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Foreign runners take gold at Taipei Marathon

Paul K. Lonyangata won NT$1.8 million ($63,880US) for his first-place finish and record-breaking achievement

Kenyan runner Paul K. Lonyangata won the 2020 Taipei Marathon men's division on Sunday (Dec. 20) with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 18 seconds; while the female champion, Ethiopian Askale M. Wegi, came in at 2 hours, 28 minutes and 31 seconds, according to a China Times report.

Lonyangata was awarded prize money of NT$1.8 million (US$62,000) for his first-place finish and record-breaking achievement.

The Kenyan champion said this was not the first time to win a road race, but it was the highest prize money he had ever received from a single race. He added that his prize money would help many people in his hometown who have contracted COVID-19, as well as fund schools.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said during an address before the start of the race that about 37,000 runners had registered for the event, but only 28,000 runners were selected by drawing lots, in order to maintain the quality of the event, CNA reported. In the future, 28,000 will become the limit for the number of people participating in the running event, the mayor said.

In order to obtain an IAAF Platinum Label for the event, which has been held every year since 1986, the city government invited 12 elite international athletes to participate in the event, the mayor said. He added that during the quarantine period, they were provided with running machines in their rooms so they could keep training.

The mayor went on to say the Taipei Marathon is likely the only large-scale city marathon to take place this year without a hitch, due to the pandemic, per CNA.

(12/20/2020) ⚡AMP
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New Taipei City Wanjinshi Marathon

New Taipei City Wanjinshi Marathon

The best thing about Wan Jin Shi Marathon Race, is the chance to take in the enchanting view along the North Shore. The breathtaking view of the mountains and the seaside is the centerpiece of the race. The Queen's Head Rock is set against the backdrop of the North Shore, complemented by the area's many scenic landmarks. This is the...

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Why distance doesn’t matter when it comes to FKTs

Regardless of its length, your favourite running route could deserve its own official FKT

With countless event cancellations this year, fastest known times (FKTs) have blown up and replaced races for so many runners around the world. As the founders of fastestknowntime.com (the official website of FKTs) told FiveThiryEight in the summer, they have seen a massive increase in FKT submissions in 2020 compared to 2019, and that hasn’t slowed down in recent months. It’s easy to look at some of these routes, many of which take days to complete, and think, “I could never do that.” The thing is, FKTs aren’t just for ultrarunners or elite athletes. Anyone can submit a run to be considered by the crew at fastestknowntime.com, and the routes can be as short or as long as you want. So really, there’s nothing stopping you from owning an FKT.

The short

A quick scan of the FKT website will show you that these routes are not all ultra-distance runs. Yes, there are some ridiculously long runs, but there are also routes that you don’t have to dedicate days (or, in some cases, weeks) to in order to complete them. You can even run a few kilometres and, if the route is noteworthy enough, you can get it certified as an official FKT. 

For example, look at the Mt. Sanitas route in Boulder, Colo. This is a 1.4-mile (2.25K) run, although it gains almost 400m in that short period of time. This is by no means an easy route to run, and you’ll be gassed by the end of the intense climb, but it’s just a little over 2K. You probably won’t beat the current FKT (it belongs to Kilian Jornet, who completed the run in just over 14 minutes), but if you’re in Boulder and feel like punishing yourself, give it a shot. 

The long

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the long FKTs. And when we say long, we mean long. A great example of this is the Appalachian Trail. This 3,500K trail stretches from Maine all the way down to Georgia, and the current route records belong to Belgian Karel Sabbe, who ran farther than anyone else at the 2019 Barkley Marathons (although he still finished with a DNF), and American Liz Anjos. Sabbe set his FKT in 2018, completing the route in just over 41 days, and Anjos ran hers earlier this year, finishing in 51 days. 

Try your own

As you can see, you can go super short or extremely long for FKTs. The key to getting your route certified, as listed on the FKT website, is to make sure it is “distinct enough so that others will be interested in repeating it.” It is also noted that, while routes can be any length, “anything less than five miles long or with less than 500 feet of climbing would have to be special.” If you think you’ve got a route that could attract other runners, send it in to the team at fastestknowntime.com. If they like it, run it yourself as the first official record attempt on the route. Once you’re finished, you’ll own an FKT. It might not stay under your name forever (especially if someone like Jornet decides to run it), but you’ll always be the original record holder.  

(12/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Five ways to use running to survive the festive season

Season’s Greetings! The holiday season is fast approaching… whether you will be celebrating Christmas, the arrival of a new year, or the end of 2020, the opportunity to rest and down tools will be welcome for all of us.

Throughout this pandemic, I have always tried to look for the positives. But let’s be honest – it has been a year like no other, and not in a good way! Thankfully, there is a lot to look forward to in the coming year – vaccines, seeing our friends and families more, travel… and the Olympics!

The festive season is truly special in many ways, but it can also be a little stressful. Christmas in the UK is famous for family arguments, excessive drinking, and cold, wintry weather. By the time early January arrives, the return to a normal routine often feels very welcome.

So how best to survive the festive season with a positive mindset? The answer, for me, is definitely… running!

Training out in the fresh air provides the perfect antidote to Christmas excesses of all kinds, and brings a welcome boost to your physical and mental health. But how do you fit it in, on top of all the holiday traditions and celebrations? Decathlon legend Daley Thompson famously trained even on Christmas day – what further inspiration do we need? If you’re not entirely convinced by running during the festive season, here are my five top tips on how to use running to keep your spirits up during the holidays.

Run early!

Even without work to do, somehow the days can fly by during the holiday season, with meals to prepare, gifts to wrap, and relatives to help. Therefore, I always try to run early in the morning, making it the first activity I do for the day. Enjoying some quiet time to yourself by running in early morning light, before the day gets going, sets you up nicely for the day ahead.

Consume in moderation.

Eating and drinking feature heavily in holiday season activities. Enjoying special festive foods at this time of year is great – unless you’re trying to keep your weight down for your next marathon! Being surrounded by delicious food can be, well, torment! I adopted the rule of moderation – to enjoy special treats but in modest amounts, so that I could enjoy seasonal delicacies but without any waistline damage!

Let’s race!

The end or start of a year is the perfect time to set down a milestone of your progress by doing a race. Because of the pandemic, races are hard to come by this year, so why not run a time trial instead? A distance like 5km is ideal since it does not take too much out of you, and you can repeat it reasonably often. If you haven’t yet tried parkrun, why not give it a try, even if it’s a (not) parkrun where suspensions are still in place. World Athletics and parkrun announced a new partnership this year.

Wrap up warm.

In the northern hemisphere, winter is well and truly here. But despite the cold, running in winter can be delightful – frosty crisp mornings, misty sunrises, and silhouetted leafless trees make a run in your local park feel like you’ve been transported to a magical, imaginary wonderland. There’s no escaping those first few minutes which are very chilly, but once you get going and warmed up, winter running feels invigorating!

Plan ahead.

At this time of year, it’s easy to focus entirely on the festivities… and forget that time keeps marching relentlessly on. January will arrive in no time, so why not use the holiday season to plan some running goals, for example a training plan for the next few weeks, a race to look forward to, or a revamp of your nutrition using some process goals. Then you can avoid any sadness when the festivities are over, and press on with your new goals.

(12/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Many Protests as Russia doping ban cut to two years

Russia's ban from international sport was halved to two years on Thursday and its athletes were cleared to compete as neutrals, drawing condemnation from athletes and anti-doping advocates.

The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport cut the initial four-year ban imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, citing "matters of proportionality" and the "need to effect cultural change and encourage the next generation of Russian athletes".

"The consequences which the Panel has decided to impose are not as extensive as those sought by WADA," a CAS statement said.

"This should not, however, be read as any validation of the conduct of RUSADA (Russia's anti-doping watchdog) or the Russian authorities."

The CAS judgement comes after WADA hit Russia with the four-year ban last year for doping non-compliance after finding data handed over from its tainted Moscow laboratory had been manipulated.

The saga first erupted in 2016 when Grigory Rodchenkov, the laboratory's former head, blew the whistle over state-backed doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian resort of Sochi.

The shortened ban imposed by CAS runs until December 16, 2022, encompassing the Tokyo Olympics, Beijing Winter Games and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which ends two days later.

Russia's flag is forbidden, but its athletes will be allowed to compete in a uniform bearing the word "Russia", as long as it also says "neutral athlete", the court said.

Government representatives including President Vladimir Putin are barred, but they may still attend if invited by the host country's head of state, CAS added.

WADA president Witold Banka said he was "disappointed" that the four-year ban was cut, but still called the ruling "an important moment for clean sport".

"WADA is pleased to have won this landmark case," Banka said, adding that the verdict "clearly upheld our findings that the Russian authorities brazenly and illegally manipulated the Moscow laboratory data in an effort to cover up an institutionalised doping scheme".

'Devastating decision'

But there was strong condemnation elsewhere. US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive officer Travis Tygart, who played a key role in exposing cycling's Lance Armstrong doping scandal, called it a "devastating decision".

"At this stage in this sordid Russian state-sponsored doping affair, now spanning close to a decade, there is no consolation in this weak, watered-down outcome," Tygart said.

He called it "a catastrophic blow to clean athletes, the integrity of sport, and the rule of law" and, in an interview with AFP, said the ruling was a "tragedy" for the global fight against drug cheats.

British Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Callum Skinner tweeted, "The biggest doping scandal in history goes unpunished," and Global Athlete, which advocates for sportspeople, called the ruling "farcical".

"The fact that Russian Athletes can compete as 'Neutral Athletes from Russia' is another farcical facade that makes a mockery of the system."

(12/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by AFP
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Canadian 20,000m record holder Justin Kent is set to make his debut in the marathon on Sunday at The Marathon Project

Justin Kent is set to make his debut in the marathon on Sunday at The Marathon Project in Chandler, Ariz. Kent, who also works as a coach with Mile2Marathon, is no stranger to road racing, having won the virtual Canadian 10K Championships in July (he ran 28:52) and having run an unofficial half-marathon PB of 1:02:34 in October. The marathon is a completely different beast, though, and Kent says he knows there’s a steep learning curve when it comes to running 42.2K well.

Below is his favorite type of workout from his marathon build, and while he admits it “isn’t the most glamorous” of sessions, he says it is an important one that all prospective marathoners should include in their training schedules. 

Kent says he respects the distance and his fellow athletes too much to try to forecast what time he will run on Sunday. “Obviously I want to run really fast, but if I made some crazy prediction saying I would go and run a certain time, I think it’d be a disservice to people who have run those times in the past.” He has put in the work, though, giving himself the best chance to run a great time. One of his favourite workouts in this build to The Marathon Project has been the progression run. 

“I’ve grown to love the long, sustained efforts,” Kent says. “A few years back when I was training for the 1,500m, I always enjoyed the long run, and over the years, it’s become even more enjoyable.” He recently completed a 38K progression run that featured “a pretty solid chunk at marathon pace.” These runs are so important and effective, he says, because they help “your body get used to the effort that you need to maintain that marathon goal pace.” 

Kent says he believes that the experience he has gained from these long efforts will help him at The Marathon Project. He adds that he has already seen the benefits of his progression runs in a race setting when he ran the national 20,000m record of 1:01:01 in November. “These kinds of workouts aren’t as exciting to talk about as big runs on the track,” he says, “but the sessions that aren’t as glamorous are the best bang for your buck.”

If you’re planning on running a marathon, adding some progression runs to your schedule could really help you out. Kent says to warm up as you would for a track session with drills to get your body ready for the effort. Then, start your run with 5K to 8K of easy running. “Just go through the motions,” Kent says. “It’s just normal running for a while, and then you start picking it up. The key is to not hammer it right off the bat.” 

After your warmup, your run can vary in distance. No matter how far you’re planning to run, you should reach marathon pace at some point. For example, if you warm up with an easy 8K, you can spend the next 8K slowly building. After that, close with 8K at marathon pace. By the time you reach the marathon pace section, you will probably already be at least a little tired, which is why this type of workout can be so effective.

There’s no chance that you won’t feel tired in your marathon, and getting used to running while tired will only help you on race day.

Try it out yourself, and play with the distances. Progression runs can also be used in training for other distances. The key is to reach race pace and maintain it for a solid period of time. 

(12/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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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) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Olivier Leblond Broke the American Age-Group Record in the 100-Mile Track Event

He ran 403 laps around the track in fewer than 13 hours!

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic canceling all kinds of races this year, ultrarunner Olivier Leblond was hoping for an opportunity to put his training to good use before the end of 2020. After running one 100-mile race on two-weeks notice in July, he decided to target an age-group record in the 100-mile track event at the site of his 2013 win in the 24-hour race: Desert Solstice.

And close out the year, he did. In Phoenix, Arizona, Leblond set a new American men’s 45-49 age-group record in the 100-mile track event on December 12.

Leblond ran 403 laps around the track in 12 hours, 41 minutes, and 57 seconds, making him the fourth fastest ever in his age group globally. The 48-year-old French-American beat the previous record—13:56:59, set by Rich Riopel in May 2019—by more than an hour.

“I was going crazy this year because training takes a lot of time, and when you stop feeling good because races are canceled, you think, Oh no, this was my last chance,” Leblond told Runner’s World. “It’s been a crappy year for everybody, but I wanted to at least try to get one good result.”

Leblond had a solid five-week training block in which he had put in 110-, 115-, and 120-mile weeks, sandwiched between two easier weeks. Before he knew it, he and his crew chief/girlfriend, Sarah Smith, were on their way to Phoenix.

The race featured a stellar cast of runners, like eventual men’s and women’s 24-hour race winners Nick Coury, who finished with 155.41 miles, and Marisa Lizak, the now two-time champ who finished fourth overall with 142.64 miles.

While all of the runners raced around the oval, Leblond focused on his own 7:40 pace, which had him going about 1:54 per lap. Even with bathroom breaks, this would comfortably get him past Riopel’s record .

However, Leblond had another goal he wanted to hit: breaking 13 hours.

“All of the 100 milers I’ve done were on trails or had big climbs or were hot or something,” he said. “You don’t go run hours around a track just to have fun. Your focus is a PR, and that’s what I was looking to do.”

(12/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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When This Runner Lost His Job, He Took the Opportunity to Achieve a Lifelong Dream

Shan Riggs ran more than 3,100 miles and raised more than $45,000

The beginning of Shan Riggs’s story is an all-too familiar tale from 2020. When the pandemic hit, he lost his job as a sponsorship consultant for races and events, leaving him without work for the year as races were postponed or canceled by COVID-19.

For months, Riggs was left with almost too much free time as he waited to see what would happen with the pandemic. He hoped he could return to his main client, the Hartford Marathon Foundation, near where he was living in Connecticut. However, by August, he realized he’d be without work for the remainder of the year.

While it was tough to accept in the moment, Riggs then realized that this might be the ideal time to achieve his dream of running across the country. Plus, he could use the 3,200-mile journey to raise money for Foodshare, a member of Feeding America that serves Connecticut’s Hartford and Tolland counties.

“I had done runs from Chicago to Indianapolis before, but never any multi-day runs that went on for months,” Riggs told Runner’s World. “Now that I suddenly didn’t have work, I realized that I could do something more, and I’d worked with Foodshare through the Hartford Marathon. When I’d see a football field with rows and rows of cars of tons of people who never needed help before, I knew I wanted to get as much visibility to them as possible.”

Riggs pulled together his plans in about three weeks. He parted ways with most of his belongings, trying to limit the overhead cost of rent and attempting to live solely out of the camper van he owned with his partner, Callie Vinson, who had been living in Chicago.

Once that was done, Riggs made his way across the country, picking up Vinson in Chicago on their way to San Francisco. On September 1, he started his long journey across the country.

Riggs wasn’t attempting a record-breaking run, so he was able to settle into a comfortable pace each day to complete his daily mileage in his Altras.

“I talked to a few people beforehand like Pete Kostelnick and Jason Romrero [who had previously run across the country] and they warned me about going out too fast,” Riggs said. “You can’t win day one, but you can lose on day one, so we started a little over 30 miles on day one and kept that up throughout, doing between 30 to 40 a day.”

With the pandemic going on, Vinson and Riggs took precautions as they made their way through America’s various terrains and climates, small towns and cities, and downhills and painfully long uphills (one day he had to climb 6,000 feet!). They camped on the side of the road and at campgrounds.

Riggs’s daily eating routine consisted of a morning GU stroopwafel before starting the day’s run, a bigger breakfast 10 miles later, a simple sandwich at lunch, and third stop for a snack. Dinner included things like steak with veggies on the side or a Thai rice bowl, which they cooked themselves. 
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“I expected more disasters to come up, but the worst that happened was I got food poisoning in Indiana, which derailed us for a day before I was back doing 30 miles a day later,” Riggs said. “We did have close calls with dogs, and I almost stepped on a rattlesnake, but really nothing major happened.”

Some stops were familiar for Riggs, like Chicago, where he once lived, and Indiana, where he grew up. He also stopped in towns he might have never visited.

Then, after months on the road and on his feet, he neared the finish line where Connecticut touched the Atlantic Ocean. After some big mileage days, he had the help of friends and strangers who came out to support him and run with him over those final miles.

Finally, the last day arrived on December 1. It would be his biggest mileage day, requiring a tough 47 miles to reach the balloon arches his coworker from the Hartford Marathon Foundation had set up for him.

Knowing he wouldn’t have to run the next day for the first time in three months, he gave it everything he had. He had to move quickly because the beach where he’d finish closed early because of the pandemic, so he averaged a 10:04 mile after more than 3,100 miles.

“Shan went through the arches, looked at me, grabbed my hand, and we went right into the water,” Vinson told Runner’s World. “It was so cold. Luckily, I had towels and blankets in the van waiting. We washed up quickly and had cake that was made for us and then we took off for the hotel before making the long drive to Chicago the next day.”

Not only did Riggs complete 3,154 miles, but he raised more than $45,000 for Foodshare, which doesn’t include all of the matching made by companies who supported the cause. (You can still donate to Riggs’s fundraiser here).

A few weeks after, Riggs is recovering well in Chicago alongside Vinson while he looks for work. Riggs is taking some time off of running; however, he did have to pay Vinson back by crewing her on December 11 for her attempt to run the 200-mile route around the boundaries of Chicago.

Riggs said it was the least he could do.

(12/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Why genetics is a poor predictor of athletic talent

You've probably heard people say some athletes have "the right genes" for running, but it turns out that's not very accurate

When describing the best runners in the world, a lot of people might say the top athletes are simply built for the sport or that they have the right genes for running. It’s a fair assumption that an athlete’s prowess is mostly due to winning the genetic lottery, but new research out of the Human Kinetics Journal suggests otherwise. Through case studies of five elite athletes, researchers found that genetic testing couldn’t distinguish between an elite athlete and a non-elite participant. 

The study looked at five elite track runners (including one Olympic champion) and compared their scores to 503 non-athletes. Each runner’s genotype score (essentially an assessment of DNA) was observed and used as the basis of comparison. The results were surprising, indicating that genotype has very little to do with predicting international medallists. Researchers found that elite speed-power athletes scored higher than endurance athletes when looking at the speed-power genotype score. This makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is that using this same score, 68 non-athletic participants scored higher than the elite athletes. That’s 14 per cent of the non-athletic population in the study who, based on their speed-power genotype alone, should be better athletes than the elite participants. Another surprising finding was that when the endurance genotype was assessed, the speed-power athletes scored higher than the endurance runners. 

Study authors noted that there is “considerable interest in understanding whether [genetic] information can be utilized to identify future elite athletes.” From what they found in their research, it would be incredibly difficult to predict who would grow up to become an elite athlete based on genetics alone. It can’t be denied that genetics play a role in an individual’s success in sport. If that were all that mattered, though, those 68 non-athlete participants who scored higher than the five elite athletes in this study would likely be elite athletes themselves. 

With all this in mind, the next time someone suggests that an athlete won the genetic lottery, kindly point to this study and note that genetics may not be entirely responsible for one’s success. There are many more factors that make an athlete, and this sample strongly suggests that it takes much more to become a world-class runner than just a good pair of lungs and some fast-twitch muscle fibres. 

(12/19/2020) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Japan's first World Athletics gold label race will be discontinued after 2021 Race

In an interview with a source involved in the decision, it was learned on Dec. 17 that the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon will be discontinued after next year's 76th edition on Feb. 28, 2021. One of Japan's three major men's marathons, Lake Biwa's position on the calendar as the last chance to qualify for Olympic and World Championships teams meant it has had a long history of being the place where Japan's best marathoners earned to right to compete against the best in the world. But in recent years Lake Biwa has felt increasing pressure from the rise of the Tokyo Marathon, where national records and other fast times have been run almost every year, and Lake Biwa's relevance and value began to come into question. The Osaka Marathon is likely to replace Lake Biwa as a national team selection race in the future.

Having begun in 1946, Lake Biwa is the oldest existing marathon in Japan. Along with the Fukuoka International Marathon and the Tokyo Marathon it is counted as one of Japan's three major men's marathons. But now its long, colorful history is set to come to an end next year when Olympic marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura (28, Fujitsu) and others stand on its starting line one final time. 

Starting and finishing on the track at Ojiyama Field, Lake Biwa has long been the final selection race for Olympic and World Championships teams. At both the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio de Janeiru Olympics two of the three men's team members earned their places at Lake Biwa. At both the 1964 and 1968 Olympics all three members were chosen there. Its position on the calendar relative to Fukuoka and Tokyo meant the battles were always furious, and those who emerged victorious went on to take on the world.

There's no question that Lake Biwa has been the site of countless classic races and a vital part of Japan's marathon tradition, but in recent years its relevance has faded. One of the major factors in this was the Tokyo Marathon's change to a faster course in 2017. In 2018 Yuta Shitara (29, Honda) broke the Japanese national record in Tokyo, and two years later Suguru Osako (29, Nike) followed Shitara's lead and did the same. With that record of success, Tokyo has become the first choice for Japanese men targeting fast times. 

The outcome of that change for Lake Biwa, an elite-only marathon, was that the athletes who could have provided the fireworks started staying away. With the Tokyo Marathon having moved to Lake Biwa's traditional date the first Sunday in March two years ago, Lake Biwa's shift a week later meant it was now the same day as the Nagoya Women's Marathon, hiding it in the shadows even further. The race's viability, financial and otherwise, came into question.

According to those involved, the Osaka Marathon is the most likely candidate to replace Lake Biwa as a national team selection event. With 35,000 people running on a downtown urban course it is the second-largest marathon in Japan after only Tokyo. With that kind of modern prestige to it, Osaka is highly likely to pick up the selection race label.

Modernity has a way of burying history. The MGC Race, a one-shot selection race for the Tokyo Olympics, was a major success. Those in power are leaning toward using the same kind of single trials race for the 2024 Paris Olympics. With the coronavirus crisis an ongoing issue, this is a period of transition. The Japanese marathon world isn't immune to those transitional forces, and we can only hope that its reorganization and reformation produce even more exciting races.

(12/18/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...

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2021 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile and 5K Run-Walk Rescheduled for September 12

Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run organizers announced today that their 2021 in-person events have been moved from the previously scheduled dates of April 9-11, to September 10-12, 2021.

The Health & Fitness Expo will take place at the National Building Museum on September 10 and 11; the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Kids’ Run will be held on September 11, on a course adjacent to the National Building Museum; and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile and 5K Run-Walk will take place on September 12 at their traditional start/finish areas on the Washington Monument Grounds.

The annual lottery for race entries will be held from June 1-13, 2021, with entry fees of $50 for the Ten Mile and $40 for the 5K Run-Walk. Runners with a guaranteed entry from the canceled 2020 events will be offered a choice of race dates: September 12, 2021, or April 3, 2022, which will celebrate the 49th running of the Runner’s Rite of Spring® in our nation’s capital. Registration details for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Kids’ Run will be released at a later date.

Event Director Phil Stewart said: “We plan to continue our tradition of the Runner’s Rite of Spring with a one-time, special edition of the Runner’s Delight of Fall, by which time runners should be more than ready to return to in-person running events after over a year of mostly virtual runs. We are planning on making this a triumphant return.”

All is not lost in the spring, however, as race organizers also announced the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile and 5K Virtual Runs that will coincide with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, March 20 through April 11, 2021. Registration for the virtual runs will open on January 18, 2021, and the $35 entry fee includes a t-shirt and finisher’s medal. Runners are encouraged to visit the Credit Union Cherry Blossom website for more information on the virtual runs.

Held virtually this year, the 2020 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Runs marked the 19th year of title sponsorship by Credit Union Miracle Day. Since 2002, over $10 million has been raised for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including $439,000 this year. Of that $439,000, $66,000 came from runners donating their entry fees instead of asking for a refund when race weekend in our Nation’s Capital was wiped out by COVID-19.

“While we were all disappointed that the race was canceled this year, together we are making a significant impact in our communities and in the lives of children treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” said John Bratsakis, chair of Credit Union Miracle Day. “The funds raised directly benefit CMN Hospitals in local communities, helping to fund research, treatment, medical equipment and the challenges brought on by COVID-19. The unique, collaborative spirit of the credit union movement makes a real difference in communities, particularly during this time of uncertainty and disruption. We look forward to 2021 and our 20th year as title sponsor of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile and 5K Run-Walk.”

(12/18/2020) ⚡AMP
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Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom is known as "The Runner's Rite of Spring" in the Nation's Capital. The staging area for the event is on the Washington Monument Grounds, and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, DC Memorials. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier...

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Fresh from winning Valencia Marathon with a course record, Evans Chebet is looking towards the Olympic Games

Chebet, who edged out experience marathoners like Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono for the title, said his focus has now shifted to the Olympic Games.

“Running at the Olympic Games will be good achievement for me. It has been a long journey and making the marathon team will be a dream come true for me,” he added.

The Elgeyo Marakwet-based runner returned home after winning Valencia 42km race in a personal best time of of 2:03:00 ahead of compatriot Cherono (2:03:04) and Ethiopian Birhanu Legese (2:04:53), who completed the podium. 

“It will be good if the team is named early to ensure we start our preparations on time. If I can make the team, I assure Kenyans that I will  return with a medal,” added Chebet, who competed alongside world marathon bronze medalist Amos Kipruto.

“I look forward to competing for my country at the Olympics Games after a good break and my prayer is that Athletics Kenya names the team early," said a jubilant Chebet. He said his biggest worry in Valencia was Legese but he is happy he shook him off.

Amos Kipruto, who has dominated in many marathons across the world, was named alongside Eliud Kipchoge and Lawrence Cherono in the Olympic Games marathon team.

“I managed to run my personal best because that was my target and I still believe I will be joining Team Kenya to the Tokyo show. The team that ran in Valencia was the best and we hope the federation will take note,” said Kipruto.

In 2019, Kandie 42:39 edged Kiplimo (43:00) in the San Silvestre Road Race in Brazil. Other entrants in men's category include Alexander Mutiso Munyao, Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew, Japan-based Bedan Karoki and Stephen Kiprop, winner of the 2019 edition. 

Geremew won the Dubai Marathon in 2018 and came second in the London Marathon in 2019 with a time of 2.02.55, clocking the 4th fastest time ever in that distance.

Meanwhile, Mutiso recently placed 4th in Valencia in 57.59 and was runner-up in the men’s 2020 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in 59:16.

In the women's category, World Half Marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir will battle against World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei and 2019 World marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich.

Jepchirchir has fond memories of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, where she set her personal best time of 1:05.06 in 2017 on her way to victory.  Chepngetich recently clocked a remarkable time of 1.05.06 at the New Delhi Half Marathon.

At the 20th Dubai Marathon in 2019, she won in a course record breaking time of 2.17.08, securing the world’s 4th best marathon time ever. Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh will also be in contention.

(12/18/2020) ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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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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World Half Marathon record holder Kandie Kibiwott and world defending champion Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda will face off at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in February next year

Kandie and  Kiplimo to renew rivalry in Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon.

The two are fast becoming rivals in the 21km race having faced off several times this year. 

In their latest meet-up on December 6, the Kenyan emerged top after clocking a world record 57:32 to finish ahead of Kiplimo at the Valencia Marathon. 

Kandie's win was revenge for his loss at the hands of the Ugandan at October's World Half marathon Championships in Gydnia, Poland where the latter crossed the finish line in in 58:49 — five seconds ahead of Kandie. 

In 2019, Kandie 42:39 edged Kiplimo (43:00) in the San Silvestre Road Race in Brazil. Other entrants in men's category include Alexander Mutiso Munyao, Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew, Japan-based Bedan Karoki and Stephen Kiprop, winner of the 2019 edition. 

Geremew won the Dubai Marathon in 2018 and came second in the London Marathon in 2019 with a time of 2.02.55, clocking the 4th fastest time ever in that distance.

 Meanwhile, Mutiso recently placed 4th in Valencia in 57.59 and was runner-up in the men’s 2020 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in 59:16.

In the women's category, World Half Marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir will battle against World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei and 2019 World marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich.

Jepchirchir has fond memories of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, where she set her personal best time of 1:05.06 in 2017 on her way to victory.  Chepngetich recently clocked a remarkable time of 1.05.06 at the New Delhi Half Marathon.

At the 20th Dubai Marathon in 2019, she won in a course record breaking time of 2.17.08, securing the world’s 4th best marathon time ever. Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh will also be in contention.

(12/18/2020) ⚡AMP
by William Njuguna
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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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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) ⚡AMP
by Sarah Lorge Butler (Runner's World)
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Usain Bolt says that he weighs up the possibility of technical role as fatherhood teaches him patience

World’s fastest man Usain Bolt says that he has not ruled out the possibility of becoming a coach in the near future.

Bolt was speaking on Thursday at the Digicel Business Masterclass Series, a virtual event aimed at giving an inside look at the experiences of business leaders on the island, imparting their knowledge and lessons learnt along their road to success.

Three years after his retirement from athletics, Bolt has pursued other business interests but when asked if coaching was something that he would consider doing, he said that he was wary of the prospect because of his lack of patience. However, he says that the lessons he has learnt in raising his first child, Olympia, has helped him to develop that quality and is not closing the door completely on the option.

PATIENCE NEEDED

“You have to have the patience to deal with athletes, and for me, I don’t have that patience,” Bolt said. “But now that I have a little one, I’m learning to have patience. So maybe in the near future I might get to the point where I can say maybe [I could be] a coach. But before Olympia, no.”

For the majority of his career, Bolt trained under Racers Track Club founder and head coach Glen Mills. The partnership yielded eight Olympic titles, 11 World Championship gold medals, and the world records in both the 100m and 200m.

Bolt says that he recognises the qualities that coaches must have in developing talent and appreciates the challenges that Mills had to deal with during their training sessions.

“As a coach, you have to be very patient,” he said. “You will get athletes and you will have to tell them the same things over and over and over again. I wasn’t one of those athletes, but it’s hard for a coach. I’m not going to say that I made it easy for my coach. He had to shout at me at times.”

Additionally, he spoke about the respect and trust that he had in Mills during his career and how that respect was important to his reaching the highest level of athletics.

“I always say to people, ‘If coach [Mills] tells me tomorrow you are going to wake up and run eight seconds, I’ll believe him’,” he said. “That’s how much I believe in my coach because he has proven himself to me.”

(12/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Daniel Wheeler
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Haile Gebrselassie prepares for the 20th edition of the Great Ethiopian Run will go ahead next month with many COVID-19 precautions in place

Two-time Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie announced on Tuesday that he and the Great Ethiopian Run (GER) organizers plan on going ahead with their race in a month’s time on January 10.

This will be the 20th edition of the 10K race in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, an event that Gebrselassie founded in 2000 after he won his second Olympic 10,000m gold medal at the Sydney Games. Gebrselassie says he and his organizing team are expecting 12,500 participants to toe the line at the January race, and they have a number of COVID-19 precautions in place to make the event as safe as possible for everyone involved. 

The GER was originally scheduled for November, but organizers decided to postpone the event for a couple of months. As explained on the event website, the GER team has used this extra time to consult with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to create COVID-19 guidelines that will be enforced on race day. The biggest change for the upcoming run is the race capacity, which has been reduced to about a quarter of its normal size. The expected field of 12,500 is close to 30,000 fewer runners than the GER saw in 2019. This is by no means a small field, especially during a pandemic, but it is substantially smaller than organizers have seen in years past.

The week before the run, all participants will receive their race shirts along with masks, which will be mandatory on race day. Only when on the race course will athletes be permitted to remove their masks. On the day, all participants will undergo temperature checks, and organizers have asked anyone who feels unwell or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to skip the race. A wave start will be implemented, with groups leaving in 15-minute intervals, and runners will have to carry their own water on the course, as there will be no hydration stations on the route. Finally, an “exit flow operation” will be organized to avoid crowds at the finish line.

While Gebrselassie’s announcement was welcome news to some, many people have been critical of the call to hold the race while COVID-19 persists around the world. This has been a popular topic of debate in recent months, as more and more races have made comebacks or announced plans to return to racing during the pandemic. 

(12/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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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) ⚡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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Three-Time World Half Marathon Champion Geoffrey Kamworor Shares Seven Treadmill Training Tips

Three-time world half marathon champion and two-time world cross country gold medalist Geoffrey Kamworor is among the finest endurance runners of his generation. During lockdown the Kenyan star began using a treadmill at home and has continued to do so as part of his rehabilitation from a recent injury he suffered after a motorbike knocked him to the ground during an early morning run in June. Here the two-time New York Marathon winner offers his seven top treadmill training tips.

Take time to practice: 

Kamworor urges novice treadmill runners to be patient in order to become accustomed to running on the machine before engaging in any intense sessions.

“It takes take time for people to adjust and learn how to run on a treadmill,” he explains. “I learned pretty quickly how to do so, but for others it can take a little longer.”

Warm up properly:

When jumping on the treadmill it should be treated no differently to running outside in that it requires a thorough warm up.

“Run slowly at first,” he says. “The good thing with a treadmill you can easily set the pace. Maybe start at a walking pace, then slowly increasing the speed to running pace.”

Embrace its versatility:

Kamworor believes the treadmill can be used for many different types of sessions, from tempo runs to fartlek and even speed sessions. A favourite fartlek session of his is three minutes of fast running at a speed of between 20-22kmph followed by one minute of jogging at 10kmph, then repeated. 

“I set the calculations into the machine so 10 seconds before I’m scheduled to run at full speed again this allows the machine to gradually adjust to full speed.”

Speed sessions:

While acknowledging it is a little trickier to replicate track speed sessions on the treadmill he insists it is far from impossible.

“It is not something easy because it requires a lot of calculations but this is something you can learn over time, and, for me, it works perfectly. Normally, I would train on the track in a group but the treadmill allows me to do the speed session alone if necessary.”

Flat gradient:

Some treadmill users emphasise the importance of always running at a slight gradient but as many of Kamworor’s quicker sessions are run on the flat he prefers to replicate this with a 0.0 % gradient during many of his treadmill sessions.

“The option is there, though, to run on a slight incline or decline if you want to,” he adds.

Visualize a route:

Kamworor personally prefers not to listen to music when treadmill running, because he likes to stay fully concentrated. He does, however, suggest to any treadmill runners to visualize a running route when on the treadmill.

“Whether you are on a speed session or tempo run it is importance to visualize, even if you are visualizing a competition. It is important to think positively about running.”

Cool down:

Like on any run, Geoffrey says it is important not to neglect the cool down on the treadmill. “It is important to reduce the speed to 10kmph or less,” he says. “Twenty minutes is a nice cool down time.”

(12/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Olympic Marathon Trials Winner Shogo Nakamura Plans to Run Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon

On Dec. 15, Olympic marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura (28, Fujitsu) sat for an online interview from his training base in Tokunoshima, Kagoshima, revealing that he plans to run the Feb. 28 Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon.

Reporting that his training has been progressing steadily, Nakamura enthusiastically said, "The goal is to win in Lake Biwa to build up some momentum for the Olympics. Time is important too, but the main goal is to win." 

Lake Biwa will be a year and a half since Nakamura's last marathon, the Sept., 2019 MGC Race Olympic trials.

Since his victory there everything about the Olympic marathon has changed, with the venue forcibly relocated to Sapporo and the Olympics themselves postponed for a year. But through it all he has remained true to his path without wavering. 

Nakamura ran his debut marathon at Lake Biwa in 2018, and it is no accident that he is returning there for his final marathon before the Olympics. "I was the top Japanese finisher in 2018 and got my place at the MGC Race there," he said. "

But instead of just going back to where it all started, I want to go into the Olympics with a fresh new mindset. I want to win this time, not just be the top Japanese man."

Before that, Nakamura will kick off his Olympic year early at the Jan. 1 New Year Ekiden national corporate men's championships. He expects to be put on either the critically important Fourth or Fifth Stage, but whichever it ends up being, he said, "I want to win my stage and help my team succeed."

(12/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...

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Sebastian Coe says that he is not sure Russian doping issue can be resolved in near future

World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe said on Friday, that he wants the suspended Russia to return as an “accountable and responsible” member federation but he is not sure of resolving the Russian doping issue in the near future.

Russia was suspended in 2015 after World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping among Russian track and field athletes. “I hope it in the foreseeable future, I am not sure, I will use the word ‘near’. I cannot quantify that (future) but that has to be our ambition,” Coe answered when asked if he is hopeful of resolving the Russian doping issue in the near future.

“It’s not a good thing to have a country like Russia sitting outside our sport. I want Russia to be back as a fully functioning member federation with accountability and responsibility, that every other member federation accepts,” Coe said during an interaction with PTI.

The Russian federation paid a multi-million dollar fine in August to avoid expulsion from World Athletics. “I am optimistic, we are moving in right direction. There is a new president of the federation elected recently (Pyotr Ivanov) and the (WA) Task Force thinks at last, there is a federation president who is seized of the importance of driving a change,” Coe said.

World Athletics in September gave Russia a six-month extension to finalise it’s reinstatement plan, before it decides on it’s potential fresh sanctions or even expulsion. ” Our task force chaired by Rune Andersen gave an update report to the (WA) Council last week. We had two days of council meeting and he (Andersen) said ”he is more optimistic about the process that we are in,” the 64-year old said.

“The re-instatement roadmap is going to be with us datelined beginning March. Hoping it might be a little bit earlier. It then allows us to look at the status of authorised neutral athletes (ANA). But there is another (trail) of complexities in that because the WADA is still waiting the outcome of an appeal (by Russian athletes) to the Court of Arbitration of Sports,” the double Olympic medalist added.

Coe was asked how difficult it was to conduct dope tests of athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are continuing (testing of athletes) though it is challenging. There are travel restrictions… logistic challenges getting to the athletes. But we have continued our testing processes. Right at the beginning of the pandemic, I had advised the athletes very strongly not to conclude that they are going to be in a test free zone,” he answered.

“The nature of testing has changed, now it is intelligence-led, it is incremental and sequential. We know who, how and where the challenges are. Most of the athletes are very happy that we are taking that approach,” he added.

(12/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by FS Desk
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Athletics Kenya celebrating 70th anniversary

Athletics legend celebrated the 70th anniversary since the advent of sport in the country Tuesday with advice to the government and Athletics Kenya (AK) to develop the game across the board and deal with doping menace firmly.

Some of the legends, who numbered 70, expressed concerns that Kenyan athletes, especially women, were not lasting either on track and road running for long, and called on AK to get to the bottom of it.

The first Kenyan women at the Olympics (1968 Mexico) Lydia Stephens (100m/200m) and Tecla Sang (400m), who spoke passionately on how they competed for fun and enjoyment rather than money, want deliberate efforts made to develop sprints in the country.

The 1988 Olympics gold medallists Julius Kariuki (3,000m steeplechase), John Ngugi (5,000m) and legendary sprinter Rose Tat-Muya said the government and AK must fight doping for the sport to continue existing well.

The first Kenyan to win steeplechase title at the Olympics, Amos Biwott, who achieved the feat at the 1968 Summer Games and the Fatwel Kimaiyo, who still holds the 110m hurdles national record set at 1974 Commonwealth Games, also voiced the same concerns.

They advised athletes to use traditional and natural food rather than supplements as Wilson Kiprugut Chumo, the first Kenyan to ever win an Olympic medal during the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games, urged athletes to train hard and put God first.

“We need to start the children off at an early age. I started athletics at the age of five when I was at kindergarten in Mombasa,” said the 75-year-old Stephens, adding that she would not have gotten the chance to compete for Kenya if she had not left Mombasa to school elsewhere.

“That is why I want to urge AK and coaches to cast their nets wider. We can produce great sprinters if we are to develop the talent that is rich across the country,” said Stephens.

“We concentrate only in rift valley where there are distance running athletes. The place too has great runners for instance Julius Sang.”

Tata-Muya, the youngest ever Kenyan to compete at the Commonwealth Games (1974), said they never used supplements or went to the gym, but performed well setting national records that are yet to be broken.

“We consumed natural foods, trained well and respected our coaches,” said Tata-Muya, who still holds the 400m hurdles national record.

(12/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Japan's former Olympic marathon champion Naoko Takahashi has donated her winning bib at the 2000 Sydney Olympics to the World Athletics Heritage Collection

Naoko Takahashi, the first woman to run a marathon in under two hours 20 minutes, has become the latest athletics star to generously donate a competition item from their career to the World Athletics Heritage Collection.

Takahashi clocked an Olympic marathon record of 2:23:14 on 24 September 2000 to win at the Sydney Olympic Games. It was the first Olympic victory at the marathon by a Japanese woman and her Games record was not broken until 2012.

Takahashi moved to the front of the race at the 20-kilometre point along with her compatriot Ari Ichihashi and Romania’s Lidia Simon. Ichihashi dropped off the pace five kilometres later, leaving Takahashi and Simon to battle for the title. The two ran together until 35 kilometres when Takahashi broke away, quickly establishing a 30-metre lead. She extended it over the next five kilometres and although Simon narrowed it slightly over the waning two kilometres, Takahashi, wearing bib number 2338, went on to a comfortable victory.

It is that bib which she has very kindly donated today.

“I am happy to see my Sydney bib join the Heritage collection,” said Takahashi. “I would like the bib’s donation to help increase interest in the marathon, and the challenge and beauty of distance running. It might also help motivate more people to take up running for fitness and fun, or perhaps even competitively, picturing themselves in my shoes.”

Daughter Of The Wind

There was no underestimating Takahashi’s national popularity and fame after her Olympic triumph. She was the subject of a comic strip entitled "Kazekko," or "Daughter of the Wind". Launched in May 2001, the strip told Takahashi’s life story and at its height attracted 700,000 readers weekly.

Takahashi’s career was inspired by the legend of Ethiopia’s two-time Olympic marathon champion Abebe Bikila. As she developed as a runner, Takahashi was also impressed by the running of Japan’s Yuko Arimori, who raced to Olympic silver in 1992 and bronze in 1996.

Yet it was only when her training partner Hiromi Suzuki won the 1997 world title in the marathon that Takahashi, who had debuted with a seventh place finish in 2:31:32 in Osaka in January of that year, truly believed that her future lay in the marathon.

Audience Of 55 Million

Takahashi, who was coached by the late Yoshio Koide who last year was posthumously awarded the World Athletics Plaque, won the first of her two Berlin Marathon titles in September 2001 with a landmark 2:19:46 performance, a world best and the first time in history that a woman had broken 2:20 for the distance.

Estimates vary but it is believed that 55 million Japanese, nearly half of the country’s population, watched Takahashi’s Berlin race on television.

“I am really happy about the (Berlin TV audience),” Takahashi told The Japan Times in 2003. “It’s an honour that people still remember me, and you can tell that people’s awareness of the sport is big.”

“There are so many different sports these days and the level of viewership is a tribute to the people who came before me and built the marathon up and made it as popular as it is now. Being a part of that is amazing and I am grateful.” 

(12/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Diamond League meets were postponed due to the pandemic and all 14 meets are set to return in 2021

The 2021 Diamond League program is officially set, and all 14 meets are scheduled to return after many were forced toward cancellation this year due to COVID-19. The season will kick off on May 23 in Rabat, Morocco, and it will continue in full force until September 8 and 9 at the Diamond League Final in Zurich.

While it will be exciting to see any and all events next year after so few meets in 2020, one that many track fans will be looking forward to will be the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., which will be the first major international meet held at the University of Oregon’s newly renovated Hayward Field. 

2021 event programs 

After cutting the 200m and any event longer than 3,000m from many 2020 Diamond League events (including the final), World Athletics recently announced they will be reversing this decision in 2021. There are now 32 disciplines (16 for men and 16 for women) that will be held at the various Diamond League events.

As it stands now, there will be either 3,000m or 5,000m races (which are counted on the Diamond League schedule as one discipline) at all but two Diamond League events next year. Only the Stockholm and Monaco will not feature these longer runs.

As for the 3,000m steeplechase, the Oslo, London and Lausanne meets are the only three that will not include this event. The 200m will be held at every meet other than the two separate events in China. The two-day Diamond League Final in Zurich will see all 32 disciplines contested. 

Hayward field was prepared for competition this year, but events were, of course, unable to run as planned due to the pandemic. Everything is ready to go for 2021, though, and there are two meets scheduled to be held at Hayward before the Prefontaine Classic: the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Both of these meets are set for June, and while they’re certainly major events, they don’t compare to the Pre Classic, which will attract top athletes from all over the world. The Pre is a one-day affair slated for August 21, and it will feature a number of exciting events. For running fans, the main competitions to look forward to at Hayward will be the men’s and women’s 100m and 200m races and the men’s and women’s 1,500m.

(12/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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The importance of exercise to stay healthy, energetic and independent as you get older

Many adults aged 65 and over spend, on average, 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group.

They're paying a high price for their inactivity, with higher rates of falls, obesity, heart disease and early death compared with the general population.

As you get older, it becomes even more important to remain active if you want to stay healthy and maintain your independence.

If you do not stay active, all the things you've always enjoyed doing and taken for granted may start to become that little bit harder.

You may struggle to pursue simple pleasures, such as playing with the grandchildren, walking to the shops, leisure activities and meeting up with friends.

You might start to get aches and pains you never had before and have less energy to go out. You may also be more vulnerable to falling. 

This can all lead to being less able to look after yourself and do the things you enjoy.

Strong evidence

There's strong evidence that people who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia.

If you want to stay pain-free, reduce your risk of mental illness, and be able to go out and stay independent well into old age, you're advised to keep moving.

Recent evidence suggests that regular exercise can reduce the risk of falling in older adults.

It's that simple. There are lots of ways you can get active, and it's not just about exercising.

"As people get older and their bodies decline in function, physical activity helps to slow that decline," says Dr Nick Cavill, a health-promotion consultant.

"It's important they remain active or even increase their activity as they get older."

Most people as they get older want to stay in touch with society – their community, friends and neighbours – and being active can ensure they keep doing that.

What is physical activity?

Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. It includes anything from walking and gardening to recreational sport.

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week.

Ideally, you should try to do something every day, preferably in bouts of 10 minutes of activity or more.

One way of achieving 150 minutes of activity is to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.

(12/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by NHS
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President of the UAE Athletics Federation Ahmad Al Kamali has been suspended for six months upholding corruption charges

President of the UAE Athletics Federation Ahmad Al Kamali has been suspended for six months and fined 5,000 euros ($6,080) for gifting watches to delegates in an attempt to win votes, the World Athletics ethics board said on Tuesday.

The Athletics Integrity Unit had provisionally suspended Al Kamali from any athletics-related activities last October, preventing him from standing in election for the vice president’s role at World Athletics, formerly known as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

World Athletics said in a statement that Al Kamali was alleged to have gifted Rolex and/or UAE branded Continental watches to delegates at the Confederation of African Athletics Congress in 2015 while he was a member of the IAAF Council.

Al Kamali admitted giving watches to the delegates but said the retail value of the gifts did not exceed $40 to $50.

“Mr Al Kamali has been found to have violated the Code of Ethics by his conduct... in giving gifts of more than nominal value and failing to act with dignity and respect for his opponents as a candidate for IAAF office,” World Athletics said in a statement.

“The purpose of the prohibition on giving valuable gifts is to maintain the integrity and impartiality of IAAF officials and of the IAAF as an institution...

“Accordingly, the Panel considers it appropriate to impose a 6 month ban upon Mr Al Kamali from taking part in any athletics-related activity including holding any relevant office in athletics (whether at national, regional or world level).”

(12/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Reuters
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Tokyo's governor can see, no circumstances under which the virus-postponed 2020 Olympics will be cancelled, despite rising coronavirus infections in Japan and continued public scepticism

In an interview with AFP, Yuriko Koike warned Tuesday that the fate of the Tokyo Games would impact future Olympic events, including the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing and the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

She acknowledged that a majority of the Japanese public now opposes hosting the Games next year, but said she was convinced those concerns could be overcome.

"The Japanese public and Tokyo residents are looking at the current conditions," Koike said.

"We are preparing for the future."

The 2020 Games are the first in history to be postponed during peacetime, and organizers and officials have been at pains to insist that they can still be pulled off next year.

A further postponement has been ruled out by Olympic and Japanese officials and Koike said "there are no circumstances" under which she could envisage the Games being cancelled.

"Citizens of the world are seeing the Tokyo Games as a symbol that humanity will have defeated the coronavirus, that will lead to the Beijing Winter Games and then the Paris Games after that," she said.

"Unless Tokyo takes full efforts against the coronavirus, then what will happen to Paris four years from now?" she said.

"I think we have to make Tokyo a success first, otherwise it will leave a serious impact on Paris."

But domestic opinion appears at odds with the confident tones sounded by Japanese officials and organizers.

A poll released Tuesday by national broadcaster NHK found just 27 percent of respondents support holding the Games next year, with 32 percent backing cancellation and 31 percent favoring a further postponement.

Koike said she believed that would change, pointing to the extensive virus countermeasures that have been drafted by the government, Tokyo and Olympic organizers.

"I am convinced that people will come to see hope again, once coronavirus measures are firmly implemented," she said.

(12/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by AFP
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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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Seb Coe says that athletes must take their place in the queue for the COVID-19 vaccine

Healthy Athletes should take their place in the COVID-19 vaccine queue behind people with more pressing needs despite events such as next year’s Olympics looking set to be highly dependent on competitors arriving free from the virus, the head of world athletics Seb Coe said on Friday.

Most athletes in their 20s and 30s, across all sports, would be just about last in line in most countries when it comes to handing out the vaccine but the pressure to create a COVID-safe environment at sporting events has raised the question of whether they should be treated as a special case.

Coe trod a careful line when asked about the issue at a media conference on Friday. “We have to be sensitive here - there are many claims on that priority,” he said.

“Most of us are dependent on our front line workers and our emergency services and we also recognize that there are vulnerable people in the community and we want to make sure that we look after them as much as possible.

“I’m not sure that it is for sport to be pressing the case for fit young people. I would like, on the other hand, that when the vaccine does become available and that the athletes have the opportunity to make use of it that they do.

“I’m not mandating it and I don’t think it’s my job to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do in that area - I think that has to be a very personal and individualistic view.

“I hope they do avail themselves of it, I certainly would if I had the opportunity in the lead up to a Games like that, but it’s very much a personal decision.”

Coe, who won double Olympic gold over 1,500 meters and was the driving force behind Britain’s hosting of the 2012 Games, was confident next year’s Tokyo event, postponed from 2020, would go ahead, and said that if any country could respond to the challenge of a re-arranged Olympics it was Japan.

“I think the Games will go ahead. I was in Tokyo a week ago and spent 48 very intensive hours talking to the organizing committee and the government,” he said.

(12/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by Mitch Phillips
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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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With the 50K race walk dropped from the Paris 2024 program, World Athletics has the opportunity to suggest a new event format to Olympic organizers

The 50K was cut as part of the IOC’s goal of hosting a completely gender-equal event in 2024, with a 50-50 split between male and female athletes, and WA has now been tasked with creating a mixed-gender event. WA officials have said they plan on organizing a mixed-gender race-walk relay, and with so much still up in the air, it’s fun to think up different options for a new Olympic athletics event.

With that in mind, here are a few race formats we’d love to see in future Summer Games (even though they probably won’t ever be included).

Canadian Olympic race walker Evan Dunfee took to Twitter following the news of the 50K being cut to suggest a few alternatives for WA to consider. For one format, he said athletes could be tasked with walking 1K repeats until they can no longer hit a certain pace. For the men, this could be four-minute per-kilometre pace and for women it could be 4:30. The winners of the men’s and women’s 20K race walk events at the Rio Games averaged sub-four-minute and sub-4:30 paces, respectively, en route to their victories, so this event could go on for a while. It would be held on a track, and the last athletes standing would take home the gold.

The elimination mile is so much fun to watch, and we really think it should be raced more often. Athletes line up to start the race as they normally would, but they have to be prepared to sprint at the end of each lap, rather than saving their legs for a kick at the end of the mile-long race. The last-place runner at the end of each lap is eliminated, slowly cutting the field down until the final lap, when it’s a battle to see who can hold on for the win. This makes for entertaining and drama-filled racing, as every 400m, fans get to see athletes sprint to survive.  

We know it’s highly unlikely that the IOC would OK an ultramarathon, but a last runner standing event would be really cool to see in the Olympics. Just like Big’s Backyard or the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, this race would see athletes run 6.7K every hour until only one runner remained. This is similar to Dunfee’s idea for the race walk, but longer, and the race format sees athletes run until they either drop out or fail to complete a 6.7K lap within the one-hour time limit. This would also work out well in terms of keeping the Games gender-equal, as this ultra format pits men against women. 

Don’t get lapped

Another one of Dunfee’s ideas was a race in which an athlete’s only aim is to not get lapped. This could work for race walkers or runners, and it would probably be a lot like the elimination mile. Like Dunfee’s 1K repeat suggestion, this format could go on for a long time, but it would certainly be entertaining to watch the top athletes chase down their competitors. 

Beer mile 

Again, we understand that the IOC will probably never accept the beer mile as an Olympic event, but we can dream. The beer mile is always a fun race to watch, and seeing it on the Olympic stage would make it all the more exciting. It also helps that a lot of Canadians are good at the beer mile, so this would boost our national medal standings.

(12/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Paris 2024 Olympic Games

For this historic event, the City of Light is thinking big! Visitors will be able to watch events at top sporting venues in Paris and the Paris region, as well as at emblematic monuments in the capital visited by several millions of tourists each year. The promise of exceptional moments to experience in an exceptional setting! A great way to...

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Genetics could be a poor predictor of athletic talent according to a new research

When describing the best runners in the world, a lot of people might say the top athletes are simply built for the sport or that they have the right genes for running. It’s a fair assumption that an athlete’s prowess is mostly due to winning the genetic lottery, but new research out of the Human Kinetics Journal suggests otherwise.

Through case studies of five elite athletes, researchers found that genetic testing couldn’t distinguish between an elite athlete and a non-elite participant. 

The study looked at five elite track runners (including one Olympic champion) and compared their scores to 503 non-athletes. Each runner’s genotype score (essentially an assessment of DNA) was observed and used as the basis of comparison. The results were surprising, indicating that genotype has very little to do with predicting international medallists.

Researchers found that elite speed-power athletes scored higher than endurance athletes when looking at the speed-power genotype score. This makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is that using this same score, 68 non-athletic participants scored higher than the elite athletes. That’s 14 per cent of the non-athletic population in the study who, based on their speed-power genotype alone, should be better athletes than the elite participants. Another surprising finding was that when the endurance genotype was assessed, the speed-power athletes scored higher than the endurance runners. 

Study authors noted that there is “considerable interest in understanding whether [genetic] information can be utilized to identify future elite athletes.” From what they found in their research, it would be incredibly difficult to predict who would grow up to become an elite athlete based on genetics alone. It can’t be denied that genetics play a role in an individual’s success in sport. If that were all that mattered, though, those 68 non-athlete participants who scored higher than the five elite athletes in this study would likely be elite athletes themselves. 

With all this in mind, the next time someone suggests that an athlete won the genetic lottery, kindly point to this study and note that genetics may not be entirely responsible for one’s success. There are many more factors that make an athlete, and this sample strongly suggests that it takes much more to become a world-class runner than just a good pair of lungs and some fast-twitch muscle fibres. 

(12/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by Canadian Running
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Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bill That Would Ban Trans Women and Girls from Female Sports

Democratic Hawaii Rep. and former 2020 Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard introduced a bill into the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday that would dictate Title IX protections for female athletes be based on biological sex—a term often used to refer to gender assigned to a person at birth—thats advocate have decried as inherently transphobic.

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding, and is well known for its requirement that women’s sports programming receive equal support to men’s programming.

Gabbard, who declined to run for re-election in 2020 and is in the final days of her Congressional term, introduced the bill, titled the “Protect Women’s Sports Act,” with Republican Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin. Republican Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler introduced a similar bill, titled “the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act,” into the Senate in September. (Loeffler’s bill has not been taken up for a vote.)

“Title IX is being weakened by some states who are misinterpreting [it], creating uncertainty, undue hardship and lost opportunities for female athletes,” Rep. Gabbard said in a statement. “Our legislation protects Title IX’s original intent which was based on the general biological distinction between men and women athletes based on sex.”

“Title IX was designed to give women and girls an equal chance to succeed, including in sports,” said Rep. Mullin in a statement of his own. “Allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports diminishes that equality and takes away from the original intent of Title IX.”

If implemented into law, the bill would deny federal funding to schools that “permit a person whose biological sex at birth is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.” It was immediately decried by LGBTQ+ advocates.

“It’s shameful that one of Rep. Gabbard’s last acts in Congress is to attack trans youth,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for Trans Justice with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project in a statement provided to TIME. “While this bill will not advance, it has already sent a dangerous message to trans youth and is spreading the same lies that are fueling attacks on trans youth in state legislatures.”

“Rep. Gabbard’s harmful and unnecessary bill is not about protecting girls and women’s sports. There’s no evidence in the 18 states with policies that allow transgender athletes to participate on teams consistent with their gender identity that inclusion negatively impacts athletic programs,” added GLAAD’s Alex Schmider, Associate Director Transgender Representation. “This is more about opportunistic people like Rep. Gabbard who, under false pretense, claim to be protecting girl’s sports to justify discrimination.”

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, concurred, describing Gabbard’s “play for attention” as “embarrassing” in a statement. “She should be ashamed of trying to burnish her right-wing credentials with attacks on transgender student athletes,” Keisling’s statement continued. “It’s just a hurtful attempt to get on TV without any regard to the damage such rhetoric does to transgender kids.”

Gabbard did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment on the backlash.

Gabbard’s record on LGBTQ+ rights received increased scrutiny during her 2020 presidential campaign. In the early 2000s, she worked for her father, Hawaii state Senator Mike Gabbard, and his anti-gay organization The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, that campaigned against the legalization of same-sex marriage in Hawaii. She has since publicly reversed her position and signed an amicus brief challenging the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.

“In my past I said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, they were very hurtful to people in the LGBTQ community and to their loved ones,” Gabbard said in a video apology posted shortly after she announced her presidential candidacy. “My views have changed significantly since then and my record in Congress over the last six years reflects what is in my heart: a strong and ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ rights.”

Yet advocates argue the introduction of “Protect Women’s Sports Act” goes directly against those commitments.

A number of state legislatures have tried to pass legislation over the past year aimed at prohibiting trans women and girls from participating in female sports teams. Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” into law in March, which said no female sports teams could be open to “students of the male sex” and a “dispute” could be resolved by presenting a signed physician’s statement on the student’s sex based on their “internal and external reproductive anatomy.” A federal judge struck down the law in March, writing that the state had not provided a “legitimate interest” the Act served “other than an invalid interest of excluding transgender women and girls from women’s sports entirely, regardless of their physiological characteristics.”

“This is a victory for all women and girls in Idaho,” the ACLU tweeted at the time. “Trans people belong in sports.”

(12/13/2020) ⚡AMP
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The Middle of a Run Sometimes Feels Like the Hardest, Right? Here‘s How to Push Through

New research published in the journal Cortex found that in tasks that extend over time—such as a training run or race—people tend to put most of their effort into the start and finish, and much less into the middle.

While it’s human nature to do this, there are a few ways you can approach this lower point of effort, such as adding in sprints to the middle of your runs to mix things up or gradually building intensity over time.

Do you typically begin your runs like a racehorse coming out of the gate and end your runs with a recharged kick, but find the middle miles to be the most grueling part? Well, you’re definitely not alone.

It turns out that when doing tasks that extend over time—such as a training run or race—people tend to put most of their effort into the start and finish, and much less into the middle, according to a recent study published in the journal Cortex.

Researchers asked 18 people to play a simple computer game in which they controlled a spaceship that shot down asteroids. They were told that for each session, top performers would get an additional financial bonus, paid after the last session.

They found that participants tended to invest high levels of effort in the beginning and toward the end of a game, in a U-shaped pattern. This is consistent with previous research, which includes athletes in track races, swimming, rowing, and cycling, which all involved what they called a STIM pattern, short for “stuck in the middle” effect.

In terms of why this happens, it’s likely an unconscious belief in balancing cost and reward, according to study coauthor Nitzan Censor, Ph.D., a professor in the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

“The STIM pattern reflects higher reward at the beginning and end, and the longer the task goes on, the more people tend to perceive that the middle part simply costs too much in terms of effort,” he told Runner’s World. “The result is that effort can decrease by quite a bit over the course of a task, especially if the beginning and end are seen as especially rewarding.”

For example, you might love the excitement of the start line and, honestly, who doesn’t embrace seeing the finish line during a race of any distance? But if you’re hooked on those two elements as your rewards, you might actually be decreasing the amount of effort you put in during the race itself.

f you’re someone who needs that extra motivation during the middle portion of your miles or your training cycle, there are a few possible ways to approach this point of lower effort, according to certified running coach Kourtney Thomas, C.S.C.S. The first is to simply acknowledge that this is what people naturally tend to do.

“Just knowing this is common, and that most people tend to exert less effort in the middle of training, can be helpful for giving yourself a break,” she told Runner’s World.

But if that mindset is sabotaging your training runs and races—by slowing you down, for example—then you can make tweaks based on modifying that “middle time” of your training. For example, you can start at an easier pace—as opposed to gunning it right out of the gate—and build intensity over time, said Thomas. That can help to shorten the period of less effort.

Another tweak to consider is having different goals for the middle of your run, she added. Getting started and reaching a certain goal—like time or distance—provide their own rewards, but for the rest, it helps to mix it up.

“Maybe this is where you introduce some sprints, for example,” said Thomas. “That creates mini goals in the midst of your longer run.”

(12/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Halifax Road Hammers to run 14,000K for city's homeless

Thirty teams of four will each run 477K in the month of December for the club's #StridesForShelter initiative

Members of the Halifax Road Hammers, one of the biggest running clubs in Nova Scotia, have a busy few weeks ahead of them with their December-long initiative #StridesForShelter. This fundraising challenge will see 30 teams of four runners each running 477K. The campaign started on December 1, and the teams of Road Hammers have until the end of the month to hit that 477K goal, which represents the number of homeless people in Halifax. In total, the club will run a collective 14,310 kilometres by December 31 while raising funds and supporting an important cause along the way.

The CBC recently reported that Halifax had reached its current total of 477 people living homeless in the city. This number is more than double the 230 people who were reported homeless in October 2019. Within that group of 477 people exists a smaller population of 375 citizens who are considered chronically homeless, which means they haven’t lived in suitable housing for at least six months. Once again, this is more than double the results from the 2019 report, which said 140 people were chronically homeless.

Road Hammers head coach and founder Lee McCarron says he knows how difficult this year has been for everyone, including his athletes. “We have a group of incredible runners on our team,” he says. “This is a group of people who each have personal challenges and obstacles they have had to overcome during the pandemic, and yet they have found a way to stay focused and supportive of each other throughout. I wanted to package up that energy, grit and determination and offer it to a group of people who need our help.”

The #StridesForShelter initiative is an opportunity for the Road Hammers to team up (while still running apart) with one another and work toward a collective running goal while also giving them the chance to support a greater cause as well. “By focusing on our mindset, action and attitude we can take the best care of ourselves and do what we can to strengthen our community,” McCarron says. The proceeds from the club’s fundraiser will go straight to Shelter Nova Scotia, a nonprofit that operates six facilities in the province and supports more than 1,300 people each year.

Anyone interested in learning more about Shelter Nova Scotia or donating to the organization can click here. If you do donate, be sure to include that you’re supporting the #StridesForShelter fundraiser when asked “Who are you honouring?”

(12/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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IOC passes on cross-country, adds breakdancing to Paris 2024 program

The 2024 Games won't feature cross-country or 50K race walk events

In July, World Athletics (WA) said it would lobby to get cross-country included in the Paris 2024 Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) dashed any hopes of an Olympic cross-country race in Paris, though, as it was announced on Monday that breakdancing would make its Olympic debut instead. This decision comes as part of the IOC’s efforts to showcase more youth-focused events that are “inclusive, engaging and can be practised outside conventional arenas.” The IOC also noted that the 50K race walk has officially been cut from the 2024 program, and it will be replaced by a new (but so far undetermined) mixed-gender athletics event.

No XC in 2024

WA released a statement following news of the IOC’s decision to pass on cross-country for the 2024 Games. “Cross-country is an exciting and fast-growing sport around the world, so we are clearly disappointed it will not feature at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” the statement reads. “However, we have developed what we believe is a really exciting mixed relay product and have been encouraged by the commitment from the IOC that they will continue to work with us to realize our vision of seeing cross-country in a future Olympic Games.”

WA’s plan for the cross-country event, which was released in July, featured slots for 15 countries, each of which would have had a team of two men and two women. The race would have been a 20K relay in which each runner covered two laps of a 2.5K course. Had cross-country been approved for the 2024 program, it would have been the first time the sport was included in the Olympics since the 1924 Games, which were also held in Paris.

Replacing the 50K

Gender equality is the other main focus (in addition to youth) of the IOC heading toward 2024. The Tokyo Olympics are set to have females represent 48.8 per cent of all athletes competing at the Games next summer, but the IOC announced that it will be a 50-50 split in Paris with the same number of male and female athletes. Because of this, the 50K race walk was cut, as it has traditionally only been contested by men. The IOC has given WA until May 31, 2021, to propose a new mixed-gender event to replace the 50K race walk. In the WA response to the IOC’s news, it says officials are “only considering a mixed-gender race walk event” to replace the 50K.

(12/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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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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World records ratified: Gidey's 5000m and Cheptegei's 10,000m

The monumental performances of Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey and Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, to break two of the sport’s most revered world records within one glorious hour, have been officially ratified.

Gidey’s 5000m mark of 14:06.62 and Cheptegei's 10,000m performance of 26:11.00 were both set at the aptly named NN Valencia World Record Day on 7 October.

Gidey went first, producing a stunning run that clipped more than four seconds from the previous record set by Tirunesh Dibaba 12 years earlier. A few minutes after the 22-year-old crossed the line, Cheptegei took his turn, churning out 25 laps of the track in an average of less than 63 seconds apiece to better Kenenisa Bekele’s 15-year-old benchmark by more than six seconds. The records for those two events had never been broken on the same day.

The two-race meeting was held at the Spanish city’s intimate Turia Stadium before a crowd limited to less than 150 due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

That scene was in stark contrast to those in Oslo, on 6 June 2008, when Dibaba took command of the world 5000m record with a 14:11.15 run and three years earlier, in Brussels on 26 August 2005, when Bekele clocked 26:17.53 to clip 2.57 seconds from his own year-old mark. The roar of capacity crowds at the events, both fixtures of the Golden League series, were crucial in those record assaults. In Brussels, the pulsating beat provided by an African expat drum orchestra added to the thunder produced by the crowd of 47,000 that packed the King Baudouin Stadium.

That was absent in Valencia, but it didn’t seem to matter to either Gidey or Cheptegei whose phenomenal form and singular focus landed both in the record books. For Cheptegei, whose performance came 54 days after he broke the world 5000m record in Monaco, where attendance was also restricted, the circumstances of the setting wasn’t anything new.

“I wanted to show the sports lovers of the world that the track is exciting," said the 24-year-old, who became the 10th man to hold the 5000m and 10,000m world record concurrently.

Pace setters brought Cheptegei through the first half in 13:07.73, before the Ugandan forged on alone over the final 12 laps. He slowed slightly over the sixth kilometre but then picked up the pace in the seventh to steadily build a gap on Bekele's legendary mark before sealing it with a 60-second final lap.

Alluding to the coronavirus pandemic, Cheptegei added, "In this difficult situation, I hope things like this can still give us joy and some hope for tomorrow."

Gidey, a cross country standout with two world U20 titles to her credit and a bronze medal finish at the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, last year, arrived in Valencia with just one race on her CV this season, a solid 14:26.57 run in Monaco, but reportedly in form suggesting that she could run significantly faster. 

Unlike Cheptegei, who made no secret about his planned assault on the record, Gidey opted for a more understated approach in the lead-in to the meeting, choosing to play down pre-race talk of her attack on Dibaba's mark. But her ambitions became evident when she passed the 3000-metre point nearly seven seconds ahead of world record pace. She closed the deal with back-to-back 67-second laps before crossing the finish.

“I have been dreaming about this (setting a world record) for six years,” said Gidey, who hadn't won a 5000m race since 2016. "I am very happy now."

 

(12/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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A test event for the Olympic marathon in Sapporo is now due to take place during the Hokkaido-Sapporo Marathon Festival on May 5

The confirmation of the date is among updates made to the calendar of test events by Tokyo 2020.

Olympic marathons and walking races are being held in Sapporo, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, because of concerns over the heat in Tokyo.

The test race will be organised by the Hokkaido-Sapporo Marathon Festival Committee.

This race on May 5 will test the course for the Games.

World Athletics officials visited the marathon course on August 8, exactly one year prior to the men’s marathon race at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Air quality, heat stress, temperature and relative humidity were all measured as the officials cycled the route, and World Athletics said it was encouraged by the results.

A Para-athletics test event for track and field has also been given a date, and is now set to take place on May 11 at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Wheelchair rugby's test event has also been confirmed, and is scheduled for April 3 and 4 at Yoyogi National Stadium.

An artistic swimming test event is the first scheduled in 2021, due to run from March 4 to 7 at Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

The final test event is currently set to be for 3x3 basketball at Aomi Urban Sports Park from May 14 to 16.

Test events for skateboarding, gymnastics and volleyball, plus track and BMX cycling, are all scheduled as well.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are due to take place from July 23 to August 8 in 2021 following their postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Paralympics are timetabled to run from August 24 to September 5.

(12/12/2020) ⚡AMP
by Michael Houston
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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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Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon will take place this weekend

Founded in 2015, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, a coastal running fest, showcases the local culture with a beautiful beach side run from Pass Christian to Biloxi and it’s set for this weekend.

Things kick off at the runner village at MGM Park in Biloxi. Saturday morning is the Chevron Mississippi Gulf Coast Kids Marathon one mile run and the Margaritaville 5K at Point Cadet Plaza in Biloxi followed by the full/half marathon along the Coast on Sunday.

The weekend will finish in MGM Park as you watch runners cross the finish line on the jumbotron.

You can check out COVID protocols on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon’s website.

(12/12/2020) ⚡AMP
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Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon

Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon

Founded in 2015, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, a Coastal Running Fest, celebrates the local flare and beauty of running along the scenic beaches from Pass Christian to Biloxi. Races include a marathon (26.2 miles), half marathon (13.1 miles), 5K (3.1 miles) and kids marathon race program (a 1.2 mile fun run). The Coors Light Finish Festival will be held...

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Gasparilla Distance Classic Race will be Postponed to May 2021

In response to ongoing public health concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association, announced today that the 44th Running of the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic Race Weekend Events, originally scheduled for February 19-21, 2021, will be postponed to Mother's Day Weekend, May 7-9, 2021. 

On October 21, 2020, the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association announced its plans for an in-person 2021 Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic (PGDC) Race Weekend in February.

The organization’s extensive and detailed 2021 PGDC Race Weekend COVID-19 Mitigation Plan had been reviewed and approved by the city and Tampa General Hospital’s Infectious Disease Services Team. 

At the time, Hillsborough County's COVID-19 Statistics showed a COVID-19 Positivity Rate of just over 5%. The Association was encouraged and eager to move forward safely.The landscape has changed dramatically. 

(12/12/2020) ⚡AMP
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Gasparilla Distance Classic

Gasparilla Distance Classic

Run through the city streets of this city overlooking the waters of Tampa, Florida’s Hillsborough Bay at the Gasparilla Distance Classic, which includes a full slate of running events for runners at all levels, including a half marathon, 8K, 15K and 5K. Mostly fast and flat and great for beginners, the race’s half marathon and 8K races take place on...

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Qualifying systems approved for World Athletics Championships Oregon22 and World Athletics U20 Championships Nairobi 21

The World Athletics Council has approved the qualification systems for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 and the World Athletics U20 Championships Nairobi 2021.

As was the case in 2019, athletes will be able to qualify for the World Championships by achieving an entry standard or through their placing on the world rankings.

In line with the recommendation from the Race Walking Committee, approved by the Council last year and confirmed again last week, the World Championships will feature 20km and 35km race walking events for men and women in Oregon.

The qualification period for the marathon and 35km race walk opened on 30 November 2020 and ends on 29 May 2022. For the 10,000m, 20km race walk, relays and combined events, the window runs from 27 December 2020 until 26 June 2022. For all other disciplines, the qualification period is 27 June 2021 to 26 June 2022.

Defending world champions will be offered a wild card entry, as will the winners of the 2021 Diamond League, Race Walk Challenge, Combined Events Challenge and the leading hammer performers on the Continental Tour. Area champions in selected disciplines and top-10 finishers at Platinum Label marathons during the qualification period shall also be considered as having achieved the entry standard.

The target number of athletes for each discipline is the same as in 2019, with one exception: there will be 60 places available in both the men’s and women’s 35km race walks; an increase on the 50 places for men and 30 places for women in the 50km race walk in 2019.

With the World U20 Championships in Nairobi having been postponed from its original dates in 2020, the qualification period has been updated. The new qualification windows are: 1 October 2019 to 5 April 2020 and 1 December 2020 to 8 August 2021.

World Athletics

(12/12/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Professional runner nearly killed by pickup driver on rural Chilliwack road

Gary Robbins said the driver came at him intentionally while he was in the bike lane

Professional trail runner Gary Robbins has spent countless hours in the woods of British Columbia dodging roots, rocks and mud, even the occasional wild animal.

But while training for a road race on a rural Chilliwack road on Wednesday, Robbins came face to face with real danger: An angry man in a pickup truck running him off the road.

Robbins was doing speed training just after noon along Prairie Central Road. He was running west in the bike lane against traffic, as runners and pedestrians are advised to do where there are no sidewalks.

Up ahead he saw a pickup truck dragging a trailer towards him in the middle of the bike lane. He could see the driver looking right at him and not moving out of the bike lane. At the last second Robbins was forced to jump off the road. He landed on a slick, muddy area and he wiped out, hit the pavement leaving him scraped and swollen.

“He was pulling the trailer down the middle of the bike lane just enough to give him the chance of not killing me but ruining my day,” Robbins said Thursday, adding that he is used to trail running rather than road running.

“I told my coach, I’d rather deal with bears. Bears don’t drive trucks.”

Asked if there was any chance the driver didn’t see him, in the middle of the day, with overcast skies, Robbins said he knows he saw him because their eyes met.

“I really wish I could give him the benefit of the doubt but he looked at me right before, a second before I had to jump and he didn’t swerve.”

Robbins isn’t seriously injured, although he did report the matter to police. Given how fast it all happened, he didn’t get a make or model of the pickup truck, but it was pulling an enclosed trailer with lettering on it. He thinks it had a “J” or a “K” or both.

If he could say something to the driver?

“Honestly, I would like that person to have to stand in front of me and my wife and our five-year-old son and just look us in the eyes for 60 seconds. If this person had misjudged the width of their trailer by a few inches, my son might not have a father today and it’s not an exaggeration to say that could have happened.”

(12/12/2020) ⚡AMP
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How long can trail race organizers survive if there is no Hong Kong-wide Covid-19 vaccine until 2022 and sports are still restricted?

.The government has warned there may be no vaccine until 2022 and it may be the death of trailrunnning companies

Is there a storm brewing as more trail users could mean more clashes between runners and hikers when racing returns?

Trail races have been cancelled for most of 2020 because of Covid-19 Social distancing restrictions. The lack of income is taking a toll on trail race organizers’ bottom line, and as the Hong Kong government has said it will be “lucky” to get a citywide vaccination by 2022, there is a long road ahead.

“Many organizers and those supporting the sport are really struggling,” said Janet Ng, a founder of Trail Runners Association of Hong Kong (TRAHK) and organiser of the Vibram Hong Kong 100.

“Some organizers have now seen two years of their events being cancelled – last year because of the political unrest then followed by Covid-19. No organiser can afford to keep their staff and pay rent for this long without the ability to hold any events, big or small.

“There has been no indication from the government as to when events might be able to restart, adding to the financial uncertainty. I don’t think many events can survive another year of cancellations.”

She added that charities and NGOs that depend on an annual trail race to raise funds will also suffer.

There is the Employee Support Scheme (ESS) available for Hong Kong companies to cover salaries, but other than that there is no specific support for trail race organisers. Ng said TRAHK has proposed safety guidelines to the Home Affairs Bureau and the Food and Health Bureau but the responses have been negative. They include Social-distancing, masks and hand-sanitising.

“The guidelines follow those recommended by the International Trail Running Association (ITRA, the international trail running body). This contrasts with the approach in other territories, where events have been allowed to restart with safety protocols in place.

“The reasonableness and logic here is obviously questionable. Trail running is non-contact, doesn’t involve a ball which all the players touch, takes place outdoors and can easily embrace social-distancing. So it is much safer than many other sports from the perspective of transmission of disease. It makes no sense that riskier sports have been allowed to resume, but trail running has not,” Ng said.

he wider implication of another raceless year is a loss of status for Hong Kong. The area is a running mecca for trail lovers across Asia and it may cede its desirable status to another country in the region, costing much-needed tourism dollars, Ng said. Not to mention the affects on mental health when thousands of runners do not have goals to work towards.

Micheal Maddess, race director at Action Asia, is deeply frustrated by the government’s lack of action. He has a group of full-time staff and warehouses for kayaks, bikes, ropes and other equipment for his races. He has been rejected for the ESS and other grant applications and blames an insurance company mix up with their MPF. He continues to pursue action to rectify the issue. His warehouse landlords have refused to reduce rent.

“It’s frustrating that there are so many Covid-19 loopholes. There’s so many people who can come over the border untested, or walk in and out the hospital without being tested. The fitness community is asking, why should we suffer because of the government?,” he said.

Maddess pointed to Benjamin Cowling, an epidemiologist with the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health, who was recently quoted by RTHK saying evidence suggests the virus does not spread as quickly outdoors.

“Trail running relieves stress and improves mental well-being. I just wish our government can realise this as fitness is so beneficial to mental wellness, and in the tough times Hong Kong is facing now, what better industry to invest in?,” he said.

Steve Carr, a founder of RaceBase, is in a less tight spot. The company has little to no overheads and his income comes from teaching. But he is still frustrated. He has reached out to the government, and the only helpful responses he receives are from the police. Unfortunately, all they can say is that there will be no races for a while.

A lot of organisers have turned to virtual races, giving people a set window to run a course or distance and upload their time. Carr worries the government may even restrict this form of income.

“People are going to get annoyed before long. The sheer volume of virtual races that are appearing, and saying you have to complete it over a weekend, then you have 300 people running that weekend. It’s just 300 people running a race,” Carr said.

Martin Cai, founder of The Green Race, has gone from three to one employee over the course of the pandemic. However, he does give credit to the government.

“They haven’t just handed the money out, but if you’re paying attention they’ve put in opportunities to expand, improve and gain some capital,” he said.

Cai was given a Cyberport grant, designed for tech ideas. He pitched innovative ideas for timing and interactive running apps to a “Dragon’s Den” style panel. His business is in an incubation lab, with mentors and funding to help realise the plans.

“How long can we last? If we are just sitting waiting, then not long. The advice I’ve had from mentors in the programme is very quickly make your plan B your plan A,” Cai said.

“Our plan B is virtual events, which is a distant plan B. People want to meet up, race together and enjoy the community. Running virtually doesn’t compare, but this funding has given us an opportunity to make something that is as interactive and exciting as possible on a virtual scale.”

There is a danger that by the time it is ready, races will be back on and the work will have become redundant. But, it will lay foundations for other innovations.

“This pandemic has really shaken business models. Take timing – a lot of traditional timing methods are ’80s methods. It works so there hasn’t been a need to change. But this pandemic has turned the business models on their heads and we all hold the timing methods in our hands.

“I think there is going to be a quite a shake up in terms of how races are done with the technology available. I think for the better. Things stayed static, and the price too, but it should make races more affordable if we leverage technology,” Cai said.

An offshoot of the travel restrictions, and indoor venues being shut, is there are more hikers on the trails than ever before. Each of the race organisers said they were happy to see so many Hongkongers discovering the joys of the outdoors. But, there may be unintended frictions on the horizons.

Even before the pandemic, there were clashes between hikers and trail runners. Trail markers were tampered with or removed as hikers became annoyed with crowds of runners.

Cai worries the boom may limit race organisers’ creativity. They will be forced to run the same routes time and again in different directions, as the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) try and restrict clashes between popular races and popular hiking routes.

Maddess has been banging the drum for a while to be allowed on less busy routes. The AFCD only permit races on “named trails”.

“The AFCD need to look at ways to reduce the stress on some of the busier trails by either building new trails or encouraging use of lesser used “no name” trails by upgrading them or opening them up for events,” he said.

Racing is not the only aspect of trail running. You can run for free, any time, anywhere. There is a huge community of supportive runners and each trail organiser mentioned that it gives them hope.

“For me, it’s been really hard, because my thing is hanging out with people, it’s about mental health,” Carr said. “People recognise that race directors are being hit, so they want to support in whatever way that is possible, even if that is just running the course. It’s going to be a long slog, but the community will get around.”

Cai added: “It’s a really difficult time, and everyone is going through it in one shape or form. The community has stepped up, so many times people have offered their time. It really has helped and it has been amazing. I know we will get through this. It doesn’t mean it’s not difficult, but we will get through it together.”

(12/12/2020) ⚡AMP
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4 Foods That Help Fight Post-Run Inflammation

These foods and spices pack an anti-inflammatory punch and are worth incorporating into your diet.

Inflammation is your body’s normal response to tissue damage. However, in excess, it can wreak havoc on your body, triggering everything from minor aches and pains to more serious issues like heart disease and cancer. For runners, keeping inflammation to a minimum can aid in the recovery process. When inflammation becomes widespread and chronic, recovery between runs takes longer, and performance undoubtedly suffers.

While many folks may immediately reach right for the over-the-counter NSAID, consider that the foods we eat can play a role in fighting inflammation.

Rather than detailing all of the foods to eliminate, let’s look instead at foods to add to your daily diet. Your best defense is to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. As a side benefit, you’ll also be upping your antioxidant intake, which helps with the oxidative stress that comes with endurance running/racing. Certain foods and spices pack even more of an anti-inflammatory punch and are worth incorporating into your diet.

Turmeric

In my humble opinion, turmeric is truly a superhero in the spice world. In studies, turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory ability. Curcumin, the primary anti-inflammatory compound in turmeric, is shown to be comparable to traditional over-the-counter drugs. Adding ginger or black pepper will increase its effectiveness.

Cherries

Cherries have been used since the 1950s in the treatment of gout and arthritis. Studies confirm that cherries and cherry juice reduce inflammation and pain.

Watermelon

The lycopene in watermelon is a well-documented inhibitor of many inflammatory processes. A study conducted in Spain showed watermelon to be effective in preventing exercise-related muscle soreness.

Ginger

The anti-inflammatory compounds, gingerols, have been shown to help reduce arthritis-related pain, as well as exercise-induced pain. Although this list is by no means complete, it highlights some of the most effective natural anti-inflammatories that can be found right in the produce department.

(12/12/2020) ⚡AMP
by Podium Runner
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2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships has been postponed to 2023

The 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, the capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province, has been postponed to March 2023, the governing body of world athletics sports announced on Thursday.

Earlier this year, the World Athletics has decided to delay the 2020 World Indoor Championships for one year to next March, due to COVID-19 outbreak.

"While we have been liaising with the organizing committee and the Chinese Athletics Association to evaluate the staging over the past few weeks, given the current global situation, there is still significant uncertainty about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early part of 2021," World Athletics wrote in a statement on its official website.

The statement said the indoor season for athletics falls within a narrow calendar window (up to the end of March) so it is not possible to extend the event to later in 2021.

"We would like Nanjing to be the host of our World Athletics Indoor Championships given the extensive planning and preparation they have put into this event," the statement said, adding that the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships will be held in Belgrade, according to the original plan.

(12/11/2020) ⚡AMP
by Xinhua News
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Fargo Marathon to be held in the fall of 2021 due to the pandmic

The Sanford Fargo Marathon, which after 16 straight years of running was unable to be held this past year because of the coronavirus pandemic, is scheduled to run in the fall of 2021.

Normally held in May, the marathon will be held Sept. 20-25.

“It just didn’t make sense for us to try to do an event in May,” said marathon director Mark Knutson. “There is no clear light at the end of this pandemic tunnel. We figured it would be best to push it out to September and hopefully we will be in the clear by then.”

Knutson said the fall schedule is a “one-time thing” with officials planning to hold the marathon in the spring again.

Last year’s spring marathon was postponed due to COVID, with hopes of running the event last August. But that too was canceled due to COVID.

“It’s been a challenge. It’s been hard for everyone … runners and event organizers,” Knutson said. “On the positive side, I have seen a lot of people doing more outdoor activities. More runners, bikers and walkers. If there is something positive to glean off this, it might be this.”

The marathon has drawn 20,000 or more participants for the eight different events it has held the past few years. Knutson is hoping for that same number again next fall.

The full marathon, half-marathon and 10K runs will start and finish in the Fargodome. The course for the full marathon has yet to be finalized, but Knutson is hoping it can run through the campuses of Concordia and Minnesota State Moorhead.

“Schools could be in full session which might be nice,” Knutson said. “It would provide a lot of fanfare and student support.”

(12/11/2020) ⚡AMP
by Kevin Schnepf
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Fargo Marathon

Fargo Marathon

The Fargo Marathon is a week full of events, The Fargo Marathon is bound to have something for everyone. From the Cyclothon, Furgo Dog Run, Largest Kid's Race, 5K Walk/Run, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon and Relays, there is a distance for all! Start and Finish inside the Fargo Dome - ...

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2021 Rīga marathon Rescheduled to take place in August

For the first time in history, the 2021 Rimi Rīga marathon will be held in August instead of May, but the running season will be extended throughout the year, organizers said December 10.

The 31st Rimi Rīga marathon is scheduled for 28 and 29 August. It is planned that there will be a half-marathon, full marathon, 5 and 10 kilometer distances, as well as the children's run. the organizers informed on Thursday. Participants will be able to participate in children's days, 5 km and 10 km, as well as a half-marathon and marathon run.

On 15 and 16 May, when the Riga marathon was originally scheduled, a new hybrid running event will take place. It will take place on certified routes in the city, but will be without a common start and finish, and will stand out with other unusual features of future running events. In addition, the marathon Virtual Running Club will organize competitions and challenges throughout the year.

Aigars Nords, director of the Rimi marathon, said that even the most optimistic forecasts exclude the possibility of preparing for the marathon in May.

The participants registered for the Riga marathon in May 2021 will automatically be transferred to the marathon on August 28 and 29.

On the other hand, registration for the hybrid event on May 15 and 16, as well as the Riga marathon on August 28 and 29, will be disclosed in the spring, or as soon as the possible restrictions are clearer.

(12/11/2020) ⚡AMP
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Lattelecom Riga Marathon

Lattelecom Riga Marathon

If you have never been to Riga then, running a marathon or half-marathon could be a good reason to visit one of the most beautiful cities on the Baltic Sea coast. Marathon running has a long history in Riga City and after 27 years it has grown to welcome 33,000 runners from 70 countries offering five race courses and...

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Route approved for relocated marathon at Tokyo olympics

A route has been approved for the Olympic marathon, which is to be held in the northern city of Sapporo to avoid the Japanese capital's summer heat, Tokyo 2020 organizers said Friday. A dummy-run marathon will take place on May 5 to test the circuit, which starts and ends at Sapporo Odori Park in the city center, the organizing committee said.

The controversial decision to relocate the marathon and race-walking events was made in November 2019, before the Games were postponed by a year due to the coronavirus.

The Tokyo Olympics are now due to open in July 2021, and officials are insisting they will go ahead even if the pandemic is not under control.

The marathon will have three laps -- the first much longer, crossing the Toyohira River, while the second and third laps repeat a section of the first.

"Sapporo has a rich background in road running, particularly marathon events, and we want to inspire... fans around the world to travel to Sapporo for its future mass races," said Jakob Larsen, competition and events director for World Athletics, which has approved the route.

It is not exactly the same route as the annual Hokkaido Marathon in the city, but "it does follow much of the traditional course", he added.

Olympic officials first proposed moving the marathon after disastrous scenes at the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships, where dozens of athletes needed medical attention in hot and humid conditions.The Tokyo Olympics are now due to open in July 2021, and officials are insisting they will go ahead even if the pandemic is not under control.

The marathon will have three laps -- the first much longer, crossing the Toyohira River, while the second and third laps repeat a section of the first.

"Sapporo has a rich background in road running, particularly marathon events, and we want to inspire... fans around the world to travel to Sapporo for its future mass races," said Jakob Larsen, competition and events director for World Athletics, which has approved the route.

It is not exactly the same route as the annual Hokkaido Marathon in the city, but "it does follow much of the traditional course", he added.

Olympic officials first proposed moving the marathon after disastrous scenes at the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships, where dozens of athletes needed medical attention in hot and humid conditions.

It became a major sticking point between Tokyo officials and the International Olympics Committee, but eventually the city gave its grudging support for the move.

(12/11/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Fresh from winning in Valencia, World Record Holder Peres Jepchirchir believes she deserves a Team Kenya ticket to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

Speaking at her home in Kapsabet Wednesday upon arrival from Spain, the world half marathon record holder said her ambitions will be fulfilled once she gets an opportunity to fly the Kenyan flag in the Japanese capital.

 “My target is to run for Kenya at the Olympic Games next year. I have done a lot for the country and I think that's the only way to repay me,” said Jepchirchir.

Jepchirchir ran the fifth-fastest time over 42km while winning the Valencia Marathon on Sunday, clocking 2:17:16.

In Valencia, Jepchirchir defeated compatriot and New York City Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei in a Kenya 1-2 podium finish.

Jepchirchir latest heroics throws spanner into the work for Athletics Kenya, who have already named a team to Tokyo.

It comprises of world record holder Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04), world champion Ruth Chepngetich (2:17:08) and 2018 London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot (2:18:31) while Valary Aiyabei (2:19:10) and 2014 world half marathon bronze medallist Sally Chepyego (2:21:06) are the reserves.

“Just like Athletics Kenya included me in the world half marathon where I delivered the title in a world record, I believe I have what it takes to repeat the feat at the Olympic Games next year,” added Jepchirchir. 

"My target for the year was to run 2:17 at the Berlin Marathon to give myself a chance in the provisional team but unfortunately, that race was cancelled. I thank God I still did it in Valencia and I hope I will be considered."

(12/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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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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Canadian Ben Flanagan wins debut half-marathon in 1:03:19 one of the fastest times in Canadian history

Canadian Ben Flanagan ran his debut half-marathon on Sunday at a small race in South Carolina, and he posted one of the fastest times in Canadian history to take the win.

Despite never having raced a full 21.1K, Flanagan — an Olympic hopeful in the 5,000m and 10,000m — ran to a blazing-fast time of 1:03:19, which puts him in 10th all-time among Canadians.

Flanagan has only raced twice since February, but his brief transition to the road couldn’t have gone better, and he looks to be in great shape heading into 2021. 

 Flanagan, a former University of Michigan runner and NCAA 10,000m champion, may have won the race by a healthy margin of 19 seconds, but his victory wasn’t a sure thing until the late stages of the run. The course followed a 6.4K loop, and very early on, Flanagan and eventual second-place finisher Matthew McClintock of Maine were dropped by Kenya’s Athanas Kioko. Flanagan and McClintock ran together for much of the race before the 25-year-old Canadian pulled away for sole possession of second place. Not long after that, Flanagan overtook Kioko (who was also eventually caught by McClintock) and carried on to take the win. McClintock took second place in 1:03:38 and Kioko held onto third in 1:03:47.

Trying something new 

After the race, Flanagan posted on Instagram, writing, “Tested out the half-marathon this weekend and am happy to walk away with a W and by-default PR. Really pleased with the decision to get creative during a year with limited racing opportunities and fully intend to return to the track a stronger athlete.”

While Flanagan won’t be making a career of road racing just yet, he has certainly shown the running world that he has promise at the longer distances. With his time, he sits just behind Olympian Reid Coolsaet (1:03:16) on the all-time Canadian list, and he will have plenty of opportunities in the future to climb higher than 10th place. 

(12/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Tommy Hughes has won the prestigious Athletics Weekly World Masters Athlete of the Year award.

The 60-year old former Maghera man has had a remarkable year of running achievements, despite a much reduced programme due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Back in October, he set a record-breaking time for athletes aged over 60 when he clocked 1.11.09 at the Antrim Coast Half Marathon. 

Commenting on that performance, the judges said: “Tommy set a stunning world masters half-marathon record of 71:09 at Larne to even overshadow Mo Farah’s victory. 

“He also set a world indoor M60 3000m record of 9:41.24 and wins the world masters male award.”

It is a remarkable time for someone entering his seventh decade. However, Tommy says he is nothing but thankful to running for even getting him this far.

At the peak of his powers Tommy was ready to compete at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

He had qualified after running 2:13:59 in the Marrakesh Marathon in Morocco, but a stress fracture in his foot significantly affected him in Barcelona.

The men’s marathon was the last event and because of the closing ceremony taking place that night, anyone with a finishing time longer than 2:45 would redirected to a finish outside the stadium. As he soldiered around the streets, he was determined to finish inside the stadium. He managed to do it, finishing 72nd in 2.32.55.

Tommy got married at 21, moved to Maghera, and in his own words began ‘piling on the pounds.’

To counteract that, he played Gaelic football and went for runs on his own. That provided him with something of a revelation, a passion and a huge talent, for running.

At the Rotterdam Marathon in April last year, he ran 2:30:15, and in Frankfurt in October, 2019 he teamed up with his eldest son, Eoin, to become the fastest father-son marathoners of all time. Tommy ran an over-55s world record of 2:27:52, while Eoin clocked 2:31:30 for a combined time of 4:59:22.

(12/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by The Down Recorder
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Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Antrim Coast Half Marathon

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

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Seb Coe believes Daniel Rowden, Jake Wightman and others are on the right track to succeed at the highest level

Ever since the 1990s Seb Coe has regularly been invited to meet various 800m prodigies who have been touted as his successor. He has usually obliged and passed on some of the wisdom gained from a career that included a world and still-standing British record of 1:41.73. In turn, he has listened to them and has often been slightly disheartened with their approach.

When it comes to the current crop, though, Coe is impressed. The president of World Athletics says they are making all the right noises and he is optimistic they can build on what has been a vintage year for the two-lap event in the UK.

Daniel Rowden, Elliot Giles, Jake Wightman, Kyle Langford and teenager Max Burgin have all run 1:44 in 2020. One race in Zagreb saw Rowden, Giles and Wightman finishing one-two-three and Coe says he enjoyed a one-hour conversation on Zoom with Rowden recently to talk about his training and approach to athletics.

“I’m pleased (with the current crop),” says Coe, “because I’ve always kept quite close and every few years I’ve often been asked to sit down with 800m or 1500m runners – even going back to Frank Dick’s time – and sometimes I’ve left slightly with my head in my hands with regards the way they’ve thought about the event and the types of things they’ve done in training in order to get to the top.”

But Coe adds: “This is the first generation where I can really put my hand on my heart and say that they really are doing the right things.

“On the basis that I think they’re doing the right things, it’s hardly a surprise that they’re performing the way they are.”

Rowden’s best of 1:44.09 equalled the best time of Coe’s big rival – the Olympic 800m champion Steve Ovett – and it ranked the 23-year-old third in the world rankings in 2020.

“I had a very good chat with Daniel the other day,” says Coe. “I’m not the font of all knowledge when it comes to 800m running and I certainly wouldn’t tell them how to run 800m finals. They’d be better off speaking to Steve Ovett or Joaquim Cruz about that!

“But I do know what it takes to get to the top of 800m running and what I’m pleased about is that they’re wanting to learn, wanting to understand and reaching out and the very fact that I’m sitting down with Daniel, who is keen to understand the nature of the event, is a really good sign.”

(12/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Jason Henderson
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2021 Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon to go ahead

After Japanese races due to be held in Spring have consistently been cancelled or postponed the Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, has bucked the trend.

After consultation with all parties involved the organising committee of the 10th anniversary Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, scheduled for 25 April, will go ahead while taking appropriate precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

As one of the measures to allow the race to be safely staged, the field size on race day will be cut to 70% of its usual level, 7,000 runners, to reduce crowd density on the course. The remaining 30%, 3,000 runners, will be given entry to an online half marathon to allow them to participate ‘virtually’.

Priority will be given to people who were entered in the cancelled 2020 edition.

The 3km race will be cancelled in order to further reduce numbers, and all entrants in that division will have their entry fees refunded. The organizing committee thanked all runners for their understanding.

(12/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Gifu Half Marathon

Gifu Half Marathon

The Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon is an annual half marathon road running competition held in Gifu, Japan. First held in 2011, the race is also called the Naoko Takahashi Cup, named after Naoko Takashi, the retired local runner who won the marathon at the 2000 Sidney Olympics and broke the marathon world record in 2001, becoming the first woman to...

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