BOZEMAN – Bozeman is known for raising some of the best runners in the country, like Greg Rice, a five-time USA Champion in the 5,000-meter run, or Dave Johnson, a two-time Olympian. Now, one former Montana State runner is trying to follow in their footsteps.
Running in the biggest races in the nation is nothing out of the ordinary for Cristian Soratos. But last week at the USA Championships Finals in Iowa, where the best runners in the country competed, Soratos hadn’t stepped on a track in a long time.
“I actually hadn’t competed in almost a full year due to injury. My last race was July of 2017 until last week where I competed in the USA Championships,” said Soratos.
His last race nearly 12 months ago was the 2017 Outdoor USA championships where he placed fifth. This year, as a severe underdog in the 1,500-meter finals at the same event, all while battling a constant right foot injury, Soratos came back with a breath of fire placing eighth in the field.
“A lot of people were patting me on the back pretty impressed with how I kind of came back from the dead,” Soratos smiled.
And the now the former Montana State distance runner is out to prove himself.
“Making finals at the USA Championships is hard enough as it is. This year, the USA Champion of last year didn’t even make the finals,” Soratos said. “So making that final this year definitely helps my sponsorship to see that I’m still even despite injury and despite not having raced, that I’m still one of the best in the country.”
Soratos is signed on with Adidas as a professional runner. It’s a contract year for the Salinas, California native, but he hasn’t raced in months. So at the USA Championships he was determined to prove his is one of the fastest runners in the United State in hopes that it will help renew his sponsorship deal so he can continue running professionally.
Now that he showed he will only get better from this moment on, he has his sights set on next year’s USA Championships to qualify for some big teams.
“If you place top three during either an Olympic year or a World Championship year you then make Team USA. This year there is no world championship, this year is not an Olympic year,” said Soratos.
But at the next outdoor championships it will be a qualifying year, and if Soratos can place eighth with very little training among the best on the planet, he thinks dawning the red, white, and blue is in his future.
“That’s absolutely my goal. Next year is a world championship year, I’ll be gunning for Team USA that year,” said Soratos. “And then next year, everyone knows the Olympics, again top three, that’s what I’ll be gunning for.”