Back To The Future: Webb – Ritz 10K Duel 2006 (With Video)

FOURTEEN YEARS AGO, plus a week, at the Payton Jordan Invitational Dathan Ritzenhein, who today announced his retirement, met mile star Alan Webb on the track for the first time. Their mano-a-mano battle was a pleasure to watch. To the surprise of most spectators at Stanford that night, the contest went Webb’s way. To win, though, the miler had to unleash what was at the time the fastest-ever U.S. 10,000 debut, 27:34.72.

Whose debut best did Webb take down? Why, Ritz’s, of course, his 27:38.50 from exactly two years earlier when Ritz was a Colorado soph. Below we offer two “remember when” records of the night.

1) Our original coverage of the race from the July ’06 T&FN (our cover dating ran far ahead in those days)

2) A highlight video of the Webb–Ritz race with commentary from the two runners interspersed. The video image size and resolution is low—the audio’s not bad—but it’s still well worth watching in our not-so-humble opinion. (internet bandwidth and speed limitations of the era drove the postage-stamp approach we chose). Click on the player below to view. Enjoy!