August 2009 Archives

Gentle readers, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. However, the folks at Toyota Japan, being an IAAF sponsor, came up with this lovely piece on the hammer throw. Observant reader, Steve Vaitones, himself a former race walker and manager of USATF New England, found this and felt that it could become a 'classic'. I believe it is my zen moment for the month of August 2009:

Special thanks to Toyota for dreaming up this one!

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TOKYO (JPN): As Race Results Weekly informs, the 2010 Tokyo Marathon closed their entry process with between 280,000 and 300,000 runners requesting entry, a record for any road race in the world. "We will close the entry today,“ said the event‘s communications director Tad Hayano. "The number of entry will be between 280,000-300,000. Tokyo has been growing so quickly as you know.“ The race, which will be held next February 28, recorded 29,108 finishers last year and only allowed 30,000 entrants. That means that a staggering 90% of applicants will be rejected. The 2010 Tokyo Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label road race.

Larry Eder's comment: So, 30,000 will be able to run Tokyo? Why make 240,000=270,000 other people unhappy, why not develop a series of local marathons in other areas of Japan so that these would be marathoners can find races to run? Or direct them to smaller races, again, to keep them training for another shot at Tokyo?

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Blanka Vlasic has recovered well from Beijing. Her gold medal in the World Champs, and now, her 2.08m, a world leader, meet record and national record in Zagreb! We'll let Alfons Juck tell you the rest of the story.....


Blanka Vlasic cleared 2.08m, today, or 6-9.75 for those in the U.S., this picture is from the 2009 Rome Golden Gala, photo by

A rainy day in Gateshead, and still, some strong performances. Phillips Idowu (triple jump), Christine Ohuruogu (400 meters), Lisa Dobriskey (1,500 meters) brought home wins for the home crowd. Crowd pleasers La Shawn Merritt, Tyson Gay, Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter, Christin Wurth Thomas won their specialties. A close race in the men's 200 meters, with Shawn Crawford over Wallace Spearmon, 20.80-20.81. Nice 2.33m for Andra Mason over Yaroslav "I am only clean athlete in sport" Rybakov (check Russia Sports site, last week).

Big news is that Tyson Gay, after winning a 10.15 100 meters into a -2 mps facewind, announced to media the will race twice more in 2009 (Brussells and somewhere to be named?). After the season ends, Tyson will have groin surgery.


Tyson Gay, Rome Golden Gala 2009, photo by

Nice tactical wins by Nick Symmonds and Leonel Manzano! (800m and 1,500m)

In my twenty-five years now writing about our sport, my two favorite intereviews have been the late Emil Zatopek and the always thoughtful Haile Gebrselassie. Haile is now in training for the Berlin 2009 Marathon (September 20). He is also sharing his training thoughts on twitter: Check out the greatest long distance runner of our time!

Here is what our friends at adidas noted about Haile on twitter:

"Haile Gebrselassie is the first professional long distance runner using
Twitter. Having won 2 Olympic gold medals and four world championships
Haile is now also online ahead of the pack. Through his public diary,
you can follow his fascinating path to his third consecutive world
record in the BERLIN-MARATHON. You can't get any closer. If you want to
join in the action, go to:"


Haile Gebrselassie, September 2008, real, -Berlin marathon, photo by

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Track & Field is getting a big kick right now in the ratings. In Germany, during the WC, athletics outdrew European soccer. On the night of the women's high jump, 8.6 million German households tuned into the WC.

In the US, the TV on Versus has been very good, the coverage on Universal NBC, on the web has been amazing and the NBC coverage has been better. The coverage of Zurich this past weekend was very good. The big question that media, meet directors, managers, federation leaders and athletes have to ask themselves is, how do we keept his going?


Usain Bolt, WC 2009, August 2009, photo courtesy of

Jessica Ennis is competing in Gateshead on Monday, August 31, 2009. After her flawless performance in Berlin, where she secured the gold medal in the heptathlon with a superb two day performance, Ennis is very popular in Great Britain. Our man in the streets, Alfons Juck, writes about Ms. Ennis chances of being the face of London 2012.


Jessica Ennis, August 17, 2009, gold medalist, heptathlon, photo by

JOHANNESBURG (RSA): World champion Caster Semenya has been tested in South Africa and found to have higher-than-usual testosterone levels, but she is well within the range that allows her to participate in women’s races. Informs South African Mail and Guardian. A week after the controversy broke, fingers are starting to point to the blunders and bad management of Athletics South Africa (ASA), which has been aware of the questions raised about her eligibility to compete in women’s athletics since she started to shine in junior competitions. But the local sports body has done nothing to stem the fallout. Two sources within ASA told the Mail & Guardian this week that the body had “made sure” she was eligible to compete, not by a process of gender verification but by a standard urine test taken by all competing athletes. “She was tested three years ago when she started competing and it was found that she is a woman. She may have rather high levels of male hormones, but she is definitely a woman,” a source in ASA said.


Caster Semenya, WC 2009, August 2009, photo by

ASA has to take the blame, as they knew a problem could arise. In the end, I feel sorry that such a young person had to deal with their gender being question in the world media. ASA should be ashamed. Instead of calling the media response "racist", they should have dealt with the matter.

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Last night was a watershed event. At the Weltklasse, three American women, distance runners, were under 4:01.1, in the 1,500 meters, Nick Symmonds was duking it out with the best 800 meter runners in the world, and Dathan Ritzenhein held his own in the 5,000 meters, finishing third, breaking the hallowed AR of Bob Kennedy, running 12:56.27.
Last month, while I was in the UK at the Aviva London Grand Prix, British friends were noting that their country needed to have a rebirth in distance running, like the US. Boy, that one knocked me off my seat. I can remember so many years when our guys were getting their butts kicked.
But, in truth, the changes in our middle distance runners started way back in the early 90s, when Bob Kennedy, Todd Williams, Mark Croghan were competing and many of our runners had taken to the roads, not focusing on becoming good at the world stage.

I remember in 1984, on a day break in the Olympic schedule, where a couple of US finalists actually ran a 10k road race, for money, during the Olympic schedule. It really upset me, as I could not understand what was going on in their minds!

Today, we are beginning to become competitive, on a global stage, and that is good. Lots of people have played a part in that, and they need to be recognized. And lots of people led the way. But, we can not get complacent, and here is why:


Meb Keflezighi, Falmouth, August 2009, Meb is the Olympic silver medalist, 2004, Olympic marathon, photo by

Dave Laut, 1984 Olympic bronze medalist, fourth in 1983 WC, and for past year, AD at Hueneme High School ( he had been track coach there for eight years), was shot and killed by an unknown intruder onto his property in Oxnard, CA, just after midnight, Thursday, August 27, 2008. He leaves his wife of 29 years, Jane and their son, Michael, age 10. No more information at this time.

I was fortunate enough to watch Dave compete a lot, living in California in the 70s and 80s. If my mind does not fail me, I do remember a party in San Jose, where Laut, Gummerson, Feurbach, Kelmenson and crew held court. I believe there was a hot tub built to seat about 40, and copious amounts of adult beverages. This was, of course, after a track meet at San Jose State. Something about throwing a guy, a former distance runner who is no longer 155 lbs. from one thrower to another, seeing how far he could be thrown. I believe we got to about ten feet. (I did get a case of beer out of it, and some great lifting tips!).

After Dave stopped competing, he moved back to Oxnard, CA, and worked at the high school ( Hueneme), where his late father was a long time science teacher. A UCLA grad, Dave Laut had won the NCAA title in the shot as well. Mild mannered, quiet, most of his neighbors knew little about his athletic career. Laut had converted his garage into a nice weight room, and worked out daily.

It is nice to know he coached high school track and was an athletic director. In my mind, the highest calling our sport is coaching high school. Dave Laut will be missed.

Ritz Responds, by Walt Murphy


Here is what Dathan Ritzenhein had to say about his record for 5,000 meters, breaking Bob Kennedy's AR, and Bob Kennedy:

"I am still on cloud nine. I knew I was in great shape but I was a little shocked at how great I felt. Alberto told me I could break 13:05 and I believed him but 12:56 was a dream come true. Bob kennedy is a true american icon in distance running and I have always admired him, to break his record is such an honor. I am so happy my family was here to celebrate with me. I want to thank everyone for their support. My family, friends, agent, coach, sponsers, fans. The list keeps going."

Special thanks to Andy Stubbs, Peter Stubbs and Walt Murphy. This was done in the taxi back to the hotel after the meet!

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Bob Kennedy and Todd Wiliams, Running US champs, Indianapolis, 1997, photo by

I thought I would take a shot at what Dathan Ritzenhein breaking Bob Kennedy's AR for 5,000 meters really means. So, here we go:


Maryam Jamal, Pre Classic, June 2009, photo courtesy of

The Weltklasse, held in Zurich today, gave us much to admire about our sport-records and competition combined to give the SRO crowd a night of world class track & field. Here are my highlights:

Walt Murphy's News and Results Service ([email protected]) (c)Copyright 2009-all rights reserved. May not be reprinted or retransmitted without permission

From Bob Kennedy:

"I'm very happy for Ritz. It's a spectacular performance. I'm proud to have held the record for 13 years and even more thrilled that American distance running is moving forward again.

I think it's fitting that the record was broken on the same day (my wife) Melina filed to run for the Mayor of Indianapolis. End of one chapter and the beginning of the next in the Kennedy family chronicles."


Dathan Ritzenhein en route to his sixth place WC 10,000 meter run, photo by

Special thanks to Walt Murphy, and remember to get the XC Xpress from Walt for 2010 season! Send Walt an email at ([email protected]) (c)

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Dathan Ritzenhein, running down the field, WC 2009, Men's 10,000 meters, photo by

In the first Golden League meet after the World Championships, Dathan Ritzenhein showed that his last two month forays into fast track work is paying dividends. Last week, in the World Championships, Dathan finished sixth in the WC 10,000 meters, running 5ks in 13:50/13:32 for a 27:22.28. It was a personal best by over twelve seconds and showed that Dathan's move to faster training, as part of the Oregon project, was already paying him back!

On Friday evening, Zurich time, August 28, 2009, Dathan Ritzenhein finished a very competitive third in the 5,000 meters won by Kenenisa Bekele, the world record holder in both the 5,000m and 10,000m. Dathan moved up from eighth to third in the last 1,000 meters and did not stop, hitting the finish line in 12:56.27, a huge personal best and also a new American record!

Dathan Ritzenhein broke the venerable record of one Bob Kennedy, who set his 5,000 meter record, also in Zurich, in 1996. Kennedy's time was 12:58.21.

In a recent interview in Berlin for RBR, Dathan Ritzenhein told us that his training since the US champs has focused on fast repeats, such as quarter repeats in 56 seconds, tempo runs and good 20 milers at 5:30 per mile pace. Ritz is running two more track races, per that conversation: another 5k, and one 3k. We wish him continued success!

More details to follow.

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Yelena Isinbayeva, August 2009, WC Berlin, photo by

What a difference one week makes. A week after her nightmare in Berlin, where Yelena Isinbayeva did not clear a height in the World Champs final, the world's best women pole vaulter is back with a vengence. On her first attempt at the height, Yelena Isinbayeva cleared 5.06m, or 16 feet, 7 1/4 inches, giving her her 24th world record! The world record was well received by the fans in Zurich! The crowd of 60,000 plus at the Zurich Weltklasse applauded Isinbeyava's effort, as she jumped, and ran to her coach, Vitaly Petrov.

More details to come!

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The Weltklasse, held in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday, August 29, 2009, will have some amazing fields. While the 60,000 plus fans will fete on Usain Bolt and crew, the men's 400 meters may be the race of the night: LaShawn Merritt, 2009 Berlin gold, 2008 Beijing gold, Jeremy Wariner, 2009 Berlin silver, 2008 Beijing silver, Kerron Clement, 2009 Berlin 400m hurdle gold, 2008 Beijing 400m hurdle silver, 2007 Osaka 400m H gold, and Angelo Taylor 2009 Berlin 4x 400m gold, 2008 Berlin 400m H gold, 2000 Sydney 400m H gold, all in one race! Some day, Usain Bolt will be added into a race like that! Now, that sounds like some fast quarter miling!


Usain Bolt and his 200 meter gold record, WC 2009, photo by


Usain Bolt, the mayor of Berlin, August 15-23, 2009, photo by

For nine days in August, the city of Berlin had a new mayor; Usain Bolt. Usain Bolt, for those nine days, with his world records at 100 meters (9.58), 200 meters (19.19) and his third leg on the gold medal winning 4 x 100 meter relay, enthralled the city's media, Eurosport and the fans who came to the Berlin Olympic stadium.

His antics are bringing new fans to the sport, especially younger fans and sports fans, not inclined to watch athletics. At 6-4, Usain towers over the competition and when he opens his stride, the fans go nuts. Tyson Gay's silver medal in the 100 meters, which gave Tyson the new AR of 9.71m for 100 meters, is the closest anyone has gotten to Usain Bolt in a global championship!

So, it should not be surprising to anyone that PUMA, his sponsor, is enjoying some benefits from sponsoring Bolt since he was a 16. At 23, Usain Bolt is running well, and products tied to him, should do well. According to PUMA chairman Jochim Zeitz, PUMA's Usain Bolt product is sold out!

Watch for a Usain Bolt poster in limited supply and a new print and web campaign on the Running Network in September. Details to come on that!

As our sport moves to a more professional level, key management from more traditional collegiate and sports organizations will move into our sport. David Scott has a fascinating c.v. We wish David and the ING Miami Marathon well in 2010!



Mike Rodgers handing off to Shawn Crawford, August 21, 2009, photo by

James Dunaway is one of the keenest observers of our sport. He has been to the past fifteen Summer Olympics, over fifty years of NCAA outdoor championships and more track meets than most of us see in a lifetime. If you can find it, his book, written for Sports Illustrated in the sixties, on Track & Field technique is an amazing asset for any coach.

James Dunaway has been the editor of American Track & Field now for about five years. I see him as mentor, editor and champion of our sport. He does not suffer fools.

After watching the men's 4 x 100 meters be disqualified on an exchange zone infraction (which I could not see with reviewing the video), and the injury of Muna Lee in the 4 x 100 meters, I believe that re running the following piece makes a lot of sense.

I have met Benita Fitzgerald Mosely, and while I believe she has been thrown into the lion's den, her enthusiasm, her creativity and some time will help her make our High Performance area more successful. I also am pleased with Terry Crawford as Director of Coaching-having a coach with such experience will help us formulate a coaching education program that will be the envy of the world.

That is what frustrates me so much about the 4 x 100 meter relay. As we are finally moving up in the middle distances, distances, we are being dusted by relay teams who can get the baton around the track, and in the exchange zone, but who are no where as fast. Our system is not working, and making apologies for it does not make sense.

My suggestion: Either come up with a national sprint relay system, stick with it, or stop sending the teams to international events. It is embarrassing...


Allyson Felix's defense of her 05, 07 gold medals was amazing, in the cold, damp conditions on Friday night. Photo by


LaShawn Merritt, running the rounds, August 18, 2009, photo by

The men's 400 meters was the new king of the 400 meters, LaShawn Merritt versus the recent king of the 400 meters, Jeremy Wariner, (2004 Athens, 05, 07 gold). This is how I saw the race:


Allyson Felix, 200 meter rounds, photo courtesy of

Allyson Felix won the World Champs in 2005 and 2007. In 2008, Veronica Campbell-Brown suprised Allyson Felix in Beijing and took the gold, and Felix took the silver.

What a difference a year makes. Allyson was in lane six, Veronica was in lane five, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas was in lane four and Muna Lee was in lane three.

Allyson Felix had a good start, so did Veronica Campbell-Brown and they came off the turn nearly even. That was when Allyson Felix put the burners on and powered away, winning in 22.02 to 22.35.

Muna Lee was making a game run for third, but Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas took the bronze in 22.41, with Muna Lee in fourth in 22.48.

Allyson Felix has now won three 200 meter titles now. In the press conference, Allyson did say she would trade three WC medals for one gold medal in a certain Olympic competition.

Just two more years to wait.....

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BERLIN - Google for Saransk and this is what you get:

"Saransk is a city and capital of Mordoviya, in western Russia. It lies along the upper Insar River and on the western flank of the Volga River uplands. The city was founded in 1641 as a stronghold on the Saransk defensive line. It is an important route centre, with railways to Ryazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Samara, and Penza.
"Industrial development was greatly stimulated in World War II, and a wide range of factories now produce machinery, electrical equipment, penicillin, and consumer goods. Saransk has a university founded in 1957 and a research institute of Mordvin culture.
"Saransk's population (by 1996 estimate) is 297,077."

Okay sports fans, it is raining cts and dogs right now, and it is a cold Friday night in the Berlin Olympic Stadium. So, in between the rain squalls, the qualifying in the women's long jump and men's javelin and before the relay fun, here are my picks for photos of the day. Critieria were my own, but the idea was to give you a flavor of the meet, from different angles. I hope that you like it!


Day 1, August 15, 2009, Women's 10,000 meters, photo by

After twenty three and 3/4 laps, it comes down to this. A battle of the wills as Defar is in full sprint, Melkamu is winding up and Masai is just about to change history!

Thursday evening was one of the best evenings of track & field I have ever witnessed, in thirty years of attending track & field meets. Here are a few of my favorite thoughts about day six:


Ariane Friedrich of Germany took the bronze...


And Blanka Vlasic took the gold......

(Photos by


Puma Yaam, inspired by the artist Jeff Koons, photo courtesy of PUMA communications.

Right after the race, I watched Usain take off his shoes, sign them and throw them into the crowd. The entire stadium is still filled after this amazing night of track & field.

This is the shoe that Usain Bolt wore in both the 100 meters and 200 meters! PUMA communications sent me an email package and photo in a world record for communications after a major event-24 minutes! In honor of that record and because our global readers will be fascinated, here is the PUMA release, in full:

I never, ever, ever, ever thought I would live to see a 19.19. I thought that Usain Bolt had to be wasted after running 9.58 on Sunday. In his first round, Usain Bolt did not look good, but each round, he looked a little better.


Usain Bolt in the early rounds, 200 meters, photo by

The final got off to a good start, with David Alerte of France causing a false start, which was given to the field.

As the race got off, Usain Bolt of Jamaica was out fast, and with a decent start. Actually, an exceptional start for Bolt. Bolt exploded as he came off the the turn and was charging, charging down the straightaway. Usain had the fastest start of the field, reacting in 0.133 from lane five. Next fastest was Shawn Crawford, lane eight, in 0.148.

Everyone else was running a different race. Usain Bolt kept charging down the straightaway as his long strides ate up more and more of the track! The crowd
was screaming as Bolt came down the straight, arms pumping, getting closer and closer to the finish line.

How fast would he run? I had no clue, but I knew that I was watching history! As Usain Bolt hit the finish line and ran through it, the Seiko Timing flashed 19.20, and I looked over at USATF's Tom Surber with my jaw dropped down. Then, the announcers came on and said, over the screaming, "19.19!"

The battle for second and third was all out. Alonso Edward of Panama and Wallace Spearmon. Edward came charging down the straightaway, after Bolt, and held on to the second place, in 19.81, an area record! Wallace Spearmon of the US, in 19.85, and
Shawn Crawford in fourth in 19.85. Steve Mullings of Jamaica, in fifth, in 19.89. In sixth, Charles Clark ran 20.39. Ramil Guliyev of Azbekistan ran 20.61 in seventh and David Alerte of France was eighth in 20.68.

What else can I say about Usain Bolt? This is the closest that I have seen him going all out, and I am not sure if there is someone alive who can run faster than him, at 100 or 200 meters. I am, completely, in shock.

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Paula Radcliffe, Kara Goucher, November 2008, ING NYCM, photo by

Paula Radcliffe, running 2008 ING New York City marathon, and world record holder in women's marathon ( 2:15:25), has withdrawn from the field in the WC 2009. The release from her federation cited that Radcliffe had concern about her healing ankle. It did not mention that Radcliffe had run and won the New York City half marathon this past weekend, in just under one hour, ten minutes.

Radcliffe has been plagued with both bad luck and injuries, in Athens, and Beijing in the marathon. In 2005, Radcliffe won the WC marathon title in Helsinki. A brilliant runner, she has taken a lot out of the tank in her training and marathon record runs.

With Paula Radcliffe's withdrawal, Kara Goucher of the U.S. continues to look good to win a medal in the WC 2009 marathon. The only other American women to medal in the WC marathon was Mariane Dickerson in 1983!


Paula Radcliffe wins ING NYCM in 2008, photo by

Do not be surprised if she shows up at a marathon on the east coast of the U.S. in very early November.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009.

Dayron Robles, gold medalist, Beijing Olympics, August 2008, photo by

Dayron Robles, the Cuban superstar over the 110 meter hurdles will not make the final. In the third semi final, Dayron made it over the second hurdle, clutched his hamstring, and put his hand in front of the third hurdle, not clearing the third hurdle. He was in obvious agony and was helped off the track.

Robles is the 2007 gold medalist in the 110 meter hurdles world champion from Osaka and in 2008, was the Olympic gold medalist. Quite popular in the athletics world, Dayron hurt himself, apparently in the early two rounds and had been considered up in the air for the semi finals.

In the men's 110m hurdle finals, the US will be represented by David Payne, Osaka bronze medalist, Beijing silver medalist and 2009 US champ, and Terrance Trammell, the silver medalist in Sydney and Athens, and silver medalist in Paris 2003 and Osaka 2007, in the finals.

My picks for the finals: David Payne, gold, Terrance Trammel, silver, Ryan Brathwaite, Barbados, bronze.

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Yusuf Kamel, Deresse Mekonnen, Bernard Lagat, Men's 1,500 meter final, August 19, 2009, photo by


Brad Walker, US championships, June 2009, photo by

Brad Walker, defending world champion in the pole vault has withdrawn from the competition due to injury. Here is the statement we received from USATF:

Defending world champion Brad Walker on Thursday morning withdrew from men's pole vault competition due to injuries sustained July 28 at the Herculis meet in Monaco. While competing in Monaco, Walker landed partly off the mat on one of his attempts, causing his hips to hit the ground. The result was trauma to his public symphis joint. According to Walker's agent, Peter Stubbs, "Every time he runs, it causes movement of the joint and extreme pain. To avoid a potentially career-ending injury, Brad has made the very difficult decision to withdraw."

We wish him a quick recovery.

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Field events really are making a huge impact here! The Germans have won medals in the womens' shot, heptathlon, women's javelin, Men's shot and now, Men's Discus.


Robert Harting, in the qualifying, before he became a German discus deity! photo by

Robert Harting, started out in first, in 68.25m, then threw 67.04m, 67.80m, fouled and threw another 67.80m in round five. Piotr Malachowski of Poland woke up in round five and cranked a 69.15m. Gerd Kanter of Estonia was having a bad day and mustered 65.91m, 68.05m which put him in silver, until Malachowski dropped his 69.15m throw in round five.

Robert Harting used the good wishes of 55,000 screaming Germans and cranked a 69.43m throw, to take the lead in the sixth round! PIotr Malachowski tried gamely, but his last throw of 67.33m did not do it!

Robert Harting won the discus, tore off his shirt, and picked up one of the WC mascots and just beamed with pleasure at his win! This might be my zen moment of the evening!

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1,500 meter finals are tough. They are a combination of roller derby, chess, and then, one has to sprint against the best distance runners in the world! This race was no exception. Bernard Lagat, the 2007 gold medalist, was in good shape. So was Augustine Choge, Asbel Kiprop, the Olympic champion, Deresse Mekonnen, the 2008 World Indoor champion, and Lopez Lomong, Leonel Manzano, among others.


Bernard Lagat, the semi finals, photo by


Kerron Clement winning his gold medal in 47.91! Photo by Kerron Clement took fourth in Helsinki with his debut on the world stage. In 2007, in Osaka, Kerron won strong. In 2008, he lost to Angelo Taylor. 2009 is his year. His hurdling has improved. His fitness is higher and his endurance, as shown by his form over the last two hurdles, shows he is a class by himself! Mark my word, Kerron Clement will get the world record in the 400 meter hurdles. He has the speed and the endurance to make a go of this event. His name is already on it and we look forward to seeing him in 2010, 2011 and 2012!

10,000 meter races in the past nine world championships, for men, and women, have been races frequented with negative splits, furious finishes and the presence of four or five very tough runners at the bell with a lap to go. This time around there were some similarities, but also some differences in the top eight!


Kenenisa Bekele defended his three World Champ and two Olympic titles with a last lap just a shade under 51 seconds, and a second half in 13:06, running 26:46.31. Zersenay Tadesse of Eritrea, pushed the second half, trying, as he does, to break Bekele, and was rewarded with the silver medal and a seasonal best of 26:50:12. Moses Ndiema Masai of Kenya took the bronze in 26:57.39! In the next group, two Americans, Dathan Ritzenhein, in sixth and Galen Rupp in eighth....

This is my eighth world champs that I have covered as a member of the media. I am fascinated with how the events are marketed and how competitors try to get their piece of the action.


Guerrilla marketing, courtesy of PUMA, has been, pretty low key, photo by Larry Eder.


Sanya Richards running in the 400 meter heats, photo by

The 400 meters is the cruelest master. Science tells us that the human body can run all out about 250-275 meters, and perhaps, if one is trained well, one could reach 300 meters. That leaves one hundred lonely, cruel meters, and as your arms refuse to respond and your legs beg you to stop, the athlete counts the meters, fifty, forty, thirty...

Sanya Richards knows this, and has looked frustration in the eye, and finally, after three long, tough years, Sanya Richards is a global champion! Here is how I saw it:

Dear readers,

We get notes each and every day on the sport, but I thought I would share this one with you from a Lou Myers in Great Britain. Kudos to the designers of the USATF Uniforms:

May I, as an elderly English man, who remembers the "Olyimpic Games,
Berlin", and has fond memories of "Jesse Owens", let you all know, that the
inclusion of "JO" on all the American Team outfits, is a wonderful credit
to you and your country, you really have gone up in the estimation of the
sporting people of England. More respect like this, in the so called world
of SPORT,is what we need.

Many thanks and respects.

Lou Myers. (The
Ancient Brit).

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Well,Monday, Day 3, was another tremendous evening. Here were my highlights:


Day 3 Photo of the Day: Yelena Isinbayeva no heights! photo by

Jill Geer of USATF wrote this superb blog on Chelsea Johnson, and I thought that you might enjoy it.


Chelsea Johnson winning her silver medal, photo by

I have had the privilege of watching Chelsea vault in high school, college and now, on the global level. It is also about good karma. Chelsea has endured the frustrations that come along with the pole vault and also living with the challenge of a parent who is an Olympian and medalist in the same event. Jan Johnson, her father, has been one of our supporters at American Track & Field since we first started in 1989. He is a great friend. (He allowed us to do Howard Goes to Camp, and Howard Goes to Camp, 2, where I put a male and female athlete, never a vaulter and got them to go to vault camp).

On Monday night, it was all about Chelsea Johnson, the newest medalist in the Johnson family, with a silver in the women's pole vault. Congrats Chelsea! And thanks again to Jill Geer for writing such a nice column!


Final, Men's 100 meters, from left to right, Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay, Usain Bolt, photo by

In the aftermath of a well run 100 meters, Tyson Gay, the silver medalist and new American record holder at 9.71, has withdrawn from the 200 meters to focus on the 4 x 100 meter relay.

Our sport is about yin and yang. Good days follow bad days, bad days follow good days. It is the seasaw of real life. Such was the case for Marta Dominguez of Spain. In 2008, in Beijing, fighting for a medal with 250 meters to go, Marta went down hard in the steeple and did not finish. She spoke of giving up the steeplechase!


Barringer pulls a Henry Marsh, going from near last to fifth, sets AR of 9:12.50, photo by

In a heated competition, two time world champion and two time Olympic gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva did not clear a height in the World Championships tonight in Berlin. Attempting 4.75 meters, missing once and then passing to 4.80 meters, and missing twice, Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia, who has broken the world record 23 times, did not medal!


Isinbeyava in qualifying, August 15, 2009, photo by She did not clear a height in the final!


Shelly Ann Fraser from round one of the 100 meters, photo by

Like the men's semi finals, the women's semi finals in the 100 meters are telling:

Todd Klein, who was Director of Sports Marketing/Running for Reebok since 2004, has left Reebok, and is returning to adidas in the role of Business Unit Director for Global Running Apparel.

Todd Klein was the champion of the Reebok Boston Indoor Games and the Reebok Grand Prix, held on Randalls Island. This years Reebok Grand Prix had a sell out crowd, and one of the best competitions in North America in recent years. Under his direction, Reebok focused on up and coming athletes, including Olympic bronze medalist Nick Willis, from New Zealand and Olympic champion Steve Hooker, from Australia. Reebok also sponsored the two largest prep cross country events in North America: the Manhattan Invitational and the Mt. Sac invitational.

In speaking to Todd last week, he made it quite clear that he would miss his friends, the athletes and the events, but he felt that he has left Reebok athletics in the able hands of Patrick Joyce and Jennifer Thomas. We wish Todd well in his new adventure.

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I thought much would be answered with the 400 meter semi finals. The most dangerous women, in my mind was Nicola Saunders, and while she ran 50.45, she was fourth in her heat and the three women before her broke 50 seconds. Saunders would not move on.


Sanya Richards, first round, women's 400 meters, WC Berlin 2009, photo by

In am amazing night of track & field, the German crowd, double what it was on Saturday-at least 60,000 on Sunday night, was treated to silver medal in the women's shot put and a silver medal in the women's heptathlon. In fact, with three medals for Germany, they are ahead of the US ( Cantwell, Gay).


The men's 100 meters was one of the race of the ages. Usain Bolt had a better than normal start, with Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell next to him. About forty meters, when Bolt stood straight up, Usain Bolt was in the lead. Tyson Gay, to his credit, gamely fought for every meter, and as is Tyson's modus operandi, tried to make up some of the lead on the last half. Gay was on Bolts heals through 70-75 meters and ran through the tape, with a new American record, becoming the second fastest performer ever, in 9.71.

This is where Usain Bolt became the Fastest Man EVER. Bolt's last twenty-five meters was stupendous. Usain Bolt put forth a herculean effort, and looked over once to his right, about eight-five meters, to see where Gay and Powell were. Powell was back, and Gay, while running hard, was not closing. Usain Bolt's amazing night, the night that he had promised us, that his agent, Ricky Simms, had hinted at, had come.

I have to admit that I did write down a sub 9.60 for the 100 meters. Many thought I was nuts, but Bolt and Gay have looked amazing. I think that Tyson Gay, healthy, can run 9.65. One thoughtful observer told me that, after watching Usain Bolt run 9.58, they believe he can get under 9.50. " Usain Bolt will put the 100 meter record out of reach for a long time."

As I am writing this, another keen observer of the sport said this, " Usain Bolt took a slow track (Berlin) and made it look fast." Now, that is just scary!

The men's 100 meter final is now a race for the ages. People who were here will be telling their children, and perhaps grandchildren, that they saw history made. First of all, the three fastest men of all times, Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay were in the final. Then, you had Richard Thompson, Daniel Bailey, Dwain Chambers and Darvis Patton.

In the end, the race lived up to its hype and more, and Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world!


Usain Bolt, from August 15, 2009, in the first two rounds, photo by

Here is how I saw the race:

Here is Elliot's take on the Women's 20k walk, held Sunday morning, August 16, 2009....

Berlin 09 News, by Alfons Juck


All the news that is fit to print from our friend at EME News, Alfons Juck....


World Champs 2009, photo by

Berlin, Germany, 7:27 pm local time, August 16, 2009.

Well, history will be written here tonight in the men's 100 meter final. In the men's semi final, Usain Bolt, after two false starts, one by him (the first, which is charged to the field, under current rules), won in 9.89-the fastest semi final ever! (The former record, 9.90, by Mo Greene in 1997 in Athens!). In the second, Tyson Gay won the semi, with a poor start, in 9.93, with Asafa Powell in 9.95.


But, the buzz is about Usain Bolt vs. Tyson Gay, and this 100 meters could be one for the ages!

(Photo by


20k Walk Awards, photo by

The 20k race walk has changed, and Eliot Denman, a 1956 Olympian at 50k, and keen observer of the walks, gives us his thoughts on the 20k walk, held Saturday morning....

The women's 10,000 meters has a history of fast finishes. Normally, a few Ethiopians, a few Kenyans are swooping over the last 200 meters as Tirunesh Dibaba or Meseret Defar fly by to victory. This year, Tirunesh Dibaba, Meseret Defar and Meselech Melkamu all had amazing times. The race outcome looked pretty well figured out, except no one told Linet Masai.


The final stretch, women's 10,000 meters, August 15, 2009, photo by

First Tirunesh Dibaba withdrew on Thursday night, with an injury that she sustained. After that, all hell broke loose!


Christian Cantwell, World Champs 2009, Berlin, August 15, 2009, photo by

Christian Cantwell is a man of huge stature. He is a student of the shot put. He has spent the last decade working on his craft, perfecting his craft. He is a world class shot putter with promise. Much promise. Now, Christian Cantwell is the best shot putter in the world. He is the 2009 World Champion. And he did it in a grand way, one a grand stage, with the best competitors in the world: the current Olympic champion, the 2003, 2005 and 2007 World Champions, and, on his last throw. In a herculean competition, Christian Cantwell showed that he no longer has promise-he knows how, in the cruelest of sports stages, on a last throw, to respond. The young man from the state of Missouri, the Show Me State, showed the world wit his world leading throw of 22.03 meters! Read on, fans of athletics!


Chelsea Johnson qualifies for the pole vault final....(photo by

The picture I choose to post here is of Chelsea Johnson, the lone U.S. pole vaulter to make the final. Jenn Stuczynski had to withdraw due to achilles injuries, Jillian Schwartz did not move on and neither did Stacy Dragila. Chelsea Johnson is the second generation of women vaulters. Her father, Jan, a reknowned coach and head of Pole Vault Safety for USATF, was the 1972 bronze medalist in the pole vault. Chelsea is her own person, a strong athlete and has a great career ahead of her.

But, the focus of my column today is on Stacy Dragila.

The second round of the hundred meters shows how tough it is to be one of the world's best sprinters. Dwain Chambers of Great Britain won heat one in 10.04, his seasonal best. U.S. sprinter Mike Rodgers won the second heat in 10.01.


Usain Bolt, World Champs, August 15, 2009, photo by

In all honesty, even if Usain Bolt says, anyone can be beat, he is in such amazing shape, that it is scary to predict anyone beating him. But this is the WC and it is fun to stir it up.


Tyson Gay, World Champs 2009, August 15, 2009, photo by

ManzanoLeads-USA09.jpg .
Leonel Manzano leads U.S. champs 1,500 meters, June 2009, photo by Yesterday, at the US press conference, I had a few minutes with CEO Doug Logan. In his red Elton John glasses, smiled and said, " I was not sure how we would fare earlier this year, but we have an amazing team."

When was the last time that four U.S. men moving into the semi finals in the 1,500 meters? MMMMM. Never.


Darvis Patton, U.S. Champs, photo by

After the first round, Darvis Patton commented : " This race has been dubbed as being all about two men. But, we are all here for a reason." I have always liked Doc, and admired his savvy racing, but he hit the proverbial nail on the head.


Sanya Richards, U.S. Champs, June 2009, photo by

The U.S.'s Jessica Beard ran 51.72, taking second in heat two. Debbie Dunn was third in heat four in 51.72. In heat five Sanya Richards won in 51.06 and Christine Ohuruogu, the Osaka WC and Beijing Olympic champion, from Great Britian, was second in 51.30. In heat six, NIcola Saunders, the Osaka silver medalist, slipped in with an icognito third place in 51.60.

Sanya has to keep her running relaxed and save the effort for the final. Ohuruogu and Saunders are dangerous


Usain Bolt, Beijing 2008, photo by

Quick, look at these two sprinters. Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay. Two athletes near the top of their form. The goal for them, this morning was to get out of the rounds in okay form, make sure all was working right and focus on the next round. The second round tonight should be interesting, and should give us an indication of where both are in terms of racing fitness.


Tyson Gay, US champs, June 2009, photo by


Usain Bolt, Beijing 2008, photo by

Quick, look at these two sprinters. Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay. Two athletes near the top of their form. The goal for them, this morning was to get out of the rounds in okay form, make sure all was working right and focus on the next round. The second round tonight should be interesting, and should give us an indication of where both are in terms of racing fitness.


Tyson Gay, US champs, June 2009, photo by


Jenny Barringer, US champs, June 2009, photo by

The women's steeplechase is the fast moving train right now. The obvious focus is Gulnara Galkina, who is running in top form. Barringer showed her promise by making a strong move over the last fifty meters to qualify.....

Beijing Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski, all 6 foot, nine of him, has peaked quite well. Throwing personal bests in two of the last three meetings prior to Berlin (his best being a huge 21.89m), the Polish champion threw 21.19 in the first round in Berlin, leading the men's shot put qualifiers.


Tomasz Majewski, Nike Pre Classic, June 2009, photo by

Guten Morgen from Berlin! It is about 4.30 am in the Midwest, and 2.30 am on the West Coast as I write this first update. I am sitting in seat 94/2, in the Media Tribune, above the finish line. A wonderful wind is in the stadium this high up, as sun and warmth have graced the 1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium. About 25,000 fans grace the stadium this morning while the men's shot, women's steeplechase, women's 100m hurdles are conducted.


Berlin WC 2009 Sign on side of Stadium, photo by Larry Eder

As we have done since 1995, this is the seventh time we have covered the World Champs from the web-this time, we will be focusing on, and (thanks to Chuck Bartlett on and Brian Eder on We hope you enjoy the coverage. If you have special interests email me at [email protected], twitter me or try [email protected].

Now, let's talk track & field!

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Maggie Vessey winning the Pre Classic, June 7, 2009, photo by

Maggie Vessey has the second rated 800 meter performance in the world. Her racing style reminds me of Dave Wottle. She is, in my mind, the most unpredictable and dangerous women in the entire 800 meter field. If Greg Brock, her coach, can guide her through the rounds, and she stays relatively close to the field, Maggie Vessey has a strong shot at a medal in these Games.

New Balance sent RBR a release and some pics of Maggie's special shoes. The product is an early example of the influence that Running General Manager Tom Carleo will have on the brand....Best wishes to Maggie!


Berlin Stadium, August 13, 2009, mid afternoon, photo by Larry Eder

As journalists like myself were getting off our planes, taking the bus to get credentials, sending our first stories, the Local organizing committee was holding a full, Under 23 track meet in the stadium, making sure all things, big and small work for the Berlin 2009 WC, to begin on Saturday. Tyson Gay had a press conference in the morning. Usain Bolt held on in the afternoon. Yin and Yang.

It is very early, Friday morning, time for me to crash, but I wanted to give you a few things to read. If you have questions, or particular issues, twitter me with them or email me at [email protected]

Tirunesh Dibaba, Beijing Olympics, August 2008, photo courtesy of

Thursday, August 14, 2009, 10.30 pm, Berlin time ( 3.30 pm Chicago Time)

Tirunesh Dibaba, the Beijing 10,000/5,000 meter gold medalist, Osaka 10,000 meter gold medalist has withdrawn from the 10,000 meter final, to be held on Saturday night, August 15, 2009. This was confirmed by her management. Dibaba experienced an injury in training and has not fully recovered. No details on her decision to run the 5,000 meters, where she won titles in 2003, 2005 at WC and in Beijing in 2008.

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Over thirty years ago, the late Ron Daws, in his book, Self Made Olympian (World Publishing, 1974), made a observation that has stuck with me for three decades: in the last ten days before a championship, all one can do is hurt them self. Daws, a 1968 US Olympian in the marathon and a Lydiard disciple, could have been writing about the Berlin World Champs. All Alfons is writing about today are people getting injured or hoping to be ready for the WC. Dorian Scott, from Jamaica, out. Steve Hooker, the top pole vaulter in the world has an abductor issue.

But, the award for just bizarreness has to go to the Jamaican Athletic Federation. In their defense, they are being second guessed on all sides. There is the case of five athletes who were exonerated for using a drug that was not specifically on the WADA banned list, but drugs with all of the same ingredients were already on the list. Then the Federation decided to ban six of its athletes because they did not visit a training camp, to which, the IAAF had to get involved to sort this one out. This afternoon, several hundred media were registered for a press conference featuring the Jamaican Federation and perhaps someone with the initials UB. Just for comparison the guy with the initials TG had his press conference this morning. Something tells me that these two events, the 100 and 200 for men, will not be the easy races some have portrayed.

Donovan Bailey, the 1996 Olympic champion told us this afternoon that both guys are on fire, both guys want to win, and both guys are willing to put it all on the line to win the 100 and 200 meters. My take? No degrading either athlete, but I think that there will be two different winners in the 100 and 200 meters.

On the women's distance side, the marathon is looking a battle between Tune and Goucher. The US women have not had a medal over the marathon since 1983 at the inaugural world championships. Paula Radcliffe is running the ING NYC Half this weekend to determine her fitness for the weekend of August 22.

Ethiopian distance goddess Tirunesh Dibaba has some health issues. The 10k/5k winner from Beijing, and Osaka 10k, winner, Dibaba is hoping to make a decision on Thursday night, so stay tuned.


Berlin 2009 huge banner on the Olympic Stadium, August 13, 2009, photo by Larry Eder


Berlin Olympic Stadium, August 13, 2009, photo by Larry Eder

The trip to Berlin started about twenty four hours ago. I left the office, in Fort Atkinson, WI, about one in the afternoon, and took a two hour bus ride to Chicago. My Chicago to Munich flight was half full (first time this summer), so I got to find a half row all for my lonesome. I am reading Pat Butcher's opus, The Perfect Distance: Ovet & Coe. I spent the seven of the eight hours reading it ( it is that good-I will follow up with a review), and chatting with a couple of new found friends on the plane.

My arrival in Munich gave me enough time to grab an espresso and tomato juice, and get a quick shower, before I headed to my flight to Berlin. The Berlin airport was small, and waiting for baggage, I met Donovan Bailey, the 1996 Olympic 100 meter champion. Donovan looked in great shape, as always. After a quick introduction, I asked him about the sprints. He is quite impressed with Usain Bolt, but he told us that both guys want the 100 meters and 200 meters very bad. " Neither Tyson nor Usain will let up, they will give it their all. It is great for the sport!"

Donovan Bailey is right. Competition is what our sport is all about. Not the stop watch, not the measuring tape, but pure, competition. And for the next nine days ( August 15-23), our sport will be celebrating who can run, jump and throw better than mere mortals.

It is 4:30 in the afternoon in Germany, and 8:30 in the morning in New York, on Thursday, August 13, 2009. We are in the Main Press Center at the Berlin Olympic Stadium. Right now, two days before the start of WC 2009, there is a junior meet, with all of the trimmings, going on in the stadium, as a test for the big day-Saturday.

Our coverage will begin this evening. Watch for updates on twitter, runblogrun and
the running network ( updates, blogs, galleries)!

You can email me, [email protected], or twitter me
in your need (

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Dear readers,

I am getting ready to close up the computer, and head to my flight to Munich, then Berlin, for the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor championships in Berlin. I arrive in Berlin mid day on Thursday and will be heading to a several press conferences late in the day.


Usain Bolt, Beijing 2008, photo by

Please note that RBR will post on twitter short pieces and keep you updated on what is happening in Berlin on RBR as well as photo galleries and tons of information on ( thanks, Chuck!).


Tyson Gay, June 2009, US Champs, photo by

We began coverage of our meets on the web in 1996, on RBR in 2007 and with twitter in 2008. We look forward, as you do, to some amazing performances. Right off the bat, I am predicting world records in both the 100 meters and 200 meters, but not necessarily by the same person. More on that when I land!

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And to get even more views of the sport, from Oregon to Maine, check out and our twenty four unique views into the sport of athletics, whether you are a track nut or a road fan, or just want to improve you daily three mile run. We would like to help you! Thanks for reading!

The IAAF has voted to enforce a no false start rule for 2010. Good news is no global champs in 2010, so it gives sprinters a year to get used to the rule. TV directors and producers will be ecstatic, as four false starts could kill the drama in a TV sports show featuring our sport.

The other issue is going to have to be that the federation must be quite careful in changing equipment used in starting blocks and starting guns as well. One of the key issues in the past three world championships and Olympics has been the lack of familiarity with the equipment and the issues with starters, especially in early rounds.

Zero tolerance with false starts

BERLIN (GER): From January 2010 no false starts in sprints will be allowed in athletics. The 47th IAAF Congress approved the change of the rule (97 votes against 55 and 6 abstentions) so that already first false start will mean a disqualification. There is no global senior competition in 2010 and so athletes will be able to get used to it at meetings and continental events before next World Championships in 2011 in Daegu. Tuvalu was officially accepted as 213th IAAF member country confirming that athletics is the biggest sport in the world in terms of member countries.

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Terry Crawford, a long time collegiate coach, member of national coaching Hall of Fame, former Olympic head coach was named as the USATF Director of Coaching by Doug Logan. Logan is working on addressing the need for a stronger coaching education program and reaching out to the 44,000 head high school, college and club head cross country and track coaches and 81,000 assistant high school, college, and club cross country and track coaches across the U.S. Those coaches are responsible for coaching 1.6 million athletes 46 weeks a year, six days a week, two hours, fifteen minutes a day. Add the 9,000 junior high coaches and their 1.8 million kid running twelve week xc and nine week track seasons, and you can see the strength of our sport and the natural farm team we have in this country!

It is going to get ugly in Jamaica. In a recent story on the website,, JADCO, the drug testing agency in Jamaica, is preparing an appeal against the finding of the disciplinary board. The independent disciplinary board, established by the Jamaican Sports Ministry, did not accept the positive tests of five Jamaican athletes (Yohan Blake, Marvin Anderson, Allodin Fothergill, Lansford Spence and Sheri-Ann Brooks, who was exonerated due to irregular handling of her B sample) for methylxanthine, due to the fact that the specific drug that appeared in their testing was not on the WADA list. However, while methylxanthine in not on the WADA List of Banned Substances, Tuaminoheptanewere, a drug with the same make-up as Methylxanthine, is noted as a stimulant, and banned, on the WADA list. This is what the battle will be about.

In the story (, JADCO makes a pretty good argument that the drug that appeared in the test is in the same family as a drug on the banned list. Here was JADCO's final statement:

" All four athletes were found with 4-Mehtly-2 Hexanamine in their urine samples which was reported as an Adverse Analytical Finding by the WADA accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada, and that this substance is considered by WADA as being of similar chemical structure to Tuaminoheptane, which is listed as an example of a stimulant in the WADA 2009 prohibited list international standard."

The IAAF is looking into the situation and will meet on it in Berlin, before the competition. They can send the case to CAS, and while arbitration is going on,
prevent the athletes from competing on the world stage. Details to come.

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In a quote delivered to us from Jenn Stucyznski's management team, Global Athletics & Marketing, Jenn has decided not to compete in Berlin: " Despite my focused efforts for the last five weeks to get 100% healthy, I made the decision on Sunday that I just can’t be ready in time to compete in Berlin. The doctors who are treating me say that my Achilles injury is not serious, but it just has not improved enough for me to vault next weekend. I think I just ran out of time. I’m disappointed I won’t get the opportunity to join Team USA in Germany.”


Jenn Stuczynski, US Champs, June 2009, photo courtesy of

Jenn Stuczynski is the current Olympic silver medalist and US record holder indoor & outdoor for the women's pole vault. We wish her a quick and complete recovery!

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The Falmouth Road Race is steeped in the history and lore of New England running. I was fortunate enough to run it in 1985 and 1986. The course was everything that I had heard, and the crowds were amazing after wards.

Well, Victor Sailer, our industrious photographer emailed me, regarding CIGNA Falmouth 2009: " one of the most amazing racing I have ever seen." Victor was amazed with Tilahun Regassa, who just jumped the field and put 20 seconds on them by mile six, winning in 31:41, the fourth fastest winning time ever on the course! Sailer noted that Regassa, all of nineteen, waved to the crowds three miles out! Just think of what happens when he gets some experience on the course!


Tilahun Regassa winning the 2009 CIGNA Falmouth Road Race, photo courtesy of

Okay sports fans, it is less than one week from WC in Berlin and your favorite blogger gets onto the Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt on Wed night, Aug 12, arriving in Berlin on Aug 13. Expect live twitter updates ( so sign up at free, and analysis of each and every event, plus pictures, video, and rantings. Special thanks to adidas and Saucony for their help with this World Championships coverage.

Alan Webb has been the "next great miler " in American circles since his fine performances at the NSSF as a sophomore in high school. As a senior, when he ran his 3:53:43 (2001) at the Nike Pre Classic, Alan Webb was bigger than life. A year later, when Alan choose to go professional, and leave the University of Michigan, five major brands made strong offers to put Alan Webb in their shoes. Alan Webb signed a contract with Nike.


Alan Webb, June 2009, U.S. Champs, 1,500 meter qualifying, photo courtesy of

The deadline for team rosters for Berlin 2009 is August 9, Berlin local time 5 pm in the evening. As that deadline approaches, nations are naming their teams, and track geeks come out of the dark, trying to figure out, who will win each race in Berlin! Here are a few of the more prominent teams, thanks to the hard work of Alfons Juck. Alfons is taking a short break through the weekend. Do not fret, more info on way as we build to Berlin 2009, starting August 15!

Jeremy Wariner is less than three weeks from defending his world title, which he defended in Osaka in August 2007. Now, with adidas, Wariner is launching a new training shoe, the Ambition PowerBounce. Here are the particulars on the shoe and some pictures as well. (And yes, we will be covering all of Jeremys' racing in Berlin!)


adidas Ambition PowerBounce


The late Emil Zatopek, when speaking of his time as a coach, noted wryly, ' sometimes it is quite difficult for great athlete to be a coach. It is much easier to run for them!" John Godina is an exception: a great athlete, who moved over into coaching. He has also gone one step further: Godina has built a world class Throw's center.

John Godina is one of the world's finest shot put/discus throwers in our sports history. Four-time World champion, two-time Olympic medalist, Godina was formidable with a career that spanned fourteen years. He is now moving into coaching. He has had some strong success with Dan Taylor, as an example. Taylor is one of the best throwers in the world in 2009. Dan Taylor has had some huge improvements in 2009, and he credits his new coach, John Godina, and Godina's focused training program.


Dan Taylor, shown here from the US champs, June 2009, photo courtesy of

John has devoted himself to his throw center and now he is expanding with a partnership with Athletes' Performance. We wish him well!


Jesse Owens, 1936, courtesy of adidas communications.

It was seventy-three years ago this week, in the beautiful Olympic stadium in Berlin, that Jesse Owens won four Olympic gold medals: the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump and the 4 x 100 meters.

Jesse Owens is an American phenomenon. A gifted athlete, a man of his times, Owens was thrown into the middle of a propaganda war between democracy and fascism, in a world still fatigued from the first Great War. The ironic thing is, Jesse Owens was not treated well in the United States in the 1930s, he was the focal point of racism, as were most Black Ameicans of his generation. It does not make it better to say that it was part of the zeitgeist, but it was true. Jesse Owens was a black man in the United States. He was proud of being an American, but he must have felt frustrated, not being treated with the respect, he knew, as a human being, that he deserved.

The deadline for Teams to be entered into the IAAF World Outdoor Athletics Championships is August 9, 2009, Berlin local time. Here are some updates on the top athletes who will be coming to Berlin for the World Champs!

Starting August 10, 2009, Gene McCarthy, who has built a strong reputation in senior footwear management at Nike, Reebok and Timberland, will become the Senior VP of Footwear at Under Armour. UA launched a new line of running shoes in the early Spring, after having launched a cross training line. UA found an ultra- competitive marketplace and a depressed economy. It will be fascinating to see how Gene McCarthy assembles a team to build on the success of UA in performance apparel.

In fact, as most apparel sales in sports has been decimated in the past year, UA's bright spot on their recent financial reporting was their apparel. Young athletes and middle age athlete, who want to be young athletes again, love UA apparel. If McCarthy can use his experience to make UA footwear resonate with their apparel audience, give UA the exceptional running product it needs to sell in this marketplace, and develop a team that has the respect of the retail community, then he will be a huge success.....

One of the most popular and effective members of the Running media management, Andy Hersam, is not only back working in the sport, but has taken on the role of Executive VP of Media, Competitor Group. Andy was extremely effective as the Publisher of Runners World, where he lead the title for five years. His previous experience at Sports Illustrated served him well, as Andy continued to guide RW on a strong growth curve under his tenure. Andy also supported the professional growth of sport, and the need for a trade group in running, as he was elected to the board of Running USA. Andy continues to serve on the Running USA board.

The media world is changing daily. Major print titles close as publishers try to find profitable models for print, web and digital to bring back some of the revenue lost over the past 18 months. Social networking, twitter, blogging all offer hope, but revenue models in those media cultures are wanting. The Competitor Group has digital, print and event assets that give it some fascinating opportunities. The key will be for Mr. Hersam to bring those assets to the eyes of clients and show them how they can help the clients' marketing message to millions of runners and endurance athletes. Andy Hersam has seen much success with the non-vertical advertisers in his past life. It will be those talents that will be called upon in his new role.

We wish Andy great success and are glad to have him working back in the sport!

A story in Running Insight, dated August 3, 2009 and a press release on Velo News, dated July 23 ( which follows in its entirety) were used with this piece.

Kara Goucher ran a smart tune up over the half marathon distance in Chicago this past weekend. As the first finisher in the field of 14,317, male or female, Kara won in 1:08:05! She is just 39 seconds off Deena Kastors AR for the half marathon from 2006, and what an excellent tune up for the Berlin World Championships marathon, where Kara takes on the best in the world!


Kara Goucher, Nike Pre, June 7, 2009, photo by

The LA Olympics were the first Olympics that I was able to attend. It was a an amazingly presented Olympics, and the performances were extraordinary. I was lucky enough to see Sebastian Coe win his second 800 meter gold, and was transfixed watching Alberto Cova and Matti Vaino battle it out over the 10,000 meters. At the time, I was working at Runners World and publisher Bob Anderson and VP Derek Clayton helped Christine, my ex-wife and myself get tickets for the Olympics. As a track geek, it was just an amazing experience. We were staying Pasadena, training with some of my former athletes from Santa Clara University.

I had read about Edwin Moses first in 1976 in Track & Field News, and followed him over the next eight years. Seeing Edwin win in Los Angeles, and the feature on him in Bud Greenspan's "Sixteen Days of Glory", are also some of my favorite track memories. In the LA Times, on the anniversary of the LA 1984 Olympics, here is a great piece to savor:,0,1522203.column.

Moses competed in one of our sports most difficult events-the 400 meter intermediate hurdles. He trained hard, raced hard and after leaving the sport, has spoken out and championed drug free sports! We continue to applaud his efforts. I see Edwin Moses as a link to John Aki Bau, the 1972 champion and David Hemery, the 1968 champion. The 400 meter hurdles is a combination of the lactic nightmare of the 400 meters and then, intermediate hurdles, sucking whatever strength and endurance one had planned on and asking you, the athlete, to see what one is truly made from. Moses knew it, and thrived on it.

Note that on, a superb interview done by James Dunaway, will be posted over the next couple of weeks. The interview first appeared in Summer issue of American Track & Field.

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Allyson Felix, running at US Champs, June 2009, by Larry Eder

Allyson Felix ran a world leading 21.88 last night, her second best time ever, at the DN Galan Meeting in Stockholm. Here is Walt Murphy's view of the meeting:

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