Founded in 1971, the RRCA Distance Running Hall of Fame inducts American runners that have attained extraordinary levels of achievement in the sport of distance running as either an athlete or a key influencer (an individual that has contributed a considerable amount of their time and knowledge to the betterment of the sport of distance running).
The RRCA is proud to announce its 51st class of RRCA Distance Running Hall of Fame inductees. These outstanding contributors to our sport will be honored at the RRCA National Running Awards Breakfast and Ceremony on April 17, 2021 in Orlando, FL.
Marilyn Bevans: Her many African American firsts include the following: winning a marathon in February 1975 Beltsville, Maryland; Washington Birthday Marathon. First to run under 3 hours (2:55:52) at the 1975 Boston Marathon. First to represent the United States in international marathon competition in 1976 West Germany for the Women’s International Marathon, and in 1981 Tokyo International Marathon. Marilyn is the only Black American female to ever make the podium at the Boston Marathon with her 2nd place finish in 1977. Marilyn’s thirteen sub-3-hour marathons ranked number one on the all-time list of American born Black American for a remarkable 44 years. For eight years (1973 – 1981) Marilyn was the fastest African American marathoner ever with a best of 2:49:56 achieved at the 1979 Boston Marathon. She was part of the first generation of women long distance runners in the United States who preceded Title lX. Marilyn was one of the top female marathoners in the world from 1975 to 1977 with consistent high finishes in Boston of 4th, 6th, and 2nd respectively, along with a 5th place in the 1975 NY Marathon. In 1977 Track & Field News ranked her 10th in the world. Marilyn coached for over 30 years at Baltimore Perry Hall High School and twice was All-Metro Coach of the Year.
Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, born August 22, 1978, is an American distance runner. She grew up in Kenya, before attending college in the United States at Harding University in Arkansas. She graduated from Harding in 2005 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in health care management and nursing. In college, she won three Division II national championships and was named an All-American eight times. She was inducted into the Division II Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Harding Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2011, Cherobon-Bawcom was a three-time U.S. road champion, winning the 20 km, with a time of 1:08:31, the 10 mi (54:15), and the 10 km (32:47) races. In August of that year, the IAAF declared her eligible to represent the United States in international competition. At the end of the year, she was declared the women’s champion of the 2011 USA Running Circuit. She was the 2011 RRCA Road Runner of the Year as multi-RRCA Championship winner. At the January 2012, US Olympic Trials – Marathon, Cherobon-Bawcom finished fifth with a time of 2:29:45, besting her personal record by nearly eight minutes. Later in 2012, she set a new American record in the 25 km, with a time of 1:24:36 at the U.S. road championship at the Fifth Third River Bank Run. She also won the 15 km road championships with a time of 49:41. In 2012, she made the U.S. Olympic team in the 10,000 meters where she placed 12th at the London Olympics. In 2014, Janet Cherobon-Bawcom won the Credit Union Cherry Blossom / USA 10 Mile Championships in 2014 and set a women’s only start American Record with a time of 52:12.
Jennifer “Jen” Rhines, born July 1, 1974, is an American long-distance runner who has competed in three different Summer Olympics and made 15 US Teams. Rhines attended Villanova University as an undergraduate. While at Villanova, where she earned a degree in Civil Engineering, Rhines was a five-time NCAA individual champion: 5000 meters (1994, 1995, and 1996), 5000i meters (1995), and cross country (1994). As a post-collegiate professional runner, Rhines has won three USA 15K national titles (1998, 2005, 2011), a USA half-marathon championship (2011), and was USA 10,000 meter champion on the track in 2002. She competed in the women’s 10,000 meters race at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and finished 16th with a time of 31:26.66. In the 2004 Athens Olympics, she competed in the women’s marathon and finished the race in 34th place with a time of 2:43:52. Rhines qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games by placing second in the 5000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She finished 14th in the 5000m Beijing final with a time of 16:34.63. Rhines won the 2011 USA Half marathon title, with a time of 1:11:14 in Houston, TX.
Dathan Ritzenhein, born December 30, 1982, is an American long-distance runner. He held the American record in the 5,000 metres (12:56.27) from 2009-2010, when it was broken by Bernard Lagat. He is a three-time national cross country champion with wins at the USA Cross Country Championships in 2005, 2008 and 2010. Ritzenhein attended the University of Colorado at Boulder in the fall of 2001 to major in history and compete collegiately in cross country and track. In 2004, Ritzenhein ran the 10,000 m at the Olympic Games in Athens, but dropped out mid-race due to pain caused by an earlier stress fracture. Shortly after the Olympics he decided to forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility in order to run professionally. Ritzenhein began his professional career on December 31, 2004 when he finished 3rd in a 10 km road race in Italy. In January 2005 he won the prestigious Belfast International cross country race, and seemed to be in great form. Ritzenhein won the U.S. Cross Country Championships in the 12 km for his first senior national title. Ritzenhein made his Marathon debut in the 2006 ING New York City Marathon, finishing in 11th place with a time of 2:14:01. Ritzenhein finished second with a time of 2:11:07 in the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials, which placed Dathan on Team USA for the Beijing Olympics. In the 2008 Olympic Marathon, Ritzenhein was the first American Runner to cross the finish line, finishing 9th with a time of 2:11:59. In January 2009, Ritzenhein placed 2nd at the U.S. Half Marathon Championship. Three months later, he set a personal best at the 2009 London Marathon, finishing 11th in 2:10:00. In the January 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, Ritzenhein ran a personal best 2:09:55, but placed 4th, narrowly missing a spot on the US Marathon Team by eight seconds behind the third-place finisher Abdi Abdirahman. On the evening of June 22, 2012, Ritzenhein placed third in the US Olympic Trials in the 10K run and successfully achieved the Olympic ‘A’ standard of 27:45.00. On August 4, 2012, at the 2012 London Olympics, Ritzenhein finished 13th in the 10,000 m finals with a time of 27:45:89