Craig Engels is an American middle-distance runner who primarily competes in the 1500m run. Boasting a PR of 3:34.04 in the 1500m and a recent appearance in the finals in the IAAF World Championships in the same event, Engels has cemented himself as one of the premiere runners in the country.
An athlete of this stature would normally have been expected to be in track and field for nearly their whole life, but Engels had another path. After getting kicked off his high school soccer team, he joined track and field and began a very close relationship with his high school coach, Christ Catton, someone who Engels credited with in helping progress his career. After high school, Engels spent four years at the University of Ole Miss, which included a national championship in the Distance Medley Relay and along with two other podium finishes. It wasn’t until after these accomplishments that Engels realized he had an opportunity to take his talents to the professional level. Engels signed with Nike and has been working closely with his Coach Pete Julian, his biggest inspiration inside the sport, since the summer of 2017. As expected, Engels has big goals for 2020. He stated that one by one he wants to make the U.S Olympic team, something that he has done in the past; after that qualify for the finals; and then finally reach the podium in a world class race. In order to do this, he will first need to compete against his fellow countrymen in the U.S Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
For Engels, running is so much more than posting fast times. He stated that what a lot of people get wrong is chasing fast times instead of focusing on getting hardware. He also has a great deal of love for the sport and really wanted to be a major part of future growth. As a multiple time USATF Foundation grant winner, Engels credits the Foundation with assisting him in paying for his graduate school. He wants to use his education to help build up the sport in the future.