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Before Sam Grotewold Landed At NYRR, He Ran At Simpson College


“I didn’t realize at the time, but the chance Coach Ellingson gave me, changed the trajectory of my entire life. I realize that more and more every year that I wouldn’t be at NYRR today”

Have you wondered how the elite fields at the NYC Marathon and Fifth Avenue Mile are put together? Sam Grotewold and his team are responsible for putting together the world-class of the events you love. It also happens that Sam went to a D3 college and he believes he wouldn’t be doing what is he today with the opportunity Coach Keith Ellingson gave him at Simpson College.

Sam chose his path to college without running influencing his decision. He had his mind set on going to Simpson College to study graphic design and journalism. It wasn’t until a meeting at orientation where the athletic director asked the incoming class if they were interested in doing a sport. Sam raised his hand and a few days later, Coach Ellingson called Sam to ask him to join the team.

While Sam didn’t go on to win National Titles or become an All-American, his opportunity to join the Simpson Cross Country team shaped his life and career trajectory.

After Sam graduated, he joined New York Road Runners as a web editor. As NYRR began to have professional races, he transitioned from his web editing role into the professional athlete space. Sam explains the process of filling the fields, memorable stories, and fills us in if Kipchoge will run NYC.

The impact of Sam’s D3 experience shaped his life into what is today. He gives credit to Coach Ellingson for giving him an opportunity when he didn’t have to.

Follow Sam on Twitter

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d3 glory days sam grotewold


On how his time at Simpson Changed his life:

“I didn’t realize at the time, but the chance he [Coach Ellingson] gave me, changed the trajectory my entire life. I realize that more and more every year that I wouldn’t be at NYRR today, and I definitely wouldn’t be talking to you if not for that chance that he gave me way back in 1996.”

On the impact of Professional Runners:

“Professional sport is what keeps this from just being another activity and professional athletes give people something to aspire to, and they give kids something to look up to. Sport drives a lot of media coverage. It drives all the television coverage. You can’t build a three-hour marathon show around somebody who takes four hours to finish a marathon.

On Kipchoge possibly running the NYC Marathon:

“I’m trying! I take it on faith that Eliud says he wants to run all six majors, I trust the guy. And you know, we’d all love to see it. I’ll say this, it certainly has not been for a lack of effort to get Kipchoge to New York.”

On putting together a Fifth Avenue Mile to break the record:

“We’ve never put together a race trying to break that course record that stood since 1981. We never tried to do that, but maybe in 2022, I’ll try and get Jakob Ingebrigtsen in and Stewy McSweyn going head to head break that record. Wouldn’t that be cool to see?

On the love of running:

“I loved the way that it made me feel. And then as I got into college and started running with a college team that was much smaller and tighter knit, I really started to appreciate, being part of a team and feeling part of something bigger than myself.”

On supporting athletes in their races:

“I celebrate those achievements as much as I mourn the people who have disappointing races and feel bad for them because I know how hard everybody works. I know people hope to take advantage of the opportunities that they’re given

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