July 2011 Archives

DN. Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden, photo by Larry Eder

The 2011 DN. Galan Stockholm Meeting was a nearly perfect track meet, held in perfect conditions, albeit a bit windy, with a crowd that loves track & field. On Saturday and Sunday in the Stadium, thousands of young Swedish track stars to be will run, jump and throw their way around the stadium.

Not much has changed in the stadium since 1912. Walking through the same places that Jim Thorpe and many other great athletes have was very inspiring. I tried to soak as much in Friday evenings' meet as I could.

But, you know you are in one of the grand cathedrals of our sport. Here is what I thought about the DN. Galan Stockholm DL: 
Usain Bolt, 2011 AREVA Paris, photo by PhotoRun.net

Usain Bolt won in Stockholm, going away. Vivian Cheruiyot impressed with her solo 5,000m, and that was just the end of a great night of track & field!

Christophe Lemaitre, in his national champs, ran 9.92 in ideal winds (2 mps), this is his seventh time under ten seconds.

This morning, saw Usain Bolt heading to airport, Coach Jerry Schumacher and Shalane Flanagan heading back to the states, and met Yargelis Savigne, the Cuban triple jumper, who is rounding into shape for Daegu. Great night of track & field followed by some nice moments with some of the world's greatest athletes.

Have to admit that I am impressed with Usain Bolt. He is running well, but not to his WC or Olympic standards. That he is winning is not noted, that he is not running world records all the time is not only just not fair, but does not make sense physiologically. No one can keep those levels up for ever. There are good years and tough years.

Bolt will have challenges in Daegu, but, as always, he will give the fans great races and there should be epic battles over 100m and 200 meters. The relays should be much closer this year, as the US team at 4 x 100m for men and women are looking very good with their 37.90 and 42.25 last weekend.
Rajne Söderberg, the Meet Director of the 2011 DN. Galan Stockholm DL had much to be proud when he considers the success of this years DL meeting! A sell out crowd of 15,000 plus, WL performances, some great head to head matches and a text book example of how track & field, to grow and prosper, needs to be true entertainment.

Pitokamaki_Tero-Stockholm10.jpgTero Pitkamaki, 2010 DN. Galan Stockholm DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

We met Söderberg a few hours before the meet, as he was walking around the stadium, one of the world's most iconic and one that has hosted all of the greats, from Paavo Nurmi to Ron Clarke to Usain Bolt to Vivian Cheruiyot. Like all successful meet directors, Söderberg loves the sport (it should be noted that the DN. Stadium will host thousands of young athletes all weekend, from Saturday to Sunday. It should also be noted that the likes of David Oliver, and several other elite athletes help out at the youth meets as well).

From the on field updates for the fans, to the introduction of Swedish U23 medalists, to the San Jose Shark hockey player who is Swedish to Dolf Lundgren,
Söderberg and his team understand that, with one of the most educated track crowds in the world, it must be more than a track meet. And, as many of Sweden's top track athletes are in their swansong or retired, Söderberg deftly promotes Swedish athletes (saw Susanna Kallur's little brother running national hurdle race) and the world stars.

The DN. Stadium dates back to the 1912 Olympics. The likes of Jim Thorpe, Hannes Kolhemainen have walked these hallowed walks. If athletics stadiums are where we come to worship the track gods, then the DN. stadium is one of our prime cathedrals. Even in track mad Sweden, though, there was a huge uproar over sharing the stadium with a local football (soccer) team. The DN. stadium won out as a track ONLY stadium, where six or seven of the city's top track clubs also train. 

What may be most remarkable about Mr.
Söderberg, who is a medical professional by trade and meet director by avocation, is his control of the Swedish weather. Perhaps he has a relationship with the Scandanavian gods of the old days? Meteorologist all over Sweden were calling for gripping rain, and the meet was blessed with tremendous weather!

Cheruiyot_VivianFans-Pre11.JPGVivian Cheruiyot, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Andreas Thorkildsen's 88.43m WL throw took complete advantage of the great throwing conditions. Jeter & Hooker's battle into a 2 plus mps head wind showed how tough those women are and the hunt that they will be in Daegu. Vivian Cheruiyot's runaway victory in the 5,000 meters showed that she and Meseret Defar should have an epic battle over the 5k distance in Daegu. Kaleise Spencer's meet record and victory over the 400m hurdles, and defeat of Melanie Walker, shows that Spencer is the woman to watch in Daegu.

Shalane Flanagan's gutty run over 5,000 meters showed that the AR is tough and that Flanagan is ready to run a medal worthy 10,000m in Daegu. From Cantwell's continued improvements, to LaShawn Merritt's brilliant first race over 400 meters, to David Oliver having an off day, proved once again, as the late Payton Jordan once noted, that track & field is the ONLY sport, all others are merely games.

Bolt_UsainAutograph-Ostrava11.jpgUsain Bolt, 2011 Ostrava, Autographs, photo by PhotoRun.net

I also have to comment how lucky we are in this sport with out top athletes. I watched, from David Oliver, to Andreas Thorkildsen, to Yelena Isinbayeva to Usain Bolt, signing autographs with the young fans especially. 

Next post will be on revelations from the DN. Galan Stockholm DL which had some great surprises!

Vivivan Cheruiyot, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

The DN. Galan Stockholm Meet was a sell out. And it should have been. With some tremendously surprising outcomes in some races and some very exciting finishes, the World Champs in Daegu become even more up in the air!

Vivian Cheruiyot, running by herself from 2k on, broke the Kenyan record, and ran the third best all time with her fine 14:20.89. Usain Bolt ran 20.03 in his sleep, and then stood around with the young fans for half an hour plus! Andreas Thorkildsen threw 88.43 WL in great conditions and noted that he could improve. LaShawn Merritt, after two years off, runs 44.74 for his first race back!

Christian Cantwell throws 21.70m and Valerie Adams throws 20.57m for the shot wins. And Yelena Isinbayeva is back in the pole vault wars, as is Jenn Suhr. More to come tomorrow!
Merga-MutaiPC-Bogota11.JPGMerga vs Mutai, Bogata, Columbia, photo by PhotoRun.net

Check this one out! Victah, our photographer, sent this from Bogata, Columbia this morning!
Christian Cantwell, 2011 Herculis Monaco DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Valerie Adams and Christian Cantwell won the 2011 DN Galan Stockholm DL Shot put, which was held on July 28, 2011. Cantwell had a huge throw in 21.70m for him, and Valerie Adams on with a throw of 20.57m.

The big show for Friday night will be one Usain Bolt. Bolt made BBC and local Swedish TV on Thursday evening. He is drawing the crowd at the Stockholm Diamond League.

" I am one of the best in the world. I am not worried. As soon as you worry, you do not run well." noted a thoughtful Usain Bolt after he was questioned about his fitness and ability to run against the young sprinters.

Bolt_UsainPC1c-RomeDL11.jpgUsain Bolt, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

Andrew Howe, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

Andrew Howe ruptured his left achilles tendon this week and will require surgery. 2011 is obviously over. Howe was not long jumping, but planning to run the 200 at the World Champs.

RBR is now in Stockholm, watch for the coverage of the DN Galan Stockholm DL tomorrow!
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David Oliver, 2010 USA Outdoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

The hurdle wars visit AVIVA London Grand Prix with David Oliver, Andy Turner and Dayron Robles. RBR will be there, as we will be in DN Galan in Stockholm as well! Watch for our coverage!
Mo Farah, Nike Pre Classic 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Mo Farah has had an incredible season so far! His 5,000m win in Monaco was masterful, and his upcoming runs in London and Daegu should be exciting. After 2012, Mo Farah is looking to check out the roads after London...
Allyson Felix, 2011 Doha DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Well, one of the big questions for Daegu has been answered, Allyson Felix, in fact, is doubling over the 200 meters and 400 meters!
Spedding book.jpg
Last to First,  by Charlie Spedding

The 1984 Olympics were a revelation for me. My training partner, Tim Gruber and I, had the fortune to train with 1983 World Champ Rob De Castella and his crew before LA. We took Rob into Nisene Marks, near Santa Cruz and for two and a half hours, Rob flew over the trails with Tim.

Another day, they did this workout of 8 quarters in 62-63 seconds with 40 second float 200s in between. I was running with Dick Telford, my soleus a bit tight, and we did 72-73 for the 8 quarters with 45 second float 200s, good for us, and a wonderful position to see Rob and Tim flying down the track at San Jose City College.

We were stunned that Rob did not medal in LA. I recall a picture of Carlos Lopes, John Treacy and Charlie Spedding, with about a mile to go in LA. Spedding and Treacy had surprised everyone, as had 37 year old Carlos Lopes.

Carlos Lopes, the 1976 Olympic silver medalist at 10,000 meters, World Cross Country Champ, was a bit of a surprise, but not completely. John Treacy, two time World Cross Country champ, was also a pedigree distance runner. Charlie Spedding, a good internationalist from UK, was unknown to many in US. So, who is this Charlie Spedding?

You will find out in this book. I can attest that Charlie Spedding is as modest as they come. A thoughtful man, he used his god-given talents and then some, and ran some of the most remarkable races in British marathon history (do not forget his duel with Steve Jones in London ). 

This is a review of Charlie Spedding's book, From Last to First, by long time contributor Jeff Benjamin. We hope that you enjoy it.
The 2011 Herculis Monaco meeting, the tenth of fourteen Samsung Diamond League meetings to be held in 2011, was another fine example of tremendous competitions leading up to the Daegu World Championships, now just over 40 days away!

Farah_MoLeads1_Pre11.JpgMo Farah, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

One of the big stories of the season is the emergence of 2010 European Champion at 5,000m and 10,000m, Mo Farah, who has continued to outkick elite fields, from Eugene, Oregon to Birmingham, UK to Monaco. In this gutty 5,000 meters, Mo Farah held off Bernard Lagat, as Farah ran the WL and British record at 5,000m, in a fine 12:53.60, with Lagat in second, having set the AR for 5,000 meters once again!

Lagat-Koech-Pre11.JPGBernard Lagat, 2011 Nike Pre, photo by PhotoRun.net

Bernard Lagat is running at least at his 2007 level. His leg speed is strong, and his finish is withering. His new AR of 12:53.60 shows that Bernard is moving into the shape he will need to medal at the 5,000 meters in Daegu.
The men's 5,000 meters may be one of the most competitive races of the World Champs, as the level at 5,000m is crushing. Farah, Lagat look to be two of the top contenders at this time. Sad to see DNFs by Rupp and Solinsky. Better it happen in races like this than Daegu.  

Bolt-LeMaitre-ParisDL11.jpgForsythe, Bolt, Lemaitre, photo by PhotoRun.net

Usain Bolt won over Nesta Carter in 9.88 to 9.90. Bolt is rounding into shape, but RBR wonders if Bolt will have the shape of 2009? He will need it, as the sprinting world has continued to develop and the Caribbe has become the Eldoret of sprinting. This development in the sprinting world has vast repercussions to U.S. sprinting, which will be challenged in Daegu like no other world championships before. Nice to see Mike Rodgers 9.96 after his cramping issues in Birmingham.

philips_idowu_triple_jump.jpgPhillips Idowu, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Phillips Idowu won the triple jump here in a field missing Teddy Tamgho, who is injured, after hurting his ankle at the U23s in Europe two weeks back. Will we see Christian Olsson move up into the medals in Daegu?

Uceny_Morgan-Lausanne11.jpgMorgan Uceny, 2011 Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

Morgan Uceny continues to get RBR and keen observers of the sport excited as she shows some real racy savvy. Her 4:01.59, taking third to Maryam Youssef Jamal (4:00.59) and Btissam Lahkouad (4:01.15). Uceny is a racer, which is so refreshing for American women distance runners. Nice to see Jenny Barringer Simpson and Shannon Rowbury getting into shape. And yes, Shalane Flanagan is rounding into nice shape with her 4:06.63.

Jeter_CarmelitaQ-USAout.jpgCarmelita Jeter, 2011 USA Outdoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

In the 200 meter wars, Carmelita Jeter is beginning to " get it" per her coach, John Smith, regarding the 200 meters. Her pb win in the 200 meters, with a run of 22.20 and Allyson Felix second (seasonal best) in 22.32 shows how scary fast that this race could be in Daegu. Felix gets the rounds, as Jeter is learning. Jeter told RBR in NYC in June that " when I listen to my coach, I tend to do better, when I don't well, you know....(laughing)".

Felix_AllysonQ1-USout11.JPGAllyson Felix, 2011 USA Outdoor, Photo by PhotoRun.net

The men's 1,500 meter was a barn burner. Actually, it was a tryout for professional kick boxing. Not sure what it was over, but finisher 9, Mehdi Baala, the 2003 silver medalist at 1,500m, and finisher 11,Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, got into a free for all (think old mosh pit, say, Black Flag & X, circa 1979-1980). The French Federation, shocked by the lack of decorum from two of their athletes, suspended the two, with a short, well written release.

Kiprop-Lagat-Mekonnen-Laalou-ParisDL11.jpg Willis, Manzano, Kiprop, Lagat, Laalou, 2011 AREVA Paris DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Between all of that fun, Matt Centrowitz finished tenth in 3:34.45. Silas Kiplagat won this one, in 3:30.47, holding off half of Kenya and Europe. Hats off to our Michigan neighbor (via New Zealand), Nick Willis, who set a NR with his fourth place 3:31.76. Willis the silver medalist from 2008 Olympics, is rounding into fine shape.

The 1,500 meters in Monaco was won by Silas Kiplagat, the 1,500m gold medalist from the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Kiplagat held off most of Kenya and all of Europe with his fine run in Monaco, running 3:30.47, holding off Nixon Chepseda and Abubaker Kaki, in 3:31.74, 3:31.76, respectively. Kiplagat is a 1,500m specialist with a withersome kick. 

Kiplagat_SilasFV-MonacoDL11.jpgSilas Kiplagat, 2011 Herculis Monaco, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 1,500 meters for Daegu is getting to look like a kicker's hell. Anyone who is silly enough to let the pace dawdle in Daegu, should not be surprised when some surprise drops a 24 second last 200 meters in front of 50,000 screaming fans. Look at the picture from the AREVA 1,500 meters-that is what the last 150 meters could look like in Daegu! (Well, with Silas Kiplagat in picture! ) 

The team at the shoe addicts was given a challenging task a few weeks ago. SPIKES USA magazine was launched over the late Spring & there was an opportunity to send a video to two million track & running fans about SPIKES USA. Their job: capture the first issue of the magazine and get potential readers excited the magazine.

We think that they did a very nice job-what do you think? Send us your response at [email protected] or watch for the upcoming subscription offer.
With almost two entire years on the injury list, Kenenisa Bekele has very little time to prepare to defend both his 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter titles from the 2009 World Champs in Berlin. Per Jos Hermans, his manager, Bekele will focus on the 10,000 meters and may consider the 5,000 meters. RBR believes that Bekele will do what Gebrselassie had to do in 2001: focus on one race, as the competition is just too high a standard in 2011. The 5,000 meter may be the toughest distance race of the Championships. Bekele is the world record holder at both 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters. For him to be successful in Daegu, he will have to pull out all of the stops. In 2003, the last 1,600 meters was covered under 4:03 and the last 800 meters under 1:54 off a fast pace from 2,000 meters to 8,400 meters.

Bekele_KenenisaWide-WC09.JPGKenenisa Bekele, Berlin 2009 WC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Walter Dix, 2011 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Walter Dix continues to race towards Daegu, with his fine 20.02 for 200 meters in Luzern. Also in Luzern, Yelena Isinbayeva is not having a good start to her season. She hurt her hand during the warm-up and did not compete in the competition.

Savinova_MariyaSF-Euros10.jpg Mariya Savinova, 2010 European Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Mariya Savinova, the 2010 European Champ, ran a WL 1:58.03 in the heats of the Russian Championships. The Russian Champs, especially for women, showcase a level of depth that results with several World Leaders. This will be the case in 2011 as the Russian women's team looks to be quite strong.

Some fun races to look forward at Friday's Herculis Monaco Meeting, numero 10 of the 12 Samsung Diamond League 2011 meetings!

Forsythe, Bolt, Lemaitre, 2011 AREVA Paris DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Pistorius_Oscar-Pre11.JPGOscar Pistorious, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Talk about pressure! Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner, as he is referred to in the media and by his fans, handled the pressure and delivered. On the last day of the qualifying period, Oscar Pistorious ran a blistering 45.07 to hit the A standard for both Daegu and London. This performance by a man with artificial limbs from the knee on both legs is unheralded. However, in listening to one of his interviews, it became quite clear that Oscar sees this a just another part of his journey.

Pistorius_OscarFV1-RomeGL07.jpg Oscar Pistorius, 2007 Rome GL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Neither his mother, nor his brother or sister ever gave him any sympathy. He was expected to do all the things that the other kids could do. He does tell the story about his brother's go-cart, where both Oscar and his brother were flying down a hill near their house, hell bent to reach the end of the road, but with no way to stop the go cart from hell. Oscar was asked by his brother for one of his artificial legs, which had a pair of sneakers on the foot.

The brother took the artificial leg, placed it between tire and road, and as the smell of burning rubber enveloped the two young boys, the go cart, which was on a course from which some damage would have occurred to the two occupants, came to a screeching halt. At that time, Oscar recollected, he learnt the value of his artificial limbs.
(Watch for upcoming feature in SPIKES USA Summer.)

Isinbayeva_YelenaR-WCh09.jpgYelena Isinbayeva, 2009 WC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Yelena Insinbayeva no heighted at 4.60m. That happens in the world of the pole vault. The big deal for Isinbayeva right now is to get some competitive experiences before Daegu.

Tamgho_Teddy-Doha11.jpg Teddy Tamgho, 2011 Doha, photo by PhotoRun.net

Teddy Tamgho injured his ankle at the U23s last week. An MRI showed that his injury is more severe than expected and he will not be able to compete in the World Champs in Daegu.
Pat Peterson, Tom Sturak, 1983 Helsinki, photo courtesy of Friends of Tom Sturak

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.."
AS YOU LIKE IT, Act II, Scene 7

This is my August/September publisher's column for California Track & Running News, on Tom Sturak and my visit to the memorial service last May:

Wataru Ogushi & Frederico Rosa, 2011 RNR San Diego, photo by PhotoRun.net

Wataru Ogushi, who works for the Asahi Shimbun newpaper, which sponsors the Fukuoka marathon, and Frederico Rosa, agent of the late Sammy Wanjiru,  ran the 2011 RNR San Diego half marathon in honor of the late 2008 Olympic champion whose death is still difficult to fathom.

Note the smile on both of their faces. Sammy Wanjiru would probably have gotten a charge out of his friends running the distance in his honor, and perhaps a small laugh.

We did not get Frederico's time, but we are working on that!

FILA USA responded today to the piece I posted on the Vibram lawsuit over the articulated toes of a FILA USA shoe called Skeletoes. The folks at FILA USA have a different opinion and have expressed it below.. It is nice to see people actually reading and responding to RBR. So, read on, gentle readers:
Stephanie Hightower has taken a position of President and CEO with the Columbus Urban League, leaving the position she had held at Columbus College of Art & Design as the vice president of Institutional Advancement. She will continue as the USATF President & Chairman.
Many sources considered Stephanie Hightower to be the odds on favorite to be the next CEO of USATF. Guess they were wrong. Hightower has raised money, developed coalitions with disparate political and ethnic groups to bring them together for the common good. That is what a leader does.
Eurosport News

Image via Wikipedia

Well, the World Champs will be shown on Eurosport. With that, access to the World Athletics Champs for most of Europe will be guaranteed, if one has cable. Nice to see this one!

Image via Wikipedia

ASICS America announces new department, Onitsuka Tiger. This is how ASICS America goes after the lifestyle market and keeps from annoying the performance running food chain. My big question will be what happens when the gold medal accounts want to carry Onitsuka Tiger apparel or shoes?  It is in this type of
set up, that authentic and cool fuse. Hugh opportunity for ASICS America.

I can see Onitsuka Tiger line being quite popular with the 19-30 year old market. Very authentic, with strong logo I.D. and some cool colors not found in nature.

In recent releases, as Wulff evolves ASICS America, he has been quite adamant about ASICS focus to keep it's number one performance running position. It has to be obvious that Mr. Wulff was brought in to find other profit centers while shoring up performance running, which is more competitive, and will be more so in 2012-2015.

Recent economic slow downs do not seem to be hurting performance running footwear ($100-$125 plus), while apparel seems to, as always, have its ups and downs. Watch for strong back to school sales with cross country runners (especially the 100,000 or so newbies) purchasing running shoes in August & September.

The running look continues to be popular and just go to any music club ( I was in one this weekend). Most of the trend setters are in tshirts, and authentic running brands. 

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The Monterrey Peninsula is one the most beautiful places on earth. Every time I go to California, my parents and I spend a day in PG (Pacific Grove), and Carmel. My favorite restaurant in Carmel is Casanova's, and just walking around Carmel and PG on a sunny day is all one needs to feel much better.

The Big Sur International Marathon is the creation of a team of dreamers. I put much of the kudos on Wally Kastner and his team. Wally, a former career military man, is one of those people who loves the sport and knew he had the place to run a marathon. The views on the Big Sur course are like nothing you will ever see anywhere else in the world.

So, if you can, find a way to run the Big Sur International Marathon, it will be worth your while! www.bsim.org.

(Special thanks to Julie Armstrong, Media Director, for the release).
If one creates something great, it will be copied. If one creates something half great, it will be copied. And the minimalist movement, which has gone from some whispers in Bolder, Colorado, to nearly a complete bookshelf of books, websites and clinics (remember Step into Minimalism, presented by Saucony, at the 2011 Boston marathon?), is now a movement that includes lightweight, is challenging valued givens in the running footwear world. There is money in this movement, and quite frankly, the lawsuits are just a fact of modern business life in these rarefied parts.

Lightweight shoes have always been around-look at track spikes and racing flats. Many athletes, performance based, figured out, over time, that as they got fitter, they could use less shoe, for long runs, trail runs, workouts on the track, etc.

Esteemed researcher Jack Daniels, advisor of Magdelena Lewy Boulet, takes a different approach. He believes that the least shape one is in, the lighter the shoe that is needed. Contrarian? Sure? But, consider it.  

In 2006, when Nike launched the Nike Free, and the minimalist shoe movement was really started. However, it was the Vibram Five Fingers, that really changed the paridigm.  While I believe that Five Fingers is quite excellent for my passion, flyfishing for trout, bass, bluegill, catfish (yes) (if there is water, I fish) in creeks and streams. Some people run trails in them. Some run on concrete in them.  Other folks love running marathons in them. Although, readers, I would suggest a word of caution in that pursuit.

mens_bikila_thumb.jpgMen's Vibram Bikila Running, photo courtesy of Vibram.com

I still believe that the market has missed major opportunities here: Foot health and core training for senior citizens, and folks who are trying to regain mobility. Lightweight, and the challenges from the consumer for the market to explore products that give the runner more of a contact with the surface, are all mantras, some contradictory, but some will lead to great advances.

Coaches like Brooks Johnson advocated light shoes and foot health in the seventies. So did Percy Cerrutty, the iconic coach famous for his Portsea training camp, training Herb Elliot (1960 Olympic champ, 1,500m). Cerutty had Elliot running barefoot up sand dunes and down them. My high school coach, Steve Pensinger, had us doing repeat 300s around a grass oval at DeAnza college. Proper foot action, good foot health, all are key.

1PK000EX_023_01_LG.jpg Fila Skeletoes, found at J.C. Penny's Website

In the case of the article that I spied on my press release pile, Vibram believes is protecting its trademark with this lawsuit.
The lawsuit is against the FILA company, which produces a shoe, found on the J.C. Penny website, called Skeletoes. We will provide updates....

Baba_Jaroslav1-ParisDL11.jpgJaroslav Baba, 2011 AREVA Paris, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ivan Ukhov won, via count-back over Jaroslava Baba in the 33rd Eberstadt, Germany high jump competition was 2.24m. Watch Baba, who is on a roll, and Ukhov, is well, a brilliant tactical jumper.

Ukhov_Ivan-Pre09.JPGIvan Ukhov, 2009 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Jamaican team won the CAC this weekend. Some great relay teams. More details below. A portent of what we shall see in Daegu?

U.S. midwest and east coast are in a huge heat wave right now. Please remind your athletes to be careful. Hydration, running in coolest part of day and just be careful. More people die in the U.S. each year from heat related conditions than any cold weather.
Yelena Isinbayeva, 2010 World Indoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Yelena Isinbayeva cleared 4.60m to win her first competition in over 18 months, in Heusden. She will have two more competitions in the next ten days. The big question is, with all of the changes Ms. Isinbayeva has made in 2011, can she reach the heights she has before? More than anything, can she compete with the vaulters of today? My guess, yes, and yes. Stay tuned....

Vlasic_Blanka-Rome11.jpg Blanka Vlasic, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

Blanka Vlasic lost to Svetlana Shkolina at the women's high jump at the 33rd Eberstadt high jump event. Shkolina cleared 1.99m in the jump off between her and Vlasic, who tried and missed at 2.01m. This is Ms. Shkolina's outdoor personal best.

Shkolina_Svetlana-Zurich09.jpgShkolina, 2010 Zurich, photo by PhotoRun.net

And, then, over the weekend, Teddy Tamgho, jumping in the U23 European champs, hurt his ankle. An MRI is being performed early in the week, and details will be forthcoming. It is NOT believed that Monsieur Tamgho's injury is severe enough to stop his planned competition in Daegu, Korea in just over 40 days.

Tamgho_TeddyPC-Lausanne11.jpgTeddy Tamgho, 2011 Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

180 px

Teddy McCook will now have a second term as President of the NACAC. He will also be IAAF Area representative during his tenure...the IAAF and adidas announced a new site for licensed products, featuring promotional products for the major IAAF championships with their apparel and footwear sponsor, adidas.

Madrid, Spain, hoping that, like Pyeonchang, South Korea, that the third time is the charm, will bid once again to host a Summer Olympics, this time it is 2020. We wish them well.

Isinbayeva_YelenaFL1a-Zurich09.jpgYelena Isinbayeva, 2009 Zurich, photo by PhotoRun.net

Yelena Isinbayeva will be jumping outdoors this weekend, and her first meet will be in Heusden, Belgium on July 16 (this coming Saturday).

The BAA Boston half marathon filled to its 7,000 capacity in three hours and fifty minutes on Wednesday, July 13. Nice job BAA!

And, congrats to the New Balance Training Center, for announcing its schedule of a record 105 events for the 2011-2012 Indoor season.

Brooks Inspiring Coaches Top Ten Finalist- web.jpg2011 Brooks Most Inspiring Coaches Nominees
with Jim Weber, Brooks President (center), photo courtesy of
Brooks Running

Amy Pitzel & Jim Weber-web.jpg

2011 Brooks Mosting Inspiring Coach Winner Amy Pitzel
& Brooks President, Jim Weber,
photo courtesy of Brooks Running

Brooks made two strong moves into the high school community with their Brooks PR Invitational on February 28 and the Brooks Most Inspiring Coaches. Brooks, which is in an epic battle for supremacy in the performance running channel with ASICS America, shook up the high school market with two programs that give them a unique branding situation in the largest sport in high school sports.

Brands that are in the running performance business (ASICS, adidas, Brooks, K-SWISS, Mizuno, New Balance, Nike, PUMA, Saucony) are all working on programs to reach to the 14-19 year old high school athletes and their coaches.

Approximately 120,000 assistant and head coaches are involved in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field. 38,000 head coaches oversee the 17,000 plus programs for boys and 16,500 for girls in the U.S. They spend an average of two hours, fifteen minutes a day on the field with their 1.4 million athletes, six days a week, forty-six weeks a year. Considering that the average salary for a high school track coach is $1,500, this is an avocation, not a vocation.

Nice job on a nice progam! 

Thompson-Bolt-LeMaitreFH-Rome11.jpgRichard Thompson, Usain Bolt, Christophe Lemaitre, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

This morning, as I was drinking my coffee (no decision can be made before my iced Americano, three espresso shots over ice and a splash of water,   is in my caffeine deprived-hands), and pouring over the morning news, I was taken by a link from Grantland.com. Our ad traffic manager, Mike Lukich, shared a columnist with us, who did the piece noted above, : Is the Fastest Human Ever Already Alive (http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6760031/is-fastest-human-ever-already-alive)?, by Chuck Klosterman.

A superbly written and researched article, Mr. Klosterman combines the thoughts of an informed sports fan, and a journalist who knows who to go to for the right answers. In the end, his question is answered on several levels, but it adds to the fans understanding of the complexity of human performance. Charles Darwin would be pleased as would Gregor Mendel (oh, remember your high school genetics class).

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VISA Europe is predicting a record consumer spend increase of $1.2 billion in the seven weeks around the Olympics and Para- Olympics in London 2012! Do not let anyone tell you that sports do not support the economy.

The second most popular sport in the summer Olympics on NBC TV is....drum roll please....track & field. I am curious about that. Someone challenged me on that last night in a quick note. As during the summer Olympics, around the world, there is no more popular sport than track & field. I believe, that in the US, it continues to be the powers that be in American TV that control the viewing hours and perception of our sport. If a product is poorly done, only the real fans can tolerate it.

The word,  "Olympian"  means something to the nearly six billion people on this planet. The significance of the Olympics is that, every four years, 214 or 15 of the worlds 300 countries come together to run, jump, throw (and do lesser sports-yes, some humor) for 18 days.

I am wondering out loud if we should not consider having our World Champs every three years, increase the visibility of the Samsung Diamond League, so we can lengthen the careers of our athletes. Having World Champs means that in 2011, Worlds, 2012, Olympics and Euros, 2013, Worlds, three very tough years.

Sometimes, absence does make the heart or fan grow fonder. Our future also requires track & field and road running to find a way to help each other.

Send me your ideas, to [email protected].
The official emblem of the 2011 World Champion...

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As we come down to the final seven weeks before the 2011 World Championships, many things are going on...the Kenyan Trials are from Thursday to Saturday of this week, the European U23s are in Ostrava (opening on Wed, events Thursday to Sunday), and then two meets in Belgium as well!

I spent the last ten days traveling to Lille, France for the 2011 World Youth Champs, then to AREVA Paris on July 8 and AVIVA Birmingham on July 10. Some great track and field action and some points to consider. The USA team at the World Youth Champs took sixteen medals. Amazing considering that the USA full team was assembled so close to the event.

In watching the sprints in AREVA Paris & AVIVA Birmingham, team USA has to see that its' normal stalwarts for medals, the 100m, 200m, will be very tough in Daegu, Korea. The 400 for men and women is suprisingly open, with the men's 400 meters eerily open. Jeremy Wariner needs to find the form that gave him 2004, 2005 and 2007,2008 and 2009 medals. His race in Paris had to be considered a real upset.

Two of the most exciting events for the Worlds will be both the 110m hurdles and 100m hurdles. On the men's side, Dayron Robles, Lui Xiang and David Oliver are ever as exciting as the 100 meters. On the women's 100m, with Sally Pearson, Danielle Carruthers, Kellie Wells, among others, should also a great competition.

The men's shot put has the eight top guys competing against each other everywhere. Dylan Armstrong is taking on all comers, and Tomasz Majewski, 2008 Oly champ, and Christian Cantwell, 2009 World Champ, are moving into the battle at the right time.

The men's triple jump, with Phillips Idowu and Teddy Tamgho, are two iconic charac

We shall know more about the fields over the next few weeks, as each of the 206 plus countries who will have athletes at the World Champs will announce their teams. More to come here!

The 2011 AVIVA Birmingham Grand Prix, the eighth stop on the 2011 Samsung Diamond League series, is now one for the record books. Held on a new Mondo track surface at the Alexander Stadium, the sell-out crowd of 15,000 plus was entertained by a very crisp program and some extremely competitive races.

philips_idowu_triple_jump.jpg Phillips Idowu, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

Thanks to Universal NBC, we have highlights of the top races. Here were my favorites:

The men's 100 meters shows that Asafa Powell is the king of the world right now. Powell and Bolt will clash in Daegu, with a completely different cast of characters than we have seen on most of the world stages. Face it, Jamaica is to sprints what Kenya is to distance running.

The men's 5,000 meters. A new found confidence, shown in several races this year by Mo Farah, (remember the Nike Pre 10,000m?), is exhibited here once again, in probably the most exciting 5,000 meter race so far of the year. Notice the crucial work that Craig "Buster" Mottram and Collis Birmingham do to keep the pace honest. Farah's win, and his team mate Rupp's move on Merga are two highlights of this race!

Sally Pearson's world leading 100m hurdle win, over Danielle Carruthers, was another highlight of the meet. Pearson, who has sprint talents as well as hurdle talents, controlled these races from start to finish.

Blanka Vlasic, high jump queen. Vlasic won here, as she was able to get up near two meters on Sunday, which portends well for the crucial part of this season.

Amante Monsho has been winning her races everywhere. The 400 meters for women is going to be a real battle.

Phillips Idowu, the 2009 WC gold medalist, won here over Teddy Tamgho, the world leader. This event, along with the men's 110m hurdles and the women's 100m hurdles, look to be the most competitive events in the World Championships.

Uceny_MorganQ-USout11.JPGMorgan Uceny, 2011 USA Outdoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

And finally, Morgan Uceny. Morgan has been winning all season, and she is showing a presence of mind in her 1,500m races that puts her in the thick of the battle for a medal in Daegu, Korea. In Birmingham, Morgan moved perfectly through the field and held off her super last kick over 200 meters until it meant something!

And finally a tip of the hat to Ian Stewart, and the team at UK athletics, who know how to put on track meets. Nearly perfect pacing of the events, a strong on ground announcer and in stands announcing gave the fans up to date info on all of the major events. 

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Here are the highlights of Ato Boldon's Cooldown video on the 2011 AVIVA Birmingham Grand Prix,the 8th meet of the Samsung Diamond League series. Some tremendous events in 2011: Men's triple jump with Phillips Idowu, Women's 100m hurdles with world leader Sally Pearson and Danielle Carruthers, Women's 1,500 m win by Morgan Uceny and the tremendous 5,000m race with Mo Farah, Galen Rupp, Imane Merga, Craig Mottram and Collis Birmingham.

Farah_MoLeads1_Pre11.JpgMo Farah, 2011 Nike Pre Distance Gala 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

In one of the most exciting 5,000 meter races that I have seen, the crowd at the AVIVA Birmingham Grand Prix was entertained by some serious middle distance racing. It was not just the fast pace, but the gutty running between 2,000 and 4,000 meters when the pace could have dropped.

None other than Aussies Craig Mottram, bronze medalist from 2005, who has been bravely coming back from injuries.  Abera Kuma lead through 2,000 meters in 5:17.79. Imane Merga lead through 3,000 meters, and then, "Buster"  Mottram and fellow Aussie Collis Birmingham went to the fore and kept the pace honest!

I was in Athens in September 2006, when Mottram, for the second time in a row, took Kenenisa Bekele down in the World Cup 3,000m, going to the front and making Bekele hurt. That is what Mottram did tonight, for the first time in nearly four years. 

They were rewarded with both making the A standard and both of their seasonal bests! Craig Mottram ran 13:11.51, and Collis Birmingham ran 13:15.70. For Craig Mottram, that is his fastest time since 2006!

Mo Farah has been racing with a confidence that he did not have a year ago. His run at the Nike Pre Distance Gala was a real eye opener, as were his 2010 European Championship wins at 10,000m and 5,000m. His 3:42 last 1,500 meters, 2:25 last 1000 meters and 54.03 last 400 meters is what one has to do to win the big ones today.

Galen Rupp has been developing his kick. His 1:52 for the last 800 meters in Eugene for the 10,000m championships is the type of finishing that a world class distance runner needs to play in this world of uber talented distance runners. Kick or be destroyed ( I seem to remember a coach, who coaches a 12.89 hurdler reminding us of that way back in about 1977 in old RW?).

Rupp_Galen-USout11.JPGGalen Rupp, 2011 USA Outdoor 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Galen Rupp is showing some serious guts. Mo Farah's training partner, Rupp was perfectly positioned over the last 1,000 meters and helped push the pace as well (Collis Birmingham lead at 4,000m, in 10:41.45, which really kept that race fast). Buster Mottram and Collis Birmingham put it all on the line to keep the pace honest, and they did! 

Mo Farah has won the two 5,000m in Birmingham this year-the first in February at the NAI and the second, last night at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. And guess who was second in both races? Of course, his training partner, Galen Rupp!

The crowds loved the gutsy racing and the tough finishing of all! What a fun race to watch last night!

This has been one of my highlights of my second part of the European tour!
Asafa Powell, 2011 Shanghai DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Welcome to RBR live coverage of the 2011 AVIVA Birmingham Grand Prix Diamond League! We will provide quick notes on each event, as we can, and live twitter major results from each event as well! If you have questions, twitter us! twitter.com/runblogrun.

Farah_MoFV_Pre11.JpgMo Farah wins the 10,000m at Nike Pre Distance Gala, photo by PhotoRun.net

As that great philosopher of baseball, Yogi Berra once said, " It's Deja-vu all over again." So, can Mo Farah win this 5,000 meters in Birmingham?" We will have to wait a few hours to see (meet is from 5.30 pm to 8.15 pm Local time, or 10.30 Am to 1:15 pm Chicago time).

The 2011 AVIVA Birmingham Diamond League will be held this evening, July 10, in the Alexander Birmingham stadium, featuring a new Mondo surface. We have provided you with the Preview of the meet, by Alfons Juck.

Here are my picks:

Men's 100 meters: Asafa Powell versus the world. Watch for Michael Rodgers of the US to run fast.

Men's 800 meters: Kaki is in race, but I want to see how fast Nick Willis of New Zealand can run-can he come near Peter Snells' 1:44.8?

Men's 5,000 meters: Mo Farah wants to win in front of his home crowd and Imane Merga wants to win it too-this will be an epic battle. Totally stacked field!

Men's Shot Put: Dylan Armstrong, Christian Cantwell, Adam Nelson, Reese Hoffa, Tomasz Majewski-are you kidding, these guys will throw long.

Men's javelin: Andreas Thorkildsen wants a big throw. He asked me what the stadium record was (95 meters, meet record is 98 meters). He smiled. 

Women's 200 meters: Coach John Smith said she is ready, she is Carmelita Jeter. Let's see what happens here.

Women's 100 m hurdles: Some serious hurdlers here, I am looking at Danielle Carruthrs and Tiffani Offili.

Women's 1,500 meters: A very hard one to pick, but I am going with Morgan Uceny.

Women's high jump: OH, Blanka Vlasic, please clear 2.00m!

Women's discus: Stephanie Trafton Brown-on a roll.

The same night as the AREVA Paris, the 39th Meeting de Atletismo, Madrid took place, here were the notable performances:

Gaitlin_JustinSF-USout11.JPG Walter Dix, Justin Gatlin, 2011 USA Outdoor, photo by PhotoRun.net

Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic and 2005 World Champ, recently back from drug suspension, continues to run into form. In this race, Gatlin defeated Dwain Chambers, 10.10 to 10.13, with Travis Padgett, 10.18. Gatlin had lost in Rheims on Monday, July 4.

Kevin Borlee ran a fine 44.74, the same day his brother, Jonathan ran 45.05 in Paris! The Borlee brothers are the real thing. With seven weeks to go to Daegu, the 400 meters is very, very open.

In the 800 meter mens, Tyler Mulder defeated Yuriy Borzakovsky, 1:45.10 to 1:45.54. Note that Borzakovsky ran 46.84 for 400 meters a couple days back in Russia.

In a tactical 1,500 meters, Nuria Fernandez of Spain won in 4:06.00! 

Thompson, Bolt, Lemaitre, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Rome, photo by PhotoRun.net

Well, the orchestration of the AREVA Paris meeting was, nearly perfect. The last three events, the mens' 110m hurdles, the men's 1,500 meters and the men's 200 meters closed it spectacularly.

The women's 100 meters, where Kelly Ann Baptiste ran one of her best executed races ever, (runners 1 and 3 in that race were coached by Coach Braumann, who now has five male sprinters under 10.00 this year as well), and provided just a great competition, between Baptiste, Campbell-Brown and Stewart.

The 110m hurdles was a match of two different styles, and Robles and Oliver were together from the third hurdle. The difference was a bit of experience, as Robles leant just a bit earlier and Oliver responded just a bit later. Oliver noted the need to be completely on game with Robles. What these two have is respect for each other, and with Liu Xiang, it could be one of the highlights of Daegu!

The men's 1,500 meters was a fast, exciting race, and Amine Laalou put it all out there, holding off Kiprop and Lagat. Lagat is rounding into form and looks dangerous over the 5,000 meter distance. I believe he is the prohibitive favorite in Daegu, if the field lets it dawdle. Lagat is at the top of his racing game. Nice to see Nick Willis, our Kiwi coached by Ron Warhurst, running so well. Just a nice guy and fun racer.

Very happy to see Matt Centrowitz, Jr., Leonel Manzano and Andrew Wheating make the standard. Andrew has woken up and is racing once again. And Leonel-when he is on, he has the finish of a Rui Silva. Matt Centrowitz has got some real power there, and I want to see him mix it up in Daegu.

Usain Bolt-What can you say? Even when he is sick, the guy runs a 20.03, and he was totally relaxed out there (he looked beat afterwards). Lemaitre is showing that he has the patience and drive to develop into a world challenger, and the French crowd loved him and Lavillenie!

Now, time to write about ARIVA Birmingham, and see some serious triple jumping and 5,000 meter running, among other events (saw Tomasz Majewski, so know that Circus Athleticus-the shot put world tour--is here, will be a lot of fun to watch the guys throw the sixteen pound ball of steel).

The AREVA Paris Meeting was the second Samsung DL meeting after the USA Outdoor champs. With a crowd of 49,000 plus fans, the nearly three hour meet entertained and had fans on their feet. The local relays started the event and are always a nice way to get the local crowd going. The French crowd was great, their only frustration was when the hurdler Bascou was disqualified.

Hats off to the interview area for media and the quality of the interviews. I think that it may be the best interview area ever, and the interviews opps were excellent. Robles & Oliver, Semenya, Wariner, Lavillenie, Lemaitre were all very good.

My first time back to Stade de France since 2003, and what a facility! Nice organized, orchestrated and produced!

Bolt_UsainAutograph-Ostrava11.jpg Usain Bolt, 2011 Ostrava, photo by PhotoRun.net

Here are some of the highlights (more details below):

Men's Events

Saving the best for last, Usain Bolt, reportedly, with a cold, ran a controlled 20.03, his slowest 200 meters since June 2009. To the delight of the crowd, Christophe Lemaitre, the 21 year old sensation of France, ran a brilliant race, running 20.21, which is his second best, and seasonal best. Darvis Patton ran 20.59 for third.

In the 400 meters, Christopher Brown upset Jeremy Wariner. Brown ran well, running 44.94 and broke Wariner's winning streak in AREVA Paris. Oh, how the mighty have fallen, as someone once said. .

A fast 1,500 meters where the American men all hit the standard.

A epic 110m hurdle race between Dayron Robles and David Oliver.

A discus duel between Robert Harting and Piotry Malachowski.

And a huge screaming steeple victory by a Frenchman!

Women's events

Meseret Defar dominates the 5,000 meters, Flanagan almost gets AR, almost.

Kelly Ann Baptiste wins 100m over Veronica Campbell Brown from start to finish!

Titanic shot put comp!
Bolt_UsainPose1_Lausanne10.JPGUsain Bolt, 2010 Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

Welcome to Runblogrun's coverage of the 2011 AREVA Paris Meeting! Three hours of tremendous track and field. For US fans, note that Shalane Flanagan will be running for the U.S. record for 5,000 meters, now held by Molly Huddle. The women's 5,000 meters should be a screamer, with the field trying to run 14:30 or better.

Usain Bolt and Christophe Lemaitre will be running the last event of the night, the 200 meters. Good shot for Lemaitre to break the French national record for 200 meters of 20.16. He discounted that in the press conference, but there is a real shot. 

The men's pole vault with Renaud Lavillenie should be very good as well. And of course
, the men's 1,500 meters is stacked, with Bernard Lagat, Mekkonen Gebremedhin, Asbel Kiprop, Nick Willis, Andrew Wheating, Leonel Manzano and Matt Centrowitz, Jr, are all in the field!

Here is the schedule, we will update after each event, as well as twitter info out on twitter.com/runblogrun:


2011 Events

18h40 LIFA relay (Girls)
18h45 Triple jump Women
18h50 LIFA relay (Boys)
18h55 Javelin throw Women
19h00 Shot put Women
19h10 LIFA 800m Women
19h20 LIFA 1500m Men
19h30 Pole vault Men
20h03 400m hurdles Women
20h05 High jump Men
20h13 3000m Steeplechase Men
20h25 Long jump Men
20h28 400m Men
20h38 800m Women
20h40 Discus throw Men
20h48 100m Women
20h58 5000m Women
21h18 110m Hurdles Men
21h33 1500m Men
21h46 200m Men

Renaud Lavillenie, 2011 European Indoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Renaud Lavillenie is the 2011 European champion at the pole vault. In Bercy, France, in March 2011, Lavilllenie was supreme in a day most French track fans will never forget: Lavillenie cleared 6.01m for a new French record, won the Euro title as his team mate Teddy Tamgho was putting the finishing touches on winning the triple jump and the French 4 x 400m team won the European title.

Lavillenie is affable, speaks clear English and French, and seems to enjoy himself. In the interviews here, at the AREVA Paris meeting, Renaud was quite comfortable with the press and answered the following questions for me:
Tyson Gay, 2011 adidas Grand Prix, photo by PhotoRun.net

Tyson Gay had successful arthroscopic surgery yesterday, in Vail, Colorado, per his manager, Mark Wetmore, as quoted in EME News. The surgery was successful, and Tyson should be able to start 2012 preparations in the Fall of 2011. More details below.
Jacko Gill, 2011 World Youth Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

One of the big stories of the World Youth Champs is Jacko Gill of New Zealand. The Kiwi shot putter is making a name for himself, not only with his shot prowess, but his relative young age! His throwing in Lille, France is one for the record books! Alfons Juck, our man of the world, describes Gill's world record day below!

Gill_JackoH-WorYouth11.jpg Jacko Gill, 2011 World Youth Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Better than just about anyone, Christophe Lemaitre knows that he has many roads to run, and 100 and 200 meters to double before he reaches his best. While paying respect to Usain Bolt, he knows that, as the best French sprinter and European champion over 100 and 200 meters, he has to focus on his development. Pretty impressive for someone who is not yet 22 years old!

LeMaitre_ChristopheR1-EuroInd11.jpgChristophe Lemaitre, France's sprinter, 2011 Euro Indoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

However, that will not stop 70,000 screaming French fans from not willing him in front of Usain Bolt tomorrow night!

Dayron Robles, 2011 FBK Hengelo, photo by PhotoRun.net

Oliver_DavidFH_Pre11.JpgDavid Oliver, 2011 Nike Pre, photo by PhotoRun.net

The AREVA Paris meeting has many great match-ups, but none, in my mind, better than Dayron Robles of Cuba, personal best of 12.87, and David Oliver of the US, personal best of 12.89.

Robles, the 2008 Olympic champion, and Oliver the best hurdler of 2010, are two of the most competitive athletes on the circuit. They have complete respect for each other, knowing that a bit of over confidence can destroy their race.

Both have come back from injuries, as the 110 meter hurdles is a very technical event, and extremely tough on the body. Pushing oneself to the extremes that a hurdler does, week in and week out, does affect the body. That quest for perfection, for the that perfect race is what keeps athletes at this level running.

" I am working on my fitness, and my racing. David is running very fast times, and I need to be able to race that fast." noted Dayron Robles.

'Well, Dayron has run 8 times under 13 seconds in one season. I respect him and know that if I make a mistake, he will be all over me." noted David Oliver.

The race tomorrow should be superb. The race in seven weeks, in Daegu, Korea, with Dayron Robles, Liu Xiang and David Oliver could be the best competition of the World Champs!

As these hurdlers realize, it is all about the competition! 

Thompson, Bolt, Lemaitre, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

Robles_Dayron1-Hengelo11.jpgDayron Robles, 2011 FBK Hengelo Games, photo by PhotoRun.net

Oliver_DavidFH1_Pre11.JpgTurner, Oliver, Xiang, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

The AREVA Paris meeting is a meet that gives one hope. One keen observer of the sport put it this way, " Since Laurent Boquillet took over the management of the Paris meeting, it has been resurrected. Laurent understands the sport as a former footwear executive, sponsorship manager, and athlete. The move to the current hotel, the attention to detail in the media center, even the quality of the food has changed. AREVA Paris shows what can be done when someone who knows and cares about the sport gets involved in a major meeting. "

The press conference for Bolt on Wednesday, July 7, had 134 media members and, a veteran of Bolt media days noted, " it was one of the best."

The interviews today with Robles & Oliver were the highlight for me. The most telling moment was, when Dayron and David were both asked how often they had raced, they both acted as if they did not know. Then slowly,
Robles remembered last race, and times of both, and they went, race by race, for four minutes, to the astonishment of the media, over each of their races-a truly unique moment.

Right now, for me, the 100 meters is a great event, but the competition, the truth of our sport, the life blood of our sport, is at the 110m hurdles, the 100m hurdles, the men's triple jump, the men's shot put and the middle distances. That Robles and Oliver and Xiang will race this year is tremendous.

Bolt is Bolt. Usain is a phenomenon that fills stadiums, and when stadiums are filled, the meets get better and better. It is something we should note: Bolt and competition fills our meets. It is a juggling act to be a successful meet director, and Laurent Boquillet has developed a masterpiece. Tres bon, Monsieur Boquillet!

Cochran_Ethan-WorYouth11.jpgEthan Cochran, 2011 World Youth, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ethan Cochran took one throw to qualify for the discus final and one personal best to take silver in the 7th World Youth Championships, held in Lille, France on July 6. First, Ethan threw 60.37m/198-00 and then, in the finals, 61.37m/201-4.

This was RBR's first visit to the World Youth Champs, and it is an event I would recommend for any track fan! From the opening ceremony, which combined the arts and culture of Lille, with the enthusiasm of teenagers visiting a new country for the first time, to the Lille Metropole Stadium, all was good in Lille.

USAOpening1-WorYouth11.jpg U.S.A. team enjoying the Opening ceremonies, photo by PhotoRun.net

As I am now in Paris for the AREVA meeting, we will rely on the IAAF and USATF coverage of the event, highlighting the major performances. Know that the US media was the largest contingent in Lille, with the staff of the NSSF, the team that puts on the New Balance Indoor and Outdoor Championships, in attendance.

Hall_ArmanQ1-WorYouth11.jpg Arman Hall, 2011 World Youth Games, photo by PhotoRun.net

For Daily Live Results, courtesy of the IAAF, click here:

Usian Bolt, 2011 Ostrava, photo by PhotoRun.net

Usain Bolt is in Paris! And of course, the media is in a feeding frenzy, but that is the key to promoting a major meet! Feed the beast! Give the local media something that they can identify with!

I am off to the train now, heading to Paris for the AREVA Paris meeting. I will be at AVIVA Birmingham on Sunday. The World Youth Champs is tremendous and should be on all track fans vacation plans in future! Lille Metropole has been tremendous, more on that on the train!
Teddy Tamgho in an introspective state, photo by PhotoRun.net

Idowu_PhilipsPC-Lausanne11.jpgPhillips Idowu, ready for Birmingham.,  photo by PhotoRun.net

The two best triple jumpers in the world, at this time are Teddy Tamgho of France and Phillips Idowu of Great Britain. Last weekend, Tamgho jumped 17.91m for the world leader and Idowu jumped 17.52 for the second best in the world.

Both Tamgho and Idowu are focused on Deagu and London-London being the real goal. The two supremely talented athletes come to the event from disparate focuses, however, they both respect each other and the nature of their events.

In my mind, the triple jump could become the surprise popular event in Daegu. There is the great possibility with the emotional power that these two put into their jumping that it will take 18 meters to take the silver medal! Both jumpers, while different in style, possess the ability to challenge the supreme jumping that one Jonathan Edwards did in 1995 at Gothenburg, Sweden when he just swamped the triple jump world record.

Lord Sebastian Coe once noted, most eloquently, that the triple jump is the most difficult event on the body. That being so, it is then even more fantastic that these two iconic athletes will battle over the triple jump runway of Daegu, Korea in less than two months! On July 10, you will be able to see their fitness as they compete at the AVIVA Birmingham.

Amy Weissenbach:Wilson Kipketer.JPG
Amy Weissenbach, Wilson Kipketer, photo by PhotoRun.net

The opening press conference on Tuesday, July 5 featured Amy Weissenbach, the phenom from California who ran 2:02.40 to win the CIF his year! I was fortunate enough to take the bus with USATF communications associate Katie Landry and Amy Weissenbach, on her way to her first press conference.

Amy told me that she had injury problems this season and just started racing around mid April. She started out with 400 meters, running a lot of 4 x 400 meter relays. Running for Harvard Westlake, Amy trains with Cami Chapus, the adidas Golden Spikes Mile champion. " I do my distance work with Cami, and then we do some of our fast work with the sprinters!"

Amy really seems to enjoy what she does. One can tell that she was a bit nervous as she raced this spring, noting that her injuries kept her short on mileage. "That is why we focused on the 800 meters this year, I just did not know how I would do over the mile."

The late season has been a blessing for Amy. She won her state meet, and also won her race in the NTN last weekend, in Eugene, Oregon at the famed Hayward Field.

Amy Weissenbach winning the 800 meters at the Nike Team Nationals, photo by PhotoRun.net

She also ran a 1,200 meters in the DMR, where her school (Harvard WestLake) broke the National record for the DMR at the New Balance Outdoors, about two weeks ago.

In the picture we have above, former world record holder, World Champion Wilson Kipketer was astounded at the times of the young athletes at the press conference. Wilson told them to "have fun, use this championships as a learning experience and to stay in touch with their new friends."
The 1,375 athletes, from 173 countries will be competing July 6-10 in Lille, France for the 7th World Youth Championships. RBR is here to get a feel of the first day, and then we will keep up to date with IAAF coverage! The opening ceremony is tonight! IMG_3560.jpg
Walter Dix, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Walter Dix seems to be recovered from his strong double in Eugene at the US champs. We will be heading to Youth Champs' first media conference later today!
Coat of Arms of the City Lille, France

City Crest of LIlle, France, Image via Wikipedia

Bonjour mes amis. I am in Lille, France, from July 4-6, to get a feel and taste of the World Youth Championships. From there, I go to AREVA Paris and then AVIVA Birmingham.

I arrived in Paris, France on July 4, and spent a few hours in Charles De Gaulle, one of the world's largest and most confusing airports. After spending some time with my brother Brian and his partner, Cherri, I figured out how to get a ticket for the train to Lille. A very comfortable one hour trip, I was in the center of Lille and then off to my hotel, Appart City. A group of 134 apartments, with kitchens and very reasonable, right in a cool neighborhood, with streets named after some of my favorite artists and writers. Allee Simone de Beauvoir was just down the block, named after the writer of the Feminine Mystique, (long time confidante and love of Jean Paul Sartre) land mark book on how women were viewed by society and how they saw themselves.

I am in the media center of the Lille Metropole Stadium, where the French federation is hosting the World Youth Championships. My first question is, when is the U.S. going to host a youth championship? Which, then leads into the question when the US is going to host an indoor and outdoor World Championships?  Complicated, yes, but we are missing the importance of hosting such events not only for the current generation but the future generations.

It is fascinating getting in a bit early and watching the last minute preparations for the Youth World Champs. I can hear the starters practicing and watching as the signage is checked and final preparations for the meet are double and triple checked. 

Ostapchuk_Nadezhad-Oslo11.jpgNadezhda Ostapuchuck, 2011 EXXONMobil Oslo DL, Photo by PhotoRun.net.

Nadezhda Ostapchuk and  Yuriy Borzakovskiy produced a World leader in the women's shot put (20.94m) an European leader in the men's 800 meters, in 1:43.99. That the 2004 World Champ is obviously rounding into shape and Ostapchuk could prove menacing to Valerie Adams, defending champ in women's shot put. I have to admit that I really enjoy watching Valerie get challenged, as she has tremendous last throws!

Borzakovskiy_YuriySF-EuroInd09.jpgYuriy Borzakovskiy, 2009 European Indoors/Torino, photo by PhotoRun.net.

And a happy Fourth of July to all those in U.S. A. and those abroad!
Kevin Wulff, CEO, ASICS America, photo courtesy of ASICS America

Kevin Wulff was named as the new CEO of ASICS America on August 10, 2010. Kevin Wulff was hired to replace outgoing Richard Bourne. Richard Bourne, the long time CEO of ASICS America officially left on February 1, 2011, which gave Kevin some time to see his new environs.

I began asking ASICS America about an interview with Kevin Wulff in early March, and Kevin, was, while not reticent, not ready to interview. Kevin did feel it was the time. In early May, Kevin Wulff, to his credit, called me and we spoke about his time and ties with Wisconsin, and he offered to respond to some questions.

Mr. Wulff knows that he has the eyes of the industry on him, as he works to finesse an iconic brand into some changes and also steer the brand, who has stiff challenges from competitors, in the upcoming years. Like all running footwear brands, management has to look at the global economy, the fears of the general consumer and overall health of the sport.

I think that you, our readers, will find this interview quite revealing. Kevin did not answer all of my questions. He did not feel it was appropriate to speak about past accomplishments-he wanted to focus on ASICS America. I will tell you, my readers, that he made the right choice. His concerns, his thought process, his respect for ASICS America comes through. In the end, it is one of my favorite interviews.

Thanks to Kevin Wulff for his time and candor. Recognition should be made to Heather Spears for her support in this interview.
Ivet Lalova, 2004 Athens Olympics, photo by PhotoRun.net

Ivet Lalova ran the first 100 meters under 11 for a European women since
Christine Arron ran 10.93 way back in 2005! Lalova also was part of the Bulgarian 4 x 100 meters team that won!

Marquise Goodwin, 2009 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

I am not saying anything to jinx it, but it is sure nice to see a talented football athlete focus on track and field. All I am saying....


The final day of the USA Outdoor Champs had two fantastic 800 meter races, plus an exciting 100m hurdle race, and finally, two epic 200 meter runs! The crowd got their fill of track and field, as Adam Nelson, Reese Hoffa and Christian Cantwell put on quite the show! Photos by PhotoRun.net, RN gallery courtesy of webmaster Chuck Bartlett. We hope you enjoy!

Day 3

Day Three gave us the women's 100 meters, and two very different 1,500 meter finals, where Morgan Uceny chased down a gallant Christin Wurth, as she missed the team by .01, and Matt Centrowitz, Jr. ran 52.25 to take down all the US had to offer, over the metric mile. Photos courtesy of PhotoRun.net, gallery created by Chuck Bartlett, Webmaster for the RunningNetwork.com.
geneti rain, by rich cruse-large.jpgMarkus Geneti, 2011 Honda LA Marathon, photo by Rich Cruse/LA Marathon

I met Peter Abraham while he was creative director at the LA Marathon. I spent the Honda La Marathon watching the coverage and updating the marathon live via twitter.

I was very impressed with the coverage and
the level of interest from the running community in every part of the Honda LA Marathon digital experience.

The actual marathon coverage, as well as the story telling, were excellent, and Toni Reavis was in rare form. In truth, the coverage grabbed the interest of the viewer because they remembered Peter Abraham's mantra: TV is trying to  tell a story.

I asked Peter to opine on the state of TV for our sport, and here is what he sent. I would love to hear your comments, please use the contact form on runblogrun.com

day 2 The second day of the 2011 USA Outdoor featured some tremendous distance and sprint races: the men's and women's 5,000 meters, and the men's 100 meters. Great weather, an enthused crowd made for a great day and evening of track & field. Photos courtesy of PhotoRun.net, our photo partners and special thanks to Chuck Bartlett, Webmaster of the RunningNetwork.com.
Justin Gatlin made the U.S. team in the 100 meters at the USA Outdoor Champs. He will also be part of the 4 x 100 meter relay pool. Those two facts and the fact that Mr. Gatlin served out a USADA and WADA drug ban have made him a pariah to some, but, for more, an example in the differences in how some Europeans see our sport and some Americans see our sport.

Gaitlin_JustinSF-USout11.JPG Walter Dix, Justin Gatlin, 2011 USA Outdoor, 100m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Allow me to explain.

The fact is that drugs continue to dirty our sport. And that is because there is not ONE policy globally in how to treat athletes who have been banned for six months or more. USADA and WADA have done an exemplary job with the exception of a few things: focusing on Lance Armstrong, busting athletes for Marijuana, and the need of testing that can hold up in courts of law or arbitration.

The Euromeetings meet managers put a line in the sand. Athletes with two year drug bans are not welcome in their events. Now, there are meets that will get around it. Most are not members of the Euromeetings group.

The Athletes Managers group, AAM, has agreed that manager members should not represent an athlete with a ban of two years or more. Most follow the rule, however, as in all things, some will do their own thing. 

The issue is, where does the line in the sand go? When does it start?

There is also the idea of jurisprudence. US and British law has some differences. Americans tend to, as part of our national culture, see someone who has served time or a ban, for that matter, as someone who should be given a second chance. In Lausanne, Dihiba, the women who served a two year ban for EPO, was able to get a court to support her desire to race at Athletissima as there were not many opportunities for her to compete at that level. A judge gave her a ruling that supported her right to race at that elite level, citing the unique chances for her to race at that level. 

Justin Gatlin has let his legs do the talking. He is running well and he, is of course, tested. In the end, the US team will most likely use him in the 4 x 100m relay and that will cause some complications in meetings in Euro meeting membership.

So, the truth is, Justin Gatlin will find some places to race, just like he did last year. This year, there will be a larger focus on the sprinter. In many ways, Gatlin is similar to Dwain Chambers situation in UK.

Many Europeans see Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt as examples of how drug ridden our sport is in the U.S. The truth is in between: while we have more effective drug testing, the suspicions are that athletes with money, specifically lots of it, can find ways to develop designer drugs that will not, at this time be triggered by USADA and WADA testing. But this is around the world, and the issue is there-there are cheaters who are not getting caught. And some federations have drug testing that is, well, a joke.
The fact is that USADA tests USA Track & Field athletes in the tens of thousands of tests. Just go and see how many out of competition tests are done on other sport federations. Some of the athletes feel like pin cushions.
It is a fact of their sports life.

It should not be a shock that drugs play such a place in our sport. Our society welcomes drug use, from coffee to pain killers, to weight reduction medicine. There is a pill for everything, just watch TV in US (in Europe, pharmaceutical advertising is much more controlled.) Our false god of sports, with the golden calf of money, money, money, gives some even more rationalization for cheating.That is why, I believe speaking of a clean, ethical sport is key. Right and Wrong are not casual topics.

On the other hand, as tests are made by humans, how does one deal with false positives, which happen. How does one deal with that, or does one look the other way, as catching a cheat requires " any means necessary." I fear that this is the lesson that we have learnt as WADA and USADA pursue Mr. Armstrong.  

My gut tells me that what should happen is that the IOC should just make a ruling, which would mean all members of the IAAF would have to follow. If athletes who have been banned are not allowed to race in Olympics, then they should not be able to race, period. Federations will seldom choose to take the higher road when a medal is in play. The greatest addition that Dr. Rogge, the President of the IOC could do is deal a death blow to drug cheating and the mixed message it currently gives: Six month ban or more, and the part is over, no more competition ever. The message to fans, athletes, coaches, sponsors would be overwhelming. The message would be clear: cheat, and get caught, your life as an athlete is over.  

The mixed messages sent out right now, at least in North America, and non-Euro meetings events, is confusing and takes the focus off the sport and those who run, jump and throw clean.

About fifteen years ago, I was sitting in the stands of a track meet. I was taken to task by a real track fan. He told me that he hoped and prayed that Ben Johnson, the disgraced sprinter, came back and ran 9.8 totally clean, being tested every week if they had to!

Why, I asked?

Because, the person said, you can not make a race horse out of a work horse.

But, he was wrong. They can. Or better yet, we believe that drugs can do just about anything.

I love this sport. I have found few athletes, officials or even Boards of Directors of federations that I do not admire for their love and drive to make the sport better.

Let's really open this discussion and make this a learning moment. I request your thoughts and comments, please send to [email protected]

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