Episode Summary

Ron Warhurst

Ron Warhurst won two NCAA titles as a member of the Western Michigan cross-country team in the 1960s. He graduated in 1966, volunteered for the Marines, then repeatedly asked to “walk point” through the Vietnamese jungle, which resulted in two Purple Hearts, before he was honorably discharged in 1970. He learned a simple lesson: “The world doesn’t stop because you’re scared.”

Three later the University of Michigan named him their varsity cross-country coach, with little experience. Warhurst’s teams won 18 Big Ten cross-country titles, his star Greg Meyer won the 1983 Boston Marathon, and many others ran in the Olympics, including several medalists. Warhurst also created a famous training regimen still called “The Michigan,” which thousands of competitive runners have used for decades.

Ronnie’s philosophy is straightforward, but difficult: 1) preparation, structure, and flexibility – a hard combination. 2) Don’t look over your shoulder because the race is in front of you. And 3) on any given day, there are people on the starting line who don’t want to be there because it’s too hot, too cold, raining, or snowing. Your job is to beat those guys.

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