December 2013 Archives

Mark Shearman, award winning photographer, 
photo courtesy of Athletics Weekly

One of our most creative and prolific photographers in our sport is Mark Shearman. Mark has shot for Track & Field News, American Track & Field and his mainstay, Athletics Weekly. Mark has shot over one thousand covers for AW, with his first dating back to 1962. 

Mark Shearman is being recognized for his photo journalism talents with an MBE, a highly prestigious award announced on New Years Day by the Queen of England. The article written on AW website can be seen at

RunBlogRun congratulates Mark Shearman on his MBE and his contribution to our sport. Victah Sailer, one of the top running photographers in the sport noted via email that " Mark Shearman's MBE is well deserved." 

We could not have said it better. 

Updated on January 1, 2014 to note that Mark Shearman has shot 1,000 covers for Athletics Weekly. 
David Bedford one of the true characters of British Athletics, will be awarded the Order of the British Empire on New Years Day, it was announced by the Virgin London Marathon this evening. 

David Bedford is one of most iconic figures of his athletics generation. A man who knows the sport inside and out, Bedford has used his talents to help make the London marathon into, as he was proud of saying, "the greatest marathon in the world". 

Eminently quotable, David Bedford has spent much of his adult life encouraging others to see the excitement in the sport he loves and to run, jump and throw. 

Bedford captured a generation of athletics fans with his brazen front running, accepting no limitations but that his body would sometimes revolt. But, with his tremendous training, and gutty racing, came British Records from 2,000m to 10,000m, plus a World Record at 10,000 meters. Beneath his quotable comments, lies a man who loves his sport and sees a bright future for global running. 

RunBlogRun congratulates Mr. Bedford on his well deserved award, and hopes to share a beverage of an adult nature with him in the near future in celebration of his OBE. 

David Bedford and his mustache, 
photo from Virgin London Marathon 
The two bombings in recent days in Volgograd, Russia must add questions for all those going to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. 


The first bombing was on Sunday, December 29,  in the Volgograd train station and on Monday, December 30, there was a suicide bombing on a Volgograd bus. Per news agencies, a leader of the Chechnyan resistance has asked his associates to shut down the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. President Putin's response has been to say that this will be the safest Winter Olympics ever. Later on Monday, Russian agencies noted that both the Sunday and Monday bombings were both suicide bombings.

Security in major sporting events is no mean feat. That athletic events have become targets is, unfortunately, a fact of modern life. In most major events that this writer has been to, security can be seen as well as felt. This past summer, the VISA process for entering Russia for the World Championships was the toughest of any country that I have entered (over 70) in the past decade. In Moscow this past summer, security was on several levels, and the World Championships went smoothly. The London Olympics from 2012, probably the most successful Summer Olympics since Sydney in 2000, had increased security, which was juggled with giving people a great experience at their visit to the Olympics. 

Will the threat stop people from going to Sochi 2014? My belief is that it already has, however, the recent bombings have not surprised the security groups involved in providing protection for Sochi. Like most recent previous Olympics, security organizations have been on site in Sochi since the day building started on the first site. 

The bombing at the Boston Marathon opened the eyes of the running community, which had endured attempts at disruption in the past. Security at all major marathon events since Boston has dramatically increased. In the end though, individual observation is key in stopping terrorism. If someone sees something unusual around an event, they should be encouraged to inform local authorities. 

Terrorism, from Spain to England to Germany, has been a fact of life for many around the world. In the U.S. , 9/11 opened most Americans' eyes. 

Expect increased security in Sochi, and Russia during the Winter Olympics. This means longer lines, more questions on anything brought into an event site. With heightened security, longer waits, nerves get frayed, so our biggest suggestion is, if you are going to events which are the focal points of terrorist groups, then either stay home, or take a deep breath, and be patient. 

Bohdan Bondarenko, photo by

In the closest voting in the history of Track & Field News world rankings, Bohdan Bondarenko won by one point over Usain Bolt for the Male Athlete of the Year in 2013. Track & Field News, established in 1948, is the Bible of the Sport. 

Valerie Adams, photo by

Valerie Adams, the pride of New Zealand, has won the TFN Women Athlete of the year for 2013, it was announced on Saturday. Track & Field News, established in 1948, is the Bible of the Sport of Track & Field. 
Per the seminal site,, a suicide bombing on a Volgograd bus, about 400 miles from Sochi, the site in less than two months, for the 2014 Winter Olympics. At least 27 people have been injured. This is the second bombing in Volgograd in the past 48 hours. The first bombing was at a Volgograd train station. 

Security issues continue to mount for the Russian authorities as Sochi's Winter Olympics' opening day gets closer. President Putin has promised security for Sochi. The Russian FSB will be busy, as if they are not already in the area. 

The truth is, motivated terrorists groups see that sporting events are ways to gain publicity for their causes, even if the publicity is completely negative. This makes the job harder for security management. 

For fans and those attending events, the key is to stay vigilant, and if you see something out of the ordinary, make sure local authorities know immediately. One of the goals of groups who commit terrorist acts is to disrupt events and cause havoc and stop people from doing their normal life activities. 

Freddy Ovett is the son of 1980 Olympic champion at 800 meters and bronze medalist at the 1,500 meters, Steve Ovett. Freddy spent much of his life in Australia. 

I met him at the 2012 Olympic Trials, with his father, and they seemed like a pretty close father- son, which, from my perspective is great. Hopefully, his father has given him the benefit of his experience with being the one of the best athletes of his era: Ovett and Coe were the mile and 1,500m for those great summers. 

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Elijah Greer, photo by Cheryl Treworgy/Pretty Sporty

Freddy wrote this piece for a UK based web site. It has caught some interest with our friends at

Well, written, Freddy complemented his experience at Oregon and the chance to interact with elite athletes like Matt Centrowitz and Nick Symmonds. He also complemented Symmonds and Centro for their talents off the track as well. And he did it with some subtlety. 

I hope Freddy Ovett continues to write, he has a very nice, relaxed style and approach. 
Priscah Jeptoo, photo by 

Justin Lagat poses the question, just who is the best Kenyan athlete of 2013? There are so many to choose from in a year where Kenyan athletes shined. 
Phoebe Wright and Erica Moore, NB 2013, 
photo by Photo by 

Phoebe Wright is a fine 800 meter runner. Now add fine blogger to her resume. Her column on why elite athletes make fun dates and or travel companions. The column is an example of how good blogs should be done: nice length, interesting premise, thoughtful bon mots. Read and enjoy:
Prime Minister Erdogen sacked several of his cabinet this past few days with a huge corruption scandal erupting in Turkish media. Among the minister's released were the Sports Minister, who presided over a athletics program that had over 48 Turkish athletes test positive in the past 18 months. 

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Yelena Isinbayeva, photo by

Yelena Isinbayeva asked in the media if President Putin would support a training complex in Volgograd. Let's see  how that works out....
Kevin Mangan wrote his thoughts on Eugene not being the right place for a World Champs and received some strong interest. So, in the flavor of SNL's Point/Counterpoint, I wrote a piece suggesting that Eugene is the perfect place.

What do you think? Let us know at [email protected] and we will post the best comments. 

Nagai Stadium, Osaka, Japan, 2007, photo by
This is a long time coming. I hope in the near future, that the IAAF sees the benefits of hosting a World Outdoor in the U.S. The crowds will be good, the TV will be fantastic, and most of all, new sponsors will see the sport. 


Will Claye, 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, 
photo by 

The truth is, the majority of global companies that could be the next big sponsor for the I.A.A.F., are US based. If the IAAF and USATF are as keen to make this happen as I believe, then, they should start courting non footwear companies now. Have a day or week in NYC, where the biggest sports supporters are invited and show them the HHI of track fans, the global positive ness of athletics for fitness and health and the vanguard position that the sport has taken on drug use. 

That is my dream. A World Outdoor champs in the US and a new global sponsor for the sport. 

Vinn Lananna is focused on that goal: bringing a World Outdoor Championships to the US. But, there are minefields that Lananna has deftly moved around. There will be more for Vinn and his team to avoid in order to get the US a World Outdoor Championships. 

But, the success will come when the IAAF, USATF and yes, new sponsors find a way to make a US based World Outdoor Championships work. 

Stay tuned. 

Brooks Johnson, 2012 USA Indoor, 
photo by

Brooks Johnson's blog is always thought provoking. 

In this most recent column, Brooks talks about former CEO of USA Track & Field's concern over Marion Jones in 2004, before she was finally placed on the 4 x 100m relay team. He also considers Tyson Gay, who he believes, was clean before the 2013 season. 

Always thoughtful, Johnson's blogs are one of my favorite reads. Brooks Johnson is an iconic and mercurial coach, who has his fans and not so supportive. I continue to find his musings must reads if one is to understand our sport and help it grow in the future.
Sally Chepyego ran a very fast half marathon at the very end of 2013, in Sanyo, Japan. Her 68:24 was one of the fastest half marathons of the year. Nice to see American Dez Davila running better and better, with her seventh place and 70:51. 


The first European results for the indoor season, with special thanks to Carles Baronet. 
Renaud Lavillenie is one the true superstars of the sport. The French pole vaulter added to his game with his quick wit and easy comfort in both English and French. Add to that the speed of a sprinter, agility of a gymnast, Lavillenie is the best vaulter in the world. Last March, when I watched him at 6.06m, I was awestruck. Lavillenie will clear 6.06m, perhaps 6.08. He is one of the great ones! 

And like the great ones, it is obvious that Lavillenie loves his event and his sport. 


Blanka Vlasic, photo by

Blanka Vlasic is returning to competition, EME News has reported. One of the most popular athletes in our sport, Blanka Vlasic entertains with her emotional approach to high jumping. A wonderful interview, Blanka Vlasic will be welcomed back this indoor season and hopefully, as is her goal, at the 2014 World Indoors in Sopot, Poland. 
Emelia Gorecka, SPAR European Cross Country Championships, 
photo by

This is the fourth supplement from Carles Baronet on key European Cross Country results, done especially for the readers of RunBlogRun. Carles Baronet also publishes Track in the Sun, a blog and newsletter on European athletics. 
From the Russian National Championships, in 1957, where Pyotr Bolitnikov beat Vladimir Kuts by .2 of a second in the 10,000m, until Billy Mills won the 1964 Olympic gold in the 10,000 meters, Pyotr Bolitnikov was the most dominating distance runner of his era. With the 1960 Olympic gold at 10,000m, the gold at 10,000m and bronze at 5,000m in Belgrade in 1962 European championships, the big Russian distance runner (from Moldavia) exemplified the Soviet athlete of the cold war era. Add to Bolitnikov's two world records at 10,000 meters, one in 1960 and one in 1962, and four victories in the USA/USSR meetings, Pyotr Bolitnikov was a force to be reckoned with over 25 laps. Bolitnikov won 13 Russian national titles at the 5,000m, 10,000m and cross country, plus was on the medal stands 19 other times in his career. Pyotr Bolitnikov competed in the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympic games, retiring from competition in 1965. 

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Luzhniki Stadium, courtesy of IAAF

Pyotr Bolitnikov devoted the rest of his life as an athletics coach, with the Spartacus club, and as a national coach in Algeria (1985-89) and as national club coach for the Russian Federation. 

Early in the evening of December 20, 2013, at the age fo 84, Pyotr Bolitnikov died.  Russian newspapers and the Russian sports agency reported his death with several pieces.  Pyotr Bolitnikov was an athlete of a bygone era, when the US and USSR showed the superiority of their systems with their athletics teams as well as their armies.

Okay, so you are into your second cup of egg nog, and Uncle Jack's stories about Christmas in 1955 are getting a bit, well, odd. Then, your second cousin's stepson's Russian wolfhound just took off with the tofu turkey, knocking over your favorite dish: deviled tofu gerbils from the olde country. Your life is crashing around you, and it's not even Christmas eve! 

Need a pick me up? Well, sports fan, why don't you just download the pdf we have here, compiled by Kevin Mangan, our industrious intern for RunBlogRun and American Track & Field. Kevin compiled the 50 state outdoor track & field championships for 2013, well, because he could. 

And we, the readers of RunBlogRun, and this editor, are the better for Kevin's endeavors. (An aside, for those of you about to accuse me of perhaps having had some Christmas cheer, please note, that I have not touched alcohol for six months now,due to my type 2 diabetes,which was recently discovered. Wineries have gone out of business, and sommeliers cry in pain and agony from the wines not opened and tips not made. I on the other hand, wail aimlessly at night, reading old copies of Track & Field News and munching on gluten-free nutbars embalmed with brown rice syrup. Oh, the torture.) 

So, enjoy the 2013 All State Outdoor Championships Track & Field pdf, compiled by Kevin Mangan. 

Thanks Kevin! 

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2013 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, photo by Helmut Winter

Five men run under 2:05, all in the 2:04 range, and all within eight seconds of each other in the 2013 version of the Standard Chartered Dubai marathon. What will this coming year, 2014, bring? From the following release, it is apparent that meet management wants an ever faster event, judging by the fields and changes in the course! Read on! 
So, last summer we tried this exercise: could our fearless intern, Kevin Mangan compile the results from all 50 state cross country high school state meets? And, yes he did. Here is the results of that hard work, for your reading pleasure. And rest assured, once Kevin gets back from Winter break, he will be working on 2013! 

Special thanks to Kevin Mangan for putting all of this craziness together! 

2012 FootLocker Girls Champs race, photo by

Mary Akor, one of the most prolific marathoners in US, is serving a two year ban for testing positive for clenbuterol. 


Mary Cain and Ajee' Wilson will be one of the highlights of the 2014 NYRR Millrose Games with their 800 meter run! Their battle over four laps of the fast, MONDO track will be held on February 15, 2014.

Here is how RRW's Chris Lotsbom describes the upcoming battle of the new stars of athletics: 

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Mary Cain, AO Winter cover, photo from
Paula Radcliffe, photo by 

Today is the 40th birthday of one of my favorite athletes, Paula Radcliffe. The current world record holder in the women's marathon, at 2:15.25, Paula was a fixture on the cross country, track and field and road racing circuits for nearly sixteen years. Her run in April 2003, where she set the current WR has never, I believe, been truly appreciated. The mark from London is Beamonesque. 
Meseret Defar, photo by

The calendar conundrum? No World Outdoor champs, but, as Elliott Denman can attest, there are many events to focus on for 2014! 
The women's high jump at last March's European Indoor Championships was an amazing performance, the home crowd in Goteborg was rewarded with the silver and bronze medals for Sweden. 

This year's shortened European season will feature a high jump with Blanka Vlasic, Emma Green Tregaro and Ruth Beitia. 

Should be a great battle...

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Max Siegel, photo courtesy of USATF

Elliott Denman caught up with CEO of USATF Max Siegel on the sport, where branding is going and how USATF will look in the future. 
Aleksandr Menkov, by

Yelena Isinbayeva, photo by

Elena Dyachkova is one of our new columnist. Elena is providing us a view from Russia. Ms. Dyachkova spent several years writing for Russian athletics, and RunBlogRun has asked her to provide her view of our world sport, but with a specific viewpoint understanding Russian athletics. 

We hope that you like it! 

Starting blocks, courtesy of Brooks Running

Elliott Denman wrote this piece about an athlete who is not in the Hall of Fame, and who Elliott believes, should be. The athlete, Al Blozis, was killed in action in January 1945 during the second World War. A fine football player and shot putter, Blozis is one of those athletes that many know little or nothing about. 
Justin Lagat wrote this reflective piece on the bombings at the Boston Marathon and its effect on the sport. Justin does a weekly column titled A View from Kenya for

Lelisa Desisa, 2013 BAA Boston Marathon winner, 
photo by
This is the last day of the 2013 high school cross country season. End it with a nice run with your friends. We hope you enjoyed the Saucony 2013 RBR Cross Country Training Program this season. If you have any suggestions on how to make our training programs better, please email me at [email protected]

Cross Country is the meeting place of the middle distance and long distance runners. Yesterday, I was at the FootLocker cross country nationals, which was a tremendous event. As we were leaving, we saw Molly Huddle, the AR holder for 5,000 meters, who had watched the event, and then, headed out for a run. 

In the end, it is all about the run. 

We suggest that you take two weeks off cross country and then start building up again, slowly. 

Happy Holidays and thanks to Saucony for providing the support for this program! 

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The Boy's Championship race was an excellent one in 2013. Here is the video from FootLocker and ASICS on the boy's race that just happened a few hours ago. 
Here is how the race played out today for the girls championship race. The video is courtesy of FootLocker and ASICS.
Just as we were considering the fantastic girls race that we had just witnessed, the boys introductions were being done. 

Peter Henkes, the Midwest regional FootLocker meet director for the past 29 years, told me that Grant Fisher could be a real tough one today. I always consider the Midwest runners to be some of the toughest runners in Foot Locker national races. 

But this race started out very, very slow and with 40 runners in contention at the first mile, one just knew that we were looking for a really tough finish! 

And the FootLocker course is set up for a great rush over the finish...
The 2013 FootLocker National Finals is the thirty-fourth year that this fine event has been run. To say that the FL Nationals has been the beginning of many an elite American distance runner's careers, is, an understatement. 

Deena Kastor, Ryan and Sara Hall, Adam Goucher, Julie Culley, Meb Keflezighi, Alysia Montano, Lukas Verzbicas, and Ed and Jorge Torres were all there to cheer on forty of the best high school cross country runners in the country. 

Both races were very different, and both races were very exciting. 

But, on a warm, windless day in San Diego, what would you expect? 
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Ben True, photo by
Bill Roe has been involved in our sport for over three decades. A former college coach, former coach of Club Northwest, and former President of USA Track & Field, Bill Roe has been an advocate for long distance running and our sport for most of his adult life.

Mark Winitz focused this third of his seven pieces on USATF leadership and their perspectives on how to develop the sport over the next Olympiad. 

Bill Roe, photo courtesy of

Max Siegel, CEO, USA Track & Field, photo from USATF

This is the second of a seven-part series by Mark Winitz on the team that is managing and developing USA Track & Field as it focuses on the challenges of both the present and the future. In this piece, Mark Winitz interviews Max Siegel and Jill Geer. Max is the CEO of USA Track & Field and Jill is the Chief Public Affairs Officer. 

This piece has been run in American Track & Field and Coaching Athletics. We believe it is one of our most important pieces, and are running it again so you can see pieces 1-5 in the way that we feel that they should be read.

Reposted December 13, 2013... encourages coaches of all ages to go to coaching clinics. This is a coaching level 1 school, which is a great program for younger coaches, who want to learn more about our fantastic sport! 

Jake Arnold, Discus, photo courtesy of ASICS
Matthew Centrowitz takes silver in Moscow, adding to the Moscow medal count for USA Track & Field, photo by 

This is the first of seven features that Mark Winitz, a long time contributor to American Track & Field, California Track & Running News and Mark Winitz pitched me on a series explaining the roles of various USATF leaders and their views on how to build the organization, and the sport in the US and globally. 

This is one of six major pieces, written by Mark Winitz on USATF leadership. We have reposted this piece in order to provide you the series as it was intended to be read. We hope you enjoy it! 

On the same day that prep cross country ends for the 2013 season, the 2013 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships will be held in Bend, Oregon. From Chris Lotsbom's column, a plethora of talent from far and wide will be at this meet, including many graduates of the University of Oregon, plus several Oregon Project athletes. 

The Club Cross Country Champs are on Saturday, December 14, 2013...

XC Footsteps (Chiba, Japan), photo by 
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Saucony Kilkenny, photo by Saucony Racing

You are now one day before the end of the season. Rest up today and run the best race of your season tomorrow! Enjoy the race! Take a moment to smell the air before the race and soak in the moment. Run your history! 
Ehitu Kiros of Ethiopia winning the 2013 Honolulu Marathon in 2:36:02 
(photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

David Monti, Editor of Race Results Weekly, provided us with this piece on the hot and humid Honolulu Marathon that was run last weekend...
The NCAA just did what USATF has done: recognized Eugene, Oregon and its unique relationship to its fans and the famed Hayward field: give multiple years of NCAA Championships to Track Town USA. 

The truth is that, Track Town USA has figured out what it has, and has learnt to promote it, market it and brand it. Track Town USA is truly the example of a community coming together to build a brand around the reputation of said community in their area of expertise. It is not only their hosting of the major meets, but the reception these fans have in Eugene, Oregon. 

Well, we now know where we will be for the next eight NCAA Outdoor Track Championships: Eugene, Oregon! 

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Abbey D'Agostino, after her 5,000m win in Eugene, Oregon in 2013,  
by Cheryl Treworgy/Pretty Sporty
Brenda Martinez on AT&F cover

Jenny Simpson, on Coaching cover

Jenny Simpson, 2013 World Champ silver medalist and 2013 World Champ bronze medalist Brenda Martinez are announced to run in the 2014 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on February 8, 2014. 
The IAAF Global seminar on cross country took place earlier this week at the site of the European Cross Country Championships. We hope that they did video and audio of the seminar as it would be fantastic to pass on to our coaches. 

European Cross Country Championships 2013, 
photo by
Two days out from your last race of 2013: Stay focused, stay relaxed and run your race! 

Shay XC, photo by Saucony Racing

Alemayu Bezabeh, photo by 

Sophie Duarte, photo by

The SPAR European Cross Country Championships were held last weekend in Belgrade. It set a record in terms of participants and participating nations, proving, once again, that cross country events CAN be successful on a global level. 

thestartingline.jpg                   The start of the men's junior race, photo by Justin Lagat

Florence Kiplagat takes early lead in the 8km event, 
photo by Justin Lagat
It is down to the last big race of the season. Good luck, and make your own history! 

Saucony Kilkenny, photo by 
Scott Dickey, CEO and Steve Gintowt, CFO and COO of Competitor group have left CGI, and Chairman Paul Walsh and George Gresham will be the iterim CEO and COO, respectively at Competitor Group.

CGI is the largest producer of major endurance events in the world. They have come under intense scrutiny over the past several months after they abruptly cut an elite athlete sponsorship program with several of their events, which made elite manager Matt Turnbull, a well known and well respected program develop with a job that could only be called "redundant". CGI noted then that this was a business decision. 

In speaking with sources, some from within CGI, some from without, this writer was taken to some task for not appreciating that "this was just a business decision." That "business decision",  was just that, but the business is running. While the million dollars taken from the events at the time, was a mere drop in the bucket, RunBlogRun still believes that it was perhaps the opening salvo on business issues that were quickly developing at CGI, which the board pressured the former CEO and CFO to correct. 

The truth is, running is all grown up. Events in Great Britain, for example, NOVA international, who produce BUPA, are able to combine huge numbers of citizen runners, fine elite fields and even art programs, in profitable ventures. But, running is quite different in the U.S. CGI has developed 83 events, with several having been cut for 2014, due to the fact that they no longer fit into the business plans of CGI. 

The business of running is complicated. Many major events support US training programs, elite track events, and local running concerns that make little or no business sense, but are good for the industry. CGI gets additional scrutiny because of its size and its unabashed focus on the business of sport. 

The week before your last race of the season. You need to stay healthy and keep the workouts relaxed. Save up your energy for the upcoming race. 

Saucony Carrera XC, photo by Saucony Racing 
One of my favorite events each year is the ASBA meeting. The closing dinner honors the top facilties of the year, in both tennis and track and field. This year's Track Facilities winners were the Icahn Stadium for outdoor track facility and the Birmingham Crossplex, for the indoor track and field facility. Both were built by MONDO USA, Inc. 

The ASBA is a trade organization dedicated to professionalized the sports building industry. There are lots of good people who have made it their life's work to make that facility down the street from you a safer place to job, play soccer or train for the shot put. 

For more on the American Sports Builders Association, please go to

David Rudisha running on Icahn Stadium track, May 2013, 
photo by 
We are now down to the last week of the season for prep cross country. This is the week for the FootLocker Cross country. The NXN was last weekend and had two stunning races for teams and individuals. What will San Diego bring us? 

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Molly Huddle, photo by

Ben True, photo by 

Today, I watched the NIke Nationals. There were some fantastic performances. On the girls side, Wayzata XC won over Manlius, who had won eight straight times. The Manlius team was devastated. Yet, they showed extreme class and shook the hands of the winners and congratulated them. 

As you get older, you will understand that we learn more from our failures than from our wins. 

You have taken in part of our training program for the past twenty-three weeks. Thanks! One more week to go. 

Today, just run relaxed and enjoy the run, and the day. 
Alexi Effraimson wins Nike Nationals, photo by Jerry Buttles, 
courtesy of Nike communications

This has been a wonderful weekend of racing, from high school cross country to marathon racing. Tomorrow is the SPAR European Cross Country Champs, in Belgrade, Serbia. 
Usain Bolt, 
photo from Soul Electronics

Usain Bolt will be in Argentina next week for an exhibition race. This is part of the life of a world class athlete...
Kai Wilmot, photo by Jerry Buttles

Alexi Efraimson, photo by Jerry Buttles

The Nike Nationals were held today at the Portland Meadows race way. The day was cold, breezy and dry. The three thousand plus fans followed each race around the course, as both races lived up to the early hype. Sarah Baxter, after two victories, succumbed to Alexi Efraimson and Kai Wilmot won the boy's race. Wayzata XC won over Manlius XC, taking Manlius off the victory stand after eight straight wins. On the boy's side, Gig Harbor had an outstanding team victory, with three runners in the top twenty! 

Today is a big day in cross country! The FootLocker Western regional is at Mt. SAC on Saturday, giving the prep cross country runners in the Western US a chance to qualify for the top ten places and move on to the FootLocker nationals, to be held in San Diego, CA on December 14, 2013.

In Portland, Oregon, under very cold conditions, the Nike NXN nationals will be held, showcasing some of the best prep club teams in the country. It is a tough event, held on the Portland Meadows golf course, in tough conditions. I am looking forward to both events! 

NXN champ Ashley Higginson, photo by
I remember running this race in 1986. A fine race, with a great pedigree, fell on hard times and turned into a huge fun run. Now, the Gasparilla Distance Classic is bringing back a USA prize purse of a nice size, $30k! 

Good job Gasparilla! 

Motion, photo by

NXN, photo by Nike Communications

The Nike Cross Nationals celebrates all that is good about prep cross country. The races have an developed a strong following and Nike puts some fascinating innovations into the meet to make it                                         
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Millrose Games, photo by Larry Eder

The Millrose Games is just a couple of months from now, and the build is starting. A bid for the 1,000 meter American record, with a group of men who have run well on the Armory track could be a real highlight....
The battle for the finish line, photo by

The NXN is on Saturday, December 7, 2013. Lots of prep cross country runners will be dreaming about success at the NXN. How would you spell
success? Cross country brings running down to the basics! 

Watch for runblogrun to be there on Saturday, covering one of the finest events in our sport. 
It's the end of the season. It's down to the big races now. It's all or none of the marbles. So, what are you going to do? How much can you hurt over the last 300 meters? Can you catch the fifth guy from the next club? It is you and him, or you and her. It is down to the big stuff now. 

Run your best, go make history...

Molly Huddle, Sara Hall, photo by
Richie Woodworth, photo courtesy of Saucony

Just how does one manage a running footwear company like Saucony? The truth be told, we have some amazingly vibrant leaders in this business and Richie Woodworth is one of them. 

We caught up with Richie Woodworth last week and asked him about the world of running specialty. Here is what he had to say: 
The big races are over for most, but for some, the FootLocker regional for west and NXN are this weekend. This is one of my favorite workouts, just a nice relaxed three miler changing some gears. The rest of the week is relaxed and light. 


The West Coast Track & Field SuperClinic is an event that should be on every coach in California, Nevada and Oregon's schedule. The breadth of the meetings, and the quality of the coaching staff is extraordinary. 

This clinic is a long time fixture on the West Coast. As we note most days, if you are coach, stay open to new techniques and training systems. 

Don't miss this one! 


Download (PDF): 2014 West Coast SuperClinic flyer (6 Nov'13)-2.pdf

Usain Bolt at 2012 Belgacom Van Damme Memorial, 
photo by

The Memorial Van Damme meeting, one of the most prestigious meetings on the circuit can breathe a sigh of relief. Meet Management has been informed that the new facility will have a track and seat 40-50,000 for athletics! Fantastic! 
Saucony Carrera XC, photo by Saucony Racing 

In my day, we were told to train in heavy training shoes, to build up our feet and leg strength. Then, when you got into a pair of racing flats, you thought that you were flying. In the 1970s, there was a 4.5 ounce racing shoe from Reebok and one fro EB, the company that made the first Lydiard shoes (Eugene Bruting, I believe). 

I remember that one of my competitor schools trained in army boots to really get them tough. And we bought into this! 

Today, you have both light training and racing shoes. The issue is, I believe that there are probably as many over use injuries as in the 70s. The key is to use running shoes as the equipment that they are. A recovery day shoe, which could be your long run shoe as well, and a lightweight shoe for fast stuff. 

Goodluck to all racing this coming weekend in the FootLocker West and the NXN! If you are done with cross country and think you have a good effort left, then, find a fast, flat 5,000 meters and see how fast you can go! 
LaShawn Merritt versus Kirani James, photo by

What LaShawn Merritt did to Kirani James in Moscow was no different than a prize fighter bringing his competition in close and doing a KO in the 14th round. Merritt took James out of his safety zone and ran him through a near personal best in the 200 meters. If you look at the pictures of Merritt at the 300 meters, he is flowing. LaShawn Merritt took two years of frustration, and just buried the London gold medalist. When Merritt came back and added a second gold for the 4 x 400 meters, LaShawn showed his domination and why he should be the Jesse Owens AOY for 2013. Nice job, USATF! 

Brianna Rollins, photo by

And then, Brianna Rollins. Brianna Rollins flies over the hurldes and does it again, and again, and again. She is agile, she is fast and she is focused. Ms. Rollins decimated the best competition in the world with her fast hurdling, reminiscent of Gail Devers, Olympic hurdle goddess. Now, Brianna Rollins is a World Champ hurdle goddess and the JJK AOY for 2013. 

Jackie Joyner Kersee is iconic. The JJK Athlete of Year award is being granted to Brianna Rollins, who will give us many things to smile about in the future! 

Two AOYs by USATF and I think both are nicely done! 

Truth is, we have several athletes who could be AOYs this year, but LaShawn and Brianna earned it with aplomb! 
David Rudisha, photo by

David Rudisha, the London gold medalist and the World record holder, is back in training. The man who has taken the 800 meters by the scruff of the neck and    it up is getting into shape for 2014. As track fans, we are happy when our real heroes are fit and healthy. Anyone who watched David Rudisha lead the 800 meters from start to finish in London, not only taking the gold medal, but setting the World record, knows what greatness is. 

David Rudisha is back! 

Relays, by

Coaching Clinics are key for coaches to improve. Alberto Salazar, the IAAF Coaching Achievement award winner for 2013, once told me that coaches should always be open to new ideas. 

Please find the information for the Minnesota Track & Field Clinic....

Duane Solomon, Molly Huddle, photo by Saucony Running 

The last two weeks of the season, with NXN, FootLocker are under way, and here is our suggestions to keep you fit, and rested for the biggest races of the year! 
Duane Solomon, Molly Huddle, photo by Saucony Racing

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