August 2007 Archives

Liu Xiang took the hurdles in a superb race, and the U.S. went 2,3. Germans went 2,3 in the women's javelin and the first day of the decathlon wars just ended, with Bryan Clay as one of the injured....nice improvement for Trammel, who was fifth in Helsinki!

The mens' 400 meters is about to start. Avard Moncur of the Bahamas, the 2001 winner, Christopher Tyler, the bronze medalist in Helsinki from Canada, Angelo Taylor, the 2000 gold medalist at the 400 m hurdles, LaShawn Merritt of the U.S., Jeremy Wariner, Athens' gold, Helsinki Gold, number three time ever, Leslie Djhone, French
national record holder, Chris Brown of the Bahamas, and Johan Wissam, of Sweden, who set two national records in the heats....runners take your marks!

Friday, August 31, 2007 is the seventh day of the 11th IAAF World Championships, held in Osaka, Japan. This writer's days mostly go like this: Breakfast in the morning, between seven and nine in the morning, off to either the track or for some interviews, a quick nap, then a mad rush to the stadium to catch the night session...tonight should be fantastic, with the women's 200 meter final and men's 400 meter finals..

The Men's 1,500 meters was a classic race. Hitting the 400 meters in 58 seconds, the 800 in 1:58 and the 1200 in 2:55, the last 800 meters was run in 1:51-by the top 8 and the difference between first and tenth was 1.2 seconds!

Bernad Lagat timed his charge perfectly and took the gold going away! His teammate, Alan Webb, was there at 1,410 meters, but could not find the final gear needed like he had at the AT&T champs and Gaz de France. Webb finished eighth and was devastated.

The next afternoon, Alan gave four media a straight and honest interview that showed a student of the sport, a young man who is retrospective and a middle distance runner who has seen the quality of the World Championships middle distance finals. In an interview that is brutally honest, Webb shows that he
understands the challenges that face him.

For Day six, Nicole has written about the global nature of athletics.....

On Thursday night, the finals were the 200 meters for men, the women's 400m hurdles, the women's hammer throw and the men's long jump. Here are stories on the 200 meters, 400m hurdles and men's long jump. I will do another update tommorow morning....

Dear readers,

There is a song by one of my favorite songwriters, Jesse Colin Young, called, " When the Morning comes", this would have been an appropriate title for my evening.

In the spirit of giving many of my readers a first hand experience of night life in Osaka, I became a satyr for an evening of bachnalian fun. If some of my older readers remember Goteborg, and my experience at the rave, well, this should give you a bit of my experiences last night. At the age of 48, however, this type of evening will probably not be repeated, at least until Sunday night, before my departure... I hope that you enjoy the spirit with which this is shared..

In today's column, Nicole comments on the the 110 meter hurdles, the race that pits the best of the U.S., the best of France, the best of China...

In some brilliant running, the British women showed their stuff over 400 meters, taking gold and silver, Bernard Lagat won the 1,500 meters for the U.S. and a huge upset in the high jump! All in Day five, and there are four more to go!

Here is one for the record books--Donald Thomas, the gold medalist high jumper from the Bahamas, never high jumped until seventeen months ago. A friend bet him he could not high jump six foot six, and he jumped seven feet!

Here are some quick interviews with Carolina Kluft, gold medalist, Heptathlon, Liu Xiang of China, world record holder, 110m hurdles, Craig Mottram, bronze medalist, Helsinki, 5000 meters and Kara Goucher, bronze medalist, 10,000 meters, Osaka. I hope that you enjoy them. Special thanks to Todd Klein of Reebok and Dean Stoyer of Nike for their assistance in setting up the interviews. It is great to see the various sponsors supporting interviews and access to their athletes. This was something first championed by Keith Peters, former communications head of Nike at the Goteborg World Champs in 1995. We are happy to see Dean Stoyer and his companies support as well as Todd Klein's support of these important media events.

World Champs, Day 4, Highlights

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A day with an amazing 800 meter run, a sweep in the long jump for women and steeple for men and a huge suprise in the discus for men was day four! Isinbayeva could be singing " I am invincible" now...read on for the highlights of Day four of the 11th IAAF
World Athletics Championships.

Tuesday, August 29, 2007 was day four of the 11th IAAF World Championships. Again, a wonderful day of competition. The Kenyans swept the steeplechase, for the first time since 1997, Russian women swept the long jump. Janet Kipkosgei of Kenya set her second national record, runnng the lead the entire way and Kerron Clement, showing the talent he has always posssessed, won the 400 meter hurdles in grand style! Upset of the Championships? Lithuania's Virguilius Alekna fails to medal and go over 70 meters in discus!

In Tuesday's column, Nicole writes about Tirunesh Dibaba, the two time 10,000 m world champion and two time 5,000 meter world champion. The 10,000 meters in Osaka has taken so much out of Dibaba that she has withdrawn from the 5,000 meter race, which means she can not defend her titles from Paris and Helsinki. Here, Nicole speaks about Tirunesh and her world....

World Champs, Day 4, First Update

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This first update today is about the various things going on around the competition and some of my experiences in chatting with various coaches and athletes from around the world. I hope you enjoy...

World Champs, Day 3, Highlights

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The four finals on Monday, August 27, 2007, day three of the 11th IAAF World Atheltics Championships, were again all about pulling out the great performances. In the women's steeple, Yekaterian Volkova pushed ahead after the first kilometer and did not give up the lead, winning in 9:06.5, to take the gold. In the men's hammer, Ivan Tsikan, the defending champion, needed a come from behind last round throw of 83.63 meters to win the gold. In the 100 meters, less than three hundreths of a second seperated first and second, Veronica Campbell and Lauryn Williams. And in the men's triple jump, a clutch jump by Nelson Evora of Portugal cemented his first gold with a triple jump of 17.74 meters or 58-2.5 feet!

In this column, Nicole writes about the women's sprint race, the confusion surrounding the finish and the positive thoughts on the slowest winning time in championship history.

The women's 100 meter final taught us alot. First, Veronica Campbell of Jamaica knows how to finish. Second, Lauryn Williams is back, and third, who in the heck is Carmelite Jeter? We sure won't forget her again!

The crowd of 40,000 was treated to a see saw battle in the 100 meters, where no one knew the results until after the photos had been read!

When you are the two time World Champion, plus the world record holder at 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, you have alot of athletes gunning for you. Witness this 10,000 meters, where even Bekele's teammate challenged him with six hundred meters to go!

The World Champs evening session had something for everyone! The men's hammer had the hearts and emotions of all of Japan supporting Koji Murofushi. The men's 1,500 meter semi finals were a perfect example of what it takes to compete at this level, and
the women's 100 meter semi finals, reported here, lived up to expectations!

Monday night was a great night of track and field for the third day of the 11th IAF World Championships, with the men's semis in the 1,500 meters, women's steeplechase final, the men's hammer final and the men's 10,000 meters. Here are the results of the men's 1,500 semis and the women's steeplechase!

Craig Masback, the CEO of USA Track & Field, is very much a student of the sport. Besides that, he is a true track and field fan. The pace so far for Team USA is pretty impressive--good performances in early rounds. The only tough one has been Bershawn Jackson in the 400m hurdles.

I asked Craig again a few questions, to which he emailed back his answers. We think that you will find his answers of much interest. This is his third series of responses in three days! We thank Craig for his time.

After a few hours sleep, I had these thoughts about a few of the events on Monday, August 26, 2007. See what you think, if I am as far off as some say!

World Champs, Day 2, Highlights

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Sunday, August 26, 2008 was the second day of the 11th IAAF World Championships. And the word for the day was...competition! In the Men's 20k Walk, Jefferson Perez of Ecuador had to overcome a thirteen second lead at 13k to walk to the win! In the
women's shot, Valerie Vili of Ecuador had to call all of her strength to make that last big throw! In the men's 100 meters, Tyson Gay took the lead only after 80 meters! It's all about the competition!

In today's column, Nicole writes about the host country Japan and the challenge in gettig medals as a host country.

August 26, 2007. 11 pm local time, Osaka, Japan.

The three finals tonight were the Men's 100 meters and the Heptathlon, plus the
Women's shot put. Each final has its own intrigues, its own stories...

August 26, 2007. The second day of the 11th IAAF World Athletics Championships started warm, as usual. The crowds were treated to some heroic performances. As it should be, the athletes showed that they can run, jump and throw in any conditions! Some perform better than others. Those we call championes du monde....

The first day of the World Championships was a great start for Team U.S.A. Fourth place in the marathon World Cup, followed by the gold and silver in the shot with Reese Hoffa and Adam Nelson. Then, to cap off the night, Kara Goucher kicked it in for a bronze in the women's 10,000 meters--the first time a U.S. athlete, male or female to win a medal at a World Champs at 10k. Here, Craig Masback, CEO of USA Track & Field gave us a few minutes this afternoon on his thoughts on the 11th IAAF World Champs. The process of the interviews is straightforward, I send Craig the questions (LE), he answers via email (CM). Thanks to Craig for his time!

No one could have written a more bizarre and exciting race plan for the 10,000 meters. Four Ethiopians up front at the start, and one medals? And she had fell off the pace, and needed a kilometer to recover? Then, an American medals? What planet do you come from? The amazing thing is that this amazingly crazy race is all real! Read on....

In a shot put that had the 2005 gold, silver and bronze medalists, Reese Hoffa showed them how to throw tonight, with his brilliant performances, and five superb throws, all over 21 meters, four that could have won the competition! Here is how he did it!

Mary Nicole Nazzaro has covered the World Champs for us since 2003 in Paris. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Russian, she has provided some interesting insights into events and into athletes from around th world. Nicole will be doing a column from Osaka, covering a differnt topic of her choice each day....

World Champs, Day One-Highlights!

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Day one of the World Championships was one great day of track and field. Here I give you the highlights of the three finals for the day. We will follow up with the details on the second session and tell you about my dinner with a Swedish TV crew!

Full results: http://osaka2007.iaaf.org/results/bydate.html#racedate=08-25-2007

For further reading on the WC Marathon, try: For reference, WC History:http://www.flipseekllc.com/ATFguide.html

As I was walking back from grabbing a couple of bottles of water to replenish my overactive sweat glands, I ran into former thrower, now IAAF commentator Shawn Pickering. I asked Shawn to put the Shot put condundrum into perspective for me. Being the zen thrower, Pickering put the whole issue with a qualifying round and final for the Men's shot put on the same day....

Let's try to put this race into perspective: at a 70 percent dewpoint, the City of Chicago, the Windy City, would be issuing a health alert! During the entire three hours and three minutes it took the 57 survivors out of 94 starters to hit the finish line in Osaka's Nagai Stadium, the dewpoint was between 65 and 70 percent, with the temperatures between 81 and 90!

As in all marathons, the winner made a huge gamble and won. Some others took the gamble-some did well and some did not. Read on to find out why this marathon will stand out among the other world championship marathons!

The Osaka World Champs is about to begin. On day one, the men's marathon, two rounds of the mens' 100 meters, the women's heptathlon, women's steeplechase, mens' 1500 round 1, and men's shot put final and women's 10,000 final end the day. A perfect day to showcase the fastest, the strongest and the most determined.....

It is less than seven hours before the start of the Men's Marathon. I arrived about 12 hours ago, and the first day in Osaka has been a whirlwind. Media go through the credentialling center, which required a 90 minute bus ride from the Osaka airport, climbing up three flights of stairs with all of my bags (3) and then pulling the bags,
which, after all of my travel, were having an identity crisis and be a bit recalcitrant, to the subway station, where I decided that, the better part of valor would require a taxi drive to the Super Hotel...and this is where my story begins...

Dear Diary,

It is midnight local time in Chicago, August 22, 2007. I am about to head to the gate for Asiana Air, a Korean airline that is associated with United Airlines Global Alliance. I have been clearing off emails in the lounge-thank God for wifi-and preparing for the thirteen hour flight.

It is two days away from the World Champs. I jump on a plane tonight, August 23, and head first to Seoul, Korea, arriving a 4.30 in the AM after a thirteen hour flight, and then, after five hour wait, a quick two hour jaunt to Osaka, Japan. I arrive Friday, August 24, 2007. My first few hours will be a whirwind-first, accreditation, then, hotel, then, hit a few sponsor gatherings and get the scuttlebutt of what is going on just before the opening.

I will follow up with a piece from Seoul, upon my arrival there, and then our daily coverage will begin on Friday evening, August 24, your Friday morning.

As you pine away the hours of my travel, I have linked several things of note for our dear readers to process in order to further enjoy the celebration of world track & field!

Make no doubt about it, Craig Masback, CEO of USA Track & Field loves his job this week. There have to be times, as he is put under the microscope by friends and foes, that the pressure gets old, but Masback should be about to have the best ten days or so of his career. Much of that is thanks to the strong and youthful USA Track & Field team that is in Osaka, Japan for the World Champs.

Masback was made for this job. Youthful in his early fifties, Craig was a former world class miler (3:52.10), a former sports broadcaster and former lawyer, specializing in sports issues. His love of the sport is evident. His ability to represent the sport in the best light is part of the job. But there is more to Masback and his CEO title-most of the time, you can get Craig to smile and he will note, in the quiet moments-and there are not many with his family, travel and the strains of the job--that he loves his job.

World Champs 2007-Four Days to go!

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With 203 countries fielding teams in Osaka, Japan, the World Championships will be one of the largest in the twenty four year history of the Worlds ( 1983-2007). This dream of many was made a reality by the late Primo Nebiolo, who capitalized on the two boycotted Olympics, 1980 and 1984, and produced, in 1983 and 1987, two profoundly strong World Championships. Osaka will be no different, with the focus on competition and the conditions challenging, how can one pick the winners? This writer gives you a few tried and true tips...

Dear Readers, The Running Network, through its member, American Track & Field magazine will be in Osaka for the duration. We will provide daily blogs, plus a synopsis each day on atf newswire, which will be emailed to subscribers plus posted on American Track & Field at www.american-trackandfield.com and at www.runningnetwork.com by our web Editor, Brenda Barrera. Special thanks to Brian Eder at Two Fsh Design for updating newswires and convincing me to start a blog. Brenda will also be posting photo galleries from our photo friends at Photo Run: Victah, Lisa, Jiro and company!

For the History of the World Champs at your fingertips, click on http://www.flipseekllc.com/ATFguide.html.

For your daily coverage, just add a bookmark to this blog, runblogrun.com, and www.american-trackandfield.com. For TV, some great athlete blogs, please read Walt Murphy's suggestions on how to view the World Champs. In 2007, there is more than ever! (Walt's comments are located below):

This past summer, we worked with our friends at ASICS America to develop a training log for cross country, http://www.flipseekllc.com/TrainingLog.html, the ASICS Cross Country training log was inserted into all seven Shooting Star Media, Inc. http://shootingstarmediainc.com publications. That totalled over 350,000 training logs being given out for Fall 2007. For anyone who missed it, we have attached it at the top of this column, again, here are a few points on how to use it!

For the first time, American Track & Field has produced a digital and interactive issue, especially for the World Championships:http://www.flipseekllc.com/ATFguide.html. We hope that you like. Please read on to find out a little about the issue and what our plans are for the future! Publisher Larry Eder, in an an exclusive with runblogrun.com, gives you, our readers, the scoop on this new technology.

Merlene Ottey will be competing in the 2007 Osaka World Champs! At the age of 46,
Merlene will set a record for the oldest elite competitor at at World Championships. She is breaking the record of Joyce Smith, who was 43 when she competed in a World Champs. The most amazing thing about Merlene-she competed in the first World Champs in 1983!

2007 World Champs-Nine Days to go!

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The Osaka World Championships begin in nine days. 8 days of the best track and field athletes on the planet compete in front of 50,000 track fans! Each day will have highs and lows, great competitions, and not so great competitions, and surprises! In this article, the writer relates one of the major surprises in a past World Championships that he attended. In the end, it is all about the competition!

Eleven days from now, the World Championships will start. The first event will be the Men's marathon, starting at 7:10 A.M. Arguably the strongest track and field team on the planet, USA Track & Field has named its strongest team ever at a World Championships. There is a real chance that the U.S. will medal above 400 meters this year on the distance side, and Tyson Gay should be one of the big stories of the World Champs as well.

For me the men's shot, women's pole vault, women's 5k and 10k, plus mens' 100/200 and 400 meters will be barn burners. The best event of the entire World Champs? I am picking either the men's 1,500 meters or the men's 5,000 meters. For Japan? The men's hammer throw will be the event for Japan, as Koji Murofushi, the Japanese Hammer throwing star, will have the stands shaking!

The benefits of the U.S. trials system is supposed to be it's tranparency--if you finish in the top three, you make the team! Not so fast, little grasshopper--you also have to hit the A standards, well, unless, one guy has hit A, and then if you twist around, sacrifice a goat, and then hit the B standard, you might make the team as well. In this short commentary, consider the plight of Jonathan Riley, an alternate for the 5,000 meter team.

As trade shows go, the Outdoor Retailer, in its 30th year, has evolved. This is my third time here in ten years, and each time, the show finds new ways to interact with the vendors and the buyers. Brilliant breakouts in the large Salt Palace, in downtown Salt Lake City, a city made for sports and fitness. There were Endurance sports areas, new products, even an Organic cafe for the show cognescenti! In this monograph, I will give you a view of the show, plus a true treat, a little out of the way, Euro Style dining restaurant, with wonderful service, tucked into a little hideaway in Salt Lake City!

The following commentary was written by James Dunaway, the editor of American Track & Field and Athletes Only. James loves our sport: he has been credentialed for fifteen Summer Olympics, going to his first on a tramp steamer in 1956. He is also a keen observer of our sport. I learn from his everytime we speak, he is my mentor, he is my friend, he is a fine editor. It does not mean that we agree always, we actually have some pretty colorful arguements. I always know it is not going well we James starts the conversations off with, " Well, you are probably going to fire me now..."

One of the points we wholeheartedly agree on is how Title IX, while well meaning, is being used to destroy minor sports, which also tend to be Olympic sports. In the Wall Street Journal of August 9, 2007, a column on the destruction of six of Rutger's University's athletic traditions, including crew, was printed.

Rutgers University has produced nineteen crew Olympians. Several attempts have been made to fund the programs, yet the University board threatened to refuse the money. The seven sports cut will save $795,000. Yet, the athletic director just gave both the men's football and the women's basketball coaches raises of over $500k each-so it is not about money.

Football has become mass entertainment. Schools derive their identities from
football programs. But, in my mind, universities are supposed to be places of higher learning, where both the body and mind are educated. I remember my college football coach, the late Pat Malley, a man who won 500 football games in his career, letting football players out of practice to study, and be real students.

Please read the commentary by James Dunaway and tell me what you think!

August 8, 2007-One year to Beijing

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The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing is exactly one year away. As a member of the credentialed media, I already have accomodations and also have my credentials approved for 2008.

The world is fascinated with China. A country with five thousand years of history, a country that has withstood wars, famine, natural disasters, yet, still, for many, is clouded in mystery. How will the no longer Communist, but pragmatist nation of China deal with the Olympics? We look at some hints here.



Courtesy of NikeRunning.com

DN Galen, its Wariner at 43.50!

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Well, for anyone who thought that Jeremy Wariner was in trouble, just replay this race! Running at the DN Galen Super Grand Prix, Wariner ran his personal best at 400 meters with a fine 43.50,tying Quincy Watts for number three on all time list. Wariner is now behind Michael Johnson (43.18), Butch Reynolds (43.29) and has tied Quincy Watts for the third postion on the all time 400 meter list at 43.50!

The track fans of the world were all verklumpted when Jeremy Wariner stopped running at the Norwich Union Meeting in Sheffield. Across the world, Wariner's performance at Sheffield was described as slipping at the start, then quitting the race. The true story was just a bit different....

Since 1998, Mary Wittenberg has wanted to have Haile Gebrselassie come to New York. Haile's visit to New York became a reality after Mary met Haile at the RNR Arizona Half marathon two years ago, courtesy of the late Mike Long, elite coordinator of Elite Racing, Inc. and close confidant of Haile.

Haile made his visit to Gotham City something special with his huge half marathon victory today. John Nepolitan, ATF's prep editor, wrote this excellent piece on Haile and the Nike Half Marathon.

The World Champiopnships of Athletics were first held in 1983 in Helsinki, Finland. The dream of many track fans, the World Champs came about due to the diligence of the late Primo Nebiola. Twenty four years after its start, the World Championships have given the sport a place to appreciate the best of the best in our sport, and most importantly, to remember why we love track and field-the pure competition!

The Norwich Union Super Grand Prix in London lived up to the hype. The build up all week was for the 100 meters and the women's pole vault. The event that shocked the fans was the shot put, as Reese Hoffa threw 22.43 meters or 73-2.25 in the vernacular. This was Hoffa's first throw over 22 meters and he did it with style, using his last throw to take the lead from Christian Cantwell. Hoffa's throw, the 11th farthest in history, is the longest throw in the world this year.

Tyson Gay showed his stuff, winning the 100 meters in 10.02 over Francis Obikwelu of Portugal, one of the most talented ( and my pick to spoil for a medal in Osaka over 100 meters). While Tyson's time was not fast, he did put himself in the favorite position in the 100 meters (this writer's picks-Gay, Adkins, Powell, Obikwelu to spoil).

For all of those fearful of Jeremy Wariner's shape, worry no more. Wariner and Merrit went at it for 385 meters, until Jeremy moved to the lead and won in 44.05 to 44.23.
( this writer's picks for Osaka at 400 meters: Wariner, Taylor, Merrit, Kikayo to spoil).

In my family, when I tell the folks a story from childhood, especially something that they did not remember or witness, it was called a confession. As someone brought up in the Catholic tradition, I find that quite ironic, but true. This series of Publishing confessions, will come and go during the year, but this is the twenty fifth anniversary of my first job in publishing, at Runners' World in Mountain View, California. Remember, this is colored by twenty five years, so beg with me. It is hard scaring up the old memories.

At the current time, I oversee seven publications under the aegis of Shooting Star Media, Inc., where I am partner and group publisher. I am also President of the Running Network LLC, where I represent 34 of the finest regional and national running publications in North America. So, what is my job?

Reviewing products is part of the publishing business that can be problematic. Our system, which requires a) editor who is super focused and b) reviewer who is product geek, has worked for a dozen years now. As the publisher, I try and watch the process from afar, but as we get into production, that is just not possible.

Leaving Vegas, the art of travel

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In the past four years, I have flown an average of 100,000 miles a year. In viewing about two dozen road races, track events or marathons a year, six trade shows, and dozens of meetings with various ad agencies and advertisers, I am what one might call a frequent traveler. In this column, I will share with you some of the tactics that I use to survive on the road....

WSA-Why go to a trade show?

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The World Shoe Association is one of the trade organizations that represents many of the players in the global footwear business. This show is held in February and August of each year. Trade shows were a huge part of this business and many other businesses over the past thirty plus years. But, times have changed...

In this article, I will try and give you a bit of a view into my job, selling advertising, and promoting our publications. For this, I go to about a half dozen trade shows, twenty or so running events around the world. Some of the events are glamorous and for a track and field fan, the meets are, well, like the Superbowl would be to a football fan! But the travel, well that will be another column.

Alan Webb, the new American record holder at the mile, broke his 800 meter record AGAIN! His 1:45.8 dropped to 1:43.84 with a scintillating last 50 meters as he went from second to first in the race! This new Webb, this ability to pull something from his very insides, his soul, is what is needed to medal at the world championships. But, did't Alan show us that at Gaz de France, when he went by Baali with fifty meters to go?

Two time NCAA 5,000 meter champ, and former Badger, Chris Solinsky ran 13:12.24, to move to numero ten on the All time U.S. 5,000 meter list. Solinsky has run personal bests at 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters and now, 5,000 meters this summer. They must be doing something right in Madison, WI!

And then, there is Lisa Galaviz. Lisa was the 2006 U.S. champ at the steeple. This year, she took fourth. But at Huesden, Lisa ran 9:28.75 for the American record at the steepelchase.

The performances above are the results of some hard training, year long focus, good coaching and great racing. There is an American renaissance in middle distance running and it is happening all over North America!

Walt Murphy, in his unique style, wrote a superb piece about the Huesden meet, we hope that you enjoy!

LE

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