There are times, and situations that rock our very perceptions of life, and challenge us to remember, what is very important in our lives.
Such an event happened on Friday, March 11, when an 8.9 magnitude earthquake, centered in north central Japan, shook most the island nation. While the earthquake, the most severe in the last 160 years in Japan, was severe, and there was immediate loss of life, the devastation wrought by the tsunami which followed, is still being determined. As of today, over 2,900 people have died and 7,800 are officially missing, per CNN. Financial Times newspaper has suggested that the final death toll could be much, much higher.
RBR sent text messages to our friends at ASICS and Mizuno. ASICS is headquartered in Kobe, Japan and Mizuno is headquartered in Osaka. Both were farther from the earthquake center and the tsunmami, and we were told that first indications that both staffs were shaken, but alive.
The tsunami damage reached the United States. For example, $17
million in damage was done in the harbor of Santa Cruz, California. This
pales in comparison to the damage done in Japan, but it gives one a
perception of the strength of this natural disaster. And the earthquake
and tsunami in Japan were only a month after the terrible earthquake
centered in Christchurch, New Zealand. We apparently live in very
Works of nature put our lives in perspective and the so-called order that humans try to establish come crashing down, day in and day out. The scenes of devastation are heart breaking, and one wonders how the Japanese people survive such times. Please consider donating to the Red Cross. The Japanese Red Cross put over 10,000 volunteers into the field immediately, providing food, water, warm clothing. Any financial assistance that you can provide will be most appreciated.
The media services focus on stories of survival, such as the man who was found on the roof of his home, having been pushed out to sea, and then found two days later. In the end, the simple gesture of sharing melted snow (for water), or some food, or a blanket are the most heroic.
It is in times such as those experienced in an earthquake or other natural disaster, that one sees the importance of friends and family. In the 1989 San Francisco-Oakland earthquake, which was a 7.1 magnitude, your writer was escorting the president of his then job through the Bay Area, when the earthquake hit.
The quake rolled the floor. I remember watching a women, eight months pregnant, slide under a metal desk with the grace of a Cirq du Soleil dancer, to avoid two falling bookcases…it took us two hours to get to San Jose.
My parents had asked, if there was an earthquake, for all five of my brothers and sisters to try and get to a central place. This time, it was my brother in law and sisters restaurant, Gervais, in central San Jose. I found two of my three sisters, who lived in town, there as well as my parents and soon, my brother rode up from San Jose State, on his bike. With my family safe (my son and his mother were in New Hampshire at that time, trying to contact me), I drove to Los Angeles, to get my very nervous company president on a plane-he had never been in an earthquake before, and he
was not happy with the ground shaking beneath his feet.
What I remember about that day was supreme acts of kindness, lots of shaking, and the knowledge that my family was okay. We can only wish the same for the people of Japan…
DIACK IN JAPAN
MONTE CARLO (MON): IAAF President Lamine Diack was in Tokyo earlier this week to visit IAAF Marketing Partner
Dentsu and sponsor partners based in Japan, and took the opportunity to
offer the heartfelt sympathy and condolences of the IAAF and the global
Athletics family to the Japanese people following the enormous tragedy that has
engulfed their country. President Diack also specifically sent the IAAF’s best
wishes to the national athletics community including the personnel, their
family and friends, of the Japan Association of Athletics Federations, Dentsu,
and Official IAAF Partners, Seiko, TDK, Toyota, and Official IAAF Broadcasting,
TBS. Informs IAAF.
GREENE, SPIEGELBURG, PYREK
OSTRAVA (CZE): European, Commonwealth and Continental
Cup winner in 2010 at 400 m
Hurdles Dai Greene will return to Ostrava
on May 31 for the 50th jubilee Golden Spike Ostrava meet (IAAF World
Challenge). Last year he started his season in the Czech city (was second
behind Kerron Clement). This year it will be his second international outing of
the season. “”I’m very happy to be returning to Ostrava. I raced there last year, finished
second and have some fond memories. This year, I hope to go one better, and
come away with a win. It will be my second outing of the season, over 400m
hurdles. I will be hoping for good conditions to post a quick time,” said
Greene for the organizers. He is currently ranked number two in the world by
All-Athletics.com. Organizers are hoping he can come close to the meet record
of Felix Sanchez which is 48.10 from 2003. The best Czech Josef Prorok (6th in Barcelona) will have a
good motivation. Also in women pole vault best Czech Jirina Ptacnikova will
have the chance to fight with a group of best vaulters. German silver winner
from Paris and Barcelona Silke Spiegelburg will be one of the favorites along
with her team-mate Kristina Gadschiew bronze winner in Bercy. Spiegelburg
already twice jumped in Ostrava,
best memories are connected to 2006 when she cleared her at that time PB of
450. Third top vaulter announced is Berlin
silver medalist Monika Pyrek of Poland
who will come to Ostrava
for the fourth time already, best placing for her was second in 2006. Already
earlier announced was the participation of Usain Bolt, Dayron Robles, Andreas
Thorkildsen, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Barbora Spotakova.
HEFFERNAN VS. CHINESE TEAM
LUGANO (SUI): Ireland’s Robert Heffernan is the star attraction for the
opening European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meeting , the 9th Memorial Mario
Albisetti , in the picturesque Alpine city of Lugano in the Italian part of
Switzerland on Sunday. Heffernan, a top eight finisher at Olympic and World
Championship level in recent years, pulled off an amazing but ultimately
heartbreaking fourth place double in the 20km and 50km Walks at the European
Athletics Championships in Barcelona last summer but is now in the form of his
life and ready to make the breakthrough onto the podium in the future. He has
just returned from a training camp at altitude on Johannesburg, South Africa.
His main rivals will be Chinese walkers who have chosen nearby Saluzzo in Italy as their
training base for the London Olympics. Led by Yafei Zhu, the Chinese will have
a world class team of six walkers in the event and along with Russian Petr
Trofimov and Belorussian Ivan Trotski they will pose the biggest threat to the
Irishman. Meeting Organiser Danielle Albisetti has also assembled world class
fields in the women’s 20km also led by Ukrainian sensation Olena Shumkina who
has a personal best of under 1.25.32, one of the four fastest times in history.
The 23-year old will be pushed all the way by Russian World Cup medallist
Tatiana Sibileva and Chinese super star Hong Liu. Portugal’s
Ana Cabecinha and Britain’s
Commonwealth champion Jo Jackson will be hoping to get close to their national
records. An interesting entry in the women’s field is Sylvia Korzeniowska who
is the sister of four time Olympic gold medallist Robert Korzeniowski of Poland but who will take part in this event
competing in the colours of her adopted France. Altogether 230 athletes
from over 30 nations will take part in the event which is growing from strength
to strength every year. Informs Pierce OÂ´Callaghan.
RAWLINSON A POSSIBLE ENTRY
MELBOURNE (AUS): After being away from Australian tracks for 6 years
Jana Rawlinson is secretly training her way back into top shape. The 2-time
world champion is reportedly going to make a return to the track in either the
400m or 400m hurdles at the Sydney Track Classic on March 19th. After two years
of injuries Rawlinson hopes to be back in time for the IAAF World championships
in Daegu reports The Daily Telegraph. Also in Sydney US Monica Hargrove with
50.39 PB is the latest addition into the women 400 m. She will join 15-time
national champion Tamsyn Lewis on the blocks.
DOHA/WARSZAWA (QAT/POL): Qatar
has announced plans to bid for 2017 IAAF World Championships. The Qatar Olympic
Committee on Wednesday says holding the athletics championships in Doha would help promote the sport around the world and
allow the IAAF to expand its reach further into the Middle
East. The only other city announcing officially intentions to bid
is London so far, but also Istanbul has plans to do the same. In other
action in Poland the city of
Sopot plans to
bid for IAAF World Indoor Championships in 2014. The local arena has a
athletics capacity of 8000 spectators and there is no problem to install there
a six lane track. Both championships will be given at IAAF Council Meeting this
TEIMET AND GOUMRI
SEOUL (KOR): World-class athletes are coming to Seoul to compete in the 82nd DongA Marathon
on Sunday, informs Korea Times. The competition will start at 8 a.m. at Gwanghwamun in
and finish at the Olympic Main Stadium in Seoul Sports Complex. Guangzhou Asian
Games gold medalist Ji Young-jun will be up against about 180 runners including
32 professional athletes. Among them four have personal bests under two hours
seven minutes while 12 are under two hours 10 minutes. Defending champion
Sylvester Teimet of Kenya
and Abderrahim Goumri of Moroco are strong contenders for the top spot. The
winner of men’s and women’s race will earn $80,000 and $50,000 respectively.
Runners will receive $100,000 if they cross the finish line under two hours six
minutes and $50,000 if they break 2:06.48. If a domestic athlete betters the
Korean record, which has stood for 11 years, they will also earn 100 million
LONDON (GBR): Carl Lewis, who is in London for a series of activities surrounding
the London Olympic Games, has said to back London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe
to become the next President of the IAAF. But Lewis added he believes it may
never happen as the Briton is “almost too good” for the job. Coe and pole vault
legend Sergey Bubka of the Ukraine,
who both currently serve as vice-presidents, are widely considered the two most
likely candidates to succeed Diack to the most powerful position in world
athletics when he does decide to step down. But while Lewis admitted he would
love it to be the London 2012 chairman, he is worried the move may make “too
much sense”, informs insidethegames.
AMSTERDAM (NED): The Dutch Athletics association (KNAU)
is looking into adding new rules for athletes involved in doping cases. The
KNAU takes action following the alleged doping use of Adrienne Herzog which was
revealed in ‘operacion Galgo’. At this point there are no rules at hand for the
KNAU to suspend Herzog from competing internationally and to take away the financial
support Herzog is still receiving from the KNAU.
NEW YORK (USA): The Armory Track and Field
Foundation and AT&T have announced that the telecommunications company will
be the exclusive wireless sponsor for their facility. Under the terms of the agreement,
AT&T will have branded signage inside the indoor track facility and a major
presence on its website www.ny.milesplit.com.
INDIANAPOLIS (USA): The USA Track & Field
Foundation has announced the inaugural recipients of a John W. James Endowment
grant. The athletes receiving a 4000 dollar grant include Noah Bryant (shot
put), Lance Brooks (javelin throw), Mike Hazle (javelin throw), Britney Henry
(hammer throw), Kibwe Johnson (hammer throw), A.G. Kruger (hammer throw), Stevi
Large (hammer throw), Sarah Stevens-Walker (shot put) and Russ Winger (shot
NEW YORK (USA): The New York Road Runners,
organizers and founders of this Sunday’s NYC Half, have released their complete
invited field for that race. A quick recap shows that entered are 17 Olympians
(11 men and 6 women), 7 men with sub-61:00 PB’s (13 sub-62:00), 10 women with
sub-70:00 PB’s (18 sub-73:00) and two important debuts for Galen Rupp and
multiple European Champion Mo Farah. Course records are 59:24 (Haile
Gebrselassie in 2007) and 1:09:25 (Mara Yamauchi in 2010). Winners will get 20
000 USD each. Live free web broadcast on Sunday at http://www.nyrr.org/tv.
VIENNA (AUT): Interesting to add to the role of Haile
Gebrselassie at Vienna Marathon (running the half distance). His special race
will have the motto: ,Catch me, if you can’. The multiple world record holder
and two-time Olympic Champion will not only run the half marathon but he will
also chase the elite marathon runners. They will run on the same course and
will get a head start. The time difference between the two starts will be
determined nearer to the event
PUNTA UMBRIA – Flash preview
MEN: Current top shape for trials winners of top nations Geoffrey Mutai
and Hunegaw Mesfin. But will that be enough? Ugandan Moses Kipsiro, in shape
Stephen Mokoka of South Africa,
strong teams from Australia
From Europeans home Ayad Lamdassem is the name to watch. And letÂ´s see also
other Kenyans and Ethiopians. New champion will be crowned, no one from past
WOMEN: This is the highlight of the Sunday. Kenyan world champion Linet
Masai and Vivian Cheruiyot against best Ethiopian and also world medalist
Meselech Melkamu. Also to note other strong Kenyans and Ethiopians, Bahraini
middle distance world champ Maryam Jamal, US Shalane Flanagan. For the best
European positions Spanish Nuria Fernandez and Natalia Rodriguez, young Briton
Charlotte Purdue and Portuguese Sara Moreira.
JUNIOR-MEN: Who can beat indoor sensation Isaiah Koech? Some Ethiopians?
His Kenyan team-mates? Strong teams from Russia
JUNIOR-WOMEN: Also here all looks ready for Kenyan win – will it be
Janet Kisa? Can Serbian Amela Terzic with strong British and Spanish teams play
a role? Or surprise from Ethiopia.
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