“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining forces with The Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project,” Ritzenhein said in a statement. “Having known Keith and Kevin for 20 years, there is nobody I trust and respect more to help guide me to new heights in the marathon while I chase my fourth Olympic team.”
Ritzenhein is a Michigan native, originally from Rockford, about 10 miles north of Grand Rapids. He lived in the Portland, Ore., area while running for the Nike Oregon Project, but moved back to Michigan three years ago to be closer to family. His wife, Kalin, is also originally from Michigan. The couple have two children.
Ritzenhein has enjoyed success running cross country, the roads or the track, but has often struggled with injuries. As a junior athlete, he won the bronze medal at the 2001 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Ostend, Belgium, in horribly muddy conditions. During his collegiate career, he won five Big 12 titles (indoors and outdoors combined), and was the NCAA cross-country champion in 2003. In the pro ranks he won the USA cross-country title three times (2005, 2008 and 2010) and won the bronze medal at the 2009 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships. He also made the 2004, 2008 and 2012 USA Olympic teams, the first at last in the 10,000 meters and the second in the marathon. He did not qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.