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Steve Prefontaine's Nike Oregon Waffle shoes sell for USD$163,800

A pair of Nike Oregon Waffle shoes worn by distance runner Steve Prefontaine has been sold for USD $163,800 on the auction site, Sothebys.com.This pair of Oregon Waffle sneakers in a men’s size 9.5, including the original laces and blue insoles, was worn and owned by Prefontaine. The sneaker is finished in a nylon upper in the University of Oregon’s signature yellow and green colourway. Prefontaine is widely considered the greatest U.S. runner of all time.

The waffle pattern was developed by Oregon track and field coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman.

These are the first pair of Pre’s shoes to be publicly sold, which is notable considering the lasting impact he had on Nike, the most iconic sneaker company in the world: Nike.

Prefontaine was the first runner signed by Nike and jump-started the brand as a running shoe company.The auction for the shoe opened on Sept. 6, and the bidding began at $100,000.

From 1969 through the mid-1970s, Pre dominated the sport, setting eight NCAA records during his time at the University of Oregon and competing in the 5,000m at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. In 1975, Prefontaine died in a car accident in Eugene, Ore.

The winner of the auction will now get to hold on to a unique piece of running history. Each year, Prefontaine’s career and life are celebrated at the Prefontaine Classic, a world-class Diamond League track event held at Hayward Field in Eugene, in his honour.

(09/17/2022) Views: 51 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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An Olympian, a burrito, a failed drug test: Former ASU runner Shelby Houlihan looks to rebound after doping ban

On a cloudy, characteristically cool December night in Beaverton, Oregon, Shelby Houlihan, the American record holder in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, accompanied Courtney Frerichs, the Olympic silver medalist in the steeplechase, and Frerichs’ sister, Lindsey, to an authentic Mexican food truck near her home. 

The three ordered carne asada burritos and returned to Houlihan’s house to eat and watch “The Bachelorette.”

The next morning, on Dec. 15, 2020, the former Arizona State standout was given a random drug test. Weeks later, in mid-January, Houlihan was notified in an email from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) that her urine sample revealed the presence of 19-norandrosterone (19-NA), a metabolite produced by the substance nandrolone – an anabolic steroid prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

She was issued a provisional suspension, which set off a cascade of events that led to a four-year ban, knocked her out of the U.S. Olympic Trials leading up to the Tokyo Olympics and will bar her from competing until January 2025 when she will be almost 32.

It is, Houlihan said, “an athlete’s worst nightmare.”

Houlihan, 29, has lost the financial support of Nike. She also saw former teammate Gabriela DeBues-Stafford leave the club rather than risk sanctions because of the Bowerman Track Club continued relationship with Houlihan.

Houlihan said her initial response to the positive test was “shock and disbelief.” She wondered, “How am I going to explain (the presence of a banned substance) when I don’t even know where it came from myself?”

Houlihan was at a high-altitude training camp in Flagstaff when she received the email. 

“I opened up my phone to an email that was urgent, confidential and … it was this lab report of scientific words that I could not read,” Houlihan told Cronkite News. 

The Sioux City, Iowa, native said she read the email over about 10 times and had to Google which substance triggered the positive test, because she had never heard of nandrolone.

Then she called Jerry Schumacher, her coach at BTC, the professional Nike club that Houlihan had trained with since graduating from ASU in 2015.

“I’m just sobbing and trying to tell him what’s going on, but crying too hard,” Houlihan said.

The long road

Today, Houlihan lives alone in Portland and said she has relied on her former BTC teammates, her boyfriend and her family for support. She does odd jobs, including food delivery, and continues to train with the hope of returning to competition at an elite level.

It is not a situation she envisioned growing up in Sioux City, Iowa, surrounded by runners, including her mother, Connie, and her uncle, Bob Prince, who competed in college.

After winning several state titles at Sioux City East High School, Houlihan continued her success at Arizona State, where she won the NCAA 1,500 meters in 2014 and finished as a 12-time All-American, the second-most in program history.

She holds five school records: the outdoor 800 and 1,500 meters, and the indoor 800, mile and 3,000.

That success set the stage for 2016 Summer Olympics, where she finished 11th in the 5,000 meters and was the highest-placing U.S. runner in the race.

She also finished fourth in the 1,500 meters and set the American record at the 2019 World Outdoor Championships.

More Olympic success felt inevitable.

Shock and disbelief

Elise Cranny, a close friend and former Bowerman teammate of Houlihan’s, remembers that news of the positive test “didn’t really sink in” at first.

“I came back to the house, and I was like, ‘Man, something is very off … something is not right,’” said Cranny, who was living with Houlihan during the camp. “I think the initial reaction from everyone was disbelief, and like, ‘Oh, this is something that’s going to get figured out’ because it’s seriously wrong.”

Schumacher and Houlihan called attorney Paul Greene to “just try to figure out a game plan” and investigate further what could have happened. 

The first step was a pregnancy test because nandrolone can be found in pregnant women. After she determined she wasn’t pregnant, Houlihan compiled a log of everything she ate the week before the test. She scoured text messages, bank statements, food receipts and iPhone locations to determine everything she had consumed.

“I was able to piece it together pretty well,” Houlihan said. “And then, ultimately, we just felt like the food truck the night before had to be the most likely source.”

Houlihan wouldn’t name the establishment that served her the burrito because she doesn’t “want to mess with any lawsuit.” However, she isn’t blaming the food truck. 

“I don’t think they did anything wrong,” Houlihan said. “I think it just kind of happened.”

While Houlihan and her BTC teammates frequently ate at that food truck, she recalls that she received her order more quickly than usual, and the foil-wrapped burrito was unlabeled. 

Houlihan believes she may have been mistakenly given a burrito containing offal (pig organ meat), which can contain nandrolone. 

She remembers the meat in the burrito being finely chopped and that grease pooled in the foil. She said it seemed more rich than the burritos she had eaten there before, so much so that she was unable to finish it despite being very hungry after eating little else that day.

“We knew (nandrolone) can be found in pig offal, and we knew that I ate at a food truck that served pig offal 10 hours before (the test),” she said. “And we knew that when you ingest it, it can be at its highest levels 10 hours after ingestion, and that’s the exact kind of time frame that I had eaten that.

“And so as unlikely as all of those things were, it just seemed like the only thing that we could say, ‘All right, this makes some sense,’ and that’s really the only thing that we had to go on.”

Houlihan was the only one among the three who ate at the food truck who was tested.

A search for answers

She provided a hair sample that was examined by a toxicologist and it showed no trace of nandrolone. She also passed a polygraph examination that concluded she was not lying when asked if, at any time, she knowingly or intentionally ingested nandrolone. 

Houlihan’s urine tests taken Nov. 22, 2020, Jan. 23, 2021, and Feb. 4, 2021– before and after the positive test – all were negative. She also had her vitamins and supplements analyzed by a lab.

The previous urine tests and the lab report convinced Houlihan that it’s unlikely the positive result was triggered by a supplement or vitamin she was taking. She is still being randomly tested and all of her ensuing tests have come back clean.

She believes that given “the information that we have right now, (the burrito) is the only thing that kind of makes any type of logical sense.” 

Houlihan hired a private investigator to trace its sources of meat, but the effort was unsuccessful.

The private investigator found that the food truck owner purchased 30 pounds of pork stomach in a frozen batch from Iowa Beef Processors in September of 2020. However, the owner had no box or label from the meat used in December that could be traced to its processing plant.

And the investigator couldn’t determine whether the owner used pork from a castrated or uncastrated boar. Houlihan’s attorney argued it must have been uncastrated boar meat that triggered her positive test.

When the AIU officially charged Houlihan four months later, the U.S. Olympic Trials, scheduled for June 18-27, were fast approaching. Houlihan decided to go straight to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to avoid missing the trials. 

The CAS rejected Houlihan’s explanation of what happened and banned her from the sport for four years on June 11, 2021.

Houlihan’s ban lasts until Jan. 13, 2025. She missed last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, and she’ll miss next year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The CAS’s three-member panel found that Houlihan’s “explanation that the 19-NA in her sample resulted from her consumption of the meat of an uncastrated boar simply cannot be accepted. The explanation presupposes a cascade of factual and scientific improbabilities, which means that its composite probability is (very) close to zero.”

Lacking evidence

The panel said that Houlihan failed to prove that the burrito she ate contained boar offal.

“First, the athlete would have had to have been served pork at the food truck despite ordering beef,” the court said. “Second, the pork consumed would not have been ‘normal’ pork product ordered by the food truck, but uncastrated boar. Third, uncastrated boar enters the food chain through completely different channels than pork.”

The panel said that the polygraph result and Houlihan’s hair sample were not “sufficient for the Athlete to rebut the presumption that the ADRV (anti-doping rule violation) was intentional.”

The court also said the concentration of nandrolone in Houlihan’s urine was “2-3 times higher than the highest values reported in the scientific literature after the ingestion of much more significant quantities of meat of mature (uncastrated) boar.”

On June 14, 2021, Houlihan publicly announced she tested positive for nandrolone and would not be competing at the upcoming Olympic Trials. Because Houlihan hadn’t been racing, many thought she was battling injuries instead of serving a provisional suspension.

“And at the end of the day, the panel didn’t think it was probable enough, which is unfortunate,” Houlihan said. “But yeah, I mean, that’s the only thing that we really have as an explanation. I hope at some point, maybe some more information pops up, and maybe it’s something else entirely. I don’t know. But it would be great to have an answer at some point.”

In May, Houlihan appealed the suspension to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. 

She lost. It was her last opportunity.

The hardest part to watch, Crany said, “is her getting renewed hope through the appeal process or through different things, and then seeing her kind of have that life back in her eyes again, just for it to come crashing down.” 

At one point, Houlihan was offered a reduced sentence – a three-year ban instead of four years – if she admitted guilt.

She refused.

“I never even considered that to be an option, because I knew I didn’t take (nandrolone) intentionally,” Houlihan said. “And I wasn’t going to admit to something that I didn’t do. At least I fought for myself and tried to do the right thing. But taking accountability for something that I didn’t do, it’s definitely not on the table for me.”

Houlihan thinks the system is flawed because the doping agency never had to prove she took a banned substance. 

“There was obviously something in my system and I understand that I have a responsibility for what’s in my body,” Houlihan said. “But I think knowing that I never intentionally put it there and (I’m) still having to serve a four-year ban is definitely a flaw in the system. I don’t feel like they did their due diligence in trying to figure out what the truth was. It was just at the end of the day I couldn’t, beyond a reasonable doubt, prove where it came from.” 

Houlihan said she believes the burden of proof should be shifted and “split 50-50 between the doping agency and the athlete.” While she believes that she should have to prove what triggered the positive test, she also believes the doping agency should have to prove that she intentionally cheated.

“Just even the playing field a little bit,” Houlihan said. “If you’ve ingested something, it’s almost impossible to try to figure out where that is. Because you’re getting notified a month or two later, I don’t have the source anymore. So it’s just a really impossible task to try to figure out. And I think it’s pretty flawed that if you can’t figure it out, it’s just an automatic four-year ban, and you’re treated like a doper.”

A new normal

Houlihan’s life today includes strong family and friend support.

Cranny said she had a lot of conversations with BTC teammates to make sure Houlihan felt supported.

“What you initially think of is her mental health and someone’s life being completely ripped out from under them and not being able to do what you love to do and what she feels like she’s been born and made to do,” Cranny said. “In the beginning, you worry about her being by herself, and making sure that she has people around her and she feels supported.”

Shelby’s mother, Connie Houlihan, who lives in Phoenix, said she is worried about the mental toll on her daughter. 

“You’re afraid of suicide,” Connie Houlihan said. “You know, everything’s a possibility … with depression and with something that critical that they took away from her. You don’t know. Of course, you’re scared to death.”

Connie said a couple of Shelby’s sisters went to be with Shelby right away because they didn’t want her alone. Shelby wouldn’t let her parents come visit, however, because, Connie said, “she was so overcome.”

“I think, if we would have flown there right away, she would have … this is the way she explained it to me, ‘That it would have made it all too real.’

“She was really struggling dealing with it,” Connie said. “She was crying all the time. But I think that was the hardest part for us that we couldn’t just jump on a plane and go and be with her because we respected her decision.”

Chloe Houlihan, one of Shelby’s five sisters, said her sister remained “very resilient through everything.” She said she has tried to be someone Shelby “can talk to when she’s kind of struggling.”

Shelby no longer trains with her BTC teammates, something which Chloe said has been difficult and “a little bit isolating” for her sister.

Until May, Houlihan was paying Schumacher to coach her as an independent athlete, but she confirmed she’s now training entirely by herself – using six years of past training logs as a reference.

“We just felt it was best to maybe cut ties for a little bit,” Houlihan said. “I think there was just a lot of publicity going on around me and him still working together. There was just a lot of scrutiny, I think.”

Some of that publicity and scrutiny was fueled by DeBues-Stafford’s decision to leave BTC because of Houlihan.

A two-time Canadian Olympian who placed fifth in the 1,500 at the Tokyo Olympics, DeBues-Stafford announced in April she left BTC due to Houlihan’s continued ban involvement with BTC at the time. 

“Fundamentally, I left the Bowerman Track Club because, despite my best efforts, I was unable to verify that the club was not in violation of World Athletics anti-doping regulations,” DeBues-Stafford said in an interview conducted via email. 

DeBues-Stafford was concerned that Houlihan was working out “under the guidance of” the three BTC coaches (Schumacher, Shalane Flanagan and Pascal Dobert) at the same location and times that other BTC athletes were working out while under the supervision of the same coaches. 

“While we never did a rep together, there was still what felt to me like an unnecessarily risky proximity between both men’s and women’s teams and an athlete serving a ban,” DeBues-Stafford said.

According to DeBues-Stafford, Houlihan would also use the private gym – built at Schumacher’s residence for BTC athletes to use – at the same time BTC athletes were there under staff supervision. 

“Shelby would drive to the Nike campus up to four times a week at the team’s regular time and the starting point for our regular daily runs together so she could run with us,” DeBues-Stafford said. “If she arrived before us, she would wait for BTC athletes at the meeting spot to see if any BTC athletes arrived so she could run with us. These sometimes included long runs. She also ran with the team on a regular basis at altitude camp in Flagstaff.”

Houlihan said she and her attorney inquired about the rules of her ban and were told that she couldn’t go to any practices or work out with anyone on the team, but if she happened to bump into them and they were running at the same place, then she could run with them. 

“My attempts to discuss my concerns with team staff were rebuffed, as were the earlier and more sustained efforts of other teammates,” DeBues-Stafford said. 

BTC did not receive independent legal advice on the issue, DeBues-Stafford said. She also said Houlihan shared accommodations with a full-time member of BTC staff during the Flagstaff camp, and those accommodations were used for organized BTC athlete support activities. 

“When I asked if Shelby’s lawyer had explicitly asked the AIU about her using the same gym as BTC and about how to handle the altitude trip, I did not get a clear response,” DeBues-Stafford said.

DeBues-Stafford said she “independently sought answers,” and reached out to an anti-doping organization to verify that BTC’s collective behavior was within the rules and that there was no liability on anyone other than Houlihan.

According to DeBues-Stafford, “the anti-doping organization could not guarantee that the actions of BTC and Shelby did not constitute a violation, and could not guarantee that other athletes and support staff couldn’t face repercussions either.”

She said the anti-doping agency cited two rules in the World Anti-Doping code and advised her to leave BTC and submit an official anonymous tip to the AIU.

A trying time

While Schumacher and some of Houlihan’s other teammates knew about her positive test in January of 2021, DeBues-Stafford did not learn about Houlihan’s positive test until a couple of days before the team publicly announced the ban about six months later. 

“Learning this news in mid-June almost derailed my Olympics,” DeBues-Stafford wrote in an Instagram post in April. “It was a small miracle that I showed up in Tokyo in shape to run sub-four (minutes) twice in 48 hours and place fifth.”

Houlihan said she was “surprised” and felt “blindsided and hurt and confused” by DeBues-Stafford’s social media posts because DeBues-Stafford had not told her about her concerns.

“I never knew that that was a problem for her,” Houlihan said. “And I’m not sure why she didn’t reach out to me. I reached out to her after I read her posts.”

Houlihan said she apologized to DeBues-Stafford for being affected by her situation.

“I think she just felt like she didn’t want to add to what I was going through by bringing it to me, which I don’t agree with, personally,” Houlihan said. “I felt like I would have rather had that conversation with her and I would have been more than glad to try to help that situation for her in any way, instead of what ended up happening. I think that was a lot worse – what ended up happening – than her just coming and talking to me about it.”

DeBues-Stafford has since moved to Victoria, B.C. and is now coached by Trent and Hilary Stellingwerff. 

“When I told Jerry (Schumacher) I was leaving BTC due to the lack of separation between Shelby and the group, he asked if I really wanted to leave, given he was thinking of possibly no longer coaching Shelby if she lost her appeal at the Swiss Federal Tribunal,” Debues-Stafford said.

Debues-Stafford said Houlihan was still driving to the Nike campus and running with BTC when Debues-Stafford left Portland on March 31.

“Growing fear over the team potentially breaking rules, coupled with frustration at the lack of action by the team left me in an awful and unsustainable headspace,” DeBues-Stafford said. “I left altitude camp early at the end of February to get some breathing space and made my decision to leave the team.”

A powerful influence

Cranny said she misses running with Houlihan and credits her for pushing her to succeed.

“I think of her all the time when I’m racing now,” Cranny said. “She’s a huge reason why I feel like I am where I am right now in my own running. She just really opened my eyes to the importance of not limiting yourself and putting yourself in it.” 

Although BTC could look a lot different, Houlihan would still like to eventually come back to the group once her ban is up.

“I definitely would like to rejoin Bowerman,” Houlihan said. “That’s like my family, basically. I’ve been a part of that group since I went pro in 2015 and I know those athletes so well. And I know that that training environment is great for me.” 

Cranny also wants Houlihan to rejoin BTC and said she can’t picture her former teammate anywhere else

“It feels like this is her family,” Cranny said. “I feel like everyone here is really supportive of her, really close friends with her. So I hope (she rejoins BTC). That’s something that we’ve definitely talked about as a team is wanting to work out with her again once the ban is up.”

When asked if she thinks she can still compete at the elite level once the ban is up, Houlihan said, “I guess that’s one thing that we’re just gonna have to find out.”

Houlihan is no longer a member of BTC nor being paid by Nike. She spent $250,000 in legal fees fighting her ban without any financial support from the Beaverton-based shoe and apparel giant.

“They said that they support me, and they believe in me, but as far as financially, I haven’t really received any support from them in that way,” Houlihan said.

Houlihan lost her six-figure professional contract with Nike and hasn’t had a paycheck in over a year. Her Nike deal also gave her the opportunity to earn performance-based bonuses on top of her base compensation, income that is also gone.

Houlihan’s mom called the entire process “an injustice” and said it wouldn’t make sense for her daughter to jeopardize her Nike contract by doping.

“Why would somebody with a contract that she had and the money that she was making, why would she cheat?” Connie said. “She had a contract (with Nike) through the (Tokyo and Paris) Olympics like, why would you cheat?” 

Houlihan said Nike hasn’t offered her a job, either.

“I’ve been doing some food delivery things like DoorDash and stuff, just to try to make a little money on the side, but yeah, just trying to get by.”

Houlihan continues to train but admits it is difficult.“It’s been really challenging, to be honest,” Houlihan said. 

As she trains alone, without her former coaches and teammates for support and motivation, Houlihan said she sometimes stops halfway through a workout or doesn’t always finish it at all. She finds it more difficult to hit her targeted times.

“I think it’s easy to do that when I’m having a great time and I’m having fun, and I’m finding joy in running,” Houlihan said. “But a lot of the things that make it fun aren’t really there for me right now.”

(09/16/2022) Views: 93 ⚡AMP
by David Veenstra (Cronkite News)
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Niels Laros the 17-year-old Dutch runner who’s quietly breaking Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s junior records

If you are not familiar with the name Niels Laros, it’s OK. This 17-year-old rising middle-distance star from the Netherlands will be a household name in the sport soon enough.

Laros pulled off the 1,500m/3,000m double gold at the European Athletics U18 Championships earlier this summer, breaking both the U18 European 1,500m and 3,000m records, previously held by Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

On Sunday evening at a small World Athletics Continental Tour meeting in Zagreb, Croatia, Laros ran a 16-second personal best in the 3,000m, breaking the previous record of 7:56.40 held by East Germany’s Hansjörg Kunze, which stood for 47 years.

Two years ago, Laros’s personal bests were fast but earth-shaking (4:00-flat over 1,500m and 8:51 in the 3,000m), but he has since shattered his records, bringing his 1,500m time down to 3:39.46 and 7:48.25 over 3,000m.

Laros already has a faster 800m PB than Ingebrigtsen, which he recently clocked at 1:46.30, plus he has beaten Ingebrigtsen’s previous U18 times in the 1,500m and 3,000m. Ingebrigtsen had U18 bests of 3:39.92 for 1,500m, 8:00.01 for 3,000m and 13:35.84 over 5,000m.

As of next April, Laros will move up into the U20 ranks, and looks poised to be one of the biggest stars in the sport of athletics in years to come. He’s even already signed a professional contract with Nike.

Although Ingebrigtsen and Laros have never raced each other, track fans will relish this matchup in the 1,500m at the Paris 2024 Olympics, when Laros is 19 and Ingebrigtsen is 23.

(09/12/2022) Views: 136 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Prefontaine Memorial Run is this weekend

The annual Prefontaine Memorial Run is this weekend, and it has a national flavor this year after the two previous events were canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The event that honors the late Marshfield graduate and running legend Steve Prefontaine starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16. It is the 42nd year for the race, which begins in downtown Coos Bay and finishes on Steve Prefontaine Track at Marshfield High School’s Pete Susick Stadium.

Pre set his last American record on that track and 50 years ago competed in the summer Olympics, finishing fourth in an epic 5,000-meter final.

For the third time, the run has been named the national championship 10-kilometer race for the Road Runners Club of America.

The race previously was designated the championship 10K in both 2020 and 2021 and subsequently canceled each year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The RRCA Championship Event Series is one of the oldest distance running traditions in the United States, dating back to 1958, race organizers said. The goal of the series is to shine a spotlight on well-run community-based events, and to promote the sport by recognizing the top performing runners in the open, 40+, 50+ and 60+ age group categories for both men and women.

The Prefontaine Memorial Run begins with a stand-alone high school 5-kilometer cross country race followed by the 10-kilometer community run and a 2-mile fun run/walk. Entrants can register online by logging on to the Prefontaine website at www.prefontainerun.com.

Proceeds from the run help the Prefontaine Foundation accomplish its mission of supporting track and field and cross country athletes through grants to local high schools and scholarships to deserving athletes. The Foundation also sponsors and provides financial support to the Prefontaine Track Club. Several club members competed at the recent Junior Olympics national meet in California.

The Prefontaine Memorial Run is held under the direction of the Prefontaine Foundation with community-based support provided by sponsorships from Tower Ford, Pacific Properties, Banner Bank, Advanced Health, Farr’s Hardware, North Bend Medical Center, Wild Coast Running Company, Vend West Services, Nasburg Huggins Insurance and Nike.

(09/12/2022) Views: 101 ⚡AMP
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Prefontaine Memorial Run

Prefontaine Memorial Run

During his brief 24-year lifespan, Steve Prefontaine grew from hometown hero, to record-setting college phenomenon, to internationally acclaimed track star. In a similar span of years since his death in 1975, Pre has become the stuff of enduring legend. His rare combination of talent, discipline, determination, and star-quality with a human touch made Pre the idol of those he called...

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How Keira D’Amato became America’s best ever woman marathoner

Keira D'Amato is currently at the top of the American women's distance running scene. She holds multiple American records — in the 10-mile and the marathon, the latter of which had stood for nearly 16 years before D'Amato smashed it in January — and has racked up win after win this year at everything from 10Ks to 7 milers. But just two years earlier, the real estate agent and mom of two was mostly unknown, quietly putting in miles near her home in Midlothian, Virginia.

That's not to say D'Amato's success came out of nowhere — before starting her real estate career and her family she was a standout runner, a four-time All-American, at American University in Washington, D.C.

"My life then was to eat, sleep, breathe and run. That was all I knew and all I wanted to do," D'Amato, 37, tells PEOPLE. "It was my whole world." She planned to pursue professional running after graduation, but her dreams were quickly derailed by a series of injuries. When her insurance denied a needed ankle surgery, D'Amato was "kind of forced out" of the sport.

"It was a weird breakup. It really felt like running was breaking up with me," she says. "It was heartbreaking. All of sudden I was Keira the runner who doesn't run."

D'Amato ended up meeting her husband Anthony, getting her real estate license and having two kids, Thomas, now 7, and Quin, 5. Her running at that time was very casual — she picked it up again to get back in shape after the two pregnancies and for a dose of sanity while at home with young kids and a military husband, who at times was deployed for more than a year.

"That was a really, really hard time for me," she says. "Just two kids under 2 and being at home alone. I felt lonely and I felt a little trapped." D'Amato would hire a babysitter for an hour, just so she could get out and run.

"I needed something that was mine and that I controlled and something that was just slow and peaceful. Then as soon as I walked back in the door, I was feeling really proud that I'd accomplished something for me that I could go right back to being a mom," she says. "It just helped me cope during that time."

D'Amato also started jumping into a races — a local 5K, or a long weekend in Nashville with a friend for a half marathon. "It was totally for fun and it taught me how to love running without needing to be fast or have goals."

Her real return to running started as a prank — she kindly gifted Anthony with an entry to the 2017 Shamrock Marathon for Christmas one year, and feeling bad about it, decided to sign herself up too.

Thinking she'd run it in around 3 hours and 30 minutes (an impressive time for the average runner, but nothing outstanding), D'Amato ended up easily covering the 26.2 miles in 3:14:54. Eight months later, she decided to train for the Richmond Marathon, and shockingly finished in 2:47:00 — two minutes short of the Olympic Trials qualifying time.

"That's when the fire started because I was like, 'Oh, two minutes in a marathon. That's four seconds per mile. I can do that.' "

With the help of her old college coach, Scott Raczko, D'Amato qualified, and then came in 15th at the 2020 Olympic Trials, ahead of around 450 other women, including several professional runners. A few weeks later, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world, and races.

But for D'Amato, "running wasn't canceled," she says. "I think a lot of other pros thought, 'Well, there are no races. This is a really natural time to take a break.' For me, I'm like, 'Hey, they're taking a break. I'm putting the pedal to the metal and I'm going to really catch up.' I trained really, really hard during COVID."

She started making some headlines after running a speedy 5K on her local track, and then even more in Nov. 2020 after she organized a 10-mile race where she broke the American women's record. Four months later, D'Amato signed her first-ever professional running deal with Nike.

"That was really cool," she says. "I think for Nike to bet on someone that wasn't a right-out-of-college national champion, it was some mom in a smaller town — for them to see what I saw in myself is really powerful."

D'Amato had already been relying on Nike for her running shoes, and appreciated that unlike other brands that require their runners to join teams in Arizona or Oregon, she could continue training at home in the Richmond area.

"They support people like me that are trying to be the best in the world, but they're also really supportive on an individual level of everyone finding their own best," she says. "They really build up the sport from youth programs to professional athletes and everything in between. I feel like they've created shoes for all runners to be their own best."

D'Amato ticked off more goals from there, coming in 4th at the Chicago Marathon — her first World Marathon Major as a pro — and winning the 2021 U.S. Women's Half Marathon title.

Then, in Jan. 2022, she went after the American marathon record, a record that had stood since 2006, despite years of the top female marathoners in the country trying to bring it down. It was D'Amato, on a windy day in Houston, who was finally able to do it in a time of 2:19:12.

"On the starting line that day, I was thinking I'm either going to get the record or I'm not. If I get it, that would be wild, but if I don't, I'm going to be right where I am right now and that's cool too. I'm happy," she says.

D'Amato thinks that the way she found her way to professional running — going from a standout college career to her "elaborate halftime show" to getting back in the game — helped her to her record-breaking runs.

And D'Amato isn't done now that she has the American record. She got to knock off another goal in June when she got a last-minute call-up to compete at the World Track and Field Championships and donned a USA uniform for the first time.

Despite having just 17 days to train for a marathon (D'Amato had been racing speedier 10Ks when she got the ask to join the team), she went out fast and finished eighth in the world. In September, she'll toe the line at the Berlin Marathon — known for its flat and speedy course — and has her mind set on lowering the American record again.

"I'm in this really beautiful spot where I feel like I have nothing to lose, but just everything to gain," she says. "I'm putting everything out there, my heart, my soul, my running shoes and just going for it with every opportunity."

(09/01/2022) Views: 166 ⚡AMP
by Julie Mazziotta (People Magazine)
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Camouflaged Speed Work You Can Do Year ’Round

Three types of training that will improve your speed, stride, and stamina, but won’t burn you out.

Long ago, runners and coaches learned that intense speed work (VO2 Max workouts like 400–800m intervals at 3,000m pace) and anaerobic training (lactic acid-producing workouts like 300m repeats at 1500m pace) performed year-round often lead to a plateau in performance and at worst, overtraining and chronic fatigue.

Instead, runners are encouraged to take a break from VO2 Max and lactic acid-producing workouts during their off-season (a.k.a. base, foundational, pre-competition, preparatory phases). Too much intensity in this range can actually damage the mitochondria and aerobic enzymes you’re working to build during the base phases of training.

Many of us, however, worry about losing speed, or at the very least, don’t want to skip our running group’s weekly track workouts. Not to worry. Here are three great ways to maintain speed yet rest the VO2 Max and anaerobic systems:

Leg speed/form training is by far my preferred way to include faster running during the base/off-season phase. In fact, all of my Base plans include leg speed training in the last few weeks as a great way to prep the body for faster running. Runners completing the Base plan find they are very ready for their more intense workouts and enjoy the break from just doing easy runs all the time.

An example of a leg speed/form training workout is 10–15 reps of 10–15 seconds at a fast but controlled effort using excellent running form with full recovery (usually 45–90 seconds) walk or jog. Done 1–3 times per week, this develops great running form, leg turnover and makes the transition to faster workouts later in the training cycle, much easier.

Leg speed/form training is also the safest way to keep doing some faster running while avoiding VO2max and lactic acid-producing training. Each repeat is short enough that you never get winded during the interval nor have to “dig deep” to complete it. Leg speed (aka strides) take very little out of the runner and recovery is very quick.

Leg speed/form training works great for inexperienced, young and/or long-distance runners and, completed 1–3 times per week, feed the “need for speed” but don’t stress the musculoskeletal, VO2 Max or lactic acid systems.

Leg speed/form training also works great for runners who lack self-discipline and/or don’t have an onsite coach controlling the intensity of the off-season workouts. These runners often run too fast in less intense workouts and thus turn appropriate off-season training into the stressful workouts that we are trying to avoid.

Lastly, you can easily do this workout alongside your running mates who may still be doing more traditional speed workouts. Warm-up with them and then do your strides on the track as you cheer them on. Win-win.

Hill sprints are another popular workout that can be used year-round. These short, intense runs up a steep hill recruit lots of muscles fibers yet the body remains alactic (meaning lactic acid does not build up).

Hill sprints work really well for runners who are used to frequent speed work (and thus their muscles are used to very powerful strides) and are injury-free. As an effort-based workout, they also work very well for runners who tend to “race” the watch on repetition workouts and/or can’t control their intensity in workouts.

A steep hill (8–12% incline) is needed and for a hill sprint, you run very, very fast (using excellent running form) up the hill for around 10 seconds. Then, you recover for 2–3 minutes before the next sprint. Like the leg speed/form training workout, 10 or so repetitions is enough.

Again, you should not get out of breath during hill sprints. The workout should also not feel “hard” like a speed workout, so if you are getting out of breath or are struggling to run fast, you are running uphill for too long. Shorten the repeats till you can run fast and strong but not get out of breath.

Hill sprints, often described as strength training for the legs, offer a big improvement in running economy, running form and leg strength. While they are very intense, they don’t take a lot out of the runner so there is little residual fatigue in the coming days.

Injury-prone runners should stick with leg speed/form training workouts first, then in the next off-season add some hill sprint workouts.

Just can’t stand not going to the track every week to meet up with your group? Tweener repeats are for you. Tweener repeats, aka cruise interval/critical velocity interval workouts, are repetitions at an intensity that is slower than your VO2max yet faster than your lactate threshold (thus the “tweener” moniker).

In the McMillan Calculator, tweener repeat paces are listed as “Cruise Intervals” in honor of legendary coach Jack Daniels who popularized these less intense repetition workouts. You may have also heard them called “Critical Velocity” workouts, a term popularized by successful elite coach Tom Schwartz. (Schwartz defines critical velocity as 90% of VO2 Max.)

No matter what you call them, the concept is that shorter repetitions (Daniels suggests three minutes as the perfect duration) performed at this tweener intensity allow the runner to get in a good workout yet not create a lot of fatigue, perfect for the purpose of off-season training.

The key, of course, is control. Running too fast and turning the workout into a VO2max workout is a big no-no, so many runners and coaches find that using heart rate to control the workout is a good technique. In the off season, I tend to start runners at their lactate threshold heart rate (approximately 85–87% of heart rate max) and then allow the heart rate to increase slightly in the later repetitions (up to 88–92% of heart rate max).

As with any repetition workout, you can modulate the stress of the workout by adjusting the volume and recovery. During the off season, I recommend keeping these workouts shorter (2–4 miles of total fast running) and the recoveries longer if you begin to breathe heavily. Again, these repeats should feel fairly easy compared to your normal VO2 Max speed workouts and your anaerobic longer sprint workouts.

Note: If you are a runner who can’t control herself on the track or a marked course during repetition workouts, then don’t time the tweener repeats, so you focus more on effort and/or heart rate and avoid pushing too hard. Fartlek-style workouts work great in the off-season.

Another great benefit of tweener repeats is that you can essentially turn any workout from your weekly track group into this type of workout. Just make sure you run within the “cruise interval” pace range from the McMillan Calculator and you are good to go. My go-to tweener workout during the base phase is 6–8 x 800m at cruise interval pace with 200m jog, performed once every 2–4 weeks. As always, though, essentially any short repeats (from 30 seconds to around 3 minutes) at this tweener intensity work great.

I don’t recommend these faster off-season workouts when you are using the off-season to advance to a new mileage level. It’s not a good idea to add both volume and intensity at the same time.

Also, if you are very tired (mentally and physically) from the previous training cycle, avoid these workouts for 4–8 weeks as you begin your next training cycle then ease into them once your body has freshened up. The same goes if you are frequently injured or your performances have plateaued. Both indicate the body/mind needs a few weeks of low-intensity running before adding these off-season workouts.

As long as you remember the main goal of off-season fast running of avoiding both a big VO2 Max stimulus as well as the buildup of lactic acid, you can include these camouflaged speed work sessions to get in some fast running while resting your VO2 Max and lactic acid-producing system.

(08/20/2022) Views: 93 ⚡AMP
by Outside
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Elite Runners and Coaches Bust Six Major Training Myths

Let's be honest. There's a ton of bad training advice out there. Heck, there's just unchecked advice flung here and there and everywhere these days, on all topics of living and being.

So how do you best navigate these thickets of often dubious recommendations? How do you validate what's solid, and what's not? At Trail Runner, we turn to the experts. We turn to well-respected coaches and the most consistent and high-performing elites in the business. We turn to science.

From bro science to outdated training methods, here are eight stubborn training myths that just won't go away, and some proactive solutions to keep you tacking in the right direction.

Myth #1: Always Run High Mileage

It's tempting to think the only way to improve is to run more and more and to keep piling on the miles. But, high-volume training can have diminishing returns for many athletes.

"Running more miles isn't always the answer and comes with a laundry list of disclaimers: injury, sickness, burnout. Instead of adding more miles, fold in a form of cross-training. This helps keep training fresh, the body happy, and it's still stoking that aerobic engine," says coach and elite mountain runner Tabor Hemming. 

However, it's also not never the answer. Less isn't always more. 

"Adapting over many training cycles usually requires alterations in stress across years, so the best volume an athlete can do is often the least they can do while still adapting consistently, as long the total is within the general range that is needed to spur high-performance in their events for their physiology and load capacity," says coach and Trail Runner columnist David Roche.  

"The long-term approach to volume increases leaves room for growth, prevents stagnation, and limits breakdown that can stop an athlete in their tracks long before they figure out where their true ceiling is."

To advance and adapt, you do, in fact, need additional training stress as you progress. Just don't jump into triple-digit miles right off the bat.

Remember that running is different from other sports like cycling because repeated impact leaves athletes more injury-prone. Build up your volume over time, and back off (here's a handy guide) if you're feeling excessively fatigued or if soft tissue injuries occur. Myth #2: Always Give 110%

Elite mountain runner and coach Mason Coppi was hard on himself, always pushing his body to the limit in training and racing. 

"No matter what races I won or what times I ran, it was never enough. In my mind, there was always something I could have done differently. I could have always just given a little more effort. Every race and workout I ran I tried to give 110% effort. But here's the thing about 110% effort: it doesn't exist," says Coppi. 

Coppi tried to just work harder, to effort more in an attempt to reach his potential. But his performance in races declined steadily as Coppi ignored the signs his body was giving him to loosen up and rest. The more tired he felt, the harder he tried. The harder he tried, the more tired he felt. That feedback loop led to burnout, and Coppi is now taking a temporary step back from running. "You can only give what you have on that day, nothing more," says Coppi. Now, he's working to destigmatize the concept of taking easy days really easy. He works with other runners to help them understand that mental toughness is learning to listen to your body, to assess what your mental and physical needs are on a particular day and respond accordingly. 

"Once I realized my best on a given day was my best, a weight was lifted off me," says Coppi. "I knew my all-out effort was enough whether I was limited by something physical or mental."

Now, he no longer chases PRs and fast times on every run and instead works on flexing his adaptability muscle in training. To quote Coach Ted Lasso, "I want 60% effort, 1000% of the time." 

Consistency beats intensity when it comes to reaching your athletic potential, and enjoying the process. 

Myth #3: Don't Worry About Speedwork

Speedwork is a trail runner's best friend. 

"It's a myth that you have to train for ultras very slow, via many, many miles. High-intensity work is an ultrarunner's friend and diminishes the need to run 100+ mile weeks," says Jessica Riojas Schnier of Smiles and Miles Coaching. Use high and moderate-intensity workouts to train smarter and more efficiently. You'll reduce your risk of injury and burnout if you are more efficient with your training, which then makes us happier runners, for longer!"

Start by integrating 15-30 second strides at the fastest pace you can go without straining with one to two minutes of easy, recovery-effort running in between. Do four to eight sets, two to three times a week throughout your runs. 

Then, you can start integrating more structured workouts into your training. We recommend beginners start with these looser, more relaxed trail workouts. More advanced runners can skip right to these race-oriented workouts, or even get into some fun, combo workouts. 

Don't be afraid of a little speedwork. It'll help you train smarter, faster - and maybe you'll even have more fun. Myth #4: You Must Move to Boulder

While many top trail runners live in mountain Meccas like Boulder or Flagstaff, there are plenty of folks who live and train far from the Rocky Mountains and still compete at a high level. Take Ohio-native Arlen Glick, for example, who finished third at this year's Western States Endurance Run.

"There is still a myth that if you do not live near mountains, you can't do well or complete mountainous races. I have seen numerous athletes repeatedly train in the prairies (flat flat flat lands) of Canada and crush some of the most technical trails and races with incredible vertical gain and loss," says coach Jenny Quilty. 

There's plenty you can do to prepare for steep races, even if you don't live in Chamonix. Functional leg strength, like Mountain Legs, can help build strength and resilience through specific movement patterns. Improving your running economy through speedwork and hill strides is also key for mountain adventures and competition. 

Also, don't fear the dread-mill. Treadmills can help you practice power hiking, and just a few concentrated sessions are enough for some mega-mountain adaptations. Uphill treadhill doubles are also a great way of getting some vert in, all while reducing impact. Don't overlook the eccentric strength required to rock downhills, though, as many runners' legs are more affected by descents than the climbing. 

Myth #5: Run a Metric-Ton of Vert

While you'll want to do some vert-specific work to get better at climbing, overdoing it can lead to slow-downs and stagnation. 

"You don't have to run a ton of vert to get better at climbing," says Nike pro athlete Matt Daniels. "I have seen with many athletes that the ones who have developed more speed and better running economy without hundreds of miles in the mountains are the ones who end up handling the vert better on race day. There has to be a fine balance between vert-heavy runs and economy build-in training to be a good climber on race day."

Work on improving overall fitness without overemphasizing vert. According to coach and columnist David Roche, "The best climber is usually the best runner with just enough specific training on climbs." Focus on improving your running in training, while mixing in strength work (like mountain legs) and incorporating more vert as you get closer to your goal event. 

Try to get out on trails with race-similar terrain on the weekends leading up to your event, and mix in some mid-week vert during workouts and easy runs, too. Try to run the downhills with intention to get your legs ready for the muscle breakdown they'll incur on race day. 

Myth #6: Don't Race Until Perfectly Trained

Curious about diving into your first trail race? Don't wait!

"It's a myth that you have to already be an accomplished trail runner to register for a trail race. Most trail races are not that much different than road races (except if you're racing in the mountains, of course) in terms of their footing," says Denver-based Strength Running Coach Jason Fitzgerald. "Get a good pair of trail running shoes, get comfortable on all kinds of surfaces, and you'll have a blast at your first trail race!"

If you're curious about jumping into a trail race, reaching out to the race director can help determine if you're ready for and interested in a particular event. Researching past participants' race reports can help, too. (Remember to always take race reports with a grain of salt, since it's just one person's experience and perspective.) It doesn't hurt to have a friend sign up for the event with you for moral support and training accountability. 

Our advice? Start small. Find an event that's short enough that it sounds fun, rather than a huge stretch for your first race. 

Also, make sure you have a solid, consistent base of miles and you're not jumping into something that's hugely above your pay grade. We recommend at least six hours a week of training before jumping into a 50K, and closer to nine hours a week when you're looking at the 50-mile distances and up. If you're not sure where to start, check out our full catalog of training plans here. 

(08/15/2022) Views: 111 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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How to Train for Technical Trails

Technical trails can ask a lot out of the runner. They demand a fine balance of concentration, strength, and agility that can take years to hone. But being a strong runner of technical trails can quickly translate to improved efficiency, faster races, and overall health.

Like anything, upping your game on technical trails requires practice and preparation. That's why we turned to our favorite coaches and athletes, asking them how best to build the skills for staying upright and moving fast through tricky terrain. Here's what they said:

Fancy Footwork

"One of my favorite sets of drills to build skills for technical trail running is Lauren Fleshman's dynamic drill routine," says elite mountain runner and coach Mason Coppi. "The routine includes dynamic drills that improve overall biomechanics, coordination, foot speed, and ability to move in multiple planes of motion."

Though the routine was originally designed for track and road runners, it targets skills and agility that translate well to trail running. These dynamic, multi-directional movements keep you on your toes and help with the precise footwork you need for tough terrain. Coppi likes the athletes he coaches to do the routine after each run, to reinforce good footwork and form, especially when the legs are fatigued.

Take action: Do 10-15 minutes of mobility and drills after two to three runs a week to improve agility and footwork. Use the video above, or try using a ladder, cones or even chalk your own "ladder' on the sidewalk to practice. 

Strength Train

"Pure strength is always in fashion for any difficult race, so it's a good idea for trail runners to improve their maximum strength output," says Strength Running coach Jason Fitzgerald. "By getting substantially stronger, runners will be able to cover steep and technical sections with ease. And (of course!) spending time on technical trails is the best way to get better at them." 

San Diego-based Coach Jessica Riojas Schnier agrees, and says athletes should specifically target their toes and feet with strength training. 

"I do toe yoga (stretches that target the feet and toes) and ankle inversion/eversion exercises while sitting at my desk and occasionally use a wobble board to help strengthen my ankles," says Riojas Schnier. She also recommends toe yoga for athletes who struggle with foot and lower leg injuries, which can help with agility and stability on technical trails. 

Being a strong runner of technical trails can quickly translate to improved efficiency, faster races, and overall health.

"When technical terrain is not available, I often utilize movement-specific strength work. The roots and rocks simply aren't ladders on the ground - that would be nice and predictable, but there is more to running technical trails than a quick high knee," says Coach Jenny Quilty. 

Quilty and Schneir recommend David Roche's Speed Legs and Mountain Legs routines, which target limbs individually in addition to ankle and foot strengthening.  

"To prepare for technical terrain, I use run-specific strength moves that best replicate the movement patterns of climbing or descending on trails," says Quilty. "A few of my favorite go-to strength moves often focus on eccentric loading to build stability and strength with downhill running. Since technical terrain often requires more time in the mid stance of the running gait (when the foot is planted on the ground) I incorporate a few moves to target stability and power navigating movements while a single leg is under load." She recommends moves like step downs, single leg lateral slider squats, step-ups, and reverse nordics. 

Take action: Incorporate a wobble board or Mobo board into your mobility routine. Don't neglect your feet and toes when it comes to strength! Try this routine for a strong foot foundation. 

Just Run

The best way to improve your technical trail running ability is to just get out there and do it. 

"Go out on the trails and get comfortable," says coach and elite trail runner Tabor Hemming. She and her husband and co-coach Eli Hemming recommend getting out on the trails as much as possible, while augmenting that trail running with some targeted strength training.

"Some of our favorite strength exercises are lunges (front, back, and lateral) and then planks. These are the biggest bang for your buck exercises, especially for a time-crunched runner. We recommend incorporating them two to three times a week following your run." 

trengthening your lower core with stabilization exercises like planks and leg lowers will also help with stability when moving quickly through technical terrain. But, there's no replacement for getting out on the trails, and honing your skills in the real world. 

Nike pro runner and coach Matt Daniels recommends repetitive running on technical terrain. "It always helps to have someone who is faster than you on technical terrain to run in front so you can practice just staying with them and reacting to what's ahead quickly!" 

"If it is accessible, the best way to improve is to practice, by following others, joining a group, doing sessions on a specific section of trail where you run for a few moments, walk back, and repeat to test out and build confidence in footing," says Quilty. 

Take action: Grab a friend or join a running group and hit the trails. Notice the quick turnover and shortened stride most folks adopt when moving quickly through technical terrain, and see what lines your trail buds take. 

(08/07/2022) Views: 104 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Shalane Flanagan takes coaching role at University of Oregon

U.S. Olympic medallist and 2017 New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan announced on her social media that she’ll be joining the University of Oregon coaching staff as an assistant coach to help lead the team’s distance program.

Since 2019, Flanagan has been an assistant coach for the Nike Bowerman Track Club alongside Jerry Schumacher, who was recently named head coach of Oregon’s track and field program.

During her career and guidance, Flanagan has been part of the emergence of the Bowerman Track Club, which is considered one of the top running groups in North America.

Flanagan joined Bowerman Track Club in 2009 and made two U.S. Olympic teams in the marathon (2012 and 2016). In 2012, Flanagan finished 10th and in Rio 2016, she finished sixth in 2:25:26.

In 2017, Flanagan ended a 40-year winless drought for American women at the New York City Marathon by winning the prestigious event.

Flanagan made her Olympic debut in 2004 when she was 23, and returned in 2008 to win a silver medal in the 10,000m. Flanagan also has a bronze medal to her credit from the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Spain.

Flanagan, now 41, is an 18-time U.S. champion with six titles in each discipline (track, road and XC). She won two of her 18 titles at the Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore, which is the training ground for the University of Oregon track and field program.

In 2019, she announced her retirement from running but then paused her retirement in 2021 to complete all six Abbott Marathon Majors in seven weeks. She ended up finishing all six races in under three hours.

(08/03/2022) Views: 202 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Will racing flats help you crush that PB?

Do you want the minimal, feather-light shoes, the carbon-plated ones, or the shoes with a little extra cushioning on race day? With the seemingly endless array of styles and recommendations out there, it can be hard to know what choice will bring you the best results, and experts say it hinges on a few factors.

If you were a young person in the 1970s, you may have worn racing flats as a casual shoe: the running boom during that decade made racing flats everyday wear. When Canadian legend Terry Fox attempted to run across Canada, he wore a very minimal Adidas Orien flat; the shoe subsequently became incredibly popular, and a re-release was rapidly sold out.

We spoke to Lethbridge-based coach, ultrarunner and race director Dean Johnson to gain some insight into your race-day choice of shoe.

“‘It depends’ is always a good start,” he says. The question simply doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. “Before ‘super shoes’ (like the Nike Vaporfly), my opinion based on biomechanical researchers’ opinions was to wear the least amount of shoe possible. That refers to stack height (the amount of material between your foot and the ground) and weight,” Johnson adds.

“Up to 10K, most everyone can/should have some ‘fast’ shoes that they use for a serious tempo workout and races. They will have just enough padding to get you through the race. After the race, your feet will be a bit sore,” says Johnson. Racing flats are credited with encouraging less ground-contact time, creating a more economical, efficient stride. However, the elites who wear them are used to them; their foot muscles will have gained strength through practice.

Johnson also suggests taking your running habits into consideration for longer races. “For the half and full marathon, it really depends on your pace, feet and gait. A person with a quick cadence who is likely a mid-foot striker can use a thinner shoe. If you are a hard heel-striker, you are going to need some cushioning,” he says. “If your feet are strong (you walk barefoot a lot or have minimally structured shoes), you can get away with very little padding and support in a racing shoe.”

Johnson recommends wearing your race-day shoes during practice sessions to see what feels best, and adjusting as needed. “All this should be tested out in your training, especially those tune-up races and race-pace long runs. If your feet get too sore during the run, you will compensate, slow down, and suffer more than you need,” he says.

There may be no perfect shoe for everyone, but there will be a shoe that you’ll feel and run your fastest in. Keep in mind that racing flats will wear out sooner than your other, more firmly constructed shoes: they have less support and less cushioning so they break down faster. Make sure you visit a store that specializes in running, try on a wide variety of shoes, and have some awareness of your own running style.

(07/25/2022) Views: 147 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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The second fastest woman in history Elaine Thompson-Herah has signed with Puma, and now wants the world record

Five-time Olympic champion and the second fastest woman of all time has signed a sponsorship deal with Puma Running. Elaine Thompson-Herah, the back-to-back Olympic 100m and 200m champion, will boost the company’s impressive roster of track and field athletes ahead of the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore.

“Puma just felt like the right fit,” says Thompson-Herah. “The company has been working with the world’s fastest athletes for decades and I can’t wait to be part of such an elite group.”

In 2021, Thompson-Herah became the second fastest woman in history when she clocked 10.54 seconds at the 2021 Prefontaine Classic. The 30-year-old Jamaican 100m and 200m record holder spent several years with Nike, and now has her sights set on breaking Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 100m world record of 10.49 seconds from 1988.

“Now is the time to break it,” says the double Olympic champion. “I think there’s still a lot I can unleash.”

Puma has a long history in the sport of track and field, and has sponsored the Jamaican Athletics Team since 2002. Thompson-Herah now joins her Jamaican compatriot, 100m and 200m world record holder and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt.

Thompson-Herah kicks off her 2022 World Championship campaign on Saturday evening in the women’s 100m heats.

(07/16/2022) Views: 160 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Olympic 800m medalist Nijel Amos suspended for doping

The third fastest 800m runner of all time, Botswana’s Nijel Amos has been provisionally suspended ahead of this week’s World Championships, after the 2012 Olympic silver medallist tested positive for a banned metabolite, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Tuesday.

The drug found in the 28-year-old’s system was GW1516, which modifies how the body metabolizes fat, and which can boost endurance. An AIU press release said that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has also warned that it poses a health risk to athletes.

GW1516 was originally developed to treat obesity and diabetes, but is not approved for human use, since it was discovered to be carcinogenic. It is banned in and out of competition, and not eligible for Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). A USADA bulletin from 2019 says GW1516 is also sometimes known as cardarine or endurobol and has been found in some supplements, even though it is illegal. In 2017, there were 31 sanctions worldwide related to its use. 

The AIU collected the sample from Amos during an out-of-competition test on June 4. Amos was notified of the result while he was preparing for the World Championships in Eugene, Ore., where he was scheduled to compete in the heats of the 800m on July 20. He finished eighth in the 800m final at Tokyo 2020. At Rio in 2016, he failed to make it out of the heats.

Amos’s silver in the 800m from the London Olympics was Botswana’s first Olympic medal and ranks as the third-fastest 800m time ever (1:41.73) behind Kenya’s David Rudisha (1:40.91) and Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11).

Amos has spent his last six seasons training with Mark Rowland and the Nike Oregon Track Club. Rowland recently left the club to start a new role as a coach with the Athletics Canada West Hub.

The AIU says the length of his suspension will be determined at a later date.

(07/13/2022) Views: 186 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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A new Pre stature wil be on display at World Championships

This Bronze statue of Pre has just been delivered to the Fifth Street Public Market in Eugene. It should be on display throughout the July 15-24 World Championships, and I hope the world will learn our USA Running and Oregon story. And selfishly, the Nike story.

(07/04/2022) Views: 256 ⚡AMP
by Steve Bence
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Demystifying Carbon Fiber, A Key Super Shoe Ingredient

The plate is just one part of a midsole’s secret sauce.

Four years ago, Nike launched the Vaporfly 4%, enthralling us with the promise its name implied: a 4-percent boost in running economy. Before the shoe’s release, Eliud Kipchoge wore the Vaporfly while attempting to run a marathon in less than two hours in 2017’s Breaking2 Project. He eventually succeeded two years later in the Alphafly Next%, the Vaporfly’s beefed-up, controversial descendant.

It takes a superhuman like Kipchoge to break what was once thought an impossible barrier, but stats show the average runner can also benefit from running in super shoes. In 2019, Strava data showed runners ran 4 to 5 percent faster in the Vaporfly or Next% compared to runners wearing an average trainer.

Trailing Nike, other brands dove in, releasing their own rendition of super shoes, and adding a smidge of original flavor (e.g., Saucony’s Speedroll tech; the decoupled midsole on the Puma Fast-R). But there are two common denominators these models share: a responsive midsole foam and a carbon-fiber plate. The midsole foam is usually made from a polyether block amide thermoplastic (also known as Peba, or the Arkema-trademarked Pebax). Examples include Nike’s ZoomX, Puma’s Nitro Elite, and Saucony’s PwrrunPB. Compared with standard foam (EVA), Peba is lighter, more compliant, and more resilient.

“Typically, foams act as a cushioning ingredient and plates act as a stiffening ingredient,” said Rebekah Broe, director of product and performance footwear at Hoka, on a video call. The plate limits flexibility, acting as a propulsion agent in the gait cycle. It works in harmony with the responsive foam sandwiching it, thus delivering even higher energy return as you run.

Elliot Heath, Nike product line manager, referred to the carbon-fiber plate as an “enabler.” In constructing the Vaporfly and subsequent models, the Nike running footwear team focused on stiffness and propulsion. The placement of the plate as well as its shape—it has curves like a spoon—enhances your stride’s toe-off. 

The plate in Hoka’s road racing models, for example, is fork-shaped and sits closer to the heel. It curves higher in the rear of the shoe and swoops down closer to the ground in the forefoot. “Its offset helps reduce energy loss at the ankle joint and increases stiffness to reduce energy loss at the big toe,” said Broe. “It gives you this balanced ride because you have really soft compliant foam under the foot.”

Hoka released a carbon-fiber trail shoe, the Tecton X, earlier this year. We dissected its midsole in “The Cut Up” last issue, revealing two parallel plates to allow dexterity over obstacles while still providing that propulsive stiffness. The ski-like plates are markedly different from the wishbone-shaped single plate in Hoka’s road racing shoes. Broe said Hoka worked with carbon-fiber vendors to finesse and mold the plates to meet the shoes’ specific needs.

Broe was evasive about which carbon-fiber vendors Hoka uses, withholding that specific information. As predicted, Nike also dodged the question, with Heath stating, “We’re not really in a position to talk exactly about our manufacturers, but all of the initial research and building is done here at Nike campus.”

At The Running Event in Austin, Texas, last November, I met with the carbon-fiber manufacturer Carbitex. Founded in 2010, the company shifted its focus to footwear about five years ago. Shoe brands, including Adidas, Altra, and Scott, are listed on Carbitex’s site.

Carbon fiber is valued not only for its stiffness to encourage propulsion but also because shoe manufacturers can control flexibility. The human foot, Carbitex founder Junus Khan explained on a video call, is asymmetrical; its tendons and ligaments change in stiffness based on need. The malleability of Carbitex’s plates allows the foot to bend in its natural way while providing stability and the prized propulsion PR chasers crave. “When it comes to sporting equipment, how do you create technology that helps augment people’s natural performance?” asked Khan. “The traditional carbon-fiber plates in shoes kind of tell you how to run because it’s a fixed rigid plate.”

Carbon fiber, according to Khan, has been around for only about 50 years. It’s still the new kid on the block in terms of usage. It’s implemented in a host of sectors, from military aerospace to backpacks. Khan describes Carbitex’s role working with shoe brands as “the best supporting actor,” not the main event. The relationship is built on independent research, data, and athlete testing.

Carbitex’s Three Plate Technologies

Khan’s team is currently working on a plant-based carbon-fiber material. The next phase for carbon-fiber-plated footwear is making it more accessible, Khan said, pointing to Vibram, Gore-Tex, and Boa as examples. “They’re still premium but have found their way into products that are able to benefit a wider population,” he said. “That’s not necessarily what people think about when they think of technology development, but to enable new technology to come down in price requires a whole different type of engineering.”

It’s still too early to know the long-term effects of running in shoes with carbon-fiber plates, but there’s some concern that overuse could weaken a runner’s foot muscles. Conversely, a study at the University of Calgary found that stiffness improved foot biomechanics, potentially staving off MTP (metatarsophalangeal) joint injury, turf toe, and other ailments. Still, another study conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that there was no improvement in running economy when carbon-fiber plates were added to shoe soles. 

Only time will tell which party is correct. It should be noted, however, that the plate is only one part of the equation; everything must work in concert for the ultimate running experience. “You can have a great shoe that has one bad feature that throws everything else off versus having a bad shoe with one awesome feature that is not going to fix it,” said Khan. “People ask, ‘What is the secret?’ And the secret is the sum. The sum is greater than the parts.” 

 

(06/25/2022) Views: 156 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Nike will fully shut down operations in Russia, joining other international companies that have withdrawn from the country after its brutal invasion of Ukraine

Nike Inc. suspended operations three months ago at all of its company-owned and operated stores in Russia but like other major corporations, has attempted to avoid exposing employees to hardship during a complete withdrawal.

The Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported last month that Nike had ended its relationship with Inventive Retail Group, its largest franchisee in the country.

"Our priority is to ensure we are fully supporting our employees while we responsibly scale down our operations over the coming months,” the sports apparel maker said Thursday.

(Second photo: one of many images of the war Russia has waged against Ukraine.) 

Nike, like many recognizable Western brands, was swift to repudiate Russia over the war in Ukraine. However, it was among a small minority of companies—including Burger King, the Marriott hotel group and British supermarket Marks and Spencer—that struggled to completely extricate themselves from the Russian market due to complex franchise agreements.

Three months since Moscow launched the invasion, more companies are transitioning from suspending their Russian operations to leaving the country entirely, including two iconic American brands, McDonald’s and Starbucks, and French carmaker Renault.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to fight back against companies suspending operations or leaving the country and said he will nationalize their assets. Renault marks the first major nationalization of a Western company’s assets after handing its factory over to the city of Moscow, reportedly for a nominal sum of one ruble.

(06/23/2022) Views: 208 ⚡AMP
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Woody Kincaid eyes redemption at USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships

Woody Kincaid’s last visit to Hayward Field didn’t go as planned.

So, Kincaid has something extra riding on the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships, which begin a four-day run at Hayward Field in Eugene on Thursday.

The USATF 10,000-meter final took place at Hayward last month in conjunction with the Prefontaine Classic. Kincaid, the Olympian who trains with the Portland-based Bowerman Track Club, was defending his USATF title.

It was a slow pace and headed toward a kicker’s finish -- Kincaid’s kind race -- when a sharp pain in his side almost doubled him over 6,600 meters in.

Buchanan, who would finish ninth, trains with the California-based Mammoth Track Club. The two UP grads weren’t working together. It just … happened.

(First photo): Woody Kincaid and Grant Fisher react after finishing first and second place in the men's 10,000 meters during Day 1 of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 18, 2021, in Eugene, Oregon.

Kincaid remembers thinking, “‘Damn. That’s Reid Buchanan. And this is the Olympic trials.’ It was pretty surreal.”

In the final lap, it became outrageous. Kincaid covered the final 400 in 53.47 seconds, the final 200 in 25.51.

“A lot of people can’t do that,” says UP coach Rob Conner, who nurtured Kincaid through five up-and-down, injury-troubled years on The Bluff.

Staggered, Kincaid couldn’t go on. He was on the sideline when Joe Klecker, Grant Fisher and Sean McGorty went 1-2-3 to claim the spots on Team USA for the World Outdoor Track & Field Championships next month in Eugene.

“It wasn’t a hard effort,” Kincaid says, trying to make sense of what caused the stitch. “It was a slow pack, 4:52 mile pace. So, it wasn’t like I was hanging on or anything. It’s never happened before.”

Kincaid says it’s been diagnosed as a diaphragm cramp. He has been checked out. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong medically.

“One of those things,” he says.

And ready to be discarded like yesterday’s news. Kincaid is entered in Sunday’s 5,000 in the main portion of the USATF Outdoor Championships. He will be running to win.

Kincaid was third in the 5,000 at last year’s Olympic trials. He went on to represent the U.S. in both events in Tokyo, placing 14th in the 5,000 and 15th in the 10,000.

“I was glad I made the team in the ‘5,’” Kincaid says of last year’s Olympic trials. “But there still is a little bit of ‘Damn, I should have gotten the ‘5′ too.’ I still want a national title in the ‘5.’”

Last year’s Olympic trials was a breakthrough for the former University of Portland star who seemed to spend his first four years as a professional either hurt or trying to come back from injury.

It all clicked last summer on the first day of the trials at Hayward Field when Kincaid positioned himself perfectly in the 10,000 with two laps to go.

He wasn’t quite ready to make his move when former UP teammate Reid Buchanan obliged by going to the front.

It was a Hollywood finish in more ways than one. As Kincaid took his victory lap, his father, Mike, met him at along the rail. Mike was in a fight with mesothelioma that he would lose five months later.

Father and son both knew the score, which made for a poignant moment.

“We were both like in shock, like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that just happened,’” Kincaid says. “My dad couldn’t speak. We were super close. I don’t think he had anything to say.”

Kincaid’s BTC teammates took a photo of the scene and blew it up to poster size.

“Best race I’ve ever run,” Kincaid says. “That was special.”

Shocking as it might have been to fans, it wasn’t totally unexpected by those close to him.

BTC coach Jerry Schumacher believes Kincaid actually arrived at the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships, when he survived a wicked pace set by Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo in the 5,000, stayed at the front and finished third.

“That got me excited,” Schumacher says.

That September, Kincaid and teammates Lopez Lomong and Matthew Centrowitz ran a 5,000-meter time trial on the Nike campus.

Kincaid bolted past Lomong in the race’s final 120 to finish first in 12:58.10. Even Kincaid did a double take at the sub-13 time.

COVID scrubbed most of the 2020 outdoor season, leaving Kincaid something of a question mark heading into last summer’s Olympic trials.

“People kind of missed on him,” Schumacher says. “We got to see him at practice. We got to see how he trained and worked out. He was determined. He had everything you would want to see in an athlete going into the Olympic trials.

“For us, it wasn’t a huge surprise. He’d basically been at that level for two full years, and 2021 was the first time he got to showcase it.”

He is a known commodity now, and an acknowledged threat in the USATF 5,000 final. A totally focused and injury-free Kincaid will be tough to beat, particularly if the race comes down to a kick.

“He’ll get the job done,” Conner says. “I’m 100 percent confident of that.”

(06/21/2022) Views: 168 ⚡AMP
by Ken Goe (OregonLive)
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Can a Pair of Running Shorts Be Worth $200?

If within your first minute on the Satisfy product page you don’t do take a second look at the prices, kudos. You’re a less judgmental (or far wealthier) person than me. 

“Who are these people?!” was my main thought the first few times I surveyed the site. My question was two-fold. First, who are the people paying $236 for a pair of trail shorts, or $215 for a tie dye short-sleeve shirt, or $322 for a pair of tights, or $65 for a bandana, or…you get the idea. Second, who are the people making this 70s-fonts-meet-space-age-fabrics gear splattered with phrases like “running cult member” and “run away?”

“I’m not obsessed with fashion,” Partouche says. “I’m obsessed with great products with a function.” Design, he says, “is always about solving problems—I want to run in the desert, I want to run in the mountains, what do I need? So we start with that story and we develop the product around the story.” Then, he continues, “we add cultural value, references that create a connection with the product, like a print, a tie dye, hand feel. It’s a balance of functionality and design. I like this image of a mix table, trying to push both knobs to the max without exploding the speaker. It’s a very romantic approach.” Indeed it is: “I want to squeeze in a few miles around the neighborhood before work” doesn’t strike quite the same chord.

Partouche’s vision of “cultural value” is both quite precise and hard to capture in a few words.

“My perception was not the spandex runner, it was running in the [19]60s, 70s,” he says. “No one else was really embracing this style of look and running. For me, running is like skateboarding. It’s a sport for rebels. I like this idea of bringing back running to its core values.” 

Visually, think short shorts, bandanas, retro graphics, and occasional purposefully distressed tops. The latter come via Satisfy’s MothTech process, which incorporates small holes for ventilation. (Runner’s World did a collaboration with Satisfy last fall that incorporated a 70s-era version of the magazine’s name on MothTech tops.) A boxy, cold-weather top with elbow patches and a slight turtleneck I tested is unlikely to be mistaken for, say, Under Armour apparel. (My wife calls it my cosmonaut top.) Tops and bottoms come with the care tag on the outside of the garment, to eliminate the possibility of chafing. The tags can be detached, leaving a thin remainder strip visible on the front.

I shared the Satisfy site with a running friend who has taught design. They responded with a list of phrases like “if running clothes were a trucker hat” and “engineered authenticity.” They also wrote, “This branding strikes me as a winking parody of indifference, offering a uniform anyone can purchase that’s designed to look like you give no shits about fashion when training and you are a serious macho runner like the runners back in the day—but a big dumb logo patch that signals to your peers in the know that this is actually a running lifestyle brand.” 

About those prices

Partouche says Satisfy’s potentially eye-popping prices can be explained by the company’s approach to fabrics and production. The brand’s technical fabrics might cost 20 euros per meter. “You can find some big brand shorts for [this price],” he says. “This is only for us the price of the fabric,” which he claims can be 20 times more expensive per meter than what’s used to make Nike shorts. “That’s why you can’t compare—it’s just not the same product,” Partouche says. When it doesn’t use technical fabrics, Satisfy uses natural ones such as merino wool and organic cotton, and recycled fabrics. 

Gear made of fabrics sourced in Europe are also produced in Europe. “Seventy to 80 percent of our products are produced in Portugal, under very fair [labor] conditions,” Partouche says. “That’s one big difference.” The merino that Satisfy uses is woven in Japan, and then the gear is produced there to lessen its environmental impact.

Partouche says the brand’s approach to product lines is also inspired by good environmental practices. There’s an evergreen line that’s always in stock, and there are occasional drops, produced in limited quantities (about 20 percent of a typical evergreen production run). “The idea here it to sell out the drops and not overproduce,” Partouche says. “We don’t have this putting-products-on-sale approach, which makes the brand more sustainable.”

I told Partouche that I and many other runners are on board with paying more for high-quality gear that’s produced ethically and sustainably, but that I saw nothing on the Satisfy site that gives context to the prices.

“This is the most challenging part now, to explain better what we do,” he responded. “We are 70 percent online. When you go to a store and touch the fabric, you can understand. On the website, if you just see a black T-shirt, it’s hard to understand.”

One runner’s reaction

I also told Partouche that the Satisfy apparel I ran in was some of the best gear I’ve encountered since taking up running in 1979. And I meant it. The cosmonaut top ($201) was warm enough as a single layer down to about 20 degrees, yet also comfortable into the mid 40s. Its boxiness easily accommodated underlayers, but I never felt constrained when doing faster runs in it. The tights ($159) I tested were even better. They, too, worked for a surprisingly large temperature range, and were just the right mix of sleekness and give.

Of course, $200 tops and $160 tights better be excellent! Are they worth that much? 

That depends on what you mean by “worth.” Anyone fortunate enough to have disposable income devotes some of that money to things others never would. I can’t believe how much my sisters spend on Major League Baseball tickets and Disney vacations. They would probably scoff at what I pay for a pound of coffee beans.

To continue the coffee analogy: It’s worth it to me to spend $20 for a pound of fair trade, organic, single-origin beans rather than $10 for a blend from Dunkin’. Beans that are $30 or more per pound are a different matter. I know the beans will be even better than what I usually buy, but not that much better. Maybe I’ll buy them as a gift or vacation splurge once or twice a year.

That’s where I’ve landed on Satisfy gear. Their merino wool socks are probably the most comfortable, best-functioning socks I’ve ever run in. Still, they cost $53 a pair. I can buy a pair of Darn Tough socks—also merino, also manufactured responsibly, and with a lifetime warranty—for around $25. For me, spending twice as much to get gear that’s perhaps 12 percent better isn’t worth it. I’m also not someone who likes slogans or big brand names on his clothes.

But that’s just me. Satisfy has an incredibly devoted Instagram following, and has now been in business long enough to counter kneejerk they’ll-never-make-it predictions. 

“Our approach to product design and craft is simply different from the rest, and I think that’s what makes us stand out,” Partouche says. “Today, our challenge is getting our product in people’s hands, because I’m convinced that when someone feels the textures of our fabric technologies, sees all the details that we inject into our design, they understand why we’re priced at where we are.”

I mean, I know I’m just a middle-aged guy sitting at home in Maine. But is there really a massive Venn diagram overlap of adventure runner, disposable income, and punk/chillbro/psychedelic/hippie aesthetic? Did I miss where, per the Satisfy site, the best way to explain the recovery portion of a track workout is, “really take advantage of the 60 sec rest to get SO chill until the next rep”? I decided to find out. 

Executive summary: The clothes are excellent, the prices aren’t necessarily outrageous once you consider all the factors, the brand’s founder is a passionate runner with an admirable DIY streak, and running is big enough to accommodate many approaches. 

But I doubt I’ll ever buy a piece of Satisfy gear.

Birth of a brand

Satisfy is inseparable from its founder, Brice Partouche. Now 45, Partouche started running in his mid-30s and was immediately hooked. “I got high when I ran,” he says. “I was lucky enough to experience this at an early stage, which is why I kept going back to it.” His love for the life-changing magic of lacing up is palpable. He says things like, “I found running in my mid-30s, or running found me” and, “This is a dream of the brand—everyone should experience the high.”

What Partouche didn’t like about running was the clothing. “Most of the brands, the products are kind of cheap,” he says. “To me, the hand feel, the touch of the fabric is important.” He was also dissatisfied with the functionality of things like key pockets and phone storage in the gear he ran in; the distractions interrupted his sense of flow.

As a teen skateboarder, Partouche started a T-shirt brand. He later dropped out of medical school and founded a denim brand. A drummer, Partouche grew up listening to and playing punk rock. “These activities have a huge cultural value attached to them,” he says. “When I jumped into running, I couldn’t find any brand that supported this idea of running alone and running away from things.” Drawing on skateboarding’s and punk’s ethos, Partouche says, “If it doesn’t exist, you just do it yourself. I wanted to create product that will allow the high. I really believe that part of this could be achieved with the product you’re wearing.”

He spent several months developing prototypes. The first sales occurred in 2016. Headquartered in Paris, Satisfy now has 17 staff members. According to Partouche, North America makes up half of his market. (“France is 1 percent of the business,” he says a little ruefully.) Sales are almost entirely online, although you can find Satisfy gear in a few U.S. running shops like Renegade Running in Oakland, California, and The Loop in Austin, Texas. Partouche calls these “contemporary, new running stores with an experience.” 

(06/11/2022) Views: 179 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Kilian Jornet and Nienke Brinkman smash Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon course records

On Sunday, at the first stage in the Gold Trail World Series (GTWS), Spain’s Kilian Jornet and Nienke Brinkman of the Netherlands both won the Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon in a course record time.

Jornet has now won the race for the 10th time in 11 attempts on the trail of Zegama-Aizkorri, in the Basque Country, Spain. His time of 3:36:40 took nine minutes off the previous record of 3:45:08 set by Stian Angermund-Vik in 2017.

The 34-year-old trail runner covered the 42-kilometre course at a fierce pace while climbing a steep 2,736 metres of elevation gain. Runners had to deal with seasonally warm temperatures but were greeted by thousands of people posted along the course.

Jornet finished three minutes ahead of Italy’s Davide Magnini (3:39:31), with whom he duelled for a long time until the final climb around 33 km. Spain’s Manuel Merillas, who is the reigning skyrunning world champion and speed record holder on Mont Blanc, finished third in 3:45:43.

Jornet has won Zegama in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2019 and now 2022. The big goal for Jornet this year is to win the Hardrock 100 miler, which takes place in Silverton, Colo., on July 15, where he will have to compete against the 2021 UTMB champion, François D’haene of France.

In the women’s race, it was all Dutch-phenom Brinkman. The 28-year-old Dutch marathon record holder never trailed in the race and ran the entire race alone past 10K. Brinkman led Maude Mathys of Switzerland by three minutes at the halfway point and beat Mathys by over nine minutes at the finish, smashing the existing course record by 18 minutes in 4:16:43. Mathys was second in 4:26:03 and Sara Alonso of Spain rounded out the top three, 37 seconds behind Mathys. All three women were well inside the previous course record.

In two months, Brinkman has notched a 2:22 marathon performance in Rotterdam and the Zegama Marathon course record. She is a former Dutch field hockey player, who only started running seriously at the start of the pandemic in 2020. At the end of 2021, she joined Nike’s NN Running Team.

 

Brinkman currently lives in Zurich, Switzerland, where she does a lot of training on the trails and difficult mountain paths.

(06/02/2022) Views: 246 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Ethiopian Andualem Shiferaw breaks course record to win the Ottawa Marathon

On a sunny Sunday morning in the nation’s capital, Andualem Shiferaw of Ethiopia ran a new course record time of 2:06:03 to win the 2022 Ottawa Marathon. Shiferaw smashed the previous record held by Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay of 2:06:54.

Shiferaw, who had the fastest personal best heading into the race of 2:05:52, went out with the lead group of six runners. The group went through half in 1:03:53, which faired to be a bit slow for the 30-year-old Ethiopian. At the 25K mark, Shiferaw put on a surge and developed a bit of a gap on the field.

Once he hit the 30 km mark, race organizers knew they would be witnessing a course record performance from Shiferaw. Once he crossed the finish line, Shiferaw did not stop running– doing a victory lap and high-fiving patrons who were on hand to witness his performance. Abdi Ali Gelchu of Bahrain was the second runner to finish in 2:09:23, while Yuta Shimoda from Japan was third in 2:09:49.

Shiferaw earned himself $24,000 for winning the race and an additional $10,000 for breaking the course record. His win in Ottawa was his fifth win in his last seven marathons. Shiferaw sported the 2021 Nike pro kit for the marathon, despite being dropped for 2022.

Justin Kent of Vancouver was the first Canadian to finish in a new personal best time of 2:13:33. Kent shook almost four minutes off his previous best of 2:17:22 from the Marathon Project, which he ran in 2020. “I am over the moon about my performance,” Kent says. “I haven’t even come to terms with what I have accomplished yet.”

“Being the first Canadian was the big goal,” Kent says. “I owe my training partner (Ben Preisner) a few beverages for helping me out on the course.” Preisner paced Kent through 30K in an hour and 35 minutes.

“I got a taste of Ottawa Race Weekend in 2019 when I competed in the 10K championships,” Kent says. “I knew I had to return to experience the atmosphere for the marathon.”

Kent mentioned he will be taking a down week before ramping up again with his coach Richard Lee for a few summer and fall races.

(05/31/2022) Views: 265 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Ottawa Marathon

Ottawa Marathon

As one of two IAAF Gold Label marathon events in Canada, the race attracts Canada’s largest marathon field (7,000 participants) as well as a world-class contingent of elite athletes every year. Featuring the beautiful scenery of Canada’s capital, the top-notch organization of an IAAF event, the atmosphere of hundreds of thousands of spectators, and a fast course perfect both...

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Pre Classic Hit With Withdrawals: Olympic Champs Athing Mu, Marcell Jacobs and Matthew Centrowitz All Withdraw From Meet

Every year the Prefontaine Classic is an incredible meet. Not only is it the lone Wanda Diamond League meeting in the US, but Nike pretty much mandates that its top athletes compete unless injured.

This year’s meet was shaping up to be totally spectacular as it comes less than two months before Worlds are held on the very same track. However, while the meet is going to be amazing, it’s going to be less than amazing than it was looking like a few days ago as a bunch of big-name stars have been taken off the start lists in recent days.

Reigning Olympic 800 champ Athing Mu is no longer listed in the women’s 800. The same is true for Marcell Jacobs in the men’s 100, which this year is supplanting the Bowerman Mile as the last event on the schedule. However, he has been replaced by Trayvon Bromell –the fastest man in the world in 2021. 2016 Olympic 1500 champ Matthew Centrowitz also is off the start lists, meaning he still hasn’t raced at all in 2022.

“Matthew has a knee injury and is unable to race this weekend. Hopefully, he will be back in action soon,” texted Ricky Simms, the agent for Centrowitz, when asked for comment by LetsRun.com.

The Italian federation said that Jacobs picked up a muscle injury during his race in Savona last week and has been told to take 10 days off. No reasons have been given for Mu’s withdrawal and Wes Felix, her agent, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Friday night, the US 10,000 meter champs will be held plus there will be world record attempts in the women’s 2 mile with Francine Niyonsaba and Sifan Hassan as well as 5000s with Letesenbet Gidey and Joshua Cheptegei. Then on Saturday, the normal meet will be held.

(05/26/2022) Views: 253 ⚡AMP
by Letsrun
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Prefontaine Classic

Prefontaine Classic

The Pre Classic, part of the Diamond League series of international meets featuring Olympic-level athletes, is scheduled to be held at the new Hayward Field in Eugene. The Prefontaine Classicis the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite Wanda Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has...

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2022 Carlsbad 5000 Announces Its Elite Field

eigning champion and 17-time NCAA All-American Edward Cheserek headlines men’s race; Olympians Kim Conley and Dom Scott lead women’s elite fields

36-Year Southern California Running Tradition Returns with over 6,000 runners on Sunday, May 22

One by one, America’s most famous road races have returned after being waylaid by COVID. The Boston Marathon, Peachtree Road Race, New York City Marathon.

Familiar images unfolded. Runners excitedly talked to friends and strangers in corrals. Spectators delivering high-fives. Medals draped around necks.

Bolder Boulder, Bay to Breakers, the Los Angeles Marathon.

Come Sunday, the last of the United States’ iconic road races returns after a three-year pandemic hiatus when the Carlsbad 5000 presented by National University celebrates its 36th running. Over 6,000 runners and joggers will enjoy the splash of the surf and clean salt air along the traffic-free Pacific Coast Highway 101, then sipping brews in the Pizza Port Beer Garden.

“I’m excited to return to the Carlsbad 5000,” said reigning champion Ed Cheserek of Kenya. “Last time in 2019 was a lot of fun and after everything our running community has been through since then, I’m really looking forward to being back at the beach in sunny Southern California.”

The Carlsbad 5000 is renowned as “The World’s Fastest 5K” and the moniker was earned.

Sixteen world records have been set on the seaside course, plus a slew of national records and age group bests. Olympic gold medalists Tirunesh Dibaba, Meseret Defar and Eliud Kipchoge have run Carlsbad.

So have U.S. Olympic medalists Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi. Keflezighi, the San Diego High product and only male runner in history to win the Boston and New York City marathons, plus an Olympic medal, is now co-owner of the race.

“The San Diego community is very proud of the fact that Carlsbad hosts the world’s most famous 5k race,” said San Diego Track Club coach Paul Greer, a former sub-4-minute miler. “We’re proud of the race. And local runners are endeared by the fact that Meb is involved in the event because he’s one of our own.”

Many people deserve credit for the Carlsbad 5000’s success. Chief among them are Tim Murphy, the race’s creator, Steve Scott, the former American mile record holder who designed the course, and the late Mike Long, the beloved man who built relationships with African athletes and recruited them.

When the race was first held in 1986, the 10K and marathon were road racing’s popular distances. The 5K was considered a casual fun run.

“That’s how innovative Tim was,” said Scott. “He was going to start something when there wasn’t anything there.”

Scott not only designed the course. He won the first three races.

Another plus for The ’Bad: the race fell perfectly on the calendar, with the elite runners being in peak fitness after running the World Cross Country Championships.

“The world records were produced by the quality of the fields and the expectations of running fast,” said road racing historian and announcer Toni Reavis.

It may have been three years since the Carlsbad 5000 was held live (there was a virtual race in 2020), but all the charms will be back Sunday. The custom beer garden IPAs, the ocean views, the left-hand, downhill turn onto Carlsbad Village Drive, and the sprint to the finish.

The race’s official charity is the Lucky Duck Foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to fighting homelessness in San Diego County.

“Homelessness is San Diego’s number one social issue right now, and I couldn’t be prouder to partner with Lucky Duck Foundation as an official charity of the Carlsbad 5000,” said Keflezighi.

As in the past, the Carlsbad 5000 will feature a series of age-group races, starting with the Men’s Masters at 6:55 am, the Women’s Masters at 8:00 am, Open Men at 9:15 am, Open Women at 10:08 am, Junior Carlsbad Kids Mile at 11:20 am, Junior Carlsbad Kids Half-Mile at 12:13 pm, Elite Men at 1:20 pm and Elite Women at 1:23 pm.

The morning-long races create a cheering audience for the pros.

“That’s the other thing that made the elites run fast,” said Reavis. “The crowds.”

So after a three-year pause, the Carlsbad 5000 is back. For why the race continues to maintain its iconic appeal, Reavis said, “It’s those ocean breezes, the lapping waves, the laid-back lifestyle. It is perfect for this little Southern California town which gets transformed into a race course.”

For a complete race day schedule and more, visit Carsbad5000.com.

— Elite Rosters Follow —

Elite Men

Bib Number , Name, Country, Career Highlight, Birthday

1. Edward Cheserek, KENYA, Defending Champion . 17x NCAA Champion, 02/02/1994

2. Kasey Knevelbaad, USA – Flagstaff, 13:24.98 5000M(i) Personal Best,  09/02/1996

3. Reid Buchanan, USA – Mammoth, 2019 Pan American Games 10,000m Silver, 02/03/1993

4. Jose Santana Marin, MEXICO, 2019 Pan American Marathon Silver Medal, 09/03/1989

5. Eben Mosip, KENYA, Road 5k Debut, 12/31/2002

6. James Hunt, GREAT BRITAIN, 4-time Welsh Champion, 04/28/1996

7. Dennis Kipkosgei, Kenya, 2021 Philadelphia Broad Street 10 Miler Champion, 12/20/1994

8. Sean Robertson, USA, Butler University Athlete, 09/16/2001

9. Tate Schienbein, USA – Portland, 2013 U.S. Junior Steeplechase Champion, 04/04/1994

10. Hosava Kretzmann, USA – Flagstaff, AZ, 14:15 5000m PB, 09/02/1994

11. Dylan Belles, USA – Flagstaff, AZ, 2X Olympic Trials Qualifier, 05/16/1993

12. Dylan Marx, USA, San Diego’s Fastest Marathoner, 01/14/1992

13. Steven Martinez, USA – Chula Vista, 2x U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier, 09/15/1994

14. Spencer Johnson, USA – San Diego,  14:39.09 (2022 Oxy Distance Carnival), 03/20/1995

15. August Pappas, USA – San Diego, 14:05 PB, Big Ten Indoor Track Champs, 04/10/1993

16. Dillon Breen, USA – San Diego, 14:43 Virtual Carlsbad 2020, 09/01/1992

17. Dante Capone, USA – San Diego, Phd Student at Scripps Institute, 11/07/1996

18. Jack Bruce, AUSTRALIA, 13:28.57 5000m Best on Track, 08/31/1994

Elite Women

Bib Number , Name, Country, Career, Highlight, Birthday

20. Kim Conley, USA, One of America’s best 5000m runners, 03/14/1986

21. Dominique Scott, SOUTH AFRICA, Two-time Olympian, 05/24/1992

22. Grace Barnett, USA – Mammoth, Silver at 2021 USATF 5k Championships, 05/29/1995

23. Carina Viljoen SOUTH AFRICA, 5k Road Racing Debut, 04/15/1997

24. Ayla Granados, USA – Castro Valley, 15:53 Personal best, 09/18/1991

25. Biruktayit Degefa, ETHIOPIA, 2022 Crescent City 10k Champion, 09/09/1990

26. Andrea Ramirez Limon, MEXICO, 2021 National 10000m Champion, 11/05/1992

27. Claire Green, USA – San Francisco, NCAA All-American, 05/12/1996

28. Caren Maiyo, KENYA, 5k Road Debut. 7th At 2022 Houston Half Marathon, 04/17/1997

29. Nina Zarina, RUSSIA, California resident, 3rd at the 2021 LA Marathon, 03/17/1987

30. Emily Gallin, USA – Malibu, Finished 4th 2022 LA Marathon, 10/30/1984

31. Lauren Floris, – USA – Oak Park, 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier, 07/07/1990

32. Sara Mostatabi, USA – Los Angeles, 09/27/1993

33. Ashley Maton, – USA – Toledo,    16.37 PR at U.S. Road 5k Championships, 11/20/1993

34. Judy Cherotich. KENYA, 16:50 PR

35. Lindsey Sickler, USA – Reno, 16:59 PR, 09/05/1997

36. Megan Cunningham, USA – Flagstaff, 15:53 Track Best 5000M, 03/01/1995

37. Jeannette Mathieu, USA – San Francisco, 2020 Olympic Trials Qualifier, 04/19/1990

38. Bre Guzman, USA – San Diego, 17:37 5k/ 36:00 Road 10k PR, 10/30/1992

39. Aubrey Martin, USA – San Diego, 17:33 5k /1:19 Half Personal Best, 10/10/1997

40. Chloe Gustafson, USA – San Diego, Division II – NCAA All-American, 11/10/1992

41. Sammi Groce, USA – San Diego, 2021 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Winner, 04/29/1994

42. Kristi Gayagoy, USA – San Diego, 17:06 PR

43. Annie Roberts, USA – San Diego, 16:58 5k, 07/10/1996

44. Alexa Yatauro, USA – San Diego, 17:40 5k, 10/18/1995

45. Jessica Watychowicz, USA – Colorado Springs, 15:47.51 5000m Track PB, 02/27/1991

 

About the Carlsbad 5000

The Carlsbad 5000 annually attracts amateur, competitive and professional runners from around the world. The 36th running of the iconic race will take place on the weekend of May 21-22, 2021. The inaugural 1986 event helped establish the 5K as a standard road running distance, and today, the 5K is the most popular distance in the United States. Throughout its history, the Carlsbad 5000 has seen 16 World records and eight U.S. records, as well as numerous national and age group marks.  Race day begins at 7:00 am with the Masters Men (40 years old and over), the first of seven races to take place on Sunday. The “Party by the Sea” gets started as soon as the first runners cross the finish line with participants 21 and older celebrating in the Pizza Port beer garden with two complimentary craft brews and runners of all ages rocking out to live music on the streets of the Carlsbad Village. Further information about the Carlsbad 5000 can be found online at Carlsbad5000.com and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

(05/20/2022) Views: 299 ⚡AMP
by Running USA
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Carlsbad 5000

Carlsbad 5000

The Carlsbad 5000 features a fast and fun seaside course where 16 world records have been set. Both rookie runners and serious speedsters alike enjoy running or walking in Carlsbad. Weekend festivities kick off Saturday morning with the beloved Junior Carlsbad, a kids-only event in the heart of Carlsbad Village featuring fun runs, toddler trots, and diaper dashes! On Sunday,...

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Shelby Houlihan loses her final appeal

Two-time American record holder Shelby Houlihan, who is serving a four-year ban after failing a drug test in late 2020, has lost her final appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. Houlihan will now have to serve the entirety of her ban and will be eligible to compete again in January 2025.

The news was announced on her Instagram. “I was told from the start it was a long shot,” Houlihan wrote. “The truth hasn’t won here and it’s devastating.” The 11-time U.S. champion on the track continues to maintain that she did not knowingly dope and that the ban is unfair.

In December 2020 Houlihan tested positive for the steroid nandrolone, and in June 2021, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) handed her a four-year ban from the sport. After the ban was announced, Houlihan claimed the positive result was due to contaminated meat from a burrito food truck consumed the night before she was tested.

Houlihan appealed the ban and attempted to prove her innocence, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the ruling against her, stating that “The Athlete’s explanation that the 19-NA in her sample resulted from her consumption of the meat of an uncastrated boar simply cannot be accepted. The explanation presupposes a cascade of factual and scientific improbabilities, which means that its composite probability is (very) close to zero.”

Houlihan launched a GoFundMe page to help pay her legal fees. In a final effort to have the ban overturned, she appealed to the high court of the Swiss Federal Tribunal in late 2021. Last week, the Tribunal made the decision to dismiss her appeal due to the lack of evidence.

Houlihan’s name no longer appears on the Bowerman TC website but is still a Nike athlete. Last month, Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford left Bowerman TC, after spending almost two years with the club, citing confusion around Houlihan’s presence and involvement with the club despite being banned.

(05/19/2022) Views: 262 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Allyson Felix’s shoe brand Saysh to offer “intentionally sexist” return policy for pregnant women

Days after Allyson Felix, the most decorated woman in track and field history, announced 2022 would be her last season of competitive running, she also implemented an industry-leading return policy for her shoe company, Saysh. The policy allows women to return shoes, no questions asked, should their foot size change during pregnancy (which commonly happens). If they need a new pair of shoes, new ones will be sent free of charge, in the proper size.

“A huge turning point in my life was becoming a mother—it opened my eyes to so much,” Felix told Footwear News this week. “As a runner, I have to pay attention to every little change in my body, and I went through a lot of change during pregnancy. I didn’t even realize that my feet could grow that much. I was tired of begging brands to meet me where I was, as both an athlete and a mother, and I was tired of sacrificing comfort and style. So I decided to make my own rules,” she says. 

Advocating for all women, but especially athletes

Felix began actively advocating for pregnant women and athletes in 2019, when she spoke before the U.S. House of Representatives about the disparity in maternal mortality (which is significantly higher among Black women). Felix had serious complications while giving birth to Camryn, her daughter, in 2018, which moved her to outline the medical risks disproportionally experienced by African-American women.

Beyond advocating for better medical treatment for women, she also helped cause a pregnancy-policy reform across the sport of track and field when she spoke out against her former sponsor, Nike, in 2019. Felix said she felt pressure to come back to competing as soon as possible after giving birth, even though she had spent time in the hospital with preeclampsia (often characterized by high maternal blood pressure), and was not yet ready. 

Make your own shoes

Shortly after speaking out against Nike and their lack of support throughout her pregnancy, Felix signed with clothing company Athleta. A few months later, she launched her own shoe company, Saysh.

Saysh is a company that aims to put women front and center, Felix said in a Ted Talk this week, “I feared that I would be forced to choose between motherhood and being a competitive athlete [when sponsored by Nike]. Getting pregnant in track and field has been called ‘this kiss of death.'” She continued to say that her mission is to help people to not “have to choose between parenting and doing the work that they love.”

The Saysh One, the first shoe Felix has brought to market, is $150 USD and comes in three colors.

(04/22/2022) Views: 303 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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American olympic Allyson Felix to retire from track after this season

Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix said Wednesday she will run one final track season, months after competing in her fifth Games.

The most decorated American track and field Olympian picked up bronze in the 400 meters and gold in the 4 by 400 relay in Tokyo last year, having already confirmed that it would be her final Games.

In an Instagram post Wednesday, she said she would say goodbye to the sport "with one last run."

"This season isn't about the time on the clock, it's simply about joy. If you see me on the track this year I hope to share a moment, a memory and my appreciation with you," said Felix, 36, who is expected to run in the Penn Relays later this month.

The 13-time world champion became an advocate for working mothers after giving birth to her daughter, Camryn, via an emergency C-section in 2018. In an opinion piece for The New York Times, she said she faced pay cuts from sponsors including Nike after having her child and competed in Tokyo wearing shoes from her own Saysh line.

"This season I'm running for women," Felix said. "I'm running for a better future for my daughter. I'm running for you."

Olympic sailor Eya Guezguez of Tunisia has died in a training incident, the International Olympic Committee announced on Monday. She was 17.

Guezguez was training with her twin sister Sarra alongside their national team on Sunday when their boat capsized because of strong winds. Eya died while Sarra survived.

Together, they competed at the Tokyo Olympics last year in 49er FX and finished 21st.

Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, said he was shocked by the news.

"She was an inspiring talent and role model for her athletes' generation," Bach said.

"Eya Guezguez's participation at Tokyo 2020 alongside her twin sister Sarra will continue to motivate girls everywhere. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and the Olympic community in Tunisia."

(04/14/2022) Views: 299 ⚡AMP
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A new study says high cushioned shoes improve exercise performance

Some brands revolutionized the shoe market in the past 10 years by designing shoes with a higher stack height to improve recovery. There have always been polarizing opinions on whether high-cushioned shoes have any benefits for performance. 

New research out of the University of Exeter in the U.K. and Nike Global Sport Research Laboratory measured the running economy and overall performance between two different prototype shoes–a mid-cushioned model (273 grams) vs. a highly cushioned model (232 grams) during an incremental running test–and found some performance benefits to the more highly-cushioned shoe.

The study was conducted on 32 runners (22 male and 10 female) while wearing each shoe type. Each participant completed an incremental treadmill test in a high cushioned shoe and a mid-cushioned shoe. Their oxygen cost and maximal performance were measured before and after a 30-minute downhill run in each model. Forty-eight hours after the downhill run, the runners were again required to perform the test, to measure long-term muscle damage.

Researchers found that the running economy was 5.7 per cent better in the highly cushioned shoe than in the mid-cushioned model, which equated to approximately one minute and 15 seconds over a 30-minute run. As the runners dealt with higher speeds, the higher cushioned model was able to handle each increment of speed at a lower VO2 level in comparison to the mid-cushioned model.

They also found that the oxygen cost in the presence of muscle damage was significantly lower in a higher cushioned shoe, and that there was 4.6 per cent less muscle damage from the downhill run in the higher-cushioned shoes.

These results indicate that a high cushioned shoe may not only improve your recovery but also your performance in the absence of muscle damage.

The shoes that were tested were from Nike, but the precise models were not named in the study.

 

(04/12/2022) Views: 277 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon

So you want to qualify for the Boston Marathon? You’re not alone. As an age-group or recreational runner, it’s one of the noblest (and most common) goals to set your sights on.

The history and prestige of the Boston Marathon are unparalleled in the world of running, which is why getting the opportunity to run the famed 26.2-mile route from the start in Hopkinton to the finish line on Boylston Street in downtown Boston is a top-shelf bucket list goal for many runners.

And rightly so. With the challenge it requires to qualify, the experience of running Boston is all that and more.

6 Tips on Qualifying for Boston

For most age-group runners, qualifying for Boston isn’t a simple task. Every athlete’s journey to trying to earn a Boston-qualifying time (BQ) is unique, and your approach needs to be specifically catered to who you are as a runner. And, like with all things running, there are no shortcuts for earning a BQ—but there are some key points to consider on your quest.

1. State Your Intention.

If you’re truly interested in qualifying for Boston, it’s a good idea to make it one of your primary goals (both in running and in life) so you can focus as much energy as possible toward it and take a smart and healthy approach to achieving it. That doesn’t mean you have to post it on Instagram, but it’s something you should share with your significant other, family members, and running buddies to generate long-term excitement and support as well as keeping you accountable on your journey.

Every age group has a different qualifying time that needs to be attained in a two-year window prior to registration opening in the fall prior to the next race the following April. For women, the age groups and times are:

18–34: 3:30.00 (3 hours, 30 minutes, and zero seconds)

35–39: 3:35.00

40–44: 3:40.00

45–49: 3:50.00

50–54: 3:55.00

55–59: 4:05.00

60–64: 4:20.00

65–69: 4:35.00

70–74: 4:50.00

75–79: 5:05.00

80 and over: 5:20.00

Men

18-34: 3 hrs 00 min 00 sec

35-39: 3 hrs 5 min 00 sec

40-44: 3 hrs 10 min 00 sec

45-49: 3 hrs 20 min 00 sec

50-54: 3 hrs 25 min 00 sec

55-59: 3 hrs 35 min 00 sec

60-64: 3 hrs 50 min 00 sec

65-69: 4 hrs 5 min 00 sec

70-74: 4 hrs 20 min 00 sec

75-79: 4 hrs 35 min 00 sec

80 & over: 4 hrs 50 min 00 sec

There’s also the added complication that just hitting the time doesn’t guarantee entry to the race. Runners typically need to also meet faster cut-off times if registration exceeds the race capacity (see tip #6).

“It’s a great goal and a very relevant goal for a lot of a marathoners,” says New York City–based running coach Elizabeth Corkum. “When it’s your first Boston, it’s a big deal and definitely something you should be excited about.”

2. Set a Realistic Goal

For many runners, it takes a full year or two—or maybe even five or more—to develop the aerobic strength and overall fitness to be in position to reach the qualifying time in your age group.

The first step: Understand that the path to running fast enough to earn a BQ standard isn’t a quick process of instant gratification.

“A lot of runners will come to me and say I want to qualify for Boston this year because a lot of runners are always eager to do it now, but the reality is that it might take a few years,” says Chicago-area coach Jenny Spangler, who won the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon. “It’s a great goal for many people, but it’s a commitment and you have to be realistic about where you are and where you need to get. For some runners, it will take a while. Sometimes I’ll have runners aim for running a fast half marathon first and then next year start to focus on a fast marathon.”

If you’re serious about qualifying for Boston, it’s best to connect with a coach or local training group that has a history of helping runners achieve a BQ. You’ll want to find a coach who will take into consideration both your history as a runner and as an athlete as well as your current fitness level, previous races, monthly mileage volume, injury history, and, perhaps most important, your ability to commit to a complicated training program amid your work-life balance.

“You don’t like to discourage anyone, but a Boston qualifying time is hard,” Spangler says. “So for people who can’t commit the time for training or maybe just don’t enjoy running or don’t want to put in the mileage, it might not be possible. It’s a commitment and it’s just not for everybody.”

3. Pick a Qualifying Race

One of the keys to qualifying for Boston is running a fast, USATF-certified course with a high probability of running your goal time. Typically, the races with the most qualifiers are the New York City Marathon and the Chicago Marathon, and, of course, Boston itself, but that’s largely based on the volume of runners in those races. However, those marathons can be hard to get into, so unless you already secured an entry, you should plan on another race with a high propensity of Boston-qualifying times.

One of the best options is the California International Marathon (CIM), where 25 to 35 percent of the field typically earns a BQ. The only challenge about qualifying at CIM is that it’s held the first Sunday in December, so you’ll have to wait and enter for the next Boston Marathon 16 months later.

Another great option among mid-sized races is the mid-June Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, which typically has both a large number of qualifiers and a relatively high percentage of BQers. In 2019, 1,108 of its finishers (18.2 percent) earned BQ qualifiers. From 2010-2021, an average of 15.8 percent of Grandma’s finishers earned BQ times.

“Usually when people come to me, they already know which race they want to run,” says Nell Rojas, a Boulder, Colorado–based professional runner for Adidas who also coaches age-group runners. “But if not, I usually recommend California International Marathon or Grandma’s Marathon, which are fast marathons that are easy to get into with a lot of people that will be running their same speed. And that’s key because that means there will be people to run with at the pace you want to run the whole way.”

Since 2017, some of most prevalent qualifying races have been “last chance” races designed to get runners qualified right before the opening of Boston registration in mid-September. The Last Chance BQ.2 race in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has had an average of about 60 percent BQ’ers every year since 2015, while its sister event, Last Chance BQ.2 race in Geneva, Illinois, has typically had at least 50 percent of its field qualify. But both of those races are small, usually 350 runners, and registration fills up fast every spring. (The Geneva race added a spring race in 2018 and it has also typically had a 50 percent qualifying rate.)

Other small, early September races with high BQ percentages include the Erie Marathon at Presque Isle (Erie, Pennsylvania), Via Marathon (Allentown, Pennsylvania), and Tunnel Light Marathon (North Bend, Washington). A few key marathons with downhill profiles and high qualifying percentages are the St. George Marathon (St. George, Utah), Revel Big Bear Marathon (Big Bear, California), and Mountains 2 Beach Marathon (Ojai, California). Cities with mid-sized marathons that are known to have good courses for qualifying: Philadelphia; Indianapolis; Houston; Eugene, Oregon; and Santa Rosa, California.

4. Get Some Super Shoes

If you’re interested in maximizing your race-day performance, then you should consider investing in a pair of shoes enhanced with carbon-fiber plates. Yes, they’re expensive, ranging in price from $180 to $275, but the technology works—and can give you 3 to 6 percent advantage over shoes with typical foam midsoles. Nike, Adidas, Skechers, ASICS, On Brooks, HOKA, New Balance, and Saucony all make super shoes, and some of their models are among the best. But each fits and feels slightly different, so visit a local running store, if possible, and try on several pairs before buying.

“Super shoes definitely allow you to run faster,” says ASICS-sponsored pro Emma Bates, who was second at the 2021 Chicago Marathon in 2:24:20 wearing a pair of ASICS Metaspeed Sky. “I love them because they’re so comfortable, but the biggest thing is that I feel that I can recover so much quicker after a workout or a race. After Chicago, I felt like I could do a workout the next weekend. That’s insane. I love the shoes and would never imagine running in anything else ever again.”

5. Train Methodically and Consistently

Going through significant training adaptations is a key part of the process for most runners, especially if they’re new to the sport or don’t have a lot of experience with the various types of workouts in most marathon build-ups. Progress occurs based on how well you handle training volume, how much you recover, and how much time and focus you put toward non-running elements like strength work, nutrition, and rest.

“All of those things factor into how you’re going to direct someone to get to that goal, and it’s different for everyone, for sure,” Corkum says. “Some people have all the time in the world to train and that’s fantastic because we can probably stress their bodies a little bit more with training, knowing that they can rebound. But someone who is only able to sleep four hours a night and has a newborn at home, they already have that additional stress so they have to be careful about adding training stimulus so they don’t get injured or burn out.”

Most coaches recommend going through a 16-week training plan to build up to a marathon, though it could be shorter if you’re already pretty fit or longer if you need more time to get used to the rigors of high-mileage running. A good plan will include periodized segments that include two to three weeks of gradual building of aerobic fitness followed by a slightly relaxed week to allow for recovery and the training adaptations to take place.

Depending on your background and fitness, you’re likely going to be running between 50 and 80 miles per week during the peak weeks of your training plan, Rojas says. While pro runners run between 100 and 120 miles per week, she warns that excessive running volume for age-group runners can lead to fatigue, burnout, and injuries.

A training plan should include a once-a-week long run, one or two faster workouts like a tempo run or an interval session, and several recovery runs. As the training plan progresses, there will be a greater emphasis on up-tempo workouts and your long runs will approach 18 to 22 miles and start getting faster.

But even if you’re following a plan that’s the same or very similar to your running partner’s, your quest to reach a Boston qualifying time will be an individual one.

“Runners come from all different levels of fitness,” Rojas says. “It all depends on what a runner can handle, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are.”

Spangler says most age-group runners who come to her for help in achieving a Boston qualifier typically need more mileage than intensity in their training, but sometimes it’s both. In addition to ramping up mileage gradually, she’ll sprinkle in spicier workouts like fartlek intervals or hill repeat sessions—as much as she thinks an athlete can handle.

She’ll also prescribe periodic longer tempo runs of 8 to 10 miles at marathon race pace and often have them race a half marathon midway through their training program as a way to gauge a runner’s fitness and boost confidence.

“You can just kind of see how they’re starting to handle workload hitting the paces of the workouts they’re doing and feeling good doing it,” Spangler says. “That’s when you start to get a sense that they’re going to be ready, and that’s when I start getting confident they’re ready to handle the marathon at that pace.”

6. Don’t Get Discouraged

Even if you’re well trained and in the best shape of your life, you need everything to go right on a race day to run your best. Achieving a Boston Marathon–qualifying time can take several years and, if you miss it once or twice, it can start to feel like a never-ending process. Unfortunately, even when you achieve the time, you still might not be able to run the race. Because of field size limitations and increased interest, runners usually need to also meet faster cut-off times than the time listed in tip #1 to get in.

While every runner who applied for the 2022 race was granted entry—likely because of a downturn in interest because of the still-lingering COVID-19 pandemic—in the previous 10 years runners needed to be 1 minute, 2 seconds to 7 minutes, 47 seconds faster than their qualifying time to get in. Depending on the year and the volume of qualified runners, that’s meant that the BAA has had to reject between 1,947 and 9,215 qualified runners.

“It’s such a tough thing and to recreational runners, I think it’s a bit jarring because they’re not used to that,” Corkum says. “One of the beautiful things about Boston is that it’s one of those few marathons where you can’t just send in your credit card number and know that you have it on your calendar. You have to earn it. But the other side of that is the emotional investment and highs and lows that you’re accepting along with it.”

Developing an indefatigable sense of optimism and a love for running will be helpful in your quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon and eventually running it. There will be plenty of hiccups along the way (missed workouts, injuries, life events) so it’s best to make it part of the fabric of your life and not merely a box to check off, Corkum says.

“Running is a patient person’s sport and I think that’s why you really have to love it,” Corkum says. “I think some people might not necessarily love running but they love the idea of achieving ‘that thing,’ and you have to realize there are so many hours and steps that go into making it a lifelong thing, and for a lot of us it becomes that.”

(03/30/2022) Views: 442 ⚡AMP
by Brian Metzler
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

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

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Nine ways to improve your running tecnique

1.- Don't Run Heels First

Avoid striking the pavement with your heels—save that for your power walks. "When you walk, you keep one foot in contact with the ground, while running has a moment of weightlessness in the stride," says Alex Figueroa, a running coach and creator of Priority1 Wellness in Miami Beach. Running with a heel landing can contribute to back and knee pain.

2.- Do Land on the Midsole of Your Foot

Landing on your forefoot (instead of your heels) allows your muscles to catch the weight of your body in flight, reducing the effects of impact on the joints and bones.

3.- Don't Use a Long Stride

Leaping forward while you run is inefficient and an energy drain. Instead, stand tall and lean forward, and when you feel like you are going to fall, step forward just enough to catch yourself.  This should be the length of your stride. It takes less energy to fall than to reach your foot in front of you.

4.- Do Take Short Effective Strides

Less motion through the joint means less wear and tear and improved efficiency during your runs, says Figueroa. Using a shorter stride reduces the movement within any joint (for running, this means the joints of the ankles, knees, and hips), and less movement means a longer, healthier life for these joints.

5.- Do Invest In Barefoot Running Shoes

“When it comes to support, less is more," says Figueroa. Build up to wearing shoes with minimal support, like NIKE Free or Vibram Five Fingers, to help strengthen and develop the natural muscular support in your foot and ankle. But don’t toss your sneakers just yet – slowly begin by running, one block at a time, with less support to gradually strengthen the muscles in your feet. Developing foot strength can help make everything stronger, including your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back

6.- Don't Run as Hard As You Can

Many runners think if they can run fast, they are running efficiently, which isn’t the case. In fact, Figueroa recommends runners slow down to learn how to run farther, faster. “Slow down and wear a heart rate monitor to train smarter, not harder," suggests Figueroa. Set your heart rate monitor to keep your running at a desired pace, and then don’t exceed that set pace. Your body will adapt, and then you’ll be able to run more comfortably at this pace, meaning you will be able to run faster without pushing any harder.

7.- Do Work Up to Running Farther, Faster

Build your run one block, or one minute at a time, says Figueroa. Walk between running intervals and recover actively. You can work on speed or form and technique during your “work intervals" and then recover with an easy jog or power walk in between. Interval training can provide you with faster results in the same amount of time.

8.- Don't Get Stuck on the Odometer

Running three, five or even 26 miles doesn't really tell you if there is any progress in your run, says Figueroa. Instead, track the amount of time that you're running and monitor your intensity using a heart rate monitor.

9.- Do Run for Time

Try to improve covering the same distance in less time. For example, set your workout to run for 30 minutes and see how much distance you can cover instead of running for four miles harder than you can safely run, suggests Figueroa. The more you train, the easier your runs will become. You can either cover the same distance with greater ease, or maintain the same intensity and run farther in the same amount of time.

(03/29/2022) Views: 390 ⚡AMP
by Jessica Smith
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Emily Sisson, Nico Montanez Take 2022 USATF 15-K Titles in Jacksonville

Emily Sisson and Nico Montanez scored convincing wins today at the 45th Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Fla., the traditional home of the USATF 15-K Championships.  Sisson, who represents New Balance, successfully defended her 2021 title in 47:28, collecting her fifth national title across all distances and surfaces.  Montanez, who trains with the Mammoth Track Club and represents Asics, clocked 43:10 to collect his first national title in any discipline.

While both athletes earned $10,000 in prize money, Sisson won an additional $5,000 for winning the race’s gender challenge.  The women were given a six-minute head start and Sisson crossed the finish line one minute and 42 seconds ahead of Montanez.

In typically humid Florida conditions, Sisson led the elite women’s race right from the gun.  In the early kilometers she had company from both Emily Infeld (Nike) and Emily Durgin (adidas), but by the 5-kilometer mark (15:38) she already had a six-second lead.  Running her first race since placing tenth in the 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympics last August, Sisson found herself in the same position as last year: running alone and against the clock.

“It’s my first race back from Tokyo, so it’s just good to push my body that hard,” Sisson told Chris Nickinson of USATF.tv in her post-race broadcast interview.  “I haven’t done that in so long now.”

Sisson, 30, who lives in the Phoenix area but has been training recently at high altitude in Flagstaff, Ariz., checked her watch a few times as she clicked off her kilometers in the 3:10 range.  Her splits were showing that she had a chance at Shalane Flanagan’s American record of 47:00 set at the same race in 2014.  But ascending the 141 foot (43m) high Hart Bridge which begins at about 13 km, Sisson lost too much time and had to settle for the #4 USA performance ever, behind only Flanagan and Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor who ran 47:15 in 2003 and 47:20 in 2007.

“It felt good to get out there and hoping this is a good springboard for the rest of the year,” Sisson added.

Emily Durgin was a clear second in 49:17 and Emily Infeld got third in 49:46.

Nico Monatanez Gets 1st National Title

Montanez, 28, who is coached by Andrew and Deena Kastor, stayed tucked-in to the men’s lead pack for nearly the entire race.  Two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp (Nike) led for more than two thirds of the race, splitting 5-K in 14:27 and 10-K in 28:52 with steeplechaser Hilary Bor (Hoke One One) on his heels.  Montanez waited for the incline on Hart Bridge before attacking the field.  He quickly opened a big lead.  Montanez said that his move wasn’t spontaneous.

“It wasn’t a moment like that where I’m like, oh, I had the lead and time to go,” Montanez said in his post-race broadcast interview.  “This thing was planned, it was maneuvered, it was thought out, it was prayed for.  This is something that has been on my mind.  This is Andrew and Deena Kastor, both of my coaches.  This is their recipe.”

Montanez crested the bridge with none of the other men still within striking distance and was able to enjoy the final kilometer to the finish.  Behind him, Leonard Korir, a 2016 Olympian, out-sprinted Bor for second place, although both men were given the same time: 43:14.  Rupp, who is also running the United Airlines NYC Half on March 20, faded in the last two kilometers and finished seventh in 43:31.

Todd Williams’s championships, race and national record of 42:22, which was set in 1995, stood up yet another year.

The Gate River Run was never cancelled due to the pandemic.  It was held on March 7, 2020, just before the initial pandemic shutdown, and race director Doug Alred was able to stage the race in 2021 early in the USA mass-vaccination process by cutting the field size in half to about 6700 finishers and employing social distancing.  The event has hosted the USATF Championships since 1994.

The Gate River Run is part of the USATF Running Circuit.  The next event is the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships to be held in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 26

(03/06/2022) Views: 323 ⚡AMP
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Gate River Run

Gate River Run

The Gate River Run (GRR) was first held in 1978, formerly known as the Jacksonville River Run, is an annual 15-kilometer road running event in Jacksonville, Fla., that attracts both competitive and recreational runners -- in huge numbers! One of the great running events in America, it has been the US National 15K Championship since 1994, and in 2007...

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Alberto Salazar’s permanent ban from SafeSport was for alleged sexual assault, new report finds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(01/31/2022) Views: 448 ⚡AMP
by NY Times and OregonLive
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Craig Engels, Running’s Most Committed Party Animal, Returns to Nike—and Running Fast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Running the Numbers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Athlete Changes the Coach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

(01/29/2022) Views: 317 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Kenyan Hellen Obiri to move up to the marathon with On

Over the weekend in Northern Ireland, two-time Olympic silver medalist from Kenya, Hellen Obiri, surprised the running world by winning the World Athletics Cross Country Tour Silver event, but not while wearing a Nike singlet. She was instead representing On – a brand that has recently been taking the world of athletics by storm, growing their team of elite-level sponsored athletes, including Canada’s Ben Flanagan.

A year and a half ago, On launched its first professional team, called On Athletics Club, coached by American distance runner Dathan Ritzenhein. “You need world-class athletes to build world-class products,” says Steve DeKoker, On’s head of global sports marketing. “Our goal is to build On as a global brand, and we need world-class athletes to help us develop.” Obiri’s signing is a huge acquisition for the Swiss sporting brand – she is the only athlete ever to win a world indoor, world outdoor and world XC title.

Ben Flanagan signs with On

“We want people that will fit the brand’s competitive values,” says DeKoker. “Both Obiri and Flanagan checked those boxes.” In her debut race wearing On product, the defending world cross country champion won the 8K easily in 26:44.

Obiri will head to the World Athletics Memorial Agnes Tirop XC race in Eldoret, Kenya on Feb. 12, before taking a shot at another 5,000m medal this summer at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Ore. “She will move up to the marathon distance in the fall of 2022,” DeKoker says. “And we will have our new premium-plated racing shoe on display for her debut.”

“The full expectation is to develop and supply our athletes with the top-of-the-line product to enhance their performance,” says DeKoker. “There are multiple On super-spikes scheduled to be released this year, with Alicia Monson racing in a pair this weekend at the NYC Millrose Games.”

Both Monson and Flanagan are two recent NCAA champions that DeKoker had his eyes on since they won their titles in 2018 and 2019. “When we found out Flanagan’s contract was up with Reebok, we knew we wanted to support him,” DeKoker says. “We feel he will have the Canadian half-marathon or marathon record in no time.”

For now, the brand plans to go all in to be competitive with the top distance brands on the roads and track, then dipping their feet in the sprint distances for the 2028 LA Olympics.

(01/26/2022) Views: 339 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Aleksandr Sorokin sets two world records at 12-hour race in Israel, becoming the first human to break the 11-hour barrier for 100 miles

The greatest distance runner in Lithuanian history, Aleksandr Sorokin, has done it again, smashing two of his world records at the Spartanion 12-hour race in Israel. Sorokin completed 122 laps of a 1.46-kilometer loop to equal 177 kilometers of running in 12 hours – an average of 4:03/km.

To put his performance in perspective, his time is equivalent to running 35 straight 5Ks in 20 minutes and 15 seconds each. When Sorokin started the race, his goal was to break the 12-hour record. It wasn’t until after halfway that he realized he was on pace to shatter his previous 100-mile record of 11:14.56.

He broke his previous personal best by 23 minutes, running 10:51:39, a whopping eight-second improvement per kilometer.

Sorokin is the first human to break the 11-hour barrier. There are no words to describe this performance besides remarkable. Even the 11:30 barrier has been untouched by many ultrarunners.

Sorokin raced again in the Nike Alphaflys. “A friend of mine gave me pair of Alphafly’s to try in August. I liked the softness of the shoe. Then I took the risk of wearing it during the race,” he says. “I find that cushioning is important for recovery when running long distances.”

Sorokin told us in a previous interview that he dreams of continuing his running career and pushing boundaries further. “I hope to compete at the world 24-hour championships this year and run a race in the U.S,” he says.

(01/07/2022) Views: 396 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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What would Jerome Drayton’s marathon time be with today’s shoe technology?

At Japan’s Fukuoka Marathon in 1975, Canada’s Jerome Drayton smashed his Canadian record from 1969 to win the marathon in 2:10:09 – a record that stood for 43 years until Cam Levins broke it at the 2018 Toronto Waterfront Marathon (2:09:25). When Levins set the record, he ran in the Hoka Carbon Rocket X, a shoe with carbon-plated technology Drayton did not have 43 years prior. Both times are remarkable, but it brings into question what Drayton’s time would translate to today if he had had carbon-plated shoes. 

In the 70s, the Fukuoka Marathon had the reputation as the unofficial world championship, as organizers would invite the best marathoners from around the world to Fukuoka to compete. Drayton won the race three times in seven years, beating the likes of marathon greats American Frank Shorter and Japan’s Shigeru So (who held the world record from 1978 to 1980).

When Drayton set his record he wasn’t wearing the Adidas Adizero Pro or Nike Vaporfly. He had the Adidas SL76 on his feet, which was described as ‘the shoes for all seasons,’ built for pounding the roads in the marathon and jogging around the block. The shoe featured super-light technology, a ghillie loop lacing system and an EVA midsole – in short, a lightweight, flat running shoe. 

In a 2021 video from Brigham Young University student Easton Allred, he discussed the development of carbon-plated shoes with a professor of biomechanics, Dr. Iain Hunter, who studies how people can run faster by the way they move. The two discussed whether carbon-plated shoes affect athletic performance and how much time they could take off each kilometre.

Hunter found that the top carbon plated shoes can take off two to three seconds per kilometer.

If you take Drayton’s time of 2:10:09 and take two seconds off each kilometre, it correlates to approximately 84 seconds off his time (2:08:45). Again, this calculation is hypothetical, but that time would be a record and untouched by any Canadian runner to this day.

(01/06/2022) Views: 415 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Fukuoka Marathon

Fukuoka Marathon

The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship is one of the longest running races in Japan, it is alsoan international men’s marathon race established in 1947. The course record is held by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, running 2:05:18 in 2009. Frank Shorter won first straight years from 1971 to 1974. Derek Clayton set the World Record here in 1967 running 2:09:37. ...

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Canadian Cam Levins is leaving Hoka

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

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

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

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

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

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

(01/05/2022) Views: 397 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Coach Alberto Salazar's lifetime ban upheld by US Center for SafeSport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(12/23/2021) Views: 415 ⚡AMP
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The former Nike Oregon Project changes team name to Union Athletic Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

(12/18/2021) Views: 377 ⚡AMP
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Oregon Ducks athletic programs no longer can monitor athletes’ weight, body fat percentage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Johnson did not respond to interview requests for this story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

NEW UO PROTOCOLS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(12/12/2021) Views: 439 ⚡AMP
by Oregon Live
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Nike Tries to Ban Imports of Adidas Knit Shoes, Accusing It of Copying Designs

Nike Inc. is asking a U.S. trade agency to block imports of a wide range of Adidas AG Primeknit shoes, saying they copy the Oregon company’s patented inventions for a knitted fabric that reduces waste without any loss in performance.

The complaint, filed Wednesday at the International Trade Commission in Washington, seeks to ban imports of shoes, including Adidas by Stella McCartney Ultraboost, Pharrell Williams Superstar Primeknit Shoes and Terrex Free Hiker hiking shoes. Nike also filed a patent-infringement suit in federal court in Oregon making similar allegations.

The patents cover Nike’s FlyKnit technology, which uses specialized yarn from recycled and reclaimed materials to create a sock-like fit in the upper part of the shoe. Nike said it was the result of more than $100 million and a decade of research -- almost all done in the U.S. -- and “represented the first major technology innovation in footwear uppers in decades.”

FlyKnit was first introduced before the 2012 London Olympics and has been adopted by “basketball great LeBron James, international soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, and world record marathoner Eliud Kipchoge,” Nike said in the complaint.

“Unlike Nike, Adidas has forgone independent innovation,” Nike said in a court filing. “Instead, Adidas spent the past decade unsuccessfully challenging several of Nike’s patents directed to FlyKnit technology -- all while using Nike’s patented technology without permission.”

Nike said it was “forced to bring this action to defend its investments in innovation to protect its technology by halting Adidas’ unauthorized use.”

Adidas said it’s analyzing the complaint and “will defend ourselves against the allegations.”

“Our Primeknit technology resulted from years of dedicated research and shows our commitment to sustainability,” Mandy Nieber, an Adidas spokeswoman, said.  

Several of Nike’s patents, including two of the six in the ITC complaint, have been the target of regulatory challenges by companies including Adidas. Nike said they were filed only because it refused to pledge not to sue the German company.

The civil suit, filed in Portland, Oregon, accuses Adidas of infringing those six patents and three others related to FlyKnit technology. It seeks unspecified damages and asks that any award be tripled for the intentional copying. It’s also seeking an order to halt sales.

Nike has been aggressive in protecting its FlyKnit and other shoe inventions. A lawsuit against Puma SE settled in January 2020 and ones against Skechers USA Inc. settled in November.

The U.S. trade agency is a popular forum for companies looking to derail rivals in the world’s biggest market. The commission works more quickly than most courts, with final decisions typically in 15 to 18 months. Not only can it block products at the U.S. border, it can halt sales of products already brought into the country, an order that’s harder to get in district court. 

The cases are In the Matter of Knitted Footwear, 337-3580, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington) and Nike v Adidas, 21-1780, U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon (Portland).

(12/12/2021) Views: 421 ⚡AMP
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USATF’s relationship with Nike under criminal investigation

A grand jury is reportedly investigating the financial relationship between Nike and U.S.A. Track and Field. According to a report by Runner’s World, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has requested documents pertaining to USATF, its board of directors and three businesses, including Nike, Indianapolis marketing firm Matchbook Creative and New York media and commercial rights advisory firm Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures LLC.

The Runners World report outlines the Nike-USATF deal behind the investigation, which was announced in 2014 and started in 2017. The deal, which was thought to be worth more than $400 million, was meant to extend through to 2040 and pay USATF roughly $19 million per year.

This new agreement was a significant bump from their previous deal, in which Nike paid $10 million to the organization annually. The RW report says this new deal took USATF’s marketing budget from $12 million in 2014 to $22 million in 2019, according to 2019 tax filings made by the organization.

Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures LLC is also named on the subpoena because it is owned by the two former Nike employees who negotiated the deal, Chris Bevilacqua and Adam Helfant.

According to a 2016 Washington Post investigation, commission expenses were to be paid out to the firm for its part in the negotiations for the deal every year until 2039. The firm earned more than $900,000 in 2018 and 2019 from USATF, according to RW.

The third company named on the subpoena is Matchbook Creative, which has ties to USATF CEO Max Siegel. USATF is a client of the marketing firm, and the 2016 WP investigation reported that before it became Matchbook Creative, the firm was previously called a Max Siegel Company. The RW report also noted that employees at Matchbook previously had emails ending with @maxsiegelinc. RW goes on to detail Siegel’s earnings throughout the last seven years, which have been criticized as excessive for the CEO of a non-profit organization.

In 2019 he reportedly earned $1.197 million, over $400,000 more than the CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Sarah Hirshland, despite the fact that USATF earnings were $33.7 million compared to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee earnings, which were $193.6 million. Meanwhile, all but the country’s top athletes are struggling to make a living without major sponsorships or support from USATF.

The size of the Nike/USATF deal, along with the significant payouts being made to the other entities named on the subpoena, has made some uncomfortable, and USATF critics are welcoming the investigation. You can read more about the investigation here.

(12/03/2021) Views: 423 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Oregon distance runner Cooper Teare leaves Ducks for pro career with Nike

The Ducks’ star distance runner recently signed a sponsorship contract with Nike and will not return for what would’ve been his senior season of indoor and outdoor track.

“I’ve loved every second of being a Duck,” Teare said. “It was kind of a hard decision but I’m happy I’m with the one I made.”

Teare leaves Oregon as a two-time collegiate record holder (indoor mile and distance medley relay), a two-time NCAA champion (DMR and outdoor 5,000), and three-time school record holder (5,000, mile, DMR).

All of those accomplishments came during a memorable junior season in 2021 when Teare and former teammate Cole Hocker spent six months keeping Oregon’s men’s distance program in the national spotlight as they raced together through the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials at Hayward Field.

That’s where Teare’s season ended, with a fourth-place finish in the 5,000 meters. Hocker won the 1,500 and finished sixth at the Tokyo Olympics before leaving the Ducks after one season to sign with Nike in September.

Teare said he also had an opportunity to turn pro over the summer, but wanted to run one more cross country season for Oregon as he wrapped up his business degree.

“I’ve sort of been going through the process for months now,” Teare said. “Some people thought I was going to turn pro right after the outdoor track season so it was nice to have a little bit of extra time to go through the motions and talk to the people I had to talk to.”

The cross country season opened on a positive note as Teare earned his first collegiate victory at the Bill Dellinger Invitational at Pine Ridge Golf Club in Springfield. He was also the runner-up at the Pac-12 championship meet.

But at the NCAA championships on Nov. 20, Teare’s legs gave out late in the 10,000-meter race and he crawled his way to the end before regaining his balance long enough to collapse across the finish line in 247th place — just three spots out of last.

“I left nothing in the tank and it just wasn’t my day,” said Teare, who was a cross country all-American in 2019 when he finished sixth. He didn’t compete in cross country during the delayed 2020 season.

Teare said it didn’t take long after that race to decide his collegiate days were done.

“That was a hard way to end it off but also I felt it was time to start a new chapter,” he said. “I talked to my coaches and we all got on the same page and everything fell into place and made sense. … I was considering going pro up right up until the start of cross country.

"The nice thing was (Nike) had seen enough of me and I had proven myself to the point where cross country wasn’t going to change much. They were ready to support me no matter what happened.”

His performance at the cross country championships did nothing to dim the track season he had earlier this year, which was highlighted by a collegiate record in the indoor mile at 3:50.39 and winning the outdoor title in the 5,000 when he ran 13:12.27. That is the fastest time ever by an American collegian and second all-time only to Henry Rono’s 1978 record of 13:08.4.

Teare is staying in Eugene to begin his professional career and will continue to be coached by Oregon associate head coach Ben Thomas. Hocker has a similar arrangement and Teare has been able to witness first-hand his training partner’s transition to the pros during the last few months.

“It was kind of nice having Cole as the guinea pig,” Teare said with a laugh. “It’s been kind of cool to see him go about figuring it all out and I think that will make it easier for me as well.”

As Teare wraps up his final days in the classroom, he is mapping out a path to next summer and what it will take to compete in the World Athletics Outdoor Track & Field Championship meet at Hayward Field.

“It doesn’t feel real,” Teare said. “It hasn’t really set in. It’s really hard to get a grasp of, OK, now I’m doing this as my job. I think once I’m done with school here in the next week it’s going to start to feel more real.”

(12/02/2021) Views: 388 ⚡AMP
by Chris Hansen
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Toronto woman sets Guinness World Record at L.A. Marathon

On November 7 at the L.A. Marathon, Toronto-based runner Bridget Burns set the record for the fastest marathon dressed as Michael Jackson. This brings her total number of Guinness World Records up to seven since she set her first one dressed as a boxer in 2014.

Running in costume

Burns was introduced to costume running when she was an extra in a Nike commercial, where she saw someone running in a banana outfit in her hometown of London, Ont. Costume running hadn’t really taken off in London, but when she moved to Toronto she began to see more people dressing up at local road races, including Canada’s joggling sensation and multiple Guinness World Record-holder, Michal Kapral. “I was inspired by him,” she says.

Burns chooses her costumes based on what interests her, and it was her love of the Rocky movies that inspired her to dress up as a boxer for her first record attempt at the 2014 GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon, which she ran in 3:52:27. She also has an interest in exotic animals and zoos (she has three parrots of her own and one domesticated pigeon), so for her second record, she dressed as a zookeeper at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon later that year in October, where she ran 4:08:17.

She went on to set four more records, including the fastest half-marathon dressed in an animal costume (which has since been broken), the fastest half-marathon in motocross gear (2:14:34), the fastest half-marathon dressed as a zookeeper (2:04:46) and she was part of a group who set the record for the largest number of runners to complete a 10 kilometre run in 24 hours this September. “If there’s something I find interesting, I’ll see if anyone has a record in that and then I’ll attempt it,” she says.

A record-setting run in L.A.

“Over the summer I downloaded some Michael Jackson on my iPod, and wondered if anyone had set a record in that,” says Burns. She found out that one person had done it before but no entry to the Guinness World Record was conducted, so she decided to give it a shot.

Her attempt was successful, bringing her total up to seven, but this one had a few more challenges on the way. Burns battled a bad case of bursitis in her knees for two months before the race, requiring her to take Prednisone for two weeks to decrease inflammation to allow her to run. Prior to the marathon, she worked five night shifts in a row (Burns works the night shift at the Etobicoke HomeSense so she can train during the day and be home with her 10-year-old daughter), went immediately to the airport and took a seven-hour flight to Los Angeles.

Aside from her costume, she packed only a couple of pairs of socks and underwear, her toothbrush and a map and travel book about the city. Despite her knee issues, she still managed to finish the race in 5:07:18 and set the record for the fastest marathon dressed as Michael Jackson.

More records on the horizon

For her next Guinness World Record attempt, Burns has her eyes on the 2022 Philadelphia Half Marathon, where, fittingly, she’ll be running dressed as Rocky Balboa. If the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is bringing the GWR program back again, she says she’ll likely do something for that as well, but she hasn’t decided which record she’ll attempt yet.

In the meantime, keep your eyes open for Burns at your next road race, because you never know — she may go running by as your favourite film character.

(11/27/2021) Views: 371 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Shelby Houlihan starts GoFundMe page to fund her legal fight

Five months after receiving a four-year ban from competition, American 1,500m and 5,00m record-holder Shelby Houlihan has started a GoFundMe page and website asking for support to help pay for the legal fees she’s incurred while fighting her case. She has set a goal for $300,000, and is asking her supporters to spread the word about what she calls “the injustice of the situation.”

A brief recap

In December 2020 Houlihan tested positive for the steroid nandrolone and in June 2021, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) handed her a four-year ban from the sport. After the ban was announced, she made a public statement on her Instagram page stating her innocence and claimed the positive result was due to contaminated meat she ate in a burrito from a food truck on the day of the test.

Houlihan appealed the ban and attempted to prove her innocence, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the ruling against her. The entire 44-page CAS decision was made was released in early September, which included the following statement:

“The Athlete’s explanation that the 19-NA in her sample resulted from her consumption of the meat of an uncastrated boar simply cannot be accepted. The explanation presupposes a cascade of factual and scientific improbabilities, which means that its composite probability is (very) close to zero.”

As a final effort to fight her ban, Houlihan has since announced that she plans to appeal her case to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

Her bid for help has drawn mixed reviews from running fans. Those who believe in her innocence have been eager to support her cause, but detractors are arguing she should accept her ban and move on.

Many more have wondered why someone who is supposedly still backed by Nike requires financial assistance, and have speculated that the brand may be backing away from the situation, but the chatter is largely hearsay, since neither Houlihan nor Nike have made any public statement regarding their relationship. Houlihan’s case will not be brought before the Swiss Tribunal until 2022.

(11/26/2021) Views: 425 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Allyson Felix launches her own shoe company

Two years removed from a feud with Nike and just days after qualifying for her fifth trip to the Olympics, track star Allyson Felix is adding the title of "entrepreneur" to her list of accomplishments. 

Allyson Felix announced on Instagram on Wednesday that she is launching her own shoe brand called Saysh, a brand that she says "represents hope, acceptance, and the power to create change."

"When you see me run, know that I'm not running for medals. I'm running for change. I'm running for greater equity for each of us. I'm running for women. More than anything, I'm running toward a future where no woman or girl is ever told to know her place," Felix wrote on Instagram.

Felix, whose six Olympic gold medals are the most of any female track and field athlete, had a public fallout with Nike, her longtime sponsor, back in 2019. She wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times that she wanted to start a family in 2018 knowing that it could jeopardize her deal with Nike as she was trying to renew a deal that had expired in December 2017. Felix wrote that she felt like she needed to return to form as quickly as possible, even after an emergency C-section in November 2018 to deliver her daughter, Camryn. Felix said Nike offered to pay her 70 percent less than what she had been earning before she was pregnant. 

Felix did not re-sign with Nike after negotiations on a deal continued to go sour. Nike changed its maternity policies in 2019 as a result of public backlash and a congressional inquiry, according to the Washington Post. Felix later signed a deal with Gap's Athleta brand, according to CNBC.

Since the split with Nike, Felix has become an activist for maternal protection for female athletes and for inequities for Black mothers in the health care system. 

"No woman should have to choose between being a professional and being a Mother. Now, because of that fight, sponsorship contracts look different for a lot of athletes," Felix wrote on Instagram. 

She continued: "During my pregnancy, I had complications. And I realized I needed to use my voice to bring awareness to another injustice: a racial injustice in our healthcase system. I spoke to the United States Congress about my experience — and I continue to use my words for change."

Saysh is a shoe brand designed "for and by women," the website reads. The Saysh One sneaker is for sale at $150. 

(11/16/2021) Views: 361 ⚡AMP
by Edward Sutelan
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Five most common running pains and how to fix them

Running can sometimes lead to aches and pains due to its repetitive nature, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to suffer. Here’s a rundown of five common conditions you might experience as you accrue mileage — and how to heal them or even avoid them altogether.

1.- Runner´s Knee

Patellar tendonitis earned its “Runner’s Knee” moniker because it’s so common — for runners, that is. It’s essentially swelling in the tendon, either above or below the kneecap, though most experience swelling and pain below. “It’s usually from the hip or ankle, from a biomechanics standpoint,” says Nashville, Tennessee-based sports doctor and running specialist, Jesse Riley, DC, MS. “I’ll first check to see if the ankle or hip might be stiff, because if another joint like the ankle isn’t handling the impact, the knee is taking a lot of that load.”

Skip it: Avoid running too much, too soon. “If there’s not enough endurance in the tissues, you’re more than likely going to experience joint pain,” Riley says. “Sometimes a runner may not be doing enough strength training, too.”

Be sure to hit the gym at least twice per week, to strengthen quads, hamstrings and calf muscles. “It’s also important to run with proper form. If you’re not soft or agile on the ground,” that also leads to inflammation.

Heal it: “Back off your volume for at least two weeks,” Riley says. “That will change the amount of impact you’re putting on your joint.” (Riley also notes that how much someone should ease up depends on the individual injury. “If someone can’t tolerate moderate walking for example, I advise complete rest.”

Riley also recommends foam-rolling the quads and hip flexors and stretching the ankles, to loosen the surrounding areas and release stress on the knee joint.

2.- Plantar Fasciitis 

“It’s usually known now by its modern name: Plantar fasciopothy, and it’s basically an overloading of the tissue at the bottom of your foot,” Riley says.

Poor form can be a common cause. “I also check to see how well someone can balance,” Riley says. “If you can’t balance very well on one leg, for example, the tissues work extra hard to keep you from falling over while running.”

Skip it: Add balance moves to your strength routine. “Integrate single-leg exercises, like one-legged deadlifts, or practice balancing on one foot,” Riley says.

You can also work on improving your cadence. “Shortening your stride can help improve your form and decrease the load on your feet,” Riley says. “The typical recommendation is 160–180 steps per minute.”

Heal it: First, reduce your running volume (rest), and heat and ice as needed. Riley also recommends rolling a lacrosse ball under your foot to boost circulation and speed healing. “Ankle stretches and building calf endurance through calf raises can also help reduce stress on the area,” Riley says.

3.- Shin Splints.

“Most people feel these on the outside of the shin, which is the tibialis anterior muscle,” Riley says. “It can sometimes get inflamed from being overloaded or simply overlooked.”

This is a case when it’s especially important to visit your doctor to rule out a stress fracture.

Skip it: “There’s often not one definitive cause,” Riley says. But running with proper form and cadence (i.e., a shorter stride) can help keep shin splints away. You can also improve your balance to reduce load on the muscle, by performing single-leg exercises in the gym, and boost muscular endurance by tapping your toes.

Heal it: Stretching the muscle between runs can help you feel better. Practice pulling the toes away from your body. “It’s also good to foam-roll the muscle, to bring blood flow to the area.”

You can run with shin splints — depending on the severity of your pain. “It’s still a good idea to play with your mileage to find what works. And if you’re limping, it’s best to slow down to a walk until you’re feeling better,” Riley says.

4.- It Band Symdrome.

Much like other running injuries, this one relates to overuse and resulting inflammation. “It usually presents as a hip or knee issue — perhaps an ankle isn’t mobile enough, so the knee turns inward,” Riley says. “Often the vastus lateralis muscle (which runs along the side of the thigh and is the largest of the quadricep group) fires extra hard to stabilize the knee and becomes overworked. It can feel like it’s always tense.”

Skip it: There can be multiple causes, so your best bet is to ensure all of your joints are mobile and working properly. Riley also recommends incorporating balance exercises and minding your form as you run.

Heal it: You’ll need to see a doctor or mobility specialist to first determine what’s causing your IT Band pain. Treatment is much like what you’d do to prevent issues: Once you determine the cause, strengthen your running muscles as necessary.

You can also foam-roll your muscles, but avoid rolling your IT band, itself. “It doesn’t feel good, and doesn’t achieve anything,” Riley says. Instead, roll along the front of your quad: Tilt your body forward so you can bring blood to the area.

5.- Hip Pain.

Runners often experience hip pain simply from muscles feeling tight, and the hips can especially feel the effects of repetitive motion. The problem can also be an impingement (from too-tight muscles) or, often, bursitis — which is swelling of a bursa: a fluid-filled sac designed to decrease friction in the joint.

Skip it: “Mobility is your best adversary,” Riley says. “Along with stability. Strength training can really help protect your hips.” Riley recommends hitting the gym three times/week if you’ve ever had hip pain and performing moves like hip thrusters, lunges (with a longer stride, to focus on hips) and isometric holds that allow you to build muscular endurance.

Heal it: You’ll first need to pinpoint the cause of your pain to determine treatment. But usually you’ll need some time to rest and then modify your training. You may need to alter your running technique or adjust your volume.

You may also benefit from modalities like dry needling, depending on the nature of your injury, which can calm the surrounding area so as not to cause further irritation to the joint.

(11/09/2021) Views: 319 ⚡AMP
by Lara Rosenbaum
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Shalane Flanagan will conclude her six major marathon at New York City Marathon

Sometime before noon in Central Park on Sunday, Shalane Flanagan should cross the finish line of the NYC Marathon. That, alone, will be no small feat for the 40-year-old former Olympic runner.

Now consider this: She will become the first person to ever run the six World Marathon Majors in just six weeks.

Because of the pandemic, the Boston, London and Tokyo Marathons were moved from their traditional spring dates to October, and now all six races are being staged in a 42-day stretch for the first -- and likely only -- time.

"When I saw how the marathon schedule unfolded, it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Flanagan. "I coined it an eclipse because it was just so rare this would ever happen. It didn't take long for me to think, 'Why shouldn't I be the one to do it?'"

While Flanagan is no stranger to the marathon distance -- she won the New York Marathon in 2017 -- her mission is all the more improbable as she is technically retired, after announcing her departure from the sport two years ago.

"My retirement coincided with two reconstructive knee surgeries, and I basically couldn't run for a year. Then we hit a pandemic," Flanagan said ahead of Sunday's race (8:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN App). "During that time I became a mom and a coach, so there were a lot of life changes, and I realized how much of my mental health is tied into running. I actually really need running. It's not a job for me, it's a passion. I missed having goals. Athletes are so goal-oriented and everyone was goal-less during the pandemic.'"

She set a sub-three-hour goal for each of the races and has shattered the mark in each race so far, including a 2:35:04 time in London.

Her current quest has pushed her physically and mentally but she's loved every minute of it. Joined by her 18-month-old son Jack as well as a tight-knit, all-female group that includes her physical therapist, a photographer and a Nike brand manager, Flanagan has awed fans around the world with her globe-trotting journey.

But it's just Shalane being Shalane, according to those who know her best.

"Shalane is always the type to just go after something," said 2020 Olympic steeplechase silver medalist Courtney Frerichs, who trains with Flanagan at Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Oregon. "I remember a few weeks after she won in New York [in 2017], she was back in training with us, fully right back in it, and I could barely keep up with her. That's just who she is.

"I wasn't surprised when she said she was doing this but I have been surprised at just how much fun she's having with it."

For many athletes, the idea of running 157.2 miles of competitive races would hardly be the retirement dream, but most athletes aren't Flanagan, who made a career of the unexpected. She was the first American woman to win in New York in 40 years when she crossed the finish line first in 2017 and is one of just two Americans to medal in the 10,000 meters at the Olympics. Flanagan earned the bronze medal in Beijing in 2008 (and it later was upgraded to silver following a failed doping test by Elvan Abeylegesse). She's always blazed her own trail.

And she didn't venture far away from the sport after officially retiring. She almost immediately began coaching at Bowerman, where she had been based for over a decade. She now worked with many of the younger runners she had been training alongside, including Frerichs.

"She was the driving force in creating a women's team here. She's always been such a leader and has truly always wanted to help others succeed," Frerichs said. "When I look back at this last year, she has played such an instrumental role."

"I basically prepped in six weeks, which is really short in the marathon world," Flanagan said. "But given the context of my lifetime of training, it was appropriate. I wouldn't recommend that though for most people."

After Sunday, she said she has no plans to run for at least a month. But the break likely won't last much longer than that.

"I think at the end I'll be thinking of how much fun we've had. I guess now I've got to dream up another hard challenge."

(11/03/2021) Views: 488 ⚡AMP
by D'Arcy Maine
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TCS  New York City Marathon

TCS New York City Marathon

The first New York City Marathon, organized in 1970 by Fred Lebow and Vince Chiappetta, was held entirely in Central Park. Of 127 entrants, only 55 men finished; the sole female entrant dropped out due to illness. Winners were given inexpensive wristwatches and recycled baseball and bowling trophies. The entry fee was $1 and the total event budget...

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Last Minute Halloween Costumes For Trail Runners

Need something for your kiddo's trick-or-treating? Mandatory office Halloween soiree? First post-covid social engagement? Try one of these easy-to-assemble trail running Halloween costumes!

Basic Trail Bro: Don a Ciele hat, and rock some bright Goodr's with a confusingly non-technical button-up shirt and jorts if you're feeling spicy. BYOB - a super dank IPA (the hazier, the better) swaddled in a coozy you got in a race swag bag.  You're probably from Boulder. Or Flagstaff. (Portland variation: add a rain jacket and a slightly better beer.) Make sure to track your trick-or-treat excursion on Strava and don't stop talking about your podcast.

The Courtney: Throw on a tee-shirt and your comfiest basketball shorts and BYO candy corn. Nachos optional.

The Ultra Ultra Runner: Grab your trekking poles, headlamp, gaiters, neck gaiter, waist-light, UPF hat with sunshade, taped-seam windbreaker, sunglasses, clear glasses, 12-liter vest, hip-belt, flasks, bladder, body glide, ramen noodles, gels, spare socks, spare shoes, space blanket, sunscreen, arm sleeves and wind pants.  Though you may be dressed like you're about to run the Marathon Des Sables, you could also just be out for a casual jog. You're a human drop-bag: ready for anything. 

The Crewmate: Same as above, but carry everything around in your arms the entire night and try to hand everybody you see quesadillas and Skratch.

The Emelie: Grab your S/O and dress entirely in S/Lab, or skimo suits with a babybjorn. Still be faster than everyone. 

The Rookie Trail Racer: Grab some long shorts, a sleeveless Nike shirt, and blast the tunes in your Beats By Dre headphones (around your neck, so everyone can hear). Forget the hydration pack, just bring a good ol' Gatorade bottle and be sure to ask everyone "How many miles is 25k????". 

The Harvey: Just circle your block 354.2 times while trick-or-treating

Sexy Minimalist Trail Runner: Just split shorts and a handheld. That's it. 

The Influencer:  This costume is #Sponsored. Flip up the brim of your colorful hat, and snap a pic with your favorite beet-based energy bar or isolated cricket protein, preferably while gazing out at the ocean, or from a summit. Keep your phone and significant other at the ready for any potential photo ops.  Bonus points if you have a cute dog who knows a TikTok dance. Make sure all product logos are visible at all times. 

Sexy IPOS: Nothing but a gravel bike and KT tape.

The Media Mogul: POV: Your YouTube channel is just about to go viral. Grab your go-pro and lace up your trail runners, because you're about to get a lot of B-roll. Wear a Sony TX90000 BD around your neck, and be sure to periodically change lenses for no particular reason. You're a human steady-cam who'll do anything to get the shot. 

The Local Legend: To embody the low-key vibe of the frustratingly-fast unsponsored hometown hero, pull on a of worn-out trail runners and tattered shorts. Wait, is that a Team USA Shirt? Who is this runner? How many FKT's do they have?  OOOPS! Someone just stole your CR!

 

(10/31/2021) Views: 334 ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Women athletes allege body shaming within Oregon Ducks track and field program

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

Five of the women departed with remaining eligibility.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“A BIG, BIG ISSUE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“They always were talking together,” she says.

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

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

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

After that, she says, she struggled mentally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She returned to ask Johnson why he wanted to know.

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

She says at Oregon she constantly monitored what she ate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Girls already have enough body image issues.”

“WE TRY TO APPROACH IT WITH SCIENCE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many UO athletes compete for the Ducks without adverse effects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ATHLETES ARE NOT MACHINES”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(10/31/2021) Views: 548 ⚡AMP
by Oregon Live
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5 Marathons Down, One to Go: Takeaways From Shalane Flanagan’s Fall “Eclipse”

The retired 2017 New York City Marathon champion takes inventory of how her attempt to complete six marathons in seven weeks has gone so far (October 18).

Shalane Flanagan has 131 miles worth of World Marathon Majors down since September 26 and 26.2 miles to go on November 7, at the New York City Marathon, to complete all six races this fall. So far? She’s still in one piece and in good spirits, she said.

This fall, Flanagan embarked on what she dubbed “the eclipse,” what we all hope is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run all the major marathons in one season—and, in fact, just seven weeks—due to the rescheduling of big events during the pandemic. On Monday, Flanagan ran her own version of a Tokyo Marathon, the only in-person event that was canceled due to COVID-19, on a 12.4-mile looped flat course near her home in Portland, Oregon. She feared it might be the hardest one, lacking the energy and enthusiasm of the crowds, but she finished in 2:35:14—far from the “slow” time she predicted three days beforehand.

“I think this one is going to be the toughest to really get after it,” she said on Friday. “I’m going to guess that this will be my slowest one, though it will be fun with some friends and family out there.”

Flanagan, 40, retired from pro running in 2019, but she hasn’t retired from challenging goals, hoping to not just finish the 26.2-mile courses, but clock sub-three-hours on all of them. In addition to her race on Monday, she ran Boston on October 11 in 2:40:34, the day after she had clocked 2:46:39 in Chicago. Prior to that, Flanagan ran 2:35:04 on October 3 at the London Marathon and 2:38:32 on September 26 in Berlin.

Flanagan spoke with Women’s Running on Friday by phone to talk about how she’s measuring her effort, recovering, and learning valuable strategies along the way. Here are a few takeaways before she takes on the grand finale on November 7, at the New York City Marathon, a race she won in 2017.

You can let the pace come to you.

Flanagan has never experienced racing that is solely dictated by how she feels at the starting line. When it was her job to compete, the strategy was not always up to her—it was largely guided by the field.

“It’s fun because we figure out how hard we want to work each day—when you’re an elite, the race and other people are influencing how you run,” she said. “It’s now up to me on the day, how much I want to suffer. It’s a completely different dynamic. It’s like a different sport to me.”

The result? After racing the Boston Marathon five times, 2021 was the most enjoyable one yet. And the recreational athletes running around her are equally thrilled. One even pulled out a phone to FaceTime a friend to show he was racing with Flanagan.

“Normally I never feel in control at Boston. I get to mile 17 and I feel like trash. I never feel full of running, with the exception of maybe my first Boston because it was a kind of slow race. But the other times, the wheels were coming off and I didn’t enjoy it,” Flanagan said. “This was just a completely different experience and it was so fun and refreshing to have that.”

To decide on pace, Flanagan said she’s been looking at the weather, considering if she has a friend to run with that day, and how she feels when she starts. Then she lets the pace reveal itself.

“What feels sustainable, knowing that I’m not going max effort in any one of these?” she said. “Where’s that fine line that I can still recover as fast as possible but still dip my toe into that uncomfortable-ness that I’m craving?”

But even seasoned pros make rookie mistakes.

Although London was only her second race, it took a lot out of Flanagan, mostly because she made a mistake all of us can relate to: she went out too fast. She still finished in 2:35:04, but suffered during the second half (she ran 1:15:04 in the first 13.1 miles and 1:20:00 for the second).

“I had a cold and ran way too hard. That was the low so far,” Flanagan said. “I thought I maybe got myself in a pickle, with the [swollen] ankle, the cold, and all the travel, I was a little bit nervous about the whole thing. But now I can sniff the barn. I’ve physically rebounded.”

It was also the one race that she didn’t have a friend to run with, so she started in the wave with the sub-elite men.

“There was this vibe of competitiveness and of course I’m a competitive person so I fed off of it,” she said. “Then I got to 20 miles and I was like, ‘Uh-oh, You shouldn’t have done that.’ It backfired big for me. I learned my lesson on that one. That’s not the point of what I’m doing.”

Recovery is the name of the game.

Between the marathons, Flanagan pulls out all the old recovery tricks she’s learned along the way. Although unconvinced that ice baths make a big difference, she still did one between the back-to-back Chicago and Boston marathons. The travel and the running produce a lot of inflammation. She gets massages and physical therapy work twice a week after having no body work since stepping away from competition.

During her preparation before the attempt began in Berlin, she tried back-to-back long runs, including a 21-miler on a flat course at 6:40 pace followed by a hilly 21-miler at 6:20 pace the next day. When it came to the real-life scenario, she ended up feeling better in Boston than she did the day before in Chicago (“Which is kind of weird and kind of blew my mind,” she said.)

“I did a really good job hydrating, knowing those two were both going to be pretty humid marathons,” she said. “I think that’s why I came back well in Boston, because I did such a good job fueling and hydrating in Chicago, but I’ve been nonstop hungry since then.”

Reconstructed knees can take it, so far.

After retirement from competition in 2019, Flanagan had surgery on both of her knees and a long rehabilitation period afterward. So far, she hasn’t felt any pain and she’s worked with the Nike Sports Research Lab to have scans of her tendons and knees to monitor any damage through her training a racing.

“When I get back from each segment, they scan them to make sure the tissue in my knees is OK,” Flanagan said. “Anecdotally, I feel nothing and we’re actually seeing a strengthening of my quads—there’s no breakdown, which is incredible. My knees actually feel better than they did a year ago.”

The only hiccups so far occurred after the London Marathon, when she caught a cold and had a bit of an ankle flair up. It looked like she rolled the ankle, but she didn’t.

“London by far was the hardest for me. I didn’t pace myself well, so I had to stop and walk,” Flanagan said. “I was really tentative between London and Chicago. I didn’t run very much. The ankle was a low-level irritation. Maybe I tied my shoes too tight and got a tendon irritation? I have no idea what I would have done, but my physical therapist has been taping it to give it more stabilization.”

The super shoes help.

While the runner still needs to power the body over 26.2 miles, it’s no great secret that the newest models of shoes, like the Nike AlphaFly, can help ease the wear and tear on the legs, absorbing more of the shock as we pound the pavement day in and day out. Flanagan believes that the technology is a nice tool to have to reach her audacious goal.

“I think the foam is definitely a game changer in terms of shock absorption,” she said. “It’s been to my benefit to be able to come back. But at the end of the day, if you still aren’t fit enough to keep up with the shoes, you can still walk like I did in London. But typically my quads are sore after Boston. I have some other soreness but the shoe allows a quicker recovery.”

The New York City Marathon finish line will be a special place, once again.

When Flanagan won the 2017 New York City Marathon, it was the victory of her career. She had always believed she had the ability to win a World Marathon Major but as she edged toward the end of her competitive days, she started losing hope that it might be a box she would leave unchecked.

When she approached the finish line that year, with a fist pump and a “f*ck yes!” the stretch of Central Park by Tavern on the Green instantly became sacred ground. But after completing six marathons in seven weeks, will it be doubly so?

“I think any time people set hard goals and achieve them, yeah I think it’ll be a big celebration with my team who’s helped me do this. We’ve had so much fun and I’ll be sad that it’s over, to a degree because I’ve formed a really great team around me to do this and we’ve had a blast,” Flanagan said. “But it’ll be fun to dream up another adventure. There’s great phases in life to have these crazy things going on and then it’ll be nice to get back to some normalcy, not traveling the world running marathons.”

(10/22/2021) Views: 446 ⚡AMP
by Erin Strout (Women’s Running)
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Study has found that Nike and Asics models are the top performance shoes

A recent study by researchers at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Tex., compared a number of popular carbon-plated running shoes to determine which models had the biggest effect on running economy (defined as how far and how fast you can run, given the energy available), compared to a traditional racing flat. The study found that Nike Alphafly contributed the greatest improvement to running economy (3.03 per cent). Two other models (Nike Vaporfly 2 and Asics Metaspeed Sky) showed comparable improvements of 2.72 per cent and 2.52 per cent, and these were significantly better than other competitors. The data suggest that the top performance shoes on the market have resulted in an unfair playing field, with Nike and Asics outperforming the other brands.

Over the past year, Nike has been in the driver’s seat of running shoe performance, with Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei smashing records wearing Nike shoes. Other top brands have recently produced new models to compete with Nike. The study takes a closer look at the running economy of the top seven carbon-plated shoes on the market and one traditional racing flat.

The shoes were tested by 12 male runners over a sequence of eight one-mile trials. The runners tested the eight shoes on two occasions. On each visit, they each ran in all eight models. All shoes were new at the beginning of the study and had not been run in previously.

Here are the full results:

Nike Alphafly – 3.03 per cent

Nike Vaporfly 2 – 2.72 per cent

Asics Metaspeed Sky – 2.52 per cent

Saucony Endorphin Pro – 1.48 per cent

New Balance RC Elite – 1.37 per cent

Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 – 0.53 per cent

Hoka Rocket X – 0.08 per cent

Asics Hyperspeed (racing flat) – 0.0 per cent

The study found that the New Balance RC Elite and the Saucony Endorphin Pro only improved running economy by 1.5 per cent, which is 10 to 15 seconds of improvement over 5 km compared to a traditional racing flat. The Saucony and New Balance models tested significantly worse than the Asics Metaspeed Sky and both Nike models, which all showed an improvement of greater than 2.5 per cent. 

This disadvantage can translate to 20-30 seconds for a 17 minute 5K runner and four to six minutes for a three-hour marathoner.

While all shoes in the lineup did perform statistically better than the traditional racing flat shoe, three models performed above 1.5 per cent improvement. 

The study also noted that there are only a few differences between performance shoes and traditional racing flats in terms of running mechanics. In racing flats, the ground contact time was greater and the cadence was higher, where in comparison to the Nike Alphafly and Vaporfly 2, and stride length was longer and cadence was lower, on average. 

(10/12/2021) Views: 676 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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Mary Cain sues Alberto Salazar and Nike for $20 million over alleged abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nike did nothing to intervene, Cain alleges.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salazar said this to Sports Illustrated:

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

(10/12/2021) Views: 463 ⚡AMP
by Jeff Manning
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