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Alicia Monson Hits the Olympic Standard at 10K Debut

On Athletics Club champion Alicia Monson brought her A game to the Sound Running track meet in California. Running an Olympic Standard of 31:10 at her 10k debut.


"I told her to just trust her instincts and believe in herself." – Coach Ritz


Members of the On Athletics Club headed over to the Los Angles the Sound Running track meet on December 4 to make their mark with 10k debuts. And the results were impressive.


Alicia Monson hit the Olympic Standard with her 10k, becoming the 9th fastest female in US history in a time of 31:10. 


Pro 10k debut, Olympic Standard, and 9th fastest women’s 10k time in US history? Seems like a decent start to the 2021 season to me!


Teammate Joe Klecker also made his 10k debut, running an impressive 27:35 – just seven second shy of an Olympic Standard. He took to Instagram to share his thoughts on the race and the support he received from Coach Dathan Ritzenhein:  



Checking in with Coach Ritz, we found out a bit more about what can be expected from the team in 2021. 


On: It’s been quite the year. How did it feel to be able to announce that you would be coaching these eight talented athletes?


Dathan: “When we started to assemble the team this spring and summer, there was so much uncertainty for everyone. The athletes seasons were completely stopped and it was a huge change to join a professional group. It gave us time though to build strength and bonds as a team and I could tell within the first weeks of training together in Boulder that we had a special group of runners. Teammates are what can bring individuals to their greatest potential and I started to see that right away. We trained hard and had fun so then we were just incredibly excited to finally be able to announce the team to the world.”


We’ve had some amazing results. Olli and Joe broke the 4-min mile on Colorado soil. Olli run the fastest 1500m in Tennessee history. Now Alicia with an Olympic Standard at her 10k debut. How are the team feeling heading into the 2021 season?


“We started out strong right from the gates. Before we even announced the team Olli and Joe were running 3:56 and 5:38 for the Mile at 5000ft altitude in Colorado. When we had our first race at the Music City Distance Carnival, we wanted to really show the hard work they had put in.


“Olli ran 3:34 which was a massive PR and runaway victory. Almost the whole team had PR’s there and over the next couple races. We took a little break at the end of August and early September to prepare the mind and body for the long Olympic year ahead. We then spent the last 2-3 months putting in all the foundational work. 


“The races this weekend at The Track Meet in Southern California served two purposes. The 5k was a test of fitness for those athletes to see where their strength was – and it was exactly what they needed. They raced above their primary distances and it showed they are stronger than ever to move into the winter racing season. But our whole team knew that the highlights of the weekend were going to be Alicia and Joe’s 10k debuts. 


“Joe was working hard week in and week out running 105 miles a week and Alicia was doing training that made me realize how special of an athlete she really is. 


They hit it out of the park in their first 10ks and put their names in serious contention to make the Olympic team. But it really was just the start for the team.


Working with the team each day, how much dedication and behind-the-scenes work goes in to achieving these results? 


“The secret to success is that there is no secret to success! The team works hard every day and they push each other. They all have their own goals but they work together to lift each other so they can be their best on race day. 


“In the race there is nobody that can help you, but training daily is where all the work happens and they support each other each day. We meet 5-6 days a week as a team. They do their track workouts, tempos and long runs together. We go to the gym 2-3 times a week for strength training and even some easy runs they meet. They’ve become a close knit team and it helps in the daily grind to achieving their goals.”


When next can we expect to see the OAC race?


“The past three months have been our foundational period. The races this last weekend were great but now we shift focus to the winter schedule with some racing indoors and outdoors probably in February. The schedule is fluid still but the training will be geared to have them ready to run fast this spring no matter where the races end up.”


Watch this space.


To follow the progress of the OAC, and all Team On athletes, follow on_running on social and sign up for the On newsletter below.                   

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