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Mary Cain Is Officially Back on the Track As She Races the Men and a Former World Junior Champ

Thursday night at the NYRR Night at the Races #2 at the Armory, Cain, running in heat 2 of the men’s 3,000m race, finished in 10th place in 9:25.50 to finish her first track race since she placed 2nd in the 1500 at the NACAC Under-23 Championships on July 15, 2016.

Mary Cain, 23, wearing a nondescript yellow outfit, went out conservatively. She was in last place on the first lap, hit 1600 in 5:00.5 and would slow slightly over the second half, but move up through the field.

Believe it or not, Cain wasn’t the only former world junior champion in her race. The West Side Runners’ Nuhamin Bogale, who won the 2010 world junior 1500m title for Ethiopia as Tizita Bogale and has a 4:03 pb, is also trying to come back from injury and raced the men like Cain. Bogale, 26, and Cain were close through the mile, then Bogale began to pull away from Cain and Bogale finished in 9:19.78.

Afterwards we spoke to Cain, who was all smiles. Cain compared the experience to a “middle school race” because she spent much of it in lane 2 passing other runners. Cain was glad to be back finishing a track race and she said she had to start somewhere and the plan is to try and improve each time out. Cain said she has just started with track workouts and the fastest 800 she has done was in her 3,000 tonight. She and her coach John Henwood would not commit to a distance for Mary and said they’ll see how her training and racing goes.

(01/11/2020) ⚡AMP
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Logan Thomas, 18, became only the second male Special Olympic athlete ever to qualify for the Boston Marathon

The oldest of Darek and Elaine Thomas’s four children, Logan is on the autism spectrum. Diagnosed at the age of one, Logan’s biggest delay is communication. He is verbal, but putting thoughts into words is a challenge. As his father explains, the difficulty lies with “output, not input.”

While his output is limited, Logan’s ability to absorb “input” is greater than most of us will achieve in a lifetime. He’s particularly drawn to languages– when he discovered language tutorials on YouTube, he taught himself to read and write 25 of them, including Chinese. 

Logan attends the nonpublic, special education St. Elizabeth School in Baltimore, Md., whose slogan is “Helping Students with Special Needs Go the Distance.” In Logan’s case, the phrase takes on a literal meaning.

While St. Elizabeth has no traditional sports teams, students are encouraged to participate in athletics and club sports as much as possible. Logan was especially drawn to the running club. While in the club, his parents noticed how running had a calming effect on their son. Also, he was really good at it. At just 16-years-old, Logan ran the Baltimore Half Marathon with his dad and won his age group with a 1:27. He also ran two full marathons prior to the Richmond Marathon, with a 3:14 personal best at the York Marathon in York, Pa. last May. 

For Logan’s father, his accomplishments are about more than showcasing his running talent. Darek feels that Logan can help shift the perception towards kids with special needs.

“There are some kids with real ability! I don’t like labeling kids as having a disability. We need to get past that,” said Darek. To him, Logan shouldn’t necessarily be labeled as a Special Olympic athlete. He’s just an athlete– “a really good athlete.”

That much is obvious from his past performances, and yet his physical limits are hard to predict: he lacks the communication to give feedback about his race efforts. However, he just keeps getting faster. 

That’s what prompted Logan’s father to set a goal for Logan to break three hours in the marathon and qualify for Boston.

The race plan would go like this: Logan’s dad, Darek, would be on a bike, checking in periodically. Chris would try to bring Logan through 26.2 miles in under three hours, the Boston qualifying time for their age group. But they’d likely need 2:57 to give Logan a good chance of being accepted into the increasingly-competitive Boston Marathon. 

So, Chris planned to pace Logan at 2:57—dangerously close to his own PR. Jon, an experienced pacer, had only ever paced groups 30-40 minutes slower than his own race time—a considerably safer margin. Chris and Jon both admitted they were worried the night before the race. Aside from their own pacing abilities, there were some unknowns about handling the later miles, especially in terms of endurance. After all, Logan’s training was unconventional to say the least– he never ran farther than 12 miles on a long run.

Nevertheless, come race morning, Logan faced the start line without nerves or fear creeping in. Chris says he looked content and calm as he waited at the start line.

“Logan doesn’t get nervous the way we do… it’s a really nice thing,” explains Darek.

(01/11/2020) ⚡AMP
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

The 124th Boston Marathon originally scheduled for April 20 was postponed to September 14 and then May 28 it was cancelled for 2020. The next Boston Marathon is scheduled for April 19, 2021. Among the nation’s oldest athletic clubs, the B.A.A. was established in 1887, and, in 1896, more than half of the U.S. Olympic Team at the first modern...

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Tefera and Nakaayi join Lievin cast

Organisers of the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais have confirmed that world indoor 1500m champion Samuel Tefera and world 800m champion Halimah Nakaayi will compete at the World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting in Lievin on 19 February.

Tefera won the 1500m convincingly in Lievin last year, finishing three seconds ahead of his nearest rival. Six days later, he broke the world indoor record for the distance in Birmingham, clocking 3:31.04 to break a record that had stood for 22 years.

Hicham El Guerrouj, who held the world indoor record before Tefera, still holds the Lievin meeting record at 3:32.01.

Nakaayi was a surprise winner of the 800m at last year’s World Athletics Championships, taking gold in a Ugandan record of 1:58.04. The 25-year-old has never competed indoors before this year, but it’s highly likely she will break the Ugandan indoor record of 2:04.57 during her indoor campaign.

(01/11/2020) ⚡AMP
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Dublin Marathon will expand capacity to 25,000 for this year’s event

The KBC-sponsored Marathon was run with a capacity of 22,500 entrants last year after demand shot up by 30% between 2015 and 2016.

Organizers sparked concern among runners last year when they announced plans to switch to a lottery system of entry rather than a first-come-first-served basis. However, previous participants have been given first preference on returning to the start line on 25 October. 

The lottery system, the organizer said in a statement: “has revealed that there are over 35,000 interested in participating in the 2020 event.

“16,200 entries have been received from runners who had participated in any of the 2017, 2018 & 2019 editions of the event, who were guaranteed a place in the 2020 KBC Dublin Marathon.

“1,000 entries are allocated to sponsors and tour operators, with a further 1,300 allocated to ‘Good for Age’ Athletics Ireland members.”

16,100 applications were made for the remaining 6,500 places available through the lottery. Today, the successful applicants will be informed and they have until 31 January to claim their place.

Any places left unclaimed at the end of this month will be allocated to lottery entrants from 7 February. A third round of allocations will take place on 1 August, accounting for spaces vacated by runners who have withdrawn and taken a partial refund at that point.

Unsuccessful lottery entrants can claim their €15 refund after 14 February.

“A key objective from the outset,” says race director Jim Aughney, ”was to promote marathon running in Ireland and it is great to see such strong interest in this year’s event.”

(01/10/2020) ⚡AMP
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KBC Dublin Marathon

KBC Dublin Marathon

The KBC Dublin Marathon, which is run through the historic Georgian streets of Dublin, Ireland's largest and capital city.The course is largely flat and is a single lap, starting and finishing close to the City Centre. Conditions formarathon running are ideal....

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Former Marathon World Record holder Wilson Kipsang banned in doping case

Wilson Kipsang, a former marathon world-record holder and Olympic bronze medalist, was provisionally suspended for whereabouts failures and tampering, according to doping officials.

The ban came from the Athletics Integrity Unit, track and field’s doping watchdog organization. Athletes must provide doping officials with locations to be available for out-of-competition testing, and missed tests can be tantamount to failed tests.

Kipsang, a 37-year-old Kenyan, won major marathons in New York City, London, Berlin and Tokyo between 2012 and 2017.

He lowered the world record to 2:03:23 at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, a mark that stood for one year until countryman Dennis Kimetto took it to 2:02:57 in Berlin. Another Kenyan, Eliud Kipchoge, lowered it to 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

Kipsang, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, last won a top-level marathon in Tokyo in 2017. He was third at the 2018 Berlin Marathon and 12th at his last marathon in London last April.

Kipsang is the latest Kenyan distance-running star to receive a doping-related ban.

Rita Jeptoo had Boston and Chicago Marathon titles stripped, and Jemima Sumgong was banned after winning the Rio Olympic marathon after both tested positive for EPO. Asbel Kiprop, a 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017.

(01/10/2020) ⚡AMP
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World U20 10,000m champion Rhonex Kipruto is confirmed for the Valencia Ibercaja 10km road race on Jan. 12 in Spain

Rhonex  Kipruto, who is eyeing to make the Kenya team to the Tokyo Olympics, will use the road race in Valencia to gauge his endurance before returning to the track to prepare for the explosive Kenya trials.

"The Olympics is the main target for me this year. However, to attain the best fitness, I need to gauge myself against top runners and this platform will be provided in Valencia, which I hope to take up the challenge in my strides," Kipruto on Sunday.

Kipruto will be up against European record-holder Julien Wanders from Switzerland (27:25), Uganda's Stephen Kissa (27:13) and reigning champion Chala Regasa from Ethiopia (27:23). Brits Callum Hawkins (28:55) and Ben Connor (28:56) are also confirmed.

"It is a strong line-up and I have to be in my best form. I have rested enough since the World Championships in Doha and I will hope for some fast time in Valencia," he added.

The women's line-up is headed by Kenya's Sheila Chepkirui (29:57), Israel's European 10,000m champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (30:05) and Kenya's Norah Jeruto (30:07).

Chepkirui holds Africa's all-time best record and is the world leader in the 10,000m distance. But she will have no chance if she looks down upon the caliber of opposition facing her in Valencia.

"I am really happy with my performance in 2019, especially the fast time in Durban, as it was my first road race in South Africa," said Chepkirui.

"I usually stay at the back in the beginning and then make my move closer to the race finish. It is the same strategy I will apply to Valencia. However, I will try to stay with the leading pack," said Chepkirui.

Chepkirui, who was seventh at the World Championships in London back in 2017, hopes to make the Kenya team to the Olympics in the 10,000m and hopes a good performance in Valencia will earn her slot in the team.

(01/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Huaxia
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10k Valencia Ibercaja

10k Valencia Ibercaja

Around the corner we have one more edition of the 10K Valencia Ibercaja, organized one more year by the C. 10K VALENCIA Athletics premiering the running season in Valencia. It is a massive urban race with more than 3,000 registered annually of 10 kilometers, where the maximum duration of the test will be 1 hour 40 minutes (100 minutes). The...

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World Half Marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor is now eyeing an Olympic medal

Last November, the 26-year-old won the men’s New York City Marathon for the second time in three years after clocking 2:08:13.

“My plan this year is to go to the Tokyo Olympics Games because the only medal lacking in my cabinet is an Olympic medal,” Kamworor said.

The athlete, who trains at the Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat, Elgeyo-Marakwet County alongside his mentor and World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, said he has stepped up preparations.

Under the guidance of their coach Patrick Sang, Kamworor and Kipchoge have become two of the best marathoners in the world. Kamworor has been on the medal podium for each of the four New York City marathons he has run.

“I am working hard this time round to make sure that I go to the Olympics because I am focused on getting a medal,” the athlete said.

Kamworor was speaking to the press on Thursday at Kipsinende Primary School in Uasin Gishu County where he led fellow athletes in awarding the best 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) performers in the school.

He was accompanied by Laban Korir (2014 Toronto Waterfront Marathon), Philemon Rono (2018 Toronto Waterfront Marathon winner), Sally Chepyego (former World Half Marathon champion), Hyvin Kiyeng (former world 3,000m steeplechase champion) and Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon.

(01/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Dennis Lubanga
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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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Mike Smith is the new coach for Galen Rupp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(01/10/2020) ⚡AMP
by Sarah Lorge Butler
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Callum Hawkins going back to basics ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

"My shed could help me win a marathon medal at the Tokyo Olympics," says Callum Hawkins.  

Britain's Callum Hawkins explains how a garden shed is helping him to win a medal in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympics

Elite athletes spend years fine-tuning their bodies in preparation for an Olympic Games with elaborate training and diet plans.  But sometimes it's best to go back to basics. Training in your garden shed with heaters kind of basic.

That's according to Scottish marathon runner Callum Hawkins, who is doing everything possible to prepare his body for the hot and humid conditions in Japan this summer.

"We had a couple of bad winters where sometimes it was too icy to go out and get good quality sessions," Hawkins told Sky Sports News.

"So we thought we'd put up a shed with a treadmill to help me train. We did a bit in the heat chamber and thought we could replicate it instead."

The warm weather is expected to be a big talking point at Tokyo, where temperatures regularly reach 35 Celsius (95F) and humidity hits 80 per cent in summer.  The Olympic marathon and race walk events have already been moved more than 500 miles north from Tokyo to Sapporo to reduce the impact of heat on the athletes.

Regardless of the location, the 27-year-old from Elderslie is planning for all eventualities.  Hawkins is confident he will be able to deal with the heat in Tokyo

"Looking at the history of Sapporo weather, I don't think it will make too much of a difference - it's been similar to Tokyo. I've just got to go out there, I'll be on the start line and give it 100 per cent," he said.

"It can be pretty monotonous in the shed and the crippling heat can be quite tough. But it's just about getting through it and that's what makes champions."

A champion is what Hawkins hopes to become in Tokyo, improving on the ninth place he achieved at his debut Games at Rio 2016.

Since then, he has come agonisingly close to a podium finish on more than one occasion.

He finished fourth at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London and just a few months ago at the World Championships in Doha, he missed out on a medal by just six seconds.

"I still talk to myself if I could have done more or not taught myself a bit more," he said. "But it's about passion, it's about moving on, it's about Tokyo from here on in.

"I try not to let it get me down and try not to let it discourage me, but I think I am a little bit disappointed and won't ever quite get over it unless I win a medal at Tokyo."

Despite missing out on a medal, Hawkins' performance in the extreme heat and humidity in Doha last October is all the more remarkable.

What keeps him motivated for the Olympics, he says, is the fact he's no stranger to the impact of heat exhaustion on an endurance runner.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia, Hawkins was leading the race until severe dehydration caused him to collapse with just two kilometres to go.

Hawkins was given assistance after collapsing during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  "A lot of people thought I might not come back from it but I knew myself I would. I've come back from worse," he said.

"I feel very experienced. I've had both scenarios - one where it's gone wrong and one where it went well so I've managed to tweak enough to make sure I'll be in the best condition I can on the day."I think getting a medal is definitely up there. With the conditions and the fact it is a championship marathon, anything is up for grabs."

With Sir Mo Farah returning to the track instead of taking on the marathon at Tokyo, Team GB's chances of a medal in the men's race now lie with Hawkins and he is leaving nothing to chance.

(01/09/2020) ⚡AMP
by Sarah Dawkins
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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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Flying Pig Marathon has been named as one of the top marathons in America, according to a survey from an online running community

Flying Pig ranked as top marathon in America by BibRave.com, a website that connects runners with the best races, sent out a survey to its users at the end of the year asking users to rank running events across the country.

Users ranked the Flying Pig as the best, followed by the Missoula Marathon, the Walt Disney Word Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, and the Boston Marathon.

"They have volunteers just to take pictures of you with your own camera at the top of the hardest hill that gets you to the best view. Who does that?" one user commented about the Flying Pig in the survey.

The Flying Pig started in 1997 as a conversation among friends.

The first race year was 1999. Organizers did not want to call the race something typical.

"What were marathons called? The Columbus Marathon, the Cleveland Marathon, Pittsburgh Marathon, Chicago Marathon. To call it the Cincinnati Marathon is so ordinary," board chair Doug Olberding said.

In the 1800s, boats filled with livestock and produce would dock in Cincinnati. Hogs became a major income source for farmers. Pigs that were brought in by boat, or herded into town from area farms, were marched through the streets of Cincinnati to the processing plants.

So many, in fact, that Cincinnati came to be known as "Porkopolis."

In 1988, Cincinnati celebrated its bicentennial by renovating its riverfront to include a "bicentennial commons" park. One signature feature caught everyone's attention: four smokestacks, for the city's riverboat heritage, with four flying pigs on top, reflecting the spirits of the pigs who gave their lives so the city could grow.

The Flying Pig was born, Olberding said the race has succeeded beyond everyone's wildest dreams.

"In addition, they truly embrace and bring to life their adorable pig theme in every way possible," according to BibRave. "From starting corral 'pig pens' to the finish line 'finish swine,' the piggy theme gets all the runners in a curly-tailed frenzy."

This year, the 22nd Flying Pig will be held on May 3.

(01/09/2020) ⚡AMP
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Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

This beloved race found it's name from Cincinnati's pork history which dates back to the early 1800's. Cincinnati is also known as "Porkopolis."Our weekend lineup of events are designed to welcome athletes of all abilities from the Diaper Dash to the full Marathon and everything in-between, we truly have something for everyone. We even added a dog race several years...

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Caroline Chepkoech, the sixth all-time fastest runner at half marathon will lead Kenya's bid to conquer the Houston Half Marathon on Jan. 19

Kenyan Caroline Chepkoech, who has ruled out any hopes of competing at the Tokyo Olympics in the marathon, will have to calculate her steps to perfection if she has to beat Kenyan-turned Israeli Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, the reigning European 10,000m champion.

With a personal best time of 65:07, Chepkoech is the fastest ahead of Chemtai 66:09 and Ethiopians Burka (66:11), former champion Ruti Aga (66:39). Current champion Ethiopia's Biruktayit Degefa will also be back to defend her title.

"This will be a good testing ground ahead of the April marathon. The big challenge is here with top runners. But for me the focus is to improve the time and hopefully win the race," said Chepkoech on Wednesday.

Hassan El Abbassi (2:04:43) and Woldaregay Kelkile Gezahegn (2:05:56) are the quickest marathon entrants. Degefa's main opposition could come from fellow Ethiopian Askale Merachi.

In the men's race, Jemal Yimer, the fourth fastest of all time (58:33) is quickest in the line-up, one of eight sub-hour runners. Shura Kitata (59:16), Bernard Kipkorir (59:07) and Robertson (59:58) will oppose him.

Kipkorir will team up with compatriot Bernard Ngeno (59:07), Sam Chelanga (60:37) and Shadrack Biwott (61:25) to challenge the Ethiopians' dominance.

(01/09/2020) ⚡AMP
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Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Aramco Houston Half Marathon

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

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HydraPak will bring its premium reusable hydration to Support Cupless Racing at Big Sur Marathon

With over a decade of uninterrupted designation as a zero-waste event organization, the Big Sur Marathon Foundation (BSMF) is excited to announce a partnership with HydraPak as their official reusable hydration gear partner. HydraPak will bring its premium reusable hydration product line and sustainability mission to participants and visitors of the 35th Annual Big Sur International Marathon this April. 

Crafted in Northern California, HydraPak designs and produces flexible performance hydration systems aimed at reducing single-use waste and supporting athletes and adventure-seekers in the pursuit of personal goals.

BSMF prioritizes the development of ecologically and environmentally-sustainable practices and is always looking for new ways to conserve resources. The marathon’s budding partnership with HydraPak is the first step in the organization’s quest to eliminate all single-use cups on course at BSMF events. 

Participants in the 2020 Big Sur Marathon and related race weekend events will be invited to opt-in to a cupless experience during their race. The Big Sur Marathon Foundation and HydraPak are aiming for a 33% opt-in rate for participants across all race weekend events, eliminating tens of thousands of single-use cups on course.

The first 4,000 participants to take the cupless pledge will receive a complimentary Big Sur Marathon branded SpeedCup™, courtesy of HydraPak. It is hoped these participants will use this cup during their race, and after crossing the finish line in the recovery zone and finish village. With 11 aid stations on course, each marathon participant who takes the cupless pledge will potentially reduce their individual disposable footprint by 22-33 cups. Custom branded hydration offerings will also be available for sale online and at the Health & Fitness Expo, held the two days before the marathon.

Starting this year, the Big Sur 12K, the only distance to run through the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, will be a cupless race.  All participants will receive a HydraPak SpeedCup™ to use at the refill-only fluid station inside the park, saving over 1,500 disposable cups from being distributed on course and avoiding any cup waste in the sensitive area.

"Finding ways to reduce our footprint is always top of mind," said Doug Thurston, race director and executive director of the Big Sur Marathon Foundation. "We’ve made several important shifts to more sustainable practices and the decision to bring HydraPak on board to help us reduce single-use cups on course is a natural progression. We are very pleased to partner with HydraPak on this program.”

HydraPak’s collapsible and reusable SpeedCup was designed specifically for runners, and offers an alternative to single-use cups at race events. Made of ultra-light TPU, a 100% BPA and PVC-free material, the SpeedCup’s flexible design allows runners to collapse the cup and stuff it in their pocket or use the integrated finger loop, making for easy transport from start to finish.

“We’re eager to add value to the sustainability efforts of the BSMF by adopting the use of reusable hydration solutions with their road race events,” said Morgan Makowski, Director of Marketing at HydraPak. “Not only are we reducing waste with reusable cups, but we’re helping educate runners and other event hosts about different environmental impacts.”

The Big Sur International Marathon will celebrate its 35th presentation on April 26th, 2020, with 15,000 total entrants expected in seven different races. The full marathon and all other Sunday race distances are sold out with limited spots still available in the innovative Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge and Saturday’s 3K event in Pacific Grove. 

(01/09/2020) ⚡AMP
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Big Sur Marathon

Big Sur Marathon

2020 was postponed and moved from April to November 15th. This is a confirmed date. The Big Sur Marathon follows the most beautiful coastline in the world and, for runners, one of the most challenging. The athletes who participate may draw inspiration from the spectacular views, but it takes major discipline to conquer the hills of Highway One on the...

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A new study suggests that training for a marathon causes cardiovascular benefits equivalent to around a four-year reduction in vascular age

The health benefits of running have further been highlighted following the research into training for a debut marathon, with findings published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

A group of 138 first-time marathoners were assessed by Barts Heart Centre and University College London following their journey of training for and completing the London Marathon. The purpose of the study was to determine whether real-world exercise training for a first-time marathon could reverse age-related aortic stiffening.

The study concluded that training for and completing a marathon, even at relatively low exercise intensity, reduces central blood pressure and aortic stiffness. The group of novice runners were aged between 21 and 69 years and had an estimated training schedule of 6 to 13 miles per week.

“Greater rejuvenation was observed in older, slower individuals,” added the study’s conclusion.

AW MD Wendy Sly, who claimed Olympic 3000m silver at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, is training for her first marathon in London in April and told Sky News: “Running a marathon or a half-marathon gives you a goal, so I think there’s a very good target for people who are trying to get fit. It puts you into a forced regime, almost, because you know that you have committed to do something in the future.

“We know generally that running is very good for you, for your heart and lungs, for your weight, for mental reasons and feeling good about yourself, plus it’s good for your bones and your muscles. So there’s nothing bad to really be said about it.”

(01/09/2020) ⚡AMP
by Athletics Weekly
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The general entry ballot opens for the 40th Annual Great North Run

Famous half-marathon from Newcastle to South Shields celebrates landmark edition in 2020.

The general entry ballot for the world’s biggest half-marathon, the Great North Run, is now open.

The famous event will add another milestone to its rich history when it is staged for the 40th time on Sunday September 13, having been the first event of its kind to welcome home one million finishers back in 2014.

First staged in 1981 with 12,000 runners, the iconic half-marathon has grown to now accept 57,000 entries, with over 200,000 supporters estimated to line the route which takes runners from the center of Newcastle to the coast line of South Shields.

Organizers say the 40th Great North Run – GNR40 – will be a celebration of the landmark staging and the people and places that have made the event great, with the race again set to be broadcast live on BBC television for four hours.

Last year saw four-time Olympic track gold medalist Mo Farah continue his winning streak with a sixth consecutive victory, while Brigid Kosgei – who would go on to break the marathon world record in Chicago – became the fastest ever female over the half-marathon distance, clocking 64:28.

In 2020, a series of activities and experiences are planned to celebrate the 40th staging, including a specially commissioned film charting the history of the event.

The Great North 5km will also take place and the Junior and Mini Great North Run will again transform the  Newcastle Gates Head Quayside into a sea of runners.

Runners can register for the Great North Run ballot at www.greatrun.org/north. The ballot will close at 9pm on Sunday February 9.

(01/08/2020) ⚡AMP
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Great North Run

Great North Run

Great North Run founder Brendan Foster believes Britain is ready to welcome the world with open arms after the launch of the event's most ambitious plan to date. The Great World Run campaign seeks to recruit one runner from every country in the United Nations – 193 in total – to take part in the iconic half marathon in...

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Strong elite field set for action at Lagos City Marathon

More top runners across the world are indicating interest to be part of the 2020 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.

The latest set of elite runners to join the already star-studded list for the February 8 race are Philes Moora Ongori and Dadi Yami.

In a statement signed by Head, Communications and Media, Olukayode Thomas, Ongori, who started her career in Japan and won a number of All-Japan Corporate titles, is delighted to be selected to run in Lagos.

Ongori was on the track running the 10,000 metres for Kenya at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics.

She came to prominence in the half marathon in 2008 when she won the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon in the fastest time of the year.

At the 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, she won the silver medal.

Ongori won on her marathon debut at the Rotterdam Marathon in 2011, setting a time of 2:24:20 hours.

She made her full marathon debut in April 2011 at the Rotterdam Marathon and she outran the more experienced Hilda Kibet in the final stages to win the race in a quick first-time run of 2:24:20 hours.

Another rich addition is Dadi Yami, an Ethiopian runner with a personal best of 2:05:41 hours.

Yami made his marathon debut at the 2011 Eindhoven Marathon finished in 2:11:04 hours.

He ran 2:05: 41 hours, his personal best, at Dubai Marathon. In the extremely fast race, this was only enough for sixth place, but still ranked him in the top twenty in the world that year, and in the top forty on the all-time list.

He also did a 2:07:01 hours at Hamburg Marathon and 2:07:55 hour at Dubai Marathon recently.

Mr Thomas said that 52 elite runners from five continents will be Lagos. He also said about 30 Nigerian elite runners will join the foreign elites.

“In all, we expecting about a 100 elite runners’’ he said.

(01/08/2020) ⚡AMP
by Tunde Eludini
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Access Bank Lagos City Marathon

Access Bank Lagos City Marathon

“The IAAF and AIMS have a special interest in the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon so if you see their top officials at the third edition, don’t be surprised. Lagos is one of the few marathons in the world that got an IAAF Label after just two editions. This is a rare feat. The event had over 50,000 runners at...

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Jackson Day Race, the oldest road race in the South is part of Battle of New Orleans celebration in its 113th edition

The Jackson Day Race, the oldest road race in the South and the fifth oldest in the U.S., will return to St. Bernard for the third year as part of the celebration of the American victory at the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.

Sponsored by the New Orleans Track Club, the 113th running will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, with over 500 runners expected to participate.

Beginning and ending at the Aycock Barn in Old Arabi, runners can enjoy the sights of the area’s cultural arts district and the Chalmette Battlefield. An after-party will follow.

The 9K distance (5.6 miles) represents the area traveled by pirates under Lafitte’s command who left the garrison at the Old Spanish Fort and ran all the way to the Jackson Square (then Place de Armes) to join the other forces under Gen. Andrew Jackson.

Last year’s winner, Kevin Carollo, called the race “a true celebratory event.” A native of Fargo, North Dakota, and a professor at Minnesota State University, he credited the organizers for creating a welcoming environment. He said he looks forward to returning this year.

“The race is well-organized, celebratory, and inspires a variety of people to lace up their shoes and get out there,” Carollo said.”

He also said the warmth of the people involved makes for a special event.

“I love the people here. They seem more genuine and laid-back than elsewhere, eager to share stories, and tolerant in a way that I don’t take for granted these days.”

Arabi resident and local running enthusiast John Jackson (no relation to Andrew) said he also enjoys the venue and the camaraderie of the race. “I love that the Aycock Barn is where the race starts and ends,” Jackson said. “It's a great place for the post-race party, and I also love that such a historical race is right in my backyard.”

Katie Tommaseo, director of Film and Tourism for St. Bernard Parish, said the race continues to grow.

“The Jackson Day Race is something we are really proud of,” she said. “Getting so many people from so many different places to come into the parish and see all that we have to offer here is really something to celebrate.”

Carollo said participating in the race was fun, but winning was unforgettable.

“I couldn’t stop smiling all day. Where I live, it can be physically hard to smile through all those icy, gray, windy, subzero days. All that washed away by 8:31 a.m. I’ll never forget this race.”

(01/08/2020) ⚡AMP
by Barry Lemoine
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Jackson Day Race

Jackson Day Race

Come join us, the race starts at Old Spanish Fort, Beauregard Avenue near the intersection of Robert E. Lee and Wisner Boulevard, on the bank of Bayou Saint John. Runners then head north to the historic French quarter, finishing in Jackson Square. Post-race activities will be at the Steamboat Natchez dock in the French Quarter, overlooking the Mississippi River. ...

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Past winners are set to defend their title at Houston Marathon and Half Marathon

Organizers of the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon have revealed the elite fields for the World Athletics Gold Label road races on January 19.

The city’s marathon has now joined the half marathon as a Gold Label event, making Houston the only city in the world to host Gold Label marathon and half marathon races on the same day.

Defending marathon champion Biruktayit Degefa will try to become the first woman to win in Houston four times. Bahrain’s Hassan El Abbassi, the Asian record-holder for the men’s marathon, is the fastest in the men’s field.

Three former winners of the half marathon will be back in Houston to contest the 13.1-mile race: defending men’s champion Shura Kitata and 2018 winners Ruti Aga and Jake Robertson. Ethiopian record-holder Jemal Yimer and Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui, the eighth-fastest woman of all time, have the quickest PBs of the half marathon fields.

(01/08/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Chevron Houston Marathon

Chevron Houston Marathon

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

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Louisiana Marathon readies to welcome thousands of runners

Now in its ninth year, The Louisiana Marathon is expecting to draw close to 8,000 runners & walkers to Baton Rouge. Projections for the 2020 event include runners from nearly all 50 states and as many as 10 countries.

Starting on January 17th the expo opens at the Raising Canes River Center then continues through the weekend with two-days of running, walking, and celebrating healthy living at the Finish Festival near the State Capitol.

“It’s become the premier event,” says Pat Fellows, who helps organize the annual marathon. “People know what they’re getting—a great course and a great post-race party.” Previous studies indicate that the Louisiana Marathon weekend generates between $2 million and $4 million in economic impact each year. “We’ve sold out every downtown hotel every year,” Fellows says.

The event includes distances for every age & ability. Saturday, Jan. 18th starts with the Ochsner 5K (3.1 miles) & Ochsner Quarter Marathon (6.55 miles) and is followed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Kids Marathon (1 miles).

Sunday features the half marathon (13.1 miles) and the full marathon (26.2 miles). This year the event has joined the second edition of the Abbott WMM Wanda Age Group World Championships in 2021 as a qualifying race.

Launching in Sept. 2018, the Abbott World Marathon Majors Wanda Age Group World Rankings aims to raise awareness of the sport of marathon running by highlighting the achievements of age-group marathon runners, that otherwise might go unnoticed.

The weekend also hosts the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance Corporate Wellness Challenge creating a culture of health and wellness in the workplace. Categories include the Top 3 teams from companies of 1-99 employees, 100-999, and 1000+.

The 9thannual Louisiana Marathon will take place on Jan. 17th – 19th, 2020 in downtown Baton Rouge.

(01/07/2020) ⚡AMP
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Louisiana Marathon

Louisiana Marathon

Welcome to the Louisiana Marathon Running Festival. Rendezvous with runners from 50 states and over 30 countries who share a passion for Louisiana as they race our fast, flat and festive courses. Stick around for the best Finish Fest on the bayou and enjoy tastes of gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée, duck confit and couch du lait (to name a few dishes...

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Past Champions and Olympians will Headline NYRR Wanamaker Mile Men’s Field at 113th NYRR Millrose Games

Olympian and 2018 champion Chris O’Hare of Great Britain, 2017 champion Eric Jenkins of the United States, four-time Olympian Nick Willis of New Zealand, and world championship medalist Filip Ingebrigtsen of Norway will headline a talented NYRR Wanamaker Mile men’s field at the 113th NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 8 at The Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center.

The signature event at the NYRR Millrose Games has taken place every year on the men’s side since 1926 and will be broadcast live nationally on NBC for the fourth consecutive year from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. ET, in addition to streamed live online on NBC Sports Gold.

“Already one of the greatest mile races in the world, the men’s 2020 NYRR Wanamaker Mile is expected to be one of the best with past champions, Olympians, and rising stars all lining up in front of a national audience,” said NYRR Millrose Games Meet Director Ray Flynn.

O’Hare won the 2018 NYRR Wanamaker Mile after building an insurmountable lead on the last lap and crossing the line in 3:54.14. In New York, he has also finished as runner-up at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile three times, most recently in 2018. The Scotland native represents Great Britain on the world stage, having won a bronze medal in the 1500 meters at the European championships and competing in the event at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“I have always loved having the NYRR Millrose Games and the NYRR Wanamaker Mile in my racing schedule,” O’Hare said. “When you look back at the athletes who have competed in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, it goes to show the nature of the event. It is without a doubt, the most prestigious indoor mile race in the world and I can’t wait to step on the start line and go to battle with my fellow competitors.”

Jenkins won the 2017 NYRR Wanamaker Mile in a last-lap sprint against Olympic 800-meter bronze medalist Clayton Murphy. The year prior in New York, he narrowly defeated Olympic 1500-meter champion Matthew Centrowitz to win the New Balance 5th Avenue mile by one-tenth of a second. Last year, Jenkins finished third in New York at the USATF 5 km Championships in Central Park.

Willis has finished as runner-up at the NYRR Wanamaker Mile three times (2009, 2015, 2016), was third twice (2008, 2014) and took sixth last year. As a four-time Olympian, the University of Michigan graduate and Ann Arbor, MI resident won the silver medal in the 1500 meters at the Beijing 2008 Games, carried New Zealand’s flag at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, and returned to the podium with a bronze medal in the 1500 meters at the Rio 2016 Games. In 2019, he won a record-breaking fifth men’s title at the 5th Avenue Mile, adding to his previous victories on Manhattan’s most famous thoroughfare from 2008, 2013, 2015, and 2018.

Ingebrigtsen coached by his father, Gjert, won the 1500-meter European title in 2016 and a world championship bronze medal in the distance in 2017.

(01/07/2020) ⚡AMP
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NYRR Millrose Games

NYRR Millrose Games

The NYRR Millrose Games,which began in 1908 as a small event sponsored by a local track club, has grown to become the most prestigious indoor track and field event in the United States. The NYRR Millrose Games meet is held in Manhattan’s Washington Heights at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armony, which boasts a state-of-the-art six-lane,...

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Canadian Malindi Elmore recovered from injury is getting ready to race in Houston

The 2020 Houston Chevron Marathon is less than two weeks away, and while it’s technically an American race, it also serves as the winter running event of choice for the many Canadian runners. For the 2020 edition lots of Canadian elites are heading south of the border to try and run fast times, but a race we’re particularly excited to see is Malindi Elmore’s.

Elmore shocked Canadian runners a year ago when she ran a 2:32 marathon debut in Houston, which she would later describe as “a fun family project.” Since her debut, Elmore’s cranked out several impressive times, including a 1:11:08 half-marathon and a 32:44 10K. The original plan was to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which doubled as the 2020 Olympic Trials. Elmore pulled out one week from the race due to a hamstring injury.

Elmore was targeting the Olympic standard of 2:29:30 and the automatic qualification spot that came from winning STWM. If she was successful, she would have qualified for her second Olympic team, 16 years and two babies after qualifying for her first (she competed in the 2004 Olympics for the 1,500m). The runner still has until May to run standard and put herself in the conversation for the Olympic team, but making the 2020 marathon squad will be harder than ever.

Canada can send up to three runners, but with Dayna Pidhoresky’s spot already guaranteed, Lyndsay Tessier’s top-10 finish at the World Championships acting as the equivalent to standard and Rachel Cliff knocking off the year with a new Canadian half-marathon record, the Canadian women’s road scene is deeper than it has been in years.

If Elmore is able to run under standard (2:29:30), there will be four Canadian women who’ve achieved it. And that’s not including Emily Setlack, who was only 18 seconds off at STWM. It’s far from cut-and-dried when it comes to who will be making this Olympic marathon team. There were years when Canada was excited to send one runner, and now there will likely be a marathoner, with standard, who won’t make the team.

But personally, Elmore isn’t overly concerned about the standard. “My goal is to run as fast as I can run, and if I perform how I think I’m capable of, it’ll land me within standard.”

The runner says that this build has been a little different than her first, due to her past injury. “Returning from injury wasn’t too bad, it took me about four weeks. That’s a pretty quick turn-around, all things considered. It was certainly a shorter build than I anticipated because I wasn’t starting from scratch.” Elmore was still working with the fitness she’d gained leading up to Scotia. She says she was very happy to see Pidhoresky and Hofbauer’s performances at STWM. “It was a really exciting race to watch. I was really happy for them and really happy to see how well they’d done.”

When asked about how Canadian running has changed over the past 20 years, Elmore says that connectedness is the biggest difference. “There’s a connection between runners and the public now. I felt much more alone doing my training and racing in 2004. Running was my personal story that I shared with people closest to me but it wasn’t available publicly the way things are now with social media.”

Elmore jokes that when she ran her lifetime personal best in the 1,500m she didn’t know for about an hour, because the results weren’t available. Then, she couldn’t tell her loved ones until she got back to the hotel and made the collect call home. “Now I put a workout up on Strava and get immediate kudos. I think there’s a greater awareness of what people are trying to achieve and what they’re doing to get there. It’s easier to build and maintain a community through technology where we can cheer people on from a distance.”

(01/07/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Chevron Houston Marathon

Chevron Houston Marathon

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

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Toronto Marathon champion Magdalyne Masai has set her eyes on running the Boston Marathon

The 26-year-old has only run three marathons and though she has little hope of making the Kenya team to the Tokyo Olympics, she will not pass the chance to have a dry run in March in the Japanese capital should organizers of the city marathon invite her.

However, it is the challenge of Boston Marathon that Magdalyne Masai, a former world cross country bronze medalist, is keen to conquer in 2020.

"My management has not got the invitation yet. But it will be a great step if I get a chance to fight against the best in Boston and gain the experience it comes with," Masai said on Monday.

The younger sister of former World 10,000m champion Linet Masai won silver at the Hamburg Marathon last year against a strong challenge from the Ethiopians and is also the winner from Hefei Marathon, in China.

"China was my first debut in marathon and I loved it because I went on to win in Hefei. It gave me the stage to showcase my talent in marathon and since then, I have been improving. Now I am ready for the big-city marathon and Boston looks a great place to run," she said.

Magdalene said out of the three marathons she has competed, Toronto remains her favorite.

"I know people will talk of London, Chicago, New York, Boston, Tokyo and Berlin but I prefer to start in Boston because of the magical experience people talk about. I want to experience it first hand," she noted.

Masai credits her elder brother Moses Masai, who is currently battling a career-threatening ankle injury, for motivating her to take up running. Though her sister Linet has played a part in her career, Magdalyne feels Moses is the cornerstone in the short marathon rise she has experienced.

"Moses always asked me to go for it. There is also former Commonwealth marathon champion Flomena Cheyech and former track star Sylvia Kibet who have helped me a lot," she added.

In 2016 she changed from the track to the road races with a debut at Ostia Half Marathon clocking 67:30. A year later she was fourth at the South Shields Great North Run in England clocking 1:10:39. She has also run in Lisbon (Portugal) and Belfort (France).

However, it was in Hefei in China that she launched her career in the marathon, and she won against a strong challenge clocking 2:28:20. And from China, Masai now targets to conquer the world.

"The Tokyo Olympics are coming a little bit earlier and I may not have the experience to be considered. But I want to represent Kenya in next Olympics," she added. Enditem

(01/07/2020) ⚡AMP
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

The 124th Boston Marathon originally scheduled for April 20 was postponed to September 14 and then May 28 it was cancelled for 2020. The next Boston Marathon is scheduled for April 19, 2021. Among the nation’s oldest athletic clubs, the B.A.A. was established in 1887, and, in 1896, more than half of the U.S. Olympic Team at the first modern...

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British athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson is set to compete at the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix

World heptathlon champion set to compete at the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix, Anniversary Games and Gateshead Grand Prix in 2020

After winning world heptathlon gold in Doha, Katarina Johnson-Thompson has confirmed that she will compete at three world-class events in the UK next year: the Müller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow, the Müller Anniversary Games and the Müller Grand Prix Gateshead.

With all eyes turning to Tokyo and the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the British record-holder will kick-start her year in Scotland at the Indoor Grand Prix on February 15.

Come the summer, the 26-year-old will head to London to compete at the  Anniversary Games on July 4 and 5, with an appearance at the Müller Grand Prix in Gateshead coming after the Olympic Games on August 16.

“It’s amazing to know I’ve got three great events and some real testing competition in the diary for 2020,” said Johnson-Thompson, who scored her British record tally of 6981 points to take the heptathlon title in Qatar.

“I’m really looking forward to performing in front of British crowds, with the Müller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow and Müller Anniversary Games being vital preparation for the Olympics.”

She added: “The support I received from back home both during and after my competition in Doha was crazy. It really shows how lucky I am to compete for Britain and that the British fans really are the best in the world.

“It’s going to be amazing to compete on home soil on three occasions in 2020, with these fans cheering us all on.”

(01/06/2020) ⚡AMP
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Muller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow

Muller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow

The Müller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow returns to Scotland and the Emirates Arena on the 15th of February. Forming part of the World Athletics World Indoor Tour, the top-ranked indoor meeting in the world will feature the biggest athletics stars from across the globe aiming to start their Olympic and Paralympic year with a bang. One year on from hosting...

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Sam Keen losses 200-pound weight and now is training for the upcoming Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Previous attempts at weight loss had temporary results at best, Keen added. “I was really good at losing 10 pounds and then giving up and gaining 20,” he said.

While stranded by the high waters, Keen started thinking about what he could do differently. “Something got into me that made me want to try harder and really commit,” he said.

First, he decided to cut carbs from his diet and fill up on protein instead. Then, he started to walk.

“At almost 400 pounds, walking is enough,” he said. “I’d go 20 minutes and a little less than a mile, which was a long way for me then.”

He increased his time and distance until he walked about four hours each day. “I listened to every podcast,” he said. “I pushed as much as my feet could bear.”

Keen dropped 100 pounds in six months. “That becomes addictive,” he said. “Instead of going to the bar and drinking a few beers, I’d go for a walk. I would walk to work, 2 miles each way.”

But after a while, walking four hours a day started to bore him. Then one day, he walked by Orangetheory Fitness, a gym known for hourlong classes combining cardio and strength training.

“I looked it up, and it scared me,” he said. “But that was a good thing. I wanted to do something that scared me. I needed a push.”

He liked that people of all fitness levels feel welcome. “I fell in love with it,” he said. “It was exactly what I needed.”

The support offered by the coaches, who push clients to meet their fitness goals, ended up being his favorite part. Head coach Austin McCafferty said that the feeling was mutual.

He first met Keen in a three-person training session with McCafferty’s wife. “Sam fit in perfectly with our group,” McCafferty said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Then, Keen shared his weight-loss story. “I would have never known,” McCafferty said. “It was just mind-blowing. It was truly astonishing to see.”

McCafferty added that Keen is a perfect example of dedication. “Progress starts one small step at a time,” McCafferty said. “You have to stay consistent, set your routine and have determination, like Sam did.”

With the help of the trainers, Keen noticed another benefit he hadn’t expected: “I started feeling confident. The coaches made me feel empowered. That was something I didn’t even know I needed.”

Before long, he was signing up for competitions at Orangetheory. Then, he started running outside more — and wanted to push that as well.

About six months ago, Keen and a friend signed up for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Florida. He downloaded a training plan online and competed in the race this fall. He also completed the La Porte By the Bay Half Marathon in November.

“Two years ago, I couldn’t walk a 5K,” Keen said. “Here I am, running without stopping 13.1 miles. Two years is not much time.”

He is now training for the upcoming Aramco Houston Half Marathon. He’ll run another in Austin in February, and a third in Fort Worth in March.

His goal now is to travel the country competing in races. He has a map ready to keep track. In May, he heads to Pittsburgh for his first full marathon. His second is in Seattle in June.

(01/06/2020) ⚡AMP
by Lindsay Peyton
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Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Aramco Houston Half Marathon

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

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Faith Chepngetich is getting ready for Tokyo face-off with Sifan Hassan

As Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon gears towards defending her Olympic title at this year’s Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan, she is ready for the prospect of facing off with double world champion Sifan Hassan.

The pair clashed at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar with the in-form Hassan carrying the day as Kipyegon settled for silver.

As the clock ticks towards this year’s Olympic Games slated for July 24-August 9 at the Japanese capital, Kipyegon is optimistic of defending her title she bagged four years ago in Rio, Brazil.

“Yes, we are in an Olympic season and that is my main goal this year. I have already resumed my build up exercises to make sure that I make the team because everyone is also eyeing the tickets to Tokyo,” said Kipyegon.

Kipyegon hailed the Ethiopian-born Dutch Hassan while speaking on the possibility of renewing their rivalry again this year.

“I normally prefer not to talk about somebody else but it is true that she (Hassan) was on form (last year) having took part in many races and also notching the world record over the mile.

“I knew she was very strong ahead of the World Championships and I congratulate her. I know we shall meet again this year and let’s wait and see what happens (laughs),” said the soft-spoken athlete.

Prior to the Worlds, Kipyegon was just a few months into training after returning from maternity leave and the Keringet-born athlete is hoping to enjoy more success this year with early preparations.

“For sure I expect this year to be different from 2019 because I had a very short time to prepare for World Championships having come back from maternity break. I know that if I build up well towards Tokyo then I will be much stronger,” she said.

After the World Championships, the 25-year-old shifted her training base from Keringet in Nakuru County to the famous Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat where she now joins fellow world beaters including world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and world half marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor among others.

“I am honoured to train at Kaptagat with the likes of Kipchoge (Eliud), Kamworor (Geoffrey) and Kiyeng (Hyvin). I also thank my coach Patrick Sang for the guidance he has offered me since I joined the camp,” said Kipyegon.

(01/06/2020) ⚡AMP
by Gilbert Kiprotich
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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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It was rainy and chilly but the over 5000 participants enjoyed the first NYRR race of the decade, the Joe Kleinerman 10K

The NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K, the first NYRR weekend race of the decade, took place this morning in Central Park. Rainy, chilly conditions tested the fortitude of 5,160 participants. 

But whether it was a first 10K or a hundredth, an inaugural attempt at running outdoors or a veteran’s quest to set a new PR, a brave early start to the 9+1 or a hardy volunteer’s knowing effort to check off the +1—a full loop of Central Park, including the formidable Harlem Hill, is still pretty thrilling, even when it's 48 degrees and raining.

Teshome Mekonen won the men’s open division in 29:23, and Mia Behm took the women’s open-division top prize in 34:19.

Joe Kleinerman himself, the race’s namesake, would have been proud to see 2,415 women surging up Harlem Hill on their way to completing 6.2 miles. In 1967, Kleinerman, who helped found NYRR, and other local distance runners led a national movement to allow women to run officially distances longer than one mile. He was an active NYRR employee until his death at 91 in 2003.

(01/05/2020) ⚡AMP
by Lela Moore
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Joe Kleinerman Classic 10K

Joe Kleinerman Classic 10K

Make good on your New Year’s running resolution by taking part in the Joe Kleinerman 10K! Kleinerman, a founding member of NYRR, the longtime coach of the Millrose Athletic Association, and a beloved NYRR employee until his death in 2003 at age 91, was a true competitor. Take on the challenge of this chilly 10K through beautiful Central Park. The...

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Armino rallies to retain Xiamen Marathon title

Ethiopia’s Medina Deme Armino waited patiently until the last 500 metres to launched her powerful charge, successfully defending her title at the Xiamen Marathon, the first World Athletics Gold Label road race of the year on Sunday (5).

The 22-year-old Armino cut 73 seconds from her personal best to win in 2:26:12, making her the fourth multiple women’s winner in the 18-year history of the race following China’s Zhou Chunxiu (2003-2005) and fellow Ethiopians Mare Dibaba (2014-2015) and Fatuma Sado (2013, 2018).

It is also the second straight year for Armino to improve her career best in Xiamen, but her winning mark was still more than six minutes shy of Dibaba’s course record of 2:19:52 set five years ago.

Helped by three male pacers, a leading group of nine stayed together for most of the race. After the leaders passed the 35km mark in 2:02:40, 2018 Dublin Marathon winner Mesera Hussen of Ethiopia began to push ahead and the leading pack soon became scattered.

Hussen pulled clear before 38km with Armino trailing around 100m behind as the sole chaser. But the surge seemed to drain too much energy from Hussen, who slowed gradually after 40 kilometres with the defending champion narrowing the gap metre by metre.

When Hussen reached the 500 metres-to-go mark, her pacer stopped. Armino seized the opportunity to speed up and soon overtook her rival. She never looked back before wrapping up her fifth marathon title in eight races.

It is the 11th consecutive women’s title taken by Ethiopians in the southern Chinese city.

Hussen finished second in 2:26:28, improving her PB by some two minutes. Afera Godfay, also from Ethiopia with a PB of 2:22:41, took third in 2:26:42.

Two-time reigning champion Dejene Debela failed to defend his title in the men’s race as his countryman Birhan Nebebew, third last year, built a sole lead after a fast 10km split from 30km to 40km and took the top honours in 2:08:16.

Nebebew’s victory also marks the fourth year in a row for Xiamen Marathon to witness an Ethiopian double.

The race was paced by a group of 10 to the 10km mark in 30:04. After another five kilometres, the leaders were cut to eight and the eight-man pack ran together to reach 20km in 1:00:39 and 30km in 1:31:35.

Kenya’s Kennedy Cheboror was the first to quit the leading group, then followed by Morocco’s Mohamed Zianni and Abdisa Duber of Ethiopia.

The 25-year-old Nebebew tried to pull away near the 35km mark with only Reuben Kerio of Kenya and Ethiopian veteran Girmay Birhanu Gebru managing to keep up with his pace.

The leading trio kept pushing ahead and the in-form Nebebew waited for three more kilometres to launch another charge. Gebru followed him for a little while but Nebebew soon cut the binds between them.

With a comfortable lead in hand, Nebebew never met any real threat afterwards. He broke the tape in style and knelt down to kiss the course to celebrate his first international marathon title.

Kerio, who improved his PB to 2:07:00 last October, overtook Gebru to settle for the second in 2:08:46. The 32-year-old Gebru, a 2:05:49 performer, finish third in 2:08:52, his first sub-2:10 mark since 2015.

 

(01/05/2020) ⚡AMP
by Vincent Wu for World Athletics
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XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

Every January, the first medal of marathon race around the world is awarded here. The race has become a golden name card of Xiamen, showing its splendor to the whole world. The Xiamen International Marathon is an annual marathon race held in January in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province, People’s Republic of China. Every January, the first...

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New team in town: Under Armour runs into Flagstaff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haas doesn’t hesitate in answering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(01/05/2020) ⚡AMP
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Kenya will renew their rivalry with Ethiopia on Sunday in quest for Xiamen Marathon in China

Kenyan athletes are keen to end Ethiopian dominance in the Southern China city. Kenyan duo Reuben Kerio and Kennedy Cheboror also renewed their lifetime bests in 2019.

The 25-year-old Kerio clocked 2:07:00 in Eindhoven and won the Rock 'n' Roll Madrid Marathon last year, while Cheboror, 29, improved his personal best (PB) to 2:06:59 when finishing fourth in Daegu and went on to win the Gyeongju Marathon in October, which was his third title in six races since debuting over the classic distance in 2016.

"It is a tough race with top names from Ethiopia. But I believe we have a chance to showcase to the world that we are top of the game," said Cheboror on Friday.

Kenya's Moses Mosop was the last man to win in Xiamen, setting a course record of 2:06:19 in 2015.

"The course in Xiamen is tough and it requires strong preparations. I felt depleted after the race and it will not be easy for the athletes when they line up to improve the record," Mosop said.

The tall and long-legged Debela, who will celebrate his 25th birthday next Thursday, edged compatriot Afewerk Mesfin by just two seconds last year to take a second successive Xiamen victory in 2:09:26.

He went on to earn a runner-up finish in Chicago last October at 2:05:46, improving his personal best by 84 seconds, which suggests he has the ability to challenge the 2:06:19 course record set by Moses Mosop of Kenya in 2015.

While Debela is eyeing a hat-trick, Shura Kitata is expecting third-time lucky in Xiamen.

The 23-year-old Ethiopian has progressed rapidly in recent years and is the fastest man on paper with a best time of 2:04:49, which was set from his second-place finish at the 2018 London Marathon. He came close to that mark in April 2019 when he returned to London to finish fourth in 2:05:01.

After a third-place finish in 2016 and a runner-up spot in 2017, Kitata will be keen to set his foot onto the top step of the podium and challenge the course record which also stands as the Chinese all-comers' record.

Salah Eddine Bounasr of Morocco is another man to watch on Sunday. Although it will be his first outing in the southern Chinese city, the 29-year-old arrives in good form.

He has been unbeaten since his Beijing Marathon title in September 2017. He clocked a winning time of 2:09:29 in Vienna in 2018 and reduced his career-best to 2:07:52 in Otsu last March.

The 22-year-old Armino will also face a challenging title defense in the women's race. Last year Armino trimmed almost two minutes off her PB to score an upset victory over a strong field at 2:27:25. And the field she will face on Sunday is even stronger.

Armino's compatriot Yebrgual Melese leads the women's elite list with a best time of 2:19:36, which was achieved from her third-place finish in Dubai two years ago.

She is also the only woman in the field that has ever run faster than Mare Dibaba's course record of 2:19:52 set in 2015.

The 29-year-old Melese has built a reputation for her consistency, having won titles in Houston, Prague and two straight victories in Shanghai.

Fellow Ethiopian Afera Godfay is also a serious title contender. The 28-year-old grabbed her first international marathon victory in Dongying last April and improved her PB to 2:22:41, which made her the second-fastest entrant in Xiamen. More recently, she clocked 2:29:18 to finish 10th at the Ljubljana Marathon three months ago.

Ethiopian runners swept all 10 of the women's titles in Xiamen over the past decade. Volha Mazuronak of Belarus would be the biggest hope to break such dominance this year.

Mazuronak's best time of 2:23:54, which also stands as the Belarusian record, was set at the 2016 London Marathon.

The 2018 European champion has maintained a high level of competitiveness in recent seasons, taking the top honours two years ago in Dusseldorf and last year in Hong Kong before finishing fifth at the World Championships in Doha last September.

(01/04/2020) ⚡AMP
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XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

Every January, the first medal of marathon race around the world is awarded here. The race has become a golden name card of Xiamen, showing its splendor to the whole world. The Xiamen International Marathon is an annual marathon race held in January in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province, People’s Republic of China. Every January, the first...

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Defending champions Cosmas Lagat and Worknesh Alemu are set to defend their Mumbai marathon titles

Defending champions Cosmas Lagat and Worknesh Alemu will return to the Tata Mumbai Marathon, a World Athletics Gold Label road race, on 19 January.

Kenya’s Lagat won 12 months ago in decisive fashion when he broke away from the rest of the leading pack around 29 kilometers into the race. He was out on his own over the final 13 kilometers, almost a third of the race, before crossing the line in 2:09:15, the second fastest winning time in race history.

Having come home just 40 seconds outside the course record of 2:08:35, set by his compatriot Gideon Kipketer in 2016, Lagat will be back on the start line in the City of Dreams motivated not only by the possibility of pocketing another US$45,000 first prize cheque but also the US$15,000 on offer for a course record.

“My Mumbai Marathon win was my best race of 2019 so I have fond memories of running in India, and the experience I got running this race last year will be very important this time,” Lagat said. “Coming so close to the course record, I have thought about what I can do to improve, and I think I can run the first half of the race faster than I did last year.”

Lagat will be aiming to become just the second man to win back-to- back Tata Mumbai Marathon titles in the race’s 17-year history, following in the footsteps of fellow Kenyan John Kelai who won in 2007 and 2008.

Race organizers have signed up no less than 14 men who have run faster than 2:10:00, making it the strongest marathon ever to be staged in India.

Of those men, nine have run faster than the course record during their careers and six have run under the super-elite benchmark of 2:07:00.

The four fastest men in the field are all Ethiopians, led by Ayele Abshero who has a personal best of 2:04:23 and although that time came almost eight years ago, when he won the Dubai Marathon, he showed that he is still a very competitive runner at the highest level by taking second place in the Hamburg Marathon in 2:08:26 last April.

Like Lagat, Ethiopia’s Alemu upset the pre-race form book in 2019 and won in Mumbai in a personal best of 2:25:25, which was also the second fastest winning time in race history.

She improved her best to 2:24:42 later in 2019 when finishing sixth at the Amsterdam Marathon in October.

Alemu heads a very strong women’s field that has eight women who have run under 2:28:00.

The fastest women in the field is another Ethiopian, Amane Beriso, who had a stunning marathon debut when she ran 2:20:48 for second place in the 2016 Dubai Marathon, which placed her third on that year’s world list. She took a break from competitive running last year so it will be interesting to see what form she can bring to her first race in 15 months.

All the leading women will have as their target the course record of 2:24:33 set by Kenya’s Valentine Kipketer in 2013.

In addition to the marathon – which has a total prize fund of US$405,000 – there is a half marathon, a 10km race, a Dream Run (5.9km), Senior Citizens Race (4.2km) and a Champions with Disability Race (1.5km). About 50,000 runners are expected to take part.

(01/04/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Tata Mumbai Marathon

Tata Mumbai Marathon

Distance running epitomizes the power of one’s dreams and the awareness of one’s abilities to realize those dreams. Unlike other competitive sports, it is an intensely personal experience. The Tata Mumbai Marathon is One of the World's Leading Marathons. The event boasts of fundraising platform which is managed by United Way Mumbai, the official philanthropy partner of the event. Over...

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Registration opens for The Lincoln Marathon

Runners can officially add the Lincoln Marathon to their race calendars starting this weekend.

Registration for the event, which includes a full and a half marathon, opens Saturday.

Early birds can nab a discount on registration fees by signing up in person for the race. Fleet Feet stores in Lincoln and Omaha and the Lincoln Running Company will host sign-up events. 

Runners who register at the stores from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday will get a $5 discount and a free beanie. The events at Fleet Feet stores will include fun runs that start at 7 a.m.; the Lincoln Running Company fun run also starts at 7 a.m.

The Lincoln Marathon, in its 43rd year, is May 3. 

The race is capped at 12,000 runners, said race director Nancy Sutton. Last year's race, which had the same cap, drew about 10,000 runners. 

In previous years, the race was capped at 13,500 runners and sold out, sometimes within a day. 

Sutton attributes the dip in numbers to runners having more race options from which to choose. But organizers are happy with the numbers they're getting. 

The cost to run the full marathon is $90. The cost of running the half marathon is $70.

(01/04/2020) ⚡AMP
by Sarah Hoffman
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Lincoln Marathon

Lincoln Marathon

The Lincoln National Guard Marathon and Half-Marathon is run on a citywide course that starts and finishes on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Runners in both races share a common start and run a loop route past the Nebraska State Capitol, along Sheridan Boulevard, past Union College, along the Highway 2 bike path, past the Lincoln County-City Building...

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Japan Airlines to offer 50,000 free flights to foreign nationals during Tokyo 2020

Japan Airlines will give away up to 50,000 domestic return tickets to foreign nationals who visit the country during the time of next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

The seats will be offered as part of a campaign designed to entice those who travel to Japan for the Games to visit other areas of the nation.

According to Japan Airlines, a supporting partner of Tokyo 2020, its Win a Trip initiative will allow visitors to Japan to "experience regional attractions".

The campaign is due to begin in February, with further details expected to be released in the middle of next month.

Japan Airlines said passengers will be able to fly for free from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to select local destinations.

The campaign will cover overseas members of Japan Airlines' mileage programme who will stay in Japan during the July-September period.

The Olympic Games in the Japanese capital run from July 24 to August 9, before the Paralympics are held from August 25 to September 6.

The scheme is part of an attempt to use Tokyo hosting the Olympics and Paralympics to boost tourism in Japan.

Haneda and Narita airports are both expected to add more international flights to cope with the influx of visitors to Japan for the Games.

Around 31 million visitors were reported to have visited Japan last year, while 600,000 overseas visitors are set to arrive for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

(01/04/2020) ⚡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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I didn’t know Ultra running was even a thing until recently says a Pulitzer Prize winner John Archibald

I didn’t know ultra running was even a thing, until recently.

And then I read about a guy in Kansas last year who was about to complete a 50 kilometer race when, before he could cross the finish line, he was struck by lightning and killed on the spot.

Ouch. 

I thought at first it was the saddest thing I’d ever heard, a guy running for hours, pushing himself beyond limits I could fathom, to die in a flash before he could reach the end.

But the more I thought of it, the more I thought I might be wrong. Maybe it was just the opposite. Maybe it was a beautiful, poetic way to exit this realm, testing one’s body, stretching one’s will beyond earthly bounds. The race couldn’t break him. It took a bolt from the sky.

I couldn’t even define the sport, much less participate in it, for my knees hurt when I drive 26 miles in a comfortable car. Ultra running is anything longer than a marathon, really. The sport is a global phenomenon, and big in Alabama, too, from the Bearly Ultra, a 27-mile trail race sponsored by the Birmingham Ultra Trail Society – or BUTS – to 50 mile and 100 mile races across this state.

It seems so surreal, so impossible. I knew Birmingham was home to Micah Morgan, one of the best ultra runners in the country, because I’d read how she finished the Badwater 135, a 135-mile race that starts in Death Valley, Calif., and ends impossibly at the summit of Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

But I’ve come to see the people who are committed to ultra running, and they are very real. I look across the office at my colleague, Bob Sims, who entered a couch-to-5k program eight years ago when he couldn’t run a single mile. Last year, at the age of 62, he ran in two 100 mile races.

That’s remarkable.

I see my colleague Anna Beahm, who started running in high school to get her mind and body right but was driven to longer distances for the joy of competition, for the sheer badness of doing something 99 percent of humanity cannot or will not do. She ran four ultra races last year – three 50ks and a 50-miler.

I can understand those things. Even if I will never be a 1 percenter.

What I didn’t get, until I talked to BUTS president Lisa Booher, was the depth and the breadth and the complexity of the ultra running world in Birmingham. I always thought of running as a solitary exercise, a plodding one-foot-in-front-of-the-other fight against boredom.

“I think that’s why you have to have friends,” Booher said.

Which was not as pointed or personal as it sounds now.

“I fell in love with the running because of the competition,” she went on. “I kept running because of friends.”

That’s what I really didn’t get about this exercise in super endurance and hyper drive. It can be a form of moving meditation, as Booher puts it, a time of self-discovery and exploration. But running 50 or 100 miles requires more than a solitary soul.

It requires a crew and volunteers and an understanding that simply competing in events like these amounts to a part-time job. It takes support and sustenance and friendship. It requires conversation, often, mid-race, about anything but the running itself, or the pain, or the shoes. It requires a community.

It’s a good thing Alabama has one of those. An ultra one.

John Archibald, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is a columnist for Reckon by AL.com. His column appears in The Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times, the Mobile Register and AL.com. Write him at jarchibald@al.com.

(01/03/2020) ⚡AMP
by John Archibald
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Video game icon Mario and flying cars could be part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Mario, the famous plumber who stars in numerous Nintendo games, is in line to take "center stage" with organizers hoping to deliver a message of peace.

At Rio 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe dressed up as Mario in the handover segment of the Closing Ceremony.

Other Japanese characters including Hello Kitty, robotic cat Doraemon and footballer Captain Tsubasa also appeared with Tokyo 2020 expected to again highlight Japan's famous cartoon industry.

According to Kyodo News, one idea is for rival characters to shake hands in line with the Olympic Truce.

The message of peace could also be displayed by the release of paper doves.

People riding in flying cars might be used to highlight Japanese innovation, meanwhile.

This could also see hydrogen, a next-generation energy source, used as the fuel which lights the Olympic cauldron.

In what would be another example of organizers using the Games to promote the disaster-hit region of Fukushima, a plant from the prefecture may produce the hyrdrogen.

Around 16,000 people died after an earthquake and tsunami caused an accident at a nuclear power plant there in 2011. 

The Japanese leg of the Olympic Torch Relay will begin in Fukushima with some using the term "Reconstruction Olympics".

Baseball and softball matches will also be held there, while flowers grown in areas affected by the earthquake will be used in bouquets for medal winners. 

Japan's fight against natural disasters could also be a theme of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, which will be held at Tokyo's New National Stadium on July 24.

Mansai Nomura, a famous Japanese actor, is the creative director of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for both the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He has been tipped to coordinate the events together as a "four-part series", instead of them being separate entities. 

(01/03/2020) ⚡AMP
by Dan Palmer
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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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Eric Finan is dealing with a broken toe, heading for the 2020 Olympic trials

The injury is the result of a mountain bike incident, but it sounds like only a minor setback for his training to run the marathon in the 2020 Olympic trials in Atlanta, Georgia, on Feb. 29. He’s optimistic that he’ll soon be running 100 miles a week again.  

Finan has made many major life decisions based on running, and when he runs at the trials on Leap Day, he’s accomplishing a goal that he once thought had disappeared years ago. 

Before moving to Eugene in 2015, Finan attended University of Cincinnati because he wanted to pursue engineering while also running in a competitive collegiate conference. After graduating in 2012, he wanted to run in a post-collegiate group, but because he was injured during the last part of his fifth season, he says those running groups didn’t want him. 

He worked in Cincinnati for a year and got healthy. In 2013, he ran the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Minnesota, finishing in 1:04:42. He attracted the attention of Team USA Minnesota, so he moved to Minneapolis to run with the group. 

But after again suffering some injuries from the higher-intensity philosophy of the coach there, Finan says he decided to run with Team Run Eugene, so he looked for work in the area. 

Today, Finan is coached by Tim Sykes, who was a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Oregon before moving to Western Kentucky University for a full-time coaching job.  

A self-described realist, Finan says he’s not expecting to make it in the top three on the U.S. team that would compete in Tokyo. Judging by the results from the 2012 Olympic trials in Houston, to make the team he’d need to finish under 2:10 — meaning he’d have to run a 5-minute pace.

He’s setting the bar at a top-25 finish, but he’s not necessarily running the trials to make the team. It’s about completing promises he made to himself while in high school.

He set two life goals then: to run a 4-minute mile and run in the Olympic trials. He completed the first goal, but missed the second goal in 2016 by seven seconds and didn’t make the trials for the 5k event.

Finan says he was devastated that he didn’t make the trials. He didn’t run for a few months and drank and ate to excess.

“I had my mind set on the trials. I had my heart set, my body, my soul to compete in the Olympic trials,” he says. “I believed it in my entire being that this thing was going to be true.”

He adds that he took it as a given that he would be running in the trials and was already thinking about preparing himself for the actual race. “I was crushed, and I was definitely depressed,” he says about missing the cutoff time. “I felt like I had worked so hard — for what?”

After taking a few months off from running — the longest non-injury break he’d ever taken — he talked with some friends and hit the pavement running again. It was a rough first month back because he hadn’t treated his body well during that break, he says. 

About 12 weeks of training later, thanks to a dedication to weight training and years of high-volume running, he made his marathon debut at California International Marathon in Sacramento, finishing at 2:17:51.

The result meant that he could — after missing trials in the 5k — satisfy that other running goal he established for himself. He returned to Sacramento in 2017, finishing the race at 2:16:42, qualifying to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials.

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

2020 US Olympic Trials Marathon

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

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Terry Patterson says he's completed more than 10,000 miles running races

"It really keeps your heart running good, it keeps your breathing down, and it keeps your weights down," said Patterson. 

His first marathon was in 2002, the Cherry Blossom Road Race. He got the marathon bug and started looking for races in other states.

One of the most memorable races was in Disney World. 

"I was running against a lot of people and I ran with a lot of people, and they told me about the 50 states and they told me what I had to do," said the 65-year-old Patterson. 

18 years later, he completed 83 marathons, 33 half- marathons, and more than 1,000 miles in smaller races like 5Ks and 10Ks. He's completed marathons in all 50 states.

He says Little Rock, Arkansas was his favorite. He did a 5K and a marathon there.

Medals and ribbons all over his house from winning his age division at 65.

"I do get a lot of accolades for how old I am and I do brag about how fast I can run," said Patterson. 

Patterson says whenever young people see him running here they do a double take.

"It really helps me feeling good, feeling young," and Patterson. 

He ran a 3-hour, 52-minute marathon in Seattle last fall and qualified for the Boston Marathon in April.

He says his wife is his biggest helper. She runs with him and travels to his races and posts photos on his social media page..

"My wife is my cheerleader, my number one fan," said Patterson. 

He's signed for another 12 marathons in 2020 and says he hopes to sign up for his first international marathon in China.

Patterson says his next marathon will be at the museum of aviation on January 18th.

(01/03/2020) ⚡AMP
by Abby Kousouris
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

The 124th Boston Marathon originally scheduled for April 20 was postponed to September 14 and then May 28 it was cancelled for 2020. The next Boston Marathon is scheduled for April 19, 2021. Among the nation’s oldest athletic clubs, the B.A.A. was established in 1887, and, in 1896, more than half of the U.S. Olympic Team at the first modern...

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Ethiopia’s defending champions Dejene Debela and Medina Deme Armino will return to China with the aim of retaining their titles at the Xiamen Marathon

The tall and long-legged Debela, who will celebrate his 25th birthday next Thursday, edged compatriot Afewerk Mesfin by just two seconds last year to take a second successive Xiamen victory in 2:09:26.

He went on to earn a runner-up finish in Chicago last October in 2:05:46, improving his personal best by 84 seconds, which suggests he has the ability to challenge the 2:06:19 course record set by Moses Mosop of Kenya in 2015.

Debela has an unbeaten record on Chinese soil, winning two titles in Xiamen and emerging victorious at the 2018 Beijing Marathon.

While Debela is eyeing a hat-trick, Shura Kitata is expecting third-time lucky in Xiamen.

The 23-year-old Ethiopian has progressed rapidly in recent years and is the fastest man on paper with a PB of 2:04:49, which was set from his second-place finish at the 2018 London Marathon. He came close to that mark last April when he returned to London to finish fourth in 2:05:01.

After a third-place finish in 2016 and a runner-up spot in 2017, Kitata will be keen to set his foot on to the top step of the podium and challenge the course record which also stands as the Chinese all-comers’ record.

Salah Eddine Bounasr of Morocco is another man to watch on Sunday. Although it will be his first outing in the southern Chinese city, the 29-year-old arrives in good form. He has been unbeaten since his Beijing Marathon title in September 2017. He clocked a winning time of 2:09:29 in Vienna in 2018 and reduced his career best to 2:07:52 in Otsu last March.

Kenyan duo Reuben Kerio and Kennedy Cheboror also renewed their lifetime bests in 2019. The 25-year-old Kerio clocked 2:07:00 in Eindhoven and won the Rock 'n' Roll Madrid Marathon last year, while Cheboror, 29, improved his PB to 2:06:59 when finishing fourth in Daegu and went on to win the Gyeongju Marathon in October, which was his third title in six races since debuting over the classic distance in 2016.

The 22-year-old Armino will also face a challenging title defence in the women’s race. Last year Armino trimmed almost two minutes off her PB to score an upset victory over a strong field in 2:27:25. And the field she will face on Sunday is even stronger.

Armino’s compatriot Yebrgual Melese leads the women’s elite list with a PB of 2:19:36, which was achieved from her third-place finish in Dubai two years ago. She is also the only woman in the field that has ever run faster than Mare Dibaba’s course record of 2:19:52 set in 2015.

The 29-year-old Melese has built a reputation for her consistency, having won titles in Houston, Prague and two straight victories in Shanghai.

Fellow Ethiopian Afera Godfay is also a serious title contender. The 28-year-old grabbed her first international marathon victory in Dongying last April and improved her PB to 2:22:41, which made her the second fastest entrant in Xiamen. More recently, she clocked 2:29:18 to finish 10th at the Ljubljana Marathon three months ago.

Ethiopian runners swept all 10 of the women’s titles in Xiamen over the past decade. Volha Mazuronak of Belarus would be the biggest hope to break such dominance this year.

The women’s field also includes local runner Li Zhixuan, the fastest Chinese woman in 2019 as she improved her PB to 2:26:15 last March, and Hiwot Ayalew of Ethiopia, a former steeplechase specialist who clocked 2:26:40 three months ago on her marathon debut.

(01/03/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

Every January, the first medal of marathon race around the world is awarded here. The race has become a golden name card of Xiamen, showing its splendor to the whole world. The Xiamen International Marathon is an annual marathon race held in January in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province, People’s Republic of China. Every January, the first...

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Kenya’s Morris Gachaga hopes his return to the southern Chinese city of Xiamen January 5 will give him the marathon title

Morris Gachaga from Kenya, 24, last competed in China back in 2016 where he was fourth at the Yangzhou Half Marathon clocking one hour and 46 seconds.

But it will be a new challenge as he takes on his fourth marathon, hoping to end the Ethiopian dominance on Sunday.

“I feel strong in having trained well and with focus. My target is to win and I know that I face strong opponents but it is down to how one is prepared on the race day and that is what I hope will play to my favor,” said Gachaga. 

This year, Gachaga has raced in two marathons in Paris, where he was fourth clocking 2:07:46 and in Amsterdam where he settled for the seventh spot after timing 2:06:24, which currently stands as his personal best.

(01/02/2020) ⚡AMP
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XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

XIAMEN INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

Every January, the first medal of marathon race around the world is awarded here. The race has become a golden name card of Xiamen, showing its splendor to the whole world. The Xiamen International Marathon is an annual marathon race held in January in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province, People’s Republic of China. Every January, the first...

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Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot eyes world record and gold at Olympics

World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot believes the return to action of his training mate Elijah Manangoi will propel the two to post fast times on the track even as they plot to attempt breaking the world record this year.

Cheruiyot had until last year been playing second fiddle to his training mate and friend Manangoi.

However, a hamstring injury ruled out Manangoi from defending his title in Doha, setting the stage for Cheruiyot to climb to the top and reign supreme on the global stage. 

Now Cheruiyot is dreaming of shuttering the 3:26.00 world record set by legendary Moroccan middle-distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj, which has been unchallenged for the last two decades.

“The victory I earned in the Doha World Championships last October meant a lot to me because it (gold) was something I had yearned for the past four years.

“I know the record has been there for long and Kenyan athletes have been top of the leaderboard in fast times in the race so, it would be nice if we can work together to attempt breaking it.

“The focus should be on how to train and for sure the record. What I know is it will go down at some time,” Cheruiyot said on Tuesday in Kericho.

But of greater concern to Cheruiyot going into the new season in 2020 will be being able to prove to the world that he is his own man and can emerge from the shadows of his training mate Manangoi to stage his own contest and win.

That will be at the Tokyo Olympic Games. “Of course every athlete has his focus on the Olympic Games. A win at this stage will go a long way in cementing my name among Kenya’s best athletes. For now, my focus is to make the team for the Olympic Games and try to win a medal,” Cheruiyot added.

 

(01/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Xinhua
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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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Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto dreams of winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics in the 10,000m

Kenya hopes a new breed of young talented runners will end their wait for gold at the 10k race at the Olympic Games.

For long Ethiopian runners and Britain's Mo Farah have reigned supreme in the ultimate track distance as Kenya played catch up.

However, head coach Julius Kirwa believes the country might have turned over a new chapter as its production chain has churned out top stars that are keen to take over the baton and dominate in Tokyo.

Kirwa said the emergence of young versatile distance-running talent out of East Africa is nothing new. However, one of the stars in question is the World bronze medalist Rhonex Kipruto, who leads the way among the current generation.

"He has shown time and again that he has the talent. His time will certainly peak in 2020 and I believe the Olympic Games is the ultimate stage for any athlete to prove their excellence in the competition of their choice," said Kirwa on Thursday in Nairobi.

Kipruto emerged on the international scene in 2018 when he won the world under-20 title in 10,000m in Tampere, Finland by a margin of almost 20 seconds, he backed this up by setting a world-leading 26:46 for 10km on the road in Prague.

Kipruto, who turned 20 in October, won the 10,000m in 26:50.16 in Stockholm Diamond League and then came close to that mark to take world bronze in Doha.

But ahead of the 2020 season, Kipruto is focused on discipline and hard work to walk in the steps of his mentor and World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

"I know it is the Olympic year in Tokyo, but the main thing should be discipline and hard work, which will guide me to be what I want to live like Eliud," said Kipruto.

Kipruto's coach Ian Kiprono is hopeful his athlete will weather the storm and climb up from bronze to gold in Tokyo.

"He needs to get rooted in doing his homework, training hard and remaining disciplined. The results will always come in," said coach Kiprono.

"The great Kenyan runners all have an amazing simplicity about themselves. That's another trait I look for in an athlete. A calmness, not forgetting where they came from," he added.

(01/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by Xiaoxia
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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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Strong Elite Field Grows For Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

A powerful field of elite athletes from the hotbeds of African distance running will come together for the first major international marathon of the new year when the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is staged on January 24.

Soloman Deksisa (2:04:40) and Seifu Tura (2:04:44) of Ethiopia lead the men’s field, while former winner Worknesh Degefa (2:17:41) and Alemu Megertu (2:21:10) - also from Ethiopia - will head up the women’s elite division when Dubai hosts many of the best marathon runners in the world for the 21st time.

With a world-class personal best of 2:04:40, 25-year-old Deksisa is the fastest athlete in the start list. Despite his relatively young age the talented Ethiopian has built up plenty of experience at the marathon distance after a brief track career.

At the age of just 20, he won the San Diego Half Marathon with a personal best of 60:12, while less than two years later he moved up to the marathon and ran an impressive debut in Rotterdam where he finished second in 2:06:22. Since then he has fully focussed on the 42.195km distance and claimed his first marathon victory in Mumbai in 2018 before winning again in Hamburg a few months later. He capped his best year so far in Amsterdam with a marathon personal best of 2:04:40 that is just one minute outside the Dubai course record set in 2019 by Getaneh Molla.

Deksisa’s compatriot Tura is another of Ethiopia’s crop of rising stars who made an impressive marathon debut with a solid second place in 2:09:26 in Seoul in 2017.Still just 22, Tura enjoyed his best day at the 2018 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon when he took full advantage of the renowned fast course to carve a big slice off his personal best, improving by over four minutes to run 2:04:44 for seventh. The young Ethiopian has also sealed marathon wins in Milan and Shanghai, while setting a Half Marathon personal best of 59:17 in Buenos Aires in August.

In the women’s field, Worknesh Degefa - Ethiopia’s fastest female marathon runner of all time - will start as red-hot favourite thanks to an enviable record running the flat and fast streets of Dubai.

In 2017, the diminutive 29-year-old stunned an experienced field by winning in Dubai on what was her marathon debut. A year later, she broke the 2:20 mark for the first time but had to settle for fourth, while last year saw her finish second in Dubai in a remarkable time of 2:17:41. Not only did Degefa smash the Ethiopian record by 15 seconds, she also set what is now the fifth fastest time in women’s marathon history

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will be the first major sporting event in what is a historic year for the city with some 30,000 runners expected across three races.

(01/02/2020) ⚡AMP
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Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

In its relatively brief history (the race was first held in 2000), the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has become one of the fastest, most respected and the most lucrative marathon in the world in terms of prize money. Each year thousands of runners take to the roads in this beautiful city in the United Arab Emirates for this extraordinary race...

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Belgium’s Bashir Abdi and Ethiopia’s Helen Bekele Tola signed a successful farewell to 2019, taking convincing victories at the 55th San Silvestre Vallecana on Tuesday

Belgium’s Bashir Abdi and Ethiopia’s Helen Bekele Tola signed a successful farewell to 2019, taking convincing victories at the 55th San Silvestre Vallecana, a World Athletics Gold Label road race.

While Bashir got the better of Uganda’s Mande Bushendich in 27:47, Tola beat Kenya’s world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich by seven seconds, winning in 30:50. The downhill nature of the course means times achieved here are not valid for PB or record purposes.

On a pleasant windless night with the thermometer reaching 9C, the race kicked off at a moderate pace as a 10-man pack covered the opening kilometer in 2:48. Spain’s Toni Abadía moved to the front and opened a 30-meter gap by the second kilometer; shortly afterwards Jesús Ramos joined Abadía in the lead and the local pair went through three kilometers in 8:04.

The main favorites were about 40 meters behind, led by Turkey’s Aras Kaya, the Ugandan trio of Moses Kurong, Boniface Sikowo and last year’s third-place finisher Bushendich plus Bashir Abdi.

The Spaniards’ lead was to be short lived and before reaching the halfway point (13:30) they were caught by the chasing group with Kurong making most of the pacing duties. The key movement came with the clock reading 19:00 when Abdi broke away from the heading pack to build a two-second advantage on Bushendich and five over Abadía with 2.5km to go.

Abdi, the European 10,000m silver medalist, who had remained in the middle of the leading group for the first half of the race, proved to be in fine form over the tough final stages. At the tape, the Belgian was timed at 27:47, his first ever sub-28-minute clocking on the roads, while Bushendich finished in 27:51. Abadía managed the fastest ever time by a Spaniard here with 27:56, some consolation for recording his fourth third-place finish in Madrid.

“After competing at the Chicago Marathon (where he set a Belgian record of 2:06:14), I rested for several weeks but then I resumed training and I felt good today,” said Abdi, who was born in Somalia but fled the country at the age of 12. “The closing two kilometers were very tough but I reserved my energy in the first half and the tactic paid off.

“This year I have broken the Belgian record twice (2:07:03 in London and 2:06:14 in Chicago) and I would like to get close to the European record (2:04:16) in some of my next outings over the distance,” said Abdi, who will run a half marathon in the Netherlands on 12 January before contesting the Tokyo Marathon in March. “I would like to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, but also understand the decision to move the road events venue to Sapporo due to the weather conditions.”

The anticipated clash between Kenya’s world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich and Ethiopia’s Helen Bekele Tola didn’t disappoint.

Sandwiched between a large pack of men, the two women were evenly matched for the first three kilometers which they covered in 8:56, clearly ahead of Portugal’s Carla Salomé Rocha (9:20) and Uganda’s late addition to the field Juliet Chekwel (9:24),

Chepngetich, who had declared at the pre-race press conference that she was not yet in the same kind of form which led her to the gold medal in Doha, could not follow in the Ethiopian’s footsteps before reaching halfway (14:50 vs 14:54); by then Rocha kept her four-second margin on the Ugandan (15:29/15:33).

In the second half, 25-year-old Tola managed to extend her lead to eight seconds with about two kilometers to go while Rocha also widened her advantage on Chekwel to another eight seconds.

Tola confirmed her supremacy during the uphill closing section and romped home in 30:50, the fourth fastest time ever recorded at this race. Meanwhile, Rocha completed the podium more than a minute behind the winner (31:52) but 21 seconds clear of Chekwel.

“I have beaten the recent world champion and that’s great for me,” said Tola, who is based in Geneva where she is coached by Tesfaye Eticha. “I feel in great shape and look forward to running under 2:20 in Tokyo in March.”

(01/02/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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San Silvestre Vallecana

San Silvestre Vallecana

Every year on 31st December, since 1964, Madrid stages the most multitudinous athletics event in Spain.Sport and celebration come together in a 10-kilometre race in which fancy dress and artificial snow play a part. Keep an eye out for when registration opens because places run out fast! The event consists of two different competitions: a fun run (participants must be...

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Tracy Sundlun settles Lawsuit against the Rock N Roll Marathon Series he co-founded

Tracy Sundlun, the former track coach who helped create the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Series, has settled his breach-of-contract lawsuit against the company he co-founded.

The deal with Competitor Group Inc. was quietly reached recently in San Diego federal court, where the case was moved after being filed last January in San Diego Superior Court.

Sundlun, 67, sued CGI for $146,000 — the amount he says he was owed in a severance agreement after being let go by the international firm in July 2016.

The Santee resident known as “Mr. Marathon” had been senior vice president of Competitor Group, which has changed ownership of the years. CGI is now a part of Ironman-operator World Triathlon Corp., a unit of Chinese-based Wanda Sports Group.

On Tuesday, Sundlun lawyer David Greifinger said: “The case has settled and the terms are confidential. Neither Tracy nor I can make any comment.”

CGI and World Triathlon Corp. didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lawyers for CGI said in court filings that Sundlun was denied his severance because he violated its terms. They said he disparaged the company in a Times of San Diego story that appeared in November 2016. Sundlun denies any disparagement.

CGI alleged that Sundlun slammed the company when he said “the elite-athlete budget has been cut again” and “I just know that … [the elite-athlete budget] just keeps getting cut.”

In the run-up to a possible trial before Judge Linda Lopez, CGI lawyers issued a subpoena to freelance writer Ken Stone, a Times of San Diego contributor represented pro bono by Dan Gilleon of San Diego.

Along with a request for documents, the CGI lawyers set a deposition date for Stone. (Only previously published documents were provided.) But with both parties agreeing not to call Stone as a witness, the deposition order was dropped.

On Dec. 11, the same day as the canceled deposition, the case was settled in Lopez’s court. 

Sundlun declined to comment on the case against his employer of nearly 20 years.

With Tim Murphy, Sundlun helped grow Elite Racing — organizer of the original Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon in San Diego and the Carlsbad 5000. (Elite essentially became the events arm of CGI in December 2007.)

In May 2017, Sundlun told Times of San Diegothat CGI owed him well over $160,000 and hadn’t been reimbursed for all his business expenses. He also said he was owed $2,000 monthly COBRA health insurance payments.

Among personal mementos yet to be returned, he said at the time, was private correspondence with his daughter and files related to his friendship with basketball great Wilt Chamberlain. (Sundlun coached Wilt’s Wonder Women, an outgrowth of the La Jolla Track Club.)

On May 12, 2017, Sundlun filed a complaint against CGI with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Greifinger said then that CGI was using the Times story as an excuse not to pay 38 weeks’ severance on his $200,000-a-year salary, plus other benefits.

“That doesn’t justify their not paying him,” he said. “(They) unilaterally backed out of the settlement agreement.”

Originally based in Mira Mesa, CGI moved to Sorrento Valley in March 2017.

But after being acquired in June 2017 by Ironman (owned by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin), CGI’s staff shrank from over 200 to about 20.

Former CGI president and CEO Josh Furlow — who let Sundlun go in 2016 — was himself fired in January. 

“Somebody had to be the fall guy” for corporate losses, said an industry veteran who didn’t want to be named.

On Dec. 12, Magistrate Judge Lopez ordered both sides to file a joint motion for dismissal of the case by Feb. 10, 2020.

Sundlun is a member of the Running USA Hall of Champions and the National High School Track and Field Hall of Fame.A U.S. track team manager at the 2016 Rio Olympics, he continues to be active in the sport.

Next month, he’ll be a race director of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 50-kilometer men’s race walk, again being staged in Santee.

(01/01/2020) ⚡AMP
by Times of San Diego
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Faniel ends Italian drought in Bolzano while Kipkemboi equals course record

World 5000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi equalled the course record at the BOclassic Silvesterlauf while marathon specialist Eyob Gebrhiwet Faniel became the first Italian winner of the World Athletics Bronze Label road race since 1988 in Bolzano on Tuesday (31).

Faniel took an upset win in 28:21, beating world 5000m leader Telahun Haile Bekele by seven seconds. The last time an Italian runner won in Bolzano was in 1988 when Salvatore Antibo and Maria Curatolo took top honours.

Kenya’s Amos Kipruto, the world marathon bronze medallist, finished third in 28:37 ahead of Ugandan steeplechase specialist Albert Chemutai (28:50) and European 10,000m bronze medallist Yemaneberhan Crippa (28:54).

A leading group formed by Bekele, Kipruto, Chemutai, Crippa, Faniel and Ethiopia’s Mohammed Abdilmana took the lead in the early stages of the race. They ran at a conservative pace, clocking 3:31 for both the first and second laps. Faniel took the initiative and moved to the front at the end of the third lap with 10:44 on the clock.

The leading pack was whittled down to five runners during the fifth lap. Bekele, Faniel and Kipruto broke away from Crippa and Chemutai with two laps to go and went through the sixth lap mark in 21:23. Faniel went to the lead and only Bekele managed to keep up with the Italian, while Kipruto was dropped by three seconds.

Bekele, who clocked a world-leading 12:52.98 for 5000m in Rome earlier in 2019, launched his attack during the last lap, but Faniel caught up with the Ethiopian and broke away by unleashing his final kick with 200 metres to go near the Fountain of Frogs. He crossed the finish line in Walther Square in 28:21, improving his previous career best over this distance by three seconds.

Faniel finished fifth in the marathon at the European Championships in 2018 and 15th at the World Championships in Doha. Earlier this year the 27-year-old improved his half marathon PB to 1:00:53 in Padua. Born in Eritrea but living in Italy since 2004, Faniel is coached by Italian former marathon runner Ruggero Pertile.

“I knew that I could run a good race, but I was not sure that I would be able to win against such great athletes,” said Faniel. “I am now training hard in preparation for the Seville Marathon in February.”

Two-time Boclassic winner and world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta, Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, Mercy Cherono, Tariku Alemitu and Gloria Kite ran at a swift pace from the early stages of the women’s 5km race.

They went through the first lap in 3:43 and the second lap in 7:42. Gudeta, Kipkemboi and Kite pulled away from Cherono during the third lap and clocked 11:39 at the bell.

Gudeta and Kipkemboi stepped up the pace and were neck and neck race during the final lap. Kipkemboi launched her final kick with 200 metres to go and held on to take the win in 15:30, equalling the course record set by her compatriot Agnes Tirop in 2017. In a close finish, Gudeta was just one second behind with Kite a further second in arrears.

Kenya’s 2013 world 5000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono finished fourth in 15:38, while Italy’s double European U20 cross-country champion Nadia Battocletti was sixth in 16:11.

“It was my second time in Bolzano and I was well prepared as I am familiar with the course,” said Kipkemboi, who intends on contesting some cross-country races over the next few months. “It was a fast race and I am happy that I managed to beat Gudeta.”

(01/01/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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The Boilermaker Road Race Prepared for New Year’s Day Registration

December 30th, 2019 (Utica, NY) In a turn from tradition, the Boilermaker Road Race will conduct a limited-time registration window beginning at midnight on New Year’s Day.

Beginning at 12 AM on January 1st, runners will have 20 hours and 20 minutes to register or until 2,020 spots have been filled. The New Year’s Day registration applies exclusively to the 15K and includes several perks.

These include lowest possible pricing, the opportunity to purchase a limited edition, neon training shirt and a free access to an interactive Boilermaker training video, filmed during the 2019 race. 5K registration will not be available until the race’s normal registration period in March.

The special registration period is open to anyone registering for the 15K, regardless of previous participation in Boilermaker events.

The Priority Status of 2019 finishers or deferrals will not be affected by this registration period in any way. As is typical, the race will continue to hold its traditional registration process in March, beginning with Early Access followed by Open Registration. The race caps will not change.

“We are all about challenging people to live healthy and fulfilling lives,” said Boilermaker Marketing Director, Jordan Peters. “The new year is a time of goal  setting so it is our hope that people will dedicate themselves to a healthy 2020 by committing to a great challenge like the Boilermaker 15K. If it leads to a faster race sell-out in March and our Charity Bib partners benefit as a result, that would be great as well.”

(12/31/2019) ⚡AMP
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Boilermaker 15k

Boilermaker 15k

2020 was moved from July to September. The Boilermaker 15K is the premier event of Boilermaker Weekend. This world renowned race is often referred to as the country's best 15K. The Boilermaker 15K is recognized for its entertaining yet challenging course and racing's best post-race party, hosted by the F.X. Matt Brewing Company, featuring Saranac beer and a live concert! ...

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Richard Maher, Race Director of the Eugene Marathon since the event’s inception in 2007, is retiring from his position

Courtney and Andy Heily, who founded the event with Maher in 2005, will maintain their positions on the Board of Directors alongside Maher. Ian Dobson has stepped into the role of Race Director after serving for three years as the Assistant Race Director.

“It's been a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of the Eugene Marathon all these years,” Maher said. “I may be leaving the Race Director position, but I plan to continue to be involved. I count myself as lucky to have worked with so many wonderful staff, volunteers, family and friends who dedicate their time to make this special event happen each year.”

Maher was an instrumental force in the development of the Eugene Marathon from its beginning.

“Back in 2005 we contacted Richard about possibly starting a marathon in Eugene,” Courtney Heily said. “Within weeks of that initial conversation, Richard had rallied his troops and began the pivotal early work with the cities of Eugene and Springfield, the University of Oregon and various other stakeholders. Within six months, we had a game plan and decided to roll the dice and see what happened.” 

Since 2007, Maher and the Eugene Marathon team conducted 13 total events for a combined 125,000+ participants, including thousands of volunteers. The race has earned a “Best Marathon” award four times in various categories by Runner’s World and is annually acknowledged as one of the best races for those aspiring to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

“Andy and I cannot thank Richard enough for taking a risk with us and helping create this amazing event that we all love,” Courtney Heily said. “I will miss working with Richard regularly, but I am also happy and excited for him as he moves into this next chapter of his life.”

“We have a great deal to be proud of as we look ahead to 2020. The Marathon grew from a crazy idea back in 2005 to an annual event that Eugene residents and others look forward to each spring. We never would have gotten to where we are now without Richard.”

Dobson has assumed the role of Race Director following two years as the Assistant Race Director and Elite Athlete Coordinator. He is an Oregon native, 2008 Olympian in the 5,000 meters and Eugene resident since 2010. Joining Dobson on the Eugene Marathon staff are Becky Radliff as Director of Event Operations, Jon Marx as Marketing & Content Coordinator and Courtney Heily remains Executive Director.

“Ian’s contributions to the marathon have been huge over the past two years,” Heily said. “We know he’ll do an excellent job as Race Director and I have no doubt that with the team we have, along with all the key volunteers who have worked on this race since the beginning, that the marathon will continue to grow.”

A decorated marathoner in his younger years, Maher is planning to use his extra time to start training again and says he’d like to run the half-marathon in 2020 and the full in 2021.

(12/31/2019) ⚡AMP
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Eugene Marathon

Eugene Marathon

Consistently ranked in the top 15 races most likely to qualify for Boston by Marathon Guide, the Eugene Marathon is a beautiful, fast, USATF certified race with amazing amenities and an unrivaled finishinside Historic Hayward Field. The Eugene Half Marathon starts alongside full marathon participants in front of historic Hayward Field home of five Olympic trials, ten NCAA championships and...

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The registration price for Grandma’s Marathon increases on January 1

Entry fee increases to $135 on January 1, 2020. Registration for the 44th annual Grandma’s Marathon Weekend races opened October 1, 2019, which included Grandma’s Marathon, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and the William A. Irvin 5K.

All Grandma’s Marathon participants registered before 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2019, will receive a complimentary full-zip, fleece lined training jacket. After December 31, runners will have the option to purchase the jacket at a discounted price. Entries for Grandma’s Marathon are taken on a first come, first serve basis until the race reaches 9,000 participants. 

Registration for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon is sold out for 2020; however, guaranteed half marathon entries are still available through our official Charity Partner Program. There are less than 50 spots available in the William A. Irvin 5K race.

Participants can also register for the Full Great Grandma’s Challenge. The challenge is for those looking for the ultimate race experience, which pairs the William A. Irvin 5K on Friday with the full marathon on Saturday. Registration is limited to the first 500 individuals and finishers will receive an exclusive Challenge jacket.

(12/31/2019) ⚡AMP
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Grandmas Marathon

Grandmas Marathon

Grandma's Marathon began in 1977 when a group of local runners planned a scenic road race from Two Harbors to Duluth, Minnesota. There were just 150 participants that year, but organizers knew they had discovered something special. The marathon received its name from the Duluth-based group of famous Grandma's restaurants, its first major sponsor. The level of sponsorship with the...

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Kenyan Kibiwott Kandie comes from behind to crack course record in Sao Paulo

Little-known Kenyan Kibiwott Kandie timed his finish to perfection at the Corrida Internacional de São Silvestre, overtaking pre-race favorite Jacob Kiplimo in the final stages of the 15km World Athletics Bronze Label road race with a 42:59 course record on Tuesday.

Marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei won the women’s race by more than a minute, clocking 48:54 to finish just 20 seconds shy of the course record.

Kandie and Kiplimo broke away from the other three men in the lead pack just after the half-way stage. Just before the climb up Brigadeiro Luis Antônio Avenue, Kiplimo took advantage and entered Paulista Avenue – less than 700 meters from the finish line – with a comfortable lead, seemingly destined to become the first Ugandan winner of the race.

But Kandie started kicking hard in the final 40 meters of the race and overtook Kiplimo just before the line, stopping the clock at 42:59 to win by one second. Both men finished well inside the previous course record of 43:15 that had been set by Paul Tergat back in 1995.

Kosgei, contesting her first race since clocking a marathon world record of 2:14:04 (pending ratification) in Chicago in October, lived up to her status as the pre-race favorite in the women’s contest.

Compatriot Pauline Kamulu tried sticking with Kosgei in the early stages, but it didn’t last long as the 25-year-old already had a clear lead at the five-kilometer mark.

By the time she reached the uphill section of the race, her opponents were no longer in sight. Realizing that she wasn’t far off course record schedule, Kosgei increased her pace in the closing stages but ultimately finished just shy of the mark in 48:54. She became just the third woman in the event’s history to complete the course within 49 minutes.

(12/31/2019) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Saint Sylvester Road Race

Saint Sylvester Road Race

The Saint Silvester Road Race (Portuguese: Corrida Internacional de São Silvestre) is a long-distance running event, the oldest and most prestigious street race in Brazil. Regarded as the main international event in Latin American athletics, the Brazilian competition is held yearly in the city of São Paulo on December 31. São Paulo's race was originally known as a "marathon", although...

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Access Bank Lagos City Marathon have announced a $20,000 bonus for world-class performances at the 2020 edition

Organizers of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon have announced a $20,000 bonus for world-class performances at the 2020 edition of the race.

In a statement signed by Olukayode Thomas, Head Communications and Media Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Bukola Olopade, who is the consultant for the race which now has the prestigious IAAF Silver Label, said the aim is to encourage excellent performances at Africa’s biggest and best one-day event.

According to the CEO of Nilayo Sports Management company, runners who run below 2 hours 10 minutes will be entitled to a share of the $20,000 bonus.

“As we have earlier promised, the 2020 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will witness a lot of innovations, one of which is the introduction of the $20,000 bonus for world-class performances.

“We are already bringing in some of the best runners from across the globe and we are confident that this unique bonus will further spur them to give their best,” Olopade added.

As explained, the incentives range from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the time recorded by the runners.

(12/30/2019) ⚡AMP
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Access Bank Lagos City Marathon

Access Bank Lagos City Marathon

“The IAAF and AIMS have a special interest in the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon so if you see their top officials at the third edition, don’t be surprised. Lagos is one of the few marathons in the world that got an IAAF Label after just two editions. This is a rare feat. The event had over 50,000 runners at...

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Luca Naso plans to run the entire coast and perimeter of Italy, the islands of Sicily and Sardinia included starting January 1 because he believes in the value of dreams

As the first rays of sun timidly wash over the eastern Sicilian city of Catania on January 1, Luca Naso will be lacing up his running shoes and heading out the door for an easy 15 kilometer run.

While there is nothing particularly eventful in Luca’s choice to run while the rest of the city (and country) sleeps off the festivities of the night before, it will not be his only run of the day. He will run another 15 kilometers again later in the day, starting from where he left off in the morning, sleeping in Riposto, a seaside village 30 kilometers north of Catania. 

As far as New Year’s resolutions go, Luca’s is an ambitious one: he plans to run the entire coast and perimeter of Italy, the islands of Sicily and Sardinia included, for a total of 8,800 kilometers (5,468 miles), running 15 kilometers twice a day, for a total of 30 kilometers a day, six days a week.

“I’m not sure how the idea of this challenge came about, but since it was born, it has only grown day by day to become a real dream”, said Luca. “I decided to do it because I believe in the value of dreams and I am convinced that knowing your dreams and making efforts to make them come true will make us better people.”

Naso, 38, is a prominent astro-physicist who caught the running bug in 2008 and has since run four marathons, including the Berlin Marathon and Beijing Marathon.  It was while working in China that Naso met his wife, Yan Yan, who will accompany him on bike as far as Messina, approximately 90 kilometers north of Catania.

Luca’s plan is to circle Sicily (counter-clockwise) and then cross over to Calabria where he will start his run along the perimeter of the boot, running counter-clockwise from the southern regions during the winter months. If his calculations go according to plan, he plans to reach Rome by September 2020.

And while Luca is being assisted by a technical team that includes a coach, nutritionist and doctor, the logistical and organizational aspects of Naso’s endeavor are complicated, as his daily needs of lodging, food, transportation of luggage and other equipment will be in different towns and cities every day of the year.

“I hope that all of the passion that I am putting into this challenge can motivate other people to realize their dreams” said Naso. 

Luca can be followed on the following Link:

https://www.facebook.com/correreaiconfini/

(12/30/2019) ⚡AMP
by carla Van Kampen reporting from Rome
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Thousands of runners will take part in the 2020 Ooredoo Doha Marathon

More than 4,500 runners will take part in the 2020 Ooredoo Doha Marathon on January 10, organisers have announced.

The Ooredoo Doha Marathon is a popular highlight of the Doha sporting calendar, attracting professional athletes alongside a vast number of local runners. Last year’s event saw some 4,000 participants take to the streets for the race, which took place over a scenic course passing some of Doha’s most iconic landmarks. 

As well as the competitive full 42.2km marathon, the event includes distances for all ages and abilities, including a 1km family fun run and a 10km run. 

Ooredoo held a press conference at its headquarters, Ooredoo Tower in West Bay, in the presence of representatives from both Ooredoo and the sponsoring companies to announce the sponsors. 

For the 2020 Ooredoo Doha Marathon, the sponsors will be Huawei, North Oil, Qatar Airways, Aspire, Alkalive, Kidzania, QIC, Al Watan, CHOC’LATE and Aspetar. 

As in previous years, and in line with Ooredoo’s corporate social responsibility strategy, all funds raised through marathon entrance fees will be donated to charity. This year’s chosen beneficiary will be Qatar Cancer Society. 

Speaking of the sponsorships, Manar Khalifa al-Muraikhi – Director PR and Corporate Communications – said: “We’re delighted to be working with such an incredible group of sponsors as we prepare for what is always one of the most popular events on Doha’s sporting calendar. 

“Our corporate social responsibility strategy includes a clear mandate to support and promote sporting events that contribute to the development and maintenance of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, in line with the United Nations Sustainability Goals, and this event is an ideal way for us to show this support in a practical way.” 

She added: “Our sporting slogan is ‘Empowering you to win’ and, in organising this event, we believe we can empower people in Qatar to get out there, join in, be active and enjoy fitness. 

“We look forward to working with our sponsors to make the 2020 Marathon bigger and better than ever before and we thank them for their generous contribution.”Al-Muraikhi took the opportunity to thank the sponsors.

“We are beyond grateful to our sponsors of the Marathon. These invaluable partners enable us to create and host an incredible event for both the cream of the international running crop and for our local running community, an event that brings together elite athletes, keen runners and families who want to stay active together.”

(12/30/2019) ⚡AMP
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Ooredoo Doha Marathon

Ooredoo Doha Marathon

We started the Ooredoo Doha Marathon as a way to bring people together, encourage them to live healthier lifestyles and give back to the community. Funds raised by entry fees to the Ooredoo Doha Marathon will be donated to a range of worthy charities in Qatar. The marathon features four courses for all abilities of runners including a full marathon,...

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