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.
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…)