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Articles tagged #Joan Samuelson
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The Runner Statue-COVID-19 Mask Movement

Over the weekend, famous runner statues from Boston to Boulder donned a new look to support solidarity in slowing the coronavirus.

Runners are among the healthiest people. We prize and appreciate our good fortune, and want to encourage the same in others. We’d like everyone to be health—to follow federal guidelines, both for exercise and for disease prevention.

That was the thinking behind the Runner Statue-COVID-19 Mask movement. It began Saturday morning in Mystic, CT. By Sunday afternoon, it had spread to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, Central Park in New York City, Davenport, Iowa, and Boulder, Colorado.

In each location, a well-known runner statue is now wearing a low-tech protective face mask. The message: Do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Boston Marathon course has three such mask-wearing statues. In Hopkinton, “The Starter” George V. Brown wears a mask immediately adjacent to the Boston Marathon start line. Nearby, the statue of Rick and Dick Hoyt shows off their colorful masks.

Near the Marathon’s 19-mile mark in Newton, the double statue of “Old John” Kelley and his younger self shows them both wearing bandanna masks. These were fashioned by Ray Charbonneau from recycled road race t-shirts.

Born on a Morning Run

The story starts, like many, with a morning run. On Saturday morning, my wife, Cristina, and I met my brother, Gary, for an easy 3-mile jog on the banks of the meandering Mystic River in Connecticut. We had barely begun when Gary said, “You know what might be cool—to put a COVID mask on the Kelley statue.”

Mystics’s statue of John J. Kelley, 1957 Boston Marathon winner, has been a favorite local landmark for about five years now. It has a sparkling location in a tiny parklet that overlooks Mystic Pizza, made famous by the 1988 Julia Roberts movie. Before our biggest annual road races, Kelley is often attired in that’s year’s t-shirt.

Gary’s idea seemed so perfect that Cristina and I rushed home post-run to complete the mask project. To be honest, I merely “supervised,” since I have no sewing or crafting skills. Fortunately, Cristina is one of those creative types. She was even smart enough to realize that a statue mask would have to be larger than the bright masks she had already turned out for family members. Most statues are literally larger than life.

We rushed back to downtown Mystic to give Kel’ his new facemask. It was made of green shamrock material to honor his Irish roots. No one asked what we were doing, though several families strolled by and gave us an enthusiastic “thumbs up.”

Back home a few minutes later, I was ready for a nap. Then it hit me. I knew of a half-dozen other runner statues, and I knew runners who lived in those communities. What if I could get all those statues to wear covid masks?

Idea Runs Across the Country

Honestly, it took little effort on my part. A handful of friends, both new and old, “ran” with the suggestion. In Central Park and Cape Elizabeth, police quickly descended on my mask-placing co-conspirators. Moments later, having heard an explanation for the masks, the very same officers volunteered to help.

My buddy in Cape Elizabeth needed it. Marty Clark was struggling on crutches to give Joan Benoit Samuelson a facelift. Now we’ll let you in on one of Joanie’s secrets: She has no ears. (Makes you more aerodynamic.) Or maybe she just has hair over her ears. In both Cape Elizabeth and Davenport, IA, where the Bix-7 has erected statues of Samuelson and Bill Rodgers, my friends had trouble keeping the mask in place.

But Bix race director Michelle Juehring persisted until she achieved success. “I love the solidarity of this project—the way it says we’re all in this together,” she observed.

Rodgers was a big fan from the get-go. “I’m so glad to be wearing a mask next to Joan Samuelson in Davenport,” he said. “If others see us, and then they wear a mask also, we’re going to beat this disease in America.

At Central Park’s reservoir, thronged with walkers and runners, a socially-distanced crowd gathered around the Fred Lebow statue. When the onlookers realized what was going on, they broke into applause. “I was stunned,” said Scott Lange, who once worked for Lebow at New York Road Runners.

In Boulder, Rich Castro got a mask onto Frank Shorter only a couple of hours after we began with Kelley in Connecticut. Castro had already worn a mask around town on his morning errands. “I hope more people help us spread the message,” he said. “There are too many nonbelievers around.”

Shorter concurred. “Any and all expressions of solidarity are a good thing,” he said.

In Hopkinton, where the Boston Marathon begins, Tim Kilduff found a talented high schooler, Emily Karp, to make masks and corralled a Hopkinton Board of Selectmen member (John Coutinho) and photographer (Bruce MacDonald) for the effort. Today, Monday April 6, this team plans to mask 1946 Boston winner Stylianos Kyriakides at the marathon’s 1-mile mark. (Look hereto see why this requires a special effort.)

“This has been fun,” Kilduff said. “It’s a good thing. I think it might really catch on.”

(04/06/2020) ⚡AMP
by Amby Burfoot (Podium Runner)
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15 Mind-Blowing Race Moments From 2019-From Kipchoge to Kosgei and all of the upsets, records, and victories in between, 2019 was a major year for running.

1-Kosgei Shocks Everyone in Chicago-On October 13, Brigid Kosgei made history when she won the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04. The Kenyan ran almost perfectly even splits to achieve her goal in the Windy City, passing the halfway mark in 1:06:59 before clocking 1:07:05 for the second half.

2-Eliud Kipchoge Dips Under 2-Hour Marathon Barrier-In his second attempt at breaking the two-hour barrier in the marathon, Eliud Kipchogeof Kenya accomplished the feat with a stunning run of 1:59:40 on the streets of Vienna in October.

3-Joan Samuelson Crushes Her Goal 40 Years After Boston Victory-In 1979, Joan Benoit Samuelson set a national and course record when she won the Boston Marathon as a 21-year-old college student. Forty years after her historic victory, Samuelson, 61, set out to run within 40 minutes of her winning time at the 2019 Boston Marathon. On April 15, the 1984 Olympic champion wore a similar Bowdoin College singlet to honor her 1979 win and shattered her goal, crossing the finish line in 3:04. “To be here, 40 years later and being able to run, let alone being able to run a marathon, I feel blessed,” she said.

4-Jim Walmsley Obliterates His Own Western States Record-Ultrarunning star Jim Walmsley maintained his Western States winning streak when he obliterated his own course record in June. Navigating 100 miles from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California, Walmsley broke the tape in 14 hours and 9 minutes, which broke his own course record by more than 20 minutes

5-Donavan Brazier Breaks 34-Year-Old American Record-Donavan Brazier had the race of his life when he broke one of the oldest American records on his way to winning gold in the 800 meters at the IAAF World Championshipsin Doha, Qatar. With 250-meters to go, Brazier ran away from the field to secure the first 800-meter world championship gold medal for the United States in a time of 1:42.34. 

6-Dalilah Muhammad Sets World Record Twice-Dalilah Muhammad made history twice this season when she broke the 400-meter hurdles world record and lowered it once again on her way to winning the world championships.

7-Sifan Hassan Wins Unprecedented Double at Worlds-At the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Sifan Hassan won two gold medals that no man or woman has achieved in the history of the world championships or Olympic Games. The Dutch runner, 26, kicked off the competition by winning the 10,000-meter final in a national record time of 30:17:33. 

8-Maggie Guterl Becomes First Woman to Win Backyard Ultra-For 60 hours straight, Maggie Guterl ran the same 4.2-mile trail loop to become the last runner standing in the Big’s Backyard Ultra race. The Durango, Colorado, native ran 250 miles on her way to becoming the first woman to win the brutal race that rewards the person who can run for the longest amount of time.

9-Geoffrey Kamworor Breaks Half Marathon World Record-Holding a 4:25-mile pace, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya shattered the world record at the Copenhagen Half Marathon in September, running 58:01. The performance, which was 17 seconds faster than the previous record, took place in the same city where the 26-year-old won his first of three half marathon world championship titles in 2014.

10-Joyciline Jepkosgei Debuts in NYC Marathon, Beats Mary Keitany-In her first marathon, Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya secured a title in a major upset. The half marathon world record-holder raced like a veteran in the New York City Marathonto beat four-time champion Mary Keitany in a winning time of 2:22:38, only seven seconds shy of the course record.

11-Kenenisa Bekele Wins Berlin Marathon 2 Seconds Shy of World Record-One year after Eliud Kipchoge set a world record that many believed would be untouchable for at least a few years, Kenenisa Bekele nearly surpassed it at the Berlin Marathon. The 37-year-old Ethiopian won the race in 2:01:41, just two seconds shy of Kipchoge’s record. 

12-Freshman Sha’Carri Richardson Shatters 100-meter Collegiate Record-In her first ever NCAA Outdoor Championship, Sha’Carri Richardson made history. In the 100-meter final, the LSU freshman sprinted to victory in a collegiate record of 10.75.

13-Drew Hunter, Athing Mu, and Colleen Quigley Win First Pro Titles-The USATF Indoor Championships brought out exciting breakthroughs for three young athletes. In the men’s 2-mile, 21-year-old Drew Hunter won the crown out of the “slower” heat by running a world-best time of 8:25.29. The women’s 600 meters was won by 16-year-old Athing Mu who defeated world silver medalist Raevyn Rogers in an American record time of 1:23.57.

14-BYU Snaps NAU’s Winning Streak at the NCAA Cross Country Championships-The Brigham Young team had a banner day at the NCAA Cross Country Championshipsin November. Battling muddy conditions, the BYU Cougars secured the team victory over three-time defending champions Northern Arizona in the men’s race. With a team total of 109 points, BYU beat NAU by 54 points to win the program’s first NCAA cross-country championship in history.

15-Joshua Cheptegei Sets 10K World Record After Winning Two World Titles-Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda capped off a banner year when he set a world record in the 10K on December 1, running 26:38 to win the 10K Valencia Trinidad Alfonso in Valencia, Spain. Earlier this year, he won the world cross-country championships and the world championship 10,000 meters in Doha, Qatar.

 

(12/15/2019) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Two defending champions Risper Gesabwa and Brendan Gregg, are returning for the 43rd annual Bellin Run

Risper Gesabwa and Brendan Gregg have signed on to the 10K on June 8.

Gesabwa broke the tape last year, setting a record sixth Bellin Run title, followed closely by 2017 champ Kaitlin Gregg Goodman.

Goodman and Gesabwa have history. Goodman also finished a close second to Gesabwa in 2016, meaning their 2019 rematch will be one to watch.

Kaitlin's brother, Brendan will try to get a second consecutive Bellin Run victory after winning last year's run. He will be up against former Bellin Run champ, Meb Keflezighi and 2016 Olympic marathoner, Jared Ward.

Other notable veteran athletes to participate this year are Uta Pippig, Joan Samuelson and Bill Rodgers.

The last of the 12,050 Bellin Run entrants had barely crossed the South Webster Avenue starting line Saturday morning when Brendan Gregg arrived at the finish.

Gregg finished the 42nd annual 10-kilometer race through Green Bay and Allouez in an impressive 29 minutes, 52 seconds. Meb Keflezighi, the 2016 Bellin winner, finished second with a time of 31:06. Jared Ward, at 31:19, was third for the second straight year.

Risper Gesabwa won a record sixth women's elite division title, finishing in 33:24; 2017 champ Kaitlin Goodman — Gregg's sister — was second at 33:30. Dawn Grunnagle was third at 35:29.

Saturday's event began under partly-cloudy skies, with a temperature of 62. More than 12,000 runners registered; 13,892 took part a year earlier.

The first Bellin Run, in 1977, had 881 participants. It grew to 1,100 in year two.

"I remember the days where you could stand on Greene Avenue and see groups of runners, and see the street in-between," said Green Bay resident Bob Cramer, who began running the Bellin in 1984. "Now, it's wall-to-wall people."

Joseph Kimani retains the men’s course record of 27:46, set in 1997. Tegla Loroupe holds the women’s course record of 31:48, set in 1999.

(05/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Bellin 10k Run

Bellin 10k Run

The Bellin Run, a 10K held annually in Green Bay, Wisconsin on the second Saturday in June, is one of the region’s premier sporting events and has grown to be one of the largest 10K races in the nation. The event was first held on June 12, 1977, and was known as the Bellin Heartwarming Run, to promote cardiovascular fitness....

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John Stifler to be awarded Road Runners Club of America Excellence in Running Journalism award

John Stifler has been writing about runners of all abilities for over four decades, from small races to major marathons.

The Florence, Mass native was recognized for his career and was awarded the Road Runners Club of America Excellence in Running Journalism award for 2018.

Each year, the RRCA honors individuals for their service to the organization and contributions to distance running. Stifler is the 45th recipient of the journalism award, which recognizes writing about grassroots, community-based running that is memorable, creative and inspiring.

Stifler was recognized at the RRCA National Running Awards Banquet and Ceremony on March 30 in New Orleans. The club also inducted three members into its distance running hall of fame: Nancy Ditz Mosbacher, Oscar Moore and Joan Ullyot.

“It’s very flattering,” Stifler said. “I am on that list along with Olympic athletes and stars of the sport.

Stifler has been covering the sport since 1974, writing pieces for the Valley Advocate and Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club newsletter. He has since contributed to New England Runner Magazine and was a longtime columnist for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

In 1988, Stifler started writing a running column for the Gazette on a bi-weekly basis. One of Stifler’s fondest memories covering the local scene was the opportunity to write a feature on running legend Nancy Conz.

“She was probably the greatest runner to ever come out of western Massachusetts, certainly Hampshire County,” Stifler said. “Between 1978 and the mid-80s she was pretty much approaching world class. She won the Avon Women’s Marathon and she had to beat Joan Samuelson.”

While the column came to an end, Stifler felt the impact his writing had on those throughout the community, even those who weren’t involved with running.

“What meant so much was that running is a community sport the same way that the kids’ hockey and basketball games are community sports,” Stifler said. 

The freedom Stifler had with the running column gave him the chance to cover many topics and events. He covered Boston Marathons as a participant and through other local runners.

The experiences he had, and the recognition he received from this award, has given him an appreciation for the connection to the community that he values to this day.

(04/06/2019) ⚡AMP
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America’s Amy Cragg is set to race the Prague Half on Saturday

Success for reigning USA Olympic Trials Marathon champion Amy Cragg did not come easily or quickly.  Indeed, the 35 year-old Nike Bowerman Track Club athlete nearly quit the sport before her true talent really showed through, eventually carrying her to Olympic Trials wins in both 2012 (at 10,000m) and 2016 (marathon), four USA titles, and a 2:21:42 marathon personal best.  It’s been a long, and sometimes bumpy, road.

“Definitely, I’ve made some mistakes along the way,” Cragg told Race Results Weekly in a telephone interview from Prague where she’ll be running the Sportisimo Prague International Half-Marathon on Saturday.  “I’ve learned from them and that’s kind of led me to here.  So, every once in a while I’ve looked back and I’m, like, I should have done this differently or this differently.  But, the reality is that I might not have ended up here.  I think I’m in a really good place.”

Working with coaches Jerry Schumacher and Pascal Dobert and Bowerman teammate Shalane Flanagan since the end of 2015, Cragg has blossomed into one of America’s best at 26.2 miles.  After winning the February, 2016, Marathon Trials on a brutally hot day in Los Angeles, she went on to finish ninth in the Olympic Games Marathon in Rio. 

She backed up that performance a year later with a thrilling, late-race charge at the 2017 IAAF World Championships marathon in London, taking the bronze medal (the first medal for a USA woman at those championships in the marathon since 1983), and only missing the silver by a fraction of a second. 

She recovered from her London race well, then ran the Tokyo Marathon in February, 2018, finishing third in an excellent 2:21:42.  That performance made her the fifth-fastest American of all time behind only Deena Kastor, Jordan Hasay, Flanagan and Joan Samuelson.

"I love where I’m at,” Cragg continued.  “I love my team and my coach.  Just living in Oregon, that’s been incredible.  I think overall, those rough moments, those times when I considered stopping have made me a stronger athlete.  I’m glad I went through that.  It’s hard to say that.  Those times, I think I really learned a lot from them.”

Cragg is at an unusual juncture in her career.  She hasn’t run a marathon in over a year.  She built-up for Chicago last October, but ended up withdrawing from the race after she and her coaches felt that her training hadn’t brought her to the fitness she would need to run her best.  They had intense discussions, she said, about what to do next.

“When I pulled out of Chicago last year the big talk was, OK, what do we really want to get out of the next two years?” Cragg said.  “I’ll probably be in the sport two years and reassess.  The big thing is making another Olympic team and trying to perform well in Tokyo.  Everything we do from here on out, that’s the goal to make that team and we’ve been working back from there.”

Cragg decided not to do a spring marathon this year.  Instead, she worked with her Bowerman teammates Shelby Houlihan, Marielle Hall, Courtney Frerichs, and Karissa Schweizer to get ready for the USATF Cross Country Championships last February where she finished fifth in her first national cross country championships in nine years. 

A month later she ran the special Road to Gold test event in Atlanta where she was able to run on the 2020 Olympic Trials course.  Uncontested, she covered the 8-mile route in 43:23 and won by a minute.  She told Race Results Weekly that the Atlanta race was essentially the kick-off of her Trials training.

“I felt pretty good,” Cragg said.  “I think I’m in a good position and I’m pretty excited to get into the bigger miles.  For me, that makes a huge difference.  I feel ready to start that, which is exciting for me.”

Saturday’s race in Prague is the next logical step on Cragg’s long journey to Atlanta next February for the marathon trials and Tokyo for the Olympics next August.  On Prague’s flat, record-eligible course Cragg wants to race hard with the goal of improving herself as a marathoner.

(04/05/2019) ⚡AMP
by David Monti
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Prague Half Marathon

Prague Half Marathon

2020 race was moved from March to September 6. Start the RunCzech season with one of the biggest running events in the Central Europe! Every year the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon excites spectators with performances of elite athletes breaking records. Enjoy a course with incomparable scenery in the heart of historic Prague that follows along the Vltava river and crisscrosses...

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Mo Farah sets European Record to Win The Chicago Marathon

This was Great Britian's Sir Mo Farah's first marathon win in three attempts today October 7.  He looked smooth the whole way and took control of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon over the last few miles when he stepped up the pace to 4:35 per K.

The lead group had passed the half way mark in 1:03:03.  At the finish Mo Farah clocked 2:05:11 winning his first US marathon and setting a new European record.  (Breaking Sondre Nordstad Moen record of 2:05:48 set in Japan Dec 3, 2017.)   

24-year-old Brigid Kosgei from Kenya running her ninth marathon and second place finisher last year ran the last miles by herself to clock an outstanding 2:18:35, making her the 10th fastest women's marathon time ever. 

"I like the rain," Brigid said after winning. "I enjoy the rain and I swallowed the pain, no struggling," she said. Roza Dereje (Eth) was second cocking 2:21:18.  First American was Sarah Crouch finished sixth with 2:32:37.  

"Amazing to come across the finish first," Mo said after he finished.  Ethiopia's Mosinet Geremew Bayih finished second clocking 2:05:24.  Suguru Osako from Japan finished third in 2:05:50 setting a national Japan record winning 100 million yen (almost one million US dollars) in doing so. 

In fourth was Kenneth Kipkemoi from Kenya clocking 2:05:57.  Galen Rupp who fell off the pack at around 22 miles came back strong and finished fifth with 2:06:21 just 14 seconds off his PR.  Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) finished 19th clocking 2:16:26, his 82nd sub 2:20 marathon. Mo, a  two-time Olympic champion in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, native of Great Britain finished third in the London Marathon earlier this year. 

The men’s field include three former champions and 11 racers who have registered times faster than 2:08.  In the end 11 men ran faster than 2:10, nine under 2:08.  The temperature was 58 degrees at the start with light to heavy rain most of the way. Of more impact were the north-northeast winds coming off Lake Michigan as runners headed north from the start.  

Mo is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history, he was the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist in both the 5000m and 10,000m. Farah is the second athlete in modern Olympic Games history, after Lasse Virén, to win both the 5000m and 10,000m titles at successive Olympic Games. 

Mo moved from the track to the roads after the 2017 World Athletics Championships.  61-year-old Joan Samuelson clocked 3:12:13 not reaching her sub three hour goal. 

(10/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. On race day, runners from all 50 states andmore than 100 countries will set out to accomplish a personal dream by reaching the finish line in Grant Park. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is known for its flat and fast...

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Elite Field is set for the 42nd Bellin 10K in Green Bay Wisconsin

Three recent Bellin Run champions will headline a stellar field of elite athletes competing in the 42nd annual 10K event coming up Saturday June 9 Defending women’s champion Kaitlin Gregg Goodman will face off against the record-setting Risper Gesabwa, who in 2016 captured an unprecedented fifth straight Bellin Run title. Gregg Goodman finished a close second to Gesabwa that year (34:35 to Gesabwa’s 34:19), meaning their 2018 rematch will be one to watch. Also returning for this year’s race is 2016 Bellin Run champ and perennial crowd favorite Meb Keflezighi. Now retired from competitive racing, the 43-year-old Keflezighi has continued to run events including the Boston Marathon, which he famously won in 2014. Known to the running world simply as “Meb,” the down-to-earth Keflezighi has become known for standing at the Bellin Run finish line to congratulate runners and walkers long after his race has ended. The elite men vying for a shot at this year’s 10K title include Keflezighi’s 2016 Olympic marathon teammate Jared Ward, who placed third (30:41) in his Bellin Run debut last year. Frequent Bellin competitor Benson Cheruiyot edged Ward to capture second in the 2017 race, finishing in 30:25. Rounding out the elite men’s field will be newcomer Brendan Gregg, brother of Kaitlin Gregg Goodman. Gregg is a pro runner with the famed Hansons-Brooks Distance Project.  Over 13,000 runners are expected to compete in Green Bay, Wisconsin June 9.  Joan Samuelson, Bill Rodgers and Uta Pippig are also running. (05/18/2018) ⚡AMP
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