|Don Janicki is Co-Founder of Olympia Training Systems. (OTS)|
I met Don in 1978 while we were lining up for a physical at Mesa Community College in Mesa Arizona where we first ran together. We had a decent year that year in my distance of 1,500 meters and his distance of 5,000 meters. We won the National Junior College Track Championships that year in San Angelo Texas. It was in San Angelo where Don and I first really bonded as lifelong friends.
While hanging out there at Nationals we discussed our next move back into the NCAA. We were both recruited to both ASU (Arizona State Tempe) and U of A (University of Arizona Tucson). We both agreed U of A to be the far superior atmosphere and program, so off to Tucson we went.
To make a long story short it was an experience of a lifetime. There we met Thom Hunt USA indoor H.S. Mile record holder at 4:02, and my first U of A roommate Dirk Lakeman who broke Steve Prefontaines HS mile record at 4:04, as well as Dave Dobler, Keynan Sensation Harrison Koroso, HS Steeple Chase Record Holder Jeff Hess, now Mayo Clinic Dr. Mike Joyner, School Record holder in the 1,500 Paul Beckland and so many more. It was an awesome environment and a Bond for Life began.
Don was an incredibly successful HS runner holding the Arizona Records in the Mile at 4:09 and 2-Mile at 8:58. My best 880 in HS was 1:53, not too bad but certainly not up to parr with Don, Jeff, Dirk, Thom, Harrison, or Paul, but the nice thing, they didn't care we were brothers.
After college and a best of 3:46 for 1500 I went to work for Converse Footwear and got to go to the LA Olympics as a Bio-Mechanics specialist for all the Coaches Clinics, a great experience to meet the likes of Jim Ryun, Peter Coe, Art Lydiard, Peanut Harms ect. Don went on to Marathon Running.
In Don's debut marathon he was 2nd place at Twin Cities in 84 ran 2:12.01 and won $12,000 dollars. He found a way to run and make money for his now growing married life with wife Lynn and daughter Jennifer.
The amazing thing about Don's Career is his consistency. Between 1984 and his 2:12 opener Don ran till 1997 being consistently ranked in the top USA 5-10 over this 13 year period with times between his best of 2:11.1 and 2:13. Amazing to be that fast, that long!
Don will be the first to admit, he got that good with consistency, but also the first to admit, he never really achieved his true potential, as he never really did that extra 20-30% special systematic training that would have perhaps put his PR up their with now friend and former World Marathon Record Holder Steve Jones in that 2:07-2:08 range.
As I write this Don is Coaching the USA Cross Country Team in Jamaica. Don and I formed OTS to have a place to put all these great experiences and knowledge like we got from our own careers and continued experience with Fitness, and Competition.
Our many meetings with such greats as Steve Jones, Dr. Vigil, now Dr. Joyner, Arthur Lydiard ect. Gives up Plenty to Share and so much to write about.
|Don Janicki Steve Jones Tim Barnes Dr. Joe Vigil|
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