In a race that portends Rio, but also shows the continuing growth of our sport, Mo Farah was challenged by William Sitonik Malel with 250 meters to go, and won, going away, over the last 75 meters, in 26:53.71, the second best time ever by a British athlete. It also should be noted that Mr. Farah owns the first best time by a Briton as well!
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This story has been reposted on May 27, 2016. I wanted people to remember one of the prime reasons that the Pre Classic is around was because of my late friend, Geoff Hollister. A man of much complexity, Geoff Hollister loved his family, friends and his brand, Nike. The Friday Night at Hayward is here in honor of this guy, who fought every day of his nearly 40 years at Nike for the importance of his brand's core, or as Mark Parker, CEO of Nike calls it, "Nike's DNA is running."
The Pre Classic and Friday night at Hayward Field are the yearly affirmations of Nike's beginnings and Nike's DNA: athletics. Helping people run, jump and throw with some form and function. For much of that, we need to take a moment and think of Geoff Hollister, reminding me that Bill Bowerman did not like the word 'Coach', among other things.
I miss our friend.
Hollister, who took his degree in art from the University of Oregon, was, along with his friend, Nelson Ferris, the keeper of history of the company with the swoosh. Much of that history, Hollister was involved with personally.
Starting in 1967, Hollister sold running shoes out of the back of his car at track and cross country meets. Hollister's interview with Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike (with Bill Bowerman), is that of legend. Knight offered Hollister a job, commission only, over lunch at the Dairy Queen then on U of Oregon campus. Hollister had run the steeple while at Oregon, Knight, a decade older than Hollister, had run the mile. Only one issue, Knight had forgotten his wallet, so Geoff paid for lunch.
In 1968, Geoff founded the BRS West store, in Eugene, Oregon. He then served three years in the US Navy, on the USS Guadalupe, as a navigator. Goeff returned in 1971 to BRS, when it was at a crisis point.
Phil Knight & Bill Bowerman were in a epic struggle with Onitsuka Tiger, and the little BRS was faced with the challenge that many small companies have-financing. Knight was able to develop a financing arrangement with Nissho Iwaii, which allowed Knight the capital to develop their own product and break away from Onitsuka Tiger. (There was a lawsuit between the two, which Knight & Bowerman won).
Hollister was one of the people who got Bill Bowerman. He understood, that beneath the curmudgeoness, was a brilliant educator, who, with all of his foibles, was a hell of a track coach, and businessman. "Never, ever call Bill Bowerman a coach, he hated that word, " Geoff once told me. Hollister was the keeper of the flame.
Geoff Hollister was the Nike promotions department for the 1972 Olympic Trials, held in Eugene, Oregon. He gave out many of the Nike shoes to young American athletes, especially about three dozen members of the Olympic Trials marathon participants.
Hollister worked closely with the late Steve Prefontaine, and developed a strong friendship. It was coming home from a party at Geoff's home, after a Hayward Field Restoration meet, that Steve Prefontaine, who had been the promo guy for Nike, died. Hollister then took over Prefontaine's job of sending notes in boxes of Nike running shoes, to athletes across the world, asking them to try the new shoe brand.
Prefontaine's death in 1975 was tough for Hollister. Most had thought that Steve would be Nike's first Olympic medalist in 1976. It was not to be.
By 1976, Nike was established, but the brands such as adidas, PUMA and Onitsuka did not give Nike an easy time. Hollister did prepare running shoes for Frank Shorter, who had legendarily difficult feet, and while Geoff did prepare shoes for Shorter, it is a matter of some conjecture, to this day, whether Shorter actually wore those shoes.
Between 1976-1980, Geoff Hollister developed his promo team, and helped develop Athletics West, a club that provided not only running gear, massages, sports psychology and nutrition, but helped get the athletes ready to race in Europe so that they could be prepared for 1980. No one could have known that President Jimmy Carter, in reacting to Russia's involvement in Afghanistan, would boycott those Olympics.
It was in 1980, that Nike had its first Olympic medalists, none other than Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe. Geoff Hollister had brought Sebastian Coe and Bill Bowerman together in Eugene, during his build up to the Moscow Olympics.
Hollister had become the man who knew Nike's history, the man who protected the soul of Nike, the man who remembered what Steve Prefontaine was really like. Geoff took those roles seriously, and his love
for Nike was immense.
1984 was a watershed year for Nike. They were a global sports power by then, and the LA Olympics were tremendous, both good and rough. Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first women's Olympic gold medal. Sebastian Coe became the only man to defend 1,500m titles and also win consecutive silvers in the 800 meters. They also had the tragedy of Mary Slaney falling down in the 3,000m and not finishing. Nike had gone big time, and there was a bit of a let down after the 1984 Olympics.
From 1984 to 1996, Geoff Hollister was really the man behind the scenes, using his relationships to help athletes compete, get into better coaching relationships, and continued to show off the Nike brand. He always saw himself as a runner. And he looked at the world through the tinted glasses of an athlete. It was one of his best qualities.
Geoff Hollister & Nelson Ferris became the guys who protected Nike's legacy, probably in the 1990s. Geoff knew that Bill Bowerman was not getting any younger, and did a video with Arthur Lydiard and Bowerman,
which is said to be a classic.
As Nike became a bigger and bigger sports power, there were people who just did not get that Nike was founded by runners, and as basketball, soccer, baseball eclipsed some of the early track & field days, Geoff spung back into action, fighting to keep grass roots promotions going in the late 1990s. It was no mean task at the then $10 billion company.
Some of Geoff's longest lasting influences will be on grass roots promotions, his documentary film, " Fire on the Track" and his work on the film, "Prefontaine" kept the story of Steve Prefontaine alive. It also allowed there to be a recognition, perhaps a rekindling of concern for where running was to live in the Nike culture.
Hollister supported the development of several generations of grass roots promotion guys, some still at Nike, some in other companies, who realize, that it is still about getting a kid who just broke five minutes for the mile to see the newest shoe and dreaming about running a 4:55 mile, or long jumping twenty feet, or throwing the shot forty-five feet.
Geoff Hollister kept the soul of Nike alive. He was a complicated man, who was quick to tell us a story, and to talk about his family, and also quick to make sure that the legacy of Nike was remembered. He was not in it for the bucks. He loved his sport and the people involved.
While Geoff retired in 2002, he consulted for Nike for several years after that. His friends were lucky to have updates from his wife, Wendy, who cared for him with love and concern. Geoff had three children, his son Tracy, daughter Kaili and step daughter, Abi .
Over the weekend, Galen Rupp, AR holder in the 10,000m, a man coached by Alberto Salazar, who was signed to Nike by Geoff Hollister, told the media at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, that Mo Farah , Galen and Ciaran O'Lionaird (winner of the mile), would be wearing GHAC gear in honor of Geoff. Geoff would have liked that....
Please keep Geoff, his wife Wendy, and their family in your thoughts and prayers.
And, what would make Geoff most happy? Go, take a walk or run, and consider how lucky you are, on this small planet.
Here is an article on Geoff Hollister, from OregonLive.com:
The press conference for the Prefontaine has the longest press row of the many meets I attend on the Diamond League schedule. Meet Director, Tom Jordan smiles a wonderful smile, of a man bereft of sleep as only a meet director of a major athletic meeting can.
On his stage, a line of stars including Asbel Kiprop, Renaud Lavillenie, Vashti Cunningham, Justin Gatlin, Christian Taylor, Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, Sonya Richards Ross, Aries Merritt and Dafne Schippers. I reached all of the press stars, which is an interesting dodge and weave move.
Watch for our audio interviews over the next weekend! Here is the schedule for the weekend. Watch our live coverage and enjoy!
2016 Pre Classic Schedule ( all Pacific time)
6:51 p.m.: Welcome
6:55 p.m.: Men's hammer
8:00 p.m.: National anthem
8:03 p.m.: Preview program
8:11 p.m.: Women's long jump
8:15 p.m.: Women's discus
8:18 p.m.: Men's shot put
8:23 p.m.: Girls 400 meters, high school
8:30 p.m.: Boys 400 meters, high school
8:37 p.m.: Women's 800 meters, USATF High Performance
8:42 p.m.: Introduction of sub-4 legends
8:52 p.m.: Women's 5,000 meters
9:18 p.m.: Men's 10,000 meters
12:00 p.m.: Welcome/national anthem
12:03 p.m.: Preview program
12:15 p.m.: Men's triple jump
12:18 p.m.: Men's pole vault
12:20 p.m.: Introduction of legends
12:33 p.m.: Men's 110 hurdles
12:42 p.m.: Men's mile
12:53 p.m.: Women's 100 meters
1:00 p.m.: Start of international signal
1:03 p.m.: Men's 400 hurdles
1:09 p.m.: Women's high jump
1:12 p.m.: Women's steeplechase
1:26 p.m.: Men's 800 meters
1:32 p.m.: Men's javelin
1:35 p.m.: Men's 400 meters
1:43 p.m.: Men's 5,000 meters
2:04 p.m.: Women's 200 meters
2:13 p.m.: Men's 100 meters
2:22 p.m.: Women's 1,500 meters
2:33 p.m.: Women's 100 hurdles
2:42 p.m.: Women's 400 meters
2:51 p.m.: Men's Bowerman Mile
TOKYO (JPN): The 2004 Olympic hammer winner Koji Murofushi said he will compete at next month's national athletics championships to try to qualify for his fifth consecutive Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. The 41-year-old Murofushi, the 2004 Olympic champion and a bronze medalist four years ago in London, won his 20th successive national title in 2014 but has not competed since then.
When Jessica Andrews headed down to the track for Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m PBs she scarcely could have imagined the scenes that would follow later that evening. Based outside of the country, with a PB of 33:21.53, the former Aldershot Farnham & District athlete was well and truly under the radar. While pre-race previews (including my own) focused on the chances of European Champion Jo Pavey and those already holding the qualifying standard, Andrews name was barely even mentioned, despite a number of impressive performances on the cross country scene.
Yet, exactly 31 minutes and 58 seconds after the starters gun had exploded for the biggest race of her career, the Spain-based runner had shocked onlookers and journalists alike, crossing the line in 1st place with her hands raised in adulation to become the British champion and more importantly an Olympian.
While a few began to scour Power of 10 to find out her 'stats', most applauded her fantastic efforts. Continuing to hold up her hands for the photographers, Andrews wore a grin that represented a combination of delight and disbelief. Not only had she won the race, but she had done it comfortably, defeating 2009 world champion Linet Masai in the process.
"I'm am just so happy, I have no words to describe how happy I am right now." she told RunBlogRun shortly afterwards. "I came into the race with nothing to lose today. I knew I was in great shape and training was going crazy good" she added.
If ever there was a night for Andrews to make a her name for herself on the British track and field scene, it was last night. As the cheering crowds flooded to Hampstead Heath and into lane three of the Parliament Hill track to roar on the athletes and see who could convert their Olympic dreams into Olympic realities, Andrews made light of her underdog status.
Bidding her time in the race, the runner initially snuck tightly within the British chasing pack of herself, Beth Potter, Kate Avery and Pavey as Masai pushed the pace at the front of the field in the opening stages. Soon after 6k, Pavey, who had been suffering with a chest infection dropped off, leaving the three athletes to battle it out for two places.
With the pressure on and the pace beginning to fluctuate, Andrews' challenge strengthened. Knowing her rivals need only to finish in the top-two to qualify, she made her decisive break, pushing up the pace and driving away from them, turning her focus on Masai with four laps to go.
"I saw four laps to go and I thought 'ah, it's only four laps to go and still feel good, just go for it, what can go wrong'" she said.
After closing the gap almost instantly, she stuck to the heels of the Kenyan for 800m, before asserting her authority and pushing to the front.
As the bell rang the gap remained small, then as they hit the back straight marquee, Andrews unleashed an incredible surge to go away from her rival and leave her for dead. Arms pumping, teeth gritting, the gap got bigger and her achievement got greater, bounding down the home straight to raptors applause, against the odds she had done it.
Speaking on the emotions of the last lap she told RBR "I was terrified, I thought 'wow, I've made a point, I'm here, I'm in an amazing position I need to not lose this now I need to just keep going and I just kind of just ran as if everyone was behind me and thought, just get to the end."
Having got there in the end, Andrews will now head into the unknown once more as prepares for Rio 2016 where she will be joined by Potter, after the Scotswoman pulled away from Avery in the home straight, who will now have to wait and see if she if awarded the final discretionary place.
Before Brazil, the 23 year-old must now decide where to race as part of her pre-competition build-up, having admittedly only planned up to this race. It will not be the only planning she has to do either, with her wedding to Irish Pro-cyclist Dan Martin, who will also be competing in Rio also scheduled for this year.
Though a few cynics were quick to question such a brilliant performance, Andrews' pedigree is far greater than they might suggest, as shown by her New Balance kit sponsorship. A winner of Southern Cross Country championships in 2014, finishing fifth in the national championships in the same year, after a low key 2015, she was a brilliant second at the Cross Internacional Zornotza finishing narrowly behind World silver medalist Mercy Cherono. Either way, it's unlikely she'll ever be overlooked in the future.
Whatever issues continue to face the world of athletics in this current climate, it's moments like this that make any fanatic's commitment to the cause seem worthwhile. No matter how much you think you can predict the outcome of an event, someone or something will always surprise you. Usually for the better.
STOCKHOLM (SWE): Kenya's 2015 world champion Julius Yego and his Czech predecessor Vitezslav Vesely will be part of an outstanding javelin competition at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on 16 June, organisers of the BAUHAUS-Galan 2016 meeting announced. Also throwing Ihab Abdelrahman and current World leader Thomas Rohler. Also in Stockholm will be the new Czech star, Jakub Vadlejch. Japan's 2015 world championships finalist Ryohei Arai and top local thrower Kim Amb are also in the field.
Will we see the most fascinating comeback this summer?
Susanna Kallur, 35, will finally race again at 100m hurdles - Stockholm 16 June
It has been eight years since Susanna Kallur, from Sweden set the still standing World indoor record at 60m hurdles, 7.68, and six years since her last race at 100m hurdles. A leg injury put her athletics career on hold but she never gave up. Despite several surgeries she kept the dream of competing in another Olympic Games and has now reached the moment of now or never. On 16 June, she will be back on track racing at Stockholm Olympic Stadium at Bauhaus-Galan Diamond League facing among others Olympic champion Sally Pearson and the two fastest so far this year, Kenni Harrison (12.36) and Kristi Castlin.
"I have only a couple of opportunities to qualify", says Kallur about her Olympic dream.
"I have never been in this kind of alarming situation before. I am approaching the end of my journey and it is really nerve wracking!"
In 2007, Kallur set a personal best of 12.49 at 100m hurdles and was ranked second at the event by Track&Field News. The following year, she won all her six indoor races including breaking the World indoor record 7.68 in Karlsruhe on 10 February. But at the World indoor championships in Valencia she injured her leg after the semifinal and never started in the final.
She managed only two races during the summer and ran her first race in ten weeks in the Olympic heat in Beijing. In the semifinal she crashed into the first hurdle and the Games was over. She had a major surgery on her lower right leg in November 2008 but complications with the wound forced her to several other surgeries the following years.
Kallur ran three races in May-June 2010 - the fastest 12.78 in New York's Diamond League - but have since then only raced a few times at 100m flat and only one meet at 60m hurdles (8.14 two times in Karlsruhe in 2015).
What is pointing towards an Oly qualifier?
Kallur turned 35 in February, she is the mother of a two year old girl, Majken, and she hasn't raced at the event in six years.
What are her chances to qualify for Rio?
The entry standard is 13.00 but the Swedish Olympic Committe's qualification mark is 12.80. That's a tough one but not out of reach. If she stay healthy she definitely have a chance.
Could she reach the final?
At the World championships in Beijing last year 13.14 was needed to reach the semifinal, 12.86 for the final and 12.66 to get a medal.
This winter Kallur raced three times at 60m flat with 7.34 as her fastest time. That's only 0.10 from her PB which was set at the European indoor championships in 2007 when she was seventh. Kallur spent April in Florida and that was when she started to run over hurdles in full speed. She did several block starts against 2015 World bronze medallist Alina Talay and also beat her a few times! Kallur ran over six hurdles a few times and she was fast.
At the end of April she had a small setback when she felt pain in her knee. But the problem went away and she is now hurdling again and ready to compete.
Is any of Kallur's old compatriots still racing?
More or less a whole hurdle generation has passed since Kallur's prime days and it's just a few on the top list of today she have raced. Two of them are Lolo Jones, 33, who was second in Kallur's World indoor record race from 2008, and regaining Olympic champion Sally Pearson who will meet Kallur in Stockholm on 16 June.
Few athletes, if any, have been injured for such a long time as six years and comeback and reached an Olympic final.
Could Kallur do it?
She has 39 races at 12.80 or faster during her career and during her first comeback in 2010 she ran 13.14, 12.78 and 12.88 despite poor preparations.
It will be interesting to follow the woman who never give up and see how fast she can go before 11 July when the Olympic qualification period ends. And it will for sure be an emotional moment at Stockholm Olympic stadium on 16 June.
PRE CLASSIC NEWS
EUGENE (USA): The Friday evening programe at Hayward Field will see three Diamond League events. Women discus with Sandra Perkovic, women long jump with Tiana Bartoletta against Ivana Spanovic and Brittney Reese and men shot put with US elite Joe Kovacs and Kurt Roberts against Tom Walsh and Tomasz Majewski. Men hammer will be staged as part of IAAF HT Challenge with World champion Pawel Fajdek as the top name. Men 10 000 m will see Mo Farah against a large group of Kenyans and Ethiopians. In the field also Half Marathon World record holder Zersenay Tadese and going for his first quick 10k will be Augustine Choge. In the women 5000 m Kenyan´s are the strongest group with Vivian Cheruiyot, Viola Kibiwot, Sally Kipyego and Betsy Saina with Helen Obiri. US record holder Molly Huddle and in-shape Belaynesh Oljira are in the field too. USATF High Performance 800 m is headlined by Alysia Montano, Chanelle Price and Lara Roesler.
EUGENE (USA): World Indoor champion Matt Centrowitz scratched from Bowerman Mile.
EUGENE (USA): Italian high jump star Alessia Trost will open her road to Rio at Prefontaine Classic on Saturday.
EUGENE (USA): Just Gatlin before his Saturday 100 m race confirmed to media that he wants to continue with his career until 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
EUGENE (USA): World champion Dafne Schippers will clash with Jamaican Elaine Thompson who was just behind her last year in Beijing at Pre Classic 200 m. But current 100 m world leader Tori Bowie could spoil the party. Also running US sprinters Candyce McGrone, Kimberlyn Duncan, Jenna Prandini, Jo Atkins and young Kaylin Whitney.
Larry Eder responds: All respect to Elaine Thompson. With Elaine Thompson, Tori Bowie and Dafne Schippers, do not be surprised if it takes 21.85 to win at Pre!
Dafnes Schippers has run 10.83 (second in Doha, May 6), 10.94 (win at CityGames, May 20) and 22.02 (first, Hengelo, May 22 ). Elaine Thompson has a 10.71 under her belt this season as wwTori Bowie has a 10.80 (win, Doha), plus a 10.91 in chilly Herzogenaurach (May 14) and an earlier 22.23 for 200 meters. The battle for the Pre Classic 200 meters is on!
The 2015 PreClassic 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net
EUGENE (USA): World and Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah will run the PreClassic 10 000 m on Friday night. First outdoor track race since winning gold in the 5000 m at World Championships in Beijing.
Larry Eder writes: Mo Farah has raced three times so far in 2016. His cross country race in January, where he placed third in Edinburgh. Then, there was his 3000m win in Glasgow in February, and in March, his bronze medal in the monsoon that was Cardiff. Looking forward to seeing his 10,000m from Hayward Field! Mo Farah may be the best 10,000m tactician of his generation.