April 2009 Archives


Deena Kastor, center, on the cover of May 2008 CTRN, in one of her greatest races, the 2008 Olympic Trials marathon in Boston, April 2008. Photo by Photorun.net.

When Joan Benoit hit the Los Angeles coliseum, in August 1984, the crowd of 70,000 erupted in a huge roar. In the first Olympic marathon, in a race that should have been won by Grete Waitz, then seven time NYC champion and World Champion, or Ingrid Kristiansen, or even Portugals' Rosa Mota!

How could this young Mainer, who seemed to get injured at the most opportune times, the last one about twelve weeks before the Olympics, take the lead on the LA Freeway and not loose it? In fact, Joan had played chicken with the world's best marathoners, and won!

When one sees Joan Benoit Samuelson now, many see this thoughtful, quiet Zen master. When one watches her run, consider for a moment that there were times in her career that most elite guys would not train with her-Joan was a training animal!

In the release on her win at the Oklahoma City half marathon, Joan was called an icon-that she is. But, Joan Benoit Samuelson is much more than that--she shows how to live life running, no matter what how crazy one's life is.

I will finish with one of my favorite pictures of Joan, from last year's Boston, with her two starter pistol's drawn, to get the Boston Marathon going. Joan let Victor Sailer, a photographer she has known for over two decades, take this picture of her for posterity. Two starter's pistols or not, Joan Benoit Samuelson wants that US Master's Record of 1:19:40 for the half marathon, and I would not bet against her.....

One of the most popular sections in American Track & Field magazine has been our Camera Athletica section, where we would focus on the athletes, the events, and the sites that make our sport unique. Today's focus is the New York Road Runners' Distance Carnvial, held last Friday night, as part of the Brutus Hamilton Invitational, at Cal Berkeley. The photos, from Photorun.net, were shot by Lisa Congilio:


Start of the Women's 10,000 meters.


Bobby Curtis, shown here, winning the 5,000 meters with six runners within .6 of a second!


Usain Bolt from Beijing, China, August, 2009. Photo by Photorun.net.

Congrats to Blake Russell and her husband, the proud new parents of a baby boy, Quin, born on April 28, 2009. Quin was 6 lbs, 4 ounces, as reported by our friends at Race Results Weekly.

Blake was the third placer on the US Olympic Marathon Trials last April and only U.S.women's finisher in the marathon in Beijing.

My greatest memory of Blake is her absolutely gutty run in St. Louis, at the 2004 Olympic Trials. She ran with her heart, and at some time, heart and desire were overcome by exhaustion. Her fourth place resonated among the fans, knowing that this was one women marathoner we would see back.

Blake Russell has not run her best race as of yet. But, that decision to return to our sport is up to her and her team, about whether to take up the training that is needed to run that perfect race. Our sport would be better for it, but most important is the new life she now holds. We wish Blake, her husband and family best wishes.

The other night, I watched a DVD with David Bedford, now the race director at London. Beford was speaking how most distance runners feel that, even with a near perfect race, they could run faster, farther, etc. It is in our nature--great distance running is optimism powered by endorphins.

California Track cover, May/June 2008, left to right, Kate O'Neil, Deena Kastor, Blake Russell, photo by Photorun.net

Mikitenko-Yama-Zhou-London09.jpg The race between Mara Yamauchi and Irina MIkitenko had much of Great Britain glued to the BBC broadcast last Sunday. It is true that now, with Mara and Paula Radcliffe, if she can get healthy, Great Britain can have two possible women marathon medalists. Add Mo Farah, who, under the watchful eyes of UK endurance mentor Ian Stewart, is running with a new found confidence. Globerunner blogger Pat Butcher has some thoughts on the significance of the few British male distance runners...


Usain Bolt and a female companion were not injured in a car accident confirmed by Jamaican officials, per a copyrighted story on the BBC UK site (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/athletics/8025961.stm). Bolt was driving a BMW M3, when his car left the road. The road was described as rain soaked.

A humble suggestion from RBR: with all of the money Mr. Bolt is making, or wants to make, he is a serious investment in the sport. We at RBR would like to suggest that perhaps it is time to find the gentleman a permanent driver. Usain is a normal young guy, who likes cars, having fun, etc. Keep him safe.

Rashid Ramzi, Beijing gold medalist, 1,500 meters, Athanasia Tsoumeleka, 2004 Olympic walking winner, and Vanja Perisic, Croatian U23 bronze medalist were the three athletics athletes who tested positive for CERA in an IOC retest of 847 samples taken from athletes in Beijing.

To appreciate the work of our friend, Alfons Juck, I have provided for you, a time line of updates to us on April 29, 2009. While Alfons was updating us on the three confirmed positives in endurance events, Bob Ramzak was writing the piece on Ramzi. Please note that before we will publish our reports, we make sure that we confirm our information. As always, mistakes can be made, when that happens, we will update, and correct any misinformation as well as make sure our readers know the correct information.

847 samples were collected in Beijing, and recently retested. Seven athletes from that group of tests, have tested positive for CERA, a new version of the endurance-enhancing drug, EPO. Of those seven, per the IAAF sources, three of the positives were for track & field athletes. One of those athletes is now reported as Rashid Ramzi, the gold medalist at 1,500 meters from Bejing, and double winner in the 2005 World championships as well as silver medalist in Osaka at 1,500 meters. Ramzi's B sample will be tested on June 8 in Paris, per the Associated Press.


Shannon Rowbury in the 5,000 meters, which she won in 15:12.95.

M10KPack_Brutus09.jpg The men's 10,000 meters, won in a new collegiate record of 27:28.48 by Sam Chelanga, and in second by Collis Birmingham, in 27:29.73, breaking the Australian record!

Photos by PhotoRun.net's Lisa Coniglio. Results follow:

UB%20Happy.jpg In the pursuit of reaching the level of a David Beckham, Tiger Woods or Roger Federer, there are prices to be paid. Some have handled the media fascination with aplomb-Tiger Woods, Federer. People close to David Beckham tell me that Mr. Beckham has found the way to keep his real friends close and some sanity in his constantly watched life. My brother in law, a French chef, got to meet Mr. Beckham a few months ago, and was taken by his ability to be comfortable in his own skin.

I have enjoyed Usain Bolt's rise in our sport, and believe that he will find this season, that he needs to still be careful, train well and race well to keep the mantle of the world's fastest man. In no way do I appreciate the work that must go into making sure one's athletes are well paid, well managed and protected from over saturation. Selfishly, I will miss Usain Bolt not being, at the Reebok Grand Prix NY. That meet last year was his message to the world that Usain Bolt was here. The crowd was amazing and the race was electrifying...

PUMA will use Bolt, so will Gucci ( which is owned by PPK, the company that owns the majority of PUMA AG, as well Gucci and Yves St. Laurent).

Usain Bolt is now a global superstar. That is good for Bolt and his sponsors. It is curious to see how that will affect, if it will at all, his being such a huge draw as a track & field athlete.


Photo from last year's race, with Lel, Goumri and Wanjiru, photo by Photorun.net.

The race was changed last night when Martin Lel had to withdraw with a slowly recovering injury. However, I am not sure if anything could have stopped Mr. Wanjiru...


Working Media Area, Tower Hotel, London ( near halfway in London Marathon)

The women's elite race in FLORA London this year featured two women: Irina Mikitenko and Mara Yamauchi...

Since early on, Irina Mikitenko and Mara Yamauchi have been running with each other, the women hit 25 kilometers in 1.24.09, with Mara Yamauchi there and Zhou Chunxiu of China starting to fall back. Chunxiu started to fall back by 26 kilometers. She was ten meters back, quickly and just kept falling back.

The women's second pack was just over a minute, ten seconds, with Catherine Ndereba, Lilya Shobukova, in her debut, Tomo Moromoto of Japan, Berhane Adere of Ethiopia, Geta Wami of Ethiopia, Sventlana Zakharova and Lyudmila Petrova of Russia in the pack.

The battle up front from, 25k kilometers to 35 kilometers was Mikitenko and Yamauchi. Just around 30 kilometers, in 1:41, Mikitenko pushed up the ante. Yamauchi would fall back, then come back, then fall back, then come back. By 35 kilometers, Mikitenko, the 2008 champion, had a nine second lead over Yamauchi.

Irina Mikitenko has been relentless, and she continued to build the lead over Mara Yamauchi.

On the men's side, the men have been crazy. Hitting ten miles in 46.24, the lead men's pack hit the fastest EVER for ten miles in a marathon! The pack of Gharib, Goumri, Wanjiru, Tadesse, Kebede, Mutai, Ramaala, Sato.

The lead pack of men hit 1:01.13 for the halfway-the best performance ever in a major marathon.

The lead men hit 25 kilometers in 1:13.35-with Meb Keflizighi in 1.15.29 and Dathan Ritzenhein in 1.15.27, with Luke Kibet in 1.16.10

On the women's side, the lead pack is Irina Mikitenko, Zhou Chunxiu of China and Mara Yamauchi, with a second pack, lead by Catherine Ndereba. The women hit ten miles in 53.47, eleven miles in 58.16, twelve miles in 63.42 and the half marathon in 1.10.53.

On the men's side, the pace setters have just continued to crank. Mile in 4.33, two miles in 9.11, three miles in 13.36, four miles in 18.48, five miles in 22.45, six miles in 27.27 and 10k in 28.28. The seventh mile in 32.13-a 4.46 mile. In men's lead pack, Sammy Wanjiru, 2008 Beijing gold medalist, and World Champion Jaouad Gharib of Morocco, Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea, and Abderrahim Goumri. Eight miles hit in 36.53-a four-forty mile pace!

In the second men's pack, Meb Keflizhighi, Dathan Ritzenhein, Luke Kibet and Felix Limo are running about a minute, ten seconds back!

Who is running the smarter pace. The second pack is running 2:07 and the first pack is 2:01-you decide!

The women's elite race took off at 9 A.M. And what a field! The goal of the pace setter is to take the women through 71 minutes for the half marathon. Zhou Chunxiu of China, bronze medalist, Beijing, Mara Yamaguchi, Britian, six place, Beijing and Irina Mikitenko, 2008 London champion.

The pace for the first five miles was very good, and on a sub two hour, twenty minute pace: 5:27 for mile 1, 5:22 for mile two, and 5:07 for the third mile, with the 5k hit in 16:34. At that time, Constantina Dita, the Olympic champion, was nine seconds down already.

The elite Women, which numbered just over one dozen, has Catherine Nderiba, the Beijing silver medalist, at the back of that pack. The women hit four miles in 5:11 and five miles in 5.10, which put the women at five miles in 26.39. A pack of ten women
are running together, with Dita now twenty-one seconds back!


Martin Lel, Flora London winner for 2005, 2007 and 2008, will not be running in 2009, due to a nagging injury. Photo by PhotoRun.net.

LondonHotelView-London09%20copy.JPG This is the view from Victor Sailer's room. That is the Tower Bridge, and what a beautiful and clear view! Just a few hours before the marathon. We finished dinner at the Ebury, a local bar-restaurant, and It was tremendous! Most of it was the company, which makes any meal more special.

Then it was a few moments with Victor Sailer, our photographer for most major events. Lisa Coniglio, his partner, was at Cal-Berkeley for the NYRR Distance Carnival. I will post some of those photos soon!

Last news before the event starts is that Martin Lel has withdrawn. He just was not recovering well and tested his leg on Saturday and the physios suggested that Martin not run a marathon at this time. Lel, who wanted to to run for his fourth victory, will
have to do it another year.

The night his 10,000 meter collegiate record was being rewritten, Galen Rupp did his first foray of the season at 10,000 meters, looking more like a strong training run, and helping a buddy, Luke Puskedra debut at 28:34.17. Galen, just a month ago had three races, wins at 3k and 5k individually and a strong DMR performance, to help the Ducks to the NCAA Indoor champs. ( My prediction is that Galen will have the collegiate record back before the end of May.)

I love watching how Galen Rupp is managed during a season-his races, his rests, his strong efforts. A young man who understands that there are four letters in TEAM, Galen is a great example of a young, talented athlete, who learns more about himself through being part of a great team.

Congrats too to Ashton Eaton with his fine, early season 8023. This young man has some wheels. I am especially impressed with his field events-vault is good, and javelin is not bad, and he can run the 400 and 1,500 meters. That jogging the 1,500 meters at the end of the decathlon suggests that the event has nine events, not ten. It also dishonors the men who have put ten events together before!

Jenny Barringer continues her winning ways with a nice 4:08.38 for the world leader at 1,500 meters. Give her a few races and four minutes is not that far off!


Galen running 3,000 meter collegiate record at Reebok Boston Indoor, January 2009.

Photo by Photorun.net


Shannon Rowbury, running one of her firs serious 5,000 meters on the track, runs a world leading 15:12.95, just two weeks after her 15:41 on the roads at Carlsbad, (picture above, photo by PhotoRun.net). The 5,000 meters was part of the NYRR Distance carnival at UC Berkeley last night!

Great idea and great event! New York Road Runners sponsor a distance carnival at Brutus Hamilton and the races were superb! Great men's 10,000 meters, with collegiate, Australian records-five men under 27:40.10! In the men's 5,000 meters, Bobby Curtis ran a smart 13.29.12 with five guys in .6 of a second! Philes Ongori got the women's world leader in 31:53.46 and Katie McGregor ran a nifty 32:14.57!

The lobby of the Tower Hotel in London is full of athletes, agents, managers, and media. Right now, about 5 P.M. local time, the technical meeting is going on, as managers frantically try to find their athletes and their missing water bottles. Word is that two pacing groups tomorrow, one on 2:04, and one on 2:07.30. Wanjiru is obviously a big favorite, but if one speaks to the managers and elite observers, there are other names that come out. Gourmi fro Morocco could be one, I saw him in the lobby today and believe if he can make the big jump, he can be quite dangerous on this course. Less than twenty four hours to go, and it will surely be a superb race on both the men and women's side!


Photo by PhotoRun.net


The Running Network.com has partnered with Universal Sports to bring you FLORA London! From my place in the Media Centre of the Tower Hotel, I will be blogging and twittering away for the elite race for about three to four hours tomorrow!

I arrived in London this morning, about seven AM local time from Chicago. After a few hours sleep, and a couple of meetings, I got a nice walk in and am now in the Media Centre catching up on news. I saw Dathan Ritzenhein walking around the hotel today, looking fit and ready. His manager, Peter Stubbs, told us that Dathan is going out at 2:07.30 pace, with Meb Keflizighi. Should be a bit of wind, cool and some rain tomorrow, but we shall see!

Your favorite blogger is off to FLORA London and will begin updates on Saturday morning.. Note that I will update London via twitter live as well on Sunday and update you on what I see in my travels....Note that Dathan Ritzenhein and Meb Keflizighi might be seen working on a 2:07.30 pace on Sunday. Good luck to both Dathan and Meb !

Pumastreetmeet.com will be happening on Sunday, April 26, 2009, 1-6 PM, in Boston! PUMA's Matt Taylor did this video, but do not miss the other videos and the fun that they are planning for the fans who come to the PUMA street meet! On top of it all, Usain Bolt will be there, giving out prizes and hanging out!

Kudos to PUMA for putting some fun into the sport!


Sammy Wanjiru shown here, winning in Beijing. The top three men from Beijing and women from Beijing will be contesting 2009 Flora London on April 26, 2009! Photo b Photorun.net.

This reference file was prepared by K. Ken Nakamura, one of the foremost statisticians in the world and a great friend of our sport. He prepared this and revised this after Boston and also added three notes:

a. For the first time since the 1984 Olympic Games, all six Olympic medalists in the Beijing Marathon will be competing in 2009 London.

b. Martin Lel is having an MRI on Thursday to determine if he is injured-he was hoping to get London win numero 4.

c. Sammy Wanjiru, 2008 Beijing winner is back!


Usain Bolt after one of his Beijing victories, photo by Photorun.net.

For anyone in Boston, you can see the three time Olympic gold medalist, Usain Bolt, at the PUMA Street Meet, on Friday, April 26! Check out the info at http://www.pumastreetmeet.com. It is a fun concept and a great way for young athletes to meet the superstar!

This weekend will be another amazing weekend for our sport! We have the 100th anniversary of Drake Relays this weekend (actually started yesterday), the 115th Penn Relays, the FLORA London Marathon and the Big Sur Marathon, among others.

The first three are celebrations of our sport and its attraction to the sports fan-competition and great athletic stories. FLORA London has become an elite race and a 40,000 stories for various charities, much like many of the major marathons in the US. Big Sur is all about the coastline-some folks have run fast there-but for the walkers and runners, it is the organization of the race (kudos to Wally Kastner and his team) and the scenic beauty of the Big Sur coast!

This is one of nearly a dozen videos that Running Network TV did under the watchful eyes of Jenn McCafferty and Paul McMullen. Jenn is the Publisher of Michigan Runner, one of our oldest and most popular publications. Jenn and her husband, Art McCafferty, who was the founder of Michigan Runner, have produced, managed and starred in Running Network TV and Michigan Runner TV for nearly a decade!

Check out this video with Paul McMullen, 1996 Olympian at 1,500 meters, and myself, as we relive the excitement of the 2009 Boston Marathon. While both races had drama, the women's race, where it came down to three women marathoners, Salina Kosgei, Dire Tune and Kara Goucher, over the last 800 meters! Still photos in the video from PhotoRun.net. And then, check out our other videos on You Tube and soon to be on http://www.runningnetwork.com


For three years now, at my brothers' thoughtful suggestion, I have spent one hour a day, 355 days a year (I take off ten), and write about the sport that I not only love, but also, as luck would have it, from which, I have been fortunate enough to make a living. I do not take it lightly, as a magazine publisher, nor do I take it lightly as a blogger. At the end of the day, I try, my hardest to be a responsible journalist.


Ryan Hall had an adventure in his first Boston Marathon experience. He spoke of some biblical proportions to his race. I understood his references, but felt that he might have considered Jonah in the belly of the whale ( great song, by the Burning Sensations, from about 1982, I think). Ryan ran with confidence early up until ten miles, slipped in the pack for three to four miles, had a rough time for two miles, then charged back from eleventh to third, giving all he had for a fine third place in his first Boston experience. Just what will it take for Ryan to win at Boston. This writer has a few modest suggestions....

Photo by PhotoRun.net


As I was minding my own business today, a short piece in SI.com jumped out at me. It noted that Kara Goucher had commented that she felt as if she had run a twenty miler, then a hard 10k at Boston. That's fine. Then it said that she was considering racing London on Sunday. Her coach, Alberto Salazar noted that, while not impossible, it was probably not that likely.

Here is a bit of a reminder to our gentle readers: A marathon is supposed to be a twenty mile run, and then a hard 10k. Kara ran her heart out yesterday, she did just everything that she could have done to win, well just about everything. Be confident that Kara, her coach, Alberto Salazar and her team will go over every piece of that race to learn from it. Why? Because the goal is not to win just Boston marathon, the goal...


Olympic fourth placer and Houston 09 champion Deriba Merga rushed the Newton Hills and built a fifty second lead. Photo by Photorun.net.

Lots of pressure on the Americans, but the marathon is a difficult master. On the men's side, while the pace was pedestrian, the men's race went out at world record or better pace, in fact, much better than world record.


Press room during 2009 Boston race.

The women's race was a tactical event. Hitting the mile in 6.28, then 10k in 37.25 and ten miles in 59.47, a pack of seventeen, lead by Elva Dryer were together. At the half marathon, hit in 1:18.12, Kara Goucher, Dire Tune, Salina Kosgei, Colleen de Reuck, Elva Dryer, Alina Ivanova, and Lydia Grigoreva are all there.

Women's pack of seventeen, is starting to drop. Halfway hit in 1:18;12, fourteen in 1:23.17, fifteen in 1:29.12, and 25 k in 1:32.09. Helena Kirop in lead of women, Goucher looks fine, as the women hit the first hill in Newton. Women crested first hill, de Reuck still there as well.

Hall and Cheruiyot are running from the front. Robert Cheruiyot, four time winner of Boston, is checking out the pack and Hall is forcing the pace. On the womens side, six miles hit in 35:50, 10k in 37:05, seven miles in 42.20, eight miles in 47.57, nine miles in 53:47. Elva Dryer leading the pack, with de Reuck, Goucher, Grigoryeva, Tune in pack.


Photo by PhotoRun.net from FLORA London 2008.

Women are still running slow, hitting four miles in 24:07, five miles in 29:59. Elva Dryer, Colleen de Reuck, Kara Goucher there. On Men's side, Ryan Hall in lead, hit one mile in 4.41, with Robert Cheruiyot in third, Hall taking it out. On the split screen in Boston media room, pretty amazing to see Americans upfront. Goucher just behind Grigoryeva as they grab water at the water station. Grigoryeva had to pull over and stop to put her right shoe back on, she has gotten back into the pack.

Second mile for men hit in 4.42, Ryan Hall doing tangents. Women's pace has dropped to 2:36 pace, but pace will continue to drop.

Men's race has been 4:41, 9.;22, as Ryan Hall has dropped back behind Robert Cheruiyot, as Robert was letting Hall break the wind. What Hall has to be careful about is that runners from other countries will try and make a move on Hall. Hall has to run a very savvy race. Three miles hit in 14:05 and 5k in 14:34!

The men's pack is Gashaw Asfaw, Robert Cheruiyot, Tekeste Kebede, Deriba Mera, Ryan Hal, Solomon Molla, Daniel Rono, James Koskei. Men are on, as announced David Murphy, " a scorching pace,". Projected finish is 2:02.47. My feeling is that this is a 2:05 race. These guys are burning up the course!

kgoucher.jpg The women's first five kilometers is very, very slow. Hitting the mile in 6:28, two miles in 12:29, three miles in 18:22, and 5k in 18:59. The projected finish is 2:40:12. Realize that the party will get hot, but right now, Kara Goucher is in second row, Elva Dryer and Colleen de Reuck are leading. Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia, Dire Tune of Ethiopia, Mary Akor of US, a prolific US marathoner and Elfenesh Alemu of Ethiopia are all in the pack. Four miles hit in 24:07. Very tactical now.

This race plays into Goucher's hands, but we shall see how long the big pack stays together.

Photo by photorun.net

For most of the past week I have been in Boston, as part of the lead up to the 2009 Boston Marathon. And now, the time is almost here! Tomorrow morning, the womens' elite race goes off at 9:32 AM and the elite men's race starts at 10 AM.

We will begin coverage about 9 AM EST and cover until 1 PM EST when I have to leave for the airport. My final thoughts on Boston 2009:

Ryan Hall-well prepared, very fit. His achilles heel is his supposed lack of patience. I think Ryan, to beat Robert Cheruyiot, Ryan will have to burn Robert off before the final hills. Hall can win this race, he has to, as Coach Squires, Greg Meyer and Bill Rodgers all said-stay out of trouble with the first fifteen miles. Rodgers once told me that he hever felt good on Boston until after fifteen miles, when he flew through the hills.

Kara Goucher-is well prepared. She believes that she has done well with her training. In fact, she has complete confidence in Alberto Salazar, her coach. Goucher should stay of trouble until the hllls. I believe that she will stay in control through the start of the hills and then begin probing for weaknesses. Grigoryeva will move with a 5k or a 3k, as she does not want it to linger. Goucher can win if she stays focused, makes her move, not someone elses and realizes, the later she moves, the better she will do.

US men have not won here since 1983, and US women started their drought after1985. Goucher and Hall can remedy that! We wish them much luck!

Nike held a press conference on Sunday, April 19, 2009, to announce the launch of the NIke Lunar Glide Plus, a new training shoe, developed over the past two years, using some of the results they have learnt from the Nike Free and the Nike Lunar Racer. The new training shoe gives technology only offered before for their elite racing shoes to the majority of runners. Most impressive about the shoe, called the Lunar Glide Plus, was the new heel counter, the lightness of the midsole, but also the mileage that test models have handled.

The shoe has versions for men and women, with some special innovations for women, including a strap over the mid foot to allow personalization of fit. The Lunar Glide is being seeded to elite athletes and media at the Boston Marathon. The global launch will be in July and the US launch will be in August.

According to Leslie Lane (Lane is Global VP of Running) the shoe is an example of Nike's continued need to push the envelope for better shoes and better performances.

According to Phil McCartney, Global Director of Running Product, nearly seventy percent of global specialty accounts had already bought the product. Very nice heel counter, nice looking shoe and $100 price tag will get some notice.

More info this week after a chance to try the shoe!

Darvis Patton ran 10.19 to open his season ( his personal best is 9.89 in Eugene, Oregon at the U.S. Olympic Trials ) at the Micheal Johnson Classic in Waco, Texas. Darvis is shown here, in a photo by this writer, in an interview at the adidas Track Classic from May 2008. This year's adidas Track Classic is Saturday, May 16 in Carson, California.


Fam%20Carlsbad%205k%2009.jpg Photo of Anthony Famiglietti from Carslbad 5,000 meters, April 3, 2009.
Photo by Photorun.net

On Friday night, at the Mt. SAC Relays Distance Carnival , Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico ran a fine 13:16.65. He did have company, with Anthony Famiglietti, aka FAM running 13:17.98 and Chris Solinsky running 13:18.41!

FAM is running the 10,000 meters next Friday, April 24, in Berkeley, CA. Word has it that the pacemakers will hit the 5,000 meters at the Cal-NYRR Distance Carnival at UC Berkeley in 13:35. Anthony Famiglietti, with 3:54 mile speed, 13:11 5,000 meter strength and a personal best at 10,000 meters of 27:36. FAM should run close to the American record (27:13.83)of Meb Keflizighi, set in 2001 at the Kim McDonald 10,000 meters at Stanford. (Meb will be running FLORA London Marathon on Sunday, April 26, 2009).

Christian Cantwell was the silver medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He pulled out the medal in his last throw. Cantwell has started outdoor well with a nice throw of 21.53m, in Senegal, which put two meters between Cantwell and Reese Hoffa,,,, Photo by PhotoRun.net.

Okay, there is some nudity in this commercial. It is tastefully done. The WK team has taken Nike Free and taken it to the nth degree-running supernatural, meaning, in this exercise, running au natural except for shoes on one's feet. David Olds, a top marathoner in the 80s ( I remember him at San Francisco with Pete Pfitzinger from about 1986-7), is the camp coach/counselor/guru. The truth is, David Olds is just being David Olds.

Laura Fleshman, with a guitar on her lap, does her best hippie impersonation, noting that there are some tough trails in the camp. Nudity is not really spoken of, but the scene on the barbeque, and a question by an inquiring runner on size fifteen shoes does get in all the scatalogoical humor, with some semblance of taste. Note the qualification of semblance.

Nick Symmonds does a nice job about giving it one's all, but the award goes to the totally constrained performances of Kara and Adam Goucher. Kara speaks very non chalantly about how they love the Nike SuperNatural Running Camp, and how it takes Adam, who is sitting next to Kara, very naked and very relaxed, " a little longer to come down" from the camp.

Enjoy, you have been warned.

Another bellwether of our sport. But, dear readers, as I was asked twice today to explain the derivation of bellwether, I will leave it to American Track & Field editor James Dunaway: "A wether is a castrated male sheep, which like steers, were castrated so they wouldn't go around all chasing all of the cows but would still grow up to be eaten, or in the case of sheep perhaps sheared many times and then eaten as mutton (ugh!).

A bellwether was such a sheep, a veteran which knew the way home from grazing in the fields, and which had a bell hung from its neck, the sound of which led the rest of the flock back to wherever the shepherd wanted them to go...hence the term, bellwether as a leading indicator."

Well, the announcement today of adidas extending its contract with the oldest continuous marathon in the world, the BAA Boston marathon, to 2022, (which will include the 125th anniversary of the BAA in 2013 and the 125th anniversary of the race in 2021) is a definite bellwether on the health of our sport. This suggests that high end and attractive events should be of import, especially in this economy. It also suggests that two motivated groups should be able to work out a sports marketing conundrum.

The deal was brokered, as such deals are, over the last five years, but was finalized in time to announce at during the marathon festivities. Most of the discussions were made between Guy Morse, Executive Director of the BAA Marathon, and Adrian Leek, the global director of running for adidas. Leek has a long history with the event and the city of Boston, having helped the 1992 World XC Champs succeed after some early challenges.

It is this writers' belief that the Boston Marathon is the most iconic of marathons, and, as it is the citizen runner's version of the All star game--one must qualify for the vast majority of spots in the race. The 25,000 runners here are most of the top five percent or so in their age groups. Boston is pure geek.

adidas has introduced many innovations over the past years, from developing one of the most comprehensive special collections of Boston/adidas gear and this year, a special shoe color wave. A walk around the city of Boston will show the most integrated outdoor campaign by adidas-over 550 new outdoor signs across the city during month leading up to the the marathon. A morning of kid's races on Saturday
plus some mile races on Sunday add to the festive weekend. And then, Monday morning, when 25,000 converge on Hopktinton.....

An event like the Boston Marathon is in high demand. adidas has always had a strong concern that someone else might come in and try and take the event from them. In this bold move, adidas and the BAA have agreed that another footwear or apparel company is just out of the question for the next fifteen years for the Boston Marathon.

It is late Tuesday night, the week of the Boston marathon. For myself, as the president of the Running Network, this is one of the busiest weeks of the business year. And for someone in media, where the first thing most companies cut during bad economic times is advertising, this winter and spring has been, shall we say, anxious. Boston could tell us if the sport will continue to grow.


Bill Rodgers winning Boston in 1975, photo courtesy of Boston Athletic Association.

I remember the first time I read Bill Rodger's name in the paper. It was in March 1975, when he took third in the World Cross Country to Great Britain's Ian Stewart. Rodgers was a very good regional runner, or so we thought. He beat the who's who in global distance runners in Morroco, including John Walker, Frank Shorter, Rod Dixon, Brendan Foster, among others.

UB%20Happy.jpg Usain Bolt is a very talented athlete. He is the focal point of his countries dreams and many sponsors. The day of him going anywhere unnoticed is gone. Such is the price of fame. Or is it?

Remember the Michael Phelps brouhaha over a college party where a certain herb was smoked? I found that, personally, a bit hypocritical. I am not condoning the action, but I do believe that such experiences are part of growing up. An athlete like Phelps, training six to eight hours a day, has not had much of said normal life. Smoking marijuana or not smoking it, has nothing do with the systematic use of performance enhancing drugs to cheat the international sports world. Mr. Phelps also needs to realize, and my guess is that he does, that the adjective Olympian requires a higher level of actions, per the general public. Olympians answer, to use an old commercial, to a higher authority. It was stupid, the kid apologized, case closed.

Lack of privacy is not only the price paid for celebrities, there is the argument that none of us have privacy anymore. A few years ago, Scott McNealy, the Chairman of hte Board of Sun Microsystems, said, in an interview, that privacy was a thing of the past. He was right. With billions of cellphones with cameras that can take photos and films, the only way a party remains private is if the phones are collected, with coats, at the door. ( Not a bad idea).

Usain Bolt made a comment in the German magazine Bild. He made a comment about Jamaican kids knowing how to roll a joint. (As if kids in other countries do not?). He apologized, and that should be that. Usain is learning that, as a celebrity sports person, his every breathe is considered. With the advent of twitter, blogging, 24/7 television, 24/7 TV via phone, there are five hundred outlets looking for the next story and for many, facts be damned. Lots of places to cover one's victories, but also one's mistakes.

Photo by Photorun.net

Walter Dix ran 10.00 for 100 meters recently. Now, due to arbitration, Walter Dix, the bronze medalist at 100 and 200 meters from Beijing, is sitting on the bench, so to speak. He is not allowed to compete for appearance or prize money until the arbitration is heard. On April 21, he will meet with USATF CEO Doug Logan. Logan has offered to try and mediate the dispute between Dix and ICON Management.
Photo by Photorun.net.

Watch the Vienna City Marathon 2009 LIVE on the internet! Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF offers a live stream on Sunday, April 19th, starting at 8.40 a.m. This covers the full marathon together with live commentary as shown on Austrian TV for more than three hours and is available world wide.

Follow this link: mms://apasf.apa.at/ORFLive4Worldwide

This will be activated at insider.orf.at on Sunday, April 19th, 8.40 a.m. Eastern time.

The man noted above was the creative genius behinds Villard Street Pub at the 2008 Olympic Trials. He was the man behind the scenes of Mr. Green and the Men from Modesto. He was the head coach at Foothill community college before I coached there with Hank Ketels and Joe Mangan. And in running circles in the 70s and 80s, Peanut Harms was Da Whiz or Nut.

The best team sales manager ever, Peanut put Reebok T&F on the map and fought for every pair of shoes. I always said, and still do, If Peanut Harms and Jan Johnson ever got together for team sales, they could rule the known world. He worked with the legends-Angel Martinez, Pat Devany, Mark Bossardet, Arthur Lydiard, Ted Banks-the guy has also supported some of the most important groups in our sport-California Community College coaches, California Prep Coaches, CIF, among others.

Nut has been a friend and confidante for two decades. I have learnt more watching him work with coaches, teams, kids than just about anyone. I first met him at Converse, then Reebok. With 47 second 400 meter speed and 1:05 half marathon, the Nut and his merry band of Aggies ruled California road running for most of two decades.

VS Athletics is one of the stalwarts in the track & field industry. Like the most successful companies in this community, VS puts back into the community that they make a living from. That is a good thing.

Best wishes to VS Athletics and Peanut Harms-they are a winning combination!

Runblogrun applauds the race directors of ING New York and BAA Boston marathons for beginning discussions with USATF CEO Doug Logan on hosting the Marathon Trials, as both did in 2008. In my humble opinion, both marathons did great jobs to highlight the races and give an added stature to the best of America's best.

My only beefs with either event had nothing to do with NY or Boston, but the USOC. I hope that Mr. Logan, in his quest to give USATF more visibility and more media attention sees that the promotions of both of these events have amazing media power. The women's press conference after the Women's Trials was one of the most amazing conferences that I have ever seen. From Deenah Kastor to Magdelena Lewy Boulet to Blake Russell, what an amazing group of the sport's ambassadors!

Imagine my surprise when, walking home from the office, I found these three creatures in my yard. Please note that each creature, A Christmas tree with gifts, A Rabbit wishing all Happy Easter and A Frankenstein, are about eight feet tall and glow, yes, glow in the dark (hence the photo below).

A couple of very special friends did this. They also had, in their possession, an Area 51 Love Doll, all purple, with three, yes, three breasts. Common decency, plus the recent arrest of one of my pretend neighbors for showing a bit too much of his true self, kept the Area 51 creature off my porch.

Note the glowing Rabbit. This met me as I finished my walk last evening. I have decided to keep the ornaments up in the yard, and have told neighbors that I may keep them up until next year. In any case, they are up until I return from Boston in a week.

A belated good Passover and a Happy Easter to friends, near and far! See you in Boston next week! Any suggestions on retribution would be enjoyable. Right now, the votes go for 50 Pink Flamingos, a bed spring filled with flowers in my yard-bed of spring flowers, or, my fave, a series of toilets across the porch, with flowers in them.

So, dear readers,

Two Holiday Gifts:

Gift One: Victah Sailer, of Photorun.net, with his lovely wife Lisa Coniglio, supply us with most of the major event photos we use in Shooting Star Media, Inc. and Running Network publications. It is a relationship that is twenty-three years old this year and we could not do it without them or their teams in Paris, Tokyo, and other environs.

One of the benefits of knowing all of the athletes and key players is that Victah is asked to be everywhere, all of the time. This photo came to be because the first gun would not start at the Boston Marathon, so a second was involved. Being the creative sort, Mr. Sailer suggested to Ms. Benoit Samuelson that this might be a wonderful unique moment in road running history. So, in that light, this being the weekend before Boston, I share this photo with you, dear readers, in the spirit of the upcoming holiday weekend! And no, Joan Benoit Samuelson is not representing the NRA.

Gift two: As part of the Milwaukee Brewers Games, the Sausage Races are de rigeur, kind of like snow the week before Boston Marathon. So, this race pitted the Easter Bunny, the Brewers sausages and a Verlo mattress, I believe. Only in Milwaukee can this kind of stuff happen. Enjoy, discuss among yourselves!


Just for the record, the race was held in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, about a five minute walk from my house! We are about fifty miles from Milwaukee.

Again, a Good Passover (belated) and Happy Easter (upcoming) to all of our friends! See you next week in Boston!

A very nice interview, done exclusively with Universal Sports, with Mary Wittenberg, Guy Morse and Carey Pinkowski on the World Majors Marathon: http://www.universalsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=23000&ATCLID=3708554. The point is made that while these events are highly competitive with each other, they also feel a greater need to support the global health and focus of the sport. In other words, some folks in running are actually looking at the big picture. And that, I believe, (to quote Martha Stewart), is " a good thing."

Please note that Universal is now carrying the feeds for BAA Boston, Flora London, real, -Berlin, and Bank of America Chicago Marathon on their websites and cable network, which is growing each and every day. Check your local listings for a station near you, or just, do what works best, send a note to your local cable provider suggesting that they pick up Universal so that they can justify their continuing increases in charges without more benefits or services ( good, I got that out, now I feel much better).

David Oliver took the bronze in Beijing last year. I had watched him race for years, but finally got a few minutes with him the day after his race. Articulate, thoughtful, with a good sense of humor, Oliver epitomizes the type of athlete who competes on the professional circuit. Check out David's comments on Project 30: he makes some very good points.

Bob Ramsak is an athletic troubadour. Bob's main base is Slovenia, yet he was raised in Cleveland. If you have spent time on the excellent iaaf.org site, or read his Track Profile.com blogs, then you know. Bob provides us with a strong piece on Oliver plus an update on sprints and hurdles, must mean, you guessed it, Outdoor season is on!

Photo courtesy of Bob Ramsak, from Berlin Press conference, 2008.

No, this is not a diorama from someone kept in fifth grade for twenty-five straight years. This is the digital shrine to running as developed by Carl & Karl Underwood, running's number one superfans! As a favor to the Brooks company
( and with tremendous help from the creative agency, Great Society), Randy and Jason Sklar, hosts of ESPN's Cheap Seats, portray their alter egos, Carl & Karl Underwood in this digital universe dedicated to keeping running fun. Done with total tongue in cheek, and ripping to shreds every part of our running culture, the Sklar brothers make us laugh until we cry. Nothing is sacred, and that, ( to use the phrase used by a formerly incarcerated domestic goddess), is a 'good thing." (If you look real close at the little TV screen, you can see one of the Carl & Karl Underwood brothers' faces.)

If I remembered anything from the art history class I slept through about twenty five years ago, I would say that Runningsuperfans.com reminds me of a combination of the mystical fifteenth century painter, Hieronymous Bosch (remember Garden of Earthly Delights? then google it) meets Borat meets Mad Magazine meets Bob Newhart. Cultural icons all, but this garden of humorous delights pokes fun, and pokes fun at all.

How do I give our gentle readers a cultural comparison of Carl & Karl Underwood? Let's try this: Carl & Karl Underwood are like Larry, Larry and his other brother Larry from the old Bob Newhart. Well, except that there are only two of the Underwoods, and you would have to take Larry & Larri and have them discover running, get caffeinated up on about eighty pounds of Peets coffee, sniff some Shoe Glue, take a class in digital design and devote their live to sharing the joys of running. Their magnum opus, the aforementioned website is, quite honestly, one of the most innovative, goofy, creative and fun websites that I have traversed in along time. Called Runningsuperfans.com, this whimsical, interactive website has hidden jewels from left to right and right to left, giving the viewer a lot of fun stuff to discover, and reminds us that running, after all, is one of the few joys of life that we have some control over.

At the Athens Olympics, Kelly Holmes wins at 1,500 meters and 800 meters were two of the highlights, for me of that Olympics! My son, Adam and I were lucky enough to see both live. Adam could not believe how Kelly Holmes flew down the last fifty meters in the 800 meters. I just remember the heat that night, and wondered how anyone could run that night!

After Dame Kelly Holmes victories in Athens, her sponsor, Reebok, feted her in a global ad campaign in 2005 (courtesy of Reebok International).

Daba Bekana leads an Ethiopian sweep of the top three, in a fine 13:19, photo by Photorun.net.

Some of the top American distance runners plus runners from five other countries will be contesting the 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter distances at the new NYRR sponsored UC Distance Carnival, as part of the Brutus Hamilton Invitational, to be held April 24.

Among the top athletes are Anthony Famiglietti and Jorge Torres, in the men's 10,000 meters and Shannon Rowbury, in the womens' 5,000 meters. Both Rowbury and Famiglietti ran the Carslbad 5,000 meters last weekend with good performances!

Fam has run 3:54 for the mile, 13;11 for 5,000 meters and 27:36 for 10,0000 meters, as well as 8:14 for the steeplechase. He is one of the most versatile of US male distance runners. Shannon Rowbury has run near 4:00 for 1,500 meters, in her first true season, in 2008, as an elite women distance runner. Her 15:41 on the Carlsbad coarse last weekend shows that she could be quite dangerous over the 12.5 laps on the track! Should be some solid races. Each event is set up with pacers to help the athletes reach qualifying marks for the World Championships and the USATF championships as well.

Fam running 13:28 at Carlsbad, April 5, 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net

Pat Butcher, our friend from across the pond, wrote a superb piece on meeting Arne Andersson and Gunder Hagg six years ago. A touching, thoughtful piece on two men, who competed against each other all out, changed our thoughts on the mile and kept the sport alive during the dark days of the Second World War, http://www.globerunner.org/blog/?p=127.in neutral Sweden. (If anyone has found video of their races, would love to pass that on to our readers! )

Stephanie Brown Trafton, the Beijing champion, will be competing at both Reebok Grand Prix and Nike Pre Classic! Both events added the discus! Throw goddess Stephanie Trafton on Spring 2009 AT&F cover. Design by Kristen Cerer, photography by Photorun.net.

EME NEWS (APR 7, 2009)


SANTO DOMINGO (DOM, Apr 3-5): Major sensation at Dominican Republic Championships held at Felix Sanchez Olympic Stadium. Sydney Olympic silver medalist at 400 m Alvin Harrison who last October ended his four years ban competed for first time since 2004 Olympic Trials. The 35 years old former US athlete now competes for Dominican Republic. He started with 47.52 in heats, but in finals clocked from lane 8 impressive 45.68 clearly beating Beijing Olympian Arismendy Peguero (46.27). They clashed also at 200 m, where Peguero won in 21.01 (+0.4) just 0.01 ahead as Harrison got 21.02 (and 21.20 in heats). It remains to see what is the future of Harrison competing for Dominican Republic, one thing is sure he will have it tough to compete at meetings in Europe due to his doping past. Dominican Long Jump record holder Carlos Jorge leaped to 790 (+0.1) and also won the 100 m in 10.46 (-0.5) after being faster in semifinals (10.38, -0.6).

Larry Eder adds:

Alvin and Calvin were two of the most talented athletes I have ever met. As the assistant coach at Foothill Community College in the 1990-1996 era ( with Hank Ketels and Joe Mangan), I got to watch both run for Hartnell College. Coach Shaw kept them on a short rope, and they still must have driven him crazy. I do remember watching Alvin do 350s in a workout. He was just flying down the track. The one time Calvin was able to compete, I believe he ran a 47 for the 400 meters with little warm up.

Young men with huge talent and difficult family lives, they were looking for role models and picked the wrong people. After a four year ban, Alvin has already run a 45.68? Think of what he could have done at his prime...clean

One of the most popular distance runners of our generation, Paul Tergat is going to run a 25 kilometer race in Berlin on May 10. The race is rich in tradition in Berlin, having been founded at the 25 km de Berlin by the French forces in West Berlin in 1981, making it Berlin's oldest city road race. Tergat is multi world and Olympic medalist, as well as former world record holder in the marathon, being the first man under two hours, five minutes, still the number five performer all time.

Photo shows Paul Tergat at Brandenburg Gate in 2003. He will run through the Gate on May 10, 2009, as part of the race! Photo courtesy of Victah Sailer / photorun.net

Kim Collins of St. Kitts, the 2003 World Champion at 100 meters, opens in Kingston on May 2. Churandy Marina opens May 1 in Guadelupe...(sorry for short updates, got flu over weekend).

The battle for the 2016 Olympic site is down to the stretch. A thirteen person IOC evaluation committee lead by 1984 Olympic gold medalist at 400 meter intermediate hurdles, Nawal Nawal El Moutawakel, visited the proposed sites for Chicago 2016, were treated to a special message from Michael Jordan, who could not be at the Olympic event due to a prior engagement. Jordan noted in the video that the Olympics were one his most important memories in sport. While the media was kept a distance from the Evaluation committee, the committee were met by a group of famous Olympic athletes, from Nadia Comenica to Pablo Morales. The brisk Spring weather ( read, very, very cold) of Chicago did not stop the evaluation committee who witnessed a gymnastic competition at McCormick Center, as well as a presentation by Native Americans and a Chinese dragon that followed them around McCormick Center. As they ventured outside to Washington Park, they were greeted by a group of young Chicagoans carrying all 205 flags of IOC member countries.

Plain clothes police kept the roads clear for the evaluation committee as they took a reported eight hours to visit the various sites around the Windy city.

What could be the dinner of the year in Chicago happens tonight at the Chicago Institute of Fine Arts, where, among the guests will be the one and only Oprah Winfrey, a proud Chicagoan, to give the IOC evaluation committe a taste of Chicago. The visit concludes on Tuesday.

The battle for 2016, between Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Chicago has gone on for over a year. It will be fascinating to watch between now and October, when the decision will be made.

For more on the visit, please click on http://www.insidethegames.com/show-news.php?id=5402.

Lets see, at Fortis Rotterdam, Duncan Kibet just nudges his training partner James Kwambai in 2:04:27! In Paris, 12 runners under 2:10, with Vincent Kipruto running a surprising 2:05:47, with twelfth place in 2:09:13! Marathon geek mania! Consider this, Patrick Makau, in his debut, ran 2:06:14 for fourth place in Rotterdam, not a bad run. The marathon performances continue to improve and astound fans around the world!

Picture of Patrick Makau, shown from his win at RAK half marathon. Makau debuted at Fortis Rotterdam in fourth with a fine 2:06:14. The race was won by Duncan Kibet in 2:04:27, just a step infront of his training partner, James Kwambai! Photo by Photorun.net.

In a copyrighted story on the influential Olympic news site, Inside the Games,
it was announced that the IAAF, on April 5, names Jose Maria Odriozola, the president of the Spanish Athletics Federation to the position of Technical delegate for athletics events for London 2012.

The Technical delegate is one of the most influential positions in the sport of athletics for a major event. He or she has influence on all equipment, schedules, events, and infrastructure that have anything to do with athletics during the Olympics. Mr. Odriozola has represented Spain as a technical delegate for athletics and rubgy in the past.

To read the complete story, please click on http://www.insidethegames.com/show-news.php?id=5400#

The Texas Relays always give a show. USATF CEO Doug Logan was among the crowd over the past few days. Andra Manson, World Indoor medalist showed his stuff with a fine jump of 2.35m for the high jump. This was Manson's second attempt at the height today. He tried 2.41m, a new US record, but was just not ready for the AR today. Soon though, Manson has the tools to clear 2.41m and then some!

The Olympic champion ( she is featured in Spring American Track & Field 2009), Stephanie Brown Trafton, won at Cal Poly Invitaitonal yesterday. Chelsea Johnson, homegrown from Atascadero, CA, a graduate of UCLA and now jumping for Nike, won and has the US leading outdoor vault mark.

San Luis Obispo, CA--Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Trafton didn't disappoint spectators at the Cal Poly Invitational on Saturday, winning the discus with a best of 199 feet, 5 1/4 inches.

The Cal Poly graduate spent the afternoon chatting with fans and local media, signing autographs and enjoying a warm Central Coast welcome on the track. Trafton, a gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, drew plenty of oh's and ah's from the crowd with her towering tosses and closed the competition, as expected, with the winning mark.

Atascadero product Chelsea Johnson, competing for Nike, won the woman's pole vault with 4.52 meters, or 14 feet, 10 inches, clearance and U.S. leading mark.

Diet books keep the book industry alive. My prediction is that Usain Bolt has at least one diet book in his future. Look, the fast food industry has to love the guy. Apparently living on a diet of Chicken McNuggets and G2 (check out his Gatorade videos), Usain Bolt gave us three world records last summer!

No Chicken Nuggets for Bolt? What is the world coming to?, photo by Photorun.net

Although my grandfather Earl knew of one runner in his lifetime-Paavo Nurmi, the first runners I heard about from Scandinavia were Gunder Hagg and Arne Andersson. If I recall, it was about Andersson's coach and his use of fartlek training. Arne Anderson held the world record at 1,500 meters once, and the mile three times. On each occassion, his competitor, Gunder Hagg, broke them shortly thereafter.

Andersson held the world record (4:01.6), for the mile from July 18, 1944 until July 17, 1945, until Gunder Hagg put the record down to 4:01.4, which stood for nine years, until Roger Bannister broke his record and also the mystical sub four minute mile for the first time. The duels between Hagg and Andersson are that of legend. What, to me, is so satisfying about Hagg-Andersson was that they were fierce competitors on the track and good friends off the competitive surface. Great races by great athletes.

It is ironic, in my mind, that Andersson won the final race, between he and Gunder Hagg. Hagg died in 2004. Andersson lived to the ripe old age of 91.

Usain Bolt dazzling 85,000 friends in the Birds' Nest, August 2008, by PhotoRun.net.

If I close my eyes, I can find myself in the Birds Nest, in Beijing, sitting with James O'Brien and Pat Butcher, as we witnessed the Usain Bolt Show. Each night of track and field, we climbed into the media area, set up our computers, placed our stat books and the People's Daily, on one side of the computer and a cold beverage on the other side.

Usain Bolt was more than brilliant, his absolute domination, his ability to communicate with 80,000 sports fans, and his ability to feed off the crowd made his races true sport moments.

How does one create such great moments in sport? In our sport, one puts together fields that are just 'stacked'. One lane after another of medalists: fast, competitive runners. A month ago when Doug Logan mentioned his idea for Jamaica vs US, it was picked up everywhere. Great idea! What a meet!

However, as one who actually makes a living from this sport, and one who has had the privilege of putting on small meets and then observing the intricacies of major event management, the dream and the reality of putting on a meet are two very different concepts.

In my formative years, the World Cross Country was the one, the only real distance running champs of the world. In 1975, when New Zealand won the team title and Ian Stewart won the individual, everyone, from the current world record holder for the mile to soon to be record holders for the marathon (American), were running. Stewart out kicked the likes of Bill Rodgers over the last lap in Morocco to take the title. On the Kiwi team, the likes of John Walker, Rod Dixon, Dick Quax, Euan Robertson ( a steepler). On the US team, Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers, to name drop a bit.

Security is just a part of modern day sports. Remember, in 1973, Mariano Haro was pushed off the course in the Cross Country by a group of thugs. Photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.

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