my freshman year of high school I didn’t run much in the summer and I ended up being the number one freshman in the state of Michigan for cross country. I started thinking that maybe it was a better idea for me to focus on running as it could lead to better opportunities down the line. I wasn’t the fastest guy on the basketball team and couldn’t jump the highest, but I had more talent for running compared to basketball. So after my freshman year I focused more on running.
GCR:Your junior year at the MIHSAA State Cross Country it was a tight battle as you won but you and runner-up Jordan Deslets were both timed in 16:17, with Justin Momany-Pfruende at 16:18, Kevin Avaniue at 16:20 and your teammate Dathan Ritzenhein at 16:22. Did you lead or come from behind in this extremely tight race?
JHMichigan tends to have extraordinary athletes who stay somewhat under the radar. The race that day was a mud-bath and that’s why the times were slow. I was also sick going into the race and I remember afterward when I was getting interviewed by the news media that I threw up during the interview. After about two-and-a-half miles Kevin went by me and no one had been close to me all year. He got further ahead and I was thinking, ‘I can live with this,’ as I was in second place. Then I started thinking about how hard I had worked and I decided to do whatever I could to win. With about a quarter mile to go I was right there and just tried to go for the win though I was holding on for dear life. Where I made a mistake was at the finish as there were two timing mats. After the first mat I stopped and walked as I was so exhausted. That is when Jordan almost caught me as the second mat was recording times. It was a lot closer than I thought and I didn’t even know how close until the awards ceremony. It was one of the toughest races I’ve ever done as conditions don’t suit me as far as being a mud runner and then being sick was tough on top of the course conditions. I was so drained after the race and got even sicker so I didn’t even run the Footlocker Regionals the next week.
GCR:The next spring you were a double-winner at the Michigan State meet as your 4:12.8 1,600 meters edged Avaniue by less than a second and Deslets by three seconds and then you won the 3,200 meters with Richard Bauer two seconds back. How thrilling was it to win these races and what do you recall of how the races developed and the moves that led to your victories?
JHI just out-kicked them in the 1,600 meters. I don’t remember much of the race except I went past them on the home stretch. In the 3,200 meters I did the same thing as I just stayed with the leaders and outkicked them in the end.
GCR:Your senior year you repeated as Michigan State Cross Country champ with a 20 second victory over your teammate, Dathan Ritzenhein, who was runner up. Was this win a relatively easy one and how disappointing was it to finish second as a team after being second in the team race in both track and cross country your junior year?
JHIt was on the same course and it wasn’t muddy. It was a perfect day for running. I was in my own zone, but you still have to show up and do it on the day. It’s always a tough race. It was really disappointing to not win the team championship because we had worked very hard that summer and we had worked hard the previous summer but had some bad breaks as a team my junior year. My senior year at the State meet we ran very well as all of us from the first man through the fifth man got PRs at State and we averaged around 15:40. Our fourth and fifth guys ran about 16:08 – PRs and everything. I can recall getting the results and thinking, ‘What the heck!’ I had a lot of individual success but to work for something as a team, to have a strong bond and brotherhood; to work for that title and to come up just short was a letdown for all of us.
GCR:In your final prep Michigan State track meet you must have had mixed emotions as you ran faster in the 1,600 meters at 4:11.19, but finished less than a second behind John Hughes’ meet record and then you finished second in the 3,200 meters about five seconds behind Ritzenhein. Were you on top of your game, a little bit off or did they run great races?
JHThey ran great races but I was kind of ready to be done with high school. After cross country season I was in the tank a little and so I didn’t train as hard as I did in the past. All credit goes to them as they beat me but I was kind of fried at that point. Everyone was looking at me and I was the guy to beat, they were all looking at me to do something and it didn’t happen.
GCR:What colleges were you considering and what were the primary reasons you chose to go to the University of Oregon?
JHI also looked at Arizona State and Wisconsin and in the end it came down to Oregon and Wisconsin. When I took my visit to Oregon I knew it was where I wanted to be. The first time I saw Hayward Field it was the coolest thing ever as I was a track geek and it was the place to be if you were into track and field. At that time Oregon distance running was in a rebuilding phase and I felt comfortable going there as far as running, the coach and academics. I also liked how there was a certain level of knowledge among the fans there that you don’t get at most places.
GCR:At Oregon you were a six-time All-American, finished fourth in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2002 and 2003 along with a third place in 2001, and had two 10,000 meters runner-up finishes at the Pac-10 Championships. What are some standout memories from those races and were you satisfied overall with your collegiate race results?
JHOverall my experience was a good one. Everyone would say that they wished they had accomplished more, but I’m comfortable with what I did. Will I go down as one of the greatest Oregon runners ever? Probably not. But to be a part of the group in that Oregon alumni association is pretty cool. How many universities have an Alberto Salazar, a Rudy Chapa, a Jim Grelle, a Steve Prefontaine, et cetera, et cetera? One race that sticks out to me when nationals was in Eugene my redshirt freshman year. Two weeks earlier at Pac-10s I finished 13th out of 14 runners. No one believed in me at Nationals. I had a side stitch during the race and it got to a point that I didn’t care because I wanted to prove people wrong. There were four people racing for third place there at Hayward Field so I just took off with a lap to go and ran a 57 last lap when I used to have some speed in my legs. I was able to get third place so that is one memory that stands out from my experience at Oregon as I was able to represent Oregon and to do well.
GCR:You have surprised running experts and analysts with your Boston Marathon finishes the past two years, but you did the same thing in college as you placed much higher at the NCAAs than you were seeded and outkicked several runners on the last lap in your third and fourth place finishes. What is it that allows you to exceed expectations so often?
JHIt is a belief in overcoming. I have seen the low points in my running and I have always come back. Regardless of any situation in my running I am very confident in my ability to perform. I’m not Ryan Hall; I’m not Dathan Ritzenhein; I’m not Meb – but my goal is always to maximize my performance. I’ve failed a lot too, but people don’t notice that as when I fail no one talks to me about it. I’m a competitive person and there is a certain level of figuring out how to compete against all of these guys who have run 2:07, 2:06 or faster and for me at Boston it is just running smart and letting them beat themselves.
GCR:When you got out of college you raced cross country, track and road races. Were you trying to feel out what was your best venue and distance for maximum success?
JHI was trying to figure it out and, now that I look back, I wish I had done the marathon earlier, say as a 24 year old. But I grew up in track and wanted to try to break 28 minutes for 10k and to make the Olympic team. Obviously if I could make the team at 100 meters I would, but I was trying to find the event where I had the best possibility of making the team. I thought in 2008 my best chance was to make the team in the 10,000 meters. Now I wish I had gone into the marathon a little sooner. We often don’t really know what to do.
GCR:Let’s talk about your training through the years and your coaches. First, what type of base mileage did you run in high school, college, your early years as a professional runner and now in your recent marathon buildups?
JHIn high school if I were to put a number on it, we ran 30 or 40 miles a week. We were more focused on high intensity rather than high volume so we were doing five hard workouts a week, one day off and one easy day. In college during my first year I ran about 60 miles a week. I trained well and was well-coached. I learned probably the most I have in that period, but I wish I was slightly more aggressive with how I trained. When I graduated and moved into the professional running world I was running from 90 to 100 miles a week. Looking back, I would have liked to have done more mileage as that is more my skill set rather than slowly building up.
GCR:You have had many coaches influence you throughout your years as a runner. What are the best things you learned from your high school and collegiate coaches in your early years of distance running?
JHMy high school coach, Brad Prins, gave me something which still remains supreme. He gave me the ability to work hard in any situation and to get through it. There were times when we were working out running ski hills in 80 to 90 degree heat and we just had to get through it. We never put it off and decided to attack it the next day. We just got through it. The ability to work hard and to get through anything was given to all of us by my high school coach. If you talk to Dathan about it he would say the same thing. The foundation of paying the price for a goal is evident in my life and will be a part of my life forever in every part of my existence. My college coach, Martin Smith, taught me how to train and to have a better read of my body. He taught me focus, what is important and to avoid getting distracted by small things. As a high school kid you want to run well every race and be in PR shape every time out, but Martin taught me you can’t be ready at all times as when it is time to really perform you are gassed. So I learned how to train for specific races rather than being lost out in the wilderness without a map.
GCR:You have had three coaches as a professional runner. What did Brad Hudson, Steve Jones and Lee Troup each do to contribute to your continued mental or physical development as a runner?
JHAfter I graduated I was coached by Brad Hudson who taught me a great deal about professional running which I didn’t know about at all. I hadn’t trained for any distances longer than 10k so he helped me to learn how to train for longer distances. If there is a human being that I have the utmost respect for it would be Steve Jones. For me, I have had ups and downs in my career and he helped give me back the passion I had for running that we sometimes lose at this level. He taught me how to not overcomplicate things and over a period of time to listen to my body and race the race. It was a very simplistic approach. It is easy to get overcomplicated and to lose the message of what is important and Jonesy has reminded me of that. He is probably the most humble person I’ve been around. People don’t know who he is and he doesn’t talk about things like being a former World Record holder. I remember one time I went to a movie with him and the theater was packed. I thought, ‘How many of these people know there is a World Record holder in the building? One. Me.’ He gives of his time and his knowledge and a lot of older guys who have had success aren’t like that. He is the complete opposite. That is what I respect about him. Lee Troup exposed me to a different training system. I went with him to Australia and met Steve Moneghetti and was exposed to different training philosophies. With all of the coaches I’ve had I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned from then to apply to my training now. So each of the five coaches I have mentioned have had value for me.
GCR:Just as coaches bring out the best in you, do you have a favorite rival at any level for his determination and ability to bring out your competitive best?
JHBecause he is a close, personal friend of mine and we have known each other for so long, the one has to be Dathan Ritzenhein. There is a brotherhood that we have that came through running. He and I know each other so well and both of us have struggled in our running careers with high points and low points. When I have a successful race he is one of the first persons to call me and say, ‘Awesome race!’ I like to be a part of his success and to see him succeed as I know he pays a price to be as good as he is. There is no lack of effort as he is willing to do whatever he can within the framework and the rules of the game to be an exceptional athlete. What people don’t realize is that this is a full-time job and Dathan sacrifices a lot to be as accomplished as he is. They think we just show up for a race and run the race but there are lots of other things that build success. If there is one person that I don’t mind getting beaten by it is him. And I think he feels the same way. He is one person that I honestly like to see do well. We have gone through a lot together and I’ve known his wife as long as I’ve known him and they are just a great family.
GCR:With your success at races from 1,600 meters through the marathon and all points in between, what was your favorite distance to race and why?
JHIf I was really good it would probably be the mile. There is a coolness to running fast and everyone follows the mile
GCR:How important is the mental part of training and racing and developing the ability to endure increasing levels of discomfort?
JHI go back to this movie called, ‘Man on Fire.’ I don’t know if you have seen the movie. It’s with Dakota Fanning, she is very young and is a swimmer. She is training and does a good interval workout and says to Denzel Washington, who’s name in the film is Creasy, ‘Creasy, am I tough?’ He says something along the lines of, ‘There is no such thing as toughness – there is trained and untrained.’ I like to think of it as training as if you aren’t trained to do something you will not be successful in that situation. Everybody is dealing with a certain level of discomfort but calming yourself down is a good thing too. I will talk to myself and say, ‘I’m okay. I’ve trained for this. I’ve done the work. Relax. I’m okay.’ This is what I do. Am I tougher than anyone else? I don’t know how you would determine that. But personally I think that if you are training for something you can get through anything. How could people survive concentration camps?
GCR:You’ve talked somewhat about how your high school coach’s teachings affected your life. Do you have any other comments on how the positive effects of the discipline and tenacity learned from running have impacted other aspects of your life?
JHRunning has taught me about having goals and working toward them. Most people say they have a goal, but when it comes down to it they don’t as they are unwilling to pay the price to accomplish it because it is too hard. When you get to the point where something is too hard and you consider saying, ‘I can’t do this, I want to quit’ instead you should say, ‘No, I can do this, I want to do this.’ Those are things I have learned that are truly beneficial. I remember Phil Knight telling me that in the early days of Nike he would take all of the bills, throw them up in the air and whatever landed on top he would pay. Phil Knight believed in what he was doing and didn’t care what others thought. I enjoy making my running and racing work. To accomplish great things in life if you are willing to pay the price you can do it.
GCR:You mentioned that you would have liked to focus on the marathon and more mileage earlier in your professional running career. Is there anything else you could have done differently in training and racing focus that may have resulted in better performances and that is helping you now?
JHIf I could take myself now, go back in time and talk to ‘me from ten years ago’ I would tell myself to have better focus. When I graduated from school I had options to run many races where I wanted to do well at all of them. I would talk to the person I was back then and try to map out a better plan. I don’t regret anything, but I would make adjustments.
GCR:What are your goals for the future in terms of race competition, improving your marathon personal best time and possibly how long you will continue running professionally?
JHI’m just trying to get away from running right now. My foot still hurts from the Boston Marathon. I’ll start mapping out a plan soon. I am just trying to get away from the sport for a little bit and to live a normal life. As far as the long-term I don’t know how much longer running at a high level is going to last, but I pursue running now with a lot more emphasis because I don’t want any regrets when I finish. Anything else I accomplish in the future will be icing on the cake. I have nothing to lose when it comes to anything I do. I didn’t make the Olympic team, but I have had other successes. I’ve been at low points and come back, but ultimately I would like to coach, make a difference and give back to the sport that has given me so much.
GCR:You are doing some coaching now. How rewarding is it to help other succeed and learn the qualities needed to be successful compared to your own training, racing and accomplishments?
JHI get more satisfaction from coaching now than from my own running. I work with young athletes and my ultimate goal is to help them to make running a lifetime sport, whether they are the fastest or the slowest. I can help with long-term benefits for everyone on the team. I try to instill a passion for the sport. Anyone can do it so I try to make a difference at that level by getting more people involved in running and excited about running. There is a lot of talent that I have noticed and a lot of opportunities for our youth, especially for girls. Many Division I collegiate programs have 19 scholarships in track and field and there are opportunities if they pursue it really hard.
GCR:What are the major lessons you have learned during your life from the discipline of running, racing success and adversity you have encountered that you would like to share with my readers?
JHDon’t talk about it – do it. If you really have a goal, do everything possible to achieve your goal. When it gets tough look at your goal and ask yourself how much you really want it. Be honest with yourself and more often than not you will reach that goal within your talent framework. Give everything you’ve got.
 Inside Stuff
Hobbies/InterestsI like to spend time with my dog, a six year old Rottweiler named Maximus, and to take walks with him. He looks like the most ferocious thing in the world, but he has a heart of gold. He is a great positive impact on my life
NicknamesMy friends close to me call me ‘Jay’ or ‘J-Split.’ Lots of people have just called me by my last name, ‘Hartmann’
Favorite moviesI like ‘The Godfather I and II,’ ‘Scarface’ and ‘Scent of a Woman.’ I do like Al Pacino
Favorite TV showMadmen
TV Reality Show DreamSince I’m somewhat younger, I’d like to be on ‘The Real World’
Favorite radioI’ve gotten away from music and listen mainly to sports talk radio. I’ll sometimes just listen to whatever songs happen to be on the radio
Favorite booksI liked Lance Armstrong’s book, but now I don’t so much anymore. I’m reading Tony Dungy’s first book, ‘Quiet Strength,’ and it is my favorite current book
First car1993 Honda Accord
Current car2007 Passat
First JobsDelivering newspapers when I was very young. Valet parking to help out a friend. In both jobs I was a substitute for friends
Favorite Halloween costumesI almost always seemed to dress up as a sports person in football or basketball gear. One Halloween I was actually a Chia Pet. I wrapped myself in duct tape with the sticky side out and rolled in the grass. I left my mark as when we left the house there was duct tape all over the place
FamilyI have two brothers and two sisters and I’m the second youngest. So I took a lot of beatings. It is very competitive when one has older siblings. My siblings are good in basketball, and my brothers are different in size from me as they are not tall and lanky so the basketball games would get very heated. My mom and dad are still back in Michigan and I get to go back and visit at least once a year
PetsMy Rottweiler, Maximus, is my ‘main man.’ I call him ‘Max’ for short
Favorite breakfastA Denver omelet, which has ham, cheese and vegetables
Favorite mealPizza
Favorite beveragesMy favorite after a hard run is Coke, though I don’t drink it that much. I’m not much of a beer drinker
First running memoryRunning with my dad, him beating the heck out of me and being really competitive. That was when I was very young
Running heroesA young running hero was my dad. When I was at Oregon it was Alberto Salazar. Currently, Steve Jones
Greatest running momentHopefully I haven’t had it yet. So far it would have to be winning the Twin Cities Marathon. Also, the course is beautiful and at 26 miles you crest the top of a hill and run straight down to the finish. It was a pretty cool finish. No disrespect to other marathons where I have raced well, but my performance at Twin Cities changed my perspective of what I could do in the marathon. A lot of people would think I would say the Chicago Marathon where I got my PR or my two Boston Marathon fourth place finishes are my top moments, but I look at it as to where things changed for me. The three races in Chicago and Boston have given me more notoriety, but Twin Cities is where it started for me in the marathon
Worst running momentI’ve had many bad moments, but getting hurt my senior year at Oregon was a rough go. I wasn’t running much and I remember it was rough being a senior on a team where I was supposed to be a major contributor and was not. I ran a 10k and was second or third to last. People were telling me during the race to drop out but I refused. When I went across the finish line it was very emotional and I had tears in my eyes because I didn’t want to go out like that. Getting injured and not being able to do what I had set out to do was very hurtful. If my head ever gets too big I go back to those moments to keep me grounded
Childhood dreamsI saw myself in the NBA. I practiced hard and spent five hours a day playing basketball. I rode my bike to practice and played hard. My limitations in that sport could not be made up for with hard work
Funny memoriesYou should ask Dathan Ritzenhein and he’d probably have many funny stories. Here is one about Dathan and me. He came out to Oregon on a recruiting trip and I ran out of gas when I was taking him around. I tried to convince a young kid to let us borrow his bike so I could go and get gas. I offered the kid five dollars but he wouldn’t do it. That was pretty funny
Embarrassing momentI’ve done speeches where I wasn’t necessarily as prepared as I should have been. I fumbled over words and felt like a complete idiot. I just wasn’t confident in what I was talking about. I wanted to apologize but I couldn’t as I had to hold face
Worst Date EverI think every girl who has been on a date with me has been on ‘Cloud Nine’ (laughing). No bad dates – I like to think that they all had positive experiences
Favorite places to travelThere are two places. I like to go home to Grand Rapids, Michigan. For the first three days I am very excited, then after a few days I’m ready to leave. I also like to go to Portland, Oregon as I have some good friends out there with whom I like to spend time