Jon Gugala has sent us breaking news on the Mammoth Track Club.
Mammoth Track Club’s Mass Exodus
by Jon Gugala
August 16, 2012
MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. – Joe Vigil and Bob Larsen formed the Mammoth Track Club in 2001, and since then the “top-ranked long-distance running group in America” has had its footfalls heard across the country and the world.
Vigil single-handedly built American record-holder Deena Kastor (nee Drossin), and Larsen remains at the helm of Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, who was fourth in the 2012 Olympic marathon. Coach Terrence Mahon leads the group that includes top Americans Morgan Uceny, Anna Pierce, Jen Rhines, and others.
But in the last few days, the majority of the footsteps heard in the small mountain town are those of athletes leaving.
Conspicuously absent from the team’s website roster are athletes Angela Bizzarri and Amy Hastings from the women’s side, and Alistair Cragg from the men’s.
Bizzarri, the two-time third-place 5,000-meter finisher in the USA National Championships (2009, ’11), joined the group in 2011 after finishing school at the University of Illinois. Hastings, fourth at the 2012 trials marathon (2:27:17) and 11th in the Olympics 10,000m, joined in 2008. Cragg has been with MTC since 2009, and is a three-time Olympian, most recently in 2012 in the 5,000m for Ireland.
While none have made formal statements about their current situation, Dan Lilot of Aurum Sports Group, the representing agent for Bizzarri, confirmed that his athlete’s next training location is “TBD [to be determined],” and that things are still being worked out.
Hastings’ and Cragg’s representatives have not commented at the time of writing, nor has Mahon of MTC.
Speculation is already rampant on where the women will go, and chief among these would be the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, based in Rochester Hills, Mich. HBDP would be a logical choice for both, as their contracts are with Brooks Running, the group’s titular sponsor.
Hastings has shown promise in the marathon, and while she has not committed to it exclusively, the HBDP has its heritage in marathoners like 2008 Olympian Brian Sell, and 2012 Olympian Desiree Davila, the later of which was Hastings’ teammate at Arizona State University. The two have remained close. Bizzarri, a 5,000m specialist, would join new pro Neely Spence, formerly of Shippensburg U., whose addition to the group was announced in April.
Finally, both Hastings and Bizzarri have ties to the Midwest, with Hastings in Leavenworth, Kans., and Bizzarri in Mason, Ohio.
Check back with RunBlogRun as more information becomes available.