Ed Moran, who finished just six seconds shy of making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team at 10,000 meters, will not compete at the 2012 Trials.
Moran, 30, said that a chronic case of peroneal tendinitis at the base of the fifth metatarsal on his left foot—just below the little toe—resulted in a bone spur and stress reaction, and that sometime around May 15 he realized that a return to the Trials was not to be.
“I kept postponing it as long as possible,” he said of the decision. “As distance runners we justify our existence by saying ‘I’m running at the Olympic Trials’ or ‘I made an Olympic team.’ You kind of get wrapped up in that identity, and the decision to step away from that is not only emotionally trying but it’s mentally trying because you’re looking for something else to grasp on to, some new identity.”
That new identity will be centered on the marathon. Asked if this means he is finished with the track, Moran said, “Most likely, yes.”
Moran, the 2007 Pan American Games gold medalist at 5000 meters, finished fourth at 10,000 meters at the 2008 Trials. He is the 2010 U.S. 10K champion and the runner-up at 10,000 meters at the U.S. championships that year. In 2011, he made his marathon debut at the ING New York City Marathon, finishing ninth in 2:11:47. That time was enough to seed him seventh on the list of qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials to be held two months later, but three weeks off for his wedding shrunk an already tight gap between Nov. 6 and Jan. 14 and, regardless, his sights were still set on making the Olympic team on the track.
His plan was derailed when the tendinitis, which hadn’t been a problem during his marathon training last fall, flared up again in March after Moran competed in the NYC Half. In retrospect, he said, he should have heeded that warning and rested rather than forging ahead onto the track a week later to begin serious training for the Trials.
“It just went from bad to worse in a two-week period,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
In late April, Moran made another trip to New York City, this time to the Hospital for Special Surgery. There, he was told that if he continued to run he risked rupturing the tendon or sustaining a full-blown stress fracture of the metatarsal. A few days later, during a workout, Moran could no longer stand the pain.
Knowing that he wouldn’t be able to do the work needed to get ready for Eugene, Moran said he asked himself, “Do I need to go through another heartbreaking experience at the Trials? Probably not.”
His longtime coach, Alex Gibby, said it took Moran almost a year to get over the disappointment of 2008. Running the 2012 Trials at this stage of his career with no chance of making the team, Gibby said, was not a reasonable option.
“For him, it was all or nothing,” said Gibby.
“It’s really hard because I’m leaving the track with some goals unfulfilled and I was really close to achieving those, but I really do see a brighter future at the longer distances like the marathon,” said Moran, whose new goldendoodle puppy, Haui, is offering an amusing distraction. “With how well my body adapted to the training for the marathon, I think that in the long term I’ll be healthier and happier on the roads.”
After a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection and two weeks in a plastic boot, Moran has resumed light running. He is aiming for a fall marathon.
(Photo by Victah/PhotoRun)