September 2007 Archives

Kara Goucher has been on a roll since her bronze medal at Osaka, Japan. Her debut run over the half marathon was pretty good too! Let's see, she runs the fastest 15k, 10 mile and half marathon EVER by an American women and then defeats Paula Radcliffe, world record holder at the marathon.....

Setting his twenty-fourth world record, Haile Gebreselassie ran 2:04.26 at real,-Berlin today, setting a new world record. This was Haile's seventh marathon. Running with five pacemakers, three who stayed with him through thirty kilometers, Gebreselassie ran the last twelve plus kilometers by himself. This story of a marathon won, and records set starts nineteen years ago, in a marathon in Adis Adaba, Ethiopia....

Alan Webb had an amazing track season in 2007. He won the indoor and outdoor titles at US championships. Then Webb won the Gaz de France with the fastest 1,500 meter time of the year. Alan Webb then broke the twenty-five year old American record at the mile, running 3:46.91, and he ran 1,400 meters of the World Champs final nearly perfectly, but faded to eighth over the last hundred meters. He has raced twice since
Osaka, taking eighth and fourth in the World Athletics Final. The race in New York, the Continental Fifth Avenue Mile was to be the end of his season.....

photo by Victah Sailor,

Haile Gebreslassie talks the talk, but, will he do the walk in Berlin? Read on, sports fans!

Jenny Crain is part of the close knit running community in Wisconsin. In truth, I see those athletes more on the road, in hotel lobbies in Europe, than I do in Madison or
environs, but, it is really fun cheering on a Wisconsin athlete! Jenny was hit by a car while running in Milwaukee last month and still has many challenges in front of her.

USATF did a superb piece on Jenny and suggestions on how to help her. In honor of our readers, we will be making a donation to Jenny's fund and hope you can to!

The BUPA Great North Run is this weekend. Besides the huge half marathon field, the race weekend also features elite 3 kilometers through the streets of Tyneside. On the mens' side, Craig Mottram of Australia is racing there on Saturday, then flying to Berlin to pace Sonia O'Sullivan for 25 kilometers in the women's marathon in Berlin.

But this piece is about the dual at Tyneside: Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia versus Vivian Cheryuiot of Kenya....

After watching Haile Gebrselassie race for over a decade, I finally was able to meet with him for an intereview at the RNR Arizona Half Marathon in 2006. The intereview was set up by the late Mike Long, and my time with Haile was one of the most amazing few hours in my life, up there with the day I spent with the late Emil Zatopek in 1991 in California.

After watching the Emperor race over 5k, 10k and half marathon, and finally last year, watching him run Berlin, I think this guy can do anything...

Pat Butcher is one of the best and most prolific writers in our sport. A keen observer of the sport, Pat is ensconsed in the media center at the Berlin Marathon, updating us about happenings at this year's Berlin Marathon. Geta Wami, last year's winner is running Berlin and contemplating New York as well! Sonia O'Sullivan is a last minute entrant and Haile Gebreselassie is keen on setting the world record. With cool conditions and rain expected, it might be the race to do it..In the following report,
Pat gives us a preview of the upcoming women's race:

Never Bet Against Lauryn Williams


Anytime, anytime one bets against Lauryn Williams, take the bet. If anyone this year has epitomized the gutty, come from behind, out of the rafters, hard working athlete, it is Lauryn Williams. But, when you look at her career, you get a sense of...this is just how she works!

Returning from the World Athletics Finals with his friends, Andy Norman, 64, died unexpectedly on Monday, August 24, 2007. Definitely the most powerful man in athletics in the 1980s and early nineties, Andy had stayed involved in the sport he loved.....

Is the track season too long?


Let's face it, the World Championships saved the sport of track and field. With the boycotts of 76 and 80, 1983 was the best track and field meet of that generation. As the 1984 Olympics, in all of its exuberance and fanfare, put the Olympics back on track, the World Championships put track and field in the spotlight. But now, in 2007, is there too much of a good thing?

It is all about the competition! Even at the end of a long, long track season, Sanya Richards runs 49.37, Dason Robles run 12.92 and scores of other athletes brought the crowd of 25,000 to its feet! Meseret Defar ran a start to finish 8:27 win at 3,000 meters and then there is the Kenyan Edward Soi, who improved on his seconds in 3k/5k at the World Cup 2006 with his wins at both distances here! Also nice kick for Alan Webb, who ran a fine last lap to move into fourth in the 1,500 meters....

Jaysuma Saidy Ndure joined his father, who has lived in Norway for 27 years, in Norway in 2001. Raised in Gambia by his mother, Jaysuma did not take much seriously until Olympics in 2004, where he made the quarter finals at 200 meters. In Stuttgart, after his second in the 100 meters on day one, he came storming off the turn, to run 19.89 for 200 meters, a new Norwegian record plus defeated Wallace Spearmon, who ran 20.18.

Here is Bob Ramsak's story on Ndure and his fine sprinting in Stuttgart:

It has been a long, long track season. The athletes are getting tired, and so are the fans. In the first day of the World Athletics Final, Asafa Powell cranked a legal 9.83 and Yelena Isinbayeva barely held on for her 20th consecutive victory in the pole vault.
In this feature by Bob Ramsak, we see the first days of performances by the world's elite at the last important meet of 2007. Note the double by Angelo Taylor in one day!

The National Federation of High School Sport Associations issues a year report on the state of the high school sports participation. Approximately 15 million 14-19 year olds are in high school in 2006-07, and over seven million of them competed in high school sports. Athletics ( track and field, indoor and outdoor, plus cross country) is still the largest sport on the high school playing field....

Tyson Gay Feels Your Pain


Tyson Gay emerged as a three time gold medalist from Osaka. His win at 100 meters, his win at 200 meters, and his relay run were all now part of history. But, this young man has alot to show in his future, and is he a racer or just a guy who can run fast times? More than that, in his post race press conference after the 100 metes, Gay showed a level of emotional understanding that made some members of the media
uncomfortable at best, and cynical at worst. Gay is just a complicated guy who runs very, very fast.

The women's 10,000 meters was a monumental race on so many ways in Osaka. Tirunesh Dibaba fell off the pace, and on her reputation and talent, was able to catch up and deal the crushing blow to defend her gold medal. Then, the crew of Goucher, Pavey and Smith, working in tandem, moved up on the first two and fought it out for the final medal...

Was the U.S. track and field team that competed in Osaka, Japan the best U.S. team ever? This writer thinks so...

The most anticipated marathon of the fall season for U.S. roadies is the U.S. men's Olympic Trials, held in New York City, the day before the ING NYC Marathon. All of the top players will be there, and this should provide for an exciting race! But, on the roads and tracks around the country, the final outcome of this race is being developed, as athletes work on their final training, and at least one athlete, the surprise, tries to convince himself that he can do it, he is good enough to be called an..Olympian...

Well, the Golden League is over for the year, with the Berlin meet! Sanya Richards and Yelena Isinbayeva both take home $500k US each for winning all six of their events in the Golden League. Some strong performances, from Wallace Spearmon, Jeremy Wariner, Bernard Lagat and Lauryn Williams....

Every Fall and Spring, the Running Network LLC announces its award winners for the Fall and Spring Shoe Reviews. It is done with little fanfare, but it is signifigant. Cregg Weinmann and his merry band of wear testers influence over 750,000 runners and walkers and infuriate store owners in 500 running stores across the U.S. Many stores will tell you that they have very little use for the shoe review.

Yet, besides the obvious ad sales garnered as revenue from the shoe reviews, this writer, who is the person who sells those ads, thinks that there is another value from the reviews.....

Look anytime anyone runs sub 27 minutes for 10,000 meters, they have my attention. Bekele ran 26:46, but it just was not his day. Yelena Isinbeyeva almost had a catastrophe, but she pulled it out on the last jump and won number five of the Golden League meets. Sanya Richards kept her five streak going, winning the 400 meter sin 49.24 over Nicola Sanders 50.34...

The Ivo Van Damme Memorial, named after the Belgian middle distance great Ivo Van Damme, has become synonymous with great distance races! The 10,000 meters has been a major event each year there, with fast times, and world record attempts. From Salah Hissou, Paul Tergat, and Kenenisa Bekele, the 10,000 meters has been a major highlight of the meeting each year..This year, Kenenisa Bekele wants to break his own record!

Track on TV-A Review


This summer has been one of the best summers on record for track and field on television in North America. Combine that with, the Iaaf's radio and video clips, and if you have not seen a great track meet on TV this summer, then you are just plain, blind!

In praise of Jeremy Wariner


Jeremy Wariner did exactly what he planned to do in Osaka, Japan-win the world championships 400 meter final and run on the gold winning 4 x 400 meter relay team. He looked and ran so well that people were underwhelmed...wrong reaction!

France Wins SEAT DecaNation!


The SEAT Decanation, a one day competition, where seven nations ( France, Germany, USA, Russia, Ukraine, Spain and Italy) bring one athlete for each event and score to see who wins is a big hit in France. It was held one day after the Zurich meet, where Mehdi Baala and Christine Arron of France had both done well..well their double double did La Republique proud....(this meet combines the men and women's events for scoring)!

photo by Victah Sailor,

Some athletes are competitors, some are record busters. At this early time in his career, Asafa Powell leans toward the second. Running in the second heat at Rieti, Italy, with a legal wind of 1.78 ms, Asafa Powell ran 9.74 seconds, the fastest legal time ever in the world for 100 meters. In the final, Powell ran 9.78 seconds for 100 meters. This gives Asafa, less than two weeks after the 100 meter final of the World Champs, where he took to bronze, the world record all by himself......

The world championships were nine days of great track and field. In my sixth visit to a world championships, there are certain truths that come from all world championships and Olympics. Here, I attempt to give you some insights into what I see at the worlds and how to figure out who will win, who will loose, who will surprise.

Weltklasse in Zurich, Switzerland


Weltklasse is the first meet after the World Championships. It is obvious that many athletes have already called their seasons or are still recovering. This is the kind of meet where athletes who did not have good World Champs start to shine, however, there were some breakers of that rule.

Bob Ramsak, the hardest working journalist on the track circuit, is everywhere this summer. His daily updates from Osaka were priceless in terms of info and knowledge of events. In the following article he notes that Zurich dropped pacemakers and increased the prize pot. The idea that runners will learn to compete again will make the sport more competitive and show off its most important asset--the ability for the fans to se the best in their event compete head on!

As I started to write the Ten Revelations from the Worlds, I realized that there was much that happened that needed some additional comments. So, here we go:

Greetings sports fans! Well, my negotiations to re enter the time and space of North America is still going on. While my body has been here for 24 hours, my stomach is somewhere over Asia, and my sleep patterns are just plain, as promised
are ten revelations from the World champs in Osaka!

Returning from Osaka, Japan


Your fave blogger had a long day..the meet ended about 10 pm Sunday night, and after dinner in a Japanese coffee shop that was a misnomer, kind of a gourmet food shop, where fried rice becomes a dish with shitake mushrooms, something much too rich for a stomach that was slowly self destructing after nine days of track, interviews, late nights and wonderful memories...

The evening session ended the 11th IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan. The city, the JAAF and the IAAF should be pleased. Great things happened over these past nine days. But there are some issues that need to be addressed in order for track and field to grow and prosper in this modern culture.First, the races!

One of Nicoles' first interviews was with Catherine Ndereba. Here, in her day 9 column, she speaks about the most elite of elite champions, and her amazing consistency in the marathon!

Bernard Lagat, after some early season setbacks, has done it, he doubled and won at both in Osaka! I was an unbeliever after Indy, but Bernard showed, in his own elegant style and drive, how the spirit can overcome many obstacles. Here, he overcomes fifteen of the best distance runners in the world! And stellar runs by Matt Tegankamp and Adam Goucher, with Tegankamp's bid for third so so close!

Catherine Ndereba of Kenya added gold to her medals, and was on the top of the medal stand at the Worlds for the first time since Helsinki...Chunxiu Zhou of China took the silver and Japan got their first medal, as 450,000 Japanese waved a flag from the newspaper sponsor, willing Reiko Tosa on....

Nicole speaks, in her day 8 column, about some of the great events that filled the roster on Saturday...

You know when you are starting that long spiral to getting sick, and there is just nothing you can do? Well, Saturday was that day for me. A fitful night sleep, followed by most of the day in bed, followed by dizziness as I went for a taxi for Saturday night's session. I decided to watch the session eight from the confines of my bedroom, with all in Japanese. It was fun! And in between some better sleep, I saw a great night of track and field!

In today's column, Mary Nicole writes on Liu Xiang, his victory on Friday night and it signifigance. For the next year, Liu Xiang carries the mantle of favorite, and the aspirations of over two billion Chinese....

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