Sport, like life, is a series of self-fulfilling prophecies, for what you think you can do sets the stage for the reenactment of the belief in performance. As such, championships are first won in the mind before coming to life via blood, breath, and bone.
It’s not like 2016 Olympic Women’s Marathon champion Jemima Sumgong of Kenya hadn’t been a winner before. In fact, she began her marathon career with the win at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Las Vegas in 2006 (2:35:22). But though she also took victories in Castellon, Spain in 2011 and again in Rotterdam 2013, her Abbott World Marathon Majors record was that of a solid contender, but not a champion. Not until the spring of this year did she mark herself as a medal favorite for Rio when she stood atop the podium at the Virgin London Marathon, the de facto Olympic prelim. Continue reading →
“There’s no way to control a crowd like that if they don’t want to be controlled,” said former Boston Marathon race director Will Cloney after huge throngs on Heartbreak Hill forced runners into a single file as they climbed the iconic rise. The narrowed channel made for great excitement, great theater, but also dangerous racing conditions as it was all but impossible to pass anyone in the bedlam.
Accordingly, the Boston Athletic Association soon installed rope lines and finally snow fencing and barriers all along Heartbreak Hill and other crowded sections of the course to keep the crowds at bay in the name of race safety.
Today’s stage 12 of the Tour de France on Mont Ventoux witnessed the kind of race chaos that Cloney was afraid might happen due to an overly enthusiastic crowd.
Due to expected 50 to 60 mile per hour winds at the top of Mont Ventoux race officials cut the course short by some 6 km late last night.But that decision had the effect of funneling all those crowds that would’ve been spread out over the last 6K down the mountain to the new finishing point where protective barriers were not set up.
All along the final kilometers the sides of the narrow road couldn’t handle the throngs filled with a Halloween-type characters just trying to get on TV themselves. With one kilometer remaining a TV motorbike trying to get through had no place to go. Australian Richie Porte of Team BMC slammed into the back of the camera bike along with yellow jersey race leader Chris Froome of Team Sky. Froome’s bike was damaged in the crash, and because the crowds were so thick his team car couldn’t get through with a back up ride. From a 1:21 lead, Froome fell to sixth place n the overall standings by the time things got sorted out.
Richie Porte about to slam into TV motorbike
It was a real eff-up causing all kinds of controversy as race officials had to figure out what to do. Now, is that racing-is-racing, and you take the good with the bad ala the women’s 800 meter final in the Olympic Trials?Evidently not, as a race jury reinstalled Chris Froome to his leading position in the aftermath. And all the leading riders felt satisfied with that call, not wanting an outside incident to determine the outcome of the grand tour.
We who remember the days when the Boston Marathon was wide open and the crowds were right up on your shoulder screaming in your ear, patting you on the backside, love that excitement and energy. At the same time, it was all but impossible to pass anybody on the hill because there was only one lane formed by the pressing crowd.
But at what point does safety and the actual race outcome take precedence and force race officials to hang the crowd back behind barriers?
In the Rio de Janeiro Marathon in the mid-1980s the crowds are so thick along Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches in the final kilometers that American pace car driver Tim Elkins, who I nicknamed “The Crippler”, used to literally herd the crowd back with his pick up truck as they funneled in to get a better view of the approaching leaders.
Massive crowds are part of what make a great sporting event especially on public roads. At the same time there’s a fine line between rabid enthusiasm and safety concerns for the athletes (and the crowd) not to mention the possibility of the races been compromised by uncontrolled crowds.
Every year we talk about the huge crowds at TDF at the mountaintop finishes like Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez.And we remember those days when the Boston Marathon used to be like that andthe New York City Marathon up First Avenue was a one-lane madhouse. And we all look back with nostalgia until something bad happens.
We can’t believe it hasn’t happened before at the tour.They just had to deal with their first such incident.Wonder how they’ll handle it in the coming tours?
I think he’s the best marathoner in America right now, though he has never even run one. Olympic 10,000 meter silver medalist and American record holder Galen Rupp announced today on USATF.TV that he will make his marathon debut at the February 13th Olympic Trials in Los Angeles. Talk about throwing a switch on the electricity (and strategy) of that race!
Before Rupp’s announcement the consensus was that Meb and Ritz as the two experienced Olympic marathoners, and only two sub-2:09 Americans in the last three years, were the favorites with everybody else bunched behind them in what promised to be a generational turnover in the ranks of American marathoning. That’s always how it’s been with the U.S. Trials, a pivot point in the sport.
Young talent like Jared Ward, third in LA last year and reigning U.S. Marathon champion (2:12:55), is in good form according to coach (and two-time Olympian) Ed Eyestone. In fact, Jared was in LA yesterday (Wednesday 27 Jan.) taking a tour of the trials course. The fastest American marathoner of 2015, Luke Puskedra, comes in off a 2:10:24 seventh place in Chicago, while another talented group of newly minted Americans join Rupp in making their debuts at the distance — Joe Vigil-coached Diego Estrada, along with Kenyan-born Sam Chelanga and Aron Rono — have all the talent needed to produce a top three performance in LA.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – University of San Diego cross-country and track head coach Will Guarino is pleased to announce the addition of Toya Reavis as his assistant coach. Reavis most recently ran a successful private practice that developed athletes of all ages and abilities to significant personal records in distances ranging from 800 meters to the marathon. She is a USATF Level One coach, ACE certified personal trainer, and holds an Exercise Science certification from UCSD.
“We are thrilled to have Toya join our coaching staff,” Coach Guarino said. “She brings a tremendous wealth of running knowledge and passion to running and coaching.”
She has been coached and mentored by Joaquim Cruz, a 1984 Olympic 800-meter gold medalist. She has also assisted San Diego City College and SDTC coach Paul Greer in preparing hundreds of runners to complete their first marathons as part of the San Diego Rock `n` Roll Marathon Training Program while also preparing her athletes for their Boston Marathon qualifiers. In 2012 one of her athletes was honored as the San Diego Track Club’s Masters Runner of the Year.
Still active as master’s competitor herself, Reavis competed for San Diego’s City College when she first moved to San Diego from Los Angeles. While at City College she won the Pacific Coast Conference Cross Country title. Later she was a nationally ranked master’s runner over 800m and 1500m.
Toya’s coaching philosophy mixes a strong foundational approach with injury prevention as she brings a particular passion for the sport and wellness to her coaching practice.
Reavis lives in San Diego with her husband, famed television broadcaster and writer Toni Reavis.
(Very proud of Toya as she embarks on this new leg of her career. It was only two years ago that she left Active.com to follow her passion for running full-time into the coaching ranks. In that relatively short time she found her true calling, and helped change many lives with her challenging but supportive approach. Now she will bring that focus and attention to a whole new team of young achievers. Big congrats, Toya. You followed your heart and earned this wonderful opportunity.)
Bannister on his way to history’s first sub-4:00 mile
After a decade long assault, the sport of athletics hit the sweet spot with its dopamine release on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road track in Oxford, England. It was on that steel gray day that Roger Bannister broke the 4:00 barrier in the mile. Paced by Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher, Bannister’s Everestian effort hooked the sport on sweet time, and it has been dependent on its pace suppliers ever since.
At each IAAF Diamond League meeting, every event over 400 meters is a paced affair as time is the primary goal. Yet come the World Championships or Olympics, where pacing is removed and rounds are conducted to earn a place in the medal round, we tend to see wildly imbalanced racing efforts. In part, because the pressure is different. It isn’t can or can’t you, rather what and when you. No just raw horsepower, but tactical control of that power. We all know how to run. But we have to learn how to race.
Today, we learn that the B.A. Chicago Marathon has decided to end its dependence on pacers, joining Boston and New York City among the Abbott World Marathon Majors in the non-paced category.
Carey Pinkowski, Chicago Marathon
“The thing with this is we try to set up a world record every year,” said long-time race director Carey Pinkowski, “but we never get close. It (pacing) is like a prop. So get rid of the prop. It’s a race. So if they go out at six minute pace, so what?” Continue reading →
Though the Symmonds Matter has managed to leak into the public sphere, let there be no doubt as to which sport’s legal case the population is riveted. Deflate-Gate hit federal court today in Manhattan where the long unraveling of each side’s case began before Judge Richard M. Berman.
The judge had requested that the NFL and NFL Player’s Association meet prior to today’s hearing to discuss or even come to a settlement. That didn’t happen. So Judge Berman conducted an open court hearing followed by a closed-door session in an attempt to get the two sides closer to doing for themselves what he will eventually do for them if they can’t work it out for themselves. Continue reading →
In athletics the sides-divider it isn’t nearly as important, which is not to say that the allegations of rules bending, substance manipulation, and counter charges that continue to circle the Nike Oregon Project and its coach Alberto Salazar at the USATF Nationals is inconsequential within the realm of its own limits.
Through it all, opposing sides have been divided, opinions cemented, and reputations tarnished. Of course, due to the already significant loss of interest in the sport over the last 25 years, the mainstream press has yet to shine its blinding light beneath our particular little rock. No, there are way too many worms wriggling beneath Tom Brady’s Deflate-gate appeal and analyzing who did well or ill at the recent NBA draft. Continue reading →