Tag: Cas Loxsom


USATF_2015_Indoor_Championship_Logo.jpg.aspxIn our time-conscious athletics world we sometimes forget that a championship — hell, any race – is first and foremost a competition amongst athletes, not simply a time trial.  Thus, with pacers removed from the agenda throughout this past weekend’s USATF Indoor Championships in Boston, athletics fans got to see a myriad of tactical finals that produced some champions who might not have been considered favorites going in, or been winners if the races had been paced.

When a pacer is plugged into a race a number of things happen.  1) the brain is turned off as everyone — athletes and audience — knows exactly what is coming.  The only question to be answered is, ‘can you run that pace or can’t you?’  2) pecking order is an unspoken but powerful inhibitor, meaning the runner with the biggest appearance fee, and for whom the pace is being established, is automatically ushered into the catbird seat behind the pacer.  Another competitor can break that rule if he/she chooses, but in so doing risks losing future invitations. 3) no actual racing takes place until the pacer steps off, erasing a lot of any surprise that might emerge from the proceedings.

As we saw in Boston, however, runners in non-paced races have gears and gas available to constantly reshuffle their positions, both in and out from the rail, as well as up and back in the pack. This is because they haven’t been stretched to the anaerobic edge by a predetermined pace.  Instead the pack generates its own speed and constitution from amidst the roiling effort. As a consequence we got to see how the middle distance races in the USATF Indoor Championships became elastic bands of surge and resettle, then surge again as the packs reshuffled every time another racer or two hit the gas to ensure a better pack position for the final attack. This kind of racing keeps both the athletes and the audience in a state of rapt attention, precisely because they don’t know what is going to happen. (more…)



Boston Pru winterBoston, MA. – The city of Boston is still under the sway of its Super Bowl XLIX champion New England Patriot’s. The game, the interception (by rookie DB Malcom Butler), the controversial pass play call by Seattle at the Pat’s one-yard line with 26-seconds remaining, is still as fresh as the snow that has this old city’s narrow brownstone-lined streets clogged tighter than a cheese lovers arteries.

But sport moves on, as it always does. And this Saturday night the crème of the world’s track and field talent will gather in Roxbury’s Reggie Lewis Center for the 20th New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, second stop on the USATF Championship Series.

Among the most anticipated events is the opening pro race of the night, the men’s 1000 meters, a hybrid distance run mostly indoors that tests the strength of the 800m men even as it challenges the speed of the 1500m guys. And the eight-man field is evenly matched between those two skill sets with the American record (2:16.76, David Torrance 2014) in danger of falling. If it does, it would be at least the 12th American record set on the Reggie’s 200-meter banked red oval over the 20 years the event has been staged. There have also been seven world records set. (more…)