July 2009 Archives

With two weeks to go before Berlin 2009, Tyson Gay ran a slightly over the allowable wind, 9.79 for 100 meters and made the point that he will be in Berlin and that it takes two to race. Allyson Felix ran the world leader today, a fine 21.88 for 200 meters, showing that she is a) in shape and b) ready to challenge to keep the World title for 200 meters. Christin Wurth Thomas showed, in this win, that she can be in the thick of things in Berlin! Jeremy Wariner took the field apart in his 44.83 win over 400 meters. The other interesting note is that Jenny Barringer, running the 5,000 meters ran 15:05.65 for the win, with a fine 63.28 last 400 meters, all the move over the last 250 meters! Full results follow!

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Jenny Barringer, Nike Pre Classic, June 7, 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

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Tomasz Majewski, Olympic champion at the shot, Nike Pre Classic, June 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Tomasz Majewski, the great Polish shot putter, is coming into form at the perfec time! A nice pb at the Aviva London Grand Prix was followed by a huge PB-21.95m to win the DN Galen on Thursday night in Sweden!

Maggie Vessey is the topic of conversation today, upon my return to the states. She was coached by Terry Crawford at Cal Poly-SLO, in college. Greg Brock, former Stanford standout, superb high school coach and community college coach in Santa Cruz area ( some nice coaches there, remember Danny Gruber at Aptos?). I got chastized a bit about saying how Maggie could be dangerous at Worlds. Yes, great thing to make semis, but problem with American women 800 meter runners is that they do not shoot for the moon. Vessey does need to get her sea legs, so to speak, but she has the ability to really run very well.

Congrats to Nick Symmonds as well! Nick got under 1:44, a big deal and his kick makes him very, very dangerous. He has to focus, get out of the semis and get into that final. We wish both Maggie and Nick well!

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Nick Symmonds, Nike Pre Classic, June 7, 2009, courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Confirmed today on SportsSourceOne.com, (http://www.sportsonesource.com/news/article_home.asp?Prod=1§ion=9&id=28967), Amazon.com will purchase Zappos.com. Per the story, Tony Hsieh, the founder, should realize $200 million-not a bad day at the office.

Note that Zappos.com did sales just north of $650 million in 2008, up from $526 million in 2007. Zappos sells all types of footwear, but has done quite well on running footwear.

Zappos.com showed that good service, great pricing, matters to many. Note that their margins did drop significantly this year. The discussions with Amazon.com and Zappos.com date back to 2005, per the Sports Source article.

What still has not surfaced is a way for independent running retailers to take advantage of their expertise and ability to combine a brick and mortar establishment with an online sales system that gives running stores a real web presence.

For more on the sport of running, please clickhttp://www.runningnetwork.com

Maggie Vessey has been looking to get under 2:00.00 for the A standard for 800 meters, she had run 2:00.14, then 2:00.12, now she cranks 1:57.85-the world leader! LaShinda Demus had the world leader, but her 52.63 has not put her into the statosphere! Both performances run at the Herculis Monaco meeting, where gambling is just a short walk into the city, but no one, no one, would have counted on those two performances!

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Maggie Vessey winning Nike Pre Classic, June 7, 2009, photo by Photorun.net.

Maggie Vessey is coached by Greg Brock, a former Stanford University Athlete, under then coach Payton Jordan. Brock is a very modest human being, and one of the most underrated coaches in the U.S. What he had done with Maggie Vessey, a quite talented athlete, shows how superb talent, and super coaching can make for an exciting story. You are looking at a women who can win the World Champs, no pressure Maggie!

Per a story in Insidethegames.com, five Olympic athletes, including gold medalist at 1,500 meters, Rashid Ramzi, spoke today with an IOC panel, regarding the reasons why they were caught
using performance enhancing drugs. In Ramzi's case, he has tested positive for his first test, and his second sample for CERA, the newest generation of EPO.

Ramzi's lawyer, Maurice Suh, who also represented convicted performance enhancing drugs users Justin Gatlin and Floyd Landis. Suh suggested that the test for CERA might not be up to drug protocals.

The complete story can be found at http://www.insidethegames.com/show-news.php?id=6266. We encourage our readers to link to www.insidethegames.com, which is doing a superb job at keeping readers up to date on the London 2012 developments and also other Olympic developments.

We at runblogrun.com applaud drug testing. If the programs work, there will be positive tests. We encourage out of competition testing, and salute the IOC , IAAF,
USADA and WADA for their diligence.

For more on the Olympics, please check http://www.insidethegames.com.

For more on our sport, please click http://www.runningnetwork.com

Well, the Russian team has been picked and, do they have some medal prospects for Berlin! Anna Alminova, who ran world best at 800 meters, and number two time at 1,500 meters last weekend, will focus on the 1,500 meters. Svetlana Feofanova, the Russian pole vaulter, is not on the team, as of this time, as she is injured.

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Ivan Ukhov, shown here at Nike Pre Classic, June 7, 2009, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

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Anna Alminova, Stuttgart, February 2009, photo courtesy of Bob Ramsak.

Well, one thing is for sure. Anna Alminova is probably going to run something in Berlin at the World Championships, either 800 meters (she has world leader), or the 1,500 meters ( second best 1,500 meters).

Sprinting is a rarefied gift, at the elite level. We all dream, as kids, that we can run fast. Some human, rarefied, can run very fast. The addition of coaching, and of training, over a period of 12-16 years, can give some superlative performances. Usain Bolt is a special human. Tyson Gay is a special human. Running as fast as these guys might look easy, but it is anything from that--it the results of hard work, talent, great coaching and a unique belief in oneself.

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Tyson Gay, June 2009, US champs, 100 meter first round, photo by PhotoRun.net.


Tyson Gay ran 20.00 for 200 meters, with a sore groin on Saturday. Usain Bolt ran 9.91 on Friday, and then, on Saturday, anchored a very fast 4 x 100 meter relay, in 37.46. Bolt recently told media that he was at "about 85 percent".

In about three weeks, the World Championships begin in Berlin, and then, we will have the answers: just who is the fastest man on the planet?

Two days of great competition. Two days of elite races, where also up and comers from the UK, and US get a chance to race in global competition. Races that are great, competitive efforts, orchestrated by the master, Ian Stewart. He has an uncanny ability to put together fields that work, in a competitive sense and also enthrall a nation.

But the story of this meet is Usain Bolt, this guy is a global sporting icon, and the kids flock to him where ever he goes. Athletes like Usain can bring fun back to the sport and an entire generation!

The final two events were examples of how to stage an entertaining track meet: first the Emsley Carr Mile, won by Bernard Lagat in 3:52.71, and then the 4 x 100 meter relay, where Usain Bolt anchored the Racers TC to victory in 37.46, the fourth best time ever ( US in 38.40), and the crowd went mad!

Events like this build the sport. On my train ride back to East Croydon, where I am staying, I met three women with their six children between them, who had all gone to the meet, hoping to see Usain Bolt. I spoke to them a bit about track and promised them our soon to be published Usain Bolt posters--the kids were really excited. Bolt is giving the sport a chance to expand its fan base and get the sport in the eyes of sports fans-we can not forget that!

Special thanks to all who read our blogs, coverage on tweeter and such. We will be covering the rest of the season and look for our coverage of the Berlin World Championships!

" I have always wanted to win this race. The Emsley Carr Mile is very important to me, as are you, the fans. Without you, we could not do our jobs!"

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Bernard Lagat, Nike pre Classic, June 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

And so were the comments of one Bernard Lagat, who has joined the likes Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Jim Beatty, HIcham El Guerroujj, Gordon Pirie, Ian Stewart, Peter Stewart, Gabe Jennings, in wining the 56 year old tribute to mile runners.

The famous book for the mile, where the competitors sign on the left page and winners sign on the right hand page, is in two volumes. The story is that Gordon Pirie, in 1953, signed on both sides, before the race, telling all who would listen that he would win-and he did.

Bernard Lagat follwed the pace of David Krummenacker, who took him through in 56.83, 1:54.9 and 2:56.2 (for the yard distances). Hitting 3:37 at the 1,500 meters, Lagat took only 15.03 to finish the mile in 3:52.72! Running closely behind was Leonel Manzano, followed by Lopez Lomong and Nate Brannen. Eleven men were under 3:58.9!

For complete results, please check: http://www.uka.org.uk/results/20090724_london/

Tirunesh Dibaba, Beijing Olympics, photograph courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Tirunesh Dibaba sent a message to Meseret Defar-do not start counting those medals in Berlin yet. Her world leading 5,000 meters, in front of the crowd at Aviva London Grand Prix, was eye opening!

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Tyson Gay, June 2009, US Champs, photo courtesy of Photorun.net.


Here is what Tyson Gay said, after running the 20.00 for the 200 meters:

" I have not trained for a couple of weeks. I have had a bit of bad luck but it is alright. My groin is a bit tight on me, just trying to run through the pain and be tough about it. I am just taking it one day at a time. Any time there is any sort of pain, you get frustrated. I am going to have a massage and I should be ok.

I did not do the warmup like I wanted to do because of the situation. The way I slowed down it would have been 19.80 seconds at least. "

Is Bolt the favorite in the 100 meters?

"Of course I do not agree with that. He has the 100 meters pretty technically sound and I am still working on it, but he knows that I am close to being the only one who can beat him. It don't make sense for him to say that! "

Are you sure to double in Berlin?

" I am just taking it one day at a time."

For more on the sport, please click on http://www.runningnetwork.com

LaShina Demus broke the all comers record and stadium record today at the Aviva London Grand Prix with her fine 53.66 run over the 400 meter hurdles. Demus ran the race as if no one else was there, with some fine hurdling and great form through the finish!

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LaShinda Demus, US Champs, June 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net

More to read!

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Anna Willard, Nike Pre Classic, June 7, 2009, photo by Photorun.net

Running a pedestrian pace of 70 seconds for the first lap, and then a 67 second run for the second lap, Stephanie Twell took over and gave it all that she had, leading at two laps in 1:46 and when the field hit the bell in 3:05. Right on her shoulder was the whose-who of women distance runners, Shannon Rowbury, Lisa Dobriskey of UK, Erin Donahue of the US, Malindi Elmore of Canada and Anna Willard, floating in between third and sixth.

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Kerron Clement, Nike Pre Classic 2009, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Kerron Clement, the Osaka gold medalist at 400 meter hurdles, and silver Olympic medalist, is on form. Running with a strong field, Kerron Clement ran 48.85 to take the race from Bershawn Jackson in 48.99 and Micheal Tinsley in 49.04 in third. Note that Felix Sanchez, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, had a tough race, finishing last in 50.09.

Here is what Kerron had to say after his race: " The plan was to go off fast and just to maintain it into the straight and then kick home. That is what I did, so I am pleased with my work today. It was quite windy but it did not really affect me too much. I am fully confident that I can defenct my title in Berlin, that is what I intend to do. "

In the womens' long jump at the Aviva London Grand Prix, Naide Gomes of Portugal won the long jump in 6.99 meters, the second longest jump of 2009! In second, Tatyana Lebedeva, the best long jump/triple jumper in the world, finished second in 6.90m, with Ksenija Balta of Estonia in third in 6.85m.

The women's steeplechase was a great competition. Helen Clitheroe took the lead, knowing that she had to go under the Berlin A standad of 9:40 to make the world champs. Clitheroe hit the kilometer in 3:09.98, with Lisa Galaviz of the US, Netsanet Achamo and Katazyna Kowalska of Poland in tow.

Clitheroe did the early work with Kowalska, then Achamo and then Lisa Galaviz. Netsanet Achamo took over just before the second kilometer, hitting 2k in 6:22.88, which meant that Clitheroe, who looked to be sliding back a wee bit, hanging on.

The bell was hit in 8:19.54, with Clitheroe at 8:22-would she make it? Well, as Kowalska, Achamo battled, Galaviz went by Clitheroe, which woke her up and the race was on. As Katarzyna Kowalska lead down the final straight, Lisa Galaviz pushed the pace and barely missed catching Kowalska, who ran 9:34.07 for the win-her personal best, with Lisa Galaviz running a near best 9:34.30 for second. Netsanet Achamo of Ethiopia ran her seasonal best in 9:34.31, with Helen Clitheroe of Great Britain charging in for fourth in 9:34.66, her seasonal best, and the A standard. Sabine Heitling of Brazil, in fifth in 9:41.22, set her national record!

After the race, Katarzyna Kowalska of Poland said, " I am very happy with the personal best. I have waited very long. Next is the Polish championships. I think I might do the 5000m or 2000m steeplechase. I hope to be in Berlin."

Fourth place Helen Clitheroe, was very pleased with her A standard: " I went into the race thinking I am not waiting for anybody. I went through 2000 meters leading. I wanted to get the A standard and I am pleased with that. The first km is always quick, I have often found it hard to finish strong but I did finish strong and maybe I could have won if I had been in contention with 300 meters to go."

Then, she added: "It is always hard when you have lead and you don't win but I just wanted to use the girls and keep my momentum. It is a shame when I did not nip past to get into the top three, but I am pleased. I just wanted to keep focussed. I knew at 2000 m I was on schedule to be under 9 minutes, 40 seconds!"

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Rumors of Mr. Gay's physical issues have been over estimated. In this race, we saw Tyson allowing his feet to do the talking. That is his way. Articulate, thoughtful, but playing his cards close to his chest, Tyson Gay continues to show that he and Mr. Bolt should have two excellent clashes in Berlin in mid August 2009.

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Tyson Gay, running first round at U.S. Champs, June 2009, courtesy of PhotoRun.net.


Last night, we saw Usain Bolt run 9.91. Today we saw Tyson Gay. Tyson Gay got out okay, and took Wallace Spearmon on the bend, and Tyson Gay ran quite easily down the straightaway, with a fine 20.00. Wallace Spearmon was second in 20.35 and Paul Hession was third in 20.55, with Marion Devonish in 20.60. Gay looked strong, in control and running the bend as he does, with precision. Hession had the best start, and Spearmon one of the worst, with Gay only the third fastest out of the blocks.

Ironically, Mark Wetmore, Tyson Gay's manager, spoke to me yesterday, trying to clarify Tyson's physical conditions: " This is something that is bugging him, but like you, we will know just how fit Tyson is tomorrow after his 200 meter race." Well, Tyson Gay looks to be quite fit, executed well, and ran relaxed, literally shutting down over the last fifty meters, and still ran 20.00.

For more on our sport, please click on http://www.american-trackandfield.com

If drug testing is to be taken seriously, then athletes who cheat, get caught and test positive. We salute the IAAF over the investigation of the seven Russian athletes, and their rigorous standards. We salute WADA and USADA to upping the game, we only ask that the testing and protocals be done with the utmost care.

Sky Sports confirmed that the IAAF had confirmed the tests, which do not include any Olympic medalists. Unfortunately, in our society, it seems like everything happens overnight, which is just ridiculous. To develop your athletic skills takes a dozen years of dedication to your discipline. Nothing in life comes easy, so why should sport?

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Anna Alminova, Stuttgart, February 7, 2009, courtesy of Bob Ramsak, Trackprofile.com

Anna Alminova ran a fine 1:57.86 in her heat of the 800 meters at the Russian championships. Also in the Russian champs, women's world bests over 10,000 meters, (two under 30:33), also second fastest run over 400 meters for women. Note that the 400 meter runner went from 51.2 seasonal best to 50.3 to 49.24 in semi finals!

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Christian Cantwell had the performance of the meet, after his foot was nearly broken when someone accidentally dropped a shot on it. Usain Bolt had the attention of the entire crowd, with his 10.2 jog, and his 9.92 final!

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Top photo, Christian Cantwell at US champs, June 2009, bottom, Usain Bolt at Beijing Olympics, August 2008, photos courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

The Aviva London Grand Prix is an example of innovation and the need in our sport, to constantly evolve. In 2008, the meeting, a fixture on the UK circuit since 1999, was moved to a two day format. It was so wildly successful that the format was kept for 2009, a year where many of the top clashes will give the sporting public their last glimpse of elite athletes before the World Championships in Berlin, only three weeks away!

As a track publisher, blogger and fan, seeing Dayron Robles, the great Cuban hurdler and 2008 gold medalist, in the lobby, talking with his coach and agent, seeing Blanka Vlasic, the great high jumper and World Champion, speaking to Kerron Clement, the defending world champion in the 400 meter intermediate hurdles, are what bring excitement to the event.

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Blanka Vlasic, jumping in Beijing, August 2008, photo by Photorun.net.

The two day format will be interesting this year as well for the importance of the 4 x 100 meter relays for many of the countries. The US has their sprinters here, as does Jamaica, Canada and many others....

RBR will cover the meet, event by event, with a synopsis after the meet, plus we will do live updates via twitter ( easy to sign up, go to twitter.com, and follow runblogrun, it is that simple).

Congrats on the team from UK athletics, Fast Track and the BBC for putting on such a tremendous meet! And do not forget to watch the meet LIVE on Universal NBC! Also a warm thanks to Aviva, McCain, adidas, and the other sponsors of the Aviva London Grand Prix. Supporting athletics in this time is a smart branding strategy, and without our major sponsors, the sport, at this level, would not exist.

I am finishing up with some of my favorite events for the weekend:

The Aviva London Grand Prix is two days of amazing track & field, from sprints and distances to throws and jumps. Walt Murphy, one of our sport's keenest observers, gives you a few of his predicted highlights from the meet. I am looking forward to watching Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt run, although in separate races. I will write about my picks in the next blog.

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Bernard Lagat, winning the Nike Pre 3,000 meters, June 2009, courtesy of Photorun.net.

Duncan Kibet and Haile Gebrselassie will duke it out on the real, Berlin course this coming September. In October, Sammy Wanjiru will race at Bank of America, Chicago, the fall marathon season is on! ....

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Haile Gebrselassie, courtesy of adidas communications.

Sammy Wanjiru surprised many when he won the Beijing Olympic marathon in a scorchingly fast 2:06.22, but also came back, to win the then FLORA London Marathon (now, Virgin London Marathon) in 2008 in 2:05:10, after a near suicidal pace. Face it, Sammy Wanjiru and Haile Gebrselasssie are the two of men in the marathon who are at the best of their game. Wanjiru fascinates sports fans also because of his relative youth. How fast can Sammy go? No one knows, as of yet.

Wanjiru is going to run the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. This is good news. A fascinating race and a very tough battle along the streets of Chicago can be predicted for the thirty-second edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. If the weather gods agree, we could see a very fast race in 2009. Sammy Wanjiru runs fast in the heat or the relative cold!

How fast can Sammy Wanjiru run? This writer believes that Sammy Wanjiru is one of the few who can break the current world record of 2:03:58. If there is a course where it can go, it is Bank of America Chicago. Nice job to Carey Pinkowski and his team!

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Sammy Wanjiru at London, April 2009, courtesy of Photorun.net.

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Fighting the good fight in athletics is one thing. Our sport promises nothing. If one works hard, if one challenges himself or herself, one can achieve levels unsuspected. That goes for someone breaking five minutes for the mile or 45 seconds for the 400 meters. The challenge of wanting to race, knowing one can perform better, IF only one can recover from injuries is, in itself, a level of athletic damnation that even Dante did not consider. Tim Benjamin, a World Champs bronze medalist at the 4 x 400 meters in 2003, announced his retirement July 20. His note is thoughtful and reminds us of what is good and noble in our sport:

Photos courtesy of Pacesetter management.

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Matt Tegenkamp, shown here, winning the USA 5,000 meter championships, June 2009, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Matt Tegenkamp showed his fitness over the weekend in Huesden-Zolder, with his second place, fine 13:07.97, holding off Josphat Bett Kipkoech for third, with the same time. Teeg's time gave him the "A" Standard for the 5,000 meters at the World Champs. This meant that Matt Tegenkamp and Chris Solinsky had both made the 'A ' Standard, and that their teammate, Evan Jager, who had run 13:22 and change, could run with his 'B" standard, giving the Americans four in the 5,000 meter heats in Berlin!
Jager ran a 3:38.33, close to his best, in winning the B heat of the 1,500 meters here.

Congrats too to Leonel Manzano on running his personal best at 800 meters, 1:46.20. Josh McAdams took third in the steeple in 8:22.83 with Ben Bruce of the US in sixth in 8:26.60.

On the women's side, Pamela Jelimo got under two minutes for the first time, wit her 1:59.59 win over Kenia Sinclair.

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As the days click down to the twelfth World Championships in Berlin, Germany, athletes are coming out of the woodwork, so to speak. Francis Obikwelu of Portugal, double European medalist in 2006, was second here in 10.08. to Derrick Atkins win of 10.00. Note Dwight Phillips of the US, leader in long jump globally at 8.74meters, in fourth in 10.14-he's run 10.06 this year already. Josephat Kiprono Menjo of Kenya won the 3k in 7:44.15 to Jesus Espana's 7:44.49.

Yenniver Frank Casanas of Spain won the discus in 66.35. Note Jared Rome of US in seventh in 61.95. Mario Pestano of Spain was second in 65.53 and Zoltan Kovago of Hungary was third in 65.29m.

On women's side, Gloria Assumnu of the US won the 100 meter sin 10.95, with a plus 2.5m/s wind, with Tianna Madison in second in 11.26. Mayte Martinez of Spain won the 800 meters in 2:01.87 over Zulia Calatyud of Cuba, continuing Martinez focus on Berlin in four weeks. Kristina Papp of Hungary ran 8:53.60 for the win at 3,000 meters.

Daniele Caruthers ran 12.82 to win over Angela Whyte of the US with a time of 13.02 and Jenny Adams of the US in third, in 13.05. Michelle Carter won the shot in 18.44. Briana Glenn took the long jump in 6.72 with a 2.3 ms wind reading. Grace Upshaw was second in 6.67m, with a 3.0 ms illegal wind.

More comments on the Areva Paris meet and the performances there.....

In pouring rain, with wind in his face, Usain Bolt overcame a mediocre start, and by thirty meters, took the lead. By ninety meters, Bolt was floating and his finish time of 9.79, into a headwind, gives just a minor indication of his level of fitness. Daniel Bailey of Antigua ran 9.91 for a personal best and a national record. In third, Yohan Blake, the young Jamaican junior who has so impressed, ran a personal best of 9.93.

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Usain Bolt, August 2008, Beijing Olympics, photo courtesy of Photorun.net.

The Kenyan Federation is not known for its subtlety. Kitwara and Ngatuny ran in road races AFTER the Kenyan Trials, where they went 1, 2. They have been kicked off the squads and one of their agents has been banned from representing Kenyan athletes! Read below for the details....

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A view from the stands of the MONDO track in Albuquerque, New Mexico, courtesy of Brian Brase/USATF.

USATF has announced that the US Indoor Championships, which have been held in the Reggie Lewis Center from 2003-2009, will move in 2010 to Albuquerque, New Mexico and its new Mondo 200 meter, banked indoor track. Albuquerque has not held an indoor championships since 1966. Thanks to the quick work of Jill Geer & Brian Brase of USATF, we actually have some photos to show you! More on the way in the next post!

Jenn Stucysnski, the Olympic silver medalist in the pole vault, and the second highest active vaulter in the world, is, per www.trackandfieldnews.com quoting her coach, Rick Suhr, " 50/50" on competing at the World Championships. She has a pain in her left achilles tendon, much like the 2007 season. Her right hip flexor is also causing her pain, which, Suhr believes, is a compensation issue. RBR will keep you informed...we wish Jenn a speedy recovery.

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Jenn Stuczynski showed winning the U.S. women's pole vault title in Eugene, Oregon on June 28, 2009. Photography courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Dick Booth, the Field event coach at the University of Arkansas for twenty-seven years, has just accepted a position as Assistant Track & Field Coach at the University of Florida, under coach Mike Holloway.

Booth, as Field event coach for Arkansas, had 45 NCAA champions and 137 All Americans while at Arkansas. His international athletes included Mike Conley, Erick Walder, Robert Howard, Edrick Floreal, Brian Wellman, Jerome Romain, Ray Doakes, Matt Hemingway, Melvin Lister and Kenny Evans.

Dick Booth is one of the most successful field event coaches in NCAA history during his storied career at Arkansas. For the complete story, please read: http://www.wctv.tv/sports/headlines/50722302.html

Coach Booth has been a contributor to American Track & Field magazine in the past, and we wish him well on his new endeavor! One of the true class acts in our sport.

For more on the sport of athletics, please check http://www.runningnetwork.com

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Sanya Richards ran the world leading 49.23 for the women's 400 meters on Friday, July 10, 2009 at the Golden Gala in Rome, Italy. Photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Sanya Richards is the world leader at 400 meters this season, in 49.23. She is focused on her goal at hand. Her goal is the gold medal in the 400 meters in Berlin.

Richards is photogenic, positive and a spokesperson for Nike and Nutralite among others. She is also one of our sports' greatest assets: great athletes who can communicate and who want our sport to grow. Watching her family around her, which gives her a lot of her strength, is also a strong positive for the sport and for Sanya.

Sanya has had to battle illness, bad races, which are part of life. Thankfully, her health is good, her outlook extremely positive, she has confidence in her coach, Clyde Hart, and this video gives you a fascinating look into the life of this global sports star. To learn about the significance of "the brave may fall, but never yield" check out the video: http://inside.nike.com/blogs/nikewomen-en_US/2009/07/13/the-fastest-woman-in-the-world

Special thanks to Nike works and Jacie Prieto, Nike communications.

For more on the sport, please check http://www.runningnetwork.com, where you can visit one or all of our 24 regional and national websites focused on running, track & field, endurance sports, cross country, and just getting into shape.

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In his first race since the USA champs on June 25, Tyson Gay ran 9.77 for 100 meters in the final of the 100 meters at the Golden Gala/Rome, with Asafa Powell as second, in 9.88....

All photographs by Photorun.net.

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Cyrus Ndereba, Constantina Dita -2008 Olympic champion, marathon, Catherine Ndereba, 2008 silver medalist, marathon, at the ASICS British London 10k, all photos by PhotoRun.net.

With thirty-four days before the start of the World Championships in Berlin, Germany, the world's elite are starting to show their stuff. Maryam Yusuf Jamal continues to show that she holds several of the cards in the 1,500 meters with her third run under 4:00, this time a 3:58.72. Other great performances for the day include:

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Maryam Jamal, world leader at 1,500 meters, shown running at Nike Pre Classic, June 7, 2009. Jamal has now broken four minutes for 1,500 meters four times this season. Photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Henry Rono (front) held world records for the 3k, steeplechase, 5k, and 10k all over a crazy eighty-one days. As a college sophomore at Washington State, Henry broke four world records; 5,000 (13:08.4), steeple (8:05.4), 10,000 (27:22.4) and 3000 (7:32.1). No one has come near that amazing summer of 1978! His battles with Alberto Salazar, in collegiate events plus as both were elite athletes, are legendary. Rono has suffered from the same human frailties as many of us, and has fought back to regain control of his life, which is why I admire him. He wrote an autobiography last year, called: A Story of Triumph.

To describe Henry Rono, I will quote George Malley, former AR in steeplechase (8:21.72), who wrote about Rono running 13:21.79 in the heats of the NCAA's:“Those of us who saw it will always remember we were lucky; we saw running become art. Over the years we've all heard many athletes declare themselves to be ‘artists.’ Rono never claimed anything; he just ran. But if ever there was a ‘performance artist’ in our sport, it was Rono. His performances were ephemeral."

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Henry Rono running the Keep LA Running 5k/10k, July 2009

My own story with Henry dates back to the 1980 NCAA District 8 meet, Pac-10s at Stanford. On one side of my college team, Santa Clara, was Washington State, and on the other, was the University of Oregon. They year before, 1979, I had helped Henry and Samson Kimombwa find their team station on the line. Standing between such teams ( Oregon had Steve McChesney, Rudy Chapa, Ken Martin that year, and maybe Don Clary), was a bit disconcerting for me, as my then pb was about 32 minutes and change. for 10k.


The gun sounded and the race was off. The dust brought up by the hard charging field of two hundred was impressive. I hit the mile, near the back of the pack, in 4:59, with Henry Rono on my right side. I remember taking a double take: I was shocked. Here was a four time world record holder running next to me. The dream ended soon after that. Quickly, Henry took off through the pack and he was gone. The next time I saw him was near the end of the 10,000 meter course, as Henry and Alberto Salazar dueled over the last mile of the course, I believe that they covered that mile in about 4:14. From my place, 3/4 of a mile behind, I had a superb view of their last charge before the sprint to the finish; they were two runners in a classic battle.

I have emailed Henry on a few occasions and he has been most gracious to me. It is great to see him running once again....

Special thanks to Don Franken/World Class Sports for the photograph.

To find out more about Henry's book, please check http://www.team-rono.com

To learn more about the world's oldest sport, athletics, (that means running and track & field ) check out http://www.runningnetwork.com

Adam Johnson-Eder is my son. His mother, Christine and I started our first publishing venture when he was six months old. He has seen the positives and the negatives of a family involved in the media business. From the time he was three to his tenth birthday, I coached at Foothill College. Adam was at the track most every day, and he saw, for first hand my love of the sport, shared with my fellow coaches, Joe Mangan and Hank Ketels. I have always told him to chase his dreams, then worry about making a living.

At the ASICS British London 10k today, Cyrus and Catherine Ndereba were the winners-brother and sister!

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Photo courtesy of Photorun.net.

Meseret Defar wants to make it quite clear that she will make anyone who challenges her in Berlin pay for each and every hard won meter. Running in Birmingham, GBR on Saturday, July 11, as a guest, Defar clocked 29:52.20! The fifth fastest performance EVER by a women was run with halves of 15:05 and 14:54. For a final kilometer, Meseret Defar ran 2:47.65! In second was Aheza Kiroz, Defar's teammate, who won the adidas Track Classic 5,000 m last April, in 31:21.22. In third was Lineth Chepkurui of Kenya in 31;31.92.

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Meseret Defar, shown in the 5,000 meters at the Beijing Olympics, August 2008,
photo courtesy of Photorun.net.

Tyson Gay showed that he is coming into form, with his fine 9.77 legal run at 100 meters, which equaled his American record set in Eugene in July 2008. Asafa Powell ran 9.88 for second place and Mike Rodgers was third in 10.03.

When Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt line up in Berlin for the 100 meter final, the world record is going to just be crushed!

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Photo of Tyson Gay running a wind aided 9.75 at Eugene on June 25, 2009, courtesy of Photorun.net.

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Tyson Gay shown running a wind-aided 9.75 for 100 meters in Eugene, Oregon, on June 25, 2009, courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

There was a well written column on WSJ.com, published today, titled, Slow Economy: Faster Marathons: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204261704574274070492669550.html. In the article, the writer, Reed Albergotti does a very nice job at suggesting that a recent slowdown in the economy might be one of the reasons why there has been a rather large upswing in the speed that citizen runners are running marathons.

In order to prove his hypothesis, Mr. Albergotti went to a website called www.athlinks.com, which keeps track of the race finishing times of many, many runners. The folks at www.athlinks.com noticed an huge amount of improvement among marathoners times from 2008 to this year! They equated that to a very strong increase, 4.6 percent in numbers of people qualifying for the Boston Marathon, which, besides being the world's most iconic marathon, Boston has a qualifying time, in five year brackets, for male and female marathoners.

This increase in performances could be due to more time spent by runners who are not out chasing the American dream. In tough times, some people drink more, some people run more. They're probably right, and we have some recent historical figures to help with that theory. In truth, if one spends more time training for the marathon, within reason, the runner will run a more efficient and perhaps, faster marathon. Get those long runs in, and watch your marathon time improve. Gently pick up your weekly mileage and watch the quality of your training improve.

This has happened before. In the late seventies, in a piece in Runners World, I recall a piece on runners who broke 2:20 for the marathon. Most were either unemployed, or in graduate school, or both. History does repeat, contrary to words of the song, History Never Repeats by the Splint Enz.

If one remembers back to 1974-1975, the economy was having some serious issues. Music was good; Steely Dan, Blue Oyster Cult, but, not much else.If one was just out of college, or going into college, one might have taken the longest route approach--staying in school to avoid the poor job market.

One runner who took advantage of that was know then as Will Rogers, at least in his first national agate results. Bill Rodgers had been working in a mental hospital, but soon found himself out of work, after helping to organize a union, if my memory is correct. Bill took the extra time, as there was no job in sight, and trained, twice a day, six days a week, with a long run on Sundays. He gave up cigarettes and a few hours at the local watering hole for more training.In April 1974, Rodgers dropped out of the race in his hometown, Boston. He spent the next year running and training, getting into better and better shape. He graduated from the indoor YMCA track to the roads around Boston with his friends.

First time we heard about him was the US Winter XC trials in 1975, then his third in Morocco in March 1975, then his glorious run on Boston in April 1975. Here's a picture, courtesy of the BAA (thanks, Jack Fleming), of a motivated, unemployed college graduate, and the results of some tough winter miles and their effect on someone with extraordinary drive:

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Photo courtesy of the Boston Athletic Association

I am not saying that if one runs like Bill Rodgers they will race like Bill Rodgers, but a few more miles or a little more time for a walk is a good thing. Although, having lost jobs twice, I do not wish that pain on anyone.

To find more about our sport, click on http://www.runningnetwork.com

In the cold and rain of Lausanne, Usain Bolt ran the fourth fastest time ever over 200 meters-19.59, with LaShawn Merritt in 20.41 and Paul Hession of Ireland in 20.50 for third! Bolt told local media that he would concentrate on the 100 meters between now and Berlin, and announced that he was at about 80 percent of his complete fitness....not bad for 80 percent fitness!

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Photo by PhotoRun.net.

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Carolina Kluft, the three time World Champ in the heptathlon, Athens gold medalist, has spent the last year focusing on the long jump. She also has had her fill of injuries, well, Caroline just was injured in Karlskrona, at the Swedish Folksam GP meet three, where she slipped in the long jump and it was reported that her injury was serious....

Photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Robert Louis Dreyfus, a man who has had vast influence in the world of sports, died on Saturday, July 4, 2009, at the age of 63. He was battling leukemia for several years, according to several sources. Mr. Dreyfus's career had given him access to some of the most colorful and iconic brands and players in the sports and media world-namely adidas, Saatchi & Saatchi, and in his most recent role at Infront.

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Usain Bolt, after world record 200 meters, August 2008, Beijing, China, photo by PhotoRun.net.

In a copyrighted story on the Reuters newservice,http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090706/sp_nm/us_athletics_bolt_london_1, Usain Bolt, the three time Olympic champion from Beijing will be running not only the 100 meters, but also running on the 4 x 100 meter relay team.

The Aviva London Grand Prix is the major summer athletics meeting in Great Britian, held over two days, July 24-25, this meet features two days of competitions, sell out crowds and live television across the UK. Runblogrun.com will be providing live coverage from the meet via twitter as well as event by event analysis on one of the major meetings prior to Berlin WC 2009.

It also looks like the US relay team will be participating there as well. More on that soon......

For more on our sport, please check on one of the twenty four fine websites located at http://www.runningnetwork.com

With the way things are looking in the decathlon, two medals in the Berlin decathlon could come from the Northern Hemisphere: Jamaica & Cuba.....

Among the great news on the sport, the Peachtree 10k was also the US champs. Abdi Abdirhaman won the US title, with a time of 28:11, he was seventh overall. Anthony Famiglietti was second in 28:15, and James Carney was third in 28:19, his personal best.

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Fam shown leading the US 5,000 meter championships, photo by Photorun.net.

Madrid 2009 had some fine performances. David Gillick of Ireland ran 44.77, showing that he has a serious chance for a medal. Note that Irving Saldino was beat pretty solidly in the long jump, finishing in third place.

On the women's side, second place in US Champs at 1,500 meters, Christin Wurth Thomas showed her stuff in the 800 meters, running 2:00.16. In the women's pole vault, it was a battle for the low heights, perhaps caused by so many travelling from around the world...

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Christin Wurth Thomas shown in the US champs 1,500 meters, photo by PhotoRun.net

All the global news fit to print, courtesy of Alfons Juck, about the global track & road running season.....

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Alistair Cragg, of Ireland, former Razorback, shown here racing the 5,000 meters in adidas Outdoor, ran the 1,500 meters in Bislett. Photo courtesy of Photorun.net.

The Scandanavian weather gods showed who really has control in the 2009 version of the Bislett Games. The weather gods love Meseret Defar, who lead five women under 14:41, ten under 14:50 and fifteen under 15:00 in an amazing 5,000 meters!

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Meseret Defar, running in the 2008 Olympics, photo by Photorun.net.

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Sanya Richards running at US champs, Eugene, Oregon, June 27, 2009, by PhotoRun.net.

OSLO: World junior record in the dream mile 3:48.95 by William Biwott of Kenyana and world leading 49.23 at 400 m for Sanya Richards highlighted the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games after a storm delayed the begin of the main programme. Six athletes won after Berlin also in Oslo (Richards, Isinbayeva, Pitkamäki, Bekele, Cherry, Stewart). Daniel Bailey and Dexter Faulk did not win and Chris Brown and Ariane Friedrich did not come to Oslo from the remaining four Berlin winners.

METZ: French Boubdallah Tahri clocked new european steeple record at Alma Athle Tour French series meet with 8:02.19.

Special thanks to Alfons Juck, EME News.

For more on the sport, check out http://www.american-trackandfield.com

If you think making the U.S. sprint team is tough, try the men's 110 meter hurdles. First, you have had, since 1995, Allan Johnson, who is the dean of American hurdles. Any man who can hurdle the highs at the age of 36 has my respect.

David Payne, Terrance Trammell, Aries Merritt, Dexter Faulk, David Oliver would have been on most lists. Oliver had injuries and did not run in Eugene.

But, in the final, Payne, Trammell, Merritt, Mitchum, all looked good. On Saturday, it was David Paynes' race, as he hurdled a clean 13.12, the same as Terrance Trammell, who has a drawer full of World and Olympic medals. Payne won, 13.115 to 13.118, with Aries Merritt taking third in 13.15. Finally, Aries Merrit ran a race showing his real promise!

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Finals of the Men's 110 meter hurdles, by Photorun.net.

Shannon Rowbury is one of the most underrated athletes in our sport. She is also, one of the most dangerous women middle distance runners in the US, capable of racing world class not only at 1,500 meters, but also 800 and yes, although she is not real excited about it, for now, the 5,000 meters.

At the Pre Classic, the story was about Jenny Barringer, who broke four minutes, at the end of a long, and well raced collegiate season. Peter Stubbs, Shannon's manager, took me aside after the Pre 1,500 and reminded me that this was Shannon's first race of the season. I had thought that running 4:03 out of the blocks, and running an all out 1,500 meter showed how much that Shannon Rowbury had improved over the year.

What a superb race in Eugene for the championships: Christin Wurth Thomas, pulling an imitation of the late Bill McChesney, Jr. (1980 Trials, where Bill tried to steal the 5,000m with three laps to go, making the team), Shannon Rowbury and Anna Willard holding back. Who would win this one?

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Shannon Rowbury shows her stuff, US Champs 1,500 meters, by Photo Run.net.

La Shawn Merritt is the Olympic champion. His run in Beijing was perfect for him, as he raced down the final straightaway and completed one of the greatest upsets in our sport. Now, facing off in Berlin, will be the Olympic 2008 champion, the Olympic 2004 champion, defending his 2007 World championships. La Shawn Merritt versus Jeremy Wariner-another of the great match ups slated for Berlin!

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In Eugene, Jeremy Wariner focused on the 200 meters and LaShawn on the 400 meters. Here is LaShawn's story:

Sanya Richards is one of the most determined athletes I have ever met. She emotes positivism. Combine that with complete confidence that she has in her coach, her health in control, Sanya went through the rounds here with no issues.

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Photo from finals, US 400 meter finals, 2009, by Photorun.net.

Look, I think Josh McAdams is a great young runner, who runs the steeple well. But 8:29 in a national race makes it hard for these guys to race in Europe and get a chance to get that 8:20, then break 8:20. Here are my thoughts on the race and the state of US steeplechasing for males--females is a different story:

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Photograph of Josh McAdams from the rounds, by PhotoRun.net.

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Richie Woodworth, President, Saucony, photo courtesy of Saucony communications

In the world of performance running, the brands on top are the brands willing to a) focus on consistently strong product,b) be willing to promote the product, c) invest in events, athletes, and local brand support, d) vigilantly watch their customer service and e) invest in long term relationships with specialty retailers.

In 2009, the champions in performance running footwear are ASICS, Brooks, Saucony, Mizuno, Nike and New Balance. The new brands, like Kswiss, Somnia, Merrell, Newton, all look to what the top players have done. The devil is in the details.

One of the hottest brands in 2009 is Saucony. We asked Richie Woodworth, President of Saucony, to spend some time discussing why his brand is firing on all cylinders and what it takes for a brand to excel in such a competitive environment. Please note that we will be interviewing executives from some of the other key players over the next few months. Note also that the Fleet Feet franchises gave their vendor of the year to Saucony. Service is key to survival in this market. Next to product, without service to the retailer, the party is over.

The running footwear biz is $7.5 billion in 2009. Specialty is just over $900 million and growing. This is our world, day in, day out. At the Running Network, we track 800 specialty running stores-about 300 of them are firing on all cylinders.

What is fascinating to me, is that the CEOs and Presidents of the major brands are a fascinating bunch. What is interesting, at least to me, is how the managers like Woodworth use their brand's key strengths to help them excel.

Tirunesh Dibaba, on her website www.tiruneshdibaba.net., announced a small injury, so no 5k matchup with Defar.

Mariya Savinova, at a meet in Moscow,the Third Moscow Open, in front of 1,500, ran the world leading 800 meters of 1:57.60. Jillian Schwartz set an Israeli All comers record with her 4.42m jump
in Tel Aviv.

And the question of the day, who was more impressive in Eugene? Evan Jager or German Fernandez? In my mind, German is quite impressive with his AR, and Even, with his style, and his charging with 200 meters to go, opened my eyes, so the answer is c) both are impressive in their own rights! Wow, that was hard. ( Fam gets a bow of the hat, and an adult beverage next time I see him).

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Okay sports fans, Larry is flying all night to get home, so do not expect any 3 am updates, perhaps seven am, but no three am.

Photo of the men/s 5,000 meter final, US Champs 09, by PhotoRun.net.

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