It is Friday early afternoon. I am in Virginia Beach, Virginia, sitting in the convention bar (where else), checking on the daily crisis that is publishing and selling ads for group of magazines and websites (23 and 28, in that order). Thank God our team is very good. From webmaster Chuck Bartlett to production manager Alex Larsen to ad traffic manager Mike Lukich to accounting goddess Sydney Wesemann, the Running Network works like a well-oiled machine.
Last night, observing the USATF Opening session, I was very pleased to see the USATF on message and promoting a transparency in the way business is done in our sport. The post Doug Logan show has been very good. The board seems to have risen to the occasion, hired a well respected head hunter and possible candidates seem to be strong.
Stephanie HIghtower ran the meeting like the president of the organization that she is-good info, on point and with a well delivered sense of humor. Mike McNees used a self depricating style and story, as the acting CEO of the Organization, to involve the delegates in his theme, and Ivan Cropper is working on, and making real progress at something sorely needed-branding the sport.
Stephanie Hightower, MIke McNees and Ivan Cropper did a good job in keeping a mundane event as lively as possible. Hightower spoke about the need for change and inspiration. McNees told a great story about loosing a cheese omelet after a hurdle race at UW Madison, and Cropper provided the delegates with a CD which was both a celebration of the past, but a look into how future technology will affect our sport.
This morning, after speaking with a few folks, I have added a few things to what a new CEO has to do:
1. Foster relationships with athletes, coaches, agents and sponsors.
2. Give Nike, and the major sponsors, something to write home about, or, in plain English,
3. Find a way to foster relationships with all the other footwear companies in areas where
Nike is not involved, and at the very least, acknowledge their support of the sport.
4. Find a non-footwear based sponsor, and show that sponsor how to activate their brand with runners.
5. Make sure we have 3-4 outdoor and 3-4 indoor meets in US, and a strong TV package, using global meets on ESPN, ESPN 2 and terrestrial networks (CBS, NBC, ABC) for
a consistent track and xc presence.
6. Make entreaty to road running and see how they can work together.
7. Foster stronger relationship between high school and college programs.
8. Do a real tour, where he or she just listens to the various sports groups.
More to come…
NOT YET, HAILE OK
ADDIS ABABA (ETH): News around top Ethiopian
running stars. World and olympic track winner Kenenisa Bekele who has been
sidelined from major running competitions due to injury, said in an interview
with Ethiopian Television & Radio that he will return to track competition
once he fully recovers. And did not specify the time, whether for some cross
country or indoor 2011 or it will remain for outdoors next year. “I sustained a
muscle injury after the Berlin World Athletics Championships and that’s what
kept me away from major competitions. I have been nursing my injury and with
God’s help, I hope to be healthy again and resume competing”, he noted. Informs
Ethiosports website. The other great Haile Gebrselassie sends good news via
twitter. “I am back to my normal training again, my knee is not bothering
anymore. Thank you all for the great responses and support!” The marathon world
record holder plans to compete end of February at Tokyo Marathon.
AND KIPRUTO FOR EDINBURGH
EDINBURGH (SCO): Olympic Gold
medalists from Kenya Asbel Kiprop and Brimin Kipruto have confirmed their
presence at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country (IAAF Cross Country Permit)
on January 8th. Both Kenyans will contest the international 4 km race in which previously
also compatriot Eliud Kipchoge has been announced. Organizers confirm that
their decision to change the race from 9K to 4K has increased inquiries from
several elite athletes to compete in Edinburgh.
LOOKS INTO THE FUTURE
BEACH (USA): The
2010 USA Track & Field Annual Meeting began on Thursday evening with the
event’s General Opening Session at the Virginia Beach Convention
Center. USATF Chairman and President Stephanie
Hightower and Interim CEO Mike McNees welcomed approximately 1000 volunteers,
officials, coaches, athletes and administrators who chart the future of the
sport. Hightower charged those in attendance to embrace the change of the
previous year and to recognize that more is in the offing. Informs USATF
website. First among the changes Hightower pointed to were the substantial
second round of retooling governance reforms to establish the primacy of the
(USATF) Board as the fiduciary agent of the organization. Additional changes in
2010 cited by Hightower included the appointment of a five-member ethics
committee that promotes and projects integrity and appropriate conduct within
all levels of leadership; the development and implementation of a registered
coaches program that maintains the highest ethical and honor standards for all
coaches; and the Board’s judgment to pursue a leadership change in the
organization’s CEO position. USATF Chief Operations Officer and Interim CEO
Mike McNees closed out the Opening Session by delivering the State of the Sport
Address. McNees described organizational successes in the last year. The Visa
Championship Series continued to be a ratings winner for USATF’s television
partners, posting a whopping 43% increase on ESPN and an 18% increase on ESPN2,
and the Saturday airing of the USA Outdoor Championships on ESPN drew a
best-ever rating. The ratings success translated into value for all Visa
Championship Series partners as the series delivered almost $10 million in
advertising value; USATF will look to expand and improve on television
opportunities as a revenue-generating opportunity. The organization has
selected a new production partner for 2011, who will work collaboratively with
USATF to better highlight the entire sport, not just certain glamour events and
revolutionize USATF’s broadcasts from a technical perspective as well as from
an artistic perspective. McNees also pointed to USATF’s efforts to engage the
general public by stating that USATF membership now exceeds 100,000 members,
the organization has exceeded 50,000 friends on Facebook and in the coming days
a new-look USATF website (www.usatf.org)
will be unveiled. With the loss of two Visa Championship Series events, USATF
is focused on creating new, professional events that will make up a legitimate,
geographically diverse series that will enhance competitive opportunities for
its athletes and serve as the mechanism for the Visa Championship Series.
MELBOURNE (AUS): Asafa Powell
might compete at the 2011 Stawell Gift following a change of government in Victoria. The newly
elected government has promised to secure the long time future of the event and
liberated 600,000 dollar for the event. At the top of the organisers’ wish-list
is securing Powell, the third fastest man in the world and former world 100m
record holder. The Jamaican almost made it to Stawell this year but had to
cancel when a member of his support team was seriously hurt in a car accident
reports The Herald Sun. The finals of the 130th edition of the race will be
held on Easter Tuesday April 26 next year.
AMSTERDAM (NED): Yvonne Hak has spoken about
her 50 hours work week and her 80km training schedule with All Track Press. The
silver medalist has chosen to go back to her education as a doctor and now
combines her studies for surgery with a heavy training schedule. Due to the
large number of working hours Hak will only run the Dutch National
championships indoor, which means she wonÂ´t compete in Paris. Hak will slower her studies down in
the build up to the 2011 IAAF World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games.
VEIGNE (FRA): The first leg of
the Perche Elite Tour will take off on December 4th in VeignÃ© with already a
large number of French elite vaulters. JÃ©rÃ´me Clavier is the hometown favourite
but he will be heavily challenged by European Champion Renaud Lavillenie. Both
athletes count on a world class performance in their opening competition. In
the women’s field Vanessa Boslak is the favourite writes athle.com.
SYDNEY (AUS): Australian 1500m
record holder Ryan Gregson is unlikely to compete in next year’s Australian
Athletics Tour. A follow up on the stress fracture that kept him out of the
Commonwealth Games showed that the injury has not yet fully healed. Gregson will
be back in a boot for another month and will need further diagnosis before
attempting to commence training writes insideathletics.com.au.
(USA): The ING New York city
Marathon has raised a record 30 million dollar
for charity, which is the biggest haul in the history of the NYC Marathon. The
New York Road Runners have confirmed that almost 20 million will go to the New York City based
programs. This year’s race had about 8000 people running for more than 190
charities, surpassing last year’s event, in which 6700 runners raised about $24
million for 92 charities.
The Houston Marathon committee has announced its new 2011 sponsors. Waste
Management, Nissan and the global law firm Kind&Spalding will join title
sponsor Chevron on the January 30 event.
KINGSTON (JAM): The Jamaican amateur
athletics association (JAAA) is looking into changing its name and removing the
amateur part of the organization. JAAA President Howard Aris has confirmed he
would like to have the name change done before the end of next year writes
STOCKHOLM (SWE): Four-time SPAR
European Cross Country Championships medallist Mustafa Mohamed, and also one of
Europe’s top steeplechasers in the last decade, who was on the senior men’s
podium three consecutive years between 2006 and 2008, has had some minor injury
problems in recent weeks and has decided to miss the Championships as he is not
fit enough. He also missed the 2009 Championships as he was recovering from
knee surgery. His long-term plans are orientated towards a marathon. The
Swedish marathon record holder Isabellah Anderson, 18th at last year’s SPAR
European Cross Country Championships in Dublin
who ran 2:25:10 at the Frankfurt Marathon in October, is training in her native
ahead of competing in the Dubai Marathon in January.
MONACO (MON): Marie-Jose PÃ©rec and
Hicham El Guerrouj have joined the Champions for Peace Club. The initiative by
the international organisation Peace and Sport has made the announcement during
the opening ceremony of the 4th Peace and Sport International Forum in Monaco. More
than 500 top decision-makers from 90 countries involved in sport, politics and
the private sector are present at the forum.
(JPN): Interesting to note before SundayÂ´s Fukuoka Marathon that the this
year’s sub-2:06 Prague Marathon winner Eliud Kiptanui of Kenya will act
as pacemaker with three other runners.
(GER): The EA Indoor Permit meet â€žPSD Bank Meeting” in Dusseldorf announced its first top name for
the 6th edition on 11th February. It is world and european combined events
medalist Jennifer Oeser who will compete in long jump what will be her main
event in the indoor season.
(CAN): Athletics Canada
named the finalists to its 2010 annual awards by identifying the three
finalists for each of its twelve awards categories. The winners will be
unveiled next Thursday December 9, and will be honoured at a banquet following
the 2011 Canadian Championships in Calgary.
The finalists and winners are chosen by Athletics Canada’s Awards Committee.
Dylan Armstrong, winner of the Commonwealth Games shot put gold medal; Perdita
Felicien, World Indoors Silver in the 60 m hurdles and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep,
winner of bronze at the World Indoors and 1st in Diamond League are the ones
down for the Jack W. Davies Trophy (Overall Athlete of the Year). Athletics Canada
(SWE): Swedish tv website informs that the DN Galan meet in Stockholm attracted the biggest media
interest from all one day meetings because of the 100 m show-down Tyson Gay vs.
Usain Bolt. Next followed in the intereste ratings London
BUDAPEST (HUN): Another package of
interesting stats from All-Athletics.com website. For example the
number of sub 47 seconds runners in 2010 by continents comes from North
and Central America with 199. Next in order is Europe (114)
ahead of Africa (51), Asia (37), South America (18) and Oceania
(10). Lot more could be found on the site.
(LTU): 37 years old walker Sonata Milusauskaite gave birth to a daughter in Spain
where she lives and competes. The Lithuanian 20 km record holder plans to
return to competitions in future.
SOFIA (BUL): New website for
Balkan Athletics at www.balkan-athletics.eu.
HEERENBERG (NED): Rotterdam and Berlin
marathons winner Patrick Makau will run on Sunday at the 15th Wincanton
Montferland Run but without Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya who is a late withdrawal. But
new names added to the field of 15
km race are Kenyan Jacob Chesari and Ethiopians Dereje
Tesfaye (winner here in 2008) and Hailu Mekonnen (winner from 2005). Course
record 42:36 of Haile Gebrselassie from 2007 will be weather permitting under
threat. Best home runner Koen Raymaekers will also compete. Reigning World CC
Champion Emily Chebet is the top women name with strong Ethiopian Abebech
Afework. Also here the course record 48:32 (Bizunesh Bekele in 2005) could go.
ADDIS ABABA (ETH): 2010
Ethiopian Airlines Great Ethiopian Run 10km female winner Sule Utura and
Samsung Diamond League men’s 5000m series winner Imane Merga are the favorites
to take the senior women’s and men’s titles at the inaugural Ethiopian Clubs
Cross Country Championships at the Jan Meda race course on Saturday. Informs
Greath Ethiopian Run website. The competition, which will see 481 athletes
representing twenty four athletics clubs, is the first stop in the Ethiopian
Athletics Federation (EAF) cross country calendar for 2010/11. Women field also
includes Koreni Jelila (winner of three domestic cross country races last
year), marathon runner Atsede Habtamu, former Olympic 10,000m silver medalist
Ejegayehu Dibaba, and former African 3000m/5000m champion Emebet Etea. Utura is
also part of the Defense sport club which is the favorite to take the team
title. A strong Defense team also sees Fekadu Lema, Atalay Yersaw, and
marathoners Feyissa Lelisa and Chala Dechasa hoping to create an upset sweep of
the top five places. The best bet for disrupting a likely Defense domination is
Abera Chane, who made his marathon debut two weeks ago, but is still a prolific
cross country runner.
KUMAMOTO (JPN): Not only Fukuoka Marathon but
also the Kumamoto Kosa 10 Miler, annually the world’s most competitive race at
that distance, will have its headlines. As Brett Larner writes, 10 mile junior world best
holder Martin Mathathi is unquestionably the favorite as he continues his build
toward an impending marathon debut.
SACRAMENTO/LAS VEGAS (USA): US marathon scene will have two
marathons in the headlines. The California
International Marathon in Sacramento and
Zappos.com RockÂ´nÂ´Roll Marathon in Las
Vegas, both on Sunday.
BRATISLAVA (SVK): Katarina Beresova in senior
women race will be the only Slovak representative in Albufeira. She will be
first Slovak runner since 2006 to compete at the event. Interestingly in 2006 in Italy it was also Beresova who was
64th in junior race.
BEOGRAD (SRB): Two junior
runners will compete for Serbia
But Amela Terzic deserves special mention. She is world youth championships
medalist in 2009. Boys representative will be Nemanja Cerovac. Both were
finalists at this years World Junior Championships in Moncton.
is sending to Albufeira four teams, senior, U23 and junior men and U23 women.
To mention Polina Jelizarova in the women U23 team who is former European
Junior Champion (2005) and U23 medalist in the steeple. Four men running will
be Mareks Floroseks, Edgars Bertuks, Arnis Rumbenieks and Janis Arsenikovs.
ROMA (ITA): Italy will have five out of six
possible teams. The only individual representatives will be two U23 girls
(Giovanna Epis, Valeria Roffino). Strong senior men team has Gabriele De Nard,
Yuri Floriani, Stefano La Rosa,
Andrea Lalli, Daniele Meucci and Stefano Scaini. Women team will be composed of
Valentina Belotti, Valentina Constanza, Emma Quaglia and Agnes
Tschurtschenthaler. Last year 5th placer Federica Bevilacqua leads girls junior
sends two teams (four runners are scoring per team) for men senior and junior
races. Senior squad will have Morten Munkholm as leader along with Jesper
Faurschou, Jakob Hannibal and Benjamin Wolthers. Three U23 boys will also
compete (Bueno, Fransen, Hesselbjerg). Only two female runners are entered.
Senior Maria Sig Moller and junior Katrine Toft Vaesel.