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Keira D’Amato Is Trying to Break the American 10-Mile Record on Monday. It Could Cost Her Thousands of Dollars.

Since 2011, Keira D’Amato has been part of the race committee for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, the famous Washington, D.C. road race held along the banks of the Potomac River. She’s held a few different roles over the years; recently she’s been responsible for coordinating speakers for clinics at the race expo. This year, Molly Huddle was one of the scheduled speakers, and D’Amato told her she believed Huddle could break the women’s-only American record of 52:12, set by Janet Bawcom at Cherry Blossom in 2014 (coincidentally, D’Amato held the finish line tape for that race). After telling Huddle about the record, D’Amato realized something: I can run that fast too.

Over the following six months, as D’Amato has risen from obscurity to one of the best distance runners in the United States, that statement has become blindingly obvious. After running a personal best 2:34:24 to finish 15th at the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, the 36-year-old has spent the summer and fall demolishing her pbs, from a 15:04 time trial 5,000 on the track in June to a 32:33 10,000 at the MVMNT Race Series in July to a 68:57 to win the Michigan Pro Half Marathon on October 28.

On Monday, D’Amato will try to back up her claim from the spring: she’s going for Bawcom’s record at the Up Dawg Ten Miler, where she’ll face a five-woman professional field that includes Olympian Molly Seidel. And that leads into one of the oddest statistics of a very odd year.

If D’Amato had broken the record at Cherry Blossom in April (which cancelled its 2020 edition due to COVID-19), she would have earned a $10,000 bonus.

If D’Amato breaks the record on Monday — or even if she doesn’t — she could end up out around $8,000.

That’s because D’Amato is covering most of the costs of the Up Dawg Ten Miler, which will take place in an undisclosed location in the DC area. Even though D’Amato is staging a race for five athletes rather than Cherry Blossom’s typical 17,000, several key expenses remain: getting the course USATF-certified and measured, securing park permits and road closures. It can add up quickly.

And then there is drug testing. USATF rules state drug testing is only required to ratify American records in events for which World Athletics recognizes an official world record. Since 10 miles is a “world best” distance, that means drug testing isn’t required to ratify an American record at the Up Dawg Ten Miler — but D’Amato is leaning toward including it anyway to avoid all doubts. However, based on the quote she received from USADA, it would run her an extra $3,000-$3,500. She hasn’t made a final decision yet.

There is an online store selling race merchandise to help offset the cost of the event. And around 20 members of the CUCB organizing committee have also chipped in a total of $2,000 — and, more importantly, their time — so that D’Amato can chase the record.

“If there was a way to measure intensity per person, this race would be much more intense [than the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run],” says CUCB event director Phil Stewart. “We’re not dealing with getting 17,000 people entered in the race and moving them around or ordering as many porta potties or things like that, but this is a group of special individuals. I’ve spent a lot of time being consumed by making sure that we have all of the conditions set for the record to be accepted if the record is broken. If Keira or anybody breaks the record here, the worst nightmare would be that there was some little USATF rule that I didn’t know about that was required for an American record to be set.”

Stewart knows that feeling all too well; last year, Stanley Kebenei thought he had broken Greg Meyer‘s American 10-mile record at Cherry Blossom, only for it to be revealed that a set of cones had been improperly placed, making the course 240 feet short (CUCB still paid Kebenei the $10,000 bonus).

With no mass race entries to fund the Up Dawg Ten Miler, CUCB will lose money on the event. But it’s worth it to Stewart to support D’Amato, whose meteoric rise he has followed first-hand — Stewart was among a group of CUCB committee members who traveled to Atlanta to support her in the Trials in February.

“One of the things that has been fun about [this event] is that in a time when there’s so much downbeat news, I think a lot of people have gotten excited about working on something that’s upbeat,” Stewart says.

And D’Amato? Well, in keeping with her carefree, laid back demeanor, she’s trying not to think about the cost and electing to focus on the positives. Five fast women (Susanna Sullivan, Bethany Sachtleben, and Emily Durgin round out the field) are gathering on Monday at 8 a.m. to race 10 miles. There will be a free live stream, with commentary, on the CUCB Facebook page. This should be fun, right? No. This will be fun.

“For me, it’s not about the money at all,” D’Amato says. “Right now when everyone’s starving for motivation and opportunity, I felt like this would be a service to the running community. And it fell in line really perfectly with my training too.”

Keira D’Amato’s return to competitive running began with a joke. Which, if you know anything about D’Amato, could not be more fitting.

D’Amato loves all things humor. The name of Monday’s race, Up Dawg, was her idea — a nod to a joke from The Office. When D’Amato joined Strava a few years ago, she began using jokes or puns to title her runs. Sample entry: November 16. My cousin, a magician, decided to incorporate the use of trapdoors in his shows. But I think it’s just a stage he’s going through. She used to rely on her children’s popsicle sticks for material or by asking her Amazon Alexa, “Tell me a joke.” As she amassed Strava followers (she’s over 2,600 now), she began receiving suggestions from fans — which delights her to no end.

“You have no idea how awesome it is that when people hear a funny joke, they think, Oh, I need to send this to Keira,” she says.

D’Amato’s impishness was on display during Christmas 2016, when she decided to gift her husband, Anthony, an entry to the 2017 Shamrock Marathon, held in March in Virginia Beach.

“Who gives someone a gift of a marathon entry?” D’Amato says. “Because that means you have to start training a lot. It’s kind of a backhanded compliment gift, I guess. But then I felt a little bad, so I signed up too.”

D’Amato was no stranger to running. A four-time All-American at American University under coach Matt Centrowitz, she finished 6th at the 2005 NCAA XC champs as a senior, ahead of future stars Amy Cragg, Molly Huddle, and Jenny Simpson. She remains friendly with the Centrowitz family, and is even in a fantasy football league with Olympic 1500 champ Matthew Centrowitz — let’s just say both D’Amato and Centro are better runners than fantasy football managers.

“I think at one point, I was in second-to-last and he was dead last,” D’Amato says. “But I also think Centro does a whole bunch of them, so maybe in his other leagues he’s doing better. But it was either the first or second week, I played him, and I crushed him.”

After graduating in 2006, D’Amato (then known as Keira Carlstrom) spent a few years running for DC Elite, a post-collegiate group coached by Scott Raczko — better known as the coach of Alan Webb. By 2008, she had lowered her 1500 personal best to 4:22, but was in constant pain, beset by a series of stress fractures and ankle pain. Her issues were the result of a condition known as a tarsal coalition — an abnormal bridging of bones in the foot — but the surgery to correct it was not covered by her insurance.

So D’Amato “retired” and got a job at mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Even after undergoing surgery to correct her condition in 2009 (her new job had better insurance), D’Amato ran sparingly for the next seven years. In her first run back after giving birth to her daughter, Quin, in August 2016 (she also has a six-year-old son, Tommy), D’Amato couldn’t make it through a three-minute run without walking. Yet she steadily built up ahead of Shamrock, and despite hail, sleet, and brutal winds on race day, D’Amato blew past her pre-race goal of 3:25.

“I couldn’t run slow enough to do that pace,” says D’Amato, who ran 3:14.

D’Amato felt there was a lot left in the tank, and took her next marathon, in Richmond in November, more seriously. After running 2:47 there — just two minutes off the Olympic Trials standard — she knew it was time to return to serious training. She reunited with Raczko, and steadily dropped her times while balancing running with her career as a realtor. When she ran a pb of 2:34 to finish 15th at the Trials at age 35, it looked like the culmination of a remarkable three-year journey.

In reality, D’Amato was just getting started.

Since the Trials, D’Amato has run personal bests over almost every distance. Her 15:04 5,000 doesn’t officially count because it came in a time trial rather than a race, but it’s faster than the Olympic standard of 15:10 and would have ranked her 6th in the US during the 2020 outdoor season.

Her most impressive performance came in last month’s Michigan Pro Half Marathon, where she clocked 68:57, 47 seconds ahead of runner-up Emma Bates, a 2:25 marathoner who finished 7th at the Olympic Trials. That made D’Amato the second-fastest American half marathoner on the year, behind Sara Hall, and 10th on the US all-time list. She is now in very elite company.

(11/22/2020) Views: 167 ⚡AMP
by LetsRun
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Beers, Bomb Suits and Blue Jeans: The Weirdest Mile-Run Records Known to Man-13 baffling ways humans have covered 5,280 feet

The running and drinking communities have long shared an unlikely Venn diagram. In the 1930s, some athletes would bring beer along for lengthy workouts, believing that its hearty grains might propel them to longer distances. For decades, at the end of the Berlin Marathon, runners who’ve made the podium are given medals and enormous boots of Erdinger. And these days, running clubs like Toronto’s RUNTOBEER start and finish at breweries around the city. Hell, there’s even a craft brewery in Chico, California, called Sufferfest that’s operated by lifelong runners and makes light, low-calorie ales designed for the highly active beer drinker.

Still, there is no greater (nor less subtle) collision of these two disciplines than the infamous Beer Mile, a concept that is arguably more popular than any internationally sanctioned event in the entire sport of track and field. It’s an irresistible blend — the familiarity of elementary-school gym class with the low-class hijinks of college — and it’s at the forefront of an unofficial, utterly unasked-for movement in both the amateur and professional running circles: run four laps hard, but make it weird.

In the last five months, runners have set two new, preposterously specific mile-run records: one while handcuffed, and one while wearing a pair of blue jeans. It would be tempting to laugh these efforts off, if only they weren’t so fast. (The jeans miler rumbled in at an unholy 4:06.) And really, at the end of the day, it’s fun to embrace these races, which wed the appeal of an old, oft-forgotten sport with stunts and gimmicks that thrive on social media.

Which is exactly what we’ve done. Below, find the 13 weirdest mile-run records known to man — including the fastest miles ever run in a bomb suit, with a dog and under the influence of chocolate milk.

Fastest Beer Mile

Corey Bellemore, 4:33

Bellemore actually ran a 4:24 about a year after his 4:33 mark, but got disqualified for leaving a combined 4.5 ounces of beer in his “empties.” Those judges are serious. As is his running ability; he’s an Adidas-sponsored athlete with a personal best of 3:57 to his name. Which is a crucial theme in the world of wacky mile records: always eager for a challenge, the pros inevitably hijack the bonkers creations of layman runners. Just six years ago, for instance, the running world had celebrated its first sub-five beer mile. Check out the full catalogue of all-time bests here, including stats on the favored beers. (Budweiser is currently in the lead, though Bellemore, a Canadian, prefers the craft stuff from Ontario’s Flying Monkeys Brewery.)

Fastest Mile in Jeans

Johnny Gregorek, 4:06

This past May, Asics athlete Johnny “The Jet” Gregorek ran a blistering 4:06 in a pair of Levi 501s. It was enough to beat Dillion Maggard’s former record time of 4:11, and horrify millions across the internet who think wearing jeans on a plane should be a “criminal offense.” Gregorek, who is a middle-distance star with a silver medal from the 2019 Pan American Games, trained for his record by running 100-meter sprints in the blue jeans to break them in. On race day, he also managed to raise $31,000 for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in an homage to his late brother. Levi’s donated $5,000.

Fastest Walking Mile

Tom Bosworth, 5:31

Of all the feats listed here, this is the only one that doesn’t actually involve running. And yet, it’s also the only one you’re likely to find at a legitimate track meet. Racewalking is very much a sport, despite the fact that it looks like several minutes of that “This one is serious” dash people make for the bathroom after eating bad shellfish. The only rule? Keep one foot in contact with the ground at all times, which distinguishes it from the leaps and bounds of running. Distances usually start at 3,000 meters, and hike all the way up to 100 kilometers (that’s 62 miles), but mile races have some popularity, too. At the 2017 Diamond League in London, British race walker Tom Bosworth clocked in at 5:31, to the delight of a very excited commentator.

Fastest Mile Downhill

Mike Boit, 3:27

We recently covered a virtual, March Madness-style running tournament called “Survival of the Fastest,” in which runners were pitted against each other each week to race a new, specific distance. Downhill racing was allowed in the competition (even encouraged) and by the time the bracket had been whittled down to a final four, every runner involved was hitting start on Strava from the top of a mountain in order to ensure the most competitive time possible. It really does make an absurd difference. Hicham El Guerrouj has holds the official world record for the mile run (3:43), but Mike Boit’s performance in 1983, when he sprinted down a hill through the center of Auckland to a 3:27 finish, is the fastest a human being has ever covered 1,600 meters on his own two feet.

Fastest Mile in Alaska

Ben Blankenship, 3:57

“An Alaskan Mile” was an official selection for the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival in 2018, and it chronicles an effort by eight elite runners — with Oregon and Olympian pedigrees among them — to become the first to break the four-minute barrier on Alaskan soil. As Trevor Dunbar (one of the runners, the event organizer and from Kodiak, himself) points out, Alaska only has three months where such an accomplishment would be remotely possible, and even then, high winds or even frost could arrive right before the gun goes off. It’s worth the 20-minute watch if you’re interested, but just know that Alaskans were amped to see Minnesotan Ben Blankenship go well under four, setting a new state record.

Fastest Mile on a Treadmill

Anthony Famiglietti, 3:58

It’s Anthony Famigletti’s party, and he’ll run a 3:58 mile on a treadmill if he wants to. A former Olympian who competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in Beijing, Famiglietti recruited the fastest American miler ever, Alan Webb (3:46), to help him start breaking four-minute miles into his forties. It worked. This is Famiglietti late last year, on his 41st birthday, running at a 3:58 pace for a full mile on his treadmill. Forget anything you’ve heard about treadmills juicing performance; that’s irrelevant here. Him staying on that machine is akin to deftly canoeing through Class V rapids. And better yet, he got to do it at his own Reckless Running store in Mooresville, North Carolina, which he owns with his wife.

Fastest Mile with a Dog

Anthony Famiglietti, 3:59

More Famigletti. Another impressive sub-four — this one a year earlier, at age 40 — but all credit here goes to Bailey the dog, who casually rolled out of bed to brush against the pinnacle of human athletic achievement, and wanted more. Famigletti affixed Bailey to his waist via a hands-free “bungee” leash (which doesn’t exactly square with our dog running tips, by the way) and ran hard to earn his time. But the fact that Bailey basically dragged an adult 5,280 feet and didn’t once chase a squirrel is the real takeaway here.

Fastest Backwards Mile

Aaron Yoder, 5:54

The Guinness World Record for fastest backpedaled mile ended with the following exchange:

Fastest Chocolate Milk Mile

Mars Bishop, 4:56

On paper, it’s the PG-rated beer mile. But subbing chocolate milk for beer is no joke, and arguably more likely to end in puke penalties. At the 2nd Annual Chocolate Milk Mile in Cranston, Rhode Island, runners slugged cups of the good stuff from East Providence’s Munroe Dairy Farm. A number of runners had to run shame laps for spewing, but runner Mars Bishop torched the track to the tune of 4:56. Because the rules to the Chocolate Milk Mile are exactly the same as the Beer Mile, beermile.com has apparently decided to include the results in its database. (Under beer of choice, they put a chocolate milk logo.) With all respect to Bishop, this record — from 2017 — seems ready to be broken again.

Fastest Mile While Handcuffed

Jeremy Greenwald, 4:52

Save your “running from the cops” jokes, YouTube’s finest have already handled that. Besides, we’re legitimately interested in this from a physical standpoint. Despite the amount of long-distance runners you see without much meat on their arms, the mile is a bang-bang event, where many competitors rely on a dramatic, arm-pumping “kick” in their last lap. To break five with those arms rendered useless is a real challenge. It’s clear from the video that Greenwald, a former Division 1 runner at Georgia Tech, had to rely heavily on his core muscles while keeping his shoulders straight and back; after all, if he fell, the whole thing was over. The previous record for this “event” was 6:37.

Fastest Mile in a Bomb Suit

Daniel Glenn, 8:57

Advanced Bomb Suits weigh 80 pounds, and are reinforced with Kevlar ballistic panels that can withstand blasts traveling at supersonic speeds of over 1,600 m/s. If you’ve seen The Hurt Locker, you have an idea of how serious they are: soldiers routinely get heat exhaustion from just walking around a few paces in one, so for Lt. Daniel Glenn to complete a full mile in one is unheard of. But to do so at the clip of an average American mile time (nine to 10 minutes) is staggering. Even more impressive: he did it in Florida.

Fastest Mile While Juggling

Zach Prescott, 4:43

Yeah, you were probably going to get through your entire life without discovering that “joggling” existed, and you would’ve been just fine. Sorry. Joggling is running while juggling three objects in time, and for decades, Kirk Swenson was the undisputed king of the sport. He joggled a 4:43.8 way back in 1986. Then Boston University runners Zach Prescott came along, and threw three lacrosse balls around en route to a buzzer-beater 4:43.2 victory. Guinness World Records is still in the process of verifying the new record.

Fastest Mile in Death Valley While Wearing a Darth Vader Suit

Jonathan Rice, 6:13

This happened and and there is NOTHING any of us can do about it.

(08/22/2020) Views: 286 ⚡AMP
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Julia Webb runs fastest time ever for a half marathon pushing a stroller

Julia Webb just broke the WORLD RECORD for fastest half marathon while pushing a stroller AND she won the half marathon as well clocking 1:21:23. 

Three days ago Julia who is the wife of Alan Webb posted this on Instagram, "I've been a mom of three going on 10 months...I don't think it gets any easier after each kid, it's just your expections of "normal" change and you adapt.  I was such a spoiled runner per 2012, treadmills, babysitters, stollers, friends and begging the husband to allow for my escape..."

In the process of setting a new world record she also won the Route 66 Half marathon.  When Julia had two kids she unofficiallly broke the Guinness world record pushing baby Paula clocking 1:22:57.  

Five days ago on Instagram she wrote, "Time for attempt 2!  Fitness great but actual preparation running fast pushing babies lately has been a little sparse.  Today's 6:49 mile split in a 5 miler with my beaten down stroller is our fastest yet.  New buggy coming Sunday.

"Whatever hapens I will be sure to get this on camera if Alan can keep up."

And she did it this morning... Next up is the US Olympics Trails and this time without the baby.  

(11/24/2019) Views: 1,007 ⚡AMP
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