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Articles tagged #Kara Goucher
Today's Running News
After World Athletics released its new shoe rules today, we recorded a special bonus podcast about the ruling. We invited 2012 NCAA steeplechase champ and US Olympian Shalaya Kipp, who is now a PhD candidate in Exercise Physiology at the University of British Columbia, to be our expert guest. Kipp, along with others, including Wouter Hoogkamer and Rodger Kram, has published three different scientific papers dealing with the technology behind the Nike Vaporfly shoes.
We could think of no better guest to feature than Kipp; she was part of the study published in November 2017 that actually gave the Vaporflys their 4% name as the scientists behind that study found that they boosted running economy by 2-6%.
You will eventually be able to listen to the whole podcast here, and we encourage you to do so as it was fascinating to hear from Kipp. But if you don’t have 23 minutes to listen to Kipp, then we’ve got virtually all of her best comments transcribed for you below. She reacts to the ruling, talks about what it was like to watch the marathon in 2016 knowing the Nike athletes had a huge advantage, and how she believes the new shoes kept her training partner Kara Goucher off the 2016 Olympic team.
Shalaya Kipp overall is very pleased with World Athletics’ new shoe regulations
I guess the thing I was most excited to see was that no prototypes can be used in subsequent competitions [after April 30, 2020,] and that the product needs to be on the market for at least four months. That really made me happy… Putting that four months in there, I liked that a lot…
We point the finger at Nike but really everyone is running in prototypes – we’ve got to remember that…
The fun scientist in me doesn’t want to limit innovation too much. I think it’s great that someone wanted to go out with a waffle iron and start creating their own shoes. I don’t want to put too many limits [on innovation]. What I do want to see is that the athletes aren’t getting the butt end of that. [I want it to be fair] for all of them. I’m happy with the limitations that came out. I wouldn’t have added anything.
Shalaya Kipp thinks other shoe companies will catch up with Nike and that the playing field will be level “within a year or two.” In the interim, she urges the non-Nike companies to let their athletes race in Nikes. “They need to let their athletes run in the Nike Vaporfly right now if they want their athletes to be performing well or they are going to be at a disadvantage.”
You know I think it’s definitely feasible [for the other companies to catch up]. I don’t think it’s that hard for them… As long as they start developing their own foams, getting a carbon-fiber plate in there. We’re going to see it happen. It’s going to take a little catchup but within a year or two, I think it’s going to all become a wash again and the playing field is gonna become level… Maybe I’m an optimist. I want that for the sport.
I really hope that those shoe companies are doing their own internal tests and they know how well their shoe is performing. And if their shoe is not up to standards, they need to let their athletes run in the Nike Vaporfly right now if they want their athletes to be performing well or they are going to be at a disadvantage. We know that that shoe is working well and that it’s creating all the results.
[In our study, we tested] the shoes that they used in Rio and it was the same shoe they used for the Olympic Trials…It wasn’t [called] the Nike 4% at the time as that comes from our findings. All [Nike] said was “this shoe is special.” And actually the whole time we were calling it “The Magic” because we didn’t have a name for it and really whenever we put someone in the shoe in the lab, it seemed like a magical result that was coming out.(02/01/2020) ⚡AMP
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) ⚡AMP
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) ⚡AMP
Kara Goucher took a podium spot yesterday at her first 50K at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships
Olympic marathon runner Kara Goucher has joined the ultramarathon club. On Saturday November 16, the former Nike athlete raced to an impressive third place finish at The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships 50K race in San Francisco in a time of 5:30:57. Goucher has found a new love and appreciation for the trails, especially in the wake of the suspension and allegations of abuse against Nike and her former coach, Alberto Salazar.
Goucher raced her first trail race back in August at the Leadville Trail Marathon, and has been moving up in distance ever since. The North Face 50K race gains 2,053 metres running through the Marin Headlands in the San Francisco Bay area. Goucher challenged her physical and mental toughness through Tennessee Valley, Muir Beach, and Pantoll Station, descending on the famous Dipsea trail. After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, she finished the race enthralled and exhausted at Crissy Field.
Goucher shared the podium with Corinne Shalvoy in first place with a time of 5:00:10 and Jenny Comiskey in second with a time of 5:15:12. Nicholas Handel won the men’s 50K race in 3:58:11, Brian Gillis was second in 4:11:45, and Justin Grunewald was third in 4:15:39.(11/23/2019) ⚡AMP
Two weeks ago, high performance coach/elite meet director Jonathan Marcus reached out to LetsRun.com to share his experiences with Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project. During the process of fact-checking that story, we contacted Tara Welling, who ran for the Oregon Project from 2012-14 (and later Marcus), who said she preferred to tell her story in her own words.
Throughout college, I dealt with an eating disorder, but it never spiraled out of control until the summer/fall of 2012, my first year with the Oregon Project. I was 23 years old and going through a tough personal time with my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. She lived alone and I felt a sense of guilt that I should not be leaving the country to follow my running dreams with the Oregon Project. I joined the group in Europe as they prepared for the Olympic Games. I was the only female and didn’t feel like I had anyone I could really open up with and talk to.
Tension was high and I wanted to be a great runner, but also wanted to be home with my family during this difficult time. When I joined the Oregon Project, I was 5-foot-4 and weighed around 100 lbs. During our time in Font Romeu and London, I dropped to around 88 lbs, stemming from my levels of stress and depression.
Alberto never weighed me during this time, but my weight loss was very apparent. I later learned that a teammate brought it up to Alberto during our time in Font Romeu. It wasn’t until after the Olympics that Alberto first talked to me about it. He said that he would get me all the help I needed.
Alberto set weight goals for me: first 95 lbs, then 98 lbs, and I would be allowed to race the USATF 5k and 10k road champs that fall if I hit those numbers. Alberto was very concerned about my weight and took me to the store to get high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods that would fuel me for my runs and help me gain healthy weight. I was told that when we got back to the States, he would help me get connected with a nutritionist, therapist, and doctors to keep me on track and help me get healthy, and I did eventually meet with a nutritionist and a therapist.
What hasn’t been made public yet is that my visit to Dr. [Jeffrey] Brown, in September 2012, was related to this process of helping me get healthy, including numerous tests that were done. Initially, this was something very difficult for me to share with USADA [during their investigation of Salazar and Dr. Brown] as it required reopening wounds which are still challenging for me to talk about. Until the USADA investigation, these details are something I hadn’t talked to anyone else about, outside of my parents and Alberto.
I ended up racing the 5k & 10k champs that fall and eventually found a steady weight. A little while later I was up to ~105 lbs and had been following my lifting program per our strength coach Dave McHenry and Alberto. I was then told my arms were getting too muscular and I needed to lose a few pounds. I stopped lifting heavier weights on my upper body and was limited to only bodyweight exercises so I didn’t have to “carry extra weight.”
Alberto constantly said I should look like Kara Goucher and Genzebe Dibaba. He also said I should be 100 lbs with a low body fat percentage, but muscular. It was confusing and I found it mentally difficult when I had to lose weight and look like other runners when I was not them. It was a constant comparison battle. I was often weighed with the underwater scale and had body measurements done via skinfold measurement. I was never weighed publicly or in front of teammates, but Alberto was always present.
In summary, I felt like weight was certainly a focus and embedded into the training process. I did witness Alberto weighing other athletes and criticizing their weight (both men and women). For me, it wasn’t always “less is better” in terms of weight. I had a target weight that Alberto felt was “healthy” but also ideal for performance and he wanted to do everything to help ensure I was at that (which was 100 pounds in his mind).
I do wish things would have been different. I wish I sought more advice apart from the doctors and therapists that Alberto had available. At the time, I felt like I didn’t have a choice and I had to prove to him that I was getting healthy and gaining weight. I didn’t feel like I had much of a say and it was a “do-as-you’re-told” type of culture. But at the time, I felt that Alberto had my best interests as an athlete in mind, and I had no reason not to trust him.
I left the Oregon Project in the winter of 2014. By that point, I was solely working with [NOP assistant] Pete Julian as I felt he better understood how I responded to training. I was told that if I wanted to remain with the Oregon Project, I had to win the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in December 2014 and prove that I could compete at a high level. I placed second that year in Bethlehem, Pa., and I was not re-signed.
After leaving the Oregon Project, I later found the fun in training again and somewhat let go of an ideal race weight. I lowered my PRs in the 1500, 3k, 5k, 10k, and won two national road titles (15k and half marathon) before competing at the Olympic Trials in the 5k and 10k in 2016. I’d be lying if I said I was 100% recovered from my eating disorder and tendencies, but I’ve found ways to manage it much better.(11/19/2019) ⚡AMP
Less than a week after runners Mary Cain and Kara Goucher accused their former Nike Oregon Project coach, Alberto Salazar, of mental and physical abuse, another woman has come out with her own allegations.
Amy Yoder Begley was an Indiana state-champion runner before joining the Nike team in 2007. Within months, she was targeted by Salazar for her weight, as Cain was. According to the New York Times, Salazar demanded she be leaner, tried to control her relationships with her teammates, and complained about her laugh being annoying.
Yoder Begley says Salazar frequently flip-flopped in his criticism of her. “If I had a bad workout on a Tuesday, he would tell me I looked flabby and send me to get weighed,” she said. “Then, three days later, I would have a great workout, and he would say how lean I looked and tell me my husband was a lucky guy. I mean, really? My body changed in three days?”
Salazar accused Yoder Begley of not following her nutrition plan and made other comments about her body. “He was obsessed with her butt,” Goucher told the Times. “He would always talk about how it was hanging out of her shorts.”
The allegations were also confirmed by Steve Magness, Salazar’s assistant coach from 2011 to 2012. “I remember Salazar saying something like, ‘Her ass was hanging out of her uniform,’” he recalled to Sports Illustrated. “In that moment, he added, ‘I’m done with you. I’m tired of fighting this weight issue. We’re done.’ Amy countered by saying she hadn’t gained any weight. Alberto said he didn’t care what her weight said. ‘I know you’ve gotten bigger.’ There was this conversation on if her jean sizes had gone up because her butt was bigger. It was the most bizarre thing ever.”
Cain made similar allegations against Salazar, saying he had pressured her to maintain an extremely low weight, which caused her to break several bones, stop getting her period, and develop disordered eating that led to suicidal thoughts. Salazar addressed the allegations in a statement 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.
Meanwhile, Nike has said an investigation into the accusations is underway.(11/15/2019) ⚡AMP
One of America’s greatest marathoners has retired to become a coach and a television commentator, and she is speaking her mind about her sport and her top sponsor.
Shalane Flanagan, the four-time Olympian and winner of the New York City Marathon in 2017, called it quits on her running career in October — sort of.
Flanagan, who is 38 and has long trained with Nike’s Bowerman Track Club, is moving into coaching and television work. She will serve as the color analyst for ABC’s telecast of the New York City Marathon on Sunday, and once that is done she will return to Oregon to help coach the elite women who call themselves the “Bowerman Babes.”
There are few women coaching at the highest levels of running, even for female runners, and fewer who can still keep up with the athletes they train. That’s the kind of coach Flanagan plans to be as she moves into the next phase of her career.
“My dream is to become a personal pacer,” she said in a phone interview last week, during which she discussed her decision to hang up her racing shoes, Nike’s connection to the latest performance-enhancing drug scandal and whether, as an analyst, she will criticize runners she is coaching.
So now you are becoming a coach officially. Is that a role you have been playing unofficially for a while?
"Prior to the last year I had always looked at myself as the elder on the team. A little motherly, maybe a bit bossy and mentoring to younger athletes. But ever since I finished my last race in New York a year ago I have known I wanted to coach, and I’ve been observing and watching more with a coaching eye than as a teammate. The last year has been a kind of informal internship," she said.
Why aren’t there more female coaches at the highest levels in track and field?
"I never thought of it as a gender position or role, but having in the last year been in an environment and the arena of the coaching world, it has opened my eyes. At the U.S. championships, there are very few women coaches in the warm-up area, or even agents. It definitely feels strange."
Your sponsor, Nike, which funds your training group, worked closely with Alberto Salazar, who has been suspended from the sport for actions he took as coach of the Nike Oregon Project. Has the company done enough to make you feel that other Nike athletes will not be tainted by all of this?
"They are currently looking at the situation. I am guessing that they are a bit shocked to some degree and they are going to evaluate how they format these teams in the future. It’s a big liability for them. It’s very complicated. I’m proud of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the efforts they put forth and their commitment to clean sport."
Were you surprised by what you read in the reports about the Oregon Project, that Nike’s chief executive, Mark Parker (who has since left that post), was kept in the loop through emails about experiments with performance-enhancing drugs?
"We train on the Nike campus, but we very much stick to our neck of the woods. We kind of quarantine ourselves. Once Jerry Schumacher broke off with Alberto in 2009, we’ve been very separated. That said, I’m surprised but not surprised by the situation that unfolded. I trained with Kara Goucher sometimes and I was privy to what she was going through, so I am not completely ignorant on the subject. As for Mark Parker’s interactions, I was unaware of those. (Goucher was one of the main whistle-blowers in the USADA investigation.)"
Will you run with the women you are coaching?
"I would love to pace someone like Shelby Houlihan to a 5K record attempt, or really any of our athletes. Being able to do that for them, that’s my motivation."
Did you ever have a coach like that?
"Jerry used to be able to hop in during some sessions. It made it so much more fun. When I was preparing for Boston I would make multiple trips and train on the course for multiple days. Jerry would get on and do workouts with me. I loved so much to have my coach give his body to help me attain my goals.
So what does Jerry say about you commenting on television about runners in your training group?
"Jerry would prefer I not commentate when I have athletes in races. I’m not sure I will change his mind on that aspect."(11/11/2019) ⚡AMP
Mary Cain’s male coaches were convinced she had to get “thinner, and thinner, and thinner.” Then her body started breaking down.
At 17, Mary Cain was already a record-breaking phenom: the fastest girl in a generation.
While attending high school in Bronxville, New York, she set the high school freshman 1500-meter record of 4:17.84 in 2011. The teen went on to run 1:59.51 for 800 meters and 4:04.62 for 1500 meters outdoors, as well as 4:24:11 for one mile and 9:38.68 for two miles indoors, and set numerous high school records at the state and national level.
Then in August 2013, at age 17, she became the youngest runner in history to make the 1500-meter final at the IAAF World Championships, which she finished 10th in.
In 2013, she was signed by the best track team in the world, Nike’s Oregon Project, run by its star coach Alberto Salazar.
Then everything collapsed. Her fall was just as spectacular as her rise.
Instead of becoming a symbol of girls’ unlimited potential in sports, Cain became yet another standout young athlete who got beaten down by a win-at-all-costs culture. Girls like Cain become damaged goods and fade away. We rarely hear what happened to them. We move on.
The problem is so common it affected the only other female athlete featured in the last Nike video ad Cain appeared in, the figure skater Gracie Gold. When the ad came out in 2014, like Cain, Gold was a prodigy considered talented enough to win a gold medal at the next Olympics. And, like Cain, Gold got caught in a system where she was compelled to become thinner and thinner. Gold developed disordered eating to the point of imagining taking her life.
Nike has come under fire in recent months for doping charges involving Salazar. He is now banned from the sport for four years, and his elite Nike team has been dismantled. In October, Nike’s chief executive resigned. (In an email, Salazar denied many of Cain’s claims, and said he had supported her health and welfare. Nike did not respond to a request for comment.)
The culture that created Salazar remains.
Kara Goucher, an Olympic distance runner who trained with the same program under Salazar until 2011, said she experienced a similar environment, with teammates weighed in front of one another.
“When you’re training in a program like this, you’re constantly reminded how lucky you are to be there, how anyone would want to be there, and it’s this weird feeling of, ‘Well, then, I can’t leave it. Who am I without it?’” Goucher said. “When someone proposes something you don’t want to do, whether it’s weight loss or drugs, you wonder, ‘Is this what it takes? Maybe it is, and I don’t want to have regrets.’ Your careers are so short. You are desperate. You want to capitalize on your career, but you’re not sure at what cost.”
She said that after being cooked meager meals by an assistant coach, she often had to eat more in the privacy of her condo room, nervous he would hear her open the wrappers of the energy bars she had there.
A big part of this problem is that women and girls are being forced to meet athletic standards that are based on how men and boys develop. If you try to make a girl fit a boy’s development timeline, her body is at risk of breaking down. That is what happened to Cain.
After months of dieting and frustration, Cain found herself choosing between training with the best team in the world, or potentially developing osteoporosis or even infertility. She lost her period for three years and broke five bones. She went from being a once-in-a-generation Olympic hopeful to having suicidal thoughts.
“America loves a good child prodigy story, and business is ready and waiting to exploit that story, especially when it comes to girls,” said Lauren Fleshman, who ran for Nike until 2012.
“When you have these kinds of good girls, girls who are good at following directions to the point of excelling, you’ll find a system that’s happy to take them. And it’s rife with abuse.”
We don’t typically hear from the casualties of these systems — the girls who tried to make their way in this system until their bodies broke down and they left the sport. It’s easier to focus on bright new stars, while forgetting about those who faded away. We fetishize the rising athletes, but we don’t protect them. And if they fail to pull off what we expect them to, we abandon them.
Mary Cain is 23, and her story certainly isn’t over. By speaking out, she’s making sure of that.(11/07/2019) ⚡AMP
With happy tears I announce today that I am retiring from professional running. From 2004 to 2019 I’ve given everything that’s within me to this sport and wow it’s been an incredible ride! I’ve broken bones, torn tendons, and lost too many toenails to count. I've experienced otherworldly highs and abysmal lows. I've loved (and learned from) it all.
Over the last 15 years I found out what I was capable of, and it was more than I ever dreamed possible. Now that all is said and done, I am most proud of the consistently high level of running I produced year after year. No matter what I accomplished the year before, it never got any easier. Each season, each race was hard, so hard. But this I know to be true: hard things are wonderful, beautiful, and give meaning to life. I’ve loved having an intense sense of purpose. For 15 years I've woken up every day knowing I was exactly where I needed to be.
The feeling of pressing the threshold of my mental and physical limits has been bliss. I've gone to bed with a giant tired smile on my face and woken up with the same smile. My obsession to put one foot in front of the other, as quickly as I can, has given me so much joy.
However, I have felt my North Star shifting, my passion and purpose is no longer about MY running; it's more and more about those around me. All I’ve ever known, in my approach to anything, is going ALL IN.
So I’m carrying this to coaching. I want to be consumed with serving others the way I have been consumed with being the best athlete I can be.
I am privileged to announce I am now a professional coach of the Nike Bowerman Track Club. This amazing opportunity in front of me, to give back to the sport, that gave me so much, is not lost on me. I’ve pinched myself numerous times to make sure this is real. I am well aware that retirement for professional athletes can be an extremely hard transition. I am lucky, as I know already, that coaching will bring me as much joy and heartache that my own running career gave me.
I believe we are meant to inspire one another, we are meant to learn from one another. Sharing everything I’ve learned about and from running is what I’m meant to do now.I would like to thank: The 5 coaches who guided me throughout my career, Michael Whittlesey and Dennis Craddock (2004-2005), John Cook (2006-2008), Jerry Schumacher (2009-2019), and Pascal Dobert (2009-2019). Each man was instrumental in developing me into the best version of myself.
Jerry, Pascal and I will continue to work together in this next chapter and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Jerry has been my life coach, running coach and now will mentor me towards my next goal of becoming a world-class coach myself. I’m thankful for his unending belief in me.
My family and husband who have traveled the world supporting my running and understanding the sacrifices I needed to make. Their unconditional love is what fueled my training.My longtime friend, Elyse Kopecky who taught me to love cooking and indulge in nourishing food. Run Fast. Eat Slow. has been a gift to my running and to the thousands of athletes.
My teammates, and all the women I've trained with, for pushing me daily, and the endless smiles and miles. They include: Erin Donahue, Shannon Rowbury, Kara Goucher, Lisa Uhl, Emily Infeld, Amy Cragg, Colleen Quigley, Courtney Frerichs, Shelby Houlihan, Betsy Saina, Marielle Hall, Gwen Jorgensen, Kate Grace.
My sponsor Nike for believing in me since 2004 and for continuing to support my new dream as a professional coach. I hope I made myself a better person by running. I hope I made those around me better. I hope I made my competition better. I hope I left the sport better because I was a part of it.
My personal motto through out my career has been to make decisions that leave me with “no regrets”.....but to be honest, I have one. I regret I can’t do it all over again.(10/21/2019) ⚡AMP
The first New York City Marathon, organized in 1970 by Fred Lebow and Vince Chiappetta, was held entirely in Central Park. Of 127 entrants, only 55 men finished; the sole female entrant dropped out due to illness. Winners were given inexpensive wristwatches and recycled baseball and bowling trophies. The entry fee was $1 and the total event budget...more...
Donovan Brazier (800m), Clayton Murphy (800m), Yomif Kejelcha (10,000m), Konstanze Klosterhalfen (1,500m and 5,000m) and Sifan Hassan (5,000m and 10,000m) all have races to run at the World Championships and will all be without their coach heading into those events.
The Nike Oregon Project athletes are all in medal contention, with Hassan claiming the 10,000m title on Saturday.
The US Anti-Doping Agency has banned Alberto Salazar, head coach of the Nike Oregon Project, for four years following a years-long investigation and secret arbitration case.
The details appear in a BBC report by journalist Mark Daly and a statement by USADA outlining the specific charges, which include trafficking in testosterone (a banned substance), illegal methods and evidence-tampering at the NOP’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. The ban went into effect yesterday, September 30.
All five NOP athletes have had great seasons. Hassan (outdoor) and Kejelcha (indoor) both set mile world records, Murphy and Brazier have been Diamond League standouts and Klosterhalfen is currently ranked eighth in the world for the women’s 1,500m.
The IAAF has confirmed that Salazar’s World Championship accreditation has been deactivated. He’s not allowed in the Khalifa International Stadium or to have access to any of his athletes.
Both Brazier and Murphy run the 800m final this evening. The NOP athletes will now likely defer to their federations coaching staff for assistance before their races.(10/01/2019) ⚡AMP
The seventeenth edition of the IAAF World Championships is scheduled to be held between 27 September and 6 October 2019 in Doha, Qatar at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium. Doha overcame bids from Eugene, USA, and Barcelona, Spain to be granted the rights to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Having hosted the IAAF Diamond League, formerly...more...
There were two first-time winners at last weekend’s Leadville Trail 100 Run, as Ryan Smith of Boulder, Colorado, and Magdalena Boulet from Berkeley, California, persevered on the out-and-back course in the Colorado Rockies. Smith won the men’s race in a time of 16:33:24, while Boulet finished in 20:18:06 and, in a salute to her Western environs, broke the tape wearing a black Stetson hat.
Beyond their individual triumphs, Smith and Boulet also chalked one up for the 40+ demographic; Smith turned 40 this year, while Boulet is a spry 46. For those keeping score, this is actually the second consecutive year where both the male and female winners at Leadville were in their fifth decade. In 2018, it was Rob Krar (41) and Outside contributing editor Katie Arnold (46) who stood atop the podium in a race which is among the oldest 100-milers in the country and bears the prestige of being included in the so-called “Grand Slam of Ultrarunning.”
How to account for this quadragenarian dominance? Road racing snobs might point out that the field size in ultras is generally quite small and that these events are hence less competitive than big city marathons with thousands of participants. This year, the Leadville 100 had fewer than 400 finishers. Then there’s the fact that the elite ultrarunning scene, despite its increased mainstream visibility over the past decade, is still largely unprofessional, in the sense that weekend warriors can carry the day at certain marquee events. Smith works full-time as a software engineer, and Boulet is VP of research and development at GU Energy Labs. While this amateur spirit might be a point of pride for ultrarunners who don’t want their sport to devolve into the doping-riddled morass that is professional track and field, one could argue that it also subtly discourages the best pro distance athletes (i.e. Kenyan and Ethiopian runners) from turning to the trails. This, in turn, makes the podium perpetually attainable for the super-fit middle-aged hobbyist.
But maybe there’s more to it than that. Given the amount of stuff that can go wrong when you’re running 100 miles in the mountains, perhaps more “mature” athletes might have an advantage when raw speed is less essential than psychological resilience.
“Ultrarunning is about problem solving and being fast is just one piece in a larger puzzle,” says Boulet, who was back at work on Monday morning. “There are so many other pieces that need to fall into place in order to have a successful race.”
Boulet would know. In 2015, she triumphed at Western States, arguably the most vaunted ultra on U.S. soil. Last year, she won the Marathon des Sables, a 156-mile, six-day stage race in the Sahara Desert that frequently gets cited as one of the world’s most difficult races.
Boulet also has the rare distinction of having successfully transitioned into the world of ultrarunning after a previous career as a pro marathoner and road racer. In 2008, she made the U.S. Olympic team in the marathon. The following year she was the first American woman (sixth overall) at the NYC Marathon. With the exception of Kara Goucher, who contested her first trail marathon earlier this summer, Boulet is surely the most accomplished road racer to take a serious shot at competitive trail running.
“I was able to bring the experience from my marathon and road career into trail racing, but with a lot more experience and a lot more patience,” she says. “I’m a lot kinder to myself and my body.”
For his part, Sands, who describes himself as a “serious amateur,” agrees with Boulet that being the best pure runner is only one factor when a race involves one hundred miles of elevation change, gnarly terrain, and volatile weather. Unlike in shorter road races, where it is much more feasible to execute a race plan to perfection, in ultras the objective isn’t so much to avoid mishaps, as to make the best of it when they inevitably happen.
“Typically success in these longer events is not about getting everything dialed next to perfectly, because that’s just so rare,” Sands notes. “It’s really about, when some issue arises and you’re faced with a challenge, how well can you react in the moment to overcome it.”
This latter point reminded me of a recent email exchange I had with Robert Johnson, the editor and co-founder of Letsrun.com and a road-racing snob if ever there was one. Johnson made the point that one thing he finds intriguing about ultras is that there is still an aspect of the “unknown.” He noted that training for traditional distance running had more or less been “solved”; everyone already knows, more or less, how to prepare for races. Ultra-running, on the other hand, is still very much an undiscovered country.
Boulet agrees with this assessment.
“After twelve years of doing marathons, I got to the point where I had that formula dialed-in really well with my coach. We could look at a block of training and know what that translates into [performance-wise]. It was very predictable,” she says.
But the ultra scene offers enough potential variation that, Boulet notes, each race can necessitate its own specific training cycle. In the lead-up to Marathon des Sables, for instance, she spent weeks running on sand.
“For someone who is older, ultras are really exciting because you’re not doing the same thing over and over. They keep changing,” Boulet says.
“I think that’s also a key to longevity in the sport. To keep it interesting—and fun.”(08/24/2019) ⚡AMP
Having faced increased scrutiny for its treatment of pregnant athletes, Nike is changing its policy to guarantee a pregnant athlete’s pay and bonuses cannot be cut over the 18-month period covering eight months before the athlete’s due date and 10 months after. Under Nike’s previous policy, which had been updated in 2018, according to a spokesman, that period lasted 12 months.
“Female athletes and their representatives will begin receiving written confirmation reaffirming Nike’s official pregnancy policy for elite athletes,” a Nike spokesperson wrote in an email. “In addition to our 2018 policy standardizing our approach across all sports to ensure no female athlete is adversely impacted financially for pregnancy, the policy has now been expanded to cover 18 months.”
In a form letter intended for athletes and agents dated Aug. 12 that circulated on social media, John Slusher, Nike’s executive vice president of global sports marketing, said the company’s new policy also will apply to current contracts.
Nike came under fire this spring after several high-profile athletes denounced how it and other apparel companies treated them financially after becoming pregnant. Tennis star Serena Williams said Nike supported her during and after her pregnancy, but multiple track and field athletes described problems.
In a New York Times op-ed in May, sprinter Allyson Felix wrote that contract renewal talks broke down after Nike offered to pay 70 percent of her previous salary and refused to guarantee she wouldn’t be financially punished for performing below her standard in the months before and after childbirth. In another Times op-ed, distance runner Kara Goucher said she felt forced to train, owing to financial pressure, rather than care for her newborn.
Felix, 33, gave birth in November after an emergency Caesarean section, the complications of which threatened her and daughter Camryn. She returned to competition in July at the U.S. outdoor championships, then announced she had signed a new sponsorship contract with Athleta, a deal that includes a partnership for initiatives that empower women.
“I can’t tell you the number of women who have reached out, who have encouraged me, who have been through a similar experience, who have been scared to let their employer know that they started a family,” Felix said this summer. “I was just blown away with those different stories, the different people coming to me. I think there’s definitely a shared experience there, and I think there’s power in coming together, power of the collective. I think the more voices that come out, you know, change is happening.”(08/18/2019) ⚡AMP
Former elite US marathoner Kara Goucher was the fifth female across the finish line and first in her 40-49 age group at Leadville Trail Marathon in the Colorado Rockies. “Without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she tweeted–quite a statement from a two-time Olympian, world championship silver medallist, and two-time Boston Marathon third-place finisher.
Goucher has blogged about the experience of transitioning from the roads to the trails on her sponsor Oiselle’s blog, where she also dispenses advice to those considering (or executing) a similar transition.
It seems road running and trail running are, well, quite different. For one thing, terrain and weather conditions play havoc with road runners’ expectations regarding time and pace, which are mostly beyond anyone’s control. (Goucher’s time was 3:54:07.)
"I pushed beyond any limit I ever have, thanks for making me find out what I’m made of when the going gets rough!” Goucher said in another tweet. Goucher told Runners World that she was vomiting repeatedly from altitude sickness throughout the race.
Tara Richardson of Glenwood Springs, Colo., Jana Willsey of Denver and Corinne Shalvoy of Castle Rock went 1, 2 and 3 for the top three females while Joshua Lund of Boulder, Pat Cade of Leadville and Chad Trammell of Anchorage stood on the men’s podium (which also happened to be the M30-39 podium).
The course runs through old mining roads and trails, reaching a maximum elevation of 13,185 feet (4,019m). This was the race’s 19th year.(06/24/2019) ⚡AMP
Run through the historic mining district’s challenging old mining roads and trails, and hit a high of 13,185 feet at Mosquito Pass during the Blueprint for Athletes Leadville Trail Marathon or Heavy Half Marathon. The views will leave you breathless, if you’re not already. This exciting race is hosted in the Historic Mining District located on the east side of...more...
Former elite US marathoner Kara Goucher was the fifth female across the finish line and first in her 40-49 age group at yesterday’s Leadville Trail Marathon in the Colorado Rockies. “Without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she tweeted–quite a statement from a two-time Olympian, world championship silver medallist, and two-time Boston Marathon third-place finisher.}
Goucher has blogged about the experience of transitioning from the roads to the trails on her sponsor Oiselle’s blog, where she also dispenses advice to those considering (or executing) a similar transition. It seems road running and trail running are, well, quite different. For one thing, terrain and weather conditions play havoc with road runners’ expectations regarding time and pace, which are mostly beyond anyone’s control. (Goucher’s time yesterday was 3:54:07.)
Tara Richardson of Glenwood Springs, Colo., Jana Willsey of Denver and Corinne Shalvoy of Castle Rock went 1, 2 and 3 for the top three females while Joshua Lund of Boulder, Pat Cade of Leadville and Chad Trammell of Anchorage stood on the men’s podium(06/17/2019) ⚡AMP
The big cats are a regular part of life in Boulder, but the former Olympian wasn’t expecting to see one on a populated road.
Even Kara Goucher, 2:24:52 marathoner and mainstay of U.S. women’s distance running for over a decade, gets spooked sometimes. But when it’s a dangerous wild predator just inches away from you, that’s understandable.
Since the return of an old hamstring injury forced Goucher to drop out of January’s Houston Marathon after 16 miles—her first marathon attempt since her heartbreaking fourth-place finish at the 2016 Olympic Trials—Goucher has taken her running in a new direction: the trails.
Though she wants more time to acclimate to the new discipline, Goucher told Runner’s World, training in her home of Boulder, Colorado has been going well. That is, until she nearly collided with a mountain lion.
Goucher set out around 8:45 a.m. local time on Monday, May 6, toward the trail systems west of Boulder. As she passed alongside a parked truck outside a residential construction site on Sunshine Canyon Drive—still a Boulder road, not a trail—a mountain lion sprinted across the front of the vehicle. The two were inches away when they saw each other, Goucher told Runner’s World.
“It happened so fast,” Goucher said. “In my mind I was like, ‘That’s not a dog, that’s not a cat. Holy sh--.’”
Goucher set out around 8:45 a.m. local time on Monday, May 6, toward the trail systems west of Boulder. As she passed alongside a parked truck outside a residential construction site on Sunshine Canyon Drive—still a Boulder road, not a trail—a mountain lion sprinted across the front of the vehicle. The two were inches away when they saw each other, Goucher told Runner’s World.
“It happened so fast,” Goucher said. “In my mind I was like, ‘That’s not a dog, that’s not a cat. Holy sh--.’”
But the circumstances—along a developed, populated road in broad daylight—caught her off guard.
“The more I’ve talked to people, the more I’ve thought about it, the fact I ran into it was such a fluke incident,” she said.
Goucher hasn’t braved the trails alone since the incident. (She has run with her male training partner on the trails and alone on the road.) She’s not sure if the unease will wear off in time, but doesn’t plan to venture into the wilderness alone in the near future.
Her biggest takeaway is the need to be more actively prepared for similar encounters, Goucher said. In theory, she knew the standard advice—stay calm, stand your ground, appear intimidating—but that knowledge went out the window in the moment.
“I don’t normally worry about it, because I think I make smart choices,” she said. “But people should practice making yourself big and backing away. I want to make sure if I’m in the situation again, I make the right decisions.”(05/25/2019) ⚡AMP
Kara Goucher is a World Championship silver medallist, two-time Boston third-place finisher, and an American distance running legend. After an illustrious track career, Goucher moved to the roads. Now she’s making a second move from the roads to the trail, running her debut trail marathon at Leadville.
Goucher announced on Monday that she will be trying something new this June. She said in a race preview, “I started running when I was six and I loved it right away.
I loved being outside, being in the woods and having my heart feel like it was going to beat out of my chest. Now that the days of trying to make Olympic teams are past me, I kind of want to go back to what got me into running in the first place.”
Goucher ran the Houston Marathon in January and had a tough time. After a much anticipated return to the roads, the Olympian didn’t finish the race as a result of an old injury flare up.
After heartbreak in Houston, the runner is excited to get back to her running roots and try out the trail. The Leadville Trail Marathon runs June 15, 2019.(03/12/2019) ⚡AMP
The legendary “Race Across The Sky” 100-mile run is where it all started back in 1983. This is it. The race where legends are created and limits are tested. One hundred miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain — from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet. You will give the mountain respect, and earn respect from all. ...more...
Emily Sisson’s focus for Sunday’s Aramco Houston Half-Marathon is all about running a fast time. The Team New Balance athlete admitted, however that she’s feeling a little out of her comfort zone.
“I’m used to racing New York Half where I’m, like, really focused on all the competition. I’m still really focused on that here, but I’ve never run on a really fast course before, so that was never on my mind, really. It’s a good opportunity to run fast, so I’d like to break sixty-eight minutes. I think that’s a realistic goal.”
The American record for the half-marathon is 1:07:25, a mark which Molly Huddle set on a chilly day here one year ago. Only Huddle, Deena Kastor (1:07:34), and Jordan Hasay (1:07:55) have broken 1:08-flat on a record-quality course (Kara Goucher ran 1:06:57 on the slightly-aided Great North Run course in England in 2007). Sisson, 27, has the road racing chops to challenge Huddle’s mark, and said that her recent training in Arizona has her in very good form.
“I feel much more fit than I was two years ago when I ran my PR in New York,” Sisson observed. “I know Molly made a comment about (my breaking) her record. She wouldn’t say something like that, just say something like that. So, I’m going to take that as a compliment that she thinks I’m fit and ready to run fast.”
At the NYC Half, women run separately from the men and typically start the race cautiously. The weather is usually cold, the course is hilly, and the athletes like to warm into their pace. Here, Sisson will have to get on her goal pace quickly, despite the fact that it will also be cold (just above freezing at the start). She’s a little worried about that, especially with so many sub-elite men running near her and the other top women.
“It’s so different than New York,” Sisson explained. “In New York I feel you have a little bit of a warm-up period. We start in the park, then go over the Manhattan Bridge. So, you’re like jogging the first 5-K. It will be different going straight from the gun this time. You start with the guys, so it will be hard to hold back a little bit.”(01/19/2019) ⚡AMP
Kara Goucher suffered several years of running injuries, and thought she might never run a marathon again. But in her post this morning, she said this morning that she’s got the urge to run again. “I have no racing requirements in my four sponsorship/partnership contacts, I no longer feel like I need to prove anything to anyone, this is just for me. For my joy of running, training hard and running the marathon.”
She will run the Houston Marathon on January 20th, seven years after making her second Olympic team there. Goucher is an World Championship silver medallist in the 10,000m and has a personal best time of 2:25:53 in the marathon. She represented the USA at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games.(01/08/2019) ⚡AMP