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Spanish UTWT race launches campaign to get trail running into the Olympic Games

The organizing team of the Penyagolosa Trails race in Castellón, Spain, has launched a campaign titled Make Trail Olympic in an attempt to get the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to add off-road running to the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Organizers of the race, which is a stop on the Ultra-Trail World Tour, have written a manifesto in which they include eight reasons why trail running deserves a spot in the Olympic program, and they have also created a petition that they hope will sway the IOC.

The Penyagolosa Trails team introduced this campaign on Thursday, three years to the day that they hosted the Trail World Championships on their home course in Spain. In their manifesto, the team notes that trail running not only deserves to be included in the Olympics, but that it meets the IOC’s requirements for a sport to be added to the Games.

Trail running “is present in more than 75 countries and five continents,” the manifesto reads, adding that the sport has an established world championship system, which as another important note for the IOC. They add that trail running represents the “core values” of the Olympics, which are “excellence, friendship and respect.”

On the more technical side of the Games, doping control is mentioned. “Trail running fights against doping through the global anti-doping system based on the intrinsic value of sport, which is often referred as ‘sportsmanship,'” the manifesto says. “Anti-doping programmes are designed to protect the health of athletes and provide them with the opportunity to pursue excellence without the use of prohibited substances or methods.”

One of the most important parts of the manifesto (and perhaps the point that would have the most impact on the IOC if they view this petition) quickly dives into the popularity of the sport. As the authors explain, there are millions of trail runners worldwide, and the sport has seen tremendous growth in recent years. This growth isn’t slowing down, and trail running sees more and more new members each year, as well as new deals with major athletic brands.

he U.S. is a country where trail running is extremely popular, which is why the team from Penyagolosa Trails say the 2028 Games will be a perfect time to add the sport to the Olympic program. “The United States has a great history in organizing ultra-trail races,” the manifesto says, “and California hosts the world’s oldest 100-mile race, which in turn is one of the most prestigious: the Western States Endurance Run.”

It might be a long shot to get another running event into the Olympics, but the Penyagolosa Trails organizers make some valid points. It’s certainly fun to imagine an Olympic trail race, and if that one day becomes a reality, it will no doubt contribute to the already booming sport. To view the full manifesto and to sign the petition to have trail running added to the Olympics, click here.

(05/16/2021) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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What Happens In Your Brain While You Run

Chemically, running does a lot for your brain-it may stimulate more brain tissue, and over time, more than just your body changes. (Read more about the powerful benefits of running on the brain here.) And beyond the physical, what happens to your brain when you run can improve your mental health, as well.

A Timeline of Your Brain When You Run

Have you ever wondered why running can make you feel so good? We've broken down exactly what's happening up there, stride by stride.

As you get ready to head out 

Depending on how long since your last run, you have still have some feel-good chemicals hanging around. (The acute mood-boosting benefits of exercise might last a day or even two.)

If not, you have the memory of the high you've felt before, which can motivate you to get you out the door.

Once you begin running 

Your muscles, organs, and other tissues-including liver and fat cells-release chemicals called cytokines.

Endocannabanoids flow, triggering a euphoric feeling.

So do endorphins, decreasing perception of pain.

Levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine stabilize, enhancing mood, motivation, and memory.

When you form a running habit 

Your levels of BDNF-brain derived neurotrophic factor, a compound that protects existing neurons and promotes the growth of new ones-increase.

You'll sprout new blood vessels to shuttle more oxygen-rich blood to the brain.

Your hippocampus-important in emotion, learning, and memory-grows.

If rodent research carries over to humans, this is due to neurogenesis, or the development of new neurons. (It's thought that MAP training, or combining meditation and aerobic exercise like running, works the same way-and can change your brain enough to fight off depression).

How Real Runners Benefit

The physiological effects running has on your brain can help you be more creative, resilient, and maybe even smarter. Here's how four women use running to boost their brain power.

"I'm working on a fantasy novel about running. When I get stuck with it, I go to the woods for a trail run, pretend to be my main character, and work through the plot point that's giving me trouble, all while listening to epic fantasy music. It's amazing how well it works!" -Julie Verone, author, Merrick, New York

"I use running as an escape from thinking or processing. Running allows me to just exist without having to face any of the potentially hard things in my life for just a moment. If anything, it helps me pause and clear my head so that I can come back to my emotions or whatever issue might be at hand from a much more grounded place." -Carmen Knowles, running coach, Indianapolis

"I use runs to practice for presentations at work! I look and sound crazy to anyone I pass but it helps me get my nervous energy out and I definitely notice that I am more confident and relaxed when delivering a presentation I've practiced while running. I'm also able to remember my talking points better." -Molly Bankuti, public accountant, Boston

"After a brief hospitalization for depression and anxiety, I discovered the benefits of running for mental health. It's now a part of my toolkit, which includes medication and therapy. I started a whole non-profit on the connection of running and mental health-and to this day we're the only non-profit and running community in the country to do so." 

(05/16/2021) ⚡AMP
by Trail Running
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5 Mental Tricks To Get Trail Race Ready

Running a race can be a scary thing. Whether you're toeing the line for your first 10K, or an elite level marathoner trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials, knowing that you're about to push your body's limits is reasonable cause for anxiety at any level. How do you mentally prepare for the coming pain and effort of the race? Longer long runs and faster track workouts may increase your lung capacity and your leg strength, but how can your brain make the most out of all the work you've put in?

Here are five tips from top coaches and sport psychologists on how to mentally prepare to race your best when the gun goes off.

1. Boost your confidence through visualization.

"The human brain is strange in that instead of always looking to build up confidence, we seem to have a tendency to focus on the negative. Runners often can have 100 good workouts and one bad [workout] yet they will focus on that one bad one and let it erode their confidence for race day," says coach Greg McMillan, founder of McMillan Running. "Successful athletes develop strategies to boost self-confidence, defeat negative thoughts and keep the positive 'I can do it' attitude more often. Formulate a picture of success on race day. They then replay this scenario over and over across the training plan and even come up with how they will deal with other scenarios that may come up so that race day, they are prepared for anything and can have a successful race."

2. Find the optimal zone.

"When it comes to mental preparation before a race, I'm a firm believer that everyone benefits from identifying their optimal zone of arousal. Some people may need to be extremely relaxed before a race whereas others might need to be really pumped up," explains Dr. Jen Gapin Farrell, a Certified Consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. "You can find your optimal zone by reflecting back on previous performances and gaining awareness of what you were physically and mentally doing before races in which you ran well and those in which you didn't run so well."

If you need help relaxing to find that optimal zone, Farrell recommends techniques in deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.

Deep Breathing: "Inhale slowly through your nose, drawing air deep into your lungs. Hold your breath for about five seconds, then release it slowly. With each exhalation, imagine that you are getting rid of any stress or fatigue that might prevent you from performing your best. Focus only on each breath. Repeat the exercise five to 10 times. Repeat 'energy in' while inhaling, and 'fatigue out' while exhaling."

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: "Isolate and contract muscle groups, creating tension for 8 to 10 seconds, then relax the muscles and let the tension go. Concentrate on the feel of your muscles, specifically the contrast between tension and relaxation. In time, you will recognize tension in any specific muscle and be able to reduce it. Use words and phrases as you progress through the muscle groups like 'relax,' 'let go,' 'release,' 'stay calm,' and 'feeling fresh.' Commonly-used muscle groups are the legs, shoulders and neck, and face."

3. Accept negative thoughts and then say goodbye to them.

"The top athletes have an acceptance-commitment mindset, which accepts thoughts are just that. They are not reality," says John Coumbe-Lilley, a Certified Consultant of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and Director of Undergraduate Studies & Clinical Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Nutrition at The University of Illinois at Chicago. "A runner can have a negative mindset approaching a race, but their strategy is that they are aware and know their thoughts are harmless. As they approach competition they accept them and say goodbye to them, shifting their focus to the approach they need for the race."

4. Begin your mental race preparation routine early.

"For many athletes, a successful routine doesn't begin on race morning, but can encompass elements of travel, pre-race routine or the hours leading up to competition," says Drew Wartenburg, head coach of the Sacramento-based NorCal Distance Project. "Like most race-day behaviors, relaxation techniques should be practiced in advance. The sports psychologist that our team uses helps introduce a variety of techniques from breathing exercises to visualization and mental cues for our athletes to experiment with as they refine their personal routines."

5. Enjoy the moment.

"On race day, rather than stressing out about the end result or trying to impress others, focus on the process of racing your best and use the love of the event(s) and the joy of competition as your primary motivation," says Dr. Jim Afremow, a leading mental performance consultant and author of The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive. "Feel like you're smiling broadly on the inside because of how hard you've trained, how much you enjoy racing, and having this golden opportunity to discover how good you can be."

(05/16/2021) ⚡AMP
by Trail RUNER Magazine
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New study finds that exercise boosts immunity and makes vaccines more effective

The availability of vaccines has brought hope for the end of the pandemic. Yet COVID deaths and cases are still surging around the world. As we try to immunise the world, the most likely scenario for the next few years is that COVID-19 will be like other infectious diseases, such as flu, that we will need to continuously manage and protect ourselves against.

One of the best ways to do that is by being physically active.

Now, a new systematic review of evidence by me and my colleagues shows that regular physical activity strengthens the human immune system, reduces the risk of falling ill and dying from infectious disease by more than a third and significantly increases the effectiveness of vaccination campaigns. 

The study was conducted too early in the pandemic to include research into COVID-19 itself, but the findings are highly relevant to the current pandemic response.

We found consistent and compelling evidence across six studies involving more than a half million participants that meeting the recommended guidelines for physical activity – 30 minutes of activity, five days a week – reduces the risk of falling ill and dying of infectious diseases by 37%.

This adds to the results of another new study conducted in the United States specifically on COVID-19. The effect is at least as strong if not more so than the effect reported for other risk factors of COVID-19 such as age or having a pre-existing condition such as diabetes.

We also found reliable evidence that regular physical activity strengthens the human immune system. Across 35 independent randomised controlled trials – the gold standard for scientific evidence – regular physical activity resulted in elevated levels of the antibody immunoglobulin IgA. This antibody coats the mucosal membrane of our lungs and other parts of our body where viruses and bacteria can enter.

Regular physical activity also increases the number of CD4+ T cells, which are responsible for alerting the immune system of an attack and regulate its response.

Finally, in the randomised controlled trials we studied, vaccines appear more effective if they are administered after a programme of physical activity. A person who is active is 50% more likely to have a higher antibody count after the vaccine than somebody who is not active.

This can be a cost-effective and easy way of boosting vaccination campaigns. Considering the difficulties in supply chains, this could be a wise move to make every dose count.

How physical activity wards off disease

There are three mechanisms that make physical activity an effective medicine against infectious diseases.

First, it protects against risk factors of severe and fatal infection. Physically active people are less likely to develop obesity, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. Epidemiological studies have shown that COVID-19 and other respiratory infectious diseases are more severe for people who have these conditions.

Physical activity also reduces stress and chronic inflammation, in turn reducing the likelihood of adverse and fatal infections. Most COVID-19 and pneumonia fatalities have been as a result of uncontrolled inflammatory response.

Finally, our immune system is stronger if we are physically active.

Physical activity is undeniably an important way to make populations less vulnerable to infectious diseases and future epidemics and pandemics. It should be used more urgently and effectively in fighting the current COVID-19 outbreak, but also as a long term investment to prevent the devastating social and economic impacts this pandemic has had on society.

(05/15/2021) ⚡AMP
by Sebastien Chastin
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Young track star Keegan Smith wins 3,200m in 9:24

With everything else going on in the running world, we don’t often pay attention to what’s happening at the younger level of track and field, but every so often, an athlete comes along who can’t be ignored. Eighth-grader Keegan Smith is one of those runners, and after his 9:24.42 3,200 on Wednesday, the 14-year-old from Tennesee has caught the attention of runners everywhere.

Despite his young age, Smith has already had a string of impressive performances. According to the Knoxville news station, WVLT 8, he has won 23 national titles, and in February he won the Adidas Indoor Nationals 1-mile run for middle school Rising Stars in a record-breaking time of 4:34.65.

His coach, former U.S. Olympic steeplechaser Tony Cosey, says Smith is a special talent, but since he’s still growing, the main goal is to keep him injury-free. Still, he says “the sky’s the limit” for the young track star. Smith, for his part, is full of determination and dedication, and has lofty goals for his future.

“If I can make it and keep going I want to run the Olympics 5K and 10K,” says Smith. “It’s my ultimate goal and that’s been my ultimate goal.”

As Smith heads to high school next year, track fans everywhere will certainly be watching to see what kind of results the young runner will produce when given the opportunity to race against stronger competition.

(05/15/2021) ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Michael Versteeg wins inaugural Cocodona 250-miler, Maggie Guterl still running in 7th overall

Ultrarunner Michael Versteeg of Prescott, Ariz., won the inaugural Cocodona 250-miler on Thursday morning, crossing the finish line in Flagstaff after 72 hours of racing. Versteeg finished ahead of Flagstaff local Peter Mortimer, who is still in the final miles of his run toward second place. Maggie Guterl is currently the top woman in the race, and at the time of writing, she completed 228 miles (366K) of what event organizers describe as a “250ish-mile footrace,” which works out to a total of about 400K. Guterl sits in seventh overall

Versteeg’s win

This is the inaugural running of the Cocodona 250, which was organized by the team at Aravaipa Running. The race started in Black Canyon City, about an hour north of Phoenix. From there, runners travelled north, passing through multiple towns (including Versteeg’s hometown of Prescott) before eventually making it to Flagstaff, 1,500m higher above sea level than where the race started. In total, the race features close to 13,000m of elevation gain, which is like running the height of one and a half Mount Everests.

The uphill battle, the heat of the desert and the sheer distance of the race didn’t stop Versteeg, who was at the front of the race throughout the 400K journey. This isn’t Versteeg’s first time stamping his name in the history books, as he won Aravaipa Running’s inaugural Whiskey Man Series in 2016 as well. On top of that, he has recorded many other ultramarathon race wins.

The chasers

Among the chase group (which is the rest of the Cocodona field, as Versteeg is the only finisher so far) is Guterl, who is in seventh place and currently being paced to the finish by fellow American ultrarunning star Courtney Dauwalter. Guterl and Dauwalter know each other well, and earlier this year, they both competed at the Barkley Marathons (although, like everyone else at this year’s race, they registered DNFs).

Like Dauwalter, Guterl is well known in the world of ultrarunning, and she has several big race wins to her name, including Big’s Backyard Ultra in 2019. Now, Guterl is looking to add another win to her resume, and with a 16K lead on the second-place woman Jessi Morton-Langehaug, the Cocodona crown is hers to lose.

Also racing this week was Gene Dykes, a 73-year-old runner from Pennsylvania who owns multiple age group records, including the American 100-mile and 24-hour bests (21:06:07 and 179.98K). Unfortunately, Dykes didn’t make it to the finish line, and he (along with close to 60 other runners, so far) recorded a DNF.

The race is ongoing, and despite the many DNFs, there are still dozens of other runners on the course making their way to the finish. To track live results of the Cocodona 250, click here.

(05/15/2021) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Sara Hall, Eliud Kipchoge among runners chosen for Sports Illustrated's Fittest 50 honours

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

The women

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

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

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

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

The men

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

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

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

(05/15/2021) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Meet the woman running 30 marathons in 30 days for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation

In 2020, Victoria’s Yana Hempler ran 12 marathons in 12 days to raise money for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation (VHF). Her fundraiser was a huge success, and she smashed her fundraising goal of $10,000, ultimately hitting $36,000. This year, Hempler decided to run another challenge, although she raised the bar to 30 marathons in 30 days with a goal of raising $500,000 for the VHF. She has flown through the challenge so far, and total donations for the event currently sit at more than $43,000.

Last year, Hempler organized her marathon challenge to support the healthcare workers in Victoria who were working tirelessly throughout the pandemic. She says she didn’t expect the pandemic to still be raging on this far into 2021, but since that’s the case, she decided to plan another big fundraiser.

“I realized that I’m probably not going to travel anywhere this year for any in-person races,” Hempler says. “I’ve been running a fair bit of mileage, and I’ve continued to see how the healthcare heroes are dealing with surge in the pandemic, so I came up with this ‘Marathon May’ and thought I’d try to see if we can raise $500,000 this time.”

In 2020, Hempler originally planned to run 10 marathons in 10 days, but she told her followers that she would run an 11th day in a row if they helped her hit her $10,000 fundraising goal before her last marathon. She not only surpassed $10,000, but she raised well over $30,000, and so she decided that she should run a 12th marathon as well to show her appreciation for everyone who donated and supported her.

his year, Hempler has made a similar promise, and if the fundraising page hits $500,000 before the end of the 30 days, she’ll run another marathon on May 31. Hempler is pretty familiar with the marathon, and before last year’s challenge, she had run multiple races around the world, including the New York City, Boston and Berlin marathons. Despite having run many marathons, by the end of this challenge, she will have run more marathons this month than she did in her entire life before May began.

“So far it’s gone well,” Hempler says. “The first four days were the hardest. Day 2 I felt sick and exhausted. It got warm, too, and the heat really got to me.” Fortunately, she isn’t shooting to break any records with these runs, and she doesn’t care how long each one takes her. On average, she runs them between 4:45 and 5:15.

“The shuffle-run worked really well with those sore legs,” she says with a laugh. “If I’m feeling good in the last few days, I’ll kick it up a bit.” Although she may pick up the pace near the end of the month, she adds that she won’t be trying to run anywhere close to her official PB of 3:18.

As of Thursday, Hempler is approaching the halfway mark at 13 marathons into the challenge, and while she knows there will be some long days ahead of her, she’s looking forward to them, as each run not only helps her to raise money for the VHF, but may also inspire other people to get into the sport.

“When I was younger, I couldn’t even run a block,” she says. “I was one of those people who couldn’t run before and didn’t think I’d be able to run a 5K, let alone 30 marathons in 30 days. I want new runners to believe in themselves and give it a try.”

To follow along in Hempler’s journey, check out her Instagram page, and to support her fundraising efforts for the VHF, click here.

(05/15/2021) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Partners with Ironman

Trail running grows up, and with it comes an uncertain future.

Did you feel the ground shake under the trail during your last run? You might have. Because this morning at 10 a.m. Paris time, Chamonix, France, was the epicenter of an earthquake that radiated outward and shook the trail-running world. The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, our sport’s most prestigious week-long series of ultramarathons, just announced that it is partnering with Ironman, the global triathlon brand. The partnership is comprehensive and international in scope. It’s a fitting moment for the world’s most iconic race, which turns 18 and enters adulthood this year.

The announcement was surprising-not-surprising. The not-surprising part? Trail running has reached critical mass and continues to grow, and for private-equity investors that means that the sport is officially on the radar. On top of the numbers, the trail-running demographic is a desirable one for investors.

“Healthy living is really on fire with investors right now. People have seen companies like Peleton do really well,” says David Lavallee, a former investment banker who lives in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and now invests and operates endurance-related companies. Lavallee sees opportunity within the sport, too. “Trail running has been synonymous with ultras for the last 20 years. But there’s huge room for downward growth, for individuals who want to run a 10K trail race.” And as more people experience trail running? “That fuels the understanding that there’s something really big going on here,” he says. “And it has all been amplified by the pandemic.”

Media Mashup

In the trail-running-media world, dollars are already flowing in. U.S. trail-running publishers have been snatched up by larger entities. The website irunfar.com has gone to Lola Digital Media, owner of a dozen other outdoors-oriented publishers, among them Gear Junkie. Trail Runner magazine was acquired last October by Pocket Outdoor Media, which subsequently bought Outside Magazine, and now operates under that iconic publisher’s brand name. Last September, the investment division of Nashville software company Atiba Labs purchased the website ultrasignup.com from its founder, Mark Gilligan.

In the case of the new UTMB-Ironman partnership, Ironman’s investment only goes so far. According to UTMB, their company has the majority ownership; Ironman has a minority stake, and there is no option for Ironman to take control of UTMB. Ironman presence at UTMB events will be low key, as well, with no Ironman branding at UTMB races.

“Ironman is a long-distance-triathlon brand,” said Andrew Messic, CEO of the Ironman Group, “and we intend to keep it that way.”

How It Will Work

The surprising part? It really did happen, and now the trail-running world has to think about what comes next. The announcement of the UTMB-Ironman partnership brings with it the potential for deep changes to trail racing, for example. UTMB is calling its new global race series the “UTMB World Series,” which breaks down into four categories of races: World Series Qualifiers, Events, Majors and Finals. Qualifier races, whose numbers will apparently be in the thousands, give “privileged access” to World Series Events and World Series Majors, both of which feature 50K, 100K and 100-mile distances. Each World Series race gives a participant one lottery entry (UTMB calls them “stones”) to the finals in Chamonix. The World Series Majors are the flagship races on each continent, with two entries to the Chamonix lottery. Between the Majors and Events categories, UTMB expects to have 30 to 40 races take part.

Everything points toward Chamonix and the World Series Finals—and the only way to get there will be through the new race series. To get to Chamonix, runners will also need to finish a race of comparable difficulty in one of the other UTMB race series.

Notably, no U.S. races were announced as part of the press release. “Trail running was born in the USA… [but] it’s not easy for a French company to develop something [there],” said UTMB Co-Founder and Co-Owner Michel Poletti. “That’s part of our decision to partner with Ironman, is that it will be easier for them to develop the sport in the U.S. than for us in France.” Poletti noted they are talking with “many other races in the world, including the United States.”

The current Ultra Trail World Tour, in which UTMB owns a controlling interest, will cease to exist in January 2022. Some of the races currently in that series will join the new UTMB World Series Majors. Meanwhile, the other UTMB races that take place in Chamonix, MCC (40K), TDS (145K) and PTL (300K), will continue, with race registration procedures that will be announced this fall, according to UTMB staff.

What Does It Mean For Trail Running

In the trail-running world, Ironman is not without its branding challenges. Corte Madera, California’s Jeri Howland, 65, has known both the trail-running and Ironman world for several decades. She’s ticked off 21 Ironmans, is a seven-time champion, and at age 46 set an age group world record. When it comes to trail running, she’s won her age group in over 30 races and twice has been female champion in the Bay Area’s legendary Quad Dipsea race. She spoke to Trail Runner broadly on the idea of Ironman possibly entering the trail running.

“Ironman would bring in a lot of hype,” says Howland. “They think it’s part of the attraction. I don’t think trail runners would like that.”

Culturally, at first glance, the two worlds do seem somewhat at odds. “Triathletes have a ‘look,’ dressed in the latest gear,” Howland says. “Runners are simpler and colors are muted. One is glossy and the other is matte.” It’s a polite tension that already exists in the trail running world—between European runners in their pricey “kits” and American runners, for whom duct tape and shirtless running are their own form of fashion statement.

Fashion aside, Howland thinks that trail running could ultimately benefit. “Once triathletes realize how great the return on investment is for them in ultrarunning, they may turn to the sport. It’s much simpler than taking a bike and wetsuit with you. And triathletes are always looking to expand their endurance capacity. They’d jump in.”

And, always, there is the profit motive, as both UTMB and Ironman are for-profit entities, and the latter sometimes seems intent on pushing the envelope on pricing boundaries. During the pandemic, Ironman offered deferments but refused to offer refunds. Many registered athletes were irate, and filed a class-action lawsuit, which was summarily dismissed by a US District Court Judge this past January. Even in more normal times, says Howland, “The cost of Ironmaning is off the charts.” Will that pricing come to UTMB? “That could be a huge turn-off,” says Howland. “Triathletes expect to spend a lot of money,” she says. “Trail runners don’t.” For his part, Poletti offered awareness of that concern, saying, simply, “We want to deliver high standards events at a fair price.”

One clear benefactor in the new partnership will be Chamonix, France. Already considered by many to be the world’s home of trail running, the town also hosts CMBM, one of the largest trail-running clubs in the world, the eight races of the Mont Blanc Marathon in late June, and the more under-the-radar Trail des Aiguilles Rouges in late September, three races whose marquee event is a highly technical 54K route. All of the new UTMB-Ironman races will point toward a climax at the end of August in Chamonix. An estimated 130,000 runners, family, friends and fans already converge on the Mont Blanc region at the end of each summer. It’s hard to imagine that number getting any smaller. And if the triathlon world shifts its attention to UTMB and starts trail running? Those numbers will keep growing, even with entrance caps on the races.

What Comes Next

Perhaps more interesting than the announcement itself, is what comes next. Will the trail-running culture embrace a “big tent” approach and accept corporations with deep pockets and little history in the sport, alongside diehard trail runners who toe the line each weekend in local races that finish with beers back at the trailhead? Is there room for both in trail running?

“This is essentially one of the big debates of the sport coming to a head: what is trail running all about?” says Hillary Gerardi. Originally from Vermont, Gerardi has set course records on technical trail races around the world. She is sponsored by the Utah-based company Black Diamond. Gerardi has lived in France for ten years, the last four in Chamonix. “We’ve been wrestling with that question for the past decade as the sport grows and evolves.This partnership between UTMB and Ironman is a big jump. It’s forcing people to decide where they stand on the issue.”

“This is an interesting arrangement and one that brings a lot of unknowns,” says Brian Metzler, the founding Editor of Trail Runner magazine, who now serves as a Contributing Editor and freelances for numerous media outlets. “Of course, some purists will criticize it as being a bad thing that’s contrary to the easy-going, community spirit that we all know and love.”

Metzler has completed four Ironman triathlons and has run two of UTMB’s races, CCC and OCC. He’s also run the UTMB course, and knows the Chamonix scene well, having been to nine editions of UTMB. And while he’s concerned that the UTMB qualifier events might become cost prohibitive for some runners, he is optimistic that the UTMB-Ironman relationship could yield positive results. “I think it could add structure, professionalism, exposure and prestige that could benefit elite athletes in the same way the Ironman World Championship in Kona has for triathletes.”

And for eager recreational runners? “It’s an inspiring incentive to travel to unique events with the hopes of getting to the UTMB in Chamonix.” And as Metzler is quick to point out, it was already hard to get to a starting line in Chamonix. “Let’s face it, UTMB was already impossible to get into just as getting into Kona was before qualifiers were developed 25 or 30 years ago.”

The dust is still in the air. When it all settles, it will be interesting to see what takes shape—and what comes next. Like every big tremblor, there will be aftershocks as well, some of which may go on for months if not years.

For her part, Jeri Howland finds commonalities between her trail running and triathlon worlds.

“Both triathletes and trail runners share a love of doing something where there is great uncertainty in the outcome,” she says. “And they share a love of meeting their tribe—people with the same passions.”

And, she says, there is that feeling of toeing the starting line, with miles to go before you can rest. It’s a sentiment felt since 2003 in Place du Triangle de l’Amitié in Chamonix—an addictive mix of tension, excitement, fear and uncertainty. Many trail runners are now feeling that same stew of emotions as they ponder the future of a sport they love. Now, the gun has gone off and our toes are across the start line. It’s time to settle in, rise to the occasion, and see what awaits us on the long miles ahead.

(05/15/2021) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Ed Ettinghausen Finished His 200th Race of 100 Miles or Longer, and is Sharing the Tips He's Learned

“The Jester” is just the second person to hit that milestone, and he’s still chasing bigger goals

There is a new member of the 200 club, and we’re not talking about marathons.

Ed “The Jester” Ettinghausen completed his 200th official race of 100 miles or longer on April, becoming only the second person in history to do so. If you’ve toed the line of a 100-plus miler or timed 24-hour-plus races in the last decade, there’s a good chance you saw Ettinghausen, a colorful—both literally and figuratively—character who runs every race in a red, blue, or green suit and a jester hat.

“That was my intro to the ultra scene, and I was not bit by the 100-mile bug,” Ettinghausen told Runner’s World. “It was a traumatic experience. It wasn’t for another year that I did another 100 at the same race. It wasn’t until I met someone else doing Badwater who I asked if they needed a crew. I had done that second race in a walking boot, and he said sure. In July 2010, as a crew member, I got bit by the bug.”

Ettinghausen’s running career has been filled with countless races with distances ranging from marathons to 324 miles. In 2011, he broke the record for most marathons in a 365-day period with 135—yes, you read that right—and in 2014, he ran the most 100-milers in a year—41, a record which was broken in 2019 by Walter Handloser. Doing some sloppy math, Ettinghausen has spent 35 percent of his weekends over nearly 11 years running 100-milers. 

He hasn’t done as ambitious of efforts like that since 2014, though clearly he’s still moving a big clip. That was especially true for his 200th milestone race, which came in the middle of three 100-milers in a five-day span. 

Ettinghausen started race number 199 in Las Vegas at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival on Wednesday, April 21, jumped into a second race at the same event on Friday, and then hightailed it back home to California where he ran the Born to Run Ultramarathon on Saturday. The middle run was what earned him the record—and a cake celebrating the occasion at the finish line.

With 200 100-milers to his name, Ettinghausen has amassed plenty of wisdom about ultrarunning. 

Adjust your mindset

There are peaks and valleys in any marathon or ultra race. The temptation to be on the couch instead of running farther always lingers. Ettinghausen has been there, but his strategy is to remove a keyword often heard in races.

“I’m never suffering in a 100-mile race because the discomfort is inevitable but suffering is optional,” he said. “I was with a young woman doing her first Badwater, and she had had some tough miles there. Bad blisters, and the heat got to her. She said, ‘I’m suffering.’ No, you’re not, you have discomfort. A person I had passed who was writhing in pain, his legs locked up, that’s suffering. You’re still walking. It’s painful, but you can keep going. Framing it as discomfort goes a long way over suffering.”

Find someone who might be struggling and help them get to the finish

Ettinghausen says helping others gives him a task and a focus that’s not related to the actual race. “In a way, if I’m helping them, I’m helping me. Plus, those shared experiences are the memories I have the most of.”

Slow down

Don’t go out in an ultra at marathon pace because that will catch up to you. Trust him, he’s seen it over a hundred times.

“You have no business going out at a 10-minute pace if that’s what you do marathons at,” Ettinghausen said. “The wheels fall off eventually. Run your own race. It’s a tortoise and the hare situation. I’ve won 55 100-milers and finished on the podium 121 times in a comical suit and jester hat. I caught people in many of those races going the same pace the whole race. I pace myself according to my fitness. If it’s warm, I slow down.”

Find your support

A bonus tip he wanted to add was having his wife’s support. She is his crew chief through races that have overlapped with her birthday, Mother’s Day, wedding anniversaries, and other occasions. Having her pick him up at races is his biggest asset, but he wanted to make it clear he’s not willing to share because he needs her.

What’s next for the Jester?

Ettinghausen is trying to catch the current world record holder for most 100-mile or longer races, Sandra Brown. The 72-year-old from England is at 207, and Ettinghausen hopes to pass that number at Badwater 135 in July, a race he has done every year the race has run since 2011.

But his ultimate goal is running 60 100-milers in a year starting in August 2022 when he turns 60 to recapture the record of most 100-milers run in a year. It’s a logistical nightmare and a costly enterprise when you consider the travel, lodging, race entries, fuel, and gear required for such an endeavor. For this, he’s looking for sponsors and also doing runs on top of others like he did for the trio in five days to prove he can still recover quickly and get back out there. 

He also wants to continue to inspire other. No matter the race, he always goes back out and runs people to the finish, especially the person in last, or DFL (dead f---ing last). He knows what that means to people, and he knows the lasting impact it can have.

“It’s my way of paying it forward to this sport,” he said. “One time, I came in with a woman, and she was bummed about her first marathon not going as well as she wanted. I told she still finished and she should even try an ultra. This was maybe 10 years ago. Well, at the end of the Jackpot 72-hour race, a woman came up to me with a trophy in hand. She was the same woman and she had won her race and she told me it was because I told her to run an ultra years ago. Knowing I made a difference and helped someone is why I run.”

(05/15/2021) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Can probiotics prevent post-marathon sickness?

Recent research suggests taking a probiotic supplement can reduce your chances of getting post-race sniffles.

For years, scientists believed that long durations of high-intensity exercise (such as marathon running) suppressed the body’s immune system. Recently, researchers have been challenging this notion, arguing that exercise alone can’t be blamed for colds and flu among athletes. Still, many runners have gotten a case of the sniffles in the days following their big race, and new research shows that probiotics may provide a solution.

The authors of the study, which was published in the journal Nutrients, argue that strenuous exercise negatively impacts the immune and gastrointestinal systems.

These changes, they say, cause short-term immunodepression, increasing your risk for minor infections like colds. Recent research has shown that probiotics can help reduce this risk, so the researchers set out to determine if this is true.

To do so, they gave 14 healthy male marathon runners either 5 billion CFU of a multi-strain probiotic or a placebo for 30 days leading up to their marathon. 24 hours before the race, the researchers measured the amount of cytokines (signalling proteins involved in the immune system) in the runners’ blood and measured their salivary parameters, glucose, and glutamine levels. They measured all of these levels again immediately after the race and again one hour later. The subjects also self-reported symptoms of upper-respiratory-tract infections (URTIs).

The results showed that URTI symptoms were significantly lower in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group, suggesting that a probiotic supplement could help mitigate cold and flu symptoms following a big event like a marathon.

While more research needs to be done to determine which probiotic strains are actually helping, if you find you’re constantly battling the sniffles during your training or following your race, talking to your doctor about taking a probiotic supplement might not be a bad idea. Quality and potency can vary widely among brands, so be sure to check with a medical or nutrition professional for advice before grabbing one off the shelf.

(05/14/2021) ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Suplements you should take regularly to boost your overall health

Have you or someone you know recently become a little more self-aware of your overall health, and are looking for a couple of ways to help make a positive change? Perhaps you have already spent years carefully dieting and exercising, but you are constantly looking for new ways to make your health routine more efficient? Maybe your doctor has recommended you take some supplements to aid in your overall health, and you are looking for a couple of solid places to start? If any of this sounds like you, then you should absolutely keep reading to learn some helpful information. This article will break down a couple of the supplements that you should take regularly in order to boost your overall health. Staying healthy does not need to be a difficult process, just follow some basic steps every day and you will be well on your way.

Vitamin C

One of the most common vitamins that you will see people taking consistently are vitamin C supplements. This is because it is widely marketed as a great way to benefit your overall immune system and well-being. Vitamin C is also commonly seen in many different types of fruits and vegetables. There are also many multivitamin supplements that have substantial amounts of vitamin C in them. If you are curious about some other ways to get vitamin C in your diet, then keep looking for some alternatives online. Be sure that you get the recommended amount of vitamin C in your daily diet. 

Vitamin D

Another vitamin that is fairly common in the world of supplements is vitamin D. This essential building block for our body comes from the sun, but people are increasingly not getting enough sunlight every day. If you are someone who suffers from seasonal depression, then taking a vitamin D supplement at times of the year that are problematic can help to give you a mood boost when you need it the most. Sometimes vitamin D is also included in multivitamin supplements, so be sure to check yours before doubling down on your vitamin D intake. You can also get this nutrient from natural sources besides the sun, so make sure to keep an eye out for foods that are high in vitamin D.

Potassium

Are you the type of person who hits the gym with some regularity, and finds yourself frequently getting sore for a couple of days after a particularly hard workout? If this sounds like you, then there is a good chance you can benefit from more potassium in your diet. This nutrient which is naturally found in bananas, and other whole foods is incredibly important for helping our body to cope with the stress of an intense workout. There is a reason that many pro athletes and bodybuilders make sure to include bananas in their morning shake. If you want to train like the pros and recover like the pros, then you need to eat like the pros. You should have no problem finding a potassium supplement if you are finding that you still aren’t getting the right amount from your daily diet. 

Omega-3

If you are looking to build a body that is strong and healthy, then making sure that you have enough omega-3 in your diet is absolutely essential. This essential nutrient helps to keep all the cells in your body healthy, and also aids with heart, lung, and kidney health. There are many sources of omega-3 that come from animal products, which can be a concern for some people with dietary restrictions. Fortunately, there are some Vegan omega 3 supplements that can help to accommodate people who try and avoid ingesting any kind of animal product. Do some research and experimenting and you will be able to find some supplement product that will work great for you. 

Protein

In order to make the maximum gains after your workouts and boost your overall health, you need to make sure that your body has the right fuel to quickly rebuild the muscles that you are tearing down when exercising. Protein is one of the essential building blocks, and if you are lifting big to get big, then you will need big intakes of protein in your daily diet. There are many natural sources of protein, such as meats, nuts, beans, and other fruits and vegetables. If you need a quick top-up of protein after a workout, then you might want to consider a protein supplement. These supplements are used by lots of top performers in order to make sure they get the most benefit from the workouts they spend time on. 

Iron

Some people find it helpful to include an iron supplement in their diet to help balance their body’s needs. People who suffer from anemia and also vegetarians and vegans can often benefit from taking an iron supplement. There is lots of iron in many natural foods too, such as spinach, so make sure to include both natural sources and supplements in order to maximize your health. 

Echinacea

If you are looking to boost your immune system when you start feeling sick, then echinacea is a natural supplement you might want to consider. This amazing plant has been used in homeopathic and natural medicines for generations, and still sees lots of use in modern times. This plant is an herb that can also be used for other purposes, such as teas and even spice blends. 

After exploring some of the different suggestions included in this article, the hope is that you have found some supplements that you should take regularly if you want to boost your overall health. There is only so far that working out and eating well can take you, although there is no replacement for either of these things in terms of staying healthy. Supplements, when used correctly, can be amazing for helping you to reach your fitness and health goals.

(05/14/2021) ⚡AMP
by Colorado Runner
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South Africa's Akani Simbine is focused on the fast road to Tokyo

Here’s the thing about Olympic year, something Akani Simbine knows will always be true.

“Everybody comes out fast,” he says. “Everybody runs fast, and we always talk about how everybody is just on form. Everyone is ready.”

The outdoor season may only be in its drive phase, but early evidence suggests that whoever is crowned men’s 100m champion in Tokyo on 1 August will need to ascend to a level he has never reached.

Thirteen different men have broken 10 seconds for 100m over the past seven weeks, and Simbine is one of them, running 9.99 into a stiff headwind (-3.0m/s) at altitude in Pretoria in late March before clocking a wind-aided 9.82 (+2.8m/s) at the South African Championships in April.

The race to the top of the world over 100m is as open as it’s ever been, and Simbine knows the fun is only just beginning. The 27-year-old South African has come oh-so-close to global 100m medals before, finishing fifth at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships and fourth at the 2019 World Championships – 0.03, 0.06 and 0.03 away from the medals.

The margins are fine, the competition cutthroat, but what does Simbine feel it will take to get on the podium in Tokyo?

“People are going to have to run their PBs, that’s for sure,” he says. “I’ll just speak for myself and say I’ll be ready, I’ll be at my best and making sure I run the best I can when it counts.”

Few events in world sport captivate the public quite like the Olympic 100m final, and in the first edition in 17 years not featuring Usain Bolt, a new name will be catapulted to global fame at the start of August. Simbine knows that back home in South Africa, millions will be tuning in, hoping it can be him.

“I don’t take it as pressure, something that weighs me down,” he says. “I take it more as motivation and belief. A lot of people believe in me and what I can do for the country, what I can do on the track.”

It’s taken time to re-wire his thoughts like that. Back in 2016 Simbine went to his first Olympics in Rio but the dizzying lights of the five-ringed circus threatened to blind his focus. What did he learn from that experience?

“To keep my head,” he says. “Keep my head on my shoulders and not to stress too much or put myself in a corner, thinking I’m not free. When I’m running, I should be running free and relaxed and that’s the one thing I didn’t do in Rio.”

The intervening years have taught him the value of composure: how a loose muscle is a fast muscle, how a calm mind functions with superior clarity.

In his first race in Europe this year, Simbine was coolness personified, anchoring the South African men’s 4x100m team to victory at the World Athletics Relays Silesia 21, clocking 38.71 on a wintry, windy night in Chorzow, Poland.

How was the race for him?

“Cold, very cold,” he laughs. “But it was a great race, and I’m really happy for the team, for the boys, for the country. We came with the goal of winning and I’m just happy we got that.”

It had taken Simbine 30 hours, door to door, to make it to his hotel in Poland, and though South Africa was already qualified for the Olympics in the 4x100m he felt it was a trek worth making.

“It was very important to come out here, put together a good relay, get the baton across and make sure that we get the confidence knowing we are running at international competitions with high-quality countries,” he says. “We’re so used to running for ourselves and not a team but here, we work together, we plan together and we make sure everything goes well and we can all win together.”

Simbine returned to Johannesburg following his Polish expedition and then relocated back to Italy where he will be based until the Olympics. He plans to try some 200m races early in the season to keep the door open for a sprint double in Tokyo. With 11 weeks until the Olympic 100m final, is there anything that still needs improving?

“There’s a lot,” he says. “The start, the middle of my running, the top end, the finish – the whole race. There’s a lot of things we need to fix and work on and that’s what’s exciting me even more, because I’m running well now and we’re not even at the point where we’re supposed to be.”

His wind-legal PB is the South African record of 9.89 he ran in Szekesfehervar a month before the 2016 Olympics, but Simbine knows that’s not his true limit, and he knows he has what it takes to become an Olympic medalist.

“I’m a 100m sprinter and if I don’t see myself being on a podium, then I shouldn’t be doing it,” he says. “I just need to make sure I’m able to get to Tokyo in the best shape I’ve ever been in and we’ll see what happens there.

“I’m really excited (with) the way I’ve started, but I’m keeping my head down and working. I have the confidence, I know what I can do and it’s just making sure I do it in Tokyo.”

(05/14/2021) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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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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Jakob Ingebrigtsen will be among the athletes looking to test their form when he races over 1500m at the Muller Grand Prix in Gateshead, UK, on Sunday May 23

The first Wanda Diamond League meeting of 2021 – in Gateshead,  International Stadium will be able to welcome up to 2000 spectators for the meeting.

Norwegian 20-year-old Ingebrigtsen won European indoor 1500m and 3000m titles in Torun in March, emulating the success he achieved in Glasgow two years earlier when he claimed 3000m gold and 1500m silver. He returned to the UK in the July to finish second in the London Diamond League 5000m, breaking the Norwegian record with 13:02.03.

The European 1500m record-holder with 3:28.68 set in Monaco last year, Ingebrigtsen is also the reigning European outdoor champion at 1500m and 5000m.

“I had a great time racing in Glasgow at the European Indoor Championships a couple of years ago and I’ve also run a few times at the Olympic Stadium in London. So I’m hoping for another good experience in Britain at the Diamond League in Gateshead next week,” he said.

“I’ve been training hard lately but I enjoy testing myself in competition and this meeting will be a good race to see where I am in the run-up to the Olympics.”

Joining him in Gateshead will be Britain’s Elliot Giles, who ran 1:43.63 in February to move to second on the world indoor 800m all-time list, plus Australian 1500m record-holder Stewart McSweyn and his compatriots Ollie Hoare, Matthew Ramsden and Ryan Gregson.

Other British athletes on the entry list include national 1500m champion George Mills, Piers Copeland and Archie Davis.

As previously announced, the women’s 100m in Gateshead will feature a world-class line-up including Dina Asher-Smith, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Sha’Carri Richardson, while the men’s pole vault sees a clash between Mondo Duplantis, Sam Kendricks and Piotr Lisek.

The women’s 1500m will see European champion Laura Muir in action and she will be joined by fellow British athletes Melissa Courtney-Bryant, Eilish McColgan, Adelle Tracey and Holly Archer.

(05/14/2021) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Viktoria Brown breaks Canadian W45 100-mile record in North Carolina, running 15:24:23 to beat the previous national record by 14 minutes

Canadian ultrarunner Viktoria Brown recently set the Canadian W45 100-mile record, posting a time of 15:24:23 at a 24-hour race in North Carolina. This is the third ultrarunning record for Brown, who lives and trains in Whitby, Ont., and it beat the previous Canadian best by 14 minutes. She stopped after hitting the 100-mile mark, a distance that was good enough for 11th overall in the 24-hour event. 

Brown only started running ultras in September 2020, but she already has three records to her name. Her first came in her ultra debut, when she ran to the women’s 24-hour Canadian soil record at That Dam Hill in London, Ont. Despite never having run an ultramarathon before, Brown excelled, running 213.8K in 24 hours and beating the previous record (which had stood for 36 years) of 210K.

After her performance in London, Brown was invited to run in Kelowna, B.C., in October as a member of the Canadian team at Big’s Backyard Ultra. Again, although she was still so new to the sport, she ran extremely well, completing 34 laps and stopping after 228K. Next up was a 48-hour race in Duncan, B.C., in November, and Brown set another record, beating the previous Canadian 48-hour best by more than 6K with her two-day total of 324K. 

Given her previous results in ultras, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise when Brown beat yet another record, this time at the Alexander County 24-Hour race in the U.S. After the race, Brown said she stopped short of the 24-hour cutoff because she didn’t want to push her body too far, as she is training for the Six Days in the Dome race, which will be held in Wisconsin in June. Stopping after just 15 hours meant Brown could dedicate less time to recovering after the race and more time to training. 

“I learned what I needed to learn from this one,” she said, referring specifically to a recent asthma diagnosis. After learning that she has asthma, Brown realized she needed to figure out how to race without making the problem worse. Seeing as she set a Canadian record, it’s safe to assume she worked things out on the race course. 

As Brown noted on Instagram after the race, she was on pace to break the open Canadian women’s 100-mile record (which belongs to Michelle Leduc at 15:19:45) for most of the race, but she slowed too much in the final kilometres and had to settle for the W45 age group best (a time of 15:38:18 that Bernadette Benson ran in 2014) instead.

While she was disappointed with missing the Canadian record, Brown said she isn’t too upset, and her focus is now set on the Six Days in the Dome. If she wants to break the national six-day best at this event, she will have to run farther than Charlotte Vasarhelyi‘s 2014 record of 734.225K. To run the W45 best, Brown will need to better Kimberley Van Delst‘s record of 547.177K, which she ran in 2017. 

(05/13/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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British sprint star Asha Philip backs Olympic records to fall at Tokyo

Sprint star Asha Philip predicts records will fall at Tokyo 2020 despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.

The 30-year-old's hopes of adding to her 4x100m bronze in Rio were put on ice for 12 months with the postponed Games finally opening in July.

And hunger for success at an all-time high across the planet the Leyton native - who was ruled out of contention for Beijing 2008 and London 2012 through injury - is expecting a feast of world records and box-office battles.

The pandemic has definitely done something to us athletes - we'll be twice as good as we were before," said Philip, who is working with Purplebricks to encourage the nation to get behind Team GB on their journey to Tokyo.

"It's going to be different without our families and fans there, but I do think it is going to be one of the best Olympics ever in terms of the sport that's actually on show.

"I think the opportunity to take a break, spend time with loved ones and do all the things we've missed out on during lockdown was really refreshing. From my point of view I was able to watch my nieces and nephews grow up, which was good for the soul.

"I'm feeling good now - I think I'm in the strongest shape I've ever been. The gold medal is looking very shiny in the relay, and getting to the final of the individual 100m is also one of my big targets."

While unable to count on trackside support from mum Sharon and aunties Alric and Fay in Japan, Philip believes the ‘ping' of supportive social media messages will prove key.

And with the likes of relay partners Dina Asher-Smith there to lean on, she is confident the team can utilise their strong bond and yield medal success once again.

She added: "My family came with me to Rio, and it is a bit upsetting knowing that after a tough Olympic cycle I won't be able to get my hug from my mum.

"I do think it's going to be quite tough for a lot of the athletes, but we have to try and stay as safe as possible. My family love a WhatsApp group - I'll just be calling at random times and hoping someone answers!

"Having the relay girls will help. It's quite relaxed and there's a lot of banter between us, so we know we have each other as well as the staff and the wider team."

(05/13/2021) ⚡AMP
by Sport Beat
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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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Dagmawit Amare takes over at Great Ethiopian Run

Dagmawit Amare has been appointed as the new General Manager of Great Ethiopian Run, taking over from Ermias Ayele who has been the GM for the past 11 years. Dagmawit becomes the third GM in the company’s 20-year history and the first female to lead the company.

Speaking about her appointment, Haile Gebrselassie, Patron of the Great Ethiopian Run, said: “This is a great opportunity for Dagi to lead the company. She is a very humble person, but she is also very smart. She has a wonderful gift of empowering others to do their work well. We are lucky to have her to lead us in the next phase of our work.”

Having started to work for the company 17 years ago, Dagmawit is also Great Ethiopian Run’s longest-serving employee. Over many years she has masterminded the company’s work of mobilising large numbers of participants to register for their races. As a passionate lover of Ethiopian music, she has also been instrumental in bringing live music bands to the events and two years ago worked with an Ethiopian dance group to introduce a unique dance routine as part of the participant warm-up for the international 10km.

Former General Manager Richard Nerurkar recalls how Dagmawit has also been passionate about making a success of the annual women’s run: “From her earliest years she was totally committed to seeing this race grow into what it has now become. She loves creating enjoyment for our participants. Another example of this is our annual Pasta Party which nowadays has the feel of a special Gala Dinner. But what I value most about Dagi is the way she takes care of others. For the past 17 years she has been the glue which has kept us together as a happy and successful team.”.

The same point is made by Dagim Teshome who as Operations Director has worked closely with Dagi for the past 14 years. “With Dagi, nothing she does is about herself. It’s about our races and our team. It’s about us as an organisation and about us doing something for Ethiopia.” Ruth Duncan, who has worked as part of the Event Hospitality Team for the past 17 years, said: “Dagi is the perfect person to take over the driving seat at Great Ethiopian Run. Her friendly professionalism and passion for sharing Ethiopia’s running culture have been central to the way in which our races have sent out so many positive messages about Ethiopia and its welcome to the outside world.”

Dagmawit’s popularity outside the office has also been evident in tributes made by those who know her both as a person and as an event professional. Chachi Tadesse, one of Ethiopia’s well-known singers who regularly attends races organised by Great Ethiopian Run, commented: “Dagi is a wonderful person to be around – always positive, totally committed and incredibly humble. I’m excited to see how she will lead the organisation and the new ideas she will bring to her work.” Hannah Gebreselassie, an Ethiopian sports journalist, was equally upbeat when she heard about the appointment. “I was over the moon when I heard this news. Dagi will have her own special style of leadership and will want to help others do their work well.”

(05/13/2021) ⚡AMP
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Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run Partners with MarathonFoto

As we all look for live racing and mass participation events to return, the organizers of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and MarathonFoto have been making plans for the next in-person edition of the classic event, which will take place in Washington, DC on Sunday, September 12.  

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run will be partnering with MarathonFoto to provide participant images from the 10 mile and the 5K Run-Walk. MarathonFoto has been the trusted leader in providing excellent support to races for 45 years and previously partnered with Cherry Blossom from 2002 – 2018.  This partnership will give runners many great photo opportunities to celebrate their achievements at the next Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile.

Phil Stewart commented “After having to cancel our 2020 event due to Covid-19 and dealing with the rapidly changing landscape for the 2021 race, our committee has faced an inordinately challenging year.

Within this context, it is tremendously reassuring to me to be bringing in the participant photography pros at MarathonFoto. I am confident their team will capture images which will make the event even more memorable as one of the first post-Covid-19 major races to take place.”

“Everyone on the MarathonFoto team is excited about returning to the Credit Union Cherry Blossom. Phil Stewart and his team put together a world-class race and we feel privileged to be a part of this iconic race”, said Brad Kroll, SR VP of MarathonFoto. “When live racing returns, this will be one of the first races with over 10,000 participants and we will be there to capture great images of all the participants. MarathonFoto has spent the last 18 months improving our processes and this race will be a great opportunity for us to showcase our capabilities.”

About Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler:

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run is organized by Cherry Blossom, Inc., a 501c(3)

chapter of the Road Runners Club of America.  2021 will mark the 48th running of the event which was founded in 1973. The staging area is on the Washington Monument Grounds and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, DC Memorials. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier.

(05/13/2021) ⚡AMP
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Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

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

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Canadian ultrarunner Varden Morris wins Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee

The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee has only been running for 10 days, but it already has its first finisher. Calgary’s Varden Morris completed the roughly 1,000K race in just over a week, averaging an impressive 103K per day since the event kicked off on May 1. Matt Shepard of Valleyview, Alta., is currently in second place, with just over 800K complete. 

The GVRAT

Laz Lake created the GVRAT in 2020 at around the same time many races started going virtual. Lake, who is best known as the race director of the Barkley Marathons, wasn’t going to organize a quick virtual 5K or 10K, though, and he decided to take runners across his home state in a 1,000K ultramarathon. This year, just like in 2020, the race started on May 1, and participants have until August 31 to complete the route. They upload their runs or walks to the event website, which tracks every runner’s progress and lists the leaderboard. 

This year, around 5,000 people have signed up, although registration is still open for anyone interested in jumping into the ultra challenge. For people who think 1,000K is a bit too short, there’s an out-and-back race option, which tops out at a bit above 2,000K. 

Morris’s win 

Morris was relentless in his 10 days of racing, and he went for multiple runs each day to rocket himself up the leaderboard and toward the win. He kicked the challenge off on May 1 with a 112K day, followed by a 119K total on Day 2. From there, he continued his attack, distancing himself from the rest of the field every day. Throughout his 10 days of running, Morris ran under 100K only twice. 

As he wrote on the GVRAT Facebook page, the race was 70 per cent mental for him and 30 per cent physical. “It has been a very humbling experience for me from day #1 through day #10,” Morris wrote. “Every single run came with its own set of challenges that resulted in me questioning God if this is possible and if I will be able to complete it.” He said his wife and daughter played big roles in his win, helping him throughout the race by preparing meals for him and showing him moral support. 

The race is now on for second place, although Shepard appears to have a pretty good hold on it with his 800K total. In third is another Canadian, Crissy Parsons, who leads the women’s field with about 650K run. Like the gap between Parsons and Shepard, the distance from Parsons to the fourth-place runner is quite far, and as long as she holds steady in the coming days, she will likely finish third and complete a Canadian sweep of the podium.

(05/12/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Sir Mo Farah aims to earn Tokyo spot in 10,000m trial in Birmingham

Despite being reigning Olympic champion, Mo Farah must still qualify for this summer’s Tokyo Games and on June 5 at a University of Birmingham track that is likely to be bereft of spectators he will take on the rising stars Marc Scott, Jake Smith and Sam Atkin over 25 laps.

The trio have been named as part of the British team for the European 10,000m Cup, which is held as part of the Müller British Athletics 10,000m Championships.

The event, which is also the official Olympic trial for British athletes, sees a strong domestic line up in the women’s race too with Eilish McColgan, Jess Judd and Amy-Eloise Markovc among others.

Farah’s last 10,000m on the track was at the 2017 World Championships in London where he won his sixth world title. Since then he has enjoyed a foray on to the roads and the marathon but he is returning to the track this year to try to win another Olympic track title aged 38.

Since 2017 he has only raced once on the track – in a one-hour run in Brussels last summer – but appears to have been training well and is set to face a new generation of hungry young British runners in a 10,000m showdown.

This is also the first official trial for a major championship that Farah has done since 2010 when he ran the UK Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships.

(05/12/2021) ⚡AMP
by Athletics Weekly
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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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Cleveland Marathon will hold Virtual Events May 15-16

The Union Home Mortgage Cleveland Marathon’s virtual races will be held May 15-16, 2021, giving participants the opportunity to run the following race distances anywhere, anytime during those days:

Full and Half Marathon, 10K and 5K.

Challenge Series (includes 5K/Half Marathon, 5K/Full Marathon, 10K/Half Marathon, 10K/Full Marathon). The races must be run two consecutive days (one distance per day).

The marathon encourages runners to document their training, progress and results on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and to use hashtag #IConqueredMyLand. Runners can also submit their results from May 15-20 when they complete their events and can upload a finisher’s photo if they choose. The link to post results will be live on www.clevelandmarathon.com beginning May 15.

“Races across the country – and around the world – have pivoted and adjusted to the pandemic by postponing in-person events and offering virtual options, and we are no exception,” said Jack Staph, executive director of the Union Home Mortgage Cleveland Marathon. “COVID has changed many aspects of our lives as a whole. Social distancing has brought us closer together in many respects, and the same is true with virtual races. Friends and relatives train and run together virtually across the miles, which they would not have done with in-person only events.”

All virtual runners will receive a t-shirt and medal. Challenge participants will also receive a third medal and a Cleveland Marathon duffel bag.

The health and safety of runners, volunteers and spectators are the marathon’s top priorities, and the team will continue to work closely with city, county and state health officials, as well as its medical partner, University Hospitals Sports Medicine, to hold an in-person event this fall that is safe for all who participate.

A specific date has not been set yet for the fall as the marathon team is actively working with the City of Cleveland on scheduling a date that will not conflict with a Cleveland Browns home game. An update is expected once the 2021 NFL schedule has been released. 

Registration for the in-person event in the fall has been paused until a date is set. However, registration for all virtual races is now open on the marathon’s website.

The marathon team appreciates the community’s patience and understanding as they coordinate logistics for the 2021 race. More information, including updates and health and safety protocols, can be found on the marathon’s website and social media channels.

(05/12/2021) ⚡AMP
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Cleveland Marathon

Cleveland Marathon

The Cleveland Marathon features a relatively flat and fast course, great volunteer support and a scenic view of downtown Cleveland and its major landmarks. The course has been designed for our athletes to enjoy views of Browns Stadium, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Lake Erie and many other Cleveland highlights. The Cleveland Marathon began in 1978 in an...

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With 50% reduction of runners, Philadelphia Marathon will return this year

The Philadelphia Marathon was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, but the event is gearing up for a return this fall.

The City of Philadelphia recently shared that a preliminary date for race weekend has been set for Nov. 19-21.

While city officials continue to monitor COVID-19 case trends closely, planning for the 27th annual running event is underway as event organizers are working closely with the City of Philadelphia on race weekend plans that align with Philadelphia’s COVID-19 safety policies," a press release stated.

There will be a 50% reduction in runners this year for each of the four races: AACR Philadelphia Marathon, Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon, Rothman 8K and the Dunkin’ Munchkin Run.

Online registration opens to runners on Thursday, May 13, beginning at 2 p.m.

There is potential for runner participation to increase, depending on current COVID-19 restrictions, race organizers said.

Event day precautions will include restricted access to start and finish lines exclusively for runners, and spectators will be limited to spectator zones located throughout the course of the race.

Runners will be required to wear a mask covering their mouth and nose in the start line corral, and after crossing the finish line. High-fives and celebratory hugs at the finish line won't be permitted, as runners will be asked to remain socially distanced from others at the finish.

At the start, runners will be funneled into eight corrals with 10 runners starting in waves every 10 seconds to allow for more distance between participants. Runners will be spaced three feet apart in the starting corrals.

There will still be hydration and nutrition stations along the course, which will follow public health and safety guidelines.

Ahead of the race, the expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center will be modified and there will be no registration or packet pickup on event day. Also, a pre-event questionnaire will be sent to all registered participants assessing their exposure risk in advance.

"While canceling the 2020 Philadelphia Marathon Weekend was necessary, it was still a difficult announcement to make," Mayor Jim Kenney said. "Today, we’re filled with hope as vaccine distribution continues to increase, making announcements like today’s possible. We are excited as we plan for the return of an iconic Philadelphia event, and we’re committed to creating the safest environment for our staff, athletes, volunteers and partners. Safety is our top priority, and we continue to work closely with public health experts to plan and execute a safe, successful marathon weekend."

Runners who are registered for in-person races scheduled on Nov. 20 or Nov. 21 will be given the option to participate virtually if they wish to, or if they are unable to run in-person due to illness.

(05/12/2021) ⚡AMP
by Sinead Cummings
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Philadelphia Marathon

Philadelphia Marathon

Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a first-timer, Philadelphia is the place for you. We’ve designed our course to be scenic, fan-friendly and, above all, great for running. It’s no wonder we're consistently listed among the top ten races in the country, recognized for our mostly flat terrain, ideal temperature and awesome atmosphere. Join us this fall for the best...

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Grandma´s Marathon can now welcome back spectators for this year’s race

A loosening of the state’s public health guidelines, announced last week by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, has paved the way for the return of two traditional and popular pieces of Grandma’s Marathon weekend.

Based on the Governor’s expected timeline of eliminating capacity limits and distancing requirements, organizers say they will now be able to welcome spectators on race weekend and host a post-race celebration.

“Those things were crossed off pretty early in our planning process based on the previous guidelines, and the result was going to be a very different feeling come race weekend” Executive Director Shane Bauer said. “Bringing those pieces back will not only amplify the experience of our participants, but it’s great for our community members who wait all year to be part of Grandma’s Marathon weekend.”

Spectators were originally discouraged from attending this year’s Grandma’s Marathon, but the updated guidance will now allow those who wish to watch the races to do so.

“It’s great to be adding that community aspect back into our plans for June,” Race Director Greg Haapala said. “That said, we will be keeping some of the mitigation tactics in place to help keep some of those large groups from forming, and we ask that everyone who does attend is mindful and respectful of others.”

The post-race celebration will be in a new location this year, moving from near the finish line in Canal Park to Bayfront Festival Park. Live musical acts will be featured throughout race day, and admission will be free for all ages in celebration of the 45th anniversary of Grandma’s Marathon.

“The move to Bayfront is an exciting change for this year’s Grandma’s Marathon,” Finance & Operations Director Linda Hanson said. “It’s a great Duluth venue built for the very thing we want to do – come together and celebrate with our participants, our many partners, and our community that supports us year round. To be given the opportunity to bring this event back into our planning means so much because it’s not only a tradition, it’s how we say thank you to everyone for a job well done.”

Amid the excitement of what the new guidelines allow, organizers want to remind anyone planning on participating, volunteering, or attending Grandma’s Marathon that personal responsibility will still play a major role in the weekend’s overall success.

“This is still a large event that involves people from all over the country, from all different walks of life, and potentially with many different comfort levels,” Marketing & Public Relations Director Zach Schneider said. “We want everyone involved to feel as comfortable and as safe as possible, so we encourage everyone to take proper precautions in terms of masks and distancing even in areas it’s not technically required by the guidance.”

It’s expected that Grandma’s Marathon will be one of the country’s first major running events to return following the COVID-19 pandemic, so plenty of eyes will be on Duluth this June.

“This is our chance to do a really big thing and do it well,” Schneider said. “We want people to enjoy themselves, to feel safe, and to say good things about our race and our community when they leave here. Grandma’s was built on the idea of community coming together, and we need that in a different but critically important way this year.”

Masks or face coverings, according to the expected guidelines, will be required in all race-controlled areas with more than 500 people in attendance. Organizers expect that to include the start and finish areas, Bayfront Festival Park, the Michelina’s All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner, and the Essentia Health Fitness Expo.

As in the originally released plan, participants will not be required to wear a mask or face covering while actively participating in their race.

The 45th annual Grandma’s Marathon weekend will be held June 17-19, 2021.

(05/11/2021) ⚡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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Disgraced former world athletics head Lamine Diack returned home to Senegal after released

Disgraced former world athletics head Lamine Diack returned home to Senegal late Monday after a local soccer club paid a bond of just over $600,000 to allow him to leave France.

Diack, the president of world athletics from 1999-2015, was convicted in Paris in September on multiple charges of corruption during his tenure, some of it related to the Russian doping scandal. He was sentenced to four years in prison, with two of those years suspended.

But French justice authorities said Diack, who is 87, was unlikely to spend any time in jail because of his age. He had been held under house arrest in France since 2015.

The bond is related to a separate case against him.

Simon Ndiaye, a lawyer for Diack, said he was allowed to leave France after posting bail in a case involving alleged bribery in the buildup to the vote for the host city for the 2016 Olympics.

Diack was handed preliminary charges in that case and his passport was confiscated, but a French judge lifted the ban on him leaving the country on condition he pay 500,000 euros and continue to answer court summons, Ndiaye told The Associated Press.

"He was relieved, moved and happy to be able to return to his country and his family,'' Ndiaye said. "But it remains a legal case that affects him. He finds it unfair. He continues to deny wrongdoing in both cases.''

Diack appeared frail as he walked through the airport after arriving in Dakar. He wore a smart blue suit but used a walking stick and was helped by a family member. He did not make any comments.

The bond money was raised by a soccer club in Senegal that Diack once led, according to Ndiaye and an official with the club. Youssou Dial, vice president in charge of finance at Jaraaf de Dakar, said the club raised the money by selling off some of its properties.

Diack was president of Jaraaf in the 1970s and in the late 1990s and 2000s.

His conviction in France last year marked a spectacular fall from grace for a man who was head of World Athletics, then known as the IAAF, for nearly two decades and was an influential figure in the world of Olympic sports.

Diack was found guilty of being part of a scheme that squeezed 3.2 million euros ($3.8 million) in bribes out of Russian athletes suspected of doping. The hush money allowed the athletes, who should have been suspended, to keep competing. Diack was also found guilty on breach of trust charges but acquitted of money laundering.

His son, Papa Massata Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant, was also convicted and was sentenced to five years in jail in his absence. The judge said $15 million was funneled to the younger Diack's companies from various contracts negotiated by the IAAF while his father was in charge.

Papa Massata Diack lives in Senegal, which refused to extradite him to France for the trial. Both Diacks have appealed their convictions.

Four others were found guilty on charges related to corruption or receiving bribes in the scandal. They were former IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev, former IAAF doping official Gabriel Dolle, former IAAF lawyer Habib Cisse, and Russian coach Alexei Melnikov.

(05/11/2021) ⚡AMP
by Associated Press
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The JAAF has stripped Moroccan Dazza of 2019 Fukuoka Title

The JAAF has announced that Moroccan El Mahjoub Dazza has been stripped of his victory at the 73rd Fukuoka International Marathon on Dec. 1, 2019. A short time later Dazza was found to have violated anti-doping regulations, and the Athletics Integrity Unit suspended him for four years.

Following a rejection of his appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week, all of Dazza's results after May 4, 2019, including his Fukuoka win, were disqualified.

For that reason, all athletes who finished 2nd and lower in the race will be elevated one position, making runner-up Taku Fujimoto (Toyota) the winner and giving the Toyota corporate team and head coach Toshinobu Sato two-straight Fukuoka victories, following teammate Yuma Hattori's 2018 win.

The Fukuoka International Marathon is known worldwide as one of the most prestigious traditional races and last year was selected as the recipient of World Athletics' Heritage Plaque. Nevertheless, in March this year the JAAF announced that this year's 75th running on Dec. 5 will be its final edition.

(05/11/2021) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Fukuoka Marathon

Fukuoka Marathon

The Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship is one of the longest running races in Japan, it is alsoan international men’s marathon race established in 1947. The course record is held by Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, running 2:05:18 in 2009. Frank Shorter won first straight years from 1971 to 1974. Derek Clayton set the World Record here in 1967 running 2:09:37. ...

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Who needs super spikes when Crocs are available?, Runner wears Crocs in 5,000m race, flies to 14:47 finish

A runner named Benjamin Pachev raced a 5,000m in Portland on Saturday, running to a quick 14:47.62 finish. His time was good enough for 12th place, and although he didn’t win the race, he attracted a lot of attention during and after his run, which he completed in a pair of Crocs.

That’s right, while his competitors were lacing up their spikes, Pachev tossed on his foam clogs, and he ended up beating about half of the field. 

This is not the first time that Pachev has raced in Crocs. In 2017, he took his unique shoes to the Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis, where he raced a half-marathon with his father, Sasha. The younger Pachev ran to a mind-boggling time of 1:11:53, finishing in 16th place. His father, also wearing Crocs, crossed the line just a few minutes later, posting a time of 1:17:26 and finishing 44th out of more than 20,000 runners. 

Pachev’s sister, Jennifer, ran the 5K at the event, and like her father and brother, she wore Crocs, the family’s apparent preferred choice of footwear. She finished in ninth overall and crossed the line as the second female runner, posting a time of 19:56. 

On Saturday, Pachev recreated that Crocs magic, blazing to a sub-15-minute finish in Portland. His final time works out to 2:57 per kilometre, which is a pace most people would struggle to hit even if they were decked out in the fastest spikes on the market. 

It’s clear that these shoes work for Pachev, but the question still remains: why Crocs? According to an article from the Indy Star that was published after the Pachevs’ runs at the Mini-Marathon, Sasha made the change from normal running shoes to Crocs after he saw his kids run in them. 

“I was trying to figure out if there was a better way to run than in regular running shoes,” Sasha said. “I was experimenting with different things.” When his kids insisted on running in Crocs one day, he noticed that their form was better than it was in other shoes, so he tried them out for himself. 

“I really liked the feeling, and I’ve run in them ever since,” he said. “They’re really not that much different, speed-wise, from racing flats.” Sasha’s kids followed his lead, and the shoes are now the go-to footwear for the family. The Pachevs certainly look peculiar walking up to the start line at races in their Crocs, but they have proven that these shoes work well for them, so it’s likely that the running world will hear more stories from the speedy Crocs-supporting family in the future. 

(05/11/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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DK Metcalf Runs 10.37 for 100 Meters at 2021 USATF Golden Games

In his first track and field competition since high school, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf ran a credible 10.37 but finished last in the second heat of the men’s 100 meters at the 2021 USATF Golden Games at Mt. SAC on Sunday, failing to advance to the final later this afternoon.

To qualify for the nine-person final, Metcalf would have had to have finished in the top three of his heat or earned one of the three time qualifiers; his time of 10.37 was .16 short of the final time qualifier, Bryce Robinson, who ran 10.21. The fastest qualifying time belonged to Isiah Young, who ran 10.09 to win heat one.

“Just happy to be here, excited to have the opportunity,” Metcalf said on the USATF.TV broadcast after the race. “I just thank God for the opportunity to just come out here and run against world-class athletes like this…These are world-class athletes, they do this for a living and it’s very different from football speed, from what I just realized.”

Metcalf, who did not run track in college at Ole Miss, came well shy of the automatic qualifying standard for the US Olympic Trials (10.05), which will be contested June 18-27 in Eugene, Ore. USATF will take a total of 32 athletes in the 100 meters, filling the field with the fastest qualifiers outside of those with the automatic standard. To earn one of those spots will likely take a time under 10.20 seconds, which means Metcalf will have to race again if he wants to qualify for the Trials.

That doesn’t appear likely though. When NBC’s Lewis Johnson asked Metcalf if he would continue racing, Metcalf said he had to go to the Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp, which is set for June 15-17.

(05/10/2021) ⚡AMP
by LetsRun
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Meet the Thick Boys Running Club—These Runners Have Lost a Combined 350 Pounds and Counting

Four football coaches in North Carolina started running together last summer, and they have inspired people all over the state.

A group of four Lake Norman High School football coaches in Mooresville, North Carolina, have collectively lost over 350 pounds through running since July 2020.

And together, they call themselves the Thick Boys Running Club.

The four coaches are all former college football players who struggled with weight after their playing days were over; they said they had wanted to lose weight for years. When the pandemic hit and their coaching and teaching went virtual, they found themselves with some extra time.

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Jay Keener, 40, the school’s athletic director and football coach, was the first to make a move.

“I always justified my weight [thinking that] 300 pounds isn’t bad, and then 310. And then, I was afraid to weigh myself,” Keener told Runner’s World. “When I saw 345, I realized it’s not going to get an easier to get the weight off later, so I better do something.”

Keener started on the track by running to the straights and walking the curves. A week later, he recruited offensive coordinator Sean Fitzgerald—who weighed 284 pounds, his highest ever—to join him.


By early August, head coach Jonathon Oliphant (278 pounds) and defensive coordinator David Johnson (365 pounds) joined Keener and Fitzgerald in running daily laps around the track. As the four runners progressed, they started doing stadium stairs, and ran 5Ks and 10Ks. Rarely did any of them run without a partner.

“There’s literally 300 feet between the school and the field house, and I would be out of breath,” Johnson told Runner’s World. “That’s how out of shape I was. Being 365 pounds was tough for me. Having these guys helping and encouraging me, it gave me the direction I needed, and it helped having that support system over the past eight months.”

The four coaches wrote their weights on a whiteboard in the field house by the stadium, and they weighed in every Friday starting on August 24. Instead of competing against one another to see who could individually lose the most weight, they decided to work together and collectively reach milestones. They celebrated every time they hit a combined 50 pounds lost.

“Myself and coach Oliphant had been involved in weight-loss competitions before against people, and we wanted to do something different,” Fitzgerald told Runner’s World. “Everyone wanted to pull their own weight. It was much more fun and we never had to go at it alone.”

The first to hit the century mark was Johnson, who has lost nearly 120 pounds. Chasing him for second place is Keener who has lost over 80 pounds to get below 200 followed by Oliphant who has lost just under 80 pounds, and Fitzgerald who has lost over 70 pounds.


With kids back to the classroom and at practice, the coaches are doing more runs before and after school. And all four have noticed some stares this spring.

“It’s definitely a combo of the weight loss and wearing a mask, but it’s been difficult for people to make me out. They wonder who the new teacher is,” Johnson told Runner’s World. “People keep coming up and saying how proud they are of us and are inspired. People are telling us that they saw me out there, and now they’re running and trying to lose weight. That’s the best part to me. It’s an influence you had that you didn’t know you had.”

Additionally, their athletes are taking particular notice.

“The kids have really gotten behind us with their comments and curiosity, asking how far we ran today and how much we lost that week,” Oliphant told Runner‘s World. “They get excited about it, which has helped us keep going. It’s a lifestyle we’re proud to share with them and one we hope they take with them in their lives.”

The four runners said they have received letters of support from people in the community, and notes from coaches around the state. And their families have been supportive, and appreciated the healthier lifestyle at home, especially the recipes shared between the runners.

“My mom came and ate lunch with us a while back and she made the comment that we sounded like a bunch of housewives sharing recipes,” Fitzgerald said.

The Thick Boys Running Club plans to grow their group in the future. They hosted the inaugural Thick Boys Running Club 5K in September and pulled in more than $2,400 for local charities. They hope to host another run in 2021.

“I’ve dealt with weight issues my whole life,” Oliphant said. “Now, I got a handwritten letter from a guy from a couple counties north saying how we motivate him, and he’s 40-something years old. I relate to that and it’s been so positive to see others inspired by seeing stories like their own so they know it can be done. Being able to be that positive for someone, it’s a blessing.”

(05/10/2021) ⚡AMP
by Runner's World
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Check out these tips for running your first marathon

Preparing to run your debut marathon can be a scary thing. There are so many unknowns, and even though you’ve put in the work, the build to race day can be incredibly stressful. The best thing you can do to calm your nerves ahead of your marathon (or really any race that’s new to you) is to plan for every part of your run. From your clothes to your nutrition plan and more, you need to be ready for everything on the big day. And while planning ahead doesn’t mean your race will be free of hiccups, the in-depth preparation will at least help you relax a bit before the run, as you’ll know you’re as ready as you can be for the event. Here are a few tips to consider before your next race. 

Write a checklist 

Speaking of being prepared for race day, it’s a good idea to write a list of everything you’ll need for your run. The morning of the run, go through the list before you leave your house and make sure you have every item packed and ready to go. This will save you from the hassle of mentally checking things off and worrying that you might be missing something, plus it’ll help you avoid actually forgetting anything, which is a running nightmare that no one wants to experience in real life. 

Find chafe-proof clothes 

In training runs, be sure to test every item of clothing you plan to wear during the race. It doesn’t matter how comfortable something feels when you try it on, because it’s a completely different story when you’re wearing it for 42.2K of running. Test your shorts, your shoes, your shirts and even your socks. Otherwise, you might get an unpleasant mid-run surprise when you start to chafe or blister. 

If you’re doing a virtual race, plan your route beforehand. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself constantly checking your watch to see how much farther you have to go. Planning the route before you start will give you the luxury of running freely and knowing exactly where you are and how many kilometres are left until the finish line. 

Have a nutrition plan 

Like the clothing tip, don’t try any new food on race day. Your breakfast, pre-race snack and whatever you eat during your run should all be tested in training. Ignoring a nutrition plan could lead to you taking unscheduled bathroom breaks, or it could result in you bonking. Either way, you’ll probably fall short of whatever time you hoped to run. 

Get the right shoes 

If you’re a regular runner, you should already have proper running shoes, but it’s especially important for long races like the marathon. You’re going to spend hours on the course, which means thousands of steps on hard pavement. If you don’t have the right shoes, you could pay for it, both during the race and in the days or weeks after you cross the finish. 

Accept the pain

Don’t go into the race thinking you won’t hit a wall. You’re going to hit one. Everyone does at some point, and if you convince yourself that you’re special, then you’re only setting yourself up for failure, because when you do hit the wall, you’ll be surprised. Accepting the inevitable pain you’ll experience before going into the race will help you deal with it when the time comes, which will play a huge role in you getting over that wall and carrying on toward the finish. 

(05/10/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Eliud Kipchoge and Sara Hall, among runners chosen for Sports Illustrated’s Fittest 50 honors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(05/10/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Athlete refugees now eyeing Tokyo berths, after a year of pandemic setbacks and challenges

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games looked one step closer to reality in recent days with the staging of the athletics test events, the half marathon in Sapporo on Wednesday (5) and the Ready Steady Tokyo Athletics Meeting at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday (9). Athletes from around the world were tuning in to catch a glimpse of the courses, the facilities and the track they're hoping to compete on when the Games kick off in July, including two clusters of the Athlete Refugee Team from their bases in Tel Aviv and Ngong, Kenya.

One of them was Tachlowini Gabriyesos, a distance runner who trains with the Alley Runners club in Tel Aviv who achieved a major milestone at the Hahula Galilee Marathon on 14 March. Contesting the distance for just the second time, the 23-year-old Eritrean native clocked 2:10:55 to become the first refugee athlete to better an Olympic qualifying standard for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

"This (past) year was different because of the pandemic, but most of my training was as planned," said Gabriyesos, who has steadily moved up in distance over the past two seasons. He competed in the 5000m for the Athlete Refugee Team at the 2019 World Championships in Doha but in 2020 found a better fit with longer distances.

He was slated to compete at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland, last October, but was unable to obtain a visa. So instead, two months later he improved his half marathon lifetime best to 1:02:21 in the prelude to his marathon breakthrough.

"I think I'm in better shape than I was last year, but physically and mentally it was hard to train with the pandemic restrictions."

Focusing on Tokyo has helped.

"The Olympics is my dream as a professional athlete and it would be a great honour to be part of the Refugee Olympic Team," he said. "I want to show others that everything is possible and they shouldn't give up."

Lokoro targeting second Olympic appearance

The International Olympic Committee will announce the composition of its second Refugee Olympic Team (this year competing as EOR, its French acronym) in early June. While the selection process is complex, quality of performance will play a key role. Paulo Amotun Lokoro, a refugee from South Sudan and a member of the inaugural team in Rio, is hoping to make the cut again.

But unlike Gabriyesos, who has largely managed to navigate the pandemic restrictions over the past year, Lokoro, who is based at the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation training camp in Ngong, wasn't as fortunate. The camp was forced to close during the first lockdown in Kenya in April of last year, forcing Lokoro to return to the Kakuma Refugee Camp where, training-wise, he found himself alone. He returned to Ngong in December and resumed training only to be forced into another lockdown situation in the beginning of March.

"It has been frustrating, we haven't had enough time to train," Lokoro said. "And during this lockdown the government has discouraged us from training in public and as a team, so we were training individually."

Lokoro finished 11th in his 1500m heat in Rio, clocking 4:03.96. He's improved steadily since, currently boasting a 3:44.10 lifetime best set in 2019. He also competed in Doha, but, suffering with a hamstring injury, didn't advance from the heats.

"In 2019 I was well prepared," he said. "My shape is different now, but we still hope to catch up before Tokyo."

World Athletics provides ongoing support

Since the IOC put the refugee athletes on the international stage in Rio five years ago, World Athletics has entered an Athlete Refugee Team (ART) in almost every major championship: the 2017 and 2019 World Athletics Championships, the 2018 World Cross Country Championships, the 2017 and 2019 World Athletics Relays and the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships. The African and European area federations have opened entry to refugee athletes based on their continents. Those competitive opportunities, coupled with generous scholarships from the IOC and ongoing training and logistical support from World Athletics, has made a difference.

Otmane Nait Hammou, a refugee from Morocco who is based in Sweden, made his Athlete Refugee Team debut at the 2018 World Cross Country Championships, competed in the steeplechase in Doha and more recently at the World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia where he finished 67th, clocking 1:03:28 in his competitive debut over the distance and beating some of the world’s finest half-marathoners in the process. He's hoping for a spot on the steeplechase start line in Tokyo.

"World Athletics' support to compete at three World Championships did play a big role to keep me feeling hungry and motivated," he said. "With the solidarity support from the International Olympic Committee and my sponsors ON Running and Maurten and my French club ES Sartrouville, it has really made a difference.

"Honestly, it was really hard to keep motivated without having short term goals (during the pandemic), but you can't give up when it comes to the Olympic Games."

"We have been facing a lot of challenges, but at least we have been able to train individually," said Rose Nathike Lokonyen, a refugee from South Sudan who was the team's flag-bearer in Rio.

Before the pandemic hit, 5000m hopeful Ukuk Utho'o Bul said: "We were all training well, it was an Olympic year and we were preparing well. But when the pandemic came the camp closed so we all had to go back to where we came from. When we are training as a team there is a motivation. You always move forward, you motivate yourself. Then I was in a different place. I was alone and training alone. But we are trying our best."

In Lisbon, Dorian Keletela, a refugee from Congo, is aiming to be the first sprinter selected for the Refugee Olympic Team. Keletela, who competed in the 60m at the European Indoor Championships in March, has a 10.46 career best from 2020. He's hoping to compete at the European U23 Championships later this summer as well.

(05/10/2021) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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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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Should You Ice Your Injury or use heat?

Few topics have gripped the therapy and performance world in the past few years more than icing. To be honest, I was one of those professionals and educators that was a proponent of icing injuries. As a college professor and a person who reads research and pounds the pulpit of evidence-based practice, I too was one of the millions of professionals who fell for the fallacy.

I remember explaining to athletes and individuals from the general population that ice slows inflammation and allows tissues not to become hypoxic (without oxygen). It makes sense that swelling in a muscle or joint should be removed and that ice should stop or slow swelling as it slows inflammation. However, there are a couple of glaring issues with that argument I ignored.

First, there is not consistent research on the effectiveness of icing injuries. A 2015 study found that men who regularly applied ice packs after weight training workouts developed less muscular strength, size and endurance than those who recovered without ice. Another review revealed that athletes who did ice baths after tough exercise regained muscular strength and power more slowly than their teammates who did no post-sweat chilling. And most recently, a new study in mice suggests icing muscles after strenuous exercise is not just ineffective, it could be counterproductive.

I think any doctor would have a hard time justifying the broad use of a drug with such inconsistent (you could even go as far as to say negative) findings, but ice seems to be the exception.

I don't think it is wise to swing to a completely anti-ice stance. I also do not advocate heating up a knee with a ACL tear. What I am saying is that icing is unsupported in most chronic injuries, rehab protocols and performance-related recovery. Let me try and convince you.

The Stages Of Healing

In the case of injury, whether a joint injury or muscle injury or muscle damage from general training, the body will go through three stages of healing. The first is inflammation. Often regarded as a negative consequence, inflammation is actually the trigger that removes damaged structure and starts to bring in the needed fuel and structures to rebuild. In order to move things in and out there must be fluid movement. Ice actually prevents movement and slows healing.

In the case of swelling, obviously fluid has increased in a joint or muscle. At that point, freezing or significantly cooling down the tissue is not going to speed the movement of fluid but in fact impair it. The best thing to do is to move the fluid. Moving the fluid could be done by actually moving, massage, a muscle stimulator or compression with movement. Ice will not move fluid.

In relation to ice baths and other forms of cryotherapy, ice will only again slow the process of healing. If you want to avoid the soreness that follows muscle damage 48 to 72 hours after a long run, the best thing would be go for a walk the next day. Move fluid, don't freeze it.

Icing Injuries And When To Do It

However, I did mention that I don't believe ice should be completely dismissed. Ice does a couple of things really well: it numbs or temporarily blocks pain, and it pulls heat out of the tissue. To the first point, in rehab situations the use of ice could be helpful. It can allow the joint to be moved easier in order to push fluid and establish range of motion.

To the second point, if a runner runs multiple times a day in the heat, an ice bath might be beneficial. While the adaptation process would be slowed, the athlete would not care about adaptation as much recovering for the following bout of exercise in the same day.

In the end, ice is a tool. Ice is not a blanket treatment, it has a specific time and place for its usage. If you need a quick turn around and just want to feel better, you could use ice or an ice bath. However, if you are actually trying to build and recover the muscle, provide movement to allow repair of tissues and leave the ice alone.

For chronic joint pain, compress and move the joint in order to heat it up or just heat it up directly. However, if a joint is producing chronic pain, fix the problem which is probably due to a mobility or stability or muscular strength issue. Even a degenerative joint can fall under one of those three areas (mobility, stability, strength).

For acute injuries, ice if needed for pain, but compress and elevate the joint and let the healing process run its course. Pain free movement can aid that recovery (assuming a consultation with a medical professional depending on the severity of the injury).

(05/10/2021) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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COVID-19 restrictions for Tokyo Olympics shouldn't apply to female athletes' infants, toddlers

A few days shy of her first birthday, Alex Morgan’s daughter Charlie is already more well-traveled than most adults.

There were the two-plus months in England, when Morgan was playing for Tottenham. The week in the Netherlands, followed by a few days in France, for U.S. women’s matches. There’s likely to be another trip in June for pre-Olympic warm-up games.

“It’s important to allow mothers that option, to have their kids with them while they compete. I’ve been lucky to be able to do that with every single camp and matches with Charlie,” Morgan said last month. “It’s incredibly important to feel supported as a mom. I hope I continue to feel that way leading into the Olympics and in the Olympics.”

But COVID-19 restrictions for the Tokyo Games could force Morgan and a small number of other athletes who are mothers of small children to choose between their dreams of competing at the Olympics and their families.

At previous Olympics, children of competing athletes would come to the Games like any other family member. Visas, if necessary, would be arranged, and they would travel with their other parent, another family member or caregiver. The family would either stay together outside the Olympic village, or moms would arrange to see their children between training and competitions.

That won’t be possible this summer. Japan is desperately trying to keep the Olympics and Paralympics from turning into a superspreader event, and the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organizers have already said foreign fans won’t be allowed at the Games.

Japan also currently bars entry to residents of 152 countries “unless special exceptional circumstances are found,” meaning someone from the United States – and pretty much every other country sending athletes to the Games – can’t simply get on a plane and go to Tokyo.

But if allowing female athletes to bring their infants and toddlers to the Tokyo Games doesn’t qualify as a “special exceptional circumstance,” I don’t know what would.

“I would be most sensitive to moms that are breast-feeding, new moms, moms with very small babies,” sprinter Allyson Felix, whose daughter Camryn turned 2 in November, said last month. “I know how crucial that is. I know for me, when I competed when Cammy was under a year old, you need to be near your child. That needs to be taken into consideration for those mothers.”

Tokyo organizers did not respond to questions about whether female athletes will be allowed to bring their young children. IOC spokesman Christian Klaue said women athletes who want to bring their children to Tokyo will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, without pr

Of course it will be crushing for partners, parents and siblings to miss what is, for many athletes, a once-in-a-lifetime event, and if any family members are allowed, no doubt everyone will be clamoring to go. But prohibiting babies and toddlers from accompanying their mothers to the Games is not remotely the same, and the IOC and Tokyo organizers need to acknowledge that.

This isn’t a matter of, “Oh, I want to have a selfie with my baby at the finish line.” For female athletes with an infant or a toddler, not having them in Tokyo can have a direct impact on their child-rearing decisions.

And their children’s health.

Breastfeeding benefits a child’s physical and cognitive development, and the World Health Organization – which the IOC relies on for medical advice – recommends children be breastfed “up to 2 years and beyond.” Research also indicates that mothers who have been vaccinated are passing COVID antibodies to their babies through breast milk, but that immunity only lasts so long as the child is nursing.

It’s possible athletes who are nursing and want to continue to do so could pump at the Games. But depending on the age of the child, that could require several hours each day.

“I am still nursing Zoe and cannot imagine her not being with me,” marathoner Aliphine Tuliamuk, whose daughter was born in January, told USA TODAY Sports in a statement. “There are many more challenges than usual at this Olympic Games, but I do hope that the needs of mothers, families and children are given full consideration and support."

Everyone is sympathetic to the challenges of holding an Olympics during a pandemic, as well as the concerns of the Japanese people. But allowing women athletes to bring their infants and toddlers to Tokyo, along with a caregiver, would not add a significant number of people.

The United States typically has the largest team at the Olympics, 500-plus for a Summer Games, and this affects only a handful of its athletes. So at most we’re talking, what, a few dozen additional people?

It’s not a large number, but the impact is.

The IOC has made a big show in recent years of elevating women and promoting gender equity, and will proudly tout its statistics on female representation at the Games and in its leadership roles. In March, Tamayo Marukawa, Japan’s minister in charge of the Tokyo Games, said in a statement that the “active participation of women will lead to the creation of a prosperous, vibrant and sustainable society and the realization of a society in which everyone can live comfortably.”

By telling female athletes to leave their young children behind, however, the IOC and Tokyo organizers show how empty those words are. You cannot claim to value and respect women if you are not supporting and empowering them to make choices that are in the best interest of their families.

(05/09/2021) ⚡AMP
by USA Today
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New mom runs 15:45 5K, 4:42 mile just months after birth of first child

In October 2020, a woman named Makenna Myler ran a 5:25 mile while nine months pregnant. Just a couple of weeks later, she gave birth to a baby girl, and now, only six months after her daughter was born, Myler is back, not just racing, but winning. Her return to the track after her pregnancy came in mid-April, when she won a 5,000m in California in a huge personal best of 15:45.48, and she followed that up a week later with another win and a mile PB of 4:42.40.

Myler first blew up on Tik Tok, where her husband posted a video of her one-mile time trial at nine months pregnant. A 5:25 mile is a fast time for most people in general, but to run that quickly with a full-grown baby in your belly (Myler’s due date was just days after her time trial) is extraordinary. After a few months of recovery, she is back to incredible form, and she’s running faster than she ever has before.

Myler, who ran at BYU and now lives and trains in California, had pre-pregnancy PBs of 4:43.31 for the mile and 16:10.33 in the 5,000m. These are both great times, but she has bettered both since having her baby, Kenny Lou. Her 15:45.48 PB in the 5K is a whopping 25-second PB, and it gives her the 38th-fastest time at the distance among American women in 2021. (Only five Canadian women have run faster over 5,000m so far this year.) In the mile, Myler’s one-second PB gave her a top finish at a meet at her alma mater of BYU, and it is the sixth-best time run by an American woman so far this year.

Myler credits being a mom with her success, as she has learned some valuable lessons in the months since her daughter was born. “Having a baby less than six months ago has pushed me to ask for help so I can reach goals and show my little girl that I will never stop becoming, I will never stop trying in one way or another,” she wrote on Instagram. “I will keep surrounding myself with those greater than me and I will always come off better for it. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last mama to keep at it.”

(05/09/2021) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Two Treadmills Inside ... a Pub?! How This Runner Broke the 100-Mile Treadmill World Record

In his second 100-miler ever, he ran a 6:55/mile pace inside a local pub.

For the second weekend in a row, one of Zach Bitter’s 100-mile world records has fallen.

Taggart VanEtten, 25, of Morton, Illinois, smashed Bitter’s 100-mile treadmill world record with a time of 11:32:05. VanEtten’s average pace was 6:55 per mile, and he beat Bitter’s record by nearly 40 minutes.

That’s quite the accomplishment for only his second 100-mile run ever.

“I am so thankful that I am able to do this,” VanEtten told Runner’s World. “Every day, I wake up before 4 a.m. and do my first of two runs a day. ... I’m grateful to [have the time] to train, and I want to keep improving and go for the overall 100-mile world record.”

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VanEtten, a PE teacher at Bartonville Grade School, is relatively new to the ultra scene. In college, he ran for Illinois Central College and competed in triathlons. But in November 2019, on only 23 miles of training a week, he ran the Indianapolis Marathon in 2:37:36. It was about 20 minutes off the men’s Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying times, so VanEtten pondered if he could run that mark with higher mileage and focused marathon training. But at that point, the 2020 Trials were less than four months away, so he decided to focus on making the 2024 Trials.

Last summer, he built his mileage all the way up to 200-mile weeks. However, he wasn’t able to put this fitness to the test with almost all marathons canceled because of the pandemic.

To fill that void, he chose an ambitious goal for November: a 100-miler.

“Well, I could sign up for this Tunnel Hill 100 miler, finish it, and never do another 100-miler again like many people say,” VanEtten said. “I had to beg the race director to let me in since there were a limited number of spots, and I was late signing up. 12:19:54 later, I crossed the finish line.”

That time is incredible for any 100-mile runner; in fact, it made him the fifth fastest American in history for the distance. It came after an intense training block where he ran three weeks on, one week off, peaking at a 258-mile week.

His newfound talent got him thinking about a new goal: What if he attempted the 100-mile treadmill record?

“I decided on January 2, when COVID-19 numbers were skyrocketing again,” he said, knowing that traveling to in-person races would still be risky. “I can’t get days off during the school year as a teacher, and I couldn’t fly anywhere, so why not train and promote this treadmill run?”

With that goal in mind, VanEtten spent every morning before school this winter and early spring on the treadmill. He completed additional runs after school and double long runs on the weekends, building up again to 200-plus mile weeks.

On May 1, he set up two treadmills, which he borrowed from a local gym, and a Zwift monitor in Seasons Gastropub, a local restaurant in Morton. There was also a space for his small supporters section, to keep him motivated for 11 hours and change.

VanEtten chose to run in the Hoka Carbon X 2 shoes, with Compress Sport pro marathon socks, Run Rabbit Fly Ease 2 shorts, and a few Amazon headbands to keep sweat out of his eyes.

Every three miles, VanEtten increased the incline to 0.5 and 1.0 for a quarter-mile each to switch up the muscles being used. Being on a treadmill for so long with the same motion can lead to problems in the legs and hips.

After smooth sailing for most of the day, VanEtten considered increasing his pace around mile 75, but he said he was luckily talked out of it by his crew. He said the building was heating up later in the day, and he could’ve paid the price.

“After that, I kept a mindset of telling myself, ‘How many times have you run 25 miles at a 7-minute pace? Or 20 miles?’’ VanEtten said. “It’s gonna hurt bad, but as long as I keep up nutrition, I should be done in three hours.”

When the final miles arrived, it became clear that VanEtten would get the record. From miles 89 to 99, his mentor and fellow local P.E. teacher ran on the treadmill beside him.


The final mile was just VanEtten. As the crowd counted down to 100, VanEtten patted his purple ribbon tattoo on his back—a tribute to his dad who passed away six years prior on April 20, 2015. The anniversary was the day before his run.

“My dad, man, he was a five-minute miler in 8th grade,” VanEtten said. “When I was in high school, he came to all of my meets and he thought I was nuts then. He passed away before I started my triathlons, but I just hope I’m making him proud. I’m working a job I love, I just bought my first house a month ago, and I’m pursuing my dream in running. I hope he’s looking down proudly.”

When he finally hit 100 miles and the record, VanEtten jumped off the treadmill and embraced his mom in an emotional hug.

“She said something to me. That I needed to finish this for my dad,” VanEtten said. “It was a moment I will never forget.”

After a brief champagne celebration and mingling with his fans, he made his way home to enjoy a shower and eat an entire medium-size pizza. He was off work Monday to recover, but was back in school on May 4 to see his students and the running team he coaches.

So, what’s next for VanEtten? He’ll race at Six Days in the Dome on June 18, chasing the overall 100-mile record of 11:14:56, which was set on April 26 by Lithuanian runner Sania Sorokin. The indoor track will be the third different surface VanEtten will run on in three 100-mile attempts.

“I’m not gonna be upset if I go out fast,” VanEtten said. “I want to go out like Steve Prefontaine at suicide pace because it’ll be a good day to die. That’s what I did at Tunnel Hill, and that’s what I want to do there. After I do that, I plan to enjoy my summer.”

(05/09/2021) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Court of Arbitration for Sport rejects Dazza and Marimuthu appeals against four-year doping bans

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected appeals from El Mahjoub Dazza and Gomathi Marimuthu against their respective four-year doping suspensions.

Morocco's Dazza and Indian athlete Marimuthu were both banned in 2020 by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), but appealed against their sanctions to the CAS.

Dazza was eighth in the men's marathon world rankings before being provisionally suspended in January last year following the detection of anomalies in his athlete biological passport.

Subsequently, Dazza was given a four-year period of ineligibility.

Appealing to the CAS, Dazza argued that procedural infringements had been committed and that altitude training, combined with high air temperatures, were responsible for his haemoglobin level rising and reticulocytes concentration falling.

The manner in which samples were handled was questionable, it was also claimed, and Dazza argued that even if he had committed an anti-doping rule violation, a four-year ban was not the appropriate punishment.

The CAS rejected these arguments, upholding the four-year sanction, and also ordered Dazza to pay CHF4,000 (£3,170/$4,440/€3.560) - CHF1,000 (£790/$1,110/€912) to the CAS and CHF3,000 (£2,380/$3,330/€2,740) towards World Athletics' legal fees.

Dazza remains banned until January 10 2024, two months before he turns 33.

The Moroccan's results from May 4 2019 onwards - which includes winning both the Prague Marathon and Fukuoka Marathon - were also disqualified.

Marimuthu, who had won the Asian women's 800 metres title in 2019, tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone in four separate samples.

This led to a four-year ban and the disqualification of results including at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha.

Marimuthu appealed the decision to the CAS, arguing that the samples in question were unreliable as they has been handled incorrectly.

It was also claimed that Marimuthu had suffered a "spontaneous" miscarriage in January 2019 and that this, combined with having polycystic ovary syndrome, was the likely cause of abnormally high endogenous 19-norandrosterone.

The CAS rejected the appeal and upheld the four-year ban, with Marimuthu ordered to pay the CHF1,000 court office fee and stripped of the Asian 800m crown.

(05/08/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ali Iveson
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The first lady of Polish sport, Irena Szewinska

Only one athlete in history has set world records at 100m, 200m and 400m: Irena Szewinska – the brightest star of Polish athletics.

The first lady of Polish sport, as she was called by Poland’s president Andrzej Duda, is a five-time Olympian and seven-time Olympic medallist, with her achievements including three gold, two silver and two bronze medals. 

Her Olympic journey

Szewinska was born in Leningrad in 1947 to a Ukrainian mother and Polish father. She moved with her parents to Warsaw when she was still a child.

At the age of 14 she started athletics at her school in Warsaw, where she was coached by Jan Kopyto, a former javelin thrower who competed at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games.

"I ran so fast in the school trials that the teacher requested a re-run because she thought she'd made a mistake in measuring the time,” Szewinska said in an interview with the Polish Press Agency.

The Polish sprinter made her Olympic debut at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games at only 18 years of age. Competing under her maiden name of Kirszenstein, she won silver medals in the long jump (6.60m) and the 200m (23.1).

She went on to win her first Olympic gold medal in the 4x100m – Poland’s second Olympic medal in that event after their bronze in Rome in 1960 and their first ever relay gold medal at the Games. 

In 1965, she snatched the 100m world record (11.1) from USA’s Wyomia Tyus, who remained one of her strongest competitors over this distance for the next three years. That same season, Szewinska broke the 200m world record for the first time, running 22.7 in the Polish capital.

After earning a degree in economics from the University of Warsaw, Szewinska’s second Olympic appearance was in Mexico City in 1968.

“Things started badly for me in Mexico City,” she said. “I didn’t qualify for the long jump final, and my second event was the 100m which wasn’t my favorite event. Because of my height, I always start poorly, and by the time I was in full stride the race was over.”

She finished third in the 100m (11.18) behind the US one-two of Tyus and Barbara Ferrell. Szewinska then qualified for the 200m final after finishing third in her semifinal and lined up against a strong field.

In 1974, only two years after her first attempt at the 400m, Szewinska became the first woman to break 50 seconds with a hand-timed performance of 49.9 in Warsaw. The 400m women’s world records were recognised from 1957 but from 1975 onwards they had to be electronically timed.

The first electronically timed world record was set by Finland’s Riitta Salin, who ran 50.14. The first woman to run a sub-50-second electronic time was Christina Brehmer from East Germany who ran 49.77 in May 1976. This record only stood a month before Szewinska ran 49.75 on home soil.

Her Olympic and world record performance in the 400m remains the Polish record. She added a third Olympic gold medal to her collection, equalling Australian Shirley Strickland's record at that time of the most Olympic athletics medals won by a woman.

The spikes that she wore at the 1976 Games are now on display in the Museum of World Athletics™ – the world’s first 3D virtual sports museum.

In 1977, at 31 years of age, Szewinska was up for another challenge: lining up against Marita Koch at the inaugural IAAF World Cup in Dusseldorf.

Koch dominated the race but Szewinska, a renowned strong finisher, fought to the end to overtake Koch in the last 30 metres, winning in 49.52, her second best ever time.

Szewinska’s long athletics career ended after her fifth Olympic participation in Moscow in 1980. She pulled a muscle during the semifinals of the 400m which forced her to put an end to her Olympic journey. She retired from the sport soon after and gave birth to her second son in 1981.

Career transition

After a 16-year career in athletics, Poland’s most decorated Olympian transitioned to become a respected administrator in sports, giving back to the sport that she loved since her school days.

In 2012, she was inducted into the IAAF Hall of Fame. Four years later, she received the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest award.

"Sport was a great adventure of my life, when I was an athlete and my fate was that I am still connected with sport. I am passionate about it, this is my hobby," she said.

On Friday 29 June 2018, Szewinska lost her long battle with cancer aged 72.

(05/08/2021) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Saucony salutes moms in Mother's Day film

The past year has been a roller coaster, and no one has felt the brunt of this more than parents. Forced to play the roles of parent, teacher, employee and more, moms in particular have been pushed to their mental, physical and emotional limits. This Mother’s Day, Saucony is raising awareness of the strain that has been placed on mothers in their short film, The Marathon that Never Ends.

Saucony: The Marathon that Never Ends

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dn2Uu98XqbM?feature=oembed

According to a study conducted by Saucony’s consumer insight team, 57 per cent of mothers reported their well-being had gotten worse, 89 per cent said they are at least somewhat (if not extremely) burnt out and 77 per cent acknowledged their mental health has been the top contributor to burnout since the start of the pandemic. The film draws parallels between marathon running and motherhood, paying homage to all the moms who went the extra miles this past year, and explains how during the pandemic, many moms have faced more challenges and are bearing the brunt of childcare, housework and home-schooling.

One thing is for certain — mothers (and fathers, too!) deserve a badge of honour for the extra work they’ve put in this year. So this mother’s day, let’s join Saucony in thanking the mother and mother figures in our lives for everything they do.

(05/08/2021) ⚡AMP
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Lauren Fleshman and Stephanie Bruce sell Picky Bars for $12 million

Picky Bars was founded in Bend, Oregon in 2011, and Laird Superfood began just down the road in Sisters, Ore. in 2015. The company was started by pro-big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, former pro-volleyball player Gabby Reece, and entrepreneur Paul Hodge. According to the announcement on Picky Bar’s website, Laird Superfood has a mission to “provide great-tasting, high-quality, plant-based products that are healthy, convenient, affordable and available to all.” Thomas said in a statement that the company is “beyond stoked” to be partnering with Laird, adding that they expect this acquisition to accelerate the company’s growth, expand their distribution, enhance their product development and create more jobs in their local community.

“Overall, coming together with LSF will increase the positive impact we can have on our communities and the world at large,” said Thomas. “We feel incredibly lucky to have found such an amazing fit for our team and brand.”

In an interview with Forbes, Hodge, the current CEO of Laird Superfood, said they believe Picky Bars produces the best, whole food bars in the world, and that the acquisition will round out their product lineup. It will also allow Picky Bars to expand their own distribution, getting the product into more stores across the U.S.

“Together, we can get nutritionally balanced options more geographically available, whether it’s experiencing a Laird product for the first time in a Picky Club box or tasting your first Ah, Fudge Nuts! Picky bar from a retailer distributing Laird products,” said Bruce.

For now, Fleshman, Thomas and Bruce will continue to lead the Picky Bars brand underneath the Laird umbrella. According to Forbes, the U.S. nutrition bar market is worth $10 billion, and the sports nutrition sector overall is expected to reach $33.03 billion in sales by 2028.

(05/08/2021) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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After waking up in a pile of vomit right before XMAS, Irish 2:09 marathoner Stephen Scullion hasn't drank alcohol since

‘I didn’t even stay home for Christmas because I pretty much didn’t trust myself to stay and not drink again’

Olympics-bound Scullion opens up on ‘wise’ decision to bin booze as he continues pursuit of happiness

Stephen Scullion woke up in a pile of his own sick a few days before Christmas.

The Tokyo-bound marathoner was back home on holiday in Belfast.

“I had drunk way too heavily and had thrown up on the bed.

“I ended up booking a flight back to England the next day. So, I didn’t even stay home for Christmas because I pretty much didn’t trust myself to stay and not drink again.”

Scullion hasn’t touched alcohol since. His decision to quit was also influenced by a tweet posted by recent Oscar-winning Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins. “With gratitude, I celebrate 45 years of sobriety,” wrote Hopkins on December 29.

“I know how much it (alcohol) messes with my psychology, and I know it doesn’t help my running. I’m always running away from situations that probably I could end up being in where I would drink too much, go over the top.

“I tried to think of one time in my life where alcohol has actually done something good for my life, and I couldn’t think of one thing. I think I used to not drink because of running.

“Whereas this time, before Christmas, I made the decision I was going to do this for me. I do all this work to try (and) improve my mental health, try to be happy, and then to go ruin it, just by being greedy with alcohol. I just decided I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“Honestly, it’s not like I had a drink problem. The problem was I’m greedy. It’s not like I’m borderline alcoholic or anything like this.”

It was what happened after he drank that was the issue.

“I could drink and drink and drink and everyone thought I’m fine and in a great mood. And then my body decides I can’t process all this alcohol, because I normally live up a mountain like a saint.

“And here you are hammering 10 pints or 12 pints and shots, and yeah, then my body just rejects it, and I’d be incredibly low.”

Occasionally there were days when he couldn’t get out of bed because his “body was so broken from boozing”.

“It has just been a wise decision on my part. But I miss going and having a pint with my dad. I miss things like this because they are safe, and they are good.

“But the way I see it if I can’t handle it all then it is not worth it. I don’t want to go for a pint with my dad five times and think, ‘Oh, I’ve changed, oh, I’m better now, oh, I’m not greedy anymore’ because I know it will always be there.”

Scullion, who ran a career-best marathon time of 2:09.49 when finishing 11th in last October’s elite London, did seek professional help last year to cope with mental health issues.

“In September (2020) I reached out to the Sports Institute in Northern Ireland and said I wasn’t doing well. I was doing brilliant at running, that’s the easy part for me.

“I said I needed some help and they set me up with a sports psychiatrist in London. I spoke to the sports psychiatrist for three months and I started anti-depression medication after the London Marathon.

“If you take a hay fever tablet and run off into a field where there’s grass, you’re still probably going to have hay fever, and an anti-depressant medication tablet cannot fix everything. But I had to fix a lot of things in my life that gave me a chance to be happier. Sport is really tough and there’s a lot of pressure and you can put pressure on yourself, get a bit obsessed. I tweeted not long ago: ‘Do you exist, or do you live?’

“Part of being a really good professional is there are periods of time where you have to probably just exist. That means getting up early, doing your training, sleeping, resting, focusing on all the little details, because other people will do that.

“Other people are willing to go to places where they are probably not mentally stable or happy.

“If you want to be competitive, your life might not always be in balance. But in order for me to protect the longevity of Stephen Scullion and so that Stephen Scullion’s career flourishes in three or four or five years’ time, when I can be the best possible athlete I can be, I need to move away from that existence every now and again and live.”

For Scullion, ‘living’ is going to visit his parents’ allotment in Belfast where they raise chickens and grow potatoes and onions.

“That, to me, is living,” he says.

Running-wise, Scullion is performing better since undergoing surgery to correct a breathing issue which was diagnosed as asthma 15 years ago.

A London-based specialist, Dr James Hull, suggested he had a condition called exercise-induced larynx obstructions (EILO).

“The condition means your vocal cords are working against you almost, as you breathe, closing your airways and creating the wheezing effect. Asthma is supposedly wheezing on the exhale, whereas I wheeze on the inhale.”

The surgery in London was a success. So much so that in terms of his running he feels he has been set free.

Now his focus is on the Olympic marathon in Sapporo on August 8.

(05/08/2021) ⚡AMP
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Obiri and Gidey ready for 3000m showdown in Doha

Two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri and world record holder Letesenbet Gidey will resume their rivalry when they line up over 3000m at the Wanda Doha Diamond League on Friday 28 May.

Obiri, the world cross-country champion, set a Kenyan 3000m record of 8:20.68 in Doha in 2014. She also won over the same distance at the Doha Diamond League in 2019 and 2020.

Gidey smashed the world 5000m record in Valencia last year, clocking 14:06.62. Although Obiri leads their career head-to-head record at 9-5, Gidey has finished ahead of Obiri twice in Doha: at the 2018 Diamond League meeting and at the 2019 World Championships over 10,000m.

“I’m happy to start my season in Doha,” said Gidey, who in 2019 broke Obiri’s African 3000m record with 8:20.27. “It will be my first race as a world record-holder and I feel excited to see where I am in terms of condition. It will be a very important stepping stone towards the Olympic Games later in the season.”

Obiri, who defeated Gidey in their most recent clash over 5000m at the 2020 Monaco Diamond League, said: “After my half marathon debut in April (she ran 1:04:51 in Istanbul) I’m looking forward to getting back on the track, especially at the Doha Diamond League meeting where I will be going for my fourth 3000m win. I ran the Kenyan record there in 2014 (8:20) and the second-fastest 3000m in my career there last September (8:22).    

“Doha is also the place where I won my last world title in 2019, but this year it is all about the Olympic Games as that is the only major gold medal that I’m missing and I’m working hard to change that this year. The 3000m and 5000m races are very competitive at the moment and I expect we will see some fast times in the next few months and in Tokyo.”

The 2021 Wanda Diamond League comprises 14 meetings – starting with Gateshead (replacing Rabat as the first host city on this year’s circuit) on Sunday 23 May – leading to a single final across two days in Zurich at the end of the season. Each meeting will be broadcast globally in a live two-hour programme.

The 2021 calendar remains subject to change depending on the global health situation in the coming months.

(05/08/2021) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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The International Olympic Committee and Pfizer to donate vaccines to Olympic athletes

Earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Olympic officials in China announced their agreement to buy and distribute Chinese vaccines to athletes ahead of the Tokyo Games and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. This week, vaccine developers Pfizer and BioNTech have announced they will be donating doses to athletes and officials preparing for the Games to add an extra layer of safety to what many are calling a potential “super spreader event.”

This new deal with Pfizer will give the IOC greater worldwide coverage to have athletes vaccinated, since many countries have not yet authorized the Chinese vaccines for use. Doses will start being delivered this month in hopes that there will be enough time for athletes and officials to receive two doses before arriving in Tokyo. Vaccination will not be mandatory for anyone attending the Games, but IOC president Thomas Bach is encouraging all delegations to take part in the rollout.

“We are inviting the athletes and participating delegations of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games to lead by example and accept the vaccine where and when possible,” he said in a statement.

Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) CEO David Shoemaker has also voiced his approval of the decision, saying that this will provide an “important layer of protection for Canadian athletes in the lead up to and during the Games.” The Canadian Olympic team and its constituents are expected to make up approximately 1,100 people.

“The Olympic Games hold special meaning for the millions of Canadians who will be inspired by the resilience and determination of Canadian athletes this summer in Tokyo. As most provinces begin vaccination of the general population, this announcement will help more Canadians receive vaccinations quicker,” Shoemaker said.

Until now, the COC had maintained that Canadian athletes would not be jumping the queue in Canada’s vaccination rollout, but according to The Guardian, the IOC has made it clear that vaccines going to athletes and staff would not be taken from existing programs, but would “be in addition to existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world.”

With the vaccine rollout in Canada beginning to pick up steam, many Canadian athletes are already receiving their first doses without the Pfizer donation. In fact, the COC’s chief medical officer, Dr. Mike Wilkinson, has already told the Canadian Press he expects the entire team to have received at least their first dose before Tokyo.

Many people around the world have criticized the decision, arguing that vaccine donations should be sent to places like India, where COVID-19 infections have risen dramatically, but others have said that vaccinating athletes will prevent them from bringing the virus home to their communities.

“Anybody who says they should donate them to India or teachers, I get it, I would not argue with that. I understand, it’s very personal,” said Athletics Canada’s CEO David Bedford. “But I also believe that these athletes and the support staff are protected. And fortunately, the good news is that Pfizer and BioNTech have said this isn’t coming out of any allocations to countries.”

As the Games get closer, there is still a lot of opposition from the Japanese public, many of whom wish to have them cancelled. As of now, however, it seems that the Olympics will be going ahead, and having as many athletes as possible vaccinated may be the best way to ensure they can happen safely.

(05/07/2021) ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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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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Ryan Polawski raises $34,000 for rehab center after 100-mile run to Toronto and back

Hamilton’s Ryan Polawski set out on a 100-mile journey on April 30, running to Toronto and back home, where he crossed his finish line on May 1. Polawski organized this event, which he dubbed Ryan’s Run for Hope, to raise money for Teen Challenge, a rehabilitation organization that has helped him and countless other individuals overcome addiction. He completed the run, which ended up being about 168K, in 23 hours, and his fundraiser (which is still live now) currently sits at more than $34,000. 

The three biggest challenges on the run, Polawski says, were created by wind, pavement and nutrition concerns. “I had a tailwind of 70 or 80 clicks for about that first 50K,” he says. “It made that stretch feel super easy, but it was tough at the same time, because the wind pushed me to increase my cadence.” When he changed directions and hit the headwind, Polawski says it was “like running into a brick wall.” 

Next up was the pavement, which took its toll on Polawski’s body. The farthest he had run before this was 50K, so his legs were already due for a beating as he prepared to travel more than 100K farther. Running on hard pavement for 100 miles, though, made things even more difficult. “The pavement killed my IT bands,” he says. Fortunately, he had the support of a Dr. Anthony Lombardi, a chiropractor from the Hamilton Back Clinic who met up with Polawski along the route to and from Toronto to treat him and work out any kinks. 

Finally, there was the matter of nutrition. Polawski did really well with his nutrition plan for the run, and he says he felt great in terms of energy until about the 130K mark. “I ate food up until about two hours before the run,” he says. “I was so bloated when I started, but I knew I had to load up so I wouldn’t bonk.” While out on the run, he continued to fuel, even though eating was the last thing he wanted to do.

“You’re not hungry, but you have to eat,” he says. “I had at least two gels an hour, some protein bars and bananas.” He also drank pickle juice to keep his sodium levels up, and there were a few pitstops where he forced down multiple doughnuts. Eating this much was extremely difficult, Polawski says, but it worked out well, and he didn’t feel low on energy until he was into the final quarter of the run. 

Up until that point, he had made a point not to drink any coffee or Red Bull, noting that he “stayed away from caffeine until it was absolutely necessary.” After 130K, he knew it was time to add those drinks to his nutrition plan, and they gave him enough of a boost to carry him to the finish line at Hamilton City Hall. 

After 168K and 23 hours of running, Polawski made it to the finish, at which point he had raised more than $20,000 for the Teen Challenge. That number keeps climbing, and by Monday, just a couple of days after his run, his fundraiser had hit $30,000. It’s now well over $34,000 and still growing, which is why Polawski plans to keep the fundraiser open for donations through the entire month of May. 

(05/07/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Joshua Cheptegei and Monto Duplatis are set to make Czech debut in World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting, in Ostrava on May 19

World record-holders Monto Duplantis and Joshua Cheptegei, along with world U20 record-holder Sha’Carri Richardson, will compete in the Czech Republic for the first time in their careers when they line up at the Golden Spike, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting, in Ostrava on May 19.

This year’s Golden Spike will be the 60th edition and the line-up of top names already announced for the competition will ensure that the meeting will be a memorable one.

Duplantis, the Male World Athlete of the Year, will have one eye on breaking the meeting record in the pole vault.

“Ostrava will be my first outdoor competition in Europe and I am really looking forward to jumping for the first time in the Czech Republic,” said Duplantis, who will compete against two-time world champion Sam Kendricks in Ostrava. “My training and preparation back home in Louisiana has gone very well so I feel confident and hope for good conditions.”

Cheptegei, who last year set world records over 5000m and 10,000m, will step down to the 3000m in Ostrava. His best for that distance is 7:33.26, but the meeting record of 7:31.66 looks to be within reach for the world 10,000m and cross country champion from Uganda.

Richardson has already started her year in fine form. She sped to a lifetime best of 10.72 over 100m in Miramar last month, then clocked a season’s best of 22.11 over 200m one week later, just 0.11 shy of the PB she set last year.

The 21-year-old will contest the 200m in Ostrava and will face multiple world and Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and two-time world champion Dafne Schippers.

Canada’s world and Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse is confirmed for the men’s 100m, while three-time world indoor champion Pavel Maslak will go in the 400m.

World record-holder Barbora Spotakova and European indoor shot put champion Tomas Stanek are among the other leading Czech athletes who’ll be in action on 19 May. Spotakova will take on fellow Czech javelin thrower Nikola Ogrodnikova, while 2017 Diamond League winner Jakub Vadlejch will contest the men’s event.

Other confirmed Czech stars include two-time world 400m hurdles champion Zuzana Hejnova, long jumper Radek Juska, middle-distance runners Jakub Holusa and Filip Sasinek, and decathlon specialist Adam Sebastian Helcelet.

As was announced last week, world hammer record-holder Anita Wlodarczyk and 2017 world javelin champion Johannes Vetter are also confirmed to compete in Ostrava.

The Golden Spike was granted an exemption from the Czech Republic’s ban on holding mass events, and the meeting is permitted to welcome 1500 fans into the stadium.

(05/07/2021) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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2021 Grandma's Marathon receives green light for 45th annual marathon plus half marathon and 5K, races will be held as scheduled

The 45th annual Grandma’s Marathon weekend has received the green light for June, which comes as Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday a loosening of the state’s public health guidelines.

“This is a great day not just for Grandma’s Marathon but for our community as well,” Executive Director Shane Bauer said. “So many people had a hand in making this event a reality this year, and to be here today with the final approval is a testament to the effort everyone’s put in. Our staff can’t thank our state and local partners enough for their tireless work, and we look forward to once again welcoming our participants to the unofficial kickoff to summer in Duluth.”

Grandma’s Marathon and the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon are scheduled for Saturday, June 19, with the William A. Irvin 5K being run the night before.

“I am so excited to welcome Grandma’s Marathon back to the streets of Duluth,” Duluth Mayor Emily Larson added. “Last year many of us participated in Grandma’s virtual races — I loved the flexibility Grandma’s awarded us as runners, but it’s just not the same as the Canal Park finish. It’s truly one of my favorite days in the year. We are thrilled to welcome runners back to Duluth and participate in a safe and well-planned event.”

While the updated state guidelines provide a clear path forward for the 2021 Grandma’s Marathon, organizers say more specific updates as to how they will change the current race weekend plan will be announced in the coming days.

(05/07/2021) ⚡AMP
by News Tribune
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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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World Marathon champ Ruth Chepng'etich eyes stellar Olympics show

Last month, Chepng'etich tore the field apart to win the Instanbul Half Marathon in one hour, four minutes and one second (1:04:02), smashing the previous world record held by Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh by 29 seconds. 

Speaking Thursday at the Athletics Kenya offices, Nairobi after receiving the LG/Sports Journalist Association of Kenya (SJAK) Sports Personality of the Month Award for April, Chepng'etich is confident of a good outing at the Summer Games.

"I resumed training last week with focus on Olympics and so far I'm doing great. I really don't want to look at who I will be competing against, but I'm focusing on myself. With hardwork, discipline and dedication, everything is possible.It's always such a great feeling when your efforts are recognised. This award is timely and a great motivation ahead of the Olympics," a visibly jubilant Chepng'etich said.

The 26-year-old received a state-of-the-art LG Artificial Intelligence (AI) DD washing machine worth Sh92,000.

Veteeran coach Julius Kirwa said that he was closely following Chepng'etich's training program and remained optimistic of good results in Tokyo.

Chepng’etich beat Equator Rally winner Carl "Flash" Tundo, Eliud Kipchoge, who won the NN Mission Marathon in Enschede, Holland in 2:04.30 and Kenya Ports Authority Libero Sam Juma to the award.

Other nominees were Meldine Sande, who led Kenya Prisons women's volleyball team to third position at the African Clubs Championship in Tunisia and rugby star Daniel Taabu, who scored 7 tries for Kenya Sevens at the Emirates Invitational in Dubai.

Chepng’etich joins the growing list of sportsmen and women to have won the coveted title this season.

Other winners are tennis superstar Angela Okutoyi (January), basketballer Tylor Okari Ongwae of Kenya Moran's (February) and boxer Elly Ajowi (March).

LG Electronics Corporate Communications manager Maureen Kemunto noted that the company is proud to be a part of an initiative which rewards excellence.

"Our partnership with SJAK goes a long way in bolstering athletes talent and empowering them to be the backbone of sports in the country. Being an Olympic year, sports personalities are giving their all to uphold higher standards hence the need to motivate their efforts"

SJAK President Chris Mbaisi, on his part, thanked LG Electronics for their unswerving support, saying the partnership continues to make a gigantic difference in the promotion of sporting activities across the country.

(05/06/2021) ⚡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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Don’t let blisters ruin your run

We’ve all been there: a couple miles into what was supposed to be a long outing on the trail, you feel the hot spot burning inside your shoe. A damn blister. Maybe you’re in ill-fitting new shoes or bunchy socks that caused your feet to sweat. Maybe you just have blister-prone feet. Either way, a skin bubble can put an end to an otherwise great day—or lead to some serious discomfort.

Vonhof is a former paramedic and an ultrarunner who now works the medical tents at races like California’s 100-mile Western States Endurance Run and the Badwater 135, as well as Decaman, a series of ten back-to-back Ironmans in New Orleans. He gave us his best advice on blister prevention and treatment.

Take Blisters Seriously

They always seem tiny and innocuous, but they can be day enders. “Even a blister the size of a pea in the wrong spot—at the base of the toe or ball of the foot—can disrupt your gait, meaning pain could go up into your knees or your back,” says Vonhof. “Blisters can seem very minor, but if you don’t take care of them, they can get larger.” He has seen instances where a runner pushed on through a hot spot, not bothering to stop and treat it, and instead of a quarter-inch inflammation, the runner was left with a two-inch bulge covering the whole arch of their foot. Once ripped, a blister leaves a huge patch of raw, exposed skin rubbing the inside of the shoe—not a comfortable situation.

Know the Causes

It’s generally understood that pressure, friction, heat, or moisture can cause blisters to form. When layers of skin and bones move against each other, the inner connections can break down, and a fluid-filled cavity forms. There are a few simple rules to help avoid blister-causing situations. “The most important thing is fit,” Vonhof says. Not enough room in the toe box or too much space in the heel can cause pinching or shifting. Also, Vonhof says, “Skip the cotton socks.” Technical, breathable wicking blends that stay in place are key. We can recommend a few: Balega Blister Resist socks prevent clamminess and eliminate friction, Drymax makes a collection of socks for runners that keep your feet moisture-free, and Injinji’s toe socks keep your digits from rubbing. Mileage matters, too. If you try to run 50 miles off the couch, you’ll probably wind up with blisters. But steadily add distance with a training plan and your feet will thank you.

Prep Your Feet

Proper foot care means good preparation, according to Vonhof. Before a big run or hike, he recommends reducing calluses, trimming and filing toenails, and getting proper insoles for your shoes. If you’re racing long distances, plan to change your socks often, air your feet out at regular rest stations, and carry a foot-care kit (Trail Toes makes a prepackaged blister kit). If you clench your toes, work to relax your feet while running. If you’re prone to blisters or are running ultramarathons, taping problem areas in advance might be a good idea. At Badwater, Vonhof regularly pretapes the entire bottom of a runner’s foot, and he recommends Leukotape K Kinesiology tape since it stays put and molds easily. If you’re running in wet conditions or your dogs tend to sweat, apply a layer of protective, moisture-managing cream, like RunGoo, before putting on your socks. Vonhof likes Squirrel’s Nut Butter Anti-Chafe salve for slathering between toes or on heels to prevent irritation.

Ditch the Moleskin

People used to rub Vaseline on a blister, then cover it with a doughnut-shaped piece of moleskin. These days, Vonhof prescribes lancing. “It’s a debate. Should you lance the blister and get the fluid out or leave it?” Vonhof says. “Sometimes it’ll pop on its own. If it’s in an area where you’re going to continue to put pressure on it while you run or hike, you’re better off lancing it.” To do that, he recommends cleaning the skin first, then piercing it in two places with a sterile pin or needle—a safety pin, tweezers, or pocketknife sterilized with a flame or vodka will work. Gently push the fluid out. (Gravity will also help the blister drain.) Then apply an antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin, and put 2nd Skin or KT tape over the top. Standard Band-Aids don’t stick well and tend to shift.

(05/06/2021) ⚡AMP
by Megan Michelson
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ASICS blue jeans organized a free virtual mile race that you can run until the end of May, but run the mile event in jeans is a must

ASICS has organized a free virtual mile race that will run from now until May 31, but there’s a catch: everyone participating has to run in jeans. The ASICS Blue Jeans Mile was inspired by American middle-distance runner Johnny Gregorek, who set a world record when he ran a mile in 4:06.25 while wearing jeans in a 2020 fundraiser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the U.S.

This year, the event is open to anyone who wants to race, and while it’s free to enter, participants are encouraged to donate to mental health initiatives, including Canada’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Gregorek is one of the fastest milers in the U.S. right now, and he owns the American indoor mile record of 3:49.98, a time he set in 2019. He decided to trade his split shorts for blue jeans in 2020 to honour his late brother, Patrick, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 21 after struggles with mental illness. Gregorek set out to break the blue jean mile world record, which at the time stood at 4:11.80, and raise money (he set his fundraising goal at $2,500) for NAMI. He ended up smashing the record and his fundraising goal, as he ran 4:06.25 and raised more than $37,000.

This year, the event’s fundraising efforts have already eclipsed Gregorek’s total from 2020 thanks to a $40,625 donation from ASICS to NAMI.

ASICS donated that exact sum to represent world record result that Gregorek, an ASICS-sponsored runner, ran last year. The virtual race opened on May 1, and so far, thousands of dollars have been raised on top of the donation from ASICS, with a little over $6,500 tallied for NAMI by American participants and close to $3,000 for CAMH by Canadian runners. 

Alongside Gregorek’s world record is the women’s mark of 4:58.84, which American Heather Wilson (who owns a regular mile PB of 4:29.39) set in 2017. If you think you can challenge either of these records, register for the run, toss on a pair of jeans and give it a shot. Even if you don’t think you have what it takes to become the new world record holder, it’ll be fun to run all-out in a pair of jeans. You might get some funny looks, but it’ll be worth it. 

(05/06/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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2021 Boston Marathon field with biggest time cutoff in event history

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon was harder than ever this year, as the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced on Tuesday that runners hoping to compete in the famous race had to run seven minutes, 47 seconds faster than their age group qualifying times. This is a huge cutoff time, coming in a whopping six minutes faster than the cutoff of one minute, 39 seconds that the B.A.A. set ahead of the 2020 race.

This year’s cutoff has led to 9,215 runners receiving the unfortunate news that they have not been accepted for this year’s event despite having run under the original qualifying standard.  

It’s already tough to get into the Boston Marathon, and the B.A.A. continues to lower age group qualifying times as demand for the storied race increases. In 2013, qualifying standards were lowered by five minutes per age group, and these times stood until 2019. Then, ahead of the 2020 race, the bar was lowered (or raised, seeing as qualifying got tougher), by another five minutes.

Over the previous 10 races, despite quickening qualifying times, cutoffs were still necessary, as there were thousands more qualified runners than the race capacity. From 2012 to 2017, the time cutoff wasn’t too big, and Boston hopefuls only had to run a maximum of two minutes, 28 seconds faster than their age group qualifying time. Even so, these cutoffs led to thousands of runners left out of the race each year, with more than 4,000 qualified athletes missing out in 2016. 

In 2018, the cutoff jumped to three minutes, 23 seconds, and more than 5,000 runners were left off the start list. The next year, 7,200 runners missed the cutoff, which had been raised to close to five minutes. There was a dip in 2020, and the cutoff dropped to one minute, 39 seconds, but it shot right back up to seven minutes, 47 seconds, setting the bar higher than ever before for anyone hoping to race in Boston. 

The pandemic is a big reason for this huge cutoff time. In the past decade, the smallest Boston field size has been 27,000 runners, and that was in 2011 and 2012. Since then, the field hasn’t been smaller than 30,000 runners. This year, due to COVID-19, the field has been reduced to just 20,000 runners — a field size the race hasn’t seen since the early 2000s. With demand for the race as high as ever, that meant the B.A.A. had to make the tough call to implement an unprecedented cutoff time, resulting in close to 10,000 runners not being accepted. 

The B.A.A. accepted 14,609 runners who met the cutoff, and the additional few thousand spots will be filled by elites and invited athletes who are running as part of the Boston Marathon’s Official Charity Program and John Hancock’s Non-Profit Program.

(05/06/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

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 games was composed of B.A.A. club members. The Olympic Games provided the inspiration for the first Boston Marathon, which culminated the B.A.A. Games on April 19, 1897. John J. McDermott emerged from a...

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World Athletics president Sebastian Coe expects Tokyo Olympics to go ahead after test event in Japan

The World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe, says he understands the nervousness in Japan over hosting an Olympics during a pandemic – but believes the Games will go ahead safely after attending a half marathon test event in Sapporo on Wednesday.

Japan is battling a resurgence in coronavirus infections and opinion polls consistently find the majority of the public is opposed to the Games, which are due to open on 23 July.

Those concerns have been exacerbated by a slow vaccine rollout, with much of the country also under a state of emergency, and Coe said he recognised that many Japanese people had concerns.

“We take that nervousness very, very seriously,” he said. “We have Covid protocols that have been tried and tested, and I’ve witnessed them here. We take very seriously the health and wellbeing of local communities.”

“But the challenges are big. I don’t believe any Olympic Games has been delivered under more difficult circumstances. These Games have an overlay of complexity that is beyond most comprehension.”

There was a muted atmosphere during the test event as security guards stood with signs around their necks asking people to “please refrain from watching the race” to prevent infections.

However, a few onlookers ignored their pleas and clapped as Kenya’s Hillary Kipkoech won the men’s race in 1hr 46sec and Japan’s Mao Ichiyama won the women’s race in 1hr 8min 28sec.

Tokyo 2020’s deputy executive director of games operations, Yasuo Mori, said no one had tested positive for Covid-19, with the 69 athletes made to stay in hotels with no contact with the public.

Organizers will decide next month whether fans can attend events, but supporters from abroad have already been banned. However, Coe said that even if there were no crowds in stadiums “the Games will still take place and the competition will still be extremely good”.

Coe, who was head of the 2012 London Olympics, said it was “really important that when the world looks to coming out of Covid that it can see optimism.

“ The Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games will be totemic of that optimism and hope going forward. So it is important that the Games are delivered successfully and they’re delivered safely.”

Tokyo is officially spending £11.1bn to hold the Olympics, but some estimates say it is twice that much. The IOC is pushing on with the Games, partly because 73% of its income is from selling broadcast rights.

(05/05/2021) ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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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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