May 2008 Archives

The Reebok Grand Prix NYC is one of those prime examples of an event that has grown comfortable with itself, and flourishes. The crowd, estimated at over 8,000 was SRO as over five hundred additional fans paid $5 for an opportunity to stand near the stands or the track and watch a fine track meet.

The Icahn Stadium was dressed up for the occassion, with signage from Reebok, Western Union, Digicel, Visa, Nissan and Nutrilite. The crowd was a lively combination of Jamaican, Chinese, Trinidad & Tobago ( More on that later), and just your average New Yorkers. But the Jamaicans were in force to see two of their fave athletes-Veronica Campbell-Brown, the World Champion at 100 meters and silver medalist at 200 meters, and also Usain Bolt, the silver medalist at Osaka, who had run 9.74 for 100 meters the first weekend of May.

The showdown of the meet, the last event, was the 100 meters. It was Usain Bolt versus Tyson Gay, who had run 10.07 and 20.08 to win his double at the adidas Track Classic. And the meet played along with the drama, as event after event, the crowd was treated to a truly memorable night of track and field.....

As the world gets involved in another weekend of great track and field, I am in New York, preparing for the Reebok Grand Prix NYC. Usain Bolt vs Tyson Gay! A great field in the shot put! Right now, we are hoping the storm predicted for New York comes in early afternoon and clears for the great track meet about to come to Randalls Island.

More details to come!

It is late Friday night, and your favorite blogger has just invaded the air space of New York City. A walk back from dinner with friends was very comfortable, low humidity and near perfect weather. It is the night before the Reebok Grand Prix, and the event is looking to be pretty amazing, from the opportunity for Jenn Stuczynski to improve her American record in the pole vault, to a truly stacked women's sprint field, to a tremendous showdown between Usain Bolt, fastest in world in 2008 and Tyson Gay, Osaka three time gold medalist and the sprinter of the hour.

But, dear friends, the day AFTER Reebok GP NYC is the DKB-ISTAF Berlin meeting, which is the start of the IAAF Golden League for 2008. What is the first lesson about track and field, dear readers? It is all about the competition!

In Berlin, the men's 400 meters may overshadow all, as La Shawn Merritt and Angelo Taylor, the silver and bronze medalist at Osaka, will join Jeremy Wariner, the gold medalist in that race in Oskaka-the 400 meters.

In my mind, Jeremy Wariner is as dominant at 400 meters as Tyson Gay is over 100 meters and 200 meters. Wariner is so dominant, that he will truly have to screw up everything, like five things, to loose the 400 meters. Now, it can be done-but Wariner is that dominant. Two weeks ago, with a sore hamstring, the guy ran 44.42.

La Shawn Merritt is very tough, and so is Angelo Taylor. Word on the street is that La Shawn is very fit, and Angelo has run 20.5 and 45.05, but they will need 44 or UNDER to get at Wariner.

So this weekend will tell us something about the battle on the road to Beijing-who will be the dominant short and long sprinters for 2008?

If you think that Athletics Kenya is going to let one medal chance get away from them this summer, then you are sadly mistaken. Lots of web grumbles by Kenyans, fans of Kenyan athletics on why Kenyans can win every road race in site yet get blasted in World Champs or Olympics. Well the Federation is not letting that happen in Pamela Jelimo's case, the young women who destroyed th World Junior Record at 800 meters with her 1:55.76 WJR at FBK Hengelo last weekend.

Read Bob Ramsak's column and decide for yourself!

One of the rising stars in our sport is Lo Lo Jones. Here, our intrepid Bob Ramsak catches up with Lo Lo less than a week before the Golden League begins in Berlin, Germany, on June 1, 2008..

In his blog entry today (
), Pat Butcher reflects on women runners and how they have changed our sport. Specifically, he discussess Paula Radcliffe and the Kenyan women runners. It is a good read....

It also gave me a chance to consider how women runner's have changed our sport...

Stephanie Hightower is the Chair of the Women Track & Field Committee of the High Performance Division of USA Track & Field. A world class hurder, member of the 1980 Olympic team, Hightower has spent much of the last two decades in the area of public and private education. As President of the Columbus, Ohio public school district for five years and Vice President of Advancement for the Columbus College of Arts & Design, she comes to the sport with some varied experiences.

In our quest at ATF to help you, our readers, understand the players in our sport and how their decisions can affect you on both the national but a local level, we bring you this interview, done via email, after a discussion at the Womens' Olympic Marathon

As our goal is to be even handed, we will be interviewing other candidates for President of USA Track & Field over this coming summer.

This interview was set up by Larry Eder, and will appear in an edited
version in American Track & Field Resource Guide, in late June 2008.


Photos of Jenn Stuczynski and her clearance of the new American record at 4.90 meters, 16 feet, 3/4 of an inch, Photos courtesy of

World Javelin Champ Tero Pittamki looses on his opener, Liu Xiang ran 13.16, letting up, and Gilbert Kipchoge ran 1:44.52 in Brasil to highlight Sunday. Read on for more news of the track world!

News on the sport from around the world.....

I was sitting in Birmingham, England the first time I heard about Pamela Jelimo. We were discussing the women's 800 meters and one keen eyed manager of a footwear brand telling me that Pamela would be very hot soon! He was right!

Hengelo lived up to the early season hype as top athletes from all over the world opened their runs to Beijing, now 76 days away! Five world leading marks gave the crowd of 16,000 alot to talk about! But, now more teases, read on, track geeks, and read bout the 26th FBK Games of Hengelo!

Our fearless track and field globetrotter Bob Ramsak gives us his impressions of the FBK Henglelo Meeting. One thing to note, Irving Saldino's tremendous jump of 8.73 meters is a 28 feet, 7.7 inches! Best jump in the world in 14 years! Watch for some long jump battles in Beijing!

Note also that Matt Tegankamp ran 13:28.7 in the 5,000 meters for tenth place and Lo Lo Jones ran 12.87 for the hurdles, which she won!

Photos: Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie (c) Bob Ramsak/TRACK PROFILE Report

It was about a month ago that I previewed the Saucony site with Mary O'Brien, the VP of Marketing Communications at Saucony. While the folks had waited a while to update their site, the wait was for good. Like the brand, is easy to navigate, well designed, illustrated well, with easy to follow links, and images that are easy to download...

Pat Butcher, one of the most important writers in our sport, has established his blog, I think his blog is a must read and we will link to upcoming stories in the future! I review the site below.

Tyson Gay in full flight, May 18, 2008(Photo credit: PhotoRun)

This was just a matter of time! Magdalena was embraced by the media at the Olympic Trials press conference. After the conference, at least two vice presidents of marketing were standing with press, trying to get to Magdalena. One of them was Saucony VP, Sharon Barbano.

Lewy Boulet's story, about becoming an American citizen, her brave race, and her determination ring true with sports fans who see the Olympics as the ultimate in sporting events.

My take on the Blade Runner, Mr. Oscar Pistorius? Here is what I think. I do think that he has an advantage with his new feet. I do think that if the company who made his artificial feet have gone this far at this time, where they can take a young man, obviously talented, who can run a 47.5 if he was able bodied, and now he can run just under 47.

It is just a matter of time before technology and better training for Oscar, brings him to the 45.55 range. The kid has talent, this is just not a matter of technology, and he does give many an example of "Citius, Altius, Fortius."

I do believe, however, if he was running 44.5, that the decision would have been quite different. Oscar Pistorius has to climb his own Mt. Fuji, which is the 45.55 Olympic A standard.

One of the ironic things about Jenn Stuczynski's AR last year was that about ten of us saw it, as it was in the middle of the world record women's two mile, I believe. This year, Jenn had the announcing of Mr. Scott Davis and she looked fantastic! She is in a different league this year and she, in my mind will break the World Record this summer. Should be fun to see!

It was also great to see the trailblazer of the pole vault, Stacy Dragila, jumping well again, she cleared 4.47 m or 14-8 and she looked good, no achilles injuries. She should be in 4.65-4.67m shape by the Trials and in the real hunt for an Olympic team position. We wish her well.

While I truly enjoy Tyson Gay, and Kerron Clement and Jeremy Wariner, there is always a soft spot for Darvis Patton. Just a nice guy who works his butt off and he ran a great race at the adidas Track Classic.

I have not said much about Jon Rankin, who is really coming into his own and is healthy, we wish him luck this year. That 1,500 meters at the adidas TC was a good prep for running an Olympic heat. Hone those elbows and remember, they won't be calling anything back in Beijing.

Xing Huina is the Chinese women who won the Athens 10,000 meters. She has announced that she will not defend her gold medal in Beijing! Huge news in China is my guess, as many thought that the Chinese would do quite well in the women's events. I still think that they will, with some strong medal performances in track & field.

But consider for a moment, the outpouring of pride in being Chinese after the Olympic torch protests. The Beijing Organizing Committee and the Chinese government see 2008 Beijing as a great showcase of the country. They have, however, lowballed the medal numbers. I think this is a smart and politic thing to do, however, I do believe that China will have excellent results from Beijing.

The other news is the sprint wars. Go to facebook and find the video of Usain Bolt and his 9.76! It is something to behold. I still think, however, that while speed attracts the fans and the writers, it will come down to Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay, lining up in Randalls Stadium on May 31, 2008 to determine who is the king.

The adidas Track Classic was an excellent display of our sports talent. Congratulations to observant reader Steve Vaitones who noted on my incorrect height , " The 39" hurdles really would spell trouble, but might make a nice race for those fans wanting blood and guts and tumbles, since the height at 400M is generally 36". Thanks, Mr. Vaitones, I owe you an adult beverage at our next meeting. I would like to make it clear that I did not go around and move the hurdles up to 39 inches to make it more interesting for our fans. The hurdles were actually at 36 inches, they might have felt a bit higher for Mr. Jackson, however.

To describe the adidas Track Classic as hot was an understatement! 110 degrees during the middle of the meet, on the track, no shade except for tents. Yours truly, showed up in a nice blue suit and needless to say, was trying to configure an ice vest underneath my jacket, which did come off quite quickly. But the real heat was in the performances as event, after event, the competition continued to build.

The adidas Track Classic gave the world a glimpse of just how good track & field athletes are. Jenn Stuczynski broke her American record, once again, clearing 4.90 meters on her second attempt and then coming close three times at a new WR of 5.02. Jeremy Wariner, nursing sore hamstrings, ran 44.42 to turn back all comers. Shannon Rowbury ran 4:01.46 to lead the world at 1,500 meters.

Veronica Campbell, as she had predicted, was able to focus, and execute, putting her in first at the women's 100 meters, where seven of the finishers were in the top ten sprinters in the world. Lauryn Williams, Kerron Stewart and Allyson Felix followed.

In the end, it was Tyson Gay, who endured three false starts in the hundred meters before he sprinted down the straight, running 10.05 into a headwind! In the 200 meters, Tyson blased away from the field, winning in 20.07!

What a double! What a meet!
Read on, track geeks!

Usain Bolt continues to take his 6 foot, five inch frame and move it faster than most men at five foot, ten inches. This time, he goes 9.92! Bolt continues to deliver on his talent and the upcoming event at the Reebok Grand Prix on May 31 should be a barn burner! Usain Bolt versus Tyson Gay-over 100 meters: this will be a real foot race!

Angelo Taylor, 2000 Olympic 400m hurdle gold medalist from lane one, opened 2008 with a win at 200 meters in 20.50 and 400 meters in 45.03. Porsche Lucas won the 200 in Denver in 22.49, her personal best!

The big news here is that Christine Aron, France's sprint goddess has been having some issues with her back and is holding off her opener until probably early June.

The other real news is the amount of control that BOCis attempting on athletes, media and other foreign visitors. It will be virtually impossible for athletes to leave the Olympic village except for a)events, b) official Olympic events. The opportunities for families and the athletes to actually sight see, during the Olympics, will be severely controlled.

Olympics since September 11 have had their issues. However, Athens, with good security, was never obnoxious, and as one who went their with his son, we were able to travel and see much of the country without hindrance.

The concern that the Chinese government has after the Olympic torch relay can not be overemphasized. This is a country where 90 percent of the citizens have no idea bout Tianamen Square, such is the control of the media in the country. They underestimated the response of the world over Tibet, Darfur and Mynamar and they were also upset with the confrontational nature of the protests. It will probably get worse before it gets better.

The access to athletes of various brands after events, such as adidas and Reebok for example, will be quite limited. BOC had reportedly requested names, passports of all reporters and the dates of these press conferences due a month ago, which was preposterous. It just gives one an idea of how concerned BOC is about our movements and commentary.

Athletes, coaches have to understand what they are dealing with, and it does not seem, from conversations, that the community is taking this seriously. Athletes need to think very clearly of the ramifications before spouting out anything remotely political while in China during the Olympics. A simple statement could be misinterpreted.

The Beijing Olympics will be one long track meet, where the athletes will be ensconced in the Olympic village, and go to and from the stadium, and quite frankly, off to their planes and home.

Huge weekend in Southern California this weekend: High School Sections, Junior College State and adidas Track Classic. Note that 800 meters and 5,000 meters are running Saturday night around 8 pm, so be there by 7 pm or so!

I am off to my alma mater, Santa Clara University to meet at the Cross Country House with fellow alums. I will be back to cover the meet on Sunday!

The Home Depot US Olympic Training Center will be hosting the adidas Track Classic this coming Sunday, May 18, 2008. Southern California is treated, once again, to one of the most important elite track meets in the world this weekend.

For track & field to flourish, the team at Global Marketing & Athletics have assembled some amazing races and field events. This sport is about one thing--competition. Whether one runs, jumps or throws, the adidas Track Classic has something for each and every sports fan!

It also about communication, and in that regard, adidas and Global did an excellent job with providing Tyson Gay, Jeremy Wariner, Bianca Knight, Veronica Campbell Brown and Jenn Stuczynski.

adidas track Classic this weekend should be a meet to remember. Tyson Gay will double over 100 and 200, Jeremy Wariner is in good shape, Veronica Campbell read to race in a very hot women's 100 meters, Allyson Felix off her 10.93, 49,83 double in Doha, and Bianca Knight, all of 19, ready to race!

Hengelo is looking like a monumental 10,000 meters, and we will keep you informed there, and congrats to London on Virgin and Tyson Gay on Alltel!

On the Friday preceding the London Marathon, David Bedford, the race director for the London Marathon always introduces the London marathon as "the best marathon in the world." This is done in front of his sponsors, members of the media and representatives of the Five World Major marathons. Bedford is considered a bit of a character, but his utter brilliance, and that of his team in assembling a top notch elite field and having all of the UK behind his race should not be underrated.

Well, the team at London has done it again. Thanks to the support of Sir Richard Branson, at Virgin, the marathon, after 2010, will become the Virgin London Marathon! London was able to find a sponsor to replace Flora, which had supported the event for over one decade. This announcement will be made on Friday, May 16, in London, England. Here is the release on the new sponsorship:

Alltel Wireless bumped up their pr window and so did the sport of track & field today with the announcement that Alltel will sponsor Tyson Gay, the three time gold medalist from Osaka's World Champs and the man to watch in Beijing.

The significance of the release below is that sponsors are looking at track & field outside of the footwear company sector. For the sport to grow, for the top athletes to
gain recognition, we need more such opportunities as below!

It was about eleven in the evening on Wednesday, May 14, when I arrived in LA International, heading to Long Beach for some interviews with several top athletes, including Tyson Gay and Jeremy Wariner.

As I sped down the highway, in the back seat of a quickly moving taxi , I read an email from Cregg Weinmann, the footwear and apparel review editor for the Running Network. I then, quickly called Cregg to check in, and make sure that, with all of the things he is juggling, that he was going to make our next schedule.

It was during this check up that Cregg told me he was just about to "finish the quesitons." The 'questions" or interview are below.

Let me tell you, Cregg Weinmann is a man possessed. While some guys love NASCAR, fishing, model building, Cregg is fascinated with the combination of leather, EVA, and BRS outsoles that protects the foot of a runner, trying to get their 10k personal best.

I thought it would be fascinating to show you a bit more about Cregg, the man who has developed, with the of Christine Johnson ( managing editor for the shoe reviews), Kristen Cerer ( designer), Victah Sailer ( sometimes shoe photographer) and also Alex Larsen ( production) the columns on shoes and apparel that appear in many of our publications as well as the Spring and Fall Shoe Reviews.

Cregg is married to a woman of immense patience and devotion, Cheryl. Cheryl and Cregg have two daughters and one son, and live in Bakersfield, California. Here are Cregg's thoughts and comments:

Yesterday, it was the 10k World Record attempt at the Pre Classic. Now, Meseret Defar is going to attempt to break her own 5,000 meter record, also at the Pre
classsic, right after Bekele's 10,000 meter attempt! More details on that to follow!

On Sunday, May 11, 2008, Tom Jordan, the Meet director at the Nike Pre Classic announced the not only was Kenenisa Bekele running at the Pre Classic, but the world record holder at 5,000 meters, and 10,000 meters indoor ( plus two miles and 5,000 meters indoor), would be attempting to break his own world record for 10,000 meters (26:17.53) at 9:30 AM on June 8, the morning of the Nike Pre Classic.

As Tom Jordan has said more than once to me, if he is the gatekeeper of the Prefontaine Classic, a memorial meet to one of America
s great middle distance runners, then, John Capriotti, the Director of Athletics Sports Marketing, is the man behind the meet. Cap, as he is known to his friends, and his team of Josh Rowe, and Tim Phelan (and Pascal Dobert) work on making this meet the yearly affirmation for Nike's committment to running.

In some ways, John Capriotti has the best job in our sport. Overseeing a global athletics sports marketing program which promotes elite track and field, elite road running, grass roots cross country, track and the Nike brand, Capriotti has a problematic job. Capriotti was a fine prep runner, and in college ran 14:05 for 5,000 meters at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He was also a college track coach and watches meets and athletes with the keen eye of a track coach.

It is obvious to anyone who knows Cap, as he is called by his friends and co workers, that the Pre Classic is one of his favorite projects of the year. It is also one of the most important. Nike is a company fraught with symbolism.

The Nike Pre Classic is all about being a showcase of the sport. It is also a litmus test of Nike's continuing support of the sport on the global level. It is also a memorial to the late Steve Prefontaine, an irreverent, talented athlete who inspires and haunts this little shoe company of 15,000 or so people located in Beaverton, Oregon. It is John Capriotti's duty to provide meet director the tools to pay homage to Prefontaine each and every year. This year, though, will be quite special.

We spoke to John Capriotti and Josh Rowe late on Tuesday afternoon.....

Kenenisa Bekele delighted the track world in North America with his plan to attack his own 10,000 meter world record at 9:30 AM on June 8, 2008, Pacific time, which is about 9:30 in the evening on his normal time schedule. This will be one week after his 5,000 meter opener at Hengelo on May 24, and he will now be running a 5,000 meters in Rabat, Morroco on June 14.

In a stunning announcement, Tom Jordan of the Nike Pre Classic announced that Kenenisa Bekele, World record holder at 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, will attempt to break his own world record of 26:17.53 at a special race on Sunday morning, June 8, just before the regular event schedule of the Pre Classic. This will be Bekeles' tenth attempt at the distance, where he has nine wins! More details to come!

Ryan Hall ran 2:06.17. Deena Kastor caught Magdelena Lewy Boulet at 24 miles in the Womens' Olympic Trials. Great stories, huge stories in the US. This is the time for the US to get a bit selfish about who they spend money on in the big money races in the US.
Remember Bill Rodgers in the seventies? Ryan Hall could be bigger than that! And there are others on the way! If Deena Kastor wins another medal, or Lewy Boulet or Blake Russell pop a big race, again, the American press will rediscover road running.

Did you not see the crowd around Lewy Boulet at the Oly Trials?

Note that Deena Kastor and Ryan Hall are going to Bolder Boulder this coming Memorial Day Weekend!

Modesto Relays is one of the oldest track meets in the nation. Thanks to the support of the local community and the major sponsor support ( in the San Jose Mercury News, the Relays were mentioned in a full page ad!), and a new track, the meet was hot this year! Christian Cantwell and Jenn Stuczynski lead the charge!

Olympic marathoner Brian Sell showed his stuff defending his US 25 kilometer title in Grand Rapids for the third time!

Liu Xiang is one of the most popular athletes in China. He is also one of the toughest athletes in the sport of athletics, and a artisan at the craft of the hurdles. He has been noted by no less an authority than Renaldo Nehemiah on his ability to hurdle and control his speed in his race, no matter what. But, the world is getting smaller and smaller and David Oliver, Allen Johnson, Terrance Trammell, among others all are focused on one man, Mr. Xiang-and before they can get to him, they have to make it through Eugene, Oregon the end of June!

On a sad note, Stuttgart tearing up their famous track and field surface is another example of how track and field is fighting around the world for its status. We need to shake up the status quo, need to ally ourselves with sports like soccer to help develop soccer/athletic stadiums. We need to think out of the box for our sport to grow or we will end up as an also ran.

Alfons had a few things to say on the Qatar meet, and for the track geek, they will get you thinking! Also note that Barack Obama visited Hayward Field during the Oregon Track Classic! All presidential candidates should visit major track meets, in my mind!

The Qatar meet was a great season opener for many of the world's best athletes. Allyson Felix and David Oliver did impress, but note that seven world leaders were set in the meet!

Allyson Felix has started off the season with a bang, as has David Oliver, the young USA indoor hurdle champion! Read on and see how our Bob Ramsak, the global track writer, made sense of such a tremendous track meet!

Salinas, California is home to the beloved Artichoke, among other things (well, Castroville is really, but follow me for a moment...). It is also home to Hartnell Junior College, which has some of the best cross country and track and field teams in the entire community college (101 campuses) network in California.

When I coached at Foothill, one of our favorite meets was the Ed Adams Invite, where then coach Gary Shaw would not only run a tremendous JC track meet, but also they would have a huge shot and discus competition where the elite athletes would get a number of cases of fresh vegetables based on their place, so first place got ten cases, second nine, third would get eight cases, and so on. Great winds there and Gerd Kanter of Estonia loved those winds on May 8!

Now we got it! Usain Bolt versus Tyson Gay at Reebok Grand Prix on May 31, 2008! That should be a race! It is all about the competition, my friends! Read on, with EME's second update for May 8, 2008!

Ritz is out of the Healthy Kidney 10k, the race he won last year over Craig Mottram. Sounds like his training was going to be interrupted and he has to be careful between now and Beijing.

Some fun sprint clashes on the horizon at the adidas Outdoor classic! Tyson Gay and Alyson Felix will be doubling! This Friday, Alyson opens up her individual events with a double in Doha, but this year, she did not have to brave a Spanish final beforehand!

With Asafa Powell injured, Usain Bolt is the man from Jamaica and he should prove to be tough this year. Liu Xiang is drawing crowds where ever he appears, so watch his move to the US on May 31 for the Reebok Grand Prix and the Nike Prefontaine on June 8.

My first Track & Field News, grabbed from the old Ryans Sports Shop in San Jose featured the Cal State prep meet of 1974. In a picture etched in my brain is Rich Kimball and Andy Clifford digging in for the final, final bit of energy in a mile won in just about 4:06. Kimball won the mile and two that year and his two mile was in 8:44 range. Observant reader Jeff Shaver, a graduate of San Jose State, found the following in the Spartan newsletter:

By all standards, the world protest over the Olympic Torch Relay was a success. The Beijing government is speaking to the representatives of the Dalai, a man they have tried to supress for nearly fifty-five years. In return, they hope, their Olympics will be viewed as the global coming out party that 1.5 billion Chinese hope for.

How should the media respond to the Beijing Olympics? Here are some of my thoughts on the process and the minefields in reporting and chronicling a different culture or
cultural experience.....

Each day, as we get closer to Beijing, new athletes emerge, new teams are named, and veteran athletes show their game plans. Today is no different. The Spanish Marathon team-Julio Rey, Chemea Martinez and Jose Rios should be tough on the streets of

Well, the outdoor season has started and the marks are starting to fall quickly! An American record in the 10,000 meters in her debut, Shalane Flanagan now has three ARs to her name ( 3k indoors and 5k outdoors).

Check out the names, some familiar, some not. It will be a true changing of the guard in 2008, as the new young guns and the more seasoned veterans clash in the greatest track and field meet on the planet, the US Olympic Trials for Track & Field.

Most of your found out about our magazine through American Athletics, in the 1989-1994 period. Then we relaunched and titled it American Track & Field and our readers grew and so did our advertising! In 1995, at the suggestion of Doug Speck, our founding web editor, now the man behind the wonderful dyestats California site, I started a newsletter on the web, which became atf newswire in 1997.

We have published it since then, through a newsletter software on our websites. The truth is, it has morphed into, as much of my energy is focused on this blog in my off hours.

But atf newswire has a place still, and today, we are thanking our readers for attending the party in Boston, providing a couple of offers from advertisers for software and one for self expression, and updating all on the new websites coming from Running Network partners over the next month.

So read on! And, yes, watch for a regular column from me tonight!

Our sport is about one thing, really-competition. That itching great athletes get when they know that they are ready and they need to run, jump or throw. It is that simple. It is the beauty of our sport and purity of our sport. It is also why our sport is so hard to sell.

When the top stars avoid competing, or parallel play-where one runs the 800 meters and the other is in heat B, I start pulling a) out my chest hair, b) nose hairs because it is so detrimental to the sport.

Look, no worries about a million dollar, six races, four continents, highlight before a) soccer matches, b) NASCAR, c) track meets. Try new things, however, remember that the fans come to see people race, and give it their all.

So, without further delay, here is some good info on the past weekend of the worlds' oldest sport, athletics. There is also some info on the upcoming Trevor Graham court case.

Shalane Flanagan, running nearly even splits of 15:17 per 5,000 meters, finished in 30:34.49 for a fine American record at the Payton Jordan Invitational on the distance loving surface at Stanford University. Flanagan now holds the American records at 5,000 meters, (14:44.8) and 3,000 meters indoors (8:33.32).

With women such as Flanagan and Kara Goucher running so well over 10,000 meters ( and do not forget Jen Rhines!), the US prospects for Beijing are looking better than ever! We at want to congratulate Shalane for a truly gutsy performance, taking the lead with 200 meters to go over Kiwi Kim Smith, who destroyed her New Zealand record by forty seconds herself!

Oh, one last tid bit. Shalane's agent is Ray Flynn, former Irish record holder at mile and 5,000 meters. Nice one, Ray! (He also reads the blog so I thought I would do a little pandering tonight as well!).

Read and enjoy!

The Payton Jordan Invitational is the meet for distance runners each first weekend in May. It is a veritable right of spring. Nice, cool weather, a fantastic track, extremely knowledgable fans, and perfect pacing.

The guns were out tonight, as Shalane Flanagan, in her debut over 10,000 meters, ran a new American record of 30:34.49, eclipsing the 30:52.32 from Deena Kastor, also run on this track and at this meet. Flanagan duked it out with Kiwi Kim Smith, who has been very tough this winter, challenging Meseret Defar over the indoor two miles, and runnign a tough 10k in Osaka last year. Flanagan took control with two hundred meters to go and the race was hers. Also note that Jenn Rhines was in the pack of A qualifiers at this distance. Flanagan now holds the US indoor record for 3,000 meters, and the US outdoor records for both 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters. Kim Smith broke the New Zealand record of 31:20, by nearly forty-five seconds!

In the mens ' version of the Kim McDonald 10k, Australia's Craig Mottram ran a spectacular 27:34.48, leading a strong group of A qualifiers. Mottram has been racing long and hard this season already, running a 7:34 for 3 indoors and a 13:13 outdoors for 5k. This 10k shows that he can run long and hard with top competition.

On the one's to watch, not that Chico State's Scott Bauhs ran 27:48.06-this young man is for real, on top of his 1:03 half marathon from the Fall, Scott should be in the hunt this coming summer at the U.S. Trials.

Mo Farah, the fifth placer in Osaka, and the silver medalist at the Europeans over 5,000 meters, ran an elegant race, running a debut 27:44.54. Once he figures out that he can truly race with Mottram, etc, Mo Farah will be devastating over 10,000 meters.

In the Men's 1,500, section B, nice tussle with Tegankamp and Lukesic over 1,500 meters. Note that Don Sage is also out there running, getting back into shape.

In the Men's first 1,500, a fall involving Lomong, Solinsky near the 1200 meter mark put those two back and out of contention. Nick Symmonds ended up running quite well here, but Kevin Sullivan had the best finish, running 3:39.78.

Bernard Lagat showed his stuff over 5,000 meters with ease, and Brent Vaughn of Colorado showed that he will be one of the new studs to watch over 5,000 meters. Should be a great spring season!

Event that seems truly open this year? It is the steeplchase, baby!

To view the races, please check out the work of FLOTRACK:

Kenenisa Bekele defended his 5,000 meter title in the African champs, with his brother, Tariku in fourth place. Conditions were hot, and a crowd of 10,000 watched Bekele do his thing.

If there was a poster child athlete for needing little recovery, one should look no further than Mary Akor, who, two weeks after the US Olympic Trials for women, won the Vancouver marathon in 2:37:52.

Tonight, we will have updates from the West Coast as the Payton Jordan Distance Carnival is this evening.

Usain Bolt has been one of the players since his World Junior title at the age of 15 in 2002 over 200 meters. Last summer, Bolt took the silver in Osaka at the Worlds, running a fine 19.75.
In front of a crowd of 10,000 Jamaicans, Usain improved from 10.03 to 9.76. Check out the video of his race ( and you will notice how ordinary of a race it looks, no fast start, n jumping the gun. In fact, it is in that ordinariness that Bolt, all 6-5 of his , looks tremendous.

Bolt seems to be the man to challenge Tyson Gay ( who ran a fine, relaxed 20.00 for 200 meters), this season. It will be exciting to see Usain Bolt over 200 meters this season with his new personal best.

Word on the street was that Usain's training has been going quite well, he ran 10.03, tying his personal best, earlier this season.

Also note in the meet that Bianca Knight ran a pb of 11.11 and then came back and won the 200 meters over Veronica Campbell-Brown. Knight is the beneficiary of a strong contract from the folks with three stripes, and she is starting off the season in a very hot fashion.

Josphat Ndambiri, a Kenyan living in Japan has run the two fastest 10,000 meters of the new year in a period of one week, a 27:14.03 this week in Shizuoka after his 27:15.82 from last week!

Tirunesh Dibaba defended her African Champs 10,000 meters title, running the second half of the slow 10,000 thirty seconds faster than the first half!

And in legal issues, it looks as if the list of witnesses continues to grow in the upcoming Trevor Graham fiasco about to unfold in San Francisco.

The athletics world is alive around the globe this weekend! Watch for this report and our second this evening on the African Championships!

The African championships' third day was another good day of track and field. Note that David Rudisha is leading the world with his 1:44.20-and he negative splitted it! Besides that one, remember this name, Amantle Montsho from Botswana, who ran 49.83 for the women's 400 meters!

On this side of the world Stacey Dragila former world record holder, former Olympic champion and former world champion continues her gutty comeback after two achilles surgeries. She has cleared 4.00 m and 4.15 m.

Athletes are human. Even the best. Take World record holder, World Indoor 3k champ Meseret Defar of Ethiopia for instance. She was trying to defend her African Champs 5k in her hometown, in front of the hometown crowd. In slow, hot conditions, she took a very close second to Meselech Melkamu, her countrywomen. Afterwards, she reportedly collapsed and got sick, complaining of some sickness since her Valencia win.

Koji Murofushi, the track rock star of Japan, will hold off his first hammer competition until early June 2008. Injuries are still slowing his comeback.

The global season is going strong, as the top athletes are beginning their long campaigns for Beijing. 99 days to go.

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