Author: Toni Reavis

TONI REAVIS is a veteran broadcaster/writer who has been informing and entertaining audiences for over four decades with his signature baritone pipes, encyclopedic knowledge, and sharp wit. One of the most respected names in running journalism, Reavis today mixes his passion for sport with his wide-ranging interest in politics, media, and culture. Currently residing in San Diego, California where he writes his influential blog, Toni also serves on the board of directors of the Entoto Foundation, a 501C3 charity that brings needed health care to Ethiopia. In 2009 Reavis was inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions. *****


     At this month’s Oscars, the extravagant goody bags that were once bestowed on the Red-Carpet brigade – containing schwag like jewelry, spa treatments, luxury trips, and the latest tech gear – were replaced by what were called “gifting suites”.  These scented, tented lounges were invitation-only opportunities for the Hollywood A-listers to graze at their leisure out of sight of the prying eyes of the media, public, and IRS. 

     Well, USATF has its own version of the rich get richer giveaway.  The April issue of Track & Field News explained in detail the three-level tier system from which the USATF distributes its financial aid, medical support, health insurance, competition grants, and other benefits to American track and field athletes. (more…)




Go now to your rest, old distance,

Be unafraid, your time is at hand,

Where for years you held full dominion,

Today, we saw your last stand.


It came in the City of Angels,

Home to the silver screen stars,

Where again you served up your measure,

As a challenge from here to afar:


Lace tight and take up this mantel,

Of running’s mythic-born test,

Not knowing that a man named Geneti,

Had yet to showcase his best. (more…)

Second Event Pledges Support for U.S. Distance Runners

     In response to WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE HALF MAKES MAJOR AMERICAN PLEDGE post of March 15th outlining race director Steve Nearman’s decision to donate $1.00 from every entry to help support U.S. distance running training camps, yesterday another D.C. area race took up the challenge.  As Steve wrote in the comments section of the post yesterday: 

     “BIG kudos to American Running Association Executive Director Dave Watt. Dave is also the race director of the Battle of the Potomac Cross Country Meet for high schoolers in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

     Said Dave: “We will up our registration fees and tell all the high school athletes that they are supporting America’s distance runners who are seeking to compete with the World’s Best.” Dave estimates $500 from his 500-runner field.

     Who’s next? Is this a no-brainer?”

     This is exactly how political movements take form and gain momentum, from the most modest of beginnings.  Instead of waiting for the Gordian knot of federation constituent entanglements to be undone, or expecting  other trade organizations who are more focused on the health of their business members to re-engage in what was once their raison d’être, it has been left to the grassroots to help restock the American racing stable.

     The sport has been attempting to address this issue for a generation, but has always run into the old NIMBY shiboleth, Not in My Backyard.  Steve Nearman continues:

     “So, which Event Directors out there will join the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon in building the next generation of U.S. World Champions and Olympic medalists? All you small and mid-size races can make a major difference, too, if we all come together. The time is now – our athletes need you. Stop making our aspiring elite runners work on the feet 8-hour days at local running stores selling running shoes to 8-hour marathoners.”



Int’l Marathons Come to Aid of Japanese

     The after shocks of last week’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Japan have left a trail of devastation that is hard to comprehend, and not just in the direct path of the physical destruction.  While none of the professional corporate running teams or their athletes was injured, the Nagoya International Women’s Marathon scheduled for last Sunday was cancelled.  Nagoya was to have been the third of three qualifying marathons selecting the Japanese World Championships team for Daegu, Korea this summer.  And with Japan a traditional powerhouse in Women’s World Championships Marathons, federation officials are now searching for alternatives.

“There was no physical damage done in Nagoya,” explained Brendan Reilly, head of Boulder Wave, which represents many Japanese runners internationally.  “But with so much public attention focused on helping those affected, officials in Nagoya decided it was better to lessen the burden on public resources.” (more…)


     NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (March 14, 2011) – Officials of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon have announced a major incentive for emerging American elite distance runners and a challenge to event directors of major U.S. distance races to help support the development of U.S. distance runners and to build upon the decade-plus resurgence.

“We want as many American men and women to participate in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston this January 14 and to that end, we will bonus any American $1000 cash for qualifying for the Trials at our race,” said Steve Nearman, event director of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 2. “This means sub-1:05:00 for men and sub-1:15:00 for women.”

 Nearman also announced another initiative, based on an inspiring story brought back from the recent Running USA 2011 conference by American Running Association CEO Dave Watt. (more…)

America’s Best Baseball Town


     One of my boyhood friends from our old South St. Louis neighborhood sent this link, bringing back many fond memories of baseball’s impending return.

St. Louis has long been recognized as one of, if not the best baseball city in America.  Not because the Redbirds have won 10 World Series titles, second only to the 27 won by the mighty N.Y. Yankees.  Nor because the Redbird fans are knowledgeable, and root, root, root for the home team in good times as well as bad.  No, St. Louis gained its reputation over many decades as the quintessential baseball town because its fans appreciated the game at a level that allowed them to cheer even for the good plays by the opposing teams, or former Cardinals now returned in a visiting team’s uniform.

As a result, we St. Louis kids grew up playing many variations on the ball-and-bat theme from early spring to late in October.  While I’m sure other cities had their distinctive baseball-influenced games, too, we seemed to have a game for any field of play and for every number of players available.  Games with such evocative names as stepball, stickball, fuzzbull, wall-ball, wiffle ball, Indian Ball, cork ball, run ups, rounders; the list seemed to go on forever.

If you were on your own, you’d play step ball or wall-ball.  Two kids would, of course, play catch.  With three you could play run-ups, simulating getting picked off first and trying to not get tagged out.

Once you rounded up three or four friends you could start batting games like wiffle ball, cork ball, fuzz ball (played with a de-frocked tennis ball), as well as a fielding game that originated in St. Louis called Indian Ball. (more…)