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Tokyo olympics chief Yoshiro Mori apologizes for remarks demeaning women

Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, already facing rising costs and significant public opposition to this summer’s Games, faced a new furor on Wednesday after the president of the Tokyo organizing committee suggested women talk too much in meetings.

The president, Yoshiro Mori, stoked a social media backlash after news reports emerged of his comments demeaning women during an executive meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee that was held online.

“On boards with a lot of women, the board meetings take so much time,” Mr. Mori, 83, said to laughter, according to a report in the Asahi Shimbun, one of the country’s largest daily newspapers. “Women have a strong sense of competition. If one person raises their hand, others probably think, I need to say something too. That’s why everyone speaks.”

Mr. Mori, a former prime minister, was responding to a question asking him to comment on the Olympic committee’s plan to increase the number of women board members to more than 40 percent of the total.

“You have to regulate speaking time to some extent,” Mr. Mori said. “Or else we’ll never be able to finish.”

The reports came just as Olympic organizers were releasing guidelines to reassure citizens and visitors that they would be able to secure the safety of athletes and others during the rescheduled Games this summer.

On Twitter, users quickly began calling for Mori to resign. Others suggested Mori’s age, and his outdated attitude, were the real problem.

At a news conference on Thursday, Mr. Mori said he had no intention of resigning. “I recognize the remark was against the spirit of Olympics and Paralympics,” he said. “I deeply regret what I said.” Mr. Mori said he wanted to retract his remarks, and he apologized “to those who felt uncomfortable.”

(02/05/2021) ⚡AMP
by Motoko Rich, Hikari Hida and Makiko Inoue
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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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Stanbic Bank Kenya unveil marathon queen Brigid Kosgei as brand ambasaddor

Stanbic Bank Kenya have engaged world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei as their brand ambassador for a period of two years.

Kosgei, the reigning London and Chicago Marathon champion, will now drive Stanbic Bank's new brand positioning and campaign dubbed “It Can Be,” aimed at inspiring and encouraging both the internal and external stakeholders to dream big and achieve their goals.

While unveiling Kosgei at a ceremony at Kempinski Hotel, Nairobi on Thursday, Stanbic Bank Kenya chief executive officer, Charles Mudiwa, said that they will engage the 2019 and 2020 London Marathon champion in many fields to enhance delivery and performance at their bank.

Mudiwa said their partnership with Kosgei is also in line with Stanbic Bank’s commitment to empower women.

“Through its women proposition DADA, the bank continues to proactively invest in women and their businesses for a more equitable and progressive society,” explained Mudiwa, adding that through various financial and non-financial offerings, the bank has managed to bring on board over 10,000 women, and the numbers keep growing.

“Brigid is a fitting international athlete and has achieved a great deal at such a young age and is a true reflection of the brand. Her determination and focus portrays the very essence of It Can Be,” said Mudiwa. “It Can Be speaks to the philosophy of who we are and where we are going as a Kenyan Bank.”

The 26-year-old Kosgei said that he was humbled by Stanbic Bank’s gesture and vowed to use the opportunity to sensitize the girl-child on the importance of education and sports.

“I dropped out of school since my parents were unable to pay my school fees and that is why I shall endeavor to give my children good education as well as push them into sports,” said Kosgei, adding that everyone faces challenges in life, but it should not deter us from going forth and achieving our goals.

Kosgei said Stanbic Bank has been there to support her journey and helped her realize her dreams.

(02/04/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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2021 Tokushima Marathon won´t take place and this is the second year in a row that the event has been cancelled due to the pandemic

On Feb. 3 the organizing committee for the Tokushima Marathon announced that this year's race, scheduled for Mar. 28, has been cancelled.

The second year in a row that the event has been called off, the committee's decision to cancel was unanimous.

With the national government's decision to extend the state of emergency in ten prefectures and the impending demands of vaccine distribution, the organizing committee felt that it was important to prioritize society's needs and not to ask medical staff to put time and energy toward a marathon. 

The 2300 people already entered will their entry fees completely refunded. They and others will also have the option to run a virtual 42.195 km race whenever they like using the race's official app.

With regard to next year's race, prefectural officials commented, "We will monitor the situation surrounding the virus moving forward and evaluate whether the race can be held."

With 11,010 finishers in 2019 Tokushima was one of the last big spring marathons still on Japan's spring calendar.

(02/04/2021) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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Tokushima Marathon

Tokushima Marathon

Come and join us for the Tokushima Marathon Kizuna where your family, and friends can be part of our fun event. ...

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The extraordinary feats of the world’s oldest marathon runner Sikh Superman Fauja Singh are to be immortalised in a biopic produced in his native India

Fauja Singh, 109, who broke marathon records and was dubbed the “Sikh Superman” before hanging up his running shoes six years ago, will be the subject of a Bollywood film, Fauja, tracing his remarkable career.

The life of Fauja Singh, the oldest marathon runner in the world, will be told in a Bollywood film.

The biopic on the ‘Sikh Superman’, titled Fauja will be directed by Omung Kumar. He will also produce it alongside Kunal Shivdasani and Raaj Shaandilya.

Omung is best known for Mary Kom, which starred Priyanka Chopra and won a National Film Award in 2014 for ‘Best Popular Film’. He also directed Sarbjit.

According to Deadline, Fauja will tell the story of how 109-year-old Fauja Singh shocked the world by breaking a number of records in multiple age brackets as a marathon runner.

Singh made his London marathon debut in 2000 at the age of 89. He has gone on to complete the famed marathon six times.

He has also completed marathons in New York and in Toronto twice.

The film’s screenplay is being adapted from his biography Turbaned Tornado, which was written by Khushwant Singh.

Vipul Mehta, who is known for the Gujarati film Carry on Kesar, has written the film’s script.

On the film, Omung said: “The story of Fauja Singh depicts the insurmountable odds stacked against him and what sheer power of will can make of someone who is challenged medically, by age and by society.”

Kunal added: “It is a beautiful story about a man whose life takes him on an epic journey making him a world icon as he discovers his passion for running marathons; eventually that guided him to make an impact on the world by bringing about a change to humanity.

“Omung is a dear friend and we share the same vision for the film, he has helmed Sarbjit and Mary Kom – two of the best and most successful biopics in the country and so having him chair the director’s role for this film was a unanimous decision.

“Our film intends to make the amazing journey of Fauja Singh personal to everyone watching it.”

Raaj said: “Fauja Singh is the real king and we are all honored to present his story in the form of a cinematic experience for the Indian diaspora world over.

“This story takes us on a journey through time and makes the realization of what our grandparents have been through hit home.

“It is a film that promises an instant connect.”

(02/04/2021) ⚡AMP
by Hugh Tomlinson
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2021 Eugene Marathon has been cancelled due to the pandemic

After careful consideration, the 2021 Eugene Marathon will shift to a fully virtual event in late April of 2021. 

Over the fall and winter, the Eugene Marathon staff worked with partners at Lane County Public Health, the City of Eugene, the University of Oregon and PeaceHealth to plan for a COVID-modified, in-person event; but due to the current state of the pandemic and the projected timing of the vaccine roll out, it has become clear that putting on a safe, in-person event in April is not possible. 

“When we opened registration in the fall, we were hopeful that 2021 would be our year to return to in-person races and to our roots at Hayward Field,” Race Director Ian Dobson said. “But as we have gone through the planning process, it has become clear that our community partners and the medical support staff we rely on will still be very busy serving our community in a significant way by providing treatment and vaccinations.”

“We also acknowledge the impact that our event could have on COVID transmissions,” Dobson added. “The fact that we attract participants from all 50 states and around the globe is something we are extremely proud of, but right now it would clearly be irresponsible for us to put our community at risk by hosting an event with that sort of reach."

The Eugene Marathon, which takes place annually on the final weekend of April, consists of a Marathon, Half Marathon, Eugene 5K, Kid’s Duck Dash, and Health & Wellness Expo. All events, including a live-streaming Finish Festival will now take place virtually. A final schedule will be announced in March. All 2021 registrants have been notified by email and will be provided a week to defer their entry for free to 2022 or to stay in the virtual event.

“Life has changed significantly since we became the healthcare sponsor for Eugene Marathon in 2019. Through the challenges of the last year, it became apparent how socially conscious Eugene Marathon is as an organization. And this decision truly highlights their commitment to doing what’s right for our communities,” said Todd Salnas, chief operating officer, PeaceHealth Oregon. “We are proud to support this year’s virtual event and associated activities and look forward to the possibility of celebrating together in person at Hayward Field in 2022.”

“We are looking at innovative ways to approach the virtual race experience and make it as fun and interactive as possible,” Dobson said. “There will be multiple days of activities available throughout race weekend. “

 

(02/04/2021) ⚡AMP
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Eugene Marathon

Eugene Marathon

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

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Cruz Culpepper runs 3:59.53 mile, joins father on list of sub-4 runners

Cruz and Alan Culpepper are just the 13th father-son duo to have both broken the four-minute barrier.

University of Washington freshman Cruz Culpepper opened his collegiate career in impressive style at the UW Indoor Preview on January 30, running a 3:59.53 mile for the first sub-four-minute result of his young career. With the run, Culpepper becomes the 11th UW runner to break four minutes in the mile, and he also joins his father, former U.S. Olympian Alan Culpepper, on the elite list. Cruz and Alan are the 13th father-son duo in history to have broken the four-minute barrier.

The Culpeppers:

Alan ran for the University of Colorado in the 90s, and he won the NCAA outdoor 5,000m crown in 1996. He represented the U.S. on the world stage on multiple occasions, and in 2000, he competed in the 10,000m at the Sydney Olympics. Four years later, he won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials to secure a spot on the team at the Athens Games, where he ran to a 12th-place finish in 2:15:26. (Alan’s wife and Cruz’s mother, Shayne Culpepper, also ran at the Olympics, competing in the 1,500m in 2000 and 5,000m in 2004.) Alan ran to consecutive top-five results at the Boston Marathon in 2005 and 2006 before retiring a couple of seasons later in 2008. 

Alan’s first sub-four mile came in 1998, when he was 26, at a meet in St. Louis. He posted a blazing-fast time of 3:55.12, which he followed up a month later with another four-minute mile in Massachusetts, where he ran 3:58.47.  

At just 18 years old (he’ll turn 19 in April), Cruz reached the sub-four milestone eight years earlier than his dad. His result comes just under a year since his last run at the UW track, when he came agonizingly close to breaking four minutes, competing as a high schooler, with a final time of 4:00.10. Cruz literally dove across the line in that race last year, giving everything he had in his attempt to go sub-four, but this year he fared much better, staying on his feet right through to the finish.

"It was fun,"  he said after the race. “It’s definitely cool to open up with a sub-four. I felt super comfortable all the way through it. I mean, it was tough, but I knew I could do it. I didn’t have anything slower than sub-four in my head.”

Joining more father-son duos

The website bringbackthemile.com names all 13 father-son duos on this exclusive list of sub-four milers, and it has several names running fans will recognize. Americans Matt Centrowitz Sr. and Matthew Centrowitz Jr. (the latter of whom is the reigning Olympic 1,500m champion) joined the list in 2009, John and Johnny Gregorek were added in 2015 and the Culpeppers are the newest pair to occupy a spot. 

(02/03/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Paris 2024 will have a contingency plan if COVID-19 crisis is not over

Paris will be ready to host the 2024 Olympics even if the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing as organisers have been working on contingency plans, Tony Estanguet, the head of the organising committee, said on Tuesday.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed by a year and organisers are facing a tough challenge to host the sporting extravaganza this July and August as the COVID-19 crisis rages on.

Speaking to Reuters at the Eiffel Tower, Estanguet said that Paris 2024 is preparing for any eventuality.

“When you organise events like this, you try to anticipate, but nobody could imagine that COVID-19 would create such a mess in our lives. We can predict a lot of things, but not this,” he said.

“What’s interesting is to see how we can react to unpredictable events. As early as last year, we had to re-organise and work on a new concept, in terms of competition sites, for instance, to see how we could adapt to a new context.

“In the end in a few months we managed to propose a project that was still ambitious and generated some savings. That’s the mindset we’re in. There’s no official plan B but we’re identifying the risks and the solutions. And we will be working on this until the end because risks constantly evolve.”

Asked if organisers would be ready to host the Games in 2024 if the situation was similar to this year, Estanguet said: “There are solutions.”

KEEP CALM AND STAY FOCUSED

With the 2020 Olympics delayed by a year, there were fears that the sharing of information between Tokyo and Paris would be impacted.

Estanguet, however, insisted both organising committees had been in constant contact, allowing the French to learn valuable lessons from their Japanese counterparts in terms of COVID-19 crisis management.

“Since 2018, we’ve been exchanging on security, transport, ticketing, volunteering - we’ve been sharing information for three years now and we’ve been benefiting from all the measures they set up last year,” he explained.

“Even if the Games have not happened yet, we’ve learnt a lot from Tokyo already.”

Preparations for sporting events can be severely disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions, as tennis players have recently discovered by going through a strict two-week quarantine ahead of tournaments in Australia.

Yet according to Estanguet, the Olympic Games are an athlete’s dream and the participants will be ready to adapt.

(02/03/2021) ⚡AMP
by Julien Pretot
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Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Paris 2024 Olympic Games

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

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Marius Van Heerden, triple South African champion has died from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic claimed one of the best middle distance runners ever produced in South Africa, Marius van Heerden, in Cape Town last Thursday (January 21). Van Heerden, a former South African senior record holder and junior champion in the 800 meters, as well as national senior champion over 1500m, was just 46 years-old.

Van Heerden represented South Africa at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 1997 World Championships in Athens. He first received national colours for a tour to India in 1993.

Van Heerden came onto the national scene in 1991 when he won the national U17 800m title in Germiston in 1:51.82. A year later in Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium he beat Hezekiel Sepeng (who is two months older) into second place to take the U19 gold medal in 1:49.17. A month earlier in Bellville he had run his best time of 1:48.63.

In September 1992 he finished sixth at the World Junior Championships in Seoul in 1:48.71.

The next year, 1993, he improved to 1:46.38 in Pretoria behind Johan Landsman, and also ran 1:46.55, 1:46.59, 1:46.87 and 1:46.89. The fastest time placed him fourth on the world junior list, with the 11th best time (Sepeng had the three quickest). He could not better this in 1994 and 1995, but in the Olympic year he reached the pinnacle of his career when he set a new South African record of 1:44.57 in Cape Town on April 12 — improving the national mark that had stood for 25 years behind the names of Dicky Broberg and March Fiasconaro. Although this performance was surpassed four times later in the year by Sepeng, who eventually won the silver medal in Atlanta, Van Heerden’s time placed him 23rd on the world list for the year. He also ran the fastest South African time for 1000m, a personal best of 2:17.64, as well as 1:45.52 and 1:45.99.

At the Olympic Games Van Heerden was eliminated in the first round when he finished third in his heat in 1:47.46. Three weeks before, he had been eighth in the Bislett Games in 1:46.31, then his fourth fastest time.

Earlier in the year he had run the best mile of his career when he finished third behind Johan Botha and Sepeng in 3:57.49 — also the third fastest SA time for 1996.

He never won the SA senior title over two laps, but the year 1997 started off well for him when he took the 1500m title in 3:42.11 — interestingly enough, at altitude in Potchefstroom. (He twice won the silver medal over 800m, in 1993 and 1998, and in 1995 the bronze; he was also third in the 1500m in 1996. As a junior, apart from his two 800m titles, he also won the silver medal over 800m in 1993 and over 1500m in 1991.)

A month later he ran his best 800 time of the year when he clocked 1:45.63 in Cape Town. At the World Championships he qualified for the quarterfinal with a third place in his heat in 1:47.56, but then finished only sixth in the next round and was eliminated.

He recorded the two fastest SA times for 1000m in 1997, with a best of 2:18.25.

In 1998 his best 800 was 1:46.83 (for 8th on the SA list) and in 2000 1:46.64 (also 8th). He finished his career with eleven performances under 1:47.00 and at the time of his death he was still seventh on the SA all-time list.

Van Heerden twice represented South Africa in international test matches and won the 800 on both occasions: against Italy in 1996 (1:49.4) and against Russia in 1998 (1:46.83).

(02/03/2021) ⚡AMP
by Riël Hauman
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Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon has been postponed to 2022

Stacked fields had been announced for the February 19 event but it will no longer take place this year

There will be no Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon this year, with organisers confirming that the 15th edition which had been scheduled for February 19 will now take place in 2022.

Stacked fields including three-time world half-marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor, world half-marathon record-holder Kibiwott Kandie, world half-marathon champion Jacob Kiplimo, world half-marathon record-holder Ababel Yeshaneh (pictured), world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei and two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri had been announced for the event.

‘Elite bubble’ procedures had been put in place for the race in Ras Al Khaimah, which is the northernmost emirate of the United Arab Emirates, because of the pandemic.

It had also been set to include a 500-strong mass event, however the ever-changing pandemic situation has forced a rethink.

“After careful consideration, we have taken the decision to postpone the 15th edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, which was set to take place on February 19th, 2021 on Al Marjan Island, to 2022,” the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said in a statement.

“This is a necessary measure to protect the wellbeing of our participants, spectators and staff in light of the ever-evolving situation. All registered participants will receive a refund, as per the cancellation policy and, as gesture of gratitude and a thank you for ongoing support, all UAE registered runners will receive their race pack and race medal.

“The safety of all visitors to Ras Al Khaimah remains our utmost priority and we are very grateful for the understanding and support of the event participants at this time. We hope any participants who planned to stay in Ras Al Khaimah will continue to enjoy the diverse beach, adventure and culture offer in the Emirate.”

(02/03/2021) ⚡AMP
by Athletics Weekly
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

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

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2021 Mercedes Marathon postponed until 2022 due to pandemic

Runners who were looking forward to the popular Mercedes-Benz Marathon will have to wait until 2022 after it was announced Monday that the race will be postponed.

Birmingham Marathon, Inc. and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. (MBUSI) have jointly decided to postpone the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend out of caution amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The 20th Mercedes Marathon will now be held a full year later – in February of 2022.

“Based on the current situation with COVID-19 and the inability to secure event permits for the postponed April date, we could not in good conscience proceed with hosting the event this spring,” said Valerie Cuddy, Chairman of the event. “We understand it is a huge disappointment, but this is necessary for the health and safety of all involved. The pandemic has deeply impacted planning, access to resources needed to carry out the race and the uncertainty will not allow us to put on a quality event and protect our runners, staff and volunteers who have made the event so successful during its 19-year history.”

Birmingham Marathon, Inc. will be reaching out to all registered participants to confirm options to roll over registrations to the 2022 event.

The modified Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s Kids Mercedes-Benz Marathon is still taking place.

(02/02/2021) ⚡AMP
by Jordan Highsmith
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Mercedes-Benz Marathon

Mercedes-Benz Marathon

The race is a Boston Marathon qualifier and attracts racers from across the nation and around the world. The race was founded in 2003 as a fundraising effort for The Bell Center, a program for developmentally-challenged children. Celebrating 18 years, we're Alabama's premier running weekend! Bring the family and stretch out your legs on Saturday with our Regions Superhero 5K...

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Japanese woman Mariko Yugeta, sets W60 world record with 2:52 marathon in Osaka

Sunday’s Osaka Women’s Marathon in Japan saw many fast results, including a course record and world-leading time from Mao Ichiyama, who won the race in 2:21:11. Ichiyama’s win was not the biggest story of the day, however, as she and the rest of the field were overshadowed by Mariko Yugeta, a 62-year-old woman who posted an age group world record of 2:52:13.

Yugeta’s time was good enough for 48th place, and it smashed the previous W60 world record of 2:56:54, which she set in 2019.

Not only is this a world record for  Yugeta, but it’s also a personal best. That’s right — she’s 62 years old and beating times she set years ago. Since joining the W60 age group, Yugeta has broken the marathon world record three times. Her first record run came in November 2019, when she became the first W60 runner to break three hours in the marathon. She ran 2:59:15 at the Shimonoseki Kaikyo Marathon in Japan, shattering the previous world record of 3:02:50 that France’s Claudine Marchadier set in 2007.

Yugeta´s next record-breaking run came just one month after her initial sub-three-hour result, this time at Japan’s Saitama International Marathon. Despite having run a marathon weeks earlier, she managed to lower her own record even more, finishing in 18th place in 2:56:54. She failed to break her record in 2020, but she did post another sub-three-hour result, running the Osaka Women’s Marathon in 2:59:23. Finally, Yugeta ran her current PB of 2:52:13 on Sunday, but she isn’t satisfied just yet.

As reported by Japan Running News (JRN), Yugeta is registered for the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, which is set for March 14, and she says she will be looking to run even quicker than she did in Osaka. “I want to keep my legs in perfect condition and go for 2:50 or 2:51,” she said.

This might seem too ambitious, but as the JRN article notes, Yugeta struggled in the final weeks of her build to the Osaka Women’s marathon. She reportedly dealt with fatigue (which is understandable, as she runs incredibly high mileage, hitting 800K per month in the summers) and pain in her glutes. Fortunately, she was able to remedy this discomfort through acupuncture treatments, and she said her run in Osaka was pain-free.

Still, even though she felt fine on race day doesn’t mean the ghosts of those nagging issues weren’t affecting her. With those problems behind her, she could have a better build ahead of the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, which could mean the W60 world record will be lowered once again.

(02/02/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Osaka International Womens Marathon

Osaka International Womens Marathon

The Osaka International Ladies Marathon is an annual marathon road race for women over the classic distance of 42.195 kilometres which is held on the 4th or 5th Sunday of January in the city of Osaka, Japan, and hosted by Japan Association of Athletics Federations, Kansai Telecasting Corporation, the Sankei Shimbun, Sankei Sports, Radio Osaka and Osaka City. The first...

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2021 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon has been moved to April 10

This year’s edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon earlier slated for February 13, has now been shifted till April 10, the organisers disclosed yesterday.

Last week, the Nilayo Sports Management Chief Executive Officer, Bukola Olopade, stated that the number of athletes taking part in the 2021 event was reduced from its usual 100,000 runners to 300 to stay within the regulatory procedure of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on why it was postponed, Olopade stated that even though Lagos State government, the sponsors and the organisers were fully ready, there was the need to move the event forward to April 10 due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Olopade added: “We are not going to increase the number from 300 runners even though a lot of foreign athletes want to use the silver label Access Bank Lagos City marathon to cement their qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

“As we speak, this Lagos city marathon has been listed by World Athletics as qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics. Even the April 10 date is already on their website,” Olopade said, adding that the 300 tickets available for the 2021 edition would be distributed to athletes both from the country and those coming from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, United Kingdom, USA and other countries.

“The 2021 Lagos City Marathon would be exclusive for the 42km race. The 10km race and the wheelchair race won’t be part of this year’s edition. The health of the athletes and everyone, who will attend the event, is very important to us. The absence of the 10km race won’t take away the glamour of the event.”

“Lagos State has become a sports tourist attraction because of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon. We are always happy to support and make sure that the marathon happens and get better every year. We are looking forward to the April 10 date to show to the world that Lagos is a destination place to visit,” Olopade stated.

(02/02/2021) ⚡AMP
by Gowon Akpodonor
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Access Bank Lagos City Marathon

Access Bank Lagos City Marathon

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

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Commonwealth 10,000m bronze medalist, Rodgers Kwemoi, will be seeking a win at the Ras Al Khaimah

Kwemoi, will be seeking a win at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon to make up for the pain of missing out on victory at last Sunday's Discovery Kenya Cross Country Championships in Eldoret.

The former world junior 10,000m champion finished third behind winner Nicholas Kimeli and Africa Games' 5,000m champion Robert Kiprop.

“This is part of my speed and endurance build-up ahead of for RAK but I have to run well at the national championships cum trials first. My preparations have been good and that is why I had to run well in this race,” the Mount Elgon-born athlete said. 

However, it will be a tall order for Kwemoi in the United Arab Emirates as he will have to upstage a star-studded roster in the men's category including world Half Marathon record holder, Kibiwott Kandie, world half marathon champion Jacob Kiplimo from Uganda and former world record holder Geoffrey Kamworor.

Others hoping to start off the year in style include former world half marathon silver medalist Bedan Karoki, RAK silver medalist Alexander Munyao, Stephen Kiprop and New York Marathon champion Shura Kitata of Ethiopia.  

Kwemoi will also be chasing an Olympics slot in 10,000m and is optimistic he can end the country's dry spell in the long distance race since the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.

“I want to run 10,000 m as I focus on the Olympics. I want to bring the 10,000m Olympic gold after Kenya having the dry spell over the medal,” Kwemoi said.

(02/02/2021) ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

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

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Ukrop Monument Avenue 10k date has been moved to June

The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by Kroger won’t be held as a traditional single-day event on March 27 due to ongoing public health and safety guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 10k will take place on June 3-6, 2021.

The rescheduled event will be held in a socially-distanced manner over four days at two locations: Byrd Park in the City of Richmond and Dorey Park and the Virginia Capital Trail in Henrico County.

Two official 10k courses will have a start and finish line, mile markers, directional signage, on-site packet pick up, and a finisher zone, and can be accessed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from June 3- through June 6.

Timing will be available at both course locations to provide official results for participants. Participants can expect minimal traffic in Byrd Park where roads will be closed at the start and finish lines.

Dorey Park and the Virginia Capital Trail provide a course free of vehicular traffic.

Each course will also have markings for the one-mile Kids Run throughout the event weekend.

(02/01/2021) ⚡AMP
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Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K

Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K

Making a resolution to be more active? Looking to break a personal record? Want to do something for yourself? Hoping to start a fun new tradition with friends and family? This is the event for you! Join the thousands of others who will take to the Avenue for the 10k. Enjoy block after block of great local bands and spirit...

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African Games 5000m champion Robert Kiprop destroyed a strong field to win the men’s 10km race at the Discovery Kenya Cross Country

African Games 5000m champion Robert Kiprop destroyed a strong field to win the men’s 10km race at the Discovery Kenya Cross Country held Sunday at the Eldoret Sports Club.

Running on a near-flat course and under a scorching sun, Kiprop timed 30:17.8 to dethrone last year’s winner Nicholas Kimeli who finished second in 30:20.8 while Commonwealth Games 10000m bronze medallist Rodgers Kwemoi placed third in 30:25.3.

World 10000m bronze medallist Rhonex Kipruto was fifth after crossing the finish line in 30:33.5

Kiprop who trains at St Patrick’s High School Iten alongside Kipruto said he is now eyeing a slot in Kenya’s team for the Africa Cross Country slated for Togo in March 1-2.

“It was a very tough race considering the opponents I was facing with the likes of Kipruto and Kwemoi. This is my first race this season and I am now going to work hard as I prepare for the national championships. I am also targeting Olympics in 5000m,” Kiprop said in an interview after the race.

On his part Kwemoi said he was using the race as a warm up for the upcoming Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon scheduled for February 19 at the United Arab Emirates.

The fast-rising Daisy Cherotich from Nandi stunned bigwigs in the corresponding women’s race when she took the lead in the second lap of the 2km loop to win the race in 33:53.6

 

The 20-year-old said she is now shifting her focus to the nationals in a fortnight as she eyes to make her maiden appearance in Kenyan colours.

“I was not expecting to win today but I thank God I made it despite the tough competition. I know it will be much tougher at the nationals but I will do my best,” said Cherotich.

Eva Cherono timed 34:01.9 to finish second as Eunice Chebichi closed the podium in 34:15.7

Reigning Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Jemeli was fifth in 34:31.3 while African Games 5000m champion Lilian Kasait who recently won the Prison’s championships ranked seventh in 34:41.0

In the boy’s 8km race, Gideon Rono reigned supreme in 23:01.6 as Monicah Jepngetich emerged top in the girl’s 6km race after clocking 20:55.6

The event also doubled as the Central Rift championships, with the region picking their team for the nationals slated for Ngong Race Course in a fortnight.

Selected Results

10km senior men

1 Robert Kiprop 30:17.82 Nicholas Kimeli 30:20.83 Rodgers Kwemoi 30:25.34 Titus Kiptotich 30:28.75 Rhonex Kipruto 30:33.56 Emmanuel Rutto 30:37.1

10km senior women

1 Daisy Cherotich 33:53.62 Eva Cherono 34:01.93 Eunice Chebichi 34:15.74 Gladys Chepkirui 34:26.25 Valary Jemeli 34:31.36 Jackline Rotich 34:31.8

6km junior women

1 Monica Jepngetich 20:55.62 Jackline Jepkoech 21:00.13 Sharon Jerono 21:10.24 Brenda Jepchumba 21:27.25 Zena Jeptoo 21:29.56 Deborah Chemutai 21:33.6

8km junior men

1 Gideon Rono 24:01.62 Brian Kiprop 24:31.73 Emmanuel Maru 24:36.94 Emmanuel Kiplagat 24:39.45 Levy Kibet 24:43.56 Ismael Kirui 24:46.1

(02/01/2021) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo Olympians finish 1, 2 in Osaka Women's Marathon

Japan Olympic team member Mao Ichiyama won the Osaka Women's Marathon in a race record 2 hours, 21 minutes, 11 seconds on Sunday, finishing ahead of fellow Tokyo Olympian Honami Maeda.

Organizers moved this year's race off public streets due to the coronavirus pandemic, rerouting it to 14-plus laps of a 2.8-kilometer circuit around Osaka's Nagai Park, finishing inside Yanmar Stadium Nagai.

Ichiyama's time was about two minutes shy of the Japan women's record of 2:19:12 run by 2004 Olympic champion Mizuki Noguchi at the September 2005 Berlin Marathon.

Both Ichiyama and Maeda entered the race aiming to break Noguchi's record, but Maeda fell off the pace early on, while Ichiyama's pace slackened around the halfway point.

Ichiyama did break Noguchi's meet record of 2:21:18 from 2003, while Maeda still managed a personal best of 2:23:30.

 

(01/31/2021) ⚡AMP
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Osaka International Womens Marathon

Osaka International Womens Marathon

The Osaka International Ladies Marathon is an annual marathon road race for women over the classic distance of 42.195 kilometres which is held on the 4th or 5th Sunday of January in the city of Osaka, Japan, and hosted by Japan Association of Athletics Federations, Kansai Telecasting Corporation, the Sankei Shimbun, Sankei Sports, Radio Osaka and Osaka City. The first...

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Thinking About the Boston-Chicago Double? Before You Commit, Here Are a Few Things to Consider

The rare chance to run two major marathons on back-to-back days is tempting...

The 2021 World Marathon Majors schedule isn’t set in stone, but if all goes to the current plan, it is going to look vastly different this fall.

With the announcement that the Boston Marathon will take place on October 11, the six World Marathon Majors will be run within a six-week period between September 26 and November 7. And, don’t forget about the Olympic Marathons, which will take place on August 7 (women’s) and August 8 (men’s).

Berlin Marathon: September 26

London Marathon: October 3

Chicago Marathon: October 10

Boston Marathon: October 11

Tokyo Marathon: October 17

New York City Marathon: November 7

Yes, you’re seeing that correctly—Chicago and Boston are scheduled to be on back-to-back days.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen back-to-back marathon majors like this. The London Marathon and Boston Marathon have been a day apart 11 times in the history of the races, since both events happen in April. The most recent occurrence of this was in 2011.

While we may see watered-down elite fields at these races as a result of this packed schedule, an intriguing challenge has also emerged: a marathon major double with Chicago and Boston.

In additional to a physical challenge, the logistics of running races in different parts of the country on consecutive days is complex—but it’s not unheard of. We see this in the World Marathon Challenge, where runners like Becca Pizzi run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. Michael Ortiz, a New York City-based runner, ran back-to-back 100-milers on his quest to complete 100 100-milers in 100 weeks, which he finished in October 2020.

The master of consecutive races is Michael Wardian. He did 10 marathons in 10 days, and he’s even doubled up marathons on the same day when, in 2013, he won the Rock ’n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon in the morning and then took 10th at the Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon that night.

If your interest is piqued by this challenge, here’s a few things you need to consider, with some tips from the master himself.

You need to get entry into each marathon

For starters, the races are tough enough to get into, with Chicago’s drawing and guaranteed-entry systems, and Boston’s qualifying times.

If by chance you do get into both, you’re shelling out $180 for Boston and $205 for Chicago, and that’s if you’re from the U.S. If you’re an international runner, the race entry fee is more like $240 and $230, respectively.

You need to pick up both race bibs

An often-overlooked facet of race weekend is bib pickup. Typically these large marathons don’t have race-day bib pick-up, which poses a problem if you’re running another marathon the day before the race.

Some races, like Boston, are usually pretty good about letting someone else pick up your bib for you, if you follow their requirements. Wardian recommends recruiting a team to help you out with this.

Here’s a possible scenario for the Chicago-Boston weekend:

Fly to Boston on Friday to get that bib

Fly to Chicago on Saturday to pick up that bib

Run the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, then later in the day fly to Boston

Run the Boston Marathon on Monday

But that extra flight and overnight stay in Boston is big cost just to pick up a bib. And speaking of costs...

The cost of traveling from the Midwest to New England on race weekend will be high

Assuming someone can pick up your bib for you in Boston, you’ll need, at minimum, a flight from your hometown to Chicago, a flight from Chicago to Boston, then a flight from Boston back to your hometown. If your hometown is either Chicago or Boston, then lucky you! You can eliminate one of those flights.

Flights are cheap right now because of the pandemic, but they could go up soon if COVID-19 cases start to decline, with the vaccine. In the third quarter of 2019, the average cost of a flight originating at Chicago’s O’Hare airport was $333.50, and the average cost of a flight originating at Boston’s Logan airport was $329.45, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (However we recently spotted some late-afternoon, one-way flights from O’Hare to Logan for less than $200 on Google Flights!) Based on that information, your flights could run you close to $1,000.

Keep in mind, because you have a limited window for the time of departure for your flight from Chicago and Boston, the best option time-wise might not be the cheapest option available. Remember, your whole morning and early afternoon are likely spent running and getting to the airport. Also you won’t want to arrive too late in Boston, since you have an early wakeup to get out to Hopkinton.

Let’s say you take an Uber to the airport for each flight, and with expected surge costs, that could cost you $50 per Uber ride. Add in two nights of hotel stays, which will likely surge as well because of the big crowds in town. A quick scan of TripAdvisor shows that both Chicago hotel rooms and Boston hotel rooms the night before the respective marathons are running upward of $400.

And this doesn’t even including food! Which means you’re easily looking at $2,500 spent on the weekend—and I think that’s generous estimate.

Consider the training and between-race recovery

If you’re still not deterred by those unique logistics and costs posed by the possibility of a Chicago-Boston double—or even doing all six marathons in six weeks—Wardian has some tips for you. (And no, Wardian has not committed to doing the six-in-six, but he said it piqued his interest.)

Train for this race weekend like you would for an ultra.

Get your body used to running back-to-back hard efforts by doing back-to-back long runs. This way, you’ll be used to feeling heavier legs on day two much earlier than when you’re fresh.

Pack light when traveling.

You can check a bag, but like any race, bring your shoes, apparel, and fuel for the race in your carry-on. I put my gels in a Ziploc bag when going through security, and I don’t usually have a problem. Speaking of gels, you’ll need gels or chews for two races. Don’t forget that.

Eat soon and often.

When you finish the first race, get your drop bag, change into some warm clothes, and start getting calories in. I focus on drinking coconut water and having a smoothie. On the plane, bring your own water bottle and food, so you don’t have to rely on the flight attendants. These collapsible water bottles are great for traveling.

Recovery is key, especially on the airplane.

I wear my CompresSport compression gear during my first race. After that, I try to get my feet elevated for a bit. On the plane, I try to book an aisle or window seat so I can stretch my legs a bit. I also bring a lacrosse ball and use it to roll out muscles when I’m sitting. Also, get up and walk around every 45 minutes during the flight—you likely will have to, with how much water you’ll be drinking. Highly recommend the aisle seat.

(01/31/2021) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Getting off on the right foot on snowshoes

Snowshoeing can be a relaxing romp in the woods or a serious workout. You may have to widen your stride to avoid stepping on your own snowshoes, and a pair of trekking poles can help your balance, especially on hilly terrain. But mostly it's just like walking.

Choose the right 'shoes

Snowshoes come in different shapes and sizes, even women-specific models. The pair on the left are for deeper snow or heavier people; the pair on the right work best for packed trails or racing. Snowshoes have a weight rating. Consider not only your body weight but the clothes and boots you're wearing and what you're carrying in your pack.

Pack a snack

Snowshoeing can burn up a lot of energy. It's also important to stay hydrated. A waist pack is convenient for carrying water and snacks.

Travel with a friend

Although a solo trip can be relaxing and reflective, there is safety in numbers, particularly when outside in cold weather. Juergen Schroeer of Normal and Patricia Carlson of Bloomington travel together on a trail at McLean County's Comlara Park, northwest of Hudson, during a recent winter

Follow the signs

Some places have marked snowshoe trails, such as this one at Rapid River, Michigan, in the Hiawatha National Forest. But regular hiking trails in parks are generally fine for snowshoeing. Even city parks or public golf courses can be a fun options

Stay off of ski tracks

It's common winter courtesy to stay off ski tracks when hiking or snowshoeing. That's true whether its a track left by a skier on their own or a groomed trail, such as this one at Razorback Ridges in Sayner, Wisconsin, which has both ski trails and snowshoe trails

Don't forget to laugh

(01/31/2021) ⚡AMP
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There’s a running boom in Chicago, pandemic leads more people to lace up

It’s cheap. It relieves stress and improves health. 

Huffing and puffing — one foot after the other — in an old sweatshirt and gym shoes.

The people behind a running boom in Chicago are grabbing what they have in their closets and heading out the door to burn calories and stress. Or at least that’s what appears to be happening.

“This is anecdotal, there’s no data to support it, but it’s being observed, just the number of people you see running. It’s a visible change, and it’s being discussed by the entire running industry,” Chicago Area Running Association Executive Director Greg Hipp said Thursday.

Normal indicators, like a bump in race registrations (they’re off or on hold) or shoe sales (they’re down) aren’t accounting for the bump.

It makes perfect sense, though.

“When the economy is challenged, more people run because it’s affordable. People who can’t go to the local gym have taken up running,” Hipp said.

“They’re not running for sport, it’s for mental and physical health,” Hipp said.

“The running industry is in crisis. It will be interesting to see how many of these new runners will fall in love and turn to the sport side of it.”

Manya Gupta, 38, of Logan Square, is part of the new wave of runners.

The Rush University Medical Center physician held this belief for a long time: “I’m not a runner. I hate running.” But the stress of treating coronavirus patients became too much, and she needed a way to cope, so she laced up.

“I decided to go for a run one day last month and it felt really good. It was crazy, I just ran one mile, but I felt like I relieved a load of stress,” she said.

“I always discounted the stress-relieving effects of running, mostly because I just assumed I hated it so much. But I have to say it really does work, and it’s free.”

Dave Zimmer, owner of Fleet Feet Chicago, is keeping a close eye on the trend.

“We want to bring these people into the fold because we believe it will be great for us and them in the long run,” said Zimmer, noting injury prevention and reduction are Fleet Feet’s main goals.

Sales have gone down significantly since the state’s stay-at-home order kicked in last month, Zimmer said. His seven stores have pivoted to virtual shoe fittings, online sales and curbside pickup.

“The clearance section of our website is being shopped quite a bit these days, and those items are just as good, but may be from last season and present the best value in these challenging times.”

 

(01/31/2021) ⚡AMP
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Geoffrey Kamworor makes winning comeback at police cross country championship

In his first race since his car accident, the former half-marathon world record holder won the race in a time of 29:22.3.

The last time Kamworor competed was in the National Cross Country Championships on February 15, 2020, and he won with a time of 30:04.9. On June 25, the 28-year-old was struck by a motorcycle during his morning run, resulting in multiple injuries including a fracture in his right tibia that required surgery. He appears to have fully recovered from his injuries and according to the Kenyan news site Pd Online, he was excited to compete.

“It has been a long time coming. It’s time to race again!” he said to the news outlet prior to the race. “After months of working hard to recover from my injury, I’m very excited that I will have an opportunity to defend my title.”

The race was competitive, with a  number of strong athletes toeing the line against Kamworor including Joesphat Kiprotich who placed in second with a time of 29:52.6 and Casius Masinde running 30:13.0 for third. On the women’s side, Sheila Chelang’at won the 10K race in 33:34.6, followed by Hyvin Kiyeng in 33:39.8 and Edith Chelimo in 33:40.5.

Kamworor will also be racing the 2021 Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates on February 19, and if this result is any indication of his current fitness, it will be exciting to see what the former world record holder will do over the longer distance. He has held the title of world half-marathon champion four times, culminating in his world-record run at the Copenhagen Half-Marathon when he ran an incredible 58:01 for the win. He is also a two-time winner of the New York City Marathon, which he won in 2017 in a time of 2:10.53, and again in 2019 in 2:08.13.

(01/30/2021) ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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2021 GO! St. Louis Marathon returns in April

The GO! St. Louis Marathon Weekend will go on this year, after the big event was canceled last year because of the pandemic, organizers announced Friday.

The event will take place on April 10-11 in downtown St. Louis and will have the theme “Stronger Together.”

The course mostly travels along Great Rivers Greenway’s Mississippi Greenway: Riverfront Trail, featuring a downtown finish at Kiener Plaza. There will be a full marathon, half marathon, and 10K races.

GO! St. Louis has hosted several virtual and in-person races this year, implementing several safety and physical distancing measures.

They include reducing the number of people who can register at less than 10 percent of a typical race, limiting the numbers of people allowed in 10 minute start time waves, requiring masks for runners at the start and finish lines and encouraging mask use while passing other runners.

(01/30/2021) ⚡AMP
by Valerie Schremp Hahn
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GO! St. Louis Half-Marathon

GO! St. Louis Half-Marathon

The 2020 event was cancelled due to the Coronavirus. The GO! St. Louis Half Marathon presented by PNC Bank was introduced in 2003 and has become the most popular race during the two-day weekend. After a huge success in 2017, St. Louis’ hometown race will once again be staged in front of the historic Arch Grounds on the riverfront. Start...

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2021 Barkley Marathons are still on

Laz Lake, the director of the famed race, says the 2021 event is still happening with COVID-19 protocols in place

Due to the COVD-19 pandemic, the 2020 running of the uniquely demanding race, the Barkley Marathons, was canceled for only the second time since it began in 1986. While the future of many running events in 2021 is still uncertain, Barkley Marathons organizer Laz Lake says this year’s running of the coveted race, held at Frozen Head State Park in Wartburg, Tenn., is still on, albeit with a few changes.

The race, scheduled to take place in late March, typically is capped at 40 participants, but this year Lake says many of the non-American participants have opted to defer until next year.

Twenty-nine runners are signed up so far, and officials are in the process of identifying those who have either been vaccinated or have had COVID and have recovered. These criteria constitute the participant’s “COVID passport,” and Lake says anyone on the waiting list must meet those criteria in order to be granted entry. At this point, officials say there are six wait-listers who have their COVID passports.

In an email, Lake outlined the COVID-19 protocols that will be in place for the event, which he says are different than a typical road race. Officials’ biggest concern is the matter of social distancing, which will only be required for a short time at the race start, since runners very quickly spread far apart on the course. In his email, Lake acknowledged the difficulties of hosting an event during the COVID-19 pandemic

For this reason, many of the race’s normal activities, such as the potluck dinner, will not be included in the event itinerary. Finally, Lake says that as the state of the pandemic continues to evolve, the situation is subject to change. As of now, the race will go ahead for any approved applicants who have their COVID passports, but this year’s participant list will be much more local. The only question left, then, is one asked every year: will anyone actually finish the race

(01/30/2021) ⚡AMP
by Brittany Hambleton
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Your Next Doctor's Appointment Should Be Outdoors

David Sabgir, founder of Walk with a Doc, on why exercise is 100 times better than medicine

Fifteen years ago, David Sabgir, a practicing cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio, tried something new that would prove to be revolutionary. Having spent countless years vainly urging his patients to get more active, even if just to take a walk around the block, in a moment of desperation one winter day, he asked a patient to meet him outside the clinic. “I decided I wanted this patient to say no to my face,” Sabgir remembers, laughing. “I said, ‘Can I invite you to join my family and me in the park one Saturday morning?’” His patient’s response was immediate and enthusiastic. “That was really kind of magical,” Sabgir says.

Based on the good response, Sabgir went on to ask other patients to attend a group outing. In the end, when he finally hit the park after the snows of winter had melted, Sabgir was joined by over a hundred patients and colleagues. Since then, this simple idea—walk the talk with your patients—has caught on with health care providers in nearly every discipline. The organization Sabgir went on to found, Walk with a Doc, now supports provider-led walking excursions for patients around the world, with nearly 500 Walk with a Doc chapters leading monthly outings in 48 states and 25 countries, on six out of seven continents.

Sabgir, who has personally led more than 450 outings, estimates that over the last decade, Walk with a Doc has helped hundreds of thousands of people get outside. Nearly 40 percent of participants say it’s their first time out [for the purpose of well-being] in years, if ever.

We caught up with Sagbir recently, as his organization finished its most ambitious outing yet: 50 consecutive miles.

Outside: You’ve just led the longest walk of your organization’s history. What motivated you to try for 50 miles?
Sabgir: The idea grew out of these 50-mile walks that leaders in American history have organized over the years. Teddy Roosevelt started it in 1908, to improve the readiness of American troops, and JFK and Bobby Kennedy picked up that mantle 50 years later. It’s now been over 55 years since the first Kennedy March, so we thought the time was right for a big event.

How did it go?
It went great. Collectively, we had 158 people walk over 1,700 miles. I believe 14 people did the full 50 miles. And we exceeded our major fundraising goal.

I’m embarrassed to say that I myself did not do the walk. Although my training went fantastically—I still feel the endorphins pumping from a 26-mile walk my wife and I did the previous weekend—I injured my back lifting a planter a few days before the event. Most likely I herniated a disk.

That must have been disappointing.
Despite being in pain, it was a ten out of ten for me. After the event, I went home and was pretty much flat on my back the rest of the day. Thank God the park was literally next to my house.

Our original goal was: let’s all walk 50 miles. But seeing the looks on the faces of our attendees when we announced that distance, I realized it just wasn’t right. A lot of them were thinking, I can’t walk 50 miles. We want them to be a part of every walk, so we ended up designing options for everyone. The goal became to push yourself: if five miles is a reach, we want to help you do that.

Over the years, you’ve inspired thousands of health care providers to hit the trails with their patients. Why do you think this idea has caught on?
My goal was pretty simple—just get more people outside and moving. Probably 5 percent of my patients were achieving the weekly recommendations, and probably 80 percent were not doing anything at all.

Initially, I didn’t think the idea was that revolutionary. I know from studies that walking or any physical activity is by far the best medicine. But no one was doing it. I spent months Googling this to see what other people had already done. I knew it had to be around already—it was too easy, and it made too much sense.

We were also at the right time in history. The internet had been out for, what, eight years when we started? So it was easy to coordinate, and cell phones made it even easier. We just got to be the lucky ones to ride this roller coaster. We added 189 chapters last year. And this year we are on pace to add about 20 per month. These days, I’m 90 percent cardiologist, 10 percent Walk CEO.

You say the couch is the dangerous thing. How much can something as simple as walking help?
To say exercise is the best medicine is a massive understatement. It is 100 to 1,000 times better than the best medicine.

There’s this negative cycle to inactivity, a cascade where excess weight leads to back pain, leads to bad sleep. I see it magnified every time I open the exam-room door: back pain, arthritis, sleep apnea, coronary artery disease, depression, anxiety. Being active reduces stroke and heart disease by 50 percent, depression by 50 percent, and Alzheimer’s by 50 percent. The answer is right there! The fact that we aren’t doing this before more invasive or expensive interventions is sickening. We aren’t taking care of what we can take care of easily.  

What kind of patients tend to join a walk?
It’s pretty diverse. A lot of times it’s people that may be scared about either a recent diagnosis or a family member with a diagnosis. And they may bring out someone, like a sick family member, that they are concerned about. But they are so diverse that I have a hard time categorizing them. When we’ve surveyed our walkers, around 78 percent say that they feel they are getting more physical activity then they otherwise would have without Walk with a Doc.

I’m constantly impressed by our walkers. I had one patient who came to the walk every month for years, even after she couldn’t walk. She just loved being in the park with us. It would warm your heart to see her covered with blankets on a 30-degree day, out in her wheelchair. She eventually left us an endowment that we have allocated completely to partnerships with medical schools, to raise the next generation of walking doctors.

Being stretched too thin is a common complaint of doctors. Why ask them to lead walks on the weekend?
People still feel strongly about their health care providers. For a lot of the 30 to 40 percent of attendees doing this for the first time, it’s comforting to have a health professional out there with them. A lot of them are scared to do this, even though the actually dangerous thing is staying on the couch. And they think, If my health care professional is out here with me, then it must be good for me.

Yes, doctors—really all health care providers—are stretched thin. I see in the range of 2,000 to 2,500 patients a year. Visits are 30 minutes each for new patients, 15 minutes for repeats. It’s easy to get nervous about your numbers. But, gosh, what you get back from these outings is so much more than you put in.

And what has been the reception among doctors who participate?
For starters, it feels really good to help your patients actually meet their goals. So that’s a primary reinforcer. But there’s also something special about being outside and opening up with your patients that I didn’t necessarily expect.

Typically, patients get a very brief allocation of time with their provider. They don’t love that—and trust me, your doctor isn’t thrilled about it either. People who go into health care dream about forming connections. On Saturday mornings, suddenly there’s time to connect. You get to meet your patient’s family. They get to meet your family. There is time to talk about the bigger picture, health or otherwise. You form friendships very quickly.

What a great thing to be able to offer a patient: Hey, I’d like to meet you outside of here—I’ll be at the park next Saturday, and we can catch up, and I can learn more about your family.

What’s next for you and for Walk with a Doc?
Every morning I’m like a kid at Christmas—you never know where a request for a new chapter will come in from. Australia, Nigeria. I want to stay in the game as long as I can, and I want to see thousands of walks around the world.

We now have partnerships with 25 medical schools. That’s part of our grand vision. We want to transform the way medicine is practiced, to make it more open, accessible, and rooted within a community. I hope that there will be a time, within my lifetime, when people won’t remember when they didn’t take walks with their doctors. There are around 855,000 doctors in the U.S. and so many more nurses and nurse practitioners. With a broad enough net, we can reach every community. That’s what keeps me going—imagining that this incredible, simple, powerful thing is eventually going to be all over the world.

(01/30/2021) ⚡AMP
by Outside On Line
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Billy Yang’s Latest Film Takes Us Through the Amazing Career of Zach Miller

We caught up with the popular trail-running filmmaker to learn all about his latest project.

Zach Miller has been a household name in trail and ultrarunning since his out-of-nowhere victory at the 2013 JFK 50 Miler. Since then, the 34-year-old has raced and won some of the biggest races on the ultra calendar.

Billy Yang: I started off a fan like everyone else. He’s an unassuming guy, as his friends from Colorado Springs, Colorado, say in the film. I was totally guilty of that. When I first met him, here’s this guy that shocked the ultrarunning community out of nowhere. There were a lot of oddballs at that point in time, but Rob Krar was crushing the competition and dominating the scene. I figured that I’d see what this guy was about.

I was doing a film at Lake Sonoma 50 miler in 2014, which ended up gaining a lot of traction. I followed four runners and this guy Zach Miller kind of spoils my film by winning the whole thing. Over that weekend, we hung out and got dinner with the Nike team. He really was this aw shucks, blue-collar guy who has this flip phone. So I wanted to know, who is this guy?

What did you discover?

Yang: Well, he’s clearly a rabbit—a pacesetter in a race. In that JFK race, everyone thought he’d go 30 or 40 miles with Rob and drop back. But Rob’s wheels came off, and he ended up winning and later signing with the Nike Trail Running team. Fast forward to 2017, here is this guy who has this Steve Prefontaine-esque mindset of racing as hard as you can and giving his best. He even has the mustache.

So, I wanted to tell a three-dimensional story around him with a focus on UTMB as his white whale.

The UTMB crown has alluded every male American that has toed the line in Chamonix, France. It seems like one of the last, to use a climbing analogy, first ascents in running. Zach has been to UTMB three times, once with you there. Were you hoping or waiting to see if Zach could get it?

Yang: I’d be wrong to say the story wasn’t centered around this big, awesome white whale that is UTMB. When I zoom out, I do think that the end we have is kind of perfect. The way the outcome is so imperfect. The finish isn’t a given. For two years, we racked this story. I don’t tell the story about the 2019 race when he dropped out. What we see is his racing style and the only thing that’s a given is how hard you decide to push. That was kind of the spirit of the film.
Miller is now the subject of filmmaker and trail runner Billy Yang’s latest film, Zach. Yang spent years following Miller and capturing every detail of his life for this project that is now available on YouTube.

We caught up with Yang to hear more about what went into the making of his latest project and what he learned from spending so much time with Miller.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

You mention the climbing analogy. My inspiration was actually a film called Free Solo. You can take as many stabs at it and the things you want to do is right in front of you. For Alex Honnold, that was El Capitan. He kept coming back. For Zach, that’s UTMB. Sometimes, it’s just challenging and that mark of a good story is learning how to pivot and complete the story without that Disney outcome.

I finally decided after years of working on this that we needed to wrap this up. We can’t keep chasing this victory that I saw in my head.

Zach is a well-known runner. What do you hope viewers see that they may not have before about him?

Yang: In a way, I’m hoping to introduce him to a new crowd. Zach is a runner, he what makes Zach who is is way more. He grew up in Kenya, and is parents were missionaries. Faith plays a big role in his life. Mentorship and giving back is so important to him. The mindset of ‘do the best you can’ shows in all aspects of his life and at the center of that, I wanted Zach to be a model for people. He’s probably not genetically built like Kilian Jornet or Jim Walmsley or Eliud Kipchoge. But what you see is all the hard work, the miles, and the little things he puts in. He’s so easy to root for.

At the end, we don’t totally see it, but you slightly detail where Zach is at after foot surgery. What’s he up to now?

Yang: He’s not running at the moment. He’s working on building out a short bus that’s turning into a home on wheels. He plans to travel the world in it. That’s the epilogue.

Do you think we see an American man winning UTMB in the coming years?

Yang: I think between Zach, Tim and Jim, and maybe some others no currently at the forefront, someone will do it. Zach said it’s a puzzle you have to put together and for whatever reason, that hasn’t been put together yet. I think it will happen in the next five years and I would bet money it will be one of those three.

(01/30/2021) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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NCAA May Not Accept Christian Noble’s 13:37 Division II 5K Record Due to Pacing Lights

On Sunday night, Christian Noble of Lee (Tenn.) University ran the fastest indoor time ever by a Division II 5,000-meter runner. Noble’s 13:37.39 at the Magic City Elite meet in Birmingham, Ala., was an 11-second personal best and almost four seconds faster than the previous DII best of 13:41.08, run by Abilene Christian’s Nicodemus Naimadu 16 years ago. It was a stellar performance, run mostly alone — Noble led every step of the final 15 laps after pacemaker Garrett O’Toole stepped off the track after two kilometers.

And it may not count.

On Monday afternoon, Dave Milner, the meet director of Magic City Elite, was forwarded an email by an NCAA official, inquiring about “Illegal Assistance by the use of pacing lights.” Milner said the official told him the case will go before a committee to determine whether the NCAA will recognize the mark. Noble easily surpassed the automatic qualifying mark for the NCAA Indoor Championships (14:03.43), but if the NCAA fails to recognize his performance on Sunday, he would have to run another race in order to qualify — at a time when indoor competitions are in short supply.

“Christian’s coach Caleb Morgan called me [on Thursday] and told me, I’ve heard through the grapevine that they’re not going to allow the mark,” Milner says.

The NCAA does not maintain official collegiate records. The USTFCCCA, which does keep track of records, currently lists Noble as the Division II record holder, but that may change, depending on the NCAA’s findings.

“Our aim with records and marks that originate in-season is to follow the competition rulings the collegiate governing body has upheld,” USTFCCCA director of media, broadcasting, and analytics Tom Lewis wrote in an email to LetsRun.com.

The Magic City Elite meet utilized Light Speed Pacing — a system similar to the Wavelight technology that helped Joshua Cheptegei break world records at 5,000 and 10,000 meters last year in Monaco and Valencia (Milner also used Light Speed at the Five & Dime Athletics Meeting in December, in which Jenna Hutchinsset a girls’ high school 5,000 record of 15:34.47). Light Speed uses 16 lights, which are evenly-spaced on the infield just inside lane 1 and programmed to light up to indicate a specified pace.

Ahead of the meet, Milner asked his chief official to check the NCAA and USATF rulebooks to ensure the Light Speed system was okay. They couldn’t find anything that suggested the lights were illegal.

All five races at Magic City (two high school races and three open races) utilized Light Speed; Noble and Wingate University’s Tai Smith, also entered in the men’s 5,000, were the only collegiate athletes entered in the meet. In the men’s 5,000, Milner instructed David Hudman, the operator of Light Speed Pacing, to set the pace at 13:40 — a time that both Noble and post-collegiate athlete James Quattlebaum were targeting. Noble ran 13:37; Quattlebaum wound up fading and finishing second in 14:07. Smith, the only other finisher, ran 14:24 — 47 seconds behind Noble. An NCAA official declined to say whether Smith’s time, currently #4 in Division II, is in jeopardy as well.

What the rulebook says

Electronic lights such as Light Speed are specifically allowed under both USATF and World Athletics rules, but under NCAA rules, they are prohibited.

Here is what NCAA Track & Field Rule 6, Section 4, Article 1a.4) (see page 57 here, emphasis added):

For the purpose of this rule, the following shall be considered assistance, and therefore not allowed: Pacing in races by persons not participating in the same race, by lapped competitors or those about to be lapped, by competitors of the opposite gender in the same race, or pacesetting by any kind of technical device that benefits the field.

But the NCAA’s 2020-21 championship qualifying criteria states that “qualifying marks must be made in a scheduled collegiate or open track and field meet conducted under the NCAA Rules of Competition or an open track and field competition conducted under the competition rules of the NCAA, USATF or IAAF.” The Magic City Elite meet was an open competition conducted under USATF rules (the meet was USATF-sanctioned) — and again, pacing lights are explicitly legal under USATF rules.

After realizing this, we immediately wondered why is this even being investigated. The NCAA rulebook says athletes can be disqualified only “on the report of an official, or from a properly filed protest.” So who filed the report or protest?

Mark Kostek, the secretary rules editor for NCAA men’s & women’s track & field/cross country, declined to disclose the identity of the individual who filed the report, stating only, “an outside source provided video evidence of the pacing lights being utilized.”

We asked Kostek who at NCAA would make the final call about whether Noble’s mark will stand and he replied in writing, “This answer is not within my purview. I only interpret if a violation occurred…After viewing the race it was clear that the athlete(s) did receive the benefit of pacesetting by the utilization of a technical device which by rules is not allowed.”

That doesn’t mean that the mark is definitely not allowed. Noble’s coach, Caleb Morgan, submitted an appeal to the NCAA on Thursday.

What a joke – pacing lights should be encouraged during a pandemic

Let’s bring some common sense into the equation. The pacing lights did not change the outcome of the race. For the NCAA to prevent the top distance runner in Division II from competing at the national championships because there were pacing lights in a three-person race — which he won by 30+ seconds — at a tiny meet in January is utterly nonsensical in any year, but particularly this one, when we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Pacing lights can actually make a race safer from a COVID-19 perspective as compared to having a real human pacer (though the Magic City meet featured both). Plus the NCAA qualifying criteria says you can qualify at open meets run under USATF rules, as was the case here.

The whole situation is farcical, a perfect storm of an out-of-date rule and an unknown third party trying to rain on one of the brightest moments of the 2021 indoor season.

Last year, after Wavelight technology started to become widespread, World Athletics and USATF updated their rulebooks to make clear pacing lights were legal. The NCAA, whether out of stubbornness or indifference, did not follow their lead and update its own rules.

So now we have a situation where a collegiate athlete can be paced by a professional runner — who, unlike a pacing light, can break the wind — but not by a set of lights. If pacing lights can be used to set a world record, why can’t they be used to set an NCAA record as well?

“The thing that bothers me most about this is that, big picture, this kind of technology makes a track meet more engaging for the fan as much as it helps the athlete,” said Milner.

There are a few silver linings. Even if Noble’s mark does not count for NCAA qualifying purposes, he is already qualified for NCAAs in the mile (he is the DII leader at 4:00.60) and will go for a qualifier in the 3,000 this weekend. And since the meet was USATF-sanctioned and the race followed USATF rules, Noble can still use it to qualify for this summer’s US Olympic Trials — if he makes the cut (the auto standard is 13:25.00).

Which means that, regardless of what any NCAA committee determines, 13:37.39 is Christian Noble’s official personal best. In the eyes of USATF. In the eyes of World Athletics. And in the eyes of anyone with common sense.

 

(01/30/2021) ⚡AMP
by Let’s Run
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Trail running along the Great Wall of China

Swiss photographer Martin Bissig had the opportunity to shoot the Columbia SANFO Ultra 168 trail challenge, on the site of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

In the middle of a roundabout was a gigantic sign reading “Beijing 2022.” From the back seat of the car I was in, I saw “Beijing 2022” everywhere as we approached the Chinese city of Chongli: on flags, on banners lining the streets, on huge billboards plastered onto the facades of buildings. Even though we’d driven for more than three hours and China’s capital was well behind us, it still felt as though we were in a suburb of the metropolis of 22 million people. If I’d driven for three hours starting from my homeland of Switzerland, I’d have reached either Italy, France, Germany or Austria.

If it hadn’t been for the five-ringed Olympic symbol under the letters, I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea of what was going on in 2022 in Beijing. Thanks to my Swiss preconceived notions — due in no small part to my frequent trips to the Middle Kingdom, as China traditionally refers to itself — China had not figured strongly in my mind as a location for winter sports. Or for trail running. That’s why I was even more thrilled when I received a request to photograph the 2019 Columbia SANFO Ultra 168 trail challenge.

More than 4,000 athletes had registered. The first round of runners, which totalled just under 600, had to conquer 168K with a total elevation gain of 8,000m. The remaining participants were signed up for the 130K, 100K, 70K, 50K and 30K loops, or the 10K “Joy Run.” The races were spread out over the three race days, and they all went through varied terrain, through ancient villages, along ski lift lines, over mountain ridges and even along (or on) the Great Wall of China.

Out of the planned city and into the wild

With the future Olympic Athletes’ Village up and ready to go and a number of hotels, everything in Chongli appeared to be running on schedule for the 2022 Games. An expansive and green mountainous landscape graces the city outskirts. Swaths of ski runs cut through the densely forested mountains, which are dotted with wind turbines. The landscape looks more like something I’m used to seeing in Europe.

On an e-bike provided by race organizers, I accompanied the first group of racers to the hilly backcountry. A few hours later, it started to rain. The mood was amazing, the participants were still fired up and they all gave me a friendly wave. Of course, the biggest part of the race still lay ahead. In no way did they resemble the exhausted and dazed-looking runners I would be seeing three days later.

Race Day 2: so that’s the Great Wall of China?

Well before sunrise, my guide, Patrick, and I prepared to ride our bikes up to the Thaiwoo Ski Resort’s mountain station.

The first runners of the pack had already made it past the mountain station in the dark and were more than halfway to the finish line. At this point, the athletes for all the different races had come together and were running the same stretch.

Once we’d reached the top, we carried our bikes over a huge pile of rocks. “You just climbed over the Great Wall of China,” Patrick called out. I remember thinking that I’d imagined this wall to be somewhat different. I launched my drone, at which point I was able to see the actual scope of the “rock pile.” What had looked like a four-metre-wide pile of rocks from close up displayed its true dimensions when seen from above. The Wall was easily recognizable as such and extended for kilometres along the mountain range.

A refreshment stop had been set up at the ski resort’s mountain station. Some of the athletes used the restaurant as a place to sleep after having run through the night. Others fortified themselves with some noodle soup. The glowing faces from the day before were already showing signs of the overnight exertion. We rode our bikes down the single tracks and reached a traditional village. The route went right through the farm village, and I snapped a few great shots of the inhabitants, their houses and their surroundings.

I returned to the last stretch I’d covered the day before. Gone were the friendly waves and happy, smiling faces filled with anticipation. Those who were on Day 3 and still had to conquer the last 10K of the race, after having run through two nights, were focused only on finishing. The champions had long since reached the finish line, but the stragglers were still struggling through their final kilometres. This was where the real drama was taking place — within sight of the finish line, not at the head of the race. Looking weakened and dazed, they dragged their tired bodies into the meal tent. Some of them practically fell asleep while eating. Swollen, cracked feet were tended to, a last snack or cigarette was consumed and off they headed toward the finish.

(01/30/2021) ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Why every athlete should sleep 8 hours as priority

For many of us, getting a whopping eight hours of sleep each night may seem like a far off, lofty dream. However, obtaining a sufficient amount of zzz’s is actually extremely important for your body’s functioning and for overall demeanor. In fact, the current average of sleep is around 6.5 hours, but experts recommend at least 7, ideally 8-9 hours for the everyday adult.

Adequate sleep is even more important for sports players of all kinds, as it is an invaluable aspect of athleticism. The truth is most people know they need more sleep but struggle to clock in those types of hours each night. Below, we’ll take a look at some huge benefits of healthy sleep schedules that may motivate you to make those eight hours a consistent part of your everyday routine.

Being well rested can enhance performance 

You may be surprised to find out that professional athletes are typically advised to get even more sleep than the average adult; 8-10 hours each night. While this may seem like a lot, just take a moment to think about how your body feels when you get less sleep than you should. You most likely felt drowsy, weak, and less motivated. Athletes rely on their bodies to compete at the highest levels. A poor sleep routine possesses less concentration, slower reaction times, and an overall worse performance.

In fact, sleep is so important for pro athletes and casual sports players alike that many studies have been conducted on the topic, further proving its advantages. Research done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that collegiate basketball players who extended their sleep patterns to 8.5 hours actually improved diverse skills within the sport, such as sprints and free throws shots. The same goes for professional baseball players who, in one study, increased their nightly average and showed a 13% faster cognitive response time.

Even for professional poker players, healthy sleep patterns are a must. As the sport requires long hours of continual concentration, being well-rested is vital to perform to your optimum ability. The best in the game know how to load their sleep and hit the tables fresh and ready to dominate.

So, as you can see, whether it’s basketball, baseball, or even the world’s most beloved strategy game, players who make sufficient sleep a priority are immediately better off.

Athletes who sleep just five hours are much more likely to experience aggravation, mood swings, and even loss of motivation. Players who get less sleep on a consistent basis may also see a drop in their energy levels, a factor that will immediately affect performance in the short and long-term.

A full night’s rest can prevent weight gain  

A huge factor of athleticism is consistently working out and having a body that is in shape. Trainings, practice, and even solo trips to the gym are invaluable for the athlete whose performance is linked to a healthy interior. Keeping off the pounds is important for the everyday individual, but even more essential for athletes. For runners, there are even dangers associated with over-activity if you’re not already in shape.

An adequate, consistent amount of sleep can help produce less ghrelin, the hormone that makes your brain think you’re hungry, and more leptin, the one that gives your body the feeling of being “full.” The balance of these two hormones is especially important for athletes who must maintain great fitness for their sport.

(01/29/2021) ⚡AMP
by Runners Tribe
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Osaka Women´s Marathon is focused just on Japanese elite runners

Due to increasing infection rates in Japan the number of participants in the 40th Osaka Women’s Marathon on 31 January has been limited to 99 and the traditional course through the city changed to a 2.8km lap (x 15) in Nagai Park followed by the finish in the Yanmar Nagai Stadium.

For the same reasons foreign athletes have not been invited and the focus is entirely on the Japanese elite.

Among those running are Mao Ichiyama (JPN) and Honami Maeda (JPN), who have already qualified for their country’s Olympic team at the Marathon Grand Championships. Ichiyama won the Nagoya marathon in 2:20:29 last year, while Maeda won the Olympic qualification in 2:25:15 in September 2019.

Her best time of 2:23:48 was second in Osaka in 2018, and in the same year she was seventh in 2:25:23 in the Berlin Marathon.

The organizers plan to attack the national record for the women’s marathon of 2:19:12 (set by Mizuki Noguchi at the 2005 Berlin Marathon). The two top runners, in another departure from tradition, will be paced by a total of six men, including the unattached runner Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) and Juji Iwata (JPN).

With personal bests of 2:08:14 and 2:08:45 respectively they are likely to maintain pacing duties until shortly before the stadium entrance.

(01/29/2021) ⚡AMP
by Helmut Winter
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Osaka International Womens Marathon

Osaka International Womens Marathon

The Osaka International Ladies Marathon is an annual marathon road race for women over the classic distance of 42.195 kilometres which is held on the 4th or 5th Sunday of January in the city of Osaka, Japan, and hosted by Japan Association of Athletics Federations, Kansai Telecasting Corporation, the Sankei Shimbun, Sankei Sports, Radio Osaka and Osaka City. The first...

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2021 Pittsburgh Marathon has been cancelled due to the pandemic

The 2021 Pittsburgh Marathon is effectively cancelled.

The city won’t grant a permit for the Pittsburgh Marathon this year, “effectively cancelling” the race.

“It is obviously a disappointment,” said runner Morgan Price. “But I’d rather people not get sick, especially since people who typically run marathons are typically concerned about their health and the health of others.”

City officials and P3R tried to plan a safe way to have the marathon, but the city ultimately decided May would be too soon to hold such a large event.

“All of us at the City of Pittsburgh are optimistic that we will be able to host in-person events as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Mayor Bill Peduto in a press release. “We will continue to work closely with P3R in the coming weeks and months to host in-person races and other events starting this summer.”

Registered participants have the option to race virtually. If that doesn’t work, they can get a refund of their registration fee.

This year’s race would have been Price’s first, but the runner is adapting with the times.

“Unfortunately, just didn’t work out that way,” Price said.

“Last year, I decided I wasn’t going to do it at all. But I’m thinking I might just do the virtual option. I don’t want to keep getting to 20 miles and quitting, so I do want to finish it,” Price added.

(01/29/2021) ⚡AMP
by Bryant Reed
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Dick's Sporting Good Pittsburgh Marathon

Dick's Sporting Good Pittsburgh Marathon

This race is your game - however you decide to play it. As a competitor. A fund raiser. An enthusiast. A veteran. A team player. It's whatever you want it to be. It's whatever you make it. It's YOUR game..... Run it. Play it. Own it. Love it. Runners will race on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, cross each of...

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Medical workers who are elite runners are enthusiastic about receiving COVID vaccine

While some Americans are hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, a small group of elite runners who are also medical workers are enthusiastic about it after receiving their doses during this country's first wave of inoculations. Besides sore arms, brief chills, dizziness, and some nausea, these athletes report that receiving the vaccine has had no negative effects on their training. They feel good about being personally protected, but even better about being able to help protect their families and communities.

"I did this for everybody, obviously my family, my kids," said marathoner Roberta Groner, who is an office supervisor and registered nurse at a large family medical practice in New Jersey. "But also in the healthcare world we're around patients and we should be protecting them as well. Just building a stronger and safer community. The more people are vaccinated, the less spread we will have over time."

Only 3.8 million Americans, or 1.2%, are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, while 20.7 million have received their first dose (6.3%).

Groner, 43, finished sixth at the World Athletics Championships Marathon in September, 2019, a little less than six months after she set a personal best of 2:29:09 at the Rotterdam Marathon. She was among the first Americans to get vaccinated, receiving her first dose of the Moderna vaccine on December 22, then the second on January 19. She reported that she only had a sore arm after the first shot, but got chills the night after the second. Nonetheless, she was able to do a planned workout the next morning before going to work.

"That evening I had chills," she told Race Results Weekly in a telephone interview yesterday. "I don't know if I had a fever; I never checked. By the next morning I was fine. Got up, did a big workout and went to work." She continued: "I didn't decrease my mileage for the week. I ran 76 miles last week, so keeping on target with that. I didn't miss work or anything. My arm didn't get sore the second time."

Martin Hehir, 28, a fourth year medical student in Philadelphia who won The Marathon Project last month in Arizona with a personal best 2:08:59, had a similar experience to Groner, at least so far. He has received just the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and will get the second on February 5.

"So, I felt totally fine," he said by telephone yesterday. "The old pinch in the arm. Arm was a little sore for maybe day or so, kind of on par with when I get the flu shot, anything like that. Totally felt normal, like a normal vaccine."

Hehir is ready for a more robust immune response after his second dose, and explained why.

"The whole thing, is based on some basic immunology," said the Reebok Boston Track Club athlete who is studying to become an anesthesiologist. "Your body sees something for the first time which is that first dose. It's slow and sluggish and has to figure out how to make the right antibodies. The second time around when it sees something there is a much more immunological response because your body is kind of primed. So, that's exactly what happens when you get the second booster dose. Your immune system ramps up. It's acting as if it has to fight something off."

As the pandemic grinds on, elite runners have seen their opportunities to compete shrink drastically. Mass-participation road races have all but stopped, and although small "micro races" have given athletes some chances to compete they offer little if any financial compensation. Everyone agrees that widespread vaccination is the only way that these events will come back.

"If there is any shot at having races again any time soon it's important that we get this vaccine out early, quickly, and widespread, not just in the United States, but the world," said Erin Finn, 26, twice the 5000-meter runner-up at the NCAA Indoor Championships for the University of Michigan. She is now a second year medical student there. "The quicker we get the vaccine, the less time the virus has to mutate and become resistant."

Like Groner, Finn was one of the first people to be vaccinated. She got her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on December 30, and the second on January 20. She received an e-mail just a few days after Christmas inviting her to get her shot, something she called her "after Christmas present." Her parents, who are primary care physicians, have also been vaccinated.

"I'm feeling, I guess, just really lucky that Michigan was able to vaccinate all of its medical students so quickly," Finn told Race Results Weekly yesterday over the telephone. "I'm just feeling lucky to know that my family is safe, and if someone asks us how did it go we can just be a reinforcement that this vaccine is really, like, a blessing and nothing to be scared of, but instead something that unites us. I'm just really excited, to be honest."

All of the athletes stressed that while receiving the vaccine provided them with a good level of protection, that they needed to maintain all of their regular anti-COVID protocols, like mask-wearing, hand washing and social distancing. The science is not clear on whether vaccinated persons can still spread the virus, so they urged others to keep up all of their mitigating practices after they received their shots. They stressed that getting vaccinated was not a license to return to pre-COVID behaviors.

"There's a couple of things that we still don't know, and one is whether it prevents transmission, "Finn said. "And, while there is good theory to believe that it stops transmission, but we don't know that yet. It's important to still wear a mask, as frustrating as that is. In the mean time, the recommendations are for you not to change your conduct. We're still learning about the vaccine and we're still in the storm of the pandemic."

(01/28/2021) ⚡AMP
by David Monti
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Registration boom leads to tighter standards for Lake Biwa

Entries for the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon on 28 February closed on 22 January. With most other races cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus crisis Lake Biwa this year received nearly double the normal number of applications for entry.

Putting on the race with such a large field poses problems and prevent the organisation from safely executing all planned coronavirus countermeasures. As a result revised entry standards will be applied based on World Athletics scoring points as follows: 10000m: 30:40; half marathon: 1:07:29; marathon: 2:27:30.

After proof of qualification from each entrant was checked on 25 January notifications were sent to all those who were unable to participate under these new standards. Information regarding refund of entry fees was included. Those eligible to participate will be notified around 5 February, on which date there will be a virtual press conference to announce the elite athlete field.

Further operational changes may become necessary as the situation regarding the virus evolves, said the organisers.

There are multiple reports where people have claimed that Lake Biwa has also rejected all entries from abroad, after initially being open to international participation.

(01/28/2021) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

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

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Australia is planning to vaccinate athletes before Tokyo Games

Australia aims to vaccinate its Olympians against COVID-19 before they head to the Tokyo Games, federal sport minister Richard Colbeck has said.

Advice from the body coordinating the vaccination rollout plan suggested that athletes would likely be inoculated before the July 23-Aug. 8 Games, Colbeck said in comments published by the Canberra Times on Thursday.

"If our plans work OK it may very well be conceivable that Olympic athletes, for example, we'll get to them before they head off to the Games anyway," he was quoted as saying.

Colbeck later issued a statement saying that "older Australians, frontline workers and those with underlying medical conditions" would be prioritised and that "most athletes" would be vaccinated in a later phase of the rollout.

A number of national Olympic committees are planning to vaccinate their athletes before the Games.

Israel's Olympic Committee said it had already vaccinated half its Olympic delegation and would complete the process by the end of May.

South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said, "Of course the athletes should be given the vaccine if they are going to participate," when asked in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.

South Korea has said it will decide whether to vaccinate the 157 athletes signed up so far when Japan comes to a formal decision to go ahead with the Games.

The International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday the governing body was not in favour of athletes "jumping the queue" for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it hoped athletes could be vaccinated but said vulnerable people and health workers must come first.

"We are recommending and encouraging our athletes to get vaccinated but support the IOC position that it’s not mandatory," an AOC spokesman said.

(01/28/2021) ⚡AMP
by Reuters
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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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2021 Belfast City Marathon event will take place on September with virtual half marathon on regular May date

Belfast Marathon organizers hope this year's event on Sunday September 19, will have a mass field while a virtual half marathon will take place on the race's regular May Bank Holiday date.

Last year's event was cancelled because of Covid-19 after organizers had initially moved it back to September.

Like many city marathons including London, the Belfast organizers are now plumping for an autumn date.

They will hope the rollout of the Covid vaccine can make the event happen.

"Moving the Half Marathon virtually will enable everyone to get involved safely," said Belfast City Marathon chairman John Allen.

"It is important at this time that we try to keep some type of routine and we believe that this temporary change of order will help motivate people physically and mentally.

"The 39th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon will now take place on Sunday September 19, and we are encouraging all to support our event as we work together to bring back some 'normality' safely.

"The 2021 race will return to a Stormont start and finish in Ormeau Park with a few revisions, including a new team relay changeover point on Montgomery Road."

The virtual Belfast Half Marathon will take place from 1-3 May with all runners completing their 13.1 miles close to their home, following government guidelines for exercise and social distancing.

Entrants must complete the distance in one session and upload their results before midnight on Monday May 3.

(01/28/2021) ⚡AMP
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Belfast City Marathon

Belfast City Marathon

2020 race has been moved from May 3 to September 20. Over 17,500 runners are expected to hit the streets of North, South, East and West of the City. The 2020 Marathon has been moved from May 3 to September 20. The Half Marathon to Feb 28, 2021. The event has grown with the inclusion of new sponsors which now...

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Great North Run Organizers Make Plans for September and searching ways to make the event safe for all who enter

Great North Run organizers make plans for September despite COVID-19.

Organizers of The Great North Run are making plans for the iconic half marathon to go ahead in September, despite the COVID pandemic that has the world in its grip. They are in search of ways to make the half marathon safe for all who enter.

Last year the event was cancelled and it is thought that the loss of the event cost the local economy around £30 million. Although a Virtual Great North Run took place. Last year should have been the 40th anniversary but unfortunately the event had to be postponed due to the pandemic, and rescheduled for Sunday, September 12, 2021.

Paul Foster, CEO at The Great Run Company, said, “This year’s Great North Run is scheduled to take place on Sunday 12 September. As always, our runners safety is our number one priority and we’re working really hard behind the scenes to make sure the event can be delivered in a Covid secure way.

“Like everyone, we are closely monitoring the ongoing situation and will update our customers if there are any changes to the planned programme.”

The global pandemic is still affecting the world and as new strains of the virus are being discovered the future of events is uncertain for the second year in a row. It was only announced last week that the Glastonbury music festival will not be happening in 2021.

(01/28/2021) ⚡AMP
by Alex Glenn
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Great North Run

Great North Run

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

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With six months to go until the Summer Games, Florida's chief financial officer has offered his state as an Olympic backup plan

Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, has reached out to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach to offer his state as a backup site for the upcoming Summer Games in case the Tokyo event is cancelled.

 In a letter that Patronis sent to Bach and posted online, he mentioned the rumors that the Japanese government is planning on axing the Games once and for all, adding that “there is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida.” Florida, like Japan and most of the world, is still trying to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Covid-19 cases continue to surge across the globe, increasing doubts surrounding the Olympics every passing day. News that the Japanese government is second-guessing its plans to host the Olympics was first reported by the British newspaper The Times. This report cited a senior member of the ruling commission in Japan who said the fate of the Tokyo Games has already been decided behind closed doors, and that the Olympics will not go ahead as planned after already being postponed one year due to COVID-19. 

High-ranking officials in the Japanese government, including the country’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, have since denied that the Games are in jeopardy. Patronis either didn’t see these followup reports or he simply doesn’t believe them to be true, because he moved forward with his letter to Bach, referring to the “reports of leaders in Japan ‘privately’ concluding that they are too concerned about the pandemic for the 2021 Olympics to take place.” 

Patronis pointed to Florida´s pre-pandemic tourism numbers, noting that the state welcomed 900 people per day. In 2019, he said, 131 million people visited Florida, adding that the state is well equipped for “a major undertaking of this sort” thanks to “ample hotel capacity and well-maintained transportation networks.” He continued, writing, “Florida has 20 commercial airports, 31 urban transit systems, 12 major universities that have existing sporting facilities – and we have world- renowned health care facilities in each of our regions.” 

Patronis celebrated his state´s  willingness to remain open throughout much of the pandemic, noting that this had huge benefits for the economy. He didn’t mention the state’s COVID-19 stats, which currently sit at 1.6 million cases and more than 25,000 deaths (compared to 369,000 cases and a little over 5,000 deaths in Japan). 

The IOC has not published a response to Patronis, who sent his letter on Monday, but he did leave Bach his office phone number, asking him to reach out so they could set up a meeting. “Whatever precautions are required,” he wrote, wrapping the letter up, “let’s figure it out and get it done.”

(01/27/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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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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Los Angeles Marathon 2021 postponed until fall due to coronavirus

The 2021 Los Angeles Marathon was rescheduled for a second time Tuesday due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the 36th edition of the annual race now set for sometime in the fall.

In November, the marathon was postponed from its original date of March 21 to May 23, pending final approval of all city partners, applicable health departments and other governmental agencies. But organizers couldn't make that date either, they said Tuesday.

"Given the current state of the pandemic in the Los Angeles area and the pace of the vaccine roll-out, the Rose Bowl Half Marathon & 5K, the LABig5K and the Los Angeles Marathon presented by ASICS will be rescheduled for the fall 2021," marathon officials tweeted.

"We are currently exploring available dates with our host cities and venues. This process will take some weeks and a decision regarding new dates will be announced as soon as possible. All decisions will be made with the health and safety of all athletes, volunteers and city officials as our top priority."

The LA Big 5K is customarily run on the eve of the marathon.

The McCourt Foundation, which runs the marathon and the Rose Bowl 5K and Half Marathon, announced a major course change to the Los Angeles Marathon last year, replacing the "Stadium to the Sea'' course it had been run on since 2010 to a "Stadium to the Stars'' course from Dodger Stadium to Brentwood where runners will double back on San Vicente, Sepulveda and Santa Monica boulevards, ending at Avenue of the Stars in Century City.

The change was made because "the dramatically increased costs quoted by the city of Santa Monica for the 2021 running of the marathon, and future events, made remaining in Santa Monica financially infeasible,'' according to the foundation.

(01/27/2021) ⚡AMP
by City News Service
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Los Angeles Marathon

Los Angeles Marathon

The LA Marathon is an annual running event held each spring in Los Angeles, Calif. The 26.219 mile (42.195 km) footrace, inspired by the success of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, has been contested every year since 1986. While there are no qualifying standards to participate in the Skechers Performnce LA Marathon, runners wishing to receive an official time must...

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Kibiwott Kandie has promised fireworks at next month's Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon when he comes up against former world record holder Geoffrey Kamworor and world champion Jacob Kiplimo

Kandie, who won the event last year in 58:58, said he is unperturbed by the threat posed by the two elite rivals. 

"I am not tense because I know I have been training hard despite the minor hiccups that I have experienced. Kamworor and Kiplimo will be tough nuts to crack but I am only focused on retaining this title because it will provide the right platform for me to push on for the rest of the year," Kandie said. 

In particular, Kandie is wary of the threat posed by Ugandan Kiplimo who he trounced at the Valencia Marathon in December on his way to setting a new world record of 57:32. 

Before that, Kiplimo had beaten Kandie to the finish line at the World Half Marathon Championship in Gdynia, Poland in October to claim the crown. 

"Of course I know  the thought of revenge has crossed his mind. I know he badly wants to win against me but I will try my best to stop that from happening. Kamworor's entry has further muddied the waters but all is well; it is such competitions that build you into a strong athlete," he said. 

Before docking in the United Arab Emirates for RAK Half Marathon, however, Kandie will first have to battle with fellow military athletes for top honours in this Friday's Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country Championships at the Moi Air Base in Eastleigh, Nairobi. 

"The championships will be a test of my preparedness for the major international competitions because there is not much difference between the KDF Cross Country event and the international ones. The competition this Friday will be as tough as that of international events," he said. 

Kandie has also revealed he will resume intense training for the 10,000m race in which he plans to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. After the Olympics, he will be targeting one of the major marathons sometime in November. 

For Kamworor, the RAK Half Marathon represents a comeback opportunity having spent last year on the sidelines after a motorbike accident in June.  In 2019, he set a half marathon world record of 58:01 at the Copenhagen Half Marathon. 

The A-list for the men's race also includes Ethiopian Shura Kitata, who upstaged the odds to trounce world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge to the London Marathon title. 

It will be similarly battle royale in the women's division  as World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri faces off against world marathon record holder and compatriot Brigid Kosgei.  The RAK Half Marathon will be staged on February 19 after registration closes on January 31. 

(01/27/2021) ⚡AMP
by Omondi Onyatta
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

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

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2021 Boston Marathon rescheduled for October 11

October 11 has been announced as the date for this year's Boston Marathon - should the health situation allow for the race to take place.

The Boston Marathon is usually held on the third Monday of April, but that was deemed impossible this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) had previously said that the race would not go ahead "at least the fall of 2021", and October 11 has now been chosen as the new date.

That is one day after the Chicago Marathon.

Should road races not be permitted by then, it appears likely that the 2021 Boston Marathon would be cancelled, as the 2020 edition was.

That was the first cancellation in the event's 124-year history.

"We announce the 2021 Boston Marathon date with a cautious optimism, understanding full well that we will continue to be guided by science and our continued collaborative work with local, city, state, and public health officials," said BAA President and chief executive Tom Grilk.

"If we are able to hold an in-person race in October, the safety of participants, volunteers, spectators, and community members will be paramount."

Massachusetts must reach Phase 4 of its re-opening plan for road races to be permitted. 

It is presently in the first stage of Phase 3.

The Boston Marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors.

Four were cancelled last year - Boston, New York, Chicago and Berlin - while the London Marathon was an elite-online event moved to a loop course in a park and the Tokyo Marathon's mass-participation race was scrapped.

This year's London and Tokyo races have both been moved to October already, while the Chicago Marathon is usually in October.

The six World Marathon Majors are now timetabled for a six-week span, making it difficult for many if any elite runners to take part in more than one.

All six are now scheduled to follow the Tokyo 2020 Olympics also.

The 2021 Boston Marathon is set to be the 125th edition of the race, and organisers say a virtual race option is planned as well as the in-person contest.

Massachusetts must reach Phase 4 of its re-opening plan for road races to be permitted. 

It is presently in the first stage of Phase 3.

The Boston Marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors.

Four were cancelled last year - Boston, New York, Chicago and Berlin - while the London Marathon was an elite-online event moved to a loop course in a park and the Tokyo Marathon's mass-participation race was scrapped.

This year's London and Tokyo races have both been moved to October already, while the Chicago Marathon is usually in October.

The six World Marathon Majors are now timetabled for a six-week span, making it difficult for many if any elite runners to take part in more than one.

All six are now scheduled to follow the Tokyo 2020 Olympics also.

The 2021 Boston Marathon is set to be the 125th edition of the race, and organisers say a virtual race option is planned as well as the in-person contest.

(01/27/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ali Iveson
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

The 125th Boston Marathon originally scheduled for April 19 was postponed to October 11, 2021. Among the nation’s oldest athletic clubs, the B.A.A. was established in 1887, and, in 1896, more than half of the U.S. Olympic Team at the first modern games was composed of B.A.A. club members. The Olympic Games provided the inspiration for the first Boston Marathon,...

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5000m champion Hellen Obiri added to Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon line-up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rak Half Marathon

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

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2021 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon will be held virtually due to COVID-19, for second year in a row

For the second year in a row, the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon will be held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

When the decision was made to not hold the event in-person, a new question was on the table.

"What can we do to help our community and help?" said Alissa Cotter, race director. "In particular, the people who are suffering the most right now from the pandemic?" 

That question led to a decision to focus fundraising for the 22nd marathon on COVID-19 relief. 

Proceeds from this marathon will go to local charities supporting those who have struggled the most during the pandemic. 

In all, the marathon will share proceeds with seven organizations: Casa ALBA Melanie, New Community Shelter, Onedia Nation Emergency Food Pantry, Paul's Pantry, Russell Leicht DAV Chapter 3, St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter, Inc. and The Gathering Place.

"(The funds will) be used to keep our mental health services going," said Michael Roberts, executive director at The Gathering Place, a non-profit that provides support groups and other services to those struggling with mental health and addiction. 

The virtual marathon will take place during the month of May and will include the familiar options for runners of registering for a marathon, half marathon, relay or 5K. Participants can choose which day during the month to run. Additionally, the marathon will now offer a 100 Miles in May Challenge that encourages runners, walkers and cyclists to travel 100 miles during the month. 

"It was gut wrenching to make the decision to convert to virtual," Cotter said of the 2020 marathon. "It was so hard, there's so much time and energy and this is just a huge labor of love for the people who are involved in it. We work so hard and the end result is of course, race weekend."

Cotter added that in June, she fully expected the 2021 race to be in-person. However, by early fall her hopes were waning as the coronavirus showed no sign of letting up. Ultimately, the decision was made to hold this year's marathon virtually.

(01/26/2021) ⚡AMP
by Alexandria Bursiek Kloehn
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Cellcom Green Bay Marathon

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon

The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon and Half Marathon courses are considered to be fast and flat, by race industry comparisons. The courses finish with a “tailgate” themed party in the Lambeau Field parking lot! The marathon starts in front of Lambeau Field and pass along tree-lined streets in west Green Bay and the village of Ashwaubenon. Then the marathoners head...

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Mo Farah believes the Olympic Games will go ahead this summer and claims athletes have been told they will get Covid vaccines

Farah, who has won gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the last two Games in London and Rio, has previously said he is targeting success in the longer distance only in Tokyo.

However, the Games are again under threat from the coronavirus pandemic, which were originally postponed by 12 months in March last year.

The idea of vaccinating athletes has been floated by International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound, and Farah told TalkSsport: “I think most people in a career want to go to an Olympics and take part in an Olympics. The key thing is to stay safe and see what the country can do.

What they have said to us is basically everyone will be able to get Covid injections and after that it’s less risk of spreading the disease, and then from there just see what happens and take one day at a time.

“I think [the Games] will go ahead but at the same time, for me I have had the experience of taking part in three Olympics and I have to see it as another race and see what happens.”

It is understood the British Olympic Association is not involved in any active conversations with the government in regard to vaccinating athletes, and its chief executive Andy Anson said earlier this month: “The priority has to be the people who need it most – frontline workers, the elderly and the vulnerable.

“There will come a time, hopefully ahead of the Olympic Games when the athletes can be considered for vaccination, but we’ll only do that when it’s appropriate.”

IOC president Thomas Bach has previously said there is “no reason whatsoever” to further delay the Games, which are due to start on 23 July.

(01/26/2021) ⚡AMP
by The Guardian
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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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Half marathon world record holder, Geoffrey Kamworor is back after injury lay-off

Geoffrey Kamworor, a former world half marathon champion and half marathon world record holder, has announced his return to after a one-year break.

The 28-year-old Kamworor, who last competed at the National Cross Country Championships on February 15 last year, has joined a rich field heading for the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon due on February 19 in the United Arab Emirates.

Kamworor, who has won the world half marathon title thrice in 2014, 2016 and 2018, has fully recovered from injuries sustained in a freak accident on June 25 last year in Eldoret.

Kamworor was hit from behind by a speeding motorcycle, sustaining injuries on his head and above the ankle and had to be operated on at St Luke's Hospital in Eldoret.

“It's time to race again!” said Kamworor on his Facebook page.

“After months of working hard to recover from my injury, I'm very excited to be on the starting line again in RAK to get my season going.”

The accident saw Kamworor, who won the RAK Half Marathon in 2013, fail to defend his world half marathon title on October 17 last year.

Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo cashed in on Kamworor’s absence to win in a Championship Record (CR) time of 58:49.

Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie settled for silver also inside the CR time in 58:54 as Amedework Walelegn from Ethiopia went for bronze in 59:08.

Kamworor held the previous CR of 59:08 set when winning the 2014 race.

Kamworor has also had his half marathon world record being snapped by compatriot Kibiwott Kandie, who claimed the Valencia Half Marathon victory in 57:32 on December 6, becoming the first man to run a half marathon under 58 minutes. 

The field in RAK looks sumptuous with Kamworor joining Kandie, who is the defending champion, and Kiplimo, the world half marathon champion, and 2017 and 2018 RAK champion Bedan Karoki.

(01/26/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

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

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Cancellation of Olympics in 2021 Would Result in Estimated $43.5 Billion Loss

After being postponed for a year, there are just six months to go until the start of the Tokyo Olympics. The coronavirus continues to spread, and with no signs of it slowing down the possibility of the worst case scenario, the Olympics' cancelation, has become more than just a possibility. Kansai University professor emeritus Katsuhiro Miyamoto, 76, has estimated that the cancelation of the Games would result in an economic loss of over 4.5 trillion yen [$43.5 billion USD].

The one-year postponement from last year has already resulted in a 640.8 billion yen loss [46.2 billion USD]. Should the Games go ahead? Another postponement? Cancel them? There is also the option being explored by the Organizing Committee of staging the Olympics without spectators. 

Government sources say that with the loss that another postponement would incur to local governments, it is not a realistic option. Tokyo has projected a direct economic effect of over 5.2 trillion yen [$49.4 billion USD[ in building and maintenance of facilities and infrastructure to put on the Games. Professor Miyamoto estimates that the loss of revenue from operating expenses, participants' consumption, domestic consumption and the like that would follow a cancelation of the Olympics would result in a loss of just under 3.5 trillion yen  [$33.4 billion USD]. 

Another 1 trillion yen [$10.1 billion USD] would disappear as the result of the loss of the legacy effect of post-Olympic facility usage, education and urban development, bringing the total loss from a complete cancelation to over 4.5 trillion yen [$43.5 billion USD]. This would be equivalent to about 1% of Japan's gross domestic product, roughly on the scale of the 4.2 trillion yen [$40.5 billion USD] spent at all department stores nationwide last year. "On top of the coronavirus, cancelation would be another serious hit to the economy," commented Professor Miyamoto.

If the Games do go ahead, they face a rough road forward. The event would all but definitely be downsized, with the likelihood high that events would be closed to spectators. According to preliminary calculations, halving the number of spectators and cutting back the opening and closing ceremonies would still result in a loss of almost 1.4 trillion yen [$13.4 billion USD[. Staging it without any spectators would bring the loss to over 2.4 trillion yen [$23.3 billion USD]. "The Olympics should go ahead even without spectators, but how other countries hit hard by the coronavirus would be able to deal with the situation remains unclear," said Professor Miyamoto. "If the International Olympic Committee made the decision to cancel the Games, the economic and political fallout would be extremely severe."

In preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, 42 venues in 9 prefectures have almost been completed along with investment in accommodations, road improvement and other infrastructure by local governments. "80% of the economic spillover occurs prior to the Games," commented Professor Miyamoto. A private research institute in the U.K. claimed that the 2012 London Olympics resulted in an economic spillover effect of around 2 trillion yen [$19.3 bilion USD], with 82% of the effect coming before the Games opened. 

If the Tokyo Olympics were canceled, the value of properties such as the main stadium built for the Games would be significantly reduced by not being able to apply the "Olympic" brand name to them. There is concern about additional losses to the financial burden of maintaining them under those circumstances. "The investment in preparations has already been made and they are all but completed," said Professor Miyamoto. "If the Olympics were canceled it would have a tremendous impact on consumer sentiment, and the value of the Olympic Village and other facilities would be significantly reduced."

(01/25/2021) ⚡AMP
by Brett Larner
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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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Ziyah Holman drops 51-second 400m split for incredible relay comeback

Last weekend, the University of Michigan hosted an indoor track meet in Ann Arbor. In the women’s 4 x 400m relay, the Michigan squad was well back of the lead heading into the final leg. That was when Ziyah Holman, a freshman who was anchoring for her team, threw down an incredible couple of laps to steal the win for her school.

Holman dropped a 51.79 400m split, overcoming a four-second deficit to win in the final stretch and turn her into a viral sensation. 

Despite the massive gap between Holman and her competitors, she set off at a blistering pace to chase them down. By the end of her first 200m lap (which she ran in 25.029 seconds), Holman had caught the runner from second-place Ohio State, but she still had a lot of ground to make up if she wanted to catch Indiana’s anchor, who was a couple of seconds ahead.  

Holman posted a second 200m split of 26.758 seconds, leading her past the Indiana runner in the final straightaway and across the line for the relay win in a time of 3:48.013. In the span of less than a minute and just 400m of running, Holman carried her team from third (and last) place, four seconds back of the lead, to the win, crossing the line with a comfortable gap of about half a second for what is one of the best comebacks the track world has seen in recent years. 

Not a fluke

Holman´s big performance in the 4 x 400m is nothing new. Earlier that same day, she won the 600m by four full seconds, stopping the clock in a PB of 1:29.27. In 2019, she helped the American 4 x 400m team to a gold medal and U20 world record at the Pan American U20 Championships in Costa Rica, where they ran 3:24.04. Finally, more recently, Holman beat her 600m PB from last weekend, running 1:28.08 at a meet in Indiana on Saturday to set a Michigan school record. 

(01/25/2021) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Kenyan Daniel Simiu turned into a long distance star when he decided running away from bandits

A 24-kilometer walk to school in neighbouring Laikipia also helped build his career.

For nearly three years since joining the elite ranks in athletics, his name has remained the most confusing one.

The confusion in his name is however not as scary as the mention of his origin, which is in an area described as one of Kenya’s most dangerous places to live in due to armed conflict.

Is he Simiu or Simiyu? That’s the confusion athletics fans and sports journalists have been treated to as they struggle to understand an Iten-based track and cross country racer who missed the opportunity to represent Kenya in 5,000m at the 2019 world championships in Doha, Qatar.

Daniel Simiu Ebenyo, 25, shot to fame after powering to a second place at the national World championships trials.

Even Athletics Kenya race officials have been misspelling his name, recording it as Simiyu – a name that is common among the Luhya tribe of Western Kenya. The confusion about his name aside; who is this man Simiu?

In Iten where he trains, he can walk to town and enjoy a cup of hot tea in the evening without attracting any attention, unlike big names including four-time London Marathon champion Mary Keitany, two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat and multiple world marathon major champion Wilson Kipsang among others.

Simiu’s athletics career started in the volatile Baragoi, Samburu County where he ran away from dreaded cattle rustlers at a young age and turned him from a footballer to a runner.

For many years, Baragoi has been synonymous with deadly banditry attacks, but surprisingly birthed Simiu’s athletics talent.

“A mention of Baragoi scares many people, but that is where I was born and grew up. It is the place I call home,” he said.

“As for the name Simiyu, I just got used to it. Some fans and athletes have asked why I can’t represent Western Kenya in local competitions. The good thing is that many people are getting to know me. What they don’t know is that I come from Samburu.”

He says it was while at Aiyam Day secondary school when a 24km trek to the learning institution and back home would make him an athlete.

Walking to school early in the morning and back in the evening, he explains, was the most dangerous journey, since they crossed bandits’ battle grounds along the narrow paths to the institution.

He says because of the long trek to school, which started at 5.30am he became an athlete by default.

Simiu was expected to be in school but teachers who knew the distance from his home to the institution gave him a 30-minute allowance, and he would arrive at 8am.

“It is while in secondary school that I developed interest in athletics. It started as inter-dormitory competitions and I discovered I was good. I also represented my school but I only reached the regional level. My games teacher Maurice Osuma spotted the talent and encouraged me to train harder,” he explains.

He says the distance to Aiyam secondary school would often become longer during moments when bandits were battling along the way.

“I would be forced to take a longer route to escape being attacked by rustlers. It meant increasing my pace to reach school on time,” he recalls.

He never wasted time. In 2016, upon completing his secondary school education, Simiu travelled more than 400km to Iten to train. His elder sister Pauline Eskon, a road runner had come to Iten earlier and she welcomed him when he arrived in the famous high altitude training base.

Simiu who is in top form this season has his sights on a second attempt to represent Kenya in 5,000m at the Olympic Games.

(01/25/2021) ⚡AMP
by Stephen Rutto
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Sebastian Coe says, Olympic Games not just financial, it's spiritual

The president of World Athletics says he is concerned for the wellbeing of athletes as they prepare for the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games amid the "rumours" of cancellation.

Lord Sebastian Coe, who is also a current IOC member and former UK member of Parliament, said he would not buy into any discussion around a political divide in Japan after London's Times newspaper reported Tokyo was looking for a way out of hosting the Games.

"As a former politician I'm long enough in the tooth to know you don't actually ever comment about the politics of someone else's country," Lord Coe told The Ticket.

"And I certainly don't want to get into the well-worn fragilities of a coalition government."

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga issued a statement on Friday saying the Government and "all our delivery partners" would continue "to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure Games", and Lord Coe says that is where the focus should be.

"I think the most important thing that I've witnessed in the last few hours, given the nature of that story, is it was immediately knocked down by the Japanese Prime Minister," he said.

"It's probably better for athletes, who I do have concerns about, that they're not swept along from rumour to rumour and losing focus on what they need to really focus on."

The cost of organising the Games has ballooned to more than $20 billion.

Cancellation would not only mean that money — mostly Government funding with some private investment — is sunk, but the IOC's major funding source would also evaporate.

Of course we want the Games but not just for the financial reasons.

"No sport wants to go indefinitely without those big global showcase moments where the world can see, in our case, the most God-given talented athletes on the planet.

Everybody is scenario planning … we're all two-speed organisations at the moment — or should be.

"It's not just financial, I think it is also spiritual — the world needs sport."

"I think we have a responsibility across the sporting landscape to reassure the people of Japan who have shown remarkable resilience.

"I wake up grateful each morning that it is Japan dealing with this challenge and not some parts of the world I could think of."

Above all, Lord Coe remains confident the Tokyo Games will go ahead.

(01/25/2021) ⚡AMP
by Tracey Holmes
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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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Why And How To Run Strides To Improve Speed On The Trails

If you look at hundreds of elite athlete training logs, short, fast "strides" will be a close-to-universal element. There is variance in timing of strides, distribution throughout the year, speed and duration, but you'll rarely see an athlete exploring the top of their performance potential without them.

That's weird, right? How can running quickly for 30 seconds or less have much relevance for events from 30 minutes to 30 hours? The answer likely lies in how adaptation happens in the interaction between cells and systems of our muscles and bones and capillaries, applied via biomechanics and the nervous system.

A flow chart that diagrams adaptation would have thousands of arrows, and even then would be simplifying complex processes that often cannot be measured directly. In other words, adaptation is a lot like the lottery for entry into the Hardrock 100. For endurance runners thinking about their own training in an applied, practical sense, I like to break it down to four component parts that work in tandem: the aerobic system, the musculoskeletal system, the biomechanical system and the neuromuscular system.

Systems Overview

The aerobic system powers working muscles via the heart, lungs, and circulatory elements like capillaries. The musculoskeletal system absorbs and transmits power during activity. The biomechanical system describes the efficiency of that power absorption and transmission via movement patterns. And the neuromuscular system is how the brain and nervous system put it all together. Each of those elements has countless component parts, and each feeds back on one another over time. 

The problem is that it's tempting to prioritize the aerobic system and musculoskeletal system above all else, using total effort or stress as a proxy for the value of training. That model views runners as "lungs with legs," and it risks missing some of the complex feedback cycles that fall between a breath of oxygen-rich air and running speed on a road or trail.

While there is no 100-percent proven reason that strides work, their importance is likely related to the complex interplay of those elements that go into long-term adaptation. Aerobically, short strides could improve cardiac output, but that benefit is likely minimal. Musculoskeletally, they stress output-per-stride, requiring muscles to maximize efficient power output. There are even theories that strides could positively alter protein expression in slow-twitch muscle fibers, and that underscores the idea that all of these adaptation processes likely have immensely complex explanations. Biomechanically and neuromuscularly, the mix of higher cadence, lower ground contact time, and maximized power could help optimize form and power transfer, along with complex pathways involved in how the brain makes it all possible. If I say "complex" one more time, I complete my punch card that entitles me to a free six-inch sub. 

Feeding back development of max sustainable output via strides and similar efforts into normal sub-max training consisting of easy efforts and workouts can raise the ceiling on both. And that's how an athlete can have long-term breakthroughs to previously unthinkable levels.

To simplify it a bunch, an athlete usually will be within a certain percentage range of their short stride speed in longer events. That range is variable and based on a number of individual-specific factors (i.e. muscle fiber distribution, sex, athletic background) and my co-coach/wife Megan and I went into more details in our book and podcast. But the big takeaway is this: maximum sustainable output (sometimes called "speed endurance," though that term means many different things depending on where you look) is often loosely connected to sub-max sustainable output (velocity or power at lactate threshold or harder and aerobic threshold or easier). 

Feeding back development of max sustainable output via strides and similar efforts into normal sub-max training consisting of easy efforts and workouts can raise the ceiling on both. And that's how an athlete can have long-term breakthroughs to previously unthinkable levels.

Applied Studies

Many studies support the empirical framework seen in elite-athlete training. A 2018 study in Physiology Reports had 20 trained athletes do 10 sessions of 5 to 10 x 30 seconds fast in a 40-day training cycle where total training volume was reduced by 36 percent. After the intervention, 10K performance improved by 3.2 percent. Perhaps most interestingly, VO2 max didn't change at all (and it actually had a non-significant decrease). Instead, the athletes improved by two percent in their velocity at VO2 max. 

In other words, their aerobic systems had not improved, they were just going faster with the oxygen they had. The progress was based in some combination of their musculoskeletal, biomechanical and neuromuscular systems. If you want to get to know me better, I enjoy long walks on the beach and that Physiology Reports study.

A 2017 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research similarly took 16 trained trail runners and had them complete two weeks of 4 to 7 x 30 seconds hard with 4 minutes of recovery 3 times per week. They improved in their 3K time trial times by about 6 percent, with similar physiological underpinnings. Physiology Reports, baby, I promise you're the only journal for me. I just like the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research's photo composition on Instagram. It's purely artistic respect!

Running economy improvements seen with the introduction of faster strides would apply to the remainder of training-more sustainable speed in workouts and likely more efficient easy running too.

Do the initial adaptation processes eventually level off or even decrease? That's tough to measure (for more, see this 2017 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology and this 2017 study in the Scandanavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports), but I doubt it. Running economy improvements seen with the introduction of faster strides would apply to the remainder of training-more sustainable speed in workouts and likely more efficient easy running too. Add well-rounded training on top of the speed development (plus periodization of different stimuli), and there should be positive feedback cycles that improve the aerobic system.

Training Systems

From the 1950s on, strides have played an important role in training approaches. Starting in the 1950s, Coach Mihaly Igloi had a system predicated on stride-like intervals (see this wonderful article from Coach Steve Magness). In the 1960s and 1970s, Arthur Lydiard pioneered modern training approaches with strides and hills building off base periods. And now, coaches from Renato Canova to Jack Daniels include short, fast bouts of running in various ways. In trail and ultra running, strides have been key component parts of the training of athletes like Clare Gallagher, Hayden Hawks, Jason Schlarb, Katie Asmuth and many others.

All of that was a glorified preamble for the big questions of the day: how do you actually do strides, and how do they fit into a well-rounded training plan? Now, we are venturing into an area where there is even more debate, so I will summarize what Megan and I recommend, but find what works for you.

How To Run Strides

For athletes we coach, strides are 15- to 30-second accelerations to the fastest pace they can go without straining or sprinting, usually with 1 to 2 minutes easy running recovery between. Our usual guideline is to do 4 to 8 of them, with 4 being the sweet spot balancing stimulus and stress. They can be on roads or non-technical trails, flat ground or slight ups and downs.

It's key to avoid full, arms-pumping sprinting due to the risk of injuries and reinforcing biomechanical patterns that are not conducive to long-distance running. The cap at 30 seconds is to prevent too much stress, which could undermine the aerobic system (see this article on base training for more). We like athletes to apply four cues:

Ease into the effort, with the first 5 seconds gradually building pace, emphasizing longer strides before rapid turnover;

Run tall through the hips, with a slight forward lean;

Use long-distance form, with normal arm carriage and a relaxed upper body;

Instead of increasing cadence as high as you can go, emphasize knee drive and output-per-stride at a smooth effort.

Put it all together, and it usually equates to between the speed an athlete could race 800 meters to a mile (for beginner to intermediate athletes) or a mile to 3K or even 5K (for intermediate to very advanced athletes). More slow-twitch athletes can usually go toward the faster end, and faster twitch athletes should stay on the slower end. If you do them on non-technical trails, the paces will be slower, and that's OK too. 

When To Run Strides

Now, it's important to consider how flat strides fit in with hill strides. Hill strides primarily emphasize the musculoskeletal system, since the uphill grade usually involves lower cadence and increased power-per-stride. Meanwhile, flat strides emphasize the neuromuscular and biomechanical systems, with higher cadence and more strain on form. A strong cyclist who doesn't run could probably do a good hill stride due to their power, but would likely suffer on a flat stride due to their lack of neuromuscular and biomechanical adaptations.

Hill strides primarily emphasize the musculoskeletal system, since the uphill grade usually involves lower cadence and increased power-per-stride. Meanwhile, flat strides emphasize the neuromuscular and biomechanical systems, with higher cadence and more strain on form.

After a base period of easy running, we like athletes to start with hill strides, improving raw musculoskeletal output first with lower overall risk. If athletes are over 50, prone to injuries, or find themselves going too fast on flat strides, they may never do flat strides at all.

Other athletes usually progress into flat strides after they are fully adapted to the hill stride stimulus. The choice of flats or hills will alternate depending on goals (more hills for ultramarathoners, more flats for road racers) and genetic predispositions (more hills for faster-twitch athletes, more flats for slower-twitch athletes). 

Rest between strides starts as near-complete recovery (1-2 minutes), so that fatigue does not impact form or output significantly. Later, the rest may shorten to as little as 30 seconds to get an enhanced aerobic stimulus, particularly closer to races or for faster-twitch athletes.

Most of our athletes do strides one to three times per week. You can generally add them during any easy run, with the caveat that there could be some aerobic drawbacks to doing too many strides too often. Before workouts, they make a great neuromuscular primer. After harder efforts, they can serve as a combo workout stimulus.

A typical weekly breakdown for an intermediate/advanced athlete in the middle of a training cycle may look like this:

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 8-10 miles easy with 5 x 20 seconds fast/1 min easy flat strides

Wednesday: 3 miles easy, workout (like 6-8 x 3 minutes at 10k effort with 2 minutes easy recovery), 4 x 20-30 second hill strides, 3 miles easy

Thursday: 8-10 miles easy

Friday: 4-6 mile easy or x-train

Saturday: 14 miles easy/moderate (20 minutes moderately hard around 1-hour effort) 

Sunday: 10 miles easy with 4 x 20-30 seconds fast/2 min easy flat strides

Before you get overwhelmed, let's end the article with a step back to the first principles of strides. The basic idea is that going faster than you'll ever race (but not as fast as you absolutely can) will make you faster overall at all effort levels. That improved running economy is balanced against injury risk and a slight chance of aerobic regression if done too intensely or at the exclusion of other types of training. Start with hill strides, and only do flat strides if you feel confident in your health and discipline to avoid all-out sprinting. You can add them to almost any run, but don't add them to every run.

And most importantly, don't stress about the exact details. Just make sure that you remember one thing: you are an ATHLETE. And exploring your unlimited athletic potential may be a bit more fast (and fun) with strides.

(01/24/2021) ⚡AMP
by Trail Runner Magazine
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Here’s the Story Behind the New Wooden Sculpture of a Runner on Heartbreak Hill

Heartbreak Hill is one of the most iconic marathon sections in the world, challenging runners on a long, steady uphill around mile 20 of the Boston Marathon. Now, runners will have something new to greet them after they get through that rough part of the race.

A new wooden sculpture of a runner has been built out of what used to be a large maple tree situated at the top of the hill.

Mark Proctor and Charlotte McKee have owned a house on Heartbreak Hill, at the corner of Commonwealth and Grant Avenues, since the late 1990s. They’ve spent many Patriots’ Days hosting marathon watch parties in their front yard, next to that large maple tree that could be seen from a ways down the hill.

But in 2013, they found out the tree was dying. For seven years, Proctor and McKee did their best to keep it alive, even putting steel cables on it to keep it up. Unfortunately, in 2020, the tree became diseased; it killed vegetation around it, and chunks of the tree fell off. Instead of removing the tree entirely, Proctor had an idea to give the tree a second life.

“We had seven years to think about it, and we love the marathon,” Proctor told Runner’s World. “I can’t say where the spark was, but we have a house in New Hampshire, and people make tree carvings up there, so I had the idea of possibly making a runner out of the tree. Not an identifiable runner. Just a runner.”

They considered a few other ideas, such as the Greek god Hermes and a puma, like the brand logo. However, they ended up going with a generic runner.

“It was Mark’s vision from the beginning,” McKee told Runner’s World. “He had the have the courage of his convictions because I was originally not on board. But I’m glad he persisted.”

Proctor and McKee searched the internet for a wood sculptor, and they found Ken Packie, who lives in Otis, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires. When the tree came down in September, leaving only an eight-foot-tall section, the owners told Packie he had total creative control. In November, Packie made the two-hour trek to Boston with his tools and began to chainsaw the runner to life.

“The pose was dictated by the tree,” Packie told Runner’s World. “I had to knock everything peripheral off and see what meat I had left. Like most of my carvings, I wing it, and I knew I had to fit this into what the tree allowed me to do.”

While shaping, he also had to think of structural integrity, which meant the ankles had to be thicker to support the sculpture above—the back leg was especially tough, until an idea came to him from the wood.

“I had a huge chunk of wood under the back leg that I was going to cut off,” Packie said. “I looked at it, and it looked like a heart, and I thought, that should be a broken heart for Heartbreak Hill. It makes sense, and it’ll give the back leg structural integrity.”

As Packie worked with chainsaws, chisels, and blowtorches, people passing by started to show appreciation for the project as it took shape. Cars beeped all day and neighbors McKee and Proctor had never met started giving them positive feedback about the sculpture.

These are such crazy times and people are so stressed, and from hearing from people who are coming by is that people are so happy,” McKee said. “They’re looking for something to make them smile and this can be one of those things.”

In total, Packie estimates the carving took about 25 to 30 hours. On November 20, the final wood seal was put on, which will have to be replaced every year to keep the sculpture from wearing away.

The final product is a male runner with a singlet and shorts with a broken heart under the back leg.

“I hope this will become an inspiration for people to keep pushing,” Packie said. “Twenty miles into a race going up hill is a tough spot, and if this can help them push forward, I want them to see it. This is not a super lean runner. He’s the every man’s runner, and if he can do it, you can. Hopefully Heartbreak Hill won’t be a heartbreak for them.”

McKee and Proctor initially only planned to keep it around for one iteration of the Boston Marathon. But after seeing the positive reaction and watching people come to their neighborhood just to see or run past the new landmark, they think they’ll make it a permanent part of their yard and something for Boston Marathon runners to look forward to for years to come.

“It was so tough after the bombings and there was uncertainty about if it would return,” McKee said. “It gave people hope, and people were so happy when the marathon came back. Now, not having the marathon because of the pandemic, people are want to look forward to something. Hopefully, this will be a symbol of how we all got through this.”

(01/24/2021) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Nick Willis Set a Record by Running a Sub-4 Mile for the 19th Straight Year. Here’s How He Did It

On January 19, Nick Willis wrote himself into the record books when he ran a 3:58.63 mile. His time marked the 19th consecutive calendar year that the 37-year-old Kiwi runner has clocked a sub-4-minute mile.

A middle-distance specialist, Willis has sub-4 miles every year since 2003—and even the two years before that, he clocked a 4:01 and 4:02. It wasn’t until 2019 that the record of consecutive years running a sub-4 mile even came onto Willis’s radar. Someone had mentioned that he was one year away from tying fellow countryman and running legend John Walker, who ran sub-4 miles for 18 consecutive years from 1973 to 1990.

When he tied the record in 2020 at the New Balance Grand Prix in Boston, Willis realized he could get the obscure record if he could find a race—something made far more difficult because of COVID-19.

With some research, Willis found the Orange Winter Classic #1 in Orlando, Florida on January 19.

“I’m 37,” Willis told Runner’s World. “I’d rather try in January than in August when I’m eight months older.”

Because of the possibility of not having consistent track access at home in Michigan because of weather or the pandemic, Willis prepared for the event by spending the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas in Flagstaff, Arizona, training aggressively at altitude. A week before the race, back home in Michigan, Willis did a 1200-meter time trial that gave him confidence.

Normally, Willis said, the first race of the season is a bit rusty, but everything lined up right for his record attempt.

“I never felt comfortable, like I was on the edge of the red line the whole way,” Willis said about the race. “We were still able to do it though thanks to good pacing from pacemaker Victor Palumbo, who became the first American to run a sub-4 on an outdoor track in December on U.S. soil. He got us through three laps and did an incredible job.”

In the final 200 meters, Willis wasn’t able to get on the shoulder of eventual winner Mason Ferlic, but he hung on for second and a 3:58.63—good enough to grab the record from Walker. His splits were 1:01.64, 59.02, 59.30, and 58.68 on his way to breaking Walker’s record.

“[Walker] is very involved in local council now, so I’m sure he doesn’t care about this as a record at all,” Willis said. “Besides, he had the real mile world record [from 1975 to 1979].”

Willis’s longevity in the sport is unexpected. Over the years, he’s faced four surgeries, five stress fractures, pulled muscles, strained tendons, and countless minor injuries that have caused him moments of doubt.

He credits his coach, Ron Warhurst—also the head coach at the University of Michigan—and his wife, Sierra, for sticking with him through the highest and lowest times during his nearly two decades of competition.

“A lot of times, I would’ve walked away from the sport satisfied with what I achieved and they always thought there was more left in the tank,” Willis said. “What I did on Tuesday night was not without the unwavering support of them encouraging me. They are the ones who deserve the recognition.

As Willis has gotten older, he says the moments of motivation waver more than before. His motivation was at 90 percent most of the time in his younger years. As it has become tougher to compete with age, he says that number starts to waver toward 80 or 70.

“Tuesday was the first time I felt a lot of satisfaction crossing the line in the last few years,” he said. “I’ve felt frustrated because it doesn’t come as easy as it used to. Someone who finishes strong with a kick is what I’m known for and it’s been a struggle with why I can’t do that. I’m holding myself to unfair expectations. At 37, I can take a step back and look at it with a more relative perspective. Four minutes was the goal. I’m not a 3:50 miler anymore.”

The day after his record, Willis did what many great champions do and went to Disney World with Sierra and their two sons. He’ll be there for seven days while also squeezing in another race—an 800—on January 22. He has five races on tap in the coming weeks.

Because of the pandemic, he’s not sure how many races, especially indoor track races, will happen. However, he is hopeful to compete this winter, to make another New Zealand Olympic team, and to compete in some of the newly-formed Pro Track Series events this year. He also said he plans to ski and skateboard more.

As for his sub-4 streak, he’s not totally sure yet if it’ll continue.

“It seems like a crime to stop at 19,” Willis said. “I have a lot of other things these days. I’m working with Tracksmith now which has been a transition from just a pro running career to a corporate role. But if everything lines up, and I can still have some ski trips out west, I’ll definitely give it a shot.”

(01/24/2021) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Jim Walmsley Shatters the 100K American Record, But Misses the World Record by 11 Seconds

The king of Western States came so close at the Project Carbon X 2 race.

After more than six hours of running, Jim Walmsley crossed the finish line 11 seconds short of his ultimate goal—the world record in the 100K. 

At the Hoka Project Carbon X 2 100K race on January 23, held in Chandler, Arizona, Walmsley ran 6:09:25, shattering the American record of 6:27:44, set by Max King in 2014. But the world record (6:09:14, set by Nao Kazami in 2018) continues to elude him.

“Definitely feels like one of the more special runs I’ve had,” Walmsley said, in his post-race interview. “Really felt like I got everything out of myself today, dug real deep, and fought all the way to the line. I don’t feel like I gave up, but it was tough to see the seconds tick by. It’s a little bittersweet, but definitely awarded with an American record today, and those don’t come very often. I don’t get to do things like this in my home state very often, so it’s extremely positive. A 45-minute PR. It was a pretty amazing day.”

Nineteen men and women were chasing national and world records in the 100K distance in Saturday’s race. Walsmley was the men’s favorite to set both the world record and the American record, while Camille Herron was favored for the women. Herron was forced to drop out of the women’s race with a hip injury.

Walmsley started the race in a pack with five other runners, running conservatively to keep his legs fresh. But the other four runners faded behind him, leaving Walmsley to chase the record alone. His pacing picked up over the final 30K, as he raced the clock with everything he had.

Around the 3:30 mark in the race, Walmsley clipped his left shoulder on a course sign, and he was visibly bleeding for the next two and a half hours. At water stops, he’d fuel and treat his wound as best he could while keeping his stride.

The race came down to the final 10K, as Walmsley needed to run 37:58 or faster over the final miles. Those watching the race on the live stream could see the fatigue and pain set in over that final stretch. He let out a loud “C’mon, Jim” scream with a little more than 5K to go, fighting the clock with everything he had.

As he entered the drag strip to the finish, he had just over a minute to cover the final hundreds of meters. He got on his toes, repeatedly checked his watch, and ran as hard as he could to beat the clock that was now in his sights. Ultimately, he watched the clock tick past 6:09:14, finishing 11 seconds later. 

“We’ll have to try it again,” Walmsley said in his post-race interview. “We’re in the right ballpark and on the right track and we have a shoe to compete with this and we’re knocking on the door. I don’t think I’m done with the 100K. Fortunately, unfortunately, there’s likely another one down the road.”

The remainder of Walmsley’s year is uncertain, because of the pandemic. He told Runner’s World before the race that he’s looking at first are the Comrades Marathon and the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. In the near future, he’s hoping to do the Black Canyon 100K three weeks from this weekend on February 13.

The Flagstaff, Arizona, native wasn’t the only runner with a notable day out on the course. Rajpaul Pannu took second in the men’s 100K in his first-ever attempt at the distance. Pannu is a math teacher in addition to being a pro runner who finished 63rd at the Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2020. 

In the women’s race, the United Kingdom’s Carla Molinaro and the United States’s Camille Herron led for the first half of the race before France’s Audrey Tanguy slowly made her way past both runners early in the second half of the race. After that, Herron was forced to drop out after six of nine laps due to a hip injury. 

Tanguy, the reigning and two-time champion of the Ultra-Trail Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS), captured the lead and ran away with the race for the win in 7:40:35, unofficially.

American Nicole Monette did move close to Tanguy late in the race and took second, finishing less than three minutes behind the winner. 

 

 

(01/24/2021) ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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