(Very proud of Toya as she embarks on this new leg of her career. It was only two years ago that she left Active.com 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.)
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
“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
Though 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
Emanuel A.M.E. Church
Both the state of South Carolina and the sport of athletics (track and field) are going through a particularly trying patch right now, though hardly on a par with one another.
In the Palmetto State the issue at hand has been the status of the Confederate Battle Flag, a polarizing symbol that has come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the tragic shooting of nine at Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church by racist provocateur Dylann Roof.
In athletics the sides-divider it isn’t nearly as important, which is not to say that the allegations of rules bending, substance manipulation, and counter charges that continue to circle the Nike Oregon Project and its coach Alberto Salazar at the USATF Nationals is inconsequential within the realm of its own limits.
Through it all, opposing sides have been divided, opinions cemented, and reputations tarnished. Of course, due to the already significant loss of interest in the sport over the last 25 years, the mainstream press has yet to shine its blinding light beneath our particular little rock. No, there are way too many worms wriggling beneath Tom Brady’s Deflate-gate appeal and analyzing who did well or ill at the recent NBA draft. Continue reading
Like so many other athletics fans world-wide, I note with sadness the passing of Australian great Ron Clarke, who died earlier today of kidney failure at a private hospital on the Gold Coast, where Clarke had served as mayor from 2004 — 2012. He was 78.
In memoriam I re-post a column from November 2013 that featured Mr. Clarke.
“DON’T TRAIN TOO HARD, DON’T MAKE IT TOO EASY”
So long, Dave.
MOCKING FOR MILLIONS
David Letterman retired last night after a run of 33 years behind talk show desks at NBC and CBS. In hosting the last of his 6028 shows Dave and his World Wide Pants team proved their mettle once again. What we got was exactly the Dave we had come to know and love these last three-plus decades. But, man, doesn’t it seem like just yesterday we were wishing Johnny well as he signed off after 30 years hosting the Tonight Show? Time can rip like that, you know, except for when we race. Then, the clock always seems to stall out for a bit.
Anyway, I haven’t stayed up to watch late night TV in years, having become a morning person after moving west from Boston to San Diego. But I still felt a real pang of loss watching Dave sign off. Continue reading