I remember watching Luke Watson compete for Notre Dame in 2003. It was a blistering cold day in South Bend and I was set to run the 1000 metre race at the Meyo Invitational (because I could not get into the Meyo Mile, the marquee event). I was on the infield when the gun went off for the Meyo Mile. I was relatively new to the sport, and had never seen a sub-4 minute mile.
I had run against Nathan Brennan, thus I was curious to see how fast he could run. Three minutes and fifty-seven seconds later, I was introduced to Luke Watson. He crossed the finish line in 3:57:83. I was inspired. Luke Watson announced Monday that he would be retiring from the sport of professional running.
Watson did amazing things while at Notre Dame.
There is no question that Watson leads a busy life.
Check out Luke Watson’s record long Facebook Status below for the complete story.
“With a sense of happiness, pride, and excitement, I announce my retirement from the sport of professional running. It has been a great career, and I thank all those whose support made me what I am. I know I am going to leave some people out, and I’m sorry, but here it goes:
To my family: Georganne, my wife, for putting up with the highs and lows and being my biggest fan throughout; my mom and dad, for constant support from buying my first pair of running shoes to driving me to practice to coming to Houston to watch my last race; my sister Carly, with whom I rode to and from most of our high school practices, ski races, and who has always supported my efforts and really understood them; my brother Quinn, who is one of my proudest fans; my brother Jake, who inspired me with his own performances and was a good man to log the miles with; my late grandmother, who clipped every news article she could find and hung them up on her walls until the day she passed away; and to my aunts, uncles, and cousins, especially Steve, who traveled to Belfast and Houston to see a couple of my biggest races in person.
I thank Greg Wikelius for being one of my first running buddies, and a great friend to this day. Sean Graham, for the same, and little did I know he would eventually obliterate some of my best PR’s. My junior high coach Shelly Christensen, for believing in me long before I believed in myself, and pointing out my success when I didn’t even know I was having success. Ed Whetham, for being the first runner I really emulated. John Krueger and Trevor Mitchell, for accompanying me on my journey from novice runner to the varsity stage. Andy Tate, for giving me an education in what it takes to be a champion, and being a great training partner through the bitter cold of MN winters during college, and allowing me to join him in the winter training mecca of Lawrence, Kansas. Neil Langer, Robbie Stevens, Josh Helke, Lancer Lumby, Chris Boldt, Kevin Doe, the late Jon Francis, Andy Swanson, all a big part of my high school running experience. Jake Watson, Ben Blankenship, the 2011 Stillwater Cross Country Team as a whole, for keeping it all going and being an inspiration to me even now.
I thank my skier friends for a great offseason sport that shaped who I am today: Zach Kramer, Tim Morse, Elyah Gordon, Noel Johnson, Ty Hargroder, Josh Helke, Zach Coelius, Nils Lindstrom, Bill Snellman, and Dave Meyer; the girls, who were also good training partners and kept it fun: Carly Kohler, Sara Morse, Katie Flodin, Adrian Dantzer, Jill Oswald; coaches Bill Simpson, Kevin Brochman, Piotr Bednarski, and Marta Wilson; all the tireless assistant coaches that kept our program running like Dave Meyer and Randy Moses. My summer ski friends and rivals who made me push one level further and with whom we had a great time: Matt Weier, Matt Schadow, Peter Tollefson, Billy Lee, Colleen Flaherty, Megan Sands.
I thank all those who made my Notre Dame experience so powerful: Ryan Shay, Sean Zanderson, Nate Andrulonis, John Keane, Pat Conway, Marc Striowski, Sean McManus, Tom Lennon, Tim Moore, Eric Morrison, Kaleb VanOrt, Sean O’Donnell, Vin Ambrico, Geoff Rudziewicz, Kevin Avenius, Thomas Chamney, many I’m going to leave out- but you all helped me so much through the Miles of Trials and the Trials of Miles. Through heat, cold, rain, snow, and brutal track and cross country workouts, you guys took me to the top. I thank coach Joe Piane for the opportunities and for prompting ambitious goals, and for telling me to run with Shay when that’s about the most painful option out there. To my college rivals, Adrian Blincoe, Dan Wilson, Shay (haha), Steve Slattery, Jorge and Ed Torres, and many more, you guys made things tough and that made me tough. Thanks also to Jorge, Ed, Slat, Jason Hartmann, Dathan Ritzenhein, Jason Lunn, Sara Slattery, Emily Torres, Brad Hudson, for making Boulder feel like a second home. Thanks also to Brett Schumacher for hosting me over a winter in Phoenix and for being a great friend who I can count on seeing at all the big races.
I thank all my Notre Dame professors for pushing my intellectual limits, and eventually helping me in the process of going back to PhD school, all the while, supporting my running especially Profs. Wittenbach, Milani, and Shackell-Dowell. I thank Kyle Cannon for being my running buddy at EY and for the continued runs, conversations, and fun.
I thank all those people who made my postcollegiate career so rewarding and successful. Ryan Shay, Dr. Joe Vigil, Deena Kastor, Andrew Kastor, Ibby Aden, Meb Keflezighi in Mammoth; Team USA Minnesota, which brought me home and provided great support: Dennis Barker, Pat Goodwin, Jason Lehmkuhle, Matt Gabrielson, Andrew Carlson, Ryan Kleimenhagen, Toby Henkels, Lyle Weese, Carrie Tollefson, Katie McGregor, Kristin Nicolini, and Dana Coons. I thank Jamie Kirkpatrick and the Edina cross country/ track community for being steadfast supporters and for a great coaching experience that left me wanting to pursue coaching on a full-time basis, which was tough because eventually I had to leave to do that. I thank Ray Flynn of Flynn Sports Management and Todd Klein for signing me to the adidas deal that gave me a career, and to Bill Reifsnyder who kept it going; Jennifer, Melissa, Eron, and Nate at adidas for helping out with the day to day.
I thank the University of Minnesota community for making me feel like one of their own in those years: Neil Hanson, Crystal Hanson, Brent Loberg, Antonio Vega, Chuck Smith, Phil Smith, Andrew and Rachel McKessock, Will McComb, Gregg Sivesind, and Steve Plasencia.
I thank the 2006-2008 Notre Dame Fighting Irish for being great, inspirational student-athletes who I coached and trained with: Pat Smyth, Kurt Benninger, Jake Watson, Todd Ptacek, Mike Popejoy, Dan Curran, Blake Choplin, Jack Howard, Adam Currie, Chammers, Cameron Eckert, Brier Steenberge, and all the others who were both a joy to coach and to run alongside.
I thank my newest set of supporters and training friends in the Penn State Cross Country and Track and Field community; again I apologize for those I might leave out, but special thanks to Beth Alford-Sullivan, John Gondak, Jess Riden, Artie Gilkes, Rebecca Donaghue, Ryan Foster, Tyler McCandless (alum), Brian Sell, Kyle Dawson, Owen Dawson, Matt Fischer, Vince McNally, Chris Cipro. Thanks for being there on those days when it is not easy to get out the door! You make it a pleasure. To Steeple Nation, it is awesome working with every one of you: John Mahoney, Mike Syrnick, Bridget Franek, Cheryl Spring (alumni), Natalie Bower, Lindsey Graybill, Nick Scarpello, Emily Giannotti, and rookies Chris Campbell and Abbie Benson. Thanks to the whole women’s team as well, especially Claire Berryman (alum), Caitlin Lane, and Bekka Simko, it’s really fun working with all of you and seeing your success and I really appreciate your support of my running!!!
I thank Caroline Bierbaum LeFrak of Empire Athletics Management for great representation, Ron Wayne and Mizuno for their support and gear, Anders Porter and HoneyMilk for the best product in the world, PowerBar, and all the countless race directors who have generously supported me in competing at their races throughout the world.
Thanks to all the media who have covered my career, especially Stu Groskruetz, George Thole, Eric Perkins, Jana Shortal, and Tara Murray.
I’m sure there is someone totally obvious who I am leaving out, and I truly apologize. This is just a quick list off the top of my head of some people who have helped me. There are many, many more out there.
Although running is typically thought of as an individual sport, it is truly a team effort. You all have been my teammates. It is an honor for me to have worked with you.” – Luke Watson