December 2014 Archives

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Mais Oui, C'est le roi de la perche! photo by PhotoRun.net


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Bohdan Bondarenko finished second! photo by PhotoRun.net


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Justin Gatlin, finished third, photo by PhotoRun.net

LAVILLENIE AHEAD OF BONDARENKO AND GATLIN

MOUNTAIN VIEW (USA): Renaud Lavillenie is after IAAF also Athlete of the Year by Track and Field News. He received 31 of 33 first places to get 99.4% of a perfect score. The other 2 No. 1s went to American sprinter Justin Gatlin, who nonetheless ended up only No. 3 overall because a pair of voters on our international panel felt his checkered drug past left him unsuitable for such honors. So second is Bogdan Bondarenko 265 and third Gatlin 259. Fourth Mutaz Essa Barshim 198. Very unusual fourth place for number two in his event. Fifth is Robert Harting 145 over Kenyan Jairus Birech 130 and US 400 m runner LaShawn Merritt 109. Last three places in top ten for Nijel Amos 90, Eliud Kipchoge 62 and Krisztian Pars 52. Overall, 20 different men received votes.


(Editor's note: Renaud Lavillenie set the standard for men in 2014. Nice to see two field eventers in lead in men's events.) 

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Mary Peters (111), photo courtesy of BBCSports.com

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Steve Ovett, Seb Coe, and Steve Cram, photo by PhotoRun.net

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Wendy Sly, procured from her Twitter page (@Wendyslyrun)


LONDON (GBR): Former British athletics stars, Steve Cram, Mary Peters and Wendy Sly, have all been recognised in Great Britain's New Year's Honours List, inform Reuters. Steve Cram, the 1983 1500m champion and 1984 Olympic silver medallist, has been made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of his work as chair of the English Institute of Sport (EIS). Wendy Sly, who also won silver at the 1984 Olympics, in her preferred distance of 3000m, has been recognised for her services to athletics by being made a Member of the British Empire (MBE). Mary Peters, who won the Olympic pentathlon title in 1972, received a damehood in 2000 and has now been made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for her services to sport and the community in Northern Ireland.

(Editor's note: I had the pleasure of watching Steve Cram race in his prime, but have enjoyed him most in his TV career and his fine, but too seldom, writing. Steve is a thoughtful observer of the sport, and his keen awareness of the sport, it's good points and difficult points, comes through in his broadcasting. Cram is simply one of the best announcers that I have ever seen. 


Mary Peters, I remember seeing in the 1972 Olympics and her amazingly tight battle for the gold medal. I believe that I have met her once, but have always been quite impressed by her athleticism and her grace, in the pentathlon, under huge competition in Munich. 

I remember watching Wendy Sly in the 1984 Olympic 3000m final, where she took silver. In that race, Wendy Sly stayed on her feet, and kept her composure in the overwhelming pressure of an Olympic final.   I knew Wendy from her road racing and indoor racing in US in early 1980s. Wendy spends much of her time supporting young British women athletes as they develop in the sport. Wendy Sly is a publishing professional, who is putting much time and energy into the sport of athletics. Wendy is an amazing person, who raced from 800m to the 10,000m on the track, still holding the British indoor mile best.  


So very happy to see all three receive recognition on the New Year's Honours List!) 
Our friend, Alfons Juck, and his EME News team provides you, our readers with some of the best news daily on the athletics world! Alfons, working much later than me, provided this report on Top Ten Moments and other fun to consider on this New Years' Eve! 

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Dennis Kimetto breaks two hours, three minutes in the marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

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Anita Wlodarczyk, photo by PhotoRun.net

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Valerie Adams, photo by PhotoRun.net

Wlodarczyk over Adams
MOUNTAIN VIEW (USA): Hammer World record holder Anita Wlodarczyk is the Track and Field News Women Athlete of the Year. She is the first ever hammer thrower to win. She got 297 points ahead of IAAF Female Athlete of the Year Valerie Adams 286 points. The 33-member international panel gave Adams 15 No. 1 votes to 13 for Włodarczyk, but the World Record-setting hammer thrower did better in the lower places. Third is triple jump star Caterine Ibarguen 274 and fourth discus star Sandra Perkovic with 203 points. Top four places for technical events, that never happened in this ranking. Best runner as 5th Kaliese Spencer with 160 ahead of Genzebe Dibaba 149 and another technician Barbora Spotakova 143. Last 3 places in top ten for Eunice Sum 60, Dafne Schippers 57 and Dawn Harper-Nelson 50. Overall, 17 different women received votes. Only 3 athletes repeated last year top ten (Adams, Perkovic, Ibarguen). 

(Editor's note: Track & Field News is the Bible of the Sport. Respect it. Worship it, Subscribe to it. So, when the team at TFN gives Ms. Wlodarczyk, a hammer thrower of much note, and Ms. Adams, a shot putter of much note, the top two positions, I am all smiles. The sport is Track AND Field! And then, Caterine Ibarguen and Sandra Perkovic follow! Totally cool! Nice job to our friends in Mountain View, California! ) 


Here is Cathal Dennehy's second part of the the Year in Athletics for RunBlogRun! Some fascinating things to consider! 

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So, how could I not ask Cathal Dennehy to write up the year in Athletics, A-Z? Cathal writes for our partner, Jumping the Gun.com . I like part one of his list, A-M. What do you think? 

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Mekhissi-Benebbad, prior to his DQ, from PhotoRun.net



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Rich Kenah, Atlanta Track Club and Bob Puccini, President, Mizuno North America, 
photo by PhotoRun.net


Carolyn Mather, a long-time writer for The Running Journal, and a long-time member of the Atlanta Track Club, caught up with Rich Kenah, to speak with him about the future of the Atlanta Track Club, specifically, The Atlanta Track Club in 2015. 
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Jim Dion speaking at TRE 2014, photo by Jana Birchum


Max Lockwood wrote this series for us on The Running Event. TRE is the single most important event for the running trade in North America. The Formula 4 Media crew put all on the line in 2006 when they started this show, and they have created an icon. This event is a living, breathing entity. What Formula 4 gets most of all that this business is a community. From runs to parties to seminars, TRE is something to be experienced for those in the business of running. 

This is part 1 of Max Lockwood's series on TRE and his experiences and observations in Austin, Texas during the December 2-5, 2014 conference. 
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Asefelech Mergia Medessa, 
photo courtesy of Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon


The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will be held 23 January 2015. It is shaping up to being one of the fastest marathons ever. Kenenisa Bekele had already been announced.  Asefelech Mergia Medessa, two time defending champion, has just joined the field. The following is the announcement...
On this day, I wanted to wish all of our dear readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Enjoy the day with your family and friends and perhaps, share a walk or run with them! 

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I believe that I took the above picture from my seats in Zurich Letzigrund Stadium, while I was enjoying the European Championships! Thanks to our readers for reading my chronicles as an athletic pilgrim. More of those in 2015! 

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! 
Dear readers,

My brother, Brian, started me on RunBlogRun.com in 2007. I was apprehensive at first, and then, it became more. Thanks, dear brother. 

Brian told me to write about my experiences, my thoughts, my love of the sport. Several times a day, I do just that. 


During those seven years, I have learnt about you, our readers. I know that you care about our sport, and in this world overly saturated with media options, you read RunBlogRun & the Running Network. 

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NXN Photo, photo from Nike communications 

I thank you on behalf of the 36 publishers in Fortius Media Group, Running Network, RunBlogRun and the Shoe Addicts. 

In May 2013, I walked myself to an emergency room, and spent nearly two weeks in the hospital. After some testing, the hospital figured out I had diabetes. I had to pull my head out of the proverbial backside, and change my diet, walk every day, and start taking care of myself. But, it was my family: my parents, my son, Adam, my brother, Brian and my sisters, who encouraged me to take care of myself. 

In January 2014, I went into business with my brother and my son. Fortius Media Group represents our former partners in the RunningNetwork, and fourteen other publishers, print and digital (you can find our list of publishers on runningnetwork.com).

In August 2014, we purchased the assets of the RunningNetwork. That just completes the circle of what we do with our partners.  

After 18 months, I am off insulin and diabetic medications. I walk each day, eat six times a day (watching carbs), have lost weight, and feel better each day. I also received notes from many of you, encouraging me to walk and take care of myself. 


In your honor, we are making a donation to Rainbow Hospice in Wisconsin, a cause supported by my late friend and former CFO, Tom Mack. Tom was a very special friend, who taught me much about running a business, who died this past August. His jokes, and his kindness are what I miss most about him. 


We also have made donations to two food banks, one in Wisconsin and one in California. 

And, over the holidays, we also do random acts of kindness, donating footwear, backpacks and clothes to those who need some kindness. 


Thanks to you, our readers, for your support over the past seven years! 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy Holidays! 







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Molly Huddle, photo by PhotoRun.net

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Leo Manzano, photo by PhotoRun.net

MIDDLEBURY (USA): Watch manufacturer Timex has announced a partnership with top USA runners Leo Manzano and Molly Huddle. Manzano, the Olympic 1500m silver medallist, and Huddle, the US 5000m record holder, will be integrated into all aspects of the brand's marketing efforts including advertising, PR and social media programs, and product development and testing. Inform Timex.
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Caleb Ndiku, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ndiku thinks 2 miles World best

NAIROBI (KEN): Caleb Ndiku propelled himself to the top of the world stage this year with top class performances delivered with much showmanship, report nation.co.ke. In 2014 he won World Indoor, Commonwealth, African and Diamond League titles; but in 2015 he will be looking for even more. The World Cross Country is his first big aim, then his attention will turn to the track where he hopes to run sub 12:50, well under is current best of 12:59.17. Another mark he is looking to improve on in 2015 is the 2 mile world record. But the main focus of his year will be the 5000m in Beijing, where he will be hoping he can get the better of Mo Farah and take the World title.
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Renaud Lavillenie, photo by PhotoRun.net

Lavillenie thinks 620

PARIS (FRA): IAAF Athlete of the Year Renaud Lavillenie is looking to have an even better year in 2015, report sport365.fr. The pole vault world record holder said, "If I jump five times to over six meters and I'm European champion and World Champion 2015 could be almost better than 2014!" Something that would certainly help him to improve on his 2014 season, is an improvement on his world record of 616 and he has a goal in his head: "I hope to clear 620," he reveals.

(Editor's notes: Renaud Lavillenie cleared 6.16m this year. He is without peers, quite frankly. To clear over 6.00 meters is amazing. To clear over 6.05 meters, those who have can be counted on fingers. Lavillenie is starting his 2015 early. You can see him in the US (Reno in January) if you want to see the best vault.) 
Cathal Dennehy, one of our newest partners (he and Fiedhlim Kelly manage Jumping-the-Gun.com), wrote this fine piece on Robert Heffernan. Robert is a racewalker. He is a man obsessed with walking as fast as one can with style being judged while doing it. 20 kilometers, 50 kilometers. 

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Robert Heffernan, photo by PhotoRun.net

In this piece, Rob gets his bronze medal, four years late, due to another athlete being DQed who cheated. 

A well done piece, Cathal gives a respectful visage of one of Ireland's greatest athletes. 

Please enjoy! 
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Mo Aman at Pre, June 2014, photo by PhotoRun.net

Aman no indoors
ADDIS ABABA (ETH): Reigning 800 m World champion Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia is not planning to run indoors, but concentrate on the summer. His main aim would be to try to defend his title from Moscow 2013. As the gold medalist he has the IAAF Wild Card and would not need to go through tough qualification system. More, Ethiopia in case of fulfilling the standard 1:46.00 would be able to send to the competition three more runners. The same goes for Botswana where Nijel Amos has the Wild Card based on his Diamond League win. But there is no realistic possibility as the next best runner in the country in 2014 is not having sub 1:50 time. 
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Robert Harting, photo by PhotoRun.net

Harting for third time 

BADEN BADEN (GER): Discus Olympic, World and European gold medalist Robert Harting is for third time German Male Sports Person of the Year. At the traditional Gala show female title for skier Maria Hofl-Resch and the best team of course the soccer World Champions. In the poll 1200 German Sports journalists participated. Harting win was close as he had 2100 points ahead of Nordic Combination Olympic winner Eric Frenzel 2055. 

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Wilson Kiprop and Bedan Karoki, Nike Discovery Cross country Eldoret from January 2014, photo by Justin Lagat.

Justin Lagat wrote this piece on the upcoming Kenyan teams for the upcoming 2015 World Cross Country Championships. 
Inika McPherson has a twenty-one month sanction, starting June 27, 2014. She will loose her two meter clearance from the USA Outdoor Championships. 
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Christian Taylor, photo by PhotoRun.net

FAYETTE COUNTY (USA):
Christian Taylor, the Olympic triple jump champion, is aiming to compete at the next two Olympic Games, report 
thecitizen.com. The 24 year old American will follow his coach, Rana Reider, to the Netherlands, where he plans on living for the next two years. 

(Editor's note: Christian Taylor is one of my favorite athletes. I have met his family, and enjoyed their comments and support of Christian. However, having watched Christian compete, I became even more impressed with his Coach Rana Reider. Christian rediscovered his muse with the Triple Jump this past season, as he duplicated what he did in college, racing the 400 meters once again.

At the Birmingham DL Meeting, I spent some time catching up with Rana. He had been coaching the British womens 4 x 100 meters, and several British athletes in the UK. 

Fascinating that Rana is headed to the Netherlands. Reider is one of those amazing American technical coaches who have worked with athletes around the world. Fascinating that Rana Reider moves to the Netherlands, and Charles van Commenee, now Director of Performance for the Dutch Olympic Committee worked with Reider while Van Commenee was technical performance director in British athletics. 

Rana Reider is on my bucket list for interviews for 2015.

Christian Taylor is one of our most talented jumpers in the world. It will be fascinating watching Christian over the next several years. The coach and athlete relationship is very important. )
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Sergey Bubka and Renaud Lavillenie, European Indoors, March 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net

Lavillenie with two trophies

PARIS (FRA): Pole vault World record holder and IAAF Athlete of the Year Renaud Lavillenie won on Friday evening another award. Actually two during one evening. He became the Champion of Champions in the World and in France in the end of the year poll of the French sports daily L´Équipe. The World trophy was presented to him by the IAAF Vice President and 35 time World record breaker in the pole vault Sergey Bubka. "Enjoy your title and seek new goals," Bubka said. Lavillenie mentioned that he had a poster of Bubka in his room when he was younger. "It was he who invited me to Donetsk and put me in the best conditions to beat his record," added the French athlete.

(Editor's note: For many years, I just did not think anyone could jump 6.15m or better. Heck, 6.10m was amazing. 

I was lucky enough to hear, from Sergey, the story of his first pole vault world record. I remember when Sergey vaulted in the states in 1995 at the Bruce Jenner; over four thousand fans stayed and watched, after the meet was over, except the pole vault. 

Renaud Lavillenie broke Bubka's record. Then, he tried at 6.21m and needed twelve stitches in his foot. Lavillenie had jumped for the stars, and cleared them, but that was not enough. Renaud went for 6.21m, and missed it, this time. 

I have watched Lavillenie in great times and in tough times. His performance at Stockholm was his only sub par in 2014. Yet, the new king of the pole vault showed class: no excuses, and in his next event, he won once again. 

For me, champions are not made with their victories, but coming back from rough events, injuries, or set backs. That is why Renaud Lavillenie is the champion of champions.)

Justin Lagat writes his column for RunBlogRun on a weekly basis, giving us A View from Kenya. In this column, Justin Lagat explains what truly motivates Kenyan runners to better themselves. 

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Justin Lagat, photo from Justin Lagat
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Deon Landore & Laura Roesler, 2014 Bowerman Athletes of the Year

(Editor's note: This was my first Bowerman Awards, and it will not be my last.  I can not recall a finer awards ceremony. The level of production was fantastic, and the interviews of the six candidates just proved once again, how amazing track & field athletes are, in both their sports and academic lives. 

Sam Seames has created an award series that truly elevates the sport of track & field and gives collegiate track athletes awards worthy of their sacrifice. An amazing night of track & field, ending four days of clinics, meetings and celebrations of the profession of the tracka nd cross country coach. If you are a high school, college or club track or cross country coach, you need to go to the USTFCCCA convention in 2015!)


Streamed live on Dec 17, 2014

The Bowerman Presentation (7pm MT) and The Red Carpet Show at The Bowerman 

(6:25pm MT). Held in conjunction with the 2014 USTFCCCA Convention at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Ariz.






(Editor's Note: This was my first visit to the Bowerman Awards and I was truly impressed. I can 

not recall a higher level award ceremony in the sport of athletics. The quality of the production was impressive, but most importantly, the quality of the athletes, was the most impressive. )

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2014 SPAR European Cross Country U23, photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images for European Athletics Association (Copyright retained by Getty Images)


This piece, by Alex Mills, captures the breakthrough race that Rhona Auckland had at the U 23 SPAR European Athletics Cross Country Championships last weekend. A wonderful race for the Scottish athlete, who placed seventh last year. 

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Renaud Lavillenie, photo by PhotoRun.net

European Athletics Results 2014-15 (weekend 13-14.12.2014)

BELARUS
Brest (Belarus), 5-6.12.2014
-International Youth Match- (indoor)

Women
60mh u18 (0.76m) Greta Plechlaityte 8.74; SP (3 Kg) Alesia Sokolovic 15.57

CZECH REPUBLIC Praha (Czech Republic), 13.12.2014 (indoor)

Men
60m u16 Stefan Hampl (1999) 6.97
Women
60m u16 Anna Kerbachová (2000) 7.65; 150m u16 Anna Kerbachová (2000) 18.46

FRANCE

Eaubonne (France), 15.11.2014 (indoor)

Men
PV Sami Berhaiem (tun) 5.00
Women
SP Jessica Cerival 15.66
Eaubonne (France), 5.12.2014 (indoor)
Men
60m Gildas Toyb (97) 6.93; 60mh u18 (0,91m) Quentin Mouyabi 8.04
Voneuil-sous-Biard (France), 6.12.2014 (indoor)
Women
60mh Margaux Hinschberger 8.64
Nice (France), 6.12.2014 (indoor)
Women
50mh Chloe Maurin 7.60; 50mh u18 (0.76m) Nina Brino-Forgnon 7.51
Reims (France), 7.12.2014 (indoor)
Men
5 Kms Walk Yohann Diniz 18.16.76
Eaubonne (France), 12.12.2014 (indoor)
Men
60m Gildas Toyb (97) 6.86; 200m Bruno Naprix 21.73
Laxou (France), 12.12.2014 -Mémorial Louis Félix Labridy- (indoor)
Women
50m Pauline Lett 6.61 1s1; in heats: Louise-Anne Bertheau 6.64 1h2; 50mh Pauline Lett 7.33
Viry-Chatillon (France), 13.12.2014 (indoor)
Men
50mh Rosan Mirefleur 6.98
Women
50mh u18 (0.76m) Tiphaine Selbonne (99) 7.65
Lille (France), 13-14.12.2014 (indoor)
Women
Pentathlon Lea Fleury 3.657p (8.95; 1.63; 12.35; 5.59; 2.41.51)
Val de Reuil (France), 13-14.12.2014 (indoor)
Men
Heptathlon Jeremy Lelievre 5.728p (7.02; 7.12; 14.79; 1.89
- 8.44; 4.60; 2.40.73)
Women
Pentathlon 1 Gaelle Le Foll 3.930p (9.28; 1.76; 11.93; 5.53; 2.22.86); 2 Odile Ahouanwanou (ben) 3.680p (8.80; 1.67; 12.53; 5.18; 2.37.25)
Lyon (France), 13-14.12.2014 (indoor)
Men
Heptathlon Bastien Auzeil 5.423p (7.29; 6.90; 14.81; 1.81
- 8.43; 4.83; 2.56.28)
Women
Pentathlon 1 Marisa Schwendemann 3.690p (8.95; 1.57; 11.49; 5.55; 2.27.28); 2 Yasmina Agbi 3.562p (9.24; 1.69; 10.53; 5.26; 2.32.22)

European Athletics Results - by Carles Baronet - Folgueroles (Barcelona) car.baronet@gmail.com

Click here for a complete pdf of this weeks' EUROPEAN ATHLETICS RESULS (weekend 13-14.12.2014).pdf

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Duane Solomon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Nice to see the fastest man at American 800 meters over the past two years continuing to work with Saucony. Duane Solomon has had a very busy year, besides some fast times, he is a new dad as well! 

Footwear companies are the backbone of supporting athletes in our sport. Nice to see a press release about track and field endorsements as well! If you have not seen the new WHOA campaign from Saucony, check out your favorite local running site! 

Saucony has a Molly Huddle, Ben True, Ashley Higginson, and Duane Solomon, among others. 
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Jenny Simpson racing in Boston, photo by PhotoRun.net


The New Balance Indoor GP on February 7 has an amazing line up for their three hours of fantastic competition! If you are within an hour or two of Boston, be there! If you are farther away, use those miles and come to Boston. I have missed this meet once or twice since 1996--it should be on your bucket list!

When Elliott Denman heard the cyclical rumor that the IOC wants to make the Olympics more attractive to younger sports fans, and that could include the cutting of many events that Elliott holds dear to his heart. 

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Tokyo 2020 proposed stadium

While I have been told that the IOC is not looking to cut track and field events from their wonderful schedule, I felt that Elliott Denman's piece was worthy of reading. 
The North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (AAA) has given track & field coach Jon Drummond an eight-year ban, for as they noted, "multiple anti-doping violations". 

This case was being watched with much interest as Mr. Drummond, a former Olympic athlete, had been involved at some of the highest levels of the sport. His involvement with USA Track & Field ended recently, as noted by CEO Max Siegel in a recent press release. 

My thoughts on this sordid affair?

Coaches are role models, not only for athletic endeavors, but for life. We must protect the profession and the sport at all costs. I welcome the AAA, WADA and USADA in imposing such strict sentences. I believe that coaches involved in such activities should face life bans. 

Doping in Sports is something that must be combated daily. Through education in sports ethics, out of competition testing, and draconian bans so that athletes, and others involved will know that the pain, suffering and shame from being involved is not worth the benefit. For some now, it is just a business decision, as one keen observer related to me. 

For those who love the sport, doping kills the sport a little with each offense. But it does come down to how we value sport in society. 

And there is always one question I ask. At the end of one's life, when you look at yourself in the mirror, do you want that mile or long jump pb to be from  your God given talent, hard work and self knowledge gained working with an ethical coach, or is it a centimeter or lower time at any costs? 

Loren Seagrave is one of those coaches that I never tire of interviewing. I see Loren across the circuit each season, but he is running, or I am running, and we fail to catch up for more than ten minutes. 

So, this past summer, after the Weltklasse Meet, in Zurich, we sat down and chatted about training, the IMG academy, a bit on coaching in Wisconsin, and some thoughts his current crop of athletes. Seagrave is the former Coach at the University of Wisconsin, and is now the Director of Speed & Movement at the IMG Academy. 

At the present, Loren is overseeing the IMG Academy in Orlando, Florida. If you are serious about your sport, you should consider visiting the IMG Academy. Loren knows more about track & field than just about anyone on the planet. He has helped the likes of Dwight Phillips, Tianna Bartoletta and Darya Klishina.

Loren is one those few humans who can break complicated human actions into parts that can be observed, minute section by minute section. If there is a way to improve your hurdle form, your sprint start, you long jump takeoff, or perhaps, your shot put throw, Loren Seagrave will find it. 

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed speaking with Loren!http://www.imgacademy.com We encourage you to check out www.imgacademy.com! 




This is one of the best videos that I have ever seen about a brand. Taking an iconic moment, the 1983 NYC Marathon, where, in the final, agonizing steps of the New York City Marathon, Rod Dixon, an Olympic bronze medalist in the 1,500 meters in 1972, who caught Geoff Smith, who would go on to win two Boston Marathons. 

The story of this marathon was personal for me. I had been at Runners World for two years by then, and when Saucony's Harry Friedman wanted to run an ad spread saluting Saucony's Rod Dixon winning the marathon, our production department was in chaos. Remember, this was years before desktop publishing. The ad was beautiful, showing runners crossing the Verrazano Bridge, and a small picture of Rod Dixon celebrating his victory, with Geoff Smith laying on the ground at the finish. It was one of the highest points of the first running boom. 

Saucony was a strong brand then, and could have been the biggest brand in running in the early 1980s, but, due to a lack of understanding by Saucony's management, they missed their opportunity. An iconic brand, they did not battle as well as Nike, New Balance and Brooks. 

Saucony, now owned by Wolverine, provided this vide0, showcasing their history of product and their legacy. It is fascinating to look back at product development, and how Saucony's team built the story with this video. Saucony is in a tough battle with four other brands for running specialty marketshare. 

The key with this video is to get it out to local running stores, and help the staffs build enthusiasm for the brand. This video can help build enthusiasm for the Saucony brand. We applaud the work of the video team and hope more runners get to enjoy the video as we have. 
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Wilson Chebet of Kenya wins the 2014 Honolulu Marathon in 2:15:35 (photo by Ronen Zilberman for the Honolulu Marathon; used with permission)

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Joyce Chepkirui wins the 2014 Honolulu Marathon in a personal best 2:30:23 (photo by Ronen Zilberman for the Honolulu Marathon; used with permission)

Chris Lotsbom wrote this piece for Race Results Weekly on the 2014 JAL Honolulu Marathon. We hope that you enjoy it! 
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Kenenisa Bekele,  photo courtesy of Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

A nice press release about Kenenisa Bekele's participation in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on 23 January 2015. 
I love reading Dave Hunter's analysis of the top athletes each year. His respect for the events, and performers is evident, and his love for the sport is sincere. 

Read David's analysis of each athlete. Most importantly, read his analysis of Valerie Adams, the IAAF World Athlete of the Year. Dave's respect for Valerie and his notes on Valerie and why she deserves the athlete of year is spot on. 

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Valerie Adams, photo by PhotoRun.net

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European Cross Country, 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net

Here is a quick round up of the European Cross Country Champs from Sunday, December 14, 2014, courtesy of EME News. 
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Christian Olsson, Europeans 2006, photo by PhotoRun.net

STOCKHOLM (SWE): 2004 Olympic triple jump champion Christian Olsson has said that he believes that it would be better to reduce the amount of competitors in Olympic events rather than cutting some of the disciplines, report 
expressen.se. He proposed that countries should be only able to have 2 competitors in each event. Although, he is still not happy with making such a compromise, saying, "I think that athletics is the heart of the Olympics, it was where it started. Then it's wrong to change it to make room for other sports."

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Christian Olsson, Athens 2004, photo by PhotoRun.net

(Editor's note: The IAAF tells us that it is not on the table with the IOC, and we are grateful. Christian Olsson was asked what he would suggest. The TJ Olympic, European and World Champion, and now sports marketing consultant in Sweden, has a unique view into the challenges that could erupt to athletics. )

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Sebastian Coe, photo by PhotoRun.net

LONDON (GBR): IAAF presidential candidate Sebastian Coe has said that the current doping scandal in athletics is as bad as the well documented cases involving Ben Johnson, Marion Jones and Balco, report BBC. "It has been a ghastly week for athletics" admitted the former middle distance great. "We have to bring this tawdry episode to a close as quickly as we can. I am not afraid of embarrassment. We have to get to the bottom of it," Coe was quoted as saying.

(Editor' note: Sebastian Coe has the right attitude. Before it get's better, this writer believes that it will get much more difficult. The Russian crisis is one thing, the alleged corruption within the family of the current President of the IAAF is another. Even if the President was ignorant of the wrong doings, it is unseemly and is damaging to the sport. 

I am at a wonderful celebration of the sport this evening, at the USTFCCCA. The Hall of Fame awards have been given out. Coaches, athletes and families are enjoying a fun evening and a rightful celebration of things that are good with our sport. 

I believe that there are many good things in our sport. The doping issues and the level of corruption may have been suspected in the past, but now, they are coming into focus and they must be cleared for the sport to go forward. )

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RIO Olympic Stadium. 
Photo by Getty Images/ Courtesy of IAAF/Copyright with Getty Images

The Rio Olympic Track & Field Schedule is here! Ten days of glorious Track & Field with some finals in the morning sessions! And no events were changed, per any rumors. Also, read the entire note in the next section. The IAAF wants to dispel the rumor that in 2020, the IOC is looking to cut track and field events. Nice to hear! 
Okay, those who read my American Track and Field newsletter for ten years, which preceded RunBlogRun, will remember my holiday gift guide or my guide to using your holiday gift cards. I am starting that up again with Larry's Holiday Gift List. 

In the late 1950s, and eccentric New Zealand Milkman, who had won a few Kiwi marathon titles and had run up to 200 miles a week, developed a group of local, talented young middle distance runners, who won medals in the 1960 Olympics from 800 meters to the marathon. To say that Arthur Lydiard changed the world of distance running is an understatement. Using anecdotal knowledge, scientific knowledge and horse-sense, Arthur Lydiard revolutionized distance running. It is that simple. 

I was honored to have spent some time with Mr. Lydiard and consider our sponsorship of a multi city tour near the end of his life as one of my proudest involvements. His night with Jerry Schumacher, Joe Hanson and myself is one of legend. The Essen Haus in Madison was never the same afterwards, and neither were we. A man who loved his sport, Arthur Lydiard's greatest pupil may have been Peter Snell. 

I am making no money off this, I did get a copy of the book, but that is for review. I had Roy Stevenson, a Kiwi who trained with the likes of Dixon and Walker and company. Roy knows a great book when he sees one, and this my friends, is a keeper! 

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So, what if Coaches got the recognition and treatment that they deserve in the sport of athletics? If you want to see an fine example, then, dear friends, come to the USTFCCCA convention one year. 

Sam Seames is the CEO of the USTFCCCA, and he has created, with the help of coaches, sponsors and interested parties, the finest and largest coaching organization for track and cross country coaches that I know of, on the entire planet. 

Fine clinics with exceptional speakers, an exhibit hall with products coaches use and need, and nice dinners, get togethers sponsored by businesses that see the benefits of a group that supports our sport. 

The USTFCCCA is one of the thirty-five partners, thirty-four in the sports of athletics and one in general fitness, that are represented by the Fortius Media Group, LLC, the organization that I established in 2010 to represent the sport of athletics in marketing in this modern era. From the IMG College (NCAA track programs) to 22 running publications and websites in the Running Network, to the largest organization of runners in North America, the Road Runners Clubs of America (177,000 members, 2100 clubs), we support the events, the products, the businessness and the organizations that build our sport 365 days a year, and 24 hours a day. 

The USTFCCA is a prime example of how good ideas, lots of elbow grease, and good people can influence a sport. 
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Ryan Hill, photo by PhotoRun.net

We asked James O'Brien, publisher of NYAC's Winged Foot, to write this piece on the USA Club Cross Country Championships, that were held on Saturday at Lehigh. We hope that you like it! 
Cathal Dennehy wrote this thoughtful piece on the 2014 European Championships. By having the events in hard to travel to sites, and allowing elite African athletes to change nationalities, is the EAA hurting the sport of cross country, as the IAAF has done with the World Cross Country? Something to consider....

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European Cross Country Championships, 2010, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

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Steel in 2013 European Cross Country Champs race, photo by PhotoRun.net

What a fantastic performance by the British women's team, with Gemma Steel and Kate Avery separated by .002! Alex Mills wrote this piece for us!
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Grant Fisher wins the 2014 FL Nationals, photo by PhotoRun.net

This is Erik Boal's piece on the Boys race at the 2014 Foot Locker Nationals. Erik wrote the women's piece for RunBlogRun as well! 
As I could not be at the Foot Locker this year, we asked Erik Boal, who writes for Dyestat Cal, to cover the FootLocker Cross Country Nationals races. This is the first of two articles that Erik wrote for RunBlogRun. 

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Anna Rohrer wins the 2014 FL CC Nationals, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

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Kenenisa Bekele with some of his more eccentric fans, Scotland, 2008, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

Kenenisa Bekele has picked his third marathon, and it is the Dubai Marathon, scheduled on January 23, 2015. His second foray on the distance was a bit of a let down, as Kenenisa Bekele, per his manager, Jos Hermans, just did not give Chicago the respect it deserved and Eliud Kipchoge just made Mr. Bekele hurt in ways unimaginable. 

Hopefully, the man who owns the 5,000m, 10,000m and who I wanted run an 8:03 2 mile in Birmingham several years back, will train better for this one. Note to Kenenisa: those 40k runs are your friends. 


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Amy Hastings winning AJC Peachtreee 2014, photo by PhotoRun.net

At the Chicago Marathon, Amy Hastings surprised a few on the TV screen with her front running, but the truth was, Amy had just returned to form. The form she exhibited when she won the 2012 Olympic Trials for the 10,000 meters. The form she showed this past summer in several road races as she focused on her fall marathon. 

In Chicago, on that blustery day, Amy Hastings showed the fitness, but also the passion that her running has missed. She placed fifth, on a challenging day, and tied her personal best! 

For putting herself on the map for the 2016 Olympic Trials marathon with her run in Chicago, RunBlogRun is proud to name Amy Hastings our RBR Athlete of the Month for October. 

Oh, and a congratulations on last week's nuptials for Amy Hastings and Alistair Cragg, who are enjoying a few relaxed runs. 

Special thanks to the Shoe Addicts, our digital partners, for their development of this video. 
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John Treacy, photo courtesy of Athletics Ireland

Cathal Dennehy wrote this fine piece about 1984 Olympic bronze medalist John Treacy, and his feelings on what European runners need to do to get back on track! John Treacy is one of the athletes form his era that I most respect (along with Steve Jones, and Rob DeCastella, of course).
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Betsy Saina, photo by Justin Lagat

Justin Lagat interviewed Betsy Saina recently on her thoughts on a clean sport. Thought you might like this....
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Bob Hersh, photo from USATF Board of Directors bios

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Stephanie Hightower, photo courtesy of USA Track & Field

Last night, after two days of thought and rewrites, I posted a piece on how I suggested that one read the Board of Directors' decision on replacing Bob Hersh with Stephanie Hightower. I am still not happy with my response, so here it goes, once again. 

Today, I posted a piece, that I asked for, from Elliott Denman, a long time USATF observer and some who knows Hersh quite well. That piece was posted this morning around 10 AM EST. 

My theme from last night was this: The Board of Directors will do whatever they think is in the best interest of the USA Track & Field. And that is why they are in place. They are not there to support what the USATF members think is best. This is not a democracy, even though many think it is or SHOULD BE. This is an informed oligarchy. Or, that is what is is supposed to be.

My beef is that if the Board wanted to replace Bob Hersh they should have done it with some pre vote discussion and some style to have avoided what will take up the next several months. I think that Stephanie Hightower could do quite well, but I feel that the treatment of Bob Hersh is untoward. 

Most importantly, for a Board that wants us to think that they understand the inner workings of the IAAF and global sports culture, this was, well, a goof. Giving up the second most powerful position in the IAAF to start all over means that the Board actually believes that, once Lamine Diack retires, the world will come back rosey and peace, love and you know. The IAAF that I know looks curiously at the USA federation, trying to figure out, three times out of four, what the living hell that they are thinking. 


The battle for the presidency of the IAAF is just starting. The recent allegations regarding the Diack family could truly complicate matters and even change the discourse over the next few months, from forward-looking to total damage control. 

And the second most powerful person in the IAAF is an American. A man, who received more votes for Vice President than Seb Coe and Sergey Bubka, the definitive candidates for IAAF president, at this time. A man who is regarded, by many, outside of the US, with much respect. 

The fact is, Stephanie Hightower might be just what is needed in the upcoming world of change in global athletics. I just expected the Board to show a bit more style, and not hide behind "well the rules justify this."

They may win the battle over Hightower, but the aggravation for this modus operandi will haunt their every move. 

I have spent the most part of three decades learning about the global sport, developing relationships, and trying to overcome the notion that most Americans have the patience of inbred poodles (the dog). This current situation in North America is being observed with some consternation, I believe, from our friends abroad. That they are dealing with a little German TV mini-series, featuring streams of allegations is what has kept the USA brouhahah out of the major media sites. 


I do not think that the TFAA nor the assembly at Anaheim had any clue that they could be over ruled. And that is, quite frankly, their fault. 

I do, however, fault the Board, for not finding a way to avoid this battle. Of course, the Board knows, or should know more about the movements of the IAAF and global sport than the volunteers do. The federalization of the regional offices and now, the overturning of the floor vote, could provide the Board with an organized challenge, or, at least, a way to waste much energy. 

The mountains of emails, twitter and energy used to discuss this vote ad nauseum could scare away future sponsors and current creative people who have the ability to change and improve our sport. Max Siegel, USATF's CEO, makes it quite clear that his job is to bring in money to provide resources for the sport. He has done that well, building from $19 to $35 million in revenues. It would be a shame if this floor fight causes any issues for Mr. Siegel. 


And that is not good for the track business, which is not good for my business. 


And that is when I get annoyed. 

And, in case you wonder, I passed annoyed on Thursday. 



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Mark Wetmore, Lamine Diack, Nick Davies, IAAF 2012, photo by PhotoRun.net

Davies explains
LONDON (GBR): Insidethegames informs that Nick Davies, deputy general secretary of the IAAF has described media stories alleging that 150 athletes, including several Olympic champions, had suspicious blood values between but were not subject to proper target testing as "misleading" and "unethical". The allegations surfaced following the third installment of the German broadcaster ARD's investigation on doping in athletics. In a letter to the American website, LetsRun.com, Davies, a highly respected figure in the sport and its official spokesman, acknowledges the first two installments as being "very useful", in that they uncovered evidence which can be used "to investigate alleged infractions and perhaps end up with concrete sanctions." But the third episode, which claimed that a number of athletes - including many from Russia as well as others from Kenya, Germany, Spain, Morocco and one well known Briton - had allegedly produced abnormal blood values between 2006 and 2008, was strongly criticized by Davies.

( Editor's note: Nick Davies has been a spokesperson for the IAAF, among his other duties, for many years. Well respected, charming, and most of all, appreciative of the complex world those of us in media inhabit, Nick Davies took some unusual steps for him last week. First, he wrote to Letsrun.com, one of the most well known global sites on distance running, to explain what he saw as a misleading report on ARD TV regarding 150 athletes who had allegedly been ignored for " suspicious tests". 

If such were the case, the recent blood test I personally took to see how the athlete passport worked, would have been labeled suspicious. In truth, first tests and even second and third tests, help give IAAF a chance to have a base reading on the athletes, in order that if doping is used, changes in red blood cell counts, white blood cell counts, and most importantly, hemocrit (a normal training athlete will have a hematocrit level of 13.5 to 15.5). 

Nick Davies, as anyone who has dealt with him, will tell you, has serious concerns about insuring the privacy of athletes and the integrity of testing. For the sport to have a truly effective testing program, the feeding frenzy that has happened recently on doping has to have some reason, and some basis in fact. 

That is what Nick Davies was speaking to InsidetheGames.biz about this past week. 

And I will to continue to write for a fringe running blog.)

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Yelena Isinbayeva, photo by PhotoRun.net

Isinbayeva married

VOLGOGRAD (RUS): Pole vault queen, two-time Olympic champion and world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva has married with 24-year-old javelin thrower Nikita Petinov who is the father of their daughter. Wedding ceremony took place in Volgograd on Friday. Informs coach of Petinov, Vladimir Ovchinnikov to ITAR-TASS news agency.

(Editor's note: Yelena Isinbayeva has had a busy two years. Watch for her return in 2015. Isinbayeva is, if anything, hugely competitive and hugely talented. And, she does not like seeing anyone ranked above her in the pole vault. )
I asked Elliott Denman to give us an account of the change in atmosphere at the USATF annual meeting after the Board of Directors vote overuled the floor vote in support of Bob Hersh in favor of Stephanie Hightower. 

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Bob Hersh, photo from USATF
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Renaud Lavillenie: Yep, for 2014, he is le premiere! photo by PhotoRun.net

Lavillenie for ISTAF Indoor

BERLIN (GER): IAAF Athlete of the Year Renaud Lavillenie will compete at ISTAF Indoor Berlin on February 14, reportrbb-online.de. The meet director Martin Seeber is working in collaboration with pole vault great Sergey Bubka to assemble a top class pole vault field for the meet. Malte Mohr cleared 590 on his third attempt to win the pole vault in this year's edition of the meet. Organisers are expecting to have over 10 000 spectators.

(Editor's note: Renaud Lavillenie is on a single focused quest: bringing the pole vault to the entire world! He competes at the Pole Vault Summit, in Reno, Nevada, and enjoys indoor, outdoor and yes, jumping on beach vaults. Add to that, Le Mans 24 heures, and a pretty decent decathlon, and you have the man who broke Sergey Bubka's record.)
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Lavillenie at AREVA Paris DL, July 2013, photo by PhotoRun.net

PARIS (FRA): Areva has announced that they will end their partnership with the French Athletics Federation in 2015, report 
lemonde.fr. The world's largest nuclear energy company said in a statement, "Areva has decided not to renew the contracted partnership with the French Athletics Federation (FFA), which will be completed no later than the end of 2015." Areva has been the title sponsor of the Paris Diamond League meeting. They became a partner of the FFA in 2009.

(Editor's note: AREVA has been a huge sponsor for FFA. The AREVA Paris DL, which draws over 45,000 fans a year, highlights the best of French athletics in the Stade de France and has been on my bucket list the last several years. It is too bad when a sponsor of this magnitude reassesses their priorities and leaves the sport of athletics. )


Several points should be made about the statement sent on 12/9 from the USATF Board regarding their decision to overturn the USATF floor vote. The USATF Board clearly owns their decisions. The USATF Board clearly supports Stephanie Hightower as the future representation for USATF at the IAAF. And the USATF Board will do what they see is in the best interest of USA Track & Field, no matter what the response. And that, dear readers, begins our lesson for today. 

 

And finally, they have a plan that they believe will elevate the status of USA Track & Field on the global stage. 

 

It is quite telling about how the Board will respond to future challenges and how they will exhibit power and protection for the federation that they are expected to steer into the cold and challenging waters of the future. 

 

 

The outcry by members and non-members of USA Track & Field has not withered the resolve of the Board of Directors over their decision to support Stephanie Hightower instead of incumbent Bob Hersh. 

 

In fact, their resolve has been strengthened. 

 

Consider this:  In the last 96 hours, the son of the IAAF President has been accused of improper conduct in regards to Doha 2017, and also allegedly accepting money to change a drug test result. The IOC allegedly wants to tighten the Olympic schedule in Rio. Rumor had it (we are trying to confirm) regarding the tightening of the Track schedule in Rio 2016 by cutting up to five track and field events. We are getting into some pretty muddy waters. The IOC has also just self funded a 24 hour Olympic-love TV station.

 

If you think the IOC's religion is sports, guess again, it is ratings and money. Money and ratings are the seats of power in the world of global sport. Many want to be seated at the table and the IOC sees this as a way to weaken the IAAF. Want an image? Just think of Nero, with an IOC pin, dancing around a burning pyre of athletic events and lessening athletic prestige. 

 

Primo Nebiolo was not a bastion of propriety. But, the guy knew how to play sports emperor, and his focus on getting athletics money and prestige scared the hell out of the IOC. The IAAF is having some issues right now, and in this time of self inquiry and discernment, the IOC sees it as a moment to pounce. Don't believe me, just google what Dick Pound, that wonderfully bombastic Canadian IOC member had to say on Wednesday about cutting events from the Rio schedule. Pound can not help but open his mouth when Olympic media are around. And he has the most wonderful and thoughtful comments on drugs in sports, and making the Olympics simpler: perfect sound bytes in this day and age of twenty-four hours of redundant and sub par media coverage. 

 

Oh, the good old days. When track & field knew its place... 

 

I believe that the Board sees that their absolute duty is to protect the interests, as they see them, of USA Track & Field. In the recent original statement from the board, it was made clear that, while they saw the vote on the floor of 392-70 as a mandate, they also saw that mandate as ill-advised. Steve Miller, a man well practiced in sports politics, from coaching to being an Athletic Director, to being the Director of Nike Sports Marketing, then, CEO of the Professional Bowlers Association, and now, in his current role of CEO of Agassi Graf Holdings (yes, Andre and Steffi) ... is vice chair of a board that has multinational-company executives and experienced track figures well versed in constituent politics. They range from Jackie Joyner-Kersee to a masters track athlete who happens to be an executive at Deutsche Bank, a senior VP at CBS news who was a former sports agent, an executive the National Federation of State High School Associations, a former Miami Heat and LPGA exec, and experienced representatives of USATF's various constituencies: the athletes, coaches, officials, Associations, LDR and competition divisions. (View board bios at http://www.usatf.org/About/Committees/Board-of-Directors.aspx ).

 

The Board of Directors of USA Track & Field are heavy weights. The Board sees and understands the IAAF in a way that the USATF public doesn't, simply because the average track fan or Annual Meeting attendee hasn't seen the inside of the IAAF. Nothing is taken lightly in the world of global sports politics, just as nothing is taken lightly when the board makes a decision that contradicts what their voters indicated as their preference.

 

I believe that the Board is willing to give up an IAAF Vice President's position if they can get USATF's strategic goals accomplished. If they can replace Bob Hersh, a man who held, per some, beliefs that put the good of the sport in front of the good of USA Track & Field, with Stephanie Hightower, who will, without a moment's hesitation, support projects that the Board sees as best for USA Track & Field, then the Board will do it. Truth is, the Board already has. Don't confuse power and popularity. The Board clearly feels that in the post-Diack world, Hightower will give USATF a more powerful voice at the IAAF table, even if that choice is not popular among USATF rank-and-file. 


My deepest concern is how the IAAF will view the vote to replace Bob Hersh, someone who has been well-respected in the global sports world, garnering more votes than Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka for IAAF Vice Presidents in the IAAF recent election. (But, that may be a discussion for another time and place). 

 

Want to challenge the board? Then, as the saying goes, "Man up." Get your A game out, because, the Board is playing for keeps. The Board sees USATF's international standing as something to fight for, in an  international sports landscape that can best be called partisan, or perhaps, problematic. Finally, anyone who thinks a few thousand tweets is some kind of social media campaign that will bring this group down, well, I do have a little house in Wisconsin that is worth more than the asking price! 

 

The real story here? USA Track & Field is having growing pains. It is caught between being a volunteer organization and a centralized federation. And the battle has just begun. 

 

If the huddled masses want to respond, then, do it with force, with pressure and with one voice. A bunch of whining voices will go nowhere and will be seen as a sign of weakness. 




Mike Rowbottom, a very well respected sports journalist, wrote a piece for InsidetheGames.biz today. His feature was on Nick Davies, a highly respected IAAF spokesperson, who noted that the story about 150 athletes with suspicious blood readings was not only misleading, but downright ethical. 

Nick Davies goes on to note that, as most know, one blood reading does not a failed test make. In order to develop an athlete biological passport, one must get blood readings over an extended period of time. One reading is not going to tell much, except that several more need to be done in order to draw any conclusions. 

We applaud Mike Rowbottom for writing the story and for IAAF's Nick Davies for pointing out the obvious, but the obvious has been spreading like wild fire around athletics fans. In the feeding frenzy to find all things wrong with athletics, athletes' rights can not be flushed down the proverbial drain. 

As we have always said, it is important to see both sides of the discussion. 




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AUCKLAND (NZL): 
Radio.co.nz informs that double Olympic shot put champion and world female athlete of the year Valerie Adams has added her concern to the prospect of the sport being dropped form the Olympics.

Following the IOC's plan to review at events in the games, an Australian athletics official has reportedly suggested that if athletics had to be trimmed, events such as shot put, the 10,000 metres and the triple-jump could be under threat.

"It would be such a shame to see the rich tradition of shot put excluded in the future especially for our young talent coming through here in New Zealand," she said. Shot put is part of the Olympic tradition says double Olympic gold medallist Valerie Adams.

(Editor's note: The IOC is serious about dropping events and seems to be putting much pressure on the IAAF to consider events to take from the Olympic schedule. They are discussing the 10,000m, the 200 meters, the shot put, a Race Walk (probably the 20,0000m) and the triple jump. This is all so they can move in a new hipper sport, something that will entrance sports fans around the world (perhaps walleye fishing?). 

Watch this fiasco play itself out. Dick Pound, the poster child of sound bytes, tried out the triple jump the other day as one of the events to leave the Olympic schedule. Quite sad.)

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Bernard Lagat and his fans, USA Indoors 2014, photo by PhotoRun.net

Lagat 40 and with record plans

PHOENIX (USA): Bernard Lagat will turn 40 on Friday, December 12, but he won't let that stop him pursuing his goals on the track, report RunnersWorld. Lagat will open his 2015 season at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country over 4km on January 10, followed by the two mile at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix on February 21. During that race, he may try and take down the master's world record of 8:01.44. Eamonn Coghlan's indoor mile mark of 3:58:15 and Anthony Whiteman's outdoor record of 3:58.79 are two other records he may look to challenge. An assault on the master's indoor mile record could come at the Millrose Games on Feb 14.


(Editor's note: Bernard Lagat has been one of the best middle distance runners of his era. As he hits 40 years of age, watch for him to challenge our preconceptions of age. Lagat has raced from 800 meters to 5,000 meters. I asked him last year if he would try the 10,000 meters, and I am not sure I got an answer. 

One thing for sure. One of the most likable athletes in the sport will set some masters records this coming year! ) 
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Dafne Schippers thrilled Europe last summer with her 100m/200m wins at the Europeans! photo by PhotoRun.net

Schippers for 60 m
KARLSRUHE (GER): Double European sprint champion Dafne Schippers will contest the 60m at the IAAF Indoor Permit meeting in Karlsruhe on January 31, inform IAAF. The Dutch multi eventer finished 4th in the event last year, before making the very fruitful decision to run the short sprints during the outdoor campaign. Among her competitors in Karlsruhe will be the defending champion Verena Sailer. Schippers and Sailer both set their 60m PBs on the Gothenburg track that has now been installed in Karlsruhe. World pole vault champion Raphael Holzdeppe has also been confirmed for the meet, while it has also been reported that World 60mH record holder Susanna Kallur will compete.

(Editor's note: Dafne Schippers is a fine multi-eventer. Dafne Schippers is also a fine sprinter. In 2015, she may have to make a big decision: the heptathlon or the sprints? Or, does she? Schippers is a strong athlete, who is showing that focus and a year of sprint races has made her faster, and better at the heptathlon as well, I believe. We will just have to wait and watch.)
This is the first in a series on Training Groups from RunBlogRun's Cait Chock, who came up with the idea and the approach to digital media for this piece. We hope you enjoy it, and please send us your suggestions on groups that Cait Chock should cover. 

Let us know! 


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Lamine Diack, photo by PhotoRun.net

MONACO (MON):
L´Équipe published in 
Wednesday edition an interview with IAAF President Lamine Diack about current situation in the athletics circles. President Diack admitted he was warned there might be an issue coming when asking about the recent revelations related to doping. He promised to give more answers at the end of the week. "The procedure of the Ethics Commission is secret, confidential. I do not have any informations. But IAAF officials cannot refuse to speak to the commission," Diack explained and added: "Let me handle this case. Im not afraid to speak openly."



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Abeba Aregawi, photo by PhotoRun.net


Aregawi passing indoor season

STOCKHOLM (SWE): The reigning European Indoor 1500m champion Abeba Aregawi will not defend her title in Prague, report yle.fi. The 24 year old Swede, who won the World Indoor 1500m title this year, has been rehabilitating from a right hamstring injury in Sweden and has decided to forego the entire of the 2015 indoor campaign. She says that she has recovered from the injury and will now go to train in Ethiopia, as she puts all her focus towards the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.
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Doha 2012 DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

The rumors have been there for some time. Papa Diack, the son of IAAF President Lamine Diack, and a consultant for the IAAF Marketing department, has been linked to several schemes to gain favor with the IAAF for payments of sizable amounts of cash. The denials have been already raised, and the IAAF Ethics committee is looking into other matters that concern the son of the IAAF President. 

The story was first run in the Guardian UK, but taken down. Then, it appeared on SportsPortalNet, a site on sports in both German and English. 

To read the entire story, please go to: Son of IAAF President Implicated in Doha 2017 bid scandal



Published on Nov 20, 2014

Tom Rinaldi tells the remarkable story of Kayla Montgomery -- who, despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, has become one of the best young distance runners in the country.


(Editor's note: If this one does not put tears in your eyes, then, you might not be human. An amazing story, and a wonderful example of a youth athlete overcoming challenges and a coach asking her to go just a little bit farther. Fantastic feel to the feature and story by Tom Rinaldi.) 








Read this story. 

David Hunter called me last week and we caught up, as we try to do once a month. He has been busy announcing cross country races this fall, including the NCAA Cross Country. He wanted to get back to writing once a week for us, and told me he was working on this piece about this really amazing Masters women, who I had never heard of. 

That is the thing about David Hunter. David finds someone or some event that intrigues him, and then, shares it with you the reader. We come off with a better understanding of the athlete, the event and of ourselves. 

Barbara Broad shows what hard work and talent can do at all ages. I can not wait until she breaks six minutes for the mile. With a range from 800 meters to the marathon, Barbara Broad is having lots of fun, running hard and taking on new challenges. 

The essence of our sport....


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In the early 1990s, I remember a coach friend who, in order to save some money and get a new track a few years earlier than was budgeted, went with a discount track surfacer. Within months, the lanes six and seven rolled up like a roll of cinnamon rolls. 

In a panic, I called ASBA and spoke to Mary Helen Sprecher, who I now call Track Surfacing Editorial Goddess. MHS helped me learn about how track should be decided, resources on surfacing, resurfacing and the importance of a group like the American Sports Builders. 

I am at their 49th annual meeting, in Jacksonville, Florida. On the last night of the event, a sumptuous dinner is served and several media organizations, one representing tennis (Tennis Industry), one representing Fields (SportsField Management Magazine) and one representing Tracks (Larry Eder, with Foritus Media Group) give out awards to the best facilities in the land. 

After coming to these events since 1992, I heartily and robustly encourage any A.D. or coach to contact the ASBA at info@sportsbuilders.org, and check out the site at www.sportsbuilders.org

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Track & Field Facility of the Year
Ray Treacy Track at Hendricken Field, Providence College, Providence, RI
New construction: R.A.D Sports, Rockland, MA
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The powerpoint presented by Max Siegel, the CEO of USA Track & Field shows that the financial status of the federation has gone from okay to fantastic: $19 million to $35 million in revenues, with net assets increasing from $ 3 million to $17 million. 

The increase in spending in elite athlete support, coaching education, association support and member benefits is impressive and inspiring. Max Siegel has taken reign of the federation and is shaping it into a financially viable organization that can support events and athletes in ways we have not seen in the past. 

Much of this is due to 71.55 percent of the support coming from sponsor programs done under Max Siegel's watch. I applaud Max and his team for that. 

To see the snapshot of USATF from 2012-2014 in its entirety, please click on: https://www.usatf.org/usatf/files/1c/1ca109b3-08a2-4c92-94b8-ad9d1e8edb4a.pdf.

While this announcement came last week, yours truly was at the Running Event, checking out new products, learning about the vagaries of our industry and chatting with our business peeps. I was chatting with a particular running store owner, who noted how well HOKA was doing for him. His next comment was what I wanted you to hear: "It is good to see HOKA stepping up to the plate, and sponsoring races, clubs and athletes. This is how HOKA grows, how HOKA helps us grow and how the sport grows. Too many damn brands think there is some mystical method that brings success. It is all about building great product and getting that product to runners. "

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I am also happy to see USA Track & Field reaching out on the HOKA ONE ONE Middle Distance Classic. I estimate that the major running brands, with adidas and Nike doing the most, put over $100 million into the infrastructure of the sport each year. 

The Oxy Performance meet could have been sunk, were it not for the support of the HOKA ONE ONE company. A near perfect event, at a near perfect time, the HOKA ONE ONE Middle Distance Classic needs better social media and we applaud USATF.TV doing live streaming. 

RunBlogRun applauds HOKA ONE ONE and USATF for working together on this project! 

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HOKA ONE ONE Conquest
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Millrose Games, photo by Larry Eder

The 108th Millrose Games are upon us! February 14, 2015, so mark your calendars, and buy your tickets today! Tickets went on sale December 8, 2014! 
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Patrick Makau, winning Frankfurt in 2012, photo by PhotoRun.net

Makau wins, Mongolian record

FUKUOKA (JPN, Dec 7): Former world record holder Patrick Makau ran what he needed to score the win in his return to the 68th marathon in Fukuoka, sitting back in the pack throughout the race before dropping the competition in the last 4 km to win in 2:08:22.  But the star of the show did not hail from Kenya, or Africa, or Japan, informs Brett Larner. It was Mongolian record holder Ser-Od Bat-Ochir who pushed for the pace (30 km 1:31:10). At the end he was third in another national record 2:08:50. Winning Makau clocked 2:08:22 and second Ethiopian Raji Assefa 2:08:48. Fourth best Japanese Masazaku Fujiwara 2:09:06, fifth Tomoya Adachi 2:09:59 PB and sixth best European Henryk Szost of Poland 2:10:02 ahead of Chiharu Takada 2:10:03 PB and Eritrean Yared Asmerom 2:10:09. Also to note US Sean Quigley 14th with 2:13:30 PB, Kenyan Johana Maina debuted in 2:13:46 as 15th ahead of Joseph Gitau 2:15:13. Among non-finishers Ukraine Dmytro Baranovskyy, US Jeff Egglestone and Kenyan Isaac Macharia. With info from Brett Larner and Ken Nakamura. 



(Editor's note: Nice to see Patrick Makau on the winners' seat once again. Fukuoka International is one of many global marathons now. The 68th running of Fukuoka featured a strong field, but not the fields of the past. For many years, in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Fukuoka was the race where ONLY the big boys ran. Shorter won four in Fukuoka, Clayton set WR there, DeCastella set WR there, the list could go on and on. While I applaud the advance of the sport, I miss the icons such as Fukuoka ending the year always with such fine performances. Now 2:08 marathons seem so, normale, and they are anything but.)
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Gemma Steel (from BUPA Edinburgh Great XC Challenge, Jan 2014), from Vernon Photography/NOVA

We asked Alex Mills to write this piece on the British Cross Challenge from last weekend. Gemma Steel is rounding into shape for the European Cross Championships, and Emelia Goreka is also providing some exciting running. 
The release below came from the IAAF earlier on Sunday evening, December 7, regarding the allegations broadcast on ARD TV, German public television on alleged doping in Russian sports. 
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Sergey Bubka, photo by PhotoRun.net

The crisis that the ARD TV has brought to athletics should not be underestimated. However, the truth, as always lies between both extremes. 99 percent of athletes doping? Doubtful. And comments like that hurt the credibility of accusations. 

The the IAAF, RUSADA, WADA, and IOC have reacted so quickly means that the ARD TV accusations must be taken seriously. 

Sergey Bubka has responded as a responsible leader of the sport should respond. 

More to come....
The following was posted on my personal FB site as a response on the ARD TV accusations. The ARD TV accused Russian Federation of systemic doping and attempts to cover up such actions. 
 
Irene Obera is an anomaly. She is running well at 81, and inspires another generation as well as reminds the constituency at USA Track & Field that the sport has many things to accomplish...Elliott Denman wrote this piece on the eighty one year old prodigy. 

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 Irene Obera, photo courtesy of Masterstrack.com 
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Max Siegel, CEO of USA Track & Field

The pixelated photo above is CEO Max Siegel of USA Track & Field. On Tuesday night's opening session, December 2, 2014, Max had the job of telling the USATF constituency that USA has beacuoup bucks! Going from $19 million to $35 million in one year, cutting expenditures by $1 million and providing more money to the elite athletes that USATF is focused on developing ($11 million), shows tremendous growth under Mr. Siegel's tenure.

We asked Elliott Denman to provide his view of the Annual Meeting, and this is the first of three pieces (perhaps more) on the ramifications of the meeting . One final note on this column. Note that Max Siegel noted that there are many things to improve on. 

This column was written before the Friday night vote where USATF board voted 11-1, to make Stephanie Hightower the IAAF recommended candidate instead of Bob Hersh.




Let's get this straight. 

I have been an admirer of Stephanie Hightower for many years. Stephanie Hightower does have the skill set to represent the US well in global sports. But, all of that takes time and relationships. The global sports arena is a field land mines each and every day. How will she deal with Seb Coe? How will she deal with other members of the IAAF? 

Truth is, some in the IAAF has been confused with USATF actions as much as many of USATF members have been confused. The 15-12 vote in Monaco in the 2019 vote showed that the USA could battle hard in such international votes, giving them a bit more respect. 

Just being from USA is a hindrance due to jealousy and lack of understanding, by many in the global sports world, of the promise of our country, as they see just the arrogance. 

I am not sure that the USATF board, in seeking new leadership in IAAF, could have done anything different. However, the board is getting payback for its lack of communications, and its continued arrogance in keeping information from the membership of USA Track & Field. Whether this is the best decision or the worst decision, I can not say. What I can say is that USATF leadership is not communicating with the members, the media or the sport. 

Yet, I am disappointed that the major response, and mine as well, is that Bob Hersh is being shown a lack of respect for all of his time and years in leadership. I think, however, that being said, Steve Miller, a board member, was quoted as saying that USATF needs new leadership in the IAAF world as it is becoming a new world in the IAAF in 2015.

Bob Hersh is 75 years old and has lead the voice for USATF for years. Hersh has spoken for US for sixteen years. He is highly respected and is a fine lawyer and supporter of the sport as well. He understands the fine lines that must be deal with in global sports. On Track & Field News chat board today, the vote by the board, after the floor vote of 327-70 in favor of Hersh, was a "slap in the face."  

Hersh has been considered pompous by some. Others find him a quick read and quick responder-something unheard of in global sports circles. But, as Bob Hersh has his supporters, he also has his detractors. Many of those detractors have influence and some have voting power in USATF. 

USATF Board is giving the message that they can not and will not wait four more years for Bob Hersh to retire. They want new leadership now. The board supports Max Siegel and Stephanie Hightower. Their agenda is to elevate USA Track & Field, and quite frankly, they do not seem to believe any good ideas come from outside of their board or small circle of confidants. 

That is their prerogative. 

USATF's board has proven that it will do whatever it takes to support what they see as USATF's interest in the global sport. 

And their constituency should take note of that focus. 


Watch the NXN tomorrow, Saturday, December 6, 2014. The event  will feature the best teams and individuals in high school cross country! 


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Luzhniki Stadium, photo by PhotoRun.net

The ARD TV two part feature has shaken up the sport, not only in Russia, but, also in Monaco and Lucerne. Russian Federation wants to find someone to sue for hurting their reputation. IAAF admits that investigation has begun, and IOC is also threatening to act. 
Max King, World Cross Country, March 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net

Max King may be the most versatile runner in the U.S. In 2012, the guy was sixth in the U.S. Olympic Trials steeplechase in 8:31. He has run a 2:14:36 marathon, and has made multiple World Cross Country teams. 

RunBlogRun asked Sarah Barker to interview Max King on his newest win: the World 100k title, where he not only won, but set a new American record of 6:27:43! Running 6:14 pace for just over sixty-one miles. 

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Max King, photo by Bryon Powell/iRunFar.com
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Luzhniki Stadium , Moscow, Russia, courtesy of IAAF



The response has been swift and furious from the Russian Federation, RUSADA, IOC and iAAF after two part TV show on ARD TV, German public television and articles in L'Equipe and Guardian. 

Here are some of the comments from various sources, courtesy of EME News. 


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Liliya Shobukhova, photo by PhotoRun.net

I
n a dramatic piece in L'Equipe, the French daily sports magazine and website, Russian athletes and former Russian RUSADA staffers clearly note that they believe Russian athletes are cheating as they compete in track & field. The story can be read here: http://www.lequipe.fr/Tous-sports/Actualites/-99-des-athletes-russes-se-dopent/519587.

This article, and much longer article on page 13 of the 3 Decembre 2014 L'
Equipe newsletter follows up on the German TV show, being shown in two parts, Wednesday and Thursday nights. 

The German program, which this writer has not seen, is covering the belief that doping in Russian Athletics is huge. The second part of the program will focus on Lilya Shobukhova, the Russian marathoner who is fighting a positive test for EPO, and who, it is being noted, tried to bribe officials into dismissing her positive test. 

Once we have seen more details, we will report on the program and articles by L'Equipe. 

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Max Siegel

USATF ANNUAL MEETING

ANAHEIM (USA): USATF CEO Max Siegel and President/Chairman of the Board Stephanie Hightower welcomed constituents from across the country to the 2014 Annual Meeting with a message of change, progress and the pathway toward organizational and competitive excellence. 

During Tuesday evening's Opening Session, Hightower and Siegel offered welcoming remarks to the constituents in attendance, focusing on the theme of moving the organization forward together and supporting all those who represent USATF on every level. Siegel announced significant revenue increases, additional budget funding pending board approval and other substantive programmatic enhancements. 

In 2014 USATF revenue increase from $19 million to $35 million and also investment of an additional $9 million toward elite athlete programs between 2015-2020, $1 million decrease in USATF operating expenses and more than $11 million in elite athlete spending in 2014. President Stephanie Hightower presented six President's Awards to the following dedicated individuals: John Mansoor, Demetrio Cabanillas, Bryan Hoddle, Vin Lananna, and USATF Board members Willie Banks and Ken Ferguson. President Hightower welcomed William Shelton and long-time USATF youth committee Sam Germany to the USATF Board of Directors.

(Editor's note: USATF revenue growth is a clear indication of changes in leadership. Max Siegel's quiet leadership has added $17 million in revenue in 2014, a decrease of operating expenses by $1 million, and $11 million spent for elite athletes!)
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Jos Hermans with Haile G, after Tokyo Marathon, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

HAILE THINKS ABOUT BID FOR PRESIDENT

ADDIS ABABA (ETH): Kenya Sportsnewsarena.com informs in an interview with distance legend Haile Gebrselassie that he might in future bid for the president of the country. "I had planned to run the 2015 parliamentary election but I still have a lot more to do in the businesses. I shall be ready in 2020, for me impossible is nothing...President? Why not?' he posed. "Everything I do people are watching," he sought to explain further his political deferment. The legendary runner who plans to take part this Sunday in Singapore 10 km during the marathon weekend also added: "About 1500 people work in my companies. I am into Real Estate, I have schools, Hotel business; farming, I have 1500 acres and very soon we shall start exporting organic coffee and we also import cars. Recently we started gold mining where we are at the exploration stage. I want to have more gold not any more from running but from the ground."

(Editor's note: Many athletes have used what they have learnt in competition to help them as they move from the track to the worlds of business and politics. Haile Gebrselassie is considering leading his country. We wish him well. The world of politics, however, is not an even field, and it can be more formidable than the world of athletics. )



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VISION OF SEB COE

LONDON (GBR): IAAF Vice President Seb Coe has made public his vision for Athletics and the IAAF as part of his campaign to become President of the IAAF. In a campaign Manifesto entitled 'Growing Athletics in a New Age', Coe outlines four key pillars underpinned by a comprehensive series of proposals to guide his vision for Athletics and the IAAF if he is successful in his bid to become IAAF President. 

The four key elements are Embracing change to secure a better future, Decentralization and empowerment, Maximizing commercial growth and Ensuring integrity and trust. This plans include reform of World Athletics Calendar, focus on youth engagement, restructuring the IAAF commercial department and ensuring greater commercial opportunities for athletes and increased anti-doping and integrity resources with creating a new IAAF Ethics Department and supporting the independence of all Member Federations. "We need to be more innovative in how we project and present our sport to the world, both in venue and on screen, give serious consideration to an 'IAAF Street Athletics' circuit to help reach new audiences, and create a new IAAF division that has the sole purpose of focussing on youth engagement, especially via social media," said Coe.

(Editor's Note: The irony is not lost on this writer. A German TV program, with an article in L'Equipe is about to embroil the current IAAF President and his family in a ethics scandal. The sport is waiting for the results on Rita Jeptoo's second sample, the case in front of the IAAF Ethics Board regarding Lilya Shobukhova are reminders that new leadership is needed and a new approach to the sport is needed.

At the same time, one wonders what IAAF Council members are doing when a dinner is organized at the Caribbean Games, and to the dismay of the attendees, the dinner is a recruiting session for support for an IAAF Presidential candidate who has not put his name officially in the game.

Our sport is at a crossroads. How do we encourage young people to participate? How to do we develop women coaches and officials? How do we bring in new sponsors with so many sports and activities vying for the same dollars? How do we save cross country on the global stage? 

Those are just some of the issues to be considered by the candidates for IAAF Presidency in 2015. 


Seb Coe introduced his proposal for "Growing Athletics in a New Age" today, at his press conference in London, promoting SebCoe2015, Lord Coe's bid for the IAAF Presidency in 2015.
 
The highlights are noted below and there is a link to the entire document. RunBlogRun.com will comment on his plan once we have digested it over the next few days.

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Sebastian Coe, photo by PhotoRun.net

We applaud Lord Coe presenting his plans for the future of the IAAF. On a day when it is being revealed on German television that the level of corruption and doping within the Russian Federation, one of the largest in sports, is beyond what many even thought possible, leadership to steer the sport though the next two decades is paramount. Who the sport picks to lead our sport in the near future will mean the difference between athletics equalling the monies of professional walleye fishing or returning to the level of importance of years past.   
Sebastian Coe provided opening remarks before his release of his manifesto on where the IAAF should focus its future endeavors in London on the morning of December 3. This document was provided by Vero Communications, the PR firm hired to promote his bid. 

The decision on the IAAF Presidency will be decided in August 2015 in Beijing, China. 

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Sebastian Coe, photo by PhotoRun.net
The day was long, it was October 31, in fact. The Shoe Addicts, our digital partners and I, had crossed the Big Apple, doing video for our clients at the TCS New York City Marathon Expo. I had planned to take the crew to the Breathe Easy Spa, so that they could experience for themselves, the benefits of salt therapy. 

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Breathe Easy, photo by The Shoe Addicts

In this video, the Shoe Addicts interviewed Gary Patrick, co-founder of Breathe Easy, a salt therapy spa, with several locations in New York City. Gary found out about salt therapy in Europe, when he was having breathing issues due to a nose that had been broken on several occasions. 

Salt Therapy has been used in Poland for at least a hundred years. Gary Patrick is offering a free first visit to RunBlogRun and RunningNetwork readers, who mention this offer and video. 


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2014 was a fantastic year for Jenny Simpson. This week, Jenny receives the highest accolades in American Athletics: the USATF Female Athlete of the Year award, the Jackie Joyner Kersee award, named in honor of JJK and her magnificent career! 

Jenny Simpson will open 2015 with the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix! We look forward to seeing Jenny run the two mile at the Reggie Lewis Center! 
Elliott Denman sent me a note, as he always does, about a piece he wanted to write. I trust Elliott's judgement, and while I may ask him a few questions, his pieces have graced this blog for several years and American Track & Field (and before that, American Athletics) for nearly two decades. 

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That fateful moment, sixty-two years ago: Ashenfelter over Kasentsev
Courtesy of North Jersey News Community website

But, Horace Ashenfelter is one of the special ones. If you can drag up American Track & Field in 1996, find the feature on Horace by James Dunaway. I believe it is the finest piece that Dunaway has ever written. 

Dunaway's point was this: 1952 was a very different time. Horace Ashenfelter was an FBI agent, working full time, raising a family with his wife, and would train, once a day, for an hour, in a park by his house. He used a park bench for hurdle practice. With that training (all things fast, no time to waste), Ashenfelter perfected his hurdle technique. 

Horace was a fearless racer. He broke the American record qualifying for the final in 1952! In the final, he was racing the world record holder, and in one gutsy move, leaped from the water barrier to the lead, breaking the the WR set by the Soviet runner who was in second! This was the cold war. An American FBI agent defeating the pride of the Soviet Union was big news in 1952! 

Ashenfelter is 91 years old. He still runs, and he is married to his sweetheart, Lilian, for the past 69 years. 

And so, Elliott Denman, long time friend and fellow Olympian in 1956 with Horace, writes the following piece about an athlete, sixty-two years after the fact, enjoying the accolades and good wishes on a life well lived and well loved. 
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Gatorade at RNR San Antonio, 2013, photo by PhotoRun.net

Cait Chock wrote this piece to get us all to think about the importance of hydration and how a lack of hydration will affect even the most well planned races....

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