After Galen Rupp’s 59:47 win at the Huawei Rome Ostia Half Marathon last Sunday, 11 March 2018, I combed through the IAAF.org all-time half-marathon performance list to see what I could see.

To date, there have been 317 “official” sub-60:00 half marathon performances dating from Moses Tanui‘s 59:47 win in Milan in April 1993 (366 when we add what are/were considered the *aided courses like Lisbon ‘98).  Rupp’s own 59:47, though ineligible for record purposes due to Rome’s net downhill, point-to-point course, nevertheless was an excellent prep for next month’s Boston Marathon, as Rome mirrored the p-t-p, downhill Boston layout.

Historically, his 59:47 half-marathon PR places Rupp equal 211th best all-time (258th on all courses), but equal-fourth with New Zealand’s Zane Robertson on the all-time non-African related breakdown. (Again, noting Mo Farah, GBR, has a 59:22, 59:32, and 59:59 to his credit)

  • 1 Marilson Gomes Dos Santos – BRA – 59:33 – 7th, Udine, Italy `07 –  equal 137th best performance ever
  • 2 Antonio Pinto – POR – 59:43 – 1st, Lisbon `98 = = 226th best (all courses)
  • 3 Ryan Hall – USA –  59:43 – 1st, Houston `07-  =185th  best ever
  • 4 Zane Robertson – NZL – 59:47 – 2nd, Marugame `15 – =211th best
  • 4 Galen Rupp – USA – 59:47 – 1st, Rome-Ostia `18 – =211th best
  • 6 Sondre Nordstad Moen – NOR – 59:48 – 4th, Valencia `17 – = 221st  best
  • 7 Fabian Roncero– ESP – 59:52 – 1st, Berlin ‘01
  • 8 Dathan Ritzenhein – USA – 60:00 – 3rd, Birmingham `09 – =318th best
  • 8 Callum Hawkins – GBR – 60:00 – 1st, Marugame `17 – =318th best
  • 10 Jake Robertson – NZL – 60:01  – 1st, Lisbon `17 – =326th best
    (This January Jake Robertson won the Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 60:01 against a loaded international field to equal his 2017 PR).

The half-marathon world record has stood since 21 March 2010 when Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese won the Lisbon Half Marathon in 58:23, breaking his own previous mark by eight seconds set the year before on the same course (which had been slightly altered to comply with record standards  from the layout that Pinto ran his sub-60 on in ‘98).

To show the rapid improvement in – and scheduling of – half-marathon races, it is interesting to note that only six of the 317 (366) sub-60 half marathon performances to date were set in the 20th century: Continue reading



When the 33rd Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon goes off this Sunday morning, among the 24,000+ lining up outside Dodger Stadium for the 26.2 mile jaunt to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica will144 running for the 33rd time – just as I will be broadcasting the race for the 33rd straight year (locally on KTLA-TV, from 6 – 11 a.m., and nationally on WGN America, 7 – 10 a.m.  Pacific time).

This Friday at the pre-race press conference I will be joined on stage by one of those 144 LA Legacy Runners, Johnnie Jameson of Inglewood, California,  Having just turned 70 , Johnnie still works at the Bicentennial Postal station at Beverly & Curson Streets in West Hollywood.

Last week I called Johnnie to discuss what we might talk about this Friday, and soon found out that we had a lot more in common than 32 previous marathons in Los Angeles.  Continue reading


Nations have been turning citizens into soldiers for as long as anyone can remember.  And over time, no matter the nation, the process hasn’t changed a great deal, as it has proven tried and true.

First, the military breaks down the individual recruits – cutting off their hair, dressing them alike, housing them together in close quarters – in order to build a cohesive unit.  Then they teach precision through constant drilling until a finely tuned military force has been forged.

One of the first lessons in unit cohesion is everyone is responsible for everyone else. And if one makes a mistake, all pay the price. For instance, if one recruit decides he doesn’t want to take a shower every day in boot camp, it eventually falls to the other recruits to drag him to the showers for a late night cold water scrubbing with a hard bristled brush. It is not the drill sergeant who does this, it is the rank recruit’s own fellow privates.  That cold-water scrubbing tends to get the message across. If one recruit screws up in training, the entire platoon does extra pushups or low crawl. Eventually, life for the screw-up is made intolerable by his fellow recruits until he gets his act in order.

Bringing this analogy into the world of athletics, until the athletes themselves take some responsibility to deal with their own in this matter of doping,  the situation will never be resolved.  Every athlete only wants to train and race, total focus.  And that is fully understandable.  But that only works if the sport is in good health, and this one is not. Continue reading


Perhaps it has been the Olympic motto – citius, altius, fortius- that has been responsible. But in our time-conscious athletics’ world, we sometimes forget that a championship — hell, any race – is first and foremost a competition amongst athletes, not a trial against the tyranny of time – though on occasions the clock is a worthy opponent.  Thus, with pacers removed from the agenda throughout this weekend’s IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, England, athletics fans will get to see a myriad of tactical races that produce champions who might not have been considered favorites going in. Continue reading


Tampa, FL – Warm Florida hospitality was matched by warm sub-tropical conditions at today’s Publix GASPARILLA Distance Classic Half Marathon and 8K, day two of a weekend fitness festival now in its 41st year.

US Army sergeant Elkanah Kibet and Redding, California’s Sara Hall took top honors in the two main races. But both had to battle all the way home to take the $8000 first-place prize.  Kibet out kicked University of Oregon grad Parker Stinson 1:03:39 to 1:03:41, while Hall nipped defending women’s champion Stephanie Bruce of Northern Arizona Elite by one second in 1:12:01, stripping 33 seconds off Jen Rhines’ 2015 course record.

“I was going for a breakthrough in the heat,” said Sara in the VIP tent afterward. “We went out easy. I learned my lesson last year in Houston (11th place). Now it’s up to Mammoth Lakes for some altitude training before the World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia (Spain) in four weeks.”


In the early morning blush of dawn, women’s leaders Stephanie Bruce, Diane Nukuri, and Dara Hall head out Bayshore Blvd with two men alongside

Both Hall and Bruce are ramping up for a major spring marathon in April, Sara to Boston and Steph in London one week later.

“Anytime I can go toe to toe with Sara it’s a good day,” said Steph who was coming off a third place finish at February’s USATF Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee. “I’ve never beat her, but this was the closest I’ve ever been. I’d say the times were incredible in very oppressive conditions. I feel like I’m knocking on the door.”


Hammering home: Stephanie Bruce leads Sara Hall in the final miles

The men’s race proved just as closely contested with four men locked together as they looped off Davis Island onto Bayshore Boulevard at mile 5. Leading the way was 26 year-old Oregon grad Parker Stinson making his debut run in Tampa.

In his slipstream were Elkanah Kibet, WCAP army teammate Haron Lagat, and Team Run Flagstaff’s Kiya Dandena, a 1:03 half-marathon man from 2017.

Parker Stinson opens an early lead, only to see it dissipate shortly after

Miles along the flat, bayside course began tumbling in the 4:52 – 4:55 range in the still, dark conditions. But throughout the morning, Parker kept surging like an unkinked garden hose, opening a stream of pace before closing back soon thereafter.

“I wasn’t worried about him,” said Kibet, who finished fourth here last year in 64:51. “I was worried about my teammate Haron Lagat because he had the fastest time (61:01 at January’s Houston Half). But I never imagined I could win. I thought number three, but when we dropped the other guy (Dandena), I said maybe number two.”


Kibet and Stinson match strides as Dandena holds in third.

The Kenyan-born soldier stationed in Colorado Springs came into Tampa off so-so races at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee earlier this month (13th place), and an 18th place in January’s Houston Half Marathon (62:29).

“I changed my training after that,” he said, specifically adding more fartlek sessions, which helped him withstand the surges thrown in today by Colorado-based Parker Stinson.

After Stinson’s blows dispatched all others on the homeward run up Bayshore, it was Kibet who made a move at 12.5 miles with the finish line approaching fast. Stinson responded to move number one, but the next charge by Kibet proved decisive, opening the margin of victory.

Next up for the champion is next month’s Gate River 15K in Jacksonville before a date with the Boston Marathon in April.

In all, 32,000 runners took part in GASPARILLA 2018, many running Saturday’s 15K and 5K then quadrupling back for today’s half-marathon and 8K.


1. Sarah Hall – 72:01 course record

2. Stephanie Bruce – 72:02

3. Diane Nukuri – 73:05

4. Sydney Devore – 74:21


1. Elkanah Kibet – 63:39

2. Parker Stinson – 63:41

3. Kiya Dandena – 64:09

4. Tyler Pennel – 64:17

5. Haron Lagat – 65:13



Tampa, FL. – Lakeland, Florida’s Jon Mott captured his third GASPARILLA Distance Classic 15K title this morning, touring the flat, Bayshore Blvd out-and-back course in 47:01. In the process, he took the measure of friend, former college teammate, and defending champion Austin Richmond by 11 seconds on a warming Tampa day.

Jon Mot opens wining margin on defending champ Austin Richmond in Mike 8 as early pacesetter Matt Hensley of Boulder, Co. fades in third.

“I executed my plan perfectly,” said 31 year-old Mott after his third GASPARILLA win. “I sat back early and let them duel. Then at the turnaround (25:00) I began pressing. Over the last three miles it was just me and AJ, and I was listening to his breathing. I didn’t do anything in the last four miles, just held 4:58 pace.”

AJ Richmond led the race early with Boulder, Colorado’s Matt Hensley. They blew through mile one in 4:57 with Mott and two-time runner up Rafa Matuszczak of Poland three seconds back. By mid-race the four were together before Mott began his push for home.

Both Richmond  and Mott had won the Gasparilla 15K twice before on the flat, bayside course where five world records had been set in the early years when the 15K was the featured distance at GASPARILLA. Richmond took the title in 2010 & 2017, while Mott won in 2014 & 2015, and finished second to his Webber International University teammate last year.

Jon Mott takes third GASPARILLA 15k title

The 5k will follow the 15K today as temps soar into the low 80s. Then tomorrow the featured half-marathon, opening race of the 2018 PRRO Road Series, will go off at 6 a.m. before an 8K completes the weekend fitness festival. Over 32,000 strong will stride along Bayshore Blvd. for one of road running’s classic events.

A full report on the half-marathon will come tomorrow.   Favorites include 61:01 WCAP Army member Haron Lagat out of Colorado Springs, and 61:44 man Tyler Pennel of Charlotte, N.C.  Defending women’s champ Stephanie Bruce of Northern Arizona Elite will battle, among others,  Redding, California’s Sara Hall, reigning 2017 U.S Marathon champion.


1. Jon Mott – Lakeland, FL. – 47:01
2. Austin Richmond- Babson Park, FL. – 47:12
3. Matt Hensley – Boulder, co. – 47:47
4. Rafa Matuszczsk – POl. – 48:10
5. RJ Dorazil – Tampa, Fl. – 50:48


1. Paige Howard – Tampa, FL. – 57:15
2. Jacki Wachtel – New Port Richie, FL. – 57:57
3. Christa Stephens – St. Petersburg, FL. – 57:57

Legacy runner Tom Singletary of Tampa completes his 41st GASPARILLA.



Sitting in 27c on the aisle with a nice magazine-reading lady on the window. The stream of fellow travelers continue to board the flight for Houston. I chat with one of the flight attendants about general passenger comportment, as she tells tales of one lady too persnickety to accept help in placing her roller bag in the overhead bin. It’s this way with air travel these days, fun for those that don’t do it.

So I’m just waiting for the final section 5 boarders, hoping for someone small and quiet to fill 27b, the middle seat. Then, magically, the head attendant announces over the PA that the front door has closed and locked, and “please direct your attention the TV monitors for an important safety demonstration.”

My row-mate and I glance over at one another with a sly grin betraying our feelings.

“You believe this?” We bump fists. “Here I was hoping for someone small and quiet, and instead we get vacant and non-corporeal.”

Travel as those of only a certain age can remember. Before air travel began to resemble bus travel. Now if only the young guy in front of me in 26c doesn’t lay back into my sternum, I may remember this United flight fondly.