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Ruth Chepngetich went out at world record pace in Chicago

In the first major race in the U.S. since the pandemic began, the American women had their best showing at the Chicago Marathon since 1994 Sunday October 10.  

Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya did it the hardest way possible, but after starting the 2021 Chicago Marathon at a blistering pace, she held on for the win on Sunday, finishing in 2:22:31. Emma Bates and Sara Hall placed second and third, respectively—the first time since 1994 that two American women finished the race in the top three.

Chepngetich, 27, was racing among some of the elite men in the first half of the race, touching a potential 2:11 finish time at one point (the world record is 2:14:04, set by Brigid Kosgei at the 2019 Chicago Marathon). She began to slow right before hitting 13.1 miles in 1:07:34 and faded drastically over the final miles, her slowest 5K split was her final one, 18:15, compared to her first, which was 15:37. It was Chepngetich’s first race in the United States and she was greeted with some steamy midwest conditions—at the start it was 70 degrees with 70 percent humidity.

The victory was a bit of a redemption run for Chepngetich, who dropped out of the Olympic marathon in August.

“The race was good; it was nice,” she said afterward, “but it was tough. To push alone is not easy.”

Bates, 29, executed an opposite race strategy, starting off conservatively and closing the last 10K with her fastest miles. It resulted in a personal best on two levels: her time, 2:24:20, and her first podium finish at a World Marathon Major event. Since placing seventh at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, then fourth in December at the Marathon Project (2:25:40), Bates moved from her base in Idaho to Boulder, Colorado, to join Team Boss, the training group coached by Joe Bosshard.

“I didn’t want to push too much, too soon, and so I went through halfway still feeling really, really good,” Bates said. “And then I was like, ‘Oh crap, I don’t know how far ahead all these women are.’ I was getting a little nervous and I needed to pick it up. I just started slowly and surely just like picking it up, just bit by bit.”

As Bates stepped it up, she was able to catch the U.S.’s Keira D’Amato, who ultimately placed fourth in 2:28:22, and Hall, as well as Vivian Kipligat, who had spent most of the race in second place but finished fifth in 2:29:14.

“Having all those people lining the streets again just really gave me the energy to press on and really pick up my legs faster,” said Bates, who is now the ninth-fastest American woman at the 26.2-mile distance.

It was the first major marathon held in the U.S. since the pandemic shut most events down for the past 19 months. The 2021 Boston Marathon, delayed from its typical April date, will also go off on Monday.

Hall, 38, who lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, was able to compete at an impressive level through the pandemic, becoming the second-fastest American woman in history when she finished the Marathon Project in 2:20:32. She had originally planned to go for the American record on Sunday, but changed her objectives because of the weather. Deena Kastor keeps that title for now, running 2:19:36 at the 2006 London Marathon.

It was Hall’s second top-three finish at a World Marathon Major event—she placed second at the 2020 London Marathon, out-sprinting Chepngetich in the final meters of that elite-only race around Buckingham Palace. On Sunday Hall said she thought she had started the race at a conservative pace (she went through the halfway point in 1:11:37) but the humidity caught up with her over the second half. Still, she said she’s “in the best shape of my life” and will continue pursue that record if the opportunity presents itself—it’s a matter of having the fitness on the right day with the right conditions.

“I’m really excited to have a chance to go for [the American record] sometime. I knew today wasn’t going to be the day to do that,” Hall said. “I would have had to be in sub-2:18 shape to try for that today, maybe even faster. It’s going to take preparation meeting opportunity…hopefully in the near future I’ll get a stab at that.”

With all six major marathon events being held within a short window this season, the elite fields were spread thin between them, giving the American women a chance to showcase their talent in Chicago, placing seven in the top 10.

Chepngetich wins $55,000 for first place, while Bates takes home $45,000 for second place, Hall banks $35,000 for third, and D’Amato wins $25,000 for placing fourth.

(10/10/2021) Views: 81 ⚡AMP
by Erin Strout (Women’s Running)
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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 and more 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...

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Ruth Chepngetich Marks First US Race With First-Place Finish in Chicago Marathon

Ruth Chepngetich marked her first appearance racing in the U.S. with a huge victory at the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

After dropping out of the Olympic Marathon in August due to an injury, Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich, 27, came to the Chicago Marathon eager for a victory.

She blasted off at world record pace, running 15:37 for the first 5K and dropping her male pacer, Johnny Rutford, by around mile 8.5. But by mile 10, she'd slowed dramatically. Still—despite running much of the race alone and clocking a 5:53 mile between miles 23 to 24—she’d banked enough of a lead to hang on for the victory, crossing the line in 2:22:31

Since the Kenyan sensation made her marathon debut in 2017, she has finished in the top three of every race she has completed and Chicago was no different.

Taking an early lead in the race, Chepngetich beat out American competitors Emma Bates and Sara Hall and crossed the finish line well ahead of the rest of the elite women's field.

Chicago marks just the latest in a series of wins for Chepngetich, who also won in Dubai, Istanbul (twice), and at the 2019 IAAF World Championships. But it also marks a big return after a disappointing performance in the Tokyo Olympics.

While she went into the Olympics as the favorite for gold, she struggled during the race and dropped out around the 30K mark, her first DNF at the marathon distance.

Chepngetich holds a marathon personal best of 2:17:08, making her the fourth fastest woman in history.

“I have never raced in the States and making my debut in such a great race like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is more than a dream to me,” said Chepngetich. “I will give all myself trying to run as fast as possible. The presence of such a wonderful elite field will boost me.”

Shalane Flanagan finishes 25th in the women's race at the #ChicagoMarathon in 2:46:39. Now she has less than 22 hours to get to the starting line of the #BostonMarathon. Her times so far: Berlin, 9/26, 2:38:32 London, 10/3, 2:35:04 Chicago, 10/10, 2:46:39

 

(10/10/2021) Views: 83 ⚡AMP
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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. On race day, runners from all 50 states and more 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...

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Kenya’s Reuben Kipyego and Ruth Chepngetich will target Chicago Marathon crowns

Reuben Kipyego and Ruth Chepngetich head the fields for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday (10), with Sara Hall and Galen Rupp leading US hopes at the World Athletics Elite Platinum Label road race.

After action in Berlin and London in recent weeks, Chicago is the next race in a busy period of major marathons and the Boston event follows just one day later. The weather in Chicago looks set to be warm, with temperatures of around 21°C expected for the start of the elite races at 7:30am local time.

The last edition of the Chicago Marathon in 2019 saw a world record fall as Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei clocked 2:14:04 to take 81 seconds from Paula Radcliffe’s 2003 mark. This time her compatriots Chepngetich, who won the 2019 world title, and Vivian Kiplagat are among the athletes in the spotlight.

Chepngetich sits fourth on the women’s marathon all-time list thanks to the 2:17:08 PB she set when winning in Dubai in 2019 and she ran a world half marathon record in Istanbul in April with 1:04:02. The 27-year-old was unable to finish the Olympic marathon in Tokyo but is looking forward to her US debut race in Chicago.

“I have never raced in the States and making my debut in such a great race like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is more than a dream to me,” she said. “I will give all myself trying to run as fast as possible.”

Hall will be among those looking to challenge her. The US athlete beat Chepngetich at last year’s London Marathon, as the pair finished second and third respectively behind Kosgei, and Hall went on to run a PB of 2:20:32 in Arizona a couple of months later. Now she has her eye on Deena Kastor’s 2:19:36 US record, should the conditions allow.

“When I thought about where I wanted to chase the American record, I thought it would be more exciting to do it at home, in the US, and Chicago is such an epic race,” she said.

The other sub-2:25 women in the field are Kiplagat, the USA’s Keira D'Amato and Ethiopia’s Meseret Belete. Kiplagat, who ran her marathon PB of 2:21:11 in 2019, clocked 2:39:18 in Eldoret in June but showed her current form with a personal best performance in the half marathon of 1:06:07 in Copenhagen last month. Like Hall, D'Amato also ran a PB in Arizona in December, clocking 2:22:56, while 22-year-old Belete – who was sixth at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships and ran a world U20 best of 1:07:51 later that year – has a marathon PB of 2:24:54 set when finishing fourth in Houston last year.

Among those joining them on the start line will be the USA’s Emma Bates, Diane Nukuri and Lindsay Flanagan.

Kipyego ready to turn up the heat

With his PB of 2:03:55 set at the Milan Marathon in May, Kipyego goes into the Chicago race as the second fastest man in 2021. The 25-year-old made his marathon debut in Buenos Aires in 2019, clocking 2:05:18, and later that year he improved to 2:04:40 to win in Abu Dhabi, despite having started the race as a pacemaker. He also seems unfazed by the warmer than expected temperatures, simply replying: ‘No problem’ at the pre-race press conference when asked about the weather.

Ethiopia’s Seifu Tura, meanwhile, explained how he is not as comfortable in the heat but he will go into the race looking to build on the 2:04:29 PB he set when finishing fourth in that same Milan Marathon in May. He also has experience of the Chicago event, having finished sixth in 2019 in 2:08:35.

Rupp leads US hopes as the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist returns to action after his eighth place in the Tokyo Olympic marathon nine weeks ago and third-place finish in the Great North Run half marathon in 1:01:52 last month. Eighth fastest among the entries, his PB of 2:06:07 was set in Prague in 2018 but he will be looking to regain the crown he claimed in 2017.

Kenya’s Dickson Chumba is also a former Chicago winner, having triumphed in 2015, and he set his PB of 2:04:32 in the same city the year before that. The fourth sub-2:05 runner in the field is Kengo Suzuki, who broke the Japanese record with his 2:04:56 to win the Lake Biwa Marathon in February.

Kenya’s Eric Kiptanui is also one to watch. Having helped to pace world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge in the past, the 58:42 half marathon runner made his own marathon debut last year and improved to 2:05:47 to win in Siena in April. 

“I was so happy to run 2:06 for my first marathon,” he told NN Running Team. “What it proved to me was, yes, I was in good shape but that I had the mentality to perform over the marathon distance.” Looking ahead to Chicago, he added: “I aim to run 2:03/2:04 but my first priority is to win the race."

Ethiopia’s Chalu Deso and Shifera Tamru have respective bests of 2:04:53 and 2:05:18, while Ian Butler, who is coached by former world record-holder Steve Jones and balances his running with his job as a teacher, is the second-fastest US runner in the field with a PB of 2:09:45 set in Arizona last year.

(10/09/2021) Views: 77 ⚡AMP
by Jess Whittington for World Athletics
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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 and more 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...

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Will Sara Hall take down the American record at Chicago marathon?

The 43rd running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is returning to the streets of the Windy City on Sunday, and all eyes will be on Sara Hall, who will be attempting to break Deena Kastor’s 15-year-old American record of 2:19:36, which she set when she won the London Marathon in 2006.

Hall will have an impressive elite field to help her get there, including world half-marathon record-holder Ruth Chepngetich. Newfoundland’s Kate Bazeley will be the only Canadian elite on the start line.

The women’s field

Chepngetich, who is the reigning world champion in the marathon, is the favourite to win on the women’s side, boasting a personal best of 2:17:08, which she ran in Dubai in 2019. Since her marathon debut in 2017, she has finished in the top three in every race she has completed and is the only woman in the field who has run under 2:20 for the marathon. She was one of the favourites to contend for gold at the Tokyo Olympic marathon in August, but struggled under the intense heat and dropped out at 30K, the first DNF of her marathon career. She is the fourth-fastest woman in history, and this will be her first marathon on American soil.

“I have never raced in the States and making my debut in such a great race like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is more than a dream to me,” she said in an interview with NBC Chicago. “I will give all myself trying to run as fast as possible. The presence of such a wonderful elite field will boost me.”

Hall had to drop out of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, but won the Marathon Project in Arizona in 2:20:32 last December, putting her in second place in the American record books behind Kastor. If she breaks Kastor’s record on Sunday she will be only the second American woman to ever run under 2:20.

Hall will be joined on the start line by several other Americans, including Keira D’Amato, Emma Bates, Lindsay Flanagan and Diane Nukuri, among several others. Canada’s Bazeley has also recently been added to the elite field and will be entering the race with a personal best of 2:36:35, which she ran in 2019.

Live coverage of the event will begin at 8 a.m. ET (7 am local time), with the men’s and women’s wheelchair race setting off at 8:20 and 8:21. The first wave of runners is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. ET (7:30 local time).

Unfortunately, there are no free platforms covering the Chicago Marathon in Canada. Canadians can sign up for a FloTrack membership to watch the action or you can follow the live results here, which will be updated every five kilometers.

The weather is expected to be dry and partly sunny on Sunday, with temperatures starting around 18 C and rising to a high of 26 C later in the day.

(10/08/2021) Views: 86 ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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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 and more 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...

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World marathon champion, Ruth Chepng’etich, will headline the women’s race in Sunday’s Chicago Marathon.

Ruth Chepng´etich will team up with 2021 Copenhagen Marathon bronze medallist Vivian Kiplagat in the third race in the 2021 World Marathon Majors (WMM) series.

And Kiplagat, who will be competing outside the country for the first time this year, has predicted a good race.

“We don’t know how things will unfold on Sunday, but the target remains to run well and beat the quality field,” Kiplagat, who trains at Kapsait Athletics Training Camp in Elgeyo Marakwet alongside world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, told Nation Sport at the Eldoret International Airport on Friday before flying out to Chicago.

Chepng'etich, who ran the marathon at the 2020 Tokyo  Olympic Games in August but dropped out mid-way through the race, will be seeking redemption in Chicago on Sunday as she takes on 2020 London Marathon second-placed runner, Sara Hall.

Chepng'etich rose to the limelight when she won 2017 Istanbul Marathon in 2 hours, 22 minutes and 36 seconds. She then finished second in 2018 Paris Marathon (2:22:59).

In 2019, she retained the  Istanbul Marathon title in a course record time of 2:18:35, and went on to win the 2019 Dubai Marathon in a personal best time of 2:17:08.

Chepng’etich then ended the season in style, winning the marathon race at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in 2:32:43 in Doha.

Last year, she finished third in the London Marathon behind fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei who won the race and Hall.

She went on to run in a world record time of 64:02 in victory at the 2021 Istanbul Half Marathon in April.

In the 2019 edition, Brigid Kosgei won the Chicago Marathon in a world record time of 2:14:04 ahead of Ethiopians Ababel Yeshaneh (2:20:51) and Gelete Burka (2:20:55) who were in second and third respectively.

(10/07/2021) Views: 75 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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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 and more 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...

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Chicago Marathon added 17 but 14 withdrawn to its 2021 lineup

There have been some changes made to the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon elite lineup.

Marathon organizers said that previously announced athletes Getaneh Molla (ETH), Hassan El Abbassi (BRN), Joel Kimurer (KEN), Laban Korir (KEN), Masato Kikuchi (JPN), Derlys Ayala (PAR), Sid Vaughn (USA), Vianey De la Rosa (MEX), Bridget Lyons Belyeu (USA), Rosie Edwards (GBR), Josh Cassidy (CAN), Brent Lakatos (CAN), Joey Gibbs (USA) and Madison de Rozario (AUS) have withdrawn from the 2021 event.

On the other hand, Reuben Kipyego (KEN), Dickson Chumba (KEN), Kengo Suzuki (JPN), Chalu Deso (ETH), Ian Butler (USA), Tyler Jermann (USA), Turner Wiley (USA), Jacob Thomson (USA), Vivian Kiplagat (KEN), Meseret Belete (ETH), Carrie Dimoff (USA), Maegan Krifchin (USA), Tristin Van Ord (USA), Whitney Macon (USA), Polina Hodnette (USA), Kate Bazeley (CAN) and Sarah Pagano (USA) have been added to the lineup.

The changes continue to bring some of the world's best elite runners to the start line at the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 10, including previously announced headliners Galen Rupp and Sara Hall.

"We are excited to welcome so many outstanding athletes to Grant Park this fall," said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. "While we expect to see fast times up front, we are focusing on celebrating every athlete in this year’s field - and the personal stories, challenges, and triumphs that they bring with them. This event is special in so many ways because it captures the human spirit - from the first runner across the line to the last."

Pinkowski acknowledged that hosting the Chicago Marathon during an Olympic year, coupled with a fall racing season that includes all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, adds to the excitement of the city's beloved race.

Several athletes in the elite wheelchair competition will compete back-to-back, in Chicago on Oct. 10 and Boston on Oct. 11, with Romanchuk, Hug and McFadden planning to complete the double.

"McFadden stands out as the most decorated athlete in Bank of America Chicago Marathon history with eight championships," organizers said, noting that Romanchuk, the 2018 and 2019 champion, and two-time champion Hug could "propel each other to course record times if the conditions are right."

"The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is where my Abbott World Marathon Majors journey began back when I was 16 and where I won for the first time, so it's very special to me," said Romanchuk. "We've all been eagerly anticipating the return of in-person marathon racing, and I can't wait to get back to the streets of Chicago!"

(10/06/2021) Views: 100 ⚡AMP
by David Monti
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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 and more 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...

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Kenya’s six-pronged attack will headline on the streets of London

This years’ edition of the London Marathon has attracted a smaller field, but the race is nevertheless expected to be competitive when the athletes line up in the English capital on October 3.

This year’s race is taking place at a time the world is still battling the coronavirus pandemic which has forced organizers to shift the race from the traditional month of April to October.

Compared to last year, only six athletes from Kenya will compete in the race.

Vincent Kipchumba, Titus Ekiru and Valencia Marathon champion Evans Chebet will line up in the men’s category.

In the women’s category, defending champion Brigid Kosgei who is also the Olympics silver medalist will team up with reigning New York Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei and Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Jemeli.

Last year, the race was held in a bio-secure bubble at the St James Park in London. As a precautionary measure against the possible spread of Covid-19, no fans were allowed to cheer the athletes along the route during the race.

Ethiopia’s log distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele pulled out of the men’s race at the last minute due to a calf injury he had picked in training.

More disappointments were to follow as pre-race favorite Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya who is also the world marathon record holder finished in eighth position, clocking 2 hours, 06 minutes and 49 seconds.

Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata (2:05:41) claimed victory in a sprint finish with Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba (2:05:42) who, nevertheless, had to contend with second place. Ethiopian runner Sisay Lemma clocked 2:05:45 to finish third.

In the women’s category, Kosgei retained her title after winning in 2:18:58 ahead of United States of America’s Sara Hall who timed 2:22:01.

Reigning world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich was third in 2:22:05.

To minimize the chance of contracting Covid-19, Kenyan athletes who were to participate in the race jetted out of the country in the same flight.

Athletes and members of their technical teams also boarded the same flight. The aeroplane carrying athletes was scheduled to pick more athletes in Addis Ababa, before heading to Athens for a scheduled stop over. The team would then head straight to London’s Stanstead Airport.

Pacemakers and elite athletes with their technical support teams were ferried in a 56-seater plane which landed at the Eldoret International Airport a day before the scheduled date of travel.

The crew who were six in number, spent the night at The Boma Inn Hotel in Eldoret.

Speaking exclusively to Nation Sport in Eldoret at the time, captain Julian Mogg who isin charge of the flight, said that he was delighted to fly athletics champions to London whom he has been seeing on television.

“We are delighted to fly the athletes who will compete in the London Marathon. I’m happy because I will be able to see them during the flight,” Mogg said at the time.

The London Marathon route is iconic and runs from Black heath in the south east of London to the finish line at The Mall.

Athletes will be able to go through Greenwich before passing over the Thames as they cross the Tower Bridge before going through central London. They will pass the Canary Wharf and famous landmarks such as the London Eye and Big Ben.

The athletes will then turn to Buckingham Palace, and follow a stretch of The Mall to reach the finish line.

(09/24/2021) Views: 138 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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It’s Going to Be a Busy 7 Weeks With All 6 World Marathon Majors Taking Place

For the first time ever, all six World Marathon Majors will be contested in the fall of the same year. Due to postponements caused by COVID-19, the Berlin, London, Tokyo, Chicago, Boston, and New York City marathons are all scheduled to take place within a seven-week timeframe.

For many athletes, these marathons will be their first 26.2 since the onset of the pandemic, and they’ve set big goals for the return of the sport.

Between runners doubling in events to some chasing national records, the best marathoners in the world are taking full advantage of these highly anticipated competitive opportunities. Here, we outlined some quick takeaways and storylines we’ll be watching based on the early elite field announcements. (And we’ll keep this list updated if and when top runners throw their name into one of these amazing fields!)


Berlin Marathon—Sunday, September 26

MEN:

Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia (2:01:41)

Right now, the only elite runner confirmed for the Berlin Marathon is Kenenisa Bekele. Berlin will be the first of two marathons in 42 days for the Ethiopian runner, who is also scheduled to race the New York City Marathon on November 7, a grueling double that will mark Bekele’s first races since March 2020.

As three-time Olympic champion told Sports Illustrated, he is ready for the challenge.

“For a whole year, I couldn’t race and it’s been really difficult for athletes,” Bekele said. “I want to take this chance and see what is possible.”

London Marathon—Sunday, October 3

Eight weeks after winning silver at the Tokyo Olympics, Brigid Kosgei aims to defend her title in London. The world record-holder from Kenya will be going for her third consecutive victory in London against a stacked field that includes defending New York City Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei and two-time Tokyo Marathon winner Birhane Dibaba.

On the men’s side, Shura Kitata will also be looking to defend his title in London after a disappointing performance in Tokyo. The Ethiopian standout struggled in the heat during the Olympic marathon in Sapporo and dropped out of the race, but he’s aiming for redemption on a course where he experienced a breakthrough last year.

“I was disappointed to have to pull out of the Olympic Games Marathon, but I just did not adapt to the weather well,” Kitata told World Athletics. “It was very cold in Ethiopia prior to leaving for Tokyo and when we got there the weather took its toll on my body and made my breathing very hard. But I’m healthy and looking forward to racing in the Virgin Money London Marathon again. I am preparing very well and my coach has me very ready to defend my title in London.”

Chicago Marathon—Sunday, October 10

Almost a year after she nearly broke Deena Kastor’s American marathon record, Sara Hall is gearing up to again chase the elusive time set 15 years ago. In Chicago, Hall aims to continue her breakthrough streak, which started during the 2020 COVID-adjusted season, and run under the record of 2:19:36.

“It has been too long since I’ve been back, and when I thought about where I wanted to chase the American record, I thought it would be more exciting to do it at home, in the U.S., and Chicago is such an epic race,” Hall said in a statement. “I’m really excited to have my best marathon yet on U.S. soil.”

After dropping out of the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials, Hall made an impressive comeback with a runner-up finish at the London Marathon last October, and a victory at the Marathon Project in December. Hall’s winning time of 2:20:32 is her personal best and the second-fastest performance ever by an American woman.

Hall will have stiff competition up front with Ruth Chepngetich in the field. The Kenyan marathoner set the half marathon world record in April. She had an off day at the Tokyo Games and dropped out of the marathon around the 20-mile mark. Chicago will be the 2019 world champion’s first major marathon since the Olympics and her first race on U.S. soil.

Another American to watch will be Keira D’Amato; she made headlines in 2020 with huge improvements on the track and the roads, which helped her land her first professional contract with Nike at 36 years old. D’Amato was expected to be an Olympic team contender in the 10,000 meters, but she withdrew from the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, citing a hamstring injury. The Chicago Marathon will be D’Amato’s first race since February.

Galen Rupp, who placed eighth in 2:11:41 at the Tokyo Olympics on August 8, is returning to race the marathon in Chicago. This marathon holds some significance for Rupp, who became the first American male athlete since Khalid Khannouchi to win the race in 2017. The last time he competed in the Windy City was during his comeback to the sport after having Achilles surgery. In the 2019 race, he dropped out just before the 23-mile mark, but he’s looking to improve this time around.

“My goal is winning,” Rupp said in a statement. “I want to come back and win. 2019 left a sour taste in my mouth. I didn’t finish that race so I cannot wait to get back out there and come back stronger than ever. It has been a wild ride since then. I’m healthy, I’m happy, and it’s going to be tremendous to come back.”

Boston Marathon—Monday, October 11

Boston will have one of the deepest elite fields on the women’s side with nine women who have run under 2:22, including Olympic bronze medalist Mare Dibaba and 2017 Boston Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat.

The race will also be Des Linden’s first of two marathons this fall. The 2018 Boston Marathon champion is entered in the New York City Marathon on November 7, a shorter than normal timeframe between major marathons. Boston will be Linden’s first major marathon since she finished fourth at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. This spring, Linden set the 50K world record by averaging 5:47 pace for more than 31 miles.

Fellow Americans Jordan Hasay and Molly Huddle will also be returning to Boston after the event took a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
​

In the men’s field, several past podium finishers are making their return to Boston, including Kenyan standouts Wilson Chebet, Felix Kandie, and Paul Lonyangata. A large American contingent will be led by four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, who finished 41st in the marathon at the Tokyo Games. Including Abdirahman, eight of the top 12 finishers from the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials are scheduled to compete.

New York City Marathon—Sunday, November 7

The field assembled for the women’s race, especially the American contingent, is the most stacked marathon of all the fall races. Tokyo Olympians Molly Seidel, Sally Kipyego, and Aliphine Tuliamuk are all slated to return to competition in the Big Apple after representing Team USA in Sapporo.

Fellow podium finisher Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya is also returning to the distance after dominating the marathon to win gold in her first Olympic Games. She has the fastest personal best among the field after running 2:17:16 in Valencia last year. Including Jepchirchir, the New York City field includes four women who have run under 2:21.

Outside of the Olympic team, a handful of the top Americans are also gearing up for fast times in the city. Emily Sisson, Kellyn Taylor, Stephanie Bruce, Roberta Groner, and Laura Thweatt are scheduled to compete. And Des Linden will be racing her second marathon of the fall after competing in Boston on October 11.

Along with Bekele’s double, Abdi Nageeye’s performance will draw fans in to watch the men’s race in New York City. The runner from the Netherlands secured a silver medal in the Tokyo marathon by crossing the finish line in 2:09:58, a huge improvement from his 11th-place finish in Rio. He’s finished in the top 10 twice at the Boston Marathon, but this fall will mark his debut in New York City and he’s feeling confident in his chances.

“For me, winning the silver medal in the Olympic Games was not a surprise,” Nageeye said in a statement. “There were many good athletes in the race, but I knew my preparation had been good. I was ready for the conditions, and most importantly I believed in myself. I will take that same focus into my preparations for New York, and my belief and confidence in my abilities is even higher than it was in Sapporo. There is nothing I want more than to bring a New York City victory back home along with my Olympic medal.”

There will also be a couple of highly anticipated marathon debuts, including Kibiwott Kandie and Ben True. Kandie is the half marathon world record-holder and a world championships silver-medalist. True will be aiming for redemption after finishing fourth in the 10,000 meters and narrowly missing out on making Team USA at the Olympic Trials in June.

(08/28/2021) Views: 148 ⚡AMP
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SARA HALL RUNS FASTEST HALF MARATHON BY AMERICAN THIS YEAR, MISSES RECORD ATTEMPT

Hall clocks 68:44 in return to Cottage Grove as part of buildup for Chicago Marathon in October, now boasts three career-sub 69 performances

Sara Hall has produced two of the strongest half marathon performances in U.S. history during the past 13 months in Cottage Grove, Ore., but just like last year, Saturday’s effort along the Row River bike path came up short of her pursuit of the American record.

Hall, representing ASICS, clocked 68 minutes, 44 seconds, after she ascended to the No. 6 all-time U.S. competitor last year by running 68:18 along the Harms Park boat ramp parking lot in Cottage Grove.

Hall, who became the fastest American and No. 19 performer in the world this year, now has three career marks under 69 minutes. She also ran 68:58 at the Houston Half Marathon last year.

Molly Huddle still holds the record of 67:25 from the 2018 Houston Half Marathon.

Hall, 38, joined Shalane Flanagan, Jordan Hasay, Emily Sisson and Huddle as the only American women with at least three career sub-69 performances on record-eligible courses.

Hall used Saturday’s opportunity as part of her preparation for the Chicago Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 10.

Hall, who ran the second-fastest performance by a U.S. female with her 2:20:32 effort in December at the Marathon Project in Chandler, Ariz., will be again taking aim at the 2006 American record of 2:19:36 held by Deena Kastor.

(08/22/2021) Views: 100 ⚡AMP
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Chicago Marathon organizers have required participants to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test

Chicago Marathon participants required to prove vaccination or negative test.

Organizers confirmed the move as part of updated COVID-19 guidelines published for the annual event.

Around 35,000 people have registered for the 2021 Chicago Marathon, which was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Registered participants are required to provide proof of a complete COVID-19 vaccination series or a negative COVID-19 test result to participate in the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon," organizers said.

"Registered participants who are not fully vaccinated are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result for a test administered within 72 hours of attending the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

"The event defines 'fully vaccinated' as individuals who are two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

"Proof of vaccination (hard copy, photocopy or digital version of an immunization record) or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of attending the event is required for entrance to the Abbott Health & Fitness Expo.

"Individuals unable to prove full vaccination or negative test will be barred from entering the Health and Fitness Expo and unable to pick up the necessary race materials that allow for participation in the event."

Organizers say RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, lateral flow, and rapid antigen tests are approved.

Attendees will be required to wear face coverings while at indoor event venues, while participants are encouraged to wear face coverings in Grant Park prior to starting the race.

Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla and Seifu Tura, Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich, and Americans Keira D’Amato and Emma Bates have become the latest elite athletes to join the start list for this year’s event.

Two-times Olympic medallist Galen Rupp and Sara Hall were announced earlier this year, with the pair expected to lead the United States’ challenge in the men’s and women’s events, respectively.

Molla has the fastest personal best in the men’s field as he clocked 2 hours 3min 34sec to win the 2019 Dubai Marathon.

Chepngetich is the reigning women’s world champion, with the Kenyan poised to make her Chicago Marathon debut.

She set the world record in the half marathon this spring in 1:04:02, while her marathon personal best of 2:17:08 makes her the fourth fastest woman in history.

Daniel Romanchuk and Tatyana McFadden are among the US stars set to feature in the elite wheelchair races, with Switzerland’s Marcel Hug also included on the start list.

(08/19/2021) Views: 185 ⚡AMP
by Michael Pavitt
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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 and more 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...

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Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich and Galen Rupp will headline the elite field at the Chicago Marathon

A number of the world’s top distance runners will be at the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 10, organizers announced today, joining headliners Galen Rupp and Sara Hall. So far, there are no Canadians featured in the Chicago Marathon elite field.

Ruth Chepngetich (Kenya), Diane Nukuri (USA) and Keira D’Amato (USA) are among the names to watch in the women’s race for the 43rd running of the Chicago Marathon. Chepngetich, who dropped out of the Olympic marathon at around 30 km, is the reigning world champion and comes to Chicago as the pre-race favourite. Hall ousted Chepngetich in a sprint for second place at the 2020 London Marathon, but all eyes will be on their Oct. 10 rematch. Chepngetich is the only East African runner in an elite field that’s deep with American talent.

The men’s field features three athletes who have run under 2:05, as well Rupp, who won in 2017. Rupp is the only individual in the field with an Abbott World Major Marathons victory under his belt. Getaneh Molla (ETH) has won the Dubai Marathon, and Hassan El Abbassi (BRN) was the runner-up at the 2018 Valencia Marathon. Rupp had a sub-par Olympic Games, finishing a disappointing eighth in Tokyo (2:11:41) after many thought he would challenge Eliud Kipchoge for a medal. Rupp will enter Chicago as the pre-race favorite, thanks to his previous success on the course.

Past champions Daniel Romanchuk and Marcel Hug will battle it out in the elite wheelchair competition. Romanchuk is the defending two-time champion (2018 and 2019) and world record holder, while Hug won this race in 2016 and 2017. Hug and Romanchuk will compete on back-to-back days, in Chicago on Oct. 10 and at the Boston Marathon on Oct. 11.

With the cancellation of the New Jersey Marathon, larger mass races are putting together strict Covid protocols to avoid transmission of the virus, including face coverings at the start and finish and either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test within 72 hours of the race.

(08/18/2021) Views: 287 ⚡AMP
by Marley Dickinson
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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 and more 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...

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Olympians, champions and top americans will lead fields for 2021 Asics Falmouth Road Race

Falmouth Road Race, Inc., organizers of the 49th Annual ASICS Falmouth Road Race, one of America’s premier running events of the summer season, today announced the men’s, women’s, and wheelchair open fields for this year’s race. Defending champions Leonard Korir and Sharon Lokedi lead an accomplished field of Olympians, World Champions and top Americans participating in the August 15, 2021 race.

WOMEN’S OPEN DIVISION

Lokedi, a Kenyan elite and 10-time All American at the University of Kansas, will race 2019 runner-up Sara Hall, who has won 11 U.S. national titles from the mile to the marathon. Hall recently finished sixth at the U.S. Olympic Trials 10,000m and won the AJC Peachtree Road Race, which hosted the National 10K Championships. The duo is joined by Edna Kiplagat, a Boston, London and New York City champion as well as a two-time World Athletics Marathon Championships gold medalist. 

Twelve-time All American and NCAA DI 10,000m champion Emma Bates and 2021 Olympic marathoner Molly Seidel will also participate. Bates is gearing up for a fall marathon and Seidel will run, alongside her sister Isabel, as a post-Olympic celebration.  

Accomplished women racing the leaders include Jordan Hasay, an 18-time All American and multiple podium finisher at the Boston and Chicago Marathons; former Falmouth champion and three-time Olympian Diane Nukuri; NCAA 10,000m champion Natosha Rogers; young talent Iveen Chepkemoi; Emily Durgin who finished runner-up at the AJC Peachtree Road Race with a 31:49 personal best, and Taylor Werner the recent USATF National 6K champion.

Many of the women in the field raced in the 5,000m and/or 10,000m at the recent U.S. Olympic Track Trials including Rogers, Durgin, Werner, Erika Kemp, Makena Morley, Jaci Smith, Fiona O’Keefe,  and Paige Stoner.

MEN’S OPEN DIVISION

The 2019 podium of Leonard Korir, Stephen Sambu, and Edward Cheserek return. Korir, an Olympian, became the first American man to win the Falmouth Road Race since 1988. He has 10 USATF national titles and holds the fastest-ever marathon debut by an American (2:077:56). 

Sambu looks to add an impressive fifth Falmouth Road Race title to his name. A road running star, Sambu set the 8K world record at the B.A.A. 10K, a race he has won twice. He is also a four-time champion of the Shamrock Shuffle. Edward Cheserek, the most decorated NCAA distance runner of all time with 17 NCAA Division I titles, ran for the University of Oregon. At Boston University in 2018, Cheserek ran the indoor mile in 3:49.44, which at that time was the second fastest indoor mile in history.  

Chasing the trio are 2018 Falmouth Road Race champion and 2018 NCAA 10,000m winner Ben Flanagan, of Canada, and Ben True, who holds five national titles, set a 5K national record at the 2017 B.A.A. 5K and recently finished fourth in the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Fresh from a two second 1-2 finish at the 2021 AJC Peachtree Road Race, Sam Chelanga, a six-time USATF National Champion, and Fred Huxham are in the field, as are B.A.A. 10K champion David Bett, 2018 Falmouth runner-up Scott Fauble and top 5,000m runner Emmanuel Bor. 

Many of the men running the ASICS Falmouth Road Race competed at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Track Trials including Korir, Chelanga, Bor, True, Biya Simbassa, Jacob Thomson and Frank Lara.

(07/27/2021) Views: 206 ⚡AMP
by Running USA
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Falmouth Road Race

Falmouth Road Race

The Falmouth Road Race was established in 1973 and has become one of the premier running events of the summer season. Each year the race draws an international field of Olympians, elite runners and recreational runners out to enjoy the scenic 7-mile seaside course. The non-profit Falmouth Road Race organization is dedicated to promoting health and fitness for all in...

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Sara Hall and Sam Chelanga Take USA 10K Titles At the 52nd AJC Peachtree Road Race

Just after the sun rose in Atlanta on an unusually cool July morning, Sara Hall (Asics) and Sam Chelanga (U.S. Army) claimed the USA Track & Field 10-K road running titles at the 51st AJC Peachtree Road race in 31:41 and 28:43, respectively.   Both athletes prevailed in late-race battles and each claimed $7,500 in prize money.  The race was the third stop of the 2021 USATF Running Circuit.

The women started ahead of the men, and Hall was part of a 15-strong lead pack which quickly formed in the first kilometer.  With her were other pre-race favorites, like Steph Bruce and Aliphine Tuliamuk (both of Hoka Northern Arizona Elite) and Gwen Jorgensen of the Nike Bowerman Track Club.  But, there were also two less established runners in the lead group, Annie Frisbie and Emily Durgin (adidas).

Durgin, 27, who finished ninth in the 10,000m at the USA Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field in Eugene, Ore., eight days ago, led the race through 5 kilometers in an honest 15:46.  Hall remained with her as did Frisbie and Tuliamuk, but Bruce and Diane Nukuri (Asics) began to drift back.  Durgin kept pressing, and 90 seconds later only Durgin, Hall and Frisbie remained in contention.

Hall, 38, who prior to today had won 10 national road running titles from the mile to the marathon, wasn’t surprised that it was Durgin who was pushing the pace.  Both women live and train in Flagstaff, Ariz., and know each other well.

“She’s been running so strong this year,” Hall told Race Results Weekly by telephone.  “At the Trials she had a great one.  So, I didn’t really know who would be charging out there.”

At about the 7-kilometer mark Hall and Durgin increased the pace, and Frisbie (who is only 24) had to drop back.  The two women spent most of the next three kilometers running side by side waiting for the right moment surge for the finish line.  As she did at the Mastercard New York Mini 10-K on June 12, Hall finally showed her cards in the final 400 meters.  She pulled away strongly from Durgin to win by eight seconds.

“That’s the first time I’ve kind of gone toe-to-toe with her in a race,” Hall said of Durgin.  “She’s got a great future ahead of her.  I’m excited to see what she does.”  She added: “I’m really proud of her.”

Durgin set a personal best of 31:49, as did Frisbie in third (32:06).  Nukuri rallied in the last two kilometers to finish fourth in 32:27, and Bruce (who won this race in 2018) got fifth in 32:35.  Tuliamuk, the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon winner, finished sixth in 32:43.

For Hall, today’s win lifted her spirits after she finished sixth at the Olympic Trials in the 10,000m, likely her final attempt at making an Olympic team on the track.  She also felt like she got some payback for a bad race at the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon, also held in Atlanta, where she was unable to finish.

“You know, I was wanting to kind of get through the hills,” Hall said of the middle portion of today’s race. “Obviously, these Atlanta hills crushed me in the Trials.  So, I definitely wanted to have a strong run over those hills.”  She continued: “Going into this race I just wanted to have fun out there… This was an opportunity for me to just to out there and enjoy racing.”

For Chelanga, today’s win was his first USA title since he won the 25-K crown in May, 2018, just before he said he was hanging up his racing flats.

“I had announced that I had retired after July 4th of 2018,” Chelanga said in his post-race television interview.  “Then when I got back in the Army, people noticed in the physical test that I was really fast, and I ran the 10-miler for the Army team (October, 2019).  So I did it.  Long story, but now I’m back here.”

(07/05/2021) Views: 184 ⚡AMP
by LetsRun
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AJC Peachtree Road Race

AJC Peachtree Road Race

The AJC Peachtree Road Race, organized by the Atlanta Track Club, is the largest 10K in the world. In its 48th running, the AJC Peachtree Road Race has become a Fourth of July tradition for thousands of people throughout the metro Atlanta area and beyond. Come kick off your Fourth of July festivities with us! If you did not get...

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Galen Rupp and Aliphine Tuliamuk will tune up Sunday’s USATF 10 km Championships

U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon winners Galen Rupp and Aliphine Tuliamuk headline Sunday’s USATF 10 km Championships presented by Toyota, as both athletes eye winning another U.S. title, while tuning up for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which get underway later this month.The USATF 10 km Championships, hosted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race are the third stop on the 2021 USATF Running Circuit presented by Toyota. 

Sunday’s contest in Atlanta offers Rupp, along with fellow Olympic qualifiers Jacob Riley and Abdi Abdirahman, a chance to test their fitness before departing for Tokyo. Rupp is coming off a strong sixth place finish at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field in the 10,000m, where he contended for a top three finish for much of the race. Rupp is in fine form and comes to Atlanta as the pre-race favorite.For Riley and Abdirahman, both of whom have had very quiet 2021 seasons, Sunday is even more important to get a quality racing effort before their marathon race in Tokyo on August 8.

While both are strongest over the marathon distance, a top five finish for either athlete is not out of the question in Atlanta.While Rupp enters as the pre-race favorite, Clayton Young is having a strong 2021 campaign. Young currently leads the USATF Running Circuit standings with 18 points, having won the USATF 15 km Championships, his first USATF title, back in March. Young followed up the winning effort with an eighth place showing at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships in Des Moines.Veterans Colin Bennie and Sam Chelanga are also top three contenders.

Bennie, who placed sixth at the USATF 15 km Championships and ninth in Atlanta last year at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, seems ready to challenge for his first USATF title, while Chelanga is in fine form coming off an eighth place showing in the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field in Eugene.Other notable entries include 2016 Olympian Jared Ward, 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon fifth place finisher Augustus Maiyo, 2018 USATF 10 km Championship runner-up Haron Lagat, and veteran Elkanah Kibet.

On the women’s side, Tuliamuk is entered and ready to run her first race since she qualified for the Olympic Games in February 2020. Tuliamuk, who became a mother back in mid-January, is in fine form and ready to show she’s primed for Tokyo.Tuliamuk’s top competition should come from Sara Hall. The ten-time USATF champion finished third at the USATF 10 km Championships in 2018.

This year, she’s coming off a tremendous sixth place effort in Eugene at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field. Hall is arguably the most versatile American distance runners, a title contender at almost any distance, and Sunday she should be at the front pushing the pace once again.Stephanie Bruce, who won the 2018 USATF 10 km Championship title, looks to add another national title to her resume.

The Flagstaff-based runner placed 13th in the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field, while also having run 1:09:55 for a half marathon win back in late-April.

Not to be overlooked, Emily Durgin is having a tremendous season. Durgin placed third at the USATF 15 km Championships earlier this season and sits a mere five points behind USATF Running Circuit overall leaders Emily Sisson and Rachel Schneider. Durgin placed ninth in the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field last month, in addition to a 1:09:47 third place effort in a half marathon in late-January.

Diane Nukuri is showing fine form this season, coming off a tenth place finish at the USATF 15 km Championships, while Allie Kieffer finished fourth at the 2018 USATF 10 km Championships and is a seasoned veteran capable of a top five finish.

Add Maegan Krifchin, Joanna Thompson, Whitney Macon, and Bridget Lyons Belyeu to the mix and this race has both talent and depth, which should make for a thrilling morning of racing in Atlanta on Sunday.

(07/03/2021) Views: 139 ⚡AMP
by Usaft
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Galen Rupp and Sara Hall will headline the 43rd annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon elite field

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp and America’s second fastest female marathon runner ever, Sara Hall, will be at the helm of this year’s elite field, a year that marks a global comeback for the road racing industry. Rupp stands out as one of the most decorated runners on the track and in the marathon, winning the 2016 and 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials and the 2017 Chicago Marathon; he is a five-time U.S. record holder, and eight-time U.S. 10,000 meter champion. Hall, a seven-time Olympic trials qualifier with ten national titles from the mile to the marathon, to her name, hopes to rewrite history by breaking the American marathon record, 2:19:36, set in 2006 by Deena Kastor.

“We are thrilled to welcome Galen and Sara, two of the most talented runners in U.S. history, to our start line this fall,” said Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski. “This is a celebratory moment not only for U.S. running, but for the global running community. The resilience and determination that Galen and Sara have shown throughout their careers is the same kind of resilience and determination that lives within every runner showing up in Grant Park this fall.”

Rupp, a four-time Olympian with a bronze medal in the marathon and a silver medal in the 10,000m, will make a quick turn-around to Chicago after going for gold in Tokyo. Rupp put on a show during his first appearance in Chicago in 2017 when he became the first American male since Khalid Khannouchi to stand on top of the podium. He returned in 2018, finishing fifth in 2:06:21, the fifth fastest time in American history on a record eligible course (he also owns the third fastest time ever run, 2:06:07). Shortly after his performance in 2018, he underwent surgery to correct Haglund’s Deformity. Rupp used his 2019 and 2020 seasons to announce his comeback to the top of elite running.

On an unrelenting hilly course in Atlanta, Rupp showcased his dominance at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials, swiftly winning the race while making his fourth Olympic team. Since then, he has continued to run well, setting an American record for 10 miles in 2020 (en route to a half marathon victory), and running in the Olympic Trials in the 10,000m. In addition to his accolades on the track and in the marathon, he is the second fastest American ever over the half marathon distance (59:47). If Rupp breaks the tape first this fall, he will be only the seventh man in Bank of America Chicago Marathon history to claim victory twice.

“Chicago is a special city and I’m excited to be coming back after so long,” said Rupp. “I have a personal connection to the city, and the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is going to be an awesome celebration.

“My goal is winning,” Rupp continued. “I want to come back and win. 2019 left a sour taste in my mouth. I didn’t finish that race so I cannot wait to get back out there and come back stronger than ever. It has been a wild ride since then. I’m healthy, I’m happy, and it’s going to be tremendous to come back.”

Like Rupp, Hall stands out as one of the most versatile athletes in any elite field. She launched her professional career as a middle-distance specialist and steeplechaser while slowly migrating to the roads and, in 2015, to the marathon. She finished 10th in Chicago in 2015, ninth in New York in 2016, sixth in Tokyo in 2017, first in the California International Marathon in 2017 (her first U.S. title in the marathon), and third in Ottawa in 2018. But those achievements pale in comparison to what came next.

In 2020, Hall picked herself up from a disappointing DNF at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, refocused, and commenced her campaign to make history. She finished as the runner-up in 2:22:01 at the London Marathon last October (one of the only elite events in 2020), becoming the first American to finish in the top three in 14 years. Eleven weeks later - unconventional timing for a marathon runner - she competed in the Marathon Project, winning in a personal best, 2:20:32, while also inching closer to Kastor’s American record. Hall enters this year’s Chicago Marathon with a goal written on her bathroom mirror: “American Marathon record-holder.”

“I am excited to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon again,” said Hall. “It has been too long since I’ve been back, and when I thought about where I wanted to chase the American Record, I thought it would be more exciting to do it at home, in the U.S., and Chicago is such an epic race. I’m really excited to have my best marathon yet on U.S. soil.”

American marathon record holder and 2005 Chicago Marathon champion, Deena Kastor, is eager to watch Hall chase history.

“It’s exciting to see Sara go after the American record again,” said Kastor. “Her incredible fitness and joy of running makes this an opportunity worth fighting for. Chicago is certainly a great choice to be your best, so spectators can expect to witness some exciting performances on race day.”

The 43rd annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon will take place on Sunday, October 10.

(06/29/2021) Views: 193 ⚡AMP
by Business wire
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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 and more 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...

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Former University of Wisconsin athlete Alicia Monson qualifies for Olympics in the 10,000 m

Taking the lead in the fifth lap and never letting up, Emily Sisson won the 10,000 in 31:03.82 on June 26 at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials. Despite a start temperature of 85 degrees, Sisson broke the 17-year-old Trials record of 31:09.65, set by Deena Kastor in 2004.

Karissa Schweizer moved from third to second in the final lap, finishing in 31:16.52, and Alicia Monson claimed the third team spot in 31:18.55.

Monson, 23, who runs for On Athletics Club in Boulder, Colorado, also made her first Olympic team. She was wobbly in the final few laps, and after the medal ceremony, she collapsed and started vomiting and had to go to the hospital as a precaution, according to her coach, Dathan Ritzenhein.

“She’s the toughest person, the quietest, toughest person you could imagine,” he said. “I think she’s one of the next greats. She showed it today.”

Schweizer also qualified for the 5,000-meter squad on Monday, and she said she was exhausted in the day’s heat. It is unclear whether Schweizer plans to run both events in the the Olympics. If she gives up her 5,000-meter spot, Abbey Cooper will be named to that team. If she gives up her 10,000-meter spot, Niwot native Elise Cranny, fourth in 31:35.22, and Rachel Schneider, fifth in 31:42.92, are eligible to run the 10K in Tokyo.

Cranny and Schneider, however, are also already on the 5,000-meter team. So if Schweizer, Cranny, and Schneider all decide to skip the 10K, then Sara Hall, sixth in 31:54.50, will run the 10K in Tokyo.

(06/28/2021) Views: 157 ⚡AMP
by Colorado Runner
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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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Emily Sisson Secures First US Title & Olympic Berth with a 10K Masterpiece

EUGENE, Ore. — The spirit of Molly Huddle lives on. Last week, Huddle announced her withdrawal from the 2020 US Olympic Trials, her 36-year-old body no longer able to generate the speed or smoothness that had carried her to five straight US 10,000-meter titles and an American record. But on a sunny Saturday morning at Hayward Field (82 degrees in Eugene at start), Emily Sisson delivered a run her erstwhile training partner would have been proud of, methodically squeezing the life out of the women’s 10,000-meter field to win in a meet-record of 31:03.82 despite 86-degree temperatures.

Actually, we know Huddle was proud of the effort

A Huddle comparison is selling Sisson short, however. This was dominance at a level we are unaccustomed to seeing at an Olympic Trials, particularly in an event in which 13 women in the field entered with the 31:30 Olympic standard. Only seven Americans (including Sisson) have ever run faster than her 31:03.82 today, achieved in the morning sun and without the aid of pacemakers. Her 12.70-second margin of victory left her almost a full straightaway clear of runner-up Karissa Schweizer.

Sisson had sealed the victory by building a 30-meter lead with three laps to go and would only pick it up from there, going 71.47-71.25-69.26 to close out a 15:14.67 final 5k and 4:44.45 final 1600. Schweizer took second in 31:16.52 to make the Olympic team at a second distance (she also made it in the 5k on Monday), while Alicia Monson gave On Athletics Club another Olympian by taking third in 31:18.55.

The top five women in this race will all be running in Tokyo — the top three in the 10k and fourth- and fifth-placers Elise Cranny and Rachel Schneider in the 5k.

Sisson lapped everyone in the field save for the top seven. The last person she lapped — in the final 100 meters — was none other than 2016 Olympian and 2015 world championship bronze medallist Emily Infeld, who stuck with the lead pack for 6k.

The Race

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsYzi04MOQ4&feature=emb_title

The race had been shifted to a 10 a.m. start to avoid the hot weather (forecast to reach 100 degrees when this race would have originally been run at 6:44 p.m.), though the conditions were still hot and sunny when the gun was fired. Sisson took the lead just before two kilometers, dropping the pace from 78’s and 78’s to consistent 75’s, whittling the pack to 10 by 5k (15:49.15). Sisson would continue tightening the noose all the way home. She dropped the pace to 74’s just after halfway, which was enough to drop former New Mexico teammates and new US citizens Weini Kelati and Ednah Kurgat, as well as 2016 Olympian Infeld by four miles.

By 6800, Schneider, Hall, and 2012 Trials runner-up Natosha Rogers had been dropped as well, leaving a four-woman battle for three spots between Sisson, Cranny, Schweizer and Monson. After running consistent 74’s, Sisson let a 75 slip in for her 18th lap. From there, however, Sisson’s pacing was masterful: each of her final seven laps was faster than the one that preceded it. A 72.58 fifth-to-last lap gave her a 10-meter gap with a mile to go, and with 41 starters, it became hard to keep up with who was where as Sisson had been lapping multiple runners per lap. She would press on to win in dominant fashion, while Schweizer, who trailed Monson by 3.5 seconds at the bell, would use a big last lap (68.81, fastest in the field) to take second, with Monson safe in third, over 16 seconds up on Schweizer.

For the record, Schweizer said she plans on running both the 5k and 10k in Tokyo.

Quick Take: Total masterclass

Sisson has had some great performances in her career (she’s made two Worlds teams at 10k, won two USA road titles, and won two NCAA titles), but she had never had one like this.

Not only did she make her first Olympic team and win her first USATF track title, she put on a wonderful performance. She took the lead after the mile and never gave it up. She started clipping off 75-second laps (5:00/mile) through halfway. That whittled the lead pack down to 10. Then she upped the ante again, lowering the pace to roughly 74s through 8k. That made it a four-woman race for the three Olympic spots. Then she started running 72s or better and it was game over.

Quick Take: Redemption for Sisson, who used the extra year to her advantage

When we spoke to Sisson a month ago, she admitted that had the Trials been held as scheduled in 2020, she likely would not have been in contention to make the team. Her body felt broken after dropping out of the Olympic Marathon Trials on a brutal Atlanta course, and after a stellar 2:23 debut in London in 2019, she struggled to make sense of the result.

“Usually I’m good at moving on from bad races, but I struggled with that one,” Sisson.

It didn’t help that, after COVID postponed the Trials, there was nothing to move on to.

But eventually, Sisson was able to get back on track (she praised her husband, her former Providence College teammate Shane Quinn, for his support) and work back to incredible fitness. In December, she ran 67:26 to miss Huddle’s American record in the half marathon by one second, and she looked strong in her three track 5k’s this spring, running 14:55, 14:53, and 14:59. She had never broken 15 minutes prior to this year. Her plan today was to play to her strength and make it a fast race, as she knew she was in the best shape of her life.

“There were some workouts where I had to ask [my coach Ray Treacy] to repeat my splits, like what did I just run?” Sisson said.

QT: Alicia Monson pushed her body to the brink (and to the hospital) to make her first Olympic team

The newly-formed On Athletics Club (editor’s note: On Sponsored the Road to the Trials on LetsRun.com) got its second 10k Olympian at the Trials as Alicia Monson finished 3rd to make the team, joining teammate Joe Klecker who was 3rd in the men’s 10k on the first night of the Trials.

Coach Dathan Ritzenhein had been very bullish on Monson heading into the Trials, but how would she perform on the biggest stage and in the heat? Superbly well. While Monson was overtaken by Karissa Schweizer on the final lap, she was the last athlete to get broken by Sisson.

However, the effort really took its toll.

After the race, Monson did not look well. She eventually was resting in the shade in the bowels of the stadium, and was brought back out for an interview by NBC’s Lewis Johnson, where Schweizer helped support her. Monson said in the interview, “I have never gone to that point in a race before and I’ve always kind of wanted to. I think today was a good time to do that.”

Monson was able to go to the victory stand and do the award ceremony for the top 3, but the heat was still taking its toll.

Later as first reported by Sarah Lorge Butler, it was revealed that Monson collapsed after the medal ceremony and started vomiting and was taken to the hospital.

Ritzenhein told LetsRun he believes Monson will be okay, adding “she is just the toughest person I’ve ever met.” For anyone who remembers Ritzenhein’s all-out racing style, that is high praise indeed. Ritz even said she’d be available for an interview after she left the hospital. That definitely is a LetsRun.com first.

Quick Take: Sisson & Monson’s all-in bets pay off

When USATF switched the schedule to put the women’s 10k after the women’s 5k, athletes who qualified in both had a choice to make. If you thought your best shot to make the team was in the 10k, would you double — and perhaps wear yourself out with a heat and final in the 5k — or give yourself only one shot to make the team and focus on the 10k?

Both Sisson and Monson (and their coaches) felt their best shot was in the 10k and both decided to skip the 5k entirely. That paid off when both made the team today.

But both Schweizer and Cranny decided to attempt the double, and that decision worked out nicely for them as well, as Schweizer made the team in both events and Cranny was the US champ in the 5k. All four women are first-time Olympians.

Quick Take: Sara Hall’s Olympic dream is denied yet again, but she achieved her career-best Olympic Trials finish in 6th

Some great US runners over the years have failed to make an Olympic team. Chris Solinsky, the #2 US man ever at 5,000 and 10,000, never made an Olympic team, and Sara Hall, the 2nd-fastest US women’s marathoner ever at 2:20:32, may also end up with that label. Hall, 38, finished 6th in today’s race in 31:54.50, which was a career-best finish for her at the Olympic Trials.

Sara Hall at the Olympic Trials

2004 – 11th in 5000

2008 – 9th in 1500

2012 – 8th in steeple

2016 – DNF in marathon, 14th in 5000

2020 – DNF in marathon, 6th in 10,000

“I made all the right moves I needed to, I just didn’t have it. You know, those girls are really strong,” said Hall after the race. “Sisson, I’m really happy for her… I’m so happy she made the team, she’s so deserving… I respect all those women so much… I thought I had a shot at this team but at the same time that’s my highest Olympic Trials finish… I’m thankful I was able to do that today.”

Hall said she was rooting for her fellow marathoner Sisson — the US’s 8th fastest marathoner in history at 2:23:08 — to make the team.

“Emily’s run was so impressive, I didn’t doubt that she could do this… living in Phoenix, I’m pretty sure we’re all gonna wish we were living in Phoenix like she is… I was rooting for her so much because of the disappointment in Atlanta that was similar to mine,” said Hall, who said she’ll be announcing a fall marathon soon.

Saying Hall won’t make the team in 2024 may not be wise. The date for the 2024 marathon trials isn’t set yet, but they might be less than 2.5 years away and Hall is running better than ever. Bernard Lagat made an Olympic team at 41 in 2016. Hall will be 40 when the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials take place. Of course, the difference is Lagat had been on many teams before.

Regardless of whether she makes a team, Hall’s late-career transformation has been incredible. At the 2016 Trials, Hall had pbs of 32:44 for 10k and 2:30:06 for the marathon. Now her pbs are 31:21 and 2:20:32.

Quick Take: Sisson handled the heat like a pro

At the last Trials, Sisson said she was “pretty out of shape and I actually overheated.” She handled the heat with ease today. That may be because she lives in Phoenix, Arizona (although she hasn’t been there since March, spending her buildup in Flagstaff and then Providence).

She wore sunglasses during the race but they weren’t hers. She often runs with glasses in Phoenix but didn’t have any today, so she just borrowed her husband’s pair before the race.

Quick Take: Emily Durgin has a strong run in 9th

The top 8 spots were all filled by people with the Olympic standard of 31:25. The first person without the standard was 9th placer Emily Durgin of Under Armour. No one in today’s race ran a PB, but Durgin came the closest. When her collegiate career at UConn came to an end in 2017, she had pbs of 16:00.93/33:49. Now she’s improved them to 15:24/32:22 and she ran 32:25 for 9th.

(06/27/2021) Views: 126 ⚡AMP
by Let’s Run
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Sara Hall wins New York Mini 10k in Central Park

Sara Hall completed the New York Mini 10K with the fastest time by an American in the history of the women-only event. 

Sara Hall won her second consecutive title at the Mastercard New York Mini 10K on Saturday, finishing the Central Park race in 31 minutes, 33 seconds. It was the fastest time by an American in the 49-year history of the women-only event.

Hall broke away from her nearest challengers late, holding off the Kenyan duo of Violah Cheptoo by six seconds and Monicah Ngige by 26.

“It feels so good to be back out here racing in New York City and have a real road race,” Hall said. “I’ve been looking forward to this so much. This is the momentum I needed for Olympic trials in two weeks.”

Lindsay Flanagan (32:09), U.S. Olympic marathoner Molly Seidel (32:13), and former New York City Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat (32:20) completed the top six.

Susannah Scaroni won her third straight event title in the wheelchair division, finishing in 22:44. Scaroni sprinted out early and cruised to victory ahead of flying to the U.S. Paralympic trials.

Five-time New York City Marathon champion Tatyana McFadden (25:22) was second for the third consecutive time and Yen Hoang (26:11), a college teammate of Scaroni and McFadden at Illinois, rounded out the podium.

There were about 3,000 runners in the field, the first regularly scheduled New York Road Runners race since the pandemic began.

(06/13/2021) Views: 118 ⚡AMP
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Molly Seidel, Molly Huddle, Des Linden, Edna Kiplagat and Sara Hall, to Headline Mastercard New York Mini 10K on June 12

The 2021 Mastercard New York Mini 10K, the world’s original women-only road race, will feature the return of professional athletes to NYRR races for the first time since 2019. The all-star lineup on Saturday, June 12 will include U.S. Olympians Molly Seidel, Molly Huddle and Des Linden and past Mini 10K champions Sara Hall, Edna Kiplagat (and Huddle) in the open division, and two-time defending champion Susannah Scaroni and five-time TCS New York City Marathon champion Tatyana McFadden in the wheelchair division.

Seidel was the runner-up at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, running 2:27:31 in her first-ever marathon to secure a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. She finished in sixth place at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon and is also a four-time NCAA champion. This will mark her third race appearance in New York; she won the 2017 NYRR Midnight Run and finished as runner-up at the 2017 USATF 5 km Championships.

“Although it’s my first time running the Mini, I’m well-aware of the race’s significance as the first-ever road race just for women,” Seidel said. “I’m excited that this is another step forward in returning to mass-participation and elite running, especially in a place as important to road racing as New York City. Personally, this race is a great opportunity to come down from the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona, and test my legs as I prepare for the Olympic Games marathon in August.”

Linden won the Boston Marathon in 2018 and is a two-time U.S. Olympian in the distance, and she just missed out on a third Olympic Games appearance after placing fourth at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials last year. To kick off 2021, she ran a 2:59:54 in the 50K, a new world best for the distance.

Huddle is a two-time Olympian, having run the 5,000 meters at the London 2012 Games and setting the 10,000-meter American record at the Rio 2016 Games. In New York, she won the 2014 Mini 10K and is a three-time champion of the United Airlines NYC Half. She made her marathon debut at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, taking third place as the top American.

Hall, whose participation was announced last month, won the event in 2019 in 32:27 in a race that doubled as the USATF 10 km Championships. She has eight national titles to her name and was runner-up (2:22:01) at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon last October and then in December clocked the second-fastest marathon ever by an American woman (2:20:32) at The Marathon Project in Chandler, Ariz.

Kiplagat has a storied history in New York, having won her New York City Marathon debut in 2010 and followed that with a second-place finish in the 2011 NYC Half and a victory in the 2012 Mini 10K. Outside of New York, she has won the World Championships Marathon in 2011 and 2013, the London Marathon in 2012, and the Boston Marathon in 2017.

“I am excited to return to the Mini 10K for the fifth time,” Kiplagat said. “It is a special feeling to stand on that starting line and feel the support of not only the women running with you, but all of the women who came before you. It is a very special race and I’m happy to be going back to New York City.”

In Central Park, they will be challenged by a number of athletes competing in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials later in June, including Laura Thweatt, Emma Bates, Lindsay Flanagan, Maggie Montoya and Emily Durgin. 

The event will also feature a professional wheelchair division for the third time, making it the only all-women professional wheelchair race in the world. U.S. Paralympian Scaroni is the two-time defending champion in the wheelchair division, having raced world-best 10K times in both of her victories, including a 22:22 in 2019. She followed that performance by setting an American best in the marathon of 1:30:42 to win the 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, and then took third place at the TCS New York City Marathon that fall. Scaroni will once again line up against five-time New York City Marathon champion and 17-time Paralympic medalist McFadden, who is in search of her first Mini 10K title.

“The Mini 10K always means so much to me because the feeling of being on that line surrounded by so many women reminds me of how big of a celebration road racing is for the human spirit,” Scaroni said. “This year raises even more emotions – the opportunity to again unite with one another highlights the beauty of road racing and its ability to continuously bring us together through adversity.”

 To mitigate the risk of spread of COVID-19, the professional athletes taking part will be in a controlled environment. The field will be required to provide proof of a full vaccination series or negative COVID-19 test before traveling to New York and will undergo daily COVID-19 testing and tracing while in New York for the race. There will be a separation of the pro field and general field at the start, no guests will be allowed to accompany the athletes, and they will be required to wear masks at the start and finish areas. Additionally, there will be an elimination of touchpoints, including no large gatherings or in-person meetings until race morning.

(05/25/2021) Views: 315 ⚡AMP
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New York Mini 10K

New York Mini 10K

Join us for the NYRR New York Mini 10K, a race just for women. This race was made for you! It’s the world’s original women-only road race, founded in 1972 and named for the miniskirt, and it empowers women of all ages and fitness levels to be active and to look and feel great on the run. Every woman who...

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Sara Hall, Eliud Kipchoge among runners chosen for Sports Illustrated's Fittest 50 honours

Sports Illustrated has released its Fittest 50 list, and as usual, multiple runners were included. The Fittest 50 is SI‘s attempt to list the fittest men and women in the world, looking at athletes from any and all sports. This year, nine runners were selected, with six of the 25 women and three of the 25 men coming from the track, trails or road. Here’s a breakdown of where each individual placed and why the SI panel (which included Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic) chose them.

The women

Running was the sport with the most women included in the top 25, and the six athletes chosen was double the three chosen from MMA, which was the sport with the next-most number of selections. American marathoner Sara Hall is #24, and with her performances in the past year, it comes as no surprise to see her on this list. The SI team notes how Hall overcame the disappointment of missing out on the Tokyo Olympics and ended up running two huge marathon PBs, first at the London Marathon (where she finished in second in 2:22:01) and then with her win at The Marathon Project, where her 2:20:32 finish was the second-fastest marathon in U.S. history.

Up next is Dalilah Muhammad at #16. SI refers to Muhammad as the “queen of the 400-metre hurdles,” a title she has owned since her gold medal in the event at the 2016 Olympics. Since then, she has broken the world record on multiple occasions (her current record stands at 52.16 seconds, a time that won her the gold medal at the 2019 world championships), and she is now a heavy favourite to win gold in Tokyo this summer.

American ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter comes in at #14, and her remarkable result from Big’s Backyard Ultra in 2020 is listed as a big reason for that. Dauwalter won the American title at the event, running 455K. Just ahead of Dauwalter at #13 is American track and field star Tianna Bartoletta. Bartoletta is truly a track and field standout, as she has won Olympic and world medals in both sprints and jumps. In London in 2012, she won Olympic gold as part of the U.S. women’s 4 x 100m relay team. She and the squad defended that title in Rio four years later, and she added an individual gold medal in the long jump.

Emma Coburn is #10 on the list, coming in ahead of tennis star Serena Williams. SI lists Coburn’s multiple steeplechase medals, from her bronze in Rio to her gold and silver at the 2017 and 2019 world championships, and it’s noted that she has the potential to break the American 3K steeplechase record of 9:00.85 later this year. Finally, coming in at #6 on the list is Shaunae Miller-Uibo. The Bahamian sprinter is the defending 400m Olympic gold medallist, and she could also be a threat in the 200m in Tokyo.

The men

Unlike on the women’s list, running didn’t win for the most men selected in the top 25 (American football had four athletes and basketball had three), but three athletes still made the elite list. American ultrarunning sensation Jim Walmsley was included at #24, and he is extremely deserving of this honour. Firstly, as noted in the SI piece, he competed at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2020, going out of his comfort zone and running 42.2K instead of his preferred ultra distances of 100K or 100 miles. He finished in 2:15:05, earning him 22nd place in his debut marathon. He then kicked off 2021 with an amazing 100K run in Arizona, where he finished in 6:09:26, breaking the American record and finishing just 12 seconds off the world best.

Next up is Eliud Kipchoge at #20. While Kipchoge had the worst marathon of his career at the London Marathon in October 2020, there’s no denying that he’s still one of the best road runners in the world. He’s the world record holder in the marathon and he is the only human to run under two hours in the event, making him a favourite to win gold in Tokyo this summer.

Finally, breaking into the top 10 is Noah Lyles at #9. Lyles is the reigning 200m world champion, and he owns a PB of 19.50 in the event. He’s a heavy favourite to take gold in Tokyo, and he might even compete in the 100m. Add all this together and he’s a clear choice for SI‘s Fittest 50 list.

(05/15/2021) Views: 170 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Eliud Kipchoge and Sara Hall, among runners chosen for Sports Illustrated’s Fittest 50 honors

Sports Illustrated has released its Fittest 50 list, and as usual, multiple runners were included. The Fittest 50 is SI‘s attempt to list the fittest men and women in the world, looking at athletes from any and all sports. This year, nine runners were selected, with six of the 25 women and three of the 25 men coming from the track, trails or road. Here’s a breakdown of where each individual placed and why the SI panel (which included Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic) chose them.

Running was the sport with the most women included in the top 25, and the six athletes chosen was double the three chosen from MMA, which was the sport with the next-most number of selections. American marathoner Sara Hall is #24, and with her performances in the past year, it comes as no surprise to see her on this list. The SI team notes how Hall overcame the disappointment of missing out on the Tokyo Olympics and ended up running two huge marathon PBs, first at the London Marathon (where she finished in second in 2:22:01) and then with her win at The Marathon Project, where her 2:20:32 finish was the second-fastest marathon in U.S. history.

Up next is Dalilah Muhammad at #16. SI refers to Muhammad as the “queen of the 400-meter hurdles,” a title she has owned since her gold medal in the event at the 2016 Olympics. Since then, she has broken the world record on multiple occasions (her current record stands at 52.16 seconds, a time that won her the gold medal at the 2019 world championships), and she is now a heavy favorite to win gold in Tokyo this summer. 

American ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter comes in at #14, and her remarkable result from Big’s Backyard Ultra in 2020 is listed as a big reason for that. Dauwalter won the American title at the event, running 455K. Just ahead of Dauwalter at #13 is American track and field star Tianna Bartoletta. Bartoletta is truly a track and field standout, as she has won Olympic and world medals in both sprints and jumps. In London in 2012, she won Olympic gold as part of the U.S. women’s 4 x 100m relay team. She and the squad defended that title in Rio four years later, and she added an individual gold medal in the long jump. 

Emma Coburn is #10 on the list, coming in ahead of tennis star Serena Williams.

Unlike on the women’s list, running didn’t win for the most men selected in the top 25 (American football had four athletes and basketball had three), but three athletes still made the elite list. American ultrarunning sensation Jim Walmsley was included at #24, and he is extremely deserving of this honor. Firstly, as noted in the SI piece, he competed at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2020, going out of his comfort zone and running 42.2K instead of his preferred ultra distances of 100K or 100 miles. He finished in 2:15:05, earning him 22nd place in his debut marathon. He then kicked off 2021 with an amazing 100K run in Arizona, where he finished in 6:09:26, breaking the American record and finishing just 12 seconds off the world best. 

Next up is Eliud Kipchoge at #20. While Kipchoge had the worst marathon of his career at the London Marathon in October 2020, there’s no denying that he’s still one of the best road runners in the world. He’s the world record holder in the marathon and he is the only human to run under two hours in the event, making him a favorite to win gold in Tokyo this summer. 

Finally, breaking into the top 10 is Noah Lyles at #9. Lyles is the reigning 200m world champion, and he owns a PB of 19.50 in the event. He’s a heavy favourite to take gold in Tokyo, and he might even compete in the 100m. Add all this together and he’s a clear choice for SI‘s Fittest 50 list.

(05/10/2021) Views: 347 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Sara Hall will aim to defend her Mini 10K title as professional athletes return to NYRR races for the first time since 2019 due to pandemic

The 2021 Mastercard New York Mini 10K, the world’s original women-only road race, is expected to host approximately 1,200 runners on Saturday, June 12, including the return of professional athletes to New York Road Runners races for the first time since 2019. It will be the first regularly scheduled and largest NYRR race to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic began and will follow comprehensive health and safety guidelines and procedures.

“We are thrilled to be bringing back the Mastercard New York Mini 10K and our professional athletes for a race that has inspired and empowered women in the running community and beyond for nearly 50 years,” said NYRR interim CEO Kerin Hempel. “NYRR will ensure a smooth and safe experience for all involved in the event through the health and safety guidelines we have developed with the City of New York and medical experts.”

The event, taking place in Central Park, will operate under NYRR’s Return to Racing guidelines. Health and safety procedures were developed under the guidance of public health officials and medical experts and in partnership with the City of New York and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. As part of NYRR’s commitment to health and safety, guidelines for the general runner field will include masks, temperature checks, increased and staggered starts, self-hydration options, hand sanitation stations, and limited race amenities to uphold adherence to social distancing. Race registration for the general public will open on April 22.

Sara Hall will headline the professional athlete field, looking to defend her title from 2019, when she finished first in a time of 32:27 in a race that doubled as the USATF 10 km Championships. Hall, who has eight national titles to her name, was runner-up (2:22:01) at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon last October and then in December clocked the second-fastest marathon ever by an American woman (2:20:32) at The Marathon Project in Chandler, Ariz. The year prior, she was the top American finisher and fifth overall (2:22:16) at the Berlin Marathon. Hall is the only athlete in history to have won the Mini 10K, the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, and the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K in New York.

“The Mini is such a great celebration of women, history, and running, and it was an honor to add my name to the winners’ list in 2019,” Hall said. “It’s been such a groundbreaking race in so many ways, so it seems fitting that it will be one of the first big events in New York City since the pandemic began. I’ve been really lucky to benefit from some cool new race opportunities over the last year, and it’s exciting to see the return of established and historic events like the Mini.”

The professional athletes taking part will be in a controlled environment. The field will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before traveling to New York and will undergo daily COVID-19 testing and tracing while in New York for the race. There will be a separation of the pro field and general field at the start, no guests will be allowed to accompany the athletes, and they will be required to wear masks at the start and finish. Additionally, there will be an elimination of touchpoints, including no large gatherings or in-person meetings until race morning.

The full professional athlete field – both the open division and wheelchair division – will be announced closer to the race; the event is the only all-women professional wheelchair race in the world.

The Girls’ Run at the Mastercard New York Mini 10K, a 1-mile race for girls ages 12-18, will follow the adult race, and there will also be a Virtual Mastercard New York Mini 10K, which runners can participate in from anywhere in the world from June 12-20.

Mastercard will serve as title sponsor of the event for the first time after becoming NYRR’s newest foundation partner in 2020. As part of its long-term partnership with NYRR, Mastercard will also serve as the presenting sponsor of professional women’s athlete fields at NYRR events and provide support to NYRR’s Run for the Future program.

“The New York Mini 10K is a momentous symbol of the perseverance and dedication shared by women all around the New York running community," said Cheryl Guerin, Executive Vice President of North America Marketing & Communications at Mastercard. "We are proud to partner with New York Road Runners on bringing this special race back and inspiring all New Yorkers to prioritize their health, wellness and exercise in their daily lives.”

From those who led the way 49 years ago, such as legends Kathrine Switzer and Nina Kuscsik and the event’s inaugural champion Jacqueline (Marsh) Dixon, to the more than 200,000 women who have finished the race since 1972, the Mini 10K has served as one of the most impactful women’s races in running history.  

The event was founded as the world’s original women-only road race in 1972, and was first called the six-mile Crazylegs Mini Marathon. The Mini 10K got its current name when race founder Fred Lebow convinced the sponsor to support a six-mile “mini” marathon—named for the miniskirt, a big fashion trend of the times. Seventy-two women finished that first race, which helped show that women deserved to run in road races as much as their male counterparts. Three weeks later, Title IX was signed into law, guaranteeing women the right to participate in school sports and creating new opportunities for female athletes. The International Olympic Committee added the women’s marathon to the Olympic program for the first time at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, a decision sparked by the growth of women’s road racing, which was led by the success of the Mini.

(04/29/2021) Views: 267 ⚡AMP
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New York Mini 10K

New York Mini 10K

Join us for the NYRR New York Mini 10K, a race just for women. This race was made for you! It’s the world’s original women-only road race, founded in 1972 and named for the miniskirt, and it empowers women of all ages and fitness levels to be active and to look and feel great on the run. Every woman who...

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Sara Hall, motivated by motherhood and marathons

For athletics fans, Sara Hall is probably best known for her stunning marathon performances of 2020: the finishing kick to end all finishing kicks in London, where after 26 miles of hard running in the miserably grey and cold rain, she unleashed a stunning sprint gear, and hurtled past world champion Ruth Chepngetich to finish second. It was so impressive it achieved the ultimate 2020 accolade of becoming a meme. Then, just a few months later, there was her brilliant performance at the Marathon Project in Arizona, clocking another PB of 2:20:32 for the win and to become the second fastest marathon runner in US history.

But if all this was an unexpected late career renaissance for Hall, and an astonishing turnaround after the heartbreak of a DNF in the Olympic marathon trials, her personal story might be even more extraordinary. In October 2015 she and her husband Ryan went to bed one night as a couple, and woke up part of a family of six. The couple had adopted four Ethiopian sisters: Hana (15), Mia (13), Jasmine (8) and Lily (5) and brought them back to their home in the US.

“It was kind of surreal,” says Hall. “I felt like I was acting in a sitcom, playing the part of a suburban mom. All of a sudden I was driving them to school in our big old family car.” Of course, in reality the process was actually far from sudden – the couple had long had associations with Ethiopia, with many friends in the country, and had always enjoyed training there. Even once they had made the decision to adopt in Ethiopia and met the girls, they took their time. “We spent a lot of time in Ethiopia training, and we would visit the girls during that time. So we'd built a lot of trust with them and really got to know them. I think that really helped everyone's adjustment, but it was a surreal time for sure.”

For their daughters, the culture shock of moving to the US must have been huge. “They didn’t know any English when we met,” agrees Hall. “I learned their language – Amharic – and we were teaching them English in the orphanage on our visits. But when we put them in school in the US we didn't know if that would even work because they'd never been to school before. My 15-year-old was starting eighth grade having never been to school for a day in her life. But she – they all – just immersed themselves in it and I think that really helped them.”

In fact, for those who like to ponder the effects of nature vs nature, Hall’s eldest daughter Hanna is quite the study. Now a freshman at Grand Canyon University in Arizona, she is a three-time state champion and clearly a prodigious talent. Her sister Mia has also recently started running more seriously, and the girls both now join Sara for runs. Yet when the Halls first met their daughters, none ran so much as a single step. The orphanage where they had lived for three years was their entire world, and though they were cared for, opportunities for sport were non-existent.

“They definitely knew of their country’s running heroes, though,” recalls Hall. “They had seen some races on TV and when we told Hana that we were both runners, she said: ‘Oh I want to be a runner!’ That was cool because otherwise I think I would have wondered if it was, you know, kids trying to get their parents approval by doing the things they love.”

Of course, with a pedigree like Hall’s – not to mention husband Ryan’s 59:43 US record-holding half-marathon and 2:04:58 marathon – the girls clearly have big running shoes to fill. And, as with many parents, finding the right line between pushing and easing off has been tricky for the Halls.

“I think I’m still figuring that out, and I like to talk to other people whose parents ran, about their experiences,” she says. “When you see a kid has a talent, you want to be able to communicate to them: ‘Look, if you want to be good at this, you could be’, but also kind of leave it up to them, too. I think distance running takes a lot of internal drive to be good at it, and I think for me, that always came from within. I’ve always felt like if they have that fire, I will fan that flame – but I want to see their own fire for it first.”

Her two youngest daughters have yet to find what fuels their own fires, and that is absolutely fine with Hall. “There’s lots of different reasons to do sports, like just for fun,” she says. “Jasmine, who is 13, did cross country for two seasons and was undefeated, but was very much just seeing it as fun and hasn’t run for the last couple of years. I started myself in basketball and soccer and I think that’s actually a better way to become a good runner anyway, to do those sports early on. There’s just not as much pressure with team sports, and you learn teamwork.

“Typically, the professional athlete, everything’s kind of revolving around you – you’re eating, and sleeping, and training, and everything outside of training is all about rest, minimising energy expenditure at all costs,” muses Hall. “But then you become a parent and that's out the window. You can't just go into energy conserve mode – you're constantly tuning in with them and like, and seeing what they're needing.” Little surprise, then, that when the couple initially adopted the girls, Hall expected it to signal the end of her top-flight career.

Instead, that, and the move up to the marathon distance, seems to have revitalised it. So, did her new family life actually prove a new source of fuel for that fire? She laughs: “I think I’ve been able to improve despite it, definitely not because of it! It’s been difficult. That’s why I share stuff, because I think on the outside it could look like it’s been really easy but it hasn’t, by any means.

“I never thought I would want to do this with kids, just be torn in different directions. Having talked to other families who had adopted older kids, they’d all had a really difficult road, really life-altering for the family. And I was willing for these kids, willing to walk that road with them, do what they needed to heal from the trauma they've been through. But it turned out that wasn't really the case with them, they have just handled everything really remarkably so far. So it allowed me to continue to do what I'm doing”.

And that, these days, is quite definitely 26.2 miles, as fast as she can. “I’ve just loved marathon training. I think I should have been doing this a long time ago,” says Hall. “I just found my body had a lot of room to grow my aerobic capacity. Each build-up I'm able to add in more and absorb it better and so even though I'm getting older, I feel like I'm kind of young as far as the marathon goes. Maybe starting the marathon later just allowed me to have more mileage in my tyres.”

These days, Hall also has to contend with nerves from her daughters’ races as well as her own. Fortunately, she says she doesn’t suffer too badly for them. “But I do get really excited,” she adds. “I’m sprinting around the course trying to cheer for them 20 times!” But it’s important to Hall that her daughters also learn how to fail – and see her do it, too. “I think it’s really powerful for them to see me do something that makes me come alive – and see me fail and pick myself back up again after the biggest failure of my career – and train through a pandemic and then have the best race of my career. That’s the kind of stuff you want to instil in your kids and they learn more through watching you than from what you say.”

The girls certainly have two incredible role models to watch at home. And while she may not be at the Olympics, Hall’s marathon journey is far from over, she confirms. “I think I have some unfinished business there,” she says, “and I'm really looking forward to having some World Marathon Majors back in their normal glory, with the whole field.”

And if she can kick like she did in London on a miserable day with an elite-only field and no spectators, then surely with fair conditions, and the cheers of the crowd behind her, a sub-2:20 and that US record is well within her grasp.

(03/14/2021) Views: 281 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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3 Key Reasons Why Records Keep Getting Broken in 2021

It’s not just the shoes. But they certainly help.

The times have been spectacular across the globe.

In Europe, four men broke the previous world half marathon record in December in Valencia, Spain. Earlier this month, Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia set a world record for the indoor 1500 meters on February 9, running 3:53.09 at a meet in Liévin, France.

Closer to home, Americans Sara Hall, Keira D’Amato, Martin Hehir, and Noah Droddy reshuffled the list of top 10 Americans in the marathon. 

On the track, Donavan Brazier, Bryce Hoppel, Elle Purrier, and Grant Holloway have set American or world records. 

High school and college athletes are in on the action, too. Hobbs Kessler set the high school indoor mile record with his 3:57.66, and Cooper Teare of the University of Oregon took almost 2 seconds off the collegiate mile record when he ran 3:50.39. Athing Mu at Texas A&M, who was thought to be an 800-meter runner, has been turning in world-class 400-meter splits and anchored her teammates to a collegiate record in the 4x400 meters. 

What’s going on with all these fast times? Yes, there is new shoe technology, but it goes well beyond that for these record-shattering runners.

Shoe technology that changed road racing is now changing track racing

Back in 2017, when Eliud Kipchoge attempted for the first time to break two hours in the marathon on a racetrack in Monza, Italy, he wore a new type of shoe from Nike, the Zoom Vaporfly Elite. The shoes promised a 4 percent efficiency benefit, through a combination of a new type of foam, which was lighter and more responsive than previous foams, and a stiff carbon fiber plate to stabilize the foam and move the foot as it pushes off the ground.

Nike’s innovative design has evolved since 2017 and has been emulated, with varying degrees of success, by other shoe brands, like Saucony and Adidas. Now the same technology—better foam with a stiff plate inside—has moved into track spikes, said Geoff Burns, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan who is researching biomechanics and sport performance.

“The absolute effect may be a little bit smaller,” he said. “But because of the controlled environment and frequency of racing on a track, it’s much more apparent.”

Burns said that although Nike’s competitors are closing the gap, he hesitates to say that they’ve caught up. He praises Adidas and Saucony road shoes, and Adidas and New Balance for track spikes. “But if I were getting on a starting line, for a marathon or a track race, I would be in the Nike shoes,” he said. 

Races are set up in near-perfect conditions

With the pandemic, the traditional lineup of road races and track meets has gone out the window, as race organizers have grappled with how to stage events safely. 

In their place, pro runners, needing to race, have turned to time trials. And many of these are set up according to exact specifications. 

Take The Ten, a track meet on February 20 in San Juan Capistrano, California. In two 10,000-meter track races, athletes—almost exclusively from the Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Oregon—were paced to try to get the Olympic standard in the event, which is 27:28 for men and 31:25 for women. 

In the women’s race, Vanessa Fraser and Courtney Frerichs (the American record holder in the steeplechase), set a perfect pace, running 74- or 75-second laps. Fraser led for the first two miles, Frerichs took over and set the pace through four miles, 16 of the 25 laps. Her teammates could turn off their brains and follow behind. In the end, Elise Cranny won in 30:47 and five women hit the standard, four from Bowerman plus Eilish McColgan of Great Britain. The results of the men’s race were similar: Evan Jager and Sean McGorty paced, Marc Scott won in 27:10, and five runners achieved the Olympic standard. 

“We are fortunate to have [teammates] who can pace a race for three or four miles,” said Marielle Hall, a Bowerman runner who finished fifth in 31:21. “That doesn’t happen that often. We’re pretty lucky.” 

The Marathon Project, on December 20 in Chandler, Arizona, was similar in some ways. Organizers picked a perfectly flat U-shaped loop. Runners went up one side of a 2.1-mile stretch of road and back down the other. Pacers for the top men and women kept a steady pace through 18 miles. In the end, Martin Hehir ran 2:08:59, and Sara Hall ran 2:20:32. Hehir is now eighth on the list of fastest U.S. marathoners; Hall is second among women.

Athletes have benefited from long training blocks—and now they’re itching to race

In a typical season, many college runners race too frequently. They compete in three seasons—cross country, indoor and outdoor track. They might travel the country every other week, chasing top-level competition and in track, qualifying marks for nationals. 

But that’s not the case this year. Last March, just as the pandemic was spreading across the country, the NCAA canceled indoor nationals. (Many athletes were already at the meet.) The outdoor season was quickly called off, and the cross-country season, which was supposed to happen in the fall of 2020, was pushed to winter. 

The result? College runners have had long blocks of uninterrupted training time with little or no racing outside of team time trials. They’re eager to race again, and they’re reaping the benefits of the extended period of training. 

Pros, too, may have benefitted from less racing than usual. And many have the feeling that finally, now that racing is back in some form, it’s time to run fast, especially in the buildup to the Olympic Trials. “The pent-up demand to have races — that definitely has something to do with it,” said Mark Coogan, coach of Team New Balance Boston, who coached Elle Purrier to a 9:10.28 American record in the two mile on February 13.

In a sense, track athletes have been forced to train as marathoners do, with long blocks of dedicated training toward one event, Burns said. “I think there could be enormous gains to track and field performances by taking the same approach: Hunker down and focus.” 

Marielle Hall said that training and limited racing through the pandemic has been “all been just one giant experiment.” Bowerman workouts, designed by head coach Jerry Schumacher, are getting harder. Splits they aim for during interval workouts are faster. They do more reps. “Those kinds of things are constantly evolving, changing to fit people’s new fitness level,” she said. “It looks a lot more effortless than it is.” 

 

(02/28/2021) Views: 271 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Sally kipyego is focused on winning a medal in the Olympic marathon

After the 2020 Olympics were postponed last March because of Covid-19, US Olympic marathoner Sally Kipyego and her coach Mark Rowland decided to take a laid back approach to the rest of 2020 with the hope that Kipyego’s body would feel refreshed when she resumed training in earnest last fall. The time is coming, however, to return to competition.

Kipyego was scheduled to race last week for the first time since she made Team USA at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2020. But the race she was planning on running, the RAK Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates, was cancelled. Instead, she has a 15K planned for March (Kipyego could not officially announce it, but the logical assumption is she means the USATF 15K champs in Jacksonville on March 20) and a 10,000 on the track in April, where she hopes to hit the qualifying standard for the 2022 Worlds in Eugene. After that, she will shift to marathon mode and focus on building up for the Olympics.

And Kipyego is dreaming big. And for good reason. Kipyego is the only member of the US women’s marathon squad with an Olympic medal, having earned a silver in the 10,000 in London in 2012 for her native Kenya, and believes she is capable of taking home another one this summer.

“I feel like if I get good consistent training — which I have been able to do the last one-and-a-half years — proper training, I think I’ll have a chance of medaling,” Kipyego says. “That is really the objective for this season for me, is to be able to medal.”

Some may think that is an ambitious goal for a 2:25 marathoner who was only third at the US Olympic Trials. After all, it has been over five years — when she was 5th in the 10,000 at the 2015 Worlds — since Kipyego has been competitive in a global championship. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

For one, Kipyego, who at 35 is two years younger than Sara Hall, feels she has yet to demonstrate her full potential at 26.2 miles, going so far as to say, “I haven’t really quite gotten a good marathon in.” Kipyego was second in the first marathon she finished, running 2:28:01 in New York in November 2016, but she was way back of winner Mary Keitany who ran 2:24:26. Shen then missed all of 2017 after giving birth to daughter Emma, and it took her longer than expected to get back to top form after her pregnancy.

It was not until the fall of 2019, when she ran 2:25:10 in Berlin, that the world began to catch a glimpse of the Kipyego of old, and she is confident in the training she has stacked together since then. But that still leaves a second problem: can Kipyego possibly get into medal shape given the current state of women’s marathoning? Of the seven fastest women in history, five have set their personal bests (all 2:17:45 or faster) since the start of 2019, led by Brigid Kosgei‘s 2:14:04 world record in Chicago.

“We’re talking about championships,” Kipyego says. “When it comes to championships, they’re not the same as major marathons, for example. You can still be competitive in a championship because you’re not running 2:14 or 2:12 marathon pace. If the race is being run at 2:20, most of us can be able to put themselves there. So I believe that if I can get — and I’m trying to get myself into — 2:20 or sub-2:20 shape going into Tokyo, and I think if I am in that kind of shape, my chances are pretty good at medaling.”

 

(02/26/2021) Views: 240 ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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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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5000m champion Hellen Obiri added to Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon line-up

Obiri, who won world titles at 5000m and cross country in 2019, will be making her half marathon debut. The Kenyan has limited road running experience, but her few outings to date have been promising; she clocked 29:59 for 10km on Madrid’s downhill course at the end of 2018.

World half marathon silver medallist Melat Kejeta of Germany and world marathon bronze medallist Helalia Johannes are the other recent top additions to the field, and they will face a formidable line-up of stars, as previously announced by the organisers.

World marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich, who recently set a half marathon PB of 1:05:06, will make her Ras Al Khaimah debut. Peres Jepchirchir, who won the world half marathon title last October in a women-only world record of 1:05:16, will return to the scene of her 2017 triumph when she set a world record of 1:05:06.

The three fastest women in history – world record-holder Ababel Yeshaneh, Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw and marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei – will also line up in Ras Al Khaimah.

Yeshaneh and Kosgei have clashed twice to date, both races resulting in world records. Their first duel came at the 2019 Chicago Marathon, which Kosgei won in a world record of 2:14:04 while Yeshaneh placed second in 2:20:51. Just four months later, Yeshaneh levelled the score by winning in Ras Al Khaimah in a world record of 1:04:31. Kosgei was runner-up in 1:04:49, the second-fastest time in history.

Yehualaw, meanwhile, finished third at the recent World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, just a few seconds behind Jepchirchir. Six weeks later, she won the New Delhi Half Marathon in 1:04:46, the second-fastest time in history.

USA’s Sara Hall, who placed second at this year’s London Marathon, and South Africa’s Gerda Steyn are also in the field.

(01/26/2021) Views: 357 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

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

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Calum Neff ran faster than any other Canadian has over 50K, but Neff says he knows he can do better

Texas-based Canadian Calum Neff ran a 50K race in Houston over the weekend, posting a national record time of 2:51:27. He says he has had his eye on the Canadian record, which previously belonged to Andy Jones at 2:53:20 (a result that he ran at the same park in Houston where Neff ran on Sunday), for a couple of years.

After a failed record attempt in 2019, he had no trouble beating Jones’s time on Sunday, running to his first national record. 

Neff´s  previous 50K record attempt came at the 2019 50K world championships in Romania. “We unfortunately had a bit tougher of a course in Romania than I did in Houston,” Neff says. “There was some more elevation and it was very humid.” He fell well short of Jones’s record that day, although he managed to grab a 16th-place finish in a PB time of 2:57:58.

Even though Neff was four minutes off the record that day, he says he still believed it was within his reach.

Neff says his confidence grew even more after pacing Sara Hall at The Marathon Project in December. He helped Hall to a 2:20:32 finish (the second-fastest marathon ever run by an American) before crossing the line himself in 2:20:37, a PB of his own. “Having seen my marathon time come down, it all just lined up,” Neff says.

“After I paced Sara, I knew that day I could’ve gone another five miles and been under record pace.” 

while his felt as fit as ever, there was one glaring problem: Neff had nowhere to race. Refusing to let that stop him, he organized his own event, which was a new experience for him. “I’ve put on kids’ cross-country and track meets, but this was the first actual event I’ve race directed,” Neff says. Ensuring that the course was record eligible, he got it officially measured and certified by the USATF, and he was joined by about 20 other athletes (many of whom he coaches) on race day as well. 

The course followed a roughly 5K figure-eight loop that featured about one metre of elevation gain. “It was pancake flat and fast,” Neff says — much more ideal than the course in Romania. Feeling fit and ready to run, he says he was hoping to go a bit faster on Sunday, but he’s far from disappointed in his time. “I had targeted that sub-2:50 range, but I was just a little bit off my sharpness that I needed,” he says. “Still, I was able to take six minutes off my own PR and have one of those days.” 

After he crossed the line in record breaking, fashion, Neff stuck around to cheer on the other runners as they pushed for the tape. “As a coach to half of the athletes running, that was really special to have my finish happen then to turn around to watch my athletes finish.” Neff says several men he coaches ran under three hours for the first time, and multiple women ran times that qualified them for the American 50K team. “The U.S. mark is 3:33 for 50K. Two women went 3:19, one went 3:24 and another ran 3:25.”

He doesn’t have specific plans, and as much as he wants to race, he isn’t too eager to travel right now. With nothing set in stone, he says he does know that he wants to lower his record and break the 2:50 barrier in the 50K and run sub-2:20 in the marathon. “For now, I’ll just continue to focus on domestic races here in the U.S.,” he says. “Then play it by ear and see what opportunities come up in the future.” 

(01/20/2021) Views: 214 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Sarah Hall ran the second fastest time for the marathon at the Marathon Project

Sara Hall won The Marathon Project in Chandler, Arizona, on Sunday, December 20, running 2:20:32—making her the second-fastest American marathoner of all time. She took almost 90 seconds off her previous PR of 2:22:01, which she ran only 11 weeks ago at the London Marathon.

For about the first 18 miles of the race Hall, 37, flirted with the pace of Deena Kastor’s American record— 2:19:36—which has stood since 2006. But Hall, who ran behind two male pacesetters, couldn’t quite maintain the pace through the later miles.

Keira D’Amato, the Virginia realtor who earlier this year ran an American record for the women’s-only 10 mile, finished second in 2:22:56, taking nearly 12 minutes off her previous marathon best. 

Kellyn Taylor, 34, who went with Hall for the first half of the race, fell back in the second half and finished in 2:25:22. 

The 37-year-old Hall ran a personal best 2:22.01 at London on Oct. 4 and was hoping on a short turnaround to better Deena Kastor's 14-year American record of 2:19.36, set at London in 2006. She came close with another significant PR drop, improving from sixth best in U.S. history to second ahead of Jordan Hasay's 2:20.57 at Chicago in 2017.

"London was so wonderful getting to place as high as I possibly could have," Hall said. "This was more of a time trial, and that's kind of tough when it feels like training sometimes. I really look forward to when we can get back to normal races with crowds, but I feel so grateful for the guys I was able to run with. They kept me honest in the second half when I was really struggling."

She said being No. 2 on the American marathon list is "kind of surreal. I've had so much disappointment in my career (including not finishing at the U.S. Olympic Trials in February) and I would have walked from this sport 10 years ago. But my husband just relentlessly believed in me and God encouraged me there was more there. I kind of (rediscovered) my love for it. Getting rid of the fear of failure really helped me enjoy it a lot more."

Two-time Olympian Ryan Hall, third fastest all-time among American men's marathoners, now coaches his wife, whose next goal is to make the U.S. Olympic track team for Tokyo in the 10,000-meter. 

 

Sara Hall 2:20:32

Keira D'Amato 2:22:56

Kellyn Taylor 2:25:22

Emma Bates 2:25:40

Natasha Wodak 2:26:19

(12/20/2020) Views: 260 ⚡AMP
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5 reasons why The Marathon Project will be the race of the year

With just over 100 of the top athletes in North America (and several athletes representing other nations) prepared to race on Sunday on a flat and fast course in Chandler, Ariz., The Marathon Project has the potential to be the best race of 2020. Records could be broken, Canadians could hit Olympic standard and drama could unfold, all of which makes the event mandatory viewing for all fans of the sport. There are many reasons why The Marathon Project could be a top event, but here are just a few if you needed any more convincing.

It’s one of the only races of the year

The Marathon Project could be one of the best races of the year because, well, it’s one of the only races of the year. So far this year, the biggest races we’ve seen have been the U.S. Marathon Trials in February, the Tokyo Marathon in March, the London Marathon in October and the Valencia Marathon in December. Based on its stacked lineup, The Marathon Project will likely join this list as one of the top events of 2020, and if the contenders are firing on all cylinders on Sunday, it could beat out those other events as the top race of this strange year.

Canadians are racing

Six Canadians are set to race in Arizona on Sunday, and we can’t wait to see any of them run. On the men’s side, Cam Levins will look to better his Canadian marathon record of 2:09:25, and he’ll be joined by Rory Linkletter, who has a marathon PB of 2:16:42, and Ben Preisner and Justin Kent, who will be running their debut marathons. (Preisner ran a solo marathon earlier this year, but this will be his first official race over 42.2K.) While Levins is the only one to have ever run under the Olympic qualifying standard of 2:11:30 (although he has yet to do it in the current qualifying window for Tokyo 2021), they’re all certainly capable of hitting this time, and it will be exciting to see how they fare on Sunday.

Natasha Wodak and Kinsey Middleton will represent Canada in the women’s race, and like the runners on the men’s team, they’re both threats to beat the Olympic standard, which is 2:29:30 for women. Wodak has run one marathon before, but that was all the way back in 2013. She ran a 2:35:16 back then, and now, seven years later, she’ll be looking to take a significant chunk off that result. Middleton won the Canadian Marathon Championships in 2018, when she ran her PB of 2:32:09. Two years removed from that result, she’s likely hungry to run even quicker in Arizona.

Records could fall

Sara Hall is the top-seeded runner in the women’s field, and she’s coming off a spectacular PB at the London Marathon, where she ran 2:22:01. If she has a good run, she could be in the hunt for the American record of 2:19:36, which belongs to Deena Kastor. On the men’s side, Levins could challenge his own Canadian record, which he set at the 2018 STWM.

It’s a chance to race

Not being able to race in 2020 has been hard on all runners, but for these elites, this is how they pay their bills. Racing brings prize money and sponsorships, and with so few chances to race this year, it has been extremely tough on these athletes. The Marathon Project is giving runners the opportunity to earn some cash, which is a great gift in time for the winter holidays.

Olympic spots are up for grabs

The Olympic qualifying window was closed for runners throughout the summer, and even if it had been open, there were next to no chances for athletes to run standard at official races. The American Olympic marathon team was decided at the trials in February, but for athletes from other countries, this presents an opportunity to potentially book their tickets to Tokyo next summer. With so much at stake, there will definitely be some thrilling racing on Sunday.

(12/19/2020) Views: 190 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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The Marathon Project is an elite only marathon being held Sunday Dec 20 in Chandler Arizona

When COVID-19 postponed or canceled all of the year’s major marathons in the U.S., two running industry insiders—Ben Rosario, the coach of NAZ Elite in Flagstaff, and Josh Cox, an agent to many marathoners, including several on the NAZ team—brainstormed a way for some of the country’s fastest athletes to race.

The result is The Marathon Project, an elite-only 26.2 that takes place at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, December 20, on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Chandler, Arizona.

The course is on a flat, two-mile stretch of road with roundabouts at each end. Runners go up one side of the road and back down the other for a 4.2-mile loop that they’ll do parts of six times. The course is built for fast times, not for variety.

The race will be broadcast live on USATF.tv, and a 90-minute replay of the race will be available on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday evening. The broadcast will include veteran commentator Paul Swangard as well as Des Linden and Bernard Lagat, two experienced marathoners who should bring some insightful analysis.

Who is racing?

The race brings together 53 men and 44 women, plus 14 male pacers. Several were top-10 finishers at the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, the last chance these runners had a chance to race a major marathon on U.S. soil.

The top women include Sara Hall, who finished second in 2:22:01 at the London Marathon in October, and Keira D’Amato, who recently set a women’s-only 10-mile American record.

Stephanie Bruce, Emma Bates, Kellyn Taylor, and Julia Kohnen (who were sixth, seventh, eighth, and 10th, respectively at the Trials) also figure to be in the mix.

On the men’s side, Americans Scott Fauble and 2016 Olympian Jared Ward are among the top contenders. Four top-10 finishers from the Trials—Marty Hehir (sixth), CJ Albertson (seventh), Colin Bennie (ninth), and Matt McDonald (10th)—will also line up.

The men’s race also brings several international entrants. Amanuel Mesel Tikue of Eritrea boasts a PR of 2:08:17, although it dates back to 2013. Jose Antonio Uribe Marino of Mexico hopes to hit the Olympic standard of 2:11:30 to qualify for the Games, and Cam Levins of Canada also is looking for a strong performance to put him on the Canadian Olympic team.

Will Sara Hall set the American record?

Hall, 37, has been on a tear lately. After dropping out of the Trials at mile 22, she redeemed herself with a PR in a solo half marathon in Oregon and that runner-up finish in London, which she earned by way of a furious finishing kick in the race’s final meters.

The American record for the marathon, Deena Kastor’s 2:19:36, has stood since 2006. Hall has asked for a pacer to take her through the halfway point in 69:40, faster than Kastor’s record.

But in a prerace press conference, Hall was reluctant to call it a record attempt. “I want to go into this race with the mindset of trying to run as fast as possible,” she said on the Zoom call. “I can be all or nothing, and I don’t want to be in a scenario where I’m running really well and if I’m just off the American record pace, it feels like I’m failing. I think that would still be a big success, a big PR. That’s my main focus, just running as fast as I can.”

Hall added that she has done a lot of training faster than record pace. “I think [the record is] definitely possible based on my training,” she said.

In addition to Hall’s requested pace for a 2:19:20 marathon, the women’s race will have three other pace groups: 2:23, 2:26, and 2:29:30, which is the Olympic qualifying standard. The men will have two pace groups: 2:09 and 2:11:30.

What’s in it for the runners?

Rosario announced a modest prize purse: $5,000 for each winner, $2,000 for second, and $1,000 for third.

Otherwise, athletes are racing for sponsor bonuses—shoe companies often pay their athletes extra money for breaking certain times, although the terms of these deals aren’t publicly known.

Then, of course, there’s the joy of racing, when events have been hard to come by for the past 10 months.

“Every opportunity we have to be on a starting line is a gift in 2020,” Bruce said.

What safety measures are in place?

The race is following safety guidelines set out by USA Track and Field, World Athletics, and the state of Arizona. Participants must take two COVID-19 tests, separated by 24 hours, within the seven days before the race—which, of course, must both be negative. Most participants are staying in a race hotel near the course, creating a bubble environment of sorts.

But runners are traveling from all over to get to the race. Hehir, who is finishing up his final year of medical school, is traveling to the race from Philadelphia, where he has spent the past two weeks working in an ICU filled with COVID-19 patients.

“It’s just as scary as it’s hyped up to be,” Hehir said of Covid. “Yes, not everyone ends up in the ICU, but when you end up there, you are incredibly sick. It’s definitely a bleak place to be.”

He said he gave some “extra thought” into committing to the race, but he praised the precautions the race had put in place. “These opportunities are far and few between,” he said, “and as long as we feel like it’s being done in a safe way, a lot of us are going to jump on it.”

(12/17/2020) Views: 235 ⚡AMP
by Sarah Lorge Butler (Runner's World)
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World champions Ruth Chepngetich and Peres Jepchirchir added to Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon line-up

The fields for the Ras Al Khamimah Half Marathon continue to go from strength to strength with world champions Peres Jepchirchir and Ruth Chepngetich being added to the line-up for the World Athletics Gold Label road race on 19 February 2021.

World marathon champion Chepngetich, who recently set a half marathon PB of 1:05:06, will be making her Ras Al Khaimah debut. Jepchirchir, who won the world half marathon title in October in a women-only world record of 1:05:16, will return to the scene of her 2017 triumph when she set a world record of 1:05:06.

But the Kenyan will be up against the three fastest women in history when she lines up in Ras Al Khaimah. World record-holder Ababel Yeshaneh, Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw and marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei will also be returning to the United Arab Emirates in February.

Yeshaneh and Kosgei have clashed twice to date, both races resulting in world records. Their first duel came at the 2019 Chicago Marathon, which Kosgei won in a world record of 2:14:04 while Yeshaneh placed second in 2:20:51. Just four months later, Yeshaneh levelled the score by winning in Ras Al Khaimah in a world record of 1:04:31. Kosgei was runner-up in 1:04:49, the second-fastest time in history.

Yehualaw, meanwhile, finished third at the recent World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, just a few seconds behind Jepchirchir. Six weeks later, she won the New Delhi Half Marathon in 1:04:46, the second-fastest time in history.

USA’s Sara Hall, who placed second at this year’s London Marathon, finishing between Kosgei and Chepngetich, is also in the field.

Three former winners – including the joint course record-holders – have been added to the men’s line-up. 2019 champion Stephen Kiprop and two-time winner Bedan Karoki, who jointly hold the course record at 58:42, will return to Ras Al Khaimah alongside 2015 winner Mosinet Geremew.

They will take on the previously announced defending champion Kibiwott Kandie, who recently set a world half marathon record of 57:32 in Valencia, and world half marathon champion Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda. Kiplimo reduced his PB to 57:37 in Valencia earlier this month, making him the second-fastest man in history for the distance.

Alexander Mutiso, who ran 57:59 in Valencia to move to fourth on the world all-time list, will also be in action in Ras Al Khaimah.

Switzerland’s Julien Wanders and Norway’s Sondre Nordstadt Moen complete the line-up.

(12/17/2020) Views: 419 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

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

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Ababel Yeshaneh, Brigid Kosgei, Kibiwott Kandie and Jacob Kiplimo will renew rivalry at Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

The fastest half-marathon in the world has attracted the best half-marathon runners on the planet again.

The 15th edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on February 19 will see reigning champions Kibiwott Kandie and Ababel Yeshaneh defending their titles while world half-marathon champion Jacob Kiplimo and world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei will try to wrestle their titles off them.

The event, which is often known simply as ‘the RAK Half’ and which takes place on a super-fast course in the northernmost emirate of the United Arab Emirates in three months’ time, will see mouth-watering clashes in separate men’s and women’s races. More entries are expected to be announced in coming weeks but so far they include:

» Kibiwott Kandie – fastest man in the world over 13.1 miles in 2020 with 58:38 from Prague in September and winner in Ras Al Khamah in February with 58:58. The Kenyan (below) was also runner-up in the World Half Marathon Championships in 58:54, making him the first man to run sub-59min three times in one year.

» Jacob Kiplimo – the Ugandan took the world-marathon title ahead of Kandie in Gdynia last month following a track season that saw him run 7:26.64 for 3000m and 12:48.63 for 5000m. Only 20, he also took world cross-country champs silver behind Joshua Cheptegei in Aarhus last year.

» Ababel Yeshaneh – set a women’s world half-marathon record of 64:31 to win the Ras Al Khaimah race in February. At the World Half in Gdynia she was fifth but the Ethiopian fell in the closing stages. Over the marathon she was runner-up to Kosgei in Chicago last year with 2:20:51.

» Brigid Kosgei – world record-holder for the marathon with 2:14:04 from Chicago in 2019 and winner of the last two London Marathons, whereas over 13.1 miles the Kenyan (below) was 18 seconds behind Yeshaneh in Ras Al Khaimah this year in the second-fastest time in history.

The race is often dominated by east African distance runners but Sara Hall of the United States is one of the early entries, too, and will be sure to attract interest from US fans after her battling runner-up performance at the London Marathon in October.

“This is the fastest half-marathon course in the world and we want it to maintain its fame,” says Ras Al Khaimah Half race director Andrea Trabuio.

With the coronavirus pandemic causing problems around the world, Trabuio says the elite races and non-elite events will be run separately on February 19 in order to maintain social distancing. With the non-elite event there will be seven waves with about 400 runners in each wave with temperature checks at the start and masks being worn for the first few hundred meters.

(11/25/2020) Views: 392 ⚡AMP
by Jason Henderson
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

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

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Keira D’Amato Is Trying to Break the American 10-Mile Record on Monday. It Could Cost Her Thousands of Dollars.

Since 2011, Keira D’Amato has been part of the race committee for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, the famous Washington, D.C. road race held along the banks of the Potomac River. She’s held a few different roles over the years; recently she’s been responsible for coordinating speakers for clinics at the race expo. This year, Molly Huddle was one of the scheduled speakers, and D’Amato told her she believed Huddle could break the women’s-only American record of 52:12, set by Janet Bawcom at Cherry Blossom in 2014 (coincidentally, D’Amato held the finish line tape for that race). After telling Huddle about the record, D’Amato realized something: I can run that fast too.

Over the following six months, as D’Amato has risen from obscurity to one of the best distance runners in the United States, that statement has become blindingly obvious. After running a personal best 2:34:24 to finish 15th at the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, the 36-year-old has spent the summer and fall demolishing her pbs, from a 15:04 time trial 5,000 on the track in June to a 32:33 10,000 at the MVMNT Race Series in July to a 68:57 to win the Michigan Pro Half Marathon on October 28.

On Monday, D’Amato will try to back up her claim from the spring: she’s going for Bawcom’s record at the Up Dawg Ten Miler, where she’ll face a five-woman professional field that includes Olympian Molly Seidel. And that leads into one of the oddest statistics of a very odd year.

If D’Amato had broken the record at Cherry Blossom in April (which cancelled its 2020 edition due to COVID-19), she would have earned a $10,000 bonus.

If D’Amato breaks the record on Monday — or even if she doesn’t — she could end up out around $8,000.

That’s because D’Amato is covering most of the costs of the Up Dawg Ten Miler, which will take place in an undisclosed location in the DC area. Even though D’Amato is staging a race for five athletes rather than Cherry Blossom’s typical 17,000, several key expenses remain: getting the course USATF-certified and measured, securing park permits and road closures. It can add up quickly.

And then there is drug testing. USATF rules state drug testing is only required to ratify American records in events for which World Athletics recognizes an official world record. Since 10 miles is a “world best” distance, that means drug testing isn’t required to ratify an American record at the Up Dawg Ten Miler — but D’Amato is leaning toward including it anyway to avoid all doubts. However, based on the quote she received from USADA, it would run her an extra $3,000-$3,500. She hasn’t made a final decision yet.

There is an online store selling race merchandise to help offset the cost of the event. And around 20 members of the CUCB organizing committee have also chipped in a total of $2,000 — and, more importantly, their time — so that D’Amato can chase the record.

“If there was a way to measure intensity per person, this race would be much more intense [than the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run],” says CUCB event director Phil Stewart. “We’re not dealing with getting 17,000 people entered in the race and moving them around or ordering as many porta potties or things like that, but this is a group of special individuals. I’ve spent a lot of time being consumed by making sure that we have all of the conditions set for the record to be accepted if the record is broken. If Keira or anybody breaks the record here, the worst nightmare would be that there was some little USATF rule that I didn’t know about that was required for an American record to be set.”

Stewart knows that feeling all too well; last year, Stanley Kebenei thought he had broken Greg Meyer‘s American 10-mile record at Cherry Blossom, only for it to be revealed that a set of cones had been improperly placed, making the course 240 feet short (CUCB still paid Kebenei the $10,000 bonus).

With no mass race entries to fund the Up Dawg Ten Miler, CUCB will lose money on the event. But it’s worth it to Stewart to support D’Amato, whose meteoric rise he has followed first-hand — Stewart was among a group of CUCB committee members who traveled to Atlanta to support her in the Trials in February.

“One of the things that has been fun about [this event] is that in a time when there’s so much downbeat news, I think a lot of people have gotten excited about working on something that’s upbeat,” Stewart says.

And D’Amato? Well, in keeping with her carefree, laid back demeanor, she’s trying not to think about the cost and electing to focus on the positives. Five fast women (Susanna Sullivan, Bethany Sachtleben, and Emily Durgin round out the field) are gathering on Monday at 8 a.m. to race 10 miles. There will be a free live stream, with commentary, on the CUCB Facebook page. This should be fun, right? No. This will be fun.

“For me, it’s not about the money at all,” D’Amato says. “Right now when everyone’s starving for motivation and opportunity, I felt like this would be a service to the running community. And it fell in line really perfectly with my training too.”

Keira D’Amato’s return to competitive running began with a joke. Which, if you know anything about D’Amato, could not be more fitting.

D’Amato loves all things humor. The name of Monday’s race, Up Dawg, was her idea — a nod to a joke from The Office. When D’Amato joined Strava a few years ago, she began using jokes or puns to title her runs. Sample entry: November 16. My cousin, a magician, decided to incorporate the use of trapdoors in his shows. But I think it’s just a stage he’s going through. She used to rely on her children’s popsicle sticks for material or by asking her Amazon Alexa, “Tell me a joke.” As she amassed Strava followers (she’s over 2,600 now), she began receiving suggestions from fans — which delights her to no end.

“You have no idea how awesome it is that when people hear a funny joke, they think, Oh, I need to send this to Keira,” she says.

D’Amato’s impishness was on display during Christmas 2016, when she decided to gift her husband, Anthony, an entry to the 2017 Shamrock Marathon, held in March in Virginia Beach.

“Who gives someone a gift of a marathon entry?” D’Amato says. “Because that means you have to start training a lot. It’s kind of a backhanded compliment gift, I guess. But then I felt a little bad, so I signed up too.”

D’Amato was no stranger to running. A four-time All-American at American University under coach Matt Centrowitz, she finished 6th at the 2005 NCAA XC champs as a senior, ahead of future stars Amy Cragg, Molly Huddle, and Jenny Simpson. She remains friendly with the Centrowitz family, and is even in a fantasy football league with Olympic 1500 champ Matthew Centrowitz — let’s just say both D’Amato and Centro are better runners than fantasy football managers.

“I think at one point, I was in second-to-last and he was dead last,” D’Amato says. “But I also think Centro does a whole bunch of them, so maybe in his other leagues he’s doing better. But it was either the first or second week, I played him, and I crushed him.”

After graduating in 2006, D’Amato (then known as Keira Carlstrom) spent a few years running for DC Elite, a post-collegiate group coached by Scott Raczko — better known as the coach of Alan Webb. By 2008, she had lowered her 1500 personal best to 4:22, but was in constant pain, beset by a series of stress fractures and ankle pain. Her issues were the result of a condition known as a tarsal coalition — an abnormal bridging of bones in the foot — but the surgery to correct it was not covered by her insurance.

So D’Amato “retired” and got a job at mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Even after undergoing surgery to correct her condition in 2009 (her new job had better insurance), D’Amato ran sparingly for the next seven years. In her first run back after giving birth to her daughter, Quin, in August 2016 (she also has a six-year-old son, Tommy), D’Amato couldn’t make it through a three-minute run without walking. Yet she steadily built up ahead of Shamrock, and despite hail, sleet, and brutal winds on race day, D’Amato blew past her pre-race goal of 3:25.

“I couldn’t run slow enough to do that pace,” says D’Amato, who ran 3:14.

D’Amato felt there was a lot left in the tank, and took her next marathon, in Richmond in November, more seriously. After running 2:47 there — just two minutes off the Olympic Trials standard — she knew it was time to return to serious training. She reunited with Raczko, and steadily dropped her times while balancing running with her career as a realtor. When she ran a pb of 2:34 to finish 15th at the Trials at age 35, it looked like the culmination of a remarkable three-year journey.

In reality, D’Amato was just getting started.

Since the Trials, D’Amato has run personal bests over almost every distance. Her 15:04 5,000 doesn’t officially count because it came in a time trial rather than a race, but it’s faster than the Olympic standard of 15:10 and would have ranked her 6th in the US during the 2020 outdoor season.

Her most impressive performance came in last month’s Michigan Pro Half Marathon, where she clocked 68:57, 47 seconds ahead of runner-up Emma Bates, a 2:25 marathoner who finished 7th at the Olympic Trials. That made D’Amato the second-fastest American half marathoner on the year, behind Sara Hall, and 10th on the US all-time list. She is now in very elite company.

(11/22/2020) Views: 399 ⚡AMP
by LetsRun
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Hasay only ran a 1:14:27 half-marathon on Monday as warming up for Valencia Marathon

Jordan Hasay, 29, ran the fastest marathon debut in U.S. history in 2017, finishing the Chicago Marathon in 2:20:57. This time remains the second-fastest marathon ever by an American woman, and Deena Kastor‘s national record of 2:19:36 is the only instance of a woman going faster.

Hasay has since been touted as the runner most likely to break Kastor’s record, but she has consistently fallen short of that mark. While her marathon debut was remarkable, Hasay has had a difficult time following up that result. 

Hasay completed a half-marathon in Portland on Monday, finishing in 1:14:27. This was a far cry from her goal, but she cited poor weather as the reason for her time. With only three and a half weeks until her marathon in Valencia, Hasay will hopefully surprise fans with a strong race.

A difficult two years

Hasay’s strongest result in the past two years came from the 2019 Boston Marathon, where she ran a 2:25:20 – an extremely impressive time on one of the hilliest marathon courses in the states. However, since Boston, Hasay has struggled. The 2019 Chicago Marathon fell just a few days after her former coach, Alberto Salazar, had been suspended. She ultimately didn’t finish that race and went on to come 26th at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials a few months later.

Neither of those results were what she had been hoping for. While her recent history isn’t particularly encouraging, Hasay is someone who’s proven she can rise to the occasion on race day, and we very well could see a stellar performance in three weeks’ time. 

Other runners who could threaten the record

While no one has run quite as fast as Hasay’s 2:20, there are several women closing in. Sara Hall ran a personal best in terrible weather at October’s London Marathon, finishing second in 2:22:01. Hall is scheduled to race the upcoming Marathon Project this December in Arizona.

 Emily Sisson is another runner to watch. The 29-year-old ran a 2:23:08 at the 2019 London Marathon. While Hasay is certainly still among the strongest marathoners in America, she’s no longer the only person who stands a chance at taking down Kastor’s record. 

(11/12/2020) Views: 339 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO MARATHON

VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO MARATHON

Sammy Kiprop Kitwara set a Spanish all-comers’ record at the 2017 Maraton Valencia Trinidad Alfonso, the 31-year-old Kenyan produced a 2:05:15 effort to finish almost a full minute inside the previous record, moving to seventh on this year’s world list in the process. Ethiopia’s Aberu Mekuria Zennebe won the women’s race in 2:26:17 to improve on her fourth-place finish from...

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At the age of 37 Sara Hall says that she is enjoying her sport more than ever

She says running has "broken my heart a hundred times," but each moment of heartbreak would have seemed worthwhile as Sara Hall moved into second place on the final straight of this year's London Marathon.

The dramatic finish saw a surging Hall overtake Ruth Chepngetich in a sprint finish having made up 40 seconds in little more than a mile by her husband's calculations.

Her time of two hours, 22 minutes and one second improved her previous personal best by 15 seconds, and her second-place finish made her the first American to mount the podium at London in 14 years.

The performance would have gone some way to atoning for the disappointment of pulling out of the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta earlier this year -- likely one of the heartbreaks she had been referring to as she took to social media after the race.

"This is the highlight of my career so far," Hall tells CNN Sport as she reflects on her London Marathon performance.

Hall crosses the finish line in second place at the London Marathon.

"I feel so, so grateful to be enjoying the sport the most I ever have at age 37. It's been kind of a surprise to still be improving at this age, and I just feel so grateful that I got the opportunity to race.

"It was just a long year of training and faith that there would be an opportunity at the end of it. I put in a lot for this race and to have it all come together and have the race of my life that was just a dream come true."

Running 'completely alone'

The circumstances surrounding this year's London Marathon, which was moved from April to October and staged only elite races due to the coronavirus pandemic, were unique.

Competitors were tested multiple times before traveling and also upon arrival in the UK.

Wearing social distancing devices that would sound if they got too close to another person, athletes stayed in a bubble in a hotel the week leading up to the race with "a little, tiny grass loop" to train on, according to Hall.

For the race itself, each athlete had their own Porta Potti -- "every runner's dream," says Hall, rather than waiting in a long queue before rushing to the start line.

Rather than start in Greenwich in south London and finish in The Mall in the center of the British capital, the course was also altered to 19.6 laps of St James's Park and no crowds were in attendance -- something that posed a significant mental challenge.

"There were times I could just hear the echo of my footsteps out there because I was running completely alone," says Hall.

"I really just had to self-motivate a lot out there because it was a lonely, very quiet run without spectators.

"And I just tried to remember how grateful I was to be competing and (to) have an opportunity in Covid ... and it was really that gratitude that kept me moving forward and then eventually catching people."

(10/31/2020) Views: 310 ⚡AMP
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Kitata conquers Kipchoge while Kosgei retains title at London Marathon and US Sara Hall finishes second

The man is fallible after all. Eliud Kipchoge’s reign of invincibility came to a crushing end with an eighth-place finish at the Virgin Money London Marathon, a World Athletics Platinum Label race, as Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata won a dramatic, last-gasp sprint to take the honours in the men’s race.

Kipchoge, the Olympic champion and world record-holder and unbeaten in 10 previous marathons, had been widely expected to claim an unprecedented fifth London title in his first race since making history by breaking the two-hour barrier in Vienna.

His principal challenger, Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekeke, had been forced to withdraw with a calf injury just two days before the race, while Kipchoge had cut a confident figure in the build-up as he discussed how well his preparations had gone.

Moments before he went to the start-line, fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei had raced to a runaway victory to retain her London crown, and few predicted anything but a Kipchoge triumph to complete a Kenyan double.

But this time, the race did not follow the usual script. Looking comfortable among a lead group of nine runners for much of the race, Kipchoge appeared to be biding his time before launching a characteristic surge of pace to break up the field.

On this occasion, though, the attack failed to materialise. Instead, the tables were turned on the mighty Kenyan as his rivals launched a breakaway with three miles of the race remaining.

With Kipchoge unable to respond, a lead group of five soon turned into a three-way battle between Kitata, fellow Ethiopian Sisay Lemma and the towering Kenyan, Vincent Kipchumba. Kipchoge, meanwhile, was disappearing into the distance.

In one of the most exciting finishes in London Marathon memory, Kipchumba was the first to strike for home, only to be overtaken on the line by the diminutive Kitata. Just a single second separated the two men as Kitata clocked a winning time of 2:05:41.

“I prepared very well for this race,” Kitata, 24, said afterwards. "Kenenisa Bekele helped me. I am very happy to win the race.”

Lemma was third in 2:04:45 while Kipchoge crossed the line in eighth in 2:06:42 – his slowest ever time in a city marathon. It was his first defeat since 2013.

“I am really disappointed,” Kipchoge said afterwards. “I don't know what happened.

“The last 15km, I felt my right ear was blocked and I had cramp in my hip and leg.

“It just happened in the race. I started well. It's really cold but I don't blame the conditions.”

It was a remarkable outcome to an extraordinary race, which was staged for the first time over 19 laps of a closed-loop course around St James’s Park in central London after the original race scheduled for April had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The course was also off limits to spectators to maintain a ‘biosecure’ bubble for the athletes and support staff. It was just a shame that no one was there to witness in person one of the most dramatic men’s races in the event’s 40-year history.

By contrast, the women’s race followed a more predictable path.

Kosgei, the overwhelming pre-race favourite after obliterating Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old world record when she won in Chicago last October in a stunning 2:14:04, delivered another imperious performance to retain her London crown.

Her time of 2:18:58 may have been 38 seconds slower than her victory a year ago, but her winning margin of more than three minutes spoke volumes for her dominance. At the age of just 26, she is already taking the marathon into uncharted territory.

“I just tried my best,” she said afterwards. “The weather affected us today. There was some wind and rain all the way, which made our muscles colder. No one could warm up so it was difficult to even finish.”

Earlier in the race, Kosgei’s main challenge came from fellow Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the world champion and London debutant, as the pair set a hot pace to break away just before the 10-mile mark.

The halfway split of 1:08:15 put the duo on track to lower Mary Keitany’s women’s only world record of 2:17:01, though the soggy conditions and tight corners on the looped course were never going to be conducive to record-breaking times.

Chepngetich made a brave attempt to surge away from Kosgei after the midway point, though the attack was swiftly countered and the pair settled into a more sedate pace for several miles, ending all thoughts of breaking records.

It was after the 19-mile mark that Kosgei made the decisive attack and this time Chepngetich had no answer, dropping back quickly and looking suddenly fatigued as she evidently paid the price for going with the early pace.

As Kosgei’s race turned in a one-woman exhibition over the closing miles, the real contest was taking place further back in the field as veteran Sara Hall of the US overhauled Ethiopia’s Ashete Bekere to move into third place before training her sights on the tiring Chepngetich.

In an exciting sprint finish that presaged the men’s race a couple of hours later, Hall, 37, found the energy to burst past the Kenyan with just 80 metres remaining, crossing the line in second place in a lifetime best of 2:22:01 for her first ever top-three finish in a major city marathon. Chepngetich finished four seconds behind her.

It was also the first time an able-bodied US athlete had made it on to the London Marathon podium since Deena Kastor’s victory in 2006 – an achievement that will help atone for Hall’s disappointment in failing to gain selection for the Tokyo Olympics at last year’s US Olympic trials.

 

(10/04/2020) Views: 486 ⚡AMP
by Simon Hart for World Athletics
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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

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

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

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

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

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

(10/04/2020) Views: 435 ⚡AMP
by Willie Korir reporting from Kenya
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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SARA HALL REFLECTS ON HARD WORK AND MOTHERHOOD IN BUILD UP TO LONDON MARATHON

Running At Peak Form Into Her Late 30s, Hall Continues Lifelong Pattern Of Putting In The Effort

When the future of racing in 2020 looked bleak as the COVID-19 crisis swept the world last spring, Sara Hall didn’t lose hope.

“I started training for a marathon in faith, before I knew there would be any real competitions,” said Hall, who has been eager to finally move past her heartbreaking performance from February at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, where she dropped out at mile 22.

“It would have been easier just to hit the couch, but I set my mind on running a marathon, some way some how.”

Even if it meant racing 26.2 miles by herself, she said.

Ryan Hall, a two-time U.S. Olympic marathoner who retired in 2016, said his wife’s relentless competitive drive is one of his biggest challenges as her coach.

“She loves to train hard, but has a hard time taking extended breaks,” he said. “She is always ‘chomping at the bit’ to get back out there.”

When Hall heard that the London Marathon would host a highly secure, elite-only race amid the pandemic, she jumped at the precious opportunity.

On Oct. 4, she will face some of the world’s best marathoners, including defending London champion and world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya and U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion Molly Seidel.

“Getting into the London Marathon felt like such a reward for a lot of perseverance this year — being willing to put in the work on faith alone,” said Hall, 37. “It felt against all odds to get to toe the line in a world marathon major.”

‘Against all odds’ is a familiar theme for Hall, a mother of four who has posted the fastest times of her career well into her 30s, including a 2:22 marathon last year in Berlin, where she finished fifth. Last month, with two male pacers, she ran a personal best of 1:08:18 in a half marathon along the Row River Trail in south of Eugene, Oregon, making her the sixth-fastest American woman ever in that distance.

A former Foot Locker Cross Country National Champion in high school and distance standout at Stanford University, Hall has competed at the highest levels of distance running for two decades — a great accomplishment in itself.

“It’s definitely surprised me,” she said of her longevity in the sport. “I think it’s a lot of factors, but I think the biggest are being naturally durable and learning to be really mentally-emotionally resilient.”

Ten years ago, after disappointing results as a 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter runner on the track, Hall thought her elite running career was over. She credits her Christian faith and Ryan with convincing her she had more to achieve.

Since then, she’s not only moved up to and mastered the marathon distance, she’s done it while becoming a mother to four adopted sisters from Ethiopia.

“When we adopted them, I didn’t think I’d be able to keep competing, but instead I’ve improved every year since they’ve been here,” said Hall, who is using her race in London to raise money for homeless children in Ethiopia, where she and Ryan have spent a lot of time working on various causes.

“I get to model to (my daughters) so many character aspects I want to instill in them: picking yourself up after defeat, taking risks, hard work, commitment,” she said. “Running is the greatest teacher.”

Inspired by their parents, three of the Halls' daughters have become runners. The oldest, Hana, currently a freshman runner at Grand Canyon University, won the Division 2 Arizona Cross Country Championships last fall. Hana and Mia, 16, both ran with their mom at the half marathon in Oregon.

In addition managing her kids’ remote learning and getting in her workouts, Hall has made time to discuss the racial justice movements happening across the United States.

“I’ve told my daughters about George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor,” she said. “We’ve discussed the movement in the U.S. and the systemic racism over the last 400 years that is the backstory to these recent events. I personally have been learning a lot.”

Despite the world’s turmoil in recent months, Hall has maintained extraordinary focus on the road ahead.

In the London Marathon, which will be held on a closed-loop course around St. James Park, she hopes to snag a new personal best and would love to finally land on the podium, after finishing fifth at the Frankfurt and Berlin Marathons.

“I’m focused on having my best marathon yet,” she said.

(09/26/2020) Views: 430 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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London Marathon Creates a Biosecure Bubble for the Upcoming Elite-Only Race

All runners will stay in the same hotel, and will be allowed to train on the surrounding 40 acres.

The London Marathon, scheduled for elites only on October 4, is creating a bubble environment to protect the runners and necessary staff.

This will be the first World Marathon Major to take place since the Tokyo Marathon was run as an elite-only race on March 1.

On Thursday, September 3, race organizers for the World Marathon Major announced plans to implement a biosecure bubble for the elite-only race on Sunday, October 4. The biosecure bubble will be created using a strict testing protocol and an athlete-only hotel surrounded by 40 acres for runners to train ahead of the marathon.

“It is our duty and responsibility to ensure this event is held in a safe and secure environment,” Hugh Brasher, the London Marathon event director, said in an announcement. “We have looked at other examples and taken learnings from other sports which have returned to action as we developed our detailed plans for this biosecure bubble around the event.”

To enter the biosecure bubble, athletes will be required to test for COVID-19 in their home country four days prior to travel. They will be tested once again when they arrive at the athlete hotel in London, and testing will continue until the Friday before the event. The hotel will be used exclusively by athletes, support staff, and race officials, all of whom will be required to remain socially distant from each other and wear face masks at all times with the exception of training, eating, and being inside their single rooms.

“By finding a hotel for exclusive use and putting in place the strict testing, hygiene and security measures to protect the bubble, we are confident we have created the safest environment possible for everyone,” Brasher said.

The race will be held over 19 laps on a 2.15K-closed course around St. James’s Park plus an extra 1,345 meters to the usual finish line. To keep the competition secure, no spectators will be allowed on the course.

The London Marathon, originally scheduled to run in April, is the first World Marathon Major to take place since the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic on March 11 (the Tokyo Marathon staged an elite-only race on March 1). Outside of running, the NBA became the first professional sports organization to start back up, creating a bubble in Orlando, Florida, in an effort to protect players during a three-month season.

For many athletes, the London Marathon will be their first major competition of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, which forced many events to be postponed or canceled.

The men’s race features a highly-anticipated match-up between world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge and 2019 Berlin Marathon winner Kenenisa Bekele. In Berlin, Bekele came within two seconds of breaking the 2:01:39 world record set by Kipchoge at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

Brigid Kosgei leads the women’s field after breaking the world record at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She will be competing in her first race since the RAK Half Marathon in February when she finished second to Ababel Yeshaneh who broke the half marathon world record.

Americans Sara Hall, Molly Seidel, Lindsay Flanagan, and Jared Ward will be competing in London as well.

On August 7, Hall ran an impressive half marathon personal best of 1:08:18 with two male pacers and two of her daughters following at a distance in a race staged by Eugene Marathon organizers.

In February, Seidel made her first Olympic team in her 26.2 debut when she finished second at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta. Flanagan finished 12th at the Olympic Trials.

For Ward, a 2016 Olympic marathoner, London will be his first major marathon since finishing 27th at the Trials.

While the 40th running of the London Marathon will feature elites only, 45,000 people signed up to participate in the virtual 26.2.

(09/06/2020) Views: 519 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Canadian marathon record holder Cam Levins runs 1:02:12 solo half-marathon

Canadian marathon record holder Cam Levins posted to Instagram on Friday that he ran a new personal best in the half-marathon, hitting 1:02:12 for 21.1K in a solo effort. The runner’s old personal best was a 1:02:14 from the 2020 Houston Marathon in January.

This is just one of the many impressive solo efforts that runners are putting on paper during the pandemic. Just two weeks ago, American marathoner Sara Hall ran a half-marathon personal best as well, hitting 1:08:17. 

Levins wrote, “Unofficial half-marathon PB this morning in 62:12. Went out fast (2:38 first kilometre) and hung on. Lots of wind that caught up with me by the end but overall pleased with the effort and happy to know that my fitness during this difficult time has been maintained. Finished the morning by helping remove some graffiti on a sign around the course.”

Levins’s initial plan for this spring was to run the Rotterdam Marathon and hopefully hit the Olympic standard (2:11:30) there. It was cancelled as the world settled into the new normal of pandemic life.

Like all runners, Levins is unsure about what the future of road racing looks like, but he’s managed to get himself in the best half-marathon shape of his life and hopefully he can test himself on a real start line sometime soon. 

(08/22/2020) Views: 270 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Sara Hall Runs Impressive Half Marathon PR—Without the Hoopla

Her 1:08:18 puts her sixth on the list of U.S. performers.

In the Oregon woods, on a bike trail along the shore of Dorena Lake, 30 miles south of Eugene, elite athlete Sara Hall ran her first race in more than five months on the roads—just her, two male pacers, and two of her four daughters, Hana and Mia, following at a distance.

Hall, 37, finished the half marathon in 1:08:18, a personal record by 40 seconds and good for sixth-fastest American of all time. She averaged 5:12 pace.

It felt like a mirage. The race, called the Row River Half Marathon and staged by the organizers of the Eugene Marathon, began at 5:52 a.m., just as the sun was beginning to rise over the hills and the overnight fog was disappearing. The small pack of runners disappeared east along the bike path to a turnaround point, came back a little more than an hour later, and quickly left the area—an effort to avoid the heat of the day and to discourage any spectators in the COVID era.

It was a far cry from Hall’s last race, the Olympic Marathon Trials on February 29 in Atlanta, where close to 700 men and women started the event and 200,000 screaming fans crammed the streets with signs and cowbells. Hall, a 2:22 marathoner who thought she was in the best shape of her life and in a good position to make her first Olympic team, dropped out after the 22-mile mark.

Typically a frequent racer, Hall has had to live with the disappointment from the Trials for five months, with no opportunities to redeem herself after the pandemic shut down all races of note. Pro runners like her have been scrambling to find opportunities to test their fitness outside of their own training while keeping within guidelines for safe events during the pandemic.

“It felt surprisingly really good, yeah,” Hall said immediately after finishing. “I wasn’t sure how I’d feel out here. I’ve been pretty buried in training because there’s no races to freshen up for. So I just am, like, grinding for forever. And I was like hopefully my legs come around. To run a big PR like that without really a race atmosphere is really encouraging.”

Hall, who lives and trains at altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona, says she’s more of a competitor than a time trialer. Without the adrenaline of a pack, she wasn’t sure if she’s be able to access all her energy. But she was.

“I tried to just keep telling myself the mantras that keep me going in training,” she said. “But it’s a little harder. When I ran my last half, it was in Houston in a pack of African runners, and I was just getting gritty and mixing it up with them. It’s definitely a different mode out here. But I’m super thankful to the guys that were helping me out through the race. That helped a lot.”

Hall was paced by Eric Finan of Eugene and Jared Carson of Portland, both of whom were also entered into the Trials.

Race director Ian Dobson, a U.S. Olympian in 2008 and friend of Ryan Hall and Sara Hall since their days at Stanford University, floated the idea of putting on a socially distant race to them a couple of months ago. All participants and staff had current negative COVID tests and provided information for contact tracing, should it be necessary. Everyone but the runners wore masks.

It was an opportunity for Hall to get a tuneup race in—she has a marathon coming up in the fall—and a chance for the events team of the Eugene Marathon to host a race, after their flagship event was canceled in April.

“We wanted to take this unique opportunity to have someone like Sara be part of the event,” Dobson said. “And we want to be part of the storytelling—what does success for the running community look like during the Coranvirus?”

He said he hopes that big races make a speedy return instead of morphing into one-off boutique events with five or fewer participants. “The mass participation road race is such a cool thing,” he said. “That’s the business we’re in; it’s what we want to do. That said, given the current reality, this is what we can do.”

The Row River course was USATF-certified and the race is in the process of being sanctioned by USATF, which would make Hall’s time eligible to appear on record lists. She and her family are staying in Eugene for another week or so for more sea level training, as she prepares for the next marathon.

“I feel over-the-moon excited,” she said of the upcoming race. “I think I’m going to be the happiest person on that starting line. I’ve put in so much training just on faith that there would be opportunities. And even though everything was just canceled canceled canceled, to be able to have an actual race—I just wanted to cry when I got in. The trials was a massive disappointment, and I really want to be able to turn the page on that and continue to build and improve.”

Although Hall can’t yet say what race that is, observers believe it is the London Marathon, which yesterday announced it will host an elite-only version of its race around a loop in St. James Park.

Hall’s daughter Hana, 20, finished the Row River Half in 1:20:03. Her daughter Mia, 16, who has only been running for a year, finished in 1:23:18.

(08/08/2020) Views: 386 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Sara Hall broke the women’s treadmill world record on Saturday in the Chaski Challenge

American Sara Hall broke the women’s treadmill world record on Saturday, running a 1:09:03 in a virtual event called the Chaski Challenge. This event was organized by the Chaski Endurance Collective, an online coaching company, and it saw three men and three women break records ranging from half-marathons up to 100K runs on the treadmill.

Many treadmill world records have been broken in 2020, from 50K and 100-mile runs all the way up to a 30-day effort, and on the weekend, eight more records fell thanks to Hall and five other elite runners.

Both the men’s and women’s half-marathon treadmill records were broken on Saturday. On the men’s side, John Raneri (who has a half-marathon PB of 1:01:51) ran a 1:03:08, beating the previous record by 29 seconds. Going into Saturday, the women’s half-marathon record was 1:20:43, but it was beaten twice, first by Renee Metivier and then by Hall.

Metivier posted a 1:19:29 en route to her 50K record, and just two hours later, Hall—a former Pan Am Games gold medallist who has a 1:08:58 half-marathon PB to her name—bettered the mark once again, finishing 21.1K in 1:09:03.

The marathon and 50K records were lowered for both the men and women on Saturday as well. Metivier set both records for the women, adding to the half-marathon record she’d set earlier in the run. She ran a 2:41:11 marathon to beat the 2:42:07 record, and 8K later, she set the 50K record in a time of 3:11:38, smashing the previous best of 3:51:25.

For the men, Tyler Andrews broke the marathon record of 2:20:45, passing through 42.2K in 2:17:56.

He continued on for another 25 minutes to finish the 50K in 2:42:51. Going into Saturday, Andrews was also the owner of the men’s treadmill half-marathon record, which he set in 2015. This is the fourth time in 2020 that the men’s 50K record has been lowered, with the previous best coming back in April when Swiss orienteering champion Matthias Kyburz ran a 2:56:35.

Mario Mendoza was the first man to break the 50K treadmill record in 2020, which he ran back in January, but on Saturday, he wasn’t looking to reclaim that title. Instead, he doubled up and ran the 100K, running a world’s best time of 6:39:25.

The final record of the day came from Regina Lopez in the women’s 50-miler (80K). Lopez crossed the virtual finish line in 8:41:37, ending the night on a high for the Chaski Challenge, which saw eight records fall in total.

(06/08/2020) Views: 458 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Sara Hall Among Pros Who Will Take Shot at Treadmill World Records on June 6 in Chaski Challenge

Inspired by the success of last month’s Quarantine Backyard Ultra, a handful of elite runners will attempt to break treadmill world records across five distances next week. Sara Hall, the fastest American female marathoner of 2019, is the headliner, and will be shooting for the women’s treadmill half marathon record of 1:20:43 (Hall’s pb is 1:08:58).

The event, which will be held on Saturday, June 6, and is known as the Chaski Challenge, is the brainchild of Tyler Andrews, a 2:15 marathoner who ran a world best of 2:46:06 for 50,000 meters on the track in 2018 (LRC recorded a podcast with him shortly before that race). Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Andrews had planned to spend the spring training with Jim Walmsley in Flagstaff as the two men prepared to race the famed Comrades Marathon in South Africa. Instead, Andrews is now based at his parents’ house in Concord, Mass., but is still training hard and wanted to create an opportunity to allow himself and others to demonstrate their fitness.

“A lot of people are really fit out there right now and have nothing to do with it,” Andrews says. “So we wanted to do that. And then just create a really compelling, fun, conversation-provoking event that people can watch on a Saturday night and have fun with.”

Similar to the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, the Chaski Challenge will feature a free live online broadcast and tracking of the record attempts around the country with cameras aimed at each elite runner’s treadmill. 2016 Olympian Marielle Hall and ultrarunner Kris Brown (13th at 2019 Western States 100) will serve as commentators.

“Chaski Endurance Collective, which is my coaching collective, we have a bunch of different athletes from different areas on staff and we were kind of just bouncing around ideas and talking about what could we do that’s kind of building off what Quarantine Backyard Ultra did really well, because that event just absolutely crushed it,” Andrews says.

Andrews also felt the inclusive nature of the Quarantine Backyard Ultra — anyone could sign up and compete — was one of the keys to its success, and to that end, the Chaski Challenge will feature free-to-enter 5k and 50k races, which anyone can sign up for and complete during a 24-hour window beginning on June 5 at 4 p.m. ET (there is an optional donation to Feeding America’s COVID-19 relief efforts).

At 6 p.m. ET on June 6, the broadcast will begin with the men’s 50k, which features Andrews, 2014 world 100k champ Max King, and Quarantine Backyard Ultra champion Mike Wardian (2:54 50k pb). Midway through that race, the men’s half marathon (featuring 61:51 man John Raneri) and the women’s half marathon (featuring Hall and 2:27 marathoner Renee Metivier) will begin. Mario Mendoza will also be attempting to break the 50-mile record; that attempt will begin prior to the broadcast. The current treadmill world records for each event are as follows (the men will also try to break the marathon record en route to 50k):

Women’s half marathon: 1:20:43, Jenna Wrieden, USA, 2014

Men’s half marathon: 1:03:37, Tyler Andrews, USA, 2015

Men’s marathon: 2:20:45, Paul Zwama, Netherlands, 2018

Men’s 50k: 2:56:35, Matthias Kyburz, Switzerland, 2020

Men’s 50-mile: 4:57:45, Jacob Puzey, USA, 2016

Andrews chose those events because he believes each record is ripe for the taking. The 50k record has been broken three times already this year; both Wardian and Mendoza are former holders of the record.

“We are 100% sure that we are going to break these records in this race,” says Andrews. “There’s zero question. The women’s half marathon mark is 1:20. I’m pretty sure that women out there have done that in training before and not recorded it. We’re not just looking to break these; we want to make these legitimate. We want to have actual, really good athletes just totally destroy them and set them way out of reach.”

Andrews feels confident he is just as fit as when he ran 2:46 for 50,000 meters in 2018; on Sunday, he ran a workout of 7 x 5k (16:19, 16:20, 16:20, 16:16, 16:11, 16:07, 15:51) with 1k recovery for a total of 41k on the treadmill in 2:16. He will be making the attempt in a room that doubles as his office and a storage room for his dad’s clothes.

“There’s a TV inside the cabinet [in front of the treadmill],” Andrews says. “I don’t watch television when I’m running, but I actually kind of like it because it’s almost a black mirror, so I can see my upper running form, so I can see if I’m starting to list to one side or slouch a little bit.”

Hall bouncing back from Olympic Trials disappointment

Andrews has run into one issue with the Chaski Challenge: Hall will not be able to run her portion of the event live. Instead, she will record her attempt this week, and it will be played at the same time as the other attempts on the broadcast next week. Still, she is excited to give it a go.

“It’s a tough time for all sports, but especially with ours including the masses, people need things to stay motivated or to get a benchmark of fitness,” Hall says. “I wanted to support that and it will be nice to get a benchmark of fitness for myself in the process and hopefully provide some entertainment to people.”

Hall’s most recent race was the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta on February 29, where she dropped out after 22 miles. Hall says her recovery has been “a process.”

“I wanted that team more than any other race of my career, so I think I’m still somewhat getting over the disappointment and I think I’ll always look back on it with frustration,” Hall says.

After falling short in the Marathon Trials, Hall’s initial plan was to give the track trials a go in either the 5,000 or 10,000; even once they were postponed, her recent training has focused on those distances. She eventually plans to transition into a buildup for a fall 2020 marathon (if they happen) before returning to the track for the 2021 Olympic Trials.

For a woman who has run 1:08 for a half, 1:20 should be a piece of cake — theoretically. But Hall is not peaking for the Chaski Challenge. And since she rarely runs on treadmills, she doesn’t want to risk injury by giving a full race effort. In addition, she’ll likely be running at almost 7,000 feet in Flagstaff — which Hall says usually knocks 15 seconds per mile off her tempo pace. Still, record pace is just 6:10 per mile, which is very attainable for Hall, even with those caveats.

Hall won’t be able to make her attempt from the comfort of home as her treadmill is currently broken. Her plan is to head to a gym (which are now open in Arizona) and take her shot there. Unlike most half marathon record attempts, however, Hall will be able to have her four daughters cheer her on every step of the way — if they choose to.

“I’ll create a playlist to give me some entertainment and the girls will probably cheer me on, but will likely get bored after a few minutes and wander off,” Hall says.

(06/06/2020) Views: 404 ⚡AMP
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Sara Hall is transitioning to 5K/10K training with some help from her kids

At 37, marathoner Sara Hall is still at the top of her game. Though the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta did not go her way and she ultimately dropped out of the race, she ran her personal best of 2:22:16—the sixth-fastest time in American history—less than a year ago at the Berlin Marathon.

Hall is now using the quarantine period to transition into 5K and 10K training in preparation for the 2021 Olympic Trials on the track.

The shift to speed work comes with an added bonus: Hall can do workouts with her two high school age daughters, Hana and Mia, who are training to break five minutes in the mile. That’s about 10K pace for Sara.

“They will often hop in and out of my workout and it pushes them, which is fun to be able to be more actively involved in their training and goals,” she told PodiumRunner.

(05/29/2020) Views: 1,705 ⚡AMP
by Johanna Gretschel
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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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Sara Hall, will be shooting for the women’s treadmill half marathon record on June 6 in Chaski Challenge

Inspired by the success of last month’s Quarantine Backyard Ultra, a handful of elite runners will attempt to break treadmill world records across five distances next week. Sara Hall, the fastest American female marathoner of 2019, is the headliner, and will be shooting for the women’s treadmill half marathon record of 1:20:43 (Hall’s pb is 1:08:58).

The event, which will be held on Saturday, June 6, and is known as the Chaski Challenge, is the brainchild of Tyler Andrews, a 2:15 marathoner who ran a world best of 2:46:06 for 50,000 meters on the track in 2018 (LRC recorded a podcast with him shortly before that race).

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Andrews had planned to spend the spring training with Jim Walmsley in Flagstaff as the two men prepared to race the famed Comrades Marathon in South Africa. Instead, Andrews is now based at his parents’ house in Concord, Mass., but is still training hard and wanted to create an opportunity to allow himself and others to demonstrate their fitness.

“A lot of people are really fit out there right now and have nothing to do with it,” Andrews says. “So we wanted to do that. And then just create a really compelling, fun, conversation-provoking event that people can watch on a Saturday night and have fun with.”

Similar to the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, the Chaski Challenge will feature a free live online broadcast and tracking of the record attempts around the country with cameras aimed at each elite runner’s treadmill. 2016 Olympian Marielle Hall and ultrarunner Kris Brown (13th at 2019 Western States 100) will serve as commentators.

“Chaski Endurance Collective, which is my coaching collective, we have a bunch of different athletes from different areas on staff and we were kind of just bouncing around ideas and talking about what could we do that’s kind of building off what Quarantine Backyard Ultra did really well, because that event just absolutely crushed it,” Andrews says.

Andrews also felt the inclusive nature of the Quarantine Backyard Ultra — anyone could sign up and compete — was one of the keys to its success, and to that end, the Chaski Challenge will feature free-to-enter 5k and 50k races, which anyone can sign up for and complete during a 24-hour window beginning on June 5 at 4 p.m. ET (there is an optional donation to Feeding America’s COVID-19 relief efforts).

At 6 p.m. ET on June 6, the broadcast will begin with the men’s 50k, which features Andrews, 2014 world 100k champ Max King, and Quarantine Backyard Ultra champion Mike Wardian (2:54 50k pb). Midway through that race, the men’s half marathon (featuring 61:51 man John Raneri) and the women’s half marathon (featuring Hall and 2:27 marathoner Renee Metivier) will begin. Mario Mendoza will also be attempting to break the 50-mile record; that attempt will begin prior to the broadcast.

(05/29/2020) Views: 336 ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Gault
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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) Views: 746 ⚡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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So what US marathoners are going to come out on top at next weekend’s Olympic Trials

The three Olympic women’s berths from next Saturday’s US marathon trials in Atlanta look to be up for grabs among at least five challengers. Besides Desiree Linden, who placed seventh in Rio, there are Jordan Hasay, who was third in Boston last year, Emily Sisson, who was sixth in London in her 26-mile debut, Molly Huddle, a two-time track Olympian, and Sara Hall.

Amy Cragg, who placed ninth in Rio and would have been a contender, has been battling Epstein-Barr virus and withdrew this week.

Linden, the former Boston Marathon victor who’s bidding to make her third team, already has committed to competing here in April. If she qualifies for the Games, she’ll be running three marathons in just over five months.

On the men’s side, Galen Rupp, who won bronze in 2016, is the decided favorite, with Jared Ward (sixth in Rio), Leonard Korir, and Scott Fauble, last year’s top domestic finisher in Boston, also in the mix.

The Atlanta loop course, which will finish in Centennial Olympic Park, is a hilly challenge and will be more so if the midday temperature is in the 70s, as it often is on that date. That’s still cooler than it’s likely to be in Sapporo (average temperature 78), the former Winter Games site where the races were moved to avoid Tokyo’s sauna (87).

(02/23/2020) Views: 1,166 ⚡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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A look at who's got a shot at making the American Olympic marathon squad

The U.S. Olympic Trials are less than three weeks away. The fields are finalized, the tapers are starting soon and runners and fans are anticipating one of the most exciting trials yet.

Here’s a look at which runners we think are most likely to place in the top three and be named to the U.S. Olympic squad after the February 29 race in Atlanta.

Women’s field.- The favorites to make this Olympic team are Sara Hall (Asics), Des Linden (Brooks), Molly Huddle (Saucony) and Emily Sisson (New Balance). Hall has been extremely consistent over the past year, running personal bests in both the marathon and the half (a 2:22:16 in Berlin and a 1:08 in Houston just a few weeks ago). Linden is a gamer and someone who shows up no matter the conditions. She’s also an Olympic marathon veteran.

Huddle and Sisson are training partners who have helped each other improve over the marathon distance. Huddle has been a staple on the American distance scene for years (she’s a multi-time American record holder) and Sisson is the rising star who has flourished alongside Huddle. The pair own 2:23:08 (Sisson) and 2:26:33 (Huddle) marathon personal bests and know how to show up on race day. But the knock on Sisson is that she’s only run one (albeit, fantastic) marathon, and inexperience could be her downfall.

Our best bet for the top three, in order, is: Hall, Huddle, Linden.

The dark horses.-  Jordan Hasay (Nike) and Amy Cragg (Nike) are the dark horses. We just haven’t seen enough to know where these two runners are at. Hasay’s most recent result is a DNF from the Chicago Marathon. Admittedly, her training group had just folded and her former coach was charged with doping infractions, so her racing conditions weren’t ideal. But Hasay hasn’t even gotten on a start line since then.

As for Cragg, she’s the 2017 World Championship medallist and 2016 Olympian over the distance. Cragg’s results are few and far between over the past two years, but she put it all together at the Tokyo Marathon in 2018 to run a 2:21:42–one of the fastest American times in history. Both Hasay and Cragg boast the best personal bests of the bunch, but with no indication of fitness, it’s impossible to predict where they’ll end up in 20 days’ time.

Men’s field.- The favorites in the men’s race are Galen Rupp (Nike), Leonard Korir (Nike), Scott Fauble (Hoka) and Jared Ward (Saucony). Rupp was almost a dark horse, due to his poor resume from the past year, but on Saturday he clocked a 1:01:19 in a tune up half-marathon in Arizona. So he’s in good shape.

As for the other three, all hold personal bests from 2019 around the same time. Korir’s is 2:07:56 from Amsterdam and Fauble and Ward’s are both from Boston 2019 at 2:09:09 and 2:09:25. Among these three it’s really a toss-up, based on past performances, as to who makes the team.

Our best bet for the top three, in order, is: Rupp, Ward, Korir.

The dark horses.- The dark horses in this event are the masters men: Bernard Lagat (Nike) (45) and Abdi Abdirahman (Nike) (42).  Like in women’s marathoning, the men are also proving that age is just a number on the race course. Lagat and Abdirahman have both recently clocked 2:11 and 2:12 marathons and are in the conversation for the team if they have a good day in Atlanta.

(02/11/2020) Views: 1,001 ⚡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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Hitomi Niiya wins Houston half marathon

Hitomi Niiya went unchallenged and just crushed it on Sunday morning in the women’s half marathon of the 2020 Chevron Houston Marathon. Niiya covered the 13.1-mile course in 1:06:38, breaking a 13-year-old record for the fastest time by a Japanese women’s half marathon runner.

Jemal Yimer Mekonnen of Ethopia sprinted to the finish line to win the men’s half marathon in :59:24. Mekonnen, who finished second in this race last year, just missed the course record of :59:22.

Mekonnen is the third winner in Houston to finish in under an hour. Mekonnen’s pace was a 4-minute, 32-second mile.

Bernard Kipkorir Ngeno (Kenya) was a second behind Mekonnen, finishing in 59:26. Another second behind at :59:27 was Shadrack Kimining Korir (Kenya).

When Niiya was closing in on the finish, there was no runner within sight of the 31-year-old. She ran the third-fastest time in Houston on this course for women in the half marathon. Niiya, who represented Japan at the 2012 Summer Olympics, averaged a 5:05-minute mile.

Brillian Jepkorir Kipkoech (Kenya) ran second in the women’s race in 1:08:08, followed by Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui (Kenya) in 1:08:13. Sara Hall was the top American woman finisher. Hall came in with a time of 1:08:55, for ninth place.

(01/19/2020) Views: 713 ⚡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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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) Views: 737 ⚡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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