Though it’s an arbitrary beginning, the calendar turn does give structure to what’s ahead.  As 2013 morphed to 2014 a number of significant moves have been witnessed throughout the sport of running and track.

With the success of the Nike Oregon Project and OTC Elite out west, the recent move toward elite team building continues at pace.  It was announced today that 1996 Olympian and Dartmouth women’s cross country coach Mark Coogan has taken a position with New Balance in Boston — joining coach Terrence Mahon in Beantown, who signed on with the Boston Athletic Association late last year to develop an elite group for the venerable purveyors of the Boston Marathon.

Simultaneously, another elite team has been started in Flagstaff, Arizona by Ben Rosario, the young running entrepreneur from St. Louis for whom, it seems, no challenge should go unmet.  The one-time specialty running store owner, Olympic Trials qualifier, track meet founder, cross country championships meet director, and running fan shop developer has, along with wife Jen, gone all-in to create Northern Arizona Elite.

New Professional Running Team Northern Arizona Elite Forms In Flagstaff, AZ

Flagstaff-based group features nine professional athletes and Olympic hopefuls

January 7, 2013

FLAGSTAFF, (AZ) – January 7, 2014 – Former elite athlete and run-specialty store owner Ben Rosario has announced that he and his wife Jen Rosario have launched a new professional running team in Flagstaff, Ariz. The team, called Northern Arizona Elite, features nine high-level distance runners including the husband and wife duo of Ben and Stephanie (Rothstein) Bruce, 2:13 marathoner Jordan Chipangama and World Championship half marathoner Maegan Krifchin.

Rosario has operated the team on a small scale for the last six months as Team RunFan, a branch of his online retail store; RunFanShop.com. Rosario said the early success of the group led to the expansion and re-branding of the team.

Benn Rosario
Ben Rosario

“Jen and I were having so much fun working with the athletes that we decided it was time to invest the majority of our energy and resources into that side of things,” Rosario said. “Then it was just a matter of bringing together the right mix of athletes and honestly we couldn’t have asked for a better group.”

In addition to Bruce and Chipangama the men’s roster includes Arkansas All American and SEC Champion Eric Fernandez, 1:03 half marathoner Matthew Llano and Irish international David Rooney who was seventh at the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships. On the women’s side, Rothstein-Bruce and Krifchin will be joined by Kellyn (Johnson) Taylor and Amy Van Alstine, who will both represent Team USA at this weekend’s BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country Meet.

Rosario, who serves as the team’s head coach, said the plan is to create a fan base for the group through an interactive website and the use of social media.

“I’m a fan just as much as I’m anything else and I know that what people want is access to these athletes on a daily basis,” Rosario said. “We’re going to give them that access with tons of videos, pictures, interviews and training info…much more than people have ever seen from a professional training group.”

NORTHERN ARIZONA ELITEThe team will begin racing under the Northern Arizona Elite moniker this month, first with Taylor and Van Alstine in Scotland, followed by Bruce and Llano at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. At this early stage the group is privately funded, but is actively seeking long-term corporate partners.

Northern Arizona Elite is a professional sports organization whose mission is to recruit, develop and produce distance runners to compete at the very highest level of international athletics and operate as a successful business by building a global fan base for the team and its athletes through comprehensive and ongoing marketing efforts on a local, national and international level.

To learn more visit www.nazelite.com.


Galen Rupp turns fan watching Mary Cain kick for home at NBIGP
Galen Rupp (in red) turns fan watching Mary Cain kick for home at NBIGP

The 19th New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston has begun announcing its fields for the February 8th gathering at the super-fast Reggie Lewis Center.

Co-meet director Rich Kenah, himself a record setter in the Reggie in the 4 X 800m in 2000, told me, “The guiding principle (at the meet) is to give local fans what they want.  And in Boston that means  fast distance races with some field event and sprint stars sprinkled in. We’ve been fortunate to sell out every year since 2004 when Haile (Gebrselassie) raced here. Quite simply, New Englanders love to watch endurance races at the Reggie. And this year they are going to get their money’s worth and more.”

Here’s the starting presser received today that plays right into the focus described by Kenah.

Suhr, Whiting, Cain join Boston’s parade of stars
Gebrhiwet, Willis, Manzano also set for New Balance Indoor Grand Prix
BOSTON, Mass. (Jan. 8, 2014)A trio of 2013 world leaders and the most-exciting young American star in a generation are among the latest top athletes set to compete in the 2014 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, organizers announced today.
The Olympic-style all-star event will take place on Feb. 8 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College. Tickets are now on sale at www.nbindoorgrandprix.com or by calling 1-877-849-8722.
Jenn Suhr flies in Boston (courtesy Photo Run)
Jenn Suhr flies in Boston (courtesy Photo Run)

Jenn Suhr, who last year set the World Indoor Record in the pole vault and went on to notch the highest outdoor jump, as well, returns to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in quest of her seventh victory here. Suhr, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, is undefeated in her six appearances at this meet, where she twice set the American Record, in 2009 and 2012.

The Reggie Lewis Center has been a touchstone for Suhr since 2005, when she won her first USA title there as a virtual unknown. She has since won six more USA titles indoors and seven outdoors, for a total of 14, and is coming off a silver-medal performance at the IAAF World Championships last summer.
Making his debut at the meet is shot putter Ryan Whiting, the 2012 World Indoor Champion who last year recorded five of the six longest throws in the world indoors and the top four throws outdoors. Whiting, too, brought home a silver medal from the 2013 World Championships. He is ranked #1 in the world for 2013 by Track and Field News.
Also making the trip to Boston as a 2013 world leader is Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet, who will defend his title here at 3000 meters. Last year, his winning time of 7:32.87 set a World Junior Record. Gebrhiwet, who ran the fastest 3000   meters outdoors in the world last year, went on to win silver at 5000 meters in Moscow.
The men’s mile, always a highlight here, will feature a face-off between the last two Olympic 1500-meter silver medalists: Nick Willis of New Zealand (2008) and American Leo Manzano (2012).
Mary Cain runs U.S. high school 2-Mile record in Boston 2013, 9:38.78
Mary Cain runs U.S. high school 2-Mile record at NBIGP 2013, 9:38.78

Making her return to the Reggie after a record-shattering 2013 will be Mary Cain, the 17-year-old who last year at this meet set the high school and U.S. junior records for 2 Miles and 3000 meters (en route). A senior at Bronxville High School in New York, Cain last year rewrote the record books by breaking high school and/or U.S. junior marks at eight distances and becoming the youngest athlete ever to represent the U.S. at the World Championships, where she finished 10th in the 1500 meters.

In her first season as a professional, Cain will run the 2000 meters in Boston.
Now in its 19th year, the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix has played host to six World Records and 10 American Records. The first stop in the 2014 Indoor USATF Championship Series, the meet on Saturday, Feb. 8, will begin at a new, earlier time of 3:30 p.m.
And finally, the American field for the 118th Boston Marathon was released yesterday, making for an intriguing competition come the third Monday of April. 2013 wasn’t a particularly strong year for American marathoning, so there is every expectation that 2014 will see that trend reverse itself, beginning in Boston.

American Field Announced For 2014 Boston Marathon – Ritz to make Boston Debut and will compete with Desi, Meb, Shalane and many others

Press Release
January 7, 2014

John Hancock Financial today announced the Elite USA Team for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014. The exceptional U.S. team, recruited to compete with a deep international field, includes Desiree Davila Linden, Shalane Flanagan, Amy Hastings, Serena Burla, Adriana Nelson, Dathan Ritzenhein, Meb Keflezighi, Brett Gotcher, Jason Hartmann, Nick Arciniaga and Jeffrey Eggleston.

Each member of the team has competed for the U.S. in Olympic or World Championships and brings strong credentials to compete in Boston.

Desiree Davila Linden returns to Boston ready to race and seek the title. In 2011, she narrowly missed winning by two seconds, as she set a 2:22:38 American course record. In 2012, Linden finished second at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and most recently placed fifth at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.

“It is an honor to be included in the 2014 John Hancock elite field,” said Linden. “The Boston Marathon was home for both my debut and my breakthrough marathon. It seems to be an atmosphere that brings out the best in me, and I’m looking forward to being back out there in 2014. In light of the tragic events in 2013—and I’m not unique in this respect—the Boston Marathon brought out the best in so many runners on the course that day as they showed both courage and compassion. I look forward to sharing the road and the journey in 2014 as we run together from Hopkinton to Boston and show the strength and resilience of the running community.”

Three-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan, who finished fourth last year in Boston, also returns for the win. In 2012 she won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in an event record of 2:25:38 and finished tenth at the 2012 London Olympic Marathon. Flanagan holds North and Central American records in the indoor 3,000m and 5,000m and in the outdoor 10,000m. She won the bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2008 Olympics, placed second in her 2010 marathon debut in New York City, and won the bronze medal at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

“In my career, I’ve never felt my running take on a more personal meaning than it will to prepare for this year’s race,” said Flanagan. “The 2014 Boston Marathon will be run with overwhelming honor, passion and joy. Each step we take closer to the finish line is a victory in and of itself. It’s hard to express what it means to return this particular year to the place where I grew up and compete. In one word, I guess it would be ‘pride’. I and many in the field will be fueled by those who were affected by the tragedy and will be running for those who can not.”

Olympian Amy Hastings will join Linden and Flanagan for her Boston debut. After winning the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials 10,000m, Hastings finished 11th in the event at the London Olympic Games. She then competed in the event at the 2013 IAAF World Championships 10,000m and finished 14th. Additional marathon highlights for Hastings include fourth at the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon and runner up in her exceptional marathon debut in Los Angeles.

The one other time Ritz ran a spring marathon, he ran London (2009 – 10th place). 2009 London Marathon Photos

Serena Burla is in the field after placing second at the competitive Amsterdam Marathon this past October. In 2012 she finished third at the Seoul International Marathon and has been runner up at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships twice. Burla is a cancer survivor and was diagnosed with a malignant soft-tissue tumor in her hamstring in 2010. After radical surgery and a positive recovery, Burla has defied the odds to again perform as one of America’s best marathoners.

Adriana Nelson had an impressive 2013 as she won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships and finished top American at the New York City Marathon. In 2007 she debuted at the marathon distance and narrowly missed winning in Chicago by three seconds.

In the men’s field, three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein joins the John Hancock Elite Athlete Team to make his Boston debut. Ritzenhein, who is coached by 1982 Boston Marathon champion Alberto Salazar is the third fastest U.S. marathoner of all time. Career highlights for Ritzenhein include finishing ninth at the 2008 Olympic Marathon, winning the bronze medal at the 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships and finishing 13th at the 2012 Olympic Games 10,000m.

“I am very excited to be running the 2014 Boston Marathon,” said Ritzenhein. Like all serious marathoners, Boston to me is ‘the race’, and I can’t wait to toe the line on April 21st. Growing up with idols such as Greg Meyer and Alberto Salazar makes me want to add my name to this historic race.”

Meb Keflezighi, a three-time Olympian, joins Ritzenhein and brings experience to the team. He placed fifth in Boston in 2010 and third in 2006. Keflezighi finished fourth at the 2012 London Olympic Marathon after winning the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. Other major accomplishments include winning the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Marathon and winning the 2009 New York City Marathon.

“It is always a great honor to compete in the prestigious Boston Marathon,” said Keflezighi. This year’s race will have special significance for all of us because of the tragedy that occurred last year. I am honored to be amongst the 36,000 runners that are running the 2014 Boston Marathon to demonstrate the spirit of the marathon. I am training hard and smart to be healthy and fit enough to compete for a victory. Let’s visualize our goals in our months of training and race with a united purpose on April 21st.”

Bret Gotcher is making his Boston Marathon debut and is another strong contender in the field. Gotcher finished fifth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. He was top American at the 2013 Wharf to Wharf race, is a past national champion in the 20K, and has competed for the U.S. on World Cross Country and Half Marathon teams. Gotcher won the gold medal at the 2003 Junior Pan American Games 10,000m and earned All American status at Stanford University.

Always the strategist, Jason Hartmann knows how to run the challenging Boston terrain and take on the best runners in the world. Hartmann finished fourth in 2012 and 2013. “I had the opportunity to become part of the historic legacy the past two years,” said Hartmann. “And now I look forward to running the Boston Marathon to improve upon my past performances. My expectations are for me to leave it all out on the course, no matter the elements.” Hartmann won the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon and has competed for the U.S. on World Cross Country and Half Marathon teams.

Nick Arciniaga and Jeffrey Eggleston round out the men’s U.S. elite team. Arciniaga recently won the U.S. Marathon Championships held this past October at the St. Paul Twin Cities Marathon. He is a past member of the U.S. World Championships Marathon team, finished eighth at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, was runner up at the 2011 Houston Marathon, and third at the 2010 San Diego Marathon. Arciniaga brings experience to the Boston Marathon course, having finished tenth in 2008.

Jeffrey Eggleston was the top American finisher at the 2013 IAAF World Championships Marathon in Moscow, where he placed 13th overall. Last year he also won the Chicago Half Marathon. Eggleston was runner up at the 2010 U.S. Marathon Championships, second at the 2012 Pittsburgh Marathon and winner of the 2012 Woodlands Marathon.

“The group of U.S. runners which has committed to the 2014 Boston Marathon is exceptional,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “The team reflects both principal sponsor John Hancock’s recruitment success in assembling the best available Americans, and the athletes’ desire to run Boston in what certainly will be a special year for the race and the City.”

“It is fitting that we present the strongest American field in our nearly 30 years of sponsorship of the Boston Marathon. These exceptional athletes personify the meaning of strength, commitment and support. These are the same attributes that so many in our community displayed last April 15 and have continued to demonstrate in the weeks and months since,” said Rob Friedman, head of Sponsorship and Event Marketing at John Hancock.

The complete John Hancock international field for the 2014 Boston Marathon will be announced in late January. This year marks the 29th year of John Hancock’s landmark sponsorship of the legendary race. For additional information about the Elite Athlete Program and sponsorship, please visitwww.johnhancock.com/bostonmarathon/sportspartnerships.html or follow us @jhboston26 on Twitter.

2014 Boston Marathon John Hancock Elite USA Team

Desiree Davila 2:22:38 (Boston, 2011)
Shalane Flanagan 2:25:38 (Houston, 2012)
Amy Hastings 2:27:03 (Los Angeles, 2011)
Serena Burla 2:28:01 (Amsterdam, 2013)
Adriana Nelson 2:28:52 (London, 2008)
Dathan Ritzenhein 2:07:47 (Chicago, 2012)
Meb Keflezighi 2:09:08 (Houston, 2012)
Brett  Gotcher 2:10:36 (Houston, 2010)
Jason Hartmann 2:11:06 (Chicago 2010)
Nicholas  Arciniaga 2:11:30 (Hosuton, 2011)
Jeffrey Eggleston 2:12:03 (Chicago, 2012)

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