Dr.J. on Running


Deena Drossin

American Hero

Published April 15, 2002 in The Syracuse Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

American Deena Drossin set a new world record of 14:54 at last Sunday's Carlsbad 5K road race. Drossin, age 29, broke Britain's Paula Radcliffe's time of 14:57.

Drossin was born in Waltham, MA on Valentine's Day in 1973. She started running at age 13, and competed for Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, CA. She won two state titles in track, and ran personal bests of 4:52.78 for 1,600 meters and 10:19.62 for 3,200 meters. She also won three state titles in cross country, and finished sixth in the 1990 Kinney National High School Cross Country Championship.

Drossin joined the University of Arkansas in 1992 to study English. There, she won eight All-America awards in cross country and track, seven South-Eastern Conference titles, a second-place finish in the 1992 NCAA cross country championship, and a victory in the 10,000-meter race at the 1997 World University Games.

After graduating from college, Drossin moved to Alamosa, Colorado, to train under Dr. Joseph Vigil. A physiologist by training, Vigil had coached hundreds of All-America runners and numerous champions at Adams State University. In her goal statement to Vigil, Drossin expressed her desire to run sub-15 for 5,000 meters, sub-32 for 10,000 meters, and make the Olympic team.

Shortly after moving to Colorado, Drossin burst into the international running scene. She led the American team to a fifth-place team finish at the 1998 World Cross Country Championship in Morocco and finished tenth in the 1999 World Cross-Country Championship. She also won the Mount Sac 10,000-meter race and the Manchester Road Race in 1999.

Drossin dominated US women's distance running in 2000. She reached all three goals that she expressed to Vigil, setting PR's of 14:51.62 and 31:51.05 for 5,000 and 10,000 meters. She also represented the USA at the Sydney Olympics in the 10,000 meters, after winning the Olympic Trials in Sacramento in the 10,000 meters and finishing second in the 5,000 meters.

She also won the San Diego Half-marathon, the US 15K championship at the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, FL, and the US cross country championship. At Carlsbad, she set a US record 15:04 for 5K.

Last Fall, Drossin made her marathon debut in New York City in 2 hours 26 minutes 58 seconds, making her the fourth fastest American woman ever at the marathon. Last month, at the World winter Cross Country Championship, Drossin won two silver medals. She finished second overall to Paula Radcliffe, and led the US team to a second-place team finish.

Last Sunday, Drossin became the first American woman since PattiSue Plumer to set a world record in 5K. Plumer ran 15:31 in 1986 at Carlsbad for her world record.

© 2002 The Post-Standard.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Syracuse Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created TrackMeets.com, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at jabbour@i2sports.com.