January 2012 Archives

Edwin Soi, 2011 FBK Hengelo, photo by PhotoRun.net

Karlsruhe will have a very fast field for the 3,000 meters. Edwin Soi, Augustine Choge, Eliud Kipchoge are among the field, so do not be surprised if the meet record, then a WR in 1998, goes...2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston should be a memorable event, with some fantastic fields on a very fast track, with great fans! February 11 is looking like a huge day of indoor track, in two sites, one, in the Armory NB Track & Field Center in New York, where the Millrose Games will be hosted. Also in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with the USA Track & Field Invitational. Watch for more details.
Kiplagat_SilasFV-USOpen12.JPGSilas Kiplagat wins VISA mile over Bernard Lagat, 2012 US Open, Photo by PhotoRun.net

Silas Kiplagat is one tough miler. The 2010 Commonwealth champion at 1,500 meters, and in 2011, Silas rose to the silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, Korea, Silas has run 3:29.27 for 1,500 meters. Coached by Renuto Canova, famed coached of Moses Mosop, among others, Silas Kiplagat has the raw energy seen in runners such as the late Sammy Wanjiru. Silas wants to win, make no mistakes about that!

For example, last weekend, in his first indoor mile at Madison Square Gardens, Silas duked it out with Daniel Komen and Bernard Lagat. Komen is no newbie to the pushing and shoving that comes in indoor track & field, and Bernard Lagat, heck, the guy virtually owns the 145 meter track that inhabits the Madison Square Gardens.

The pace last Saturday night, in MSG, was, well pedestrian. But, the track, which is unique in terms of world class elite indoor meets, is like running indoor cross country. Usually, the runner who gets to the front first stays there and shuts down all competition. Bernard had won their 8 times, going from front, back, in between. It was only in 2011 that Bernard lost. This year, Bernard told us that he was planning on focusing on the 5,000 meters. " I will run 1,500 meters and miles for speed. " Bernard told us before the race.

The pace, was slow. The 400 meters was hit in 60.3, the 800 meters in 2:00.33, and Komen was in front. Komen, Lagat, Kiplagat were together at the lead through the 1,200 meter mark, hit in 3:03. Two laps from the end, Bernard Lagat took over, looking like the winner. With one lap to go, Silas Kiplagat took off and made this huge move, hurling himself into the lead, much to the astonishment of Bernard Lagat and Daniel Komen.

Silas Kiplagat was not about to give up. He want to win at Madison Square Gardens, and he wanted to beat Bernard Lagat, one of the greatest milers of all times, and a tremendous racer. The pace increased over the last lap, with the last 400 meters covered in 57 seconds, but close as Bernard Lagat might come, Silas Kiplagat kept about two meters between himself and Mr. Lagat.

Silas Kiplagat won the mile in 4:00.65. Bernard Lagat was second in 4:00.92 and Daniel Kipkichir Komen was third in 4:03.82.

Gebremeskel_DejanShoe-NBind11.JPGDejen Gebremeskel, 2011 NB Indoor GP 3,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

This coming weekend, at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, Silas Kiplagat will be moving up to the 3,000 meters to face Matt Centrowitz, the 1,500m world bronze medalist from Daegu, and Dejen Gebremeskal, the 5,000m bronze medalist from Daegu. Last year, Gebremeskal took Mo Farah to the final steps, before claiming victory over Farah. And Gebremeskal had only one shoe for most of that 3,000 meter race!

(Mo Farah and Galen Rupp are in the mile, doing a bit of speed work. Mo just won a tough 1,500m in Glasgow last weekend from Augustine Choge. RBR is only suggesting, but this could be a very fast mile. )

Centrowitz_Matt-Worlds11.jpg Matt Centrowitz, Jr., 2011 WC, 1,500m, photo by PhotoRun.net

The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix should be a wonderful event, with three hours of tremendous track & field. Do not miss it, if you are in the Boston area! Otherwise, before the SuperBowl, turn your eyes to ESPN2 and enjoy two hours of indoor track & field!

The above video is how LoLo Jones spends her workout day (courtesy of ASICS America). Pretty impressive. In her first race since surgery, LoLo Jones not only won the 50m hurdle race, a seldom run distance, but ran the fastest time over that distance in nearly four years. 6.78 seconds!

The women's hurdles is one of the toughest events, indoor or outdoors, in the US circuit. Several women battle each year for supremacy in American hurdling. LoLo Jones, the 2008 & 2010 World Indoor Champion, is one of those athletes, just on the cusp of being a World outdoor or Olympic medalist.

Mark our word, the 2012 Trials in Eugene will be gruesome. There are enough great hurdlers in the US to make two teams. LoLo Jones is focused on making that team, and we wish her the best of luck. 

Today, we asked LoLo about her race and how she is feeling. This is what she had to say: (RT @lolojones:) "After US Open race, I'm happy to be back running again. For a moment I thought I may need to change my event to a race walker"

This is adidas' new adizero Rush commercial, celebrating their new 7.5 oz running/training shoe. adizero is the adidas focus in the United States and the venerable brand is fighting to gain both running street cred and market support in the toughest running market in decades. Tell us what you think!

This is the new spot on the GEL-NEO33, sent to us by the ASICS America public relations team. The battle for the hearts and minds of today's running consumer is 24/7. Digital, web, print, outdoor, events, are all part of the package. Miss a part and the vacuum will be filled by your competition.

Fascinating to watch the battle for the top of the heap in performance running food chain....

Shobukhova_LiliyaFV-_Chicago10.JpgLiliya Shobukhova, 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Those of us who grew up running in the Midwest have iconic images of races stuck in our heads. From small town races to the big city races, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon not only opened the marathon up to the masses in the midwest, it opened midwest running to the world.

Who can forget Steve Jones running oh so close to the world record, and then breaking it? Khalid Khannouchi owned the city of Chicago for several years, due to his fearless running, and now, Liliya Shobukhova, who has won the women's race three times! And, how we miss the late Sammy Wanjiru, who ran with reckless abandon across the streets of the Windy City, showing his promise and his heart! Those are just a few of the stories of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. 

Chicago is a magnificent city, and its art treasures, architectural features, great shopping and wonderful restaurants rivals anywhere in the world. The continued growth of international runners each year at the Bank of America Chicago marathon shows how the city and marathon work well together. From Mayor Daley to Mayor Emmanuel, Chicago's mayors make it a point to note the contribution from the 40,000 plus runners and their families who visit the Windy City for one wonderful weekend in October.

The attention to detail, the late nights resulting, and the closeness of the teams who put on these events are no different in Chicago than in the Big Apple. From Carey Pinkowski, Mike Nishi, Jeremy Borling, Robyn Monsky and the many others who make the event a reality, the B of A Chicago Marathon is a stunner. From Bank of America and Nike, two of the major sponsors, the event brings together volunteers, and many of Chicago's finest (police and fire professionals) to insure a great event for those who have taken much of the last year, training for the chance run across the Windy City. 

Well, February 1, 2012 is the day when registration opens on this great event. Don't miss it! Carey Pinkowski and his team at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon will make it worth your while!

And the Windy City will welcome you, for days afterwards, as you walk a bit slower, but enjoy the sites better, after your 26.2 mile sojourn through all that is Chicago.

Outdoors is already happening, as Sherone Simpson runs 51.42 in Jamaica. Still have not gotten over Veronica Campbell-Browns sizzling 6.08 for 50 meters in Madison Square Gardens. The MSG management want a track meet in their revitalized Gardens and put some effort into this one! So, how many footballers over a 40 yard or meter run could VCB defeat?

Campbell_Veronica1-USOpen12.JPGDynamo Humm!
VCB flying down the track, Jessica Young in pursuit!
Photo by PhotoRun.net

Mo Farah at Arsenal FC, photo courtesy of PaceSPORTS management

Mo Farah won the 1,500 meters from Augustine Choge on Saturday in Glasgow at the AVIVA International Match, running Choge down over the last 200 meters. So, when Mo wants to relax, he dabbles in a bit of football. The picture above, from twitter.com, is courtesy of PaceSPORTS Management. The caption read: "I posted 3 photos on Facebook in the album "Mo Farah at Arsenal FC" fb.me/OSEu2jhM
Powell_AsafaT-USOpen12.JPGAsafa Powell, 2012 US Open, photo by PhotoRun.net

So, this started as the beginning of Elliott Denman's piece on the U.S. Open, then I decided to rewrite and try and be more inclusive. I saw some good things at the US Open, and liked that Budweiser came in as a sponsor at end. I will be at NB, USA Indoor, World Indoor, and a few other events (Brooks PR invitational), writing about our sport and observing. Here are my observations so far, and my invitation for others to write about the sport that we all love, and want to see flourish.
The Armory NB Track & Field Center has given nearly 100,000 athletes a year a chance to run, jump and throw. Given the financial situation with many schools, indoor track & field is the sport for many kids in New York.
 Simpson_JenLedsH-NBgames11.JPGJenny Simpson, 2011 NB Games, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Millrose Games will be sold out in the Armory, with an SRO crowd of probably 4,500. The Millrose Games will have some fantastic fields and some real chances at records. They are also now building for the future, making a deal with YouTube SPORTS, for track & field coverage of their events for years to come. The good news is that young fans will have a chance to see the meet. 

Face it, for sports marketers to make their dollars, get their eyeballs, terrestrial TV is still the way to go. You Tube focuses on 17-35 year olds like bees on honey. Young adults live on You Tube. It is a way to build into the future. And it looks like they have invested in a film crew and producer who understands the needs of sports TV in this day and age. One camera showing runners pass the finish line will not do it.

The Millrose Games, far from going away, is now investing in the future. At this time, terrestrial TV ( ESPN, ESPN2) has the reach and pull to gain viewers. You Tube Sports will become a player down the road, as more and more young viewers watch sporting events from their Iphone and androids.

The Millrose, for the traditionalists, will change. Perhaps, that was needed to shake things up. We are all looking to see how the Millrose does in its new home. 

Asafa Powell, 2012 US Open, by PhotoRun.net

Updated Monday, January 30, 2012

The US Open, in its first year, did some tremendous things for the sport. It kept the sport alive, in the venerable Madison Square Gardens. The TV, the next night, was one of the best showcases on indoor season in years, and the meet ended with a boom! Great 50m hurdle races and 50m sprints! From Terrance Trammell, to LoLo Jones, to Veronica Campbell-Brown to Asafa Powell! Wow! The crowd of 5840, one of the first times a crowd has not been exaggerated, in my lifetime, enjoyed a strong night of indoor track & field.

The event was done, in a few months. If they promote early, they could double the crowd. But, USATF and other sponsors need to be a bit more creative on tickets. Read our opinion piece, re-edited, later today, on how to accomplish that. The US Open was a very good way to open the elite indoor season. Now, on to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.

Elliott Denmann, long time writer for RBR, wrote this piece on the US Open. We hope that you like it!

Asafa Powell, photo by PhotoRun.net

Campbell_Veronica-ParisDL11.jpgVeronica Campbell-Brown, photo by PhotoRun.net

Jones_LoloR_USOut.JpgLoLo Jones, photo by PhotoRun.net

About six thousand track fans were treated to a well run track meet at the Madison Square Gardens, with some scintillating early season performances. Asafa Powell, the man who has run sub ten seconds in the 100 meters over 76 times, ran 5.64 for the seldom run fifty meters, giving him the fastest time in a decade! Veronica Campbell-Brown just dusted the women's 50m dash field, with her excellent 6.08, the fastest time in twelve years! On the hurdle side, LoLo Jones, in her first race since back surgery to relieve pain from a birth defect, won the 50m hurdles in 6.78, one of the fastest times on record for that event. Most importantly, she was on fire. Terrance Trammell battled David Oliver to the finish, showing that Trammell is still one of the best hurdlers that the US has produced indoors and out.

Mo Farah, running the 1,500 meters in Glasgow at the AVIVA International Match, defeated Augustine Choge in a sub 3:40 time, holding Choge off with a fast last 200 meters! More to come!

Aleksey Dmitrik, 2011 WC high jump, photo by PhotoRun.net

A great competition in Hustopece, CZE, as the 8th Moravian High Jump Tour gets under way! A flash story from our friend, Alfons Juck.
Jesse Williams, 2011 WC gold medalist, photo by PhotoRun.net

Jesse Williams admits that last summer's non-stop series of competitions prepared him for the World Champs. Now, Jesse wants a record. RBR predicts a new indoor AR from Mr. Williams.

Oliver_DavidQ1a_OlyGames08.jpg David Oliver, 2008 Beijing, photo by PhotoRun.net

David Oliver is one of the best hurdlers in the world. His second half of 2011 was hampered by an injury, demystified by a fellow athlete's physio. Now healthy, and focused, David is looking to a fast indoor season and London 2012.

LoLo Jones, 2010 Aviva Gateshead, photo by PhotoRun.net

LoLo Jones is the 2008 & 2010 World Indoor Champion at the 60m hurdles. Last summer, she had back surgery to repair a birth defect. Training well, pain free, and focused, LoLo knows that she can be at the top of her event if she stays focused on her event. She wants to run well at US Open.

Wells_KellieR-Doha11.jpgKellie Wells, photo by PhotoRun.net

Kellie Wells is 2011 US 100m hurdle champion. She has now won a championship and also run in the world championships, missing out on a medal. " Things happen," noted Kellie. She is training well and wants to get to the top of the most competitive event on the Women's USA Track & Field roster. A tough hurdles race at US Open. Kellie is ready!

Lagat_Bernard1-FifthAve11.JPGBernard Lagat, Fifth Ave Mile, photo by PhotoRun.net

"I learnt much last season. I had two week of training in Kenya at my parents home, in December, when I went over for my brothers wedding. I am one of ten. I am focused on the 5,000meters this year and will keep myself out of the boxes that did not let me use my speed best last year." Bernard is running the mile, 5,000m and 3,000m this indoor season. He is just a wonderful athlete at the top of his game. A class act in a great sport!

LoLo Jones, Sally Pearson, 2010 AVIVA London, photo by PhotoRun.net

Sally Pearson had an unbelievable year in 2011. Running times that had not been seen since the days of Renaldo Nehemiah (seriously, 12.37 or better? for women, Skeets was hurdling back then). Sally is focused, fast and just on fire. Her opening races down under were 100 meter and 200 meters into swirling headwinds. The -3.4 headwind that she ran her 200 into, lets you know that Sally is going to be tough in 2012.

Less than three hours before the US Open, to follow Runblogrun, please join RunBlogRun today Live from the U.S. Open beginning at 6pm EST. live.runblogrun.com/Event/US_Open_..., #USopenMSG
Reese Hoffa, 2009 Millrose, photo by PhotoRun.net

Nice to see Reese Hoffa on again! Adam Nelson and Christian Cantwell at the US Open tonight, for some good shot put throwing! Nice performances from Chemnitz!
Asafa Powell, photo by PhotoRun.net

Asafa Powell told RBR that he wants to be "around long enough to double my number of sub ten second 100 meter races." For Asafa, it is all about the respect. Fit, he should do well at the US Open over 50 meters, as his race is all about his start.

Campbell_Veronica-ParisDL11.jpgVeronica Campbell-Brown, photo by PhotoRun.net

Veronica Campbell-Brown loves to compete. "there are better girls each year, so I have to focus, but I still love competing and I love NYC!" VCB was not surprised by her fast 100 meters in Ostrava last year, she just saw things she could improve!

Carter-Blake-Bolt-FraterFL-Worlds11.jpgCarter, Blake, Bolt, Frater, 2011 WC 4 x 100m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Nesta Carter is one of the best sprinters in the world. He just happens to be from Jamaica and is running with Yohan Blake, Michael Frater and Usain Bolt. A level-headed young man, Nesta knows his that his time is ahead of him. " I want to run fast and I want first, to make my team this spring. That is all that matters."

Harper-CarruthersFL-World11.JPGDawn Harper, Danielle Carruthers, 2011 WC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Dawn Harper won the 100 meter hurdles gold medal in Beijing. In 2011, she took the bronze medal in the 100 meter hurdles, arguably, the most competitive event on women's track & field circuit. Coached by the iconic Bobby Kersee, Dawn is grateful for her support system and still has the drive and need to succeed. " I love the hurdles." Enough said.

Huge renovations at the Madison Square Gardens. Some killer matches tonight, 7-9.55 pm tonight! If you can not be here, watch on ESPN 2 from 7-9 on Sunday night, January 29, 2012!

The eleven men in the field of the 5,000 meters at the 105th Millrose Games, to be held at the Armory's New Balance Track & Field center is just one of the fascinating match-ups planned for the February 11, 2012 indoor extravaganza! So, how many records can one have in a 5,000 meter race?
Ayele Abshero, 2009 WXC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Mergia_Aselefech-RAK10.JPGAselefech Mergia, 2010 RAK, photo by PhotoRun.net

Well, if you thought Houston was amazing with four course records, then Dubai has really opened the marathon year of 2012 as something very special.  Ayele Abshero cranks out a 2:04:23 in his debut, leading four men under 2:05. Aselefech Mergia runs 2:19:31, with two more women following her under 2:20. Incredible depth on the women's side in the race as well! 

Dibaba_TiruneshH-Reebok10.JPGTirunesh Dibaba, 2009 Rbk Boston, photo by PhotoRun.net

Tirunesh Dibaba, aka the "Baby faced destroyer" has a kick so hot that her shoes should be melting onto the track. Her first gold medal, in a World Championship, was in St. Denis in 2003, and Dibaba just uncorked this vicious last 300 meters and the party, was well, over! Dibaba has won gold at 5,000 meters in the World Championships in 2003, 2005, 10,000 meters in 2005,  2007 and 2009, and in the Olympics, a bronze at the 5,000m in 2004, and golds in both the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters in Beijing in 2008. Dibaba is fit again, and her light, floating stride is fascinating to watch on the Reggie Lewis Center track, where she breaks the field, and then unleashes a kick from hell, decimating her competition. Tirunesh will be running two miles on Saturday, February 4.

Defar_MeseretFH-ParisDL11.jpgMeseret Defar, 2011 AREVA Paris DL, photo by PhotoRun.net 

Meseret Defar likes to race. With 9 world records, run indoors, outdoors and on the road, Defar is like that locomotive that, if you do not move, will just churn right over you. Defar may not be the elegant runner that is Dibaba, but Meseret Defar can kick with the best of them, taking a gold in 2004 at 5,000 meters and getting bronze this past summer over the 5,000 meter distance in Daegu.

Defar will run the 3,000 meters at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. She will face Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury over the three kilometer distance at the Reggie Lewis Center on February 4, 2012.

Watch for Dibaba and Defar to entertain, as they are the Coe and Ovett of Women's middle distance running, and they will give the sports fans at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix something to remember for many years to come!

updated January 27, 2012

Bekele_KenenisaPC-Brussels11.jpgKenenisa Bekele, photo by PhotoRun.net (Belgacom Van Damme Brussels 2011 DL)

It is Thursday evening, and I am in the Affinia Hotel, in New York City. Long day of travel into the Big Apple. Started at 3 am in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, driving to Madison for first flight of day, at 5.30 am. Second flight, 8 am, to LaGuardia, slept a bit then met a fascinating person from Chicago Tribune.

The Press conference, with Asafa Powell, Dawn Harper, Nesta Carter and Veronica Campbell-Brown was very good, with a fine turnout. I will write about that event later tonight. I also interviewed Dathan Ritzenhein, who was giving out the Gatorade Athlete of the Year award for cross country today. Great guy, and a class act, he has recovered well from his Houston race.

Bekele-Hermens-Pre08.JPGJos Hermans & Kenenisa Bekele, 2010 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Kenenisa Bekele is one of the greatest athletes in the world. 5,000m and 10,000 world record holder, Bekele can race from 1,500m to 15k. Soft spoken, for many years, Bekele let his racing do his speaking, but if one listens closely, Bekele speaks his heart. That is all one can ask.

Such a gentle soul off the track, one wonders where all of that focus, spirit and athleticism come from, but it is beyond despute, Kenenisa Bekele is one of sports' greatest stars and one of its greatest talents. Over the past week, Kenenisa Bekele showed that he is much more than a talented distance runner. He is also quite adept in the art of persuasion.

BekeleScottish-WXC08.jpg Bekele, the Scotsman, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Ethiopian Federation was about to make 2012 the year of no elite Ethiopians less than a week ago. There were some very upset people, to say the least and tempers, were, well, flaring, one might say some were incendiary. Into this walked Kenenisa Bekele. 

It was, per Alfons Juck, the thoughtful persuasive argument put forth by Kenenisa Bekele on behalf of himself and his fellow 34 athletes that had the Ethiopian Federation reconsider their banning of most of their major athletes due to no-shows at a camp that was, well, lacking. An observer might note that the effort it takes to run a 52 second last 400 meters at the end of a 5,000 meters pales to the effort and coolness of spirit Kenenisa must have have used to change such points of view. 

Perhaps Mr. Bekele, after he hangs up his spikes, will consider sports politics. Cool heads are needed in the Federations.

Updated January 26, 2012

This project was developed internally by New Balance's digital group. NB then hired KIMbia Athletics, to produce the British Miler. The British Miler is a digital series celebrating the history and tradition of the mile in British Athletics. The film, debuted on January 19, 2012. Jeff Benjamin caught up with Patrick
Tomasiewicz to learn about the event and NB's support of the young British milers. The plans are to develop 12 thirty minute episodes, leading up for the twelve weeks before the British Trials. This is just, well great for the sport! 

Jeff's take on the British Miler is below! Nice job to KIMbia Athletics and New Balance Athletic Shoes. We hope that you like it!

(We will follow up with New Balance next week and provide more information on this fantastic series celebrating the British Miler).
David Oliver, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

David Oliver will have a pretty extensive indoor hurdle season, as he is running Jan. 28 at US Open, Feb.4 at New Balance Indoor Games, and now Feb. 11 for Millrose Games.  The USA Track & Field Invitational, announced on January 24, 2012, joins the former Tyson Invitational at the University of Arkansas, with sponsor Nike, and their strong collegiate fields, with ten amazing elite events!
Kirk Richardson is one of the classiest guys in our business. I had heard that he was at Specialized from his former workmates at Columbia. Before Columbia, Kirk was at Keen as President. Kirk was at Nike from 1979 to 2006, and was extremely involved in their running footwear business. While at Nike, Kirk had stints in Nike Europe and Nike Japan. He is also an avid climber, father, husband.

This article was sent to me by several of Kirk's former work mates, most whose lives were changed by working in collaboration with Kirk. Kirk Richardson's name would come up with so many footwear people across the industry. He was, and is, a very positive guy with an ironic sense of humor. Kirk is very collaborative, it may one of his strongest management traits.

Kirk was one of the main reasons I was able to have some success in working with Nike in the early nineties. He had me pitch his team, and while it was nerve wracking, they were quite fair. After that, I was fortunate to see Kirk a few times each year, for nearly two decades. Our visits were and are, always about checking up on family, friends and stories, we never miss a good story about the industry.

We wish him the very best as he begins his new job as GM for U.S. at Specialized Bicycle.

Samsung Diamond League-Belgacon Van Damme Memorial-Brussels, 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net (Anna Chicherova is the high jumper).

Samsung has agreed to continue their sponsorship of the Samsung Diamond League and, most importantly, they will continue as the Title Sponsor of the DL for 2012! Nice job! Love good sports marketing news!
Here is the preview of the 2012 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, courtesy of our friend, Pat Butcher.

Martin Lel, 2010 RNR Mardi Gras Half, photo by PhotoRun.net

Mergia_Aselefech-RAK10.JPGAselefech Mergia, 2010 RAK, photo by PhotoRun.net

Well, all is better in Ethiopia. The 34 banned athletes are no longer banned and the athletes who were planning to run in Dubai on Friday are cleared. Millrose is planning a killer 5,000 meter men's field. The USA Track & Field Invitational, formerly the Tyson Invitational, will be held on February 11, 2012 and will be the third stop of the VISA indoor series...more to come....

Kenenisa Bekele, 2009 WC, photo by PhotoRun.net

The 2012 U.S. Open, to be held in Madison Square Gardens will feature a tight schedule, going from 7 pm to 9.55 pm, on Saturday night, January 28, 2012. The meet features some great clashes for early season indoor track & field, and for the 2012 season as well! We encourage all to get tickets and visit the MSG ( you have to be at an indoor track & field meet to believe it). If you can not do that, then watch the US Open on TV (check your local listings). We humbly suggest that you check out the live coverage via twitter and our LIVE blog at www.runblogrun.com. The hashtag will be #USopenMSG! See you there!

Bernard Lagat, 2009 Millrose, photo by PhotoRun.net

Well, if you build it, they will come. At least, that is the way it goes in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Home of the Tyson Invitational for nearly a decade, now,  the USA Track & Field Classic will be held on February 11, 2012, the same day as the Millrose Games, (held in NB Armory). This new meet was announced on January 24, 2012.

The ACC, USA Track & Field joined the University of Arkansas and Nike to put together some fields that rival anything on the indoor circuit right now. Besides ten elite events, there are amazing collegiate clashes on the very fast, 200 meter Mondo track! 

Nice to see see four elite indoor track meets in US this season!

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

Kirk Richardson is one of the classiest guys in our business. I had heard that he was at Specialized from his former workmates at Columbia. Before Columbia, Kirk was at Nike from 1979 to 2006. He is also an avid climber, father, husband.

This article was sent to me by several of Kirk's former work mates, most whose lives were changed by working in collaboration with Kirk. Kirk Richardson's name would come up with so many footwear people across the industry. He was, and is, a very positive guy with an ironic sense of humor.

Kirk was one of the main reasons I was able to have some success in working with Nike in the early nineties. He had me pitch his team, and while it was nerve wracking, they were quite fair. After that, I was fortunate to see Kirk a few times each year, for nearly two decades. Our visits were and are, always about checking up on family, friends and stories, we never miss a good story about the industry. 

We wish him the very best as he begins his new job as GM for U.S. at Specialized Bicycles. Morgan Hill, CA will never be the same...

The real opening of the Indoor season for many, is the NB Indoor Games, held at the NYC Armory, January 21. Some tremendous performances, lead by some fun indoor miles and Edward Cheserek, the 2011 FootLocker champion, running a fine 4:02.21 mile. Yes, he will be under four minutes this season!
Philips Idowu, 2011 Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

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

The triple jump last summer in Daegu, Korea, was fraught with pressure, featuring a mano a mano battle between new elite Christian Taylor and World Champ/Olympic silver medalist Philips Idowu. Taylor blasted a 17.99m and Idowu took the challenge, with his best jump of the year, making the event one of RBR's favorites!

Idowu's decision to leave the indoor season alone goes completely with the focus he has put on London 2012. As Philips told RBR in New York City at the adidas NYC GP : " London 2012 is my focus, I will compete when it makes sense, but this is a long build up."

As Sebastian Coe noted so elegantly a decade or more ago: the triple jump is an event that takes much from the body. Ask Christian Olsson, the great Swedish jumper.

Your friends at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix had this information in their program. We thought it might be fun for you to follow some of your favorite athletes running in less than two weeks on the Reggie Lewis Center track! See you February 4, 2012!

nbig cover.jpg

Thumbnail image for OLIVER_EG3.jpgDavid Oliver, 2010 Rieti,
photo courtesy of Rieti 2010

The indoor track season is off and running! David Oliver is hurdling well and Justin Gatlin has run 6.15 twice already

Thumbnail image for OLIVER_EG33.jpgDavid Oliver, Rieti 2010,
photos courtesy of Rieti 2010

Bedfords-Reilly-WC09.JPGTom Bedford, Dave Bedford, Brendan Reilly, photo by PhotoRun.net

Dave Bedford must be grinning ear to ear today! The toughest team to make in 2012 may be the Kenyan Marathon team, where twelve were invited to get involved. The shoot out will be at 2012 Virgin London, where four to six of the possible members will put it all on the line. It could take a new world record to make the Kenyan Olympic marathon team!

The sponsorship imbroglio is getting " tiresome" per several of our sports sponsors. "We welcome new sponsors, we just want to make sure that all sponsors will honor the same rules. That simple."

I have spent last two days at Outdoor Retailer, Winter Market. Great to see so many friends, new and old. Brooks has become that brand that, focusing on its core business, has tripled its business since 2001. Focus is key in this business climate. Note that the six or seven brands that are thriving are focused on their own unique mission. " Anyone silly enough to take Nike on, or try, head on, is, well, just asking for it." noted one keen observer.

RBR expresses strong concern over the Ethiopian Federation verbal warfare with over thirty of its elite athletes. Hopefully, the Federation will see that while, yes, they can find people to run, not using their elite of elite athletes will only hurt Ethiopia and their countrymen and women will wonder why their great athletes, who they take much pride in, did not represent them in various events. We hope that cooler minds prevail. 

In Salt Lake City airport, for some more travel. Wishing all a great weekend, and my father, Stanley Eder, a belated birthday. 

Nick Symmonds, 2010 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

It all began with a blog. Nick Symmonds, frustrated with his perception of where sponsorship in track & field was going, wrote a blog about changing it. The 2012 USATF Convention held a meeting where his concerns and many of the footwear companies came to speak with the athletes about sponsorship. The meeting was very heated, and while some good ideas were discussed, I am not sure that athletes and sponsors were able to understand each other. The truth is, our sport needs more sponsorship and has to look outside of footwear companies (who already are supporting the sport) for companies interested in global sports marketing and branding.  When communication lines are not open, misunderstandings develop.

Nick Symmonds auctioned a tattoo on his left shoulder on Ebay.
Symmonds started a "Your Twitter Name on an Olympian in 2012" eBay auction, launched on Friday, January 6th. He was auctioning the opportunity to place a temporary tattoo on his left shoulder for the 2012 track and field season.
The winner, HDC, will also use Nick on their advisory board. We congratulate Nick on his successful venture and are looking forward to seeing how this sponsorship develops.

The question comes, how will the footwear companies deal with new sponsors? How does it benefit them? Athletes, managers and the federation need to see how new sponsors add to the sport, and continue to give the footwear sponsors value on the money that they already put into the sport.

As someone who observes the sport daily noted, " We may have to reinvent our sport and how we market and brand the sport." What are your thoughts? Send them to [email protected]
Thumbnail image for CRS_Type+Logo.jpg
Congratulations to the Houston Marathon Committee for applying for 3.0 Certification for both the 2012 US Olympic Trials-Marathon and the Houston Chevron Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon. The Council for Responsible Sport recognizes events that work to develop a low carbon lifestyle event.
The Council for Responsible Sport has recognized Paralympic GB Training Camp for
Silver Certification. The Council for Responsible Sport has certification processes that
recognize events concern for supporting a lower carbon lifestyle in producing sporting
events. RBR applauds the Council for Responsible Sport and their certified events and
camps, such as the ParalympicsGB Training Camp.

Desi Davila, 2012 US Olympic Trials-Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Desi Davila made the Olympic Team for 2012! Running smart the entire way, Desi Davila and Shalane Flanagan checked each out for a few miles, then Shalane took off, with Desi keeping herself in second place, in a very tight race. Desi's Brooks team mate, Amy Hastings ran a gutty fourth place.

Congrats to Andrew Carlson, in his first marathon, running a fine 2:11.24 for sixth place. Fifty male runners under 2:19 and fifty women under 2:40. This was a tough race, and one of the strongest teams that the US has put together in a very long time.

Congrats to Brooks for having 49 qualified athletes in the 2012 US Olympic Trials-Marathon. Nice support of our sport!

Ryan Hall, 2012 US Olympic Trials-Marathon, second place,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Ryan Hall, the fastest American ever at the marathon distance, finished second in the 2012 US Olympic Trials-Marathon. In fact, Ryan took the field out early and separated those who could run 2:06 from those who could not. In doing that, Ryan Hall lead the breakaway pack that went to seven, then to six, then, to five, then, to four, then to three, and finally, it was Ryan and his buddy, Meb Keflezighi.

Deena Kastor the 2004 bronze medalist, showed true guts, when she finished sixth, ten months after she gave birth to her daughter, Piper. Deena, a role model for running mothers everywhere, is the current American record holder for the women's marathon.  

Making the team is the important thing, now Ryan gets to focus on what he can do in London next Summer. This was a nice release from ASICS America, his sponsor.
Lagat-Farah-Rupp-World11.JPGGalen Rupp, Mo Farah, Bernard Lagat, 2011 WC 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

I should have figured it out then. I had just arrived at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Birmingham, England for the AVIVA Birmingham Indoor last February. It is one of my favorite meetings: well run, well executed and Ian Stewart, the meet director, puts amazing fields together. He had planned that the second to last event would be the men's 5,000 meters.

Just before I arrived, Mo Farah had announced that he was training with Galen Rupp under the watchful eye of Alberto Salazar, as part of the Nike Project. The media interest had been huge, and Mo and Galen were relaxing, trying to get over a bit of jet lag and prepare for the 5,000 meters the next night.

Alberto had told us that he was very happy with Galen and Mo's early training. " They are nearly perfect training partners." The next night, Mo Farah and Galen Rupp teamed up to break their countries indoor records for 5,000 meters. Mo Farah broke the thirty one year old record of one Nick Rose (Alberto Salazar was third in that race), and Galen Rupp broke the more recent record of Bernard Lagat (Galen was fourth in that race).

Two weeks later, Mo Farah won a grueling 3,000 meter at the European Indoor. He took the lead and put himself out for all to see, kicking in a tough last 200 meters, to defend his title from Torino.

Farah_MoR1-EuroInd11.jpg Mo Farah, 2011 Euro Indoors, 3,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Later in March, in New York, Mo Farah won the NYC Half, setting a new British record, with Galen Rupp a few seconds behind, running a stellar time. Training partners? Heck, these guys were glued at the hip. And, as Martha Stewart had said, time and time again, "that was a good thing."

Thumbnail image for Farah_MoFV_NYCH11.Jpg Mo Farah, 2011 NYRR Half, photo by PhotoRun.net

In June, at the Nike Pre Classic, Mo Farah, in his first 10,000 meters, worked his way through the field, until, just before the last 1,000 meters, Mo took off. Pushing, pushing, and flying around the last 200 meters, Mo Farah not only won the race from an amazing field, he set a new British record and ran the fastest time in the world, 26:46.57!

Farah-Salazar2646-Pre11.JPGMo Farah, Alberto Salazar, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Alberto Salazar's training program includes weight training, water workouts, Alter-G treadmills, sports nutrition, just about anything an athlete could need. Mo Farah and Galen Rupp trust Alberto and his team, and they focus on their racing and effort to be a world class distance runner. Actually, correct that, their effort is focused on being the best that they can be. For Mo Farah, in 2011 and 2012, his efforts may give him the moniker of the best long distance runner in the world. For Galen, who continues to improve, year by year, his best years are still a few years away. (Scary, when one thinks of Galens' 26:48.00).

In July, Mo Farah took on a stellar 5,000m field and won, setting a new British record and leading Bernard Lagat to an AR. Galen Rupp had been hip checked in the race, sent flying and he did not finish.

At the AVIVA Birmingham GP, Mo Farah won the 5,000 meters, and Galen Rupp, flying over the last 200 meters, took out Imane Merga, the toughest 5,000 meter runner in the world (well, before that race).

The World Champs were tremendous. Mo Farah put it all on the line in the 10,000 meters, taking the silver, as he was caught with a few strides to go. David Bedford, the former world record holder at 10,000 meters and Virgin London founder told me, " If anyone had said that a British kid would medal at the 10,000m eighteen months ago, we would have laughed." Ian Stewart, bronze medalist at the 5,000 meters from 1972, and UK Endurance mentor, told us, " Mo ran an amazing race in the 10,000 meters, he should be proud."

Mo Farah came back in the 5,000 meters, and let nothing to chance. Running a strong pace, and last mile under four minutes, Mo Farah made it tough, running the last 800 metes just over 1:52, and blasting a last 200 meters in 25.9, holding off Bernard Lagat and Imange Merga! Mo Farah had his gold and the UK had a gold and silver medalist in the distances!

Mo Farah will be running on January 28 in Glasgow, Scotland. Then, on February 4, Mo comes to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, to run the mile! He has run 4:00.7 indoors and 3:56 outdoors, so just how fast can Mr. Mellow run?

Galen Rupp tells us that Mo Farah is Mr. Mellow. " Nothing riles him. He just relaxes and keeps me focused." When running is done, this dynamic duo do not talk running, there is much more to life, and it is also, perhaps one reason why they get along so well, and both are running so well.

Watch the mile on February 4, 2011, at the Reggie Lewis Center, as Mo Farah, and his training partner, Galen Rupp, line up for an indoor mile. The crowd of five thousand plus will be jumping up and down and the Reggie Lewis Center will be rocking! And just how fast will Mo Farah, who runs so relaxed with the hopes of his great country on his shoulders? Well,
this writer thinks that, with the field being lined up, perhaps Mo and Galen could run indoor PBs. No matter what, it will be a race for the ages!

Merga-Lagat-Gebremeskel-Farah-WorCh11.jpg  2011 WC 5,000 meter final, the final meters....photo by PhotoRun.net

First, if you are within six hours of Sacramento, CA on Friday, January 20 and Saturday, January 21, get to the VS Athletics Super Clinic, you can pre reg for $50 at vsathletics.com. Meet & Greet on Friday, and Clinic on Saturday! Headliners are Dr. Joe Vigil, Peter Thompson, John Godina and LaTanya Sheffield! Also note Danny Gruber, aka Danny Dog (one of my old training partners), coach of Brett Gotcher in high school, will also be speaking!

Peanut, aka Dwayne Harms, one of the iconic figures in Northern California running for the past four decades, asked me to write about the VS clinic. In return, he gave me an interview. Nut is a tremendous athlete, coach, father, husband, and my friend. I have been lucky enough to hang with the Aggies and Nut for many years and, well, I always feel better afterwards, (well, after the hangover goes away).

A quick story. It is New Orleans, 1992. Mr Green and the Men from Modesto, one of Harm's personalities, is shaking the walls of some building in New Orleans. Our son (not Peanut & mine, mind you), Adam, then all of five, is crashed on my lap, totally asleep, as Mr Green is just cranking out the toons. I can not move, as I am afraid to wake up dear Adam. Friends are coming by, kissing the little trackster and giving me Blackened voodoos, a local elixir similar to a dark beer. Adam, now 25, believes that could have been his start to his seven years in metal bands. 

I submit to you, dear and gentle readers, an interview with the man, the legend, my brother from another planet, Dwayne Harms. We covered philosophy, art, VS Athletics Clinic. Thanks, Nut! 

Dwayne Harms, from the Peanut Harms Art collection

Dathan Ritzenhein, 2012 US Olympic Trials-Marathon,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Oh for forty more yards, Dathan Ritzenhein must have thought. Having fallen back forty seconds, Dathan dug in, and clawed himself out of the deficit, and found himself in that cold corner of hell called fourth place in the US Olympic Trials-Marathon. No one could understand the agony, and nearness of a position on the Olympic team, but, then, it was near, not, on the team.

Dathan Ritzenhein and Amy Hastings, to me, exhibit the Olympic spirit and focus. The US Olympic Trials -Marathon, like our Track & Field trials is tough. One competitor told us the day before the marathon, " You will have to run your best to make the team, for all three positions." Fighting the good fight, challenging oneself to see just what one is made of, that is what high school, college coaches whisper in our ears each day for years. Dathan got it. He embraced it. He has made two Olympic teams before, he wanted to make this team badly. It just will not be in the marathon.

Dathan noted that we will see him on the track shortly, as he goes to make his third Olympic team, at the 10,000 meters.

After the race, I watched Dathan get off the elevator with his wife, and two kids. After such a emotional race, one that many would have been proud of, Dathan is back with the people who love him and who he loves.

Dave Hunter wrote the superb piece on Amy Hastings earlier this week, so we asked him to give us his read on the battle for the team, and third, and eventually fourth place on the men's race. This is how he saw the mens' race, and Dathan Ritzenhein magnificent run.
It's all about the shoes, photo courtesy of Brooks Running

Brooks Sports has shown that, if one focuses on a goal, with a great team, one can shake up an industry. Brooks has focused on specialty running for a decade, and has been rewarded as the top performance footwear brand in specialty running, pushing ASICS America, who had lead the performance running business for the last sixteen years, into the number two position. With brands like ASICS, adidas, Mizuno, New Balance, PUMA, Saucony,  pushing the quality of their product and redefining their relationships with their dealers and their consumers, the consumer, in the end, is the winner, with better product and better service.

Galen Rupp, 2011 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Oliver_DavidFV1_USOut.JpgDavid Oliver, 2010 USA Outdoor Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix has announced two more athletes: Galen Rupp & David Oliver.

Galen Rupp is the American record holder at the 10,000m (26:48.00) and the 5,000m indoors (13:11.53). Galen, who has risen from a high school prep star, winning the Nike Border Clash as a senior and leading his Oregon Ducks to national championships. Coached by Alberto Salazar, Galen Rupp and Alberto have a strong relationship that has helped Galen improve each year. Trusting his coach implicitly, Galen sees that Alberto's attention to detail (from core training, to pool work to the Alter G treadmill) make Galen a complete runner. Over the last year, Galen has trained with Mo Farah, who coach Alberto Salazar notes is "just about a perfect training partner". Both have improved in 2011 and as 2012 starts, Galen is focused on the 10,000m for London. He had considered the US Olympic Trials-Marathon last week, but, decided to hold off his marathon career to see where he can go on the track. We look forward to seeing Galen's gutty racing at the famed Reggie Lewis Center on February 4. Do not miss it!

And then, there is David Oliver. David was the king of the hurdles in 2010, but had a tough 2011, missing a World Championship medal. Perhaps he was tired, perhaps he was still recovering from 22 wins in 2010. In any condition, David Oliver will be back and focused for 2012, looking for that London medal that has been his focus.

David Oliver is huge for a 110m hurdler. Guided by Brooks Johnson, David took off in 2009 and has not looked back. Noting that the 110 m hurdlers in the US may be the toughest team to make, David Oliver has taken on Dayron Robles, Lui Xiang and all of the top American hurdlers, and defeated them.

Brooks Johnson is a tough taskmaster. But David Oliver and Brooks Johnson have a successful relationship: Brooks coaches and David listens and races well. Last year was tough for both coach and athlete, as both want to excel. We shall see how they start off 2012!  

Even in a tough 2011, David did not give up, he battled to the end of the season. With 2012 started, we look forward to seeing David race indoors in Boston. The New Balane Indoor fans, some of the best in the world, love the indoor hurdles and indoor sprints!

Two of our favorite athletes, Galen Rupp and David Oliver, will make the meet exciting. Add them to Mo Farah, Christian Cantwell and Morgan Uceny, and more to come, and the Reggie Lewis Center will be pumping!
There is nothing better than a great indoor track & field meet, and NB Indoor Grand Prix should be exciting! 

We look forward to seeing David Oliver and Galen Rupp start their 2012 seasons at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix! Do not miss the meet! A ticket cost you just about the same as a trip to Taco Bell, so no excuses! See elite track & field!  

Meb Keflezighi, 2012 US Olympic Trials Marathon champion,
photo by PhotoRun.net

The race was fantastic. 111 men in the field, and 50 under 2:19.01. Nineteen personal bests, including best Olympic Trials marathon times for places two to fifteen! Meb Keflezighi's win was masterful, a stroke of real genius and also, amazingly lucky. Bob Larsen, Meb's coach, and Meb Keflezighi took a gamble, with their eyes open, and once again, the gamble paid off. Here is the behind the scenes' story that will show you just how amazing their coach-athlete relationship is and how great of gamblers Bob & Meb are.....
Amy Hastings, 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

On NBC-TV on Saturday, January 14, 2011, millions of television viewers were transfixed as the winner take all nature of the Olympic Trials sunk into their heads. Amy Hastings, known as a 5,000m/10,000m runner, had run her first marathon at the Honda LA in 2011, and had shaken up a few people.

On Saturday, Amy Hastings came oh so close to making the Olympic team. Her surges would have cracked many a marathoner, even a Kara Goucher of a few months ago. But, by the time Kara Goucher did not falter after the third surge, Amy was spent. Kara Goucher gutted it out and Amy Hastings, giving it her all, finished fourth.

This is the US Olympic Trials, the biggest poker game in sports. In one year, Amy Hastings has gone from not a marathoner to the 4th best in the U.S. Her coach, Terrance Mahon calls her, " little Deena" in honor of Amy's improvement and her similarities to the AR holder, and 2004 bronze medalist Deena Drossin, who took sixth in the same race, ten months after giving birth.

Amy Hastings wept after the race. She was devastated. Then, she went to the press conference and held her own. A class act and mark my words, Amy Hastings will be a future Olympian. She lives the words, citius, altius, fortius.

Dave Hunter, our roving correspondent, wrote this piece, focusing on what we saw as the supreme battle, the battle between third and fourth place in the U.S. Olympic Trials-Marathon for women. We hope that you enjoy it.
Bairu_Simon-Houston12.JPGSimon Bairu, 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Simon Bairu is the Canadian record holder at the 10,000 meters, and he is learning, as many of us have, about running the marathon. A cruel mistress, the marathon has challenged Simon Bairu, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and now training with his former Badger team mates, as well as Shalane Flanaga and Kara Goucher, under the watchful eyes of Jerry Schumacher.

Bairu_Simon1-Houston12.JPG Simon Bairu, 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon, by PhotoRun.net

Simon finished sixth on Sunday in the Chevron Houston Marathon, running 2:19.52. This is his first completed marathon in three tries. He did not make the 2:11 Canadian standard, which is disappointing, but, Simon Bairu likes challenges, and we hope to see him go for the 10,000m standard in the spring.

Jon Gugala wrote the following piece as a preview for the Chevron Marathon, which, during, the craziness that was the Olympic Trials, I missed.

I believe the story gives you, our readers a view of a young man, who, like many of us, takes on challenges. I finally met Simon last night, in a restaurant in Houston. At first, like many of the young faces in our sport, I did not recognize him in civilian clothes-I always see the athletes in their kit at a major event.

Nelson-Bairu-Bumbalough-Houston12.JPG Tim Nelson, Simon Bairu, Andrew Bumbalaugh, 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Simon, know you are respected for the challenges you take on. We look forward to seeing you this spring, and hopefully, in London. You have many great races in front of you!

David Rudisha, 2011 Lausanne, photo by PhotoRun.net

Face it, David Rudisha is the best 800 meter runner in the world. A true student of the sport, David regaled London media at the AVIVA London GP last summer. He studies films of the greats: Coe, Ovett, Cruz, Aoutia, Kipketer, many before his era as well. Soft spoken, focused and driven, Rudisha runs the 800 meters like it was a very long sprint. RBR is looking forward to seeing him run the 400 and 800 meters next month!
Silke Spiegelburg, 2011 WC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Silke Spiegelburg opened her season with a stunning 4.77m jump, giving her the German NR. One of the premier women vaulters in the world, Silke is sending a message out at the start of 2012 to all pole vaulters-it will take some strong jumping in the World Indoors and London to medal.
Meb Keflezighi, 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon, by PhotoRun.net

Flanagan_ShalaneFL1-USOlyT12.JPGShalane Flanagan, 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Meb Keflezighi & Shalane Flanagan, the two winners of the 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon, showcased the Olympic spirit & dream. For Meb, this will be his third Olympic team, and for Shalane, her third Olympic team as well! Meb made the team off five and one half weeks of training, and Shalane, off the long build up from the fall, and in her second marathon!

The truth is, the two teams named may be our best yet. Both the men and the women are in top form, or, will be there shortly. The testament on how tough they are can be seen in the highest quality of the fourth placers: Dathan Ritzenhein is one of our most talented and gutsy male runners and Amy Hastings showed her stuff here: a class act showcasing a future in our sport, that is, without limitations. Watching the TV coverage afterwards, especially the battles by Dathan and Amy, put tears in my eyes. But, that is what great sports challenges are supposed to be. 

Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall, 2012 Olympic Trials-Marathon,
photo by PhotoRun.net

It is Monday morning in Houston. The signage is down, and runners with medals around their necks are heading to the airport. The Running USA meetings, started last night, are in full swing, so many of the power brokers in the sport are in town. Meb Keflezighi stops to take pictures with some fans, as he, his wife and youngest daughter, have breakfast in the lobby hotel. Another day in running paradise.

Some tremendous performances this past weekend. We will be writing about Saturday and Sunday for some time to come! Right now, the staff of the Olympic Trials and Houston Marathon committee are trying to get their first night of sleep in several days.

Congrats to all on a job well done!

It is Sunday afternoon, January 15, 2012. One day after the U.S. Olympic Trials, and the day of the 40th anniversary of the Houston Marathon. 28,000 runners run three races, the Aramco Half, the Chevron Marathon and the BP 5k! Four course records, and this is on the second day of running in Houston!

Meb Keflezighi & Shalane Flanagan won the U.S. Olympic Trials-Marathons on Saturday. The teams men (Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall, Abdi Abdirihman), and women (Shalane Flanagan, Desi Davila, Kara Goucher), were tremendous. Fourth place man (Dathan Ritzenhein) and women (Amy Hastings) were heart breaking stories, showing the absolute toughness of both races and the quality of our teams.

RBR did our story on the Men's race last night, our story on the Womens will be done for Monday am. Our apologies, but a long weekend has worn us out. Enjoy the quotes and releases from this release and see you tomorrow!


Ryan, Meb, Abdi, your 2012 US Olympic men's marathon team,
by PhotoRun.net

Desi, Shalane, Kara, your 2012 US Olympic Womens' marathon team,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Abera_Alemitu-Houston12.JPGAlemitu Abera, 2012 Chevron Houston Marathon, CR, 2:23.14,
photo by PhotoRun.net

28,000 runners (13,000 in the Chevron full marathon, 11,000 in the Aramco half marathon, and 4,000 in the  BP 5k) showed up at 7 am on the starting line of the Chevron Houston and Aramco Houston Half marathon. Ethiopian runners, who love the Houston community and the support that they get in Houston, set four course records. Here is our story on a magnificent second day of running in Houston!

Lilesa_Feyisa-Houston12.JPGFeyisa Lilesa, 2012 Aramco Half Marathon, CR, 59:22,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Jufar_TarikuFV-Houston12.JPGTariku Jufar, 2012 Houston Marathon CR, 2:06.51,
photo by PhotoRun.net

2012 US Olympic Trials-Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Here is my quick story on the the men's US Olympic Trials for the marathon story! We did both races live today, check out our link on how the races developed! Congrats to the entire 111 men who started this race today! Women's feature later tonight!
Joan Benoit Samuelson, 2011 US Olympic Trials Opening Ceremonies,
 by PhotoRun.net

More global news on our sport, and some final tidbits on the Houston 2012. Less than an hour to go!
Here are David's notes about Friday, January 13, 2012 in Houston, the day before the US Olympic Trials-Marathon.

Desi Davila, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net
Our friend, David Hunter, was asked by RBR to send us his notes about his observations each day during the Houston weekend. Here is his thoughts on Thursday, January 12, 2012:

Galen Rupp, 2011 WC 10,000m, photo by Photorun.

No matter what rumors you hear, Galen Rupp is not running the marathon this weekend. Rumors abound. Galen is focused on the 10,000 meters. But, just one of the rumors one would hear walking around the Hilton this weekend. David Hunter gets us closer to the stories and non-stories...


Molly Huddle, Shalane Flanagan lead 2011 USA XC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Our athletics season is one of overload. From Cross country to indoor to outdoor and throw in road racing in Fall, Summer, Spring. As the indoor season is taking off, Usain Bolt is announcing his outdoor early season. The US Olympic Trials-Marathon are two days away and one considers how long we go during the year without an athletic event (road running, track & field, race walking, cross country running)-like zero?

I liked the picture of Shalane Flanagan and Molly Huddle. Right after this picture was when Shalane put the hammer down. Wondering what she will do in Houston? The Desi/Shalane show will be interesting!
Shalane Flanagan, 2011 RNR San Antonio, photo by PhotoRun.net

Shalane Flanagan is currently the 10,000m record holder outdoors and 5,000m record holder indoors. Her move up to the marathon in November 2010 gave her a second place in a exhaustingly tactical race at the ING New York City Marathon. Her bronze medal at the World Cross Country Championships showed the world that she is one of the best women distance runners on the planet.

We saw Shalane, her husband and her coach, Jerry Schumacher, come in this evening to the race headquarters. It was obvious that Shalane Flanagan is focused on this 26.2 mile run that she will do on Saturday, January 14, 2012, through downtown Houston.

Jon Gugala, the writer of this tome, considers Shalane Flanagan as running royalty. We think Jon is right about that !
Matthew Centrowitz, Jr., bronze medalist, 2011 WC 1,500m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Matthew Centrowitz, Jr. won the NCAA 1,500m, the USA Outdoor 1,500m and in his first World Champs, took the bronze at 1,500 meters! This young man is the real thing! Nike signed Matthew Centrowitz to an endorsement contract per his management group, PACE Sports Management. Matthew will be running with the Nike Oregon Project with coach Alberto Salazar and Centrowitz' coach while at Oregon, Andy Powell. We wish him luck in 2012!  With a world class kick and ability to race rounds, Matthew should be a force in American middle distance running for some time to come!
Jon Cook

Jon Cook, one of the athletes from the Golden era of California high school distance running, has died of ALS. This thoughtful note was provided by Ralph Serna, who, with many others, has a wonderful email list of that era, and keeps us mindful of some of the great runners from that time. Keep Jon and his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Anyone interested in the funeral arrangements, email me at [email protected] and I will pass on the info from Ralph as it is announced. 

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

Renaud Lavillenie ruptured one of his hands this past fall. His surgeon seems happy with his progress and in two weeks, the French vaulter hopes to begin training. He still has eyes on jumping indoors. Asafa Powell, the man who has run 76 times under 10 seconds for 100 meters, is eyeing the World Indoor Champs in Istanbul, Turkey.

Powell_AsafaPC-Lausanne11.jpgAsafa Powell, 2011 Lausanne DL, photo by PhotoRun.net 

Matt Centrowitz, Jr. the 2011 WC 1,500 meter bronze medalist, who recently signed with Nike (he is represented by Ricky Simms/PACE Sports Management), will be running at the Millrose Games on February 11, 2012, one week after his indoor debut at the NB Indoor Grand Prix on February 4, 2012. See the release RBR posted on the endorsement and Matt's future training plans...

Matt Centrowtiz, Jr., 2011 WC 1,500m semi-finals, photo by PhotoRun.net

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

Just arrived in Houston, Texas for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials-Marathon, and Running USA. Three hundred marathoners are coming to the Houston for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials-Marathon. 40,000 will be here on Sunday for the Aramco Houston Half and Chevron Houston Marathon as the Houston Marathon Committee celebrates 40 years of the Houston Marathon.

A little global news here...Usain Bolt is back in shape, ready for the year, 2012, and it looks like he will be running the 400 meters in February, probably one a relay or two and perhaps an open 400 meters. Michael Johnson, 400m WR and former WR holder in the 200 meters thinks that, for Usain Bolt, the 400 meters is his destiny. We shall see.

The other night, I was thinking about one of my favorite people, Dave Mingey.  Mingey was at Nike in communications, in the late 90s and early 2000's. The guy actually loved running, and he worked his butt off to help those of us in media to get the access we needed. He was fair and honest in protecting his client's corporate culture. We not only respected him, we liked him.

 Mingey facebooked me last week about a friend of his, a young mother of two, who had started running again and qualified for the Olympic Trials. He thought I might find the story captivating. I did.

A good high school runner in Maine, Jodie (Lake) Conway ran in high school, then at Boston College, loving the half mile and mile. She ran a couple marathons, on a whim after college, then put running away. She had a life to live.

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Jodie Conway, 2011 Philadelphia Marathon, third place,
photo courtesy of Philly Marathon 

A sister got her running again, so they could run a half marathon. A sister-in-law then worked on her to train with her for Boston. After each marathon she swore she would not run another!

Then, she found a coach, who encouraged her, and that 3:28 marathon  best dropped to 2:52! This past fall, Jodie Conway too third in the Philadelphia Marathon, running 2:44:09 and qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials-Marathon.

A few weeks ago, she became a Saucony Hometown Hero, part of a program that the footwear company uses to promote grass roots running. 

We hope that you enjoy the quick interview we did with Jodie, she on loudspeaker, as she was driving back from dropping off the kids in Maine with her parents. We wish Jodie Lake Conway the very best on Saturday, January 14, 2012. After you read this interview, reconsider how busy your day is!

Kara Goucher, 2009 Lisbon Half Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Kara Goucher is one of those athletes, who, for the past several years, has been focused on seeing how good she can get on the world stage. Her 2:24 at the 2011 BAA Boston, only seven months after the birth of Kara and her husband Adam's son, Colt, raised a few eyebrows. Her change in coaches, on October 23, 2011, from Alberto Salazar to Jerry Schumacher, raised a few more.

RBR asked Jon Gugula to write about Kara Goucher. As Jon found out, Kara Goucher should not be underestimated. For some athletes, it is all about the times, for Kara Goucher, it is about the competition...

Kara Goucher, along with 189 of her closest friends, will be doing battle on Saturday, January 14, 2011, on the streets of Houston, Texas. The battle between Shalane Flanagan and Desi Davila will be one thing. The real battle, in both races, will be for third place...
Magdelana Lewy-Boulet, 2011 XC Club, photo by PhotoRun.net

Lehmkhule_Jason-LondonM11.jpgJason Lehmkuhle, 2011 Virgin London, photo by PhotoRun.net

Saucony sent us this release today. We found it, in particular, another example of how much the running footwear business has supported the sport. Of the 300 athletes who will line up on Saturday, January 14, 2012, many find support from the performance running brands. Saucony has a local support program called Hometown heroes, and many of those athletes are represented in this release.

Their two top athletes, Magdelena Lewy Boulet and Jason Lehmkuhle, look to be in the real fight to make the Olympic team. My take on the trials right now is that the top two women is pretty well, done, unless Ms. Davila or Ms. Flanagan oversleep. The third position on the women's team is a total battle with fifteen or so athletes in the fight. On the men's side, Mr. Hall can either run to make the top three, or run with his coach, and set an American record. But second and third are totally open there.

Magdelena Lewy Boulet has been fun to watch racing all year, and she has the tools to get on the team. Jason Lemkuhle has the history, and the patience to stay out of trouble and grab a lot real estate over the last three or four miles. The athletes who make this team, either men or womens, will be the runners who make the least mistakes. Marathon racing in an Olympic Trials environment is a blistering chess game. For the past four, some for eight, some for the past twelve years, have dreamed of the upcoming moments, on Saturday, January 14, 2012.

The other thing that Saucony did was a small line for the Trials, here is a picture that they sent me, just for shoe geeks.

SauconyTrialShoes.jpgGood luck to all 300 participants in this weekends' Trials.

Kirani James, 2011 AVIVA London DL, photo by PhotoRun.net

Jackson_BershawnSF1-Worlds11.jpgBershawn Jackson, 2011 World Champs, 400m hurdles, by PhotoRun.net

Kirani James, the 2011 World Championship gold medalist at 400 meters, in 2011, at the ripe old age of 19, also has the number three best time ever indoors over the 400 meters! Bershanw Jackson, aka Batman, is a threat over 400 meters, either flat or with hurdles. This time, the two titans of track will duel over 400 meters. Two laps around the Reggie Lewis Center's 200 meter Mondo track, one of the fastest in the world. Add to that, the crowd at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, and you have a real race!

Cantwell_Christian-World11.JPGChristian Cantwell, 2011 World Champs, Shot Put, photo by PhotoRun.net

Christian Cantwell, the 2008 & 2010 World Indoor Champion, the 2007 silver medalist World Outdoors and 2009 gold medalist, Wolrd Outdoors, will be featured in the reconstituted Men's shot put, not held at the Reggie Lewis since 2008. Cantwell, coming off surgery and no medal in Daegu, Korea this past summer, is a man who remembers all, and uses that frustration to throw menacingly far. He and his competitors will remind the fans at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.

Do not miss a moment. If you are within six hours, get there! Buy a ticket. If not, watch the live coverage!

Soi, 2011 FBK Hengelo, photo by PhotoRun.net

Edwin Soi, after some very successful cross country races, is moving to the indoor track this season.....Houston 2012 is just five short days away.
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Galen Rupp, 2011 NYC Half, photo by PhotoRun.net

Galen Rupp has decided to withdraw from the marathon trials. He noted, in an interview with Oregonlive.com, that he needed to commit fully to the 10,000 meters for London, where he sees his future. RBR agrees. He can run the marathon in 2016.

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                          Chaunte Howard Lowe, 2011 Ostrava, photo by PhotoRun.net

Chaunte Howard Lowe, AR in high jump, is baaaaaacccckkk! She just opened for 2012 with a clearance of 1.88m. Last year, Chaunte had a baby and had a short season. Let's see what Chaunte can do. She has spoken of her dream of an Olympic medal! 


NASHVILLE (USA, Jan 7): US high jump record holder Chaunte Lowe returned to competition with solid 188 clearance at Ed Temple Invitational. She jumped once in 2011 at US Champs after her second child was born in Spring. Now she is back after good training and hoping to attack top results. She plans to open internationally at Moravia High Jump Tour in the Czech Republic, Hustopece on January 28 and Trinec on January 30. In the 55 m Bahamian Tamicka Clarke clocked 6.95, in men´s 55 m hurdles Jamaican Eric Keddo 7.31.



KINGSTON (JAM): World 100m champion Yohan Blake walked away with the Male Athlete of the Year Award while Rosemarie Whyte, who in 2011 broke 50 seconds (49.84) for the first time, was the Female Athlete of the Year at Racers TC Awards Evening. Schillonie Calvert, who took her 100m personal best to 11.05 and ran 22.55 over 200m, also a lifetime best, and Warren Weir, recorded a PB of 20.43, were the Most Improved Female and Male athletes. Kenroy Anderson was the Most Punctual athlete announced by Racers. The Grand Belisario Ballroom was transformed into a red-and-blue-themed ceremonial splendour, a clear homage to the strong Camperdown High School influence and background in the club as athletes, coaches and administrators celebrated their own and honoured those who have made invaluable contributions to the sport locally. Usain Bolt walked away with the Founders Award of Excellence for his impact on the sport. „Tonight marks a significant milestone for the club. It's the first time that we are showing our gratitude to those who have made invaluable contributions to the development of Racers Track Club," said head of the club Glen Mills. Awards were also presented to all of the clubs' 11 medallists at international championships last year - Celia Walters, Bailey-Cole, Wilbert Walker, Daniel Bailey, Shereefa Lloyd, Davita Prendergast, Whyte, Allodin Fothergill, Jermaine Gonzales, Blake and Bolt. Racers Medal of Appreciation went to Dr Tanya Clarke (medical services), Dr Akshai Mansingh (sports medicine), Dr Carl Bruce (medical sciences), Dr Paula Dawson (sports medicine), Par Lue Chin (physiotherapy), Wendy Peart (physiotherapy). Racers Award of Merit to voluntary services: Dr Warren Blake - (sports medicine and orthopedic services), Dr Aggrey Irons (sports medicine, sports psychology), Dr Herb Elliot (anti-doping), Grace Jackson (operational support), Ricky Simms (operational support, sports management and sponsorship). Racers Award of Merit for coaches Jason Dawson and Bert Cameron. Racers Gold Medal Award went among others to agent Cubie Seegobin. Informs Jamaican Gleaner.



SAN JUAN (PUR): Jamaican World champions Yohan Blake and Veronica Campbell-Brown were selected the Central American and Caribbean athletes of 2011, the region's athletics governing body (CACAC) announced. Blake took the 100m title and ran the third leg of the world record breaking 4x100m relay squad at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu. Three weeks later, he ran the second fastest time ever in the 200m (19.26) at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels. Two-time Olympic 200m winner Campbell-Brown collected her first world crown at the distance, after finishing runner-up in the 100m. The 29-year old Jamaican shows an impressive collection of 10 World Championships medals, including her 100m gold from Helsinki 2005. Quartermilers Kirani James of Grenada and Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas, were selected the junior athletes of 2011. At 18, James became the youngest ever individual world champion when taking the 400m final in Daegu. Miller added the World Youth gold in Lille to the junior crown won in Moncton in 2010.



AMOREBIETA (ESP, Jan 8): Kenyan 2010 World CC Champion Joseph Ebuya won the 58th Zornotza CC race with 31:33 at 10.7 km. World medalist 2011 Vincent Chepkok was second in 31:43 ahead of Eritrean Hunegaw Mesfin 32:03. Lucas Rotich of Kenya was fourth in 32:07 and another World CC medalist 2011 Teklemariam Medhin of Eritrea was way back fifth 32:50. Best Spanish Daniel Mateo as 9th in 33:43. Eritrean Nazareth Weldu was a surprise winner of women 6.7 km in 23:45 ahead of more experienced Kenyan Priscah Jepleting 23:53 and best Spanish Lidia Rodriguez 23:56.



EGMOND (NED, Jan 8): Ethiopian Dawit Wolde was the best at the 40th Egmond Half Marathon in fast 1:00:46. It is new course record, the former was 1:01:19 by Greg van Hest since 1999. Kenyan Gideon Kipketer was second (1:01:03) ahead of Eritrean Samuel Tsegay 1:01:09. Best Dutch runner was Khalid Choukoud as 6th in 1:03:13 after close finish with Michel Butter also 1:03:13. Surprise in women category as Ethiopian Meseret Hailu (a 2:30 marathon runner) beat in 1:11:18 (PB) the pre-race favorite and Berlin Marathon winner Florence Kiplagat of Kenya 1:11:21 and Dutch Hilda Kibet 1:11:45. Fourth Flomena Chepchirchir 1:11:48 and 6th best Dutch runner Ilse Pol 1:13:27.







EUGENE (USA): Oregonlive.com says that US 10 000 m record holder Galen Rupp was informing that he is withdrawing from the US Olympic Marathon Trials next Saturday in Houston. Rupp, who never has run a marathon, said he entered originally because he felt confident in his training and wanted to keep his Olympic options open. But after thinking about it, he concluded that competing in a marathon now would limit his ability to run his best 10,000 at the Olympic Games in August. Rupp said he thinks his best chance at an Olympic medal is in the 10,000.


MOLETJIE (RSA): 2009 World champion South African 800 m runner Caster Semenya celebrated her 21st birthday in style at her home village of GaMasehlong in Moletjie near Polokwane. SA media are informing. The 800m world champion celebrated with family and close friends, including new coach Maria Mutola, herself a former 800m world champion, and poet Mzwakhe Mbuli. Life has changed for the Semenya family, who used to stay in a mud hut until the Limpopo provincial government built them a new home in recognition of her achievements. 21 years old is a special birthday in terms of African traditional views. Her training with Mutola is going well, is more professional. She thinks about competing during the SA season later in the years 2012 and might compete in May for first time outside Africa.


MILANO (ITA): Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius continues to make for headlines. On Saturday evening he took part in the Italian TV contest Dancing with the stars as special guest. His partner was Italian dancer Annalisa Longo and they performed an excellent Tango as Italian media are writing. „The judges were way to kind and the audience was special beyond words," Pistorius said on his twitter.










BERLIN (GER, Jan 8): Daegu silver medalist Martina Strutz did not start well into the season. She no heighted at local meet at 430 cm.


ANCONA (ITA, Jan 8): Italian Marzia Caravelli achieved at a local meet here 8.21 at 60 m Hurdles and missed the Istanbul standard only by 0.03 s.


UNIVERSITY PARK (USA, Jan 7): Brycen Spratling clocked 1:01.86 in the 500 m at Penn State Indoor Relays. Yvette Lewis showed early solid shape with 8.12 at 60 m hurdles (8.13 in heats). 21-years old sprinter Mahagony Jones improved to 7.41 and 23.68 in the 60 m and 200 m. Second in the 200 m Kirsten Nieuwendam achieved new national record for Surinam 23.76 (she also clocked NR at 60 m 7.51). Hurdler Fawn Dorr posted in the 500 m good 1:10.44.


LAWRENCE (USA, Jan 7): Ivory Williams was timed with 6.66 at the Bill Easton Classic meet and achieved so far the fastest time of the indoor season. Hurdler Dexter Faulk was second (6.77) but won his specialty with 7.67.


COLLEGE STATION (USA, Jan 7): Aldrich Bailey proved his talent during second day of Texas High School Classic. First he ran 47.05 at 400 m to move to No. 6 on the all-time high school indoor list. He followed that with a 21.14 at 200 m, that boosted him to =No. 6 ever. Informs trackandfieldnews.com.


TORONTO (CAN, Jan 7): Canadian Olympian Taylor Milne posted good 2:20.94 at the 1000 m here.






NICE (FRA, Jan 8): National champion Abdellatif Meftah won in good weather (10 degrees) the 10 km road prom classic in Nice with good 28:47. Second Gregory Beugnet 28:57 and third Thibaud Nael 28:58. Laurane Picoche was the best woman in 33:19.


VALENCIA (ESP, Jan 8): Moroccan wins at 10 km road race Divina Pastora here. Hassane Ahouchar clocked 29:18 and Fatima Ayachi 32:56.


FUENSALIDA (ESP, Jan 8): Double European junior champion from Tallinn Gabriel Navarro won the Calzado Cross in Feunsalida with 29:03 at 10 km ahead of Rafael Martinez 29:43. Ana Lozano was the 7 km women winner (26:00). The organizers did not had enough funds to invite foreign runners.


VARZEA GRANDE (BRA, Jan 8): Kenyan Mark Korir won the 28th Corrida de Reis at 10 km in 30:03 ahead of his team-mate Barnabas Korir 30:25. Also in women 10 km Kenyans ruled, Eunice Kirwa 34:35 ahead of Nancy Kipron 35:27. The race was held in big humidity and hot temperatures.


ORLANDO (USA, Jan 8): Brazilian Fredison Costa won the Disney Marathon in 2:19:01. Also second place for former multiple winner Brazilian Adriano Bastos 2:19:15. US Renee High was the top woman after 2:48:33.


BLACKTOWN (AUS, Jan 8): Melissa Breen is dominating so far the local races. Here she clocked 11.44 (+1.7) in the 100 m.


JACKSON (USA, Jan 7): 37-years old Kenyan Richard Kessio who lives in Houston won the fifth annual Mississippi Blues Marathon in 2:20:28. It is the slowest winning time since first year, it was held in non-traditional hot weather. Morocco's Malika Mejdoub was the top female finisher and sixth overall runner with a time of 2:43:56.

Rupp, Bekele, 2011 WC 10,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net

Kenenisa Bekele finished a well beaten eleventh in the BUPA Edinburgh Cross Country Challenge, one of the exciting additions that the sponsors of the BUPA series have added to the Scotland event. A close finish on the team side, put UK just in front of USA.....
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            Becki Michael wins 2011 Akron Marathon, photo courtesy of David Hunter

Becki Micheal will be one of a field of approximately 190 women who will be on the start of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials for the marathon, being held January 14, 2012. In that field, 15-20 are considered at the top of the performance food chain. That puts another 175 well trained women, who will run tremendous marathons, without much notice. RBR wanted  you to understand what motivates many in the field, be they men, or women, whose major challenge was making the Olympic Trials standard, and running this, the most elite of elite races in the U.S. every four years: the U.S. Olympic Trials for the marathon. 

RBR asked David Hunter, one of our newest contributors, to write Becki's story. Each of the starters, men and women, have their own, compelling stories. Here is Becki's story:
Imane Merga, 2012 Campaccio XC12, photo by PhotoRun.net

Merga-Chepkok-SoiPC-CampaccioXC12.jpgImane Merga, Edwin Soi (center), Vincent Chepkock, 2012 Campaccio XC, photo by PhotoRun.net

Merga-Soi-ChepkokPC1-CampaccioXC12.jpgImane Merga, Vincent Chepkok, Edwin Soi, 2012 Campaccio XC, photo by PhotoRun.net

A bit of horsing around at the 2012 Campaccio XC press conference, held on Thursday, January 5, 2012. Some great racing at that race on Friday, January 6, 2012. For results and a story, read on! Edwin Soi is starting 2012 off in fine racing shape!

Lamine Diack, President of the IAAF, has suggest Nawal El Moutawakel, 1984 Olympic 400m hurdles champion, as candidate to succeed him in 2015. President Diack would love my favorite historical figure, Cardinal Richelieu, who was supreme at confusing adversaries and muddying up the electoral waters, so to speak. Will the number of candidates for the IAAF Presidential race for 2015 rival the number of Republican candidates
fighting for the 2012 Republican nomination for President in the U.S.? Only time will tell.

So, 2012 is off to a fine start, which will also have bumps and surprises, even without the suggestions by the Mayans that the world shall end in March 2012. Sure hope it is after the World Indoors, I am looking so forward to Istanbul, Turkey.

One week now, until the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials for the Marathon, to be held in Houston, Texas, on January 14, 2012.

RBR sees a battle between Desi Davila and Shalane Flanagan on the women's side. The battle for third position is wide open on the women's side. On the men's, it is Ryan Halls' race to win or lose. Meb Keflizighi is healthy, perhaps a bit under trained, as sounds Dathan Ritzenhein. The question mark is Galen Rupp, who is on the starting list to race his first marathon. And as always, there will be a couple of huge surprises, men or women who have been training away, somewhere, in Colorado, or California, or perhaps, Minnesota, who will give journalists something to wax poetically about for weeks to come......

Start of the Akron Marathon, photo courtesy of AkRUN

Over the past month, David Hunter has told us about the city of Akron, Ohio and their dream to build a city-wide celebration. That is the Akron Marathon. In one decade, they have hosted international and national championships, bid for an Olympic Trials and added to their fine city with a celebration of all that is a running community.

We thank David for his story telling, his love of his city and his love of our sport. Watch for more pieces from David Hunter over the next few months!
While most eyes are focused on Saturday, January 14, 2012, 40,000 folks will be watching on Saturday, but running on Sunday, January 15, 2012, in either the Aramco Houston Half Marathon or the Chevron Houston Marathon. Happy 40th to the Houston Marathon!

Mekonnen_DeresseFV-WorldInd10.jpg2010 World Indoors, Men's 1,500 meters, photo by PhotoRun.net

Someone once tried to describe indoor track & field to me. They noted that it was kind of like cross country meets roller derby. Just remember how Eamonn Coghlan used to take to the boards, leaning in at the beginning of the curves and coming off the back of the curves with speed to burn. His ability to race on boards was honed racing in college and post-college on indoor tracks. One wonders how new sensation Matt Centrowitz will run on the boards at the elite level....

World indoor champs are even more fun! The competition is up a notch and running on a fast 200 meter Mondo track with the best athletes in the world keeps the competition fast and exciting!

Nice to see that 170 countries have proposed to send athletes to the World Indoor Champs, to be held in Instanbul, Turkey in March 2012! Record before was 142, from Valencia!

Asafa Powell is one of the athletes focusing on Istanbul. He will be running against a tough field on January 28 at the U.S. Open as well.

Lee Evans, 1968 Olympic gold medalist, has had surgery on a brain tumor, noted the Mercury News (San Jose, CA).

The rumor mill is heating up! Who do you think will win the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials for the Marathon on January 14, 2012? More than that, the fight for places two, three and four will be tremendous on both races!

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An interesting story about the University of Maryland, which is proposing the closing down of eight teams, including Men's Indoor & outdoor track & field and the Men's cross country programs. The teams have been told, that if they raise endowments by June 30, 2012, to give them budgets for the next eight years, they will survive. It will be a tough task in these economic times. 

Perhaps part of the answer lies in the the private fund raising plan that will be used to rebuild the former President's Home....
that, is a good message to the athletes of the eight teams facing elimination at the University of Maryland. Read on for my modest suggestions....

Frank Horwill 28.05.05.jpgFrank Horwill, photo by Peter J L Thompson, 2005

Frank Horwill MBE, 19 June 1927 - 1 January 2012

We learnt of the passing of Frank Horwill from Peter Thompson. Mr. Horwill died, peacefully, "surrounded by friends" per Mr Thompson, on January 1, 2012 at 4:49 PM Local time.

Peter shared a piece with us from BMC News on Frank Horwill. We felt that, with Peter's piece and the earlier one by Pat Butcher, we have provided more of a picture of one of the most influential and colorful coaches in our global sport of athletics. We hope that you find this piece fascinating, as we have.

(The photo is courtesy of Peter Thompson, from 28 May 2005 of Frank Horwill).

Frank Horwill, the founder of the British Milers' Club, died on January 1, 2012 at the age of 84. Pat Butcher, our friend from globerunner, wrote this piece on Mr. Horwill. I say this infrequently, but I must admit that I wish I had written this one.... Please watch for another piece on Frank Horwill later tonight...

Apparently, Mr. Horwill also followed one of my favorite history professors' adages, which was, when attempting to educate high school males, who only have, at most, two things on their minds, sex and sports, the thoughtful and timely use of both the arcane and the profane should get their attention. Frank Horwill was, apparently, a superb communicator with athletes, young and not so young. 

Per Mr. Butcher, and these examples (not for the meek), Mr. Horwill had a skill with the vernacular...the world is a sadder place without Mr. Batty (last summer) and now, Mr. Horwill... 

Mo Farah, 2011 World Championships of Athletics, 5,000m final,
photo by PhotoRun.net

Mo Farah, el Numero Uno at 5,000 meters, courtesy of the bible of the sport, Track & Field News, will be racing at the 2012 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, to be held on February 4, 2012. RBR considers the NB Indoor to be the BEST Indoor Track & Field meet in North America, for 2011, and the show in 2012 should rival, if not surpass last years event!  Also joining Mo will be TFN's #1 ranked pole vaulter, Jenn Suhr, and Morgan Uceny, the #1 ranked 1,500 meter runner in the world, per TFN. Do not miss this meet! RBR would suggest selling those Randy Mantooth autographed cards, and perhaps, even your Gucci shoetree, to get a ticket to the Reggie Lewis Center, to see three hours of tremendous sports entertainment! We will be there, hope you will be too!
Makau_PatrickFVWR-Berlin11.jpgPatrick Makau, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

In 2011, the World Marathon Majors (BAA Boston, Virgin London, BMW Berlin, Bank of America's Chicago Marathon and ING New York City) showed that their commitment to the sport, providing quality experiences for citizen runners, providing stories that excite media interest and supporting the elite wing of the sport, seem to really come together. It is a testament to the growth of the sport that races continue to sell out in record time: quality events continue to rise to the top. 

RBR recognizes the event management, event sponsors, volunteers and the tremendous talent in the sport for their record breaking year!

Here is what we saw that stood out (please send us your thoughts):

Chase-Moye-OrtizBW-FLF11.jpg2011 FootLocker Cross Country Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net

Updated January 3, 2011, 6 am.

So, for the first time, Fifteen Key Sports Marketing Moments in 2011, as Runblogrun sees them, in sports marketing. In our mind, here are the fifteen moments (actually started with ten, but too many to miss, so, went to fifteen), that have contributed or taken away from the sport, so lets get ready for the discussions!

Gay_TysonPre1-Brussels10.JPGTyson Gay, 2011 adidas NYC GP, photo by PhotoRun.net

The bottom line is this: A collective $100 million is spent on sponsoring our sport by the various footwear companies (the biggest, obviously, Nike & adidas), from race numbers to track meets, to road races to the sponsorship of elite athletes in North America.

For us to get new sponsors, we have to professionalize our approaches and look beyond the footwear companies. Without the sponsors, our sport would hardly exist.

Farah_MoFV1_Pre11.Jpg Mo Farah, 2011 Nike Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

It is also here where I want to show some respect for our friends at Flotrack.org, Runnerspace.com, RunningNetwork.com, marathonguide.com, and trackandfieldnews.com, who have promoted the sport. Digital media is one of the key media platforms for our sports growth, but do not forget what TFN, RW and RN print media have done for years. Print media has had to evolve, and continues to evolve. Watch Ipad apps later this year that could really shake things up.  Media gives sports marketing value. In this day, we have an educated fan base, and who adapt to new media platforms and we have consumers who are, " early adapters".

Barringer sign.jpgNB signage

It is the creativity that RBR salutes. From full time staffs, to volunteers, to elite athletes, agents, managers, coaches, (and yes, sponsors), the approach to the sport varies with the event and that is where we all can learn from other's experiences. The sport is vital, and even in these tough economic times, the sport continues to grow!

Look how most of the major brands have developed support for events that give young runners a chance to shine. Notice how most of the major brands have supported series of road events or marathons, as ways to reach their potential consumers.

Great opportunities for athletes, coaches, agents and sponsors to grow the sport. Remember, it is only in working together that we can grow the sport. Here is where RBR recognizes some of the most creative sports marketing sponsorships in our sport in North America: 

Blake_Yohan1d-IAAFgala11.jpgYohan Blake, by PhotoRun.net

Bolt_UsianA-IAAFgala11.jpgUsain Bolt, by PhotoRun.net

Track & Field News is the bible of the sport. That, dear friends, is the fact. Their Rankings will have track fans, laughing, crying and throwing things for months! But, that is what they are supposed to do! Here, Alfons Juck updates us on the rankings!

Ryan Hall, 2011 BAA Boston, photo by PhotoRun.net

Never, ever, underestimate Ryan Hall. Before Houston last year, many wondered what kind of shape Hall was in? Was his beard indicative of someone flaking out, or what was going on. Well, the night before Houston, Ryan Hall shaved his beard, and took second in the half marathon. Then, in April, he ran 2:04:58 at the BAA Boston Marathon. At Bank of America Chicago, Hall ran 2:08, but, to the interest of those in the media room, his best performance may have been his verbal sparing with Phil Hersh, of the Chicago Sun-Times.

For January 14, 2012, Ryan Hall will be ready. Will he just jog it in, or will Ryan Hall drop a performance for the ages? No one really knows but Ryan Hall. Elliott Denman did this piece for the Winter issue of American Track & Field. We hope that you enjoy it! 
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Des Davila, 2010 USA Outdoors, photo by PhotoRun.net

Des Davila shocked many people in Boston in 2011. She did not shock the Brothers Hanson. This past summer, I watched Des race 5,000 meters in Europe, and she did not give up: she is deceptively tough. We asked Elliott Denmann, one of our longtime feature writers for American Track & Field, to search out Des and write about her for our Houston 2012 coverage. Here it is. Mark our word, this women should be on the Olympic team roster.

Oh, enjoy the story!
Hall_RyanLeds5mile_Houston11.Jpg2011 U.S.A. Half Marathon Champs, Aramco Houston, photo by PhotoRun.net

Thirteen days from now, the 2012 U.S. Marathon Team Trials will be held in Houston, Texas. The races on Saturday, January 14, 2012, will determine who will represent the United States,  in one of the iconic events of our sport.

Team U.S.A., the track & field team in particular, has the best won-loss record of any team in the U.S. The renaissance of our middle and distance runners over the past decade was a long time coming, and is a constant reminder that our country has more ability in a major metropolis, in athletics, than many countries around the world.

Who will make the men and women's team? That, dear readers, will be decided in thirteen days. There will be surprises. There will be moments that bring smiles to one's face as well as, tears to one's eyes. Some have been training for this day since the 2008 Trials. Some have come into this race over the last six months. Some have realized that the marathon distance is their destiny. Some have yet to realize that. Both races, held in Houston, Texas on the same day, will be televised by NBC that same afternoon (please check your local listings). 

Mark Winitz, a frequent contributor to California Track & Running News as well as American Track & Field (he also wrote for American Athletics, our first title), wrote this piece for the January 2012 issue of California Track & Running News (www.caltrack.com). We hope that you enjoy it!

Edwin Soi, 2011 FBK Hengelo, photo by PhotoRun.net

Edwin Soi is one of my favorite athletes. He races all out, and
can be seen in cross country, on the track and on the roads. I enjoyed watching him battle for the 5,000 meters at FBK Hengelo this past year. What a race! Down to the finish, four guys in a couple of seconds, I believe. Nice to see him win the New Years' Eve race in Bolzano, Italy.
Alfons Juck, our man about the globe, compiled the following results from New Year's Eve and New Year's Day races. We hope that you enjoy! Oh, and Happy New Years Day, 2012!

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