NEW FLAG DAY 5K TO WAVE IN FALMOUTH

`65 Mustang Pace Car

     While the eyes of the running world will focus on the New York Mini 10k and the Adidas Grand Prix in New York City this Saturday June 11, a small new road race will be touring the Falmouth, Massachusetts waterfront at the same time on Cape Cod.   Staged by long-time Falmouth Road Race co-directors Rich and Kathy Sherman, the inaugural Falmouth Flag Day 5k Run/Walk To Benefit the Falmouth Military Support Group will kick off Saturday, June 11, at 10 a.m. 

     “We didn’t want our 76 years of directing experience to go to waste,” Rich said. “The Carrolls (John & Lucia) were ready to retire, but we are still very active with our businesses, and did not want people to think we are retired.  Also, we wanted to use our experience for the good of our community, so this is a perfect choice.”  Continue reading

NBC RULES OLYMPIC AIRWAVES

    

     It was announced today that NBC has retained the U.S. television rights to four more Olympic Games spanning the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia through to the as yet to be named Summer Games of 2020.  The peacock network out bid rivals ESPN and FOX with a $4.38 billion offer.  NBC has held U.S. rights for the last seven Olympics, beginning in 2000 and going through the 2012 London Games.

     For track fans this cannot be seen as anything but a major dissapointment.  No matter what FOX or ESPN would have offered, NBC’s view of track is well established.  For their coverage of Beijing 2008, they lobbied the IOC to reschedule the once centerpiece track and field competition out of live U.S. prime time to make room for women’s gymnastics, beach volleyball, and Michael Phelps quest for eight swimming gold medals.

    There was some speculation that NBC’s new owners, Comcast, might forego the Olympics after the resignation of Dick Ebersol, NBC’s point man in past Olympic bids.  Now, they are here to stay. 

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WEEKEND THOUGHTS

Proud Father

     Everyone was happy for Meb Keflezighi’s 62:46 win at Sunday’s Dodge Rock `n` Roll Half-Marathon in his hometown of San Diego. Though he’d run the nearby Carlsbad 5000 before, technically, it was Meb’s first race at home as a pro, and first since competing in the Aztec Invitational as a UCLA student 15 years ago – at least as best coach Bob Larsen could recall. And though matters turned into more of an exhibition run than competition for the hometown hero after Kenya’s Martin Lel dropped out after 10K, with so many old friends cheering him through the picturesque bayside course, and his proud dad Russom holding him aloft at the finish, it was a priceless day, nonetheless.  Continue reading

NEEDLES & NEEDLES

    I was at the doctor’s office this week to get some minor stitches in my arm.  As he approached with his hypodermic, the doctor and I got to talking.  He mentioned how surprised he was that young people who came into the office with tattoos or piercings all over their bodies were frightened at having to get a shot of local anesthetic.

     “They’ve had needles stuck into them for, at times, hours at the tattoo parlor,” he said in befuddlement.  “Why would they be afraid of my single needle?”

     “Because,” I countered, “when they go to the tattoo parlor, they are going by choice, maybe even under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to have a procedure done by someone they see as an artist, who is dressed much like they are.  Sure, there is pain, but it is braved in service of a ritualized enhancement. It’s simple cost-benefit analysis. The transitory pain leads to a worthwhile end. And they know that going in.

     “On the other hand, when they come to the doctor’s office, they see an authority figure clad in a white smock, speaking in a strange tongue, medicalese – who else would call a bruise an ecchymosis? – and the pain is associated with an injury or disease, the end of which is, to them, generally uncertain.  

     “So the fear stems from the vast difference in the psychological terrain between the edgy certainty of the tattoo parlor, and the sterile uncertainty of the doctor’s office.  Hey, they should’ve taught you such things in medical school besides that condescension they always stress in third year.”

     I winced as he stabbed me with assurance.

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FESTIVAL OF MILES PRODUCES FAST TIMES

     The 1300-person crowd rose along the front stretch as hip 5, Jordan McNamara of the Oregon Track Club, made his move.  The St.Louis Track Club Men’s Mile was the final race of last night’s Big River Festival of Miles, and in the final 100 meters it had boiled down to a three man fight.  On the inside ran John Jefferson from Team Indiana Elite, a 3:57 man who had charged to the lead at the bell with 400 to go.  In his slipstream the hometown favorite, Stephen Pifer of the Oregon TC, a native of Edwardsville, Illinois from just across the Big Muddy from St. Louis, a 3:56 man with scores of fans urging him on.  And waiting, waiting, waiting was McNamara, who had a PR coming in of 3:59, but had won the “B” heat of the Oxy High Performance Meet in L.A.on May 21st in 3:42. So he was in form, and rarin’ to go.

    I was on the P.A.  It had been a great night of racing, beginning with the Go St. Louis! Healthy Kids mile won by Nick Thatcher in 5:29.  The fourth annual series of races served as a fund-raiser to benefit 2008 St. Louis U. High All-State high jumper Mike Rathmann, who was paralyzed just a few weeks after graduation in a vacation accident.  His mom, Toots, was on hand, as well, celebrating her birthday.  Good night all around for the Rathmann bunch. Continue reading

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIE

     St. Louis, Mo.- I’m back in my old hometown to serve as guest announcer for tonight’s fourth annual Big River Festival of Miles presented by Under Armour.  Taking place at my high school alma mater, St. Louis University High School, the FOM is a series of races from an open mile for boys and girls from first to eighth grade, to invitational boys and girls high school miles, to an elite/pro women’s 800 and men’s mile to close the program.

     The Big River Festival of Miles was conceived in 2008 by fellow SLUH alum Ben Rosario, co-owner of the Big River Running Company, and a former Hanson’s Distance Project runner.  The first FOM was staged to benefit the family of Brigette Schutzman, a standout cross country and track runner for Saint Louis University who had been badly injured in a car accident on New Year’s Eve 2007.   The meet raised $8,000 for the Schutzman family. Continue reading