December 2007 Archives

Vic Navarra Succumbs to Cancer

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Vic Navarra was one of the grand characters that make up the tapestry called the ING New York City Marathon. Like all big city marathons that followed, the late Fred Lebow invited, cajoled, begged many of the good souls and hearts that make up the five boroughs. Vic was one of them. I met Vic through my favorite former fireman, Victah Sailer. I remember just saying hello to Vic Navarra at the various events over the years. He was unassuming, but again, one of the guys who made the event go smoothly.

When Victah told me that Vic had cancer a few years ago, I was stunned. He also told me how Vic would still be involved in the Marathon and other races, year in, year out. I felt that it was appropriate to celebrate Vic's life with a thoughtful tribute from Victor Sailer, so here it goes:

Whatever they are called, coaches, advisors, trainers--that is really immaterial. What seems to be a constant is that athletes, at all levels, need someone to discuss their training with, their reactions to that training, their fears and their concerns. As a former coach, I have seen some very successful coach-athlete relationships and I thought I would provide some examples.....

The Changing of the Guard

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This past summer in Osaka, it hit me straight in the face. I was listening to Tyson Gay speak after his 100 meter victory. Tyson had spoken to Asafa Powell about the race, and told the assembled media that he (Tyson), felt bad for Asafa. He also said that Asafa would have his day. Many of the media seemed surprised--this was not what they expected from sprinters. Where is the demeanor of Maurice Greene? It was then, that I knew that the times in this sport were truly changing....

How to Truly Care for your athletes

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My back ground is pretty straight forward-a high school, college and club athlete, who got into coaching, first at Bellarmine, then Santa Clara University, then Foothill college. The week of Thanksgiving, I was given the best gift I could have dreamed of--a few hours with three of my former athletes...

Ryan Lamppa is the prolific writer, manager of propaganda for Running USA. His magnum opus is the Running USA wire, one of the most useful compendiums of all that is American distance running today. On December 17, just as I was thinking vacation, Ryan penned one of his best columns of the year.

Read the column and consider this: the potential of athletics in North America is understood of by every other country in the world but the U.S. With the focus of many, including such coaches as Terrance Mahon, but also Brad Hudson, the Hanson Brothers, Zap Fitness, Minnesota's training group, and many of the top collegiate coaches in our country, the U.S. has strong middle and long distance runners, ready for some suprises in Beijing!

IAAF Ranks Road Races for 2008!

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The IAAF press release from December 20, 2007 noted that the IAAF was recongnizing
major races for their professional standards. These standards include certification of courses, media services, safety and medical standards.

This blogger welcomes the IAAF standards and sees this as a way for the IAAF and the ....

Track & field, road running, race walking and cross country are collectively known as athletics around the world. A major sport in most of the world, athletics has not been part of the revolution in media over the past decade..or has it just been overlooked?

The IAAF Starts a Road Running show!

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The IAAF communications department, with its revised websites, web based films and film clips, pdf coaching education, has undergone dramatic changes over the past two years! The value of the site in 2007, as a resource and as the meeting place of all that is our sport, has truly begun to show what can be done on the web and also, what our sport can look forward to in the future! We have posted the full release on Road Running for your reading.....

The Man Who Invented Running Magazines...

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While there may have been earlier magazines about running in the U.S. Runner's World magazine founder Bob Anderson was the man who truly helped make running big time. I have a copy of the first Runner's World magazine, which featured a shoe review by Jeff Johnson, then, an employee of Blue Ribbon Sports....

Pat Butcher, our world correspondent of athletics, concerns himself with Haile Gebrseslassie and his quest to break his own world record in Dubai early in
2008. Can anyone beat the man? A world record holder 23 or 24 times over,
the little Emperor showed his stuff at this past real,-Berlin marathon when he
set the new world record....

Twelve Mile Runs on Ladera Lane

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******

12-20-07

Thirty years ago, I was living in Montecito, California, studying at the College of the Queen of Peace on Ladera Lane. Many mornings, I would head out from the driveway and take the six mile run down to the beach, and then return, running up the hills back
to my new home.

I had two pairs of running shoes, both resoled. My NB 305w and Waffle Racers were resoled and kept me in good company as I hit the long hilly run back up to Montecito. The weather was always nice, and the beaches were great.

My French Connection

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It is about five pm on Wednesday, December 19. I am about 35,000 feet above the great state of Kansas as Adam, my son, and I head to Las Vegas. We are taking a few days break to celebrate my neice, Adams' cousin Tess's graduation from UNLV in accounting. Tess worked her way through college, and has achieved her goal. She was hoping we would all come out for graduation and she will have a twenty person cheering section, in english and en francais!

Athletes ARE Role Models...

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Look, I love Charles Barkley. I want the guy to run for political
office. But he has been wrong on one comment, and perhaps,
it is not what he believes. He said, in a Nike commercial, that
athletes are not role models.

WRONG. Maybe many of them behave like thugs, convicts

Larry's Tenth Annual Holiday Gift Guide

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Each and every year, since 1996, this blogger has sent out, as part of his Holiday wishes, a list of suggested gifts, in many categories, for the last minute shopper, the gift giver who goes through great pains to find something unusual, and for a bit of reading while one is stuck in any of the major airports in this great country.....

Missing a friend

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It is early, early on Sunday morning, in New England. The snow has started, and I am trying to get on the first flight out of the airport this morning, at 5.40 am. The plane is in from last night, so I have a good shot, but the next four flights have been canceled. I gambled, and it looks like I will make it. I had several meetings this weekend, before the ....

One of the phenomenon that a seasoned reader of this blog will notice over and over is that this blog does not not a break news, nor is this blog the first place to read a story. That job is held for sites that are more concerned about being first rather than accurate. My responsibility, to you, our readers, is to be as accurate as possible. If, in the pursuit ...

The Conversion of Victor Conte

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Victor Conte has a fascinating past. Nearly fifteen years of not filing income taxes, guru to elite athletes on "nutrition" as early as 1989, Conte has seen it all. The former bass player for Tower of Power, Mr. Conte seems to have had a conversion, much like St. Paul on the way to Damascus...is this guy for real? And the big question we need to ask ourselves,
does the end justify the means?

Eugene is hosting a few more track meets, notably the 2009, 2011 US Champs and World Champ Trials, plus the 2012 Olympic Trials. Seems the boys from Eugene were well prepared when they made their bid and bid for several champs at one time! Some might be curious that a regular bidding process was not used here, but to the best information we had, Eugene came prepared!

After a year of playing with the Nike plus technology, I have become addicted. It is a good addiction, as it is getting me outside more, even in this inclement weather. Sunday night,
December 9, was just such a night. I purposely picked an evening walk, so to check my neighbor's Christmas lights...the snow was cleared pretty well, and we were just about to get hit again....in snowy, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Come and join me on my walk...

New Balance picked up Vital Apparel Group, a company that was doing licensing for New Balance for over a year. The jewel in this is Insport, which is owned by Vital and was aquired by them about 18 months ago.

Why would New Balance bring on such a company with its own apparel group? Well....

When word got out last winter that Fritz Taylor was leaving Nike, many jaws dropped. Fritz had been a lifer at Nike and his work was well respected, as was his prodigious work ethic. The next question was, where would Fritz go next? Would he return to Europe, or would he find something new to focus on? Well, Fritz Taylor has landed, and a great landing it is, as he is now heading up the Brooks footwear team!

Wariner Starting 2008 in Australia

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Face it, Jeremy Wariner is the man at 400 meters. Every year, someone new comes along, and some agent or coach tells me that Wariner's days are numbered. Au contraire, mes amis. Wariner is talented, yes, perhaps the most talented 400 meter runner we have seen in many years, but the real key to his success is......

The 29th Foot Locker Cross Country Championships were full of surprises. Both the men's winner and the women's winner are great stories. The Midwest's Michael Fout, taking the lead after two miles, ran to victory in 14:50. On the girl's side, the SouthEast's Ashley Brasovan, caught Jordan Hasay, the 2005 champ, on the last hill and pushed the downhill to victory, running 17:20. Brasovan was a big surprise, as she was only the sixth qualifier at her Foot Locker regional.

In its' twenty nine years, Foot Locker has always kept us guessing, because, in the end, it has always been two good footraces....

How to Handle Marion Jones

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Marion Jones, the defrocked sprinter, has had her records and sports competitions erased from the record books, at the IAAF's suggestions, from September 1, 2000 to the present. While some, including I , might consider it rather draconian, there is a certian beauty in making Ms. Jones responsible for her actions, something that is lacking in modern society...

After a great year, Alyson Felix and Tyson Gay should be the focus of athlete of the year awards! Alyson focused her entire season on Osaka and was rewarded with three golds, and so did Tyson Gay, who was rewarded with three golds.

Two great examples of the quality of American athletics as we build to Beijing! I have attached a nice piece from USATF.org on Alyson and Tyson:

Bob Ramsak is the roving troubadour of athletics, writing for the IAAF.com, IAAF communications department, and Track Profile.com, among other things. In this article, Ramsak speaks of the Magic five who bring streaks into 2008.

The sport of athletics is so competitive, so global that a streak is pretty amazing, in any event. The athletes here are the best of the best. Consider how long their streaks will go in 2008! (LE)

Thinking of Kirk Richardson

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In my nearly thirty years in running publishing, one of the most memorable people that I have had the pleasure to meet, to interact with, to admire is Kirk Richardson, now president of Keen Footwear. I met Kirk in the early nineties at the old Atlanta Super Show. At the time, he was the running director at Nike. He had been there at Nike for fifteen years by then.

Kirk always liked a good challenge, and still does. I saw him this past Outdoor Show in Salt Lake City, Utah, and he had his outdoor uniform on--short sleeve shirt, khaki slacks and Keen shoes. He looked relaxed and happy.

I enjoyed our repartee. There were notes, like " Why did you give that brand a gold medal? " ...I would respond with some thoughtful comment, to which he would fire back another good jibe.

In the past few years, Nike has purchased Converse, Starter and Umbro, the soccer apparel manufacterer. Reebok was purchased by adidas two years ago. Majority shares in PUMA AG were purchased by PPR of France, a high end couture company that owns Gucci, Yves St. Laurent among others.

In the very lucrative running footwear businness, where 2007 sales should total just over $7.5 billion globally, footwear brand consolidation may make some sense. But,

In Singapore, like it was in Fukuoka, it was not a good day for past winners. On both the men's and women's sides, there was some huge surprises in Singapore. Pat Butcher, our wandering minstrel of athletics, graces us with his third piece in three whole days on Singapore. Nice writing, Butcher uses one word where some would use fifteen. A track fans's track writer. I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2007 was a very special day of cross country across the U.S. In Portland, Oregon, the fourth annual Nike Team Nationals went off, under the threat of a winter storm. In Southern California, mother nature played a hand as there were torrential rains forced changes for the Foot Locker Western Regional. The tough Mt. SAC course became a quagmire, according to photographer Victah Sailer. The course was changed to a two loop nearly road course as the race directors did not want the prepsters carried away in the Global flooding that is hitting Southern California right now...

Ken Nakamura is one of most prolific and well written track correspondents in the world. If it happens in Japan, Ken knows about it. Here is Ken's commentary on the Fukuoka marathon.

The Fukuoka marathon was, for more than two decades, the defacto World marathon championships. Frank Shorter won there four times, Akio Usami three times. Derek Clayton broke 2:10 there for the first time.

Fukuoka has had the top marathoners in the world continue to race there! Gebrselassie among them, and now Wanjiru sets a course record in his debut at the marathon distance!

The Japanese are using Fukuoka to select up to two of their Beijing marathon team members. Samuel Wanjiru runs 2:06:39 in his debut. Wanjiru did not just pop out of nowhere, he is the world half marathon record holder.

Pat Butcher's insightful commentary on Edith Masai, and her appearance on the Singapore marathon course on Sunday, December 2, 2007, could be a most interesting race. In this article, Butcher speaks on Masai's development from middle distance runner to marathoner....

It is Saturday morning, December 1, 2007. My trip to the Nike Team Nationals this year was canceled yesterday. The cold I picked up, standing in the rain at Nike Border Clash, has got the best of me. I will watch the NTN off the broadband broadcast and catch up on the Western Foot Locker regional from friends...but winter has come.

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