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Articles tagged #Alberto Salazar
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Eight Interval Training Workouts used by World Champions and Coaches

Interval training involves high-intensity repetitions followed by standing, walking or jogging recoveries. Interval training can be of varied length but are usually short and intensive accelerations.

This forms a crucial part of all distance runners – some throughout the year, others closer towards the lead-up to a race. Here are some examples of interval sessions used by elite athletes.

1. Craig Masback who represented the United States in international competitions on several occasions devised his own interval running workouts. He and his roommate ran 6 x 300m followed by a 2min rest. They would then progress to 4 x 1100m with 800m between each set at an aerobic pace where they ran the last 300m at a hard pace. Including warm-up and cool-down they would run a total of 10miles during their session.

2. Arturo Barrios, a five-time world record holder and Olympic Games runner, had a favorite interval running workout: 10 x 1000m on the track @ slightly faster than 5km race pace, with a slow jog recovery as rest. Barrios used this workout every other week in the lead up to a race with his last session occurring 2 weeks before racing.

3. Silvio Guerra, gold medalist at the South American Games and Olympic Games runner, found that his most important track workout was 8 x 1km with 2mins to 2:30mins recovery depending on weekly workload and time of the season. He recommends this workout as it provides a runner with speed and endurance. He used a 3-mile warm-up that ended with a quick pace followed by 15mins of stretching and striding (10 strides).

4. Bill Dellinger, a bronze medalist at the 1964 Olympic Games for the 5000m, used advanced interval training to his advantage. He completed 3 miles of alternating 30s and 40s 200m runs with no recovery. The workout finished when he could not keep up with the pace anymore. As a coach he uses the 40-30 with his athletes almost 3 times during winter training with some of his best athletes going for 18 laps continuously. He also used the 800-300, which consisted of running 800m at a runner’s 5km goal pace with a 400m recovery, followed by 300m at mile race pace with a 200m recovery in 40s. The cycle repeated until the athlete could not keep up with the pace anymore.

5. Libbie Hickman, World Champion and Olympic Games runner for the US, used a straightforward 8 x 300m in 48s with a 200m recovery phase. She tries to be in a fairly recovered condition before the start of every 300m also making this her toughest workout. Hickman feels that runners need to have a strong base before trying a workout like this.

6. Marc Davis, a former US record holder for 2 miles, used a fast ladder style workout for his interval training sessions. He ran a hard mile, followed by a 1200m, 800m and 400m. The recovery between each was half the distance of each segment. He ran his workouts close to a 4-minute mile pace and called it the Alberto Salazar special.

7. Adam Goucher, a US national champion runner, used to run 10 x 500m on the track with a 100m recovery between each repeat. Goucher ran his 500m between 1 minute 16 seconds and 1 minute 18 seconds. He calls it ‘Coach Wetmore’s Secret’ and feels that it provides great preparation for a 5km. Goucher recommends bringing the training down to your level by providing adequate recovery so that you are able to finish the session. As you improve and get fitter reduce the recovery time to suit your needs.

8. Rich Kenah, an elite runner who represented the US, uses a 4 x 400m with a 4min jog recovery when he approaches his racing season. His wife Cheri uses a 3 x 1mile workout running them in 4:45. To them, these sessions are key indicators for their current state ‘a great barometer of our fitness’. For example, if Rich can run all 4 sets of 400m in 52.0s, he knows that he is in good shape for a quality 800m race.

The workouts are preceded by a 1-hour warm-up including jogging, stretching, drills and striding. This particular session usually comes after a month of ‘fairly high volume’ during the season.

Conclusion

Interval training is a form of workout that is used by runners and coaches across the world. They help improve your speed and endurance while simulating situations and pain that you are likely to face during your races. There are several ways of doing interval training across a lot of surfaces, therefore there is no one right way to complete this kind of a session. Find what suits your current level of fitness and race distance and to create an interval session for your needs.

(09/22/2022) Views: 108 ⚡AMP
by Chelsea Ho
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Ben Flanagan wins his third Falmouth Road Race

Kitchener, Ont. native Ben Flanagan has done it again, winning his third Falmouth Road Race in four years. Flanagan finished the seven-mile (11.3 km) course in 32:25, outlasting runner-up Biya Simbassa (32:32) for a second straight year in Falmouth, Mass.

With two Falmouth victories to Flanagan’s name, and his partner, Hannah, growing up in Falmouth, he was the race favourite heading in and was keen to defend his 2021 title. In a pre-race interview, Flanagan chatted about his familiarity with the course and how he was already dreaming of his celebration when he won his third.

Like in previous years, the 27-year-old broke the tape by jumping into it, holding up the “number three” with his hand. 

Flanagan again made his attack at the top of the Scranton Ave. hill at the 5.5-mile marker. Simbassa, who lives and trains in Flagstaff, Ariz., followed Flanagan’s move along with David Bett of Kenya. The Canadian 10K record holder ousted Bett and Simbassa on the final downhill to win, nine seconds shy of his personal best on the course: 32:16 from 2021.

Flanagan now joins an exclusive group of six runners to successfully defended their titles at Falmouth. The group of six features: Alberto Salazar (‘81 and ‘82), Frank Shorter (’75 and ’76), and David Murphy (‘84 and ‘85). Next year, he will have the chance to join Kenya’s Gilbert Okari as the only men to win three straight (2004-06)

The American women’s marathon record holder, Keira D’Amato, won the women’s 11.3 km race in a nail-biting finish (36:14). She managed to hold off a surging 2017 Boston Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat (36:28) to claim the women’s title in her Falmouth debut.

This race was a quick bounce back for the 37-year-old, who placed eighth at last month’s 2022 World Athletics Championships marathon for Team USA in 2:23:34. Earlier this year at the Houston Marathon, D’Amato set the U.S. marathon record of 2:19:12.

D’Amato will take another stab at breaking her American marathon record on Sept, 25. at the Berlin Marathon.

Daniel Romanchuk won the men’s wheelchair title in 22:02, and Susannah Scaroni won the women’s division in 25:30.

 

(08/21/2022) Views: 222 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Falmouth Road Race

Falmouth Road Race

The Falmouth Road Race was established in 1973 and has become one of the premier running events of the summer season. Each year the race draws an international field of Olympians, elite runners and recreational runners out to enjoy the scenic 7-mile seaside course. The non-profit Falmouth Road Race organization is dedicated to promoting health and fitness for all in...

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Coach Bill Squires who coached runners like Bill Rodgers has died

The Boston Athletic Association mourns the passing of the legendary coach and athlete Bill Squires, who died today, Thursday, June 30. This is an immense loss for our running community.

William Squires was born November 24, 1932 and was an American track and field coach. He is well known for coaching the Greater Boston Track Club at the height of its marathon success, including marathoners Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley and Greg Meyer.

Squires was originally from Arlington, Massachusetts and competed in track and field events for Arlington High School. While a senior there, Squires was chosen as a member of the 1952 Parade All-American team. Squires went on to college at Notre Dame, where he was a two-time All-America in cross-country in 1954 and 1955.

Squires's personal bests according to the MSTCA hall-of-fame induction were 4:21 for the mile in high school and 4:07 in college. He was notable for designing a Heartbreak Hill simulator for training. He was formerly a coach at Boston State College from 1965 to 1978.

In 2002 Squires received the Bill Bowerman award from the National Distance Running Hall of Fame. Squires co-authored the book "Speed with Endurance" with Bruce Lehane.

"Bill Squires was a speaker at our National Running Week in the early 1980's," says MBR publisher Bob Anerson.  "He shared his knowledge and we were very impressed.  He will be missed."

(06/30/2022) Views: 382 ⚡AMP
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What Are therapeutic use exemptions and Why Are They Controversial?

Athletes such as Molly Seidel, who was recently diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Adderall, must receive exemptions from doping agencies in order to use medications that are banned.

Olympic bronze medalist Molly Seidel announced on Instagram on June 8 that she’d be missing the New York Mini 10K last weekend.  The reason? She’d been diagnosed with ADHD early in 2022, and after the Boston Marathon, she started taking the prescription drug Adderall.

Adderall is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for use in competition, because it can be used as a performance enhancer. But Seidel has a legitimate medical need for the drug, so she can apply for a therapeutic use exemption, commonly known as a TUE. 

Seidel wrote on Instagram that she applied for a TUE about six weeks ago, and she won’t have an answer on her application until the end of June at the earliest.

Since she started taking Adderall, she had been feeling much better. “I felt like I was able to get the quiet, functioning brain in my day-to-day life that I could previously only achieve with intense physical activity,” she wrote. “It also gave me remission of many eating disorders behaviors that I’ve dealt with consistently since my teens.” 

She was disappointed to pull out of the New York Mini 10K.   Seidel wrote, especially after she has had a tough few months. (She dropped out of the Boston Marathon in April with a hip impingement at about the 16-mile mark.) 

“However, I’m committed to a clean sport and respecting my own mental health needs, so that means following the appropriate procedures of this TUE process,” she wrote. “Mental health takes work, and I want to be transparent about the fact that medication is sometimes a very necessary part of that work.”

Seidel is due to run the World Championships marathon in Eugene on July 18.

Her case illustrates a years-long debate among athletes, coaches, and officials about TUEs. At issue: How can the sport allow its athletes to legally obtain treatment for diagnosed medical conditions while preventing others from abusing the system?

Below, we answer a few common questions about TUEs.

What is a therapeutic use exemption (TUE)?

When an athlete is sick or has a condition that requires treatment with medicine that is listed on WADA’s prohibited substance list, he or she can be granted a TUE to take the drug, according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Some drugs are prohibited when an athlete is competing. Other drugs are also banned for out-of-competition use. If a TUE is approved, it usually has a starting and ending date during which the athlete may take the medication. If the athlete is drug tested during that period and tests positive for an illegal substance for which they are granted an exemption, he or she will not face disciplinary measures.

In an emergency situation, if somebody is treated with a prohibited substance, he or she is allowed to file an emergency TUE afterward, as soon as possible. For example, when Shalane Flanagan received an IV for severe dehydration in February after the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, which is otherwise a banned practice, she was granted an exemption because she was in medical need.

“I resisted getting an IV but a lot of the doctors there were insisting that I needed it,” Flanagan said, weeks after the race. “It would have taken a really long time to get those fluids in orally. So the IV really speeded up my recovery. It actually made me realize probably why they are illegal [in competition] under most circumstances—my core temperature immediately went down. If I hadn’t had that, I would have had a much longer process.”

How does an athlete get a TUE?

U.S. athletes apply for a TUE through USADA, though if somebody is also competing at an international event, it may require that person to obtain another exemption through World Athletics, the governing body for track and field.

“The TUE application process is thorough and designed to balance the need to provide athletes access to critical medication while protecting the rights of clean athletes to compete on a level playing field,” according to USADA.

If a pro runner is in need of a TUE, he or she downloads the application and completes it with a doctor. A medical file must accompany the application.

Who decides if the athlete gets a TUE?

The Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee reviews the application, the medical details, the patient history, test results, how the condition has been managed over time, and attempts to treat it with non-prohibited medications and methods. Galen Rupp, for example, has been granted exemptions to take prednisone to treat asthma.

The committee includes doctors and medical experts, according to USADA. They review and either approve or deny the application without knowing the athlete’s name by following WADA’s standards, outlined in an annual 30-page document.

WADA policy states that athlete must prove that the prohibited substance is needed to treat an acute or chronic medical condition, “such that the athlete would experience a significant impairment to health” if it is withheld; that the medication is highly unlikely to produce any enhancement of performance beyond what would be considered “anticipated” by a return to the individual’s normal health; and that there is no reasonable alternative to treat the condition.

What is on the WADA prohibited substance list?

The prohibited list includes more than 300 substances and methods of taking substances (for example, orally, by injection, intravenously). It also includes those that are always prohibited and those that are only prohibited during a competition. The lists are updated by WADA each year, and it’s up to the athletes to be aware of changes of the rules.

Some examples of prohibited substances include steroids, human growth hormone, certain stimulants, diuretics, and masking agents that can interfere with drug tests. 

How could an athlete use TUE system or prescription drugs to cheat?

Athletes at the highest level are constantly searching for fractions of percentages in performance gain. Some, of course, seek such gains illegally. Should that athlete have a support team of coaches and doctors who also engage in unethical practices, they can collectively seek exemptions for medications that are not medically needed but could produce a competitive advantage.

In July 2015, Rupp and his coach Alberto Salazar were accused by former members of the Oregon Project of manipulating the TUE system for performance gain and faking symptoms in an effort to be prescribed legal thyroid medications. Those medications could help with a runner’s energy levels, allowing an athlete to train with more intensity and volume. Rupp and Salazar have strongly denied those accusations. Salazar has since received a four-year ban for trafficking performance-enhancing drugs to his athletes and in a separate matter, he has been banned permanently from track by SafeSport. 

(06/17/2022) Views: 149 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Alberto Salazar’s permanent ban from SafeSport was for alleged sexual assault, new report finds

Just last month, former Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar had his permanent ban from the sport upheld by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. A new report from the New York Times on Monday revealed it was because an arbitrator found that he more likely than not had sexually assaulted an athlete on two different occasions.

The famed running coach Alberto Salazar, who helped top Americans be more competitive in track and field before he was suspended for doping violations, was barred from the sport for life last month after an arbitrator found that he more likely than not had sexually assaulted an athlete on two different occasions, according to a summary of the ruling reviewed by The New York Times.

The case against Salazar was pursued by the United States Center for SafeSport, an organization that investigates reports of abuse within Olympic sports. SafeSport ruled Salazar permanently ineligible in July 2021, finding that he had committed four violations, which included two instances of penetrating a runner with a finger while giving an athletic massage.

Salazar asked for an arbitration hearing, where he denied the accusations and said he did not speak with or see the runner on the days in question. The arbitrator did not find Salazar’s explanation credible, and accepted his accuser’s version of events.

The details of the ruling, which have not been reported until now, shed new light on why Salazar, a powerful figure within elite running, was specifically barred from his sport. A number of runners have publicly accused him of bullying and behavior that was verbally and emotionally abusive, but the accusations of physical assault had not been publicly revealed. Salazar has never been criminally charged in connection with these allegations.

SafeSport, an independent nonprofit organization in Denver that responds to reports of misconduct within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic sports, pursued action against Salazar and ruled him permanently ineligible in July 2021.

They currently list Salazar’s misconduct on their database as “sexual misconduct,” though the specific allegations against the coach were not known because they do not release details of its rulings. The report from The Times reveals new details on why the famed running coach Salazar was banned. Until now, the details were unknown.

Salazar has been accused of making comments about teammates’ bodies and weight in the past, but accusations of physical assault had not been publicly revealed. He has not been criminally charged with these allegations.

Numerous athletes have spoken out against Salazar for conduct against women. In November 2019, former high school star Mary Cain, who trained under Salazar from 2013 to 2015, spoke out about years of emotional abuse as a member of the Nike Oregon Project.

After Cain’s public comments, several other members of the project spoke out and shared their own experiences under Salazar.

Salazar, 63, has denied all allegations. In an email to The Times, he said he “never engaged in any sort of inappropriate sexual contact or sexual misconduct.”

Salazar also told The Times that the SafeSports process was “unfair” and “lacked due process protections.”

The United States Anti-Doping Agency also banned Salazar, along with Dr. Jeffrey Brown in September 2019 for four years. Although no athlete training under Salazar tested positive for a banned substance, the USADA determined Salazar tampered with the doping control process and trafficked banned performance-enhancing substances.

Salazar also denied those allegations and appealed that ban. His appeal was denied in September.

(01/31/2022) Views: 464 ⚡AMP
by NY Times and OregonLive
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Craig Engels, Running’s Most Committed Party Animal, Returns to Nike—and Running Fast

Craig Engels explains what he can about his new four-year deal and heads to Millrose Games in good shape.

Craig Engels, the fun-loving 1500-meter runner who never misses a party, inked a new deal with Nike in the early days of 2022. It’s a four-year agreement, taking him through 2026.

But he went through a lot of soul-searching before he decided to return to running at a high level.

Engels, 27, finished fourth by half a second in the 1500 meters last June at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, just missing the team bound for Tokyo.

In the days afterward, he was adrift. “Everything I worked towards [was] over,” he told Runner’s World during one of several recent interviews. “I didn’t know what to do with myself. Which—I don’t know what emotion that is. It wasn’t sadness. More like, what do I do?”

He spent the rest of the summer racing on the track and road circuit in the U.S. He helped pace men who were trying to break 4:00 in the mile, and he encouraged facial hair growth. And still, he raced at a high level, although neither Engels nor his coach, Pete Julian, would say that his training resembled what it was before the Trials.

“We had to change things up,” Julian told Runner’s World last September, “had to piece together workouts in between to keep him so he could at least finish a mile. That’s what Craig needed at the moment.”

On August 14, he finished second at a mile in Falmouth, Massachusetts, clocking 3:53.97. Six days later he finished second again in the international mile at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, in 3:55.41.

That runner-up finish at Pre came as a result of a premature celebration. He waved to the crowd at the top of the home stretch, but Geordie Beamish of New Zealand sailed by him with a few meters to go.

They hugged it out on the track and then took a victory lap.

“That’s Craig,” Julian said. “He makes mistakes along the way, it’s why he’s so damn popular. I’ve never seen anybody do something as dumb as wave to the crowd and then get beat and still get to take a victory lap. Pretty classic, right? There’s one guy in the world who can do that, and that’s Craig.”

After Pre, Engels shut down his season. In the fall, he returned to the University of Mississippi to finish the final semester of classes he needed to complete his MBA.

While Engels was in Oxford, Mississippi, he trained with Ole Miss cross-country coach Ryan Vanhoy, who had coached him in college, and the Ole Miss team. They logged high mileage and did a lot of long strength-based workouts. Meanwhile, Engels pondered his future.

Engels flirted with retirement, and Julian said Engels was sincere in his questioning, asking himself: “Is this something that I want to do?”

Running the Numbers

As Engels got back into shape and finished his classes, he began the process of negotiating a new contract. Initially, he tried to do it alone. He said he parted ways with his first agent, Ray Flynn, via email between rounds of the 1500 at the Olympic Trials.

Reached by text message, Flynn said, “It’s all good with Craig and I. Happy to see him doing well.”

Engels said he had long struggled with the role of agents in pro running and the fee they charge—15 percent of everything, including sponsorship deals, appearance fees, and prize money—for negotiating what often turns out to be a single contract with a shoe company.

“A lot of these agents were athletes,” Engels said. “I don’t know how they possibly sleep at night, taking 15 percent. NFL agents are capped out at three [percent].”

But as Engels talked to shoe company executives and weighed various offers and training situations, he realized he needed someone to review the contracts—“the lawyer jargon,” he calls it. “I was getting a little stressed,” he said.

So he hired Mark Wetmore as his agent, who also represents Engels’s teammate Donavan Brazier, among others. Wetmore immediately increased the value of the offers Engels had started negotiating on his own behalf.

Engels signed with Nike again. At the end of the four-year deal, he’ll have run professionally for 9 years, and he said it will be his last contract.

The terms of the deal are private—Engels had to sign a nondisclosure agreement, as most athletes do, which also limits the knowledge athletes have about their value in the market.

All he could say about it? “I definitely had some great offers on the table, which led to a very good contract for myself.”

Engels said if it were up to him, he’d post the details of his contract on Instagram to his 97,000 followers. Such knowledge would only help other runners, he says, while the current system benefits agents.

The Athlete Changes the Coach

Engels also returned to train with Julian and his team, recently named the Union Athletics Club (UAC). The club is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, but between altitude stints, training camps, and races, they’re rarely there for long.

He is now doing the bulk of his workouts with Charlie Hunter, who is on the UAC, and Craig Nowak, who trains with the group but isn’t officially on the roster. The group has been training in San Luis Obispo, California—team member Jordan Hasay’s hometown—and enjoying sunny skies and warm weather, and preparing to race the Millrose Games. Engels is entered in the mile.

“I’m in pretty good shape, yeah,” he said. “I don’t want to talk too much before it happens. I’m in pretty good shape.”

After Millrose, UAC hosts an indoor meet in Spokane, Washington, the Lilac Grand Prix, on February 11. The U.S. indoor championships are back in Spokane two weeks after that.

Julian, for one, is glad to count Engels on the roster. He told Runner’s World that Engels has “completely changed” the way he coaches.

“He’s made me realize that making [something] enjoyable and working hard don’t have to be separated, don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” Julian said. “The two things can exist. And we can be really great. But by being able to enjoy ourselves and being able to have some fun. To not take ourselves as seriously, but at the same time, take what we’re doing very seriously. You can do both.”

That’s a startling admission from Julian, who was a longtime assistant coach to Alberto Salazar. He was viewed as in relentless pursuit of every advantage for his athletes. Salazar is now banned from coaching Olympians permanently by SafeSport and serving a four-year ban for anti-doping offenses.

“[Engels has] made me realize that, hey, we can add some color to our lives,” Julian continued. “We’re not curing pediatric cancer here. We’re running around in half tights on a 400-meter circle. Coming from my own background, I’ve had to realize that, too, [with] my own coaching the last four or five years. You know what? Everyone needs to chill out a little bit. Let’s quit trying to eat our own and actually try to promote the sport and race really, really fast.”

One small way that Engels has changed the team? He prefers FaceTime to phone calls. Julian said Engels likes to see people, likes to smile at them. The FaceTime habit has spread throughout the group, so now, anytime anybody communicates on the team, it’s always by FaceTime. “That started from Craig,” he said.

Critics of Engels—who is an unabashed beer drinker, hot-tub soaker, RV driver, and mullet wearer—don’t see the work that he does, his coach says. And they don’t see how hard he tries.

“He did everything he could to make that Olympic team,” Julian said. “He’s done everything he can to make the sport better. He puts forth an amazing effort and he tries to win. But he’s not a robot, either.”

 

(01/29/2022) Views: 325 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Canadian Cam Levins is leaving Hoka

The Canadian marathon record holder announces on his Instagram that he is parting ways with the brand.

After spending three and a half years with Hoka, the Canadian marathon record holder Cam Levins announced on his Instagram that he has left the brand.

During his tenure, Levins broke two Canadian records, including Jerome Drayton’s Canadian record of 2:10:09 that stood since 1975. He ran 2:09:25 at the 2018 Toronto Waterfront Marathon to become the first Canadian to break 2:10. At the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia, Spain, Levins broke the Canadian 20K record (59:09) on his way to a top 30 finish and a PB of 1:02:15.

The reason for Levins’s departure has not been announced, but his departure marks the third Canadian athlete to leave Hoka in the last six months. 3,000m steeplechaser Matt Hughes and aspiring marathoner Rory Linkletter both left the brand in 2021. 

Levins was selected to represent Canada in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics after running 2:10:14 in the final few days of Olympic qualifying. He had a rough day at the office in Tokyo, finishing 72nd in humid conditions.

Before Levins joined Hoka in 2018, he was a part of Alberto Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project alongside Mo Farah and Galen Rupp. Levins currently lives and trains in Portland, Ore., and is coached remotely by Victoria, B.C. runner Jim Finlayson.

(01/05/2022) Views: 407 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Coach Alberto Salazar's lifetime ban upheld by US Center for SafeSport

Track coach Alberto Salazar's lifetime ban appeal for sexual misconduct has been rejected by the US Center for SafeSport.

The 63-year-old was handed the lifetime ban following allegations he had emotionally and physically abused a number of athletes during his time as part of the Nike Oregon Project.

In January 2020, SafeSport temporarily banned Salazar with the decision subsequently made permanent in July 2021.

However, his entry in the SafeSport database has now been updated to permanent ineligibility - signaling the appeal had been rejected.

In a separate case earlier this year, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a four-year ban for a series of doping-related violations that occurred while Salazar was training Olympians with the Nike project. Nike shut down the running team shortly afterwards.

None of Salazar's former runners have ever been charged with doping violations.

As an athlete himself, Salazar won the Boston and New York Marathons in the early 1980s before going on to coach a number of Olympic medalists, including Sir Mo Farah and Galen Rupp.

(12/23/2021) Views: 420 ⚡AMP
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The former Nike Oregon Project changes team name to Union Athletic Club

One of the world’s best-known professional running clubs has found a new name after the Nike Oregon Project was abolished, coincident with the four-year ban of ex-head coach Alberto Salazar. The new name, Union Athletic Club, was announced on the Elevation Om YouTube page and confirmed by Chris Chavez on Twitter on Thursday.

After Salazar’s dismissal, the group remained intact through the past three years under coach Pete Julian.

Julian is currently the coach of many of the world’s top athletes, such as Suguru Osako, Shannon Rowbury, Raevyn Rogers, Jessica Hull, Donovan Brazier and Craig Engels.

He spent three years coaching at Washington State University before moving to the Oregon Project in 2012, where he was the assistant coach to Galen Rupp, Matt Centrowitz, Mo Farah and Canadian record holder Cam Levins.

The 2021 NCAA indoor 800m champion and Australian Olympian Charlie Hunter will be the newest member of the group.

Union Athletic Club is based out of Oregon and sponsored by Nike Running.

(12/18/2021) Views: 388 ⚡AMP
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Oregon Ducks athletic programs no longer can monitor athletes’ weight, body fat percentage

The University of Oregon strengthened protocols in late October to prohibit athletic programs from requiring athletes to be tested for body fat percentage.

 According to the revised written protocols, athletes can choose to be tested. But results of the test “should not be reported beyond the student-athlete, dietitian and relevant medical personnel. Reporting of individual results to coaches is not permitted.”

The move came in apparent response to an Oct. 25 story from The Oregonian/OregonLive in which six former women track athletes accused the track program of emphasizing and tracking weight and body fat percentage to the point it led to eating disorders.

The athletes alleged UO coach Robert Johnson’s program required athletes to undergo regular DEXA scans to precisely measure their body fat percentages, then pushed them to lower those percentages.

She told the publication she believes the dietary restrictions led to an injury-plagued sophomore season.

In a story appearing Tuesday in the British newspaper The Telegraph, former Oregon distance runner Philippa Bowden said she was told to drop weight even after confiding she previously had battled an eating disorder.

She said she eventually withdrew from school in 2019 after beginning to purge in an effort to keep her weight low.

UO spokesperson Jimmy Stanton said the athletic department recommended in fall 2020 that coaches stop emphasizing weights and body fat percentage in training. That recommendation is now a requirement.

The recently revised protocol further states: “Coaches must be careful never to suggest or require changes in weight or body composition.”

Johnson has guided the Ducks to 14 national championships in cross country, indoor and outdoor track, cementing Oregon’s position as one of the elite programs in college track and field.

That was followed up in an Oct. 29 story in Runner’s World in which former UO distance runner Katie Rainsberger made similar allegations.

Rainsberger told Runner’s World she was encouraged to drop her body fat percentage and weight even though a nutritionist with the program knew she no longer was getting her menstrual period.

He outlined his training philosophy to The Oregonian/OregonLive in early October. It put a heavy emphasis on using advanced technological tools such as blood tests, hydration tests and DEXA scans to track athletes’ body composition.

Johnson did not respond to interview requests for this story.

A DEXA scan is a medical imaging test that uses X-rays to precisely measure bone density, muscle mass and body fat percentage.

Athletes said they believe Johnson and other coaches always knew the test results revealing their body fat percentages.

Even before DEXA scan technology became available to Oregon in recent years, Johnson’s program measured athletes’ body fat with skinfold caliper tests.

A former UO employee who worked with the athletic department dietitians, helped measure body composition with skinfold calipers from 2014-16. Results of the tests were tracked on a spreadsheet.

“In my experience, the coaches always had access to athletes’ body composition,” the former employee says.

The employee — who still works in the field and did not want be identified for fear it would restrict future employment opportunities — became concerned about Johnson’s reliance on body fat percentage as a training tool.

“I had athletes express to me a feeling like they needed to be compliant with coaches’ wishes in order to maintain their scholarships and be able to compete in the important races,” the former employee said.

The former employee said at one point, Johnson and sprint coach Curtis Taylor wanted athletes to severely restrict their consumption of carbohydrates to facilitate weight loss.

“Obviously, that is not a diet backed by science,” the former employee said. “I spoke with athletes about this and explained it’s not backed by science. It’s not appropriate. Carbohydrates are important for athletes.

“I remember an athlete saying, ‘I hear you. I believe you. I know you’re right. But at the end of the day, Coach Johnson decides who competes. So, I have to do this.’”

At one point, the former employee said, Johnson called out the employee and a mid-distance runner in front of the team during a training session inside the Moshofsky Center, the school’s indoor practice facility.

“He pointed at her and started making accusations at me, saying I wasn’t doing my job to help her lose weight,” the former employee said. “He never was responsive to my attempts to clarify the nature of body composition and how it relates to athletic performance.”

Former UO high jumper Ashlyn Hare said she and other athletes discussed the track team’s approach to weight and body composition with Johnson in the wake of similar accusations made in 2019 by professional runner Mary Cain against Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar.

Hare said Johnson listened to the athletes over the course of several weeks. Eventually, though, she received a text message from him containing a link to an article in which a former professional runner defended the value of tracking weight and body fat percentage.

 “After that it was conversation closed,” Hare said in a text message to The Oregonian/OregonLive. “He had received confirmation of his bias. He didn’t need to hear any more.”

 Hare, who competed for the Ducks from 2016-19, said athletes during her time always believed DEXA scans were mandatory for athletes.

She shared a text exchange from a UO dietitian during her time at Oregon reminding Hare she hadn’t undergone her DEXA scan.

“I was told by our athletic trainer that I didn’t need to do the DEXA because I was not training and about to have surgery,” Hare said in a text message. “But I was told I had to anyway.”

 

NEW UO PROTOCOLS

Assessment of bone density and body composition (DEXA) relates to highly sensitive personal information and belongs to the student-athlete.

All student-athletes should receive annual education about how this information can support their performance and they should have the optionto participate.

In order to protect the student-athlete and the coach, data should not be shared or reported beyond the student-athlete, dietician, and relevant medical personnel. Reporting of individual results to coaches is not permitted.

Body image and disordered eating pose serious physical and psychological risks to student-athletes, and our primary goal is to support a healthy mind and body.

High risk sports should receive annual education about the prevalence, risks, and warning signs of disordered eating.

High risk sports should complete annual assessment for disordered eating risk factors.

At risk individuals should enter an interdisciplinary support model that includes dietetics, athletic medicine, and mental health services.

The focus of nutrition should be on the development of healthy habits that support performance — hydration, fueling, recovery.

Any changes in weight and body composition should be initiated and motivated by the student athlete under the guidance of a dietician.

Coaches must be careful never to suggest or require changes in weight or body composition.

(12/12/2021) Views: 449 ⚡AMP
by Oregon Live
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High-profile coach Rana Reider will be investigated for sexual misconduct

According to a report in The Guardian, Florida-based coach Rana Reider is the subject of multiple complaints of sexual misconduct, and is about to be investigated by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

Reider’s roster of high-profile clients includes 200m Olympic gold medallist Andre De Grasse, in addition to British sprinters Adam Gemili and Daryll Neita (who won bronze in the women’s 4x100m relay at Tokyo 2020). The report claims UK Athletics has instructed its athletes to cut ties with Reider.

Sources say that Reider is also a coach to Blessing Okagbare, the Nigerian sprinter who was sent home from Tokyo after testing positive for human growth hormone. 

The report says that Reider’s lawyer claims his client had not been notified of any investigation and protests that the allegations have not been tested or proven.

Gemili, 28, was the first British man to sub-10 over 100m and sub-20 over 200m. According to the report, he has been coached by Reider since 2017. He won gold in the 4x100m relay at the 2017 World Championships, and silver in 2019. At Tokyo 2020, he got injured during the heats in the 200m (his only event) and did not advance.

The U.S. Center for Safepsort is an independent body that handles investigations and complaints into abuse and misconduct in Olympic sports. In July 2021, SafeSport issued a lifetime ban on U.S. coach Alberto Salazar for sexual and emotional misconduct.

(11/04/2021) Views: 373 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Women athletes allege body shaming within Oregon Ducks track and field program

Six women athletes who left the University of Oregon track and field program in recent seasons say they felt devalued as individuals and at risk for eating disorders because of the program’s data-driven approach to their weight and body fat percentages.

Five of the women departed with remaining eligibility.

One said she began binge-eating while at Oregon.  Another says she struggles with body dysmorphia and has nightmares about competing at Hayward Field, Oregon’s iconic track stadium, while UO coaches stare at her and say: “You’re never going to be good enough.”

Robert Johnson, who became UO’s track and field and cross country head coach in 2012, has guided the Ducks to 14 NCAA championships while elevating what already had been one of the sport’s premier college programs.

Under Johnson the Ducks increasingly have embraced expensive and advanced technological tools such as blood tests, hydration tests and DEXA scans. A DEXA scan is a medical imaging test that uses X-rays to precisely measure bone density and body fat percentage.

DEXA scans, in particular, have become a flashpoint for some athletes, who say the precise body fat percentage measurements can trigger unhealthy behaviors.

Johnson contends his scientific approach largely removes human bias from judgments about athletes and allows the UO coaching staff to design workouts precisely tailored to each athlete’s needs.

“Track is nothing but numbers,” he says. “A good mathematician probably could be a good track coach.”

He says UO athletes receive DEXA scans in the fall, winter and spring, and no more often because of radiation emitted during the tests.

“When we get the numbers from our DEXA scans, we have an Excel spreadsheet that we can plug the numbers into, hit a button and it gives us a starting value for a training program.” he says. “It allows us to be cutting edge and innovative in our approach to performance.”

Some athletes contend this innovation comes at a staggering personal price.

An athlete who graduated from Oregon at the end of the 2020 school year emailed UO deputy athletic director Lisa Peterson, senior women’s administrator, in October 2020.

In the email she says she had been receiving text messages and Snapchats that fall from former teammates so worried about upcoming DEXA scans they were starving themselves.

She tells Peterson in the email: “I have seen and experienced an absolutely disgusting amount of disordered eating on the women’s track team, all because the coaches believe body fat percentage is a key performance indicator.

“We are not professional athletes. We do not have access to a bounty of organic food. We do not have unlimited time to cook. We cannot plan our days around our nutrition, and we are not the 30-year-old Olympians that coach Johnson seeks to compare our body fat percentage to.

“While knowing body composition may be helpful for some athletes, I have seen it be nothing but destructive.”

The athlete says Peterson responded by thanking her for the email and saying she had passed it on and said that Peterson thought the allegations would be investigated. A public records request did not turn up a report of an internal investigation.

“A BIG, BIG ISSUE”

The issues of weight-shaming, body image and body fat percentage testing have become more common in recent years. Longtime Washington track coach Greg Metcalf lost his job in 2018 after accusations of body-shaming and verbally abusive treatment of female athletes. Former Nike Oregon Project star Mary Cain and other women who competed for the NOP have made similar accusations about former coach Alberto Salazar.

Five former UO athletes consented to extensive interviews on the condition their names not be used for several reasons. Among them:

• Oregon is one of the most nationally prominent college track and field programs.

• The school has a cozy relationship with Nike, which underwrites the funding for USA Track & Field and sponsors a high percentage of professional track athletes.

• Oregon’s Hayward Field, largely built with money donated by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, is the host of the Prefontaine Classic professional meet, the semi-permanent host of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, next year’s USATF Outdoor Championships and the 2022 World Outdoor Championships.

One athlete says Johnson “is such a terrifyingly powerful man. There are people who would lose their ability to go to the Pre Classic or lose USATF funding, because speaking up against him is like speaking up against basically USA Track & Field.”

One athlete says when she was given her first DEXA scan at Oregon, she already had not had a menstrual period in a year and a half. She says the nutritionist knew that.

The scan showed her body fat percentage at 16%. She was told by the nutritionist she should consider lowering it to about 13%. And while the suggestion came from the nutritionist, she is certain the message originated with the coaching staff.

“They always were talking together,” she says.

The university did not make available a nutritionist or nutritionists in response to a formal interview request.

The athlete consulted her personal doctor, who advised her not to try to lower her body fat percentage any further. The American Council on Exercise suggests an ideal body fat percentage for a female athlete to between 14% and 20%.

“He said I already was in a situation that was dangerous for my body and that I needed to make sure I got my period back,” she says.

After that, she says, she struggled mentally.

“I started worrying a lot about what I was eating,” she says. “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to get too much bigger of a percentage. That was like a big, big issue.”

She was very careful during the day. At night in her apartment, though, she began binge-eating, which she says led to feelings of depression and guilt.

“That never had happened before I came to Oregon,” she says. “I never had any issues with food. I was completely fine. I loved food.”

At Oregon, she says, the yearlong monitoring became a trigger.

“You want to make sure you don’t put on weight, you become more paranoid and it gets worse,” she says.

She left after the school year, and still fights the temptation to binge.

Another athlete says her events coach conferred with her during her freshman year. She says he admitted he wasn’t supposed to tell her this, but said if she were to go above a certain body weight she never would be an Olympian.

After her first DEXA scan, the nutritionist told her she couldn’t travel to away track meets unless her body fat level was below 12%.

“That was when I started counting calories,” she says.

She says she weighed herself daily. What she saw on the scales determined whether she viewed her day as successful.

If she was above the targeted weight, “I would look at my legs, and I would say, ‘My legs look like tree trunks,’” she says. “If I was below that weight, I would be like, ‘Oh, I must be skinny.’ In reality, two or three pounds looks no different on your body.

“It wasn’t until I started seeing a sports psychologist that I realized this was not normal.”

That came after she transferred and her new school flagged her for an eating disorder.

A third athlete says that during her freshman year Johnson called her over during a workout and asked if she was on birth control.

Stunned by the question, she stammered “no” and returned to the workout.

“It was very crazy,” she says. “I was like, ‘What is going on? This is not happening. I am not having this conversation with him right now. This is just wrong. It’s none of his business.’”

She returned to ask Johnson why he wanted to know.

She says he told her: “Well, I noticed your hips have gotten wider, and that comes along with that kind of stuff.”

She says at Oregon she constantly monitored what she ate.

“They do multiple things to people about their weight,” she says. “They’re kind of notorious for it. They keep weight at a very high importance level. …

"Like whenever I would eat a cookie, I would feel so guilty. I would be like ‘Wow, it’s going to make my next DEXA scan bad. I’m going to get in trouble.’”

Four of the women interviewed say athletes whose DEXA scans show what coaches/staff consider an unacceptably high body fat content frequently are required to do additional cross training on a stationary bike.

Other athletes know who is doing mandatory cross training and why, even though it’s not explicitly said.

Athletes interviewed say this not only stigmatizes those doing the extra training, but incentivizes others to carefully monitor themselves so they aren’t singled out in that way.

“This program is just something different,” says one athlete who left the UO track team. “I don’t think it’s a place for young girls.

“Girls already have enough body image issues.”

“WE TRY TO APPROACH IT WITH SCIENCE”

Johnson said he would respond to specific allegations in general because he didn’t know which athletes were making the allegations. He says he feels sympathy and regret for athletes who believe they developed eating disorders while part of his program.

He says he and others in positions of responsibility within the program have acted swiftly and decisively to intervene when learning of athletes with disordered eating, or with emotional or physical problems.

“If these things were happening, such as binge-eating, or they were going down this road of unhealthy behaviors, hopefully we would catch it, and then give them resources to get better,” Johnson says.

“The health and safety of all our student-athletes is extremely important and at the forefront at all times.”

Johnson says nutritionists meet regularly with athletes in each event group so they understand the program’s approach and to identify any potential problems.

“We try not to let this weight issue be the pink elephant in the room,” he says. “We try to approach it with conversation and we try to approach it with science. … That’s one thing the DEXA scan helps us do. It takes our personal opinions out of it.”

Johnson says all UO athletes receive DEXA scans, men and women. He says UO track athletes are told there are sports psychologists available to them if they are struggling mentally with any aspect of being a college athlete.

But he says neither he nor psychologists can help if athletes don’t come forward.

“If those things were their experiences here, it’s shameful,” Johnson says. “We try to give them the information and the execution to deal with these things. If they choose to engage in those, there is help there. We can’t read their minds.”

Johnson says if he asked an athlete about birth control, it would have been only to suggest she use one recommended by UO doctors so weight gain wouldn’t be a side effect.

He says mandatory cross training isn’t meant to stigmatize athletes, but to help them get into competitive shape. He says that is part of his responsibility as coach.

Johnson says he could send those athletes on extra training runs to accomplish the same purpose. But that would expose their legs and feet to more pounding and increase the potential for injury.

“It’s basically that we want to increase their activity level in a safe manner that allows them to move closer to achieving their goals they set for themselves,” he says.

Many UO athletes compete for the Ducks without adverse effects.

Sprinter Rachel Vinjamuri says she is untroubled by the different ways the program monitored her, including the DEXA scans that revealed her body fat percentage.

“I never had a negative mindset about it,” says Vinjamuri, who transferred to UO from Portland State and graduated in 2020.

“It was just like this is where you need to be at to perform your best and here is how we do it. It was never like you get punished. It was just, let’s work toward this.”

She says she found the coaches and nutritionists constructive and helpful.

“People are more aware that eating disorders, dieting and things like that are becoming a huge problem in college sports,” she says. “I think Oregon is becoming more aware of that. I think they were doing the best they could.”

Vinjamuri says one difference between Portland State and Oregon is the superior resources at UO. In addition to the various high-tech tests, UO athletes have access to nutritionists who supplied them with snack bags of healthy food and recipes.

Some athletes who have competed for other programs in Power Five conferences, though, say differences in approach between Oregon and those programs are stark.

One says at her current school “everything is about holding yourself accountable. But if you don’t, you’re not getting punished. I think it’s the way you should treat college athletes. We’re adults. We’re not high schoolers anymore.”

Dan Steele was an assistant track coach at Oregon through 2009. He later was head coach at Northern Iowa and an assistant at Iowa State. He says his coaching philosophy is to steer clear of discussions about weight and body fat percentage.

“Testing for body fat is humiliating and detrimental to the athlete’s psyche,” he writes in a text message. “Young female athletes need to know their coaches believe in them.”

Steele says he never brought up an athlete’s weight or appearance, believing the athlete is the person most aware if she is too heavy or out of shape.

“I always tell them, ‘You’re fine. If you eat sensibly your body will morph naturally to the perfect size for optimum performance,’” he texts. “And that’s what I believe.”

“ATHLETES ARE NOT MACHINES”

Body weight and body fat percentage do factor into athletic performance. But several sports psychologists see red flags in approaches such as the one Oregon uses, particularly with women college athletes.

The sports psychologists consulted spoke in general terms, and not specifically about the UO track program.

Eugene sports psychologist Melissa Todd says she finds a process-oriented training approach better for college athletes than ones targeting a specific outcome.

She says young adults, away from home for the first time, are at a vulnerable point in their lives. The danger of emphasizing weight or body fat percentage is that those arbitrary numbers can begin to define victory for competitive people conditioned to win.

The first rule of any training strategy, she says, “should be to seek to minimize the potential for harm.”

“Athletes are not machines,” Todd says. “We need to see them in their entirety, as a whole person, and not boil down athletic performance to small details while missing the big picture.”

Portland sports psychologist Brian Baxter agrees, saying coaches should be at least as concerned with athletes’ emotional and mental well-being as they are with skill, technique and conditioning.

“The physical body doesn’t matter without mental health,” Baxter says. “Really, that has to be first.”

On its website, the National Eating Disorders Association includes a “Coach & Athletic Trainer Toolkit” for working with athletes. It includes this admonition:

“Coaches should strive not to emphasize weight for the purpose of enhancing performance, for example by weighing, measuring body fat composition, and encouraging dieting or extra workouts.”

The toolkit section of the website continues to say coaches who emphasize those things can lead athletes into unhealthy behaviors such as disordered eating that offset any gains achieved by lowering weight or body fat percentage.

The email sent in October 2020 to Peterson, the deputy athletic director and senior women’s administrator, seems not to have altered Johnson’s use of DEXA scans to monitor body fat percentage.

Responding by email, Peterson writes that she forwarded the email detailing concerns about the track program’s use of DEXA scans to “the appropriate campus officials.”

UO spokesperson Jimmy Stanton issued a statement in which he says the health and safety of athletes is the athletic department’s top priority.

Stanton’s statement continues: “There are many sports professionals on our staff that work closely in supporting student-athletes, including our medical team, athletic trainers, sports scientists and nutritionists. Additionally, all of our coaches undergo annual training from the UO Title IX office on a variety of topics, including communication with student-athletes.”

(10/31/2021) Views: 552 ⚡AMP
by Oregon Live
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Mary Cain sues Alberto Salazar and Nike for $20 million over alleged abuse

Mary Cain, the promising distance runner whose career fizzled after what she has described as four miserable years at the Nike Oregon Project, has filed a $20 million lawsuit against her former coach, Alberto Salazar, and their employer, Nike.

Cain accused Salazar of emotionally abusing her when she joined the team as a 16-year-old. The lawsuit portrays Salazar as an angry control freak who was obsessed with Cain’s weight and didn’t hesitate to publicly humiliate her about it.

That, she said, took a toll on her physical and mental health. Nike was aware, the lawsuit alleges, but failed to intervene.

Nike did not return messages. Salazar could not be reached but has previously denied abuse allegations, and he has said neither Cain nor her parents had raised concerns while she was part of the program.

In the lawsuit filed Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Cain alleges Salazar on several occasions required her to get on a scale in front of other people and would then criticize her.

“Salazar told her that she was too fat and that her breasts and bottom were too big,” the lawsuit alleges.

Salazar took to policing Cain’s food intake, she said. At times, Cain was so hungry, she said, she stole Clif Bars from teammates.

Cain went to her parents for support. She alleges Salazar eventually tired of the parental interference.

“He prevented Cain from consulting with and relying on her parents, particularly her father, who is a doctor,” said Kristen West McCall, a Portland lawyer representing Cain.

By 2019, Cain says she was deeply depressed, had an eating disorder, generalized anxiety and post-traumatic stress syndrome. She also was cutting herself.

Darren Treasure, Nike’s in-house sports psychology consultant, knew of Cain’s distress, the lawsuit alleges. But he’s accused in the complaint of doing nothing about it, other than to share this “sometimes intimate and confidential information … with Salazar.”

Nike did nothing to intervene, Cain alleges.

“Companies are responsible for the behavior of their managers,” McCall said. “Nike’s job was to ensure that Salazar was not neglecting and abusing the athletes he coached.”

McCall added: “Nike was letting Alberto weight-shame women, objectify their bodies, and ignore their health and wellbeing as part of its culture. This was a systemic and pervasive issue.  And they did it for their own gratification and profit.”

Nike athletes generally sign non-disclosure statements that strictly prohibit them from revealing any sensitive corporate secrets. Cain smashed the Nike code of silence two years ago when The New York Times published her wrenching account of her years at Nike.

Due in part to a protracted series of injuries, Cain never lived up to her superstar-in-the-making expectations. But when she was 16, after a brilliant high school running career, she was a hot commodity in distance running circles.

In 2012, she opted to skip college and go straight to Beaverton to run for Salazar. Salazar, himself a legendary runner, helped found the Nike Oregon Project to make American distance runners competitive with the rest of the world.

Salazar has had some big successes, particularly with Galen Rupp, the Portland kid who has become one of the world’s best marathoners. On Aug. 5, 2012, two Salazar athletes — Mo Farah and Rupp — finished one-two in the 10,000 at the Olympic Games in London.

His program also has  been dogged by allegations that he pushed the use of  performance-enhancing drugs.

The Nike Oregon Project was disbanded in 2019 after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency accused Salazar of three violations. The agency banned him from the sport for four years.

Salazar appealed to the Court for Arbitration for Sport. Last month, the court upheld Salazar’s ban from the sport and some of USADA’s findings. It ruled that Salazar attempted an “intentional and orchestrated scheme to mislead” anti-doping investigators when he tampered with evidence.

The court reduced the duration of his ban from four to two years.

Salazar added:  “Mary at times struggled to find and maintain her ideal performance and training weight.” Nike added that Cain had requested to be allowed back on the team after she left.

Salazar said this to Sports Illustrated:

My foremost goal as a coach was to promote athletic performance in a manner that supported the good health and well-being of all my athletes. On occasion, I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive over the course of years of helping my athletes through hard training. If any athlete was hurt by any comments that I have made, such an effect was entirely unintended, and I am sorry. I do dispute, however, the notion that any athlete suffered any abuse or gender discrimination while running for the Oregon Project.”

(10/12/2021) Views: 470 ⚡AMP
by Jeff Manning
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Previous champions will headline the men's and women's races at the 125th Boston Marathon

It’s official – Boston is back with 20,000 of the world’s best marathoners taking to the start line on Monday, Oct. 11. This year’s field is locked and loaded, for the first-ever fall edition of the marathon.

This race will feature a massive elite field of 140 athletes, headlined by previous champions Lelisa Desisa, Des Linden and Edna Kiplagat plus top American runners Jordan Hasay, Molly Huddle and Abdi Abdirahman.

The women’s race

The women’s race only features two women who have run under 2:20, Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia (2:19:52) and 2017 champion Kiplagat (2:19:50). Kiplagat has raced twice this year at NYRR races, finishing sixth and third. This will be her first marathon since finishing second at Boston in 2019. Dibaba had a DNF in 2019 and was plagued with an injury at the start of the pandemic. This race will mark the return of the 2015 world champion to the marathon distance.

Another athlete to keep your eye on is Kenya’s Angela Tanui, who won the Siena Marathon in Italy earlier this year, running a nine-minute personal best of 2:20:08. Atsede Bayisa of Ethiopia, who is a part of the NN Running Team, is competing as well, after taking four years off competition. Bayisa has two road race victories to her name, which came during her training build-up to Monday’s race. Former 10-mile world record holder Caroline Chepkoech makes her marathon debut, with a half marathon personal best of 1:05:07. Chepkoech has recently changed citizenship from Kenya to Kazakhstan and will be representing her new country at this event. 

Outside of the international favorites, American track fans continue to wait for Hasay’s breakthrough. She has been third at two major marathons and has been agonizingly close to Deena Kastor’s American record, running the second-fastest time by an American (2:20:57 at Chicago 2017). Since then Hasay has changed coaches, from the controversial Alberto Salazar to former marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe, when the Nike Oregon Project disbanded due to Salazar’s investigation. Linden was the last American to win the Boston Marathon, in 2018, and will be running Boston for her seventh time. She enters the race with a PB of 2:22:38.

Toronto’s Brittany Moran is the only elite Canadian in the women’s field, coming in with a personal best of 2:36:22. Moran won Toronto’s Yorkville 5K in mid-September in a time of 16:40.  

The men’s race

The men’s race is loaded, having eight men who have run under 2:06. It is headlined by two-time Boston champion, Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa. Desisa is one of the best marathoners in the world in recent years, having won the event twice in 2013 and 2015, and finishing second in 2016 and 2019. Desisa will be challenged by his countrymen Asefa Mengstu (2:04:06) and Lemi Berhanu (2:04:33). Berhanu beat Desisa to get on the 2016 Ethiopian Olympic team, but has only finished one of his last five marathons, which was a second-place finish at Toronto’s Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon in 2019.

Kenya’s Benson Kipruto (2:05:13) and Wilson Chebet (2:05:27) are two experienced racers in the field who can wear down opponents over the Newton hills. Kipruto won the 2018 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. 2012 Olympian Dylan Wykes is the top-seeded Canadian in the field, with a personal best of 2:10:47. The last time Wykes competed in a marathon was at the Scotiabank Toronto Marathon in 2019, where he placed 30th. Rory Linkletter from Alberta will compete in his first Boston Marathon, and will look to follow in the footsteps of his U.S. Hoka NAZ Elite training partner Scott Fauble, to run under 2:10 at this race. Linkletter ran his marathon personal best of  2:12:54 at the Marathon Project in 2020. Thomas Toth (2:16:28) of Ontario is the other Canadian in the men’s elite field. 44-year-old American runner Abdirahman will be on the start line as the top U.S. athlete, only 64 days after he competed in the Tokyo Olympic marathon.

The 2021 Boston Marathon will mark the first time the race will take place on the same day as a Boston Red Sox playoff game. The Red Sox will play Game 4 of the ALDS series at Fenway Park on Monday evening. The weather is calling for 17 to 20 degrees C in the morning, with only a 20 per cent chance of precipitation. 

How to watch the 2021 Boston Marathon

Live coverage of the event will begin at 8 a.m. ET, with the men’s and women’s wheelchair races setting off at 8:02 and 8:04 a.m. ET. The elite female runners will begin at 8:32 a.m., followed by the men at 9:00 a.m. ET.

Live race coverage will be broadcasted on NBC Sports Network for cable subscribers from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET. If you are looking for an online stream of the race, it will be on RunnerSpace, where you can sign up to follow all the action.

(10/08/2021) Views: 476 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

Among the nation’s oldest athletic clubs, the B.A.A. was established in 1887, and, in 1896, more than half of the U.S. Olympic Team at the first modern games was composed of B.A.A. club members. The Olympic Games provided the inspiration for the first Boston Marathon, which culminated the B.A.A. Games on April 19, 1897. John J. McDermott emerged from a...

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CAS releases official report on Salazar ban

Reports on Wednesday announced the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had upheld the four-year suspension imposed on former Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar and former team endocrinologist, Dr. Jeffrey Brown for doping violations, and less than 24 hours later the official CAS report has been released.

In its report, the CAS ruled that Salazar had committed three anti-doping rule violations, including possession of testosterone, complicity in Brown’s administration of a prohibited method and tampering with the doping control process with respect to the issue of L-carnitine infusions/syringes. Similarly, Brown was charged with four violations, including complicity in Salazar’s possession of testosterone, trafficking of testosterone to Salazar, administration of a prohibited method and tampering with the doping control process.

The investigation into Salazar and the NOP began in 2015 when a BBC Panorama documentary entitled “Catch Me If You Can” alleged the coach used prescription drugs and therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to push the boundaries of performance.

The film interviewed former NOP athlete Kara Goucher and former coach Steve Magness, who described the experiments Salazar performed to determine exactly how much testosterone cream could be applied to an athlete’s skin without triggering a positive test. An experiment was also done to test a rapid-acting (and illegal, under WADA rules) infusion of a supplement known to boost the body’s L-carnitine levels, which in turn helps the body convert fat to energy.

In 2017, a leaked  U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report from 2016 indicated that Salazar had been giving his athletes, including Sir Mo Farah, the amino acid L-carnitine, via an IV drip. L-carnitine is not a banned substance, but infusions of more than 50 mL in the span of six hours are prohibited, and reports claimed the coach “almost certainly” broke those rules.

Throughout the process, Salazar has continued to deny the allegations, and none of his former athletes, including Farah, Galen Rupp, Sifan Hassan, Matthew Centrowitz and Canada’s Cam Levins have ever tested positive for illegal substances, which the CAS notes in its report.

It also acknowledged that the way in which USADA’s  investigation was conducted was “out of proportion and excessive when compared to the severity and consequences of the ADRVs [anti-doping rule violations] that have been established,” yet it still upheld the bans: “the Panel was satisfied that the rules have been properly applied, and that, on the basis of the ADRV’s found by the CAS Panel, the sanctions have been determined in accordance with the relevant version of the WADC.”

(09/17/2021) Views: 439 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Siffan Hassan has won at the 5,000 meters and now looks to the 1,500 and 10,000

Six races in eight days on the Tokyo track? No problem, says Sifan Hassan, who overcame a Monday morning fall in the 1500m heats to win 5000m gold in the evening.

How about 24,500 meters of Olympic racing in the matter of eight days?

The Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan has said she’ll try it, competing in each of the 1500m, 5000m, and 10,000m races at Tokyo 2020, a line-up rarely seen – especially in the hot conditions athletics runners are facing at these Games.

“For me it is crucial to follow my heart,” said Hassan in a press release. “Doing that is far more important than gold medals. That keeps me motivated and it keeps me enjoying this beautiful sport.”

Having already run on Friday (July 30) to qualify for the 5000m final, Hassan fell with a lap to go in Monday morning's 1500m first round, but picked herself up to win the heat!

Just 12 hours later, Hassan produced her famed finishing kick to take her first global title over 5000m and her first Olympic medal.

That may have been the hardest of three with the mile world record holder completing a 1500m-10,000m double at the 2019 World Championships.

See her full schedule below – and find out what other similar feats have been attempted in athletics in Games past, as you get to know the distance running star.

Born in Ethiopia in 1993, Hassan arrived in the Netherlands as a 15-year-old refugee in 2008. She split her time between running and studying to become a nurse.

She became a Dutch citizen in late 2013, which allowed her to represent the Netherlands in competition.

As early as 2011, Hassan began making her mark on the international stage, winning the Eindhoven Half Marathon that year. In 2013, she won the 3000m at the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting in June.

At the 2014 European Championships in Zurich, Hassan took gold in the 1500m and a year later, she won bronze in the 1500m at the World Championships in Beijing, joining Dafne Schippers as the only Dutch athletes to win medals at the Worlds.

She had clearly established herself as one to watch ahead of Rio 2016, though injuries hampered her build-up to those Games, where she went out in the heats in the 800m but reached the final of the 1500m, where she finished fifth behind Kenya’s gold medalist Faith Kipyegon.

Has anyone tried such an Olympic programme before? Let’s compare it with two great long-distance feats at Olympic Games.

According to  The Guardian, Paavo Nurmi went for four at Paris 1924: Nurmi won the men's 1500m, 5000m, and 3000m team event – as well as two cross-country events – but “Finnish officials feared for his health and refused to let him race the 10,000m.”

The 1500, 3000 and 5000 happened over a span of just five days.

At Helsinki 1952, Czechoslovakia’s Emil Zatopek won the 5000m, 10,000m, and marathon (42km) – all in Olympic records. Those four races (a semi and a final for the 5000), took place over eight days.

After Rio, Hassan joined Alberto Salazar’s training group in Oregon, keeping her focus largely on the 1500m. She was fifth again (behind Kipyegon) in the 1500m at the 2017 World Championships in London and took bronze in the 5000m with another Kenyan, Hellen Obiri, winning gold.

In 2019, after a quiet season to start, she set a new mile world record at the Monaco Diamond League in 4:12.33.

At the World Championships in Doha, she entered the 10,000m having only ran the race competitively just once before. But Hassan closed down Letesenbet Gidey before sprinting clear on the last lap to take her first global title.

A week later, she showed her versatility by winning the 1500m to complete a unique double at Worlds.

After worlds, it was announced that her coach, Salazar, would be suspended from athletics due to doping allegations. Hassan denied any knowledge of wrongdoing.

She continued to perform at the top level after his suspension: She set the aforementioned mile world record in 2019, then ran the fourth fastest 10,000m ever before setting a new world record at that distance in June of 2021. (That record was broken two days later, by Gidey.)

Hassan will almost certainly fight it out with Gidey for gold in the 10,000, but the Dutch runner’s famed finishing kick gives her a great chance of adding the Olympic title to her world title.

Here’s a breakdown of Hassan’s potential schedule, having already advance through into the final of the 5000m on Monday night (Aug 2).

Fri 30 July 19:00 JST - 5000m semi-finals – Finished 1st, to reach final.

Mon 2 August 09:47 JST - 1500m round 1 - Finished 1st in heat despite falling, to reach semi-finals.

Mon 2 August 21:40 JST - 5000m final

Wed 4 August around 17:00 JST - 1500m semi-finals.

Fri 6 August 21:50 JST - 1500m final (if she qualifies)

Sat 7 August 19:45 JST - 10,000m final.

(08/02/2021) Views: 680 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Alberto Salazar gets lifetime ban for sexual, emotional misconduct

Alberto Salazar, the 1982 Boston Marathon champion from Wayland and once a prominent Nike coach of some of the world’s top distance runners, was permanently barred from participating in track and field Monday by the US Center for SafeSport, which cited Salazar for sexual and emotional misconduct.

Salazar, 62, has 10 business days to request an appeal through arbitration of the ruling made by SafeSport, a nonprofit founded in 2017 to protect athletes from sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

The decision Monday was the latest stage of a humiliating fall for Salazar, who was suspended for four years in September 2019 by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for violating rules governing banned substances. He is appealing that suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Swiss-based equivalent of a Supreme Court for international sports.

The SafeSport charges were not detailed Monday. In January 2020, the organization temporarily barred Salazar from participating in track and field after elite female runners who formerly trained under him, including Mary Cain, Amy Yoder Begley and Kara Goucher, described what they said were years of psychological and verbal abuse by the coach.

Neither Salazar nor his lawyer immediately responded to requests for comment Monday. Salazar has previously denied all accusations of misconduct.

In a 2019 video produced by the Opinion department of The New York Times, Cain, a former high school phenom from New York who is now 25, accused Salazar of shaming her in front of others on the Nike Oregon Project team — which has since been disbanded — when she did not reach weight targets. She said that her low weight caused her to miss her period for three years, leading to lower levels of estrogen and five broken bones.

Cain also said that she had suicidal thoughts and had cut herself, but that no one at Nike “really did anything or said anything.”

Yoder Begley, a 2008 Olympian, tweeted in 2019 that she was removed from the Oregon Project after a disappointing showing in the 10,000 meters at the 2011 United States track and field championships.

“I was told I was too fat and ‘had the biggest butt on the starting line,’ " Yoder Begley wrote.

Goucher, another American Olympian who once trained with the Nike Oregon Project, told The Times that after being cooked meager meals by an assistant coach, she often ate more in the privacy of her room, nervous that she would be heard opening the wrappers of energy bars she furtively consumed.

Salazar replied to Cain’s 2019 video in a statement to The Oregonian newspaper: “Neither of her parents nor Mary raised any of the issues that she now suggests occurred while I was coaching her. To be clear, I never encouraged her, or worse yet, shamed her, to maintain an unhealthy weight.”

Cain acknowledged at the time that she had sought to train again with Salazar, seeking an apology, closure and his approval. But she described their relationship as poisonous, saying, “I was the victim of an abusive system, an abusive man.”

Salazar told Sports Illustrated in 2019 that his “foremost goal” was to promote athletic performance in line with the good health and well-being of his athletes, but he acknowledged, “On occasion, I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive.”

(07/27/2021) Views: 528 ⚡AMP
by Jere Longman
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Sifan Hassan eyes unprecedented Olympic track treble

Sifan Hassan may have raised eyebrows when she announced an unprecedented bid for triple Olympic gold in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m, but on previous form she looks tailor-made to make history in Tokyo.

The 28-year-old, born in Ethiopia but now a long-time naturalised Dutchwoman, became the first athlete to achieve the 1500 and 10,000m world double in Doha in 2019.

It was a remarkable show of running, especially as it came after the news that her coach Alberto Salazar, the head of the Nike-funded Oregon Project, had been banned for four years over doping-related issues.

"The hardest moment and pressure in my life was in Doha and I handled it," she said earlier this month.

"Tokyo will not be hard."

Hassan certainly did handle it, meeting the furore head-on after she had completed the double.

"If they want to test me they can test me every single day. Every single day," she said.

"I believe in clean sport, I'm always clean, I will always be clean.

"I believe in the Oregon Project (since disbanded by Nike). I've seen Alberto. He's worked really hard and that is what I know."

Hassan failed to bow down to more potential criticism from detractors when she selected former Salazar assistant Tim Rowberry as her new coach.

"Three years ago I made the choice to go to America," she said in 2020 after choosing Rowberry.

"I now have a familiar situation where I feel very much at home.

"I have considered several options and met new people to find the right click, but I believe that my current training situation is the best way to successfully prepare for the Tokyo Olympics."

'I am crazy'

Hassan's treble bid echoes that of the 'Czech Locomotive', Emile Zatopek, who won 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon golds at the 1952 Olympics.

For Hassan it may be more of a challenge in terms of the scheduling with the toughest day on August 2.

She runs the 1500m heats in the morning and then, provided there has not been an upset in qualifying, the 5,000m final in the evening session.  

She would then need to come through the 1500m semi-finals on August 4 with the final two days later.

If it is two from two after that, a sleepless night might beckon ahead of a history-making attempt at the third, the 10,000m final, on August 7.

(07/22/2021) Views: 533 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Mary Cain launches professional women's running team

Mary Cain has announced the launch of her new professional women’s running team, Atalanta New York. Cain previously ran for Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project (NOP), and in 2019, four years after leaving the team, she opened up about the emotional and physical abuse she endured in her short time training with that group. That abuse pushed Cain to the point of considering suicide, and it was fuelled by Salazar’s win-at-all-costs mentality. Cain is now looking to fight this mindset (which was not unique to the NOP), and Atalanta NY will work to empower and support its athletes and young female runners everywhere.

Cain is the president and CEO of Atalanta NY, an endeavour she says is the next step in her fight against the toxicity plaguing the world of athletics. “Ever since I shared my story to The NY Times, I have wanted to do more,” she wrote on Instagram. The first step in this fight, she said, was speaking out against Salazar, the NOP and the must-win culture (which has led to the abuse of so many female athletes) in track. “Maybe it’s the runner in me, but I wanted to take more than a first step.”‘

Atalanta NY is a New York City-based nonprofit that will employ its athletes, not as competitors, but as mentors to young women in the running community. This takes the emphasis off of performance (which is the usual focus for professional running teams) and instead places it on community involvement, something that Cain said she believes will “shake up the current model of professional sports.”

This is similar (although not identical) to the structure of Tracksmith’s partnership with Cain. In 2020, Cain signed with Tracksmith to work as a full-time employee while also running for the brand. This allowed Cain to run worry-free, as her contract was not dependent on her results, but rather on her work as the brand’s New York City community manager. Cain is still representing Tracksmith, and the company is a founding sponsor of Atalanta NY.

“Atalanta New York’s mission is two-fold,” reads a post on the Tracksmith Instagram page. “As a team, its goal is to help elite runners chase their athletic dreams through a sustainable and healthy organizational model. As a nonprofit, the goal is to educate and inspire young female athletes in underserved New York communities to find joy and wellness through sport.”

So far, Atalanta NY has only named two professional athletes to the team: Cain and Jamie Morrissey. Cain hasn’t raced much in the past few years (she raced four times in 2020, interrupting a four-year break from competition), but she still owns several big records, including the world U20 indoor 1,000m record (2:35.80) and American U20 two-mile best (9:38.68). Morrissey is a former University of Michigan standout who owns a PB of 4:11.48 in the 1,500m.

No other runners have been publicly added to the team yet, but Cain has said there will be more athlete announcements soon. To learn more about Atalanta NY and the team’s mission,

(07/03/2021) Views: 499 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Record-crushing track superstar Mary Cain launches professional women’s running team

Mary Cain has announced the launch of her new professional women’s running team, Atalanta New York. Cain previously ran for Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project (NOP), and in 2019, four years after leaving the team, she opened up about the emotional and physical abuse she endured in her short time training with that group. That abuse pushed Cain to the point of considering suicide, and it was fuelled by Salazar’s win-at-all-costs mentality. 

Cain is now looking to fight this mindset (which was not unique to the NOP), and Atalanta NY will work to empower and support its athletes and young female runners everywhere.

Cain is the president and CEO of Atalanta NY, an endeavour she says is the next step in her fight against the toxicity plaguing the world of athletics. “Ever since I shared my story to The NY Times, I have wanted to do more,” she wrote on Instagram. The first step in this fight, she said, was speaking out against Salazar, the NOP and the must-win culture (which has led to the abuse of so many female athletes) in track. “Maybe it’s the runner in me, but I wanted to take more than a first step.”‘

Atalanta NY is a New York City-based nonprofit that will employ its athletes, not as competitors, but as mentors to young women in the running community. This takes the emphasis off of performance (which is the usual focus for professional running teams) and instead places it on community involvement, something that Cain said she believes will “shake up the current model of professional sports.”

This is similar (although not identical) to the structure of Tracksmith’s partnership with Cain. In 2020, Cain signed with Tracksmith to work as a full-time employee while also running for the brand. This allowed Cain to run worry-free, as her contract was not dependent on her results, but rather on her work as the brand’s New York City community manager. Cain is still representing Tracksmith, and the company is a founding sponsor of Atalanta NY.

“Atalanta New York’s mission is two-fold,” reads a post on the Tracksmith Instagram page. “As a team, its goal is to help elite runners chase their athletic dreams through a sustainable and healthy organizational model. As a nonprofit, the goal is to educate and inspire young female athletes in underserved New York communities to find joy and wellness through sport.”

So far, Atalanta NY has only named two professional athletes to the team: Cain and Jamie Morrissey. Cain hasn’t raced much in the past few years (she raced four times in 2020, interrupting a four-year break from competition), but she still owns several big records, including the world U20 indoor 1,000m record (2:35.80) and American U20 two-mile best (9:38.68). Morrissey is a former University of Michigan standout who owns a PB of 4:11.48 in the 1,500m.

No other runners have been publicly added to the team yet, but Cain has said there will be more athlete announcements soon.

(06/30/2021) Views: 489 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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New Salazar documentary questions reasons for his 2019 suspension

Nike’s Big Bet, the new documentary about former Nike Oregon Project head coach Alberto Salazar by Canadian filmmaker Paul Kemp, seeks to shed light on the practices that resulted in Salazar’s shocking ban from coaching in the middle of the 2019 IAAF World Championships. Many athletes, scientists and journalists appear in the film, including Canadian Running columnist Alex Hutchinson and writer Malcolm Gladwell, distance running’s most famous superfan.

Most of them defend Salazar as someone who used extreme technology like underwater treadmills, altitude houses and cryotherapy to get the best possible results from his athletes, and who may inadvertently have crossed the line occasionally, but who should not be regarded as a cheater. (Neither Salazar nor any Nike spokesperson participated in the film. Salazar’s case is currently under appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.)

Salazar became synonymous with Nike’s reputation for an uncompromising commitment to winning. He won three consecutive New York City Marathons in the early 1980s, as well as the 1982 Boston Marathon, and set several American records on the track during his running career.

He famously pushed his body to extremes, even avoiding drinking water during marathons to avoid gaining any extra weight, and was administered last rites after collapsing at the finish line of the 1987 Falmouth Road Race.

Salazar was hired to head the Nike Oregon Project in 2001, the goal of the NOP being to reinstate American athletes as the best in the world after the influx of Kenyans and Ethiopians who dominated international distance running in the 1990s. It took a few years, but eventually Salazar became the most powerful coach in running, with an athlete list that included some of the world’s most successful runners: Mo Farah, Galen Rupp, Matt Centrowitz, Dathan Ritzenhein, Kara Goucher, Jordan Hasay, Cam Levins, Shannon Rowbury, Mary Cain, Donovan Brazier, Sifan Hassan and Konstanze Klosterhalfen.

Goucher left the NOP in 2011, disillusioned by what she saw as unethical practices involving unnecessary prescriptions and experimentation on athletes, and went to USADA in 2012. An investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency followed on the heels of a damning BBC Panorama special in 2015, and picked up steam in 2017.

When Salazar’s suspension was announced during the World Championships in 2019, he had been found guilty of multiple illegal doping practices, including injecting athletes with more than the legal limit of L-carnitine (a naturally-occurring amino acid believed to enhance performance) and trafficking in testosterone – but none of his athletes were implicated. (Salazar admitted to experimenting with testosterone cream to find out how much would trigger a positive test, but claimed he was trying to avoid sabotage by competitors.)

That Salazar pushed his athletes as hard in training as he had once pushed himself is not disputed; neither is the fact that no Salazar athlete has ever failed a drug test. Gladwell, in particular, insists that Salazar’s methods are not those of someone who is trying to take shortcuts to victory – that people who use performance-enhancing drugs are looking for ways to avoid extremes in training.

That assertion doesn’t necessarily hold water when you consider that drugs like EPO (which, it should be noted, Salazar was never suspected of using with his athletes) allow for faster recovery, which lets athletes train harder – or that the most famous cheater of all, Lance Armstrong, trained as hard as anyone. (Armstrong, too, avoided testing positive for many years, and also continued to enjoy Nike’s support after his fall from grace.)

Goucher, Ritzenhein, Levins and original NOP member Ben Andrews are the only former Salazar athletes who appear on camera, and Goucher’s is the only female voice in the entire film. It was her testimony, along with that of former Nike athlete and NOP coach Steve Magness, that led to the lengthy USADA investigation and ban.

Among other things, she claims she was pressured to take a thyroid medication she didn’t need, to help her lose weight. (The film reports that these medications were prescribed by team doctor Jeffrey Brown, but barely mentions that Brown, too, was implicated in the investigation and received the same four-year suspension as Salazar.) Ritzenhein initially declines to comment on the L-carnitine infusions, considering Salazar’s appeal is ongoing, but then states he thinks the sanctions are appropriate. Farah, as we know, vehemently denied ever having used it, then reversed himself.

It’s unfortunate that neither Cain, who had once been the U.S.’s most promising young athlete, nor Magness appear on camera. A few weeks after the suspension, Cain, who had left the NOP under mysterious circumstances in 2015, opened up about her experience with Salazar, whom she said had publicly shamed her for being too heavy, and dismissed her concerns when she told him she was depressed and harming herself. Cain’s experience is acknowledged in the film, and there’s some criticism of Salazar’s approach, but Gladwell chalks it up to a poor fit, rather than holding him accountable.

Cain’s story was part of an ongoing reckoning with the kind of borderline-abusive practices that were once common in elite sport, but that are now recognized as harmful, and from which athletes should be protected.

Gladwell asserts that coaches like Salazar have always pushed the boundaries of what’s considered acceptable or legal in the quest to be the best, and that the alternative is, essentially, to abandon elite sport. It’s an unfortunate conclusion, and one that will no doubt be challenged by many advocates of clean sport.

(05/02/2021) Views: 542 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Irish former track and field athlete Sonia O’Sullivan will take Nike coaching role based in Portland, Oregon

Sonia O’Sullivan has agreed to take up a new assistant coaching role with a Nike training group based in Portland, Oregon beginning this week, initially in the run up to and including the Tokyo Olympics.

It will see O’Sullivan move from her current home in Melbourne to the US on Thursday, her new role as assistant coach to Pete Julian affording her the chance to work with some of the best distance runners in the world.

Describing the role as “exciting and challenging”, O’Sullivan is also looking forward to the chance to “have some purpose again in big time athletics”.

The move, only confirmed in recent weeks, will also bring O’Sullivan closer to her daughter Sophie, currently in her first year at the University of Washington on scholarship.

“It all evolved quite quickly, and once we started talking, it felt like an instinctual decision for me, something I felt I’d like to do,” says O’Sullivan. “I won’t know what it’s fully about until I’m out there, but to be a part of a fully professional set-up, with a good budget behind them, to get the best possible out of the athletes, is something I’m excited about.

“There are currently 10 athletes in the group, Pete Julian as head coach, they also have a strength and conditioning coach, and his athletes range from 800m up to the marathon, so there’s a lot of diversity there, they don’t all train together, on different days and in different places, so he can’t always be there. And this was the perfect opportunity to go and do something that I’ve not really had a chance to do, ever.

“It’s a way for me to travel again in an Olympic year, even though it’s very nice here in Melbourne with no Covid restrictions, it feels very far from the action. Every year I’ve had events in Ireland that I work with and the main athletics championships to look forward to, this past year has been so unpredictable my normal schedule has been put on hold.

“It also definitely helped that it’s pretty close to where Sophie is going to college, two and a half hours away, so that swayed things a bit too, because of the times we’re in, it’s so difficult to get back in or out of Australia, and it’s still unknown when she can next get back to Australia.”

Julian was previously an assistant coach with the Nike Oregon Project, run out of the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon but which was disbanded in 2019 in the immediate aftermath of a four-year ban handed down to then head coach Alberto Salazar for doping offences. With that Julian, in no way implicated in any of those offences, started up his own training group with some of the athletes already under his guidance, including top US 800m runner and Tokyo gold medal favourite Donavan Brazier.

For O’Sullivan, the 2000 Olympic silver medallist over 5,000 metres who won 13 major championships medals in all, the initial three-month agreement would see her through to the Tokyo Olympics. Also in the group are two international women athletes from Australia in Jessica Hull, and Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, Japanese Tokyo Olympic athlete Suguru Osaka, the remaining seven being American.

“The main target for the American athletes will be the US Olympic Trials, and then after that there is a small circuit of American meetings, so that they don’t have to travel to Europe. ”

O’Sullivan’s first chance to see some of the athletes in action will likely come this weekend at the USATF Grand Prix from Hayward Field in Eugene, the newly renovated venue for the 2022 World Athletics Championships, and the first stop on the 2021 World Athletics Continental Tour (which is also being broadcast on TG4).

(04/21/2021) Views: 627 ⚡AMP
by Ian O'Riordan
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision. ...

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Alberto Salazar appeal takes place in Lausanne

Banned athletics coach Alberto Salazar's appeal against his four-year suspension will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Wednesday.

Salazar was found guilty of doping violations along with Dr Jeffrey Brown, who treated Salazar's athletes, after an investigation.

The 62-year-old's hearing will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland.

It was set for November but was pushed back because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Salazar ran the Nike Oregon Project (NOP), based in Beaverton, Oregon. It was established in 2001 and was the home of British four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, who was coached by Salazar between 2011 and 2017.

A BBC Panorama programme in 2015 focusing on Salazar and the NOP prompted a four-year investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) and a two-year court battle behind closed doors. It eventually resulted in bans for both Salazar and Brown, announced in October 2019.

(03/03/2021) Views: 439 ⚡AMP
by BBC Athletics
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Galen Rupp: “I want to win [the Olympic marathon]. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.”

Yesterday, Kipyego mentioned her goal was to medal in Sapporo in August. Rupp went one step further.

“I want to win,” Rupp said. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. That’s definitely my goal. I’ve gotten a silver medal in London, a bronze medal in Rio, and so hopefully I’ll be shooting for gold for sure in Tokyo. I know it’s not going to be an easy ask. It will be a tall task. There’s obviously a tremendous amount of great marathoners out there right now and the Olympics are always going to be a tough test. But I thrive on competition and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to go in there with the best in the world and really see what I can do.”

Rupp said that while gold is his aim, he wouldn’t be disappointed if he fails to win — indeed, in the last 113 years, only one American man, Frank Shorter, has accomplished the feat. Not all of his fellow Olympians shared that perspective, however.

“I’m going to be disappointed if you don’t win,” Tuliamuk joked. “No pressure.”

The one-year delay has helped Rupp more than most. Even before the pandemic, Rupp spent much of his time in his Portland home, which is equipped with a device that strips oxygen from the air to mimic the effects of high elevation. Staying home was not much of a challenge, though it did limit the amount his coach Mike Smith could visit him to oversee workouts.

From a running perspective, the extra year has given Rupp more time to adjust to Smith’s system. Under previous coach Alberto Salazar — whose appeal of his four-year ban for anti-doping violations will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month — Rupp would hit each rep of his interval sessions “as hard as [he] could” and take a full rest before tackling the next one. Until he trained under Smith, Rupp had never run a fartlek. When Smith, the coach at Northern Arizona University, began working with Rupp in December 2019, he asked Rupp to turn over his previous training logs. The first thing he told Rupp after examining them?

“He didn’t think I was training much like a marathoner,” Rupp says. “There was still so much track stuff that I was doing.”

Now Rupp is growing accustomed to Smith’s system. He feels he works just as hard in practice, but the workouts are different: slower, with more reps and less recovery.

“Having some new stimulus, having some different workouts that I’ve been doing, it’s been a challenge, but it’s been really fun for me at the same time,” Rupp said. “…I couldn’t be happier with the way that things have worked out and where things are going.”

The delay has also allowed Rupp’s body extra time to heal. The Trials was just the second race Rupp finished following Achilles surgery in October 2018, and though Rupp estimated he was 90-95% healthy by the time of the Trials, he had not been able to string together a significant amount of pain-free running. Rupp admitted that, even after the Trials, “it hasn’t always been pretty,” but he feels he’s in a better spot now than he was a year ago.

“I’m optimistic about where I’m at physically and I couldn’t have said that over the last year,” Rupp said. “But I was really pleased with the way the Trials went and I think that I’ve grown a lot since then.”

The one annoying thing for Rupp has been the inability to race. Since the Trials, he has run just one: 60:22 for a low-key half marathon in October on an Oregon bike path. In years past, Rupp could at least gauge his fitness by comparing workouts splits to what he’d done before, but with a whole new set of workouts under Smith, even that is impossible. So Rupp is itching to race, but exactly where and when that will happen remains uncertain.

Rupp was hoping to do a marathon this month, but that proved untenable due to COVID travel restrictions. He is considering racing some shorter distances in the leadup to the Games. Given the flat course in Sapporo, Rupp believes it is important to improve is speed, which has been a recent emphasis in training.

"We want to get back into the swing of racing again,” Rupp said. “I think it’s important.”

(02/27/2021) Views: 495 ⚡AMP
by Let’s Run
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Disappointment for Jordan Hasay at the Valencia Marathon

 Despite the fast course and good conditions, American Jordan Hasay struggled once again to pull off a strong marathon. Hasay finished a disappointing 27th, in 2:33:51. She has been targeting Deena Kastor‘s national record of 2:19:36 since she ran the second-fastest marathon of any American woman, a 2:20:57 in Chicago in 2017. However, since that run, the marathon times haven’t come so easily. 

Hasay’s strongest result in the past two years came from the 2019 Boston Marathon, where she ran a 2:25:20 – an extremely impressive time on one of the hilliest marathon courses in the states. However, since Boston, Hasay has struggled. The 2019 Chicago Marathon fell just a few days after her former coach, Alberto Salazar, had been suspended. She ultimately didn’t finish that race and went on to come 26th at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials a few months later. Neither of those results was what she had been hoping for. On Sunday, her 2:33 performance likely didn’t live up to her high standards, either. 

(12/06/2020) Views: 615 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Jordan Hasay is set to get back on track at Valencia Marathon

No American marathoner has experienced more ups and downs during this Olympic cycle than Jordan Hasay. When Hasay first transitioned to the roads full-time at the start of 2017, she was a sensation, much like her high school days when a teenage Hasay, long blonde ponytail bobbing in the wind, won two Foot Locker Cross Country titles and dazzled the crowd at the 2008 Olympic Trials at just age 16. Fast half marathons early in 2017 in Houston (68:40) and Prague (67:55) set expectations for her first marathon at 2017 Boston through the roof, and somehow, she exceeded them: her 2:23:00 broke Kara Goucher‘s US debut record by almost three minutes.

That fall, Hasay knocked 2+ minutes off her pb, finishing third in Chicago in 2:20:57, the second-fastest marathon ever by an American woman. The sky seemed to be the limit.

But Hasay was brought back to Earth the following year: she didn’t run a single marathon in 2018, withdrawing on the eve of the Boston Marathon due to a stress reaction in her heel; a fracture in the same heel forced her out of Chicago that fall as well. 2019 brought highs and lows: a third-place showing in Boston set Hasay up as a prime contender for a spot on the US Olympic team, only for her coach Alberto Salazar to be banned from the sport in September, just two weeks before Hasay dropped out of Chicago after just 5k with a hamstring injury.

Hasay still wasn’t at 100% for the Olympic Trials in February 2020, where she gutted out a 2:37:57, 26th-place finish on a brutal day in Atlanta.

Post-Trials, 2020 has offered a chance for Hasay to reset. Now working with former marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe, Hasay took a chunk of time off following the Trials to heal the back and hamstring issues that plagued her in Atlanta and has reduced her training volume in an effort to stay healthy. With limited racing opportunities and no major marathons until the fall of 2021 (at the earliest), the pressure of expectations has momentarily paused. Hasay doesn’t need to rush back to race.

Hasay is racing on Sunday, though, traveling to Spain as one of just two Americans entered at the Valencia Marathon (Emily Sisson will also be racing the half). But Radcliffe is hoping Hasay approaches it differently than her last few marathons.

“She is healthy and looking forward to getting back out and enjoying racing again,” Radcliffe wrote in a text message to LetsRun.com. “We think this year of all years, if you are healthy and have an opportunity to get out and race, you should go and have fun.”

Hasay has never been one to shy away from big goals. Within hours of finishing third in Boston last year, she declared that she would chase the American record in Chicago in the fall. Injured there, Hasay rushed back for the Trials and ran them at less than 100% because she had to run the Trials — giving up on her Olympic dream was simply not an option. Radcliffe can relate, perhaps better than anyone. In 2004, just two weeks before her best shot at Olympic gold, Radcliffe developed a leg injury. She ran those Olympics in Athens anyway, but the injury, stress, and pressure left her a shell of herself. She dropped out of both the marathon and 10,000 meters.

Radcliffe’s hope is that Hasay’s return on Sunday is more about “rediscovering her love of racing” than dealing with the stress of expectations.

“We don’t really have a time goal,” Radcliffe wrote. “I really want her just to get back to racing without stress and enjoying it, so have deliberately said to just enjoy the race and not look at splits too much.”

(12/05/2020) Views: 735 ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO

VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO

The Trinidad Alfonso EDP Valencia Marathon is held annually in the historic city of Valencia which, with its entirely flat circuit and perfect November temperature, averaging between 12-17 degrees, represents the ideal setting for hosting such a long-distance sporting challenge. This, coupled with the most incomparable of settings, makes the Valencia Marathon, Valencia, one of the most important events in...

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Hasay only ran a 1:14:27 half-marathon on Monday as warming up for Valencia Marathon

Jordan Hasay, 29, ran the fastest marathon debut in U.S. history in 2017, finishing the Chicago Marathon in 2:20:57. This time remains the second-fastest marathon ever by an American woman, and Deena Kastor‘s national record of 2:19:36 is the only instance of a woman going faster.

Hasay has since been touted as the runner most likely to break Kastor’s record, but she has consistently fallen short of that mark. While her marathon debut was remarkable, Hasay has had a difficult time following up that result. 

Hasay completed a half-marathon in Portland on Monday, finishing in 1:14:27. This was a far cry from her goal, but she cited poor weather as the reason for her time. With only three and a half weeks until her marathon in Valencia, Hasay will hopefully surprise fans with a strong race.

A difficult two years

Hasay’s strongest result in the past two years came from the 2019 Boston Marathon, where she ran a 2:25:20 – an extremely impressive time on one of the hilliest marathon courses in the states. However, since Boston, Hasay has struggled. The 2019 Chicago Marathon fell just a few days after her former coach, Alberto Salazar, had been suspended. She ultimately didn’t finish that race and went on to come 26th at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials a few months later.

Neither of those results were what she had been hoping for. While her recent history isn’t particularly encouraging, Hasay is someone who’s proven she can rise to the occasion on race day, and we very well could see a stellar performance in three weeks’ time. 

Other runners who could threaten the record

While no one has run quite as fast as Hasay’s 2:20, there are several women closing in. Sara Hall ran a personal best in terrible weather at October’s London Marathon, finishing second in 2:22:01. Hall is scheduled to race the upcoming Marathon Project this December in Arizona.

 Emily Sisson is another runner to watch. The 29-year-old ran a 2:23:08 at the 2019 London Marathon. While Hasay is certainly still among the strongest marathoners in America, she’s no longer the only person who stands a chance at taking down Kastor’s record. 

(11/12/2020) Views: 620 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO

VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO

The Trinidad Alfonso EDP Valencia Marathon is held annually in the historic city of Valencia which, with its entirely flat circuit and perfect November temperature, averaging between 12-17 degrees, represents the ideal setting for hosting such a long-distance sporting challenge. This, coupled with the most incomparable of settings, makes the Valencia Marathon, Valencia, one of the most important events in...

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After more than two decades, John Capriotti is stepping down as leader of Nike’s track and field sports marketing group

“John is going into the consulting business,” said Steve Miller, a former Nike executive and the man who hired Capriotti at the company.

The fiery former track coach still worked for the sneaker giant as of Friday. But he is leaning toward a consulting deal that would make Nike one of his clients, according to a second source close to Capriotti.

News of the change had the track and field world buzzing on Friday.

“It’s kind of unbelievable,” said a third source, a prominent sports agent. “He’s been in that position for the entire 21 years I’ve been around track and field. He’s been the single most influential person in the sport.”

Neither Capriotti nor Nike could immediately be reached for comment.

Capriotti’s decision comes as Nike is cutting costs and laying off employees. The company lost about $790 million last quarter.

Since Nike brought in John Donahoe as its new CEO and chairman in January, there has been speculation about the ramifications for the company’s sports marketing arm, and for its track and field operations in particular. Donahoe’s athletic background is unknown. But outsiders speculate that the longtime technology executive does not share the passion for track and field of his predecessors Phil Knight and Mark Parker.

Under Capriotti’s watch, Nike solidified its position as the sport’s superpower. It hired more track athletes to endorsement contracts than any other sponsor. It also bankrolled USA Track & Field, the sport’s governing body in this country, signing a sponsorship in 2014 worth more than $400 million.

Nike sponsored three different teams of elite runners, all of them based in Oregon. Its audacious goal was to make American runners once again competitive with the rest of the world.

Capriotti and Nike also helped secure Eugene’s position as one of the world capitals of the sport. He was such a fixture at Hayward Field that his customary spot in the grandstands became known as Cap’s Corner.

The stunning decision to award the 2021 track and field world championships to Eugene came in part because of the enthusiastic support of Knight and Nike. The coronavirus pandemic has delayed the running of those championships in Eugene until 2022.

There was also plenty of controversy. Alberto Salazar was Nike’s superstar coach for the Nike Oregon Project. But Salazar was dogged for years by allegations that he encouraged his athletes to use banned substances. He was banned from the sport for four years “for orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct.”

Nike sided with Salazar and continued to back him even after the ban, which Salazar is appealing.

(09/19/2020) Views: 739 ⚡AMP
by Oregon Live
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CAS to hear Salazar appeal in November

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has said it will hear banned track coach Alberto Salazar’s appeal to overturn his four-year doping suspension in November.

American Salazar, who coached some of the world’s top distance runners including British Olympic and world champion Mo Farah, was banned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in October for “orchestrating and facilitating” doping as head coach of the Nike Oregon Project (NOP).

Swiss-based CAS, the world’s highest sports court, said on Tuesday it would hear appeals from Salazar and endocrinologist Jeffrey Brown between Nov. 8-16. Brown, who worked for NOP on performance enhancement and served as a physician for numerous athletes in the training program, was also banned by USADA for four years.

Nike Inc, which funds NOP — an elite long-distance running training centre in Portland under a long-term sponsorship deal with U.S. Track and Field — has previously said it would support Salazar’s bid to clear his name.No NOP runner was directly implicated in doping by USADA.

Salazar won three consecutive New York City marathons from 1980 before coaching a slew of Olympians, including Farah, who won the 5,000 and 10,000m golds at the London and Rio Olympics before splitting with the American in 2017.

Farah has never failed a drugs test and has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

(06/06/2020) Views: 576 ⚡AMP
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Two elite athletes Mary Cain and Nick Willis sign with Tracksmith as full-time employees

Tracksmith, the independent running apparel brand out of Boston, announced its newest pair of partner athletes: Mary Cain and Nick Willis. This is not a traditional partnership, though, as Cain and Willis will both be working as full-time employees for the company in addition to running for the brand.

The duo will represent Tracksmith as they both work toward the Tokyo Olympic Games, which are set for July 2021, and they will do it as amateurs, a term that Tracksmith is looking to reclaim for everyone who loves to run.

In a post entitled “For the love” on the Tracksmith website announcing the brand’s newest partnership, founder and CEO Matt Taylor talks about the word “amateur,” which comes from Latin roots meaning “to love” and “I love.”

Taylor says “amateur” only recently became a term for non-professionals (around the 19th century or so), and now the team at Tracksmith wants to take the term back to its roots and refer to anyone who loves to run as “amateurs.”

In sports, athlete sponsorships are always dictated by results, and the better an athlete performs, the stronger their brand partnerships become. On the other hand, if their results start to decline, it’s not uncommon to see these relationships deteriorate and disappear.

This won’t be the case for Cain and Willis, because, working as Tracksmith employees and representing the brand as amateurs, they will have “the freedom to participate in the sport with no expectations or pressures outside of the ones they place on themselves.”

Cain made international headlines in November when she told the New York Times about the abuse she sustained while running with the Nike Oregon Project (NOP) under now-banned coach Alberto Salazar. Cain won gold in the 3,000m at the the world junior championships in 2014 before leaving the NOP a year later. In 2020, she returned to racing for the first time since 2016, and she is now working toward making her first U.S. Olympic team.

Cain’s official role at Tracksmith is New York community manager, and she will help grow the company’s “on-the-ground and virtual efforts in one of the most vibrant running scenes in the world.”

Willis, who’s 37 years old, tweeted he was leaving Adidas on Sunday, and there was some speculation that he might be retiring. Today, he tweeted again, saying, “I’m not retiring; I’m turning amateur.” Willis is a two-time Olympic medallist for New Zealand, having won silver in the 1,500m in Beijing in 2008 and bronze in the same event eight years later in Rio.

Willis is quoted on the Tracksmith site, saying, “It may sound counterintuitive, but I always discovered that my running career thrived the most when I embraced more. My best years, my fastest times, all emerged from times in my life when my running came, well, second.”

He’ll be looking to qualify for his fourth Olympics in 2021 while working as the athlete experience manager at Tracksmith, building programs to “inspire, motivate and deepen our community’s connection to the sport.”

(05/13/2020) Views: 881 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Salazar has appealed against the ban to the Court of British anti-doping agency Arbitration for Sport

UK Athletics said Wednesday it had at last handed over an internal report into its relationship with banned American coach Alberto Salazar during the time he worked with track star Mo Farah to Britain's national anti-doping agency.

The report dates back to 2015 and was prompted by a BBC documentary on Salazar.

The disgraced coach is currently serving a four-year ban imposed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in October for offences that include trafficking in testosterone, tampering with the doping control process and administering illicit infusions of the fat-burning substance L-carnitine.

Salazar, who denies wrongdoing, has appealed against the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Just over a month ago, an independent review of both the 2015 report and another undertaken two years later, was published.

But United Kingdom Anti-Doping executive chief Nicole Sapstead demanded to see the original report in full after UK Athletics merely provided an edited summary.

UK Athletics responded by saying it was "wholly wrong and inaccurate" to suggest they were "being obstructive in this matter," with chief executive Joanna Coates saying earlier this month the report would go to UKAD just as soon as all confidentiality procedures had been completed.

UK Athletics confirmed Wednesday the report had been sent over, a statement saying: "UKA can confirm that the 2015 report has been provided to UKAD.

"UKA remains fully committed to protecting the integrity of the sport and the pursuit of clean athletics and we will continue to assist UKAD with any further queries."

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Farah, twice champion at both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, worked with Salazar from 2011-2017.

The British distance great, who has never failed a drugs test, is not accused of any wrongdoing.

(04/30/2020) Views: 630 ⚡AMP
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Sir Mo Farah pays emotional tribute to former trainer Neil Black after his sudden death

‘Double-double’ Olympic champion says he has ‘lost a good friend’ after his old trainer and the former performance director at UK Athletics died at the weekend at the age of 60.

Four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah says his “heart is broken” after former trainer Neil Black died suddenly at the weekend.

Black, the former performance director of UK Athletics, is believed to have died from natural causes at the age of 60, just six months after resigning from his position with the governing body.

The news, which was announced by UKA alongside a brief statement from his family, triggered an outpouring of emotional tributes from athletes past and present who worked with Black, with Farah among the very best to have benefited from his work after claiming consecutive 5,000m and 10,000m doubles at London 2012 and Rio 2016 during their time together.

“I have lost a good friend!” Farah wrote on Twitter. “Known him since I was 14 years old. Neil supported me all the way in my career since I was kid!! My heart is broken ... I wouldn’t be where I am today without Neil Black ... no one knew me like he did!! We lost a great man.”

Black’s death came as a shock to all of those who had worked with him, given he was last seen in the public eye at the 2019 World Athletics Championship in Doha last October. The disappointing tally of five British medals proved Team GB’s worst performance since 2005, and that combined with his support for controversial American trainer Alberto Salazar – the former trainer of Mo Farah who has been banned from athletics for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for numerous drugs-related offences – cost Black his position.

However, such was the regard for his contribution towards the sport, UKA continued to use Black in an advisory role ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

The former UKA boss was described as a man who dedicated his life and passion to the sport after achieving his “dream job” and who was “like a second father” to budding young sportsmen and women making their way in track and field, with dozens of athletes posting messages of condolence on Twitter along with Farah.

(04/22/2020) Views: 640 ⚡AMP
by Jack de Menezes
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Former UK Athletics performance director Neil Black, dies at age 60

Neil Black, the former performance director of UK Athletics, has died aged 60, the organization has confirmed.

Black, who worked closely with Mo Farah throughout his career, became performance director in September 2012.

He left his position in 2019 after coach Alberto Salazar was banned for four years for doping violations.

British four-time Olympic champion Farah paid tribute on Twitter, saying: "I have lost a good friend. Known him since I was 14 years old."

Farah added: "Neil supported me all the way in my career since I was kid. My heart is broken. I wouldn't be where I am today without Neil Black. No-one knew me like he did. We lost a great man."

A UK Athletics statement released on Tuesday said Black died at the weekend; the organisation said it was "shocked and saddened" at the news.

"Neil loved the sport of athletics and dedicated his life to supporting athletes - as a world-class physiotherapist, as head of sport science, and then in recent years as performance director for British Athletics," the statement continued.

Ed Warner, former UK Athletics chairman, described Black's death as "an immense loss to British high performance sport and to athletics in particular".

Warner added: "It was a great privilege to work with him, and to share the highs and lows of British teams through the cycles of major competitions. I'll particularly treasure our celebratory clinch in the mixed zone at the Olympic Stadium after the last session of the London 2017 World Championships.

"Neil bore the barbs of the critics that are an inevitable part of the job of any leader in elite performance sport with a grace and sense of humour that were truly a mark of the man.

"He wanted to lead the British teams into Tokyo. He won't now be able to cheer their successes there.

"But I am certain there are British athletes who will win medals in Olympics and championships to come who will look back with enormous gratitude at the role Neil played in preparing them for their success. He will be greatly missed."

Black was a physiotherapist with UK Athletics before moving up through the organisation's ranks.

He worked with Farah as the athlete won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics.

Black made the decision to step down as performance director in October 2019 after the banning of Salazar, who coached Farah from 2011 to 2017, and who was appointed as a consultant by UK Athletics in 2013.

UK Athletics had conducted a review in 2015 and said there was "no concern" about Salazar's link with Farah.

In 2015, following a BBC Panorama programme, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) began an investigation into how Salazar ran the Nike Oregon Project.

Salazar has always denied that the Nike Oregon Project permitted doping, saying he was "shocked" by Usada's findings, and he is appealing against the ban.

UK Athletics said that Black continued to work as an adviser to several athletes following his resignation.

(04/22/2020) Views: 749 ⚡AMP
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Dr. Michael Joyner, the Guy Who Predicted the Sub-2:00 Marathon, Now Helping Lead the COVID-19 Fight

Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic is best known in running circles as being the guy who in 1991 published a paper saying a human being could run a marathon in 1:57:58. Joyner, an anesthesiologist and physiologist by trade, now is using his skills on a much more serious matter by helping lead the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project (CCPP19). The CCPP19 is a nationwide effort of researchers, institutions, and blood blanks to try to use plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to better treat patients suffering from COVID-19.

“What we’re trying to do is leverage the antibodies produced by people who have recovered from COVID-19. Harvest those antibodies from recovered patients and then give these antibodies in the form of plasma to people to either prevent disease in people that have been exposed but aren’t yet sick, to treat people who are in the hospital and try to keep them from going to the intensive care unit, or to try to shorten the stay in the intensive care unit. This is called convalescent plasma therapy. It’s been around since the late 1800s. It’s worked numerous times before,” said Joyner on this week’s LetsRun.com Track Talk Podcast.

Joyner said the goal is for people to continue to practice social distancing and proper pandemic control while groups like his develop better short-term treatments for COVID-19 before a vaccine can be made to really stop the virus.

“We believe it’s our best shot on kind of [a] biological goal in the short run, and then after that, we anticipate concentrated gamma globulin, like antibodies, [being] available toward the end of the summer. And then we are waiting for the vaccine and biotech cavalry to come to the rescue,” Joyner said.

Running did play a tangential role in getting Joyner involved with CCPP19. Joyner has always been interested in oxygen transport and physiology because of his days as a competitive runner at the University of Arizona. Recently, Joyner was on Twitter and he saw a retweet by David Epstein, the former Columbia 800m runner and former ProPublica journalist who, along with the BBC, broke the allegations that Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project were breaking anti-doping rules.

The retweet was a link to a Wall Street Journal article by Dr. Arturo Casadevall on using antibodies to try to treat the coronavirus:

(04/12/2020) Views: 689 ⚡AMP
by Letsrun
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Twenty years, it’s been a good run, but as of May 7, 2020, LetsRun.com will be no more, LetsRun.com declares bankruptcy says Jonathan Gault

The worldwide economic depression that has resulted from COVID-19 has cratered the advertising markets and it’s no longer economically feasible to run the website.

“May 7, 2000, was a dark day for US distance running fans and me personally, so the 20th anniversary of that date is the perfect day to go out,” said LetsRun.com co-founder Weldon Johnson, who saw his Olympic dream denied on the streets of Pittsburgh at the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials on May 7 when only one man made the team. “The coronavirus canceled the Olympics and now it’s canceled LetsRun.com.

“It’s never been easy to make a living while giving away everything for free, but the decline in the online ad markets over the last few weeks has been unprecedented. Couple that with the fact that online ad marketplaces have gotten much better at tracking people in recent years and our revenue has almost entirely dried up. The advertisers now know that most of our visitors haven’t achieved the ‘LetsRun triple.’ While many have the potential to make well over $250,000 a year, the reality is most of them have never had a full-time job and are living in mom and dad’s basement still chasing that final PR before Father Time gets to them.”

Robert Johnson, Weldon’s brother and the website’s co-founder, didn’t want to talk on the phone. He issued the following statement via email.

Weldon keeps telling me our demise is all the result of COVID-19. That’s hard for me to believe, but maybe that’s because I live in Baltimore, where in the month of March we’ve had 18 killed by murder and only 3 by the coronavirus. Ironically, given the leading role we’ve played during the last two decades in the anti-doping movement, I blame our demise on Travis Tygart and USADA. Once Alberto Salazar got banned, the messageboard traffic really plummeted. People had been speculating about drugs in regards to Athletics West and Salazar since our founding, but now that that storyline has come to a conclusion, there isn’t anything left to talk about. 

I begged Weldon to keep the site going until Salazar’s appeal is heard. If his ban gets overturned, the site could become profitable again. But with his baby due in early May, he told me can’t hold out any longer. He’s heard he can make six figures delivering for Instacart in San Fran and since he was used to sleeping in his car often high up in the mountains in Flagstaff, he’ll give that a go until the economy comes back. I feel for him as he won’t even get to see his daughter in person.

Weldon, the elder brother and brains behind the LetsRun.com operation, refused to take a negative view about the closure of the site.“This isn’t a day for ‘woe is me.’ It’s been a great run and I’m really proud of the contributions the platform has made to elevating distance running. When we started the website, the marathon world records were 2:05:42 for the men and 2:20:43 for the women. Now a man has run 1:59:41 and a woman 2:14:04 and we’ve certainly played a role in that, both by developing a platform where coaching advice could spread and by actually pacing two of those world records, one for Catherine Ndereba and one for Paula Radcliffe. Social justice warriors be damned, I’m most proud of the role we’ve played in elevating women’s distance running across the globe. That’s what I hope people will remember us for,” said Weldon.

(04/01/2020) Views: 915 ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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Mo Farah explains over taking supplement

Mo Farah has explained how he came to change his account when questioned in 2015 about taking the supplement L-carnitine before the 2014 London Marathon.

A BBC Panorama documentary aired last Monday revealed that Farah was interviewed by investigators from the US Anti-Doping Agency in 2015 as part of its investigation into his former coach Alberto Salazar and asked whether he had been given L-carnitine before the previous year’s London Marathon.

Farah was tested six days after that race and the BBC reported that, despite listing a number of other products and medicines, he failed to record L-carnitine on his doping control form. In transcripts obtained by the BBC, Farah denies having been given the injection in the initial 2015 interview with Usada.

Panorama reported he then met the UK Athletics head of distance running, Barry Fudge, immediately after the interview and returned to the room as the investigators were preparing to leave. At this point, Farah, who won 5,000 metres and 10,000m gold at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, told them he had been given the injection.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Farah explains: “I was questioned for five hours. I said one thing and then other things got said and now it’s made out like I’ve done wrong, but if you know how it happened then it’s easier to understand. When I came out I said to Barry, ‘Hey mate, they kept asking me about this supplement. What’s that?’

“He said, ‘Yeah, it’s this, you did take it’, so I went straight back in and told them. I forgot, but as soon as I was told I ran back in. If I was a liar, why would I go straight back in? I said, ‘Look, I genuinely forgot, I didn’t know that. Now I do.’”

Farah said when he was questioned by investigators he thought he had only been given magnesium injections. “I was 100% convinced I hadn’t taken it [L-carnitine],” Farah said. “In my mind I hadn’t taken anything else apart from magnesium. I put magnesium on the doping control form.

“I can sleep at night knowing I’ve done nothing wrong. I love representing my country, making my country proud and doing what I do best because it is a gift and that’s why I do it with a smile. But it’s not fair what comes with it. It’s not fair on my kids and my family. It’s just not right. It’s depressing. Mentally and physically it’s had an effect on me.”

L-carnitine is not a prohibited substance under Wada rules. Injections and infusions of it were permitted within Wada rules in 2014 provided the volume was below 50 millilitres every six hours. The permitted volume is now 100ml every 12 hours.

Salazar, Farah’s former coach at the Nike Oregon Project, was handed a four-year ban by Usada in October last year for doping violations, though he has appealed to the court of arbitration for sport.

Farah, who ended his relationship with the American in 2017, has never failed a drugs test and is not accused of any wrongdoing.

(03/19/2020) Views: 757 ⚡AMP
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TCS London Marathon

TCS London Marathon

In 2023, TCS London Marathon will return to its traditional slot in the running calendar onSunday 23 April. The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh...

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Galen Rupp won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials for a second straight time

Galen Rupp won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials for a second straight time, returning from a coaching change and major injury to repeat as champion.  The trials were held Feb 29 in Atlanta Georgia.

Rupp, a two-time Olympic medalist, clocked an unofficial 2:09:20 to win by about 42 seconds and qualify for his fourth Olympics. He is joined on the Olympic team by second- and third-place finishers Jacob Riley and Abdi Abdirahman.

Rupp was the  2016 Olympic Marathon Bronze Medalist.  The 33-year-old Galen is from Portland Oregon.  At the 2012 Olympics Galen was the 10,000m Silver Medalist.

Today was a bit challening. The wind was very strong but the temp was perfect being 50 degrees at the start.

After 20 miles Galen was in total control. The big question of the day was who was going to place second and third. At 25 miles Abdirahman, Maiyo, Korir and Riley were within two seconds of each other with Jacob Riley leading them. 31-year-old Riley best time before today was 2:10:36.

Jacob Riley finished second clocking 2:10:02 a new personal best for him.  Abdirahman, 43, will break Bernard Lagat‘s record as the oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history. He will become the second American runner to compete in five Olympics, joining Gail Devers, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon.

Jared Ward, who was sixth in the Rio Olympic marathon, began fading from a chase pack soon after Rupp surged to the lead in the 16th mile.

Rupp finished a marathon for the first time since October 2018. In between, he underwent Achilles surgery and dropped out of the 2019 Chicago Marathon with a calf injury. He also lost career-long coach Alberto Salazar to a doping suspension last fall.

Rupp was not implicated by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and has a clean drug-testing record.

“I feel relief, almost, more than anything,” Rupp told Lewis Johnson on NBC. “It’s been a really long year and a half.”

(02/29/2020) Views: 1,103 ⚡AMP
by Nick Zaccardi
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

The 2020 US Olympic Trials for both men and women took place in Atlanta, Ga on Sunday Feb 29. Runners had to qualify by running certain standards beforehand. The trials are hosted by the Atlanta Track club. The course runs through the heart of Atlanta and past monuments from the 1996 Olympic Games Most countries around the world use a...

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Mo Farah is facing fresh allegations that he repeatedly denied receiving a controversial supplement via injection to United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) officials ahead of the 2014 London Marathon

The allegations have been made after BBC Panorama claimed to have received new evidence regarding Farah’s use of L-carnitine, a performance-enhancing supplement that is legal in limited doses.

A documentary on the allegations will be screened on Monday night, in which it is claimed that Farah was injected with L-carnitine in April 2014, a week before he finished eighth in the London Marathon.

It is alleged that Farah was injected with the supplement by the then UK Athletics doctor Robin Chakraverty, who it appears failed to record it properly.

Farah and his team were summoned by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee to attend a Combatting Doping in Sport inquiry after the Sunday Times first revealed the L-carnitine infusion, where Dr Chakraverty insisted the volume administered to Farah was 13.5ml, well short of the 50ml legal limit. There is no evidence that any World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) rules were broken.

However, according to the BBC, Farah “repeatedly denied” having L-carnitine injected when quizzed by Usada officials who travelled to London in 2015 to speak to the Olympic champion’s team as part of their investigation into his disgraced former trainer Alberto Salazar, who has since been banned from the sport for four years for anti-doping offences.

Farah declined to speak to BBC Panorama regarding the new allegations, while Salazar has rejected the findings by US arbitrators and has appealed his four-year ban.

The investigation has also uncovered emails between Fudge, former UK Athletics performance director Neil Black and Dr Chakraverty in which they question whether the use of L-carnitine is in the “spirit of the sport”, and claimed they would have preferred to have trialled the use of the supplement first given it was not readily available in the UK in its concentrated form. As a result, Fudge had to travel to Switzerland to meet a contact of Salazar’s who was able to supply it for use just two days before the Marathon on 11 April.

In response to the BBC’s claims, Farah’s lawyers sent a letter that read:  "It is not against (Wada rules) rules to take (L-carnitine) as a supplement within the right quantities.

"The fact some people might hold views as to whether this is within the 'spirit' of the sport is irrelevant.

"Mr Farah … is one of the most tested athletes in the UK, if not the world, and has been required to fill in numerous doping forms. He is a human being and not robot.

(02/24/2020) Views: 816 ⚡AMP
by Jack de Menezes
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TCS London Marathon

TCS London Marathon

In 2023, TCS London Marathon will return to its traditional slot in the running calendar onSunday 23 April. The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh...

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Galen Rupp says he is ready for the US Olympic Marathon Trials

Portland's Galen Rupp will attempt to make his fourth U.S. Olympic team in next weekend's marathon trials in Atlanta. 

After a turbulent 16 months Galen Rupp is in a better place now physically and emotionally, and just in time.

The former University of Oregon star and Portland resident will attempt to make his fourth U.S. Olympic team in next Saturday’s marathon trials in Atlanta.

“I’ve had a great last week and a half of training,” Rupp says. “I got some good speed work in. I did a really long run that went longer than marathon distance. I’m feeling really good about where I’m at.”

Rupp, 33, is the reigning men’s trials champion and the 2016 Olympic marathon bronze medalist. But in some ways that was in another lifetime.

He last completed a marathon in October of 2018, when he came across fifth in Chicago. The next day his left foot was so swollen he barely could walk.

Doctors determined the problem was a bony protrusion on his heel that was causing the Achilles tendon to fray. It required surgerythat kept him out of action for months.

Rupp’s left leg still wasn’t right when he returned to competition a year later for last fall’s Chicago Marathon. He was forced off the course late in the race with a calf strain.

“I told myself, ‘This is going to hurt like crazy. You’re just going to have to suck it up and get through it,’” Rupp says of his pre-race mindset. “Unfortunately, my body didn’t allow me to do that.”

By then, Rupp was without his coach, Alberto Salazar. Salazar had been given a four-year ban two weeks earlier for violating doping rules. Nike disbanded the Oregon Project, the distance team which Salazar coached and of which Rupp was a member.

None of the violations for which Salazar was banned were for intentionally doping athletes. None of Salazar’s athletes were implicated in violations that led to the ban, nor have any failed drug tests. Salazar is appealing the ban.

But the upshot was, Rupp was without the man who had been his primary coach since high school. It was a tough time.

“I’m pretty religious, a strong Catholic,” Rupp says. “I truly believe God has this big plan for each and every one of us. Even if it doesn’t make sense at the time, or you’re struggling to see some good in it, you have to just keep pushing through it. It’s about having faith that it’s going to be all right.”

The philosophy has allowed him to put the pain, the injury setbacks, the coaching upheaval aside and turn his attention inward.

“All I can do is try to be the best athlete, the best person, the best husband, the best father I can be.” Rupp says. “Obviously, none of us is perfect. I would rather focus on what I can do to keep making myself better than worry about things I can’t control.”

He studied Tai Chi, which has helped him zero in on what matters most to him, being fully present for his wife, Keara, and their four children and getting race-ready for Atlanta.

At long last, Galen Rupp is within reach of the mountain top

He hired Northern Arizona coach Mike Smith to oversee his training. Smith has flown up from Flagstaff a few times to supervise workouts. But for the most part, former Oregon Project assistant Tim Rowberry has served as Smith’s eyes in Portland.

Rupp says the new coaching arrangement has worked well. Smith kept much of the training Rupp had been doing with Salazar, but not all.

“I wasn’t looking for someone who just wanted to replicate things and be a yes man,” Rupp says. “I think that would have been almost the worst thing. I wanted someone who was going to continue to challenge me.”

Rupp tested himself three weeks ago while winning the Sprouts Mesa Half Marathon in Mesa, Arizona in 1 hour, 1 minute, 19 seconds.

He looked good, felt good and came back from Arizona with renewed confidence. His left leg held up.

“There were a few little thoughts, like, ‘What if it does start to hurt again?’” Rupp says. “Obviously, the last year hasn’t gone all that great.

“That stuff certainly was running through my head. But running the race and feeling as good as I did and as strong as I did on that leg — I wouldn’t say it’s completely back to where it was before the surgery, but it’s pretty darn close.”

Rupp says he has driven himself hard to be prepared for anything he might see in Atlanta — the weather, the hills, the competition and the physical discomfort.

“It’s how I’ve always looked at training,” he says. “You put yourself in extremely uncomfortable situations. You make yourself hurt. You make yourself suffer. That’s how you get better.”

(02/23/2020) Views: 1,010 ⚡AMP
by Ken Goe (Oregon Live)
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

The 2020 US Olympic Trials for both men and women took place in Atlanta, Ga on Sunday Feb 29. Runners had to qualify by running certain standards beforehand. The trials are hosted by the Atlanta Track club. The course runs through the heart of Atlanta and past monuments from the 1996 Olympic Games Most countries around the world use a...

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Galen Rupp breezed to victory Saturday in the Sprouts Mesa Half Marathon

Galen Rupp covered the 13.1-mile course in Mesa, Arizona in 1:01.19. He crossed the finish line comfortably in front of veteran road-racer Matt Llano, second in 1:02.05.

The race was the first for Rupp since he was forced off the course late in the Chicago Marathon in October with a left calf strain, and only his second since undergoing surgery in 2018 on his left heel.

Rupp said going into Saturday’s race that it would serve as a tuneup for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Feb. 29 in Atlanta.

It also was the first time Rupp had raced since announcing he is being coached by Northern Arizona coach Mike Smith. Rupp, 33, had been coached by Alberto Salazar since attending Portland’s Central Catholic High School.

Salazar is serving a four-year ban for violating doping rules. Salazar is appealing the ban.

Rupp is a two-time Olympic medalist. The former University of Oregon runner won the silver medal in the 10,000 meters in 2012, and the bronze in the marathon in 2016. He will be attempting to make his fourth U.S. Olympic team at the marathon trials in Atlanta.

(02/08/2020) Views: 1,018 ⚡AMP
by Ken Goe
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Nike’s Investigation of the Oregon Project is Complete

After Mary Cain alleged emotional abuse as an athlete under Alberto Salazar’s coaching, Nike conducted an internal probe of the professional running group.

Nike said on Monday that it is planning to take multiple actions to better support its female professional athletes, following an internal investigation into the now-defunct professional running group, the Oregon Project.

The company started the probe in November after former Oregon Project athlete Mary Cain went public with a New York Times op-ed piece about her experiences as a young track star under coach Alberto Salazar, who is currently serving a four-year ban from the sport for doping violations. (Salazar denies the charges and is appealing them—Nike said in an email to Women’s Running on Monday that “we support Alberto in his decision to appeal and wish him the full measure of due process that the rules require.”)

Cain joined the Oregon Project as a teen phenom, foregoing NCAA eligibility in 2013 to sign a pro contract with Nike. She moved from Bronxville, New York, to Portland, Oregon, at age 17, as a national high school record holder—the youngest athlete to ever represent the U.S. in a world-championships competition, where she raced the 1500 meters.

In the documentary, titled “I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike,” she described the pressure that Salazar and the all-male Oregon Project staff put on her to become thinner in order to perform better. Cain said she was weighed in front of her teammates and publicly shamed by Salazar for not hitting the goals he demanded—allegations that were later corroborated by former members of the group.

Now 23 years old, Cain said while training with the Oregon Project and during a period afterward, she suffered five stress fractures and didn’t menstruate for three years, which are symptoms of RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport), a syndrome of insufficient caloric intake, with symptoms that can include excessive fatigue, amenorrhea, and decreased bone density. It can have serious long-term health effects like cardiovascular disease, infertility, and osteoporosis. Before she left Oregon to return home in 2015, she said she felt so isolated and trapped that she had suicidal thoughts and cut herself.

After the New York Times piece was published, Salazar denied any abuse or gender discrimination at the Oregon Project and added, “I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive over the course of years of helping my athletes through hard training.”

In the email to Women’s Running on Monday, Nike said the results of the internal investigation will not be made public, but “we are using the findings to identify areas where we can do better in supporting female athletes.” It was not confirmed who was involved in leading the investigation or who participated in it.

The initiatives that Nike identified include:

• Investing in scientific research into the impact of elite athlete training of girls and women

• Increasing the number of women coaches in sports

• Hiring a vice president of global women’s sports marketing in the coming weeks to have “strategic oversight” of Nike’s female athletes

• Creating an athlete think tank to help the company understand the opportunities and challenges faced by female athletes

• Partnering with Crisis Text Line, a free, confidential text messaging service for people to ask for help when in crisis

During a phone interview with Women’s Running on Monday, Cain said she was contacted in the fall by phone and email by a Nike lawyer, but opted not to participate in the probe because some of the people involved were Nike employees whose participation in it made her feel uncomfortable.

“There was no real transparency in the process, so I became very frustrated with the fact that there was no clear-cut person in charge, it was Nike investigating Nike, and seemingly some of the people involved in the process were investigating themselves,” she said.

Upon hearing the actions that Nike—the biggest sponsor of the sport’s governing body, U.S.A. Track & Field (a deal that goes through 2040 with an estimated value of $500 million)—wants to take as a result of the findings, Cain said she supports anything that promotes women’s health and opportunities in sports.

“It’s great to push money and push opportunity into the future—I whole-heartedly support that,” she said. “But the vagueness and no ability to see the report makes me worried that they’re hiding behind gestures that will almost make people forget the issues.”

Runners and other athletes have identified with Cain’s experiences since she shared them, creating a public conversation about the destructive culture underlying sports, where antiquated training philosophies perpetuated by a male-dominated coaching profession often result in eating disorders and worse for athletes.

“I have this renewed love of the sport that I only really found in the last few months because I do have so much hope in what women’s sports can and will become—so anything that’s generating interest and investment and research, I’m all for,” Cain said. “What I hope can happen through some of this work is that Nike can start hearing more voices.”

Still, Cain is hesitant to put too much stock in the proposed initiatives.

“It looks both weak and cowardly that as a corporation they won’t release what they found,” she said. “There’s a certain point where people would have a lot more respect for them as a broader institution and respect what they’re now trying to do if they also admitted what they did wrong. I can’t look at a future brightly if I can’t see them reflecting on their past.”

Since November, Cain has returned to training after about three years away, with the goal of making the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in June. She most recently raced the 3,000 meters on Saturday at the Armory in New York, finishing in 9:24.38.

In December, she told Women’s Running that advocating for women’s sports and healthy coaching practices is her new dream.

“Due to lack of education and inappropriate societal norms, many people have a poor understanding of how to address topics such as women’s cycles, weight, and training appropriately,” Cain said. “My goal is now to create educational programs that coaches and athletes must take on these subjects.”

(02/02/2020) Views: 1,046 ⚡AMP
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Nike has completed the internal investigation into the shuttered NOP

In a Women’s Running story, journalist Erin Strout says Nike has completed the internal investigation it committed to in the wake of Mary Cain’s explosive New York Times video. 

And while it won’t be making its findings public, it did identify and share some specific initiatives relating to its professional female athletes.

Cain’s video exposed unethical coaching practices at the Nike Oregon Project, which was shut down 10 days after USADA served head coach Alberto Salazar with a four-year ban for doping violations on September 30, 2019–practices that included body- and weight-shaming, public weigh-ins and criticism that severely damaged Cain’s physical and mental health and led to her quietly leaving the NOP in 2015. Cain disappeared from the competition circuit, but is now working her way back into the scene under a new coach, while advocating publicly for women athletes.

The iniatives Strout listed include: 1.- Studying how elite training affects female athletes, 2.- Hiring more female coaches, 3.- Creating a new senior-level position to oversee international women’s sports marketing, 4.- Creating a group of pro female athletes to inform and advise the company on concerns specific to its female athletes, 5.- A new partnership with CrisisTextLine, a confidential, free text message service for people in crisis (in Canada, the service is run by Kids Help Phone).

Strout reports that Cain was invited to participate in the investigation but declined, telling her she perceived a lack of transparency. Regarding the initiatives announced, Cain said she “supports anything that promotes women’s health and opportunities in sports,” but was critical of the decision not to share the results of the investigation publicly, calling it “weak and cowardly.”

After an absence of more than three years, Cain recently started racing again. She had a disappointing 3,000m race at the Dr. Sander Invitational in New York on the weekend, but acknowledged in a post-race interview that regaining competitiveness will take time and incremental improvement.

(01/28/2020) Views: 706 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Mo Farah confirmed he will compete in the Vitality Big Half in London on March 1

Mo Farah will launch his 2020 season in London after confirming he will run the Vitality Big Half on March 1.

Sportsmail reported last week that Farah was in talks to run in the capital and now he has signed to face off against three-time Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele.

The race will serve as early-season preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, where Farah will run the 10,000m after turning his back on the marathon. 

He will be racing in Britain for the first time since his former coach Alberto Salazar was banned for anti-doping violations - a verdict that has brought renewed scrutiny on their relationship.

Farah said: 'I am really looking forward to coming back to The Vitality Big Half and kicking off my 2020 season. 

'Everyone knows how much I enjoy racing in London. It's my home city and it always gives me a buzz to come back and race here.'

Farah is also expected to run at the Anniversary Games at the London Stadium in July.

(01/23/2020) Views: 962 ⚡AMP
by Riath Al-Samarrai
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The Vitality Big Half

The Vitality Big Half

Created by London Marathon Events Ltd, in partnership with Sported,The Vitality Big Half is a community running festival, taking place in London in March. This one-day event offers a host of running distances, from a challenging half marathon to a free one-mile course, as well as a family-friendly festival of food, music and activities. What’s happening? Take part with friends...

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Many are expressing skepticism over the reasons UKAthletics gives for refusing to hand over samples

Before retiring as head of WADA, Sir Craig Reedie announced that WADA would investigate athletes who trained with disgraced former Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar, a list that includes 2:05 marathoner Sir Mo Farah. However, UKAthletics has refused to hand over Farah’s samples for re-testing, and as a result has been criticized by Russia for creating a “wall of mistrust.”

Salazar, along with NOP doctor Jeffrey Brown, was issued a four-year ban for doping violations in September, 2019, and the NOP itself was shut down by Nike in the ensuing weeks. Salazar is appealing the ban.

A report in the Telegraph says samples are habitually stored for up to 10 years so that as technology advances they can be re-tested using more accurate methods. UKAthletics CEO Nicole Sapstead claims samples are the property of UKAthletics, and that further testing, without compelling new evidence that they contain prohibited substances, degrades the samples.

According to WADA’s Blood Sample Collection Guidelines, “Samples collected from an Athlete are owned by the Testing Authority for the Sample Collection Session in question. The Testing Authority may transfer ownership of the Samples to the Results Management Authority (RMA) or to another ADO upon request.”

RUSADA deputy general director Margarita Pakhnotskaya referred to the World Anti-Doping Code, whose Article 6.5 states that “Samples may be stored and subjected to further analyses for the purpose of Article 6.2 at any time exclusively at the direction of the Anti-Doping Organization that initiated and directed Sample collection or WADA.”  (Article 6.2 describes the purpose of analysis of samples.)

Farah, who left the NOP in 2017 to return to the U.K., has never failed a drug test. He was recently quoted as saying that if he had been aware of the activities that got Salazar banned, he would have left sooner.

The 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist in both the 5,000m and the 10,000m is planning a return to the track for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

UKAthletics has been the focus of negative publicity since the Salazar ban, which came down in the midst of the World Championships in Doha.

(01/20/2020) Views: 1,844 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Mo Farah says he would have been the first one out of the Nike Oregon Project if he had known about Alberto Salazar’s dubious practices

Mo Farah had previously refused to be overly critical of Salazar after he was banned by the US Anti-Doping Agency for four years last October, instead turning his crosshairs on reporters when they asked him whether he felt let down by his former mentor.

But in an interview with the BBC on Thursday the 36-year-old, who worked under Alberto Salazar between 2011 and 2017, said he would have acted differently if he knew what was really going on.

“I believe in clean sports,” said Farah, who was asked whether his legacy was tainted by his association with a coach who had violated anti-doping rules. “I continue to enjoy my sports and do what I do. At the same time had I had known the news, what Salazar did, it’s taken four years, had I known that sooner I would have been the first one out,” Farah, 36, said.

“That’s the bit that’s kind of annoying, I wish I’d known quicker. But at the same time I will continue to make my country proud and make the kids proud.”

However Farah, who recently announced he would return to the track to run the 10,000m in Tokyo, is still likely to continue to face questions about why he stuck with Salazar after 2015 when the BBC and ProPublica raised serious questions about some of his methods, including the use of the banned drug testosterone on his sons in a bizarre experiment.

That sparked a formal investigation by Usada (the US anti-doping agency), who in October announced that Salazar had been banned for “orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct”.

In Farah’s defence, a UK Athletics inquiry in 2015 found “no reason to be concerned” about his working with Salazar in the autumn. However that is now the subject of a fresh and forensic independent review to see what mistakes were made and the lessons that can be learned.

(01/13/2020) Views: 6,404 ⚡AMP
by Athletics News
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Mike Smith is the new coach for Galen Rupp

Two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp has a new coach.

Rupp, whose previous coach, Alberto Salazar, is serving a four-year ban from track due to anti-doping violations, is now entrusting his training to Mike Smith, the head coach of the Northern Arizona University cross-country and track teams.

Smith confirmed the coaching relationship in an email to Runner’s World, writing that he was surprised to get a phone call from Rupp last fall and took a long time to consider whether to coach him.

The move marks a major change for Rupp, 33, who had been under Salazar’s guidance since Salazar spotted him playing soccer when he was a 14-year-old high school student in Portland, Oregon. Rupp went to college nearby at the University of Oregon and after graduating in 2009, he joined the Salazar-led Nike Oregon Project (NOP).

While still in college, Rupp made the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in the 10,000 meters, finishing 13th. At the 2012 Games in London, he won silver in the 10,000 meters behind his then-NOP teammate Mo Farah of Great Britain. In 2016, Rupp was the Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon. He also won the 2017 Chicago Marathon and the 2018 Prague Marathon, where he set his personal best of 2:06:07, second on the U.S. all-time list.

But Rupp was plagued by Achilles problems and Haglund’s deformity in his left foot, and he underwent major surgery in October 2018.

Last October, as Rupp was preparing to race Chicago again, his first race since the surgery, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced news of Salazar’s ban. Salazar is appealing the decision, but in the meantime, he is not allowed to coach, and athletes who are in contact with him are subject to sanction. Nike executives shut down the Oregon Project a few days after the ban. Rupp made it to about 23 miles of the Chicago Marathon in 2019, before dropping out with a calf strain.

Rupp has never failed a drug test, and he is one of the most frequently tested American athletes.

He is also very private, staying off of social media and eschewing media interviews except around major marathons. Other athletes who had been training under Salazar had announced moves to new coaches, but Rupp had not, fueling speculation about his training and preparations for the Olympic Marathon Trials next month in Atlanta.

His move to Smith, who is based in Flagstaff, Arizona, is a radical shift away from the insular culture Salazar created at the NOP in Beaverton, Oregon.

Smith, 39, is a well-respected collegiate coach, having led the NAU men’s cross-country team to NCAA team titles in 2017 and 2018, and a runner-up finish in 2019. The women were 14th in 2019. Before NAU, he coached at Georgetown, his alma mater. In college, he earned All-American honors in cross country, and he later qualified for the Olympic marathon trials in 2007 (for the 2008 Games). He got his start in coaching working under legendary distance coach Jack Daniels.

(01/10/2020) Views: 1,577 ⚡AMP
by Sarah Lorge Butler
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Nike employees protested at the Beaverton, Ore. headquarters on Monday following the reopening of the building named after Alberto Salazar

On Monday, the day that the sportswear giant Nike reopened the Beaverton, Ore. headquarters building named after disgraced coach Alberto Salazar, Nike employees staged a protest regarding its mistreatment of women, and were threatened with termination if they spoke to the media.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, “A flier circulating among employees read, “Join us for a campus walk to celebrate what women bring to sport and to raise awareness of how Nike can support our female athletes and employees.”

There was another flier circulating ahead of the protest–this one was also distributed by Nike employees but had a different tone. It read, “No employee is permitted to speak to news media on any NIKE-related matter either on- or off-the-record, without prior approval from Nike Global Communications.” The policy continues, “Failure to comply with NIKE’s media policy could result in termination of employment.”

Nike spokesperson Greg Rossiter said to The Willamette Weekly that this cautionary flyer was not officially distributed by the company. “We respect and welcome employees’ feedback on matters that are important to them. The flier prepared by some employees was not officially distributed by Nike.”

The US Anti-Doping Agency banned Salazar in September for four years following a years-long investigation and secret arbitration case. The details appear in a BBC report and a statement by USADA outlining the specific charges, which include trafficking in testosterone (a banned substance), illegal methods and evidence-tampering at the Nike Oregon Project’s Beaverton, Oregon headquarters. Salazar is former coach to Mo Farah and Kara Goucher and current coach of marathoner Galen Rupp and the newly-crowned 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan, among others.

Nike shut down the NOP training group 11 days later. Salazar’s athletes have since found new coaches and training groups.

Following the dissolution of the NOP, American prodigy Mary Cain came forward and told her story about her experience with the group. According to Cain, the NOP’s “win at all costs” mentality involved Salazar and his assistant coaches (who are not named) pushing her to take birth control pills and diuretics to lose weight, weighing her and verbally abusing her in front of her teammates. Cain’s success on the track came at a huge price: she didn’t have her period for three years, which weakened her bone health so much that she endured five stress fractures. Her success dwindled, and when she left the program, nobody really knew why.

On Monday, protesters signs read, “We believe Mary.”

(12/10/2019) Views: 981 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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The most recent allegations echo reports by Kara Goucher about athletes being encouraged to take unnecessary medications to lose weight and improve performance

Britain’s Daily Mail reports that top UK athletes allege they were repeatedly encouraged by team doctors to have their thyroids checked, even when they exhibited no symptoms, leading to speculation about the use of thyroid medications to boost their performance.

The report echoes the report by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that former Nike Oregon Project Alberto Salazar inappropriately used thyroid medication with athletes.

This is only the latest in a series of issues plaguing British athletics. Head coach Neil Black, known to be a strong supporter of Salazar’s, resigned shortly after the ban was announced, in the midst of the World Championships, from which British athletes brought home a disappointing five medals.

UK Athletics also announced it would mount an investigation into why one of its top athletes, Sir Mo Farah, was encouraged to continue training with Salazar at the NOP in 2015 after Salazar came under investigation by USADA. And last week the newly appointed UKA chair, Zara Hyde Peters, was forced to step down before taking up her duties when it was discovered that her husband, who had been banned from teaching after an “inappropriate relationship” with a 15-year-old girl, had been allowed to coach at the club where Hyde Peters was vice chair.

Medications to improve thyroid function, including L-thyroxine and Cynomel, are not on WADA’s list of prohibited substances (and do not even require a Therapeutic Use Exemption, or TUE), though both USADA and UK Anti-Doping have called for them to be banned except in cases where a need is clearly demonstrated. Such medications, which can lead to serious heart issues when taken inappropriately, are known to aid weight loss, which is perceived to lead to faster times on the track. In the wake of being banned from athletics, Salazar has been the subject of numerous reports that he was obsessive about female athletes’ weight, publicly shaming those he thought were too heavy.

The report quotes athletes Jo Pavey and Matthew Yates, who say thyroid medications should be banned except in cases where they are necessary to maintain adequate thyroid function, and only with a TUE. The rate of hypothyroidism is estimated at one in 20 in females and one in 100 in males, and a physician consulted by the paper claimed that inappropriate use of thyroid medication can lead to serious heart issues. One athlete claims they were tested after a race and encouraged to visit their family doctor to confirm a suspicious result, but that a second test showed a normal result. In another case, an athlete who tested negative was encouraged to take another test after a hard workout, which can influence the result.

The report names Dr. Robert Chakraverty, chief medical officer for UK Athletics from 2013 to 2016 and his successor, Dr Noel Pollock, as having encouraged the tests.

(12/02/2019) Views: 1,030 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Jordan Hasay says she is going to be ready for the US Olympic Trials after making some changes

Jordan Hasay went into the Chicago Marathon on October 13 in excellent shape, hoping to make a run at the American record in the distance. But about two miles into the race, she tore her left hamstring. She limped past the 5K mark in 22 minutes before dropping out of the race.It was the bitter end of a tumultuous two weeks.

On September 30, her longtime coach, Alberto Salazar, was hit with a four-year ban from track and field for anti-doping violations. Hasay, 28, said she never witnessed anything improper in her time with Salazar and his team, the Nike Oregon Project. On October 11, Nike shut down the Oregon Project, leaving the athletes who had trained with Salazar to work out new coaching and training situations.

The timing of Hasay’s injury and the coaching upheaval were not ideal: American marathoners are preparing for the Olympic Marathon Trials on February 29, 2020 in Atlanta.

The upheaval has continued this month: On November 7, in an explosive opinion video in The New York Times, Mary Cain, a former teen prodigy who trained with Hasay and others at the Oregon Project, alleged she was “emotionally and physically abused” in her time with Salazar.

On a recent trip to Monaco, she formalized a relationship with Radcliffe to be her “mentor-coach.” Radcliffe held the world record in the women’s marathon, 2:15:25, for 16 years. The record fell last month to Brigid Kosgei, who ran 2:14:04, at the Chicago Marathon, where Hasay dropped out.

Hasay has long admired Radcliffe. As Hasay was training for her first marathon, Boston in 2017, her late mother used to call Hasay by the pet name “Paula.” Radcliffe and Hasay first met at the 2017 Chicago Marathon, where Hasay ran 2:20:57 and became the second-fastest American marathoner behind Deena Kastor. Hasay and Radcliffe have kept in touch since then.

Last week, together in Monaco, they sat down and mapped out Hasay’s training for the next 15 weeks until the Trials. Hasay said she believes she’s the first athlete to be coached by Radcliffe and specified that Radcliffe, and not her husband, Gary Lough, who oversees the training of Mo Farah, will be in charge.

Hasay will stay in California and communicate remotely with Radcliffe. “I’ve always really looked up to her as a role model,” Hasay said. “Since we first met two years ago in Chicago, we’ve kept in touch and she’s given me a lot of advice. She knows that I have had some very good coaches in the past. We’re not going to go in and change a bunch of things. At this point, I mainly need someone to hold me back and make sure I stay injury free. She’s such a kind person.”

After two weeks off from running after the Chicago Marathon, Hasay has returned to running almost pain free, she said, although the hamstring feels tight at faster speeds. On November 19, she did a hill workout.

Hasay said Nike staff were “incredibly supportive” of her as she considered new coaches, and they were open to her having a coach who didn’t have a relationship with the company if that is what she wanted. Radcliffe, though, was a Nike-sponsored athlete throughout her career and maintains a relationship with the company.

She is in the process of selling her home in Beaverton, Oregon, near Nike headquarters, and she will live with her father in Arroyo Grande, California, until she eventually buys a home in that area. She is more suited to the climate there, she said, where it is sunny and warm year-round, than the rainy winters of the Pacific Northwest. She also said the community has supported her since she began running at age 12. Being home “will add a lot of happiness,” she said.

When asked about Cain, Hasay said she knew her teammate was struggling during her 10 months training in Portland with the Oregon Project, but she didn’t know the extent of the problems.

“I was pretty shocked with the video,” Hasay said. “Obviously I feel really sad and I texted her and said I’m really sorry. That if I knew that it was that bad, if there was anything I could have done, I just apologize.”

Hasay said she and Cain were fairly close but she had “no idea” that Cain was cutting herself, as she said in the Times video. Cain also said Salazar was constantly trying to get her to lose weight to hit an arbitrary number, 114 pounds.

Hasay said she thought Cain’s youth and the intensity of the training and the program were a poor combination, but she expressed sympathy for both Cain and Salazar.

“It’s so sad, everyone was trying their best, though,” she said. “I really think you can’t point fingers and it’s really easy from the outside to kick Alberto under the bus. People make mistakes. He could have handled it at times differently. He really was doing his best. He wasn’t trying to cause any of the problems that she described. I sympathize with both sides.

“That’s why it’s hard—I haven’t commented on it—I don’t really have a side. I didn’t experience what she experienced, but I can see how it was so difficult. I think that her message is a good one, addressing these issues, they are important, I think it’s good overall that we’re looking at some of things.”

Hasay continued that when an athlete is still growing and going through puberty, getting to a certain weight is “difficult.” Older athletes on the team, she said, were able to push back in discussions with Salazar on weight.

“Alberto, if you ask me is he obsessed about weight? Yes, but he’s obsessed about everything,” she said. “He wanted to cut my hair [to reduce drag], he wanted me to wear a wetsuit in the Boston Marathon. It’s just every little detail is covered and weight happens to be one of those things.”

Salazar told Hasay she needed to gain weight at times. “He’s told me, ‘You don’t need to be this lean all year. I’d like you to go back up.’ We’ve had discussions. I think when you’re older and more experienced, you can speak up. It’s hard when she’s so young and still growing. It was just the whole situation wasn’t the right fit, unfortunately.”

(11/29/2019) Views: 2,373 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

The 2020 US Olympic Trials for both men and women took place in Atlanta, Ga on Sunday Feb 29. Runners had to qualify by running certain standards beforehand. The trials are hosted by the Atlanta Track club. The course runs through the heart of Atlanta and past monuments from the 1996 Olympic Games Most countries around the world use a...

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Paula Radcliffe clarifies her coaching role with Jordan Hasay

It has been widely reported that Jordan Hasay has hired former marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe as her coach or coach advisor.

This is not exactly accurate according to Radcliffe.

She told Athletics Illustrated, “I am happy to help Jordan out as well as I can. It’s not an official coaching role since I am not actually qualified to coach but primarily, I also don’t have the time to travel full time as a coach while my kids are still young and my priority.”

Hasay was formerly coached by Alberto Salazar of the Nike Oregon Project. Since Salazar has received a four-year coaching ban for apparent doping-related offences, his athletes have had to find new coaches.

Hasay, who is knowledgeable about training and what she needs to do to get ready for racing, has chosen Radcliffe more as an advisor.

“Jordan completely understands this, and my role is more of a mentor/advisor than a coach. She is very smart and already knows very well what works for her, and what doesn’t really work. She is also open to listening to ideas and changing things when she sees the sense behind it. A lot of the basis of what she already does is very good, and the changes so far are agreed by both of us and are very fluid.”

Hasay owns the second-fastest marathon by an American, all-time, behind only Deena Kastor, who ran the 2006 London Marathon in the time of 2:19:36. Hasay has gone as fast as 2:20:57, which the 28-year-old accomplished in Chicago two years ago.

Hasay dropped out of the 2019 Chicago Marathon due to a hamstring issue, which found her walking through the 5K mark in over 22 minutes. She was going for Kastor’s record in that race. She has recovered now.

“She came over to stay and we chatted and worked out a lot of things going forward. We feel that we can make this work long-distance with someone on the ground training with her in workouts and providing constant honest feedback between. Of course, in the future we will aim to do some training camps together, but it is very flexible right now,” added Radcliffe.

Radcliffe continues to reside in Monaco, France, while Hasay lives in Arroyo Grande, California.

Radcliffe owned the marathon world record until Oct this year. She set the record at 2:15:25 in London 2004. The record stood until the same Chicago race where Hasay dropped out. Kenyan Brigid Kosgei crossed the finish line in the remarkable time of 2:14:04.

Radcliffe has also run the fifth and seventh fastest marathon times.

Her connection to Hasay may be from her husband’s (Gary Lough) connection to Salazar as both have coached multi-time worlds and Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah, who trained with the Nike Oregon Project as did Hasay.

“I have known her for a while now and got to know her better in the last couple of weeks,” shared Radcliffe. “I am really impressed with her mental strength and ability to focus on what is important. We have similar outlooks on a lot of things, training, competition, and lifestyle-related and I admire her style of racing and think she still has a lot of progress to come. The main thing now is getting fully healthy and as fit as possible by the trials.”

On February 29, 2020, Americans will take to the streets of Atlanta, GA to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathon trials.

(11/24/2019) Views: 2,013 ⚡AMP
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