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Stephen Scullion sets new Irish Marathon record in London Marathon

An Irish record for Stephen Scullion, an unexpected defeat for pre-race favorite Eliud Kipchoge and business as usual for Brigid Kosgei were just some of the talking points from yesterday’s very unusual London Marathon.

Run over 19 and a bit laps of St James Park, an autumn date and no spectators all marked out the 40th edition of the event as very different to the norm.

One aspect not to change was the unpredictable nature of marathon racing.

Things have been going swimmingly for Scullion over the past 12 months, apart from the occasional retirement.

A runner-up spot and Irish title at last year’s Dublin Marathon were followed by a fifth place in the Houston Marathon last January.

That qualified him for the Olympics because it was a gold standard marathon, although his time was outside the 2:11:30 qualifying standard.

As much affected by the lockdown as everyone else, the 31-year-old Belfast man set the athletics world talking with a Northern Ireland half-marathon record in Larne last month.

But surely only a few expected him to become arguably the fastest Irishman of all time with a 2:09:49 clocking for 11th in yesterday’s race.

Scullion put down a marker from early on, moving away from a group, consisting largely of British runners chasing the Olympic qualifying time and paced by Sir Mo Farah.

Instead, he ran in a small group of three, equidistant between the lead pack and Mo’s gang, for most of the way.

Whilst many faded in the rainy conditions, the Clonliffe Harrier stayed strong to complete his best-ever performance over the 26.2 mile distance.

Whilst Scullion’s time clearly displaces Kevin Seaward (2:10:09) as NI record-holder, it also eclipses John Treacy’s 2:09:56, set when winning the silver medal at the LA Olympics, as the national record.

(10/05/2020) Views: 85 ⚡AMP
by Malcolm McCausland
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge loses to retain 2020 London Marathon title.

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge loses the 40th London Marathon  after finishing at 8th position in time of 2:08:42.Shura Kitata from Ethiopia won with a time of 2:05:42 which was a close finish with Vincent Kipchumba 2:05:45.Lemma Sisay came third 2:05:45  after leading from 25km to almost 41.8km where the high pace set by Kitata edge him out of the lead and settled at third position

The men race which was full of surprises saw Eliud Kipchoge who has won four London marathons and never lost for seven years over the distance dropped at 22-mile mark  due to stomach issues,hip problem and right ear blockage.

The men had 3 pace makers who helped them crossed 5km in 14:48,10km 29:45 and all through 15km in 44:31. At 25km , Lemma Sisay hicked the pace higher making the group goes in a single lane.Vincent Kipchumba picked a paced through 30km at 1:29:00.Mo farah on the chasing pack  was pacing for European athletes who wanted to beat personal best and also Olympics qualifyers time.

In the women category ,world record holder Brigid kosgei swept a win in 2:18:58 followed a distance away by Hall Sara of USA 2:22:01 while Ruth Chepngetich settle at 2:22:05.Sara Hall set her pb after outshining Chepngetich(KE) in the last 300m who had harmstring problem.

The women race had pacemakers than included Vivian Kiplagat that did a nice job despite harsh weather conditions with incessant rain with alot of humidity and low temperatures of about 9 degrees celsius.The 19.7 laps race around St. James Park rather than normal  traditional route was tough for the majority of the athletes that saw the likes of Vivian Cheruiyot dropped in the middle of the race.The 2020 London marathon route was change to loop running due to covid-19 pandemic that has affected all sports facilities in the entire world.

(10/04/2020) Views: 89 ⚡AMP
by Willie Korir reporting from Kenya
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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2020 London Marathon is set to be the race of the year

Top two long distance runners Kipchoge and Kenenisa come face to face on October 4

Bekele is the second fastest man in the 42.2 km race London Marathon is set to be the race of the year

Almost a year to the first anniversary of Eliud Kipchoge making history by being the first human to run the marathon below 2 hours in Vienna, he is set to run his first marathon after that triumphant race.

Come next Sunday morning, on the start line will be these two men among other elite runners, as they put their enviable times on the line.  

Eliud Kipchoge holds both the world record (2.01.39) set in 2018 and a sub-2-hour personal best marathon time of 1:59.40, while Kenenisa Bekele is the second fastest man in the 42.2 km race having come two seconds shy of beating the world record in 2019.

A sub-2 hour in this race is out of question, but could we have a world record?

Considering the very elite field that will be running and the expected fast pace due to a modified course, many pundits are rooting for a world record.

Why should we fancy a world record? One just needs to look at the assembled elite field and an equally elite squad of pacemakers and will see why a record could be a possibility.

Of the 45 elite men chosen to run this race; five have a personal best time of below two hours and four minutes (2:04), eight are sub-2:05 and 11 sub-2:06.  

Without considering the times of the remaining runners, this already promises to be a very fast race.

The frosting on the cake are the eight elite pacemakers led by Sir Mo Farah and Kenya’s Victor Chumo and you have an atmosphere close to that of INEOS 1:59 Challenge; where the 41 elite pacers kept Kipchoge’s pace at a high tempo throughout.

Unlike in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge though, should the world record be broken in the London marathon, it will stand.

This is because the pacemakers will not be rotated throughout the race as they did in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge - but will be the same through the first 30 kilometers after which, they will drop out.  

Secondly, the pacers will not form a deliberate human shield around the athletes to protect them from head winds.

Lastly, the corners of the course have not been specially modified to aid the athletes as they go round them.

There is a counter argument that a world record is not a possibility. The main thrust of this argument is that the race will have very many twists and turns during the 19 laps in the 2.15km route.

The race will also be run on concrete compared to asphalt which athletes argue is softer on the knee joint.

Furthermore, if history is anything to go by, in the last 17 years, the world record has been broken seven times and all of them, at the Berlin marathon.

(09/30/2020) Views: 91 ⚡AMP
by Paul Ochieng and Gerald Lwande
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Abu Dhabi Marathon champion Vivian Kiplagat is among the athletes enlisted late to lay the groundwork for the women’s elite London Marathon field

So stellar is the London Marathon cast that they have an Abu Dhabi and Honolulu Marathon champion as pacemaker.

Never mind the fact that multiple world and Olympic champion Mo Farah is also a “rabbit” for the October 4 race that will be televised live on NTV.

Abu Dhabi Marathon champion Vivian Jerono Kiplagat is among the athletes enlisted late to lay the groundwork for the women’s elite field.

The London Marathon is the only World Marathon Majors race scheduled post-coronavirus after Berlin, Boston, New York and Chicago marathons were cancelled.

Tokyo managed to sneak in an elite-only race in March before all hell broke lose, coronavirus-wise.

Kiplagat, who has been training with the world record holder Brigid Kosgei in Kapsait, Elgeyo Marakwet County, is optimistic that her training mate will retain her title and if possible run a course record.

Pacing for the first time in history, the soft-spoken athlete said that she has done adequate training and will be looking forward to a good race on October 4.

“I have done good training and I believe I will be able to finish the required distance but the most important thing is to help my friend and training mate Brigid to retain her title. She has done well in training and I trust her when she lines for the race,” she said.

Kiplagat was preparing for the Paris Marathon and was looking forward to be on the podium, but, just like many other athletes, she was rudely interrupted by coronavirus.

This made her reduce her work load aiming to just to keep fit as she waits for another season but she is happy she will be racing anyway.

“I was supposed to compete in Paris and I was in good shape… I knew I would be on the podium there, but the virus stopped my plans. It affected everybody and I’m happy I have been tasked to pace for London athletes. I will be doing my best despite the fact that it’s my first time,” said Kiplagat.

She noted that despite the huge expectations having been training with the world record holder, and coupled with the fact that she will be competing with the best in the world, she is confident that she’s up to the task.

“I was called upon to come back to the camp which is still closed for the other athletes and we had to prepare for the last three months. We are now finalising on our programme as we look forward to a good race,” she said.

Kiplagat also said that Brigid has been her mentor and she wants to run in future like her as she looks forward to taking the sport to another level.

“Athletics will always change, and I want to be in history as one of the athletes who took the sport to another level. My fans should watch this space!” she declared.

Kiplagat then stormed to victory in Abu Dhabi Marathon last year after she clocked 2:21:11, setting another new personal best, shaving over a minute off the time set in her victory at the Milano Marathon in 2019.

(09/25/2020) Views: 91 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Britain's Mo Farah will race only 10,000m at Tokyo Olympics

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah has said he will not defend his 5,000 meters title in Tokyo next year and will focus on the 10,000m race instead as age catches up with the Briton.

Farah, 37, won gold in both events at the 2012 London Games as well as the 2016 edition in Rio and is bidding to become the first athlete to win the 10,000m three times at the Olympics.

“I’m getting on a bit and I think the key thing is to stick to one event and see what I can do,” Farah told the BBC.

“I’m definitely motivated, I’m still hungry and I still want it more. It would be history, and I’ve already made history in terms of long distance and I was the first British athlete to achieve back-to-back Olympics (gold medals).

“I have to keep enjoying it, keep smiling and I love what I do. It’s going to be hard but it is possible.”

The Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for this year, were postponed to July-August 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, Farah returned to the track after three years away to break the world record for the one-hour run.

Farah ran a distance of 21,330 meters at the Brussels Diamond League meeting to eclipse Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie’s mark, set in Ostrava 13 years ago, by 45 meters.

(09/15/2020) Views: 118 ⚡AMP
by Ken Ferris
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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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Tommy Hughes sets half marathon world record for M60

All eyes were on Mo Farah on Saturday at the Antrim Coast Half-Marathon, but the most impressive result of the day came from 60-year-old Tommy Hughes, who shattered the M60 half-marathon world record, finishing in 1:10:09. The previous record was held by Martin Rees who ran 1:10:26. 

Hughes, the Irish runner who turned 60 in January, has run a 2:27:52 marathon, also a world record for his age. While Hughes’ times continue to be extremely impressive, he has a long history in the sport and even competed in the marathon at the 1992 Olympics, where he finished 72nd. His lifetime personal best is 2:13:15 from the Marrakech Marathon. 

With his son Eoin Hughes, he broke the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon by a father and son at the 2019 Frankfurt Marathon. Tommy ran a blazing 2:27:52 and Eoin ran 2:31:30 for a combined time of 4:59:22, two minutes and 50 seconds better than the previous record of 5:02:12, set in 2015 by Graham and Ben Green. 

 

(09/14/2020) Views: 144 ⚡AMP
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Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Welcome to the new Antrim Coast Half Marathon hosted by Larne AC. The redesigned P&O Ferries Antrim Coast Half Marathon (formerly Larne Half Marathon) course promises to be one of the flattest and fastest in the UK & Ireland, taking in many prominent landmarks & stunning scenery along the route. ...

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Mo Farah and Lily Partridge were the winners at Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Mo Farah takes first as Marc Scott, Ben Connor, Stephen Scullion and M60 Tommy Hughes impress, while Lily Partridge enjoys women’s win

Mo Farah was first across the line in the Antrim Coast Half Marathon on Saturday (Sept 12) in 60:31 but the most eye-catching performances came from those following in his slipstream.

Runner-up Marc Scott was close behind with 60:43 on his debut at the distance to go No.3 on the UK all-time rankings. In third, London Marathon-bound Ben Connor took 16 seconds off his PB with 60:59 to go equal fourth with Steve Jones in fourth on the UK all-time lists.

Stephen Scullion, in fourth, smashed the Northern Ireland record by a big margin with 61:12. Like Connor, the Belfast man is set to run the London Marathon on October 4 too as the popular local athlete took more than two minutes off his best.

Lily Partridge, another London Marathon-bound Olympic hope, impressed as well as she broke away from Sam Harrison to win the women’s race in a Northern Ireland all-comers’ record of 71:36 – around a minute outside her PB but 23 seconds ahead of Harrison (71:58) as Clara Evans was third 72:21 and Becky Briggs, in fourth, ran a UK under-20 record of 72:54.

Perhaps most impressive of all, though, was masters sensation Tommy Hughes, who broke Martin Rees’ world half-marathon record for an M60 with 71:09 (even quicker than the 71:26 originally publicised shortly after he finished).

An Olympian in the marathon back in 1992, the Irish runner Hughes has been on a record-breaking spree recently and continued his great form here.

Ordinarily Farah and others might have been racing in the 40th Great North Run this weekend but with the event cancelled due to coronavirus he came to Northern Ireland instead to run in an event organised by his old friend and fellow athlete from his student days, James McIlroy.

McIlroy put together a fine domestic field for the event and Farah certainly did not have it all his own way as he only broke away from the in-form Scott in the final mile.

Scott has broken the UK 5km road record this summer and took the British 5000m title last week. He was leading in the closing stages but had no answer to Farah’s breakaway surge in the final mile.

A lead quartet of Farah, Scott, Connor and Scullion broke away early and ran together for much of the distance. Behind, Kevin Seaward was fifth in 63:09 followed by Josh Griffiths (63:12), Tom Evans (63:19), Adam Craig (63:28) and Adam Hickey (64:37).

There had been talk of Farah potentially attacking his UK record of 59:32 from Lisbon in 2015 but during media interviews on Friday he said winning the race was the main goal and he did not want to underestimate his rivals and treat it as a time trial.

Runners in this elite-only event, which was sponsored by P&O Ferries, enjoyed decent weather on a picturesque course that proved a great advertisement for athletics in Northern Ireland. The only frustration for fans was the poor quality of the live stream, which made following the race difficult after organisers had, ironically, encouraged spectators to stay at home instead of supporting from the side of the road.

(09/12/2020) Views: 211 ⚡AMP
by Jason Henderson
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Mo Farah has asked for pacing assistance in this weekend's P&O Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Four times Olympic champion Mo Farah has asked for pacing assistance in this weekend's P&O Antrim Coast Half Marathon which is shaping up to be the highest quality road race ever in the province.

The 37-year-old is planning for the Larne event on the back of his weekend one hour World track record in Brussels.

Farah ran a total of 21,330 metres, which beat Haile Gebrselassie's 2007 record by 45m, to seal his first ever outdoor world record.

Farah was so focused that he appeared not to realise when the hour was up and kept running before being told he could stop.

There was also a world record in the women's event as Holland's Sifan Hassan set a new best of 18.93km.

Farah has made it clear that, in Larne, he is hoping to beat his own British Half Marathon record of 59 mins 32 secs set five years ago.

In order to do so, however, he has requested help to maintain the hectic pace.

This has created an issue for the organisers as there is no-one in the current list of runners who is capable of maintaining the tough sub one hour pace alongside Farah. GB's Ben Conor is the fastest athlete with a personal best of 61.11.

A possible compromise is simply for Farah to be paced by someone for as much of the race as possible.

Either way, a new NI All Comers record is certain. The current record stands to the Klimes twins, who were joint winners of the 1986 Belfast Half when they ran 62.22.

World Championship 1,500 metres finalist Ciara Mageean will, meanwhile, race tomorrow in the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, in the Czech Republic.

The 28-year-old Portaferry woman will be trying to repeat her recent top form which has produced Irish records at 800 and 1,000 metres.

Elsewhere, around 400 competitors took part in the latest Eikon road races at Down Royal.

Victory in the 5k event went to Willowfield's Aaron Woodman in 15 minutes, 31 seconds. He was followed by Peter Donnelly (15.42), who was a second ahead of Foyle Valley's Darragh Crossan.

In the ladies race, North Down's Jessica Craig was a comfortable winner in 16.18. She was followed by Finn Valley's Natasha Kelly (17.46) and Omagh's Lauren Molloy (17.52).

The 10K race went to Derry's Stephen McAlary (31.50) followed by North Belfast's David Hamilton (32.47).

Lagan Valley's Caitlyn Harvey took the ladies prize in 38.00 from Newcastle's Anne Gosling (39.57).

60-year-old Tommy Hughes, of Strive Racing, dominated in the 10 miles race with a time of 54.40.

Second went to team mate Eoin Hughes (55.09), followed by Edward Cooke of Victoria Park (55.45). Sperrin's Karen Alexander won the Ladies race by four minutes in 63.49.

(09/08/2020) Views: 164 ⚡AMP
by Brian Hill
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Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Welcome to the new Antrim Coast Half Marathon hosted by Larne AC. The redesigned P&O Ferries Antrim Coast Half Marathon (formerly Larne Half Marathon) course promises to be one of the flattest and fastest in the UK & Ireland, taking in many prominent landmarks & stunning scenery along the route. ...

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Kenya's Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon to take on Genzebe in Ostrava

After settling for another world record near-miss in the Brussels Diamond League on Friday, Kenya's Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon is set to resume her special rivalry with Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Ostrava on Sept. 8.

Having finished just 17 hundredths of a second short at last month's opening Diamond League meeting in Monaco, Kipyegon seemed on track to achieve her ambition with 200 meters remaining, but faltered slightly over the final few meters to cross the line in 2:29.92.

The Kenyan now will return to her 1,500m specialty against Dibaba with hope of continuing her perfect start to Diamond League series at the Ostrava Golden Spike (Czech Republic) on Tuesday.

"I'm happy with the win, the record didn't come out as we had planned but I'm satisfied with my general performance, now I will concentrate on the next competition, the Ostrava meeting," Kipyegon told Xinhua on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kenya's world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei's track debut ended in disappointment after losing the battle to The Dutch world 1,500m and 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan who went to break the World Hour record after she reached 18,930 meters as the hour elapsed, beating the existing mark of 18,517 meters set by Ethiopia's Dire Tune in 2008.

Kosgei was later disqualified for infringement after she was found to have stepped on the rail.

In the men's One Hour event, Britain's and Olympic champion Mo Farah held off the challenge of his training partner, home athlete Bashir Abdi, to set a new mark of 21,330m - eclipsing the 2007 mark of 21,285m set by Haile Gebrselassie. Abdi finished eight meters behind.

(09/05/2020) Views: 88 ⚡AMP
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Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir smashes half marathon World Record in Prague

The Kenyan middle-distance runner had only herself to race in Prague after breaking away from the pack after 20 minutes

Kenyan runner Peres Jepchirchir has smashed the women-only race half marathon world record at the Prague 21.1KM on Saturday.

The 26-year-old clocked 1:05:34 over 16.5 laps of Letna Park’s oval course to obliterate Netsanet Gudeta’s previous best mark of 1:06:11, set at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships.

Jepchirchir broke away from her rivals after just 20 minutes, passing 10 kilometres in 30:32. The lack of pacemakers started to show as her pace slowed in the second half of the race, but she still finished well under the previous record.

“I thank God… I’m so excited… I’m satisfied with the result although I thought I could have run 64:50, but I thank God for what He has given me,” the 26-year-old told reporters after the race.

“It was difficult to run alone. If I could have had (good) pacemakers, I could have run 64.”

This is Jepchirchir’s second world record over the distance. In 2017 she clocked 1:05:06 in a mixed-race in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE - a record which stood for just under two months.

Later at the Prague 21.1km, the men are hoping to break 58:30, a time surpassed only twice in history.

While there was no record broken in the men's race, victorious Kenyan Kibiwott Kandie did manage a Personal Best time of 58:37.

Jep chirchir’s achievement comes a day after another record-breaking event at the Brussels Diamond League on Friday 4th September, where Sifan Hassan and Mo Farah set new one hour world records.

Dutchwoman Hassan, who won 10,000m gold at last year's World Championships, covered a distance of 18.930km, while four-time Olympic champion Farah broke Haile Gebrselassie's one-hour world best to set a new mark of 21.330km.

(09/05/2020) Views: 164 ⚡AMP
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Prague Half Marathon

Prague Half Marathon

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 five beautiful bridges. Take in majestic views of the...

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Hassan and Farah break one-hour world records in Brussels

Britain's Mo Farah and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands set respective men’s and women’s world one-hour records* at the Wanda Diamond League exhibition meeting at the King Baudouin Stadium tonight.

Britain’s multiple world and Olympic champion held off the challenge of his training partner, home athlete Bashir Abdi, to set a new mark of 21,330m – eclipsing the 2007 mark of 21,285m set by Haile Gebrselassie. Abdi finished eight metres behind.

Hassan’s record also came after a titanic battle with Kenya’s world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei, although it later transpired the latter had been disqualified for stepping on to the infield in the closing stages.

The Dutch world 1500m and 10,000m champion reached 18,930 metres as the hour elapsed, beating the existing mark of 18,517 metres set by Ethiopia’s Dire Tune in 2008.

Moving into the final quarter of an hour, Tune’s mark seemed certain to be bettered, given that both women were more than a minute ahead of world record pace. The only question remained – which champion would secure it?

As they shadowed each other, swapping the lead but never getting away from each other, it was impossible to predict who would triumph. Hassan said afterwards that she thought Kosgei would “run away from her”.

But when the gun went to mark the final minute with the pair halfway down the back straight, Hassan moved ahead once more, and this time it was decisive.

Looking once behind her, the Dutch athlete took off, pumping her arms, going for broke. Kosgei, baring her teeth, did everything in her power to stay in touch, but there was no catching up, and when the 60 minutes elapsed, Hassan slowed to a halt halfway down the back straight after a crazy sprint finish.

"I didn't feel good before the start of the race, I even puked," revealed Hassan. "After 30 minutes of racing, I finally felt better. It was in the final 20 minutes that I gained the confidence I needed. When there were only two minutes left on the clock, the fun began. I just gave everything I had left. I am so happy with the win and the world record. It wasn't easy."

As the men’s race moved into the final quarter of an hour, the ghostly figure of the current world record holder, Gebrselassie, was shown in virtual shape, running at their side. They were bang on the pace.

With 10 minutes to go, they moved ahead of the world record schedule. They passed 18,000 metres in 50:43.

Inside the final five minutes, the home runner, who the day before had confessed that he expected Farah to beat him, moved to the lead, but the multiple champion was shadowing him still.

As advertised, the Wavelight visual pace-guidance system employing differently coloured LED lights installed on the inside edge of the track made the pursuit of records on the night immediately intelligible.

With three minutes remaining, both men were 30 metres clear of the leading blue lights, showing the intended pace, and the green lights snaking behind them, showing the actual world record pace.

A second world record appeared in the offing – and the same question was being asked. Who would break it?

The gun went to mark one minute to go, then Farah made a significant break. He charged around the bend as the final seconds ticked away, and at the same spot where Hassan had earlier triumphed, Farah did too, taking a few seconds to realise it was all over.

“The world record is yours, Mo!” said the stadium MC.

Abdi had the consolation of lowering the world best for 20,000m from 56:26 to 56:20.2*, having led his friend through that mark.

"I was very excited to be back on the track," said Farah. "I knew I was in a great shape after the hard work I did in the last six weeks. At a certain point, with just 10 laps to go, it became tough so I was happy that Bashir took the lead, but I felt great with just one minute to go. A fast last lap is still my best tactic."

Kenya’s Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon had to settle for another near miss as she attempted to beat the world 1000m record of 2:28.98 set on this track in 1996 by Russia’s double Olympic champion Svetlana Masterkova.

Having finished just 17 hundredths of a second short at last month’s opening Diamond League meeting in Monaco, Kipyegon seemed on track to achieve her ambition with 200 metres remaining, but faltered slightly over the final few metres to cross the line in 2:29.92.

Norway’s 19-year-old European 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who has already reduced the European record to 3:28.68, made a bold effort to improve on that but his honourable solo effort saw him finish in 3:30.69, with Jesus Gomez of Spain a distant second in 3:34.64.

In the pole vault, Sweden’s 20-year-old world record-holder Mondo Duplantis saw the last challenger, home vaulter Ben Broeders, fall away with a best of 5.70m.

The European champion then went on to clear a meeting record of 6.00m at his first attempt before having another crack at 6.15m, a centimetre higher than the best outdoor clearance ever made, by Sergey Bubka in 1994. He didn’t make it. But surely his time will come sooner rather than later.

Twenty-year-old Rani Rosius, who had won the Belgian title in 11.39, needed 11.43 to earn another prestige victory in the women’s 100m, with France’s Carolle Zahl second in 11.56.

Britain’s world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson had said the day before that this meeting – where she was competing in the 100m hurdles and the high jump – was effectively the highlight of her season, and she had a reasonably satisfactory result in the first of them, which was won by home champion Anne Zagre in 13.21.

Despite an uncertain start, Johnson-Thompson drew on her strength to take fourth place in 13.57 – inside her previous season’s best of 13.73.

Zagre was chased home by Denmark’s Mette Graversgaard, who clocked 13.26, and Belgian compatriot Sarah Missinne, who ran a season’s best of 13.55.

Johnson-Thompson went on to equal her season’s best of 1.84m in a high jump won by Australia’s Nicola McDermott with 1.91m.

Poland’s Iga Baumgart-Witan won the women’s 400m in 52.13, while the men’s 200m went to Italy’s Eseosa Desalu in 20.39.

(09/05/2020) Views: 98 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom for World Athletics
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Sir Mo Farah will be targeting a new record in Larne on September 12

Athletics legend Sir Mo Farah will race in the upcoming P&O Antrim Coast Half Marathon.

The four-time Olympic champion has confirmed his entry for the race in Larne on September 12.

It is another major coup for the organizers who have assembled a stellar line-up of runners to compete in Northern Ireland.

The field also includes two-time world champions Aly Dixon and Iraitz Garro who will be joined by European champions Marc Scott, Jo Pavey and Gemma Steel.

"Hi guys, really looking forward to taking part in the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in Larne on September 12," Farah said in a video confirming his entry.

"One of my good friends James is organizing it and I said 'yes, I'll do it'. We have some great history. I am just really looking forward to it. I can't wait.

"Hopefully it is a fast course. It is really exciting."

Elite race organizers James McIlroy believes next month's field is one of the best ever assembled in Ireland or Britain.

"It is a brilliant line-up and we have a course to match; a very fast course which the runners will love," McIlroy said.

"We are looking forward to Sir Mo and the other elite runners coming over for a great race."

McIlroy added: "I have known Mo for over 20 years. We were room-mates when we were with Team GB, and before that at the UK Athletics High Performance Center.

"It is brilliant that Mo has cleared his diary to come here and race."

(09/01/2020) Views: 168 ⚡AMP
by Gareth Fullerton
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Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Welcome to the new Antrim Coast Half Marathon hosted by Larne AC. The redesigned P&O Ferries Antrim Coast Half Marathon (formerly Larne Half Marathon) course promises to be one of the flattest and fastest in the UK & Ireland, taking in many prominent landmarks & stunning scenery along the route. ...

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London Marathon releases race day schedule

A series of elite events will take place in St James’s Park on October 4

The race schedule for the elite-only Virgin Money London Marathon has been announced, with a series of events taking place throughout the day on Sunday October 4.

The action will kick off with the elite women’s race at 07:15 before the elite men’s race at 10:15 and the wheelchair races at 13:10.

As announced earlier this month, the 2020 London Marathon will not feature a mass race and the elite racing will take place within a “secure biosphere” in St James’s Park.

As recently confirmed by World Athletics, the times recorded in London will be eligible for Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification.

ELITE RACE SCHEDULE

07:15 – Elite women’s race

10:15 – Elite men’s race

13:10 – Wheelchair races

The elite men’s field features distance running greats Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele in a highly-anticipated clash, together with Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun, who placed second and third in 2019.

Britain’s Mo Farah will be a pacemaker to athletes looking to achieve the Olympic marathon qualifying standard of 2:11:30, with his compatriots Jonny Mellor, Chris Thompson and debutants Ross Millington and Ben Connor all set to run.

World record-holder and defending London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei leads the women’s field and is joined by five other women who have run inside 2:20: Ruth Chepngetich, Roza Dereje, Vivian Cheruiyot, Valary Jemeli and Degitu Azimeraw.

Among the leading British women confirmed to race are Steph Twell and Lily Partridge.

In the wheelchair races, both Daniel Romanchuk and Manuela Schär will defend their titles.

Athletes will cross the same traditional finish line on The Mall after each completing 19.8 laps of the St James’s Park course, while mass runners will take on their 26.2 miles from home or anywhere in the world as part of the event’s first virtual edition.

(08/28/2020) Views: 137 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Bashir Abdi and Sir Mo Farah talk about their upcoming one hour world record attempt

When the global implications of COVID-19 were made clear in early March, the UK’s Mo Farah and Belgium’s Bashir Abdi immediately thought about their families. Abdi had just come off of a stellar performance at the Tokyo Marathon – finishing 2nd in a time of 2:04.51 to break his own national record. He then went to Belgium to spend some time with his family but was planning to return to Ethiopia for a training camp in the spring. Farah was still in Ethiopia, training through an injury and looking to find his next race. Deciding to transition back down to the track from the roads meant that he wanted to sharpen his skills a few times in the leadup to the Olympic Games.

Neither, however, had any plans to line up at the beginning of September in an empty stadium in Belgium to break a world record. But since the end of July, the two have been training in Font-Romeu, France, with the goal of breaking Haile Gebrselassie’s one hour record. On September 4, they will be chasing a distance, rather than a time, at the reimagined AG Memorial Van Damme competition.

Months earlier, in highland Ethiopia, Farah was focused on getting into some races. “At that time I wasn’t thinking anything except finding a race to test myself,” he said. “I was supposed to go leave at the end of March but so many countries were going into lockdown and I left quickly to make sure I didn’t get stuck and could get back to the UK to be with my family.”

With his four children at home due to school closures, Farah embraced the time with his family after his safe arrival. It allowed him to recover from his injury and was a welcome distraction to the Olympic Games being cancelled. He even got some of his competitive juices flowing while being a stay-at-home dad, challenging his kids and his wife to competitions like mini-triathlons, and shooting football penalties in a dizzied state.

Abdi was in Belgium but was so sure of his plans to return to Ethiopia in April, that he left many of his belongings in a house the Mudane team rents outside of Addis Ababa. Instead, he trained in the uncertainty in a much colder and damper Belgium, and was able to care for his wife before she gave birth in June. “Cancelling the Olympics was obviously sad to hear, especially after getting so much motivation from the race in Tokyo,” Abdi said. “But the most important thing is health, and it was nice to get to spend more time with my family. It would have been a difficult period welcoming in a new child and training for the Games.”

Even as they both embraced the circumstances and stayed in shape at home, the itch to compete lingered. Thus, as soon as the idea was presented to chase the record, they were in.

While in cycling, the one hour record is an oft-contested event, in running it is far more rare. Although the event has roots dating back to the mid-1800s, it never garnered comparable popularity, despite legends such as Paavo Nurmi, Emil Zatopek, Jos Hermens, and the current record holder, Haile Gebreselassie, owning impressive titles at various points.

To get the record, Farah will have to beat Gebreselassie’s distance of 21,285 meters, which he ran in 2007 at the 46th Golden Spike Grand Prix in Ostrava, Czech Republic. However, Gebreselassie had an important asset on his side, which Farah and Abdi will not: a packed stadium. Because of the pandemic, the event will be closed off to spectators. In the final meters when they are throwing down the hammer, the arena will remain still and silent.

But little phases Farah at this point in his career, whose accomplishments are too long to list. “I’ve been running since I was 12 and over the years you just learn from races what works for you and what doesn’t work for you,” he said. Obviously this is a different style of running, but he plans to employ similar tactics for this attempt. “It’s really first just about getting fit – once I’m fit enough to run under 60 minutes for a half marathon I can build smaller components from there.”

(08/28/2020) Views: 241 ⚡AMP
by Hannah Borenstein
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Brigid Kosgei will be targeting records in Brussels

Brigid Kosgei is set to make her serious track debut at the AG Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meeting in Brussels on September 4, when she will join Sifan Hassan in attacking the one-hour world record.

Netherlands’ Hassan was announced for the event earlier this month, with the world 1500m and 10,000m champion targeting Dire Tune’s 2008 mark of 18,517km.

Now world marathon record-holder Kosgei has been added to the field as she works toward the defence of her title at the elite-only Virgin Money London Marathon on October 4.

According to her World Athletics profile, the Brussels meeting will be Kosgei’s first serious track event, with only road performances – including her incredible 2:14:04 marathon in Chicago last October – listed so far.

The 26-year-old has a half-marathon PB of 64:28 which she set when winning the Great North Run last year. Although that course is not record-eligible, Kosgei’s performance there is the fastest ever half-marathon time run by a woman.

The Kenyan’s best time for 15km is 48:54.

The meeting will also include a men’s one-hour event, with Britain’s four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah among those targeting Haile Gebrselassie’s 21,285km mark.

He will be joined by his training partner Bashir Abdi of Belgium and Norway’s Sondre Nordstad Moen.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon will aim to break the world 1000m record of 2:28.98 – a mark she missed by just 17 hundredths of a second in Monaco – when she lines up at the AG Memorial Van Damme.

The women’s 1000m replaces the 4x400m mixed relay event which had originally been planned, with the Borlée brothers having decided to end their season due to “slight injuries”.

Another change to the programme is the cancellation of the triathlon which had been set to see Belgium’s Olympic heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam and Britain’s world gold medalist Katarina Johnson-Thompson go head-to-head in the 100m hurdles, shot put and high jump.

Thiam has withdrawn from the meeting due to injury and Johnson-Thompson will now contest just the hurdles and high jump.

According to organizers, Thiam is suffering “continuous pain at the Achilles tendons and does not want to take any risk”.

The triathlon shot put will be replaced by a women’s 100m, while Brazil’s Olympic champion Thiago Braz has been added to the pole vault field alongside world record-holder Mondo Duplantis of Sweden.

Organizers had initially hoped to be able to welcome around 9000 spectators “in a safe and secure way” but the event is now set to take place behind closed doors.

(08/28/2020) Views: 114 ⚡AMP
by Athletics Weekly
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Kenyan Victor Chumo looking forward to London Marathon duties

As world marathon Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, the biggest threat to the Kenyan's 2:01:39 mark, prepare for the October 4 London Marathon, ‘Rabbit’ Victor Chumo is preparing for an equally daunting task.

Chumo will be pacing for Kipchoge as he seeks to retain his title in the streets of London and has revealed his kind of routine as he battles to stay sharp for the task ahead.

The reigning Barcelona Half Marathon champion disclosed that he has been running at least 30km daily ahead of what is expected to be a highly-charged race.

Chumo will be guiding the elite-runners only event, occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, where he leads the first group while Chicago Marathon champion, Mo Farah, will be pacing for the second group.

He said he fully understands what is at stake now that it will be the third time pacing for the only man to have dipped under two hours over the distance.

“I first paced Kipchoge during the Nike Breaking 2 where he ran 2:00: 25. I then paced him during Ineos 1:59 Challenge, running 1:59:40. With this, he has trust in me and I have to once again deliver," said Chumo.

Kipchoge will be chasing his fifth title in London after winning the 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 editions.

“There will be a strong field in London and that needs a strong pacesetter. You can imagine how speedy the race will be with some of the greatest marathon runners on show,” said the former Kenya Defence Forces man.

Kipchoge and Bekele (2:01:41) will also have to contend with some of the toughest challengers including nine who have dipped under 2:06.

They include Mosinet Geremew (2:02:55), Mule Wasihun (2:03:16), Sisay Lemma (2:03:36), Tamirat Tola (2:04:06), Marius Kipserem (2:04:11), Shura Kitata (2:04:49), Vincent Kipchumba (2:05:09), Sondre Nordstad Moen (2:05:48) and Gideon Kipketer (2:05:51).

Other pace-setters include Noah Kipkemoi, who also paced at Ineos Challenge, Erick Kiptanui, Alfred Barkach, Shadrack Kimining, Matt Clowes (Great Britain), and Jake Smith (Great Britain).

(08/26/2020) Views: 159 ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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World champion Ruth Chepng’etich promises thrilling battle at London Marathon

World champion Ruth Chepng’etich says her clash with world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei at London Marathon on October 4 will “read like a script from a thriller.”

“Nothing can really describe that rare moment when some of the best marathoners clash,” said Chepng’etich, who has been training in isolation in Ngong, Kajiado County.

“People should expect thrills and a tough battle. That is why I want to be in one of my best shape before meeting my good friend Brigid and the rest of the star-studded pack,” explained Chepng’etich as the London Marathon organisers Friday unleashed the star-studded elite cast for the rescheduled race on October 4.

NTV has exclusive rights for the race in Kenya and will broadcast the eagerly-awaited clash live.

The 26-year-old Chepnng’etich said everyone will be heading into the race with unknown qualities owing to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

“You really can’t tell what someone has been doing in isolation or predict the winning time,” said Chepng’etich, adding that it will feel great running her first World Marathon Majors race.

“It will take a lot of courage and focus to face some of these athletes who have conquered races at the World Marathon Majors like Brigid and Vivian Cheruiyot. I have a lot to learn from them too,” she said. Kosgei, who has a personal best of two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds, will be making her third stab at the London Marathon, having won last year in 2:18:20 after finishing second behind compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot in 2018 clocking 2:20:13.

Agemates, Kosgei and Chepng'etich will have company in Cheruiyot, who won in London in 2018 in a career best 2:18:31, and Valary Aiyabei, the winner of the 2019 Frankfurt Marathon (2:19.10).

British athletics legend Mo Farah has agreed to be one of the pacemakers for this year’s London Marathon with his aim to help fellow Britons make the qualifying time for the Olympics.

The 37-year-old will also hope to tee up a spectacular final duel between two fellow legends in Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele and Kenya’s world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

(08/22/2020) Views: 152 ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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London Marathon Elite Fields Released, 2020 elite field will be the best in years

Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele face battle from six more sub-2:05 runners in elite men’s race.

World record holder Brigid Kosgei among six sub-2:20 athletes in elite women’s race.

The Virgin Money London Marathon today confirmed the full fields for the historic elite men’s and women’s races on Sunday 4 October.

The elite men’s race – headlined by the greatest marathon runners in history, Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) and Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) – will include eight athletes who have run sub 2:05 marathons, including Mosinet Geremew (ETH) and Mule Wasihun (ETH) who were second and third respectively at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Sisay Lemma (ETH), Tamirat Tola (ETH), Marius Kipserem (KEN) and Shura Kitata (ETH) are the other men to have run inside 2:05 while Sondre Nordstad Moen (NOR), who broke the European hour record in Norway earlier this month by running 21.132km, is also included.

The news that World Athletics will lift its suspension of the Olympic qualification system for marathon races from 1 September means there will also be a clutch of athletes racing with the ambition to achieve the Olympic standard of 2:11:30.

Adding yet further superstar quality to the event, the Virgin Money London Marathon can also announce that Sir Mo Farah will be a pacemaker for this group of Olympic hopefuls.

Farah, the four-time Olympic champion, said: “The London Marathon has been so important to me since I was a schoolboy and when they asked me to do this I thought it would be great to help. I am in good shape, I’ll be in London that week and it fits in with my training.

“I’ve been training here in Font Romeu with some of the British guys who are going for that Olympic qualifying time and they are good lads. I know just how special it is just to compete for your country at an Olympic Games and it would be great to help other athletes achieve this. With the current global situation and lack of races, the Virgin Money London Marathon in October is the best chance for athletes to run the Olympic qualifying time.”

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “This is the greatest Olympian in British track and field history coming to run as a pacemaker to help others achieve their dreams of making the Tokyo Olympic Games. It is a wonderful gesture of togetherness from Sir Mo and I’m sure his presence and support will inspire the athletes chasing that qualifying time on Sunday 4 October.”

At present only two British athletes other than Farah have run inside this time: Callum Hawkins, who has been pre-selected for the Olympic Games marathon, and Jonny Mellor who ran 2:10:03 in Seville in January. Farah himself has opted to run on the track at the Olympic Games.

Mellor is one of a number of British athletes running the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon – The 40th Race – on Sunday 4 October. Other British men joining Mellor on the Start Line are Chris Thompson and debutants Ross Millington and Ben Connor.

Among the leading domestic women confirmed to race are Steph Twell, who ran a personal best (PB) of 2:26:40 in Frankfurt last year to go sixth on the British all-time rankings, and 2018 British marathon champion Lily Partridge.

The elite women’s field is headlined by world record holder Brigid Kosgei (KEN). Confirmed today are five other women who have run inside 2:20: current world champion Ruth Chepngetich (KEN), 2019 Valencia Marathon champion Roza Dereje (ETH), 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN), 2019 Frankfurt Marathon winner Valary Jemeli (KEN) and 2019 Amsterdam Marathon champion Degitu Azimeraw (ETH).

Ashete Bekere (ETH), the winner of last year’s BMW Berlin Marathon, Alemu Megertu (ETH), the 2019 Rome Marathon champion, plus Sarah Hall (USA) and Sinead Diver (AUS) are also included in a star-studded race.

(08/21/2020) Views: 240 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Mo Farah will be the pacemaker for the elite men's race at October's rescheduled London Marathon

Briton Mo Farah, 37, is among the competitors to have achieved the Olympic-qualifying time of two hours 11 minutes 30 seconds.

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who won last year's event, leads the men's field with Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia.

Reduced fields of 30-40 athletes will also compete for the elite women's and wheelchair titles on 4 October.

The races will take place on a bio-secure closed course amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The London Marathon has been so important to me since I was a schoolboy and when they asked me to do this I thought it would be great to help," said Farah, who finished third in 2018 and fifth last year.

"I am in good shape. I'll be in London that week and it fits in with my training."

Ethiopians Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun, who finished runner-up and third respectively in 2019, are among eight athletes who have run marathons in under two hours five minutes.

Brigid Kosgei of Kenya heads up the women's elite field alongside compatriot and world champion Ruth Chepngetich.

Ethiopia's Roza Dereje and Kenyans Vivian Cheruiyot, Valary Jemeli and Degitu Azimeraw are the other picks of the line-up.

The full elite wheelchair fields will be released next week.

The route will consist of laps of about 1.5 miles, taking in The Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Birdcage Walk and Buckingham Palace.

(08/21/2020) Views: 133 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway set his second European record of the season in the 1500m with 3:28.68 in the Monaco Diamond League on Friday

After breaking the European 2000m record with 4:50.01 at the Impossible Games in Oslo where he had the advantage of being paced by his brothers, Ingebrigtsen was racing against not only his older brother Filip but also the reigning world champion Timothy Cheruiyot from Kenya who was decisively beaten by the Ingebrigtsens in the virtual head-to-head clash between Oslo and Nairobi.

Aided by his training partners who were acting as his pacemakers, Cheruiyot blazed through the early stages in an unfathomably fast pace on his unofficial season’s debut. These exertions appeared to be catching up on the world champion as the pack closed up on Cheruiyot at the bell with Ingebrigtsen looming into view and Great Britain’s Jake Wightman also rounding into contention.

Ingebrigtsen was in position to strike off the final bend but the forward-leaning Cheruiyot kicked away again, holding the Norwegian off to win in a world leading 3:28.45 after an overly exuberant first 400 meters of 52.59. In contrast Ingebrigtsen ran a much more steady paced race and was rewarded with a phenomenally fast time of 3:28.68.

Ingebrigtsen’s time eclipsed Mo Farah’s European record of 3:28.81 which was set in the same stadium seven years ago and the teenager moves to eighth on the world all-time list which is still headed by Hicham El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26.00.

“I felt like I kept the same pace...going from 3:30 to 3:28 it's double the achievement. It's crazy,” said Ingebrigtsen whose previous lifetime best stood at 3:30.16.

Ingebrigtsen was gearing up for not only his Olympic debut in Tokyo as well as the now-cancelled European Championships in Paris where more continental honors must have surely beckoned. Despite the decimation of the summer calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic, motivation has by no means been lacking for the ebullient and popular Norwegian.

“This year I have been doing every session, I never skipped a single one because I was very motivated after Doha. That's why I can run this fast. It's unbelievable to run this fast in one race. It's one shot, one chance,” he said.

The Stade Louis II Stadium is the foremost venue for middle distance runners searching for fast times. Behind Ingebrigtsen, Wightman moved to fourth on the European all-time list - ahead of both Sebastian Coe (3:29.77) and Steve Cram (3:29.67) among others - with a marvelous lifetime best of 3:29.47.

Filip Ingebrigtsen, who had to concede the family record of 3:30.01 to Jakob tonight, almost matched his lifetime best with 3:30.35 in fourth. Reigning European indoor champion Marcin Lewandowski from Poland was seventh in 3:33.99.

(08/15/2020) Views: 138 ⚡AMP
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Sifan Hassan of Netherlands is expected to break first World record in Brussels after covid-19 lockdown.

AG Memorial Van Damme Organisers have comfirmed that one-mile record holder will be trying to break at Wanda Diamond league Meeting in Brussels on September 4, 2020.

 

Wolrd Champion in 1500m and 10 000m is highly expected to break 12 years 18.517km world record in 60 minutes.The record is currently held by Ethiopia's Dire Tune which she set in 2008.She is expected to do it after a difficult situation of covid-19 that has affected the entire world.During her interview about her preparedness, she has  said ; "This is a strange and difficult season , but i have been able to continue with my training as well as i could and i feel fit and healthy.There are very few occasions to compete these days and am delighted with the invitation from AG Memorial Van Damme to attack the one hour world record.It is a strong record but i take the challenge with both hands and i believe that i'm in the right shape to succeed."Said Hassan.

Women world record is familiarised with the place having race several races in Belgium.She set her 3000m national record 2014 and one-mile 2015 in the King Baudouin Stadium.Last year ,she also won 5000m title in Belgian Capital.2019 at her best season, she managed to broke one mile world record 4:12:33 in Monaco,European record in 3000m of 8:18:49 in Stanford and another 5000m European record of 14:22:12 in London.

Men 21.285km that is currently held by Haile Gabreselassie will be great fight between Sir Mo Farah of Britain and Bashir Abdi of Belgium.Sondre Moen who is expected to break Hermen 1975 European record will also be joining men challenge record challenge.

Other event that will take place is 1500m that Norwegian brothers Henrik,Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen are going to participate.

(08/11/2020) Views: 91 ⚡AMP
by Willie Korir
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World 1500m and 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan will attempt to break the one-hour world record at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Brussels on September 4

Organizers of the AG Memorial Van Damme have announced that world 1500m and 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan will attempt to break the one-hour world record at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Brussels on September 4.

The Dutch distance runner will have to cover more than 18.517km within 60 minutes to break the record set in 2008 by Ethiopia’s Dire Tune. If she is at her best, that distance should be within Hassan’s capabilities; when she set a half marathon PB of 1:05:15 in 2018, Hassan covered roughly 19.375km during the first hour.

Hassan is familiar with the track in the King Baudouin Stadium. Having set national records there for 3000m in 2014 and the mile in 2015, last year she secured the Diamond League title over 5000m in the Belgian capital. Aside from her unique double at the World Championships in Doha, Hassan’s momentous 2019 season also included a world mile record of 4:12.33 in Monaco, a European 3000m record of 8:18.49 in Stanford, and a European 5000m record of 14:22.12 in London.

“This is a strange and difficult season, but I have been able to continue my training as well as I could and I feel fit and healthy,” said Hassan. “There are very few occasions to compete these days and I am delighted with the invitation from the AG Memorial Van Damme to attack the one hour world record. It is a strong record but I take the challenge with both hands and I believe that I’m in the right shape to succeed.”

An attack on the men’s one-hour world record (Haile Gebreselassie’s 21.285km) had been previously announced with four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah and Belgian Bashir Abdi set to take on the challenge. They will now be joined by Norway’s Sondre Moen, who has set his sights on breaking the European record of 20.944km set by Jos Hermens in 1976.

A men’s 1500m has been added to the programme and it will be headlined by Norwegian brothers Henrik, Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

(08/11/2020) Views: 119 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Sir Mo Farah Confirmed that he will compete in the 10km Cape Town Marathon Virtual Race Run in the United Kingdom

Olympic gold medalist Sir Mo Farah will compete in the 10km Cape Town Marathon Virtual Race Run in the United Kingdom, which is scheduled to get underway on October 18.

The coronavirus pandemic saw the launch of the virtual event and while Cape Town Marathon participants may miss out on the spectacle, the virtual race promises to take all the iconic elements of Cape Town's favorite marathon to its global participant base.

This will be done through the race's custom-built and feature-packed app.

"This year, runners from across the globe can experience the magic of the Cape Town Marathon without having to travel, while the dynamic surround sound feature within the app will allow participants to listen to the unique sounds of the Cape Town Marathon route while treading the familiar ground of their chosen race route," said Cape Town Marathon Race Director, Renee Jordaan. 

Cape Town Marathon chairperson, Francois Pienaar, adds that it is a privilege to host the first virtual race of its kind in the world.  

"We are already in the spotlight as the only race on the African continent to enjoy the prestigious World Athletics Gold Label Status, so I am really proud that the world's first truly immersive virtual marathon comes from South Africa and Africa.

"I am also thrilled to confirm that World Champ, multiple Olympian and gold medalist, Sir Mo Farah, will race in the 10km Virtual Peace Run in the UK. His participation is a huge boost for the virtual race and shows that anyone can run the Cape Town Virtual Marathon, no matter where you are."

Sydney Mbhele, Chief Executive of Brand at Sanlam, says, “We are extremely proud to be sponsoring a first-of-its-kind virtual marathon that encourages people everywhere to ‘Run for Something’. This desire to stand for something, do good and make a tangible difference is part of Sanlam’s DNA. As a pan-African business, it’s encapsulated by our mission to invest in potential and foster positive financial futures across Africa for generations to come. To launch our Run for Something campaign, we’re donating R100,000 to CANSA and we’re rallying 5,000 Sanlam staff to run for CANSA on race day, globally. We urge others to join us. Let’s try and raise as much as possible for this vital NPO. Together, we can have a massive impact.”

The Cape Town Virtual Marathon, which also includes the 5km and 10km Peace Runs and newly-added half marathon, takes place on October 18, 2020. 

South African participants will be in for a treat on Race Day with the addition of 15 fully stocked water tables - including food, sweets and energy bars - at selected Woolworths stores across the country. The exact locations and safety protocols of these water tables will be released in the coming weeks to assist runners with their virtual race route planning.

(07/11/2020) Views: 210 ⚡AMP
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Cape Town Marathon

Cape Town Marathon

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is a City Marathon held in Cape Town, South Africa, which is sponsored by Sanlam, the City of Cape Town and Vital Health Foods. The marathon is held on a fast and flat course, starting and finishing in Green Point, near the Cape Town Stadium. Prior to existing in its current format, the Cape Town...

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Sir Mo Farah announced as ambassador for the Sanlam Virtual Cape Town Marathon

The Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon, which also includes the 5km and 10km Peace Runs and newly-added half marathon, takes place on 18 October 2020.

Race organizers and running enthusiasts are getting ready for a race with a difference, as the 100-day countdown to the Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon commences on 10 July.

Much has happened since the launch of the virtual event and subsequent cancellation of the traditional race due to COVID-19. And while Sanlam Cape Town Marathon participants may miss out on the spectacle and celebration offered by the road event, the virtual race promises to take all the iconic elements of Cape Town’s favorite marathon to its global participant base through the race’s custom-built and feature-packed app.

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon chairperson, Francois Pienaar, said that it was a privilege to host the first virtual race of its kind in the world.

"We are already in the spotlight as the only race on the African continent to enjoy the prestigious World Athletics Gold Label Status, so I am really proud that the world’s first truly immersive virtual marathon comes from South Africa and Africa.

"I am also thrilled to confirm that world champ, multiple Olympian, gold medalist and world record holder, Sir Mo Farah, will race in the 10km Virtual Peace Run in the UK. His participation is a huge boost for the virtual race and shows that anyone can run the Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon, no matter where you are," he said.

In a virtual media briefing held on Thursday, Farah said that he was looking forward to the event.

“We are all in this together, it's not just one country or one person so we just have to stay positive and keep the body ticking. It’s important for everyone running that they give it their best because there is a lot that goes into running, so just make the most of it and believe in the training you’ve done and the goal that you’ve set," he said.

"The challenges of 2020 became the catalyst for innovation and we are 100 days away from hosting a virtual race the world hasn’t seen before," added Sanlam Cape Town Marathon race director, Renee Jordaan.

"This year, runners from across the globe can experience the magic of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon without having to travel, while the dynamic surround sound feature within the app will allow participants to listen to the unique sounds of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon route while treading the familiar ground of their chosen race route," she said.

The Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon, which also includes the 5km and 10km Peace Runs and newly-added half marathon, takes place on 18 October 2020.

(07/09/2020) Views: 190 ⚡AMP
by Michael Pedro
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Cape Town Marathon

Cape Town Marathon

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is a City Marathon held in Cape Town, South Africa, which is sponsored by Sanlam, the City of Cape Town and Vital Health Foods. The marathon is held on a fast and flat course, starting and finishing in Green Point, near the Cape Town Stadium. Prior to existing in its current format, the Cape Town...

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Mo Farah: Briton returns to track to take on hour record

Briton Mo Farah will return to the track for the first time since 2017 in a bid to break the men's one-hour world record at the meeting in Brussels on 4 September.

The 37-year-old, winner of multiple world and Olympic titles, will aim to better Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie's 13-year-old record of 21.285km.

European 10,000m silver medallist Bashir Abdi will line up against Farah.

Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh and Birhane Dibaba will go for the women's record.

That mark of 18.517km was recorded by their compatriot Dire Tune in 2008.

The one-hour run is where athletes try to cover as much distance as possible within one hour.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Britain's world heptathlon champion, will look to finish higher than Olympic champion Nafi Thiam once again when they compete in a 'triathlon' contest featuring 100m hurdles, shot put and high jump.

(06/27/2020) Views: 179 ⚡AMP
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Mo Farah is returning to the track

Briton Mo Farah will return to the track for the first time since 2017 in a bid to break the men's one-hour world record at the meeting in Brussels on 4 September.

The 37-year-old, winner of multiple world and Olympic titles, will aim to better Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie's 13-year-old record of 21.285km.

European 10,000m silver medalist Bashir Abdi will line up against Farah.

Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh and Birhane Dibaba will go for the women's record.

That mark of 18.517km was recorded by their compatriot Dire Tune in 2008.

The one-hour run is where athletes try to cover as much distance as possible within one hour.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Britain's world heptathlon champion, will look to finish higher than Olympic champion Nafi Thiam once again when they compete in a 'triathlon' contest featuring 100m hurdles, shot put and high jump.

(06/24/2020) Views: 147 ⚡AMP
by Athletics
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Andy Butchart excited by Mo Farah rivalry, if Diamond League events happen this year

Mo Farah has put Andy Butchart on notice that his return to the track means he is planning to topple him off his 5,000metres perch.

The 28-year-old Scot has spent lockdown recovering from surgery after catching a break when the Olympics were postponed by 12 months.

However, Butchart  is primed to fend off a fresh challenge from Farah, who plans to return to the track after three years off. ‘He wants to take the throne again,’ said Butchart.

If the Diamond League does manage to restart in August, the close chums are set to go head-tohead once again as 37-year-old Farah tests whether or not he can tame his younger rivals.

‘Having Sir Mo in the line-up could be a spur for us both,’ Butchart told the Sean Fontana podcast. ‘I want to beat him as much as he wants to beat me. It’s an individual sport. I’m not there to hold his hand and he’s not there to hold mine.’

(06/08/2020) Views: 151 ⚡AMP
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In Conversation with Sir Mo Farah

It’s not easy to cover hundreds of miles when you’re stuck inside. With global sporting events cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future and many types of training prohibited or significantly altered, international athletics and, by extension, international athletes have been hit hard by the lockdown. Sir Mo Farah has, however, managed to take it in his stride.

Farah, winner of four Olympic Gold Medals and a plethora of other titles, is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history. He has competed and won at every distance from 5000 metres to marathon and had announced a return to the track for Tokyo 2020 last November to try and retain his 1st place position for the third time in a row.

An Achilles injury may have slowed him down, but Farah was making good progress towards that goal before the coronavirus shut down races across the planet.

“At the time, in March, I was in a training camp in Ethiopia,” Mo smiles, “I pulled out of the London Big Half early on because of an Achilles problem, but once that settled down and got better I did four weeks of training.” However, as the pandemic became more prevalent this training regime was cut short. “It was just kicking off, I had to change my flight to come back home and make sure that when lockdown happened I was with my family, so that’s what I did. Since then it’s been nothing.”

Farah is committed to his family, constantly referencing them as we discuss staying motivated amidst so much confusion. They occasionally appear in the background of our Zoom call, having clearly inherited some extremely speedy genes. They also feature prominently in Sir Mo’s YouTube channel, which boasts an impressive 139,000 subscribers. The content of the videos has shifted recently, with more family challenges and less training videos.

That’s not to say, however, that his training has dropped off.

“I normally do between 100-150 miles a week and a lot of the time I’m in the gym three times a week” smiles Mo as he describes his average training regime, “most of my running’s been on the treadmill, I’ve even done hill sessions on the treadmill.”

He rattles off this regime as if it were easy, maintaining a positive tone as he describes the most gruelling elements of his training. If there is one word to describe Sir Mo, it has to be motivated. He seems to have sprinted through circumstances that have robbed many of us of all our motivation. The secret, he says, is setting your eyes on the finish line.

“You always have to have a goal and have ambition and look beyond this. I’m one of the lucky people in the way that I still have a treadmill here, I have a bit more space than everyone else. You always have to try to think positive and that’s what I try to do with my kids. We try not to go into too much detail and always be negative so, in a way, it’s like, ‘let’s go and have a laugh, kids! What can we do?’ Go in the pool, go in the garden, go and do challenges. Just keep your mind active.”

He tries to get the kids to run at least a mile every day if they aren’t out on their bikes, making sure that there is always something to focus on to get through the day.

Keeping your mind active is one thing, but looking beyond the pandemic is quite another. Social distancing will likely last for months, leaving athletes whose training depends on upcoming events in a difficult position. I put this to Farah, asking if he has any specific event in mind with regard to his training.

“My aim has always been the Tokyo Olympics,” he replies, “that’s what really drives me to stay on my feet, stay motivated, stay hungry. That’s what my goal is, ultimately.”

Although his goal has stayed concrete, the circumstances will have changed drastically by the time his shoes touch the track.

The travel industry is set for massive losses, and recent developments in the UK’s quarantine plans mean that going abroad won’t be an option for the foreseeable future. This is an issue for athletes who rely on travel for everything from altitude training to World Championships.

“It’s definitely going to have a knock-on effect, no matter what,” says Mo. “I’m trying to stay positive.”

Another huge problem for organisers is that it is extremely difficult to have socially-distant spectators in stadiums. Korean football has got past this by staging games with no crowds at all, or even filling the seats with poorly-chosen humanoid dolls.

An eerie silence has replaced the cheering and chanting in these stadiums, which poses a problem for athletes who thrive off the crowd’s energy. “There’s no question about. The crowd is everything. It drives you, it puts you on your toes, it puts you on edge. Without the crowd, I think it’s going to be totally different.” The roaring crowd hich has accompanied all of Sir Mo’s signature sprint finishes will probably be absent the next time he runs. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but Farah manages to keep sight of what is most important.

“Without the crowd it’s going to be boring but, at the same time, it’s what we need to do to make it as safe as possible.” Speaking as “a massive Arsenal fan”, it’s clear that even if he agrees that having football without spectators is odd, “If it means we can have football back and this is how it’s got to be for a little while then we just have to stick at it because it’s the safety of the players. But as an Arsenal fan, I’m thinking ‘man, I don’t like the look of that!’ Imagine seeing the whole stadium empty…”

These concerns are still firmly in the future, for now it’s a question of adapting his training in the present. His commitment to the treadmill means that he can still cover the distance, but training has lost a key social element.

"It can be lonely at times. It depends who you have and how much you enjoy it. Whatever you put into it is what you get out of it, whereas in football if you can have a bad day but there are ten more players who can help you recover.” Reliance on a team dynamic is something that Sir Mo doesn’t have to worry about as much as team players. “I think it will have a really big effect,” he notes, acknowledging that each player training as an individual could cause serious issues when football starts back up.

Hammering out 10-mile sets in isolation is no mean feat, but Farah says that Team GB has “handled it in a positive way by trying to put athletes first.”

The period of uncertainty leading up to the Olympics’ postponement was a particular cause for anxiety, but “once that settled down we got the comfort of thinking ‘I have a date’… The goal is to always have something to aim for. That’s what you thrive off, and that’s what gives you that boost, that energy and motivation.” Recovering from his aforementioned Achilles injury, Farah had set his sights on the Olympics knowing that he faced an uphill battle. The weeks leading up to the announcement that the Olympics would be held in 2021 were particularly stressful because, as other races in the UK were called off, Farah had no way of testing himself.

“If I hadn’t run other competitions it would have been crazy to run in the Olympics,” says Mo, emphasising that he’s glad that the focus has been on the safety of athletes first and foremost.

Even if their safety is put first, the consequences of the lockdown on mental health still weigh on athletes. “To be honest at this point they haven’t spoken that much about mental health,” Mo states, “They had a target, their target’s been cancelled. I’ve been there and done it so many years that I can overcome that but for some younger athletes I think they will have that in their minds. It’s important to support them in general, not even just in sports.” I suggest that public figures like Sir Mo have an important role to play in keeping up morale across the country, to which he beams:

“I think that’s always the key for me. As a general thing, I love to be able to help others. A five-minute phone call is just five minutes for me, but that could make that kid’s day. When I was younger I loved football and if one of the Arsenal players said ‘hi’ to me that would have made my day. We used to collect stickers, I remember that we used to get excited about stickers, so imagine one of the players in real life saying ‘hi’ or saying something to you.”

Farah’s reach has been massively increased by social media. He uses Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to engage with viewers and fans, retweeting letters from children and entertaining on Instagram live streams. He has also participated in the 5K challenge which, in classic Mo style, he did as part of a 10-mile training session from home. Asked his time, he replies “oh, was it 18 or 19 minutes?”

He smiles the most when he talks about how much he enjoys helping others out in a time of crisis and is in the middle of telling me how much easier it is to stay connected by social media when our call cuts out. “It’s an easy way to stay connected…” are the last words I catch.

We manage to reconnect, and the focus shifts beyond running. It’s hard to face the distant future when the next few months hold so much uncertainty, but Farah’s plan seems clear. “When I finish running completely, I’d love to be able to give back to the younger kids and get involved more with coaching. I’ve actually just got my coach’s license so I’m actually qualified, which is a good thing to have. Particularly young kids in Britain, there are a lot of kids with potential who are good enough, but it’s always hard to make that transition from juniors to seniors. For me I just see myself as a coach. I’m also not bad with kids, having four kids myself.”

Sir Mo retains a lightness throughout the interview that makes it hard not to smile along with him. He’s also positive about the future of running as a leisure activity in Britain, saying: “back in the day we saw running as something that you had to do in PE, or as a warm-up. Most people, if you tell them ‘you must do this’, they’re most likely not going to do it. Running’s a great way of getting everything out. It clears your mind and you’re in a different zone.” Farah is very clearly still going for gold. We haven’t seen the last of the ‘Mobot’ yet, but until then he has to bear with lockdown and continue to train. With questions about the feasibility of the 2021 Olympics continuing and lockdowns relaxing across the world, it is extremely difficult to stay motivated. Sir Mo is an example of the positive, goal-oriented attitude we need to make it to the finish line. “We’re all human at the end of the day,” he remarks as the interview ends, “we just have to try to be positive in every way that we can.”

(06/07/2020) Views: 620 ⚡AMP
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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: 180 ⚡AMP
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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: 184 ⚡AMP
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Tokyo Olympics delay could boost my medal chances says Mo Farah

Olympic champion Mo Farah has said the delayed Games could work in his favor and boost his chances of winning gold in Tokyo.

The Olympics has been been postponed until next year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and is set to begin on July 23, 2021.

Farah, who announced his ambition to compete at the Games in November after his retirement from track athletics, said the postponement has given him more time to prepare.

"It is probably, in my honest opinion, not a bad thing for me because it gives you a bit more time to train for it, to do more races, because I would have gone from the marathon and then the following year straight to the track," he told Athletics Weekly.

"Obviously, I'm not a spring chicken any more. You take what you can from it. You'll definitely see me doing a similar thing to what you've seen before.

"Do a few races and get strong and get fit and then from there go on to the track and use the track leading up to the Tokyo Olympics."

"I'm not thinking about marathons, to be honest with you. I'm just thinking, Tokyo."

(04/23/2020) Views: 296 ⚡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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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: 198 ⚡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: 211 ⚡AMP
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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: 262 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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How European indoor 5000m record-holder Marc Scott is coping amid the Coronavirus outbreak. Some good advice

The European indoor 5000m record-holder on life in Oregon amid the Covid-19 outbreak and how running at times like these has many benefits.

Some of Britain’s top athletes are sharing insight into how they are coping during the coronavirus outbreak, which continues to cause great uncertainty and disruption to training and competition. Here European indoor 5000m record-holder Marc Scott talks about his own situation and shares some advice for other athletes in a similar position.

“Competitions will be resumed, there is always something to train for!” “So far, here in Portland in the United States, things seem to be going ahead as normal despite all the cancellations everywhere else,” says Scott, who is now back in training after a strong winter season which saw him break Mo Farah’s European indoor 5000m record with 13:08.87 in Boston.

“Nike HQ where we are based has limited the gyms and facilities to current employees and athletes only so that helps. We can still use the track and surrounding trails.”

Training as normal.- “Our coach has told us that we are continuing training as normal, sessions will go ahead unless informed otherwise,” adds the Bowerman Track Club runner.

“We still plan on heading to altitude camp in a few weeks also, because as of now the Olympic Games and other championships are still on! We typically don’t meet in large groups anymore but that’s not restricted training.

“I usually find out my competition schedule after a block of training, based on how that has gone. No cancelled races just yet, fingers crossed.”

Running has many great benefits.- “My top tip would be to ensure you are self isolating whenever necessary,” Scott says. “Maybe the group runs and social events will stop, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go outside for a run on your own!

“Competitions will be resumed, there is always something to train for! So, keep training. Running doesn’t just have a fitness aspect to it, it has many great benefits. It will break up the constant media surrounding us and enable us to get out there and enjoy ourselves.”

(03/17/2020) Views: 549 ⚡AMP
by Jessica Whittington
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Kenenisa Bekele breaks Mo Farah's course record at the Vitality Big Half

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele broke Mo Farah's course record in the men's Vitality Big Half race in London with a time of one hour and 22 seconds.

Bekele shaved 1:18 minutes off the record set in 2019 by Briton Farah, who missed out with an Achilles injury.

Britain's Lily Partridge won the elite women's race for the first time with a time of 1:10:50.

Two-time marathon winner Shelly Woods made a successful return to the capital in the women's wheelchair race.

Brent Lakatos won the men's wheelchair event with six-time Paralympic champion David Weir in second.

Britain's Christopher Thompson finished second in the men's race, with Jake Smith in third.

The full London marathon will take place on Sunday, 26 April.

Bekele's victory sets up an exciting head-to-battle with Eliud Kipchoge, as the two fastest marathon runners of all time line up for April's race.

"The new course record is a great bonus. I wasn't focused on time today, I just wanted to win," said Bekele.

"I'm on schedule in my preparation for the London Marathon in April. There's no question about the crowds in London being great.

"They were cheering all around the course and it felt like a great place to be."

Partridge - running in her third London half-marathon - cruised to victory in the women's race.

Her compatriots Samantha Harrison and Stephanie Davis finished second and third respectively.

"My coach said to me before the start that the goal was to win," said Partridge.

"It wasn't about the time today. It's my fastest ever half marathon during a marathon build-up."

 

(03/01/2020) Views: 353 ⚡AMP
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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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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: 310 ⚡AMP
by Jack de Menezes
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Cherono replaces injured Farah, to battle Bekele in London Half Marathon

Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono has been drafted in to replace injured Mo Farah and battle Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele in the March 1 Vitality London Half Marathon.

Cherono, one of the world's most successful marathon runners, will take on Bekele as part of his training ahead of his title defense on the streets in Boston in April.

Cherono, who has been selected to represent Kenya at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is the reigning champion of both the Boston and Chicago Marathons and has an incredible record of eight wins in 11 races over the 42km distance.

"I am really looking forward to going to London to run in such a high-quality race. I'm thankful for the opportunity. It is exactly the test I was looking for as I prepare for the Boston Marathon and I am sure it will be a great race," Cherono said on Wednesday.

The London Half Marathon, which starts close to London's iconic Tower Bridge, will offer Cherono a stern test gauging his fitness against Bekele, he is to fight at the Tokyo Olympic games later in August.

Bekele is the current world record holder for 5000m and 10000m and the second-fastest marathon runner in history having clocked 2:01:41 in winning Berlin race in 2019.

Both men will use the London Half Marathon as crucial preparation for upcoming marathons.

Bekele is working towards a mouth-watering match-up between himself and marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge on April 26 while Cherono will defend his Boston Marathon title six days earlier on April 20.

As well as Cherono and Bekele, the reigning Rotterdam Marathon champion Marius Kipserem from Kenya and a host of leading British athletes including Chris Thompson, Dewi Griffiths and Ross Millington will race in this year's event.

Mo Farah withdrew from this year's race due to injury and is still in Kenya to continue with his training.

(02/22/2020) Views: 315 ⚡AMP
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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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Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono will replace injured Farah, to battle Bekele in London Half Marathon

Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono has been drafted in to replace injured Mo Farah and battle Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele in the March 1 Vitality London Half Marathon.

Cherono, one of the world's most successful marathon runners, will take on Bekele as part of his training ahead of his title defense on the streets in Boston in April.

Cherono, who has been selected to represent Kenya at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is the reigning champion of both the Boston and Chicago Marathons and has an incredible record of eight wins in 11 races over the 42km distance.

"I am really looking forward to going to London to run in such a high-quality race. I'm thankful for the opportunity. It is exactly the test I was looking for as I prepare for the Boston Marathon and I am sure it will be a great race," Cherono said on Wednesday.

The London Half Marathon, which starts close to London's iconic Tower Bridge, will offer Cherono a stern test gauging his fitness against Bekele, he is to fight at the Tokyo Olympic games later in August.

Bekele is the current world record holder for 5000m and 10000m and the second-fastest marathon runner in history having clocked 2:01:41 in winning Berlin race in 2019.

Both men will use the London Half Marathon as crucial preparation for upcoming marathons.

Bekele is working towards a mouth-watering match-up between himself and marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge on April 26 while Cherono will defend his Boston Marathon title six days earlier on April 20.

As well as Cherono and Bekele, the reigning Rotterdam Marathon champion Marius Kipserem from Kenya and a host of leading British athletes including Chris Thompson, Dewi Griffiths and Ross Millington will race in this year's event.

Mo Farah withdrew from this year's race due to injury and is still in Kenya to continue with his training.

(02/12/2020) Views: 393 ⚡AMP
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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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British distance-running great Mo Farah has withdrawn from next month's Big Half race in London with an achilles injury, organizers announced on Wednesday

The four-time Olympic gold medalist, preparing for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, suffered the minor injury in training.

Farah, 36, has won the half-marathon event for the past two years and was due to take on a field featuring Ethiopia star Kenenisa Bekele on March 1.

"I was really looking forward to racing the Vitality Big Half again," said Farah in a statement issued by event organizers.

"Everyone knows how much I love racing in London, but my priority is to be fit, healthy and competitive for the summer season and for that reason I have had to make the tough decision not to race this year."

Farah will continue his Olympic preparations in Africa after changing his mind about running the marathon in Tokyo to return to the track, having won double gold over 5,000 meters and 10,000m at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games.

He won the 2018 Chicago marathon in a European record time but could only manage a fifth-place finish at last year's London Marathon.

Eliud Kipchoge, the world record holder, is the favorite to win marathon gold in Tokyo. Farah is set to defend his 10,000m title in Japan instead.

(02/05/2020) Views: 313 ⚡AMP
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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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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: 362 ⚡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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Switzerland’s Julien Wanders has already smashed one of his European records in 2020, and he will be looking to another record in Ras Al Khaimah

Switzerland’s Julien Wanders  is confirmed to compete at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on 21 February. He is one of eleven athletes with lifetime bests under the one hour-mark to be recruited for this year’s race. 

It was in the same race last year when Wanders set the current mark of 59:13 to break Mo Farah’s previous record of 59:32. Farah has since run faster - 59:07 in the Great North Run last September - although that mark was set on a downhill course and is not valid for record purposes.

Wanders has started his season in stellar form with a third place finish in the 10K Valencia Ibercaja in 27:13 - he also equaled his European 5km record of 13:29 en route - which sliced twelve seconds from his previous record and the Iten-based Swiss has aspirations of following suit in Ras Al Khaimah next month.

“RAK will be a perfect opportunity to test my shape and lower my PB over the half marathon before the World Championships in March,” said Wanders, referring to the World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland on March 29.

Wanders finished eighth at the last edition of the World Half Marathon Championships and fourth in the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon last year - something he will be looking to improve upon judging by his comments after last year’s race. "The only thing is I was fourth! I just missed out on the podium but otherwise I'm happy," he said.

The men’s field also includes Ethiopians Andamlak Berihu (59:10), Mosinet Geremew (59:11), Solomon Berihu (59:17) and Amdework Walegegn (59:22) and Kenya’s Benard Kimeli (59:07 PB) who finished one place ahead of Wanders in Valencia.

(01/22/2020) Views: 443 ⚡AMP
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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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: 381 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Kenenisa Bekele and Eliud Kipchoge will face off at the London Marathon

Kenenisa Bekele has agreed to race Eliud Kipchoge in a London Marathon in April – and said he is not surprised Mo Farah is swerving the race in favour of returning to the track.

Bekele, a three-time Olympic gold medallist who has won 17 world titles over cross-country, track and road, roared with laughter when asked what he thought of Farah’s decision to leave the marathon and then added: “I am not surprised. Of course if you see Mo Farah’s races in marathons, he’s struggling – it’s not easy to get good results over a marathon. You need experience. It’s a different course, a different racing mentality.

“But it is really hard for all of us. You need to learn how to run it and also the training is different. I think it’s harder, not only for Mo, but for all of us – even I struggled.”

However the Ethiopian, who ran the second fastest marathon time in history in Berlin in September, two seconds shy of Kipchoge’s official world record of 2hr 01min 39sec, said Farah is still good enough to win a medal in the 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I’m sure we’ll see Mo doing better things on the track. If he focuses and concentrates like before I’m sure he will be in the medals in the 10,000. I’ve no doubt about that.”

Bekele still holds the 5,000m and 10,000m world records, which were set in 2004 and 2005 respectively, and insisted he was capable of claiming Kipchoge’s marathon best even at the age of 37.

“My training is going well and I feel well,” he said.“Before last year I was struggling with injury. Everyone knows I’m a strong athlete from 15 years on the track. When we came to the marathon I’ve struggled maybe to achieve good results but of course this is because of injury, not a lack of training or my personality. I was a bit behind but my health came back and now I’m doing a lot better in the marathon.”

Bekele also admitted the sight of his great Kenyan rival running a sub-two-hour marathonin Vienna in October, albeit in an event that was not recognised by World Athletics, has spurred him on.

“When he ran under two hours, and of course it is not recognised, but it made me very motivated,” he said. “If someone like me also gets this big chance we will do a similar thing or do better. I believe in myself – you need the opportunity of course but some athletes will do a similar thing.”

The pair have met four times over 26.2 miles, with Kipchoge winning all four races. However Bekele has the better head-to-head record across all distances and surfaces.

“I am looking forward to racing Eliud once again,” added Bekele. “We have had many great battles over the years on the track, roads and cross-country. My big dream is to break the world record and an amazing performance will happen at the London Marathon.”

(01/16/2020) Views: 832 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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 athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Sir Mo Farah says he can make history in Tokyo by winning 10,000m at the age of 37

Tuning into the 10,000 meters final at the World Championships was when the 36-year-old first realized he had unfinished business with the track, despite his four Olympic gold medals and six world titles.

“Watching Doha, I was nervous and agitated,” he recalled. “I felt like I was there. My heart was pounding and I was looking at that race thinking, ‘I know I could do it, I want to do it’, and the Olympics is just round the corner. I knew from that point that I’d love to go back and race that.

“As an athlete it’s important if you’re still hungry and you want it, you train for it, you push yourself to get it. If you’re not hungry, you don’t want it as much, then it’s impossible to get it. And right now I have a great hunger for the track.”

So adamant was Farah about the switch that his coach, Gary Lough, who is continuing to oversee his track ambitions, did not even attempt to talk him round. As Farah puts it: “Gary knew from that point that nothing else mattered.”

So accustomed was Farah to winning on the track that his stab at the marathon has been frustrating. There have been notable highs — winning in Chicago in 2018 and breaking the European record — but too often he has been found wanting to his East African rivals and admitted to struggling to rectify wrongs on the road, such are the rigors of the event.

“If a track race goes wrong, you know what went wrong, whether it’s your endurance or speed or whatever, you can work it out and then focus on it in training,” he said. “Then you race again in two weeks’ time and you do something about it. With the marathon, it’s sixth months. Take Chicago. I got injured beforehand, had a little niggle and the race was a disaster really. Having run so many track races in the past and with Tokyo around the corner, you go for what you knew best.”

It helps that the 10,000m has not moved on monstrously in his absence, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei winning the world title in a time just a second quicker than Farah’s track swansong of the same distance at the preceding championships in 2017.

“There’s no one out there that has you saying ‘Oh, my God’ but in the marathon it’s different,” he said with a nod not just to the distance’s dominant force in Eliud Kipchoge but his wider rivals. “My understanding is I can’t finish in the top three in Tokyo with 2:05.”

But Farah will be the oldest man in history to run in a 10,000m final at the Olympics, let alone have aspirations to win a fifth Olympic gold. But, for him, it is the only target in his eyes. “It’s gold or nothing,” he said. “No one’s ever done that — someone that old — and that’s history. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and work hard. I’m confident, otherwise I wouldn’t enter, but I know I’ve a lot of work to do. I can’t sit here saying, ‘It’s January and all’s good’. It’s going to be really hard. People will be saying, ‘Mo’ll win it’ but it doesn’t work like that.”

(01/14/2020) Views: 635 ⚡AMP
by Matt Majendie
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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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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: 365 ⚡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: 543 ⚡AMP
by Sarah Lorge Butler
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Callum Hawkins going back to basics ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

"My shed could help me win a marathon medal at the Tokyo Olympics," says Callum Hawkins.  

Britain's Callum Hawkins explains how a garden shed is helping him to win a medal in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics

Elite athletes spend years fine-tuning their bodies in preparation for an Olympic Games with elaborate training and diet plans.  But sometimes it's best to go back to basics. Training in your garden shed with heaters kind of basic.

That's according to Scottish marathon runner Callum Hawkins, who is doing everything possible to prepare his body for the hot and humid conditions in Japan this summer.

"We had a couple of bad winters where sometimes it was too icy to go out and get good quality sessions," Hawkins told Sky Sports News.

"So we thought we'd put up a shed with a treadmill to help me train. We did a bit in the heat chamber and thought we could replicate it instead."

The warm weather is expected to be a big talking point at Tokyo, where temperatures regularly reach 35 Celsius (95F) and humidity hits 80 per cent in summer.  The Olympic marathon and race walk events have already been moved more than 500 miles north from Tokyo to Sapporo to reduce the impact of heat on the athletes.

Regardless of the location, the 27-year-old from Elderslie is planning for all eventualities.  Hawkins is confident he will be able to deal with the heat in Tokyo

"Looking at the history of Sapporo weather, I don't think it will make too much of a difference - it's been similar to Tokyo. I've just got to go out there, I'll be on the start line and give it 100 per cent," he said.

"It can be pretty monotonous in the shed and the crippling heat can be quite tough. But it's just about getting through it and that's what makes champions."

A champion is what Hawkins hopes to become in Tokyo, improving on the ninth place he achieved at his debut Games at Rio 2016.

Since then, he has come agonisingly close to a podium finish on more than one occasion.

He finished fourth at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London and just a few months ago at the World Championships in Doha, he missed out on a medal by just six seconds.

"I still talk to myself if I could have done more or not taught myself a bit more," he said. "But it's about passion, it's about moving on, it's about Tokyo from here on in.

"I try not to let it get me down and try not to let it discourage me, but I think I am a little bit disappointed and won't ever quite get over it unless I win a medal at Tokyo."

Despite missing out on a medal, Hawkins' performance in the extreme heat and humidity in Doha last October is all the more remarkable.

What keeps him motivated for the Olympics, he says, is the fact he's no stranger to the impact of heat exhaustion on an endurance runner.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia, Hawkins was leading the race until severe dehydration caused him to collapse with just two kilometres to go.

Hawkins was given assistance after collapsing during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  "A lot of people thought I might not come back from it but I knew myself I would. I've come back from worse," he said.

"I feel very experienced. I've had both scenarios - one where it's gone wrong and one where it went well so I've managed to tweak enough to make sure I'll be in the best condition I can on the day."I think getting a medal is definitely up there. With the conditions and the fact it is a championship marathon, anything is up for grabs."

With Sir Mo Farah returning to the track instead of taking on the marathon at Tokyo, Team GB's chances of a medal in the men's race now lie with Hawkins and he is leaving nothing to chance.

(01/09/2020) Views: 595 ⚡AMP
by Sarah Dawkins
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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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The general entry ballot opens for the 40th Annual Great North Run

Famous half-marathon from Newcastle to South Shields celebrates landmark edition in 2020.

The general entry ballot for the world’s biggest half-marathon, the Great North Run, is now open.

The famous event will add another milestone to its rich history when it is staged for the 40th time on Sunday September 13, having been the first event of its kind to welcome home one million finishers back in 2014.

First staged in 1981 with 12,000 runners, the iconic half-marathon has grown to now accept 57,000 entries, with over 200,000 supporters estimated to line the route which takes runners from the center of Newcastle to the coast line of South Shields.

Organizers say the 40th Great North Run – GNR40 – will be a celebration of the landmark staging and the people and places that have made the event great, with the race again set to be broadcast live on BBC television for four hours.

Last year saw four-time Olympic track gold medalist Mo Farah continue his winning streak with a sixth consecutive victory, while Brigid Kosgei – who would go on to break the marathon world record in Chicago – became the fastest ever female over the half-marathon distance, clocking 64:28.

In 2020, a series of activities and experiences are planned to celebrate the 40th staging, including a specially commissioned film charting the history of the event.

The Great North 5km will also take place and the Junior and Mini Great North Run will again transform the  Newcastle Gates Head Quayside into a sea of runners.

Runners can register for the Great North Run ballot at www.greatrun.org/north. The ballot will close at 9pm on Sunday February 9.

(01/08/2020) Views: 1,185 ⚡AMP
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Great North Run

Great North Run

Great North Run founder Brendan Foster believes Britain is ready to welcome the world with open arms after the launch of the event's most ambitious plan to date. The Great World Run campaign seeks to recruit one runner from every country in the United Nations – 193 in total – to take part in the iconic half marathon in...

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New team in town: Under Armour runs into Flagstaff

Living here, up where the air is rare and trails snake through mountains and traverse verdant valleys, means that you are as liable to see as many elite runners donning corporate-logoed singlets and compression socks around town as you are to spot locals wearing fleece and Birkenstock's.

Yeah, ho-hum, that’s Mo Farah doing squats at your gym. And isn’t that Sara Hall pounding out miles of the FUTS, and Edward Cheserek reeling off sub-50-second 400s at the end of a workout on NAU’s track? Then there’s that thundering herd of Hoka NAZ Elite runners, always striding down Lake Mary Road like so many sleek big cats roaming the savanna.

Flagstaff’s stable of professional runners, some full-time residents but many parachuting in for elevation training, now has grown even more robust — and not just because it soon will be an Olympic year. There’s a new team in town, a corporate-sponsored training group that is fast filling its ranks with numbers challenging NAZ Elite’s civic running hegemony.

The as-yet unnamed group — expect an official "branding" sometime soon — is funded and sponsored by the apparel and shoe company Under Armour. It is headed not by interlopers, but by two track and field veterans who have histories in Flagstaff.

Noted running agent Stephen Haas, who also coaches the likes of 17-time NCAA champ Cheserek, is the driving force behind the team’s formation. He’s been a Flagstaff regular for nearly a decade, first as a distance runner who came here to train, then as a sort of Sherpa for athletes represented by his agency, Total Sports US, and later for several years as executive director of Team Run Flagstaff.

Now Haas has ascended to running his own training group, under Under Armour’s auspices, while still looking after the approximately 45 athletes he represents worldwide, some of whom swoop in here for high-altitude camps and some, like Cheserek, who make Flagstaff home.

Haas is aided in this new venture by former UC Berkeley cross country and track coach Shayla Houlihan, who left Cal after seven seasons last spring. Houlihan, too, has a Flagstaff connection, having trained here earlier in the decade as a pro steeplechaser and then working for two years as a Team Run Flagstaff coach.

So, it’s something of a homecoming for the pair, though you will see a few new faces on the roads, trails and track no doubt wearing the UA logo. They include 2018 NCAA 10,000-meter champion Sharon Lokedi, 5,000-meter elite Rachael Schneider, miler Patrick Casey, 800-meter runner Baylee Mires, Irish marathoner Stephen Scullion and two promising middle-distance recruits fresh out of college, Blake Haney (Oregon) and Taryn Rawlings (Portland).

This new team, perhaps not yet boasting the championship pedigree of NAZ Elite, raises two questions: Is this town big enough for two year-round sponsored training groups, and, is Flagstaff reaching a saturation point when it comes to infrastructure for so many elite runners hitting town to train?

Haas doesn’t hesitate in answering.

“No,” he said. “The five minutes that we cross over in the gym with NAZ Elite is the only time we see NAZ Elite. We’re more track-based, so we’re on the track more than them. They’re on the road more than us. For whatever reason, we have different schedules.

“People ask me this all the time. Yes, there’s a lot of athletes who come to Flag, but if you’re not making the effort to connect with people, well, this is a place where you can be lost in the woods every day. You need to make connections.”

As a former elite runner and now agent, Haas is all about networking and building relationships. His career as an agent soared after being named Total Sports US’s client services coordinator. His stable of athletes include notable pros such as Cheserek, Olympians Shelby Houlihan (Shayla’s younger sister) and Hassan Mead, Olympic silver medalist Sally Kipyego and Rachel Cliff, Canada’s marathon and half-marathon record holder. Just recently, he has signed four-time NCAA champ Morgan McDonald and three-time NCAA titlist Jessica Hull, both Aussies, in addition to two-time NCAA 1,500-meter runner-up Justine Kiprotich, who runs for Hoka (though not NAZ Elite) and trains in Flagstaff.

Perhaps more important, at least to the success of the new team sponsored by Under Armour, is Haas’ connections in Flagstaff.

In his days as a distance runner, Haas shared a house with NAU cross country and track coach Michael Smith and the two remain friends. His tenure as executive director of Team Run Flagstaff, in Haas’ words, “gave me a community of people, friends, right away, a social circle.” His duties with TRF dealt with a lot of financial issues, such as gaining sponsorship, but he left the organization because his career as an agent and burgeoning coach was ascending.

“Team Run Flagstaff was great, but it wasn’t a great fit for me,” he said. “I liked more of the elite side of the running world.”

Even before heading TRF, Haas was spending enough time in Flagstaff to be considered a regular in the running community. Total Sports US eventually tasked him to make Flagstaff his home base, because “it seemed a lot of the work we were doing was helping athletes get settled in Flagstaff, get housing, get track access and physio (therapy).

Now that his role has widened, Haas finds himself in a potentially conflicting position. Unlike other top agents in the U.S. — say, Ray Flynn, Hawi Keflezighi or Josh Cox — who solely represent athletes, Haas is negotiating deals for clients with companies sponsoring teams that are direct competitors to the newly-formed Under Armour group.

“Now I’m dual recruiting for the agency, obviously, but also for the group, too,” he said. “It’s a unique situation. We could be interested in a (graduating college) kid who signs with another agency and that’s OK, too. It’s nice to have Shayla here because we can kind of separate a little bit. She can focus on recruiting for the group, and I can focus on recruiting for the agency. That gives the athlete a little more clarity as well. But I’m not closed off …I can work alongside as a coach (with) another agent that represents a kid that I want to recruit. I guess it could be counter-intuitive for the group, but my first and foremost job for any athlete we sign to Total Sports is to try to get them the best contract as possible. Justine is a perfect example.”

Kiprotich, who lost the NCAA 1,500-meter title last year by one one-thousands of a second, is a Haas client. Haas was negotiating an endorsement deal with Under Armour, the sponsor of the new Flagstaff team, for Kiprotich. But Hoka came in with a better offer and he signed with that brand. But instead of joining NAZ Elite or other Hoka teams, Kiprotich was allowed to move to Flagstaff and train under Haas.

“We’re lucky enough that Under Armour still allowed him to come here and train with us,” Haas said.

There’s a similar situation concerning Cheserek, who signed with Skechers. He trains in Flagstaff and jumps in occasionally to work out with the Under Armour athletes as well as other elites who hit town.

Houlihan’s role with the new training group is essential, Haas said, especially since he travels more than 200 days a year. Though a veteran Division 1 coach of both men and women, Houlihan is trying something new coaching pros. Then again, many of the athletes signed by Under Armour are in the early stages of their professional careers.

(01/05/2020) Views: 430 ⚡AMP
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