Q & A: DAVID TORRENCE READY FOR CARLSBAD

David Torrence, 3:52 & 13:16 PRs
David Torrence, 3:52 & 13:16 PRs

Beginning with Steve Scott’s three victories in 1986, the American presence at the Carlsbad 5000 has always been strong.  But except for Steve the only other American male champ at the World’s Fastest 5K has been Doug Padilla in 1990 (13:29).  This year the possibility of a third American win will be tempered by a cadre of East African whippets beginning with two-time defending champion and Olympic 5000m silver medalist Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia. But, matchmaker Matt Turnbull has lured a trio of top U.S. milers, including Bay Area Track Club standout David Torrence, to carry the U.S. colors and hopes this Sunday April 7th.

While London Olympic 1500 meter silver medalist Leo Manzano is, understandably, the U.S. headliner, and late entrant Will Leer arrives as the reigning US indoor mile and 3000m champion, David Torrence has been training down in Mexico and will hit San Diego’s Lindbergh Field today on his way up to Carlsbad.  I e-mailed David a series of questions. Here’s that exchange: (more…)

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ANOTHER RECORD DAY AHEAD IN CARLSBAD?

CbadLogoCarlsbad, California may be a laid back beach community most of the year, but each April the idyllic seaside village turns into a laboratory of speed with the coming of the Carlsbad 5000.   Since its inception in 1986, the self-anointed World’s Fastest 5K has more than lived up to its billing. Home to both the current men’s (13:00) and women’s (14:46) 5K road world records, and site of the top 18 performances ever for men, and seven of the top 10 times for women, Carlsbad is an ever-tested proving ground.  (more…)

MARATHON RECORD HOLDER MAKAU – STEPPING UP, STEPPING OUT

With the powerhouse fields lined up for the swift Rotterdam and London Marathons this spring, there is no guarantee that current marathon world record holder Patrick Makau (2:03:38, Berlin 2011) will still hold that designation after April 21st.  Yet, amidst the scramble to the top of the marathon food chain, Makau has slowly been coming round to the need to step out of his more reserved natural shell and branch out as a spokesman for his sport.  We saw evidence of this recently at The Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon where Makau visited a local school to address the eager young track team.  Now, Makau is being featured in a short anti-malaria public service video, encouraging his fellow Kenyans to use netting to combat the mosquitoes which carry the disease.

Though spokesman may not be his default setting, one can see the growth of Makau as more than just a runner and record holder.  In this he is following in the footsteps of such brethren as Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrselassie, the two men who held the marathon world record before Makau.

Like many of his fellow top Kenyan racers, Makau supports an every expanding array of personal and tribe-based  requests.  Now, he is using his well-earned fame to take on issues of greater and more expansive social import.   For this he is to be applauded.

ADHD DIAGNOSES & DRUG TREATMENTS RISE ON PARALLEL COURSE

Run Them, Then School Them!
Run Them, Then School Them!

Though the New York Times article, A.D.H.D. Seen in 11% of U.S. Children as Diagnoses Rise, was dated March 31, 2013, after reading it one would have hoped the story would have been published on April 1st instead.  That way we could have supposed the information was part of an elaborate April Fools prank.  Unfortunately, not the case.

As the Times reported, new data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) show a staggering 20% of high school age boys and 11% of all school-age children in the U.S. have received a medical diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Historically, only 3% to 7% of children were thought to be affected. Those data alone are disquieting enough, but the realization that the diagnoses have been attended by a corresponding spike in prescription drug use to combat the ADHD problem makes the news even more worrisome. (more…)

NEW WMM POLICY TO AWARD PRIZE PURSES BY COIN-OF-THE-REALM

Kenyan shillings
Kenyan shillings

The domination of long distance running by athletes from East Africa has reached such heights that in an effort to balance out future race fields organizers of the six World Marathon Majors will soon announce a new prize purse policy which will award cash winnings on a “coin-of-the-realm” payment schedule.

According to a well-placed World Marathon Majors source, an announcement will be made next week in Boston where the new policy will be instituted at the April 15th race.  The new system will stipulate that any athlete who wins the 2013 Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, or New York City Marathons, and then Tokyo in 2014, will receive the event’s top prize in the same numerical amount as listed, but instead of being paid across the board in U.S. dollars, each prize will be linked to the athlete’s home currency. (more…)

FLANAGAN & GOUCHER IN FINAL BOSTON TUNE UPS

After London Olympic Marathon 2012
Kara & Shalane after London Olympic Marathon 2012

They battled valiantly to 10th and 11th places at the 2012 Women’s Olympic Marathon in London last summer, finishing just 16-seconds apart.  Last night training mates Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher tuned their racing engines for the April 15th Boston Marathon at the Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto, California.

Racing over 10,000 meters, Flanagan soloed to an evenly paced 31:04.85 win, ripping off consistent 75-second quarters before capping the night with a 69-second final 400. Kara, exceeding expectations, produced a negative split 31:46.64 to take second place, just missing the World Championship “A” standard 31:45 with a cracking 68-second last lap.

There are 17 days left till Boston.  Marblehead, Mass. native Flanagan will be making her hometown debut, while Ms. Goucher will be starting her third Patriot’s Day 26-miler.  Each hopes to break the U.S. string of futility at Boston marked from Lisa Larsen Weidenbach’s 1985 victory.  It’s understandable having grown up on Boston’s North Shore that Shalane would have proprietary feelings for the race and the area, but Kara isn’t to be discounted in that sphere, either, writing “I have a crush on Boston….”

While training and racing fashions come and go in the insulated world of distance running, in recent times marathoners have been sticking to the half-marathon as their sole prep race for the full distance, even as many East Africans simply forego any tune up race what so ever.  Yet there is precedent for both 10k road and 10,000 track racing (and longer) as a useful Patriot’s Day precursor. (more…)

FIVE BOOMER CHAMPIONS RETURN TO BOSTON

When Running was KIng
Boston Billy after 1978 at the center of the whirlwind

Man isn’t just a pattern-seeking animal, he is a goal-setting beast.  From breaking the four-minute mile to putting a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth, we have constantly striven to outdo our forefathers.  Accordingly, we have seen the standards of excellence mount with an almost linear progression through the course of time.

Today, the marathon performances of the Running Boom champions seem almost quaint by today’s standards, as far from world class as the exploits of their own predecessors seemed during their time in the sun.  At this year’s 117th Boston Marathon, five of its greatest champions from the Boom era will return to celebrate the anniversaries of their winning moments. (more…)