February 2012 Archives

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The Honda LA Marathon, featuring the much heralded  Stadium to the sea course, announced that registration closes on March 9. So, if you want to get to a sunny place to run a marathon during this crazy winter, sign up as soon as possible!

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Tianna Madison, 2012 USA Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

Solomon_Duane-USind12.jpgDuane Solomon, 2012 USA Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

Tianna Madison, the fastest women in world in 2012, and Duane Solomom, US champion at 800 meters, were congratulated by their sponsors, the Saucony company, on their performances last weekend.

Saucony has a group of elite athletes that it supports. Many of the brands have sponsored local running clubs, local track clubs or a group of elite athletes. Saucony has picked a small group of athletes that work for the brand.

Here is how the Saucony recognized and  congratulated their two gold medal winners from the 2012 USA Indoor Champs:



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Blocks at Dempsey, courtesy of Brooks Running

The truth is, it all begins with running, jumping and throwing. Two weeks ago, one of the guys who got that the most,  passed away. He knew that the battle for footwear supremacy, is a battle done best, talking about the sport, and selling one pair of footwear at a time. It is a seemingly simple fact, but only the successful brands really get it, really live it, really breathe it. 

Any brand that is true to running, does something to give back to the sport. It is part of their soul.  That is why Brooks Running does the Brooks PR invitational. This is how this brand gives back to the sport. At Runblogrun, we hit over 30 events a year to celebrate and recognize what our sport is about. In the end, six kids putting a chalk line on one end of a basket ball court and racing to the other, constitutes a pretty good race. It is all about movement.

On Sunday, February 26, 2011, Brooks sponsored their second Brooks PR invitational, over 60m, 60 m hurdles, 400m, 800m, mile and two mile. 120 athletes, 26 states plus Canada, and a 1000 fans. What an afternoon. Here is how I saw it!
The 2012 Brooks PR Invitational was the second edition of a unique event. What if a core running brand, in support of high school track & field, put on a celebration of track and invited the best runners at 60m, 60m hurdles, 400m, 800m, one mile and two mile in the country?

Brooks PR Invite Girls 60M.jpgShayla Sanders, 2012 Brooks PR Invitational, photo by PhotoRun.net

What if that brand (let's say, for sake of argument, it is Brooks), invited the athletes to the Dempsey Stadium at the University of Washington (Seattle), and let them run on a very fast indoor track facility?

Last year, the races were astounding. The girls two mile had seven of the ten fastest times in country. The boy's two mile was just the same. And the miles, well, they were just insane!

Now, with some street rep, the Brooks PR had kids training since end of cross country just to see how fast that they could go on the 307 meter plus indoor track that is Dempsey. A crowd of perhaps 1,000 people yelped it up at the best that the US has to offer!

Donovan Robertson, a senior, from Berea, Ohio, set the new high school record in the 60 meter hurdles. In his round, he ran 7.77, taking second. Hurdling with perfection, and staying focused, Donovan Robertson made no mistakes, sprinting over the finish line, in 7.57 seconds, breaking the former U.S. high school record of 7.60!

The boy's 400 meters, was something quite special. Najee Glass, a senior from Woodbridge, New Jersey and Aldrich Bailey, a senior from Arlington, Texas, took each on from the first meter! Running neck and neck, Glass who, outleaned Bailey, 46.06 to 46.07! Not only did they run the number one and two times of 2012, they also are now the number two and three all-time high school boys at 400 meters.

And then came the next surprise. Jesse Williams, the Brooks athletics sports marketing manager, came over and said, " That 400 meters was the fastest EVER run in Dempsey!" Stunning! And, in a high school meet!  

Then came Shayla Sanders, who ran 7.21 for the 60 meters, after having run 7.26 in the first round. Shayla's 60 meters was .02 off the U.S. high school record for girls at 60 meters.

A night of some tremendous performances (we will break them all out over the next few days), with 120 athletes from 26 States and Canada running and have some fun! What a way to celebrate our sport!

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Sanya Richards-Ross, 2012 USA Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

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Kristi Castlin, Yvete Lewis, 2012 USA Indoor, photo by PhotoRun.net
Madison_TiannaESPN-USind12.jpgTianna Madison on ESPN, 2012 USA Indoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

Claye_Will1d-USind12.jpgWill Claye, 2012 USA Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

Simpson_Jenny1500e-USind12.jpgJenny Simpson, 2012 USA Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

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Bernard Lagat, 2012 USA Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

Manzano-CentrowitzFV1-USind12.jpgLeonel Manzano, Matthew Centrowitz, 2012 USA Indoors,
photo by PhotoRun.net


Merritt-Faulk-Craddock-Osaghae-USind12.jpgAries Merritt, Dexter Faulk, Kevin Craddock, Osaghae, 2012 USA Indoors,
photo by PhotoRun.net


Lowe_Chaunte1a-USind12.jpgChaunte Howard Lowe, 2012 USA Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

Eaton_AshtonLJ1-USind12.jpgAshton Eaton, 2012 USA Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

Two days with the stars of USA Track & Field. A great turnout in Albququerque and an appreciative crowd. Two strong hours on ESPN, and even with the Oscars and NBA All stars (now don't get me started), the audience was strong. Liked the webcast and watched it (RBR did their LIVE Blog (you can read our coverage under Live blog on RBR). Lots going on this Monday.

I was at the Brooks PR Invite on Sunday night, in Seattle and it was better than last year. Come on, when have you seen a high school girl run 7.21 for 60 meters? Or two high school boys run 46.06, 46.07 for 400 meters, breaking the Dempsey record? Miles in 4:43.28 and 4:07.12 ended the evening! Watch for our coverage tomorrow!

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Will Claye, 2012 USA Indoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

A weekend of amazing depth. As the US Indoor Champs were taking place on Saturday, with Will Claye's triple jump clinc (17.25m, 17.40m, 17.44m, 17.63m), Dexter Faulk's 7.40 for the 60m hurdles, there was a little marathon in Tokyo, Japan.

Gebrselassie_HaileLeds-Tokyo12.jpgHaile Gebreselassie leads 2012 Tokyo Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

With 26 world records, from 1,500m indoors to the Marathon, Haile Gebrselassie has thrilled fans for nearly two decades. The Little Emperor has has had moments of great athletic achievements and moments of great pathos. Haile told RBR that he loves running and will do it always, but the competition is wearing. He needed to perform well in Tokyo to be considered for the Ethiopian team.
 

Gebrselassie_Haile-Tokyo12.jpgHaile Gebrselassie, 2012 Tokyo Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

It was billed as Haile Gebrselassie's last chance to make the Ethiopian Olympic team for 2012. Haile had dnfed his last three marathons (NYC, Dubai, Berlin). The good news was he finished. He had led through 38k and then faltered over the last 4k of the course, finishing in fourth in 2:08.16. Nice time for you, but for Haile, that puts him as the 22nd ranked marathoner in Ethiopia during the 2012 qualification period!

Gebrselassie_HaileR1a-Tokyo12.jpg Jos Hermans, Haile Gebrselassie, 2012 Tokyo Marathon, 02.26.12,
 photo by PhotoRun.net


Lowe_Chaunte-USind12.jpgChaunte Howard Lowe, 2012 USA Indoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

I was checking over the USATF Press releases, and I had missed some great quotes and some of the events that made this a unique indoor season. The USATF Indoor Meet was an improvement on last year, in terms of the way the site was presented, size of crowd and access for media to the event. We have been told that TV on Sunday night was very good. Negatives are focused on how little we communicate of the excitement of the sport. Kudos to runnerspace.com on the Liveweb cast of the event. It gave the fans at home a great view of the meet. Even the live chat, with Dan O'Brien and John Godina, to name two, was a great way to listen to the meet.

This logo issue, which infuriated sponsors this weekend, just shows how little education has been done on marketing the sport. More on that later!

Eaton_AshtonLJ-USout11.JPGAshton Eaton, 2011 USA Outdoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

One person noted on twitter that it was surprising that a decathlete could win an open event. Most decathletes are world class in one to three events! It should not be a surprise to a more than casual observer!

Some tremendous performances on Sunday, strong crowd and even an American record were overshadowed by what is being termed a fiasco over the announcement, that there was no logo rules in effect in the US Indoor champs. RBR was told today that even presidents of involved footwear brands saw the note, watched the TV and were calling their representatives on the and wondering what was going on?

We seem to not be able to do anything but shoot ourselves in the foot over such last minute decisions. Perhaps it was considered by USATF as a way to control the athletes' frustrations. Instead it has opened a hailstorm of concern from sponsors. Stay tuned.

Here is Elliott Denman's comments on the meet for Day 2.

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Galen Rupp, 2011 USA Indoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

Dave Hunter takes on the task of reminding us what the reality of Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat racing against each other really means.
Lagat_BernardFV_USAIndoor11.JpgBernard Lagat, 2011 USA Indoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

The city of Albuquerque is hosting the USA Indoors for the third year now. On Friday, it was announced that the hosting will be extended for two more years. My observances were that subtle changes had been made, giving the facilty a better feel and media better access. 2,037 paying customers, in a facility that seats 2500, was better than I had seen in last three years,
on first night. The two day schedule moved well. I observed the major, Richard J. Berry, hanging out by the pole vault and talking to locals about the meet. The Mayor loves indoor track & field, he even was pictured with the top stars at the press conference!

Elliott Denman, one of our long time correspondents and new recipient of the Stan Saplin Media award, took a different tact on the meet and the crowd. Here is how he saw Saturday night in Albuquerque:

Claye_WillH-WorChps11.jpgWill Claye, 2011 WC triple jump, photo by PhotoRun.net

A strong first day of the USA Indoors. Some subtle changes to the stands, and media seating, gave the 2000 plus fans better viewing for some fantastic competitions.

Will Claye, who had the world lead of 17.39m in the triple jump, blew the event away, with jumps of 17.25m, 17.40m, 17.44m and 17.63 m or 57-10.75. His final jump was the longest jump indoors in the US in 25 years. His uni team mate, and WC gold medalist Christian Taylor, reached 17.25m for second place.

A.G. Kruger with stood a great competition and belted out a throw of 24.57m or 80-7.5 for the win in the men's weight throw. Amber Campbell, in the women's weight throw, took one throw to set a stadium record of 24.78m or 81-3.25!

In the women's pole vault, four women were still in at 4.57m, and then 4.62m, before it began to whittle down. Jenn Suhr won the hard fought competition at 4.67m, and then made three attempts at 4.90m, a new AR record, if she had reached it. Her achilles sore, Jenn went back to the hotel to soak the foot in ice.

Lagat-Bekele-Worldi10.jpgBernard Lagat, 2010 World Indoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

The most thrilling race of the night was the men's 3,000 meters. Galen Rupp went out at four minute mile pace to crush the field. After 800 meters, hit in 2:04, the field was down to Galen Rupp, Bernard Lagat and Lopez Lomong. Rupp did not let up, as he hit the mile in 4:11 and continued on. With about 700 meters to go, Bernard Lagat and Lopez Lomong took over and Galen Rupp held on for dear life.

Lagat, the 37 year old  who recently set the AR for 5,000m with a run of 13:07.15, took only 56.01 seconds for the last 400 meters and a decisive 25.42 for the last 200 meters to break Lopez Lomong and take the race. Bernard Lagat won the 3,000m race in 7:47. 54, with Lopez Lomong in 7:51.75 and Galen Rupp in 7:57.36.

Not bad for a 37 year old!


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David Storl, 2012 Karlsruhe, photo by PhotoRun.net

Spiegelburg_Silke-Karlsruhe12.jpgSilke Spiegelburg, 2012 Karlsruhe, photo by PhotoRun.net

This weekend was national indoor meetings galore. Alfons Juck, our man about the world, filed this updated from EME NEWs on many of meetings. We covered the USA Indoor Day 1 live, and will do the same for Day 2. We will also be covering a fine junior meet called the Brooks PR invitational.

Gebrselassie_HaileWater-Berlin11.JPGHaile Gebrselassie, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Haile Gebrselassie has wowed us for nearly two decades now. His Olympic and World Championship victories kept us on the edge of our seats. His 26 world records, including his 2:03.59 blew out minds. Tonight, at 7.10 PM Eastern time, we shall see if Haile is human after all. With three dnfs over the past 18 months in the marathon, Haile must run well, defined between 2:04 and 2:06 it sounds, to make the Ethiopian Olympic team. Check out the story in Lets'Run.

RBR will be at the USA Indoors this evening, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and tomorrow, at the Brooks PR invite, in Seattle, WA. This is an amazing weekend for track fans!

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Anna Chicherova, 2011 Lausanne DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Forty-one athletes named to Russian team for Istanbul. US indoor champs this weekend (Feb. 25-26) as well as most of European teams. Chicherova has a bye, along with Isinbayeva, but Anna has not told Russian Federation she will be competing, although she is expected.

1300 plus athletes and 150 countries to compete in Istanbul, Turkey.
Heck, Spenco invented the insole business. Now, they have close to thirty competitors, at last count. This year, Spenco introduces after sport product, based on their Total Support last. Looks pretty good!

Nice idea to model shoe on their Total support product line. Runners need good product when they are not running as well as when they are running.

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SBS Siesta 2012 Men's model, courtesy of Spenco Medical
Dave Hunter is one of our newest journalists on the trail of track & field. You will remember him from his thoughtful coverage of the 2012 US Olympic Trials-Marathon. We asked Dave to cover the press conference and give us his view of how the meet has been managed. Here is his piece on the press conference....

Williams_Jesse-USind11.JPGJesse Williams, 2011 USA Indoor, photo by PhotoRun.net


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David Oliver, Jenn Suhr, Richard J. Berry (Mayor), Sanya Richards-Ross, Jesse Williams, photo courtesy of Larry Eder

The press conference preceding the USA Indoor was a meeting place for media, marketing people and athletes.

Mike McNees, acting CEO of USA Track & Field announced an extension of the three year hosting of the USATF Indoor in Albuquerque to two additional years. McNees comments were that the city has been a great host and wants to establish itself as a key indoor training site. Mayor Richard J. Berry made it very clear that Albuquerque likes track & field and wants to be a home for indoor track & field. Albuquerque Conventions & Visitors Bureau CEO Dale Lockett praised the support of the city, and the Convention bureau staff, and supported the Mayor's comments about how much they love having the Indoor champs here.

So, it it nice to be loved. The Facility is right across from the headquarters' hotel and the fans love the meet. Altitude affects the distance runners, but with 1,500m and 3,000m all about making teams, the races become great competitions anyway. Perhaps, the way to go for USATF is to find cities that want track meets and will embrace them like Albuquerque has?

At the press conference, Jared Slinde, the replacement for Tom Surber, long time media captain at USA Track & Field, hosted his first press conference. Slinde has an understated sense of humor, and kept the intros short, well researched and humorous.

Sanya Richards-Ross spoke about how she has been running well, with the real focus on London 2012. Her 50.93 in Millrose two weeks ago was burning. Obviously, Richards-Ross is in great shape. " I would like to run well and go on to the Indoor Championships."

Jenn Suhr, the AR indoors and outdoors for the pole vault spoke about her injury issue, but also her desire to jump. " The injury came up early in the season, but I am looking forward to getting some good jumps in." For Suhr, the time on her feet AFTER jumping is key. Her achilles are giving her trouble. She goes in at a height that the competition is low and her time between jumps is short. Jenn Suhr is the number 1 pole vaulter of 2011, per Track & Field News, the bible of the sport.

Jesse Williams, the WC in the high jump, is a relaxed, but enthusiastic athlete. He told the media, " If I improve a bit each week, say a centimeter, it gets me closer to my  goals for London." Williams obviously wants a shot at the US indoor record, held by 1996 gold medalist, Charles Austin. " I have dreamed about being and Olympic medalist since I was a little kid. That is my goal."

David Oliver is a made who hurdles fear. Olympic bronze medalist at the 110m hurdles, he has raced 50m, 60m hurdles this season and is doing well. London is really the key for him. " I support events that USATF does. Heck, if they US Open would have had a 40 m hurdles, I would have run it."

So, my real moment of the press conference? Just afterwards, when the Mayor of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, asked to get a picture with the athletes. He really likes the sport, and obviously loves his city. The athletes were great with it too. Nice to see our sport welcomed.
Emil Zatopek was larger than life. The winner of the Olympic gold medal in 1948 ( London), and the silver in the 5,000m (he missed the gold by less than a yard with his insane last lap, running down a 50 plus meter lead by Gaston Reiff).

In 1952, Emil Zatopek won the gold in the 10,000 meters, came back and won a tough 5,000m, where he did not regain the lead until 180 meters to go. After golds in the 5,000m and 10,000m, Zatopek also won the marathon, on his first try, taking the lead after 25k and never looking back. Some interesting trivia, in all four Olympic track medals, Alain Mimoun of France finished right behind him.

In 1956, six weeks after hernia surgery (he had done 300 meter intervals holding his wife, Daniella, on his back), he finished sixth place. Waiting at the line for Emil was his dear friend and competitor, Alain Mimoun.

In 1991, when Emil spent a few days at Stanford, he traveled to Carmel with Joe Mangan and me. I taped six hours of tapes from that day. He told us about Vladimir Kuts, who he liked, and he told us about Alain Mimoun, who waited at the finish for him in the 1956 marathon, telling his Czech friend that he had become a father just before the race (I have heard that this story is not true, well, in 1991, to Emil Zatopek, it was true).

What is not clearly known is how terribly the Soviets treated Emil after 1968. Zatopek, while a Communist, was a nationalist. He supported the Spring Revolt and the Dubjek government, who stood up to the Soviets. A student revolt, led by the late Vaclef Havel, then, a college professor, was also part of the story. Zatopek was thrown in jail, and treated so severely by the Soviet captors, that he damaged his back and legs, never to run again.

As he told us this story, I was sitting in the back seat, recording the discussions and Joe Mangan was driving. It was hard not to tear up. Here was his country's greatest athlete, actually the greatest distance runner in Olympic history, and he was given menial jobs for nearly twenty years after the 1968 revolt.

I found this video of Emil's Olympic successes, and thought of him once again. On the day of his marathon victory, his lovely wife, Daniella, won the javelin gold medal. She became a coach after that, and I believe, has still one of the best throws with the wooden javelin.

In Edmonton, in 2001, I witnessed how highly Czech athletes held in esteem the Zatopeks. Emil had been dead for two years, but as Roman Sebrle saw Daniella, at a press conference in Edmonton, they crossed the room to hug her. She smiled and chatted with Roman and another Czech decathlete. I was fascinated with Emil's view of the world. He was truly a world citizen. When I asked him about the 1968 revolt and his feelings on Marxism, he told me that " I am a Communist, yes, but I am a nationalist first." He paid dearly for the love of his country.
Basking in the glow of her 28th world record, Yelena Isinbayeva is like a women reborn. She told EME news that 5.10m is possible, and her goal to put the women's pole vault to a record place that it is not revisited for a very long time. Yelena Isinbayeva wants her Beamonesque moment.

Isinbayeva_YelenaFL1a-Zurich09.jpg Yelena Isinbayeva, 2009 Zurich DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Isinbayeva has the talent, but it has to come down to drive. Seeking her third Olympic gold medal and obviously a great performance at the World Indoors, Yelena Isinbayeva now has competition from several places around the globe: Great Britain, USA, Brazil, Germany, and Poland, to name a few.

Suhr_Jenn488AR1-NBind12.jpgJenn Suhr, 2012 NB Indoor GP, photo by PhotoRun.net

Yelena Isinbayeva is intensely competitive. She is also a performer of the highest level and draws fans to major meetings. Jenn Suhr, the US record holder, has the potential to fly, as does Holly Beasdale of Great Britain and Fabiana Murer, to name a few. Anyone who forgets Silke Spiegelburg does so at their own peril.

It will be interesting to see how Isinbayeva performs in Istanbul. She has another great indoor jump in her.

Then, as she told EME News, no competitions outdoors until June.


Yelena Isinbayeva has gotten her mojo back just in time! The World Indoors are two weeks away and the Olympics less than six months. But the 5.01m that she did earlier today, Stockholm time, and the 4.92m she did just a bit earlier are good indications that her coaching changes and training are going well.

Isinbayeva is a perfectionist. She is also highly competitive. This was the twenty-eighth world record, so the former athlete of the year knows how to compete and how to vault. Her key is motivation and the quality of vaulters in the world today.

Looking forward to seeing the event in the Worlds.

Charles Van Com_1.jpgCharles van Commenee, photo courtesy of UK athletics website

Charles van Commenee, UK Athletics Head Coach, noted to insidethegames, that he is not making any specific medal goal for the World Indoors. Van Commenee's reasoning is that the World Indoors bear little relevance on the London 2012 Olympics. The fact is that van Commenee in particular, and UK Athletics in general, will be judged by the 80 million Britons and the British media on how many medals that they win in London, not Istanbul.

Charles van Commenee was hired in 2008 with some fanfair as the head coach for UK Athletics (Van Commanee hired) for the specific reason of leading the charge for UK athletics to London 2012. van Commenee gets pretty high grades from coaches, athletes and agents for someone in his position. The fact is, if he is doing his job right, he should be at least annoying half the constituency every day. He seems to be accomplishing that with flying colors. 

Head coach is a thankless position, but it seems that van Commenee actually can do things in the UK. His comments in public are few, but have given him some positive media. van Commenee seems to ascertain that his job is not to be in the papers, but get his athletes running, jumping and throwing better, so that they are in the papers. In the US, a Head coach will be remembered only if his or her relay teams drop batons (that was paraphrasing a quote from John Chaplin, former WSU head coach, championship meet director).

 RBR has enjoyed watching Mr. van Commenee in his natural state: observing track meets, meeting with coaches and clearing obstacles for UK athletics' elite athletes. For van Commenee, nothing else really matters, nor should it.


We wish Mr. van Commenee the best in London 2012 ( of course, when it does come to US vs British medals, we believe gold for US, silver for the Brits-only makes sense, as do I hold a US passport!).
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Less than four years ago, the Honda LA Marathon was re-invented. Do it right, and they will come. And they have. The race is only twenty-three days away and if you follow the twitter comments from marathoner training to run the Stadium to the Sea course, you would think that the race is tomorrow!

ASICS America has signed a multi-year deal for the marathon, giving ASICS marathons on both coasts as major branding events. Looking forward to seeing many of you at the event in less than four weeks! With Honda, ASICS America, and their other sponsors, the future of the Honda LA Marathon looks promising!

Here are some of the changes that the event management continues to do to innovate and attract more runners!

spearmon1.jpg Wallace Spearmon, Jr. set the American record for the indoor 200 meters on March 11, 2005 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Spearmon ran the record during the NCAA indoors, in his sophomore year in college. The time was twenty point one seconds (20.10). That is is pretty quick for indoors.

Spearmon is usually the slowest guy out of the blocks. But, looks can be deceiving. Watch Wallace closely. He begins to lift just before he reaches the turn, and he easily increases his pace, so that, with about fifty meters to go, Wallace Spearmon, Jr. is going by his fellow sprinters.

His race is in that last fifty meters. Wallace Spearmon, Jr. came oh so darn close to taking the bronze medal in the 200 meters in Beijing. He was disqualified for stepping on the line. He did not bemoan the fact, but, deep inside, you know Wallace wants an Olympic medal. Lets see what he does in 2012.

2011 was a year of injuries after some fast racing in 2010. The shoe addicts put their focus on Wallace Spearmon, Jr., one of many American athletes that they will salute this year, as they prepare for the 2012 season.
Really like this commercial, kind of fun seeing a French sprinter with Russian narration. The story is well developed, and Lemaitre comes off as the star he is coming to be. Lemaitre is being developed the old fashion way, by a coach who knows his stuff and who has the young sprinter's best interest in mind. Watching him coming off the curve is like seeing a huge energy source that is not yet focused.

And the Russian voice over, well, is, for me, perfection....(I would run it in Russian in US, would sure get some attention).

Like watching a play by Turgenev.
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Yelena Isinbayeva, DN Galan Stockholm DL 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net

Yelena Isinbayeva showed her prowess once again in the pole vault, setting a new WR for the indoor event. Clearing 4.92m for the win and best jump of the year, Isinbayeva shot for the stars and reached them! Clearing 5.01 meters or 16 feet, five and one quarter inches, Yelena Isinbayeva set her 13th indoor world record and 28th overall. This world record was set at the XL-Galan indoor meeting early today, Thursday, February 23, 2012.

This could not come at a more perfect time for the Russian vaulter, who is to compete at the World Indoors March 9-11, in Istanbul, Turkey. We look forward to seeing her compete against Holly Bleasdale (who jumped 4.72m today), perhaps Jenn Suhr of the US and some of the other top women vaulters in the world.

It has been an interesting year for vaulting. On January 22, 2012, Holly Bleasdale of Great Britian cleared 4.87m or 15-11.25, setting a new UK
indoor record and giving her the second best indoor vault of all time. On February 4, 2012, Jenn Suhr surpassed Bleasdale with a jump of 4.88m or 16 feet, .25 inches for a new AR and the top vault of 2012.

Today, Stockholm time, Yelena Isinbayeva clears 4.92m, to take the 2012 global lead, and then, she clears 5.01m, or 16 feet, 5.25 inches for a new World record. The women's pole vault could not be hotter right now! 


Bolt-Powell1-Rome11.jpgUsain Bolt, Asafa Powell, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, by PhotoRun.net

The cost, not only in dollars, but in national energy, to host an Olympic Games, is huge. Recently, the Italian government recently refused to support the Italian Olympic committee bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games. Citing uncertain economic times, the Italian PM, Mario Monte, refused to provide the government support in order for the Applicant city files to be completed. Per insidethegames.biz, Mario Pescante, the long time former Italian sports minister, found the government decision embarrassing, and resigned as a VP on the International Olympic Committee.   

This opens the 2020 Olympic Games race...more details to come, probably after the World Indoors in Instanbul, Turkey, mid March....

This winter has been a fascinating indoor track & field season. While four meets in Europe crashed and burned, the US had two major meetings on one weekend! Hopefully, those date miscues will change, but four ARs in two weekends, (Women's PV, Jenn Suhr/adidas, 4.88m, 16-0, Women's shot put, Jillian Camerena-Williams, NYAC/Nike, 19.87m, 65-3.25, Bernard Lagat, Nike, 13:07.15, 5,000m, Galen Rupp, Nike Oregon Project, 2 Miles, 8:09.72), sell out crowds at New Balance Indoor GP and Millrose Games, showed that perhaps we have to change the commercial model.

In 2011-12, the Reggie Lewis Center will hold over 80 indoor track meets, hosting over 150,000 athletes visits. In that same period, the Armory NB Track & Field Center, in NYC, will host just over 100 indoor track events and have 300,000 athletes visits. Both are positive sanctuaries of sport for our young athletes. Both celebrate our sport like few other facilities.

RuppLeads-USAInd11.JpgGalen Rupp, Bernard Lagat, 2011 USA Indoor 3,000m,
photo by PhotoRun.net 


Like Nike Pre Classic has been the standard for elite outdoor track meets, the NB Indoor Grand Prix has shown that indoor meets in North America can be both successful financially as well as competitions. In the following article, Dave Hunter proposes an emerging trend in indoor track & field in the U.S. Tell us what you think about it!

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Liliya Shobukhova leading Meseret Defar, 2006 WC, Indoor,
Moscow, photo by PhotoRun.net


Liliya Shobukhova was a fine 3,000m, 5,000m runner for several years, before she took up the marathon. Shobukhova, the European 5,000m indoor record holder, has become one of the most prominent women marathoners in the world. In the following article from World Marathon Majors website, here is a feature on the development of Liliya Shobukhova into a world beater:http://worldmarathonmajors.com/US/news/327/

Shobukhova_LiliyaTH-London10.JPGLiliya Shobukhova, 2010 Virgin London Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net


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Two-Time World Marathon Majors Series Champion Liliya Shobukhova Gears Up for Olympics with Back-to-Back Races in WMM Cities

 

Shobukhova Opens Her 2012 Season Next Month at the NYC Half and

Chicago's Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K


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Liliya Shobukhova, 2011 NYRR Mini, photo by PhotoRun.net

NEW YORK/CHICAGO, February 22, 2012 - Two-time World Marathon Majors series champion and three-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova of Russia will open her 2012 season at the NYC Half on Sunday, March 18, followed with a run at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Chicago on Sunday, March 25, it was jointly announced today by NYRR president and CEO Mary Wittenberg and Bank of America Chicago Marathon and Shamrock Shuffle 8K Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski.

 

Shobukhova, 34, an early favorite for the Olympic Games Marathon in London this summer said of her spring trip to the U.S., "This Olympic year will be the most important of my career, so I am choosing all of my competitions carefully.  The NYC Half will allow me to test my fitness and compete against some of the same runners I will face in the Olympic Marathon, while going to Chicago for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K will allow me to connect with all of the great fans and runners there on a course that feels like home to me in the city where I have had so much success. It's the perfect trip."

 

Shobukhova will make her third start at an NYRR event having last raced at the NYRR Mini 10K in 2011. Last fall, Shobukhova cemented her legacy in Chicago by winning her third consecutive Bank of America Chicago Marathon, becoming the first runner to do so in the event's 34-year history.

 

"Consistency is a sign of greatness and nobody has been more consistent than Liliya at the marathon distance the last few years," said Wittenberg. "We welcome her back to NY for her first steps on the road to the London Olympics."

 

Shobukhova will join other Olympic contenders Kara Goucher and Desiree Davila of the U.S. in the NYC Half. NYRR's flagship half-marathon, in its seventh edition, will feature a record field of 15,000 runners, a $100,000 prize purse and a new course traversing through Manhattan beginning in Central Park, going through Times Square and all the way downtown to the scenic South Street Seaport finish.

 

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K marks Chicago's annual kick-off to the running season. Shobukhova will be joined by U.S. Olympic Marathon team member Abdi Abdirahman as they lead the way for 40,000 runners at the 33rd annual race through downtown Chicago. The flat and fast course mirrors the start and finish of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in Grant Park, where Shobukhova made history last fall.

 

"Liliya has performed at the highest level on the streets of Chicago and we're excited that her road to the Olympics will once again run through our city," said Pinkowski. "The Shamrock Shuffle is an opportunity for Liliya to celebrate the start of a new season alongside the local fans who have supported her and will be rooting for her as one of their own at the Olympic Games."

 

There is precedent for a Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K winner to go on to win the gold medal in the Olympic Marathon. Constantina Dita of Romania, the 2006 Shamrock Shuffle champion (and 2004 Chicago Marathon champion) struck gold at the 2008 Olympic Marathon in Beijing.

 

About NYRR

New York Road Runners was founded in 1958 when a small group of passionate runners vowed to bring running to the people. Over the past 53 years, NYRR has grown from a local running club to the world's premier community running organization. NYRR's mission is to empower everyone, of all ages and abilities--beginners and competitive athletes, the young and the elderly, adult professionals and underserved schoolchildren--to improve their health and well-being through the power of running and fitness.

 

NYRR's races, community events, instruction and training resources, and youth programs give hundreds of thousands of people each year the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to start running and keep running for life. NYRR's premier event, the famed ING New York City Marathon, attracts the world's top pro runners and committed amateurs alike while also raising millions of dollars annually for charity and driving economic impact for the City. But NYRR is equally committed to the runners of tomorrow, passionately providing youth fitness programs that educate and inspire more than 100,000 kids in underserved communities in New York City, all 50 states, and around the world.

 

Headquartered in New York City, NYRR implements a unique nonprofit model that teams contributed and earned income to make all its efforts possible. To learn more, please visit www.nyrr.org.

 

About the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K
Long recognized as an annual rite of spring and the kick-off to the outdoor running season in Chicago, the 33rd annual Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K takes runners on a scenic tour of downtown Chicago, starting and finishing in Grant Park. The race will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 25, and will conclude with live music by "Mike and Joe" at the traditional Post-Race Party in Grant Park. In advance of the event, the two-day Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K Health & Fitness Expo will take place at Navy Pier on Friday, March 23, and Saturday, March 24, featuring more than 80 industry-related exhibitors. The Health & Fitness Expo is free and open to the public. For more information about the event and how to get involved, go to
www.shamrockshuffle.com.

###

Liliya Shobukhova is one of the few athletes who has a real chance of taking an Olympic medal in the women's marathon, which will be contested in London, England in August 2012. Her tremendous third victory at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last October just cemented her global reputation as one of the key players in the women's marathon. Nice to see her racing in the US this spring!
Per an article in the Gleaner, a Jamaican newsite/newspaper, long time PUMA CEO, Jochen Zeitz will speak in Kingston, Jamaica next month on the branding of Jamaica and PUMA's investment in the country.
blocks-thumb-400x601-927.jpgBlocks, 2011 Brooks PR, photo courtesy of Brooks Running

Nice to see that AD Mark Orr of Saint Mary's has added a track & field program to St. Mary's College starting Spring 2012. The program will focus on middle and long distance track & field, with the concern to provide year long training opportunities. Cross country coach Marty Kinsey noted that the addition of the spring track & field program would be a " boon to the cross country program".

St. Mary's is part of the WCAC, which features Gonzaga University, University of Portland, Peppardine University, San Diego University, Santa Clara University, San Francisco University and BYU.

This writer ran at SCU and remembers the cross country course at St. Mary's with much affection. A tough course, with some challenging switchbacks, the Invite there and the Conference meet there, when the Conference meet traveled, made us work to run fast.

Nice to see Saint Mary's add a program when so many are dumping programs. To see the complete story:
http://www.mercurynews.com/sports/ci_20015377
Footwear technology comes from running and track & field. Pure & Simple, dear and gentle readers. Run, Jump, Throw. You can break down each and every sport to the world's oldest, and in our opinion, greatest sport: athletics.

Running footwear is the litmus test for new footwear technology. That, dear readers, is a fact. That fact was driven home today as Mark Parker, President & CEO of Nike, Inc., introduced the Nike Summer of Innovation, to New York and International Media. Parker was very proud of some of the new tech, such as the Nike FlyKnit racing flat, and soon to be training flat as well. Lighter is better, in Nike parlance, and with racing shoes at 5.6 ounces and trainers at 7.7 ounces, the product should be well received. Also fascinating to us, is the touted new body suit Nike Pro Turbospeed, which will be equipment this summer for many of the top track & field federations at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.


MParker_InnovationSummit_21FEB12_7978.jpgMark Parker, President & CEO, Nike, Inc. Innovation Summit Media Day, photos courtesy of Nike

Word on the street was that Mark Parker was so pleased with the new technology that he wanted to introduce it himself. And, as Prez & CEO, of Nike, what the heck? We understand that tweeked versions of the racing flat were on Abdi Abdirahman and Dathan Ritzenhein in
that little marathon in  Houston held this past January. Innovate.

Carmelita Jeter, our top women sprinter (gold at 100m, silver at 200, meters, gold in 4 x 100m, all in Daegu), shows off the new TurboSpeed suit! Speedsuit technology came from bike racing (we did pieces on it in an old title, Cycling Science). The improvements here are the aerodynamics, and the actual use of recycled products in the actual garment. Innovate.


NikeTF_Innovation_Su12__CarmelitaJeter-02_7986.jpgCarmelita Jeter in the NikePro Turbospeed, photo courtesy of Nike

The Nike FlyKnit racing flat has a pretty impressive pedigree: top three in men's World Champs 2011 Marathon. The upper weight is the lightest Nike has made.

Nike-Running-Innovation-SU12-Knit-4_7966.jpgNike FlyKnit, photo courtesy of Nike

Then, our friends at Nike took the FlyKnit from racing shoes to some very light training flats, to share the gospel of lightweight with the whole running community.  (Training shoes shown below).

KNIT_5_RGB_mid_7951.jpgWe have attached the release and info from Nike today on Day 1 of the Summer of Innovation summit. Watch for tomorrows's second day of the summit.

Some great links on the release, explaining knit technology, and some other innovations from Nike. Check them out!


(Runblogrun will publish the reviews of this product by the Running Network footwear and apparel review editor Cregg Weinmann once the product has been reviewed).

Some screaming races in Stockholm this Thursday at the XL-Galan meeting! Kirani James is just the beginning. Fast 800 meters for men, 3k for men and 1,500 for women, along with another hurdle duel over 60 meters for Lui Xiang and Dayron Robles!

James_Kirani-LondonDL11.jpgKirani James, 2011 AVIVA London GP, photo by PhotoRun.net

Liu-Robles-Oliver-RichardsonHand-World11.JPGLiu Xiang, Dayron Robles, David Oliver, Jason Henderson, 2011 WC,
photo by PhotoRun.net



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Bleasdale and Dmitrik voted European Athletes of the Month for January

European Athletics is pleased to announce that British pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale and Russian high jumper Aleksey Dmitrik have been voted as the European Athletes of the Month for January.

The 20-year-old Bleasdale, 2011 European Athletics U23 Championships gold medallist, moved up to second on the world and European all-time list with her magnificent mark of 4.87m in the French town of Villeurbane on 21 January.

Her performance inevitably puts her into consideration for medals at this year's three big events: the IAAF World Indoor Championships in March, which will be staged in Istanbul, and then this summer's European Athletics Championships in Helsinki and Olympic Games in London.

Dmitrik, the 2011 World Championships silver medallist, jumped a world-leading 2.35m at the Moravian High Jump Tour meeting in Hustopece on 28 January.

Russia's high jump world champion Anna Chicherova twice went over the world-leading height of 2.00m during January and was voted second while her compatriot Yekaterina Bolshova, 23, finished third. Bolshova put together a world-leading pentathlon score of 4746 points in St Petersburg on 5-6 January, the best tally by a European for almost two years.

In the men's poll, Italy's 2009 European Athletics U23 Championships triple jump gold medallist Daniele Greco, who went out to a world-leading mark of 17.24m in Ancona on 21 January, was voted second while Russia's Konstantin Shabanov, who ran a European-leading 60m hurdles time of 7.54 to win at the Aviva International Match in Glasgow on 28 January, was voted third.

European Athletics' monthly poll received overwhelming support from thousands of athletics fans and media alike this month from across the continent.

The European Athlete of the Month initiative was launched in January 2007 and is designed to recognise outstanding performers at all levels of the sport in Europe. A male and female winner each month is named and featured on the European Athletics website.

Selections are based on votes by the public, media and a panel of European Athletics experts - each counting for 33.3 percent of the final vote. No athlete who has previously served a two-year doping ban can be nominated for or win the European Athlete of the Month award.

Find European Athletics at www.european-athletics.org, www.facebook.com/europeanathletics and www.youtube.com/europeanathletics and follow on www.twitter.com/EuroAthletics

Holly Bleasdale is the number three all time vaulter after her 4.87. RBR watched her this weekend with her 4.72 clearance and her gutsy vaulting. Aleksandr Dmitrik is jumping well, and should have a great battle on his hands at the 2012 World Indoor Champs.
Doc Patton and Wallace Spearmon, Jr. are two of my favorite athletes. Their videos are light-hearted, great music and they give you a unique view into their lives as athletes. Enjoy!


Nice to see athletes in our sport giving back to their communities.Here is the story that went along with the photo, thanks to Adam JE for finding this one:

BOLT GIVES BACK

KINGSTON, February 19 Usain Bolt Foundation and sponsor partners have contributed US$25,000 (J$2,150,000) to Pan Caribbean Sigma Corporate Run which has collaborated with the Chain of Hope Foundation to raise J$50,000,000 for Cardiac Programme at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.
 
Usain Bolt is one of three patrons along with Her Excellency Lady Patricia Allen and Dr. the Hon R. Danny Williams who have lent their support to generate income and interest in the well needed programme for children.
 
Usain Bolt was one of over 15,000 participants in the 14th running of the event. He was also joined by his parents and members of his management team.
 
Before he set off the runners in the run section, Bolt took time to meet and greet with the participants who included Paralympians, runners, walkers and curious onlookers.
 
Usain was also a presenter at the closing ceremony held at the Emancipation Park.
Bolt, who has his own Foundation now has a package of Charities which he supports, which includes Piedmont Basic School, Waldensia Primary School, William Knibb High School, Sherwood Content Health Centre where he provides safety and recreational equipment along with learning tools for children.

Courtesy of WhoSay.com.
Kipchoge_EluidQ-WorChps11.jpg
Eliud Kipchoge, 2011 WC 5,000m heats, photo by PhotoRun.net

Farah_Mo1-NBind12.JPGMo Farah, Galen Rupp, 2012 NB Indoor Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Men's two mile ended the Aviva Grand Prix Meeting at Birmingham's NIA stadium on Saturday, February 18, 2012. The meet had been building up to the two mile, with some tremendous performances. From Liu Xiang's hurdle victory over Dayron Robles in 7.41 to 7.50, to Jessica Ennis's hurdle victory in 7.87 PB and two long jump PB, going to 6.47m, the crowd of 8,000 was entertained. British athletes won the long jump, (Shara Proctor's 6.70 and 6.80m, two pbs in one day!), mens high jump, womens pole vault (Holly Bleasdale).

The two mile was to be something special. Mo Farah, who had defeated Augustine Choge in Glasgow in a very tough 1,500m in late January was on his turf. He was going to run a fast two mile, going for the British record of John Maycock, from 2002 of 8:17.06, but, more importantly, the 39 year old, to the day, run by Emiel Puttemans, the Belgian gardener, who had taken two silvers in the 1972 Olympics at 5,000m and 10,000m.

Fans, eight thousand of them (a sell out crowd, sold out since November 2011), were ready to see something special, and they were rewarded for their presence.




Jon Gugala wrote this exactly a month ago. I really liked it then, and I like it more now. I consider it a Think Piece. Jon's challenge from me, was to give some historical significance for the women's race at the Trials.

Read it carefully, dear readers, before the hate mail starts. As Jon tried to communicate to you, our readers, how both the athletes felt about their performances and he felt about their races, there is, of course, some artistic license, but I believe that Jon shows how different Shalane, Desi, Kara and Amy are. And he shows that these very different runners are making our sport even stronger. Fascinating reading....


Davila_DesireeLeads-OlyTrials12.JPgDavila leads Flanagan, 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net


centro2.jpg
_SSS3173.jpgJantzen Oshier, 2011 Cal State Champ, 1,600m, 4:00.83,
courtesy of Brooks Running

Last year, in its first incarnation, the 2011 Brooks PR invitational gave Brooks a well viewed example of how a performance footwear company could put together an event on the very crowded indoor high school track & field schedule. RBR welcomes the support of the sport from Brooks, but Brooks also did a unique event on the American high school calendar. With some fun (Golden Tickets, Ryan from Flocasts dressed up ala Willy Wonka for a hysterical commercial promoting Brooks PR) and some tremendously competitive races, Brooks has put its imprimatur on the big meets of the high school indoor season.

blocks-thumb-400x601-927.jpg Blocks, 2011 Brooks PR Invite, photo courtesy of Brooks PR

RBR will be at the 2012 Brooks PR invitational, with our live blog of the event, so, between Flocasts video of the meet, Brooks twitter live and our coverage, fans will have lots to check out!

Amy Eloise Neale-thumb-500x332-1564.jpg Amy Eloise Neal (#12), numero #1, 1,600m, #3, 3,200m, (2011 Brooks PR Invite),
photo courtesy of Brooks PR

We have included the schedule so far and will update you as we get closer to the meet this week! Don't miss the Brooks PR invitational!


LeMaitre-Powell-Frater-Lausanne11.jpg
Christophe Lemaitre, Asafa Powell, Michael Frater, 2011 Lausanne,
photo by PhotoRun.net


Thompson-Bolt-LeMaitreFH-Rome11.jpgRichard Thompson, Usain Bolt, Christophe Lemaitre,
2011 Compeed Golden Gala,Rome,
photo by PhotoRun.net


The 2012 Compeed Golden Gala has announced that they will have both Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt competing in the 1960 Olympic stadium, the historic Stadio Olympico, that hosts the Compeed Golden Gala. Last year, Bolt defeated Powell, 9.91 to 9.93. Powell has started off the indoor season quite well, and Bolt will soon be seen running relays in Jamaica, to open his season.

RBR visited the Compeed Golden Gala in 2011, and has put the event on the record for 2012. Look forward to seeing many of you there!

Barshim_MutazQ1-Worlds11.jpg
Essa Barshim Mutaz, Qatar, 2011 World Champs high jump, photo by PhotoRun.net

Essa Barshim Mutaz continues to impress! Shortly after a new Qatari record of 2.34m, Essa Barshim Mutaz clears 2.37m, a National Record and Area record as well! The talented, young high jumper shows why he could become a very dominant player in the global high jump scene.

Mutaz has speed, and very strong acceleration. An emotional jumper, Mutaz is quick becoming a jumper to consider in both Istanbul and London. The record was set at the Asian Indoor Games.
Liu_XiangR-AsianG10.jpgLiu Xiang, 2010 Asian Games, photo by PhotoRun.net

The AVIVA Grand Prix was a tremendous meet. Perhaps the most competitive event on the 2012 indoor circuit so far. Lui Xiang versus Dayron Robles, with Dexter Faulk and Aries Merritt made this the best 60m hurdle race of year (only David Oliver missing). Liu Xiang won in WL of 7.41 over Robles 7.50! Lerone Clarke upset both Nesta Carter and Asafa Powell. Powell just had a bad start, and Clarke and Carter rolled on. And Jessica Ennis showing her stuff in a fine 60m hurdle victory in PR 7.87 and two pbs in long jump indoors, with final 6.47m! Tianna Madison, the 2005 world champ in LONG JUMP, continues to amaze as she blasted 7.11 for 60 victory, remember she ran 7.02 and 7.05 last weekend!

Eliud Kipchoges' fast two mile of 8:07.39 over Mo Farah's hard charging 8.08.07. Farah broke the British record of John Maycock from 2002 of 8:17.06 and the 39 year old European record of 8:13.2 (set on 18 February 1973) of one Emiel Puttemans, the Belgian gardener who won silver medals in both the 5,000m and 10,000m in Munich! Farah ran tough, noting that he was a bit tired over the last 1,000 meters.

8,000 fans, sold out since November, the AVIVA Grand Prix lives up to its rep: a well attended meet, great competition and best TV on circuit. It is also a historical event, as FastTrack agency, the marketing group that brought UK Athletics in 1999, back from bankruptcy, will no longer be doing the marketing for the federation, starting March 1.

Uk Athletics Niels de Vos, paid tribute to Alan Pascoe , Jon Ridgeon and their team at Fast Track at a small cocktail party on Saturday evening, post Aviva Grand Prix. de Vos, Ridgeon and Pascoe's comments were heartfelt and thoughtful. The truth is that FastTrack has given UK athletics both a financial and media footing that is second to no national athletics federation in the world.

The glue that binds the successful merchandising and branding of a sport, and federation like UK athletics is great stories to tell. One has to go back many years to find more compelling athletes or stories. The man who will see his rep on the line is Ian Stewart, meet director and UK endurance mentor. This Aviva Grand Prix showed that the quality of the event and the enthusiasm is there as 2012 gets into full swing.

UK Athletics has the focus of the most sophisticated media organizations in the world, print, digital and TV. It comes down to one thing in 2012: how the British athletes perform. At the end, nothing else matters. It will be a fascinating year.
You could read it all in Mitchell Watt's twitter this morning: "Congrats to my training partner, Henry Frayne for his A-qualifier in the long jump tonight! 8.27. Might have to change his twitter name (@HenryFrayneTJ).

Pearson_Sally-LondonDL10.JPGSally Pearson, LoLo Jones, 2010 AVIVA London, photo by PhotoRun.net

So, Henry Frayne popped a wonderful 8.27m, and Sally Pearson opened her 2012 hurdle wars with a fine 12.66!

Am just about to go live with Avia Grand Prix series, remember to check us out on Runblogrun.com, and click on Live area!

Keitany_MaryWide-RAK12.JPGMary Keitany, RAK 2012, February 17, 2012, photo by PhotoRun.net

KEITANY WINS BUT RECORDS BLOWN OFF COURSE IN WINDY RAK

(This report came from our always observant photographer, Victah Sailer! Victah's moving around the world this weekend!)

The sixth edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in the U.A.E. on Friday morning saw Kenyan winners in both men's and women's contests but the runners were buffeted by strong south-easterly winds throughout, with mixed effects on the elite fields of Kenyans and Ethiopians.

After her global mark here 12 months ago, no better than a "solid run" was expected of Kenya's Mary Keitany, so it was all the more surprising when the winner of last year's Virgin London Marathon followed the pacemaking of Ethiopian Sulti Gure Timbre and her own husband of six weeks Charles Koech. Tucked well behind them, she tore through 8km in 24:48, a full 8 seconds inside world record tempo.

After passing 10km in 31:09 (30:45 in 2011 but WR steady pace would be 31:10), and with a lead of 1:14 from Georgina Rono, Gladys Cherono and Feysa Tadesse, hopes were raised by the fine form of the diminutive Olympic hopeful. Soon after half way however, the combination of headwind and overly optimistic early pace, brought on shades of her New York Marathon demise last November; that third 5km segment took 16:03 but her pursuers actually lost even more ground and her 15k split of 47:12 (46:40 in her record run one year ago) saw her exactly two minutes up on the trio, still locked together.

 A clocking of 16 minutes exactly for the fourth 5km section confirmed that it was a race of two halves for Keitany (first half 31:09, second half 32:03), but perhaps the strength of the wind was best underlined when splits showed that same 5km (to 20km) took the chasing group 16:32 although there was perhaps an element of watching each other therein. For her part, with the finish in sight, the light-as-a-feather mother of 3 year-old Jared Kipchumba pushed hard for the line, but even that last 1.1km took 3:37 (3:24 in her record run last year), as she crossed the line in 1:06:49, a time bettered by only three others in history.

Her winning margin of 2:24 over an outstanding field, only emphasised her extraordinary ability, but the 30 year old displayed all the post-race nonchalance for which so many great Kenyan runners are renowned. Asked immediately after the race if she realised she was on world record pace, the simple answer was "No, but the wind was very bad in the second half." suggesting that a run of something at least close to last year's 65:50 may have been possible in a kinder breeze. In second, Georgina Rono (1:09:13) was only 5 seconds off her best ever, with Gladys Cherono a further second back.

The surprise of the day was triple-edged for the men; firstly just minutes before the start, came the news that Geoffrey Mutai, winner here in 2010 and of the Boston and New York Marathons last year, would not start. A sore foot had been nagging apparently, a legacy of the tough course negotiated at last week's San Blas Half Marathon; the suggestion was that the withdrawal was a precaution rather than a no-choice fait accompli. The second shock was that a field boasting 9 sub one hour runners cruised its way through the first half of the race - in stark contrast to Keitany's approach - passing 10km in a relatively slow 28:45. And the final unexpected event unfolded when 18 year old Dennis Kipruto Koech, in his first race outside of Kenya, eased away from his rivals at around the 12km mark to build up an unassailable lead.

Despite the best efforts of Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, second here in 2009 and spectacular winner of the Frankfurt Marathon last October in 2:03:42, the youngster from Eldoret - who is ironically a member of the Geoffrey Mutai-led training group - could not be reeled in, crossing the line in an untroubled 60:40. Although this was by 48 seconds the slowest winning time ever in RAK, it was a personal best by 40 seconds for the farmer's son with all the shyness of the uninitiated but with a smooth and deceptively effective gait.

Much damage had been done soon after half way when the Ethiopia's noticeably muscled Feyisa Lelisa, so strange a sight amidst the linear Kenyan frames, upped his work rate and the all too comfortable pack of 12 running together to 10km (including the 3 pacemakers), quickly disintegrated. Only young Koech was able to absorb the surge of the year's fastest man (1st in Houston on 15th January in 59:22) and return it with interest, rapidly opening a gap before 15km.

A late surge by Azmeraw Bekele, but coming from too far back - he was 14 seconds down on the pack at 10km - saw him draw to within 8 seconds of Koech at 20k, but he got no closer and the 9 second winning margin showed the maturity and strength of the teenager when meeting such a high quality field for the first time. Indeed, only four pursuers could stay within a minute of his finishing time, such was the power of his sustained closing pace.

Unaware of where his next race might be, young Koech has never broken 14 minutes for 5,000m even though his third 5km segment was covered in 14:11 - fully 13 seconds faster than any of his rivals - and most of that damage was done in the space of 3km (12km to 15km). His return to the training squad of over fifty members and the worrying injury to Mutai, will bring mixed emotions, though for one so young, the prize money of $15,000 has to diminish any concern for his mentor who from now on is very much a rival. It remains to be seen whether Mutai will so willingly give of his time and knowledge now that even his youngest charges have started winning big. Most athletes would think long and hard about the options.

Koech_DennisM1-RAK12.JPGDennis Kipruto Koech, el numero uno, RAK 2012, February 17, 2012,
photo by PhotoRun.ne
t

With 86 nations participating and 122 relay teams of 4 taking in the near dead flat RAK circuit, the day represented yet another growth spurt to reward Race Director Nathan Clayton's endeavours. The awarding of the IAAF Gold Label plaque after the race, to the Chair of the Executive Organising Committee Colonel Nasser Mradad, was an appropriate way to acknowledge the progress made in such a short space of time. The very first RAK Half Marathon in 2007 saw a world record by the late Sammy Wanjiru; wouldn't it be appropriate if in Olympic year, the race witnessed the emergence of another future Olympic star in Dennis Kipruto Koech. He might have to wait longer than the 18 months that saw Wanjiru go from RAK Champion to Olympic Champion, but at 18 it is clear that time is very much on his side.

Results of RAK Half Marathon 2012
MEN                                WOMEN
1. Dennis Kipruto Koech (KEN)    1:00:40        1. Mary Keitany (KEN)              1:06:49
2. Azmeraw Bekele (ETH)        1:00:49        2. Georgina Rono (KEN)          1:09:13
3. Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich (KEN)    1:01:01        3. Gladys Cherono (KEN)          1:09:14
4. Bernard Kipyego (KEN)        1:01:29        4. Feysa Tadese (ETH)              1:09:15
5. Feyisa Lelisa (ETH)            1:01:52        5. Hilda Kibet (KEN)              1:11:15
6. Fabiano Joseph (TAN)        1:02:00        6. Caroline Cheptanui Kilel (KEN) 1:11:21
7. Kiplimo Kimutai (KEN)        1:02:03        7. Rose Chelimo (KEN)               1:11:31
8. Levy Matebo Omari (KEN)        1:02:15        8. Feheriwat Goshu (ETH)           1:12:57
9. Joseph Maregu (KEN)        1:02:31        9. Serena Burla (USA)               1:13:43
10. Tsegaye Kebede (ETH)        1:02:34        10. Dehininet Demsew (ETH)           1:15:14

spt_ai_avivagrandprix_pc_01.jpg
Liu Xiang Dayron Robles, Mo Farah, Asafa Powell, Holly Bleasdale, 2012 AVIVA GP press conference 2, courtesy of Aviva

A very nicely presented press conference today. The five athletes took a few questions on the table and then split up for print, TV and radio media.

Dayron Robles, the current world record holder at 110 meter hurdles,  said to RBR, " My training is going well and I want to run as fast as I can right now." His emphasis was on the word, "rapido". Watch for Robles to put a time out there to wake up the hurdling community.

Asafa Powell noted that he had not run 60 meters since 2004 and looked forward to racing well. " I want to run 6.51 or better." That is quite fast. For Powell, the race is a blur, as such a short sprint is based on his start.

Liu Xiang of China, the former 110m hurdle WR holder and 2011 WC silver medalist, noted that he does not look back, on 2008, but only ahead. He did admit that 2011 WC race, where he took the silver, was a bit of a surprise.

And then, Holly Bleasdale,the British pole vaulter, who jumped the third highest EVER indoors, and number two vault for 2012, of 4.87m. Holly is very new to the media game, but was a brilliant interview. She loves the sport and is enjoying the scene so far. Sergey Bubka, the greatest male vaulter of all time, noted that she is in the medal hunt for London. Her vaulting is going well and she should have an easy pb for jumping in Birmingham, as her former best there was several years ago at 3.60meters. " I am trying to get used to jumping on longer poles."

And then, there is Mo Farah. The guy is so on right now, it is not funny. First, he stumbles and looses the pack in the mile in Boston and he not only catches the field, but finishes third and with a PB in the mile. He then runs 4 miles at tempo of 4.43 per mile and finishes that with a distance session. He is aiming for John Maycock's British two mile record of 8:17, but do not be surprised if he takes down the 8:13.2 of Emiel Puttemann, who ran that back in 1973-it was, and is still, the European indoor record. Mo asked how fast that was, and I told him " 4:06 miles" Should have said two 3:48 1,500 meters back to back!

In any case, RBR will be covering the meet from the National stadium on Saturday ( 4 am Pacific time, 6am Central and 5 am Eastern time). Watch, read, listen.
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Yelena Isinbayeva, 2011 DN Galen Stockholm, DL, , photo by PhotoRun.net

Russian media is suggesting that Yelena Isinbayeva will get a buy to the World Champs. Jenn Suhr, the AR at 4.88m or 16 feet even, and highest jumper in 2012, is considering Istanbul, but first, she must finish in top ten in Albququerque next weekend! Suhr is trying to be careful not to overuse her achilles, which has been an issue most of her career.


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Usain Bolt, 2011 Areva Paris 200m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Usain Bolt is planning his 2012 season, and Ostrava Golden Spike, for the sixth time, will be on his schedule. It is early on Friday in Birmingham, UK, spent some time with Dayron Robles and his coach, and feel that a very fast time this weekend is in store for the Cuban super star. Also, watch Mo Farah and Bernard Lagat in the two mile. The AR, the ER of 8:13.2, and the British record will be gone on Saturday, at the NAI stadium in Birmingham. mark my prediction.

Mo Farah ran a personal best for the indoor mile after stumbling and falling back 20 meters. As is his talent, Mr. Farah caught the field and nearly won the race! Farah is a superstar. He will run the two mile quite fast this weekend. I predicted 8:04. A keen observer predicted eight minutes. We will know in 36 hours!


millrose 105.jpg2012 Millrose Games, Just before the high jump, photo by Larry Eder

Make no mistake. Last weekend, with three ARs, one in Millrose and two at USATF Classic, was a tremendous weekend for our sport in the US. I visited the Millrose Games, for only my second visit to the Armory, and was I impressed? Of course! A well orchestrated meet, great competitions, an appreciative crowd. Here is how Elliott Denman saw the meet!

By ELLIOTT DENMAN

 NEW YORK - Call the New Balance Armory Track and Field Center "The House That Norb Built."

  The miracle on 168th Street is a tribute to the incredible, enlightened, odds-beating determination of Dr. Norbert Sander.

  Once upon a time, his primary credit line read "only native New Yorker ever to win the New York Marathon."

  Now, that's oh-so-20th century.

   It's the Armory that is his real achievement.  And every last Millrose Games-goer last Saturday saw the evidence first-hand.

  Matt Centrowitz was one of many celebrated figures of track and field's recent past invited "home," to the classic Millrose Games, to Millrose's new base at the Armory,  to the rebirth of the meet in its new setting, 135 Manhattan blocks north of its old one.

  Centrowitz, former U.S. record-holder at 5,000 meters and member of two American Olympic teams, was at the Armory this Saturday night along with notables Eamonn Coghlan, Marcus O'Sullivan, Tom Courtney, Byron Dyce, John Thomas, Tom Farrell, and more, royalty all in the track and field realm.

   Their presence drove home the obvious - that track and field was, now and forever, still world-class family entertainment.   The sellout crowd of over 5,000 was surely packed with numerous multi-generational delegations.  In its nearly a century at Madison Square Garden, Millrose had always been the best of all locations for families, old teammates, classmates and dear buddies to gather round the old oval, to hash out past races, tell tales, relate war stories.

   And so it was again at the Armory.

    That oval is now a world-class 200 meters, no longer the Garden's slowish 145-meter circuit, a situation giving every last competitor a fighting chance to run a world-class time, or at least set a PR, or at least look good doing whatever.   It took a whole lot of guts for Armory management to move the meet out of the Garden, where attendance had slipped drastically, and costs driven up-up-up in recent years.  But Dr, Norbert Sander, the man behind the Armory's astounding renaissance, had the vision and seized the moment.

     The move - by the good doctor and the fine folks of the Armory Track and Field Foundation - proved to be a huge winner. The 105th Millrose Games was first-rate all the way.  Sure, track and field may still be alive at the Garden - hopefully there will be a second running of the USATF-backed U.S. Open Meet in 2013, - but it's just as clear that Millrose will write its own series of success stories at the Armory for years to come.

  And maybe even USATF - which elected, on very late notice, to challenge Millrose with its own meet at Fayetteville, Arkansas, held earlier Saturday, will get to appreciate all that.  Hopefully, in the best interests of the sport, they'll put aside the debate, and the acrimony, do what they should do in the best interest of all, and stage these meets on separate Saturdays in 2013 and beyond.

     "Yes, I think we've got the right formula," said Dr. Sander.  "Millrose was a great meet this year, but we want to make it a lot better next year, and for years after that.  World-class track and field needs a world-class track.  And we've certainly got one right here at the Armory."

   The Millrose tradition lived on.  Armory-goers got to see such gems as Bernard Lagat's American-record 13:07.15 5,000-meter victory over training partner Lawi Lalang; world champion Jenny Simpson's 4:07.27 1500-meter win over Shannon Rowbury, and LaShawn Merritt's go-for-it 500-meter victory in 1:01.39.

  Oh, and Sanya Richards-Ross made a major point to her husband, the Super Bowl champion Giants' cornerback Aaron Ross, that he's not the only big-time athlete in the marriage. She blazed 400 meters in 50.89, fastest time in the world this year.

    For sure, Eamonn Coghlan had a whole lot to cheer for - son John was running the anchor 1600 meters for Dublin City University in the collegiate invitational distance medley - now named for Byron Dyce, whose own starring deeds had been notched for NYU and the Jamaica Olympic team.

  What a story line "Byron's Race" carried -  DCU was facing Villanova, his dad's alma mater, now coached by O'Sullivan, his dad's great Irish international team colleague, and Villanova marvel in his own right.

   The duel lived up to all its billing - Villanova anchor Samuel McEntee and DCU anchor John Coghlan went at it mano-a-mano, stride-for-stride. At the end, it was Villanova a very happy winner in 9:38.02, to DCU's 9:39.68.  McEntee had run his four laps in 3:59.8, John Coghlan in four-flat.

    But the younger Coghlan wasn't immediately available to interviewers.  "Oh, he's under the stands somewhere, puking his guts out," said DCU teammate Joe Warne.

   Just before 10 p.m., another Millrose tradtion was served.

    The Wanamaker Mile was always the big-big-big one at the Millrose Garden meets and it sure was a hit once again at the Armory.

   "How're you feeling?" Matt Centrowitz was asked, minutes before the Wanamaker Mile field was called to the starting line.  "Can't tell you right now," said Matt. "Ask me that later."

   A Manhattan guy, born and bred, a graduate of the city's Power Memorial High School, a Manhattan College runner for a while, before finishing up at Oregon, Matt had always loved being a footracer in this city.

  Lauren Centrowitz had placed eighth in the women's 1500-meter "metric mile" earlier on the program and now it was her  brother Matthew's turn to carry the family coat-of-arms around the track.

  He'd turned pro runner last fall, after taking a surprise bronze medal in the 1500 meters at the World Championships in Daegu, Korea, last September.  Now it was his own momentous turn in the spotlight, in the big race in his dad's hometown.

  Soon enough, the 22-year-old proved himself the real deal, the genuine article.

  With a lap and a half left, he surged in front of a world-class field - eight runners would eventually break four minutes - and went on to win in an Armory-record 3:53.92.

  The runner-up, the appropriately-named Miles Batty of Brigham Young - would set a national collegiate record of 3:54.94.

   Matthew Centrowitz had debuted as a pro in the 3000-meter race at Boston last week so this was his first mile of the Olympic year.


 He told interviewers that a 3:53.92 performance the second week of February was a very good omen of much better things to come later - more specifically the Olympic Trials in late June, and hopefully, the London Olympic Games this summer.

   And then Matthew Centrowitz told his dad to relax - the deed had been done; he'd proven himself a quality footracer, too. In the Armory. In the Big Apple. In his Dad's town.
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Geoffrey Mutai takes 2011 ING NYCM, photo by PhotoRun.net

Geoffrey Mutai won two of the most important races of 2011: BAA Boston and ING New York City Marathon! He is not only talented, but driven. Mr. Mutai is racing the RAK half marathon on Friday morning, February 17, 2012 in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE.

Vivian Cheruiyot, World Champ at 5,000m and 10,000m, has pulled out of the AVIVA Grand Prix, due to illness.

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Bianca Knight, Danielle Carruthers, Hanah England, Micheal Frater, Aviva GP Press Conference 1, photos courtesy of Aviva series.

The Aviva Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the indoor series. An excellent facility, with 11-12,000 fans, well produced, Live TV and excellent competition, it is hard to find a negative. I also like how they do their press conferences, highlighting athletes from near and far.

I do not believe that I have missed this meet in six years. It is great to catch up with agents, athletes, coaches, sponsors, and at this time of the year, one month out from World Indoors (Istanbul, Turkey), and six months from London. 

Here are my observations: 1). Nice to see US indoor season this year, with four great meets, albeit two on same day. I believe that will be worked out. 2). Jenny Simpson is handling WC title well, lots of pressure. 3). I am looking for the great surprises for 2012, and I believe, there will be many. 4). Hannah England is a real threat at 1,500m, like Jenny Simpson, Hannah gets herself in position to perform. 5). Morgan Uceny & Shannon Rowbury are continuing to impress. 6). Events like AVIVA Grand Prix, meets that have great head to heads, supporting local athletes, well produced, are key to our sports future. 7.) Four ARS so far in 2012 is a good sign. 8). Very thankful that the footwear companies consider our sport important to support, now more than ever. 9). AVIVA shows, in its support of UK Athletics since 1999, that non-footwear sponsors are out there, and that global athletics in general, US and UK athletics in particular, are good homes for a global company to support.

The 2012 Meeting Pas de Calais was astounding, with six World leaders, eight European leaders, two meet records and one world junior record! Leron Clarke defeated Christophe LeMaitre over 60m, and Lemaitre ran EL in 200m in 20.92. Great distance runs, with Edwin Soi winning a fast 3,000 meters (7:32). And that was just the beginning!

Soi_EdwinFV-Hengelo11.jpgEdwin Soi, 2011 FBK Hengelo, photo by PhotoRun.net

Edwin Soi had a nice cross country season, then, started just flying around the indoor tracks! How fast can he go. Word is that Mo Farah should be going after the two mile European record of one Emiel Puttemans, who ran 8:13.2 way back in 1973! Puttemans was to the long distances on the indoor track what Eamonn Coghlan was to the indoor mile! Mo Farah should be able to run 8:06 to 8:08, with his strength right now. Let's see how he does!



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Abdi Abdirahman, 2012 US Olympic Trials-Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Abdi Abdirahman made the US Olympic team for the marathon on January 14, 2012. He told RBR last week that he has recovered very well. Abdi announced that he will be running the Shamrock Shuffle 8k, the city of Chicago's annual rite of spring on Sunday, March 25. Here is the release our friends at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon sent us:
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Seb Coe, Paula Radcliffe, IAAF 2007 Gala, photo by PhotoRun.net

Fascinating how IOC's Rogge's hands are tied about bringing in Seb Coe to IOC Council. Europe's economic woes pressure Italian PM to not support Rome 2020 bid, unfortunate, but his view of political and economic landscape...

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Last spring, we visited the Spire Institute--it is amazing. I have no idea why every conference in midwest is not there. Perfect place for a major grand prix meet! Outdoor facility is superb, and the indoor one would make any track geek drool! Check out a meet at SPIRE when you can! 


SPIRE INSTITUTE NAMED HOST OF 2013 BIG TEN INDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS


Combined Men's and Women's Championships to be Held at State-of-the-Art Complex

 

Geneva, Ohio - February 15, 2012 - In 2013, The Big Ten will hold its Track & Field Championships at SPIRE Institute (www.spireinstitute.org), one of the world's largest indoor, Olympic-grade, multi-sport training, event and academic complexes. SPIRE will host the Big Ten Championships in partnership with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. By utilizing SPIRE's Indoor Track & Field Facility, one of the largest and most technologically advanced in the country, the Big Ten will host their men's and women's championships together.

 

SPIRE's 240,000 sq. ft. indoor Track & Field Complex, according to Olympic Gold Medalist and SPIRE Athlete Leadership Board Member Michael Johnson, is one of the best in the world. An eight-lane, 300-meter Beynon synthetic track surface with two, 150-meter straightaways sets the stage for easy set-up and execution of any track event. For field events, the facility features two high jump pits, two long jump pits, two pole vault pits, and multiple throws areas, all which do not interfere with the track action. Utilizing an Olympic-standard custom Lynx timing and scoring system, event results are posted quickly and accurately. The facility seats up to up to 5,000 spectators and features dynamic views and ample concessions. Overlooking the track, a 25,000 square foot glass-encased banquet, hospitality and meeting space with gourmet dining options provides an ideal location to enjoy the event and allows participants to never have to leave the complex.

 

"We are thrilled to be hosting the 2013 Track & Field Championships at SPIRE," said Wendy Fallen, Big Ten Associate Commissioner for Championships. "The facilities and commitment put forth by SPIRE and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission will undoubtedly lead to a terrific event.

 

The agreement calls for the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships to be held at SPIRE, with additional years to be decided individually. In addition to Track & Field, SPIRE's Olympic-grade facilities have the unique ability to simultaneously host tournaments and championship events in a variety of sports including volleyball, swimming and soccer.

 

"Northeast Ohio has built a reputation as being one of the premier destinations in the country for hosting major sporting events," said David Gilbert, president & CEO, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. "The addition of SPIRE Institute takes it to a new level.  Being awarded the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships is evidence of what SPIRE can mean to our community."

 

SPIRE's Indoor Track & Field Complex will also play a major role for athletes attending SPIRE Academy.  SPIRE will begin its high school and post graduate boarding academy in the fall of 2012. SPIRE's nationally renowned coaches will offer training programs in swimming, soccer, track and field, volleyball and basketball. SPIRE Institute is the world's premier destination for high school and post graduates seeking to optimize athletic, academic and leadership abilities. SPIRE's unique program delivers customized training, competition, and athletic development with Michael Johnson Performance. In addition, the integration of mental conditioning, nutritional guidance, character building and a variety of other educational options enhances the opportunity for athletes to reach their full potential on and off the track.

 

The Academy will offer residential semesters, weekend training sessions as well as a full schedule of summer camps; and will feature the most diverse and inclusive collection of athletes assembled on one campus.

 

"We are honored that the Big Ten has recognized our track & field complex by selecting us to host their joint men's and women's championships," said Ron Clutter, founder & CEO, SPIRE Institute. "SPIRE was designed to have the capacity and facilities to host all sized competitions - from clubs and leagues to collegiate championships and multi-day events. We are excited to work with the Ben Ten to make the 2013 event a success and look forward to welcoming the teams, coaches and fans to SPIRE." 

 

About SPIRE Institute
SPIRE integrates sports and education, training and learning with a focus on the development of the whole self.  It features 750,000 sq. ft. of Olympic grade facilities under roof, acres of outdoor fields and a multi-sport stadium complex. SPIRE can simultaneously host clubs, leagues, tournaments and championship events no matter the weather or the season. Spire Institute and its nationally renowned coaches will offer residential training programs in soccer, track & field, volleyball, swimming and basketball.  Junior athletes will train alongside collegians, professionals, wounded veterans, Olympians, Paralympians and masters level athletes. SPIRE will offer residential semester athletic programs, weekend and weekly sports training sessions, mental conditioning, sports medicine, nutrition and wellness programs, and a variety of customized academic options.  SPIRE Institute is a part of the Geneva area Recreational, Educational and Athletic Trust, a non-profit organization that re-invests every dollar back into the development of its athletes, its programs and its facilities. 

 

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Vivian Cheruiyot, 2011 WC 5,000m final, photo by PhotoRun.net

Vivian Cheruiyot is the double gold medalist from the 2011 World Champs at 10,000m and 5,000m. I  had the pleasure of seeing her decimate a field in the world leading 5,000 meters she ran last summer in DN Galen. Her pace was amazing, but her heart, and her focus is what makes her such a tremendous athlete. I am especially happy to see her race this weekend in Birmingham at the AVIVA Grand Prix, in her only indoor race of 2012, the 3,000 meters! RBR will cover the meet live!
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Mikal Peveto, adidas director of running, North America, photo courtesy of adidas communications

Updated & Reposted on February 14, 2012, 8:15 PM

Mikal Peveto, aka Peev, is a lifer in this industry. In his second life at adidas, Peev gave us some time on the new adizero Rush. He also spoke about adidas heritage and where adidas is going. A good read....

Dear & Gentle readers: I reposted this piece tonight, as none of my edits were saved and I had spelt Mikal's last name wrong. Thanks to Peev's considerable charm, and sense of humor, the interview is now, what it should have been last night, a good read. My sincere apologies, perhaps a flashback or senior momento.


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Edwin Soi, 2011 FBK Hengelo, photo by PhotoRun.net


Choge_Augustine1a-Nancy11.jpgAugustine Choge, 2011 Nancy, France, photo by PhotoRun.net

Dibaba_Gez1-Carson08.JPGGezeba Dibaba, photo by PhotoRun.net

Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi ran 7:29.94 for 3,000 meters in Karlruhe on Sunday, January 12, 2011. Genzebe Dibaba ran a WL 4:00.17 the same night. What an evening! RBR will be covering the AVIVA Grand Prix this coming weekend in Birmingham, GBR. See you then!


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Christophe Lemaitre, 2010 European Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Here is some news from our friends in Europe, at the EAA. Big stuff is how French sprint stud Christophe Lemaitre is planning his season!

We give you Somali-American long distance runner and part of Team USA Abdi Abdirahman. Taking third at the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston, TX, Abdi will be joining his fellow teammates in taking on the world at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
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New Balance Custom 993, courtesy of NB communications

For a brand to be a success, it must understand its strengths and weaknesses. I like to call that understanding the currency. NB has done amazing things with the Made is USA label and as the brand insures a renaissance with new minimalist shoes, and some new performance shoes, expanding the Made in USA program makes sense. Look at the brands doing well in US at this time, and you will see, that, most importantly, they understand their currencies-the intangibles that the consumer uses to judge the brand. If you do not get how the consumer (and in run specialty, the staffer selling shoes on the floor) looks at your brand, your brand will not succeed. Simple, yet complex. Like a Buddhist koan.
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Galen Rupp, Mo Farah, Bernard Lagat, 2011 WC 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

What a weekend of athletics! First, an AR by Jillian Camerena Williams in the shot put, with 19.89m for the NYAC athlete at the USATF Classic. Then, Bernard Lagat sets new AR in 5,000m in Millrose Games, running 13:07.18, breaking AR at 5,000m of Galen Rupp. Then, Galne Rupp breaks Lagat's two mile record, running 8:09.72, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at the USATF Classic. Six men under 3:55 in mile at Geoff Hollister Mile in Fayetteville. Eight men under 4 minutes in Millrose, with Matthew Centrowitz winning in 3:53.92 over BYU's Miles Batty, who ran a collegiate record of 3:54.54!

Mack_BobbyFV-USAxc12.JPG Bobby Mack, 2012 USATF XC, photo by PhotoRun.net

On top of that, cross country fans got their days' worth in St.Louis as Bobby Mack won over Aaron Braun in the US XC Club champs, by ten seconds. In the women's race, Molly Huddle and Sarah Hall dueled to a photo-finish less than one hundredth of a second. Sarah Hall was given the win!

Huddle-HalFV1c-USAxc12.JPGMolly Huddle, Sarah Hall, 2012 USATF XC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Great weekend of sports, and stories abound on how great our athletes are in this sport!

Camerena_JillianWide-USind11.JPGJillian Camerena-Williams, 2011 USATF Indoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net



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Bernard Lagat, 2010 World Indoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Bernard Lagat, running a controlled race (4:12.75, 8:27.28 for one, two miles), used a 2.34 last 1,000 meters to set a new American record for the 5,000 meters of 13:07.15, breaking the AR of Galen Rupp set in AVIVA Birmingham in February 2011. Lagat's win was impressive, as he lead the field to three other records: a collegiate record for Lawi Lalang of Arizona (13:08.28), and Edward Cheserek set a new High School record of 13:57.04. Nice running by Leonard Korir of Iona, in 13:19.54 and Chris Derrick of Stanford, running 13:19.58!

But the race was Bernard Lagats. Bernard told RBR two weeks ago, " I am focused on the 5,000m this year, so lets see what I can do." Lagat can run faster this indoor season. This was Lagat's eighth American record.

Bernard Lagat congratulated the rest of the field and thanked the great crowd at the 2012 Millrose Games.

More details to come!
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Jillian Camerena-Williams, 2011 USATF Indoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

Jillian Camerena-Williams, the World Champ bronze medalist in the shot put, set a new American record of 19.89m or 65-3.75 for the women's shot. The record was set in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on February 11, 2012 at the USATF Classic. Jillian represents the NYAC. More details to come.


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Chris Thompson, Mo Farah, 2010 Euros, photo by PhotoRun.net

Chris Thompson, Euro silver medalist over 10,000m, running for the Nike Oregon TC/Elite, and coached by Olympic steeplechaser Mark Rowland, ran 13:29.94 for 5,000m on the 307m oversized track at UW Seattle. Sally Kipyego ran 15:15.41 there for 5,000m. Met Coach Rowland at Rosie O'Grady's last ING NYCM, surprised to see distance runners in an establishment that sells adult beverages. Mark was a fine steeplechaser who possessed some serious mile speed. His athletes respect him, which is the highest praise a coach can receive.

Congrats to Gil Roberts for his nifty double of 20.58 and 45.39 in Albuquerque! That is flying!
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Jimmy Vicaut, photo by PhotoRun.net

Jimmy Vicaut ran 6.53 for the 60 meters at PSD Bank Meeting, held in Dusseldorf last night. Yes, the French have sprinters and Jimmy is faster than Lemaitre now over 60. Remember when the French 4 x 100m team had the WR? At that time, they had four guys who trained together since they were 15-16 and ran 10.10 or so for 100 meters. Watch Monsieur Vicaut. He is much more of a 100 meter runner than Lemaitre. But, a fascinating duo there!
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Sergey Bubka, Renaud Lavillenie, 2010 Euro Indoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 23rd Pole Vault Stars meeting, in Donetsk has been supported by WR holder Sergey Bubka. Vaulters have told me that the 30 hours it takes to get to Donetsk during the winter is worth it, as it highlights the event with most of the great active vaulters. Renaud Lavillenie, the #1 ranked male vaulter in the world, and 2010 Euro Indoor Champion, will be opening his 2012 season there.

RBR is in NYC for the Millrose Games. We will go live there at 4 pm EST and will also provide updates from Fayetteville, Arkansas and also reports on the USATF XC champs. More to come! A bit of snow in New York, but nothing on the ground, as of yet.
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Carey Pinkowski, Executive Race Director of Bank of America Chicago Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

So, here is how it started. Robin Monsky, the PR Goddess of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon starts texting me, only some five hours after registration opens for the above mentioned marathon. " Larry, registration is up 155 %, this is crazy."  So, I scribble something in my notebook. Six hours later. " Larry, tell anybody who wants to run to get to online registration soon as we are filling up fast. " I twitter a cautionary note to RBR's minions in twitterville.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has gone from 51 days to 31 days to SIX DAYS, in three years. At the helm of the race for most of the past two plus decades has been the iconic Carey Pinkowski. (Note: Carey will tell you that it is a team effort, and he is right, but Pinkowski should get some credit for having such a strong team).

I use the term, " iconic" because Carey is, like all successful marathon visionaries, a bit eccentric, a bit old school and someone who loves and studies the sport. A 2.22 marathoner, Carey was one of three guys from Gary, Indiana in 1976, at same school, who broke nine minutes for two miles. I learnt about him in an issue of Runners World, and also the Indiana State Meet results (Rudy Chapa, Carey Pinkowski, Tim Keogh).  Pinkowski then went to Villanova, and raced well. His understanding of our sport is tremendous.

We asked Carey five questions after his race closed registration in six days. Still in a bit of a whirlwind, Mr. Pinkowski was eminently quotable (he always is). Make no mistake about it, like his fellow World Marathon majors, Carey Pinkowski bleeds for his city and his marathon. In the late 90s, I recall seeing Carey up at three am, on the race course, making sure all was good (the late Fred Lebow, impressario of ING NYC Marathon, who died in 1994, would have smiled at that).

Here is what the pied piper of the Windy City had to say:


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Ivan Ukhov, 2009 NIke Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Majewski_Tomasz-Brussels10.JPGTomaz Majewski, 2010 Brussels, photo by PhotoRun.net

The high jump wars have begun, both men and women's sides in 2012. Ivan Ukhov is dueling with Jesse Williams, and there will be more chances to see them clash. Some good shot battles, this time 2008 Olympic champ Tomaz Majewski of Poland won yesterday. Yelena Isinbayeva had a win over Holly Bleasdale, new GBR vault phenom. More to come...


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Fawn Dorr, 2012 US Open, photo by Breeon Photos

I hear everyday, that if we want to attract another generation to our sport, we need to understand what teenagers and young adults see or do not see in our sport. So, a few weeks ago, with the support their father, Jeff Benjamin, a long term correspondent for our publications, RBR gave Amanda Rose and Brianna Benjamin an assignment: interview Fawn Dorr and also, for Brianna, to give us her photographic interpretation of the meet.

Fawn Dorr, a Brooks sponsored athlete, is a keen social media conversationalist. She reaches out to young athletes that way (like Tyson Gay and LoLo Jones)and has developed quite a following.

Amanda Rose and Brianna Benjamin give us their view of Fawn Dorr, one of the new and rising stars in our sport. I think that you will enjoy their vision of our sport:



This is the Shoe Addicts video on Kara Goucher, who took third in the 2012 US Olympic Trials-Marathon. Goucher, who was probably a month short on her fitness, gutted it out and held onto third place. Her husband, Adam Goucher, told us afterwards, "Just think how she will be with more fitness between now and London!"
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Jessica Ennis, 2011 adidas NYGP, photo by PhotoRun.net

Jessica Ennis, the 2011 WC silver medalist in the heptathlon, and World Indoor Champion, will be competing in the AVIVA GP on February 18, 2012 in Birmingham. The AVIVA GP is one of our favorite indoor meetings of the year, for many reasons. How do we describe our enjoyment of the meet? Well produced, great fields, knowledgable fans, and timed to the minute (live BBC broadcast as well)....this weekend, RBR is off to Millrose, then next week, Birmingham.
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Anna Chicherova, 2011 Brussels DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Anna Chicherova, the defending Olympic champion, continues a brilliant beginning to her 2012 London campaign, with a nice clearance of 2.00m, and good try at 2.04m, plus a victory in Banksa Bystryka, in the Czech Republic earlier today...
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Holly Bleasdale, 2010 World Junior Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Holly Bleasdale went to France to train with Renaud Lavillenie, the number one male ranked vaulter in the world and the European Indoor champion. She first cleared 4.72m, a strong improvement. Then, on January 22, 2012, Holly Bleasdale cleared 4.87m! Yes, 4.87m! A new British record, and at the time, the number two jump indoors, only behind Yelena Isinbayeva. Bleasdale went from promising vaulter to medal contender. Here is how we have seen her progress and how the current world record holder for male vaulter, Sergey Bubka, sees the potential of Holly Bleasdale.
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Jenn Suhr, 2012 NB Indoor Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net

Suhr_Jenn488AR1-NBind12.jpgJenn Suhr, 2012 NB Indoor Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net

The sold out crowd at the Reggie Lewis Center was entertained for three hours, with some great track & field. Two photo finish races, the women's 800 meters, won by Maggie Vessey and the women's 300 meters, won by DeeDee Trotter, had the crowd going. The high school relays, 4 x 400 meters and 4 x 800 meters, had the crowd on their feet!

And then, as the vaulters reached their limits, Jenn Suhr got warmed up. Jenn has jumped well in Reggie Lewis, setting two record before tonight. Jenn Suhr had a bad meet last week, at the US Open, no-heighting. Well, that was not happening tonight.

Suhr won the vault at 4.72m or 15-6. Then she set up her next height as 4.88m and sixteen feet even. If she cleared it, she would have the highest vault in the world, as 4.87m was the world leader (by Holly Bleasdale, GBR).

On her first attempt, Jenn Suhr cleared 4.88m, sixteen feet, a new American record! Suhr is now the second all time indoor pole vaulter and also the 2012 world leader.

Jenn Suhr then went for 5.01m, or 16-05, a new world record. She made one attempt, but withdrew, not wanting to risk an injury.  She can get that record...

updated February 7, 2012
 


Jones_LoloR-USOpen12.JPGLoLo Jones, 2012 US Open, photo by PhotoRun.net

On Saturday, January 28, LoLo Jones ran her first race, after her back surgery last summer. " When I first had the surgery, I needed to work up to walking 20 minutes. And that was for a world class athlete!"

That hard work, and recovery lead to LoLo winning the 50m hurdles in US Open. Running the fastest time over the seldom run distance in a decade, LoLo told the media afterwards that she felt great and gave kudoes to the DISC Sports & Spine Center. LoLo, as of February 6, has now won four straight races, her most recent on Sunday evening, February 5, in Moscow, Russia, where she won and ran 7.89 for the 60m hurdles at the Russian Winter meeting.

Not only that, LoLo Jones broke the Russian Winter meet record for the 60m hurdles, held by Jena Sokolova, way back in 1993, by .03 (7.92). LoLo Jones ran 7.89, leading a sweep by Americans, Ivette Lewis in 8.03 and Danielle Carruthers, the 2011 WC silver medalist at 100m hurdles, in 8.05.

LoLo Jones, the World Indoor Champ at 60m hurdles in 2008 and 2010, hopes to defend her title in Istanbul, Turkey.  


Here is a release from the DIS Sports & Spine Center
:

Saucony has announced two new shoes for winter running, featuring Gore-Tex products. Good news for winter running and also good news for Gore-Tex, who is getting more aggressive promoting and partnering with major footwear companies, encouraging runners to use Gore-Tex products all year long....

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Saucony Adventerra GTX
Shobukhova_Liliya1a -Chicago10.JPGLiliya Shobukhova, three-time Bank of America Chicago champion, photo by PhotoRun.net

The strength of running continues to grow, and Bank of America's Chicago Marathon are another case in point in its growth. The marathon field for 2012 is now closed and filled up after only six days! Here is the release we received today!

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Geoff Hollister, courtesy of Runnerspace.com

Geoff Hollister, one of the original Nike employees, and a University of Oregon track team member from the Golden age, has died, after a long and heroic fight against cancer. Geoff was sixty-six (he celebrated his birthday this past Friday).

Hollister, who took his degree in art from the University of Oregon, was, along with his friend, Nelson Ferris, the keeper of history of the company with the swoosh. Much of that history, Hollister was involved with personally.

Starting in 1967, Hollister sold running shoes out of the back of his car at track and cross country meets. Hollister's interview with Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike (with Bill Bowerman), is that of legend. Knight offered Hollister a job, commission only, over lunch at the Dairy Queen then on U of Oregon campus. Hollister had run the steeple while at Oregon, Knight, a decade older than Hollister, had run the mile. Only one issue, Knight had forgotten his wallet, so Geoff paid for lunch.

In 1968, Geoff founded the BRS West store, in Eugene, Oregon. He then served three years in the US Navy, on the USS Guadalupe, as a navigator. Goeff returned in 1971 to BRS, when it was at a crisis point.

Phil Knight & Bill Bowerman were in a epic struggle with Onitsuka Tiger, and the little BRS was faced with the challenge that many small companies have-financing. Knight was able to develop a financing arrangement with Nissho Iwaii, which allowed Knight the capital to develop their own product and break away from Onitsuka Tiger. (There was a lawsuit between the two, which Knight & Bowerman won).

Hollister was one of the people who got Bill Bowerman. He understood, that beneath the curmudgeoness, was a brilliant educator, who, with all of his foibles, was a hell of a track coach, and businessman. "Never, ever call Bill Bowerman a coach, he hated that word, " Geoff once told me. Hollister was the keeper of the flame.
 

Geoff Hollister was the Nike promotions department for the 1972 Olympic Trials, held in Eugene, Oregon. He gave out many of the Nike shoes to young American athletes, especially about three dozen members of the Olympic Trials marathon participants.

Hollister worked closely with the late Steve Prefontaine, and developed a strong friendship. It was coming home from a party at Geoff's home, after a Hayward Field Restoration meet, that Steve Prefontaine, who had been the promo guy for Nike, died. Hollister then took over Prefontaine's job of sending notes in boxes of Nike running shoes, to athletes across the world, asking them to try the new shoe brand.

Prefontaine's death in 1975 was tough for Hollister. Most had thought that Steve would be Nike's first Olympic medalist in 1976. It was not to be.

By 1976, Nike was established, but the brands such as adidas, PUMA and Onitsuka did not give Nike an easy time. Hollister did prepare running shoes for Frank Shorter, who had legendarily difficult feet, and while Geoff did prepare shoes for Shorter, it is a matter of some conjecture, to this day, whether Shorter actually wore those shoes.

Between 1976-1980, Geoff Hollister developed his promo team, and helped develop Athletics West, a club that provided not only running gear, massages, sports psychology and nutrition, but helped get the athletes ready to race in Europe so that they could be prepared for 1980. No one could have known that President Jimmy Carter, in reacting to Russia's involvement in Afghanistan, would boycott those Olympics. 

It was in 1980, that Nike had its first Olympic medalists, none other than Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe. Geoff Hollister had brought Sebastian Coe and Bill Bowerman together in Eugene, during his build up to the Moscow Olympics.

Hollister had become the man who knew Nike's history, the man who protected the soul of Nike, the man who remembered what Steve Prefontaine was really like. Geoff took those roles seriously, and his love
for Nike was immense.

1984 was a watershed year for Nike. They were a global sports power by then, and the LA Olympics were tremendous, both good and rough. Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first women's Olympic gold medal. Sebastian Coe became the only man to defend 1,500m titles and also win consecutive silvers in the 800 meters. They also had the tragedy of Mary Slaney falling down in the 3,000m and not finishing. Nike had gone big time, and there was a bit of a let down after the 1984 Olympics.

From 1984 to 1996, Geoff Hollister was really the man behind the scenes, using his relationships to help athletes compete, get into better coaching relationships, and continued to show off the Nike brand. He always saw himself as a runner. And he looked at the world through the tinted glasses of an athlete. It was one of his best qualities.

Geoff Hollister & Nelson Ferris became the guys who protected Nike's legacy, probably in the 1990s. Geoff knew that Bill Bowerman was not getting any younger, and did a video with Arthur Lydiard and Bowerman,
which is said to be a classic.

As Nike became a bigger and bigger sports power, there were people who just did not get that Nike was founded by runners, and as basketball, soccer, baseball eclipsed some of the early track & field days, Geoff spung back into action, fighting to keep grass roots promotions going in the late 1990s. It was no mean task at the then $10 billion company.

Some of Geoff's longest lasting influences will be on grass roots promotions, his documentary film, " Fire on the Track" and his work on the film, "Prefontaine" kept the story of Steve Prefontaine alive. It also allowed there to be a recognition, perhaps a rekindling of concern for where running was to live in the Nike culture.

Hollister supported the development of several generations of grass roots promotion guys, some still at Nike, some in other companies, who realize, that it is still about getting a kid who just broke five minutes for the mile to see the newest shoe and dreaming about running a 4:55 mile, or long jumping twenty feet, or throwing the shot forty-five feet.

Geoff Hollister kept the soul of Nike alive. He was a complicated man, who was quick to tell us a story, and to talk about his family, and also quick to make sure that the legacy of Nike was remembered. He was not in it for the bucks. He loved his sport and the people involved. 

While Geoff retired in 2002, he consulted for Nike for several years after that. His friends were lucky to have updates from his wife, Wendy, who cared for him with love and concern. Geoff had three  children, his son Tracy, daughter Kaili and step daughter, Abi .

Over the weekend, Galen Rupp, AR holder in the 10,000m, a man coached by Alberto Salazar, who was signed to Nike by Geoff Hollister, told the media at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, that Mo Farah , Galen and Ciaran O'Lionaird (winner of the mile), would be wearing GHAC gear in honor of Geoff. Geoff would have liked that....

Please keep Geoff, his wife Wendy, and their family in your thoughts and prayers.

And, what would make Geoff most happy? Go, take a walk or run, and consider how lucky you are, on this small planet.

Here is an article on Geoff Hollister, from OregonLive.com:
http://www.oregonlive.com/playbooks-profits/index.ssf/2012/02/geoff_hollister_an_original_ni.html 




Some amazing performances at Russian Winter Meeting (21rst edition) in a very cold Moscow on Sunday. Adam Kszczot of Poland ran 1:15.26, second fastest ever, Andrey Silnov cleared 2.36m in high jump as LoLo Jones makes it a four race streak, winning convincingly in 7.89 for the 60m hurdles.

James_KiraniFHH1-NBind12.jpg Kirani James, 2012 NB Indoor Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net

Kirani James was pretty impressive in the 400 meter win he had at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meeting! He looked so smooth running 45.96, the fastest time in world this year on the boards.


Big weekend coming up with Millrose (Feb. 11, Armory), USA Track & Field Invitational (Fayettteville) and US Club Champs (St.Louis, Mo), all on same day!

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Yelena Isinbayeva, 2009 Zurich, photo by PhotoRun.net

Yelena Isinbayeva has opened well at 4.70m, note that Holly Bleasdale of Great Britain cleared 4.87m, making her the third best indoor performer in history! Busy weekend of track & field!

Updated on February 7, for two reasons: picture of Holly Bleasdale and 2) to spell her name correctly. My apologies to Holly!
Bleasedale_Holly-WorldJun10.jpgHolly Bleasdale, 2010 World Juniors, photo by PhotoRun.net

Holly has burst on the scene and her jumping is now third on all time world list indoors and second highest jumper in world in 2012. RBR is looking forward to seeing her in Birmingham at AVIVA International in less than two weeks!
 

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Anna Chicherova, 2011 Lausanne DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Anna Chicherova is now the second highest jumper EVER indoors, with her fine clearance of 2.06 meters in Arnstandt, Germany on February 4, 2012. She ranks only behind Kasja Bergvist, the great Swedish jumper, who has the 2.08 indoor WR.
Suhr_Jenn-LondonDL11.jpgJenn Suhr, 2011 AVIVA London DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Last year, New Balance came into the famed Boston Indoor and literally saved the meet's future. The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix is to indoors in the US what the Nike Pre Classic is to meets outdoors: an example of how to manage an elite meet in the current sports environment.

RBR asked Elliott Denman to look at the overall meet, see its strengths and see where it can be improved. His view, like ours, is that the 2012 NB Indoor GP lived up to its hype and continued the tradition of the best indoor meeting in the US.

Vessey_Maggie-NewBalGP11.JPGMaggie Vessey, 2011 NBindoorgrandPrix, photo by PhotoRun.net

The races this year, and the AR of Jenn Suhr, clearing 4.88m on her first attempt, a sixteen footer for all to see! Suhr is now the SECOND BEST EVER indoors, behind only Yelena Isinbayeva! Maggie Vessey's last step victory in the 800 meters gave the NBers something to savor! 

We congratulate New Balance, Global Athletics & Marketing, staff of the Reggie Lewis Center,  and all of the volunteers, support and athletes who make this meet the success that it is. See  you in 2013!

We were asked about Walt Murphy's extensive Indoor Calendar! Here you go and watch for the upcoming out door Calendar as well.

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Jenny Simpson, 2011 NBIndoorGames, photo by PhotoRun.net


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Collis Birmingham, 2011 Rieti, photo by PhotoRun.net

Outdoor track & field is starting strong in Australia and New Zealand. Collis Birmingham is on a role, as is Valerie Adams and Jacko Gill! We should see some tremendous performances at the 2012 New Balance Indoor GP this weekend...


At the press conference today for the 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, Galen Rupp, the American record for 10,000 meters, coached by Alberto Salazar,  made a comment that the Oregon Project athletes would be wearing a special uniform in honor of Geoff Hollister, one of the original men of Nike. Geoff, a former Oregon steeplechaser, coached by Bill Bowerman, was one of the original band of Nike promo guys. He was a close friend of the late Steve Prefontaine, and he was, if memory serves me, the man who signed Alberto Salazar to his Nike contract.

Geoff admitted on runnerspace.com several years ago that he was fighting cancer. He still is. We surmise from Galen's thoughtful comments tonight that Geoff is having a tough time. Galen said, " we will be wearing these uniforms tomorrow, and perhaps, for some time to come, to honor Geoff. Keep him in your thoughts."

Geoff Hollister was, with Nelson Ferris (and Jeff Johnson), the guys who really knew Nike's soul, and its birth. Those are precious things to know and pass on. Hollister fought long and hard for grass roots promotions, from sponsoring a road race, to helping at a cross country meet, to talking about running shoes taken from the back of one's old car. Early on, those shoes with the swoosh were mailed in embalming fluid boxes, as Jeff Johnson, one of Hollisters buddies in BRS Sports, lived above a mortuary and well, boxes are really boxes.


Goeff Hollisterw-uIx.jpg Geoff Hollister, photo courtesy of Runnerspace.com

For guys like Hollister, the running biz was never about money. It was about making a better running shoe, talking track to some sweaty, mud covered kid at a little cross country race in anytown, USA, and influencing another generation to stay with it. That was Geoff Hollister and his merry pranksters, driving beat up vans across the country, showing those running shoes with the swoosh on them.

The truth is this. Hollister influenced three generations of Nike employees. A few lucky ones possess his zeal and enthusiasm. Alberto Salazar, the former AR in the 10,000m and marathon, developed a program to make American distance runners more of a threat on the world athletics scene. He could never have done that without the road that Geoff Hollister built, or Geoff's support of Alberto during his formative years. More than giving away shoes and getting athletes to run, jump, throw, Geoff showed friends and all of those that he came in contact with, how to live. 

Geoff Hollister, a human, like all of us, would probably ask us to take a run or walk, and think of a simpler time in running, when we celebrated people who gave their hearts to run, jump, throw. Keep Geoff and his family in your thoughts and prayers. He is a very special man to many of us.

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Kellie Wells, Dawn Harper, Danielle Carruthers, 2011 FBK Hengelo,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Kellie Wells injured her an elbow that required surgery. Injury was done on Tuesday, surgery was done early Wednesday. Her indoor season is over, but she will be able to start training in a week.

Indoor season is in full swing. Great fields at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, to be held on Saturday, February 4, 2012, from 5-8 pm. See you there!


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Usain Bolt, 2011 IAAF Gala, photo by PhotoRun.net

London 2012 is only six months away. Usain Bolt will race three times in February, a 400 meters and two relays. The 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix is Saturday, February 4, 5-8 pm, with TV on ESPN2 on Sunday, February 5, 2 PM EST. Next weekend is even crazier, Millrose Games on Saturday, February 11, USA Track & Field Invitational on Saturday, February 11, in Fayetteville, Arkansas (TV on ESPN2 on Sunday, Feb. 12, check local listings), and USA Club Cross Country in St. Louis, Mo on Feb. 11. Talk about a crazy weekend!

Maggie Vessey is one of the most talented women in middle distance running. The folks at the NB Indoor Grand Prix caught up with her earlier this week! Here is what she had to say: (Remember, NB Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday, February 4, and watch in on February 5, just before that other game, the SuperBowl):


Kick It With Maggie

Vessey

Your prediction on the Super Bowl?
Patriots 34, Giants 31.

2011 was a very solid year for you.  What is the primary positive you take away from 2011 going into 2012?
I have a solid team in place and we know how we need to operate to be successful.

Outside of the 800m, what athlete in the sport do you most like to watch compete?
I love watching Jesse Williams high jump. It just blows my mind how he can make it over that bar! I also love watching Lashinda Demus. She's just so focused and gives every ounce of herself to the task. It's admirable and inspirational. And she's also a mommy!

California is not known for indoor track meets.  Do you like racing indoors?
I do like racing indoors. It's tight, fast and exciting. The crowd is close and it just makes for a hyped up, fun experience.

How fast could you run in an open 400m when you are 100% racing fit?
My best is 53.5. I'd like to think I can run in the 52 range at peak fitness.

If you weren't a professional runner, what do you think you'd be doing?
I wanted to be a professional jockey but I got a little bit too big for that job! I think I would like to be a psychologist of some sort...industrial organizational or sports.  Possibly some type of apparel design.  I love the world of health and fitness, so something in that realm.  Maybe coaching someday.  There are several things I can see myself getting into.

Favorite place in the world to race? To train?

I love training in Texas with my coach, Rose Monday. She beats me up pretty good but she also spoils me a bit and I like that! I really love racing in California.

Look ahead at the Olympic Trials.  What sort of time do you think it will take to make the team?
I'm pretty sure it will take a low 1:58 effort.


Photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net

The Shoe Addicts also sent their salute to Shalane Flanagan today, the winner of the women's 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon. Shalane Flanagan and Desi Davila gave the race a certain amount of tension, the kind needed for a great marathon battle. As the Shoe Addicts so eloquently put it, " To London."
The 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon in Houston, Texas were a success from anyone's view. Great races, strong teams and stunning stories. With 111 men and 181 women starting, the battles for the top three positions are epic sports stories. The Shoe Addicts, our digital partners, sent us this video today, in homage of the great performances in Houston. We hope you enjoy it!
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Brooks Running, the number one performance footwear brand in the US in run specialty, has announced its first Asian subsidiary, Brooks Sports K. K., in Japan. The Japanese running footwear culture is the launch site for many new technologies in our sport. Brooks Sports K. K. will begin operations in 2012.




You have to see this to believe it. Sarah Reinersten is the first women on a prosthetic leg to complete the Ironman Triathlon. Truly emotional view, and after that, your day and your challenges pail in comparison. Nike at its best is totally geek. Tobie Hatfield, brother of Tinker Hatfield, is one of the most creative shoe geeks in world. A former pole vaulter, Tobie sees stuff just a bit more skewed that other humans. That is the beauty of this film. Toby took the Össur Flex-Run prosthetic and made it better, using running shoe technology. Sarah Reinersten swims 2.6 miles, bikes 112 miles and then runs 26.2 miles on a prosthetic leg, made by Osser and improved by Nike.
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Andrey Silnov, 2011 AVIVA London GP, photo by PhotoRun.net

Andrey Silnov, the defending Olympic champion, cleared 2.35m on his first attempt at the Moscow Cup earlier today, February 1, Moscow local time. Nice seasonal improvement from 2.31m last weekend in Hustopesce, CZ. Deep jumping in Moscow, as youngster Andrey Patrokov cleared 2.30m for his new PB, to take second. Ivan Ukhov, defending World Indoor was third in 2.30m, with a pass at 2.33m, then going for broke at 2.35m, with three failed attempts there (Ukhov is rounding into shape, give him six weeks). In fourth, Aleksandr Shustov cleared 2.30m. To get fifth here, it took 2.27m clearance by Andrey Protsenko of the Ukraine.

Watch for two interviews, Dathan Ritzenhein and Abdi Abdirihman on RBR.


The Reggie Lewis Center, which has been the host facility for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix since its inception, has seen some amazing races. In our sport, it is really about the competition, not the records, but you would never know!

In the end, he or she who can put it all together, who can run, jump or throw, faster, longer or farther than the competition is the winner. Who can put it all on the line, with five thousand cheering, clapping fans, encouraging you to pull that extra bit of energy, that extra centimeter, that extra kick over the last lap to make the difference!

Defar-SmithH1-RBKboston08.JPG Defar vs Smith, 2008, photo by PhotoRun.net

Consider the race between Meseret Defar of Ethiopia and Kim Smith of New Zealand over two miles in 2008. Meseret Defar and Kim Smith went at it, lap after lap, for sixteen laps. Defar could not shake the Kiwi, who, when she gets in her groove, is tough as nails. The crowd, knowing that the race was special, was encouraging the racers, and it was only, in the very last lap that Defar built some daylight, but not much. Meseret Defar was rewarded with the World best at two miles, a fine 9:10.50, and Kim Smith, just behind her, ran a 9:13.94, a new Zealand record!

Suhr_Jenn-LondonDL11.jpg Jenn Suhr, 2011 AVIVA London, photo by PhotoRun.net

Consider the height of the ceiling in Reggie Lewis! Jenn Suhr and Steve Hooker have tried to tough the ceiling during their vault performances! Jenn Suhr, the best American women vaulter was ranked number uno by Track & Field News (the bible of our sport) in 2011. Suhr cleared 4.82m in Reggie Lewis Center, or 15-09.75, a world record indoors in 2009! Only Yelena Isinbayeva had jumped higher at the time, indoors or out!

Hooker_Steven1=Brussels10.jpg Steven Hooker, 2010 Brussels DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Then, look at Aussie Steve Hooker. Hooker was Olympic champ in 2008 and world champ in 2009, juggling injuries and the ability to soar near the clouds. In 2009, Steve Hooker cleared 6.06m, or 19-10.5, setting an Area record and American All Comers record. Only man who has jumped higher? Yep, Sergei Bubka!

The Reggie Lewis Center crowd loves all things track & field, but the mile, middle distances are the crowd pleasers! Lets see how 2012 fares, as the dozen milers line up for some fasting indoor miling. And when Jenny Simpson lines up, watch the 2011 World Champion get a strong applause for the biggest upset of the year, her victory in the 1,500 meters in Daegu, on that crazy September night!

Simpson_Jen1c-NewBalGP11.JPGJenny Simpson, 2011 NB Indoor GP, photo by PhotoRun.net

See you in the Reggie Lewis Center for the 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix! 



We will be posting the winners of all Running Network Shoe Reviews and Shoe features in 2012 on runblogrun.com. The reviews are the work of Cregg Weinmann, RN Footwear & Apparel Reviewer, Kristin Cerer, design, Marg Sumner, proofreader, Christine Johnson, project manager. Press release courtesy of Breanne Ward.

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To see the complete digital version of all 8 youth running shoe reviews, please click on here: http://bit.ly/AvAFPk

January 31, 2012            Contact: Larry Eder, larry@runningnetwork.com

Saucony Kinvara 2 Named Best Youth Running Shoe in Running Network LLC Shoe Review

FORT ATKINSON, WI - The Saucony Kinvara 2 took top honors in the Running Network LLC's first ever youth shoe review.

"The Saucony Kids Kinvara 2 by Stride Rite is proof that great running footwear is a commitment for younger athletes," said Larry Eder, the president of the Running Network LLC and group publisher at Shooting Star Media, Inc.

During the testing process, shoes are carefully matched to the foot strike and shape of wear testers who are pulled from a group of 350 potential testers. The testers report their initial impressions, then run up to 100 miles in the shoes, continually evaluating the shoes throughout the process on seven key performance characteristics. Their evaluations are entered into a software system created by Cregg Weinmann, the Running Network LLC footwear and apparel review editor, to produce a winner.

Saucony's Kinvara 2 brings minimalism to the children's running shoe by offering cushioning and a solid fit without adding anything extra. This keeps the shoes comfortable but also light weight to keep the wearer running faster for longer. The upper is stripped down, while the airmesh and minimal overlays keep the shoes light. The midsole is ProGrid Lite EVA, a responsive and durable material proven for its superb cushioning. The outersole is built for traction and to keep the weight down carbon rubber is used only in the necessary high-wear areas. With its combination of cushioning, light weight style and responsiveness the Kinvara 2 earned top honors as the winter 2011 Best Youth Running Shoe (Weinmann 2011).

"Our goal is to help the runner and their family on their search for the perfect shoe," said Eder. "With the quality of running footwear in 2012 and the competitive nature of the brands we track, consumers will have a great opportunity to find the right shoe for them."

To hear Richie Woodworth, the president of Saucony, talk about how Saucony is innovating running footwear visit: http://www.runblogrun.com/2011/11/richie-woodworth-the-rbr-interview-video-by-the-shoe-addicts-note-by-larry-eder.html.

To learn more about the Running Network LLC contact Larry Eder at Larry@runningnetwork.com.

Established in 1986, the Running Network LLC develops editorially independent content on footwear, apparel and key events in the sports industry.  The Running Network LLC represents 23 publications, 18 in print & digital formats, and five digital format-only publications plus 28 websites, social media and twitter channels, with just over 900,000 print subscribers and 3.5 million unique web visitors monthly. The goal of the Running Network LLC and its print, digital and web partners is to enhance the relationship between runners and walkers of all levels and their local and national running community.

Members of the Running Network LLC include: American Track & Field, Athletes Only, Athletics (Canada), AustinFit, California Track & Running News, Club Running, www.coachingathleticsq.com, Colorado Runner, Get Active!, Greater Long Island Running Club's Footnotes, www.latinoscorriendo.com, Michigan Runner, www.morunandtri.com, Running Journal, Racing South, RunMinnesota, RUNOHIO, Track & Field News, USATF's Fast Forward, USATF/New England's Exchange Zone, The Winged Foot (NYAC), The Winged M (MAC), Youth Runner and www.marathonguide.com.

All sites can be found at RunningNetwork.com.
 
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Special thanks to Andy Caine, who provided us with the link and embed from the Bupa Great Edinburgh XC, which was held on January 7, 2012! The link is below if you have any trouble with the embed!

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