By Brian Metzler
For a hot moment in 2019, the Tinman Elite professional running team seemed to be all that.
The Boulder, Colorado-based post-collegiate running group burst on the scene a few years ago with young star-in-the-making Drew Hunter and savant coach Tom “Tinman” Schwartz as the centerpieces of what was bound to be a different kind of team.
When it started in 2017, Hunter was an Adidas-sponsored pro a year removed from a record-setting high school career in Virginia punctuated by a national indoor mile record of 3:57.81. After he settled on Boulder and began training under Schwartz (who coached him remotely in high school), he began training with Morgan Pearson and eventually Reed Fischer and eventually started the Tinman team organization that included Sam Parsons, Jordan Gusman, Connor Winter, Joey Berriatua, Jeff Thies, Sydney Gidabuday and Brian Barraza, among others.
While Hunter was already a household name — Adidas had given him a 10-year contract and tuition to pursue a college education — the rest of the guys were all good to very good All-American-caliber runners in college. The team wanted to become one of the top elite running teams in the U.S., with a stated goal of qualifying its athletes for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in events from the 800m to the marathon. But, as Runner’s World declared in a 2019 article on the team, “beyond the drive for accolades and medals, there’s a second, equally important ambition: to make elite running more transparent, relatable, and fun.”
They succeeded at the latter to some extent, but haven’t yet achieved the former.