McKenna Brown taking instruction from Dad, Chris
12 year-old McKenna Brown grasped the pole tentatively as her father, Chris, showed her how to stand at the approach. With that final advice in mind the seventh grader from Oak Crest Middle School in Carlsbad, California moved to the runway where she stared at the pit and standards standing some eight steps away, about to make her first ever attempt in a pole vault competition.
McKenna, along with her dad Chris, mom Angela, and 14 year-old brother Kyle were part of a larger than expected crowd of competitors and supporters who showed up at last Wednesday’s Summer Night’s Track & Field Meet at San Diego’s University City High School, the first of a four meet series put on by Paul Greer and the San Diego Track Club. As cities across the world vie for selection as host site for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games — including a joint bid being explored by San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico — it is at small all-comers meets like the Summer Nights series where youngsters like McKenna Brown begin to dream of perhaps making that team. Continue reading
Lukas Verzbicas (L) with Jim Ryun, two sub-four high school milers
How quickly the big wheel turns and with it the bright glare of celebrity and fame. Just this week Bronxville, New York teen sensation Mary Cain won her third USATF Athlete of the Week award of 2013 for her junior and high school 800 meter record at the Nike Pre Classic in Eugene, Oregon. But recall that in 2011 the teen everyone was talking about was Lukas Verbicas of Orland Park, Illinois, who won two USATF AOW awards in a period of six months, the last for his 3:59.71 victory at the adidas Grand Prix Dream Mile, when he became only the fifth high school runner in U.S. history to go sub-4:00 – and only the second in an all-high school event.
Two very consequential years later we found Lukas back on the track at University City High School in San Diego competing in the mile and 5000 meters at the Summer’s Night Track & Field Meet still on the road to recovery from a horrific cycling crash last summer that nearly killed the triathlete/runner, then left him partially paralyzed and learning how to walk again.
The big wheel may have turned, but slivers of light still seek him out. Continue reading
San Diego’s Petco Park
While the Boston Marathon mapped out course success right off the line in 1897 by mirroring the route that the inaugural Olympic Marathon used in 1896 to commemorate the mythological run of Greek messenger Pheidippides in 492 B.C. from Marathon to Athens, it hasn’t always been so easy for races to find their perfect routes.
It took the Los Angeles Marathon a quarter-century to design their “Stadium to Sea”course that perfectly matched the city’s postcard image of sun, surf and Hollywood. And the New York City Marathon ran four laps around Central Park for its first six years before expanding to its iconic five-borough route in 1976.
While there may be many roads to Rome, generally there is only one route in each city that will capture both its civic booster pride while bowing to the put upon non-runner citizens who must adjust to the road closures and traffic tie-ups on race day.
Yesterday, the original Rock `n` Roll Marathon in San Diego may have found its perfect layout in its 16th running, call it the “Park to Park” course, from its traditional start in Balboa Park to the new finish line outside the San Diego Padres home, Petco Park downtown. Continue reading
RnR 2013 Running Elvi
San Diego, Ca. — Road racing is a people-moving retail business. To keep your current customers happy while attracting new ones event organizers around the world search for that ephemeral quality referred to as “the runner’s experience”. Yet the need for enough space to corral all the starters then re-gather all the finishers ultimately determines the parameters of the miles between. Understandably, when race fields begin to exceed 20,000, the choices become quite small, and compromise between the runners’ experience and city inconvenience often redounds on the side of the non-running population. Accordingly, locking in an ideal layout that meets the needs of both constituencies is a tricky business which may take years to engineer, if ever.
Today, in its 16th running, the founding Rock `n` Roll Marathon (& Half Marathon) in Competitor Group, Inc.’s hometown of San Diego, California may well have settled onto the courses which will define their future success. Continue reading
Ventura, Ca. — The growth and popularity of big city marathons has led to record sell-outs around the world, opening the calendar to charming boutique events not looking to cram every last runner onto their narrow over-taxed roads – not that there is anything wrong with that. We found just such a gem this weekend glistening in the coastal California sun out the Ventura Highway north of Los Angeles, south of Santa Barbara.
The 3rd Clif Bar Mountains 2 Beach Marathon & Half-Marathon gave its 3000 entrants — 1500 in each distance – a lovely journey from rural Ojai to seaside Ventura that had everyone raving about the course, the organization and thrilled with their new PRs. Continue reading
Philemon Terer, Sarah Kiptoo
Cleveland, Ohio — Kenyans Philemon Terer and Sarah Kiptoo of the AmeriKenya Running Club in Santa Fe, New Mexico battled the fields and then the heat at today’s 36th Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon to notch the biggest wins of their respective careers. Terer broke free from Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Dube at 40K on the way to a 2:17:37 win. By dipping under 2:20 Terer added a $3000 bonus to his first place prize. Dube arrived at the Browns Stadium finish 33-seconds later to claim runner up honors.
Under conditions which changed from overcast and 64 degrees Farenheit to sunny and 79, Sarah Kiptoo still managed to chop a remarkable eleven minutes off her marathon PR with her 2:33:41 win. Two-time defending champion Mary Akor finished second in 2:36:03 while Charlotte, North Carolina teen Alana Hadley completed her much anticipated debut in sixth place with a 2:58:22 clocking. Continue reading
Cleveland, Ohio – The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon & 10K has always been a front-runner. Well before other marathons began staging multiple events on race weekend, Cleveland always staged both a world-class 10K and marathon on the same day. Now to accommodate the growing number of people looking to get into the sport, organizers have added a 5K and a Kid’s Run on Saturday, while a half-marathon is also included on Sunday’s schedule along with the marathon and 10K. In all over 22,000 people will wind through the streets of Cleveland in the 36th anniversary of the city’s signature racing weekend. Continue reading
San Diego, CA. — Track is back in San Diego! Hard to believe, but it’s been a quarter century since a professional track meet was last staged in America’s Finest City, and nearly a half century since its greatest days. That clock gets turned back this Sunday at 10 a.m. when Re-Run San Diego looks to recreate some of the city’s past track glory following a 5K road race through downtown San Diego and scenic Balboa Park in a unique track-follows-road-race format with $60,000 waiting on the line.
For those too young to remember, track used to be a big deal in this corner of the left coast. Not just because of people like Steve Scott and Thom Hunt, or in latter days with Meb Keflezighi and Monique Henderson. It was the meets that dotted the calendar, whether in Balboa Stadium downtown, or over at the Sports Arena for the Jack-in-the-Box Indoor meet.
San Diego Union Tribune scribe Nick Canepa has spent 40 years chronicling all things sports in this town, but as he wrote in a February 2012 column it was track that provided his most lasting memory.
“But, for me, nothing tops the night of (Eamonn) Coghlan’s mile on the Sports Arena boards during the Jack-in-the-Box Indoor Games. It was electrifying. He blew the roof off the joint. If you had never seen a track and field event in your life, even if you were the losers’ parents, you had to feel what it’s like to be a page in history.”
The thought of what track once was can raise goosebumps or loosen tears depending on your mood. But rather than escape into the past two young men with the future of the sport in mind hatched the idea for Re-Run San Diego over the last year. Continue reading
San Diego “Run To Boston”
Runners like to complete what they’ve started, as it’s an untidy diary with a distance undone. That’s why 55 members of the San Diego running and triathlon communities met yesterday morning at Ski Beach along Mission Bay to complete a journey they began but couldn’t complete the previous week.
Last Sunday they’d gathered in a much larger number to metaphorically “Run to Boston” in memory of and support for those who lost their lives, limbs, and innocence at the Boston Marathon finish line bombings on April 15th. That gathering in San Diego was mirrored throughout the nation and in many places around the world, for such is the fierce community spirit of runners. But it is a long 3043 miles from Ski Beach to Boylston Street in Boston, and they had only posted 2270. Continue reading
Wheelers roll up on lead women
London, England — The second lead story from yesterday’s Virgin London Marathon – the first was Mo Farah’s half-way test run — was the collision between wheelchair record holder Josh Cassidy of Canada and 2012 Women’s Olympic Marathon gold medalist Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia at an aid station at 15K. Hardly the headline race organizers would have hoped to generate after they’d invited the best race fields in event history. But that’s the point, they did it to themselves with an asinine starting schedule which sent the 5:20 per mile women runners out 20-minutes before the 3:30 per mile wheelers. Do the math.