February 2016 Archives

AregawiLedsSimpson1c-Moscow13.jpgAregawi in Moscow, photo by PhotoRun.net

The word got out today.

It always happens that way. I had just finished my reading on Aregawi's tax issues and her pretending to be Swedish, when the drug positive came on the twittersphere.

As is the case, I needed a few hours to digest, so, while sitting with my Mom, and watching E, I wrote my thoughts up on Aregawi.

Simpson_Jenny1d-NBiGP15.jpgJenny Simpson, photo by PhotoRun.net

Jenny Simpson won the 2011 World Champs right in front of me. There had been a point in the semi final in Daegu, where I remember telling a couple of friends, that she seemed ready to race. She had to accelerate to make the final and she did it with huge acceleration but little notice of effort. She was ready to race.

In a world championship final, or an Olympic final, half of the racers are either over trained or psyched out. It always comes down to three or four who have the will and the grit. That is what makes a great race and made the final in Daegu so amazing. All athletes being pretty even, and it comes down to three or four who want it bad and duel to the final centimeters.

It is a whole different thing, when the edge comes from a banned substance. Read the statement below from Jenny Simpson and you will get just a small understanding of what it must feel to loose a life moment.

unnamed.jpgJeff Benjamin sent me a note about this book a few months ago. I was checking his story folder and found that I had not posted it yet. A nice review and some strong thoughts on one of our finest athletes of all times.

the-wall-ben-andrews-dick-brown June 2015.jpgThe Wall, Ben Andrews with Dick Brown, June 2015, photo courtesy of Dr. Peter J.L. Thompson

Updated 29 February 2016

Dick Brown, one of the most respected and admired coaches in our sport, has passed away after a long battle with cancer. Dick coached many of the top Athletics West athletes during the clubs heyday. After that, he coached track athletes, cross country skiers and race walkers. The tributes to Dick were touching on Face book, as many of his former athletes, coaches, friends wrote notes of affection to their former coach and associate.

Dick Brown was very helpful to me in the early days of our pub, American Athletics. He would always sit down and answer questions at meets and would be there to provide insights into training and coaching techniques.

Dick Brown worked with several of his fellow Nike friends and developed a Nike sports monitor, which they marketed with us in 1991. The product was way ahead of its time, much like Dick's approach to periodization.

We publish the obit in its entirety, courtesy of Peter Thompson and the IAAF.

The 2016 Millrose Games was the finest that I have seen in the Armory. It is also a story about a meet reborn. Many of us, including me, wanted to keep an event in Madison Square Gardens, but it was not to be.

Take Dr. Norb Sanders, Ray Flynn and Brad Yewer, among others, mix in the support of the NYRR's Mike Capiraso and Peter Ciaccia, and you have the vision, the workers and the money to support to make the Millrose what is should be, a celebration of all things indoor!

Here is Jeff Benjamin's fine piece on the Millrose!

Thumbnail image for Nick and Matt.jpg

As our friends from @WMMajors are telling us, the Tokyo marathon should be quite exciting. Watch for coverage of the post race pressers from Tokyo! Here is some fun facts from Alfons Juck at EME News.

Gebrselassie_HaileR1b-Tokyo12.jpgTokyo Marathon memory, Haile with Manager Jos Hermans, 2012, photo by PhotoRun.net

StartV-Tokyo12.jpgTokyo's amazing start, photo by PhotoRun.net

Here is a short piece on the Tokyo Marathon which is about to start in Tokyo this weekend!

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A web cam which shows construction of the temporary 7,000-seat stadium and 200-meter banked oval track being built inside the Oregon Convention Center in Portland is now LIVE! The stadium and track will be utilized for the USATF Indoor Championships, March 11-12, and the IAAF World Indoor Championships, March 17-20. You can access the most recent images and a time-lapse video by pressing the "play" button in the lower right hand corner of the window on the front page of www.Portland2016.com.

Editor's note: A fun view of the amount of work that goes into moving and constructing an indoor track. Looking forward to seeing all there in the next few weeks!

LeMaitre_ChristopheFL1-Euros14.jpgChristophe Lemaitre, photo by PhotoRun.net

Lemaitre 20.44 WL, PML comeback 7.49
METZ (FRA, Feb 21): European champion Christophe Lemaitre confirmed top shape with World leading and indoor PB 20.44 in the 200 m at the international indoor meet here. Second Jeffrey John 20.79. Lemaitre was beaten in the 60 m with 6.63 by Barbados Ramon Gittens who clocked 6.60. Another top time of the day was 7.49 at 60 m hurdles by European Indoor champion 2015 Pascal Martinot-Lagarde his third best of career right in first meet of the season. Here second Simon Krauss 7.69. Fast shape confirmed by Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast with twice 7.09 (heats and finals) and second Stella Akakpo improved to 7.12. Floria Guei posted 36.46 in the 300 m and Marie Gayot 52.75 in the 400 m. National record holder Cindy Bilaud returned with 8.04 win over 60 m hurdles. Good jumping by Ukrainian Andriy Protsenko 230 over Jaroslav Baba 225 and Cuban Alexis Copello triple 16.95 ahead of European Champion Benjamin Compaore 16.77. European Indoor gold medalist 2013 Nataliya Lupu from Ukraine won the 800 m in 2:00.86 ahead of Moroccan Malika Akkaoui 2:00.96. In men distances Paul Renaudie (1:48.11) and Sofiane Selmouni (3:41.47) won the 800 and 1500 m. In the 3000 m young Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha won in 7:43.77 beating his country-mate Dejene Gonfa 7:46.64 and home Morhad Amdouni 7:47.70 indoor PB.

Editor's note: Interesting to see Lemaitre running into shape with a fine 200 meters. PML is a fine indoor hurdler, so looking forward to seeing if he runs in Portland. Two weeks to go!

ajee wilson .jpgAjee' Wilson, photo by Larry Eder

One of the finest races of last weekend's Millrose Games was the women's 800 meters. Elliott Denman caught up with Ajee' and wrote this piece on the pride of Neptune, New Jersey.

Marc Bloom is one of the finest writers of our sport.

His beginnings in the sport date back to 1964, and his early writings for the bible of the sport, Track & Field News. James Dunaway took Marc under his wing and helped him with his writing and suggestions during his career. That relationship between Dunaway and Bloom lasted over fifty years.

From his time founding the Harrier magazine, to his time at the Runner, one of the seminal magazines in our sport, to his return to the Harrier, most coaches, and many serious runners have seen Marc's fine writing. In the early 1990s, Marc did a newsletter for Nike communications, one of the finest pr vehicles that this writer has ever recieved.

Through Marc's close relationship with the sport, from runner to coach, Bloom was able to communicate the nuances of our sport. From the viewpoint of someone who loved our sport as well as observed our sport, Marc Bloom also provided some fine features on what could be improved in our sport. By reading Marc Bloom's fine features, I believe that I became closer to the sport, and gained insight into those aspects of the sport focused on by Bloom. Bloom gave us those "Eureka" moments, where an writer, and only a fine writer does this, provides insights for the reader into the writers' world.

In November 2015, Marc Bloom was the recipient of the George Hirsch NYRR Journalism Award, the highest award celebrating running journalism, in our sport. This interview was done right after Marc Bloom recieved the award.

We are most appreciative of the time and stories that Marc told us of his beginnings in our sport.

todd harbour.jpgTodd Harbour, photo by Baylor University

updated 26 February 2016

Todd Harbour is the focus of Dave Hunter's column this week. Todd is part of a continuing column series on some of our finest coaches in the U.S.

I remember Todd's big mile in 1981. His 3:50.34 made the papers. I also recall Todd running in the Santa Monica Track Club uniform in the years after that fine performance.

His move into coaching, first, as a high school coach, and then, to college ranks shows the quality, not only of Todd's ability to grasp coaching technique, but also Coach Harbour's skills in the art of coaching.

Coaching is both art and science.

As Andy Powell, Distance Coach at Oregon reminded me this past weekend, as we shared the bus to the NB Armory, "Coaches build men and women." That is their most important job.

Enjoy David Hunter's fine article on Coach Todd Harbour.

Stuart Weir provided us with a preview and now, the review of the Glasgow Indoor GP, the fourth of the four events of the IAAF World Indoor Tour. As Stuart gently reminds us, the Emirates Arena was being closely scrutinized as a potential host for a European Indoor Champs (I love Euro Indoors!).

With some fine performances, and Stuart's pithy commentary, it is like one is almost there.

Thanks Stuart, see you in Portland.

Farah_MoFV1h-Lausanne15.jpgMo Farah, photo by PhotoRun.net

LaVillenie_Renaud-Brussels15.jpgRenaud Lavillenie, photo by PhotoRun.net

More and more athletes are coming into shape as we get to a month before the World Indoors. While many are focusing on RIO, young athletes and defenders are looking to the World Indoors as some indications of fitness and or to make a name. Here are some of the early February performances from Europe, courtesy of our man in Catalonia, Carles Baronet.

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Lavillenie soars, photo by PhotoRun.net

The pole vault in Portland continues to look like a fantastic battle on both the men and women's sides. Renaud Lavillenie is soaring!

Lavillenie 602 WL
CLERMONT-FERRAND (FRA, Feb 21): All Star Perche was getting lot of flair from Donetsk to be remembered and this year was organised under leadership of Renaud Lavillenie. And he jumped so well. He had first failures only at World record height 617. Until then all in first 570, 584, 591 and World leading 602. Second Shawn Barber despite jumping on Saturday in Glasgow cleared 591 (his 2nd best of the season) and had good tries at 602. Tie for third Kostadinos Filippidis Greek record and Sam Kendricks 584, but also fifth Pawel Wojciechowski 584. Piotr Lisek as 6th went over 577. No height this time for Raphael Holzdeppe at 570. In women battle 471 was the winning height. Fabiana Murer did it in second and Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou in third. Both then passed 476 and did not clear 481. Third Swiss Nicole Buchler 462, the same height for German Lisa Ryzih and surprise improvement for Czech Romana Malacova also 462. Venezuela´s Rosbeilys Peinado jumped South American junior indoor record 452. Interesting to note that Murer saved herself at her opening height of 452 only in third attempt.

Nick and Matt.jpgThe Matt and Nick show, photo by Jeff Benjamin

My first MIllrose Games was in 1986. It was louder than I had heard it would be when, the "Ladies and Gentleman, the Wanamaker Mile" was introduced. I was working at Runners World and had just moved from San Jose, CA to Breiningsville, PA to work for Rodale Press, the new owners of Runners World.

Taking the Beiber bus from Allentown, PA to New York, watching the meet and running a race in Central Park was a runner's dream for me. The meet was fantastic and lived up to all of my expectations.

Move ahead to 2016. The meet has moved to the Armory, and the excitement of the Wanamaker mile, as Matt Centrowitz used a 26.5 last 200 meters to hold off the hard charging Nick Willis, and sent the five thousand plus fans home satiated, but also looking forward to the 110th version!

Here is Elliott Denman's reminder to the young of heart that they have 109 years of athletic history in this meet. Most of the greats have run at the Millrose..Elliott names a few...

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Same racers, faster times in 2016, photo by PHotoRun.net

from EME NEWS (FEB 20, 2016)

Great mile at Millrose
NEW YORK (USA, Feb 20): For the first time in history, two vaulters cleared 4.90m in the same competition at the Millrose Games. Ekaterini Stefanidi and Demi Payne both cleared 4.90m on their second attempts but the Greek record-holder won on countback also a national record, as Payne needed three attempts at her opening height of 4.50m. Sandi Morris was third in 4.70m. Big highlight on the track was Matt Centrowitz's 3:50.63 win in the mile to move to fourth on the world all-time indoor rankings behind Hicham El Guerrouj (3:48.45), Eamonn Coghlan (3:49.78) and Bernard Lagat (3:49.89). New Zealand's Nick Willis was a close second in a national record of 3:51.07 while Chris O'Hare set a Scottish record of 3:52.91 in third. Shannon Rowbury was gunning for the US record of 4:20.5 in the women's equivalent but fell some way short in 4:24.39 WL ahead of Kerri Gallagher (4:26.18) and Amanda Eccleston (4:26.63). The men's 3000m was a good quality event: the top nine finishers ran below 7:45 and Ryan Hill (7:38.82) and Hassan Mead (7:38.85) both dipped below the world-lead. Ajee' Wilson also set a world-lead in the 800m of 2:00.09 ahead of Brenda Martinez (2:00.14) while Betsy Saina ran a 14:57.18 5000m world-lead to defeat Molly Huddle (14:57.31) and Emily Infeld (15:00.91). World-leader Bralon Taplin confirmed that form in the 400m with another fast time of 45.35 ahead of Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon (45.51) while Natasha Hastings won the women's 400m in 51.66. Andre De Grasse won his first race as a pro in the 60m in 6.61 while world 400m champion Allyson Felix stepped down to win the 60m in a season's best of 7.15 ahead of world long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta (7.20). Omar McLeod won the 60mH in 7.46 with Ashton Eaton 0.02 outside his PB in 7.53 while Janay De-Loach won the women's 60mH in 7.85 from Brianna Rollins (7.89) and Jasmin Stowers (7.93). Olympic silver medallist Erik Kynard won the high jump with a 2.30m clearance, Marquis Dendy won the long jump with 8.13m and had four subsequent jumps over 8m. Eaton jumped 7.15m in the second round before retiring.

It is nearly midnight in California on Sunday night, February 21. I have just returned from New York and the Millrose Games. A quick trip out Friday, then, the return Sunday for a full week of work.

And the trip was worth it.

A fantastic meet, and a receptive crowd in the New Balance Armory. The meet ended as all meets should, with a fantastic race. This year, it was the Wanamaker mile and it was epic! Nick Willis and Matt Centrowitz dueled for all to see, with Matt getting just ahead of Nick with a lap to go, and sealing the deal with a 26.5 last 200 meters!

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Matt Centrowitz, photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly, used with permission.

To me, though, what is important is that this meet was nearly dead five years ago. I was not a fan of moving it to the Armory. I felt it was sacrilidge to move the then 104 year old meet to another venue. But, Norb Sanders, Ray Flynn and their supporters proved me wrong.

In past years, there was a polite mention of the meet in the New York Times, and now, there are four stories. But most of all, it was so good to see the support that the NYRR has put into the meet. Seeing Peter Ciaccia and Mike Capiraso there, I felt that the late Fred Lebow and of course, Alan Steinfeld, would approve.

And that, is good.

It is 7:51 PM Eastern time, as I am sitting down to write my missive on the 2016 NYRR Millrose Games. Shannon Rowbury is just finishing her cooldown, after a fine 4:24.35 mile tonight.

The truth is, after tweeting and instagraming for hours, it takes me a bit to bring my brain into a place where I can provide a near Luddite moment in the McLuhanesque world (come on guys, you have not read The Gutenberg Galaxy?).

But, as usual, I have digressed.

Nick and Matt.jpg

Thumbnail image for Genzebe Dibaba__HS17374.JPGGenzebe Dibaba, photo by Hasse Sjögren Photo for Deca Text&Bild


Genzebe another top time, 8:22.50 in the 3000 m
SABADELL (ESP, Feb 19): At Centennial Catalonia Federation Meeting World record holder Genzebe Dibaba posted exclusive World indoor qualifying time of 8:22.50 what is new World lead. It is second fastest ever indoors, only she was better with her world indoor record 8:16.60 back in 2014. And that only two days after superb one mile World indoor record. Also fast second Gelete Burka 8:33.76 ahead of Goytetom Gebreselassie 8:54.65. In the 800 m Moroccan Malika Akkaoui 2:02.51 ahead of Kenyan Margaret Wambui 2:02.59. Ethiopian Basu Sado won the 1500 m in 4:12:14and Venezuela record holder Yulimar Rojas 14.35 in triple. In the other men events Aman Wote won the 1500 m in 3:39.28 over Ivan Lopez of Chile who clocked national record 3:39.39, third Yassine Bensghir of Morocco 3:39.89. Spanish Kevin Lopez achieved fast 1:46.26 in the 800 m and Kenyan Boniface Mweresa 46.46 PB in the 400 m. Also to note Yidiel Contreras 7.71 in the hurdles, Chinese World medalist Wang Jianan 777 in the long jump and new PB for Carlos Tobalina 20.42 in shot put. In the 3000 m Ethiopian Leul Gebrselassie clocked 7:44.50 PB over Moroccan Soufiyan Bouqantar 7:45.15 and Bahrain´s Birhanu Balew 7:46.15 PB with Ethiopian Debele Gonfa 7:46.24 PB.

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PHOTO: Erin Teschuk of North Dakota State in advance of the 2016 NYRR Millrose Games (photo by Chris Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly)
Another fine piece by Chris Lotsbom of RRW on some of the great opportunities that the NYRR and Millrose is providing to develop some of our next generation of stars!

Huddle_MollyFV-BAA5k15.jpgMolly Huddle, photo by PhotoRun.net

Molly Huddle is a runner of amazing complexity. Her focus this weekend is on a very fast 5000 meters indoors, which she will run in less than 24 hours at the Millrose Games.

I have watched Molly run most of her major races, and some not so major races. When Huddle races, she is fully committed. Her 5000 meter AR, actually, both of them, were races where she put everything into her races, and there was never any time to relax.

This 5000 meters on Saturday night should be another one for the ages and for the books.

Just know you are watching one of the finest American distance runners in any era, when you watch Molly Huddle race.

Enjoy this piece, by Chris Lotsbom.

I asked Elliott Denman to cover the Armory Track Invite for RunBlogRun. From that meet, came this column for a new and updated approach to a unique team competition.

Hunter_Drew1e-Armory16.JPGDrew Hunter, photo by PhotoRun.net

Willis_NickFV-NBind16.JPgNick Willis wins NBIGP mile! photo by PhotoRun.net

Nick Willis is a middle distance veteran. He is also the 2008 Olympic silver medalist at the 1,500 meters. Watching Willis race is a real treat for any distance runner: Nick makes few mistakes in his racing. He positions himself well, he prepares for his final move, and that move is done with the precision of a surgeon.

His race at the 2015 Millrose Games was a near perfect race. In the end, he and Matt Centrowitz took it to the line, with Centrowitz taking the win.

But that is the issue with a guy like Nick Willis. The Kiwi Michigander just does not like to loose. And he does not lose often.

So, as we watch Nick Willis go to the line on Saturday, February 20, we should be prepared for an exciting race.

Be prepared!

Enjoy the story about Nick by Chris Lotsbom.

The Millrose Press Conference is one of my favorite pressers of the year. Unfortunately, I needed a couple of days home before I headed back on the road for the Millrose Games. I handed over the presser coverage to our good friend, Jeff Benjamin.

Here is Jeff's comments (and photograph) on the Millrose Press Conference, so nicely done by Ian Brooks! See you at the Armory on Saturday.

millrose presser.jpgAn intriguing press conference, photo by Jeff Benjamin

Genzebe Dibaba__HS17374.JPGGenzebe Dibaba, photo by Hasse Sjögren/Deca Text&Bild

Genzebe Dibaba and her coach, Jama Aden, will decide on whether she will double in Portland after this weekend. On Friday night, per EME News, she will be running the 3000 meters. How fast can she run?

Dibaba in Sabadell


SABADELL (ESP): The city of Sabadell aims in future to bid for the European Indoor Championships. Deputy mayor Marisol Martinez responsible for sports announced. Part of the long term plan is the International indoor meet which will be held this Friday. Top entry is Ethiopian star and fresh mile World indoor record holder Genzebe Dibaba planning to run the 3000 m. It is also because she partly during the year trains here. Also running Gelete Bubrka on the men side Aman Wote and Gebremdhin Mekonnen. From top Spanish athletes in the 800 m Kevin Lopez, Luis Alberto Marco and Alejandro Rodriguez. In the 3000 m Ilias Fifa, Adel Mechaal and Victor Garcia. Good field in long jump with Chinese Wang Jianan, Ignisious Gaisah and Cuban Wilfredo Martinez. Shot put has Argentinian German Lauro with Spanish Yioser Toledo and Carlos Tobalina. Ethiopian Besu Sado is the main name in women 800 m and in triple Venezuelan record holder Yulimar Rojas and British Yamile Aldama.

Genzebe DibabaT2W_5930_1194.JPGDibaba runs 4:13:31! photo by Hasse Sjögren/Deca Text&Bild

Genzebe Dibaba delivered, with her fine new indoor Mile WR. Breaking Doina Melinte's 4:17.14 from 1990, Dibaba ran 4:13.31, the second fastest mile indoors or out.

On Friday, February 19, Dibaba will be running 3000 meters at a race in Spain.

Genzebe Dibaba__HS17374.JPGGenzebe Dibaba, photo by Hasse Sjogren/Deca Text & Bild

Here is our piece on Genzebe Dibaba as she prepares to run in Stockholm for the WR! Thanks to Jonas Hedman.

The 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials were held on February 13, 2016. The conditions were very difficult for nearly 400 of the top distance runners in the U.S. with attrition rates close to thirty percent.

We asked Mark Winitz, long time scribe for California Track & Running News and American Track & Field, to write a piece specifically on the California finishers.

Here is his feature.

Keflezighi_Meb-UsaOlyTr16.jpgMeb taking second, photo by PhotoRun.net

In his debut marathon, Galen Rupp won the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials on a hot and humid day in sunny Los Angeles. Meb Keflezighi made his fourth Olympic team, second at the marathon, with his second place finish. And in third place, Jared Ward, third in LA Marathon in 2015, made up a strong deficit and moved himself into third place in this hotly contested Olympic Trials.

Updated on February 15, 2016, for editing, and additional commentary, by the writer.

Jeff Benjamin is a long time writer for our pubs and sites for the past twenty-six years. Jeff is young, I am the one who is old.

This was a lovely piece that Jeff did on the superb mile run at the Armory by Drew Hunter on February 6.

As we build up to the Millrose Invitational this weekend, I thought this one would get you, dear readers, excited for more indoor track!

Hunter_DrewFans-Armory16.JPGDrew Hunter, after his High School Record, photo by PhotoRun.net

Defar_MeseretH-NBin16.JPGMeseret Defar, photo by PhotoRun.net

The story tonight was Meseret Defar. Not having raced since 2013, and to run her fifth best 3000 meters of all times, was, well, exciting. There is a short list of World's greatest women distance runners, a very short list, and Ms. Defar is on it.

After the race, I congratulated Meseret, and she was beaming! Watch for Meseret to spend a few more weeks training and run the 3000 meters at the World Indoors!

A great NB indoor GP once again. Here is Chris Lotsbom's piece on the distance races at New Balance Indoor GP. We use this piece with permission of RRW.

Look, I have been to a few track meets.

Hastings_Natasha3625-NBin16.JPGNatasha Hastings, AR, photo by PhotoRun.net

And I do have my beliefs on how a meet should be managed, run and presented. The New Balance Meet, the NB Indoor GP is a case in point. This year, they moved the traditional date by two weeks, gave us the coldest day in two decades and still, the fans came and rocked the Reggie Lewis.

Tonight, seeing Meseret Defar run for the first time, in her indoor home, since the birth of her baby in 2014. Amy Hastings put an AR together, running well over 300 meters, and Dawit Seyaum continues to impress with her 4:01.86, but so did Brenda Martinez, who duked it out with Seyaum and came out with a 4:04!

Oh, and Nick Willis, he is just the best indoor miler in the world. One final thing, watch Jenn Suhr clear 5.07m very soon!

Here is how our man from Central Europa, Alfons Juck wrote up the highlights!

Willis_NickFV-NBind16.JPgNick Willis, photo by PhotoRun.net

Keflezighi-Rupp-USOlyT16.JPGMeb and Galen, battle royale, photo by PhotoRun

The 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials were two absolutely wonderful races, which transfixed this keen observer. So much was left out of the broadcasts, in terms of context, and background, that I could write a book. Over Nearly 400 athletes, the best of the best, not only battled each other, but the heat over a four loop course. The heat cut the fields by nearly one third at the finish. Part of that was runners with no experience at 26.2, and part of that was the heat.

Cragg-FlanaganFV1-UsaOlyTr16.jpgCragg, Flanagan, photo by PhotoRun.net

And the truth is, the heat issue could have been adjusted by moving the race up two hours, but blessed television, which did an admirable job, wanted a live broadcast.

Here is the fine piece from Race Results Weekly, which we use with permission.

We asked Tim Jeffries to compile some of his favorite comments from the U.S. Olympic Trials press conference, held this afternoon. Here are some of his favorites from Galen Rupp, Amy Cragg, Meb Keflezighi, Jared Ward and Desi Linden!

Shalane Flanagan was getting an IV during the presser. She has since recovered and we will catch up with her with an interview.

Cragg_Amy-USOlyT16.JPGAmy Cragg, photo by PhotoRun.net

In the second of two Olympic Trials contested today, the women's race had the most drama. 2012 Fourth placer, Amy Cragg not only made the team, but moved up to the win. " I had spent four years training to improve one place," noted Amy after her hard won victory. She improved three places!

Defending champion Shalane Flanagan, who was about four weeks short on her training, had to battle not only the field, but heat issues, and went from looking like the unbeatable winner, to holding on for third and requireing an IV, her first after a marathon, to recover. "That was the hardest marathon that I have run over the last six miles." noted Shalane.

And Desi Linden, who, like Amy Cragg, spent four years build to this day, took second, in a race that had her as much as a minute plus down at just past halfway. Desi noted that the race was "grueling".

The field of 198 women started the race, and 139 finished.

Here is how I saw the race...

Linden-Flanagan-CraggSt-Boston15.jpgLinden, Flanagan, Cragg, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Olympic Trials marathons are less than twelve hours away and I am a half hour from closing my eyes and drifting off to sleep. I have spent the last three years following around some of the finest athletes in the world as they turn their talents to the cruelest mistress in athletes-the marathon.

Here are some final thoughts, before the reality comes, and some of those athletes I admire are flush with the energy that comes from a race well won, and those covered with salt, sweat, and tears, for races that just did not meet their expectations.

luke puskedra.jpgLuke Puskedra, photo courtesy of Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly, used with permission

I really like Luke Puskedra.

Mostly because, at his young age, he has experienced the absolute crap experience that a bad marathon can provide. His first marathon was so bad that he gave up running, gained 20 pounds, and it took his lovely wife and his supportive coach to bring him back.

Puskedra is a thinking man's marathoner. In that introspection, there can be both positives and negatives. Andy Powell, Luke's coach, gets that and keeps the training in perspective.

If Luke Puskedra can keep his head together tomorrow, in the 26.2 miles of absolute pressure, he could make the team. Here is a fine piece by Race Results Weekly on Luke and his journey.

This is the second of two articles athat I asked Cait Chock to write about the US Olympic Trials. I wanted a story out of the ordinary. While many were focused on the top three or top six, Cait found a story of herculean challenges and the positive approach that kept Ashley Brasovan whole during nine years of trials and tribulations.

Brasovan_Ashley-LasVegas15.jpgAshley Brasovan, photo by PhotoRun.net

This story captures the lessons that many of us just do not find in the regular article on the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Meet Ashley Brasovan.

Enjoy the heart felt words of Cait Chock.

David Hunter has embarked on a second series of careers. From Athletics announcer to athletics journalist, David is having the time of his life. He survived sitting next to me at the Beijing World Champs and most indoor weekends, is announcing meets, from the NB Armory to the Aspire Center in Geneva, Ohio.

This wonderful piece on Demi Payne is fascinating to me, as I remember her father, Bill Payne, vaulting into the heavens.

Payne_DemiR1-USAout15.jpgDemi Payne, photo by PhotoRun.net

On February 7, in Albuquerque, Demi Payne, vaulted into the heavens, becoming ONLY the second American, and fourth highest women in history to of the indoor vault.

Demi Payne cleared 4.75 meters, which was a PB. Then, it was 4.76 meters, and 4.82 meters, both on second attempts, Demi Payne cleared 4.88 meters on her first attempt!

In the story, Demi tells David Hunter that she wants to take a shot at 5.03 meters. At 24 years of age, Demi Payne has many years to grow in her professions, as a vaulter and a mother.

SKECHERS LA Marathon Video

The development of a running brand is a fascinating process.

SKECHERS developed into a performance sports brand over the past half decade, as they developed running and walking product. Their introduction to Meb Keflezighi, who joined the brand in 2011, just after he left his former brand, Nike, was watched with keen interest.

The product that came out of that relationship was what surprised. The GoRun product line has some pretty good shoes, shoes that Meb wore to not only his 2012 Olympic Trials win, but his fine 4th place in the London 2012 Olympics, and his fine victory at the 2014 Boston Marathon.

For me, the moment when I knew SKECHERS was serious was in January 2012, after Meb's win at the Olympic Trials, he told me, " I am not wearing orthotics anymore." Knowing Meb's delicate feet, I was flumoxed. I knew that SKECHERS had created something special for Meb, but could they do the same thing for the citizen runner?

They obviously have.

SKECHERS produces several thousand different types of shoes, and considers much of their business around the family shoe model. Their GOWALK product is some of the largest selling and most popular walking and fitness product in the world.

SKECHERS coming into walking had many naysayers, but they have not only persisted, but they have continued to develop and evolve their shoes, making believers out of some of the naysayers.

This weekend, we will see two of their top athletes, Meb Keflezighi and Kara Goucher, both bidding for Olympic teams. And on Sunday, we will see SKECHERS LA Marathon in all of its glory. This is the first major marathon that SKECHERS has sponsored.

The commercial is running geek, featuring Kara Goucher and Meb Keflezighi running past each other, with some of the LA flavor that many come to LA LA land to view. The commercial is about making a statement: SKECHERS has their LA Marathon, and come and enjoy it. There is not speeding rabbit, or horse with SKECHERS blanket, there are two of our most credible runners in American running culture, in SKECHERS, running the roads. Simple, direct, geek.

Just what a brand that wants retailers to see their geekness needed to do.

Major footwear brands sponsor races, and give back to the running community, which supports their brand's relavance. SKECHERS is no different, supporting the brand with race and athlete sponsorships, and now, taking over the LA Marathon, a marathon which should be, with support, one of the major forces in marathoning around the world.

SKECHERS' goals are ambitious, and their approach is unique to their brand. But, as the video shows, do not bet against them. SKECHERS has found a way to add a little of their own secret sauce to the sport of running, and running shoes with a little color and fun are part of their culture.

Watch for our coverage of the SKECHERS LA Marathon all weekend!

When Cait Chock and I corresponded, I asked her to give me a different view than the previews I was recieving. She focused on the Women's side of the race, and rightly so.

LA is for Dreamers, and one or two of those dreamers will make an Olympic team on Saturday, February 13, 2016.

Cragg_AlistirAmy-SanAntonio15.jpgAlistir and Amy Cragg, December 2015, RNR San Antonio, photo by PhotoRun.net

Flanagan-LindenSt1-Boston14.jpgShalane Flanagan vs Desi Linden, photo by PhotoRun.net

Bob Larsen and Meb Keflezighi.jpgCoach Bob Larsen and Meb Keflezighi, photo courtesy of Bob Larsen

Updated February 10, 2016 with title and update

Deena Kastor has withdrawn on February 10, 2016

Nearly four hundred athletes will be running the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials next Saturday, February 13, in Los Angeles. We asked long time journalist and writer for Cal Track, American Track & Field and RunBlogRun Mark Winitz to pen his thoughts on the upcoming trials.

Tell us what you think of Mark's notions on the Trials. But most of all, enjoy them!

Garrett Heath was a fine cross country runner in college. He was also a fine track athlete.

I remember watching him race at the World Indoors in 2012, and noting that he showed some serious guts and racing savvy when he battled against some of the world's best.

Several times a year, I am fortunate enough to catch up with Garrett, and I am always impressed by his sincerity, his love of the sport and his self depricating humor.

That sense of humor was quite apparent after he won the 2015 USATF Club Cross Country senior men's 10k in San Francisco on December 11. Waiting until the last 200 meters, Garrett went by Jonathan Grey and won, 29:06 to 29:10. "I waited and went by with 200 meter to go. With fifty meter to go, there was nothing left."

When I teased Garrett a bit about running the 10,000 meter distance, he made it quite clear he would run 5,000 meters, 3,000 meters and perhaps 1,500 meters, but twenty-five laps on the track-nein.

One month later, in Edinburgh, Garrett ran over 8000 meters of cold, muddy, wonderful cross country pitch. In 2014 and 2015, Garrett won the 4k in Edinburgh against top athletes. He did the same in 2016, this time, holding off Mo Farah, the finest distance racer of his generation, with 200 meters to go.

Bennett Grimes, a fellow Brooks runner, told RunBlogRun that Grimes' father, Danny Grimes a fine coach and athlete in his own right, believes that Garrett could really succeed over 10,000 meters. So does Garrett's coach, Danny Mackey.

For now, Garrett Heath will have to enjoy the RunBlogRun Cross Country Athlete of the Months of December and January from us. This spring, he told us he might race 5000 meters, 3000 meters and perhaps 1,500 meters. We hope that there is a 25 lapper in there, but we will be patient.

Congrats, Garrett!

Okparaebo-Schippers-Asher1-EuroInd15.jpgOkpareabo, Schippers, Asher, Euro Indoor 2015, photo by PhotoRun.net

Schippers 7.07 WL
KARLSRUHE (GER, Feb 6): Dafne Schippers opened her indoor season by setting a world-lead of 7.07 in the 60m heats at the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe. The world 200m champion won the final but was a fraction slower at 7.08 ahead of Barbara Pierre in 7.09 and Dina Asher-Smith in 7.11. Mike Rodgers also claimed the world-lead over 60m with 6.52 which he matched in the final to beat Kim Collins in 6.54. Kendra Harrison converted her excellent form in the USA to the European indoor circuit as she lowered her world-lead in the 60m hurdles to 7.82 in the heats before winning the final in 7.86 ahead of world indoor champion Nia Ali (7.94) and Tiffany Porter (7.94). Cindy Roleder was fourth on home soil in 7.96. In the 1500m, Ethiopia's Axumawit Embaye claimed the world-lead with 4:08.22 while Konstanze Klosterhaufen improved the European indoor junior record down to 4:08.38 in second. Adam Kszczot just missed the world-lead in the 800m by 0.03 with 1:45.96 ahead of Pierre-Ambroise Bosse in 1:46.25 while Augustine Choge took his second big win on German soil this month by winning the 3000m again in 7:43.22 ahead of Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha (7:43.45) with world indoor champion Caleb Ndiku fourth in 7:44.09. In the hotly anticipated pole vault showdown, Renaud Lavillenie sealed the win over Shawn Barber with a third-time clearance at 5.84m before setting a meet record of 5.91m on his third attempt. He had three unsuccessful tries at a world-lead of 6.01m. Raphael Holzdeppe was third with 5.70m. In the triple jump, Alexis Copello won in a world-lead of 16.99m while there were home wins for Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch in the high jump with 1.93m and Julian Howard in the long jump with 8.03m. Canada's Tim Nedow won the shot put with 20.89. In total 4600 spectators followed the first meet of IAAF World Indoor Tour 2016.

Editor's note: Face it, Dafne Schippers is on the global stage. Her strength, grit and focus make her truly dangerous in both sprints. What is fun, at least to me, is that she keeps her composure in face of mounting pressure. Last September, at the Great City Games in Gateshead, UK, Dafne told us that she was just then getting noticed in her own country. Dafne Schippers and Allyson Felix could be one of the finest moments of the 2016 Olympics.

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Kiriakopoulou 476 in the pole vault
MONDEVILLE (FRA, Feb 6): French sprinting star Christophe Lemaitre after fast heat 6.59 in the 60 m was disqualified in the final which was won by British Sean Safo-Antwi 6.55 PB ahead of Bahamian Warren Fraser 6.61. In the 60 m hurdles Dimitri Bascou clocked 7.58 to win (also 7.52 in heats) ahead of Cuban Yordan O´Farrill 7.61. Greek World medalist Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou won the pole vault with 476 clearance ahead of German Lisa Ryzih 461. Jamaican Simone Facey topped women 60 m in 7.20 (but 7.18 in heats) over Ukrainian Olesya Povkh 7.26. Regina George of Nigeria got the 400 m in 53.99, British Serita Solomon 8.07 in hurdles and Jazmin Sawyers 662 in the long jump. In the distances African wins. Youssuf Hiss Bachir 3:42.90 of Djibouti in his first indoor 1500 m race, Brahim Kaazouzi of Morocco 7:54.52 in the 3000 m and Tigist Gashaw of Bahrain 8:55.89 in women 3000 m ahead of Feyne Gemeda of Ethiopia 8:56.55.

Editor's note: Nikoleta Kiriakopolou is one of the fine vaulters from Greece. Do not underestimate any of them in the year of the pole vault, so early into the year of 2016. Curious to see how high she goes this indoor season.

The boy's and girl's junior miles at the New Balance Indoor GP have a storied history. Some of the finest milers in the junior athletes pantheon in North America have run there. The fields are well orchestrated, and the athletes are excited.

After a couple of days of meeting with like minded elite juniors, and some fine treatment by New Balance, the best indoor milers in North America are assembed, and the races are both high points of the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix!

Do not miss the 2015 New Balance Indoor GP. This writer is taking the red eye from the US Olympic Trials to make sure our readers have the meet covered!

See you soon. And buy your tickets at nbindoorgrandprix.com!

We asked Lindsay Rossmiller to cover the 2016 USATF Cross Country champs for us, held in Bend, Oregon on February 6, 2016. Some fine racing and some exciting new discoveries for 2016!

One point about this race and champs. For the first time, women and men raced the same distance, 10k. In 2017, at the IAAF World Cross Country, both men and women will race over 10k. As Peter J. Thompson, one of the keenest observsers of our sport, and respected coach, noted: " Once again, the USA does lead and show initiative."

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Women's senior race, by Lindsay Rossmiller

Hunter_DrewR-Armory16.JPGDrew Hunter running 3:58.25! photo by PhotoRun.net

On Saturday, February 6, 2016, at the NB Armory Track Center, Drew Hunter made history. A week after his 3000m high school record of 7:59.33, surpassing Galen Rupp and the iconic Gerry Lindgren, Drew Hunter took on another challenge.

Running with a field of fine milers, led by Chris O'Hare, the 2014 bronze medalist in both the indoor and outdoor European 1,500m champs, Drew took 1.6 seconds off the fifteen year old mark by Alan Webb, establishing a new high school indoor mile record and becoming only the second high schooler to break 4 minutes indoors!

Drew will be running at the Armory in the mile, once again, February 20, 2016, and this writer is hoping to be there.

DSCN9408.JPGSenior women's race, Violah Jepchumba (2772) on the lead, photo by Justin Lagat

DSCN9416.JPGKaroki versus Kamworor, photo by Justin Lagat

The 25th Nike Discovery Cross Country, held on January 31, was a fine meet, with some surprising results. Read Justin Lagat's fine article on the races, and the surprises in one of the most important cross country events in Kenya.

2016 Olympic Trials Program .jpg

The 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon is one of the most highly anticipated Marathon Trials marathons in recent memory. With an intense battle for 26.2 miles on both the men's and women's sides, each race will have its own drama. NBC will be televising the race live from 10 am PST to 1 PM PST on Saturday, February 13, 2016. If you are in Los Angeles, come down and watch the race as both races have their own battles and own drama.

Updated 2/6/16 for page 16 change.

Thumbnail image for Ennis_JessicaLJ-LondonDL15.JPgJessica Ennis-Hill, photo by PhotoRun.net

SHEFFIELD (GBR): Olympic and world heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill has been forced to miss the indoor season due to soreness in her right Achilles, reports PA. "I know the warning signs with the Achilles now, I know when it's starting to stiffen up and when it's becoming sore that there's potentially a problem there. Just in training it was stiffening up a little bit and becoming a bit aggravated so obviously as soon as I felt that, it was off to the physio and see the doctors and arrange for scans." She was due to open her season in the 60m hurdles at the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix on 20 February. She had also accepted the invitation to compete in the pentathlon at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland. She is also confident of making this summer's Olympics, despite the current situation.

Editor's note: A few years ago, Harry Marra, the coach of Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theison-Eaton, told us that one of the most important jobs for an athletics coach, especially a multi event coach, is to manage the injuries. Toni Minichiello, coach of Jessica Ennis-Hill is a constant observer of his athletes. If Ms. Ennis-Hill has a sore achilles, no choice but to rest it. World Indoor can be missed, Olympic champs can not.

Lagat_Bernard1-Carlsbad15.jpgBernard Lagat, photo by PhotoRun.net

TUCSON (USA): Bernard Lagat will retire from the track at the end of the summer, reports the IAAF. The 41-year-old is planning to contest the World Indoor Champs in Portland before attempting to make his fifth Olympic team for Rio this summer. After 2016, Lagat will switch his attention to the roads. "We have all these road races in America which I've always wanted to do. I still want to be competitive but I want to have fun also," he said.

Editor's note: Bernard Lagat has had a storied career. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end.

Bernard wants to make the World Indoors and the Rio Olympics. Bernard Lagat was and is a runner, with a fine set of skills. For me, watching how Bernard could hold it together and make his final move in the last fifty meters of a race was exciting. After the races, looking at the pictures by PhotoRun.net of the look of complete invovlement in his races, one sees how Bernard Lagat will be remembered as one of the great ones.

For the past decade or so, I would be fortunate to see Bernard, most years, racing indoors in Birmingham. One year, we shared a taxi back to the airport. A nice half hour chat with Bernard was fun, and relaxing. A genuine person, who enjoys his life and understands his fortune at doing the things that he loves.

Bernard Lagat is a talented athlete, husband, father, and good taxi partner.

Tamberi_Gianmarco-LondonDL15.jpgGianmarco Tambieri, photo by PhotoRun.net
Fassinotti_Marco-LondonDL15.jpgMarco Fassinotti, photo by PhotoRun.net
Italian evening twice 235 WL, NR
BANSKA BYSTRICA (SVK, Feb 4): Capacity crowd at 22nd Banska Bystrica High jump meet saw a spectacular men competition. Top two cleared World leading 235, also two Italian indoor records. Gianmarco Tamberi in his first meet of the year achieved right in first attempt 235 also his indoor best. But Marco Fassinotti followed him in second attempt also 235, for him overall PB. After two unsuccesful attempts Tamberi passed last one and tried as confirmed winner one time for 240. Third Donald Thomas achieved also in first meet of the season 233 and Robbie Grabarz returned to top shape with also 233. Fifth Matus Bubenik got 230 and tried at new slovak record height 233. Sixth Konstadinos Baniotis also in first competition of the season got over 230 and had very close attempts at 233. "I did not expect in first meet such a result, but I love it here. One of the best surfaces, will be back next year to attack 240," said Tamberi.
In women competition the positive sensation was Doreen Amata from Nigeria who won with new national indoor record 193 and tried at WL and African indoor record height 198. Second Sofie Skoog of Sweden improved his indoor PB to 191 (as her coach Stefan Holm watched her from the stands) and third Czech world junior leader Michaela Hruba also 191 but had very good attempts at 193. Favorite and World leader Airine Palsyte was the negative sensation of the day with only 180 and 9th position. "I do not understand what happened. I did not cope with the surface, but that is not an excuse, need to analyse it," she said after getting out at 185.
Editor's note: An amazing moment for Italian athletes. Both Fassinotti and Tambieri are fine jumpers, coming into their prime. Watch how they jump the rest of indoor season as they built for European Champs (July) and Rio 2016 (August). Watch for these guys to get over 2.40m this season.

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World Indoor 2014, photo by PhotoRun.net

2016 USATF Indoor Championship tickets on sale today

EUGENE, Ore. - It's no secret that Team USA is the world's toughest team to make in the sport of track and field.

This year, with the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships being contested on U.S. soil for only the second time in history - March 17-20 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland - the stakes will be higher than ever.

Just imagine the individual battles that will unfold as American athletes vie for each of the two spots available in the 13 men's and women's events on the world stage: the competition will be fierce, the drama will be intense and the performances will be spectacular on the dazzling new emerald green track.

Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness all of the action at the U.S. selection meet for World Indoors - the 2016 USATF Indoor Championships, March 11-12, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

Tickets for this historic meet go on sale to the general public today at 10 a.m. (Pacific). Reserved seats with chair backs are in the lower bowl; general admission seats are in the bleachers. For more information, go online to www.usatf.org.

Ticket Type

Friday

Saturday

Reserved

$10.00

$17.00

Adult GA

$7.00

$12.00

Youth GA (12-and-under)

$5.00

$7.00

In addition, if you bought an all-session ticket package for the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships, you're entitled to two FREEgeneral admission tickets to both days of the USATF Indoor Championships. Customers will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to redeem those tickets.

Ortega-Martinot-Oliver1-Lausanne14.jpgOrtega, Martinot, Oliver, Lausanne 2014, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ortega clocks Spanish record
DUSSELDORF (GER, Feb 3): A spree of world-leading marks (in total six) were set at the 11th PSD Bank Meeting (EA Indoor Permit). Orlando Ortega set a world-lead of 7.54 in the heats of the 60m hurdles which he improved to 7.49 in the final, also a Spanish record. European indoor silver medallist Dimitri Bascou was second in 7.52. Elijah Manangoi set a world-lead for 1500m of 3:39.77 on his indoor debut ahead of Bethwel Birgen in 3:39.89 and Euroindoor winner Jakub Holusa 3:40.94 while his team-mate Augustine Choge returned from injury to win the 3000m in a world-lead of 7:39.23 ahead of world indoor champion Caleb Ndiku in 7:39.82. European indoor champion Ivana Spanovic won a good long jump competition with a world-lead of 6.79m (also only MR of the day) ahead of Alexandra Wester who improved her PB from 6.59m to 6.72m and Shara Proctor in 6.69m. Kim Collins, 39, equalled the world-lead in the 60m in 6.53 ahead of US Joe Morris 6.59 (Mike Rodgers was disqualified after a false start) while Ewa Swoboda, 18, maintained good form with victory in the women's 60m in 7.16. Adam Kszczot won the 800m for the fifth time on the bounce in 1:46.00 and on the in-field, world indoor champion Kostas Filippidis beat world outdoor champion Shawn Barber on countback at 5.60 as he tied with Chinese Huang Bokai 560 PB. Unbeaten in 2016, Raphael Holzdeppe was a NH at 5.60m. Junior Habitam Alemu of Ethiopia won the 800 m in 2:01.99 over German Christina Hering 2:02.19 indoor PB. European indoor champion Alina Talay in 8.00 beat German Beijing medalist Cindy Roleder 8.01. In total 2000 spectators followed the event. German win for Jenny Elbe in triple jump 14.12 PB.

Editor's note: Some fantastic performances as we build up to the 2016 World Indoor Champs. The PSD meeting should be on my list for 2016.

A smiling Coach, Ben Rosario was beaming after the 2015 USATF Club Cross Country Champs last December 11, 2015. Hosted by the Pacific Association of USATF, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, nearly 1200 athletes, from masters to seniors to open, competed over 6k to 10k. And compete they did.

But it was HOKA ONE ONE's Northern Arizona Elite that we salute here. Ben Rosario, a fine runner in his own rite, has hand picked a fine team of long and middle distance runners to help them challenge their dreams. Rosario's enthusiasm is, well, infectious.

His athletes made a spectacular premiere in Golden Gate Park. The Northern Arizona Elite won the women's individual race and also the men's team race. It is the men's team that we salute here, but we salute all members of the HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite team!

And just a note: watch the HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite next weekend in Los Angeles at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Special thanks to the Shoe Addicts on producing the video for RunBlogRun.

The USTFCCCA is the finest organization for coaches in North America. Representing high school and college coaches, The USTFCCCA has spent the last two decades elevating the position of track and cross country coaches in this country.

One of the prime examples of USTFCCCA's success are the High School Coaches awards. Recognizing success in all fifty states, and then, naming the top two coaches, one for men and one for women, the USTFCCCA has, once again, picked the finest coaches in the land.

If you are not getting the great information and newsletters from USTFCCCA, the please go to USTFCCCA.org.

Drew Hunter not only broke Galen Rupp's 8:05.6 high school record last weekend at the Camel City Indoor, he also broke the record Galen Rupp had surpassed, that of Gerry Lindgren, one of the most storied American distance runners of all times. Fifty two years ago, Gerry Lindgren, on an 11 lap to a mile track ran 8:06 for 3000 meter, en route to an 8:40 two mile!

On Facebook, after a tribute by Mike Fanelli, the same Gerry Lindgren wrote this about Drew Hunter and his fantastic 3000 meter record:

" My coach taught me NOT (sic) to try to win races, instead, he taught me to set a big example, so that other runners would have a grand mark to chase. Thank you, Drew Hunter fro setting a higher standard."

We wish Drew Hunter all the best when he focuses on the sub four minute mile this weekend, at the Armory Invitational!

Stay tuned! (For tickets, see the release below.)

Suhr_Jenn-nbGP14.JPGJenn Suhr, photo by PhotoRun.net

Prior to her competition at the 2016 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix (February 14, 2016), Jenn Suhr did this interview with a group of the athletics press via conference call on February 2, 2016. Confident, thoughtful and relaxed, Jenn Suhr spoke about her focus, her competitions, and her goals.

first ladies of running .jpg

Jeff Benjamin wrote this review. A long time writer for American Athletics, then, American Track & Field, and now, RunBlogRun, Jeff noted to me, "This was the best book that I have read in a long time."

Updated February 2, 2016, by editor.

TegenkampLeadsQ-World07.jpgMatt Tegenkamp, photo by PhotoRun.net

BEAVERTON (USA): US long distance runner Matt Tegenkamp has announced his retirement from competitive running. "Throughout my career, I lived 24/7, 365 days a year as an athlete. When I started the real build-up last fall for the [American Olympic] marathon trials, I realised I wasn't willing to live like that anymore. I wasn't fully vested, and that's not what my career has been about," he said in a statement.

Editor's note: Matt Tegenkamp is one of the good ones.

A fine runner in high school, from Rolla, Missouri, Matt picked the University of Wisconsin, and began his coach/athlete relationships with Jerry Schumacher.

After college, Matt ran for Nike, and through his professional career, with the Nike Oregon Track Club to the Bowerman Athletic Club, to, most recently, the Bowerman Track Club.

Under the training culture of Jerry Schumacher, Matt Tegenkamp finely honed his racing skills and built to become a fine force in most of the races that he competed.

I truly enjoyed his World Cup in Athens 5000 meters. The World Cup was a fantastic battle between Saif Saaeed Shaheen, Mike Kigen and Matt Tegenkamp, Tegenkamp surprised some there, with his gutty run with some serious global studs.

Teegs gutted it out and finished third in the World Cup.

Tegenkamp_Matt1-WorCup06.jpgMatt Tegenkamp, World Cup 2006, photo by PhotoRun

The 2007 Pre two mile, where Matt Tegenkamp ran a new American record of 8:07.07 showed Tegankamp's fitness and racing style. The Pre Classic two mile was an great race.

Tegenkamp_MattAR-Pre07.jpgMatt Tegenkamp, photo by PhotoRun

The 5000 meter final in Osaka was my favorite race in Tegenkamp's career. I remember watching off the turn, as Teegs came charging down the last 200 meters. He was still pretty far back, but, Tegenkamp kept running. With about seventy meters to go, Matt, it seemed to me, realised that he could medal.

Tegenkamps' charge down the last seventy meters put him within a meter of taking the bronze. His fourth place was amazing. Not a total surprise, but the culmination of much hard work, and fine racing development. His 12:58 for 5000 meters is numero six on the US list.

In his piece at Sports Illustrated.com, Chris Chavez quotes Teegs as noting how much fun it was to be in the renaissance of American distance running. From Ryan Hall, to Chris Solinsky, to Alan Webb, Matt Tegenkamp was there.

In one of my favorite stories by Kenny Moore, Concentrate on the Chrysanthemums, Moore talks about a dream he had, where he ran his last mile in a three mile in four minutes, and then, turned to air vapor.

Matt Tegenkamp's finest races were races of supreme effort, where his training and racing all came to fruition.

Matt knew it was time to begin a new journey. He noted that he was no longer ready to give his training his all. That comes in all athlete's careers, some figure it out and retire, some stay too long.

Frank Shorter, the 1972 Olympic gold, and 1976 Olympic silver medalist noted that, of his 1980 Trials marathon performance, that he just could not give it his all anymore.

Tegenkamp understood himself.

It should be one of the moments that Jerry Schumacher smiles in pride, but also feels some sadness. His athletes not only know when to race, but when to call it a career.

His knowledge, hard won over thousands of miles and hundreds of races, will help in the development of Nike athletic shoes.

We wish Matt luck in his new endeavors, and will miss his gutty, courageous racing.

To read about most of his career, please check out the superb piece by Chris Chavez of SI.com: http://www.si.com/more-sports/2016/02/01/matt-tegenkamp-announces-retirement-track-and-field-bowerman-track-club

Suhr_Jenn1-Glascow14.jpgJenn Suhr, photo by PhotoRun.net

Suhr tried at 507
BROCKPORT (USA): Jenn Suhr after clearing World indoor record of 503 at the Golden Eagle Invitational tried at the next height. It was 507, the highest ever attacked by a woman in any conditions. She did not made it, but her shape is promising for the future competitions. Next will be New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet in Boston on February 14 as second meet of the new IAAF World Tour.

Editor's note: The 2012 gold medalist and 2013 silver medalist (2008 silver medalist too) is back in form. Mark my word, Jenn Suhr will clear 5.07 meters, maybe 5.08 meters.

Jenn Suhr is fit, and she can soar much higher.

Susan Kallur 1.30.16.jpgSussana Kallur, photo courtesy of Jonas Hedman

Here is the fourth report on the European season for 2016. These are compiled by our friend, Carles Baronet, for TrackinSun.

Reid Coolset.jpgReid Coolsaet, photo by Justin Lagat

Justin Lagat wrote this piece in late January during the visit of Canada's Reid Coolsaet to Kenya. Justin has written for RunBlogRun for several years, and this may be, dear and kind readers, his best piece so far.

The journey of a journalist and a distance runner are similar. There are times of great mastery, when the training and hours of running and hours of writing come to the fruition. And there are times of great misery, when neither the running nor the prose comes easily.

Justin writes of Reid Coolsaet, Canada's finest marathoner, and the beginnings of his training camp in Kenya.

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