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Articles tagged #Olympic Marathon Trials
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Michael Wardian set out for a virtual ultra marathon. He kept running for 2½ days.

n the early days of the second full month of the global novel coronavirus pandemic that has all but paralyzed the sports world, Michael Wardian went out for a run around the block. He woke up early Saturday morning, laced up his shoes and stepped outside to run around his Northern Virginia neighborhood.

He circled the block and then did it again. And then again and again. Wardian ended up running for more than 2½ days, skipping sleep and piling up miles. When he finally unlaced his shoes late Monday night, he’d run 262½ miles in all, winning a long-distance event called the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, a virtual race inspired by the social distancing recommendations that make a standard road race impossible in the midst of a pandemic.

The unique event was intended to fill a void for distance runners who saw their race calendars wiped clean by the spread of the coronavirus. It brought together more than 2,000 runners from nearly 60 countries and turned into a captivating affair with a drama-filled, controversial finish.

“We do not know when this situation is going to end, and this is a fun way to bring a whole bunch of people together to be able to test their fitness, join a community, and do something together when many people cannot leave their homes,” a Calgary-based distance-running outfit called Personal Peak wrote in a March post announcing the race.

The rules were simple enough. The runners had to honor social distancing recommendations and either compete on a treadmill or in some sequestered environment. Some, such as Wardian, circled their neighborhood, while others circled their backyard. One entrant did laps around his living room in Dubai, and another ran circles in a Canadian coffee shop that had been closed because of the virus.

Runners were connected via Zoom and required to run 4.167 miles each hour. After hitting their hourly mark, the runners flashed their watch to the camera and then waited for the next lap to begin at the top of the hour.

For each 4.167-mile lap in the race, Wardian made 10 loops around the block in his Arlington neighborhood. That means that once the race began Saturday morning, he passed the same neighbors, same trees, same parked cars — same everything — more than 620 times.

The race began with more than 2,400 entrants, but they slowly dropped, and Monday was mostly a duel between Wardian and a runner halfway around the world named Radek Brunner, who was pounding out miles on a treadmill in the Czech Republic. Wardian officially won shortly before midnight Monday after more than 62½ hours of running when Brunner was disqualified because of a technicality.

Brunner failed to start running his 63rd lap precisely at the top of the hour, apparently because of some technical difficulty or confusion, and organizers reluctantly said they had no choice but to disqualify him for a rules violation.

In winning the event, Wardian ran the equivalent of 10 marathons in a little more than 2½ days. That’s a bit farther than running straight from Washington to Pittsburgh. Perhaps equally impressive: A sleep-deprived Wardian consistently turned in sub-10-minute miles, but his fastest lap was his final one, when he averaged 7:23 over the event’s final four miles.

Wardian, who turns 46 on Sunday, is well-known on the ultra circuit, his running exploits growing longer each year. He has raced against horses, run around the Capital Beltway, completed marathons on seven continents (twice) and competed in the U.S. Olympic marathon trials and most every other premier distance event. Until this virtual competition, though, he had never run so many hours and so many miles consecutively, he said.

To prepare, Wardian ran a full marathon in his neighborhood the week before, knowing he would be in for a grueling turn in the virtual race. After the first hours of the event ticked by Saturday, the field whittled down quickly. Treadmills broke, hamstrings tweaked, work and real life beckoned, quick power naps turned into full-bore slumber. But mostly the miles and hours just became too much.

By Sunday evening, after 36 hours and 150 miles, the field was down to 14. By that point, Wardian was running in the dark, and his kids were nearing bedtime. Overnight, the runners kept dropping, and at one point, Wardian thought he would be joining them. Around 3 a.m., he briefly stopped running and walked over to his wife, Jennifer.

“I was crumbling in the middle of the night,” he later explained. “She asked if I was all right. I said, ‘No, I just don’t want to be doing this anymore.’ She said that’s not a good enough excuse.”

So he kept going, finding a second wind. He would usually finish his 4.167-mile lap in 40 or so minutes, which gave him a bit of time to catch his breath before lining up again at the top of the hour. This was the reflective period when others typically bowed out.

After 42 hours and 175 miles, Matt Shepard, who had been circling the Tall Timber coffee shop in Canada, Matthieu Weiner of Pennsylvania and Scott Martin from Oregon all dropped. Then Greg Armstrong in Tennessee an hour later. And then, after 46 hours of running, the last female runner, Anna Carlsson, who had been trekking through the outdoors near the northern tip of Sweden, had to stop. She had been running on a frozen lake that had been plowed for the occasion but had to drop when a snowstorm approached.

Finally, as the race hit the 48-hour mark Monday morning, just Wardian and Brunner were left. Both knew it wasn’t the speed or mile-pace that counted. It was a race of attrition, and the last man standing would be the sole winner. Brunner sneaked quick naps at the bottom of each hour, but Wardian hadn’t slept since Friday night.

“Sleep, what? None,” Wardian said at one point. “This is my money race. I don’t need to sleep.”

Because we live in virtual times, the entire event was streamed online, first on YouTube and later on Facebook, and thousands tuned in to watch the runners in Zoom’s now-familiar checkerboard format. The audience was able to engage and ask questions of the runners as they rested between laps.

“Let’s keep doing this!” Wardian said into the camera after he was 216 miles into the race.

And so they kept running into a third day and night. Even with 250 miles behind them — around 9 p.m. Monday — both were turning in a relatively fast pace, and Wardian had his sights set on what organizers say is the virtual backyard ultra record: 69 laps.

But then a whistle sounded for lap No. 63. Wardian took off running in the dark, but more than 4,000 miles away, Brunner stood still on his treadmill, seemingly unaware the lap had started. The online audience watched as Brunner fielded a phone call from race organizers, visibly in disbelief that after 62 hours of running, he was disqualified over what seemed like a minor infraction.

Wardian finished his lap and was slightly confused, too — and also disappointed the race was over and he couldn’t add another record to his lengthy race résumé.

(04/12/2020) ⚡AMP
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Aliphine Tuliamuk still remembers the day she received her first pair of running shoes

Nearly twenty years ago, the future 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion was just another promising young runner in the Rift Valley province of her native Kenya. Only 11 years old, she was selected to compete in the state meet in the 10,000m after outracing older girls in the arduous event.

On their way to the competition, her coach—Geoffrey Ptormos, a distant relative of Tuliamuk’s—arranged for Tegla Loroupe to come meet the team. The local Kapenguria legend was training for the 2000 Olympic Games as the favourite for the marathon and the 5000m, and by then had captured two New York City Marathon titles, three World Championship half marathon titles, and was the world record holder in the marathon twice over, with her best effort of 2:20:43 standing until September 2001. 

But Tuliamuk didn’t know any of that quite yet. Instead, it was Loroupe who was quite taken with the young runner’s abilities.

“The athletes I had beaten in the 10,000 were way older than me, so Tegla was very impressed by my performances,” Tuliamuk remembers. “She ended up giving me a pair of shoes and she became my hero instantly.”

Tuliamuk didn’t race in the brand-new flats right away— “no way, I wasn’t used to wearing shoes and racing, I thought they would hold me back” —but she treasured the gift, saving the new shoes for special occasions. 

“It meant the world to me,” she says. “I was barefoot at the time, so to get this really beautiful, clean pair of shoes from her was awesome.”

Modest roots.- Tuliamuk shrugs off her humble upbringing as normal.

She and her 31 siblings, all born to the same father from four different mothers under the culturally accepted practice of polygamy, ran two miles, barefoot, to and from school everyday, as did her friends. Running is so ingrained in everyday life that those with natural abilities in the sport are easily spotted. But of Tuliamuk’s immediate community, she was the only one to pursue competitive running.

Ptormos noticed Tuliamuk’s burgeoning talent and invited her to come live with his family in a neighboring village after the state competition in 2000 so he could coach her. She lived with them on and off for eight years, until she finished high school.

Her best performance during that time came in 2005, when she placed ninth in the World Junior Cross Country Championships as a 15-year-old. The 6km race was held in Saint-Galmier, France, where the beds were the size of three beds back home and the travel van was outfitted with mini TVs. At the race after party, runners danced to music and chowed down on fancy French pastries.

The event opened Tuliamuk’s mind to the vast opportunities that running could afford her.

But as the idea of running professionally and competing in the Olympic Games lodged itself in her brain, Tuliamuk also wanted to succeed in the classroom. Athletics were not a big priority at her high school and by her last year, she had stopped running entirely.

(04/03/2020) ⚡AMP
by worl Athletics
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Twenty years, it’s been a good run, but as of May 7, 2020, LetsRun.com will be no more, LetsRun.com declares bankruptcy says Jonathan Gault

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(04/01/2020) ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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OTC Elite runners hoping for late-summer meets

The coronavirus pandemic has postponed the Tokyo Olympics for a year and put the 2020 track and field season on hold indefinitely.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the work has stopped for the athletes.

Several members of the Eugene-based Oregon Track Club Elite professional training group have continued to train, albeit with a modified schedule.

Gyms are closed, as are several local tracks, but the trails are still open, and OTC Elite’s team of middle distance and distance runners are taking advantage.

“Not much has changed for me fortunately,” said Ben Blankenship, a 2016 Olympian in the 1,500 meters. “It’s just going out there alone and being self-disciplined.”

Blankenship has been plotting his return to the Summer Games since his eighth-place finish four years ago in Rio de Janeiro.That didn’t change on Tuesday when the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government agreed to move the Olympics to 2021.

“I was really ready to do something,” Blankenship said. “We were looking at some of those early (spring) Stanford meets to get ready. But now it’s kind of catch your breath and restart. It could almost be looked at as a bonus year, right? So what can you do this year as kind of a bonus?”

Blankenship wasn’t the only runner on OTC Elite gearing up for a spot on the starting line at the Summer Games. Among its 15 members, there are six Olympians, including marathoner Sally Kipyego, who had already qualified for Tokyo with her third-place finish at the women’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials last month in Atlanta.

USA Track & Field has not yet announced whether Kipyego, as well as former Oregon star and men’s marathon winner Galen Rupp, will be able to keep those qualifiers for the 2021 Games or if the marathon qualifier will have to be raced again. The top three finishers in both races in Atlanta qualified for Tokyo.

Also for OTC Elite, Francine Niyonsaba was the 2016 silver medalist in the women’s 800 for Burundi, Hassan Mead (U.S.) and Tom Farrell (Great Britain) were in the men’s 5,000 that year, and Nijel Amos won silver in the men’s 800 for Botswana in 2012 when he was just 18 years old.

Amos had his best season on the track last year since his success in London. He ran under 1:45 in all but one race, and twice broke 1:43, including his season-best of 1:41.89.

Amos wasn’t the only one who excelled in 2019.

Hanna Green is coming off a breakout season as she made her first World Outdoor Championship team for the United States in the women’s 800 after running 1:58.19 for a second-place finish at the U.S. Outdoor Championships.

That success fueled high expectations coming into the 2020 Olympic season.

“Definitely disappointed because I felt like I had a pretty good start and was kind of rolling into another good season,” she said. “You just have to think positive right now because you don’t know what’s going to happen so you don’t want to get into a negative thought process where you’re just worrying. You have to go with the flow.”

Like Blankenship, Green is taking advantage of the trails to get her work in and try and maintain some fitness.

“We’ve definitely stepped back in our training, just to be safe and so our immune systems aren’t being damaged by hard workouts,” Green said. “Once we know if or when there are going to be races we’ll start to build up again.”

The sooner the better, both Blankenship and Green said.

World Athletics said earlier this week it was still hoping to host several one-day meets later in the summer.

“If they could get in those later Diamond League meets that would be awesome, or any meet in general,” Green said. “You just have to stay ready for whatever’s next whenever that may be.”

(03/30/2020) ⚡AMP
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Boston resident Molly Seidel qualified for the Olympic marathon but she’s worried about what happens now

The trials was one of the best days of my life, Seidel said. “To potentially have that taken away is very stressful."

When Molly Seidel reflects on the day she qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics, she’s reminded of a seemingly distant reality.

“Just thinking back to the huge number of crowds that were there and the hugs after the race,” recalled Seidel in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon. “Hell, just sitting down at a restaurant afterward. We all went out to a bar that night, too, and shared drinks at the bar. It’s a completely different world than the one we’re in now.”

Less than a month ago, Seidel placed second in the US Olympic marathon trials to punch her ticket to Tokyo. The 25-year-old Boston resident finished the race, her first-ever marathon, with a time of 2:27:31, just eight seconds behind Aliphine Tuliamuk.

As the threat of the coronavirus escalated rapidly, and the list of postponed or canceled sporting events grew, Seidel started to consider the possibility more and more. Could the Olympics really go on as scheduled?

She wasn’t shocked when the postponement became official Tuesday.

“I just don’t think there is any way we could be planning for an Olympics four months from now, especially when the country is going through such a difficult time and the world is going through such a difficult time,” said Seidel. “It would have put a lot of athletes and spectators and just the general public in a lot of danger.”

While Seidel agrees with the International Olympic Committee’s decision, she is certainly disappointed. She’s also incredibly frustrated. The US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, Seidel says, has not been forthcoming with updates. The lack of communication leaves her worried about her status.

There has been some chatter about whether runners should have to re-qualify, given the extended period of time between the marathon trials, which took place Feb. 29, and the rescheduled Games, which do not yet have new dates.

Seidel is hopeful that won’t be the case.

“The trials was one of the best days of my life,” she said. “To potentially have that taken away is very stressful. I’m hoping that they honor the Olympic trials and keep their current marathon team, but we haven’t heard anything from USOC, USATF, from anybody. It’s been difficult getting the information that we need.”

Fellow marathoner Des Linden, who placed fourth in the trials, doesn’t foresee a re-qualification. Linden recently called Seidel to express her support.

“I haven’t heard anything from governing bodies, and I would imagine that they’re not even entertaining that idea,” Linden said. “I think it’s just kind of interesting talk right now, particularly with so much time on our hands.”

Amid the uncertainty, Seidel is still training. She frequently runs on the Esplanade and will soon ramp up her mileage after recovering from the trials. Her coach, who lives locally, is encouraging her to make the best of the extra year, especially considering the fact she’s participated in only one marathon.

Should road races resume this fall, Seidel is looking forward to gaining more experience at the distance.

In her free time, Seidel enjoys binging “Gilmore Girls,” reading, and practicing her banjo and ukulele. She no longer has a job or a roommate, as Tatte cut most of its staff amid the coronavirus outbreak and her sister moved back to their home state of Wisconsin for the time being. But Seidel’s doing her best to make due.

“It was so weird coming off that huge emotional high at the trials,” she said. “Now, it’s just like, ‘OK, back to quarantine.’”

(03/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Nicole Yang
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Looking for Some Running Content to Watch? On Running’s Chasing Tokyo Series May be Just For You

On Running’s Chasing Tokyo series may be just for you. The video series chronicled the nine athletes of the On ZAP Endurance professional running team (Tyler Pennel, Joe Stilin, Andrew Colley, Johnny Crain, Tristin Van Ord, Matt McClintock, Joanna Thompson, Josh Izewski, and Nicole DiMercurio) and their attempts to qualify for the 2020 US Olympic marathon team. The five-part series became a hit on social media, with 1.35 million views on YouTube, and more than 7.2 million views across all platforms according to On.

The On ZAP runners came up short of the Olympic goal.

If you want to watch the series without knowing how the On runners did, scroll to the videos embedded below. Otherwise keep reading.

However, they had two strong performances in the men’s race at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta. with Tyler Pennel (11th in 2:12:34) and Josh Izewski (17th in 2:14:15) both posting top-20 finishes. Pennel’s run showed just how strong the men’s race was; despite a PR on the tough Atlanta course, Pennel could not match his 5th-place finish from the 2016 Trials.

While the top 3 finishers in Atlanta got the most attention, the series captures why so many runners dedicate a significant portion of their lives training for and dreaming of the Olympics. Joe Stilin, who had an off day at the Trials and finished 107th, is in tears in the final episode talking about how much it meant to him to have his high school coach, his dad, his brother, and even fellow teammates encouraging him at the Trials.

“It’s what the sport’s about…Sometimes, it’s not about just crushing and being top 3 and all that. It’s why we run,” Stilin said (that clip is here).

The series is directed by Emmy-winning director, Andrew Hinton (“Man with the Halo”) and starts following the team in 2019 in episode 1, “Dudes in the Woods,” which explains what the On ZAP team — located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, N.C., — is all about. Episode 5 concludes with the Olympic Trials. There isn’t much footage from the Trials — only four minutes of the one-hour series comes from once they’re on the starting line in Atlanta — but the point isn’t to capture the race itself, but to show the buildup and struggles all Olympic dreamers go through.

Episode 1 is only five minutes, so give it a shot and see if you get hooked.

And don’t feel too bad that the ZAP runners didn’t make it to Tokyo. They’re already dreaming of Paris 2024. “Of the nine athletes on the team, I think probably half of them are thinking about this race four years from now. Sometimes it’s the people who are just too stupid to quit who get things done and we’re probably in that category,” said On ZAP head coach Pete Rea in the final episode.

One final thing: is the On ZAP runners were allowed to wear the new Nike super shoes during the race. We are full of praise for On for allowing this: it shows they put their athletes first. On was founded by former world duathlon champion Olivier Bernhard, who knows a thing or two about performance (LRC’s Wejo went to Olivier’s house in Switzerland in 2012 or 2013). Olivier was a Nike-sponsored athlete back in the day, and when he got injured he tinkered with his shoes, and that led him to starting a shoe company once he stopped competing. Roger Federer is now working with On and an investor in the company. Athletes of that caliber know is it not right to force athletes to compete at a disadvantage, so they let the On ZAP runners wear the Nike shoes. We applaud them. None of the ZAP runners are forced to wonder “What if…

(03/22/2020) ⚡AMP
by Let’s Run
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After placing fourth at the Olympic Trials, Desiree Linden planned to race the Boston Marathon. Like everybody else, she’s trying to figure out what’s next

Very little has gone according to plan for anybody this year. And Desiree Linden is no exception.

After placing fourth on February 29 at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials (the top three—Aliphine Tuliamuk, Molly Seidel, and Sally Kipyego—made the U.S. Olympic Team), she was disappointed. The alternate position wasn’t what the two-time Olympian was after on the hilly Atlanta course. However, her spirits were quickly lifted, she said, because she also had the Boston Marathon coming up on April 20—the race she won in 2018.

“Having Boston on the schedule made me move on and not dig into what happened at the Trials too much,” she said. “Then Boston got canceled and I was like, ‘Dear god, I probably need to process this.’

Officials announced on Friday that the 2020 Boston Marathon would be postponed until September 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Linden said she found out at the same time everybody else did, at her home in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

“I went for a run during the press conference,” she said. “Obviously I had been connecting the dots like everybody else and it was the obvious thing to do.”

Linden, 36, took a little time on Monday during a phone interview with Women’s Running to reflect on her Trials race and the Boston Marathon cancellation, as well as offer some advice to runners struggling without races on the calendar. What follows are some outtakes from the conversation.

The Olympic Marathon Trials and evaluating her performance.- Linden said she hasn’t spent a lot of time going over the details of the Atlanta race. The course was difficult, but she felt prepared for it. The training got a little tricky when she came down with the flu about three weeks before the race.

“We managed the training—I just didn’t have a great hand of cards. I had a respectable day, but it wasn’t indicative of my ability and I think the further away we get from that race, the less I remember. I don’t think there’s a lot of value in overthinking it anyway. Obviously the course was super tough and I remember that Laura [Thweatt] was pushing the group most of the second lap [of an eight-mile loop, run three times] and part of the third. She stretched us out a little bit and I covered her move, then Aliphine and Molly went after that. I had run that last [5K] section of the course the day before and I wonder if I over-respected it or got it just right? I was on super tired legs and I knew that last section was going to be really tough for everybody, so I left a little bit in the reserves. When I finished, I was perfectly exhausted—my legs were toast and there was nowhere in those last three miles I could have done more.”

After the Trials finish, Linden said she was feeling more positive because her training had been going in the right direction after recovering from the flu. She knew she could capitalize on it for the Boston Marathon.

“Immediately after the Trials, it was just Boston, Boston, Boston. That was super exciting. That day after the Trials I felt surprisingly decent. Then this buzz about the coronavirus started getting louder and then it became a little more exhausting to get out the door. It was hard to think about workouts geared toward Boston when I started thinking, ‘I could just be recovering right now.’ But also, running is my normal and what makes me feel better. Anyway, I’m enjoying a little break finally and that feels good—I’m just running based on how I feel, assuming we can continue running outside. I’ll slowly get back into it.”

(03/18/2020) ⚡AMP
by Erin Strout
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

The 124th Boston Marathon originally scheduled for April 20, is now postponed to September 14 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events. The event attracts 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event. Though starting with 18 participants...

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Keira D’Amato has been selected to represent the USA in the World Half Marathon Championship in Oct. 2020 in Poland

It was a surprising accomplishment, as Keira had been training for the past year for the US Olympic Marathon trials in Atlanta for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

“The race was everything I hoped the Olympic dream would be and as terrible as the marathon can feel,” said D’Amato.

The 35-year-old finished 15th out of 511 women with a time of 2:34.34 (which is 5:42 minutes per mile)!

“To think that 4 years ago, watching the Olympic trials I was pregnant with my daughter Quinn and on the couch 50-plus pounds overweight watching them on TV, thinking I would never be there and just fast forward 4 years later, and somehow I was there in the mix of things and finished 15th, I’ve come a long way,” said D’Amato.

This was the first time Atlanta’s Olympic Cauldron torch has been lit since 1996.

“It was a surreal experience to run through where they hosted the '96 Olympics. Through the course, you run by the Olympic rings and you go by the Centennial Olympic Park," said D’Amato. "Watching the Olympics in '96 as a child, I saw the torch the lit, the torch that day, it hasn’t been lit since the '96 Olympics and it was really cool.”

Unfortunately, Keira’s running time and placement wasn’t fast enough, but she still held her head high and proud as she crossed the finish line.

“When I saw the finish line, everything just hit me like a ton of bricks and I saw the finish line and I started pumping my arms and I was flying down the straightaway and I’m sure people watching realized 'she’s not winning, right, she’s 15th, she’s not making the team, someone should probably tell her,'" said D’Amato. "But I was so proud of the work I had done and that I finished and that I can hold my head up high knowing that I left it all on the course that day.”

Several weeks before the big race in Atlanta, Keira competed in the Houston half marathon to prepare herself for what was in store in Atlanta.

She finished the race 8th with the time of 69:59 and little did she know that race in Houston would change her life.

“I got an email and I didn’t really read it correctly, so I thought they were saying would you been interested, and so I wrote back saying 'Heck, yeah I’m interested, let me know how,' and they wrote back saying, 'maybe you didn’t understand, congratulations: you’ve been selected for the USA team,'” said D’Amato. “Running a half marathon for the US definitely hits my goal for just representing the U.S."

Keira is currently training day and night with the team’s coach and hopes to bring home the Gold.

"Nothing has set in yet, still feels like this wild ride that I’m watching from the sideline or the stadium like I can’t believe this is me,” said D’Amato.

(03/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Terrance Dixon
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World Half Marathon Championships

World Half Marathon Championships

The next World Half Marathon Championships will be held in Gdynia, Poland. It was scheduled for March 29, 2020 but was postponded until Oct 17, 2021 due to the Coronavirus. The first one was first held in 1992. The collaboration with the world half marathon championships allows the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation to continue its strategy of supporting sports events...

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More about the Legendary Texas Tech track and field distance runner Sally Kipyego who qualified for Tokyo Olympics

Legendary Texas Tech track and field distance runner Sally Kipyego qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics Saturday in the marathon. Kipyego, 34, competed at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, where she ran 2:28.52 to claim the third and final spot on the roster.

The Kenyan-born runner will represent the United States in Tokyo this summer, a goal she has had since becoming a U.S. citizen in 2017. She was one of three to make the U.S. team Saturday, joining 10-time national champion and fellow Kenyan immigrant Aliphine Tuliamuk and Molly Seidel.

"What a great accomplishment for Sally," said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley, who coached Kipyego at Tech from 2006-2009. "Red Raiders far and wide are so proud of what she has accomplished."

Kipyego's return to the Olympics is being praised across the track world, as the former Tech runner has battled through considerable adversity to make it back to the Games. After earning silver in the 10,000m in London in 2012, Kipyego had to pause her training in 2017 while she was pregnant with her daughter, Emma. During her pregnancy, she was unable to run from 18 weeks through childbirth. In the months following, she struggled with pneumonia and malaria, making a return to racing shape even more difficult. Ultimately, she was forced to delay her comeback and withdraw from the NYC Marathon in November 2018.

Still, Kipyego persevered, eyes set on Tokyo. A member of the elite Oregon Track Club, she lived and trained in her home country of Kenya, using the altitude to bolster her regimen. By early 2019, she had worked her mileage up to 115 per week at marathon pace.

In April of that year, she attempted a comeback at the Boston Marathon but walked off the course after 18 miles due to fatigue. Though the plan was to not run another marathon until Saturday's Trials, Kipyego, seeking redemption and a confidence boost, entered the Berlin Marathon last September. It was the perfect decision, as she ran a lifetime best of 2:25.10. Five months later, of course, she would complete her comeback and earn a spot on the U.S. team.

"It's just a testament to her incredible hard work and dedication to the sport," said head distance coach Jon Murray, who coached Kipyego to three straight NCAA and Big 12 titles in cross country. "Coming back from pregnancy and some of the rough times she's had these past few years really shows her commitment. At Tech, she hated to lose, and I think that shows in her continued pursuit to be back in race shape and be the best that she can be."

Kipyego's career at Tech is considered one of the greatest of any collegiate athlete in any sport in NCAA history. During her four years in Lubbock, she won eight national titles. Kipyego is the only NCAA athlete ever to win four national titles in one year, doing so in 2007 when she won championships in cross country, the indoor 3000m, indoor 5000m and the outdoor 10,000m. She is the only Big 12 runner ever to win three consecutive conference titles in cross country. Kipyego owns the outdoor school records in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m, and ran on the record-holding distance medley relay. Indoors, her records in the mile, 3000m and 5000m still stand today, as do her 5k and 6k cross country marks.

In 2019, Kipyego was inducted into the Texas Tech Athletic Hall of Fame.

(03/03/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Ultrarunner Jim Walmsley runs 2:15:05 marathon debut at U.S. Olympic Trials

Jim Walmsley, one of the world’s best ultrarunners, ran his marathon debut at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials. On Saturday, Walmsley finished in 22nd and crossed the line in 2:15:05.

A year ago, we looked at Walmsley’s training as the Houston Half-Marathon approached. At Houston he nailed a 1:04:00, exactly the time he needed (down to the second) to qualify for the marathon trials. Following his 2019 Houston race, he went on to win a 50-mile race in Hong Kong and take 43 seconds off the 50-mile world record before shattering his own course record at Western States.

There’s no doubt Walmsley is a tough racer, but this was his first time racing a road marathon, and he didn’t quite have the chops to make the 2020 Olympic team. With that said, he ran an extremely impressive debut, on a windy day and on a hilly course.

The runner sat in the chase group (which included Galen Rupp, the eventual winner) for the first half of the race. That group was on pace for a sub-2:10 marathon, am ambitious pace for most of the runners.

Walmsley would fade, but not too much, averaging 5:10 miles and closing in 5:17. He finished ahead of some very impressive names like Jared Ward and Connor McMillan.

On Saturday, Rupp has made his fourth Olympic team, winning the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:09:20. Second place went to first-time Olympic qualifier Jake Riley, and third to five-time Olympic qualifier, masters runner Abdi Abdirahman. At 43, Abdirahman is also the oldest American ever to qualify for the Olympic marathon.

(03/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Molly Seidel had never run a marathon until Feb 29 where she made the 2020 US Olympic Marathon team

The US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta February 29 was Molly Seidel’s First Marathon. 

Seidel, 25, has two jobs, shares an apartment with her sister and runs turkey trots in costume. No, she can’t believe this is happening, either.

What does it feel like to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in your debut marathon?

Molly Seidel was ebullient when she qualified for the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.

She had been a standout athlete in college, but in recent years she had struggled with injuries. She’d started working at a coffee shop in Boston and babysat to make ends meet. She hoped for a good race at the trials in Atlanta on Saturday, but tried not to have big expectations.

It would be her first marathon, after all. She never could have predicted it would lead to the Olympics.

Seidel, 25, ran away with second place at the trials, finishing in 2 hours 27 minutes 31 seconds and securing one of three spots on the U.S. women’s team for the Tokyo Games this summer.

Seidel is known for her performances in 5,000- and 10,000-meter races. She won the Foot Locker Cross Country Championship in 2011and has four N.C.A.A. titles. She qualified for the Olympic marathon trials with her time in the half marathon, a 1:10:27 in San Antonio in December.

“I had no idea what this was going to be like,” she said after the race on Saturday. “I didn’t want to oversell it and put way too much pressure on, knowing how competitive the field was going to be. But talking with my coach, I didn’t want to phone it in just because it was my first one.”

The challenging course played to Seidel’s strengths. She called herself a racer, not someone who would thrive in a time trial. And she said the conditions — a hilly course on a chilly, windy day — played to her advantage.

In a race that included some of the biggest names in running — Jordan Hasay, Sara Hall, Molly Huddle, Emma Bates, Des Linden — Seidel flew under the radar until she broke away from the pack along with Aliphine Tuliamuk and Sally Kipyego in Mile 21. When she made the move, she said she knew she would “make the team or spectacularly go down in flames.” All three made the Olympic team, with Tuliamuk in first with a time of 2 hours 27 minutes and 23 seconds.

 

(03/01/2020) ⚡AMP
by Talya Minsberg
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Babies Don’t Wait for Running

At the back of the Trials pack, two pregnant women and one mom who gave birth four weeks ago are thankful they’re healthy enough to run.

Four weeks after giving birth, Stefanie Slekis finished the Olympic Marathon Trials in 3:14:00. Lauren Philbrook, who is 33 weeks pregnant, stepped off the course after 8 miles in 1:06:20 (8:18 pace). Her friend Rachel Hyland, who is 27 weeks pregnant, stopped at halfway in 1:47:07 (8:11 pace).

There were 511 women who hit the qualifying standard for the Trials. They range in age from 16-year-old Tierney Wolfgram to 48-year-old Perry Shoemaker. They come from a variety of professions and motivations.

Only three will make the Olympic team. But the others see the value in being at the start line, adding to the masses, showing what women are capable of at different stages of life.

(03/01/2020) ⚡AMP
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Aliphine Tuliamuk is the women’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion

Rio 2016 marathon bronze medallist Galen Rupp and Kenyan-born Aliphine Tuliamuk have won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in cold and windy conditions in Atlanta, Georgia, to confirm their spots on Team USA at Tokyo 2020.

Rupp won in two hours, nine minutes 20 seconds, repeating his feat from four years ago in Los Angeles.

There was a three-way race to the end for the second and third places, taken by Jacob Riley and Abdi Abdirahman.

Abdirahman will become the oldest Team USA runner in Olympic history at 43 when he attends his fifth Olympic Games this summer. He made his debut at Sydney 2000.

Tuliamuk finished in two hours, 27 minutes 23 seconds.

In her first-ever marathon, Molly Seidel finished second. Sally Kipyego, the marathon silver medallist for Kenya at London 2012, took the final spot.

Rupp has had to deal with a turbulent last 18 months or so.

His last finished marathon was the Chicago Marathon in October 2018, and has had Achilles surgery since. Rupp also retired from last year's Chicago race through injury.

"I feel relief, almost, more than anything," Rupp said after crossing the finish line.

"It's been a really long year and a half."

Tuliamuk said: "It was amazing, I actually still don't believe it happened. When we pulled away, Molly and I, I said 'Molly let's go' because I knew I wasn't going to finish it by myself.

"I thought I had went too early. This is just a big day for me and I am so grateful to have won the trials."

(02/29/2020) ⚡AMP
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(02/29/2020) ⚡AMP
by Nick Zaccardi
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Four-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier Patrick Rizzo, will run his last race tomorrow in Atlanta

It will all come to an end next Saturday, Leap Day. Patrick Rizzo, one of the most decorated and versatile distance runners in the United States, will run his last professional race at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta. A testament to his longevity, it will be Rizzo’s 4th Olympic Trials race (NYC 2008, Houston 2012, LA 2016, and now Atlanta); a remarkable achievement which solidifies his running legacy.

Over his stellar 15-year pro career, the 36-year-old Rizzo notched numerous top 10 finishes at U.S. Championship distances from 8K to the marathon. He earned victories in the half-marathon in major races throughout the U.S. including Denver, Seattle, and his native Chicago. Internationally, he’s had top finishes in London (11th), the Ohme 30K in Tokyo (3rd), and in representing the USA at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico (8th).  

He set his marathon personal best of 2:13:42 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Houston, finishing 13th.

As recently as this past November, Rizzo finished on the podium at the Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas and followed that up in December by running 2:17:53 at the California International Marathon in Sacramento. During his career, Rizzo was sponsored by Brooks, Mizuno, and Skechers.

“I’ve had the privilege of being Patrick’s agent for the past 3 years and we have been friends since he started his career here in Michigan with the Hansons – Brooks Distance Project back in 2006,” said Chris Mengel of Elite Runner Management. “Coming from North Central College, an NCAA Division 3 school in his native Illinois, Patrick was a fearless runner who was never afraid to compete against the best athletes in the country and the world on the biggest stages. He loved being a pro runner and undoubtedly, will miss it. Frankly, I think we will miss him even more. The sport needs more Rizzos.”

Rizzo recently took a job as an account compliance manager with VF Corporation and moved from Colorado Springs to Nashville, Tennessee. He resides there with his wife, Emily, and their children Judah and Bonnie.

(02/28/2020) ⚡AMP
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Starla Garcia is looking forward to being part of the US Olympic marathon trials this weekend

Starla Garcia ran in circles during a part of her life.

It could have killed her.

After battling with herself as well as anorexia and osteopenia, a weakening of the bones, she’s back. Now, she runs when she wants instead of when she thinks she has to. And she wants to run, especially Saturday, Feb. 29, when she will be one of more than 500 runners competing at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta.

She qualified by coming in under the 2-hour, 45-minute mark at the Houston Marathon, where she now lives. Garcia has no false beliefs that she will be among the top three runners to qualify for the games; she still has goals.

“A lot of people are like ‘you can make it to the Olympics,’ that’s so nice and supportive,” she said. “But imagine the talent. I already had a ticket to go and watch it in real time and was so pumped up. My goal is to be as close as to what I did in Houston.

“I knew I was on pace, sitting behind the pacer. Maybe two or three of us went for it near the end and I was one of those girls. When you stress your body, your mind just shuts off and you stop telling yourself that you’re tired and you start trusting your body to do what it’s supposed to do.”

The former PSJA North and University of Houston cross country runner fell into a pattern in high school that female runners can fall prey to. She would run, have a little better race time, lose a half pound of pound of body weight and run with the results being even a little faster.

“I would be told great job with my time and friends and others would tell me I was looking good and it was just a pattern I couldn’t stop,” Garcia said. “I started restricting foods and it wasn’t a good time.”

A self-described “Type A, overachieving kid,” Garcia said her junior year in high school she had several AP classes and had put a lot of pressure on herself, all while still trying to run at a high level, a level that brought her a regional championship in cross country her senior year and a state appearance in the 3,200.

It was what she described as the “golden days of PSJA North Cross Country. It was so fun to be there,” she said.

“I used to run because I thought I had to. Now I run because I love to.”

(02/24/2020) ⚡AMP
by Henry Miller
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(02/23/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ken Goe (Oregon Live)
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Honami Maeda Breaks Mizuki Noguchi's 30 km National Record and Pre-Athens Ome 30 km Course Record

2020 Olympic marathon trials winner Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) took down two massive marks at Sunday's Ome 30 km Road Race in Tokyo's mountainous western suburbs, breaking Mizuki Noguchi's 30 km national record and pre-Athens Olympic gold medal Ome course record in 1:38:35 in wet conditions. Beating her closest female competition by almost eight minutes, Maeda was strong and about as steady as possible over the tough Ome course, clocking 5 km splits of 16:18 - 16:18 - 16:48 - 16:22 - 16:37 - 16:12.

Maeda's stated goal pre-race was Noguchi's 1:39:06 course record, set in February, 2004 as a key tune-up for Noguchi's gold medal-winning run in the Athens Olympics marathon. That fell by a wide margin, but few expected Maeda to also beat Noguchi's national record of 1:38:49 set en route during her 2:19:12 marathon national record run at the 2005 Berlin Marathon. It took Maeda's fastest split of the race, a 16:12 from 25 km to the finish, for that to happen, but happen it did. And the times being what they are, it's worth mentioning that she didn't appear to have been wearing carbon plate shoes. Looking at Noguchi in 2004 and at Maeda now, Maeda is looking more and more like the real deal. Maybe it's time to start getting a tiny bit excited about what might happen this summer.

The women's race at the other big 30 km race of the day, Kumamoto's Kumanichi 30 km Road Race, was closer, if nowhere near Maeda's level, and equally wet. 20-year-old Ako Matsumoto (Denso) ran 1:46:09, 10 seconds faster than Ome runner-up Yuri Nozoe (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo), for the win, with teammate Ayano Ikeuchi and Chika Ihara (Higo Ginko) both finishing within a minute of her for 2nd and 3rd.

The men's races in Ome and Kumanichi were almost the inverse of what happened in the women's race. In Ome, a pack of eight went out on track to break the 1:29:06 course record set by Kenyan Ezekiel Cheboitibin (Sunbelx) last year. By halfway that was down to a trio, former Hakone Ekiden uphill Fifth Stage winner Daniel Muiva Kitonyi (Track Tokyo), Masaya Taguchi (Honda), and Junsuke Kanbe (Komazawa Univ.).

Rounding the turnaround for the mostly downhill return trip Kitonyi attacked, but the last hard uphill with just over 8 km to go killed him. Taguchi rolled up and by in the last 5 km to take the win in 1:30:45. Kitonyi staggered in for 2nd in 1:31:14, holding off Ryo Kawamoto (Kurosaki Harima) who came up from the chase pack for 3rd in 1:31:51.

In Kumanichi, former half marathon and marathon national record holder Yuta Shitara, like Ome winner Taguchi a graduate of Toyo University and current Honda corporate team runner, did what he does best and soloed the race start to finish, winning in 1:29:47 by nearly a minute over Kazuto Kawabata (Konica Minolta). His time bettered the 1:29:55 run by his twin brother Keita Shitara at Kumanichi 7 years ago and served as a confidence builder ahead of next month's Tokyo Marathon where he hopes to run 2:04.

Post-race he told the media, "If I lost here there would be no next time. In the two weeks left until the Tokyo Marathon I want to bring my level up another 20~30%. I want to run the kind of race that's going to get people all across Japan excited."

54th Ome 30 km Road Race

(02/22/2020) ⚡AMP
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Ohme Road Race

Ohme Road Race

Ohme-Hochi 10K Road Race is organized by Ome Athletic Association in Ome, Tokyo, Japan in the month of February. The road race held just outside Tokyo, is part of a longstanding exchange program between the BAA and the Ohme Road Race, which is sponsored by the Hochi Shimbun. The events include 30K Race and a 10K Run. The number of...

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With less than a week and a half to go Amy Cragg Withdraws from 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials

Defending champion Amy Cragg, 36, announced on Instagram that she will not compete in the championship. Cragg cited an illness as the reason for withdrawing from the race.

“The Trials are the reason I have shown up every day for the last four years, so this has been an extremely difficult decision,” she wrote on Instagram. Cragg did not immediately respond to Runner’s World’s request for comment.

In January, Cragg told Runner’s World, “February 29, top 3, that’s what I’m going for. It’s just getting on that team. For me, that’s everything.” She said that training for Trials was going well, despite a disappointing year of racing in 2019.

Last year, the 2:21 marathoner raced only twice on the roads, finishing seventh at the Prague Half Marathon in 1:13:27 in April and 14th at the Beach to Beacon 10K in 34:40 in August. She had plans to race at the 2019 Chicago Marathon but withdrew with an injury. Outside of racing, she was struggling in workouts with overall fatigue.

“You talk to any distance runner, you go through those ups and downs regularly,” she told Runner’s World. “It’s like you just can’t seem to get out of the slump. You don’t know whether to push harder or let go. I’ve been used to it over the years. But there was definitely still that fear that I might have overdone it; [I’d] hope it’s not undoable.”

After training at altitude with the Bowerman Track Club for most of January and February this year, Cragg came down to sea level to race the New Orleans Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon on February 9. Unfortunately, she slowed throughout the race, indicating that a successful Trials defense was in jeopardy. She finished in 1:16:53, averaging 5:51 per mile. When Cragg ran the 2018 Tokyo Marathon, which put her fifth on the U.S. all-time list, she averaged 5:24 pace for double the distance.

 

(02/21/2020) ⚡AMP
by Hailey Middlebrook
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Alps 2 Ocean Ultra

Alps 2 Ocean Ultra

New Zealand's First Ultra Staged Run. Starting at the base of New Zealand's highest mountain, travelling on foot 316 kms to the small harbour of Oamaru, located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The ultimate adventure race, Alps 2 Ocean Ultra, was a dream that quickly became a reality. And it’s now only weeks until the 126 entrants will...

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Laura Kaulen is a mother, wife, an intervention specialist at Central Crossing High School and she’s been an avid runner since the seventh grade, and is set to challenge the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Kaulen has a lot going on.

She is a mother, wife, an intervention specialist at Central Crossing High School and she’s been an avid runner since the seventh grade.

“Running; it brings me happiness,” Kaulen said. “It brings me peace. It brings me time to think. It gives me time to analyze my day and what’s going on.”

Running also brings Kaulen challenges – challenges like the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, which will take place at about 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, February 29.

“To qualify for the Olympic Trials you had to either run a 2:37, which gets you in the A qualifier or B qualifier is under 2:45 flat,” she said. “And I ran a 2:42:48 at the Chicago Marathon this past October.”

That race pushed Kaulen into the Olympic Trials for the second time.“I feel good, she said. “I feel like my training has gone really, really well. I’m hitting a lot of hard workouts; running at marathon pace or under marathon pace, which will help me in Atlanta.”

That training, which averages about 75 miles each week, also runs over and into Kaulen’s role as an educator.“Running gives me time to think, so I’ve come up with some great lesson plans while running because it gives me time to think about this and that and how well this student is doing or what I need to do for this student.” She said.

Kaulen tells 10TV she hopes it can inspire her students along the way.

“There’s so many obstacles and not every day you’re going to feel good to be able to run and not every day are you going to set a goal to do something and you’re going to achieve it,” she said. “So I feel like I can relate to my students who have many obstacles.”The top three men and women finishers at the Olympic Trials will be eligible to represent the country at the summer Tokyo Olympic Games.

(02/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by Molly Brewer
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Taku Fujimoto and Kaena Takeyama will lead Japanese team at the World Half Marathon Championships

The JAAF has announced the Japanese team for next month's World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland. Six of the ten men and women are fresh off PBs at the Marugame Half and National Corporate Half earlier this month, with three of the other four having set new bests since December.Set to be elevated from runner-up to winner of December's Fukuoka International Marathon after the bust of Moroccan El Mahjoub Dazza, Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) leads the men's team with an all-time Japanese #2 1:00:06 in Marugame.

Three other men on the team including amateur Takahiro Nakamura (Kyocera Kagoshima) broke 1:01 at the National Corporate Half two weeks ago. The only man on the the team not to have cleared 1:01 yet is 2020 Olympic marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura (Fujitsu), who ran a PB 1:01:40 at January's Takanezawa Half.National Corporate Half winner Kaena Takeyama (Daihatsu) is the top-ranked woman with a 1:09:12,  followed by Sara Miyake (Tenmaya), 3rd at December's Sanyo Ladies Half in a 1:09:23 debut.

Takeyama's teammate Mizuki Matsuda won January's Osaka International Women's Marathon in 2:21:47 and Miyake's teammate Honami Maeda just set a 30 km national record at Sunday's Ome Road Race, so you know where they're coming from. Rui Aoyama (Univ. Ent.) was just over 1:10 in Sanyo behind Miyake, with Ayumi Hagiwara (Toyota Jidoshokki) the only athlete on either team with a PB over two months old. 

Toshika Tamura (Hitachi) is a surprising addition, having run only 1:11:13 for 11th at the National Corporate Half.

(02/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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World Half Marathon Championships

World Half Marathon Championships

The next World Half Marathon Championships will be held in Gdynia, Poland. It was scheduled for March 29, 2020 but was postponded until Oct 17, 2021 due to the Coronavirus. The first one was first held in 1992. The collaboration with the world half marathon championships allows the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation to continue its strategy of supporting sports events...

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How Japanese-Style Training Inspired Jim Walmsley’s Olympic Trials Approach

The Western States 100 record holder has been putting in 175-mile weeks to prepare for Atlanta.

For Jim Walmsley, the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials will be less about outcome and more about process.

Walmsley, 30, is well-known for his success in ultrarunning as the Western States 100 record holder and four-time Ultrarunner of the Year honoree. On February 29 in Atlanta, he’ll carry that distinction into the championship with the goal of bridging the gap between ultra and marathon runners.

“In a lot of ways I feel like I’m bearing a torch for ultrarunners,” Walmsley told Runner’s World. “The stereotype of most trail or ultra races is that it’s all really slow and you can either take them on for fun or after you’re really done running. [Training for Trials] feels like a responsibility [to show] we work pretty hard and we can hold our own as well.”

By embracing an incredibly high-mileage approach, competing in a variety of races, and being transparent about the highs and lows of training on Strava, Walmsley hopes to shift the conversation.

“I think there’s a lot of mutual respect that can be gained,” Walmsley said. “Getting ultrarunners to watch the marathon and marathoners to watch ultrarunning, [we’re] making it about running rather than distance.”

The Flagstaff, Arizona, native started his running career on the track, where he honed his speed in the steeplechase at the U.S. Air Force Academy. As a senior, he finished 12th at the 2012 NCAA championships. In the NCAA semifinal, he ran a personal best of 8:41.05—nine seconds slower than the Olympic standard—and just missed qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Trials.

After graduation, Walmsley said he went through a difficult time in his life. He was charged with a DUI and later discharged from the military when his unit was caught in a cheating scandal. The events caused Walmsley to sink into a deep depression. Eventually, following the advice of his therapist, he began ultrarunning to feel like himself again.

“Ultrarunning doesn’t take special talent,” he told Runner’s World in 2017. “It takes motivation and the will to achieve something extraordinary. A lot of people are sparked to get into the sport when they are in a low spot.”

His breakout year came in 2016 when he shattered course records at the Bandera 100K and the Lake Sonoma 50 miler. After two missed attempts at winning the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, Walmsley finally accomplished his goal in 2018, when he broke the course record with a time of 14 hours and 30 minutes. That same year, he logged nearly 5,000 miles on Strava.

In the fall of 2018, Walmsley shared a surprising goal: He wanted to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. Rather than try to OTQ in the marathon—which seemed like a more natural fit for the ultrarunner—he decided to aim for the standard in the half marathon (1:04). Many admired Walmsley’s bold aspiration, especially given he had to average 4:53-mile pace to qualify.

At the 2019 Houston Marathon on January 20, Walmsley finished 27th overall in exactly 1:04:00. Afterward, he told Runner’s World that his performance gave him confidence to work toward his goals in the marathon.

“I have some plans up my sleeve to give myself a chance to do something exciting [in Atlanta]—to really push the envelope for myself and make things exciting for people to watch and cheer for an ultra guy,” he said in Houston.

Walmsley carried his momentum from Houston through the rest of 2019. He set the world best in the 50-mile distance (while averaging a 5:48-minute mile), shaved more than 20 minutes off his Western States 100 record, and won the World Mountain Running Championship 14K race.

“It’s probably been my most versatile year of different types of races I’ve tried to take on,” he said.

(02/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runners World
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28-year-old Megan Youngren will be the First Openly Transgender Athlete to Compete at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Megan Youngren became one of 63 women at the California International Marathon to officially qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic marathon trials, the race that will determine the team for Tokyo. Her 40th-place finish in 2:43:52 came as both a relief and a reward, after four months of intense training. But it also marked another significant moment: With her qualification, Youngren is set to make history on Feb. 29 as the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.

“I’m open to talking about it to people because that’s the only way you make progress on stuff like this,” says Youngren, who first started taking hormone medication as a college student in 2011. She came out publicly as transgender in ’12 and finalized paperwork for her transition in ’19.

“To my knowledge, and that of other staff who have been with USATF for many years, we do not recall a trans competitor at our Marathon Trials,” spokesperson Susan Hazzard says. Just last month, Chris Mosier was interviewed by The New York Times as the first transgender athlete to qualify for and participate in an Olympic trials in the gender with which he identifies. Mosier is the first trans man to compete with cisgender men at the 50-kilometer race walk in Santee, Calif. “For me, it’s all about making a pathway for all the trans athletes that come after me,” he told the Times.

In 2013, Youngren started running to lose weight and boost her health after transitioning, and now she primarily races on trails and runs up and down mountains for fun. Youngren says that running helped alleviate any lingering symptoms from a case of shingles. By 2014, she was running consistently, but with little structure to her training. An Alaska native, Youngren ran her first marathon at the 2017 Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks in 4:48, on a course with an unforgiving 3,285 feet of elevation gain and loss. Despite the difficulty and cramping, she credits that race as the one that got her hooked on the 26.2-mile distance.

At the 2019 Los Angeles Marathon, Youngren managed to get her time down to 3:06:42, which propelled her to seek out a sub-three-hour goal for the first time. At the time, she was working at a bakery and her job required a lot of manual labor, but she still managed to fit in runs after work. When the bakery closed in September, it freed up some time in her day to run more, and Youngren’s mileage eventually reached 85 per week, with the majority on trails.

“I thought that if I worked incredibly hard and took some huge risks that I could run a 2:45,” Youngren says. “People will try to put it down by saying, ‘That’s too easy because you’re trans.’ But what about the 500 other women who will qualify? There’s probably someone with the exact same story. I trained hard. I got lucky. I dodged injuries. I raced a lot, and it worked out for me. That’s the story for a lot of other people, too.”

Before the California International Marathon, Youngren’s previous PR was a 2:52:33 set in August at the Anchorage RunFest’s Humpy’s Marathon, where she battled heavy winds and was on qualifying pace through 18 miles.

“I’ve had multiple times this year when I thought I was going to hit that time but then fell apart,” Youngren says. “This time, it was really hard but I made it through. The race itself broke me mentally.”

(02/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by Chris Chavez
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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The true test of the newest Nike shoe will be in under three weeks' time at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Last week Nike released their newest line of shoes which includes the Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, complete with a 39.5 mm stack height, falling just under World Athletics’ new ruling of a maximum of 40 mm. Since the release of the so-called super shoe shoe (that conveniently follows all of World Athletics’ new rules) there has been heavy speculation that Nike was tipped off, but WA claims that’s not the case.

World Athletics told The Guardian last week, “We spoke to several shoe companies, including Nike, a few days before we released our new shoe regulations to let them know what we were planning. But that was the extent of it.”

Alex Hutchinson has written extensively on this topic (including in the current issue of Canadian Running Magazine). He spoke to Nike and claimed on Twitter that according to the company, the commercial version of the Air Zoom Alphafly Next% isn’t all that different from the shoe Eliud Kipchoge wore to break the two hour barrier in October.

Here are the major takeaways from the thread: 1.- Kipchoge’s Alphafly prototype was legal, and basically identical to the upcoming consumer version. 2.- World Athletics measured a size eight as 39.5 mm [stack height], which is their reference size (WA rules actually say size 42). 3.- Heel-toe offset will be 8 mm in commercial shoe.

If the Kipchoge shoe was, in fact, nearly identical to the consumer version (available February 29 in limited release), then perhaps World Athletics’ assertion that no shoe company had advance notice is credible.

When asked last week about what the future holds for running shoe technology, Hutchinson points out that we don’t actually know how good the Alphafly is yet. He wrote in an email, “Seeing Kipchoge run sub-two in the earlier prototype was obviously impressive, but there was a lot going on in that race. With the original Vaporfly, we had actual external lab data telling us how good it was. But for subsequent models, we’re just guessing. Just because it looks crazy doesn’t mean it’s substantially better than previous models. I guess we’ll find out—but for now, that knowledge gap makes predictions about the Alphafly’s impact difficult.”

The true test will come at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials when the shoe will go head-to-head against other companies’ carbon-plated creations for the first time. That event will have spectators watching shoes just as closely as the runners.

(02/11/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Emma Kertesz will be running the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials at the end of the month

Emma Kertesz returns to the 2020 United States Olympic Team Trials in the Marathon later this month in Atlanta.

Kertesz is a graduate of Central Catholic High School and a former University of Toledo runner. She competed four years ago in the same event in Los Angeles where she finished 39th.

Returning to the trials for the second straight cycle was painful.

"I tore my hamstring," Kertesz said. "I ran the California International Marathon to qualify for the trials, and then I've been dealing with what I thought was some high hamstring tendinitis. I'm pretty sure on even 80 percent training I'll be able to hit the qualifying standard and then I'll deal with my hamstring after.

"And then I got an MRI and found out that I actually had a tear in my hamstring. So I ended up take off almost three months."

But Kertesz still had a spot in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon. She recently took a leave from her teaching job to focus on applying for doctoral programs; she would ultimately like to work at the local or state level with education curriculum or research.

The doctoral program starts in the coming months, all while running an average of 85 miles per week over the last several weeks while training for the trials.

"Now that the field is doubled in size than it was in 2016 where I was 39th," Kertesz said. "But I think that I have a good shot of placing in the top 40. I'd like to be competitive and maybe I eke out a personal best that would be great, especially on that kind of course."

If Kertesz is not busy enough, she still has a side project she is working on related to her family's ancestry -- specifically her father David. At 18-years-old, he found out he was adopted and is a Navajo Native American.

"It's emotional but it's cathartic for both of us," Kertesz said. "Ultimately, it's brought us closer together and given me a chance to reflect on my dad more as a person more than just being my dad."

This project also has influence in her running life.

"I have a greater appreciation for diversity in this sport," Kertesz said. "(Watching videos of Billy Mills win the gold medal) that's really awesome that a Native American who came out of nowhere really if you watch that race to win a gold medal that was just so great."

Mills won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics in the 10,000-meter race. At the time, Mills set a world record in the 10,000-meter event and is still the only American to ever win gold in the 10,000-meter race.

"You don't really see in terms of American distance runners a lot of Native Americans being represented," Kertesz said. "It feels really special to be a part of that and to represent my ethnicity on this stage."

One strategy she will carry with her to this stage in Atlanta is something she learned from Dave Carpenter, her coach at Central Catholic, is to make sure to stay competitive in the race and not worry about setting a personal record.

When Kertesz competed for the Rockets, she was an All-American in the 10,000-meters at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Kertesz currently lives and trains in Boulder, Colo.

(02/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Steve Slivka
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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The Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour is making final preparations for one of the largest event weekends in its 29 years

Austin Marathon Prepares for One of the Largest Event Weekends in its 29-Year History. Highlights of this world-class event include four events for participants of all speed and abilities, two Guinness World Record attempts, and one 3-block-long finish line festival. The return of the FloSports live broadcast will highlight the elite field competition and showcase runners in their final tune-up before the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials.

More than 16,000 runners from all 50 states and 35 countries will run Austin’s streets. The 29th annual Austin Marathon, owned and produced by High Five Events, will take place on February 16, 2020.

“It’s amazing to see the growth of the Austin Marathon and I’m proud that the city of Austin continues to embrace and support Austin Marathon weekend,” said Leo Manzano, Olympic silver medalist and Austin Marathon Race Ambassador. “Everyone loves Austin Marathon weekend, from runners who travel from around the world to Austin families who complete the Manzano Mile together.”

Fleet Feet Austin will kick off Austin Marathon weekend by hosting the Austin Marathon Shakeout Run on Friday, Feb. 14th. At the Austin Marathon Health and Fitness Expo, participants can test the industry’s latest products and chat with the Austin Marathon Pacers. They can also purchase Official Under Armour + Austin Marathon gear at the Fleet Feet Store, including the limited-edition Austin UA HOVR Machina. The two-day Austin Marathon expo will take place on Friday, Feb. 14th, and Saturday, Feb. 15th. Children, families, and elites will participate in the Manzano Mile presented by Dole Packaged Foods on Saturday, Feb. 15th. The family-friendly Austin Marathon KXAN Simple Health 5K will begin at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16th, 45 minutes after the Austin Marathon and Austin Half Marathon. Registration is still open.

The first world-record attempt is by Drake Muyinza. He will attempt to run the world’s longest fashion runway by running 26.2 miles and changing outfits every four miles. The current record is two miles. The second world-record attempt is by Vicar David Peters. He will attempt to run the fastest marathon in a cassock, beating four hours and 16 minutes. Both Guinness World Record applications are still pending. The 2020 course was designed to provide a better participant and spectator experience and allow enhanced traffic flow along the course. Participants will still finish with the picturesque Texas State Capitol as their backdrop. Tens of thousands of spectators will cheer along Austin streets. Race-course highlights include two GU Energy Labs Energy Zones, live music, and 22 aid stations with nuun performance.

(02/10/2020) ⚡AMP
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Austin Marathon Weekend

Austin Marathon Weekend

The 2020 Austin Marathon will celebrate its 30th year running in the capital of Texas. The premier running event in the City of Austin annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. With a downtown finish and within proximity of many downtown hotels and restaurants, the Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Come...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(02/08/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ken Goe
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Galen Rupp will tune up for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials by running the Sprouts Mesa Half Marathon this Saturday in Mesa, Arizona

Two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp is entered in the Sprouts Mesa Half Marathon Saturday in Mesa, Arizona.

This will be Rupp’s first race since he was unable to finish the Chicago Marathon in October because of a left calf strain.

Rupp said in a text message that Saturday’s half marathon will serve as a tune up for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Feb, 29 in Atlanta, Georgia. It will be Rupp’s first race since announcing he now is being coached by Northern Arizona University coach Mike Smith.

Rupp, who grew up in Portland and starred at the University of Oregon, won the 2012 Olympic silver medal in the 10,000 meters and bronze in the 2016 Olympic Marathon.

(02/05/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ken Goe
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Tyler Day broke Galen Rupp’s American collegiate 5,000m record indoor record on Saturday at Boston University

Tyler Day of NAU (Northern Arizona University) broke Galen Rupp’s American collegiate 5,000m indoor record on Saturday at Boston University. Day finished second at the Boston Terrier Invitational in 13:16.95 to Nike’s Paul Tanui who won in 13:15.72.

Rupp announced only two weeks ago that he’s now coach by Mike Smith, head coach at NAU, who also coaches Day. Rupp made the move after his former training group, the Nike Oregon Project, was shut down in October.

Smith is one of the most successful men’s distance running coaches currently working in the NCAA. He helped the NAU men to back-to-back cross-country championships in 2017 and 2018. Rupp has reportedly been working with the coach for several months. The runner told The Oregonian that he plans to remain in Oregon but will have his training overseen by Smith. Rupp is currently training for the upcoming US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta.

As for Day, Saturday was a breakout performance. Day’s previously held 5,000m indoor personal best was from 2019, where he ran 13:55.40 in Birmingham, Alabama at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Day’s a senior majoring in journalism who has been a big part of NAU’s cross-country dynasty.

(01/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Saitama International Marathon will be canceled this year due to problems with attracting elite athletes and other issues

It has been learned that the Saitama metropolitan government and the JAAF, organizers of the Saitama International Marathon used as a selection race for World Championships and Olympic teams, plan not to hold the race this year due to problems with attracting elite athletes and other issues.

Launched in 2015 as the successor to the discontinued Yokohama International Women's Marathon, the annual Saitama International Marathon was the first World Athletics-certified marathon in the prefecture of Saitama.But due to its hilly course Saitama earned a reputation for slow times, and cases of elite Japanese women canceling plans to run became more and more frequent.

At last month's fifth edition, despite the opportunity to earn a place on the 2020 Olympic team only one elite Japanese woman competed. According to a person involved in the situation, it was no longer possible to justify spending over 700 million yen (~$6.4 million USD) to hold a national team selection race with decreasing participation and popularity.

In light of that situation, the consensus has been reached not to hold the event this year. However, with the accompanying mass participation race having attracted almost 20,000 runners last year to rank it as one of Japan's biggest marathons, the organizers are exploring options to reshape it as a mass participation amateur event beginning next year.

However, due to the necessity of closing major roads for an extended period of time, costs for road closure permits and security for the event are high. And because of excellent mass transportation access to the event from the Tokyo metropolitan area, some critics have pointed out that the lack of people staying in local hotels for the race limits its economic benefit to the region.

Costs have also been high due to changes the organizers have made every year in an effort to make the course flatter. Despite those efforts, in including Saitama in the series of races through which Japanese women could qualify for the MGC Race 2020 Olympic marathon trials the JAAF set the qualifying time one minute slower for Saitama than for the Osaka International Women's Marathon and Nagoya Women's Marathon.

Even so, not a single athlete qualified at either edition of Saitama held within the qualifying window. Compared to the lone Japanese woman who competed in Saitama in December ten are set to race in Osaka this weekend, illustrating Saitama's lack of popularity.

(01/22/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Saitama International Marathon

Saitama International Marathon

The Saitama International Marathon is a women's marathon held in Saitama, Japan, and hosted by Japan Association of Athletics Federations, Saitama Prefecture, Saitama City, Nippon Television Network and the Yomiuri Shimbun. The event is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race. The competition took the place of the Yokohama Women's Marathon which was held in Yokohama from 2009 until 2014 and...

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After struggling with fatigue last year Amy Cragg is focused on making the olympic team

With seven weeks until the Olympic Marathon Trials, the defending women’s champion, Amy Cragg, is training well and putting in hundreds of miles in the mountains of Colorado. Despite a rough year in 2019, she expects to contend for a spot on the Olympic team bound for Tokyo. It would be her third Olympic team.

After the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Cragg, who turns 36 next week, sat down with her husband, Alistair Cragg, and her coach, Jerry Schumacher, to talk about her future.

The results of that conversation: They decided everything in her training would be geared toward making the Games in 2020, even though she briefly considered stopping her career then.

“I’m still around,” she told Runner’s World.

Cragg had a spectacular seven-month stretch between 2017 and 2018. In August 2017, she won the bronze medal at the world championships in London. The following February at the Tokyo Marathon, she finished third in 2:21:42. It was a a PR by almost six minutes, and the performance put her fifth on the U.S. all-time list.

She was announced as part of the Chicago Marathon field for 2018 but withdrew with an injury. In 2019, she raced only twice on the roads and both times the results were disappointing. She was seventh in 1:13:27 at the Prague Half Marathon in April, after previously hinting she might attempt to break Molly Huddle’s American record in the event (1:07:25). In August, she struggled at the Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, finishing 14th in 34:40. After that, she withdrew from the 2019 Chicago Marathon.

“It was just overall fatigue,” Cragg said. “I think we just went too hard for too long. I ‘cooked myself’ is what I’ll say. Took some time off when we realized it wasn’t coming around for Chicago. Now I’m feeling a lot better and ready to go.”

Cragg said she went through a period of weeks when she felt tired and worn down, but then she would have glimmers of hope in strong workouts and think she needed to “keep plugging away.” After Beach to Beacon, she realized her fatigue was getting worse instead of better and decided she shouldn’t attempt Chicago.

She took a full three weeks with no running—and followed that up with about a month and a half of slowly building into full training again. At times, she worried her career was ending.

“You talk to any distance runner, you go through those ups and downs regularly,” she said. “It’s like you just can’t seem to get out of the slump. You don’t know whether to push harder or let go. I’ve been used to it over the years. But there was definitely still that fear that I might have overdone it; I’d hope it’s not undoable.”

(01/21/2020) ⚡AMP
by Sarah Lorge Butler
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Former 1,500-meter specialist, Malindi Elmore shatters Canadian marathon record in 2:24:50 at Houston Marathon on Sunday

There’s no way Malindi Elmore, 39, predicted that she would be a marathoner when she hung up the spikes in 2012, let alone the Canadian marathon record-holder.

But Elmore finished the Houston Marathon on Sunday morning in third place, in 2:24:50, smashing the record in her second marathon ever.

The Kelowna, B.C. native was a talented high school runner who attended Stanford University before returning to Canada to do a masters degree at the University of Calgary. She competed for Canada at the 2004 Olympic Games, the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2011 Pan Am Games as a 1,500m specialist who ran one of the fastest times ever by a Canadian woman, at 4:02.64.

After retiring from professional running in 2012, Elmore describes struggling with the sport and being unsure about her future in running. In January 2019, seven years after hanging up her spikes and her middle-distance career, she ran a blazing 2:32 marathon debut at Houston.

Exactly one year later, she became the Canadian record-holder.

Elmore’s 2019 did not go exactly to plan. She was scheduled to race the Canadian Olympic Marathon Trials in Toronto in October, but had to pull out only one week from the event because of a hamstring strain.

She took a few weeks of downtime to allow her hamstring to recover before refocusing and getting ready for the Houston Marathon. She said pre-race that her build went extremely well–she knew she was fit and ready to run something impressive.

Elmore has nearly guaranteed her spot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Her time is now the fastest-ever run by a Canadian, and barring someone beating the new record, she’s likely earned her place.

(01/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Chevron Houston Marathon

Chevron Houston Marathon

The Chevron Houston Marathon offers participants a unique running experience in America's fourth largest city. The fast, flat, scenic single-loop course has been ranked as the "fastest winter marathon" and "second fastest marathon overall" by Ultimate Guide To Marathons. Additionally, with more than 200,000 spectators annually, the Chevron Houston Marathon enjoys tremendous crowd support. Established in 1972, the Houston Marathon...

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Jemal Yimer, Jared Ward, Sara Hall, Molly huddle and more on Tap at 2020 Houston Half Marathon

Year-in, year-out, no American half marathon assembles better fields than Houston. In addition to being the site of both the men’s (Ryan Hall, 2007) and women’s (Molly Huddle, 2018) American records, there is always a deep list of sub-60:00 men and sub-67:00 women on the start line. Last year, Brigid Kosgei kicked off one of the greatest years in the history of distance running with a win in Houston.

The international fields in Houston, which takes place on Sunday, are strong once again. But from an American perspective, the more intriguing storyline is the impending US Olympic Marathon Trials, to be held in six weeks’ time in Atlanta. Several top Trials contenders — Molly Huddle and Sara Hall on the women’s side, Jared Ward and Shadrack Biwott on the men’s — will be racing on Sunday, and while no result will make or break their Trials hopes, it does give us one last piece of evidence to go on. 

When Huddle debuted in the marathon, placing third in New York in 2016, it looked to be the first step in a journey that would culminate at the 2020 Olympic marathon. Among Americans, Huddle was the queen of all distances between 5k and the half marathon and her grind-it-out style seemed well-suited to marathon success.

Tuliamuk, the 2018 US half marathon champ, is an option, though she’s got progressively slower in Houston the last three years, from 69:58 in 2017 to 71:41 in 2018 to 72:03 last year. She’ll need to get back to her 2017 form to crack the top two Americans on Sunday.

Katy Jermann (née Moen) and Molly Seidel both ran 70:27 last year, tied for third-fastest in the US. Of the two, Seidel, who in 2015 broke the “Foot Locker curse” to win the the 2015 NCAA XC title, is the more intriguing prospect. Seidel had never run a half before October 2019, but Houston will be her third in three months, and she plans to make her marathon debut at the Trials.

With a 2:09 in Boston and two sixth-place finishes in New York, Jared Ward has been the most consistent American marathoner over the last 18 months. Beating him on Sunday doesn’t guarantee a repeat result next month in Atlanta, but it would be a positive sign for the other Olympic hopefuls in this field.

With a high of 59, the temperature looks great for running on Sunday, though 13 mph winds mean the conditions won’t be perfect. Still, with the talent on hand in Houston, there should be competitive races up front. In the men’s race, there’s no clear favorite.

Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer (58:33), the fourth-fastest man ever, was a close second last year after taking a wrong turn late in the race. He went on to run 59:09 in Valencia in October, where he finished two seconds behind Kenya’s Bernard Ngeno, also entered in Houston. Andamlak Belihu had a terrific 2019 (26:53/59:10, 5th at Worlds in 10k), while the last two Houston champs, Shura Kitata of Ethiopia and Jake Robertson of New Zealand, return as well.

(01/17/2020) ⚡AMP
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Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Aramco Houston Half Marathon

The Chevron Houston Marathon offers participants a unique running experience in America's fourth largest city. The fast, flat, scenic single-loop course has been ranked as the "fastest winter marathon" and "second fastest marathon overall" by Ultimate Guide To Marathons. After 30 years of marathon-only competition, Houston added the half-marathon in 2002, with El Paso Energy as the sponsor. Today the...

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HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite has announced that Lauren Paquette has joined their team

HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite has announced that Lauren Paquette, an Olympic hopeful at 5,000 meters, has joined the team. Paquette, a graduate of Baylor University, has been one of the nation’s top 5,000 meters for the last several years.

She set her personal best at that distance, 15:14.45, in 2016 and nearly equaled the mark in 2019, running 15:14.64. She was fourth at the 2018 USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships and will look to improve upon that performance at June’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field.

Paquette said she is beyond excited to join HOKA NAZ Elite.

“Joining this team is extra special for me because as an athlete who has trained solo for the majority of her professional career, I have come to respect and appreciate the power of the team and am so grateful and relieved to have teammates to share the road with,” Paquette said.

"My goals for 2020 are to better myself as an athlete physically and mentally, to learn more and ask more questions, and to make the most of this amazing opportunity I have been given. I would also love to return home from Eugene this June carrying an American flag.”

HOKA NAZ Elite head coach Ben Rosario said Paquette is the perfect fit at the perfect time.

“We are reaching the point where we always wanted to be, that being that nearly all of our athletes are true Olympic hopefuls,” Rosario said. “Having been fourth at the 2018 USATF Outdoor Championships, Lauren is certainly in that category and after hopefully putting athletes on the U.S.Team in the marathon, and ensuring our international athletes make their Teams, we can to go to the U.S. Track and Field Trials in June with Lauren and the rest of the crew fit and ready to go.”

HOKA Director of Global Sports Marketing, Mike McManus, shared his thoughts on the signing.

“We’re thrilled that Lauren has joined the already talented mix and believe she will be a further asset in the upcoming Olympic Year.”

The HOKA NAZ Elite roster currently includes six athletes who will compete at the upcoming United States Olympic Marathon Trials; Stephanie Bruce, Scott Fauble, Scott Smith, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Kellyn Taylor and Sid Vaughn. Nick Hauger and Danielle Shanahan, like Paquette, will focus on the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. The team also features three international athletes hoping to represent their respective countries in Tokyo; Matt Baxter from New Zealand, Canadian Rory Linkletter and Great Britain’s Alice Wright.

(01/15/2020) ⚡AMP
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Mike Smith is the new coach for Galen Rupp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(01/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Sarah Lorge Butler
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After have had Open Heart Surgery, Erin Menefee Qualifies for Olympic Trials

Two and a half years ago, Erin Menefee didn’t know if she’d be able to run competitively again after having open heart surgery. But on December 8, the 27-year-old physical therapist realized her dream when she qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials at the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento with a time of 2:43:10.

Surrounded by dozens of other women who qualified for the first time, Menefee basked in the accomplishment of a goal that motivated her throughout the long recovery. For the first time since she underwent surgery for a rare congenital heart defect in July 2017, she ran a personal best by more than eight minutes.

Setting a lifetime PR that beat the Trials standard by almost two minutes wasn’t just a running milestone for the San Diego native—it was a turning point in her life.

“Not having the definition of ‘post-heart surgery PR’ for this one just feels like a big weight [has been] lifted,” Menefee told Runner’s World. “I’m finally back to who I was before.”

Menefee was nearing the end of a long run in December 2015 when her heart started beating at an alarmingly fast pace and pain shot down her left arm. At just 24 years old, the former collegiate runner for the University of Arizona thought she was having a heart attack. Menefee could barely breathe, but she managed to get herself to the emergency room.

After a series of tests, her cardiologist discovered that she had partial anomalous pulmonary venous return, a condition where the veins that are supposed to carry blood to the heart’s upper left chamber instead carry it to the heart’s upper right chamber, or to other blood vessels. When this happens, poorly-oxygenated blood mixes with oxygen-rich blood, thus robbing the body of oxygen. The diagnosis meant that Menefee was only getting about 60 percent of the oxygen needed from her lungs to her body.

Because she was a healthy, young runner competing at a high level, the doctors decided to forgo the surgery option for periodic check-ups on the size of her heart. Eight months later, Menefee was getting lightheaded standing up from a chair and the tips of her fingers turned blue from the lack of oxygen traveling to the rest of her body. When she went in for more tests, they discovered that her heart was so enlarged that it required surgery.

On July 26, 2017—after she graduated from San Diego State University’s doctor of physical therapy program and days after she took her board exams—Menefee went in for surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. During the nine-hour procedure, doctors built a stent and moved her vein into its proper place from her heart to her lung. In order to reach her organs, they had to saw open her sternum.

The surgery was a success, and six weeks later, Menefee was cleared to go on her first run: an 8:49 mile.

Just five months before her surgery, Menefee had made her 26.2 debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon, finishing in 2:51:31—within striking distance of 2:45:00, the 2020 Trials time standard. She trained for the marathon with the San Diego-based Prado Racing Team under Paul Wellman.

(12/23/2019) ⚡AMP
by Taylor Dutch
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Des Linden will race the U.S. Olympic Trials and the Boston Marathon in 2020

Des Linden was undecided whether to race the Feb. 29 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials as recently as a month ago. But now Linden, the 2018 Boston Marathon winner, is not only committed to trials but also the April 20 Boston Marathon.

It would be, at 51 days, by far her shortest break between marathons, which has so far included 19 marathons dating to 2007. She’s 36 years old, and it may be her last Olympic cycle.

“I only have so many more chances at Boston. I love being there. Obviously, the Olympics [window] is closing down as well,” she said. “I like the trials and the competitive way we pick our team. I can’t imagine, at this point, watching either of those races and feeling like I had no effect on either outcome.”

If Linden does make the Olympic marathon team — by placing top three at trials in Atlanta — she would be in line to race four marathons over a little more than nine months when including last month’s New York City Marathon.

Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa and American Sara Hall ran the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, 29 days and 35 days, respectively, after racing the world championships and Berlin Marathon. Neither finished New York, however.

This past August, when Linden committed to the New York City Marathon, she added that she might not race the trials. After her performance in New York — the top U.S. woman in sixth place — she decided she was ready for the trials-Boston double, which she had been considering since placing fifth at this past April’s Boston Marathon.

As far as how it will impact her trials build-up, Linden said her team will re-evaluate the process weekly. She hasn’t committed to a pre-trials half marathon.

“We’re obviously aware of what’s down the line, so we’re trying to get as much quality as we can without going too deep into the well,” she said. “It’s certainly going to be out there, but we’re trying to run well at both and not say, ‘This isn’t going well,’ and just train through it.”

Linden has been treating every marathon as if it could be her last. She has been incredibly consistent, placing no worse than eighth in her last 11 marathon starts dating to 2013.

Neither of Linden’s previous Olympic experiences was especially memorable. She dropped out of her first one in 2012 with a stress fracture in her femur. She was seventh in Rio, missing a medal by less than two minutes. The Kenyan-born gold and silver medalists were later busted for EPO and are serving lengthy doping bans.

“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove and anything unfinished,” at the Olympics, Linden said in August. “Quite frankly, the last experience is a hard sell to get back out there to try to compete for medals when you’re not even really sure what the field is all about. It’s a little bit difficult to be excited about that with the way we are about the [World Marathon] Majors. People investing in anti-doping have really been solving that problem [at the majors]. It’s a little tricky [at the Olympics], but certainly representing your country is special.”

Linden is the most experienced of a deep group of U.S. Olympic marathon hopefuls after the recent retirement of four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan.

(12/17/2019) ⚡AMP
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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British marathon champion Charlotte Purdue clocks 68:45 in Japan for her second fastest ever time winning the Sanyo half-marathon on Sunday

Britain’s Charlotte Purdue won the half-marathon in 68:45 for the British marathon champion’s second fastest ever time over 13.1 miles and her quickest on a record-eligible course (behind her 68:08 recorded at this year’s Great North Run).

It is over a minute quicker than she ran at the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon in February.

Purdue beat, among others, Japanese Olympic marathon trials winner Honami Maeda (69:08).

Sara Miyake was third in 69:23, while Canada’s Rachel Cliff set a national record of 70:06 in sixth.

(12/16/2019) ⚡AMP
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Sanyo Ladies Road Race

Sanyo Ladies Road Race

The Sanyo Ladies Road Race is held at the Okayama City circle course on december, also known as the Sanyo Women's Road Race, is an annual road running competition for women held in December in Okayama, Japan. It features both a 10k runand Half Marathon race. Sanyo Shimbun, a daily newspaper, is the title sponsor for the event. The day's...

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A New York Times study finds the Nike Next% and Vaporfly could lead runners to improved odds of a personal best

The New York Times repeated, with a larger sample size, the study of the Nike Vaporfly that they conducted in 2018. Their updated study included the Nike Next% and the findings were surprising. We knew the Vaporfly and Next% were arguably some of the best shoes on the market, but the NYT finds that their current dominance is undeniable.

The New York Times repeated, with a larger sample size, the study of the Nike Vaporfly that they conducted in 2018. Their updated study included the Nike Next% and the findings were surprising. We knew the Vaporfly and Next% were arguably some of the best shoes on the market, but the NYT finds that their current dominance is undeniable.

The study founds that, “The Zoom Vaporfly 4% or ZoomX Vaporfly Next% — ran 4 to 5 percent faster than a runner wearing an average shoe, and 2 to 3 percent faster than runners in the next-fastest popular shoe.” The name four per cent was born out of Nike’s finding that the shoe could make the wearer four per cent more efficient–efficiency translates to less effort at the same pace, which means a runner can go faster. So the claim that the shoe makes a runner faster as opposed to simply more efficient is new.

Another key finding was that men had a 73 per cent chance of running a personal best in the shoes, while women had a 74 per cent chance, “In a race between two marathoners of the same ability, a runner wearing these shoes would have a significant advantage over a competitor not wearing them.” The Times also reports, “In the final months of 2019, about 41 per cent of marathons under three hours were reported to have been run in these shoes (for races in which we have data).”

When someone first comes to running, they find that after the initial agony of getting your legs used to the motion, there’s quick improvement. You’ll run a 5K personal best and then a subsequent PB just weeks (or even days) later. Because you’re new to the sport, the time melts away in the first few races.

But as you progress and become better, it can take months and even years to run a personal best. And for the competitive runner, staying patient is the hardest part. But what if someone told that runner who’d been trying to PB for 14 months, 27 days and 13 hours, that if they spent $330 CAD they had a 73 per cent chance at finally improving? If they have the budget, that’s an appealing statistic.

Two weeks ago Molly Huddle, who has the sixth-fastest marathon time among American women in 2019 (she ran a personal best 2:26:33 at the London Marathon), replied to a tweet by sports journalist Cathal Dennehy about the AlphaFly (Nike’s next step in the carbon-plated game). The shoe was first seen on the feet of marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge, who raced to a 1:59:40 finish in them at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna last month. Huddle’s comment: “Kinda nervous as to how this would affect the Olympic Trials over here @usatf.”

It’s not just Huddle who has noticed the effect the shoe (or prototype versions) could have on the US Olympic Marathon Trials. Runners are qualifying for the event at unprecedented rates. With the qualifying window still open for another five weeks, entries are already nearing the thousands.

It’s important to note that the qualifying standard for the trials did get two minutes easier (2:43 in 2016 to 2:45 in 2020). But does two minutes warrant a potentially doubled field size or are technological advantages, like the Nike shoes, the reason for the jump? The New York Times’ finding would suggest the latter.

(12/13/2019) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Andrew Schoeder of Madison, Wisconsin, and Sarah Mulcahy of Fort Kent were crowned champions of Saturday’s fifth annual Millinocket Marathon

Andrew Schoeder and Sarah Mulcahy won the fifth annual Millinocket Marathon.

Two Bangor, Maine residents, Gabe Coffey and Flori Davis, won the accompanying Millinocket Half-Marathon. Both races were held simultaneously amid temperatures in the low 20s and a light, chilling breeze.

Schroeder, whose wife Angela is a Millinocket, Maine native, was the overall marathon champion with a time of 2 hours, 53 minutes and 23 seconds.

He ran among the leaders throughout the first of two 13.1-mile laps that made up the marathon route, which began and concluded in downtown Millinocket.

The 39-year-old Schroeder then took control during the second lap and finished nearly six minutes ahead of his closest rival, Iain Ridgway of Worcester, Massachusetts. Ridgway was the only other runner to finish in less than three hours with his time of 2:59.13.

“I thought anything under about 3:10 and on a good day a finish in the top 5 would be good,” said Schroeder, who ran a 2:38:13 at this year’s Boston Marathon.

Buster Brown of Lamoine was the top Maine finisher in the marathon, placing third in 3:07:09.

Mulcahy, the only runner to complete all five Millinocket Marathons, used this race as an early training run for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and won the women’s division for the fourth time with a clocking of 3:08:38. That effort was good for fourth place overall.

Mulcahy will compete in the Olympic Trials next Feb. 29 in Atlanta. She qualified during the 2018 California International Marathon with a time of 2:44:28. Six days later she won the women’s division of last year’s Millinocket Marathon.

“This was a training run for me so I didn’t push anything,” said the 34-year-old Mulcahy, who along with other runners dealt with tricky traction along some portions of the course Saturday due to snow that fell earlier in the week. “There’s no risking injury before February.”

Laura Richard of Fredericton, New Brunswick, was the second-fastest woman in the marathon field and 11th overall in 3:32.49. Jennifer Schott of Nashville, Tennessee, was next, placing 19th overall in 3:46.47.

Coffey, a former Bangor High School distance running standout who now is competing as a freshman at Bates College in Lewiston, won the men’s half-marathon by more than two minutes with his time of 1:19:54.

“It’s the start of indoor track for me so I’m building up mileage,” said the 18-year-old Coffey. “I wouldn’t say I’m in the best shape but I’m in good enough shape to come out here, give it a good run and have some fun.”

Robert Ashby of Brunswick finished second in 1:22:11 with Brewer’s Kris Garcia third in 1:23:26.

Davis, who gave birth to a child on June 18, was surprised with her victory in the women’s half-marathon but she won comfortably with a time of 1:30:32. That was good for 17th place overall.

“I had no idea what the course was like so I went into it completely blind,” said the 32-year-old Davis. “It was a little hillier than I expected and the first half was really hard and I haven’t trained at all through snow or ice so half the time I was just trying not to fall down.

“I was not expecting at all to win. I was just running it for fun.”

Sarah Russell of Cumberland was second in the women’s division in 1:33:19 while Kayla Morrison of Limington placed third in 1:34:25.

More than 2,300 runners pre-registered for the free-to-run races, which were created by entrepreneur and veteran distance runner Gary Allen of Cranberry Island in 2015 in an effort to support Millinocket’s economic rebound from the closing of the Great Northern Paper Co. mill.

“It’s a great race with a lot of support,” Schroeder said. “Everybody’s so positive, it was just a lot of fun. People were cheering the whole way.”

(12/08/2019) ⚡AMP
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Millinocket Marathon

Millinocket Marathon

The Millinocket Marathon & Half has again joined forces with the Mount Desert Island Marathon, Half & Relay to create the Sea to Summit Maine Race Series, featuring two amazing events and a very special finishers medallion! This FREE event was started in 2015 to help a struggling Maine mill town that has been devastated by the closing of their...

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Gwen Jorgensen announces move to track for 2020

The 2020 US. Olympic Marathon Trials on Feb. 29 were marked on Gwen Jorgensen’s calendar since her Nov. 2017 announcement that she was leaving the triathlon to pursue running full time in hopes of winning the 2020 Olympic gold medal in the marathon.

But now, less than three months out from the event, Jorgensen announced that she will not run the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and instead focus on making the U.S. team for the Summer Games on the track in the 10,000 meters.

“It’s a multitude of emotions,” Jorgensen, 33, says. “I’m disappointed. At the same time, I’m also excited. I’m at a point where I’m running 70 miles per week and training is going well. I just know that if I went to the trials, running 70 miles per week, I’d be hoping that I made a team. That’s not what I want to do at an Olympic Trials.

I want to go in confident and knowing that I have the ability to make a team. My goals in the marathon aren’t changing. My timeline is.”

Heel surgery forced Jorgensen, who converted to distance running after winning the Rio Olympic triathlon, to pass up the Feb. 29 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and focus on the track and field trials in June in the 10,000m and, probably, the 5000m.

She made the decision after recent talks with her coach, Jerry Schumacher, following a difficult recovery from late May surgery to correct Haglund’s deformity.

“I could get bent out of shape and sad about it, but at the end of the day, I’m excited because I know this path that I’m on will not only be a successful route, but I also think it will lead to success long term in the marathon," she says. "I’m confident in my abilities on the track."

Jorgensen’s goal was a lofty one from the onset. No American woman has won gold in the marathon at the Olympics since Joan Benoit Samuelson’s victory in the 1984 inaugural running. The 2020 trials, where the top three finishers qualify for Tokyo, are shaping up to be one of the most competitive races of the year, as American women’s distance running is at its highest level with recent World Marathon Major victories by Shalane Flanagan at the 2017 New York City Marathon and Desiree Linden at the 2018 Boston Marathon.

Even after giving birth to her son Stanley in Aug. 2017, Jorgensen could have returned to the triathlon and arguably been a contender to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals. But she and her family decided to move to Portland, Ore., and once settled there, Jorgensen signed a professional running contract with Nike and joined the Bowerman Track Club.

Jorgensen worked her way to the marathon by racing on the track in the spring of 2018 and ran a few U.S.A. Track and Field road race championships. She says her training went well, nailing all but one workout in 12 weeks. But in the three days before she was set to compete in the Chicago Marathon, Jorgesen battled a fever and underestimated the effects of running while sick. She finished in a disappointing 2:36:23 in her professional marathon debut.

Now fully healed, healthy and recovered, Jorgensen is working her way back to train with her Bowerman teammates. Her day sometimes includes a hill sprints, a track workout, pelvic floor therapist treatment, physical therapy exercises for her achilles and then an evening workout before returning to her family.

“I think it’s important not to be afraid when you need to admit that your goal needs to change,” Jorgensen says. “I’m not going to say that I’m failing because I still want to have my marathon goals, but the timeline has changed. It’s still important to have big goals and to share those goals. It holds everyone accountable.”

(12/05/2019) ⚡AMP
by Chris Cahvez
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Jordan Hasay says she is going to be ready for the US Olympic Trials after making some changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(11/29/2019) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Kenyans Elisha Barno and Jane Kibii will return to lead the CIM elite field

The 37th annual California International Marathon returns CIM top performers, 2015 CIM Champion Elisha Barno and 2014 runner-up Jane Kibii, while also serving as one of the last opportunities for American athletes to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

“This should be a unique and exciting year at CIM with a mix of steady vets returning to ‘The Fastest Course in the West’ as well as a flood of ‘dream chasers’ entering the ‘OTQ Factory’ for a last chance at earning a trip to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta in February,” said SRA Executive Director Scott Abbott. 

Favorites to win the men’s race include Kenyan natives Elisha Barno and Denis Chirchir. Barno holds a personal best marathon time of 2:09:32 set in 2018, and has had past success at CIM, winning the race in 2015 and finishing runner-up in 2016. Denis Chirchir, who ran 2:13:50 earlier this fall, will be making his first appearance at CIM and is expected to battle up front with Barno. 

Barno and Chirchir will likely be challenged by American runners C.J. Albertson, Colin Mickow, and Patrick Smyth, who are currently in the midst of breakthrough seasons. Albertson of Fresno, Calif and Mickow of Naperville, Ill. ran personal best marathons earlier this fall with 2:14:49 and 2:14:55 finishes, respectively. Smyth, who hails from Santa Fe, N.M., ran a personal best half-marathon time of 1:02:39 in early November of this year. 

The women’s race is headlined by local athlete Jane Kibii, who represents Kenya in international competition and lives in Auburn, Calif., less than twenty miles from the CIM start line. Kibii returns to CIM with the goal of capturing her first CIM title. Like Barno, Kibii has proven herself on the CIM course, with finishes of 2nd (2014) and 3rd (2015) to go along with her personal best marathon time of 2:30:01. 

“I love running in my hometown and feeling the local support,” said Kibii. “I have raced CIM twice and this time around I want to go for a win.” 

Other women to look for up front on December 8 include Obsie Birru from Phoenix, Ariz. who ran a personal best 2:35:51 at the Twin Cities Marathon in October and Katja Goldring (Flagstaff, Ariz.) who holds a personal best time of 2:35:21. Two marathon debutants, Kaitlyn Peale (Portland, Ore.) and Ivette Mejia (New York), could also be factors up front with personal best half-marathon times of 1:13:09 and 1:13:36, respectively.

Beyond the competition for the $70,000 prize purse available to the men’s and women’s fields, hundreds of American runners will toe the line at the 2019 CIM hoping to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials. Men need to run 2:19:00 or faster and women need to run 2:45:00 or faster to qualify.

In 2018, CIM had a record number of U.S. athletes run an Olympic Trials Qualifier (OTQ), with 99 American women and 53 American men running under the qualifying standards. With the qualification window closing in January, the 2019 CIM will be many athletes’ last shot.

“The past few years have shown that CIM is the perfect place to chase an OTQ,” said Olympic Trials hopeful Peter Bromka. “Not only the course and the weather, but every detail of the race is carefully considered by the organizers to help athletes run fast. Once the gun goes off, packs of hopefuls form and work together every mile to the capitol.”

Athletes who run a qualifying time will compete for a spot on the 2020 USA Olympic Marathon team on February 29, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. The top three men and top three women finishers in Atlanta will compete for Team USA at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

(11/25/2019) ⚡AMP
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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Paula Radcliffe clarifies her coaching role with Jordan Hasay

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

This is not exactly accurate according to Radcliffe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(11/24/2019) ⚡AMP
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Austin Marathon and 3M Half Marathon invite elite runners to Austin for a final Olympic Marathon Trials tune-up

The Austin Marathon and 3M Half Marathon invite elite runners to Austin for a final Olympic Marathon Trials tune-up. 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers are invited to run one of Austin’s two most beloved half marathons, fine-tune race strategy, and finalize hydration/nutrition plans. The 3M Half Marathon takes place on January 19th, that’s 41 days before the Trials. The Austin Half Marathon takes place on February 16th, that’s 13 days before the Olympic Marathon Trials.

The Austin Half Marathon offers prize money and FloTrack live-streams coverage of the entire event. Both events are operated by High Five Events.

“Winning the 2019 Austin Marathon was awesome and a moment I will not forget,” said Heather Lieberg, 2019 Austin Marathon female champ (2:42:27). “ I can’t wait to participate in the half marathon as a tune-up race for the Trials in Atlanta. I know it’ll be a confidence builder!”

Runners accepted to the 2020 Austin Marathon/Half Marathon Elite Athlete Program will compete for a $20,000 prize purse. The Austin Marathon prize purse will total $15,000 and award the top five male and female finishers. The Austin Half Marathon purse will total $5,000 and award the top three male and female finishers. Interested athletes can review the program’s standards and submit an application on the website.

(11/22/2019) ⚡AMP
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Austin Marathon Weekend

Austin Marathon Weekend

The 2020 Austin Marathon will celebrate its 30th year running in the capital of Texas. The premier running event in the City of Austin annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. With a downtown finish and within proximity of many downtown hotels and restaurants, the Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Come...

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Des Linden is set for the New York City Marathon and then the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials

Des Linden could have retired this spring a legend of the sport in the United States: two Olympic teams, nine top-five finishes at World Marathon Majors, and the crown jewel, a win at the 2018 Boston Marathon. But she chose to press on, motivated by what excites her, rather than what is expected of her. Her Boston win gave her the freedom to leave behind the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project and go solo, returning to college coach Walt Drenth.

Now in her fourth Olympic cycle, she goes into every marathon knowing that it could be her last. If she runs another it is because she wants to — not because it’s the best way for her to prepare for the Olympic Trials or the Games themselves.

“It is a different mentality where you don’t put down a race four years out and work backward,” Linden says.

As one of professional running’s elder stateswomen, Linden isn’t afraid to share her opinion on the sport’s most pressing issues, either. During the course of 33 minutes with the press today ahead of Sunday’s TCS New York City Marathon, Linden put a voice to the concerns facing many athletes sponsored by shoe companies other than Nike, and thus unable to run in Vaporflys, the chunky-soled neon racing flats that have changed the sport of marathoning.

Asked whether there was a level playing field in the sport right now facing Nike athletes in Vaporflys, Linden, who remains sponsored by Brooks, did not equivocate.

“No. I think every company has a different pace that they’re working at. So, we’re all obviously behind to begin with.”

More on that in a minute, but let’s remember the purpose of Linden’s visit to New York. She is running marathon #19 of her career on Sunday, and both Linden and her agent Josh Cox believe she is very fit right now, despite an awful showing at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly Half in September (76:08, the slowest half marathon of her career by over three minutes).

“Everything went wrong in Philly,” Linden said, adding that she picked up a minor hamstring injury before the race. “I had an amazing segment as a whole…I had one bad day, it was just a very public bad day.”

Linden is ready to roll in New York and holding off any decisions on retirement until after the race. It all depends on how her body recovers. If she feels she can produce a performance to be proud of, she’ll be on the start line at the Olympic Trials in Atlanta in February.

“It will be, do I have the ability to compete on the roads and be proud of how I’m competing?” Linden says. “And is it something that is showcasing all the hard work — is this really paying off anymore? And when I feel like I’m putting too much in and I’m not getting results that I’m happy with or appreciating, I’ll switch to the trails or the ultras or something different.”

Now about those shoes: Linden has mixed feelings.

“It’s exciting times, but it’s confusing as well,” Linden says.

Exciting because Nike has spurred innovation across the sport. Linden won Boston last year in Brooks prototypes and her shoes at NYC last fall featured a carbon fiber plate, one of the Vaporflys’ key features.

“As a Brooks athlete, it’s been fun seeing them respond and say, ‘OK. Let’s get in the game. Let’s make something awesome’ and not ‘Let’s play catch up.’ They are in the lab going, ‘Let’s be better. Let’s be the best.’”

All that innovation has led to the fastest times the sport has ever seen, but Linden says that one of running’s great appeals — the ability to compare times across eras — is more complicated than ever.

(11/02/2019) ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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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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Canadian Kinsey Middleton is set to defend her title this Sunday at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Sunday is the 2019 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Canadian Olympic Marathon Trials, and the Canadian elite lineup is killer. Kinsey Middleton is the defending champion, following her impressive 2018 run where she took the win in her marathon debut.

The Boise, Idaho native says that her build has been great, with more miles than ever before, and a broader variety of workouts. She jokes that she’s becoming accustomed to the marathon, or at least as accustomed as you can be for only having run one.

The runner lives at 800m altitude, surrounded by mountains (she has dual citizenship, since her mother is Canadian), so she has relatively easy access to higher altitudes for training purposes. She’s looking to run Olympic standard on Sunday (2:29:30) and sounds confident in her ability to do so.

Middleton’s race day plan is to wake up roughly three hours before the race, and have a coffee and peanut butter and jam on toast. After breakfast she’ll take 10 minutes to visualize her race day plan and put her feet up, then she’ll take the bus to the course.

The runner jokes that the funny thing about marathon warmups is how short they are. “They’re the shortest warmup ever, because you don’t want to take any energy away from your race. The bigger the race, the smaller the warmup.”

Middleton’s race plan is all about standard. “I am hoping that there’s a solid group of women to run with. I’ve talked to Malindi [Elmore] and Emily [Setlack] about the pace they’re trying to run. It’s better if we all run together.” The runner says that they’ll sort out pacing at the technical meeting, but her plan is to go out on 1:14 pace for the half. “You really want to negative-split a marathon, otherwise it doesn’t feel good,” she says, referring to the practice of running the second half of the race faster than the first half.

“I’m really confident about the time, because I think if your goal is to make an Olympic team, the time shouldn’t scare you, it should feel possible. It’s all about executing on the day.”

Middleton races for the Idaho Distance Project and is hoping to get its logo added to a plain black crop top. Her plan is to race in that black top, or if it’s cold, a black tank top and Asics shorts. For shoes, she’ll be wearing the green Nike Next%.  “I like the upper a lot better on the Next%. I didn’t like the knit upper on the Vaporfly as much. I have narrow feet, so my foot would move around in them.”

(10/16/2019) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5k Run / Walk is organized by Canada Running Series Inc., organizers of the Canada Running Series, "A selection of Canada's best runs!" Canada Running Series annually organizes eight events in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver that vary in distance from the 5k to the marathon. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Half-Marathon are...

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It was a good day for American men at the Chicago Marathon as the top four ran under 2:11

The Chicago Marathon may not have gone well for 2017 champion and Olympic bronze medalist Galen Rupp, who dropped out just before the 23-mile mark. (He had been nursing a calf strain since mile  six and just could not handle the pain any longer.) But for many of the other American pro men, the cool temperatures, boisterous crowds, and fast course brought breakthroughs.

Four U.S. men ran under 2:11, six placed in the top 15, and many others set significant personal bests.

Working together in a pack, a group of more than a dozen stuck together through about the 35K mark, trading off leading duties because of the wind. 

They didn’t coordinate beforehand, exactly, but they shared a goal: “We were all interested in having a good American day,” said top U.S. finisher Jacob Riley, 31, who finished ninth in 2:10:36.

Riley is no newcomer to Chicago—he debuted at the distance here in 2014, when he ran 2:13:16 to place second American and 11th overall. At the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016, he placed 15th, with a 2:18:31.

But he hasn’t toed a marathon starting line since. In fact, he’s undergone a near complete life upheaval. He left Michigan and the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project to move to Boulder, Colorado, where he now trains under coach Lee Troop. In 2018, he underwent Achilles surgery due to a condition called Haglund’s deformity—the same one that affected Rupp. 

Amidst all the challenge, he said, he definitely contemplated quitting. “At the same time, running has been kind of the constant in my life since I was in high school,” he said. “The idea of having all this other change and then not doing that as well was scary and just not worth it. 

After a slow, steady, return to running—he recalls Troop assigning him segments of one-minute jogs with nine-minute walk breaks—Riley raced again at the Boulder Boulder 10K in May, where he ran 31:20 and placed 25th. On Sept. 2, he ran 1:10:59 for 15th place at the USATF 20K Championships, which “felt terrible.”

“This is the first race where I've actually felt like the old me beforehand—or actually a better me, because I have two good Achilles now,” he said.

In his debut at the distance, 24-year-old Jerrell Mock ran 2:10:37 to place ninth, and second American. An All-American at Colorado State, Mock finished just out of contention to make the 10K final at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Though he graduated last year, he still lives and trains in Fort Collins, Colorado, and is coached by CSU’s Art Siemers.

This year, he ran 1:02:15 to place 13th—and third American—in his first half marathon, in Houston. His 59:43, ninth-place finish at the USATF 20K Championships last month gave him confidence lining up in Chicago.

Still, he didn’t know quite what to expect in the marathon, given the “horror stories” he’d heard about the later miles. “I was just waiting to get to that moment of darkness,” he said. But it never came. “The mile splits just stayed right on. And so when we got to 20, I was like—‘Man, I think, I think I might've gotten away with it.”

Both Riley and Mock are unsponsored and wore ZoomX Vaporfly Next% shoes during the race. “I bought into the hype,” Riley said, though he noted he’s open to experimentation if any sponsors should come calling. Mock expressed similar sentiments: “There’s a lot of companies that are coming out with the same kind of idea now,” he said. “I’d be interested to try some of those too.”

Parker Stinson, meanwhile, runs in Saucony—making him one of the few elites in the field not to sport bright pink on their feet. He denied that puts him at a disadvantage, noting that he broke the American record in the 25K—the 1:13:48 he ran in May’s River Bank Run—in the brand. 

(10/13/2019) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

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

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Debuting this month, The 41st Day follows the former pro marathoner Ryan Hall through his highs as an Olympic star and the lows that led to his early retirement

Debuting this month, The 41st Day follows @ryanhall3 through his highs as an Olympic star and the lows that led to his early retirement.

When Ryan Hall announced his retirement from professional competition at age 33 in 2016, many in the running community were surprised. But to Hall—who owns the third-fastest American marathon time on a record-eligible course (2:06:17)—the decision made perfect sense.

“I’ve always been an all-or-nothing kind of guy,” Hall says in The 41st Day, a new documentary set to debut in New York City on September 28. “When I was little and I decided I wanted to run, I knew I would go all in. But I also knew that a day would come when I would wake up and be done with it.”

The documentary, which was provided to Runner’s World for advanced viewing, follows Hall through his early days as a teenage prodigy in Big Bear Lake, California, his meteoric rise as a cross-country and track athlete at Stanford University, and finally his rollercoaster career as a professional runner. You can watch the movie in select cities throughout October (view the full screening schedule here), and also preorder the DVD, which will be shipped in November.

In the film, Hall is interviewed during pinnacle stages of his career, such as when he set the American half marathon record (59:43) and won the Olympic Marathon Trials in 2007, as well as when he boldly announced in 2010 that he was leaving his coach and turning to God alone for guidance. Throughout the film, we see footage of Hall racing and training, as well as interacting with friends, family, plus his wife—professional marathoner Sara Hall—and their daughters, who all live in Flagstaff, Arizona, today.

(09/27/2019) ⚡AMP
by Hailey Middlebrook
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Course Adjustments Announced For The 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials

With record participation expected and after receiving feedback from America’s best marathoners and coaches, Atlanta Track Club and USATF announced adjustments to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon course. The race organizers will replace a previously planned six-mile-loop with an eight-mile-loop which the athletes will run three times. This change will decrease the number of turns and reduce overall elevation gain on the course.

The updated course utilizes an additional mile of Peachtree Street in the heart of Atlanta. Competitors will begin their race in front of Centennial Olympic Park – the crown jewel of the 1996 Atlanta Games – and head down Marietta Street toward Peachtree. They will proceed three miles north on Peachtree until they pass the intersection of Peachtree and West Peachtree, then turn around and head back down Peachtree in the opposite direction, loop through Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood and return to downtown.

The runners will complete this loop nearly three times before diverting to a three mile final loop that runs under the Rings and Torch structure from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, goes by the Georgia Capitol building and passes by the sports stadiums that house the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta United FC. They will then reach the welcome sight of the finish line inside Centennial Olympic Park.

Eliminated was a loop around the Margaret Mitchell House and onto 10th Street, which included four turns on narrow roads in the span of less than one tenth of a mile.

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon will be held in Atlanta on Saturday, February 29, 2020 as part of America’s Marathon Weekend. The top three women and top three men will be selected to the team that will compete in the Olympic Marathon in Tokyo next August. Spectators are invited to enjoy the race for free along the route. The race will also be broadcast nationally live on NBC.

(09/01/2019) ⚡AMP
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2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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