Fast Food to Fast Times: Boris Berian's Rise to the Top
Despite being one of the top 800m runners in the world, 2016 Olympian and World Champion, Boris Berian’s place in the track and field world wasn’t always as clear as it is today. Just three years ago, training alone and flipping burgers part-time in his hometown of Colorado Springs, Boris struggled to unlock the potential he knew he had.
Luckily for him, he wasn’t the only one who recognized his potential.
At the same time, out in Big Bear Lake, California, Olympian and World Bronze Medalist Brenda Martinez and her husband, Carlos Handler, had just founded the Big Bear Track Club, to provide opportunities for middle distance runners to pursue their potential in the sport. Brenda and Carlos were actively recruiting their first group of fiercely dedicated athletes when they began tracking Boris through race results.
“I had seen Boris’ 800m times, but his 400m time is what really stood out to me,” says Handler. “I remember thinking, ‘Man, this kid could be running so much faster.’ So I reached out and said I’d love to have him come out to Big Bear and join the team.”
After an hour-long phone conversation about training and the new team, Boris accepted Carlos’ invitation to join Big Bear Track Club and began making arrangements.
“Carlos bought me a plane ticket to come check out the club and I’ve been here ever since,” says Boris. “I love training in Big Bear because it’s a small village with no distractions. I can really focus on my training here.”
With the benefits of having a coach, teammates and resources now built into his training plan, Boris logged months of solid training. When the 2015 outdoor track season came around, Boris was ready to show everyone how fast he could really run. And it didn’t take him long to do it.
Berian showed strength and speed in his opening races, but he reached a new level at the IAAF Diamond League meet in New York City when he dipped under 1:44 in the 800, clocking 1:43:84. At that moment, he found himself near the top of the world 800m rankings.
“To be honest, we weren’t surprised by his race in New York,” says Carlos. “We both saw the workouts he was doing, so we knew that he could run that fast. We knew the potential was there.”
Boris went on to run sub-1:44 again in Monaco, solidifying his place as one of the top 800m runners in the world. Following his monster debut on the professional circuit, he returned to Big Bear more motivated than ever.
In 2016, Boris showed no signs of slowing down. Not only did he win the 800m at the World Indoor Championships, he won it his way – leading immediately from the gun. His momentum continued into outdoor track, where he nabbed a second place finish at the U.S. Championships.
With his momentum more powerful than it’s ever been, Boris looks ahead to the 2017 season hungry and eager to continue lowering his personal best and climbing the world rankings.