Month: November 2013

THE MAYOR OF TUCSON

Abdi leading the cheers in Osaka 2007
Abdi leading the cheers in Osaka 2007         (photo by Scott Winnier)

In less than two weeks Tucson’s Abdi Abdirahman will compete in the Honolulu Marathon for the first time.  Due to the marketplace of marathons, it has been more than a quarter century since a top American male has come to Honolulu to race.  So as Honolulu prepares for its December 8th onslaught, and the nation as a whole celebrates what many believe to be her most endearing holiday (before going off the rails again on Black Friday), I thought we’d go back a few years to a trip I made to Tucson in 2007 as Abdi prepared for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in New York City.

Though I had known and covered Abdirahman for many years, what I learned during that visit didn’t just reveal the character of the man, through him it reminded me of the character of the country he now calls home.  Perhaps it’s a reminder we all need to hear during this time of Thanksgiving. (more…)

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“DON’T TRAIN TOO HARD, DON’T MAKE IT TOO EASY”

Ron Clarke
Ron Clarke

San Diego, CA —  I recently watched a documentary about 1960s Australian running great Ron Clarke, a true phenomenon in his day now known primarily for breaking records while never winning an Olympic gold medal.  Especially intriguing in the film was a quote from his  countryman John Landy — second man ever under 4:00 in the mile — who sent young Ron a letter just as Clarke was gaining national  recognition.

“Not giving you sessions,” Clarke read from the five-page missive, “but describing the way you cope with training, really, the essence of simplicity. ‘Don’t train too hard, don’t make it too easy’. Just in that balance.” (more…)

VOTING OPENS FOR USATF FAN’S CHOICE AWARDS

USA Track & Field News
 
 
​INDIANAPOLIS – Voting opened today for the second annual USA Track & Field Fan’s Choice Awards, presented Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in conjunction with the 2013 USATF Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.
These awards provide an opportunity for supporters to select the top elite athletes from the list of nominees in each of the five categories listed below.

Voting concludes at 11:59 p.m. ET Sunday, Dec. 1. Fans can vote now by clicking here.

“COLLEGIATE RUNNING ASSOCIATION” TO OFFER PRIZE $ AT NATIONALS FOR ROAD, MOUNTAIN, AND TRAIL RUNNING

No matter what condition you might consider the state of American running to be in — good, bad or so-so — there seems to be an inexhaustible desire in some to see growth and improvement in the professional realm.  It is within that context that I received the following from Steve Taylor, track and cross country coach at the University of Richmond.

“My hope and intent is that this fills a void between elite NCAA/NAIA competition and the Elite Post Collegiate athletes,” wrote Coach Taylor, “giving our developing talent in the nation the opportunity to win money while still working on their college degree (undergraduate, graduate or post graduate work).

RICHMOND, Va. (Nov. 20, 2013) — A new non-profit group called the Collegiate Running Association was announced today with intentions to provide all college students who run the opportunity to compete at national championship events and earn prize money based on performance, without compromising eligibility for those still competing in the NCAA.

The only requirement for those interested in competing in a Collegiate Running Association national championship — for road racing, trail racing or mountain racing — is that the participant must be currently enrolled in at least one college course at any level, freeing runners from various restrictions such as maintaining a full-time status and competing only during a four or five year window. These eligibility requirements provide the first opportunity for a true national championship that transcends college divisions to exist. (more…)

IN 250 WORDS OR LESS – QUALIFYING FOR THE BOSTON MARATHON

 BostonStrong    Qualifying standards for the Boston Marathon were stiffened last year by five minutes across the age and gender categories or the iconic Patriot’s Day race. Now, less than six months before the 2014 race a new type of qualifying has been adopted by the host Boston Athletic Association, writing.

The B.A.A. will issue a limited number of invitational entries for the 2014 Boston Marathon for those who were most impacted by the events of April 15, 2013.

Those who have a special connection to the events of April 15 and who would like to be considered for an invitational entry, may submit a request to the B.A.A. Submissions will be collected entirely online at www.baa.org and must be typed in 250 words or less. The B.A.A. will not accept photos, videos, or other non-written material. Requests will be reviewed by a selection committee appointed by the B.A.A. and decisions will be made in the sole discretion of the B.A.A.

Submissions will be accepted between Monday, November 18, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. ET and Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Notifications and decisions will be issued on December 4.

The 118th Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April 21, 2014. (more…)

NEW PR VIDEO STARS FORMER MARATHON RECORD HOLDER PATRICK MAKAU

It is no surprise that the dominance of Kenyan runners over the last twenty years has cut both ways in the sport of distance running.  While records have fallen with increasing rapidity, the marketability of the sport — and its champions  — has also fallen well behind the standard set by the slower champions of the initial running boom.  Now, perhaps belatedly, the fastest runners on the planet have begun to  acknowledge that their role must extend beyond that of simple performer and include a dash of salesman, too, in the offering of the sport to the public. (more…)

PLAYING THE WHAT-IF GAME

Congratulations to Aaron Braun and Molly Huddle for their victories in the inaugural  .US National Road Racing Championships in Alexandria, Virginia. Both won $20,000 out of the $100,000 prize purse, one of the largest non-marathon paydays in road racing.  At the same time down in Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt was complaining how track’s inability to get beyond its drug scandals is causing him a loss in sponsorship opportunities.  With money emerging as the issue of the day I was reminded of a conversation I had Friday night in La Jolla, California with U.S. marathoner Meb Keflezighi’s agent/brother Merhawi and former Mesa Community College coach and frequent Team USA manager Manny Batista.

Hawi Keflezighi, Erin Whiting, Meb K., Patti Whiting, Bryce Whiting, VP ElliptiGo at "A Night In La Jolla"
Hawi Keflezighi, Erin Whiting, Meb K., Patti Whiting, Bryce Whiting, (VP ElliptiGo) at “A Night In La Jolla”

We were attending “A Night In La Jolla”, the first annual charity event of the MEB Foundation, a glitzy affair that attracted many of the area’s beautiful people – and a few runner types, too.  Meb had just returned from an eight-day trip to Athens with his wife Yordanos to attend the Athens Marathon.  It was his first visit to the Greek capital since his silver medal performance in the 2004 Olympic Marathon.

While perusing the blind raffle items up for bid, and checking out the San Diego glitterati’s definition of “dressy”, the suggested dress code for the evening, Hawi, Manny and I got around to playing the What If game, discussing the huge payday difference between track, road running and the mainstream American sports. (more…)