Saturday’s 3000-meter steeplechase qualifier was enlivened by the presence of Anthony Famiglietti, a 30-year-old 29-year-old runner from New York who trains in Tennessee. Famiglietti, who looks like he might have made you an Americano, whizzed past you on a fixie, or perhaps sold you weed at some point, studied philosophy, paints, sculpts, and has produced a 12-song CD of ambient music, according to the announcers. He has a Web site that loads slightly quicker than it takes to run a steeplechase, and on it you can buy his DVD, Run Like Hell.

There was a great PIP interview with Famiglietti during the race. I didn’t take notes, but in it he talked about how he didn’t share the American ideal of success and how he instead tried to embrace pain daily. In the wall-to-wall Phelpsphest, it was about time someone slipped a turd in the punchbowl. “Famiglietti with an…unusual perspective there,” one of the commentators coughed out. (I looked for video but no dice; I did find this one, where Famiglietti talks about passion and runs through fire.)

“Fam” was out in front for most of Saturday’s race but finished third in the end. Today, in the finals, he finished 13th. Afterward I like to imagine he punched the stadium wall, shouted something about Gregor Samsa, and wandered out into the Beijing night, and a tear-stained sophomore art major chased after him, and now they’re planning on moving to Portland.

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