January 2009 Archives

More on the global side of the sport.....

(Photo courtesy of Victah Sailer, Photorun.net)

Adam Nelson, is shown here disrobing (well, taking off a warm up t-shirt, but please try and follow my thought process) before his final throw at the Millrose Games 2009. The crowd is clapping, and Nelson has worked himself into a frenzy. Nelson's competitor, Christian Cantwell, on his final throw, just seconds before, leaped into the lead, by one a one half inches, over Reese Hoffa. 67-5 to 67-2 1/2!

You never, ever know in track & field, how an event is going to end, until a) the race is over, or b) in field events, until the last throw in the last round has been recorded, just ask Adam Nelson! Nelson wound himself up, as tight as he could. When he lunleashed a huge throw...

The one hundred and second version of the MIllrose Games was a stunner! Steve Hooker cleared 6.01 m or 19-8.75, setting new Millrose, Oceania, Australian indoor records! His three attempts at 6.16m or 20-2, were nearly Bubkian! A great shot put competition, where Adam Nelson, healthy and happy, won on his last throw-the entire complexion of the shot changed on the last throw!

(Steve Hooker on his way to indoor history! photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net).

My analysis of the meet will come up this afternoon, but do not miss NBC coverage, from 1.30 to 2.30 pm Eastern on Saturday, January 31, 2009!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is worth much, much more. From the left, Meet Director Mark Wetmore, Global Athletics & Marketing, center, Steve Hooker, Australia/Reebok, and Meet Director Emeritus (1974-2003). after Steve cleared a new Millrose, Australian, and Oceana records plus the highest jump in the world! (Photorun.net/Victah Sailer)

I arrived in New York Thursday evening for the Millrose Games, which happens on Friday night, January 30. This is the 102nd version of the Games, and this is the fourth building that has housed them. The current Madison Square Gardens has housed the meet since 1969, according to meet director extraordinare (emeritus), Howard Schmertz. who has been coming to the meet since 1933, when he was seven and one half years old, on the hand of his father, Fred Schmertz, the meet director from 1934 to 1974!

(The late Wilma Rudolph won the 60 meters at the 1961 Millrose Games!
Photo courtesy of adidas.)

Dear readers,

The weather in NY is better, so get on those winter coats and head to the Millrose Games, starting tomorrow night at 6 pm at Madison Square Gardens. The 103rd version of the meet will feature some of our sports greatest stars! I for one, can not wait to see Bernard Lagat try for number seven and Beijing gold medalist Steve Hooker in the pole vault!

Anthony Famiglietti is an athlete who knows the artist within. His web site, http://www.runfam.com, is one of the best that I have ever seen for an athlete/artist.

Fam, as he is known, is a man possessed of more talent than most. A 3:54 miler, with a 5k pb of !3:11 and 10k of of 27:36, Anthony Famiglietti has been haunted by the event with barriers-the steeplechase.

Like many of the great American steeplers before him, Horace Ashenfelter, George Young, Henry Marsh, Brian Deemer and Dan Lincoln, Fam is a man who has had his share of great and not so great races. That is what is meant by the euphamism, "Trials of Miles". Great distance runners must have highs and lows, as so much of great distance running is overcoming the demons.

Fam's breadth of experience, and his work ethic, reminds me, however, of the late great Polish runner, Bronislaw Malinowski ( 8:09, 13:17.4, 27:54). Malinowski was a total workhorse, and was also the silver medalist in 1976 and gold medalist in 1980 in distance running's most precise and painful event--the steeplechase. Part of being a great steepler, is that the athlete has to be patient, a little eccentric, well trained, and last, but not least, listen to the voice within. Fam possesses all of those.

Famiglietti is focused on the USA Cross Country championships on February 7. A nice coming out party for the athlete now sponsored by Saucony. Saucony has picked up some good athletes recently, with Fam and Magdelena Lewy Boulet.

The release below suggests that Fam is focusing on the 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter distances. Like Moses KIptanui before him, Fam can run scarily well over those distances. It will be fun to watch him run fast this coming spring!

The key for Saucony is to find, as other brands have found, athletes whose spirit and voice parallels the brand. Loyal to the sport is a great moniker for Fam. A distance runner who has run well in cross, on the roads and on the track, Anthony is a talented, spirited distance runner, looking for that one race that defines a career....nice job, Saucony and good luck Fam this year.

( Fam is redoing his website, in the past, his paintings have been up. Quite talented painter as well. Check out his photo section, http://www.runfam.com/photos/, which was done by someone possessed with a painters' wiring.

The interview that Mark Bossardet gave runblogrun last week was so well received that we are trying to convince him to write a weekly column on the running business! He has not agreed as of yet, but this new essay that he provided to me today was quite thought provoking! I hope that you like it as much as I did....

In a recent article on Money magazine's website, http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/20/technology/mehta_underarmour.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2009012613it was evident that the folks at Under Armour are gearing up for the new launch: going after the running business. It was the natural next move for Under Armour.

Women's UA Apparition™ The running shoe business is a very competitive and very profitable business. It is one of the few sports business areas that sees more competition and growth in 2009. At this time, we identify 35 running shoe brands, with a dozen of them making very good shoes and ten making excellent shoes. In this type of environment, the consumer is the winner, as they should be able to find the perfect shoe for their foot, and their amount of activity.

I have to admit, one of the best interviews of the Olympic Games was David Oliver. Poised, relaxed and with a self deprecating sense of humor, Oliver is a perfect interview. He is also becoming one heck of a hurdler.

Do not get me wrong. Oliver is a tremendous hurdler, but he is learning the game. How to compete on the world circuit, how to deal with media who have never seen a track meet ask him dumb questions. how to deal with track geek media ask him prying questions-Oliver does it with style.

David is coached by Brooks Johnson and it shows. Coach Johnson likes the details. And so do his athletes. Oliver hurdles well, and with the exception of last weekend, starts pretty darn well. What I really like about David Oliver is that he does not stop until he gets across the finsh line-and HE KNOWS how to lean! If I see one more American hurdler or sprinter loose a race because they do not lean at the finish line and run through, I am going to make myself watch 24 hours of Hannity and Colmes and that just is not healthy. So, dear hurdlers and sprinters, listen to your high school coaches, and run through the finish line, lean at the tape and know what line you are leaning at ( many wise athletes walk the track before to make sure that they know what to do when)--the devil is still in the details!

Photo courtesy of

Blanka Vlasic cleared 2.03 meters, on her second attempt in her opening competition in Rijeka, Crotia this evening. It was her second attempt at the height that she cleared 2.03m. Thi is also her best ever opening indoors!

(Photo from Nike Outdoors, courtesy of Victor Sailer, Photorun.net)

Many remember this picture from last summer, as German broke the iconic national federation two mile record of Jeff Nelson (1979) of 8:36.3 with his 8:34.40. During the same race, German broke the 3,000 meter standard of 8:03.67, running en route to two miles 7:59.38 for a new national federation standard.

Well, German is at it again. Now it is on the World Junior stage. A freshman in college, all of 18, German had a strong cross country season, but was hurt in the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past November.

Rob Myers is shown here winning the New Balance Games indoor mile, in 3:59.92. The New Balance Games and the NY Armory, which was underwritten by a gift from Jim Davis, new member of the IRRA Hall of Fame, President of New Balance, as a gift to the sport. The Armory, which is one hundred years old this year, has been championed by Dr. Norb Sander, an early winner of the NYC marathon, and his friends, some of the true characters in the sport. They do great things, like hosting over 60 indoor track meets each season with over 75,000 athletes of all ages getting a chance to compete and learn about our sport!

The Armory is an example of how our sport does come together: corporate needs and community needs, many times, can both win in a situation like the Armory, which had a great history, but needed to be refurbished. The 200 meter Mondo track gives the Armory one of the fastest indoor track facilities in the world!

A special thanks to Jim Davis, New Balance, Dr. Norb Sander and his team for re-developing a true sports sanctuary, the NY Armory!

With Yoko Shibui's victory at the Osaka Ladies Marathon, Shibui finally wins a major race. Here, K Ken. Nakamura, a great friend of the sport, and the reason why the world knows so much about Japanese athletics, writes about how the Osaka marathon developed....

Yoko Shibui won the Osaka Ladies marathon, dashing Lidia Simon's hope of a fourth win at this top marathon. Shibui will make the Japanese team to Berlin 2009-she was last on a World Championship team to Edmonton in 2001, where she took fourth.

Rob Meyers won the New Balance Games, a nice way to starting the season. winning in 3:59.92.

German Fernandez had a rough fall at the NCAA cross country. His first race indoors was a fast one! Running 3:56.50 for the mile, German broke the world and american junior bests for the indoor mile in Fayetteville, Arkansas!

Mark Bossardet has been involved in the sport of running at all levels. A 2:17 marathoner, Bossardet was one of the youngest qualifiers for the 1980 Olympic Trials. He worked for Gary Murkhe at Super Runners shop, then moved on to Reebok, where he moved from sales to the Global Director of Athletics, 1985-1994. He spent 1994-1999 at Nike as their Global Athletics Manager, and then assisted FILA in its entree into running. From 2001 until June 2008, Mark returned to Reebok, helping them resurrect a running line with one of the longest heritages in our sport.

Mark was the first person I met on the business side of the sport that remembered my name. I remember running sixteen miler with Mark Bossardet, Pat Devaney and Mike Fanelli in 1986 before the Twin Cities marathon. We have been friends ever since. I respect his judgement and his assessment of what is happening in the sport is uncanny.

Now a consultant, we caught up with Mark earlier this week to discuss some of the current issues in our business. Here is what he had to say:

Just how good is Christian Cantwell? One Olympic and World champ thrower has told me that if he had Cantwell's talent he could rule the shot put world. One day, Christian will believe that! Nice start to the Indoor season!

Lidia Simon has been one of the most prolific elite women marathon racers over the past decade. On her run on Sunday, a fourth win would tie her with Katrin Dorre as the only women to win four times and move her past New Zealand's Lorraine Moller, who won three times at Osaka...

As the world's oldest democracy changes goverments, and the 44th President of the United States has taken office, our economic woes continue. However, I choose, as do most Americans, to be an optimist. During difficult times, a good walk or run not only keeps the blood flowing, it also opens the creative thoughts.

William Blake, the great English mystic and poet, walked fifteen miles, from the center of London, on Sundays, and hitched his way home on the back of a hay wagon. In more recent times, President Harry S. Truman did a two mile walk most mornings, and then used a unique form of hydration, requiring an ounce from a bottle with the initials J.D, with Senator Sam Rayburn, to start the day. Truman lived to be 92. (Yes, for proper hydration, we do recommend water and sports drinks, it must be noted that Mr. Truman did this unique form of hydration before Gatorade was invented).

In a press release dated January 20, 2009, the ASICS America corporation announced that they have re signed their three top athletes, Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor and Lo Lo Jones through 2012.....

Dear readers,

A graduate student asked me if we could promote his doctoral survey on college athletes and their feelings on drugs in sports, please pass this along to your

Pat O'Malley is the zen master of performance running footwear. A man who has gone from running promotions to special make ups at Nike, to redefining running footwear at Reebok and now, at Saucony, fine tuning a well oiled machine.

I have known Pat for a dozen or so years, and was lucky enough to really spend time with him at Reebok, and now at Saucony. A thoughtful man, a serious runner, and someone who has found his niche, Pat O'Malley is another example of the great people we find in our industry.

I sent these questions to Pat last week and they showed up Sunday, on my I-phone, as I was trying to recover from an aborted take-off in a commercial air carrier. His answers got me laughing and smiling, which Pat can do frequently. My worries vanished..

The picture above (courtesy of adidas promotions), is a promotional picture from 2004, that was used to show Haile Gebrselassie, one of the most storied distance runners of all times, and tying him to the great symbolism and history of Athens, Greece.

In a recent blog ( http://www.globerunner.org/blog/?p=97)by Pat Butcher, our friend at www.globerunner.org, Haile Gebrselassie is running for the record books, and no longer for the championship medals and rings. His plans include a half marathon attempt March 14 in The Hague, an hour and 20,000 meter attempt on June 1, 2009, and while he will make no promises now, he is looking for another world marathon record attempt.

Gebrselassie made it clear that he will probably never retire, but was obviously fascinated and interested in taking on Sammy Wanjiru, the world record holder at the half marathon (58:33), and the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist. Wanjiru has announced that he will be bypassing the Berlin World Champs for a world record attempt at real,-Berlin in September 2009.

According to Gebrselassie, he will focus on fast times and no more medals. He has done that. He will also focus on Sammy Wanjiru, who at 21, decimated the Olympic fields in the heat and humidity of the Beijing Olympics.

Gebrselassie, he of the twenty-six world records, from 1,500 meters to the marathon, he of the two Olympic 10,000 meter golds, three World Championship golds at 10,000 meters, is a worthy adversary. His recent Dubai marathon, run in 2:05.29, had him running in gale force winds the last 15 kilometers! The final test for the little Emperor was dropping temperatures, which hit 7c to 8c at the finish!

It is this blogger's belief that lining up next to Mr. Wanijiru will be Mr. Gebrselassie, so stay tuned! That could make for some fantastic racing!

Josh Cox broke the American record by over four minutes on Sunday, for the 50 kilometer distance. Running 2:20.32 for the marathon distance, despite six episodes of stomach distress and two bathroom stops, Cox was ninth place at the marathon distance at PF Changs' RNR Arizona, when he headed to a local track for five more miles on the track. Finishing the last lap in 71 seconds, Cox broke a seven year old US record, set in Palo Alto,CA of 2:51.48 by Alex Tilson. Josh's time was 2:47:17.

Doing a great impression of LInda Blair ( for you young kids, that is allusion to the Exorcist, the scariest movie of all times) six times, Josh Cox should be awarded something just for continuing on!

PF Changs Arizona had 34,800 finishers in the half and full marathon distance, plus they had 3,300 kiddies in the one mile fun run! What a weekend!

Well, Race Director Steve Karpas must be a happy guy! Two course records on the Chevron Houston Marathon, and in the Aramco Half Marathon, which hosted the
US Half marathon champs, Meb Keflizighi and Magdelena Lewy Boulet both set
personal bests as they won the half marathon!

Joe Douglas built the Santa Monica Track Club into a power house around the star quality of Carl Lewis. Commanding much of the under the table promotion budgets in the late 70s, early eighties, Lewis was one the first athletes, along with his team, to deliver strong crowds to major stadiums in Europe.

Lewis, in his prime, was problematic. No one disputed his star quality. Meet managers bemoaned that fact that, after negotiation with the SMTC, much of their limited promotions budgets were gone. An infamous article from Sports Illustrated, in 1984, in their Olympic Preview issue, did not cast a positive glow around Carl Lewis. Even with four Olympic medals in 1984, he did not get his due adulation.

Carl has, over the past decade, voiced his concerns over the past decade-his last real competition was in 1996, in Atlanta, where he won the gold medal in the men's Long Jump-one of the biggest upsets in sport history.

Carl Lewis now wants to get the current athlete and past athletes on the same page in order to save his sport. He sponsors and has sponsored a Carl Lewis Junior Invitational, and has donated much time to such events.

I thank Carl Lewis for wanting to save our sport, but remind him that there is enough room for many, as coaches, administrators, athletes and some fans have been trying
to sound the alarm for years.

Change does not happen overnight...

While the USATF Half Marathon championships at the Chevron Half Marathonis taking much of the excitement this weekend, the Chevron Houston Marathon could be a huge story! Read below!

Marathon hopefuls: Deriba Merga, Ethiopia, Steve Karpas, Chevron Houston Race Director and Teyba Erkesso, Ethiopia, photo courtesy of Photorun.net

Running 2:56 a kilometer through the half marathon, Haile was twenty seconds ahead of his world record pace from Berlin 2008. The rains won this time, but Haile held on and ran a fine 2:05.29 to take the 2009 lead, and win $100,000 in the Dubai Marathon....

As Gebre gets ready for the Dubai marathon and Usain Bolt plans for his first 400 meters of the year, which will be February 14-part of his season build up to racing at 100 and 200 meters, (he will move up, possibly in 2010), there are two real stories today: Home Depot is pulling out as USOC sponsor and Oscar Pistorius is again challenging the world of sport to run in the World Champs and Olympics.

Usain Bolt is a hot ticket! He can light up any track meet and just the rumor of his appearance should sell tickets. Rumor or fact? Not sure, but we will surely find out.

We did hear today that one of the brands with the longest traditions in our sport, Reebok, let their entire team of running sales people go on Monday. These young men were some of the best in the business, and they were part of a reduction in work force of nearly three hundred people in Canton, MA. We are saddened by the current news and wish the sales team best wishes.

Justin Gatlin is training for a return to sprinting in late 2010, after his drug ban ends. He will find a different world in the sport of track & field. There will be meets he can not enter and there will be sponsors that will not touch him.

If our sport is to be saved, if our sport is to prosper in the coming years, track & field must have tough but fair drug testing, including out of competition testing, but also punitive, if not draconian punishments. As Oliver Cromwell was supposed to have said, "Nothing says strength like a head on a pike."

Now, I am not asking for public executions with positive drug tests, but the European meets who will no longer offer convicted drug positives a place in their meet fields and the footwear companies who will neither sponsor nor supply product to convicted drug positives should be applauded.

As our society has put a sense of right and wrong into " gray areas", ethical relativism is not good for our sport. It has made us cynical of every performance. Just think what would happen now if an Australian runner with a crew cut showed up in Scandanavia and took the 10,000 meter record down by 32 seconds? Well, Ron Clarke did that in 1967, and if some other athlete did that now, no matter what nationality, they would be suspect!

That is not a good thing for our sport. In order to clean up our sport, we need to have standards that insure that the clean are applauded and the dirty are banned.

We have been watching ECCO for several years now, but their new BIOM launch defies description. David Helter, an ECCO lifer, is the general manager for ECCO performance and, as the saying, goes, loves his brand.

We discussed an interview in November at the Running Event, and in late December, provided David with the questions. Early in 2009, late at night, his answers showed up, with pictures the next day.

ECCO is an example of the high level of competitiveness within the marketplace, and the high quality of product within said marketplace. Running performance drives a seven billion dollar business. If you do not get support here, the influencers will not be telling their neighbors what shoe to buy.

Where Helter makes tremendous sense, and his interview requires thoughtful reading, is in the need for educating staffs instore. This is, as Helter says, a lost art. The brands who provide great product, but little training, will finish behind the brands with good product and great training.

2009 will be a battle of many sides: great product, targeted support of the selling channels, and supportive education. Without all three, your brand will have trouble getting room on the fabled shoe wall.

"Have a Magical Experience" is how my phone call, awaking me on Sunday morning for the sixteen WDW Marathon greeted me. I had set my iphone alarm, so I knew that I had another thirty minutes of magical experiences, but this did get me thinking....

The attention to detail in major events, for them to be successful, is key. I can think of very few that do it as well as the Disney sports team on WDW weekend. Having attended most of WDW events over the last sixteen years, I try to do several things-see the starts of at least one event, then hang out until the very end of the marathon, to see the last finisher.

This year's first male finisher, Adriano Bastos of Sao Paolo, Brazil is committed to making his now sixt titles ten titles. At the age of thirty, and the recovery he showed afterwards, I have few doubts of his capabilities....


Adriano Bastos of Brazil won for his sixth time, ( wins from 2005 to 2009, and an earlier win in 2003) at the 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon in 2:20:38, twenty seconds faster than last year. Lisa Mizuntani, from Tsukuba, Japan, won the women's race for the first time, in 2:46.27.

Those were the facts. The other fact was that, with 45,000 runners and walkers, the 2009 WDW Marathon weekend, presented by CIGNA, is the largest field in the WDW's sixteen year history. With all of the concerns about the economy, the numbers were good, the weather was great, and what a great start to the Disney endurance series for 2009, which features twelve running events. What a good start for running to the new year of 2009!

Now, we will spend some time on the story behind WDW Weekend 2009! Yesterday, I noted that 14,000 had a magical experience at WDW 2009. Make that 45,000 by the end of the weekend!

The Running Network has had their annual meetings at the WDW Marathon
since 1994, and we have had an official arrangement with Disney sports since 1996. The beauty of the arrangement is that our 24 publications have their national meetings, we provide coverage for the various events that take part of the WDW weekend. It was also a great weekend for our publishers to get a feel for the health of the sport.

Two of the biggest stars in the sport, Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar, women who traded world records at 5,000 meters outdoors and several records indoor, will both be racing on February 7, but continents apart! Dibaba will run the Reebok Boston Indoor Games and Meseret Defar will be running in Stuttgart, Germany on the same date!

While this does give the athletes the attention they deserve, and two crowds can be satisfied, just think of the pandemonium of a Dibaba vs. Defar in a non-championship race! In the overall racing between the two, Defar holds the edge, 17-11, but Dibaba is now, virtually unbeatable.

Tirunesh Dibaba, who ran and won both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in Beijing, will be running indoors in Bosotn on February 7, it was announced today. Dibaba, one of the most versatile middle distance runners of any age, was the first women to win the 5k/10k Olympic double in Beijing last summer. She is also the current indoor world record holder, at 3,000 and 5,000 meters.

Tirunesh Dibaba, and her patented kick in heat and humidity of Beijing, August 2008.

Despite fighting in the Gaza strip, which is south of the Sea of Galilee,
twenty four countries were represented in the field. The men's race
was won in 2:08:07!

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In the EME News for today, Alfons Juck notes that Haile Gebrselassie is in great shape, better than his winning shape for last years' Dubai marathon, which is scheduled for January 16, 2009. If he breaks his world record, that means $1.25 million payday. Haile is not one for exaggeration, so his suggestion that he could run 2:02.59 more likely 2:03.20 makes sense. It is absolutely mind boggling, but it makes sense. My pick: Haile runs 2:03:45 to break his current world record. We shall see, less than ten days from now!

One of our favorite blogs, inside the games, sent us a link to their exclusive piece on the changes within the Golden League. According to inside
the Games' Duncan Mackay, London and Laussanne will be added to the new
line up!

The discussions are on going, but it seems likely that the IAAF, happy with their
current marketing success, but mindful of the economic changes worldwide, know
that they need to put athletics in the best light possible in the coming years!

To read the excellent piece, click on : http://www.insidethegames.com/show-news.php?id=4594

Need Your Help! Track & XC Spike Survey, for Coaches and Athletes

Dear RBR readers,

RunBlogRun was asked to help conduct a survey on track spikes
for a footwear company. The survey will take five to ten minutes, and
can be aquired by emailing [email protected]. On the return,
you will get a link a, for athlete, and b for coaches. Please fill out
the appropriate survey! If you know a coach or athlete, please pass this along. Thanks again!

What will 2009 Bring?


The picture above was taken on my iphone on one of my morning walks in the compound where we stayed outside of Beijing, during the Beijing Olympics. The first couple of times, I noticed the three Buddhas: See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil. Then, I noticed the gnome. It was probably on the third walk by the house that I noticed my friend, the gnome.

Gnomes are part of Northern European folklore and to see it in Beijing put a smile on my face.

Now what does this have to do with my blog today? Read on, gentle readers....

Quick Cash, a company that promotes itself well in the Jamaican, Latino and Chinese communities in the US, as a way to send money back to loved ones in the home countries, donated $500k to the Jamaican Athletic Federation-nice job!

Richard Thompson, the Beijing silver medalist, is undergoing an MRI today for injuries sustained in a car accident on New Years Day.

And watch out for Stephanie Twell, the Brit just won her first senior race at the IAAF XC in Northern Ireland! I see Twell and US Jordan Hasay as two of the fascinating athletes to watch for 2012.

Happy New Years to all! Samuel Muturi won the first important marathon on the year, in Xiamin, China.

Chelsea Johnson and Darren Niedermeyer won the elite competition at the American Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada. The Pole Vault summit is an example of what can be done for the sport when good people work together. A series of competitions, plus clinics, it is a weekend to celebrate track & field's acrobats-the pole vaulter.

We have been writing about the Summit since 1993, when, in American Athletics, editor Christine Johnson sent Tim Johnson to cover coach Petrov and his clinic! A great event, we heartily suggest that all vaulters and their coaches get theirselves to Reno!

I met Amy White at the NXN Championships on December 6. We got to check in for a few moments, talk about the event and her new job. While most of the time spent were pleasantries, I liked her enthusiasm. I sent the questions out a few days later. Amy replied by email just before I left for vacation. Here are her responses....

Alfons updates us on the difference between TFN's World Rankings and the European based, Athletics International Global Merit Rankings.....

Happy New Year! from RunBlogRun.com


Dear readers, I will be spending much of this day flying back from Las Vegas,
Nevada. I will be back in the office bright and not so early on Friday, January 2, 2009, at which time, I will resume daily updates on www.runblogrun.com.

As a special treat to our readers, here is a photo of one of my various modes of
transportation used in my athletics travels. This lift was at the great wall visit, two hours outside of Beijing. We took a lift and then walked the last several thousand feet up to the Great Wall. Photo is by James O'Brien.

Here is to new journeys and new dreams for 2009! Best wishes to all!

Happy New Years Day to all, and enjoy those football games!

If you need a fix, check outhttp://www.american-trackandfield.com

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