Toya Reavis Added to USD XC Coaching Staff


(Very proud of Toya as she embarks on this new leg of her career. It was only two years ago that she left to follow her passion for running full-time into the coaching ranks.  In that relatively short time she found her true calling, and helped change many lives with her challenging but supportive approach. Now she will bring that focus and attention to a whole new team of young achievers.  Big congrats, Toya. You followed your heart and earned this wonderful opportunity.)


Norman RockwellAre we surprised Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Dr. Ben Carson are leading in the U.S. presidential polls? Are we shocked Pope Francis seems bent on radically reforming every Catholic prohibition heretofore considered canonical?  Are we indignant that women’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe has been linked (though unnamed) to assertions of PED use by a British parliamentary committee during a hearing into doping allegations in athletics?

I wish I were, but I am sorry, I am not. I guess I have been around too long.

From Paula Radcliffe to Tom Brady, Hillary Clinton to the Catholic Church, what we are witnessing is the new assumption of guilt by a public grown too cynical for Norman Rockwell’s vanilla version of life. Nothing is above reproach. Facts may not lie, but like quarks are never directly observed or found in isolation, either. Instead they exist within the larger narrative that forms a constantly moving target that applies only to the moment, never universally over time.

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,” don’t you know. Continue reading


FullSizeRender(48)San Diego, CA. — Even as the world celebrates the pinnacle of the art form in Beijing at the 15th IAAF World Track & Field Championships, we are reminded that each and every one of the athletes representing their nation’s colors in China began their journey on an anonymous oval where the top prize arrived upon the smile of Mom or a “Well done” from Dad, and where personal goals created podiums of pride long before the world at large ever took notice.

Last night those smiles, “well dones” and personal satisfactions returned to the old U.S. Navy Base San Diego track for the first time in more than a generation as USATF San Diego long distance chairman Paul Greer and his merry band of tracksters organized the first competitive track and field meeting in 35 years at the home port of the Pacific Fleet. Continue reading


Bannister on his way to history's first sub-4:00 mile

Bannister on his way to history’s first sub-4:00 mile

After a decade long assault, the sport of athletics hit the sweet spot with its dopamine release on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road track in Oxford, England. It was on that steel gray day that Roger Bannister broke the 4:00 barrier in the mile. Paced by Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher, Bannister’s Everestian effort hooked the sport on sweet time, and it has been dependent on its pace suppliers ever since.

At each IAAF Diamond League meeting, every event over 400 meters is a paced affair as time is the primary goal. Yet come the World Championships or Olympics, where pacing is removed and rounds are conducted to earn a place in the medal round, we tend to see wildly imbalanced racing efforts.  In part, because the pressure is different. It isn’t can or can’t you, rather what and when you.  No just raw horsepower, but tactical control of that power. We all know how to run.  But we have to learn how to race.

Today, we learn that the B.A. Chicago Marathon has decided to end its dependence on pacers, joining Boston and New York City among the Abbott World Marathon Majors in the non-paced category.

Carey Pinkowski, Chicago Marathon

Carey Pinkowski, Chicago Marathon

“The thing with this is we try to set up a world record every year,” said long-time race director Carey Pinkowski, “but we never get close. It (pacing) is like a prop. So get rid of the prop. It’s a race. So if they go out at six minute pace, so what?” Continue reading



Falmouth, Ma.- Given that there’s any wider interest still remaining in athletics (track & field in the USA) now that an IAAF whistle blower has been shown the sport to be deeply corrupted and filled with line erasers and out right cheats, the question is how best to contour its future as the IAAF World Championships harken in Bejing, China and the governing body votes in a new president?

“Football, for some reason, when you get popped for drugs you get a couple games penalty,” said Hawi Keflezighi, brother/agent of Meb, the 2014 Boston Marathon champion. “But it doesn’t change anyone’s endorsement deals. It’s like in running the same rules don’t apply.”

I was speaking with Hawi at the NB Falmouth Road Race press conference, as Meb will compete Sunday in the  43rd edition of the great American road race. Representatives like Hawi have to go into the market to champion their athletes where the biggest difficulty, he says, is the public perception that everyone is dirty.

“When in fact people are making the choice to be clean,” lamented Hawi.  “So they get hit two times. First, the cheaters take the prize money and appearance fees. Then the public perception is that everybody is guilty, anyway.”

One way to handle that, he suggested, is to release the names of those athletes who have suspiciously high blood values, and then allow them to explain the circumstances which could naturally lead lead to those elevated values.

“The burden of proof shifts, said Hawi.  “That way the public perception that everyone is using is addressed to some degree. It is simply not fair the way it is, because when the names are not released, it’s too easy for fans and the public to assume the majority are not clean. At some point something has to be done to relieve the sport and the clean athletes of that unfair burden.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Frank Shorter’s first win at Falmouth, a win against budding rival Bill Rodgers that served as s booster rocket for the initial running boom.

After a touching recollection of his first visit to Falmouth as an impressionable 15 year-old, Frank sat and chatted about the drug issue, a cause that has been close to his heart for decades now.

“When USADA and WADA first began -and they were the first entities to understand that you can’t promote and police the sport simultaneously – the supposition was that if you’re not willing to work behind-the-scenes, then you really didn’t want to solve the problem.

(Former AAU, TAC and USATF CEO) “Ollan Cassell published a book “Inside the Olympic Rings”. He was at a meeting in LA where it was decided only 12 (drug) positives would be announced. So they created a lousy system full of loopholes that made it easy to look like they were doing something.”

There are some, like 2012 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir of Kenya, now a member of the Kenyan parliament, who would like to impose legal rather than federation level sanctions on drug cheats.

“Normally,the statute of limitations begins went fraud is discovered,” said Shorter, “rather than when it’s committed. But the most recent Lance Armstrong investigation has done away with that.  We see more and more events suing athletes to get their money back. They won’t get it, but technically drug cheating is a felony. It’s just the sport has not chosen to deal with it as such.

“But I think it’s coming around.  If Sebastian Coe (running for IAAF presidency against Russia’s Sergey Bubka) truly outsources all testing to an independent agency, and that model has been around since 2000, I’ll support anyone who’s for that.”

Maybe the  difference in how sports are regarded is due to athletics being seen as the centerpiece of the sacrosanct Olympics, where the purity of the contest is still held in higher esteem than today’s pro team sports.

In any case, simply releasing the fact that X number of athletes either re-tested positive at some past competition – as we heard this week from the IAAF in regard the 2005 & 2007 World Championships – or have been shown to have elevated blood values – which the German ARD TV documentary and Sunday Times revealed via a leaked IAAF list – by not linking those findings to specific names only perpetuates the debilitating assumption that all champions or good performances are tainted.

Certainly casting doubt on someone who may be clean is one downside of any new transparent policy. But the current no-names policy has proven injurious to the health and state of the sport as a whole. After decades of being the poster child for drug use in all sport, at some point that health must become the primary concern.



DeflateGateThough the Symmonds Matter has managed to leak into the public sphere, let there be no doubt as to which sport’s legal case the population is riveted.  Deflate-Gate hit federal court today in Manhattan where the long unraveling of each side’s case began before Judge Richard M. Berman.

The judge had requested that the NFL and NFL Player’s Association meet prior to today’s hearing to discuss or even come to a settlement.  That didn’t happen. So Judge Berman conducted an open court hearing followed by a closed-door session in an attempt to get the two sides closer to doing for themselves what he will eventually do for them if they can’t work it out for themselves. Continue reading