That being said, I've made my own brackets of the 32 greatest runners of all-time and will put them head to head each week in the running version of March Madness. Included in each round will be a brief reason why I chose one runner over the other. This is my opinion, but I will listen to comments and feedback on the matches. No results will be modified in hindsight.
Here are the 3 criteria I will use to pick the winners and roughly place them with seeding:
- Performance - Simply put, results matter. No runner is ever undefeated, but if you want to be considered one of the best you need to prove it.
- Influence - It's one thing to win a race, it's another to make the masses follow.
- Records - Setting records are will be a big factor.
"Just win, baby!" - Al Davis
"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops" - Henry Adams
"Records are made to be broken. It is in a man's nature to do just that" - Richard Branson
Here is a closer look at each bracket:
I'd be lying if I said cutting this list down was easy, given the many famous and different types of runners over the millennia humans have been running. In the end, I decided to limit this bracket to 32 runners, mainly for time and sanity on my part. It was also very difficult to separate runners and seed them given how widely different the various disciplines or running are.
Take for example the 1 vs 8 seed matchup of Usain Bolt vs. Jared Campbell. Bolt runs 100 to 200 meters on a track, while Campbell runs 100+ miles through mountains and forests. There could not be two runners more different than these two but that is part of what made this intriguing to me. How do you fairly compare these two? Same goes for the Wilma Rudolph vs. Rob Krar matchup.
Before I finish this post, I'd be remiss to not mention some of my honorable mentions:
Deena Kastor, Ron Clarke, Jim Ryun, Babe Didrikson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, Bill Rodgers, Grete Waltz, Yiannis Kouros, Shalane Flanagan, Paula Radcliffe, Frank Shorter, Hicham El Guerrouj and Leonidas of Rhodes.
Each week, I will go through and update the rankings one round at a time and give my reasoning for why I chose the winners. This bracket is wide open to opinion and influence from outsiders who can provide me valid reason why a runner is better than another. A lot of thought went into these seedings to make interesting matchups throughout and to provide plenty of debate. March 18th, will be when I go through the initial round of the bracket.
Feel free to chime in on Twitter (@216Runner) or in the comments section. Citations and references are appreciated!
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