© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated
Andrew Bumbalough is a twenty-seven-year-old American middle- and long-distance runner based in Portland, Oregon. He trains with the Nike supported group that is headed by Coach Jerry Schumacher. Schumacher is also known to have coached many other top-level athletes including Shalane Flanagan, Lisa Koll, Evan Jager, Matt Tegenkamp, Simon Bairu, Tim Nelson and Chris Solinsky to name a few. Schumacher coached the University of Wisconsin Badgers before joining Nike.
Bumbalough is originally from Brentwood, Tennessee. After graduating from Brentwood Academy he went on to compete for Georgetown University, where he earned six All-American honours. He still holds the fourth fastest 1500m time of 3:38.23, second-fastest indoor mile 3:58.46, third-fastest indoor 3,000m time of 7:53:63 and second best 5,000m 13:30.77 in Georgetown University history.
During the 2014 USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships that took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico in February this year, Bumbalough was wrongly disqualified for interference; however, subsequent video evidence clearly shows that he made no contact with another athlete. The USATF fumbled and to this day refuse to respond to the media or Bumbalough about their error. During the same meet they were also embroiled in controversy over being influenced to disqualify another athlete by rival coach Alberto Salazar, again the video evidence proved the USATF wrong, subsequently the disqualified athlete Gabriele Grunewald was reinstated.
While Bumbalough is currently nursing an injury, he is now preparing to race in the 2014 outdoor season.
1500 Metres 3:37.15
One Mile 3:58.78
3000 Metres 7:40.02
Two Miles 8:21.65
5000 Metres 13:12.01
10,000 Metres 27:56.78
Christopher Kelsall: What is Brentwood, Tennessee like to grow up in? Is it a sport oriented town?
Andrew Bumbalough: Tennessee, and much of the south, is dominated by football. My high school has a rich tradition and has won 10 state championships. That is what I thought I wanted to do when I was 10 or 12 years old. However, I realized that I didn’t have the size required for such a sport and joined the cross country and track team. Little did I know my high school had won a lot of state championships in track as well!
CK: When you got to university, did you think that you would have anywhere near the success you had?
AB: I was the number one or two recruit in the nation coming out of my class so I had high expectations. I struggled with injuries for my first couple of years but ended up finding success in the latter half of my college career. I look back on my time at Georgetown with good memories.
CK: Were those early injuries due to racing indoors and adding a lot of quality to your training?
AB: I think I was still growing physically which left me vulnerable to certain injuries. Additionally, taking the training up a notch upon entering college added to the potential to get injured.
CK: You have displayed a pretty even range from 1500m to 10,000m with your 3:37 and 27:56 bests. Have you settled on the 5,000/10,000m distances going-forward?
AB: The 5k (and 10k) are definitely my distances going forward. However, I do believe it is important to maintain proficiency at under distances 1500m/3000m so that you are able to close down fast in elite 5000m fields. These days, it seems to take a 52-54 second last lap to make the podium at Olympic/World Championships.
CK: Do you employ weekly leg-speed drills in your training, plyos and form drills?
AB: Yes, we have a core and strengthening program that we do three days a week for between 45-60 minutes, we focus on injury prevention, general strength and efficiency.
CK: Will you be heading over to Europe to take in the Diamond League in the summer?
AB: Absolutely, I have been dealing with an injury for the last five weeks which caused me to struggle a little at Payton Jordan. But I feel as though it’s getting better and I will be in much better position in June and July to race well. The big goal is to compete in Zurich at the Diamond League final. But I will need to earn that spot in the next couple of months.
CK: Regarding the USATF disqualifying you in the 3,000m at National Indoors, does this give you pause to race in USATF events again (obviously except for trials)?
AB: No. I’m obviously disappointed in the way USATF handled the situation but I feel as though it’s important to support the governing body and help them improve and grow the sport within our country. People have different thoughts on the best way to accomplish this but I’m hopeful for the future.
CK: So have you made peace with the situation then?
AB: I’m not focusing on the situation anymore. However, I do feel that it could have been handled better and hopefully things will change going forward.
CK: Being an off year for international competition – no Olympics and no Worlds, will you take the season on just racing or do you have specific time goals to go after?
AB: I would definitely like to PR in 3000m and 5000m. I think I can run somewhere close to 13:00 in the right race. Right now I’m focused on getting completely healthy after a glute/hip injury and getting sharpened up for the races coming up at the end of the month and into June.
CK: Which races are those?
AB: The Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, which is a Diamond League meet. Also the Diamond League meet in Oslo, the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games and the USATF Championships in Sacramento.
CK: What do you think of the apparent trend of athletes moving to smaller sponsors like Oiselle?
AB: The more companies that want to get involved in supporting professional track athletes the better in my opinion. It is a fantastic sport with thousands of kids participating at the high school level. Why not tap into this and market ourselves as the best in the country and world? If that means other smaller companies are wanting to get involved, bring them on!
CK: So saying that is this a sign that track and running in general might be growing out from its niche position?
AB: I hope so. Participation is at an all-time high at the high school level and thousands are running road races. We have to do our best to showcase our ability on the track but also utilize new mediums such as social media to expose ourselves to the rest of the country who may not already be track fans.