Meet Olympia HS Running Phenom Ethan Coleman

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Meet Olympia HS Running Phenom Ethan Coleman
Ethan Coleman and OHS cross country team

You may have seen Olympia High School senior Ethan Coleman running around town in the neighborhoods near the high school, at LBA Park or around Capitol Lake. With a weekly training mileage of 60 miles a week, Coleman does a lot of running on the streets and sidewalks of Olympia.

Coleman, who holds the record for the fourth fastest 2-mile time in Washington state history, always gets his miles in. That’s one of his key ingredients for success. He also focuses on a diet rich in protein and a full night’s sleep, especially in the days approaching a race.

Coleman earned a spot on the national map this past spring, when he logged the nation’s second fastest 5K time. That race led to Coleman being recruited by the University of Notre Dame, where he will attend next fall. Most recently, Coleman took first place at the South Puget Sound League (SPSL) championship meet on October 21. The Olympia Bears varsity men's team also took first place at the event. The Bears head to districts this weekend.

“Ethan is a rare combination of incredible talent, outstanding work ethic, and relentless desire to be the best runner he can be,” said OHS coach Jesse Stevick. “Oftentimes, it is easy for elite-level athletes to become very inwardly focused on their own individual goals, but what is so neat to see is, despite being one of the best runners in the nation, Ethan demonstrates excitement for the success of his team and teammates. He decided to run at Notre Dame next year for a variety of great reasons, but some of these include the team atmosphere and that there will be coaches and athletes who will make him a better runner and a better person. Ethan is well-grounded and has a good perspective that while running is a big part of his life right now, it is not where his worth is derived.”

Coleman hadn’t always planned to run cross country. As an elementary and middle school student, he played soccer and basketball. It was during his freshman year of high school that he first tried cross country. He discovered that everything seemed to click and he had a natural ability. He also found that running relieved stress and killed time during the COVID-19 epidemic.

“Running, for someone who enjoys it, can be an escape from all of it,” Coleman said. “When you are running fast, you can just feel the wind behind your back. It’s indescribable. It’s like no other feeling really.”

Talking after the SPSL meet on Oct. 21, Coleman acknowledged Stevick and his OHS teammates. “I really just love the team and the coach,” he said. “It’s a really good culture. It’s a sport where you can be both individual and team simultaneously, and that’s really valuable.”

Coleman’s advice for new runners is to live a healthy lifestyle in general, get the miles in and otherwise keep it simple. “In reality, running is pretty simple, and when you get really good it’s easy to overthink all the small things, but I think keeping it simple is the best strategy,” he said.

Coleman’s next goals are to win at districts and state and to move on to nationals. His long-term goal is to one day qualify for the Olympics.


Ethan Coleman is the third student from the right in the photo featured above.