April 2011 Archives

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Penn Relays, photo by PhotoRun.net

Relay season is here. And the biggest day, Saturday at the 2011 Penn Relays, is the most exciting day of the relay meet! If you can not be there, make sure you watch it on TV!
Doc Patton is one of our favorite athletes. Nice piece by USATF's Katie Landry! Don't miss watching the Penn Relays! 

Patton_Darvis_ReebokGP09_1.Jpg Doc Patton, 2009 Reebok Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net


The field and track

Image via Wikipedia

James Dunaway, the distinguished editor of American Track & Field is track & field's version of Methuselah. I do believe that he has seen most of the Drake Relays, now in their 104th year. James drove up from Texas to see Drake in all of its glory. Here is how he saw the decathlon and heptathlon:
ASICS



ASICS America continues to juggle around their key team players, under the new President & CEO, Kevin Wulff. ASICS America has been the top performance running footwear brand for over a decade, however, the competition, from adidas, Brooks, Mizuno, New Balance, Nike, Puma, Saucony,  is even tougher. Wulff, who has been CEO officially since February 1, has begun to reorganize his key teams. To Wulff's credit, he promoted from within, using some of the top sales people at ASICS America for the past two decades.

What was not noted in this release was the departure of Jim Hoff. Hoff, the long time vice president of sales at ASICS America, was a somewhat mercurial character.  He was also well respected in the industry. What was also a fact was that Hoff could sell and could manage sales people. Under Richard Bourne, the former ASICS CEO, Hoff lead one of the top sales teams in the business.

Sales people are born, not made. They can, like sprinters, have their skills developed and finely tuned. Sales people do not like to be managed. Sales people need to know that they are appreciated. The ability to walk the sales tightrope, to deal with tough goals, is not something all can appreciate. It continues to confound me how few companies understand or appreciate their sales force.

A great sales manager manages without sales people knowing, realizing that the very ego that may drive one crazy at times is also the reason for their success. Jim Hoff was old school. One earned his respect. In my mind, Jim Hoff was one of the very best vp of sales that I have observed over the past three decades. He will be missed.

 What will be interesting to see is how Wulff's reorganization, with some long time ASICS employees, affects the future of ASICS America. Moving people with experience in other branches of the business makes them more well rounded, and also, gives them a chance to improve their skills.
Change is good, and ASICS America needs to stay at the top of their game. We wish Mr. Wulff and ASICS America the best of luck.


The brands that realize, it is one shoe sale at a time to reach the ultimate level of success, will, in the end reach the top of the performance footwear food chain. 
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Renaud Lavillene, 2011 Euro Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

The European Indoor Champs, held in Paris-Bercy in early March, were a huge success, especially for the French national team. Tamgho, Lemaitre, among others, were hugely popular. Renaud Lavillenie, the Euro indoor champ at the pole vault, was a revelation. I had seen him jump before, but, seeing him in his own turf was a whole different experience.

Lavillenie has now set his sights on Sergei Bubka's pole vault Meet record at the Doha, Qatar Samsung meeting, to be held on May 6. That should be no issue for Monsieur Lavillenie, as he cleared 6.03 meters in March, making him the third best pole vault performer EVER.

One wonders if Renaud Lavillenie or Steve Hooker will challenge Sergei Bubka's now 1 and one half decade old world record? Bubka, still bigger than life, when asked, notes that World records are made to be broken. One also thinks that Mr. Bubka put that world record into a place that only one as competitive and focused as he was during his career. We shall have to wait and see....
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Geoffrey Mutai, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Geoffrey Mutai ran 2:03:02, to win the 2011 BAA Boston marathon. That is a fact. It is also a fact that, running in supreme conditions, with a strong field, Mutai ran it on the Boston marathon course, which was determined not to be eligible for world records back in 1990.

The fact remains that Geoffrey Mutai ran the best time ever for the marathon, in any conditions. Recognizing that, and showing supreme class, the John Hancock company is paying Geoffrey Mutai the $50,000 bonus for the World Best time and will continue to do that bonus in the future.

Nice job John Hancock!



M4x400-Penn04.JPG2004 Penn Relays, photo by PhotoRun.net

The chills and spills at the Penn Relays will be wildly appreciated by over 100,000 fans on Thursday, Friday and Saturday! Our own Elliot Denman, who says that he has seen many, but not all of the Penn Relays (117th, I believe), will be reporting for RBR and RunningNetwork this weekend!

RBR will be flying out to the west coast to attend the Payton Jordan Invitational on Sunday, May 1. Hope to see many of you there!





This video was passed on to me by Victah Sailer, our photographer, who found it and noted how funny it was! This video is well done, and has a wry sense of humor about the obvious physical attractiveness of cross country runners.
Seal of Boston, Massachusetts

Image via Wikipedia

When one runs fast, one get's invitations. Mike Rodgers, who ran 9.96 last weekend, has three 100 meter races lined up in May and early June!.

And a correction on my pieces on Grete Waitz: Grete won New York nine times, but did not win Boston on her only time racing there, which was, unusual for Grete a dnf. I will be posting a fine piece by George Hirsch, founding publisher of Runner magazine and RW publisher for nearly two decades, on his memories of Grete, which recently ran in the New York Times, this evening.

And people can not stop the conversations on the Boston Marathon, which was history making...

Also have a couple of Pat Butcher pieces and two pieces on minimalist running coming up as well, so stay tuned this week. RBR will be at the Payton Jordan Invite on May 1, at Stanford, CA.
Hope to see many of you there!


What Is Strong? (60 second) from Saucony on Vimeo.

Saucony is introducing a new TV ad campaign with 15, 30 and sixty second spots. Their pr agency, Mullen, sent this off to me earlier today! I like the message and love the branding campaign.

The multi-platform ad campaign is from Mechanica and the tv ads were produced by Shilo. Nice images, strong voice-over, and strong running story (and yes, they actually promote track & field!). Saucony has a print, digital and this TV portion of the campaign, titled, Find Your Strong.  


But, I, thought you would like to see something behind the scenes. The next time you hear that the shoe companies are not doing enough to support the sport (and I mean all of them), consider the story of Ryan Wilson.


Ryan Wilson ran 13.12 this year for the 110 meter hurdles. He is ranked, by Track & Field News (the bible of the sport), numero 4 in the world. That makes him numero deux in the U.S. (behind our friend, David Oliver). Two years ago, this hurdler did not have a shoe contract, now he has a sponsorship agreement with Saucony. 

Now, running for Saucony, Ryan is featured in a national commercial. Think about that when you watch this commercial.....it is the little things that mean the most..this is how the footwear companies support our sport and the athletes that we follow.

(Some of the commercial was filmed at the College of San Mateo, with their excellent Mondo track facility).  



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Jeremy Wariner, 2010 Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

Richards_SanyaSF-USAout10.JPGSanya Richards-Ross, 2010 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

In the windy weather of Waco, Texas, Sanya Richards-Ross, the 2009 WC gold medalist at 400 meters, and Jeremy Wariner, the 2005 & 2007 World Champ, 2004 Olympic champs and silver medalist in 2008 Olympics, ran 52.00 and 45.61 for their openers....a nice weekend for track and field.



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Tyson Gay vs. Asafa Powell, 2010 AVIVA Gateshead, photo by PhotoRun.net

In one of the more news worthy moments of the weekend, UK Athletics has decided to take over the management of its major meetings, developing it's own in house team and no longer out sourcing that work to Fast Track. Fast Track has not only managed the meets for UK Athletics but also managed it's sponsorship business, including the AVIVA sponsorship deal, which was, the largest sponsorship deal outside of European football.

Also, read the note from Ken Young of the Analytical Distance runner, on the course at Boston and Geoffrey Mutai's performance. There is no one tougher on course measurement and the aiding effects of winds, etc than Mr. Young. I personally witnessed his meeting with Derek Clayton, the former world best marathoner holder, way back in 1983 or 84.  Mr. Young does not think the Boston course, nor the wind had an aiding effect that is more than acceptable.

Still, Boston, in my humble opinion,  should be considered the world best....all conditions.



The 2011 Virgin London marathon was a record breaker! Emmanuel Mutai set a new course record of 2:04.34 and Mary Keitany showed that she can run much, much faster, with her time of 2:19.19. The starting field of 34,500 made for a great day of racing and personal victories. Here is the photo gallery, created by Running Network's Chuck Bartlett, on the 2011 Virgin London marathon. We hope that you enjoy! (Special thanks to PhotoRun.net for the use of their photos).
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Goeffrey Mutai, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon champion, 2:03:02,
photo by PhotoRun.net


Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosep, battling, over the final miles for first place in the 2011 Boston Marathon, made marathon history. Ryan Hall, pushing the pace, from mile 1 to 30k, kept the pace, "honest". A ten mile an hour headwind helped along the course, but, at the end of the day, the 2:03:02 to 2:03:06 marathon victory of Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosep will go down in history as the best marathon ever, under all conditions.

That Mutai and Mosep are amazing athletes should not be in dispute. That the Boston Marathon course is a tough course should also, not be in dispute. Conditions had not been like that at Boston since 1974, when, runners of that era will agree, it was the perfect storm.

I believe, that the pushing of records is the worst thing that we can do for our sport. Also, specialists rules, that only geeks can understand, undermine the ability of our sport to be popularized. Do we want to be soccer (or football, as my friends in Europe and UK call it)? Nope. However, the right for our sport to forge its path as a popular sport which everyone does sometime in their lives, is hampered by rules that are hard to explain without a sixpack of an adult beverage, a slide rule, chalkboard and two hours.

Let's figure out how to build our sport, not confuse people when they get interested....








This photo gallery features the photos of PhotoRun.net, as they captured the great moments of the 2011 BAA Boston Marathon. Not only was there a battle to the tape on the women's side, where Caroline Kilel held off the final charge of Desi Davila, 2.22.36 to 2.22.38. And then, just four seconds back, was Sharon Cherop, who ran 2.22.42. That trio gave us the fastest women's finish since 1994! Desi Davila is now the fastest American women of all times at Boston. In fifth place came the resurging Kara Goucher, who ran 2:24.52, per pb.

On the men's side, Ryan Hall's front running brought through the halfway in 1:01.47 and then, Hall pushed until about 31k, when Geoffrey Mutai started moving away, running 4.43 miles. Moses Mosop caught Mutai at 23 miles and battled to the finish, which was reached first by Geoffrey Mutai, in a world best, all conditions of 2:03.02, to Mosop's 2.03.06.

Gebre Gebremariam just held off Ryan Hall, 2:04.53 to 2:04.55. Ryan Hall is now the fastest American of all times, all conditions.

Just under 27,000 marathoners started the race, under ideal conditions, with, at times, ten mile an hour tailwinds!

The 2011 BAA Boston Marathon was unforgettable! Enjoy the photo gallery, put together by Chuck Bartlett, the RN webmaster.
 

 


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Dylan Armstrong, 2009 Berlin World Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Dylan Armstrong threw 21.52 meters today to win the Kansas Relays downtown shot put. This was part of the creative events that the 84th Kansas Relays has developed to increase interest! Some serious throwing!
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Grete Waitz, Paula Radcliffe, photo by PhotoRun.net

When the late Fred Lebow was promoting the ING New York City Marathon, one of his biggest sales jobs was convincing Grete Waitz, one of the great middle distance runners in women's track & field and a terrific cross country runner, to run her first marathon. Grete Waitz did for women's marathoning what Frank Shorter did for the men. Grete went on to win New York nine times. And New Yorkers loved Grete.

Grete's wins at New York, and Boston were just part of her story. Grete Waitz and Joan Benoit Samuelson were the prime movers in the LA 1984 Olympic marathon. Waitz took the silver and Joan took the gold. Grete gave Joan a hug afterwards, and showed her class.

Grete was always very kind to me in interviews and always patient with questions. She loved the sport and she loved running. Over the last six years of her life, she was challenged by battling cancer. She became more of a champion by becoming more like the many of us who have had cancer affect their lives.

Grete Waitz was 57 at the time of her death. It was just announced that Grete requested a private ceremony, which will be held next week. Please keep Jack Waitz, her husband, her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.



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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Grete Waitz, ING NY 2005, photo by PhotoRun.net

Grete Waitz, one of the great women pioneers of marathoning, and one of the greatest women distance runners of all times, died today, April 19, after a long battle with cancer. She was 57. Grete was a champion of women's sports and a model for living a life with dignity and meaning. Please keep her, her husband Jack, and her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. An IAAF tribute is below:

Davila_DesireeWide-Boston11.JPGDesiree Davila, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon, 2nd place, photo by PhotoRun.net

Here is a release from Brooks on their new star, Desi Davila:


Hansons-Brooks Runner Davila Battles to the Finish at World Renowned Boston Marathon

 

Brooks-sponsored Athlete Places Second Female Overall, Finishes First American Female

 

Boston (Apr. 18, 2011) - Desiree Davila, member of the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project (ODP), an elite running group sponsored by Brooks® Sports, Inc. today fought to the tape to become the first American female finisher and second-place overall female finisher at the 2011 Boston Marathon. Davila clocked in an official time of 2:22:38, an American women's course record, making her the third fastest U.S. female marathoner of all time. Only Olympic medalists Joan Benoit Samuelson and Deena Kastor have run faster.

 

"I felt great during the buildup to the race and am ecstatic about my performance today," said Davila. "To beat my personal record by three minutes and race for the win proves that my hard work really paid off. Now I'll be able to shift my focus to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, and earning a spot on the team that has the honor of competing in London."

 

Finishing just two seconds behind winner Caroline Kilel of Kenya, Davila spent the last five miles of the race battling for the lead. The two runners were neck and neck in the home stretch, but Kilel pulled ahead in the final few meters for the win.

 

"We are so proud of Desi. She ran a great race today and battled to the end," said Jesse Williams, sports marketing manager for Brooks Sports. "We have enjoyed watching Desi's running career grow throughout the years!  She just keeps getting better each time out and makes us proud of how far the Hansons-Brooks women's team has come since 2003."

 

Founded with the mission to revive American distance running, the Hansons-Brooks ODP is one of the largest post-collegiate elite running groups in the nation. Living, working, and running together on a daily basis, they use the power of team training to reach their running goals.

 

Although none of the Hansons-Brooks runners were well-known college athletes, through the group-training program, the team has far exceeded expectations. Including today's race, other high-profile Hansons-Brooks ODP successes include Davila's fourth-place finish in the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Brian Sell's third-place finish at the 2007 Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon, which earned him a spot on the 2008 Olympic Men's Marathon team, Sell's fourth-place finish at the 2006 Boston Marathon, and Trent Briney and Clint Verran's fourth- and fifth-place finishes at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon. 

 

About Brooks
Brooks Sports, Inc. is a leading running company that designs and markets a line of performance footwear, apparel, and accessories in more than 64 countries worldwide. A subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Brooks was founded in 1914 and is headquartered in Bothell, Wash., near Seattle. The company's mission is to inspire everyone to run and be active by creating innovative gear that keeps them running longer, farther, and faster. Visit
www.brooksrunning.com for more information, and follow frequent brand updates on Twitter (@brooksrunning) and Facebook (Brooks Sports).

 

About the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project

Brothers Keith and Kevin Hanson founded the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project (ODP) in 1999 with the goal to revive American distance running. Recruiting post-collegiate runners nationwide, the Hansons-Brooks ODP, based in Rochester Hills, Mich., gives its athletes the rare opportunity to live, work, and run together in a supportive, training-focused environment founded on team principals.

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Ryan  Hall, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ryan Hall delivered today. After a year of people wondering what is going on with Ryan? Why doesn't Ryan have a coach? How is he training? When is he going to run a fast one?

Well, Ryan took fourth today, driving up on Gebre Gebremariam, running 2:04.55, the fastest time EVER, under any conditions by an American. As one observer noted, "Well, Ryan just told the other U.S. marathoners to be really worried about how he will run in Houston next year."

Ryan did tell the media that he will focus on the 10,000m and 5,000m this summer. That is good news. If Ryan can get his 10,000m down to 27 minutes or so (and he can), he will get to a new level in the marathon.

This release is from ASICS America, one of Ryan Hall's sponsors:

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Geoffrey Mutai, 2011 BAA Boston marathon winner, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 2011 Boston marathon will go down in history for some tremendous performances. One of the factors was the high level of competition on both the men and the women's sides. Boston did not use pace setters. The World Marathon Majors allows the race directors of the various members to make their own decisions about pace setters.

In London, they had pace setters, in both the men and women's races, and while they did help keep the races on a fast pace, both races finally got to serious racing, and Virgin London had a course record and a women's sub 2:20 marathon!

I have to admit that I enjoyed both races for different reasons. Both London and Boston have great fans, strong media support and the desire to run both great city marathons continues to grow with the running community.

Several observations: adidas won the marathon wars this weekend. As sponsor of both Virgin London and BAA Boston, adidas  had tremendous licensed apparel at both-the jackets could be seen everywhere in both cities. adidas athletes (Emmanuel Mutai, Mary Keitany) won Virgin London, and in Boston (Geoffrey Mutai, Caroline Kilel) won BAA Boston. Spencer Nel, adidas sports marketing director, told RBR, " there could not have been a better day or better marathon weekend!"

This was a perfect marathon day, and they must be appreciated for what they are-the perfect storm of a marathon day!


Desiree Davila entranced the entire media room and thousands on the course as an American women distance runner came within steps of winning the 115th Boston marathon. Here is how Jill Geer, chief information officer for USA Track & Field, saw Desi's performance!

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Desiree Davila, 2nd place, 2011 BAA Boston, 2:22.38, photo by PhotoRun.net

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Geoffrey Mutai & Caroline Kilel, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon winners, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop battled for nearly four miles today, side by side, as each tried his best to break the other marathoner. The race resembled something more like a boxing match, each runner giving the other virtual body blows, as the pace quickened and it came down to the last few hundred meters.

Hall_RyanWellsley-Boston11.JPGRyan Hall, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ryan Hall, an iconic US marathoner, who left his coach and training group earlier this year, finished fourth, running the best time EVER for an American ANYWHERE, with his fine 2:04.55!

The facts are that the Boston Marathon 2011 race will go down as the fastest EVER under any conditions. Did the tail wind have something to play with the time? Yep, Did the perfect weather help? Of course.

As the course violates rule 260 of the IAAF rule book, which says that a marathon course can not start & finish more than fifty percent of the distance of the marathon and that the drop in height over the entire course is 138 meters, and limits are 42 meters. This is point to point.

The men's race was being watched in the media room, however, the women's race had the media room on its seats!

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Desiree Davila, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

That Des Davila was in good shape became apparent to the Brothers Hansen (Kevin & Keith ) this winter, as she completed everything they threw at her.

Des joined the Brooks Hansons Distance Project in 2007, in fact, she was one of the first. " Hansons allowed me time to develop." noted Desi after the race.

Desi ran her first marathon at the 2007 Boston Marathon, finishing 18th in 2:44.56. The following April, Davila ran the US Olympic Marathon Trials, improving seven minutes and 26 seconds to 2:37.50, with a 13th place.

Des continued to develop under the watchful eyes of Keith and Kevin Hanson, the brothers who made their dream a reality. They wanted to develop a training group, who used the benefits of training together, developing into world class athletes over the long term, using high mileage, strong speed work and good racing.

In the fall of 2008, Des Davila showed that hard work and a long term approach was making some impressions on her running-she took fifth in 2:31.33. Three marathons, and personal best each time!

In 2009, Desi ran the World Championships in Berlin, Germany, where she placed 11th and ran a fine 2:27.33. Desi was running well, and in fact, was running as a top U.S. marathoner.

In 2010, Desi worked on her leg speed. First, she made the US team for Doha and the World Indoor Champs. Desi ran her personal best in qualifying for the final of the 3,000 meters-she knocked ten seconds off her best, running a superb 8:51. Davila made the final, taking sixth, also under nine minutes.

At the hot and humid USA Outdoor, Desi Davila made a gut wrenching move with 4,000 meters to go and took over third place, running 32:22 for 10,000 meters-her second best time ever.

Thumbnail image for Davila_Desiree_USOut.JpgDesi Davila, 2010 US Outdoors, 10,000 meters,
photo by PhotoRun.net

The fall of 2010 showed the U.S. that Des Davila was now a real force in U.S. distance running, as she took 4th in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, running 2:26.20.


This past winter, Desi Davila churned 120 miles a week in Rochester Hills, Michigan, home of the Brooks Hansons Distance Project. Keith Hanson told RBR earlier today that she loves her long runs, putting in three miles at race pace in most of her 20 milers.

Keith and Kevin Hanson, the creative and eccentric geniuses behind the Brooks Hansons Distance project developed Desi the old fashioned way-they let her take the time to get the training in and development to become world class.

The running Desi Davila showed at the 2011 BAA Boston marathon nearly won her the title. Falling short by two seconds, Desi made it clear, after the race, that she had given it all she had: " This was my perfect day and perfect race. I gave it all I had. Caroline just had a little better day. I could have done no more."

The last six miles of the Boston marathon were some of the greatest competitive distance running that I have ever seen. Caroline Kilel and Sharon Cherop were running all out as was Desiree Davila.

" I saw Desi around 22 miles and she was running relaxed behind Kilel and Cherop, she smiled at me, and I knew she had more..." noted Kevin Hanson, in recalling Desiree's race.

The surging was mostly done by Caroline Kilel and Desi Davila, and there were four to five surges over each mile. Kilel would look like she had broken Davila, then Desi would come back.

As they hit 25 miles, Caroline Kilel took the lead, and with 1,200 to go, Davila made another move, which Kilel responded too, and Cherop dropped back a bit. At just around 800 meters, Davila made one last rush, and put just some room on Kilel, who charged to the front and held off Davila over the final two minutes. Sharon Cherop, who finished third, moved with 400 meters to go. Davila had come to a virtual stop with 400 meters to go, and started back up, not giving up.

In the end, Caroline Kilel ran 2:22.36, to Desiree Davila's 2:22.38, with Sharon Cherop finishing third in 2:22.42! This was the fastest times on the Boston course since 1994!

Desi Desiree has gone from a good runner to the best active American women marathoner. Her time at Boston is the best ever run by an American women at Boston.

Desi told the media today that she will not be running the World Championship marathon this year--her focus in on a race in Houston next January 2012. Something tells me that Desiree Davila will be a huge factor in Houston.

In two hours, twenty two minutes and thirty-eight seconds, Desi Desiree went from being a good American marathoner to being the best American women performer at Boston, EVER. That should wake a few people up!


For more on the Boston Marathon, please browse www.bostonmarathon.com.





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Caroline Kilel, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon winner, photo by PhotoRun.net

In what BAA Executive Director noted as his favorite performance in his 32 years of announcing the BAA Boston Marathon, an epic race and a titanic struggle ensued over 26.2 miles.

Kim Smith, the Kiwi marathoner, who had run 1:07.36, took the lead early, hellbent on running a fast race. In perfect conditions, with a tailwind, Smith lead the field through 5k, in 16.41, 10k in 33.29, 15k in 50.09 and 20k in 67.06. Kim Smith had built up her lead to 50 seconds at 20 kilometers.

Kim Smith hit the halfway point in 1:10.43. Kim Smith looked nearly unbeatable, as the chasing pack, consisting of Caroline Kilel, Desiree Davila, Dire Tune, Caroline Rotich, Kara Goucher and Yolanda Cabillero, were catching up.

Kim Smith lead at 25km in 1:24.15, where she had lead of 19 seconds. In between 16 and 17, Kim Smith grimaced and grabbed her calves in pain. She ran the next mile in six minutes. The pack swallowed Smith up and spit her out-she dropped out before 20 miles.

By 20 miles, Kara Goucher was in seventh, Dire Tune was in fifth, and Sharon Cherop, Caroline Kilel and Des Davila were running together. The American, Davila went into the lead just around 35k, hitting that in 1:58.38.

Between 35k and 40 kilometers, Caroline Kilel, looking to be struggling, and Des Davila, very controlled, surged and surged, with Sharon Cherop barely holding on.

The race continued to be quite exciting, as Des Davila tried to win and Caroline Kilel tried to win.

Over the final mile, the lead changed three times, with Des Davila taking the lead with 1,200 meters to go, and Kilel grabbing the lead with 400 meters to go.

Sharon Cherop, who had been struggling, began to move with 400 meters to go, as Des Davila was passed and Caroline Kilel willed herself across the finish line in 2:22.36.

Davila_DesireeLeads-Boston11.JPGDes Davila, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Desiree Davila of the U.S. ran 2:22.38, her best by four minutes, for second place. Sharon Cherop of Kenya, running 2:22.42, held on for third.

Caroline Rotich, Kenya, ran 2:24.26 for fourth place. Kara Goucher, six months after having her son Colt, ran a pb of 2:24.52.

After the race, when asked what Caroline would spend her winnings on, she giggled, taking it all in and noted, " I will buy a plot of land to build a new house." Well said, well said.

Note that this race was the fastest for women since 1994! Des Davila ran the fastest time EVER for an American women on this course!

Also note that, due to the IAAF rule on Gold Label marathons, all marathoners in the top ten, men and women, will now have reached the Olympic A standard. David Katz, IAAF member of the Technical committee and measurer of the 2012 London Olympic race course, told RBR that as " the IAAF understands that competition is the key in Gold Label races, and as marathoners only run once, maybe twice a year, this new rule allowing marathoners to qualify through Gold Label races such as INY New York, Bank of America Chicago and BAA Boston."

Women's 2011 BAA Boston Marathon top ten

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1. Caroline Kilel, Kenya, 2.22.36
2. Desiree Davila, USA, 2.22.38-PB
3. Sharon Cherop, Kenya, 2.22.48
4. Caroline Rotich, Kenya, 2.24.26
5. Kara Goucher, USA, 2.24.52-PB
6.Dire Tune, Ethiopia, 2.25.08
7. Werknesh Kidane, Ethiopia, 2.26.15
8. Yolanda Caballero, Columbia, 2.26.17
9. Alice Timbilli, Kenya, 2.26.34
10. Yuliya Ruban, Ukraine, 2.27.00

For more on the Boston Marathon, please go to: www.bostonmarathon.com.



Boston Marathon

Image via Wikipedia

Welcome to the 2011 BAA Boston Marathon LIVE coverage, courtesy of Runblogrun and the RunningNetwork! Check back here all day to get updates (and follow us live on twitter!). We will give you updates on RBR via five mile sections, so you can see how the race develops, then we will do a follow up, tomorrow, on how the race was won.


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Emmanuel Mutai, 2010 Virgin London Marathon, by PhotoRun.net

After two thirds, and a second in Virgin London, Emmanuel Mutai showed that the triumph of the dream  is most important. Mutai ran a gutty race. This is how I saw it, from the media room of the Virgin London Media room.
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Mary Keitany, 2011 RAK half marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Running the second half marathon in 68:41 (the half was hit in 1:10.38), Mary Keitany showed that she is a force to be reckoned with in the marathon.

Keitany surged away from Liliya Shobukhova, the 2010 Virgin London Marathon champ, just between 14-15 miles and never looked back.

Mary Keitany finished in 2:19.18, for the fastest time in the world for women. Liliya Shobukova ran a personal best of 2:20.15, also a Russian national record and Edna Kiplagat of Kenya ran 2:20.44, her personal best.

(First American was Magdelena Lewy Boulet in 2:31.23).

 


WOMEN -
 1  Mary Keitany,  KEN       2:19:19
 2  Liliya Shobukhova,  RUS  2:20:15
 3  Edna Kiplagat,  KEN      2:20:46
 4  Bezunesh Bekele,  ETH    2:23:42
 5  Atsede Baysa,  ETH       2:23:50
 6  Yukiko Akaba,  JPN)      2:24:09
 7  Irina Mikitenko,  GER    2:24:24
 8  Jessica Augusto,  POR    2:24:33
 9  Aberu Kebede,  ETH       2:24:34
10  Mariya Konovalova, RUS   2:25:18

Click here to search for FULL RESULTS


For complete results, please check www.virginlondonmarathon.com.


 





This is our live coverage of the 2011 Virgin London Marathon. We will do twitter updates each mile and will do 5k segments here!
Cover of "Virgin London"

Cover of Virgin London

The Virgin London Marathon is about to start, just wanted to get you a few more notes on the race. We will cover the race live from London, then head to Heathrow, fly to Boston and cover Boston on Monday.

Just finished my three mile walk this morning along the St. Katherine Docks, which was totally deserted this morning! Both races should be tremendous, in London, as the womens' race starts at 9 am and the Men's elite at 9.45 am. I am in the London Media room, which gives us a ton of room to work and information galore.

35,643 applications were accepted for the 2011 Virgin London Marathon, which means, with such good weather, 35,000 will probably start. Marathons are huge assets for major world cities, as they bring tourists, marathoners, and their families to the cities. Hotels, restaurants, tourist areas all gain value for the city.

Companies like Virgin do not sponsor races like London without the seeing the branding value of such a huge event. This release notes that Sir Richard Branson, the creative leader of Virgin, will start the race!  

Wirz beats Hansen

LONDON (GBR): Hansjörg Wirz of Switzerland has been re-elected as President of European Athletics for a fourth term at the continental body's Congress in London. European Athletics informs.  President Wirz was chosen to lead, direct and represent European Athletics for the period 2011-2015 ahead of challenger Svein Arne Hansen (26:22 votes). "Our Member Federations have shown their appreciation for what I have done in the last four years and have shown confidence that the future of our sport on the continent is going in the right direction," said President Wirz. Jose Luis de Carlos (ESP) remained as Vice-President,  Karel Pilny (CZE) and Jean Gracia (FRA) are new vice-presidents. But Pilny was before treasurer and this position no longer exists. In the new council new members are former top athletes. Romanian olympic 5000 m gold medalist Gabriela Szabo and Estonian decathlon olympic winner Erki Nool. New members also Jonas Egilsson of Iceland, Liam Hennessy of Ireland. Others remained: Franco Arese (ITA),  Sylvia Barlag (NED), Frank Hensel (GER),  Dobromir Karamarinov (BUL), Toralf Nilsson (SWE), Antti Pihlakoski (FIN), Jorge Salcedo (POR), Salih Munir Yaras (TUR) and Vadim Zelichenok (RUS). Pierce O'Callaghan (IRL), Jean-Pierre Schoebel (MON), Libor Varhanik (CZE) and Mikhail Butov (RUS) were voted onto the Competition Committee. Nick Davis (IRL), Anthony Chircop (MLT), Milan Pedalo (BIH) and Erich Teigamagi (EST) were voted on to the Development Committee.


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Russell Brown, 2011 NB Indoor Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net

Mt. SAC Relays has had some superb early season performances. Russell Brown, of the Oregon TC/Nike won the 1,500 meters in 3:35.70, with Chris Solinsky in second in 3:35.89. Miles Batty of BYU was third in 3:36.25 with Matt Tegankamp in sixth in 3:40.06. In the women's 1,500 meters, Shalane Flanagan won in 4:11.67, with Sheila Reid of Villanova in 4:11.85 in second, Emily Infield of Georgetown in third, in 4:12.04, and Alice Schmidt in fourth in 4:12.99.

In the women's steeple, Cathy Mason of Saucony Hurricanes won in 9:58.62, with Derek Scott of PUMA leading the men in 8:31.52. Molly Huddle (Saucony)  and Jenny Barringer (New Balance) battled over 5,000 meters, with Huddle taking the race in 15:10.63 to Simpson's 15:11.49. Liz Malloy was third in 15:19.87, with Christin Wurth-Thomas in fourth in 15:21.75 and Sara Hall, on her birthday, running 15:27.71 for fifth.

Huddle_Molly-USAout10.JPGMolly Huddle, 2010 USA Outdoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

On the men's side, Aaron Brown won the 5,000m in 13:27.01 over Jorge Torress of Reebok, in 13:27.58. Andy Vernon was third in 13:27.85 with Scott Bauhs in 13:30.18, for fifth, running one of the best races he has run in a couple of years.

Emily Brown of New Balance won the women's 10,000 meters in 33:16.44 and Alfred Kipchumba of the University of Portland won the men's 10,000m in 28:38.34. For complete results, please go to http://www.mtsacrelays.com/results11.htm.




The logo of the Virgin London Marathon. Virgin...



Some notes from K. Ken Nakamura:

I made some corrections (thanks to Mark Butler), and also added two
categories - oldest winners, and multiple winners.

1)  Alistar Hutton is the oldest winner, 35 years old, in the London

marathon.  Gharib can improve this stats.
2)  Martin Lel has three wins in London, tied with Antonio Pinto and
Dionicio Ceron.  Lel can be first four time winner on the men's side.

Kebede_TsegayeFV-London10.jpgTsegaye Kebede winning 2010 Virgin London Marathon-can he do it again? photo by PhotoRun.net.

Tsegaye Kebede's victory in 2010 at the Virgin London marathon capped a tremendous race! In 2011, with a field of runners that has 2:06 finishers as part of the field. The 2011 Virgin London Marathon will be a very fast race.

Liliya Shobukhova is running better and better. Her 2:20:25 at Bank of America Chicago was her fastest yet. Can she break 2:20? Heck, can she break 2:18? 

Ken Nakamura's statistical analysis give an even geekier color to the two marathons this weekend. We hope that you enjoy both! ( We will tweet both live, so Virgin London will start at 4 AM East Coast time on Sunday, April 17,  and BAA Boston will start around 9 AM East coast time on Monday, April 18
.
Flag of Boston

Image via Wikipedia

All the geek stuff that is fit to print. Ken Nakamura's info adds some color to the 2011 BAA Boston marathon. As we have said before, the marathon is a chess game over 26. 2 miles and anything can and will go wrong. Run well, it is a brilliant display of athleticism, and Boston and London within 24 hours, make this a very special weekend indeed! I am in Munich right now, in between flights, heading to London this afternoon, Friday, April 15. Looking forward to seeing two great races this weekend!

Boston is implementing three waves in 2011, each with just about 9,000 runners, and it is estimated that it will take 7 minutes or so for each wave to get across the starting line. Joan Benoit Samuelson is running on Monday and Bill Rodgers is the grand marshal this year!

 

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Gebre Gebremariam: Can He win 2011 Boston? photo by PhotoRun.net

Thumbnail image for Shobukhova_LiliyaFV-_Chicago10.JpgLiliya Shobukhova: Who can beat her at 2011 Virgin London? photo by PhotoRun.net

Marathons are very hard to predict. All things can happen over 26.2 miles. Yet, we in the running writing biz, still make predictions. For 2011 Boston, Gebre Gebremariam looks hard to beat. I also will pick Ryan Hall as the spoiler-if he runs his own race. I think pushing Kara Goucher for the win is not fair to Kara. Do think that Goucher, Russell and Davila should run quite well.

In 2011 Virgin London, LIliya Shobukhova will be hard to beat, with her leg speed and ability to run in very tactical situations. On the men's side in London-let me get there, and Friday evening, I will prognosticate!

Boston is off to good form. The Saucony minimalism evening was well attended and well received. Lightweight, minimalist, whatever you call it, is part of the running vernacular.

The Boston Marathon Weekend is upon us. Our friends at PUMA sent us the following release. It is a way to have a bit of fun and also raise some money and shoes for a good cause. You get to run a mile or two in the new PUMA Faas shoe and have some fun!

Run Wicked Fah with PUMA® During Marathon Weekend

Sportlifestyle brand challenges Bostonians to run for charity

What:         Whether you're running the big "26.2," cheering someone on, or just looking for a little weekend workout, the PUMA Store is the place to be in Boston during marathon weekend.  In true PUMA fashion, we're celebrating the world's oldest marathon by giving local runners the chance to try out our latest footwear, get some exercise, and most importantly, give back.  From Friday, April 15th through Monday, April 18th, we're inviting the public to run a mile (or two!) on a treadmill set up in the front window of our Newbury Street storefront.  For every mile logged, we'll donate a pair of shoes and $100 to Soles4Souls, an organization that provides shoes for those in need around the globe.  Runners will get the opportunity to test out the new PUMA Faas, our new range of lightweight running shoes inspired by Jamaica, the fastest country in the world, and will receive a free limited edition marathon t-shirt while supplies last.

When:        Friday, April 15th, 10 am-9 pm
Saturday, April 16th, 10 am-9 pm
Sunday, April 17th, 12 pm-6 pm
Monday, April 18th, 10 am-9 pm

Where:         The PUMA Store
333 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02115

RSVP:        No need!  Just stop by our Newbury Street store and ask one of our staff members for availability.  You can also find more information at www.facebook.com/PUMARunning or www.puma.com/running.

Contact:        Katie Sheptyck                                Heather Bouzan        
PUMA North America, Inc.                PUMA North America, Inc.
        978.698.1295                                978.698.1227
        katie.sheptyck@puma.com                heather.bouzan@puma.com
PUMA


PUMA is one of the world's leading Sportlifestyle companies that designs and develops footwear, apparel and accessories. It is committed to working in ways that contribute to the world by supporting Creativity, SAFE Sustainability and Peace, and by staying true to the principles of being Fair, Honest, Positive and Creative in decisions made and actions taken. PUMA starts in Sport and ends in Fashion. Its Sport Performance and Lifestyle labels include categories such as Football, Running, Motorsports, Golf and Sailing. Sport Fashion features collaborations with renowned designer labels such as Alexander McQueen, Mihara Yasuhiro and Sergio Rossi. The PUMA Group owns the brands PUMA, Cobra Golf and Tretorn. The company, which was founded in 1948, distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs more than 9,000 people worldwide and has headquarters in Herzogenaurach/Germany, Boston, London and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit http://www.puma.com

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Asafa Powell, 2009 Rieti, Photo by Photorun.net

Asafa Powell, former WR at 100 meters, World & Olympic medalist, will be running in Rabat, Morocco in June. This is his first time racing on the African continent and, as Alfons Juck suggests, there should be a rewriting of the meet record of 10.30 for the 100 meters!

This is also Marathon week, with London and Boston marathons only 24 hours apart. RBR is heading to Boston tonight for a talk on Minimalism tomorrow, which features Dr. Jack Daniels. Then I head over to London to write about that race and then, back to Boston to write about the Boston marathon. Should be fascinating weekend.
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Ryan Hall, 2011 USA Aramco Half Marathon Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Thumbnail image for Goucher_Kara-NYChalf11.JPGKara Goucher, 2011 NYC Half Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net


This is marathon week! With the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday, April 17 (Jason Lemkuhle & Magdelena Lewy running) and BAA Boston on Monday, April 18, (Ryan Hall, Kara Goucher, Blake Russell, Des Davila), we will see some strong American performances.

For Ryan Hall, who is under a microscope due to his erratic racing, change of coaches, interviews-you name it-this is an important race. Hall needs to perform, as one of the most talented marathoners in the world, Hall needs to harness his enthusiasm for the end of the race, where he can and should be a factor. Hall has the ability to run a 2:04, we will have to see if he can focus his energies on that goal.

For Kara Goucher, this is her first marathon after having her son a year ago (actually about seven months). Kara has gone from a 1:14 to a 1:09 half marathon and is running well. RBR feels that it is putting lots of pressure on Kara to see her in the winners circle this time around-top three would be superb.


Boulet_Magdalena1-RoB2319C.jpg.jpegMagdelena Lewy Boulet, 2010 Fortis Rotterdam Marathon,
photo by PhotoRun.net


Jason Lemkuhle has raced well, including a 1:32 30k in Japan. If he can get into a rhythm, a 2:09-2:10 is in order in London. Magda Lewy is ready to run 2:24,and London is perfect for her, she just needs to watch the early pace, and Magda is a fighter.

Russell_BlakeH-USAout10.JPGBlake Russell, 2010 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

I like Blake Russell. She trains in my favorite part of the world-Carmel, Monterry and Pacific Grove. Blake is a racer, and, in my mind, could be the next American women under 2:25. She has the wheels to run 2:22 or better. Let's see her fitness level.

Davila_Desiree_USOut.JpgDesiree Davila, 2010 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

And then, Dez Davila. Des is the spoiler. This women has track speed, road speed and is training well. Dez is the kind of women marathoner who could make the top three in this race, and run a 2:23 or better on this course. I am picking her as the spoiler. Consider this: Davila moves at the end of the race, that is how she ran 8:51 for 3k, 32:22 for 10k and her 2:26 marathon. Dez gets flying the last four miles and picks off a few front runners, and the party dramatically changes!

All in all, some great racing within the races. RBR will be at both, so you will be able to see my observations on London and Boston within a 24 hour period. Now, I am off to Boston to see Dr. Jack Daniels speak tomorrow night and then, off to London! Good luck to all marathoners in Boston and London!

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The impacts of marathons, large and small, on their local communities, should not be underestimated. Running has stayed very strong during the past two years of global economic difficulties. Running, many tell RBR, gives the runner some solace and allows them to handle the rigors of modern life.

The 2010 Virgin London Marathon charity trust  topped $5.3 million in donations this past year! This release gives the reader an idea of the broad range of projects that VLM supported!

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Jason Lemkuhle, 2011 USA Half Marathon Champs,
photo by PhotoRun.net


The Team USA Minnesota is an example of how the club system can work for its members and for the sport. With a strong coach, and the support of the local community, runners like Jason Lemkuhle, Matt Gabrielson and Andrew Carlson get chances to train and develop into elite class athletes. Here is a quick update on several of the teams' recent and upcoming races:
swoosh


The battle for sports market and product domination continues. I remember, about a decade ago, how the marketing team at VISA told me how well the word Olympic, was received by the sports product consumer. Nike extended its' contract with the U.S.O.C. through 2016, as official footwear, apparel and yes, headware of the U.S. Olympic teams.....

 
IAAF World Challenge



Caster Semenya will be running in Dakar, Senegal on May 28, and then heading to the Nike Prefontaine Classic on June 4, per EME News. More details to come.....USOC announced that Nike has renewed contract and will outfit U.S. Olympic & Paralympic teams for 2012, 2014, and 2016. Watch for press release later tonight!

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Amy Yoder Begley winning 2010 USA 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Bairu_Simon1a-Stanford10.jpgSimon Bairu, en route to Canadian Record for 10,000m, May 1, 2010,
Payton Jordan Invite, photo by PhotoRun.net.


The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, now in its' 32nd year, is a true rite of Spring in the Chicago area! Produced by the same team that puts on the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the Shamrock Shuffle had a whopping 32,427 finishers for the 8 kilometer distance.

Amy Yoder Begley and Simon Bairu lead the 32,427 finishers on the 8 kilometer course on Sunday, April 10. Congrats to all who ran or walked the race this year!

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Congrats to Paul Howard and Angie Turner for winning the 11th annual GO! St. Louis Marathon & Fitness Weekend! Paul Howard had only a two second margin on two time winner Karl Gilpin. The weather was warm as 25,000 people participated in the eleventh annual event. Congratulations, once again to Nancy Lieberman and her team for putting on such a successful event, making the 2011 GO! St. Louis Marathon & Fitness Weekend the largest fitness weekend in the state of Missouri!
Since it's inception, the London Marathon has had 781, 635 finishers! In it's first year, 6,255 finished the London Marathon, in 2010, 36, 550 finished the Virgin London Marathon. Now, in its' 31rst year, the 2011 Virgin London Marathon should be a barn burner! Liliya Shobukova is at the top of her game, and, in this viewer's mind, and that of my keen observer group, seems unbeatable. The men's race is wide open, in my mind, which should make for a very fast race! See you in London Friday afternoon, and in Boston, Sunday night! 

Shobukhova_LiliyaFV-#B4A6A4.jpg.jpegLiliya Shobukova winning the 2010 Virgin London Marathon-can she do it in 2011?
photo by PhotoRun.net.




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Bill Rodgers, Circa 1975 BAA Boston, photo courtesy of Boston Athletic Association

Congrats to two of my favorite human beings, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers.

Both are Boston royalty. Joan Benoit Samuelson is known for winning in 1979 and 1983 Boston Marathons: in 1979, she set the American record and in 1983, she set the World Record (still number 4 time on Boston course). In 1984, Joan Benoit Samuelson took the biggest gamble of all: winning the US Olympic Trials less than thirteen weeks after knee surgery, in the Olympic Games, Samuelson pulled a Frank Shorter (taking lead early), actually leading for the better part of 23 miles, to win the inaugural Women's Olympic marathon. Now, having qualified for seven Olympic Trials, rumor has it that Joan is considering her eighth qualifying time for the marathon.


Bill Rodgers won his first of four BAA Boston Marathons in 1975, running a then AR of 2:09:55. Bill had taken third in the 1975 World XC in Rabat, Morocco, less than a month before, and Rodgers just dusted the field. While his three subsequent wins at Boston are impressive, there was an eighteen month period, 1978-1979, when Bill Rodgers was just, well, on. I think he won 32 of 38 races in that time period.  My favorite race was his one hour run, where he ran 12 miles, 1,381 yards, while talking much of the way. I have heard that there is a film of that hour run, which I would love to find.

Benoit_JoanTwoGun-Boston08.JPGJoan Benoit Samuelson, as an official starter, photo by PhotoRun.net
(One of my favorite pictures of all times)

The wonderful thing about both Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers is how they have kept their warmth, and their dignity, with all this brouhaha over running celebrity. Both belong to a very special pantheon within our sport! It is great to see the BAA Boston Marathon showing them such respect. Good luck to Joan Benoit Samuelson on running this upcoming race!


 
Thumbnail image for Oliver_DavidR-Paris10.jpg                           David Oliver, 2010 AREVA Paris, photo by PhotoRun.net


David Oliver opened the 2011 Outdoor season with a fine 13.16 over the 110m hurdles. Oliver achieved a world leader and noted, via twitter, " It will be a good season." David ran this race in St. Kitts & Nevis, at the Kim Collins Invitational, in honor of 2003 World Champion Kim Collins.

Also note that Justin Gatlin ran 20.49 for the 200 meters, also at the Kim Collins Invitational in St. Kitts.
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A very pleased Mr. Wilson Chebet on his 2:05;27, 2011 ABN-AMRO Rotterdam, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Ongori_PhilesFV1-Rotterdam11.jpgFiles Ongari celebrating her 2:24:19 at 2011 ABN-AMRO Rotterdam Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

A weekend of marathons followed by another weekend of marathons! What else could make a track/marathon geek happier? Well, Alfons Juck, our global recorder of all things athletics, has some fun bits about the world of athletics from this past weekend! We hope that you enjoy!

Chebet_WilsonFV-Rotterdam11.JPGWilson Chebet runs 2:05:27 at ABN AMRO Rotterdam, photo by PhotoRun.net

April 10 was a very busy day for marathoners. In the few races we list below, over 150,000 marathoners were worshiping Phidipidees, as they ran 26.2 miles ( I know, Phidipidees did not die from the 26.2 miles he ran that day (or 25 miles), it was probably the 100-150 miles he had run in the preceding days) in Rotterdam, Paris, Brighton, Daegu, MIlano, Linz and Debno.

Rotterdam was the fastest as  Wilson Chebet ran 2:05.27 and Files Ongori ran 2:24.19. The men hit 1:02:07 for the halfway, then slowed under world record pace. 2:05.27 is now, the the world leader. Let us see what next weekend, with Virgin London and BAA Boston, brings to marathon geeks.

Ongori_PhilesFV-Rotterdam11.jpgFiles Ongori, wins 2011 ABN AMRO Rotterdam in 2:24:19, photo by PhotoRun.net

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Charlotte Purdue, 2011 SPAR Great Ireland Run, photo courtesy of www.greatirelandrun.com

Charlotte Purdue took the women's race and Jesus Espana took the men's version of the 2011 SPAR Great Ireland Run 10k today. 10,000 runners participated in the event, managed by the same team that manage the Great North and Great South Runs! Check out the story, written by David Martin, about the race up front today!


Athletes running. Side B from a black-figured ...

Image via Wikipedia

Roy Stevenson is one of our frequent contributors to Coaching Athletics Quarterly, edited by Toby Cook and American Track & Field, edited by James Dunaway. Roy has a nice, relaxed writing style, combining common sense practices with the latest in sports training. Please feel free to copy these articles and pass them around to your teams, that is what they are there for!

Hydration is a huge issue in modern sports. In my experience as a junior college and high school coach, I found that water took care of about 75 percent of my athletes' complaints (add a nap or eight hours sleep, and you have 85 percent of their complaints).

By the time I started coaching community college, I demanded a water bottle, full of water, on my athletes or near them at all times. I am okay with sports drinks, as long as they are not carbonated and diluted, however, I believe in the eight to ten glasses of water a day for an athlete. Water helps take the waste products, such as lactic acid, out of an athletes body. It also helps in recovery and is one of the most important parts of a proper training plan.

Hydration is important in both warm and cold weather. I recall a training partner, who did not drink before or during most of a long Sunday run, getting into trouble with about a mile to go, cramping and hypothermia (being too cold), just not considering that hydration and proper clothing for a cool Northern California Sunday were just smart training practices.

The young man complained of cramping and could not complete a sentence. We thought he had a stroke, but it was dehydration and hypothermia (being too cold). Our coach, who would follow us in a car, put a blanket around him and made him drink water. Soon, he was fine, but it left an indelible mark on my training partners and myself.  

Allyson Felix will run at the Herculis meet in Monaco on July 22, 2011, as one of her last preparations for the World Outdoor Athletics Championships in Daegu, Korea, August 27-September 2. Allyson has not raced in Monaco since 2006, where she won the 200 meters, running a fine 22.27!

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Allyson Felix, 2010 AVIVA London GP, photo by PhotoRun.net
Robert Harting is not a man who shies away from competition. He is also not shy around his fans, and realizes, as do most modern athletes, that if you entertain the fans, your sport grows.
 
So, Robert Hartings' current idea, to throw something across a river, makes a lot of sense! Could be a lot of fun, and great on TV! Heck, it has to be more enjoyable that watching the current TV detritus focused on half wits from state of  New Jersey.


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Robert Harting, 2009 WC Berlin, photo by PhotoRun.net

Then, there is Sergei Bubka's comments on the 2017 London World Champs bid. In a moment of frankness that is most unusual for a VP in the IAAF, Bubka noted the obvious. London has pulled out of two bids for the World Champs: both 2005 and 2015. The 2017 bid makes sense, but how will the IAAF respond? And will the possible runs by either Mr. Bubka or Mr. Coe as successsors to President Diack play any role in 2017? Stay tuned, gentle readers.






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Dr. Jack Daniels, picture courtesy of the RunSmartProject.

Dr. Jack Daniels is a man who balances the scientific with the anecdotal. A consumate coach, and a man who translates how scientific theory can be practically applied to our daily running, Dr. Daniels coaches athletes with great talent and with great aspirations and normal talent. His thoughtfulness makes him one of the great coaches of our time.

Next Thursday evening, April 14, 2011, from 6-8 P.M.,  in Boston, MA, at the Cyclorama, you will be able to say hello to the good doctor and hear his thoughts on Minimalism and training. This event is sponsored by Saucony
( for more information, please check at the end of this post).  If you are in town, put the event on your schedule.

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Tsegaye Kebede, 2010 Virgin London Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net.

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Liliya Shobukhova, 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

The World Marathon Majors (BAA Boston, Virgin London, Berlin, Bank of America Chicago & ING New York City) series is on again for the Spring 2011 season! That Boston and London are 24 hours apart makes covering them very challenging for 2011. However, dear readers, don't worry, RBR will be there! See you in one week!

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Tyson Gay, 2010 AVIVA London, photo by PhotoRun.net.




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Wallace Spearmon, 2011 USA Outdoor, photo by PhotoRun.net.

The 2011 Texas Relays, happening this weekend, will have some superb early season relay teams! Watch the results this weekend to see how Tyson Gay and Wallace Spearmon, among others will run in the early season. Jeremy Wariner, Leonel Manzano are also running, and deca deity Trey Hardee will have done three events by the end of the weekend! We will keep you updated on the relays and all things athletics this weekend!
Reese_Brittany1-Lausanne10.JPGBrittney Reese finds air! 2010 Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

At the USA Indoor Champs, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, held at the end of February, I had the chance to spend some time with Brittney Reese. The world indoor and world outdoor champion in the Long Jump, Brittany is the best women long jumper, not only in the U.S., but, in the world. A former basketball player, Brittney Reese took up the long jump when she was a junior in high school. Brittney, who is pretty modest, is a tough competitor. She loves to be pushed and while she admits to needing a bit of work on her run up, Reese has the tools to get into rarefied territory in the long jump.

It will be fun to see how Brittney does this weekend at the Ole Miss Invitational, to be held in Oxford, Mississippi this weekend! Good luck Brittney!

My bet? Watch Brittney Reese add another medal to her already impressive collection in the long jump! 

Well, the fans at the 2011 Drake Relays get to see Jeremy Wariner run his second 400 meters of the 2011 season in about three weeks! His first, as always, is the MJ Invitational in Waco, Texas! Jeremy told RBR in early March that training was going well and that he was looking forward to racing. As is our want, we did ask Mr. Wariner when he will venture over the 800 meters. Jeremy smiled, and noted that it will not be in the near future.

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Jeremy Wariner, 2010 Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

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2010 Rome Marathon, Men's start, photo by PhotoRun.net

It's that wonderful time of the year, when marathon geeks get their fill. This weekend, major events in Paris, Rotterdam, Brighton, Milano and Debno, the oldest marathon in Poland! Next weekend, London on Sunday and Boston on Monday and yours truly will be at both, LIVE, twittering away and sending race reports, as we have done now for many moons, on two of the classic marathons of our sport! Enjoy!



In my mind, a great commercial has only one way of going. It has to grab you right away, and then entrap you. It can be funny, sad, make you curious, fascinate you. This one entraps you, makes you curious and then, like watching a reality show, it gives you that little sick feeling in your stomach, and then, you look around, making sure no one else is watching!  When, in fact, all of Europe is watching! Nice to see that French guys can be as big of dorks as U.S. guys. 

Vodaphone hit the collective unconscious with this one.

Per my rankings, this gets 3 and one half Stanleys of 4. (Decided to name
an award after my real name, sounds kind of cool, right?). 

This is one of two palate cleansers for the month! Enjoy!






IKEA commercials, are, well, always entertaining. I should know, I have may pieces of IKEA furniture around the house, including the only one I put together, which, somehow has stood together for fifteen years even though, parts were left over afterwards. I must confess that I am not one who can put together furniture in a proper way.

 IKEA commercials, are, well, brilliant. Take this one. If one starts with the universal theorem that men, while we perhaps, can mature, we are essentially, Neandertals, we have a universal starting place.

In this commercial, a care-free male of the species invites a loving member of the female species into his domicile. The afore-mentioned female of the species is injured, impaled, or perhaps, finds her demise, from an errant fork. It is a bit ambiguous, I must confess. Perhaps, for our gentle readers, we should say, that the female of the species was, well, thwarted, by a fork left on the sofa, from a previous foraging attempt the male of the species.

In this commercial, there is no real time for introspection. In fact, introspection, be damned! There, I have said it!

IKEA just positions, center of page-" Tidy Up".

Another universal message is added to the lexicon. The world has been saved, once again, by a humorous message and the power of a few, well chosen words. Kate L. Turabian (the Stylebook) will be pleased, not sure about George Orwell.


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The announcement that Saucony has signed a long term partnership with the Dick's Bolder BOULDER road race is a perfect example of where running is going. The Dick's Bolder BOULDER was celebrated recently by Runner's World as "America's All-time best 10k". I ran the race in 1986, and truly enjoyed the wave start and the chance to watch the elite runners race in after our wave.

The race, in its' present evolution, has  50,000 runners (it was over 30,000 back in 1986), and 150,000 spectators. It is one of the BIG ONES, like a moving, breathing entity. The wave start was one of their first innovations and BolderBOULDER 10K has been at the forefront of the road running movement.

Saucony, working in partnership with Dick's Sporting Goods, will sell Saucony footwear and apparel developed for the Bolder Boulder road race. Dick's Sporting Goods is becoming a larger and larger player in running footwear sales. Developing a program around the 200,000 fans and runners who will populate Boulder, Colorado race weekend shows once again, just how big the running footwear and apparel business is.

A $7.5 billion running footwear business, with $6 billion of the sales under $65 a pair, is the focus of many industries. The most committed runners, whether they run 10-15 miles a week or 60 miles a week, are creatures of habit. They have favorite running trails, favorite races, favorite workouts, and favorite running footwear and apparel. The core runners are also huge influencers in the sport. They are asked about footwear, training, apparel, how running affects their lives.
They are the ten percent who influence the ninety percent.

Yet, in races like this, the Big Races, like BolderBOULDER 10K and the BaytoBreakers, are made up only by ten percent of committed runners, the rest are runners or walkers who run, but race once or twice a year! These fitness runners see running as part of their life, but juggle running with other activities for fitness and just do not see the benefit of running a road race every weekend.

Running continues to grow, and evolve, and races like the BolderBOULDER will continue to play a huge part in the sport. Sponsorships such as Saucony and Dick's Sporting Goods are creative ways to build more revenue and opportunities for the running community.



 

 








Most of the successful great athletes in our sport have coaches, or advisers. I am not sure what is tougher today, winning an Olympic or World Championship medal in the middle and long distances, or making and marketing a great running shoe.

If one looks at the most successful footwear companies, one finds that they have long term relationships with their ad agencies. Look at Nike, who has been with Wieden & Kennedy for twenty-four plus years (and this was after Phil Knight noted to the partners, " I hate advertising"."

VITRO has been with ASICS America since the mid nineties. Heck, William Jefferson Clinton was President! And Fun Lovin Criminals was playing "Scooby Snacks" on the radio! (I have just rediscovered this song, much to my son's dismay). Many of us were looking forward to the 1996 Olympic Trials and Olympics in Atlanta that summer, when a brash little ad agency convinced ASICS to give them some business.

Over the years, VITRO has created award winning ads for ASICS America, from print, to innovative web programs, and now, to a TV commercial that has to be seen to believe.

I am always fascinated with constructions. The above commercial, " Levitation", was created by VITRO to launch the 33 by ASICS performance line in general and the GEL-Blur33 in particular. Per the ad agency, VITRO, no special effects was used to make the commercial. That even makes it geekier!  


Like a good commercial, "Levitation" gets our attention. That whole fascination with models, games, and intricate things comes into play! The detail is fascinating, and the construction is mesmerizing. And for a 30 second commercial, it keeps one's attention, while also sending the viewer to 33byASICS.com.

ASICS was, actually, the number one performance footwear company in North America in 2010. Brooks is pushing for the prize at this time, followed by several key players. In a tightly contested battle with Brooks Running Shoes, and Saucony, Nike, Mizuno and New Balance, among others, performance running product is getting better and better, in my humble opinion. In our sport and biz, competition is king.

While Nike has the overall lead in running footwear sales (approx $2.8 billion), the jewel at the top of the food chain is ASICS America, with somewhere around $450 million in sales with an average shoe price of $95. The sweet spot, as many call it, is that $95-$130 price tag.

Run Specialty has approximately 723 doors, with Fleet Feet being the largest in the performance running sales, with 89 doors. Of the 723, many of the newer stores will carry one major brand and a few smaller brands (we count 43 running & trail brands at this time, per Running Network footwear reviewer and editor Cregg Weinmann), plus yoga and pilates apparel.

The running retailer who is successful knows his or her community, from top to bottom, knowing when to hit the coaches of the local high school or college team, when to have XC or Track nights, when to have DIVA nights, and just how many local races they can support on the weekends before they loose their minds. Without lightweight product, however, the run specialty store would close its doors-the consumers have taken up the mantra. 

The real geek stores number about 450, and they have seven brands on their walls. " If you can not help me sell more shoes, bringing in a different consumer, then let me alone." noted more than one prominent Specialty retail running guru.

What will be fascinating over the next year is to see where lightweight and product lines such as 33 by ASICS go. RBR sees lightweight as having a continued effect on the making, branding and selling of performance running footwear for some years to come.


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David Rudisha, 2010 Rieti, World Record at 800 meters, photo by PhotoRun.net

David Rudisha, the revelation at the end of 2010, will be fascinating to watch in 2011! At the 50th Golden Spike, in Ostrava, Mr. Rudisha will venture 2 1/2 times around the track! Let's see what he can do! (Usain Bolt is running in Ostrava already!)
Bedford_Dave-London08.JPGDavid Bedford, Race Director,  Virgin London Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Let me get this straight. So, the guy who directs, arguably, the most complicated marathon in the world, the Virgin London Marathon, has resigned as the manager of the London 2012 Olympic marathon. Knowing Mr. Bedford, one surmises that perhaps the politics that is insidious in an large sporting event, and its organization, such as the London Olympics, has made the already complex nature of a successful championship marathon course and it's operations virtually impossible to manage. 

Nick Bitel, the CEO at  the Virgin London Marathon, told InsidetheGames.biz that Mr. Bedford was frustrated with the organizers of the Games. Apparently, the folks at London 2012 just do not appreciate the complexity, from security issues, to course planning, to the logistics that go into planning an Olympic marathon.

Face it, the Olympics is a focal point for every extremist group (left or right) who wants to make the global media stage. One must consider such events in a contrarian fashion to be successful. Bedford and his team do just that at the Virgin London Marathon, all the way to Bedford planning his retirement from race directing at said marathon.

David Bedford is a unique individual. A former World record holder at the 10,000 meters, one of Britain's greatest runners, Bedford has worked behind the scenes (along with greats Brendan Foster and Ian Stewart, among others), to make distance running in Great Britain better at both the elite and the citizen runner level. That the London 2012 marathon committee does not comprehend this, well, is their loss.

One hopes that London 2012 can find a way to pull the proverbial head out of their backside, but, alas, egos are egos. Without David Bedford, something will get missed in the London 2012 Olympic marathon. And with that, my stomach becomes uneasy......


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Lightweight seems to be the buzzword in performance running right now. ASICS America announced the GEL-Kinsei 4, which arrives May 1, 2011. The Gel-Kinsei is one of ASICS most popular shoes!
newbalance080707.jpgNew Balance, the largest privately held performance running footwear & apparel company in the world, has moved its media planning & buying from Phd USA to PGR Media, it was announced in Advertising Age on March 28, 2011. Per Advertising Age, estimated media buying was $25 million for New Balance in 2010. Phd USA had handled media buying for New Balance since 2007.

New Balance, which as sales reported at $1.8 billion dollars in 2009,  is one of the key players in the performance running footwear business, which has been hot for the past decade, defying the economic slowdown that most other industries faced over the past three years.

For more on this story, please read:
http://adage.com/article/agency-news/balance-shifts-media-duties-pgr-media/149614/

Another price of neither political party seeming to be able to play well with the other is the Government Shutdown fiasco. As the Democrats and Republications play chicken with people's jobs and lives, there is the definite possibility that the federal government could shut down around April 10. If that happens, one of the issues will be the 2011 George Washington Parkway Classic, which runs much of its course on federal property. No government services, no road race: it is that simple!


To learn a bit more about how the federal shutdown would shut down this very popular event, please read the following:http://www.expressnightout.com/content/2011/04/george-washington-parkway-classic-pacers-events-budget.php

The government shutdown is a huge issue, and a canceled road race pails in comparison to the effect of such a shutdown. However, the road race, in many ways, is a microcosm of our society. A road race is a moving city, a living breathing entity, where, fast or slow, the runners and walkers are doing something to better themselves. The logistics of a road race are complicated. When one plans a road race, one tries to predict all situations-government shutdowns do not normally come into the planning. For Race Director Kathy Dalby, this is really out of her control.

After that, you can read the note posted on the race site by Race Director Kathy Dalby, which I posted below.

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The New Balance Falmouth Road Race is the arch type of a New England Summer road race. This seven mile classic has had some of the greatest road racers in history runs the classic race from Woods Hole to Falmouth, MA. A weekend of great parties and great running! The road race, which is one of the most coveted race numbers in our sport, has a much sought after lottery, was established in 1973 by Tommy Leonard, road running's most famous bartender (a host at the iconic Elliot Lounge).

Starting May 1, 2011, the race will be taking registration online! However, there are rules for qualifying and making the lotter, so get yourself over to the webisite, www.FalmouthRoadRace.com! 
  Per Rich Sherman, former co-Race Director for the past 38 years (he resigned last month), this is a great move for the NB Falmouth Road Race, as it will save at least 45,000 pieces of paper!

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We have shown how three brands are looking at the Minimalist/Lightweight interest from the consumer and run specialty. Saucony's approach is to have an event, for consumers and the media, around the 2011 Boston Marathon weekend (April 14) to give consumers a chance to try on their product.

Lots of questions and interest in the Saucony Kinvara and the new Hattori. The 2011 Boston Expo will have many of the top brands showing their approach to the Minimalist conundrum. Saucony's approach will be watched by many...


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ASICS GEL-Blurr 33, Men's version

ASICS' answer to the minimalist question is the 33 by ASICS, with shoes to be launched in April 2011 (the GEL-Blurr 33) and in June 2011 (the GEL-Rush 33). These shoes are lightweight, low mileage shoes, that are quite frankly, $70 to $85.

Again, as we have said before, the response to the questions about making lighter weight product, to answer the needs of the consumer and questions of the shoe geeks, is different, from brand to brand.

What seems to be happening is a plethora of product, well-made and quite different approaches to answering the mantra of lighter makes better. That seems to be the mantra, even though most of these companies have made lightweight product for years....



Whatever you call it, Minimalism, lightweight, trainer-racer, bare-foot, the last couple years have shaken running footwear up. Cregg Weinmann, the Running Network footwear editor, notes that we have had minimalist shoes forever-they are called track spikes and racing flats! In the back of old Track & Field News in the early seventies and in Runners World from 71-74, one will see the EB racing flat of 4.5 ounces. Reebok had one similar about 1975.

What is fascinating about the Brooks Pure Project is that they have come up with a collection of running footwear that are lightweight, performance based and answer the needs of many, noted Cregg Weinmann, the footwear review editor for the Running Network.
Weinmann noted that the Pure Project is a "Good idea -  (it) shows that Brooks wasn't caught flatfooted, and that there is continuity to the PureProject range. The strength of a trio (plus one) is that it hits the "Goldilocks" phenomenon and one of the three will be "just right" for somebody."

RN's Cregg Weinmann called it the "Goldilocks" concept-create three or more products in a category, and the product  will answer the needs of many. The Brooks Pure Project hopes to have an answer for many who are looking for lightweight, dialed in, performance running footwear.

Brooks is very careful not to call their Pure Project minimalist or barefoot-they are lightweight, and they are trying to answer the needs that Brooks saw in speaking to consumers around the country. 

The challenge for Brooks is that their shoes will be available in several months, whereas many of their competitors have lightweight product out or, are about to launch new products. What all of this discussion has done, from the Vibram product to Newton to Nike Free and the LunarGlide, from the Kinvara to the Hattori at Saucony, to the NB 890, to the  ASICS 33 and the adidas adizone, and now the Brooks Pure Project, is that runners are getting their questions and curiousities answered--the response from the consumer, which will be seen in run specialty, is which of the shoes will resonate with the consumer.

In the meantime, watch our posts on Brooks, ASICS, (we have written on Nike, adidas, NB,  K-SWISS, PUMA, and others as well) and Saucony coming up!

 
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Dejan Gebremeskel wins 2011 Carlsbad 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net.

The Carlsbad 5000 is the pre-eminent 5,000 road race in the U.S. On a circuit course, the elite race is run after a series of races. Great fan support, wonderful weather and a superb field, the men's and women's 5,000 meter road races did not let anyone down this year. Dan Cruz of
the Competitor Group gives us an eye-witness view of this great race!

Cheruiyot_VivianFV_WXC11.jpgVivian Cheruiyot takes the 2011 World Cross Country Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net.

So, what do you do if you just won the World Cross Country title in Punta Umbria, Spain on March 20? Well, you head over to Ponteverde, Spain and run a 10,000 meter track race, if you are Vivian Cheruiyot.

Vivian Cheruiyot, in her debut at the distance, lead from the 2nd kilometer on, and hit the 5,000 meter mark in 15:37.1, and took just 15 minutes to run the second half of the race! Pretty darn impressive for a debut over the distance!

On top of that, some blazing performances across the U.S. this weekend in the track & field world! Thanks to our chronicler of all things athletics, Alfons Juck, the man who brings you the daily news from around the world (courtesy of EME News). 

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Winners of 2011 Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon: Geoffrey Kipsang & Valentine Kipketer, photo by scc-events.com

With nearly 29,000 runners, the 31rst Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon was a huge success, showing the strength of road running around the world! Strong performances and some surprises made the race even more exciting. Here is the story, courtesy of  scc-events.com:




Video of last 800 meters of the 1980 World Cross Country Champs, courtesy of YouTube




Craig Virgin, one of our most colorful and amazing distance runners of the modern era, has been hospitalized in Panama City, Florida, complaining of chest pains. This was reported this week in a story on Track & Field News website. Keen observer Jeff Benjamin, a long time correspondent for American Track & Field sent us note on Craig today and asked us to make sure people knew that he is sick. There have been many notes up on the Facebook page of Craig Virgin, one today from Paul Geis, one of Craig's competitors.

I was raised in St. Louis, Missouri. The first time I heard about Craig Virgin, was when he was a junior in high school in Illinois. He had won his state mile and two mile. We knew the guy was a total stud, and that he was from just across the river, we thought was pretty cool! Craig Virgin had broken the high school record of 8:41.5 for two miles set by Steve Prefontaine, with Virgin's run of 8:40.9 in 1973, during my sophomore year in high school. HIs high school cross country course record in Illinois, which was 13:50.6, has been challenged only recently by Lukas Verzbicas, who ran 13:54.

I met Craig in the 80s, and we have seen each other at different events on and off for years. I have had some fascinating conversations about training and racing. In his prime, Virgin had the U.S. record at 10,000 meters, won two World Cross Country champs and made the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Olympic teams.

Virgin won the World Cross Country in 1979 and 1980. He broke the 10,000m AR in 1978, running 27:39.4. Two years later, Virgin an 27:29.90, the second fastest time in history (at the time).

Please keep Craig Virgin, who is 55, in your thoughts and prayers. Track & Field News reported that Craig was hospitalized this week with a pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot. This is very, very serious. As we know more, we will keep you informed.

To learn more about Craig, we suggest your read the following piece-Craig Virgin, the Prefontaine who lived:

http://www.illpreptf.com/2010/03/history-repeats-itself-records-are-made-to-be-broken-just-ask-craig-virgin/

Craig Virgin official website:

Http://www.craigvirgin.com

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Eliud Kipchoge wins 2010 Carlsbad 5,000, photo by PhotoRun.net

Eliud Kipchoge is one tough runner: 2003 World Champion over 5,000 meters, and since then,  if it is a fast race, more often than not, Eliud is there. But to get the world record over 5,000 meters on the roads, Eliud with have Dejen Gebremeskel, the one shoed wonder who won the 3,000m at the 2011 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix!  Good luck to all runners at Carlsbad on Sunday, April 3, 2011!

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Dejan Gebremeskal after the 2011 NB Indoor GP 3,000 meters, photo by PhotoRun.net!

ASICS

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It was less than two months ago that Richard Bourne, who had lead the ASICS America brand for nineteen years, retired. His replacement, Kevin Wulff, had shadowed Mr. Bourne for a couple of months. Now, less than two months after taking over at the helm of the number one brand in performance running in the U.S., Kevin Wulff has made his first changes: reorganizing the Marketing Department.

ASICS announced the reorganization of  the Marketing department at ASICS on March 31.  This was announced to the industry through a story on  SportsSourceone.com, which was taken from an ASICS press release the same day.

Gary Slayton, the VP of Marketing has been moved into the new area titled Emerging Markets and Erik Forsell has been named as his replacement as Vice President of Marketing Communications. Mr. Forsell has a wide area of experience in the performance sports equipment and youth sports business. Mr. Forsell is from outside the running industry. 

Gary Slayton, one of the most experienced members of the ASICS America team, has headed up a very successful marketing communications department that has produced quality advertising, marketing and events for ASICS for the past two decades. His move into the emerging markets, while making much sense for ASICS, was greeted with both surprise and some concern by associates of Slayton across the industry. Slayton has been at ASICS America for 25 years and is well respected across a very close and competitive performance sports footwear industry.

Shannon Scott, the manager of marketing communications at ASICS America, has been promoted to the director of Marketing Communications.
Shannon Scott has been at ASICS for 22 years and has been an able and successful manager of the marketing communications department.  

ASICS America is facing huge challenges at this time, with competition in the performance running footwear business bearing down on the number one brand. Over the past year, ASICS lost a key manager in sports marketing, Ben Cesar, to a rival brand, Nike.  The major news, however, was the  retirement of Richard Bourne, along with the naming of Kevin Wulff as CEO. This news has focused industry eyes and ears on the brand.

How will Kevin Wulff react to the challenges his brand is facing? The brand has been known for the closeness and the longevity of the staff, under former President Richard Bourne.
Under Bourne's leadership, ASICS America was number one fifteen of his nineteen years at the helm-how does one live up to that type of legacy?

The eyes of the industry will be on Kevin Wulff as he stears an iconic brand through rough waters over the next years. Sometimes, changes are needed, and sometimes, changes are the last thing needed. Mr. Wulff will have to determine his next moves.....
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Lydia Cheronomei wins the 2011 Hervis Prague Half-Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net


Limo_Philemon-PragueH11.jpgPhilemon LImo, winner of the 2011 Hervis Prague Half-Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 2011 Hervis Prague Half-Marathon had two new records today. Lydia Cheronomei showed her talent once again, and ran 67:33, the second fastest time in the world this year. Philemon Limo, who has been running two years, ran 59:30 over the half marathon course!

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Haile Gebrselassie running the 2009 Berlin Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Haile has sent a note over twitter that he is ready to run the Vienna Half-Marathon on April 17. We wish him the best.

On a positive note, German track fans will be able to watch the 2011 World Championships from Daegu, Korea. Seems that the German TV stations could not come to a financial arrangement with the IAAF over the rights for the World Champs. The IAAF made a very profitable arrangement with Asian TV, so have stood rather firm on the pricing.


Besides competition, without major events like the Samsung Diamond League and the World Championships on non pay TV, the sport would not exist to the average sports fan.
Limo wins Prague 'half' 2011.JPGPhilemon Limo, 2011 Hervis Prague Half Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Hervis Prague Half-Marathon and the Marathon are separated by five weeks. Philemon Limo cranked a 59:30 for the half marathon distance. Limo has only run for two years, and been racing for a year.  Lydia Cheromenei ran 67.33, second fastest half marathon of the year on this course, and is coming back for the marathon. Lydia has been a global running star since she was 13.

We were fortunate to have our roving marathon troubadour, Pat Butcher, aka thegloberunner.org, in Prague. Here were his observations of the race from this morning in the city of Prague.


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Liu Xiang with his fans at the 2010 Asian Games,photo by PhotoRun.net

Liu Xiang and David Oliver are going to duke it out at the Shanghai stop for the 2011 Samsung Diamond League on May 15, 2011. Liu Xiang is back in shape, but is he in the kind of shape it will take to defeat David Oliver?

Liu Xiang, in 2007, was the king of the hurdle world. His injury in 2008 has taken nearly three years for him to return to form. Obviously, Xiang wants to return. David Oliver was the world's top hurdler in 2010. Two top hurdlers about to race over the 110 meter hurdles, one of the most difficult events in sport.

We shall see in about six weeks! For this sport to succeed and for the 2011 Samsung Diamond League to grow it is competition, competition, competition!

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David Oliver, 2011 USA Outdoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

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2010 AVIVA Gateshead: Tyson Gay takes Asafa Powell, photo by PhotoRun.net

Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell will meet up July 10 and August 5-6 in the AVIVA Birmingham and AVIVA Grand Prix in London this coming summer. Two great athletes, two great races. Sad to note that Mr. Bolt can not find a way to race against these two athletes means that the Daegu, Korea World Championships will probably be the first time the three compete against each other.
Stadio Olimpico in Rome

Image via Wikipedia


The track in the picture is Stadio Olympico in Rome, Italy. The Golden Gala Meeting, to be held, Thursday,  May 26 in Rome, Italy, will have a double matching of Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross, in both the 400 meters and 200 meters. A nice double on any day, but two great races within races! This is the kind of thing that the Samsung Diamond League is all about! I can not wait to see what unfolds at the adidas GP New York and Nike Pre Classic!

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Alan Webb, 2011 New Balance Indoor GP, photo by PhotoRun.net.

Alan Webb has decided to leave Alberto Salazar's Oregon Distance Project. Both Salazar and Webb have gone to great lengths to describe the break as amicable. The real picture is closer to the fact that Alan wants  to focus on the mile, and feels that he needs to work with a group of milers, not 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter runners. That Webb is in the best base shape of his life is clear, the key is now how to bring him along as a miler.

Both parties have handled this well. The focus is finding Alan Webb the best environment for his development. That is the art rather than the science of coaching.

Alan Webb has been America's miler for nearly a decade-the man who could win the gold medal for the U.S. at the distance. Instead, in 2007, it was Bernard Lagat, who won the 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters at the 2007 World Champs. The difference was experience and timing. In the semi finals, Webb ran 52.9 for the last 400 meters, in the final, he ran 54.1, when Lagat ran 52.8 for the last 400 meters and 13.1 for the last 100 meters.

Alan Webb is a tremendously talented athlete. He has the talent to win Olympic and World medals. He needs the self confidence, both in his own running and racing, but also in his training program. We wish Alan Webb well in his journey to become America's best miler/1,500m runner.

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