When Boulder chiropractor John Minen got a call from Dr. Ted Forcum, the chief chiropractor in charge of staffing the medical tent for last month’s US Olympic Trials, asking him to help work with the athletes, he didn’t did not hesitate. Minen, still a good runner himself, spent a week at his company, Colorado Sports Chiropractic, and traveled to Eugene, Ore. For a week’s work in which Boulder sports agent Brendan Reilly , calls “the best national championship competition in the world.” . “
The 10-day meeting brings together the best of the country in 20 events, men and women, in a win-win format; the top three in each event earn the right to represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympics, which begin on July 23.
“It was amazing,” Minen said. “I was lucky to be chosen. It was magical to work in, and learn from, historic Hayward Field alongside other top healthcare providers.
Minen has spent long days in trials, working with the nation’s fittest athletes in all disciplines, from throwers and jumpers to hurdles and middle and long distance runners. It was an experience, he said when I ran with him on the Boulder Creek Path last week after his return, which “was magical”. (To be honest I ran with Minen for about 300 yards, before he dropped me to go up the canyon). At 32, Minen remains fit enough to set a goal of 4 minutes for the mile.
Minen almost ran a 4-minute mile in college and as a post-college student. Originally from Ohio, he attended Kent State University before going to the University of Virginia. There he performed well, but said of his competitive career: “I have business pending.” Boulder was a place to work on this business. Minen visited every summer to stay with his best friend, and was hired for seasonal jobs at Newton Running by Danny Abshire, a shoe author, trainer and inventor who taught Minen the basics of running biomechanics.
Under the tutelage of three-time US Olympian Jim Spivey, Minen raced at an elite level, competing in the 1,500 meters at the 2011 nationals and qualifying for the 2012 Olympic trials. An injury prevented him from competing in the trials, which motivates him to help young runners pursue their own competitive dreams. Last year, Minen set up a fund to help athletes facing financial hardship due to lost court fees and race bonuses; last month he donated $ 500 to the Boulder Road Runners Olympic Trials Scholarship Fund.
“Few (of the athletes in the Trials) make any money or are well funded,” said Minen, who had to raise money to travel in her own elite days. “Some are volunteer coaches at their old colleges, which they do to use the facilities, to jump or pole vault.”
At Eugene, Minen and the other guest bodybuilders moved into the newly renovated Hayward Field every day. Some days he saw up to 10 athletes, each session lasting about an hour. “We worked with everyone,” Minen said. One that stood out was a discus thrower, competing in her fifth Olympic trials. “It was great talking to him.”
Attending those Olympic trials, he continued, was sort of “bittersweet, in my previous experience (as an elite) there was a hole that needed to be filled.” Now he looks back on his career and says to himself: “What could have made things better? I want the athletes to get the best of themselves.
He added: “I love sports. It saved me, physically and emotionally, and I want to give back, to give it back. Running allowed me to study. Neither parent was able to get a college education, and my best chance of getting one was getting a scholarship. Running allowed me to attend one of the best public schools in the country, and I am extremely grateful to it.
Back home, Minen continues to train at a high level, lifts weights four times a week, sees clients – including some Tokyo Olympians, “a point of pride” – and oversees her business. How does he hold it all together? “With lots of coffee,” he joked (I think), before adding that his office staff and two Colorado Sports Chiropractic massage therapists are essential. “We take care of each other.” And his fiancée, Charlotte Thompson, is “super supportive. When I’m beaten and tired, lips white from a day of training, she cooks a meal.
Minen is based in Boulder, which he considers one of the best places in the country to live and train. “I am always surprised,” he says, “to see people walking, hiking, climbing and cycling every morning. It’s not like that in the Midwest. Almost every patient is an athlete here. We live in an amazing place and I am happy to be a part of it.
John Minen advises people to consider massage, chiropractic work, and physical therapy as regular maintenance, something to be done in the same way we go to a dentist for an exam. “Don’t wait for something to go wrong. Find someone you trust with bodywork and make it a routine, to avoid repetitive and overuse injuries, ”he often sees.
Follow Michael Sandrock on Instagram: @MikeSandrock.