Take Five: Steve Scott returns to participate in Spirit Run, again

By TOM JOHNSON

Had a chance to catch up with Steve Scott last week. Scott obviously is one of the greatest runners in American history. He attended college at UCI before embarking on a running career that took him around the world and to the top of his profession. Today, Scott coaches at Cal State San Marcos, where he has built one of the most successful NAIA collegiate track and cross country programs in the country. At San Marcos he’s led their women’s team to three National Titles and the men’s team to a runner-up for the National Title. Scott returns each year to the Spirit Run (Sunday, March 12) where he participates in the elite mile, but also uses his name and fame to attract and work with kids at the event.

Steve Scott

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Steve Scott, one of the greatest milers in U.S. history

Q: Why do what you do for the Spirit Run, year-after-year?

A: I have a special love for kids, so this gives me the opportunity to spread the word about track, cross country and running. It’s about getting kids exposed to running and helping to keep them fit. I see too many kids overweight, so if I can expose them to running and show them that it’s fun, then to me that’s rewarding. Too often we’ve looked at running as a punishment, like with a coach yelling, “Take a lap.” Running should be fun.

Q: What are your proudest memories of your storied running career?

A: The World Championships in 1983 (Helsinki) where I won a silver medal and then when I set the American record in the mile.

Q: What were your major disappointments?

A: The Olympics in 1984 (10th place)…I was coming in as one of the favorites. Instead of following my normal routine I let nerves get to me and then did things differently. I felt like the whole country was depending on me.

Q: What is training like today versus during the peak of your career?

A: At the peak of my career I would run 80-90 miles a week, fast. I’d average about 5:40-5:50 for 15 miles. Now, it’s 20 miles a week at a 7:30 pace. My wife said when we got married, “I married an Olympic athlete, you need to stay looking like one.” So I get on the scale every morning and that dictates my run.

Q: If you weren’t a runner, what would your fallback position in life have been?

A: I probably would have been a firefighter…definitely something in public service. I also looked into the FBI. But then my running career took off and I figured I could make a good living doing that.