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Articles tagged #Shelby Houlihan
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After coronavirus forces postponement of 2020 Tokyo Olympics, elite athletes share their sorrow

Former University of Oregon sprinter English Gardner was looking at the big picture when the news broke Tuesday that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were being postponed for a year because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Gardner has a 2016 Olympic gold medal from the Team USA women’s 4x100 relay and big hopes for Tokyo.

But she fully supports the decision by the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers to postpone.

“I’m bigger than track and field,” Gardner said. “I’m part of the community. I’m a human being. I’m a sister. I’m a mother. I’m a girlfriend. I’m a godmother. As a whole world, we’re kind of going through it right now. It’s OK that the Games got postponed because this problem, this illness, this sickness is way bigger than Tokyo.”

Gardner is among the Olympic-level athletes and coaches who spoke to The Oregonian/OregonLive on Tuesday about the postponement. They shared varying mixtures of relief, resignation, disappointment and hope for the future.

Shortly after the decision about the Olympics became public, the TrackTown USA local organizing committee announced the U.S. Olympic trials for track and field scheduled for June at Hayward Field in Eugene also had been postponed.

In most of the country, athletes are living in various degrees of social isolation as state, regional and municipal governments try to slow the spread of the virus. In many cases it has affected their ability to train.

Maybe worse has been the uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds and watching major sporting events be canceled or postponed, one after another. It seemed only a matter of time before the Olympics became the next domino to fall.

“I wasn’t super surprised,” said Shelby Houlihan of the Portland-based Bowerman Track Club and reigning USA Track & Field outdoor women’s champion in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters. “I figured it was probably going to happen. But it still kind of sucks.

“Obviously, it was probably for the best because of the situation we’re in. Safety should definitely be the No. 1 priority. But it does suck because I was ready for this year.”

Pete Julian coaches a Nike-sponsored, Portland-based team of elite distance runners who have been gearing up for the Olympics.

Julian’s group includes, among others, U.S. mid-distance stars Donavan Brazier, the 2019 world outdoor champion in the 800 meters, and Craig Engels, German star Konstanze Klosterhalfen and former University of Oregon runner Jessica Hull of Australia.

“I don’t think any of them are happy about the Olympics getting moved,” Julian said. “I think a lot of them feel they’re ready to go and believe they can win medals. They’re sort of kicking the post. They want to race.”

But Julian agrees with the decision to postpone. His message to his runners is they can be better in 2021 than they are now. He believes the Olympics can be too.

“I think Tokyo is one of the few cities in the world that could pull this off without a hitch,” he said. “I don’t think most of us can even imagine the logistical nightmare that this is going to create, and what the IOC and Tokyo will have to work through. But they will be able to do it, and it will be amazing.”

Evan Jager of the Bowerman Track Club is the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the men’s steeplechase. He said he had a strong winter of training and liked his positioning heading into the outdoor season. But he believes this step back can turn to be a bigger step forward.

“Postponing it a year and having the Olympics as that light at the end of the tunnel is going to be a very positive thing to look forward to,” Jager said. “We can come out of this crisis a year from now, and hopefully be healthy. The Olympics can be a celebration of getting out of these dark times.”

Marathoner Galen Rupp said he planned to keep training and keep perspective.

The former University of Oregon star won an Olympic silver medal in the men’s 10,000 meters in 2012 and a bronze in the marathon in 2016. He already had made the 2020 U.S. Olympic team by winning the marathon trials on Feb. 29 in Atlanta.

“The health, safety and well-being of the global population are of the utmost importance and beyond any sporting event,” Rupp said. “Already so many people have gotten sick or died and so many more have been greatly impacted by the coronavirus. We need to listen to the advice of health experts.”

Even if that means going dark in 2020 and waiting a year so the coronavirus can be contained.

Gardner, the former UO sprinter who lives in New Jersey, said training has become difficult because of quarantine containment regulations. She joked she has to get creative to do track workouts because of padlocked facilities.

“I’ve been hopping a lot of fences,” she said. “I’ve been working on my long jump and high jump approaches.”

But turning serious, she said she endorsed the quarantines and social-distancing rules as a way to keep vulnerable family members safe. She said the Olympic postponement would protect athletes and fans.

“I was mostly concerned that we would calm the virus down, we all would go to Tokyo and spur it back up again,” Gardner said.

She said it could hit athlete housing in Tokyo the way an outbreak of the norovirus struck at the 2017 World Outdoor Championships in London.

“We share common eating rooms,” she said. “We all share the same tracks, the same weight rooms, the same hotels. It would just be a matter of time before it spurred back up again.“

(03/29/2020) ⚡AMP
by Oregon Live
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After postponement of 2020 Tokyo Olympics, elite athletes share sorrow, perspective

Former University of Oregon sprinter English Gardner was looking at the big picture when the news broke Tuesday that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were being postponed for a year because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Gardner has a 2016 Olympic gold medal from the Team USA women’s 4x100 relay and big hopes for Tokyo.

But she fully supports the decision by the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers to postpone.

“I’m bigger than track and field,” Gardner said. “I’m part of the community. I’m a human being. I’m a sister. I’m a mother. I’m a girlfriend. I’m a godmother. As a whole world, we’re kind of going through it right now. It’s OK that the Games got postponed because this problem, this illness, this sickness is way bigger than Tokyo.”

Gardner is among the Olympic-level athletes and coaches who spoke to The Oregonian/OregonLive on Tuesday about the postponement. They shared varying mixtures of relief, resignation, disappointment and hope for the future.

Shortly after the decision about the Olympics became public, the TrackTown USA local organizing committee announced the U.S. Olympic trials for track and field scheduled for June at Hayward Field in Eugene also had been postponed.

In most of the country, athletes are living in various degrees of social isolation as state, regional and municipal governments try to slow the spread of the virus. In many cases it has affected their ability to train.

Maybe worse has been the uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds and watching major sporting events be canceled or postponed, one after another. It seemed only a matter of time before the Olympics became the next domino to fall.

“I wasn’t super surprised,” said Shelby Houlihan of the Portland-based Bowerman Track Club and reigning USA Track & Field outdoor women’s champion in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters. “I figured it was probably going to happen. But it still kind of sucks.

“Obviously, it was probably for the best because of the situation we’re in. Safety should definitely be the No. 1 priority. But it does suck because I was ready for this year.”

Marathoner Galen Rupp said he planned to keep training and keep perspective.

The former University of Oregon star won an Olympic silver medal in the men’s 10,000 meters in 2012 and a bronze in the marathon in 2016. He already had made the 2020 U.S. Olympic team by winning the marathon trials on Feb. 29 in Atlanta.

Evan Jager of the Bowerman Track Club is the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the men’s steeplechase. He said he had a strong winter of training and liked his positioning heading into the outdoor season. But he believes this step back can turn to be a bigger step forward.

(03/27/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ken Goe
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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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Shelby Houlihan & Josh Thompson Complete Bowerman TC Sweep of 1500s at 2020 USATF Indoors

The Bowerman Track Club has owned the women’s distance events at USA Indoors in recent years, sweeping the 1500 and 3000 (or the equivalent mile/2-mile) every year since 2017. Well, more accurately, Shelby Houlihan — who earned seven of those eight titles — has owned the distance events.

Today, a Bowerman TC man finally got into the act as Josh Thompson (3:44.07) held off defending champ Craig Engels (3rd, 3:44.62) and the surprising Nick Harris (2nd, 3:44.57) in the 1500 to earn BTC’s first men’s indoor title since 2016. Coupled with another dominant Houlihan victory, it gave BTC a sweep of the metric mile at this year’s USATF Indoor Championships and capped off a successful weekend that saw Jerry Schumacher’s outfit sweep the top three spots in both the women’s 1500 and 3000.

Mens Race

Thompson, who was trying to make it as a steeplechaser this time last year, announced himself as one of the country’s best milers by placing third in the 1500 at USA outdoors last year. Now, after his first national title, there’s no doubt about his best event.

Thompson ran a tactically perfect race, which began by putting himself in ideal position on leader Garrett O’Toole’s shoulder at 400 meters. Once Willy Fink took the lead shortly thereafter, Thompson followed along, content to stay in second as Engels moved behind him into third.

The pack was still tightly bunched when Thompson made his move to the lead at 300 to go, with the Oregon Track Club’s Vincent Ciattei following along into second. But with Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy a scratch, this was always going to come down to Thompson vs. Engels, and that’s what happened once Engels passed Ciattei into second at the bell. Engels made a concerted effort to get around Thompson on the back straight, but Thompson would not yield, fighting him off and forcing Engels to run wide around the final turn. Engels, spent from the effort of trying to pass Thompson, had nothing left in the home straight, and he faded to third, nipped by unsponsored Harris at the line, as Thompson powered away to win in 3:44.07 with a 26.86 final lap.

Womans Race

he women’s race wasn’t quite as dramatic, especially once American mile record holder Elle Purrier was announced as a pre-race scratch following her 4th-place finish in last night’s 3k. The racing began in earnest when Karissa Schweizer took the lead with three laps to go, and it was the BTC show from there as Houlihan and Quigley followed her into second and third. It would remain that way until just over 200 to go, when Houlihan moved to the front, and, as usual, no one could match her top gear as she closed out national title #13 in 4:06.41 with a 29.87 final lap (non one else could even break 31 seconds). Quigley barely held off the impressive Schweizer for second, 4:08.30 to 4:08.32

(02/16/2020) ⚡AMP
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USATF Indoor Championships

USATF Indoor Championships

America's greatest track and field athletes will be descending upon Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Indoor national championship! For three days, the nation's greatest athletes will be racing, jumping and throwing to see who will be America's national champion! Don't miss your chance to see dozens Olympic and World Championship medalists compete for national titles at this once-a-year event! Based...

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New team in town: Under Armour runs into Flagstaff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haas doesn’t hesitate in answering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(01/05/2020) ⚡AMP
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Shalane Flanagan Was Not Surprised by Alberto Salazar’s Ban

One of America’s greatest marathoners has retired to become a coach and a television commentator, and she is speaking her mind about her sport and her top sponsor.

Shalane Flanagan, the four-time Olympian and winner of the New York City Marathon in 2017, called it quits on her running career in October — sort of.

Flanagan, who is 38 and has long trained with Nike’s Bowerman Track Club, is moving into coaching and television work. She will serve as the color analyst for ABC’s telecast of the New York City Marathon on Sunday, and once that is done she will return to Oregon to help coach the elite women who call themselves the “Bowerman Babes.”

There are few women coaching at the highest levels of running, even for female runners, and fewer who can still keep up with the athletes they train. That’s the kind of coach Flanagan plans to be as she moves into the next phase of her career.

“My dream is to become a personal pacer,” she said in a phone interview last week, during which she discussed her decision to hang up her racing shoes, Nike’s connection to the latest performance-enhancing drug scandal and whether, as an analyst, she will criticize runners she is coaching.

So now you are becoming a coach officially. Is that a role you have been playing unofficially for a while?

"Prior to the last year I had always looked at myself as the elder on the team. A little motherly, maybe a bit bossy and mentoring to younger athletes. But ever since I finished my last race in New York a year ago I have known I wanted to coach, and I’ve been observing and watching more with a coaching eye than as a teammate. The last year has been a kind of informal internship," she said.

Why aren’t there more female coaches at the highest levels in track and field?

"I never thought of it as a gender position or role, but having in the last year been in an environment and the arena of the coaching world, it has opened my eyes. At the U.S. championships, there are very few women coaches in the warm-up area, or even agents. It definitely feels strange."

Your sponsor, Nike, which funds your training group, worked closely with Alberto Salazar, who has been suspended from the sport for actions he took as coach of the Nike Oregon Project. Has the company done enough to make you feel that other Nike athletes will not be tainted by all of this?

"They are currently looking at the situation. I am guessing that they are a bit shocked to some degree and they are going to evaluate how they format these teams in the future. It’s a big liability for them. It’s very complicated. I’m proud of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the efforts they put forth and their commitment to clean sport."

Were you surprised by what you read in the reports about the Oregon Project, that Nike’s chief executive, Mark Parker (who has since left that post), was kept in the loop through emails about experiments with performance-enhancing drugs?

"We train on the Nike campus, but we very much stick to our neck of the woods. We kind of quarantine ourselves. Once Jerry Schumacher broke off with Alberto in 2009, we’ve been very separated. That said, I’m surprised but not surprised by the situation that unfolded. I trained with Kara Goucher sometimes and I was privy to what she was going through, so I am not completely ignorant on the subject. As for Mark Parker’s interactions, I was unaware of those. (Goucher was one of the main whistle-blowers in the USADA investigation.)"

Will you run with the women you are coaching?

"I would love to pace someone like Shelby Houlihan to a 5K record attempt, or really any of our athletes. Being able to do that for them, that’s my motivation."

Did you ever have a coach like that?

"Jerry used to be able to hop in during some sessions. It made it so much more fun. When I was preparing for Boston I would make multiple trips and train on the course for multiple days. Jerry would get on and do workouts with me. I loved so much to have my coach give his body to help me attain my goals.

So what does Jerry say about you commenting on television about runners in your training group?

"Jerry would prefer I not commentate when I have athletes in races. I’m not sure I will change his mind on that aspect."

(11/11/2019) ⚡AMP
by Matthew Futterman
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Shalane Flanagan has announced her retiring from professional running

With happy tears I announce today that I am retiring from professional running. From 2004 to 2019 I’ve given everything that’s within me to this sport and wow it’s been an incredible ride! I’ve broken bones, torn tendons, and lost too many toenails to count. I've experienced otherworldly highs and abysmal lows. I've loved (and learned from) it all.

Over the last 15 years I found out what I was capable of, and it was more than I ever dreamed possible.  Now that all is said and done, I am most proud of the consistently high level of running I produced year after year. No matter what I accomplished the year before, it never got any easier. Each season, each race was hard, so hard. But this I know to be true: hard things are wonderful, beautiful, and give meaning to life.  I’ve loved having an intense sense of purpose.  For 15 years I've woken up every day knowing I was exactly where I needed to be.

The feeling of pressing the threshold of my mental and physical limits has been bliss. I've gone to bed with a giant tired smile on my face and woken up with the same smile.  My obsession to put one foot in front of the other, as quickly as I can, has given me so much joy.

However, I have felt my North Star shifting, my passion and purpose is no longer about MY running; it's more and more about those around me.  All I’ve ever known, in my approach to anything, is going ALL IN.

So I’m carrying this to coaching. I want to be consumed with serving others the way I have been consumed with being the best athlete I can be.

I am privileged to announce I am now a professional coach of the Nike Bowerman Track Club.  This amazing opportunity in front of me, to give back to the sport, that gave me so much, is not lost on me.  I’ve pinched myself numerous times to make sure this is real. I am well aware that retirement for professional athletes can be an extremely hard transition. I am lucky, as I know already, that coaching will bring me as much joy and heartache that my own running career gave me.

I believe we are meant to inspire one another, we are meant to learn from one another. Sharing everything I’ve learned about and from running is what I’m meant to do now.I would like to thank: The 5 coaches who guided me throughout my career, Michael Whittlesey and Dennis Craddock (2004-2005), John Cook (2006-2008), Jerry Schumacher (2009-2019), and Pascal Dobert (2009-2019). Each man was instrumental in developing me into the best version of myself.

Jerry, Pascal and I will continue to work together in this next chapter and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Jerry has been my life coach, running coach and now will mentor me towards my next goal of becoming a world-class coach myself. I’m thankful for his unending belief in me.

My family and husband who have traveled the world supporting my running and understanding the sacrifices I needed to make. Their unconditional love is what fueled my training.My longtime friend, Elyse Kopecky who taught me to love cooking and indulge in nourishing food. Run Fast. Eat Slow. has been a gift to my running and to the thousands of athletes.

My teammates, and all the women I've trained with, for pushing me daily, and the endless smiles and miles. They include: Erin Donahue, Shannon Rowbury, Kara Goucher, Lisa Uhl, Emily Infeld, Amy Cragg, Colleen Quigley, Courtney Frerichs, Shelby Houlihan, Betsy Saina, Marielle Hall, Gwen Jorgensen, Kate Grace.

My sponsor Nike for believing in me since 2004 and for continuing to support my new dream as a professional coach.  I hope I made myself a better person by running. I hope I made those around me better. I hope I made my competition better. I hope I left the sport better because I was a part of it.

My personal motto through out my career has been to make decisions that leave me with “no regrets”.....but to be honest, I have one.  I regret I can’t do it all over again.

(10/21/2019) ⚡AMP
by Shalane Flanagan
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TCS  New York City Marathon

TCS New York City Marathon

The first New York City Marathon, organized in 1970 by Fred Lebow and Vince Chiappetta, was held entirely in Central Park. Of 127 entrants, only 55 men finished; the sole female entrant dropped out due to illness. Winners were given inexpensive wristwatches and recycled baseball and bowling trophies. The entry fee was $1 and the total event budget...

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Nikki Hiltz plans to race for the podium at Fifth Avenue Mile

Nikki Hiltz will compete against a stacked field that includes Olympic medalist Jenny Simpson at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on Sept. 8.

Simpson will race for her record-extending eighth title in the event, which stretches 20 blocks down Manhattan’s most famous thoroughfare and is expected to draw nearly 8,000 runners across 24 heats. NBC will broadcast the professional races live at 9 a.m. PDT.

Hiltz, who recently won gold in the 1,500-meter race at the Pan American Games, has been America’s best road miler in 2019 with wins at the BAA Mile, adidas Boost Games Mile, and the USATF Road Mile Championships.

The race is expected to be her final tune-up before she competes in the 1,500 at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, alongside Simpson and Shelby Houlihan.

Allie Ostrander, a three-time NCAA champion in the steeplechase who also qualified for her first World Championships this fall, will line up for her first road race as a pro athlete. Elinor Purrier, who also qualified for her first World Championships this year, in the 5 kilometers, will look to contend as well. Canadian Olympian Jessica O’Connell and 2019 10k national champion, Genevieve Lalonde, as well as Great Britain’s Jessica Judd, will lead the international contingent.

“Fast times don’t really give me confidence, but performances do,” she said. “I just want to race people. The Fifth Avenue Mile is an awesome race—I’m going to really go for it and it’ll be a really good springboard. It’s really what I need to be confident going into worlds.”

(08/22/2019) ⚡AMP
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New Balance 5th Avenue Mile

New Balance 5th Avenue Mile

The New Balance 5th Avenue Mile opens a beautiful 20-block stretch of 5th Avenue to runners of all ages and abilities who want to run their best mile in New York City. Special races include a youth mile, the George Sheehan Memorial Mile for runners age 60 and over, the NYRR Road Mile Championships, and Olympic-caliber professional men's and women's...

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Amy Cragg Puts Trust in Her Team, and now she’s back training for the 2019 Chicago Marathon after 18 months away from racing 26.2-miles

Cragg, 35, is a member of the Bowerman Track Club, based in Portland, Oregon, under the direction of coach Jerry Schumacher. And now she’s back training for the 2019 Chicago Marathon on October 13, after 18 months away from racing 26.2-miles. The last time was the 2018 Tokyo Marathon, where she placed third in 2:21:41, a personal best by more than five minutes, making her the fifth-fastest U.S. woman at the distance.

In the past year, the overriding goal, Cragg said, was doing whatever was best to ultimately make the 2020 Olympic team. The Olympic Trials are set for February 29 in Atlanta, where the top three finishers who have the Olympic qualifying standard will be named to the team. Cragg still needs to achieve the Olympic standard within the specified window—either by time (2:29:30) or by placing in the top 10 in Chicago. Those are her primary goals for the October race, but as her training tells her more about her fitness in the months ahead, she’ll likely target a few more ambitious secondary goals.

“In training and everything we’re going to protect that goal of the qualifying standard for the Olympics—that’s what we’re going there to do,” she said. “But at the same time if things go well, we’ll narrow the focus of what I want to achieve on race day.”

The Chicago Marathon may serve as a good preview for the February Trials, too. Jordan Hasay, the second-fastest U.S. woman in the marathon, is also planning to compete—her personal best of 2:20:57 was set at the 2017 Chicago Marathon, when she placed third. Hasay has indicated she’d like to set the American record in October, currently held by Deena Kastor in 2:19:36.

Although she was upset to not compete last year, not all was lost for Cragg after she withdrew from the marathon. She started focusing on shorter distances and was thrown into workouts with her teammates, all of whom are Olympians specializing in middle-distance events—and are rather good at them, too. Like Shelby Houlihan, American record holder in the 5,000 meters (14:34.45) and Colleen Quigley, national indoor mile champion.

“It was really hard. It’s a different stimulus than I’m used to,” Cragg said. “They’re the best in the world at what they do. There were a lot of tough moments, putting my head down and hanging on in practice.”

As a result, though, Cragg took third in the national road 5K championships in November and fifth at the U.S. cross-country championships in January. And she believes the focus on quicker cadence will help her in the marathon, too.

“It’s so important to go back to that faster stuff because your legs can almost go kind of dead after all that marathon training—if you’re just running 130 or 140 miles a week, day-in and day-out, all of a sudden those regular runs just naturally start slowing down,” she said. “You need to throw in that extra speed to keep the quality high. There will be five-minute miles thrown into a marathon—it’s not the speed that kills you, it’s the faster turnover.”

The Bowerman women’s group has plenty of members to keep things moving. In the past year, the group has added to its roster, including Karissa Schweizer, a six-time NCAA champion from the University of Missouri; Vanessa Fraser, a nine-time All American at Stanford University; and Elise Cranny, an 12-time All American at Stanford.

(07/17/2019) ⚡AMP
by Erin Strout
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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

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

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America’s Amy Cragg is set to race the Prague Half on Saturday

Success for reigning USA Olympic Trials Marathon champion Amy Cragg did not come easily or quickly.  Indeed, the 35 year-old Nike Bowerman Track Club athlete nearly quit the sport before her true talent really showed through, eventually carrying her to Olympic Trials wins in both 2012 (at 10,000m) and 2016 (marathon), four USA titles, and a 2:21:42 marathon personal best.  It’s been a long, and sometimes bumpy, road.

“Definitely, I’ve made some mistakes along the way,” Cragg told Race Results Weekly in a telephone interview from Prague where she’ll be running the Sportisimo Prague International Half-Marathon on Saturday.  “I’ve learned from them and that’s kind of led me to here.  So, every once in a while I’ve looked back and I’m, like, I should have done this differently or this differently.  But, the reality is that I might not have ended up here.  I think I’m in a really good place.”

Working with coaches Jerry Schumacher and Pascal Dobert and Bowerman teammate Shalane Flanagan since the end of 2015, Cragg has blossomed into one of America’s best at 26.2 miles.  After winning the February, 2016, Marathon Trials on a brutally hot day in Los Angeles, she went on to finish ninth in the Olympic Games Marathon in Rio. 

She backed up that performance a year later with a thrilling, late-race charge at the 2017 IAAF World Championships marathon in London, taking the bronze medal (the first medal for a USA woman at those championships in the marathon since 1983), and only missing the silver by a fraction of a second. 

She recovered from her London race well, then ran the Tokyo Marathon in February, 2018, finishing third in an excellent 2:21:42.  That performance made her the fifth-fastest American of all time behind only Deena Kastor, Jordan Hasay, Flanagan and Joan Samuelson.

"I love where I’m at,” Cragg continued.  “I love my team and my coach.  Just living in Oregon, that’s been incredible.  I think overall, those rough moments, those times when I considered stopping have made me a stronger athlete.  I’m glad I went through that.  It’s hard to say that.  Those times, I think I really learned a lot from them.”

Cragg is at an unusual juncture in her career.  She hasn’t run a marathon in over a year.  She built-up for Chicago last October, but ended up withdrawing from the race after she and her coaches felt that her training hadn’t brought her to the fitness she would need to run her best.  They had intense discussions, she said, about what to do next.

“When I pulled out of Chicago last year the big talk was, OK, what do we really want to get out of the next two years?” Cragg said.  “I’ll probably be in the sport two years and reassess.  The big thing is making another Olympic team and trying to perform well in Tokyo.  Everything we do from here on out, that’s the goal to make that team and we’ve been working back from there.”

Cragg decided not to do a spring marathon this year.  Instead, she worked with her Bowerman teammates Shelby Houlihan, Marielle Hall, Courtney Frerichs, and Karissa Schweizer to get ready for the USATF Cross Country Championships last February where she finished fifth in her first national cross country championships in nine years. 

A month later she ran the special Road to Gold test event in Atlanta where she was able to run on the 2020 Olympic Trials course.  Uncontested, she covered the 8-mile route in 43:23 and won by a minute.  She told Race Results Weekly that the Atlanta race was essentially the kick-off of her Trials training.

“I felt pretty good,” Cragg said.  “I think I’m in a good position and I’m pretty excited to get into the bigger miles.  For me, that makes a huge difference.  I feel ready to start that, which is exciting for me.”

Saturday’s race in Prague is the next logical step on Cragg’s long journey to Atlanta next February for the marathon trials and Tokyo for the Olympics next August.  On Prague’s flat, record-eligible course Cragg wants to race hard with the goal of improving herself as a marathoner.

(04/05/2019) ⚡AMP
by David Monti
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Prague Half Marathon

Prague Half Marathon

2020 race was moved from March to September 6. Start the RunCzech season with one of the biggest running events in the Central Europe! Every year the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon excites spectators with performances of elite athletes breaking records. Enjoy a course with incomparable scenery in the heart of historic Prague that follows along the Vltava river and crisscrosses...

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Colleen Quigley scores her first USATF track title, beating teammate Shelby Houlihan in the indoor mile

Colleen Quigley scored her first US track title in the mile final at the USATF Indoor Championships in Staten Island, N.Y. yesterday, beating her teammate, the seemingly unstoppable Shelby Houlihan, in 4:29.27, pumping her fist as she crossed the finish line.

With 500m to go, Quigley passed Houlihan and held on the for win, running the final lap in 29s. Houlihan ran 4:29.92 for second place, with Cory McGee finishing third in 4:30.14.

Making her move early was key, as Quigley told LetsRun post-race. “My tactic was basically, don’t leave it til the last 100, because you don’t stand a chance. You’ve got to get her before that… I was hoping to put distance on her before she got to start kicking.”

Quigley finished second to Houlihan at this meet in both 2018 and 2017, so it was a sweet victory for the St. Louis, Missouri middle-distance runner (who is particularly adept at the steeplechase) on Saturday. Quigley ran a new personal best in 4:22.86 at the Millrose Games on February 9, and was obviously determined to beat Houlihan, who has won eight straight national titles from 1,500m up to 10K cross-country, and who holds the American record in the 5,000m.  

 

(02/25/2019) ⚡AMP
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USATF Indoor Championships

USATF Indoor Championships

America's greatest track and field athletes will be descending upon Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Indoor national championship! For three days, the nation's greatest athletes will be racing, jumping and throwing to see who will be America's national champion! Don't miss your chance to see dozens Olympic and World Championship medalists compete for national titles at this once-a-year event! Based...

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Shelby Houlihan won the USATF Cross-Country Championships and is becoming one of the most dominant American runners

Shelby Houlihan won the USATF Cross-Country Championships on Saturday, beating one of the deepest fields in recent history. Houlihan bested American half-marathon record-holder Molly Huddle, American steeplechase record-holder Courtney Frerichs and 2016 NCAA XC champion Karissa Schweizer. Saturday was the longest race of the 5,000m record-holder’s life so far, and her first cross-country race since 2014. Even more impressive, Houlihan closed in a 3:02 kilometer.

The Bowerman Track Club runner or Shelbo800 as she’s known on Instagram, is a name you should remember. This 800m runner turned distance phenom has won the USATF 1,500m, 5,000m and 10K cross-country races–and done that in the space of less than one year. She also set a new American 5,000m record this past summer at Heusden. 

The runner’s Instagram handle has also become a bit of a joke in the running community. Houlihan was an 800m runner in college at Arizona State University, with a personal best of 2:01.12 from 2014. What was once a time she was very proud of has now become one of her weaker personal bests. She’s now run a shocking 3:57.34 for the 1,500m and 14:34.45 in the 5,000m. 

Second place on Saturday went to Huddle, who’s preparing for the London marathon this April and third place went to Marielle Hall. 

(02/06/2019) ⚡AMP
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Shelby Houlihan runs a big PR to break the American 5000m record, clocking 13:34

Shelby Houlihan, a native of Sioux City, Iowa, who now lives in Portland, Oregon, won the 5,000 and the 1,500 at this year's USA Championships. Her top 5,000 time before Saturday was 15:00.37, which came at the 2017 World Championships in London.  Shelby broke the American women's record Saturday in the outdoor 5,000 meters at the Night of the Athletics track and field meet in Heusden, Belgium.  Houlihan, 25, won in 14 minutes, 34.45 seconds to break the record of 14:38.92, which was set by Shannon Rowbury in 2016 in Brussels, Belgium.  She dominated the field beating runner-up Molly Huddle of the United States by nearly 27 seconds. Huddle ran a 15:01.44 while fellow American Karrissa Schweizer finished third in 15:02.44. (07/21/2018) ⚡AMP
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Shelby Houlihan surges past three contenders to win the 1500m while Semenya placed sixth

Shelby Houlihan of the US ran a new PR and set a meet record in the 1,500m at Lausanne Diamond League today, with the UK’s Laura Muir finishing second and the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan third. Houlihan clocked 3:57.54. Caster Semenya of South Africa was well back, finishing sixth, with a time of 4:00.44. It was the third straight 1,500m win for Houlihan, an Olympic 5,000m runner who is having an incredible outdoor season in 2018, winning the 1,500m at both the Prefontaine Classic on May 26 and the USATF Outdoor Championships on June 23. Semenya holds South Africa’s national record in the event (3:59.92, set at Doha Diamond League in May). She won the 800m and set a new PB, without benefit of a pace rabbit, at Paris Diamond League on June 30 (07/05/2018) ⚡AMP
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