Jeff Benjamin has written for our media group since 1990. First, it was American Athletics; then, it was American Track & Field; then, it was RunningNetwork; and finally, it was RunBlogRun. Jeff loves the sport, and the athletes like him, he gets it. 

Jeff wants you to appreciate the hard work of an aspiring elite athlete trying to make the Olympic team. 

The Challenging Road To Paris – First In A Series – Eric Holt

By Jeff Benjamin

Coming off the final turn of the 2022 USATF Outdoor Champs 1500 meters, it looked like Eric Holt would be on his way to the World Championships. The Empire Elite star was positioned well in second place with 100 meters to go and looked strong!

Alas, those 1900 French Olympic officials in Paris deemed the miler race to be 1500 meters instead of 1400 meters, and Holt would finish in an agonizing fourth place and out of the qualifying spots.

But great sports athletes are all about perseverance and redemption, and Holt in 2024 has been off to an impressive year, notably finishing a strong 3rd behind American Mile Record-Holder Yared Naguse and Ollie Hoare at the Penn Relays, clocking 3:51.46 a few weeks ago!

As the trials in Eugene approach, this writer caught up with Holt- –

1) How’s your training coming along?

“Training’s going well! I’m in the middle of an altitude stint with my teammates. We’re in Flagstaff, which is very different from being in New York!”

2) What’s coming up before the Olympic Trials?

“I’ll be competing in the LA Grand Prix 1500 next Saturday, an 800 in Atlanta two weeks later, the NY Grand Prix’s 1500, and finally the Olympic Trials.”

3) Is there anything you’ve changed in your training for the Olympic year?

“My training has changed a lot. I do double-threshold workouts, altitude training camps, more mileage, more speed days, and overall higher intensity.”

4) Who comprises your support system, and why are they important?

“Empire Elite, the USATF Foundation, and my family support me. I saved up some money from work and hopefully will get sponsored by the end of the season.”

5) Any advice you’d like to give out there, especially to young runners?

“Don’t focus on other runners or systems. Try to have fun and beat your own PRs. As long as you’re improving and having fun, that’s what matters. And do your mileage, lifts, and speed work!”