October 2009 Archives

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Paula Radcliffe churning up the field at the 2008 ING NYCM, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Paula Radcliffe is a phenomenon. The women is one of the toughest runners in our sport. That is fact. She can draw inspiration from somewhere within herself, like no one of her generation.

Her 2:15:25 world record is an amazing performance. But, there has been a price. It takes time to recover from such a performance. Her Olympic performances have suffered, but I grew to respect her for her 2008 Beijing performance. She understands the words of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who revived the Olympic Games, "it is better to have competed...".

How fast will Paula Radcliffe run today? We shall see....

It is early Saturday morning. I am preparing for a day of meetings in the wonderful island that is Manhattan. Considering that early European settlers bought Manhattan for some beads and trinkets, it should not be surprising how well received the expos at some of the large marathons continue to be.

Just arrived in New York this evening for the ING New York City Marathon. The marathon is also hosting the 2009 U.S. men's marathon championships..Martin Lel pulled out...Ryan Hall seems ready to race, and this could be the year an American male reaches the top of the medal stage, for the first time since 1982! We wish Ryan Hall much luck.

Ryan will have the likes of Meb Keflizighi, Abdi Abdiraham, Jorge Torres to push him, beside the world class marathoners from East Africa, there are 35,000 plus runners who will start the ING NYCM on Sunday, November 1, 2009.

And while many runners congregate at Rosie O'Gradys, many are flying into La Guardia and Kennedy airports, to be part of the moving, breathing city of runners, who will cross the five boroughs on Sunday, November 1.

Time to crash, then, visiting the NYCm events around New York. Will catch up tomorrow.

It is just like any other Wednesday evening in marathon season. I plan on working late, download a few new tunes from I-tunes (Wang Chung's "Dance Hall Days", a new master of the Faces, "Stay with Me", Butthole surfers, "The Shame of Life", and LeRoy's "Good Time".

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Sean Quigley and Jacob Korir at finish of BAA Mayors Cup XC, photo by PhotoRun.net/Lisa Coniglio.

The 20th version of the BAA Mayors Cup had the closest race in its history, on the men's side, with Sean Quigley and Jacob Korir only separated by two seconds!

Photos courtesy of Lisa Coniglio/PhotoRun.net and story from Jack Fleming, BAA.

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Todd Williams, running his debut marathon, Chicago, 1997, photo by PhotoRun.net.

On a cold November day in 1991, at the U.S. Cross Country Championships, in Franklin Park in Boston, I remember watching this young kid from Tennessee, all in adidas green, Todd Williams, with his baseball cap on backwards, stick with Pat Porter as they traversed the park, lap after lap. Porter was the best cross country runner in the U.S, having surpassed Don Lash's seven US cross championships and Shorter's five (remember, Lynn Jennings had nine xc titles). This day, however, the Volunteer grad was sticking Pat Porter pretty hard, pushing the pace, until it came down to Porter and Williams. It was a theme that Todd Williams would have with most of his racing: going out hard, sticking it to the other guy, and finding out who had something left at the very end.

If the term, " No quarter asked, none given", could be used to describe an athlete, Todd Williams was such an athlete. Todd ran hard, raced hard, laughed hard and did it with a regularity, for nearly fifteen years, before he decided it was time to pursue other interests.

A frequent TV announcer, now working full time for adidas America, Todd Williams, answered our fifteen questions with an honesty and humor that one would only expect......

One more comment. It was because of the likes of Todd Williams, Bob Kennedy, Mark Croghan and a few others, who trained hard, raced hard, when many U.S. distance runners wallowed in mediocrity, that the roots of our renaissance in U.S. distance running is beginning...

Pat Butcher gives us his thoughts on the continued progression of the men's marathon record,and why athletes from East Africa will be involved in this progression...

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Start of the Venice Marathon, October 25, 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

A busy weekend on the roads! Continued fast times in Germany, making it the nation where the fastest marathons in the world have been run for men!

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Our roving marathon troubadour, Pat Butcher provided the following piece on the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon, where three runners broke the course record, including the second place runner's coach!

Gilbert Kirwa and Agnes Kiprop, Winners of 2009 Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon, photos courtesy of PhotoRun.net/Victah Sailer.

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Tyson Gay, Rome Golden Gala, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Tyson Gay is the second fastest sprinter in history. He set AR twice this season, with a sore groin. Mark Wetmore, his manager, announced that Tyson's surgery was successful this past week! Congrats to Yelena Isinbayeva for winning the Asturia Award, known as the Nobel prize of sports awards.

And on the Caster Semenya front, word from South Africa is that some bright bulb is suggesting an apology from Lamine Diack over the gender testing. Funny, Leone Chuene, ASA President, is still holding his post. That the man has not been castigated in public in South Africa is pure cowardice-the man is responsible for using a young athlete for his own gains-no other way to write about it.

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William Kiplagat, Günther Weidlinger, Luminita Zaituc and Robert K. Cheruiyot (from left) at the press conference, Photos courtesy of photorun.net / Sailer

This Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon has a pretty tough field. Check out a few of the quotes from the big three and see if you think someone is going to run a 2:06?

Training Log of one Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, courtesy of Victah Sailer, Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon:

This was typical weeks leading up to the 2009 Commerzbank
Frankfurt Marathon. Robert's training partner is Vincent Kipruto,
who was just second in the B of A Chicago Marathon and who also ran a fine 2:05:47 earlier in the year.

Monday am- one hour run......15km
Monday pm- one hour run......15km
Tuesday am- one hour run.....15km
Tuesday 11am- 12x 1000 at 3.00= 15km
Tuesday pm-one hour run......15km
Wed am-.....one hour run......15km
wed pm-....one hour run.....15km
thur am....40km run
thur pm---one hour run =15km
fri am....one hour run=15km
fri pm...one hour run=15km
Sat am...one hour run=15km
Sat 11am=12 x 1000=15km
Sat pm...one hour run=15km
Sunday am....30km run
Sunday pm....one hour run=15km
Victah Sailer added: " the morning and afternoon runs can be from 50m to one hour.....your call, and the 12x 1000.....I am sure they warmed up, ran in between reps and warmed down....."

Note the consistency, the moderate pace,and the quality of the speed work. I sure hope this puts that easy running detritus finally to bed. To race fast, one must train consistently and at a high quality....
I especially like the 40km midweek and 30km on weekend. Remeniscent of Rob De Castella's training in the eighties. Breaking up the speed sessions at 1,000 meter intervals, at just below above pace, reminds me of threshold work...Cheruiyot obviously gets the work done...

Special thanks to our favorite photographer, Victah Sailer, and his wife, Lisa Coniglio and the merry photographers at PhotoRun.net.

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

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Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, victor at the 2008 Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon...

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Jason Mbote, Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot and Gilbert Kirwa, will battle for the marathon victory at the 2009 Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday, October 25, 2009.

Pat Butcher, our roving marathon troubadour, is in Frankfurt this weekend for the 28th Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon, the oldest city marathon in Germany! What follows is Mr. Butcher's analysis of the upcoming elite race in Frankfurt....

Photographs courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

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Front of new ASICS flagship store, opening in New York City on Friday, October 23, 2009. There will be festivities celebrating the opening of ASICS first store all weekend. Please read on for details...

Ours is a competitive sport. One is only as good as their last competition. The proof is in the results. With athletes from 209 countries competing on a global stage, the term, " World Champion" comes to an athlete the old-fashioned way: they earn it!

Meet Valeri Vili of New Zealand. Valeri has won twenty-five straight competitions in the shot put, her last lost was 23 September 2007! In many events, say, four, for example, Usain Bolt has a record of 25-0, over the 100 meters, 150 meters,200 meters,and 400 meters! (Note, that Kenenisa has NEVER been defeated over 10,000 meters, since his debut in 2003, and neither has Tirunesh Dibaba, who has run six 10,000m finals without a defeat.)

Alfons Juck must not have had something to do between two and four in the morning. All info from Tilastopaja and All-Athletics, and note, only finals are counted in competitions.

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Valerie Vili, New Zealand, gold medalist, Women's shot put, Berlin WC, August 17, 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

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Tom Carleo, GM, New Balance Running & Outdoor, photo courtesy of NB communications.

The running footwear industry has grown up. An industry that generates $7.5 billion in sales a year, and the creme de la creme is the performance running business, which continues to grow.

The largest privately held brand in our business is New Balance, which was bought on Boston Marathon Day in 1972 by Jim Davis. Davis, now a member of the IRRA Hall of Fame, and one of the most enigmatic leaders in our business, continues to make tough decisions in growing the brand that he worked so hard to build.

Tom Carleo, a life long New Englander, who has spent many of his formative years in the Northwest and Japan, is now GM of Running at New Balance. Carleo knows running from the competitive side of racing, having been a qualifier in the 1,500 meters at the 1988 Olympic Trials. Tom also was instrumental in the development of the Bowerman line, while at Nike. After a stint at Saucony, Tom Carleo is now the General Manager of Running & Outdoor at New Balance. He has held this position for just about one year now.

We caught up with Tom last month, while he was traveling in China. His sense of humor comes across in each interview. Tom could have done stand up comedy. What comes across in this interview is is obvious affection for the people he works with, a genuine love for the sport of running and a keen awareness of what it takes to make a successful running shoe. Read on....

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Usain Bolt, Berlin World Championships, August 15-21, 2009, by PhotoRun.net.

Usain Bolt will take it reletively easy on the racing side in 2010, notes our global minister of track information, Alfons Juck. Read on, dear readers...

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Boldi Kocsor, courtesy of UCLA athletics.

Dear Larry,

I really enjoy your runblogrun site. I just noticed one small error on the Millrose Game post. When you are discussing the SDSU staff you note that Boldi Kocsor is from Hungary. Actually, he was born in San Diego and raised there. As the post also says, he went to University high. While he has a Hungarian name and Hungarian heritage and dual citizenship, he's actually from America. Anyway, I thought I'd point that out. Thanks for the great work.As a local San Diego thrower, I think Boldi will be a great fit for SDSU.

Martin Bingisser, San Diego, CA

Sorry, Boldi, about the mistake! Congrats and best wishes to the new coaching team at SDSU! From one Hungarian-American (moi) to another!

Larry

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

London 2012 will be a wonderful Olympics. I wanted to congratulate USATF for taking the time and making the prescient decision to choose Birmingham for the home camp for USA Track & Field during the Olympic Games.

Traffic in London can, be, well, challenging. Coming in on the train from Birmingham will be a much quicker mode of transportation than driving. Birmingham also has a great music scene, wonderful restaurants, a good all weather track facility and some fascinating history ( did you know that, next to Venice, Birmingham has the most miles of canals of any city in Europe?).

Nice job, USATF.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): Birmingham Mail writes that the deal to bring American athletics to Birmingham ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games will be signed with this week. The US Track and Field president Stephanie Hightower and CEO Doug Logan will officially seal the deal with Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby on Thursday.

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Pictograms introduced for London 2012, courtesy of www.insidethegames.biz.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, how about two dozen of them. Read the story, courtesy of InsidetheGames.biz: http://www.insidethegames.biz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7543:london-2012-launches-pictograms&catid=84:london-2012-news&Itemid=89 on the pictograms for London 2012.

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

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Sammy Wanjiru, 2009 Bank of America Chicago marathon champion and record holder, photo by PhotoRun.net.

In the past two weeks, I have been fortunate to interview Sammy Wanjiru twice. Sammy told me at B of A Chicago, that he wanted to set the record-world record and win too. At the Nike Summit, he told the assembled masses that he wanted the world record in the marathon, and would run Berlin next fall to do that. He also will run in Abu Dhabi in January with $300,000 on the line for a half marathon....

Gilbert Yegon ran 2:06:18, even with a hamstring cramp, broke the 2:06:20 set by one Haile Gebrselassie on the Amsterdan marathon course...Caster Semenya is going to take her finals, even with the pressure still felt from this past summer's brutalization of her by ASA....and on Sunday, in San Francisco, 20,000 women (and about 200 men) ran the fourth edition of the Nike Women's Marathon & Half marathon. A Nike Running Summit was held on the Saturday before, watch for my column on that event on Wednesday...

I love the Armory Foundation and what it has done for the sport in New York. I also think that Doug Logan is asking good questions, challenging the so-called, 'traditionalists." I do have an issue with the crucifiction of the Global Athletics group, who managed the meet with several different bosses over the past few years. Among their so-called partners are the ones calling for change in the meet.

The story below, from a release by the Armory and reported by Alfons Juck, applauding Doug Logan for challenging the traditionalists, sounds good. Changes are needed in our sport. Logan and Sanders working together should be applauded. To not accept the difficult situation that Global Athletics was handed, dealing with high school, college, elite and local events, is ludicrous. That the current management had several powerful groups to satisfy, would put ten nails in any coffin. I applaud the understanding of the need to change the meet, but then, let's change it! Make it a professional meet! But, be careful which sponsors you throw out with the bathwater! For our sport to be successful, we need New Balance, adidas, NIke, PUMA, Saucony, Brooks, ASICS, all, who already contribute! All of those brands are involved in indoor track & field across this country, as well as outdoor, cross country and road racing. And be careful not to demonize previous attempts to keep the meet alive.

The Millrose Games had been compared to the Balkans-several little principalities fighting for control. The Games need to be in a two hour format, and perhaps the college, high school, and local can be managed as unique events in their own, but in asking hard questions, one must be ready for hard answers, such as there are no easy answers, stay tuned....

RaceWalker goes for Champ record ,

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Tim Seaman has won forty-one U.S. national championships in his racewalking career. He is now focused on setting a national record for most championships won, 65 by Ron Laird and Henry Laskau, with 42. In the following article, by photographer supreme, Victah Sailer, we learn that Tim has the chance to tie Henry Laskau's second place standing of 42 national championships!

Photography by PhotoRun.net. Special thanks to Victah Sailer for the following article:

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Usain Bolt wants to keep it relaxed in 2010. As there are no major championships for him, he will follow the mantra from the song by
Elton John, "Mellow". Smart idea, because the body has to rest once in a while, even is you are Usain Bolt!

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Remember what it's like to get new running shoes? Opening the box, the smell, and then, putting them on for the first run? That is still the archtypel experience in running, and one of the more pleasant. Well, what if you were getting a pair of shoes just made for you? Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? Your fifteen minutes of fame?

ASICS sent us a little piece today on Ryan Hall's new racing shoes, built just for the ING Marathon course coming in three weeks. So we have shared them with you, dear reader. I also suggest that you check out Ryan's blog and the four short films of Ryan in the ASICS design center.

How good is Ryan Hall? My belief is, if the guy runs his race, and no one elses, then we will have an America male running very well at ING New York City marathon. Remember, the field is stacked with tough global field plus tough Americans this year ( Meb Keflizighi, Brian Sell to name a couple). Ryan has the talent, the training, the coaching, and the support to do well. It will come down to how he handles the pressure, the course, the field and how he feels on the day.

We are getting to the point, with the likes of Ryan Hall, Dathan Ritzenhein, Matt Tegenkamp, Meb Keflizighi, James Carney, FAM, that we have a crew of marathoners who can do well on the international stage. A rebirth takes time, but Ryan Hall has the "vision thing" that is needed to be victorious over 26.2 miles of blue paint stripes and black asphalt. Here is hoping the new ASICS shoes, his training and his inner voice keep him relaxed over the ING New York City marathon course, ready to make his move and take his place in history as one of America's great distance runners. No pressure, though....

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Race Finish, Sale Dizni (Kirui beats Kiptoo)

Pat Butcher, our global runner, sends us his thoughtful views of a race in Belgrade, which has been resurrected. Paul Tergat was there as well, and Pat explains his reason for attendance. Oh, the race happened Wednesday, local time in Belgrade, and includes running up and down castle walls!


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Juan Antonio Samaranch, former IOC President (1980-2001). photo courtesy of Olympic.org, Associated Press.

MONTE CARLO (MON): Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, 89, on Tuesday suffered a mild heart attack at the Grimaldi Forum, where he was attending the Sportel international sports television festival, and was taken to Princess Grace hospital in Monaco as a precaution, sources said. The news.yahoo.com said he had responded well to treatment and was set to stay in hospital for two or three days as a precaution owing to his age.

Sorry, crazy busy day today, but watch for a nice tribute to Liliya Shobukova and her win at Bank of America Chicago Marathon tomorrow!

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Molly Huddle, NYRR 8k, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Molly Huddle took the US 10k title today, in Boston, MA, at the Tufts 10k in 32:06.5, for the second year in a row. Rebecca Donahue was third and Sara Hall was fourth...this was Huddle's second title!

For more on the global road scene this past weekend, read on!

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Sammy Wanjiru with the pacemakers, B of A Chicago Marathon, October 11, 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net.

The start was cold, 33 degrees in fact. The wind was from the south, which meant, once the pacemakers turned, the wind would be in their faces. Yet, they ran fast; 14:34 for 5k, 29:10 for 10k, 43:59 for 15k...and most importantly, even though Sammy wanted to go faster, they kept him in tow, hitting 1:02:00 on the dot for the half marathon point.

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The National Scholastc Sports Foundation (http://www.nationalscholastic.org/), the people who have built a super series of prep events (Great American Distance Carnival, Nike XC Nationals, Nike Indoor National and NIke Outdoor Nationals). Over the past decade, many of our top athletes get a chance, at the end of their season, to compete with the best in their country. We strongly encourage coaches and athletes to go to these events! The NIN will be held at the super fast Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, MA.

To register, and sign up for their newsletter, please go to: http://www.nationalscholastic.org/

Boise State will have a new track complex by 2011, it was reported on the website for Channel 7, http://www.ktvb.com/news/localnews/stories/ktvbn-oct1009-park_donation.2040541af.html Boise, Idaho. The David & Debra Larsen Huber Foundation just gave $2.5 million for the land and the facility. The site will be the Old East Junior High in Boise, Idaho. The park will be called Donna Larsen Park, named after a teacher who taught at the East Junior high for thirty years! The namesake of the park is very excited about the park and the facility.

Boise needs to raise another three million to complete the facility, but they are nearly half way there! The complex will also host most of the city high school's football games as well. The complex will be fourteen acres.

We just thought it was a nice donation, and will help thousands in the Boise area and wanted to tip our hats to the David & Debra Larsen Huber Foundation!

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

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Start of the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, October 11, 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net/Lisa Coniglio

The thirty-second edition of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon showed once again, the race director's mantra; "if you build a great event, the runners will come". Over the past two decades, Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski and his team have build an event that has a fast course, the best Expo, great volunteer support, local government support, and the sponsorship of key global brands, Bank of America and Nike, to name a few. Here is how we saw the race, and some behind the scene insights from our key observers:

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Using her track speed, Liliya Shobukova, in her second marathon start, took the lead at 25 miles decisively, and went on to win the 32nd Bank of America Chicago marathon! Photo by PhotoRun.net.


In a very tactical marathon, the women had a very tight finish. Hitting the half marathon in 1:15:03, Liliya Shobukova, Irina Mikitenko, Lidiya Grigoryeva, Berhane Adere and Deena Kastor were all together, with the U.S. Tera Moody leading through the first eleven miles.

The pace began to pick up about fifteen miles and as the pace picked up, Shbukhova, Grigoyeva, Mikitenko and Erkesso were looking very good, as other runners dropped off the pack. Deena Kastor had to take a bathroom stop and had some trouble getting her drinks and that caused her some issues.

Using her 3k speed (8:27 pb), Liliya Shobukhova of Russia took off just before 25 miles. As Liliya grabbed her water bottle, she put in a short charge, and Shobukova had five meters, then ten, then one hundred meters!

In her second marathon start, with her husband, Igor, her coach, and her six year old daughter in Chicago to support her, Liliya Shobukova won the 2009 Bank of America Chicago marathon in 2:25:16, running her second half in a stunning 1:11:13!

Deena Kastor ended up finishing sixth, in 2:28:38, and the good news is her foot is fine! Melissa White of the US was eighth and Tera Moody of the US was ninth, all in all a good day for US runners as well!

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Sammy Wanjiru, winner of 2008 Bejing and 2009 London, now adds Bank of America Chicago to his victory list, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya, hitting the halfway in 1:02:00 and 30k in 1:28:44, broke Vincent Kipruto and Charles Munyeki, to take the men's title at the Bank of America Chicago. Sammy has won his last three majors now, Olympics, London and now, Chicago. Waving to the crowd, Sammy Wanjiru, nearly missed the course record, but pulled it out by one second, running 2:05:41. In the 32nd running of the Bank of America Chicago marathon, Wanjiru added his name to the great list of victors: Steve Jones, Khalid Khannouchi, among others. Wanjiru now holds the new course record and the fastest time ever run on North American soil-breaking Khannouchi's ten year old course record!

Hats off to Abderrahim Goumri, who went out conservatively, hitting 1:03 at halfway and finished second in 2:06:04. Rest of top ten below!

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Wanjiru makes a break, photo by PhotoRun.net.

And then, there were three....Sammy Wanjiru, Vincent Kipruto, and Charles Munyeki. Men hit 30k in 1:28:05, and they are off WR pace, about 2:05 now.

On the women's side, Deena Kastor missed her drink, went back to get, and calmly moved back into the pack. Missed drink at 25k, and now is back. Mikitenko, Grigoryeva, all in the pack. I am watching Liliya Shobukova...

At 1:42:00 into the race, Wanjiru made a small surge, about one minute later, he started to push and the real estate began to open between Kipruto, Munyeki and the leading Wanjiru.

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Men's lead pack down to four runners, Kebeni Wilson, Patrick Ivuti, Sammy Wanjiru, Vincent Kipruto. Ivuti is struggling, he is falling off lead....Irina Mikitenko, Liliya Shobukhova, Berhane Adere, Deena Kastor, Lidiya Grigoryeva....

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Photos courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

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Sammy Wanjiru, 2009 London winner, photo by PhotoRun.net

Sammy Wanjiru told us on Friday that he wants to win and set the new world record. To get the record, Sammy will have to run 4:43.5 per mile for 26.2 miles! He does not, in my mind, respect the distance, yet. If he goes out too fast, like he did in London, he will not get the record.

On the women's side, Deena Kastor, Irina Mikitenko and Lidiya Grigoryeva will be duking it out on the women side. On both sides, there should be some great races!

Zersenay Tadesse won the men's title in 59:35 and Mary Keitany won the women's title in 1:06:36. Congrats to Dathan Ritzenhein who took the bronze, here in 1:00:00, the second best EVER by an American, with only Ryan Hall's 59:43 in front of him!

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Dathan Ritzenhein, 10,000m, World Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Jacques Rogge has been re-elected as President of the IOC. Rogge ran unopposed. On Sunday, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will have nearly 40,000 starters, and in Birmingham, England, the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships will have teams from over 64 countries contesting half the marathon distance.....

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Irina Mikitenko winning Virgin London 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net

The press conference today just added to my confusion. Deena Kastor was there, Olympic bronze medalist, US record holder, who is back in shape after her tragic injury at three miles in Beijing in 2008. Deena told the assembled media today that she has had five great weeks of training, and she feels ready to race.

Irina Mikitenko, the London Champion, in 2009, and 2008, and champion in real, -Berlin in 2008, and in second in 2007. This past summer, Irina's father died, and she took four weeks off of training in July , and withdrew from the World Championships. She also said that her father " is the most prominent person in her life." Mikitenko is running for the memory of her father, a very powerful impetus.

Then we have Lidiya Grigoryeva. Lidiya ran her first marathon in 1997, in 2:51:21, and by 2006, she had improved to 2:25:10. Her wins in Boston in 2007 and Chicago in 2008 were hard fought. Her first win was in Austin, Texas in 1999. Lidiya knows how to race in tough crowds: tactical races are her specialty.

For Sunday, what will the Bank of America Chicago Marathon reveal? I think the race will be run, at the fastest, about 2:23-2:25. In that kind of race, in the cold, all three should be well matched. A close women's and men's race will show what is best about our sport--the competition!

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

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

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Sammy Wanjiru, August 2008, Beijing Olympics, photo by PhotoRun.net

Sammy Wanjiru is the Olympic champion. His win in Beijing was his third marathon. In his first, Wanjiru won Fukuoka in 2:06:39 in December 2007. He had taken second in his second marathon, the 2008 Flora London marathon. In the 2009 Virgin London Marathon, Sammy Wanjiru handled a very stiff early pace to set a new personal best and to win. So, in his marathon schedule, he has three wins, one second, or 3 for 4. Sammy also has broken the world record twice for the half marathon: in 2005, at the ripe old age of 18, Sammy ran 59:16. Then Haile Gebrselassie took the WR back in 2006, with his 58:55. In 2007, Sammy took the WR back, running 58:53 in the RAK half marathon in February. When he did not get the record there (incomplete drug testing protocals), Sammy ran 58:33 at Den Haag, the Netherlands in March 2007.

In an interview that we did with Sammy for the Running Network TV show, I asked Sammy about his plans for this weekend. Sammy noted " I would like to run very fast, I want to break the record. " I then asked what is more important, the record or winning in Chicago. Sammy thought for a moment, and then said, " I want both, I want to win and set the record."

Sammy has his hands full with a very, very tough field. Abderrahim Goumri, the man with the fastest track credentials (12:50.25 for 5,000m, and 27:14.65 for 10,000m, and in seven starts, has finished six marathons, with three seconds (two at ING NYC, one at Flora London), one third (Flora London). Abderrahim wants to win badly. He was stung by his second place at ING New York City in November 2008 and his sixth in London 2009. Goumri has the tools, he just needs a confidence boost.

For the darkhorse, my gut tells me that Vincent Kipruto, the winner of the Paris International Marathon, in 2:05:47, is the spoiler. Vincent is where Sammy was a year ago: he is hungry, and he knows that he has another good one in him.

The weather should be cool, and the conditions perfect for a world record, do not be surprised if Sammy Wanjiru and Vincent Kipruto are duking it out at 40 kilometers, with Abderhamann Goumri close behind! More to come later today....

For more on the race, http://www.chicagomarathon.com
For more on the sport, http://www.runningnetwork.com

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Carey Pinkowski, Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director, photo by PhotoRun.net.

There is a famous picture of the late Fred Lebow, from the mid-eighties, checking the blue line that shows marathoners the five borough course in New York. The picture always reminded me that the job of a race director is thankless.

Carey Pinkowski should have a picture like that. I remember being with Jeremy Solomon of Chicago Athlete magazine, late one night after a marathon party, heading back to our hotel and noting Carey Pinkowski out on the course, about two in the morning, checking signs. We wondered then, if Carey ever slept the night before the Bank of America Chicago marathon.

The truth be told, the city of Chicago and the marathon would not be the same without Carey Pinkowski and his team. The attention to detail, the love of the sport and the love of the city are all apparent in his work and in the event.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon treats the elite and citizen runners alike with respect and gives them an experience peculiar to the city of Chicago. A fast course, great hotels, some of the best pasta in the world (if you can not find pasta in Chicago, then, you are just not looking!), and crowds that rival any of the Major marathons in the world are some of the highlights of the experience in the Windy City.

Carey Pinkowski and his team have taken the last twenty years to build a marathon, and a marathon experience that is the litmus test for major marathons. Naming a street after Carey is a good start at honoring his work....

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George Hirsch

Most of you know George Hirsch as the former long-time publisher of Runner's World, or chairman of the New York Road Runners. Those of us who remember (and treasure) the premiere issue of The Runner, from 1977, will tell you that George Hirsch revolutionized the publishing of running magazines. His upstart, The Runner, challenged Runners World from the day it started, landing great photography, iconic writers, key advertisers and the heart of serious runners. The Runner's issue on the 1984 Olympic Trials is still, in my mind, one of the best running magazine issues of all times.

In 1986, the magazines combined and George Hirsch took over as publisher. I worked for George for about two years, and learn a lot. I used George as inspiration for much of my publishing over the years. Always come in as the quality leader in your publishing environment, Great editorial will draw a community, and last, but not least, Publishing is about relationships.Those are themes in George's publishing history. I have been fortunate enough to keep in touch with him over the years, and look forward to seeing him at the major events. His contribution to the sport of running, and to the development of running media can not be underestimated. George Hirsch could give a master class in magazine publishing.

George is now publisher of Cucinna Italiana, the U.S. launch of a thriving gourmet title celebrating all good things Italian. And contrary to many print publications, Cucinna Italiana is doing quite well. I asked George how he continues to do it all, the travel, the publishing....Recently, he wrote to me that at the age of seventy-five, he is "feeling his age."

Bill Rodgers once told me the story about running with George in a nor'easter, as they both needed to get in ten miles. He said that he learnt then, that George was one of the toughest runners he had ever met. I believe George's personal best, in his late forties, was 2:38:44. In his sixties, I remember him breaking three hours on the very tough San Francisco marathon course.

That is not stopping him from running the fortieth ING New York City marathon. His letter (shown below) is run, with permission. It will be George's last marathon, and he is asking us to celebrate with him by donating to some good causes. I hope you will contribute, as I will....

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Meb Keflizighi, Falmouth 2009, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Meb Keflizighi is the complete distance runner. At the age of 34, he sets a new personal best by twenty-four seconds of 1:01 even for the half marathon, breaking Ryan Hall's 20k AR en route, with his 57:52, by two seconds! Meb won the San Jose RnR Half marathon on October 4, 2009.

Meb has the track AR of 27:13.85, set in 2001 on the Stanford track in Palo Alto, California. His most historic run was his Olympic silver medal from the marathon in Athens, where he ran a very tough race, finishing only behind Italy's Stefano Baldini in the hot, humid conditions of Athens in August 2004.

We look forward to his run at the ING New York City marathon in three weeks!

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Photo courtesy of Olympics.org

If the quote " a picture is worth a thousand words," is ever appropriate, it is here. The man behind the handkerchief is President Lula of Brazil. This was taken right after the announcement was made that Rio was the Host city of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

For more on the Olympics, http://www.Olympics.org

To see twenty-four different approaches to the sport of running, check out the RN portal, http://www.runningnetwork.com

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Ilse Paulson, Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, US Champs, winner, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Congratulations to Ilse Paulson, who made up a 40 second deficit and took over the lead at 24 miles to win her debut in 2:31:49 over Colleen de Reuck at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. Congrats to Jason Hartmann, who ran his personal best of 2:12:09 to win by nearly one minute in the men's race at the Medtronic.

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Jason Hartmann, the Medtronic Twin Cities 2009 men's winner, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

And finally, congratulations to Abdi Abdirhaman, who ran his pb in winning the Medtronic 10 Miles, a US champs distance in 46:35.

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Abdi Abdirhaman, the Medtronic 10 Mile champ, US Championships, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

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AT&F published this guide in print in November 2008, and after distribution to 35,000 coaches, athletic directors and facilities managers, SSM is down to fifty copies left. Those are now archived.

In order to deal with the continuing demand, SSM has posted the Track Facilities 2008 on the web as a digital issues:http://american-trackandfield.com/read_feature/american-track-field-track-facilities-resource-guide. Please pass it around, and note that the 2009 version is in editing stages and it should ship that in mid November 2009!

For more on American Track & Field, please click on http://www.american-trackandfield.com

Joan Benoit Samuelson is truly a patient women. Nothing proves that like Joan's most excellent recent weekend in Tokyo, Japan, commemorating the 25th anniversary of her 1984 Olympic victory. She became a major figure in a bi-annual Japanese television extravaganza, produced by TBS, translated at The All-Star Thanks Festival.

The only way to understand what you will read next is to a) read the story by Brendan Reilly and b) look at the pictures and read Brendan's commentary on the photos as well.

All I can say is that even Sofia Coppola could not have dreamed up this actual TBS show! The only thing missing from this was Bill Murry, reprising his role in Lost in Translation...

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Pre-race with two singers from one of Japan's popular girl groups.

Photo courtesy of Brendan Reilly, Boulder Wave.

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Rio 2016 in victory, photo courtesy of Olympics.org.

In trying to digest the amazing twenty-four hours that made up Octber 2, 2009, and the naming of Rio de Janeiro as the host of the next Summer Olympics, I wanted to try and look at it from the official angle, that of the IOC. So, I visited Olympics.org, the IOC's official website.

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In two insightful features posted today on www.insidethegames.biz, one by David Owen and one by Duncan Mackay, the reader will be given a behind the scenes view into the world of global sports politics.....a world that, quite frankly, has been under appreciated in the United States for many years....

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Copenhagen, Denmark
11:50 CST

In round one, Chicago had the least votes, and was eliminated. In round two, Tokyo was eliminated. In round three, it was down to Rio and Madrid.

IOC President Jaques Rogge thanked the four candidate cities. He then received the envelope, which contained the name of the winner. He took the envelope, showed the Olympic rings to the camera and announced that the 2016 Olympic Games would be hosted by Rio de Janeiro! The Olympics is going to South America!

Was I surprised? Yes, and no. I did think that Chicago had a chance, but it seems that minds were made up. More than anything, the IOC delegates see their mission is to promote the Olympic movement. Bringing it to another continent, South America, was overwhelming, as was the superbly moving presentation by the Rio team, including the President of Brasil. Right now, there are many stunned people in Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid. The truth is, the whole world was watching Jaques Rogge open that envelope, and announce the XXXI Summer Olympiad.

Congratulations to Rio de Janeiro for bringing the Olympics to South America!

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

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

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Copenhagen, Denmark
10.30 AM CST


In a shocking development, the Chicago 2016 bid was eliminated from the final four bids in Copenhagen in the first round. The 105 IOC delegates gave a clear message in round one, eliminating Chicago, and in round two, eliminating Tokyo. The voting in round three will be down to Rio and Madrid. What will make the difference are the supporters of Tokyo and Chicago and who they will go to support.

Most prognosticators thought that Chicago had picked up some momentum in the past few weeks. The presence of Michelle and President Barack Obama, with great presentations, could not overcome the winds of change. How should the U.S. read this?

Well, Chicago 2016 did have a lot to overcome. More than anything, the USOC's continued soap opera like activities (read Peyton Place), and their current managements misreading of global sports politics caused Chicago some issues. The USOC suggesting an Olympic cable network, was one of worst misreads of
the feelings about USOC arrogance in particular. Lesson number 568 in local politics, national politics and global sports politics-if the people who need to vote for you consider too arrogant to consider, then you have an issue. The USOC needs to do some soul searching. Perception is reality.

In the coming days, the word will get out about what went wrong with the Chicago 2016 bid. I think that President Obama and Michelle Obama did a great job. The President and Michelle Obama did a stirring job in promoting Chicago and the United States earlier this morning. This might have been a fait accompli.

The IOC delegates are a fascinating bunch. The IOC espouses, and the IOC delegates obviously "drink the water", that global sports, such as the Olympics, are one of the few ways the world can come together. They believe that by giving Beijing the Olympics in 2008, that they played a huge part in opening the world to China!

Chicago 2016 was a good bid, their presentation was strong, but the opportunity for the Olympics to "open" another continent, as in South America, to the Olympic movement may prove just too much to resist. Does an Olympics change a country?
Look at London 2012. The support of British sports, from athletics, to badmitton, has increased. London 2012 is creating a legacy for sports, and trying to instill the need for fitness and sport to a new generation. I hope that Chicago bids once again, perhaps for a World Championships!

Tokyo 2016 was eliminated in the second round. Again, a strong bid, but with Beijing in 2008, perhaps two Olympics out of three in Asia were considered too much.

Now it is down to Rio and Madrid. Madrid is making a strong bid, and it is supported by former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. If there is a man who knows sports geo politics, it is Senor Samaranch.

How does the process work? One delegate, one vote. In round one, the city with the least votes is out. Chicago was out in round one, because it had the least votes.
In round two, Tokyo had the least votes. Now for the decision: Rio or Madrid.

For more on the Olympics, please check www.olympics.com

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

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InsidetheGames.biz logo, courtesy of www.insidethegames.biz

Duncan Mackay is a man of some complexity. A journalist, a publisher, a keen observer of the sport of athletics, where he tells all, celebrating the stars, chastizing the cheats, but, a sport for which he has much affection.

From athletics, Duncan has become one of most well read observers of the Olympic sport world, a rarefied world where realpolitik, or perhaps, the art of the deal, is an everyday occurrence, perhaps an involuntary response, like breathing. Duncan admits some fascination with the world of Olympic sport, and he communicates that fascination in his daily columns on www.insidethegames.biz, the new site of his Olympic and sport observations.


Duncan recently moved his Olympic coverage to www.insidethegames.biz on September 1, 2009. Just before he left for Copenhagen on September 30, 2009, Duncan sent us this very candid interview. As is my modus operandi, I sent Duncan the questions, and his answers, with the caveat of some American english changes (sorry, Duncan), this is all Duncan...a fascinating interview just before we hear who wins the 2016 bid. Duncan has gone on the record saying Chicago....

Lost in the insanity of the next 24 hours was the announcement that Paula Radcliffe will run ING NYC Marathon, her fourth run in the Big Apple....

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Paula Radcliffe leads ING NYCM 2008, Photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

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The new LA Marathon will be held on March 21, 2010!


If you do it right, they will sponsor. Under the new management, LA Marathon is doing more in its first year than most events do in several. A new course, a new date, and now, a multi-year footwear and apparel sponsor, K-Swiss, one of the newest and most innovative footwear companies in our sport. With very close ties to the California sports scene, the involvement of K-Swiss makes sense on a variety of levels. Marathon sponsorships, if managed well, are great research labs for footwear companies, and fulfill what we shall call the Kirk Richardson rule: to be a successful running footwear company, you have to be in the field, you have to fit the consumer in shoes and listen, really listen to the consumer. Marathon expos give brands that exposure, it is the true battle line, where the outersole hits the road.

On another note, congrats to Russ Pillar and his team at LA Marathon and the team at K-Swiss. Another example of how our business continues to grow, and prosper.

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Saucony was announced as the official sponsor of the 2009 FootLocker Cross Country championships (http://www.american-trackandfield.com/read_new/saucony-named-official-sponsor-foot-locker-cross-country-championships), in a press release issued October 1, 2009, by FootLocker, the founder and owner of the high school cross country series. For Saucony, one of the premier performance running footwear companies, this makes a huge amount of sense, and gives the keen observer a pretty good read on the future focus of the brand. Saucony, has achieved one of the highest percentages of sales growth in the running footwear biz,in 2008, with a double digit percent increase in running footwear sales. Their cross country racing shoe, the Shay XC, was among the best selling XC racing shoes of 2008. This is the second year of involvement by Saucony in the FootLocker Cross Country series. Saucony has also been a two year sponsor of the Saucony/ATF Summer Cross Country training series, a twelve week training series, produced in print, on the web and digitally, for the high school, college and open cross country enthusiast, which reached over 300,000 athletes and coaches in the summer of 2009.

The fact is that the FootLocker series has had most of the top American distance runners race in the series over the past three decades. From Charles Alexander to Suzy Favor Hamilton to Bob Kennedy to Dathan Ritzenhein to Jordan Hasay. Just on those historical facts alone, the FootLocker is the Horatio Alger story of American distance running. The fact is that if you line up from a little school in Wisconsin, and make the top seven boys in the Midwest race or from a little school in South Dakota and make the top seven girls in the Midwest race, you are going to the nationals. Period. No mathmatical equations, no prognostications, nothing else, but putting one foot in front of the other for 5,000 meters, over some of the toughest cross country courses, dueling with whatever weather one is dealt. No excuses asked and none given.

Congrats once again to the folks at FootLocker, who have kept this series going for three plus decades now, and a tip of the hat to Saucony for staying with the FootLocker Cross Country series.

For more information on the FootLocker Cross Country for 2009: http://www.footlockercc.com

For more on the Saucony ShayXC: http://www.saucony.com/ShayXC

For twenty four different views of our sport, please check out the RN portal: http://www.runningnetwork.com

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