Month: December 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
– Alfred Lord Tennyson

2014 Happy New Year

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2013 – YEAR IN REVIEW

BostonStrong     The biggest, as well as saddest, story in running this past year was the bombing at the Boston Marathon in April. Of such magnitude were the Boylston Street explosions, and of such duration their reverberations, that the episode represented the second most searched item on Google for the year — running only behind the car crash death of Fast & Furious movie star Paul Walker.

Bag Checks, the new standard
The new standard

The entire Boston bombing saga left the city, nation, and world seeking a new equilibrium as security was markedly ramped up at civic events everywhere — probably never to be returned to pre-Patriot’s Day levels for the foreseeable future, if ever.

Kenmore Square desolate at midday.
Kenmore Square stood desolate at midday two days after the Boston bombings.

The week following was a sober reminder of an unfortunate truth, terrorism works.  Not since the anti-war days of the late Sixties and early `70s had I witnessed anything as close to marshal law in the U.S. as I did during the week after the Boston Marathon — though in this case it was self-imposed.  During that interval when the two Chechnyan brother bombers remained unknown and at large, the Boston metro area was held in the grip of a palpable fear.

I do not envy the Boston Athletic Association its task of threading the needle between respectful commemoration and unintended validation come next Patriot’s Day.

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American Hustle, Full Speed Fun

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Went to see American Hustle yesterday at The Grove mall in Hollywood. Though the David O. Russell film began a little slow for me (the art of creating a comb-over, but that could just as easily have been because we were seated in row three in the packed holiday theater) it soon hit its stride, and I was hooked for the ride.

Loosely based on the 1970s Washington D. C. Abscam scandal, but played here as a resurrection of Atlantic City in the same era – with all its fashion and hairstyle excess – the flick proved a master acting class by its four principles, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and Bradley Cooper. Jeremy Renner was also very good as the well-intentioned mayor of Camden, though perhaps a little young for the role of a long- time, big-familied Italian mayor. (more…)

FORMER WORLD RECORD HOLDER KHANNOUCHI TESTING IN SAN DIEGO

Former marathon world record holder Khalid Khannouchi with fan
Former marathon world record holder Khalid Khannouchi with fan

“You never know who will show up here.”

The San Diego Track Club was just finishing its final workout of the year under Coach Paul Greer — 15 X 300 meters — when former marathon world record holder Khalid Khannouchi arrived at the San Diego High School track just after 7p.m. his left hand swaddled in bandages.

”I cut my hand this afternoon,” he explained, “and had to go have five stitches put in.”

Khalid was in town visiting his old friend and mentor Tracy Sundlun,vice president of Competitor Group, purveyors of the Rock `n` Roll series of races.  Tracy had helped establish Khalid  after the Moroccan-born runner emigrated to the USA following his win in the 5000 meters at the 1993 World University Games in Buffalo.  At the time Sundlun served as head of the MAC, the Metropolitan Athletics Congress, regional running federation for the New York City metro area.

But this trip west from his home in Ossining, New York wasn’t simply a friendly visit or a break from the cold and ice back east for the U.S. record holder and four-time Chicago Marathon champion. (more…)

FOOT LOCKER 2013 – WORLD CLASS REUNION

Champion Tessa Barrett, Waverly, Pennsylvania senior sprinting to the tape
Champion Tessa Barrett, Waverly, Pennsylvania senior sprinting to the tape

San Diego, Ca. — It is all grist for the running mill, this Nike Cross Nationals versus Foot Locker Cross Country Championships debate:  Which high school championship is better? Which one will outlast the other?  Who wins?  Who loses?  Goodness me.  For as in all things running, it seems, the sport has found a way to engage in an internecine battle rather than work as one to take on the outside world which is where the real fight should be waged.

Of course, Nike and Foot Locker were once partners in the Foot Locker Championships until Nike departed to create Nike Team Nationals in 2004 after Foot Locker turned down the offer to add a team element in San Diego. The competition then really heated up when Nike introduced an individual championship and renamed its meet Nike Cross Nationals in 2007.

But whichever high school national cross country event you may prefer, NXN or Foot Locker, this much is true, the sport at the high school level has all the passion and energy that is missing at the professional level.  And one important reason is the built-in rooting that comes from a fan-base that is actually attached to the athletes they care so deeply about.  (more…)