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Hightower steps down as USATF board chair; Miller selected to serve

INDIANAPOLIS -- USATF President Stephanie Hightower on Wednesday stepped down as chairman of the board, with the board selecting Steve Miller to replace her as chair.


This August, Hightower will stand as USATF's nominee for election to the IAAF Council. The upcoming IAAF election and the transition of her role was the impetus for her decision to resign as board chair.


"As USATF President and our candidate for Council, I wish to help provide continuity and stability in leadership change as we move into the next phase of the IAAF election process," said Hightower, who as USATF President will assume the role of board vice chair, in accordance with USATF bylaws. "Recognizing that to be successful at the IAAF I must devote significant time and effort to that endeavor, I submit my resignation as chairman of the USATF Board of Directors. It has been a true honor and privilege to serve as chairman, and I look forward to continuing to serve on the board as President and to actively pursuing a new role for USATF at the IAAF."

Hightower was elected as USATF President at the organization's 2008 Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada. At its first meeting in March 2009, a newly constituted USATF board elected Hightower as chair. She was re-elected as USATF President in 2012, and the board most recently re-elected her to serve another two-year term as chair at the 2014 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif. Miller will serve the remainder of that term as board chair, through 2016.

Hightower is CEO of the Columbus (Ohio) Urban League, the first woman to hold the position, and previously was Vice President for Institutional Advancement for the Columbus College of Art & Design. A former world-class hurdler, she has served USATF in countless capacities, beginning with USATF's Athletes Advisory Committee and including as USATF women's track & field chair and as team leader, team manager and chef de mission for Team USA at international competitions. During her athletic career, she was named to the roster of 12 national teams, held American and world records in the hurdles, and was a member of the 1980 Olympic Team. As a civic leader in her hometown of Columbus, Hightower served for five years as President of the Columbus Board of Education. She recently received the Distinguished Service Award from her alma mater, The Ohio State University, currently serves as an Advisory Officer for US Bank and is a member of several education and cultural boards.


A board member since 2009, Miller is CEO of Agassi Graf Holdings, the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, and BILT by Agassi and Reyes. He previously served as the Executive Chairman of the Board for Power Plate International, President and CEO of the Professional Bowlers Association, Director of Global Sports Marketing for Nike, adjunct professor at the University of Oregon Warsaw School of Sports Marketing, and Director of Athletics for Kansas State University. He has more than two decades' experience as a high school and collegiate track and cross country coach, is a five-time NCAA Coach of the Year and is a member four Halls of Fame, including the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

(Editor's note: What does this mean? I am not sure. Ms. Hightower remains as Vice Chairman and President of USATF. This was done, my guess, to show IAAF that Ms. Hightower is clearing some of her time to potentially do more to support the IAAF as the Board has recommended her to represent USATF interest with the IAAF. In global sports federations, the perception of an action is much more important that the actual action. This is an action to show Ms. Hightower's desire to serve the international sport's largest global federation, the IAAF)

Last year, I remember watching Geoffrey Kamworer run so well at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. His victory in the World Cross Country senior men's 12k was no different on March 28. 

It should be no surprise to see that Mr. Kamworer is focusing on the 10,000 meters. With his strength from the half marathon and gutty racing over 12 kilometers cross country, I can not wait to see how Geoffrey Kamworer races over 25 laps on the track. 

Geoffrey Kamworor, WXC 2011, photo by

James Dunaway, photo courtesy of USA Track & Field

Jim Dunaway wrote the following story, at the request of Walt Murphy, for his readers. As most of our readers know, Jim Dunaway, life long track fan, life long chronicler of all things track & field, and a person who loved a good story, told well. 

Enjoy the chronicles of James Dunaway on the 1956 Olympics...
Geoffrey Kamworor wins senior Men's XC, photo by Getty Images for IAAF

Letesembet Gidey wins junior Women's WXC! photo by Getty Images for IAAF

Ethiopia this time number one

GUIYANG (CHN, Mar 28): Ethiopia and Kenya as expected dominated at the World CC Championships first time held in China. They won all 12 individual medals and finished one-two in all four team standings. At the end Ethiopia was better 5-3-3 with Kenya 3-5-1. Remaining four team medals went to Bahrain (twice), Eritrea and Uganda. Best non-African (and non Bahrain) individual position was the 15th place of Spain´s Trihas Gebre in women senior race. Ethiopian runners won both junior races, Letesembet Gidey 19:48 and Yasin Haji 23:42. In junior girls both other medals also for Ethiopia (Dera Dida 19:49) and Etgegn Woldu (19:53), in junior boys for Kenya (Geoffrey Korir 23:47 and Alfred Ngeno 23:54). Women senior race had Agnes Tirop winning the gold for Kenya (26:01) over Ethiopians Senbere Teferi (26:06) and Netsanet Gudeta (26:11). The title defender Emily Chebet was 6th (26:18). In the most anticipated men senior race top two for Kenya with versatile Geoffrey Kamworor after winning last year World Half-Marathon title now the CC gold 34:52 over Bedan Karoki 35:00 and best from Ethiopians third Muktar Edris 35:06 as third. Ethiopia won all team titles but one, junior boys was for Kenya. Best European runners were Maria Larsen of Denmark (junior girls, 30th,21:49), Yemaneberhan Crippa from Italy (junior boys, 20th, 24:52), Trihas Gebre from Spain (women, 15th, 27:50) and Polat Arikan Kemboi from Turkey (men, 22nd, 36:40). Best teams France (girls, 11th), Italy (boys, 8th), Spain (women, 7th) and Spain (men, 12th). Next edition of World CC Champs will be held in 2017 in Kampala, Uganda. 

Agnes Tirop wins senior Womens' WXC, photo by Getty Images for IAAF

Yasin Haji wins Junior Men's WXC, photo by Getty Images for IAAF
Geoffrey Kamworor, photo by

I remember when Geoffrey Kamworor surprised some with his win in March 2014 at the World Half Marathon Championships. Justin Lagat, like many true fans, stayed up late in the evening watching the WXC on his computer screen. Here is Justin's piece on the winners of senior men and women's races. 

World Cross Country, March 2013, Poland, photo by

To some, the World Cross Country is the race of races for elite distance runners. I recall a conversation with 1975 winner Ian Stewart, who told me that the World Cross country was like nothing else a distance runner races in their career. " They go out fast, and it just gets faster." noted Mr. Stewart. 

The tradition of the race continues. It was so great to see how the US values the event and the fine teams we sent on all four levels. 

We will all of the competitors the very best and look forward to pictures and video from Guiyang, China on March 28! 

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Ed Eyestone, Todd Williams, Pat Porter, XC 1993, photo by

This photo is one of my favorite covers for American Athletics, the predecessor of American Track & Field. Funny thing is, two of my favorites are with Todd Williams. The other is from his first win at USA XC in November 1991, where he won the US championships, and defeated Pat Porter for the first time. 

To me, Todd Williams will always be, the raging bull of track & field. He ran like a boxer battles in the ring. In his day, one had to run a round in the 10,000 meters to make the final. Then, two days later, one ran the final. 

His second career, with RunSafer is fascinating, as Todd Williams is having fun and doing something wonderful for the sport he loves. 

Jeff Benjamin, one of the few writers who wrote for us when we were American Athletics, wrote this interview with Todd Williams. We think that you will like it! 

 2013 World Cross  Country Championships, photo by

Kenya plans to rule

GUIYANG (CHN): Kenya are expected to re-affirm their supremacy at World CC Championships in Guiyang. The 2015 squad looks fired up to extend its dominance, banking on a mix of upstarts and the experienced athletes. On Monday, the 24-member team had a light training at Uhuru Gardens along Lang'ata Road, then returned to YMCA South C hostels before leaving Jomo Kenyatta International Airport aboard Ethiopian Airlines in the evening to Guangzhou, where they made a stop-over and then connected to Guiyang. Kipsang Kamworor, the team captain and 2011 world cross country junior champion, said they were under no pressure to perform well. "What remains now is to go and make our nation proud in China. We will give our best since we have all trained well and together and remain focused on the task ahead," said Kamworor. Janet Kisa, the Commonwealth 5000m and African cross-country silver medallist, is the women's team captain. Writes East Standard. "Training has been wonderful. We have done the speed work and other aspects of training. And the discipline has been high, very high. There is also unity. This team is ready to take on the world. The team is ready to go out and conquer the world," team manager John Kimetto said. The squad trained in residential camp for about a month at the high altitude St Marks Teachers Training College in Kigari, Embu, that stands at 1350 m above sea level. In last edition in Bydgoszcz Kenya won 3 out of 4 individual races and 2 out of 4 team scores. 
Kipsang, Karoki, Barsotan, Kenya XC 2015, photo by
Hill, World Cross Country, March 2013, photo by

The World Cross Country is the world series of distance running, and it happens every two years. Here is a feature from on ten runners to watch at the IAAF World Cross Country, to be held in Guiyang, China in March 28, 2015.

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