I am wondering about all the references to the comparing of sprinters and distance runners, their body physiques, and their training methods. I think it is unfair to say that by running distances as a bodybuilder you are putting your physique on the line.
First of all, most if not all sprinters that you are making your references to are mesomorphs. Not only that, but guys like Kerron Clemonts, Maurice Green, and Shawn Crawford are among the best sprinters in the world. That means they are among the best strength atletes in the world. They all inherit a quality of excellent genetic makeup and great work ethic. Their bodies are already built for putting on muscle and staying lean quite easily. Coupled with their weight training they are going to have amazing builds.
Distance runners, on the other hand, are almost always ectomorphs. Very tall, hard to put on mass. Makes a good runner, not a lifter. Coupled with the fact they put in 100+ miles a week with next to no weight training, they are not going to look like a sprinter.
To find a good balance of these two training styles, I think you have to look at decathletes. Take a look at Bryan Clay. This guy puts in some distance running, coupled with weight training, sprints, and lots of form work. He has a pretty good physique. Coupled with a give or take 183 foot discus throw, which is just short of the elite status, this guy’s performance in a power event isn’t hurt by his road work. Though He wouldn’t win a bodybuilding contest neither would a sprinter nor a distance runner.
Also looking at distance runners, these guys are tough. I think distance running builds a mental and physical toughness that cannot be acquired through sprinting. One of their workouts would tear apart almost any guy that works out at your gym. Look at combat athletes, who go on long runs. They take a beating, and come back for more. This could be accounted for through their other training, but I think the running takes a major part in it.
I don’t think we as lifters should view distance running as a curse. I think it should be in the category of GPP along with sledgehammer and sandbag training. A great way to build toughness and strengthen your body.