TEAMING UP

IAAF President Sebastian Coe gave an interview to the British newspaper The Guardian this past Tuesday June 13th to discuss the unsteady state of the sport of athletics. While admitting that the sport has been mired in crisis, racked by both internal institutional corruption and wide-spread drug cheating, Lord Coe’s prescription included the following observation:

“We have to be more innovative, we have to be braver and more creative in formats. The first thing I said when I became president was that we have to think differently.”

My question to President Coe is, did he watch last weekend’s NCAA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon?  Did he watch the women’s 4X400 meter Relay final when the University of Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers took the baton from Deejah Stevens a half-stride in front of USC’s Kendall Ellis with the entire women’s championship hanging in the balance?  Did he watch knowing that Raevyn had to win in order to overcome Georgia’s 8.2 point lead over her Ducks by scoring the 10 points for the victory? Continue reading

BREAKING 2 STILL ALLURING?

And so the grand experiment has come to a conclusion. And, oh, so close did it come to its vaunted goal, just one second per mile short of history’s first sub-2 hour time for the marathon distance. Not for the marathon, mind you, but for its distance – because a marathon by its historic formulation is a competitive event. What we witnessed yesterday in Monza, Italy was a time trial/lab experiment, not a race. But that is nitpicking, though a significant nit.

Notwithstanding, a huge congratulations go out to Eliud Kipchoge and the entire Nike Breaking2 Project for such a grand experiment in human performance, footwear technology, and scientific experimentation.

But what did we come away with after yesterday’s 2:00:24 performance on the Formula One racetrack in Monza?  Certainly, more questions as well as some answers. First of all, we know that the sub-2 is now possible, more likely probable, because he damn near did it! But since he didn’t quite do it, what else needs to be done that this experiment informed us as still being required? Continue reading

PRE-BOSTON 2017: THIS, THAT, THE OTHER

Boston, Ma. –  Boulder Wave sports agent Brendan Reilly is back on his old home turf. The former Greater Boston Track Clubber from the 1980s and his athlete Edna Kiplagat went out to the 20 mile mark of the Boston Marathon course on Saturday morning to scout-run the last 6 miles.

Edna is the two-time World Marathon Champion (2011 & 2013) and did same scouting run in 2010 before New York City, going  out to Willis Avenue Bridge and running in the final miles. Turns out that’s where she, Shalane Flanagan and another woman got away from the rest of the field. Shalane is doing TV with me today on WBZ locally. She said Edna is a “sneaky” racer, meaning it as a compliment to her racing savvy. “I didn’t even know she was there until she announced herself as she went by me.” Continue reading

THE QUESTIONS OF A GREAT MARATHON

Boston, MA. – How’s the weather going to be? Will my foot hold up? Have I done enough long runs? The questions before a marathon add up like the string of long miles that stretch off into the gathering distance. And if you think those pre-race ponderables are numerous, just wait till the starter’s command sets you to the course itself.

In the face of such a devilish test one’s intentions become paramount. For as trained and resilient as the body may be, it is always the muscle, blood and bone that will be first to succumb when the questions mount faster than their answers, and wits grow short in their hour of greatest need.

“People who’ve dabbled in sports psychology say, ‘Well, the kid who’s the better performer, they think differently’,” says sports psychologist Dr. Stan Beecham in an article in Forbes Magazine speaking of the ‘secrets to a powerful mindset’.

But the reality, according to Dr. Beecham, is not that they think differently, it’s that they don’t think at all.

“It’s the absence of thought that defines sporting excellence, the absence of cognition, the absence of emotion. That really is the advantage.” Continue reading

JOCK SEMPLE – BOSTON’S HEART & SOUL

Jock in his Salon de Rubdown in the old Boston Garden

To say that his office was tucked away in the labyrinth of the old Boston Garden is to understate the quest to find it. Yet to say that his office was the heart of the Boston Marathon would not be to overstate its importance. Jock Semple’s Salon de Rubdown had been upstairs, past the gauntlet of the North Station bottle-in-bag regulars, and down the hall from the offices of the Boston Celtics for more years than most can recall, and to more thousands than chose to remember where the work horse of the Boston Marathon was stabled.

“Well, I’ve been a willing work horse, so it’s OK,” said Jock of 80 years in 1984, a step slower if no less zeroed in on the task at hand.

Just the month before he worked with the Scottish team as they competed in the world cross-country championships in New Jersey. That was in March. I visited his office in early April as the Marathon neared. Continue reading

2017 HAPALUA HALF MARATHON REPORT

Honolulu, Hi.- The Hapalua Half Marathon crowned a new champion today in sunny Kapiolani Park, and celebrated a new course record, too.

Winner Philip Tarbei at the Hapalua Half Marathon Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Kapiolani Park in Honolulu. Photo By Eugene Tanner

In the sixth running of the Honolulu Marathon’s spring sister race Kenya’s Philip Tarbei chased down all 21 Team Hawaii runners and bettered his three pro challengers, as well, to post a winning 63:27 course record, taking down the 64:08 set by countryman Peter Kirui in 2015.

Team Hawaii rookie Ryan Tsang of Maui finished second with an adjusted time of 64:05, based on his 12-minute head start. Kenya’s other RunCzech Racing runner Abraham Kipyatich took third in 65:29, as he was off form still recovering from a 61:03 half marathon last weekend in Prague in the Czech Republic. Continue reading

THE CHASE IS ON AT THE HAPALUA HALF

Honolulu, HI. – Over the first five Hapalua Half Marathons, Team Hawaii runners are up 3-2  against the pro chasers. Tomorrow morning, the sixth running, The Chase will on again.

The Chase is the unique racing format designed by Honolulu Marathon President Jim Barahal.  22 local Team Hawaii athletes will be given a series of head starts ranging from six to 22 minutes.  Then they try to hold off the four professionals charging from behind.  The first runner across the line wins the $5000 first place check, with an additional nine places earning paydays.

Hapalua pro Chasers Abraham Kipyatich and Philip Tarbei with Toya and Team Toya runner Buddy Russell from San Diego

This year’s pro chasers include Kenyans Philip Tarbei and Abraham Kipyatich of Run Czech Racing, along with 61-minute Yuki Yagi of Japan, and 2013 IAAF Women’s World Championships Marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi also hailing from Japan.

The men will run scratch while Fukushi will light out six minutes in front along with Team Hawaii runner Ben Wilson who finished third in 2015. Last Year Kenya’s Isabella Ochichi had seven minutes in hand and won by 1:01. Continue reading