CBAD LOGOSan Diego, CA — The Carlsbad 5000 has built its impressive reputation on record performances. To date 16 World and eight U.S. records have been notched on the sun-drenched seaside layout north of San Diego. Often scheduled in close proximity to the IAAF World Cross Country Championships – until the IAAF turned that annual test into a biennial – Carlsbad has benefitted from that close association.

For years Elite Racing’s legendary pro athlete recruiter Mike Long would net several World Cross medalists to come celebrate their titles with a romp along the beach. With Mike’s tragic passing in July 2007, the role of recruiter has been taken up by Matt Turnbull, who has proven equally adept at coaxing the best to the streets of Carlsbad.

Currently, both the men’s and women’s records are held in Carlsbad, and 46 of the fastest 50 men’s road 5Ks in history have been run here, 22 of 50 for women. And we certainly expect the cats to come out of the bag quickly in the 29th edition of the road classic.  But 2014 promises something more, shoulder-knockin’ competition.


World Record, Men 13:00 Sammy Kipketer (Ken) – 2000-2001
World Record, Women 14:46 Meseret Defar (Eth) – 2006
American Record Men 13:24 Marc Davis (USA) – 1996
American Record Women 14:54 Deena Drossin (Kastor) – 2002


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Oldie but a goodie.  Found this 1991 chestnut.

fat-runnerPhone rings not long back. Guy on the other end pushing the idea of a Clydesdale category in the Boston Marathon (over 200 pounds / 90 kg).  Says at 6’3″ and 220 pounds he represents the Clydesdale Runners Association, runners born more gravitationally stable than the average Doheny that jogs about. While I’m trying to figure out how he got my number, he begins this “It-isn’t-fair, we’ve-been-discriminated-against” diatribe, stemming from the unreasonably harsh qualifying standards for big people at the Boston Marathon.

So I’m thinking, ‘whoa, slow down big fella’. There aren’t any handicaps in running outside those imposed by God. That’s what makes it passably acceptable, every man Jack for himself, whoever gets there first wins, meritocracy in its purest form. We start getting into handicapping for size next thing you know some group demands style points be awarded by past members of the B.A.A. board of governors. That’s all we need. Then what, synchronized running? If swimming can keep its lunch down with that lab experiment, fine, but what say we try to keep Dippidy Doo and nose clips off the roads (not to mention past members of the B.A.A. board).

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(This is not a post about running.  I was a history major in school, and have written a book about my parents who met and married in Poland during World War II.  As such, the issues of those times have always been of particular interest to me.  The following is an essay that I pulled together from today’s headlines and the research I conducted for my book.   I will return to the issues of running in due course.)

In the aftermath of World War I Poland rejoined the family of nations via the Treaty of Versailles after a series of partitions lasting 150 years.  Versailles also imposed punitive measures on Germany, forcing her to surrender around 13% of her territory, stripping her of her colonies, prohibiting her from annexing other states, while saddling her with harsh reparations which the loss of territory made impossible to meet. The size and makeup of Germany’s armed forces were also scaled way back. These severe conditions resulted in a bitter peace that helped spark Hitler’s rise in the early 1930s, and fueled his nationalistic appeal.

While not born of a punitive treaty per se, is it too far a stretch to see a similar nationalism rising in Russia in the aftermath of the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, and in the current political machinations of Russian president Vladimir Putin in Crimea?

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IAAF Road Commision Dave Bedford

Dave Bedford, IAAF Road Running Commision Chairman

The sport of road racing has always had an arms-length relationship with the IAAF, the international governing body for the sport of track & field (athletics to the rest of the world outside the U.S). With the Marathon being the lone road event on the Olympic schedule, when we speak of the IAAF and its 212 national governing body members — like USA Track & Field in the United States — we speak mostly about track racing, jumping and throwing.  Yes, there is a biennial World Half-Marathon Championship — coming to Copenhagen, Denmark on March 29th — but it is no exaggeration to say that the sport of road racing has been under-served by the IAAF and its members for a long, long time.

That reality hasn’t just been detrimental to the sport of road racing, it has hurt the IAAF as well.  Since the vast majority of runners are not involved in making Olympic or World Championship teams, the tens of millions of recreational and non-elite runners around the world have rallied beneath the flags of independent local events, robbing the runners, the events, and their federation overseers of the marketing potential their huge aggregate numbers might have otherwise represented.

world-running-logoNow, for the first time, the IAAF is taking a long overdue look at this highly under-valued constituency.

This past week the monarchs in Monaco unveiled World Running, a global website whose goal, according to its About Page, “is to bring the world of running together, with a global Ranking system, expert advice and the latest running news.”

At the heart of World Running is its global Rankings system through which runners of all abilities can virtually compete on a worldwide basis. The concept is simple; every time you finish a race, whether a local 5k or a World Marathon Major, you input your finishing time and event into World Running, and through a mathematical algorithm your global ranking is produced.

Designed by Realbuzz out of Great Britain, the site also promises expert training advice, training guides, nutritional tips, injury advice, as well as an extensive events calendar, charity fundraising listings and the latest running news.

Former London Marathon Race Director Dave Bedford, the current chairman of the IAAF Road Running Commission,  has been “involved and supportive” of the concept. However, according to the one-time 10,000-meter world record holder, the original idea was suggested some 2 ½ years ago by IAAF General Secretary Essar Gabriel of France.  I spoke with Bedford Saturday from his home in London. Continue reading


Peachtree10K     Last year Portland, Oregon trained Matt Tegenkamp won the U.S. Road 10K Championship in 28:25, but only finished sixth overall in the AJC Peachtree Road Race.  Flagstaff, Arizona’s Janet Bawcom took home the women’s USA title with her 32:45 clocking, but only placed eighth in the international field. This year the winner of the race will also become the USA champion.

The Atlanta Track Club announced yesterday that they were upping their prize purse some $40,000 to a round $100,000 for the 45th running of the Peachtree Road Race this July 4th. What’s more, the entire amount will be awarded to American athletes vying for the USA 10K Road Championships.  First prize for each gender will be $15,000.

Though this will be the sixth time Peachtree has hosted the men’s USA 10K Championship (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013), and the second straight year it will serve as the women’s championship, 2014 will be the first year the event will a U.S. only showcase.  This is the ATC’s first major announcement since the arrival of Rich Kenah as its new executive director.

I reached out to Rich to ask when the idea for an American-only format took form. Continue reading


CBAD LOGOWith Competitor Group, Inc. back in the elite athlete game, the San Diego-based event and media company has come out swinging in 2014. First they introduced their new CEO, David Abeles. Now, they’ve introduced their pro field for the 29th Carlsbad 5000.

Set to go off March 30th, the 2014 Carlsbad 500 features a showdown between three-time defending Carlsbad champion and 2012 Olympic 5000 meter silver medalist Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia, and first-time CBAD entrant Bernard Lagat of the United States, the recent silver medalist in the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships in Poland over 3000 meters.

(pre-race show begins at 10:15 a.m. Sunday Pacific Daylight time)

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The Fall

The Fall

New York, New York — The story was The Fall and The Faint, but what struck me, and several other veteran observers of the distance running game, was The Form.

Mo Farah’s hopes were derailed in yesterday’s 9th TCS New York City Half Marathon after his heel was accidently clipped from behind, causing the double Olympic track champion from Great Britain to tumble hard to the pavement as the lead pack neared the six mile mark in Central Park.  Farah’s spill abruptly ended the highly anticipated showdown between him and two-time New York City Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya just as their engagement was about to ignite.  The two had come to New York to test themselves as a final tuneup for the April 13th Virgin Money London Marathon.

As soon as Mo went down it sent a current through the rest of the pack, jolting Mutai and fellow Kenyan Stephan Sambu ahead into a lead that, for Mutai, developed into a winning margin.

And, though banged up on his right knee and shoulder, and “seeing stars”, Mo rallied nicely over the final seven miles (12km) to run down Sambu in the final mile (2km) to take second place just 17-seconds behind the victorious Mutai (60:50).  But to my eye the fall didn’t affect the probable outcome, nor the prospects for April 13th.  I still think Geoffrey Mutai would have won yesterday’s race, and that Mo will find his transition from track champion to marathon star more difficult than some might expect. Continue reading