February 2009 Archives

In the constant battle to get eyeballs, especially of the younger consumer, track & field has, through the likes of dyestat, flotrack, iaaf, runningnetwork, tried different approaches. Last summers' adidasroadstobeijing, produced by adidas and Global Athletics, was very good.

Congrats to USATF on this new snippet on Kiwan Lawson, a young and articulate triple jumper: http://www.usatf.org/news/multimedia/. Nicely done!

The video was done by Katie Landry, the new USATF web person. Again, video is not new, but the ability to access athletes, provide an intimate look into their lives, and showcase and control that view, is critical if track & field wants to be taken seriously in this Gutenberg galaxy (read the book, it's by Marshal McLuhan, the prophet of modern media).

Since July, Doug Logan has been on the bully pulpit and speaking, blogging and videoing his heart out on how our sport should change. The Dec 2008 Convention showed that no one had the power to challenge his plan, and the audio press conference on February 10 showed that no one was prepared to challenge the Project 30.

The women's 5,000 meters at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games was one of the most competitive races in Reggie Lewis history, and one of its most popular! Shalane Flanagan lost by inches and set a new American 5,000 meter record!
(Photo by Photorun.net.)

Changing USATF into a functional organization, from its dysfunctional and schizophrenic past is key. All thoughtful observers of the sport understand that, appreciate that and realize that our organization needs to become an umbrella organization, much like the PGA, with various voices championing their causes, but as someone much brighter than me said, " staying in their own lanes " ( I think that has been attributed to Lionel Leech).

Bernard Lagat is the latest American star to bow out of the US Indoors, which happens this weekend in Boston. Bernard had hurt his ankle running the 1,500 meters in Aviva Birmingham last weekend.

At this time, Lo Lo Jones running the 60 meter hurdles and Jenn Stuczynski in the pole vault look to be two of the major events at the U.S. Indoor championships.

The O2 arena in Prague was host to a tremendous track meet last night! For the third time this short season, Meseret Defear ran a world leader-two of her runs, the 5,000 meters, and last nights' two mile, were world records!

Ivan Ukhov, a You Tube phenom, became the number four all time high jumper with his jump last night in Athens!

With a personal best of 2:13:54 for the marathon, and 2009 races over the half marathon in 63:35 and a fast ten miler in 47:49, Justin Young is in the fight for a berth on the World Championship team for Berlin in August 2009. His chance will be coming up at the Tokyo Marathon, where a strong field, flat course and cheering crowds could push him to a vastly improved time! (Photo courtesy of Photorun.net)

Yelena Isinbayava, with her new contract with Chinese sports company Li Ning, does not worry about rent, with $7.5 million (5.9 million Euros) over five years!

Photo courtesy of Bob Ramsak, TRACK PROFILE.

Meseret Defar of Ethiopia wants the world two mile best, and she wants to run it tonight in Prague! Bob Ramsak, (Track Profile photo)

Spencer Nel is the Head of Global Sports Marketing: Running/Track & Field and Federation sat adidas. In that position, like John Capriotti at Nike, Todd Klein at Reebok, Ben Cesar at ASICS, Matt Taylor at PUMA and their counterparts at New Balance, Mizuno, Brooks, these men and women influence our sport.

Spencer Nel, from Id photo.

Yelana Isinbayeva has one more indoor competition, in Praha, the Czech Republic on Thursday, February 26, 2009. As Isinbayeva is not going to Torino for the European Indoor Championships, but taking a break before the long outdoor season, she is planning her attempt to break her own world record of 5.00 m, with attempts at 5.01m and perhaps, 5.02m! Stay tuned! Photo by PhotoRun.net

Running a half marathon in humidity and 86 degrees at the start, is amazing. But that was what the field of the Glo Lagos Half Marathon on Sunday had to deal with ! Even Haile Gebrselassie, in Lagos for a running clinic, suggested that they change the timing of the race. In those conditions, 2007 World Champ Luke Kibet ran 1:07.49 and Lornah Kiplagat ran 1:16:23.

My first appreciation of the fact that Jenn Stuczynski was a pole vault goddess when she cleared 4.88 meters ( that is sixteen feet) at the Reebok Grand Prix, New York in 2007. I first recognized that she was a champion, when after the nightmare in Osaka, where everything went wrong, in her first World Outdoor, Stuczynski regrouped, and ended up with the silver medal in Beijing, one year later. True champions rise from the memories of bad experiences, and Jenn Stuczynski, in her short career, has experienced both the highs and lows of being an elite athlete.

The pole vault is track & field's answer to five card stud. A successful vaulter must have huge physical talents: however, her mental talents must be just as dominating!

Yelena Isinbayeva is such an example. It is not only her dominating physicality that puts her ahead of all of the other women vaulters, it is her mental toughness and her ability to totally dominate tactically the event. Isinbayeva's new coaching relationship with Vitaly Petrov, the former coach of Sergei Bubka, took two years for her to reach her next level--she is confident, and she is looking for competition. I believe that competition will come from Jenn Stuczynski.

Stuczysnki can be that good, someday. And someday is not far off. Her absolute gamble for everything at the U.S. Olympic Trials showed that: on the last attempt, she either made it or was off the team. After she made, it, she upped her American record! I remember watching her gamble all on one jump, in conditions that were, chancy at best. That is what a champion athlete does, and does, and does.

In a recent conversation with an elite sports psychologist, I was told that in any Olympic final, there are three, perhaps five, athletes who might possess all of the skill sets to become an Olympic champion. That makes a lot of sense, on many levels.

In the pole vault, on the women's side, Isinbayeva and Stuczysnski are the two most dominant vaulters ( apologies to Svetlana Feofanova) in this time period. Look at Stacy Dragila, the Joan Benoit Samuelson of the women's pole vault, a women who trail blazed for the pole vault before many of the young women vaulting now knew the event existed. The class she shows, and the mental toughness that she shows, overcoming several surgeries, to continue to improve in 2009, is not only inspiring, it is an example of what elite athletes at all levels need to be dominating factors in their events.

Well, Usain Bolt is rounding into shape. Coach Mills had Usain running 400 meter races, for strength now. I remember hearing about Carl Lewis monday workout, a 400 m in 46, then a 300 m, then a 200 m, then rolling 150s. The late Coach Bud Winter had Lee Evans doing a series of 350 meter runs that were just brutal. Bolt is obviously beginning his three year move to the 400 meters, but, as Coach Mills knows, the 100 meters record can be lowered this year, and with Berlin a long way away (six months), it is all about how good of shape the body is in.

Why did I not include the 200 meters as a record that Usain will break this year? Well, thoughtful reader, the 200 meter record, in my mind, is superior to the 100 meter record. If Bolt is challenged, if he can improve on that abysmal start, and if he runs through the finish, Usain Bolt, who is NOT a classic 100 meter runner, then we will see some just mind boggling running!

(Usain Bolt winning the Olympic 200 meters in Beijing, photo by PhotoRun.net)

The AVIVA meetings in the UK have kept athletics fans in the UK entertained with competitive events, star power and world and British leading marks. As the time comes nearer for the European Indoors in Torino, Italy, British athletes performed well and showed that they must be considered in the medal predictions.

(Mo Farah, shown during the Carlsbad 5k this past April, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net).

While there were two British records, and two world leaders, the AVIVA Grand Prix/Birmingham was the Mo Farah Show--and Mr. Farah entertained! Mo Farah, after training stints in Ethiopia and Kenya, and now, under the watchful eye of UK endurance manager Ian Stewart, has set three UK records in the past month at 3,000 meters. This evening performance was his race showed a level of racing maturity that Mr. Farah had not shown in the past. Running his 1,500 meter segments in 3:45 and 3:49, taking the lead with two laps to go, and extending his lead on Shadrick Korir, with Farah getting the win in 7:34.17, another PB, and another British record!

I was just at the Millrose Games and the nice, healthy crowd of 11, 543 was seen by myself and others as a nice health report on our sport. Well, here is another: 12,000 fans will see Blanka Vlasic, the high jump rock star, and Croatia's biggest sports star, perform!

Deribe Merga and Patrick Makau Makau racing along the RAK half marathon course this morning in the UAE, photos by Photorun.net.

Deriba Merga, the 2009 Chevron Houston Marathon winner, took off like a man possessed-hitting 13:41 for 5k, 27;42 for 10k. Merga surged once again, pushing Patrick Makau further back, but Makau would have none of it. Deriba Merga hit the 15k in 41:29, (equaling the world record from 2001), but that was going to be the last song for Mr. Merga. Patrick Makau went by after 18k, as Merga began to slow.

Makau went by, building a lead over the last 3k, hitting the 20k mark a remarkable ten seconds faster than the previous world record! Patrick Makau hit 55:38 for 20 kilometers, demolishing the former record of Haile Gebrselassie (55:48, set in 2006), en route to his RAK half marathon win in 58:52-the fastest time of the year! The big if today was, what if the wind had not played such a factor, would the RAK Half Marathon had its dreamed of world record? Could be!

Photo courtesy of Photo Run. net

With a four together at 15k, hit in 47:53, Dire Tune, Aselefech Mergia, Abebu Gelan and Phils Ongori were together. Running the last 5k in 15:49, Dire Tune cruised to a 1:07:18, her pb by four minutes! Abebu Gelan, finishing in fourth, set a new World Junior women's record for the half marathon with her 1:07:57!

Boston Marathon elite coordinator Pat Lynch is a man of few words. His actions do all of the talking. And his travels this past fall and winter, show the depths to which he has searched to make the 2009 Boston Marathon a tremendously competitive field on the elite level.

(Kara Goucher racing this winter, photo by PhotoRun.net)

Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher will have their hands full in Boston this coming April! It is one thing to load the field, but the 113th running of the Boston marathon will feature the likes of defending champions Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya and Dire Tune of Ethiopia, but also, Evans Cheruiyot (Bof A Chicago), Deribe Merga (09 Chevron Houston), plus Lidia Grigoryeva and Galina Bogomolova.

I will go out on the limb here and say that Hall and Goucher will bring more excitement to the 113th running than anyone in the past twenty-five years. Yes, it is because they are American athletes. An American winning at Boston, NYC, Chicago, London, Berlin is a huge thing, but especially Boston!

(Ryan Hall racing in London, 2008, photo by PhotoRun.net)

The picture located just north of these comments are from the ING Bay to Breakers. The ING B2B is one of the largest races in the world, and is one of the true rites of spring in the City by the Bay. As a former Bay area resident, I must admit to having run the Bay to Breakers a few times. I did participate in a centipede in 1980 with several of my young athletes from Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, Ca. I saw it as a very plausible part of their education-they had never seen anyone fun running, nor had they seen people in all stages of dress and undress celebrating over twelve kilometers of San Francisco's most beautiful neighborhoods. Did you know that the ING Bay to Breakers was the birthplace of the Centipede ( thanks Peanut Harms, the Aggies, plus the creative moment for giving the sport the Lenichi turn, and centipede racing!)?

Kamila Skolimowska, the 200 Olympic champion at the women's hammer throw, is dead, at the age of 26. Complaining of fatigue early in the day, Skolimowska collapsed, regained consciousness, but fainted again. After an hour of not regaining consciousness, according to reports, she was unable to be revived at a local Portugese hospital. Kamila Skolimowska was training in Portugal and collapsed during her training session. Our thoughts and prayers are with her,her family and friends..

Eleven days ago in Stuttgart, Meseret Defar gave the 3,000 meter world record a scare, tonight, with a closing 30.3 over the last lap, Defar broke the world record for 5,000 meters indoors by three seconds in Stockholm! Photo above, from the Beijing 5,000 meter final, courtesy of Photorun.net.

Without much fanfare, the new board of directors for USA Track & Field has been announced. Over the past 90 days, new by-laws have been approved, the board was dramatically cut in size, CEO Doug Logan has been noted and quoted, from his comments on the supplement industry to his speech at Running USA last week.

The real power in USA Track & Field is on the board of directors. A board that consists of former athletes, professionals, experienced bureaucrats, all with some tie into our sport, should give Logan and Hightower the support that they need to implement change in our sport.

The board will meet, for the first time, on March 7, in Orlando, to elect its own officers. That will be the next indication of how the board will advise our sport.

How will Steve Hooker fare in his last indoor competition of 2009? Inquiring minds will be watching his performance in Stockholm on February 18, 2009. Photo by PhotoRun. com

With the exception of the European Indoor in Torino, the surprises this season are the high level of racing going on indoors at the middle distances, hurdles and pole vault! In the end though, indoor is just the testing ground for the big leagues-elite outdoor, Golden League, and Berlin 2009. Pamela Jelimo was concerned with her fitness and made the right decision for her: get back into training mode.

John Rogers is one of the examples of the high quality of people in our sport. JR, as he is known, was an executive twice at Reebok, and was also at Mizuno, Nautica and Sebago, after a second tour at Reebok, founded the Maine Running company, an excellent example of the specialty running store. JR has influenced the development of Reebok and Mizuno running footwear among others. An excellent high school and college runner, JR ran 29:06 for 10,000 meters on the track.

What a way to start a new season! At the Pole Vault Stars Meeting in Donetsk, Ukraine, Yelena Isinbayeva, broke the world record twice today, clearing 4.97m and 5.00m! Details from Bob Ramsak!

K. Ken Nakamura sent us this update on the Chiba Cross Country, one of the qualifying race for the World Cross Country Championships...

Ivan Ukhov cleared the high jump at 2.37m in Moscow. At the Husker Invite, German Fernandez ran 7:47.97. Matt Centrowitz ran 3:57.92 for the mile, Andrew Wheating ran 1:47.03 for 800 meters, Jenny Barringer ran 15:01.70 for 5,000 meters, and Lauren Centrowitz ran 4:37.07. In College Station, Gil Roberts, all of nineteen years, ran 46.17 for 400 meters at teh Texas A & M Invitational. A great weekend in track and field!

And, after a tough crash the other night, Lo Lo Jones dusted herself off and ran a fine 7.82 in Karlsruhe for 60m hurdles.

Walt Murphy, one of our most important observers of the sport, wrote a fine update on the 5,000 meter race at Tyson Invitational. My guess is that Walt was at all three of the races over 5,000 meters that he writes about. In anycase, checking out the videos from 1981 and 1982 after watching the coverage from ESPN today will be a lot of fun! Enjoy!

In two weeks, Galen Rupp has set Collegiate records at 3k, and now AR, Collegiate and American Collegiate at 5,000 meters with his Tyson race on Friday! Photo from his 3k race at BIG, courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

Doug Logan is an eloquent writer. While his five minute interview at the Millrose Games was good for the sport, I did not feel that it gave the viewer a chance to see Logan as many of us in the sport are coming to see him-someone who is trying to change the sport, one speech at a time....

Controversial sprinter Dwain Chambers runs 6.51 twice today in Sheffield, Usain Bolt jogs a 46.36 opener for 400 meters in Jamaica and Nuria Fernandez cranks 4:01.77 for the world leader at Valencia, Spain permit meeting.

Special thanks to Alfons Juck, who does not seem to sleep much during indoor season-must be the espresso!

At the Reebok Boston Indoor, Alberto Salazar mentioned several times that he was very excited about how fast Galen Rupp would run at 5,000 meters this year. Well, it did not take long for Salazar's view into the future became a reality.

Running within himself, as far back as fifth, Rupp hit two miles/3200 meters in 8:34.9 and the race was on. It came down to Bekana Daba of Ethiopia and Galen Rupp, and over the last two laps, Daba pushed and Rupp turned heads staying in the fight. Daba took the race, and world lead in 13:17.89 with Galen Rupp taking the American record in 13:18. 12 from Doug Padilla (1982), plus the collegiate and American collegiate records (Suliman Nyambui and Alberto Salazar, both, 1981, 13.20.24 and 13.22.26)!

Here is what Galen had to say after his race to USATF:

"Coming in, I was confident because I have been running well the last couple weeks. I was really looking forward to this event because the 5K and 10K are my bread-and-butter.The first part of the race I was pretty relaxed. But I knew the two Ethiopians would run in the low 13s, so the pace was bound to get faster. I had to turn into a bit of a sprinter the last couple laps.....(On setting a new collegiate record) "Anytime you set a record it's special. They're all great to me. With about two laps to go I knew about how fast I had to run. I didn't focus on it too long though because I had a race to run."

The truth is, Mr. Rupp is coming along just fine. Little by little, he is improving his game, and as he said, the 5k and 10k are his 'bread and butter" races. I , for one, am looking forward to some fast 10,000 meter races this spring!

Oh, and special congratulations to Shalonda Salomon for her blazing 36.45 for a new American record at 300 meters indoors at Tyson!

Pole vaulters no height, hurdles hit hurdles. When one presses too hard, especially trying to get an American record, things happen. Lo Lo will have to dust herself off, take a big deep breath, and focus on her race, one hurdle at a time. Thank God, she was not injured!

From Dusseldorf to Fayetteville, indoor track & field has a busy weekend in front of us! Alfons Juck gives you a global view of the Feb.13-15, 2009 weekend!

Yelena Isinbayeva, the women athlete who, more than any other, has controlled her event with her extraordinary jumping, is a global star. adidas noticed her first, and promoted her as one of their icons. Now, Li Ning, the Chinese sports apparel company, has offered her, and she has reportedly accepted, a $7.5 million US deal that will go out to 2014. The Chinese sports companies are here!

Photo courtesy of Victah Sailer, Photo Run.net

Dayron Robles was injured in his first hurdle race of the year!

In a great duel with Thornblad, Vlasic hit two meters for the 40th meet in a row! Photo credit to Photo Run.net.

One more note, please note that I will be reviewing Running USA and Doug Logan's amazing speech at Running USA on Thursday's blog.

Bernard Lagat won both the 5,000 meters and 1,500 meters in 2007 in Osaka, Japan. In 2008, in Beijing, he did not advance to the final of the 1,500 meters and was out of contention in the 5,000 meter final. Why? Injuries, and just plain old bad luck!

Now, in 2009, Bernard is feeling great, won the Mile at Millrose and won the 3,000 meters at Stuttgart, Mr. Lagat is having some dreams of a double in Berlin...Bob Ramsak reports on this ambition of the double...

Keith Peters ( https://www.runblogrun.com/2008/04/the_greening_of_our_sport_an_i.html) has been reborn. In truth, anyone who knows Keith and has followed him over the past two decades will see that his emergence as a leader in the green running movement is a natural evolution from his time as a local race director to a Nike Communications manager to the original developer of Nike content on the web in 1996, to his company and focus on eco-logistics.

Peters is a thoughtful eco-warrior. Yet, warrior may be a bad word. He does not see it as a war, but a cause. Keith believes hat using common sense, one can make any race more eco aware and lower the carbon footprint of the event. I encourage you to re read the interview that we did with Keith in April 2008 ( linked above).

95 percent of athletes prefer green events, 82 percent will spend more on a green event and 80 percent prefer green certification.

Keith Peters spoke this afternoon at the Running USA on How to Make one's event more green. He spent most of his time speaking on the Council for Reponsible Sport, located in Portland, Oregon and established in 2007 ( http://www.resport.org), this group has a certification process for races and sporting events to help the events make a smaller carbon footprint. Things as simple as using only online registration, shipping via truck instead of overnight shipping. Peters ask us to consider reusing race materials, sharing race materials.

In going over the site, much of the certification metrics is common sense. An investment in the community, helping make a park or river trail better, all of those things are quite popular in this time. Take advantage of the spirit of the times, as our President has asked us to do, and contribute to the local community. The Council for Responsible Sport makes some very good points, so we encourage you to check this out.

For more on this, please check http://www.Eco-logistics.biz

At the Council of Responsible Sport, click on www.http://www.resport.org

For more on our sport, http://www.runningnetwork.com

Dayron Robles is OK, by Alfons Juck


Dayron Robles will be opening his season in Lieven tomorrow. Details below!
(Photo courtesy of Photorun.net)

The report was delivered to us about four minutes ago. It will be my in flight reading this week. But, suffice it to say, the Project 30 Task Force has given Doug Logan the mandate to make the changes he sees for the organization. Press conference in ten minutes, I will follow up with transcript and thoughts on that later this evening.

The positive is that problems at the High Performance programs level is being handled professionally. I have linked to the 69 page document so you can see for yourself. Again, with something so monumental, it takes time to digest. I undersand WSJ.com is covering it as well, so check there. More deep thoughts to come.

As I walked across the 200 meter banked Mondo track, after the Reebok Boston Indoor Games, the staff of the Reggie Lewis Center was tearing down the signage. Nick Willis, Alan Webb, Shalane Flanagan and Chris Lukesic were jogging a cooldown. Steve Hooker was good naturedly standing for autographs as parents had their kids line up with a real live gold medalist. Jenn Stuczynski was finishing her press conference and heading to the bus.

Meet director Mark Wetmore smiled and let out a small deep breath, " Pretty good meet?". I retorted, " Lots to write about on the plane tomorrow. Here is my account of the best indoor track meet that I have ever seen.....

Steve Hooker clears 6.06 meters, sets an Australian record, Meet record and records the highest vault ever completed for men indoors in North America! photo by PhotoRun.net.

Shalane Flanagan set the distance world on fire here in 2006, when she took Meseret Defar to the last fifty meters, setting an AR in 3,000 meters and finishing second. Until then, Flanagan was good, but, perhaps way too fragile.

Not so, any more. Coming home from five weeks of high altitude training in Mexico with famed marathoner German Silva, Shalane Flanagan took over from pace setters after 2k in 5:54, hitting 3k in 8:55 and 4k in 11:54.17. On her shoulder the entire way was Ethiopian Senthayehu Ejigu, who did not go for the lead until the last fifty meters! The race was so close, while Ejigu got the win, Shalane Flanagan had the same time-14.47.52, a new American record by over twenty seconds.

Photo courtesy of Photorun.net. Look at that picture! How would you feel, after churning out your guts for 4900 meters, it call came down to a final sprint! Flanagan looked great the entire time, and this shows us just what she is capable of this coming year. With athletes like Goucher, Flanagan, Gallo and some of our other leading women, it is no wonder US distance hopes are looking better!

And this race was going on as Hooker was clearing 6.06 meters and the men were lining up for the mile!

More to come on the analysis of the Reebok Boston Indoor!

For more on the meet, http://www.BostonIndoorGames.com

For more on the sport, http://www.american-trackandfield.com

For the crowd of 4,300 track fans who filled the Reggie Lewis Center last evening, they should not that they witnessed track history. Two American records, six world leaders, all at one meet! However, the two things that will stay in my mind, was that from the Masters mile on, the meet was about our sport's greatest positive: competition!

Consider this: Kara Goucher, who won the 3,000 meters in 8:46.58, was in Boston to check out the marathon course. In her press conference last Wednesday, Kara, Steve Hooker and Jenn Stuczynski were asked for their year's goals, Hooker said new heights and Berlin, Jenn said something similiar and Kara Goucher said, " Winning the Boston Marathon." Clear, concise, no bragging, just honesty.

Consider this: In the women's pole vault, and jumping her best in four years was current Indoor record holder Stacy Dragila, whose record was 4.81m or 15-9 1/4. Jenn Stuczynski, who came on the scene in 2005, won the silver medal in Beijing is one of two women EVER to clear sixteen feet, took the AR with her clearance o 4.82m, or 15-9 1/2.

Jenn Stuczynski clearing 4.82m, new American record, courtesy of PhotoRun.net

Jenn was one of the highlights of the evening. Watch for my comments on the major points of the meet!

A very happy Meseret Defar after her fine 3,000 meter run in Stuttgart. Her time of 8:26.99 leads the world ( Photo, courtesy of Bob Ramsak, Track Profile.com)

Payton Jordan, one of the most venerable faces in the sport of track & field, died Thursday, at his home, at the age of 91. The 1968 U.S. Olympic Track & Field coach for the team in Mexico City, Jordan was also the long time head coach at Stanford University, a top athlete as a young runner as well as a top masters athlete, known in his second track career as the Silver Streak.

Runblogrun will do a longer piece on Payton next week, but for a complete and thoughtful obituary, look no farther than the one and only Frank Litsky (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/frank_litsky/index.html?inline=nyt-per), who wrote an amazing piece this morning. Payton Jordan died after a long fight with cancer. Our thoughts are with him, his family and his friends.

Greg Nixon ran 20.65 for 200 meters, to take the global lead, in Eubonne, France on Friday night.

Early this morning we were told that Usain Bolt, three time world record holder at the Summer Olympics in Beijing in the summer of 2008, would run first 100 meter race of 2009 in his home country of Jamaica on May 2, 2009 in the city of Kingston! Now, while agent Ricky Simms is saying that Usain would love to, but the announcement was premature. As we desire to ONLY give accurate information, the question remains open, where will Usain Bolt open this season at 100 meters? Well, inquiring minds do know he will run 400 meters on February 14, but stand by to see how his season will progress.

If you want to see something cool, get your hands on the Tyson Invitational program, to be held February 13 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. PUMA did a special ad for Usain that is just perfect!

Ivan Ukhov woke a few folks up in Arnstadt today with his fine 2.36m!

Our roving reporter, Bob Ramsak, writes on Stuttgart, while preparations are in their final stages for the Reebok Boston Indoor in Boston, also on Saturday, February 7, 2009...

The fourteenth annual Reebok Boston Indoor Games is going to happen this weekend! From 5:30 to 8:30, on Saturday, February 7, 2009, the Reggie Lewis center will be rocking to the sounds of elite athletes competing in the intimate indoor facility.

Two of the biggest draws will be the men's mile and the women's 5,000 meters. In the men's mile, we have Nick Willis, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist at 1,500 meters, looking for a great race and a shot at the Reggie Center's mile record. Shalane Flanagan, US record holder at 5,000 m eters, 10,000 meters and 3,000 meters indoors. She wowed the crowd here in 2006, taking Defar to the line over 3000 meters.

At the early afternoon press conference, here are some of their comments:

The elite season indoor season in the US is underway. Millrose (Jan. 30), Reebok Boston Indoor Games ( Feb. 7) and Tyson (Feb. 13) are three of the four key elite events. All three have the assistance or management of the Globa Athletics & Marketing team. One week after handling the gargantuan Millrose Games, GAM is home in Boston, putting on the meet that made them famous-Reebok Boston Indoor Games, which they founded in 1996.

The two plus hours that GAM manages in Boston are two of the most entertaining hours in all of track & field. The Reggie Lewis Center, the Mondo 200 meter track, the crowd, already sold out of 6,000, and the art of putting together great competitions show that our sport is about the competition!

For more on Reebok Boston, please check out http://www.BostonIndoorGames.com

Nutrilite announced its continued sponsorship of many of our elite track meets in the US. That, and their continued sponsorship of Jenn Stuczynski and Sanya Richards should be congratulated. In a time when many sponsors are crying, committed sponsors such as Nutrilite are seeing an appreciation for their support of our sport!

Jenn Stuczynski, sponsored by Nutrilite, is a crowd favorite at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games! Photo courtesy of Photorun.net.

The picture above is of Jordan Hasay, biding her time, in the second pack at the Foot Locker finals in 2008, before she blasted away to become only the second high school girl to win two Foot Locker nationals. Capping off her senior cross country season with her fourth Foot Locker XC West Regional titles, her fourth state title, Jordan Hasay was also picked as the Gatorade 2008-09 Cross Country Girl Athlete of the Year.

With one season left at Mission Prep for Jordan, her senior track season, and the official window opening on Thursday for athletes to declare their colleges, Jordan Hasay announced her intentions today. But, which would it be?

(Photo courtesy of Photorun.net).

While most people consider the support that brands like Nike, adidas, ASICS, New Balance and Reebok make to the sport, some of the most important suppport for events has come from brands such as Brook and Saucony.

Saucony took over the Foot Locker championships this past year, providing the support to keep the national event up to its standards for the past three decades. Now, Saucony is sponsoring the US National Cross Country Champs, this coming Saturday in Maryland! They are also supporting a national program called Saucony XC 2008!

( A spread of the six page Saucony XC Training program, sent to over 350,000 prep cross country runners in the Summer of 2008).

Craig Mottram winning the World Cup in Athens, September 2006! courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

There are races in one's athletic career that standout. Craig Mottram, the giant of Australian distance running, has been fortunate enough to have several of those races. I had seen Mottram run cross country and track races, but his fabulous bronze medal in Helsinki in 2005 at 5,000 meters, put him in the focus point of many of the athletics media. Mottram watched the field from the first moment in that twelve and one half lap race, and as are most world championship races, the Helsinki 5,000 meters was a war of attrition. Watching Mottram's huge frame charging down the final two hundred meters on that cool day four years ago opened many athletics fan's eyes: this Mottram has some wheels!

Adil Annani set a personal best in this win in challenging weather conditions....

Asafa Powell ran 47.75 for 400 meters this past weekend as he opened his season in Jamaica. Jenny Barringer ran a fine 8:53.88 for 3,000 meters indoors at the UW invitational. Her time is a world leader.

Kara Goucher ran quite well on Friday night! Her mile race, run during a strong mileage week, showed that she is on track. Her Sunday 18 miler will be her reward for her strong victory! The crowd treated Kara like the local runner she is!

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