Chasing an Olympic Dream

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Twenty-seven-year-old Rutherford Stevens may run marathons for a living, but he says he's really just your average joe. "I get up, I work over at Winn-Dixie in Lynn Haven. I do have a degree, but right now I'm more focused on track and field, you know getting into a real hardcore job would leave me less time to train and focus on running."

Stevens excelled at Bay High, making a trip to state three times. After graduating in 1998, he went on to Auburn where he was a three- time all-American.

However, an achilles injury hampered his training, but Stevens is once again working towards the ultimate goal: the Olympics.

"I'm not really focusing on the marathon until after the summer,” Stevens says. “The world championships are in August, but definitely, as I was telling one of my coaches, actually my new coach that I'll have after the summer, you know New York City, the World Championships, you know the Olympics will be like an ultimate goal of mine. I believe I really can accomplish the marathon and be really good at it."

Sponsorships are an integral part of becoming a pro and Stevens is hoping Adidas or Nike will help him out.

"Right now, I do have Adidas looking at me. Hopefully I can get that corporate sponsorship with them, but Nike's actually helping me out with the clothes and shoes right now and seeing that Adidas is looking at me, maybe they can also chip in," Stevens says.

Stevens is hoping to run until he's 35 or 36 and then move on to other goals. In the meantime, he's pursuing his dream.

"It's a fun career, but it's a tough career because you got so many runners that are good, that's why I’m up everyday running twice. Sometimes you know, just basically doing the job, trying to make a living," Stevens said.

Stevens is heading to Tampa for an 8-K race where he hopes to run an American record.