Ron Tabb (born August 7, 1954) Ron is a retired male long-distance runner from the United States, who competed in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the men's marathon. He won the 1981 edition of the Paris Marathon ex-æquo with England's Dave Cannon. He won the 1983 Beijing Marathon and competed at the 1983 World Championships in Athletics later that year, finishing in 18th place overall. He qualified for the 1980 Olympic team but never competed due to the U.S. boycott on the Moscow Games that year. He once held the sixth fastest marathon time ever recorded and won 10 marathons around the world. He is one of only four Americans to run more than 20 marathons under 2:20 and is the only American to win major marathons on five different continents. His training partner was former world record holder Alberto Salazar, and he was once married to famous Olympic athlete Mary Decker Slaney.
"For Tabb, the son of a Lexington, Mo. carpenter, injuries were never the problem—his size was. As a 5’4″, 95-pound high schooler, he was too small for most sports. He played sophomore football and recalls being “a dummy holder who got hammered all the time by a 200-pound fullback. He ran over the dummy and me.” He later took up cross-country running and eventually earned a scholarship to Central Missouri State University.
There, while rising to 103 pounds (he now weighs 115 and stands 5’6″), Tabb broke every school record from the mile to the 10,000 meters. But he quit before graduating and moved to Houston, where he installed roof gutters for a living and trained as a marathoner. In 1978 he won the Houston Marathon with the world-class time of 2:17, then six days later won in New Orleans in 2:22. Most marathoners rest at least a month between races and run only two or three of the 26.2-mile events a year. In 1980, his best year so far, Tabb won in New Orleans in the blazing time of 2:11 and was ranked seventh in the U.S. by Track and Field News, the runners’ bible. At present he’s ranked tenth. Characteristically, Ron was scheduled to run in Montreal the day after he and Mary were married in Eugene. After flying all night, they arrived two hours before the race. “I was so tired, I didn’t have the slightest idea where I was on the course,” says Ron. Still, he finished in 2:27. is the son of a Lexington, Mo. carpenter, injuries were never the problem—his size was. As a 5’4″, 95-pound high schooler, he was too small for most sports. He played sophomore football and recalls being “a dummy holder who got hammered all the time by a 200-pound fullback. He ran over the dummy and me.” He later took up cross-country running and eventually earned a scholarship to the University of Central Missouri (was CMSU) in Warrensburg, Missouri between 1972–1977 and was inducted into the UCM Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
"After college, Tabb moved to Eugene to train under legendary Oregon coach Bill Dellinger. And in Eugene, runners are 'A' list. Tabb said he sometimes had to pinch himself. "I was like 'This is pretty cool, I'm running with Alberto Salazar,'" Tabb said of those days.The pinnacle of Tabb's career also became one of his biggest disappointments. He qualified as the first alternate for the 1980 Olympics but was a victim of the United States' boycott of the Games due to the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. "I'm still bitter about that," he said. "I will go to my grave and be bitter about it because it completely changes your life."
Meb Keflezighi influenced by Ron Tabb
After former U.S. marathon star Ron Tabb watched Meb training one afternoon in San Diego, Tabb told Meb that he would make a great marathoner some day. Meb thought Tabb was crazy. And the 26.2-mile distance too.
Meb is "The only athlete in history to win the Boston Marathon, the New York City Marathon & an Olympic medal"
Fort Myers names former top marathoner Ron Tabb new girls cross country coach
"A winner of 10 marathons in a career that ended in 1992, Tabb posted top-10 finishes in the Boston and New York Marathons while winning the Paris and Beijing marathons.
As a trainer, he saw success working with his then-wife Mary Decker Slaney, a former world record holder in the mile, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters.
Tabb made three coaching stops in the college ranks, including a successful run at Pacific University where he took a team he said resembled more of an intramural team than a Division I program and qualified a number of runners for the NCAA championships"
- 1983 Boston Marathon....2:09:31 2nd. 5th fastest marathon in U.S. history
- 1983 N.Y. City Marathon.2:10:24 3rd. 1st American
- 1983 Wang Australian Marathon..2:10:53 1st 2nd fastest marathon on Australian continent.
- 1980 Mardi Gras Marathon (New Orleans) 2:11:00 1st Louisiana state record.
- 1981 Paris Marathon Paris, France..2:11:44..1st fastest marathon on French soil.
- 1980 U.S. Olympic trials..2:12:39 4th..1st alternate United States Olympic Team
- 1980 Houston Marathon..2:13:35..1st..Texas state record
- 1983 World Championships..2:13:38..Helsinki, Finland 18th. Fastest time by an American at World Championships until 2007.
- 1980 Boston Marathon..2:14:48..3rd..2nd American
- 1982 Nike OTC Marathon..2:15:30 15th. Eugene,Oregon
- 1985 Rio Marathon..2:16:16..1st. Fastest marathon on South American continent.
- 1978 St. Louis Marathon..2:16:35..1st..Missouri state record.
- 1979 N.Y. City Marathon..2:16:56 8th.
- 1978 Houston Marathon..2:17:11..1st..Texas state record
- 1979 Montreal Marathon..2:17:14..10th..1st American
- 1985 Big "M" Marathon..2:17:45..4th..1st American
- 1979 Honolulu Marathon..2:17:58..3rd
- 1983 Beijing Marathon..2:18:51..1st..
- 1985 New Jersey Waterfront Marathon..2:19:11..4th
- 1988 Houston Marathon..2:19:38..17th
- 1979 Boston Marathon..2:19:41..51st.
|Representing the United States|
|1981||Paris Marathon||Paris, France||1st||Marathon||2:11:44|
|1983||Boston Marathon||Boston, United States||2nd||Marathon||2:09:31|
|Beijing Marathon||Beijing, PR China||1st||Marathon||2:18:51|
|World Championships||Helsinki, Finland||18th||Marathon||2:13:38|