Posted February 26, 2003 (Updated October 2, 2007)

Marty Krulee (left) outlegs Dray Hargrove in the M45 100 at the Club West  Masters Meet at UC Santa Barbara in October 2002, a comeback from leg injury last March at the Boston masters indoor nationals -- his first since 1998.

Ken Stone photo

No time for slowing down:
An interview with Marty Krulee

Marty Krulee is a man of few words but fast feet. Spending much of his youth in Speed City, USA San Jose, California Krulee was exposed to the fastest sprinters in the world. And then he drew even with them. A Branham High School in San Jose, he clocked 10.0 in the 100-yard dash and 5.6 for 50 yards. At West Valley College in nearby Saratoga, he ran the 100 in 9.6 and 100 meters in 10.5 (and 21.5 for 200). After transferring to San Diego State University, he improved to 10.45 in the 100, 20.85 for 200 and added a 47.0 leadoff leg in the 1,600-meter relay. But out of school he really hit his stride, running 10.19 a Zurich in 1983 and 10.06w at Mt. SAC in 1988, 20.30 at Mt. SAC in 1988 and 46.3 at Mt. SAC in 1982. His best 60-meter time indoors is 6.65 in 1988. He made the 1978 NCAA 200-meter semifinals, ran in the 200 semifinals of the ill-fated 1980 Olympic Trials and also competed in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Trials. He ran sprints at the USATF nationals in 1978, 1979-81 and 1986.

Barely taking a breather, Krulee entered began entering submasters nationals in the early 1990s. In 1996 at age 39, he was the oldest finalist in the M35 100 at the Spokane masters nationals yet still won with a time of 11.03 into a 1.1 mps wind. A year later at San Jose masters nationals, he won the M40 100 in 10.93 and the 200 in 22.33. He defended his 100 title at the 1998 Orono masters nationals in 11.04 and was third in 200 in 23.02  (after a 22.92 heat). He didnt compete in a masters nationals again until March 2002, when he traveled 3,000 miles to run 60 meters at the Boston indoor meet. He led all M45 qualifiers with a 7.34 in the heats but in the finals pulled a muscle 20 meters into he race, failing to finish. But in October 2002, he showed his form with impressive outdoor marks of 11.40 and 23.37. 

In September 2007, Marty won the M50 world title for 100 meters at Riccione, Italy, in 11.58 seconds after a semifinal of 11.47. A finalist in the 200 at Italy, he had a season best of 23.90 (No. 2 American of 2007). He also reports that, by popular request, he has started coaching again, and "I plan on working only with individuals and small groups at this point." Marty can be reached at this address.

Born November 4, 1956, in Framingham, Massachusetts, he now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with Teri Lin, his wife of six years, and their 3-year-old daughter. A former coach and electrical contractor, Krulee now works as a mortgage broker for The Loan Source.  He weighs 190 pounds and stands 5-feet-7. This interview was conducted in January 2003.

By Ken Stone   

Masterstrack.com: You won the M45 100 and 200 in October at the Club West Masters meet in Santa Barbara with wonderful times of 11.40 and 23.37. The 100 would easily have won at the 2002 masters nationals. How come you werent in Maine?

Krulee: I just started training in July 2002 after pulling a muscle at the indoor nationals in Boston.

You looked a little chunky at Santa Barbara, though. Whats your weight now, and what was your weight in your world-class days?

Now 190, then 175

You won or placed high at many masters nationals starting around 1992. But youve skipped some outdoor nationals in recent years. Has traveling to nationals been a financial burden for you? Or have you been injured?

A little of both. Mostly it has been due to a severe case of Achilles tendinitis that has been with me since I turned 31. The birth of my daughter has also consumed some of my desire to spend the time necessary to compete at my best level.

In your open days, you ran in the Swedish national championships, winning titles in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Why did you run there? Ive heard that your ancestors are Finnish.

I have no Swedish or Finnish ancestry that I know about. The connection was from San Diego State -- an 800 runner named Dave Magee talked me into going to Scandinavia in 1981 to compete in the small international meets with him. I was already training with Daley Thompson and he had invited me to stay with him, so I went to Europe not knowing what to expect. My first competition was in London, and I placed second in both the 100 and 200. I next traveled to Stockholm and competed in the DN Galan meet, placing second in the 200 with 20.78. The rest was easy as few Americans wanted to compete in the possibly cold and rainy conditions. I loved competing there and I met a whole bunch of track fanatics, so I just started going over there every summer. Then in 1987 Daniel Wessfeldt,  the meet director from Malmo, Sweden, whom I had met in 1981, recruited me to be the head sprint coach for Malmo Track Club (MAI) and the rules in Sweden were if you were a resident you could compete in the national championships, so I went there to live, obtained residency and competed for three years.  I also competed in the Masters Championships in Sweden in 1991. To my knowledge, I am the only person in Swedish history to win the 100m and 200m at both the Open Championships and the Masters Championships in the same year.

Your all-time 100 best is listed as a wind-aided 10.06 at Mt SAC in 1988 -- but Ive heard a story that the time was legal but changed to wind-aided so as not to steal thunder from a slower Carl Lewis mark at the same meet. Is this true?

The official result was 10.06 (3.0 wind). The controversy arose when after my race I walked back to the start and stopped at the wind gauge on the way. I asked the official if my race was legal and he replied YES, then the next race started (Carls), and by the time the official results were released, my race was windy (3.0) and the A final was not. 

Your all-time 200 best appears to be 20.30 from Mt. SAC the same year. What was it like to run so fast twice that day? What do you recall of those races? Whod you beat?

Im not going to lie. It was amazing. The day was perfect, warm, (with a) tailwind,  and I was in shape. I had the outside lane in the 100 and inside of me was newcomer Leroy Burrell (second in 10.09). The 200 was even better. I ran the best curve of my life and was leading by 3-4 meters; then somebody came on the inside and passed me. All I could think was: Who can this be? I lost my concentration for a few steps then focused again to catch back up and we photo-finished. Then I found out that it was Lorenzo Daniels (20.29) who eventually won the NCAA 200 that year in 19.86.

In 1983, Track & Field News ranked you the No. 7 American in the 200. You are among only a handful of white sprinters to be listed in its top 10 since the 1970s -- with others being Kevin Little and my KU track teammate (and 1976 Olympian) Mark Lutz. On the world stage, weve seen a white Greek win the 200 at Sydney and a white Briton win the boycotted 100 at Moscow (and of course Pietro Mennea and Valery Borzov in the 1970s). But whites have mostly fallen out of the world-class deck lately. Why?

Jason Leech ran 10.20  for Texas in the middle 1980s. We became friend and traveled together in Sweden in summer. Mostly I think that its a numbers game.

Did you ever feel inferior as a sprinter because of your non-African ancestry?

Never.

In 1984, you ran on a 4x1 relay team that included Calvin Smith, who was then the world record holder for the 100-meter dash. Howd you come to team with him?

Right place, right time. In 1983, after placing sixth in the final in Zurich, Mel Lattany and Ron Brown both were injured in the race. Max Clark and Terry Long, the leaders of Athletic Attic, asked me if I wanted to finish the Summer Circuit with the team. The next year, the team became Bud Light so I competed with my new teammates.

Your friend Kevin Morning ran a world-best M45 200 at a Los Gatos all-comers meet last year. He credits you with helping him with his technique out of the blocks. What are your secrets to faster starting?

Nothing special -- just simplify and practice.

You achieved your best marks well after running track at West Valley College and San Diego State. Has anyone coached you? Or are you mainly self-coached?

I guess that self-coached is a little tough to say. All those years of training with Daley Thompson and the other British elite sprinters (including Roger Black and Kriss Akabusi) helped as much as any technical training I did.

How do you design your workouts? Where do you train? How do you push yourself in practice?

Anyone that has ever trained with me will tell you this is true. I get to the track and then decide on the day. Hows that for vague? These days I train at West Valley College or Los Gatos High School. I remind myself how fast I used to be.

Give an example of a recent track workout.

 4x120m, six minutes rest, 85 percent effort.

Full-blast sprinting is hell on muscles and joints -- even for youngsters. For middle-agers, such activity is near suicidal. What's the key to running fast at our age without pulling up down the stretch?

The key to running fast at any age is to train fast!

This summer will be a busy one -- with the USATF masters nationals in Eugene, the Pan-Pacific World Masters Games in Sacramento and the world masters championships in Puerto Rico. Which of these meets, if any, do you plan to attend?

Most likely Ill compete in Sacramento and Eugene if Im healthy.

Along with Kevin Morning, M50 sprinters Bill Collins in America and Dr. Stephen Peters in Britain have produced incredible marks in recent years. Which masters sprinters do you most admire -- and why?

I dont really know all the guys too well as we only see each other at nationals usually, But when I found out that Ray Blackwell was a doctor I was impressed that he had time for training at all. Every year I gain more respect for anyone that can find the time to train and compete and most importantly not get hurt!

What performance goals have you set for yourself in the near term, in the long-term? Do you see yourself going after Payton Jordan's M80 world sprint records?

I only have short-term goals. I would like to get close to 11.0 and 22.5.

Sprinters are a breed apart in the open ranks, with their angry gunfighter personas. But in masters, athletes tend to relax and drop the chilly facade. Do you find running masters track more satisfying than open track?

I would not say that either was better, just different.