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Ashland's Julian in SI article

Pete Julian might be only the 100th-best male distance runner in theworld, but he's good enough to be featured in the current issue of SportsIllustrated.

An article on the Ashland native, accompanied by a half-page color photograph,leads off a sampling of some of the world's 100th-ranked athletes in theirrespective fields in the July 28 edition of the popular magazine.

Author Leigh Montville, one of SI's top writers, examines some who areat the periphery of stardom, their noses pressed against the window separatinggoals from achievement.

Writes Montville: This is sport on a simpler level. The work isthe same work the champions do, maybe even harder, but the results are lesssignificant.

Still, he writes, to be the 100th-best is noteworthy: There areonly 99 people ahead. There is an entire world behind.

The article also features pieces on golfer Olin Browne, college-player-turned-NFL-draft-pickHenri Crockett, jockey Jose Rivera, heavyweight boxer James Warring andwomen's discus thrower Erica Ahmann.

Julian qualified for the piece when he was timed in 28 minutes, 20.9seconds over 10,000 meters at the Mount Sac Relays last year, accordingto International Track and Field Annual.

Even though his winning time ranked 100th in the world for 1996, it wasthen the sixth-fastest in the nation and qualified Julian for the U.S. OlympicTrials.

In the article, Julian talks of the uphill struggle to get where he istoday, including the travails of his prep days when he ran for his father,Ashland High track coach Bob Julian.

I've never been a natural talent, Julian tells Montville.Never. I didn't make the cross-country varsity in high school untilmy senior year. College, nobody wanted me.

He goes on to say how colleges, specifically Oregon and Cal-Irvine shunnedhim. The latter, he says, laughed at him. They said they had womenwho ran faster than I did.

He wound up at the University of Portland.

Now 26, Julian is hardly gum on the bottom of a sneaker.

In June, he placed third in the 10,000 at the U.S. Track and Field Championships,taking the lead with 150 meters left before relinquishing it and comingin less than one second behind the winner.

He takes pride in such performances and the day-to-day regimen that makesthem possible. He takes umbrage, as he did in the article, with commentatorsFrank Shorter and Marty Liquori for calling American distance runners softand unwilling to work.

Well, I work, Julian is quoted. I work harder thananyone ­ the Kenyans, anyone. I do the miles.

At some cost, too.

A year ago, he was engaged. Not so now.

Julian blames, in part, his devotion to running for the breakup.

I was running all the time when I should have been working on arelationship, he says in the article. It's OK. There's a saying,`If you're going to be a runner, your running shoes have to ride shotgun.That's me.

It got him to 100th in the world last year, but don't look for a repeatarticle in 1998.

Julian went and finished 84th in the IAAF World Cross Country Championshipsin March.