Meseret Defar Aids Entoto Foundation

     The big beneficiaries of the on-going second running boom have been charities.  Nearly $1 billion was raised last year for a wide variety of causes through American road races alone.  I am proud to be part of a 501C3 charity called the Entoto Foundation (Entoto.org) which is dedicated to bringing medical care and treatment to Ethiopians for whom such care is otherwise unavailable.  (more…)

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READY, SET, SWEAT?

     One study says coffee is good for you, another says it’s bad.  Sugar, same; salt, yes. In fact, you name it, and there are reports written by sage academics swearing to the validity of their conflicting findings. So what should we believe?  And how do we know?

In 1977 Time magazine put out a cover story headlined Ready, Set, Sweat! focusing on the booming fitness movement rolling through the country.  And off we dashed in our Suzanne Sommers thighs, coughing and wheezing, then aching and complaining, perhaps even throwing up – if we were doing it properly.  In other words, onset running was a lot like onset smoking, and we never made the connection.

Amazing, really, that anyone continued after day one.  But like smoking, if you just stuck with it  you might actually get hooked, because as with any endeavor which requires an investment of puking, running held out before it the potential of a payoff.  The potential, mind you, not the guarantee.  In that one sense, smoking has it over running, cause with smoking you got the guarantee. (more…)

RICH GET RICHER

     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…)

THE END OF THE MYTH

 ODE TO THE L.A. MARATHON

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.”

END