Wheating hang up his running spikes

The run is over for Andrew Wheating.

The two-time Olympian, former Oregon track star and local fan favorite retired from professional running Thursday, making the announcement on his Instagram and Facebook accounts.

“To those who have supported me through the good and the bad, I love you,” Wheating wrote. “Thank you so much for the years of kind words, congratulations, and high fives. Any Wheating fan was an instant friend to me and I couldn’t have asked for a kinder group of people with a stronger passion for the sport of running.”

With the personality and talent to match his 6-foot-5 frame, Wheating’s rise to fame coincided with the rebirth of Eugene and Hayward Field as the center of the domestic track and field world.

The middle-distance runner will forever be remembered for his role in one of the signature moments at Hayward Field, when he finished second in the 800 during the 2008 Olympic Trials as an Oregon sophomore to make the U.S. team for the Summer Games in Beijing.

With Eugene residents Nick Symmonds in first and Christian Smith in third, it was a 1-2-3 Oregon finish and the roar of the crowd was so loud as Wheating, now 30, stormed down the home stretch it reportedly shook the walls of a nearby restaurant.

His look of stunned disbelief after crossing the finish line remains a lasting image from his career.

Wheating won the NCAA title in the 800 as a junior and then won the 800 and 1,500 as a senior to become the first to complete that double since former Duck Joaquim Cruz in 1984.

Wheating remained in Eugene as a professional, joining the Nike sponsored Oregon Track Club Elite and coach Mark Rowland.

He made the London Olympics in 2012, this time in the 1,500 after placing third at the Olympic Trials.

The native of Vermont was plagued by injuries during the final years of his career, and last season he left OTC Elite to train on his own.

He finished with personal-best times of 1:44.56 in the 800 and 3:30.90 in the 1,500.

Wheating’s announcement included a show of appreciation for Nike, Rowland, his agent Mark Wetmore, fans and even his foes.

“To my competition, I hated every single one of you... for 4 minutes or less,” Wheating said. “But I loved you just as much when the race was over. I’ve never thought ill of any of you and I truly wish you all the best. Keep the flame stoked and don’t ever stop believing in your potential. I’ll see ya behind the stands.”

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