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Tokyo Olympics delay could boost my medal chances says Mo Farah

Olympic champion Mo Farah has said the delayed Games could work in his favor and boost his chances of winning gold in Tokyo.

The Olympics has been been postponed until next year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and is set to begin on July 23, 2021.

Farah, who announced his ambition to compete at the Games in November after his retirement from track athletics, said the postponement has given him more time to prepare.

"It is probably, in my honest opinion, not a bad thing for me because it gives you a bit more time to train for it, to do more races, because I would have gone from the marathon and then the following year straight to the track," he told Athletics Weekly.

"Obviously, I'm not a spring chicken any more. You take what you can from it. You'll definitely see me doing a similar thing to what you've seen before.

"Do a few races and get strong and get fit and then from there go on to the track and use the track leading up to the Tokyo Olympics."

"I'm not thinking about marathons, to be honest with you. I'm just thinking, Tokyo."

(04/23/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series introduces new virtual run club globally

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series announced Monday the new Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running (VR) Series, giving walkers and runners a start line from anywhere in the world amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The new series will be offered through the new Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running Club (VRC), an online platform allowing runners to race, engage and connect with a new series of weekly races, challenges and rewards.

“For over twenty years, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series community has been Bringing Fun to the Run through a mixture of music, community and celebrating achievement,” says Andrew Messick, President & CEO for The IRONMAN Group.

“At our core, it is about finding fun and motivation in the moments that challenge us. While this seems truer and more important than ever before, this has always been the brand’s heartbeat. We believe that this new Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running Club will enable the running community to stay active, find structure and reach their finish lines in a positive, flexible and safe environment as they come together through a common passion.” 

The Rock ‘n’ Roll VRC will offer challenges and virtual races in a variety of distances for all levels of runners and walkers. The first virtual race, Rock ‘n’ Roll VR1, will be a 5K run and will be open to anyone in the world. Starting this week, virtual races will begin weekly on Fridays at 5 p.m. ET and close Sundays at 8 p.m. ET.

To compete for and earn rewards, participants will track their activity by a GPS and heart rate monitor and upload the information to their member dashboard. The VRC is compatible with many different wearable technology devices.

Rock ‘n’ Roll VRC will also have other features that give users access to playlists, coaching, nutritional information and more.

More information about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running Series and Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running Club are available on www.runrocknrollvr.com.

(04/23/2020) ⚡AMP
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Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach

Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach

Featuring three days of free concerts on the beach, 13.1 miles of live bands and a spectacular boardwalk finish, it's no wonder why over 20,000 runners and walkers participate in the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon. Warm ocean breezes, clean sandy beaches and rolling surf provide a stunning backdrop to this Labor Day Weekend extravaganza. The half marathon...

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Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele, two of the world best marathon runners, were due to clash on Sunday in London but have been forced to shelve the plans with the event postponed due to the coronavirus

The two of the world best marathon runners, will be at their homes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Eldoret, Kenya with their families.

Kipchoge reminisces that it was this week seven years ago that he made his debut in a marathon in Hamburg, Germany, clocking an impressive 2:05.30.

"On this day in 2013, I ran the very first marathon of my life. The memories of my debut in Hamburg are actually really good, I won this marathon in 2:05:30. It has been a beautiful journey so far," Kipchoge said on Wednesday.

But with the prospect of the two clashing in London on Sunday now impossible, Kipchoge will focus on remaining fit for future competitions.

London would have been their fifth time racing together in a marathon. Kipchoge has won all four previous encounters.

However, for Bekele (2:01:41), he believes a clash between the two would serve as the highlight of the track and field program, especially should the pair be included in their respective teams for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

It's anticipated Kenenisa will return to the Olympics after his shock exclusion by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation for Rio 2016.

Kipchoge has already secured his spot in the Kenya team and will do everything to defend his title.

"One year is not a long time," Bekele, 37, a three-time Olympic champion, albeit on the track, told the Olympic Channel regarding the Games postponement to July 2021.

"I hope I can stay in good shape, disciplined, because one year is just tomorrow. The most important thing is to stay healthy and stay fit."

Bekele, who has overcome an Achilles tendon injury, believes he can shave more than a minute off his personal best, and even lower the official world record to less than two hours.

The current mark of 2:01.39 was set by Kipchoge in Berlin in 2018.

Only Kipchoge has run under two hours, albeit in closed conditions and with aids, at the Vienna course back in October, where he posted a time of 1:59.40.

"I'm sure, it's possible to run that time [two hours]," Bekele told the Olympic Channel.

"I can run maybe faster than the world record, maybe close to two hours or something. It's down to the weather conditions and a good course."

(04/23/2020) ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Kenya's Gladys Cherono changes plans after Berlin race cancellation

Gladys Cherono has been forced to defer her dream for a fourth Berlin Marathon title with the 2017 World marathon champion, Geoffrey Kirui also putting on hold his debut in the race.

The organisers of the race that was due for September 27 have been forced to cancel the marathon after the Berlin Senate, the executive body that governs the city, extended the ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 participants until October 24 due to the novel coronavirus.

"We have learned from the press conference of the Berlin Senate on April 21, 2020, that according to the Containment Ordinance, all events with more than 5,000 persons will be prohibited until October 24, 2020. This applies to many of our events, but especially to the Berlin Marathon,” said a statement on the event’s website.

This is the first cancellation of a World Marathon Majors race this year owing to coronavirus, and it raises questions about the likelihood of other races taking place around the same time, including the rescheduled London Marathon, which is to take place on October 4.

Cherono, the 2014 World Half Marathon champion, was due to make her fifth appearance in Berlin where she won on her debut in 2015 before capturing the title again in 2017 and 2018.

Last year, the 36-year-old Cherono failed to finish the race after she fell sick just before the race.

Perhaps Cherono’s memorable victory was in 2018 when she triumphed with the fourth fastest time in marathon by then of 2:18:11, which still remains the course record.

“You can only understand what is happening across the world as nations battle to not only control the spread of Covid-19 but also get a cure for the disease,” said Cherono. “It’s impossible to plan for a race until October or November there.”

Cherono, who is now training alone in Eldoret under her coach-cum-husband Joseph Kwambok, said if all goes well she could compete in London due October or New York City Marathon planned for November 1.

(04/23/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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BMW Berlin Marathon

BMW Berlin Marathon

The story of the BERLIN-MARATHON is a story of the development of road running. When the first BERLIN-MARATHON was started on 13th October 1974 on a minor road next to the stadium of the organisers‘ club SC Charlottenburg Berlin 286 athletes had entered. The first winners were runners from Berlin: Günter Hallas (2:44:53), who still runs the BERLIN-MARATHON today, and...

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Col Bignell plans to run London Marathon around his living room

Col Bignell, from Co Down, said he intends to raise money for the health service with his 26.2-mile run.

Col Bignell had been looking forward to travelling to the capital this weekend for the world famous run, but with the event postponed to October, Mr Bignell decided to run in his living room, which will involved going back and forth thousands of times.

The 26-year-old, originally from London, dared his Facebook friends to give him the push to do it by giving his post 260 likes.

He said he intends to raise money for the health service with the 26.2-mile run.

“I just thought I’d give something a bit different a go,” he told the PA news agency.

“I’ve marked out the space and it’s around 12 foot, so I’ve worked out it’ll probably take me about 7,000 back and forth, which is quite a lot. I’ll be running laps of my front room around 11,500 times.

“But I’ve seen Tom Moore and the lady who did the stairs and thought, if they can do it, why not do something myself.”

Retail worker Mr Bignell said he wanted to mark the day he had been due to run his first marathon.

“The London Marathon is still going ahead in October, but I thought it would be nice to have something on that day to mark the day I would have done it.

“The new date is two days after my wedding, hopefully it all still goes ahead. My fiancee thinks I’m crazy.”

Mr Bignell said he is aiming to raise £260.20 for the NHS with the length of the marathon being 26.2 miles, and has already raised £140 towards that goal.

“Any more would be great but that is the minimum I am hoping to raise,” he said.

(04/22/2020) ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Sir Mo Farah pays emotional tribute to former trainer Neil Black after his sudden death

‘Double-double’ Olympic champion says he has ‘lost a good friend’ after his old trainer and the former performance director at UK Athletics died at the weekend at the age of 60.

Four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah says his “heart is broken” after former trainer Neil Black died suddenly at the weekend.

Black, the former performance director of UK Athletics, is believed to have died from natural causes at the age of 60, just six months after resigning from his position with the governing body.

The news, which was announced by UKA alongside a brief statement from his family, triggered an outpouring of emotional tributes from athletes past and present who worked with Black, with Farah among the very best to have benefited from his work after claiming consecutive 5,000m and 10,000m doubles at London 2012 and Rio 2016 during their time together.

“I have lost a good friend!” Farah wrote on Twitter. “Known him since I was 14 years old. Neil supported me all the way in my career since I was kid!! My heart is broken ... I wouldn’t be where I am today without Neil Black ... no one knew me like he did!! We lost a great man.”

Black’s death came as a shock to all of those who had worked with him, given he was last seen in the public eye at the 2019 World Athletics Championship in Doha last October. The disappointing tally of five British medals proved Team GB’s worst performance since 2005, and that combined with his support for controversial American trainer Alberto Salazar – the former trainer of Mo Farah who has been banned from athletics for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for numerous drugs-related offences – cost Black his position.

However, such was the regard for his contribution towards the sport, UKA continued to use Black in an advisory role ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympics.

The former UKA boss was described as a man who dedicated his life and passion to the sport after achieving his “dream job” and who was “like a second father” to budding young sportsmen and women making their way in track and field, with dozens of athletes posting messages of condolence on Twitter along with Farah.

(04/22/2020) ⚡AMP
by Jack de Menezes
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Mike Reid, will be running in his back garden a 100km ultra marathon

A man is running a 100km "ultra marathon" in his back garden to raise money for a baby hospice.

Mike Reid, from Hinckley in Leicestershire, has calculated he will need to complete about 4,000 laps to cover the distance.

The run is due to start on Saturday night and finish on Sunday afternoon.

The 37-year-old, who is raising money for Zoe's Place Baby Hospice in Coventry, said the ultra marathon "could prove quite challenging".

Mr Reid has completed a handful of ultra marathons in the past - including two for the same charity.

He said: "I have run long distances before and for long periods of time but never in such a confined space, so I think the limited area and frequent changes in direction could prove quite challenging.

"I also strained my calf on a run at the start of this week so I might have to potentially back off the pace a little."

He is running the "ultra marathon" in his garden due the restrictions in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.

He will be cheered on by his wife and two sons as he navigates his way around swings, toys, sheds and greenhouse in his 20m by 9m garden.

More than £500 has already been pledged by supporters for the hospice which is currently closed due to Covid-19.

He said: "I'm blown away by the generosity of people in such a small amount of time.

"This money is going to directly change the lives of children and families when they need it most."

(04/22/2020) ⚡AMP
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Two Oceans pain for champ Mthembu

Two Oceans Marathon defending down-run champion, Bongmusa Mthembu, was keen to entrench his dominance in this year’s edition of the competition but the coronavirus stifled his advancement.

The Bulwer-born athlete was left dejected by the cancellation of the Two Oceans Marathon.

The marathon was set to take place last week where scores of local and international runners from were to come together with their sights set on supremacy in the Cape Town annual road running extravaganza but it wasn’t to be. Mthembu reigned supreme last year and was looking forward to dazzling once again.

“I was looking forward to the Two Oceans Marathon. I was disappointed when I heard that it had been cancelled. I worked very hard for that competition,” said the elite member of the Arthur Ford Running Club.

“I knew that many athletes were coming for me and I needed to do something special to step up. I even took a break from social media to focus on preparations for defending my crown. If I had my way, the race would have been postponed instead of cancelled. I know I speak for many runners who felt that the race should have been scheduled for another time this year.”

Mthembu is also the current holder of the Comrades Marathon down-run title after winning the ultra-marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in 2018. He came close to winning the Comrades up-run last year but was pipped by Edward Mothibi. The Covid-19 outbreak has forced the organizers of this year’s Comrades to postpone the race.

“We respect the decision taken by South African government (placing the country on lockdown and suspending community gatherings). This is a natural disaster. The rest of the world is suffering from the same virus. Our preparations (for Comrades Marathon) have been distracted, we can’t hide that but we need to accept it. If we have to start afresh, let it be. The lives of South Africans are more important than the sport. This will pass and we will come back and compete again,” he added.

The decision about this year’s Comrades Marathon is yet to be taken. The SA biggest marathon was scheduled to take place on June 14. Mthembu will be eyeing his fourth title this year if the 2020 race happens. He has made the down-run his own but feels strongly that a race like the Two Oceans is a great precursor to the dash between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

“The focus was purely on the Two Oceans and then thereafter I was going switch my mind towards the Comrades Marathon. I’m also a defending champion for the down-run. We will wait and see what the future holds. But as I said, the most important for now is to comply with the rules and regulations of the country. We can’t be worried about Comrades while the rest of the world is trying to fight this virus. Let us fight the virus first and then we can focus on running races,” Mthembu explained.

The 36-year-old distance specialist was the winner of the world famous race in 2014, 2017 and 2018. He made his Comrades debut back in 2006.

“I always want to be consistent, my brother. That’s what always pushes me to do well.

(04/22/2020) ⚡AMP
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Two Oceans Marathon

Two Oceans Marathon

2020 race cancelled. Cape Town’s most prestigious race, the 56km Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, takes athletes on a spectacular course around the Cape Peninsula. It is often voted the most breathtaking course in the world. The event is run under the auspices of the IAAF, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Western Province Athletics (WPA). The Ultra Marathon celebrated...

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The Berlin Marathon can´t be held as planned in September because of new restrictions in the city related to the coronavirus pandemic

The Berlin Marathon will not go ahead as planned in September after Germany banned public gatherings of over 5,000 people until Oct. 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers have said.

They did not specify if the event, at which the last seven men's world records have been set, would be postponed or cancelled altogether.

"We have learned from the press conference of the Berlin Senate on April 21, that according to the Containment Ordinance, all events with more than 5,000 persons will be prohibited until Oct. 24," organisers said in a statement.

"This applies to many of our events, but especially to the Berlin Marathon, which cannot take place on Sept. 26 and 27 as planned.

"We will now deal with the consequences of the official prohibition of our events, coordinate the further steps and inform you as soon as we can."

The 2019 Berlin marathon was won by Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele who missed creating a new world record by two seconds.

The London Marathon, which was scheduled to be held on Sunday, has been postponed to Oct. 4 due to the virus.

The coronavirus has infected 2.5 million people globally causing over 172,900 deaths.

(04/22/2020) ⚡AMP
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BMW Berlin Marathon

BMW Berlin Marathon

The story of the BERLIN-MARATHON is a story of the development of road running. When the first BERLIN-MARATHON was started on 13th October 1974 on a minor road next to the stadium of the organisers‘ club SC Charlottenburg Berlin 286 athletes had entered. The first winners were runners from Berlin: Günter Hallas (2:44:53), who still runs the BERLIN-MARATHON today, and...

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Former UK Athletics performance director Neil Black, dies at age 60

Neil Black, the former performance director of UK Athletics, has died aged 60, the organization has confirmed.

Black, who worked closely with Mo Farah throughout his career, became performance director in September 2012.

He left his position in 2019 after coach Alberto Salazar was banned for four years for doping violations.

British four-time Olympic champion Farah paid tribute on Twitter, saying: "I have lost a good friend. Known him since I was 14 years old."

Farah added: "Neil supported me all the way in my career since I was kid. My heart is broken. I wouldn't be where I am today without Neil Black. No-one knew me like he did. We lost a great man."

A UK Athletics statement released on Tuesday said Black died at the weekend; the organisation said it was "shocked and saddened" at the news.

"Neil loved the sport of athletics and dedicated his life to supporting athletes - as a world-class physiotherapist, as head of sport science, and then in recent years as performance director for British Athletics," the statement continued.

Ed Warner, former UK Athletics chairman, described Black's death as "an immense loss to British high performance sport and to athletics in particular".

Warner added: "It was a great privilege to work with him, and to share the highs and lows of British teams through the cycles of major competitions. I'll particularly treasure our celebratory clinch in the mixed zone at the Olympic Stadium after the last session of the London 2017 World Championships.

"Neil bore the barbs of the critics that are an inevitable part of the job of any leader in elite performance sport with a grace and sense of humour that were truly a mark of the man.

"He wanted to lead the British teams into Tokyo. He won't now be able to cheer their successes there.

"But I am certain there are British athletes who will win medals in Olympics and championships to come who will look back with enormous gratitude at the role Neil played in preparing them for their success. He will be greatly missed."

Black was a physiotherapist with UK Athletics before moving up through the organisation's ranks.

He worked with Farah as the athlete won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics.

Black made the decision to step down as performance director in October 2019 after the banning of Salazar, who coached Farah from 2011 to 2017, and who was appointed as a consultant by UK Athletics in 2013.

UK Athletics had conducted a review in 2015 and said there was "no concern" about Salazar's link with Farah.

In 2015, following a BBC Panorama programme, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) began an investigation into how Salazar ran the Nike Oregon Project.

Salazar has always denied that the Nike Oregon Project permitted doping, saying he was "shocked" by Usada's findings, and he is appealing against the ban.

UK Athletics said that Black continued to work as an adviser to several athletes following his resignation.

(04/22/2020) ⚡AMP
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Popular Brooklyn Half on May 16 is cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and in coordination with government officials, the Popular® Brooklyn Half and accompanying Rising New York Road Runners youth event, scheduled for May 16, have been canceled. The race is the largest half-marathon in the United States and was set to feature over 27,000 runners.

Registered runners will have the option of choosing either a full refund of their entry fee or guaranteed non-complimentary entry for next year’s Brooklyn Half in May 2021. Those runners who opt for entry into the 2021 Brooklyn Half will also receive 2021 TCS New York City Marathon qualifier credit and 2021 United Airlines NYC Half qualifier credit. All registered runners will receive an email in the coming days with more details.

Runners will still have the opportunity to run the 13.1-mile distance on their own in a safe and responsible way by entering the NYRR Virtual Brooklyn Half, part of the NYRR Volvo Virtual Racing Series Powered by Strava. The Virtual Brooklyn Half is free to enter for runners around the world and will take place from May 1 to May 17.

As the spread of COVID-19 continues globally, New York City is at the heart of the pandemic. Our community’s healthcare workers are on the front lines, risking their lives every day to help. Many of these same doctors, nurses, emergency responders, and medical professionals support runners at NYRR events. To help our heroes on the front lines, NYRR has recently donated $100,000 to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

The running community can help as well by donating to the Mayor’s Fund in support of the many New Yorkers who need critical assistance during these unprecedented times. 

In accordance with New York City’s recently announced restriction on public events through May 31, NYRR has also canceled the Italy Run 5M, and accompanying Rising New York Road Runners event, scheduled for Sunday, May 31.  Registered runners will receive an email with details regarding their resolution options.

The cancellation of the Brooklyn Half and the Italy Run brings the total number of NYRR races impacted during the coronavirus crisis to nine. As NYRR continues to monitor the ongoing public health situation with government officials, future cancellations are likely to be announced. NYRR is also pausing all new registrations for races that are scheduled to take place through October 25, 2020.

(04/21/2020) ⚡AMP
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Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon

Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon

2020 race has been cancelled. The Popular Brooklyn Half (previously Airbnb), the largest half-marathon in the country, is an iconic 13.1-mile journey through the amazing borough of Brooklyn. The race starts near the Brooklyn Museum and ends with a finish like no other on the Coney Island boardwalk. This half marathon takes runners on a brand-new course through Grand Army...

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Kevin Webber runs his version of Marathon des Sables at home

AFC Wimbledon fan Kevin Webber was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer five years ago and given only two years to live, he tells Sky Sports News reporter Jeremy Langdon.

That diagnosis changed Kevin's perspective on life and, when it came to making up a bucket list, the Marathon des Sables (MdS) was top.

The brutal Saharan ultra-marathon is notorious. Normally around 250 kilometers long, it means six days of suffering in desert heat with a pack on your back.

Kevin warmed up with two conventional marathons - against medical advice - while undergoing chemotherapy before running the MdS in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

This year would have been the fifth - and also would have made him the only person to run the event that many times with stage 4 cancer - but coronavirus forced the race in Morocco to be postponed early this month.

So Kevin decided to run it instead in his back garden and round his house in Epsom, Surrey.

He said: "I thought I'm not going to allow cancer to stop me doing things so equally I'm not going to allow coronavirus stopping me doing things either".

Kevin ran the 2019 race distance of 232km - around 140 miles - and fittingly made it a truly home event with the United Kingdom placed in lockdown.

"It would have been very easy for me to have gone out on the road and run a marathon in a day but that wouldn't have proved the point. About the solitude. About getting on when you're on your own. I wanted to prove to people in lockdown that even if you self-isolate you can do things," he added.

It meant an astonishing 2,700 laps round his house with each lap consisting of only 80 meters. It was not the easiest circuit either. Thirty metres through the garden. Ten metres down the side of the house - twice - together with another 20 meters at the front of the house round his two cars.

(04/21/2020) ⚡AMP
by Jeremy Langdon
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Marathon Des Sables

Marathon Des Sables

The 2020 race was moved to April 2021. The Marathon des Sables is ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth. Known simply as the MdS, the race is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a formidable landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates - the Sahara desert. The rules require you to be self-sufficient, to...

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Adam Cordell runs marathon for charity

29-year-old Adam Cordell originally planned to participate in this year's Boston Marathon, but he was forced to change his plans when the marathon was postponed due to COVID-19.

Instead of giving up, he decided that if he couldn't go the marathon, he'd just make one, instead.

"I decided to run a marathon, then all of a sudden my mom came up to me, and she's like: 'While we're at it, why don't we start raising funds, why don't we do some good for this?'" he said. "So I partnered with her and for the past week or so, we've been getting donations for the Food Bank of the Rockies."

Cordell established a 26.2 mile course -- the same distance as the Boston Marathon -- that spanned all around Cheyenne.

He headed off from his home at approximately 8 A.M. and reached his destination, Lion's Park, shortly before 11 A.M., a large crowd having gathered to cheer him on.

This wasn't his first marathon, either; Cordell placed first out of 154 runners in the previous Cheyenne Marathon.

Cordell, who works as a physical education teacher at Baggs and Fairview Elementary Schools, said he trains everyday to keep himself in shape for runs like these.

"I run about a hundred miles a week, anywhere between seven and twenty-two miles a day. So, I mean, it's just a grind, but I love it."

Cordell received roughly $8,000 in donations for the run, which Blue Federal Credit Union and the Blue Foundation matched, leading to a total of $16,000 raised for the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies.

"The community of Cheyenne came out. They practiced social distancing. They stayed far enough away from each other, but 26.2 miles is a lot...It was awesome."

Cordell still plans to participate in the Boston Marathon, which is now scheduled for September.

(04/21/2020) ⚡AMP
by Anthony Talcott
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

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

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World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot hopes to maintain form for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot is ruing the missed chance to cement his name in the sport's folklore by winning an Olympic medal in 2020.

Cheruiyot, 24, had high expectations this season, but all that has disappeared as he can't train or compete in any event at the moment.

The Diamond League has been postponed with the first race likely in August and the Olympic Games have been pushed back to 2021. Now, he is left with doing his part-time job, farming.

"Of course I had set my sights on winning my fourth Diamond League trophy and the Olympic Games," said Cheruiyot on Monday from his home in Bomet.

Cheruiyot had hoped to use the top form he has enjoyed recently to challenge some of the times set in the distance, defend the Diamond Trophy and win the Tokyo Olympics.

Now he will have to wait, hoping he will find similar form in 2021, to hunt for medals and records.

"Hopefully, I will be in the same form as last season. But we have to accept to live with things we can't change. We have to accept the postponement of the Games because nothing much could have been done," he said.

Cheruiyot says the world will emerge stronger after the coronavirus and it is important that athletes continue training no matter how hard it is to do alone.

"Of course, we are finding ourselves in a very difficult situation as athletes but we take heart because it is a global problem. We will overcome it and sports will be back on the big stage," Cheruiyot said.

Kenyan athletes will have a tough choice to make in 2021 when most sports events are expected to return. There will be the Commonwealth Games, the Olympic Games, the Diamond League, Africa Championships and Continental Tour.

Some of these events, running from May to August, are so close that it will be hard to see some athletes doubling up or competing in subsequent races.

"For me, being able to race again will be enough," said Helen Obiri, the world 5,000m champion. "I have no plans on doubling, because now what is important is being safe, healthy and focused. Coronavirus will end and we will return to action."

(04/21/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Aliphine Tuliamuk has her sights set on the rescheduled Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon in 2020 will take place in unusual circumstances.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the prestigious long-distance athletics event - which was supposed to be run today on April 20 - has been postponed until 14 September.

This means that spring in the USA won't feature the road race for the first time in a century.

However, while many runners will be disappointed with the delay, the rescheduled event does present an opportunity for some. USA marathon Olympic qualifier Aliphine Tuliamuk falls under that category.

The Kenyan-born athlete wasn’t supposed to compete in the Boston Marathon in 2020, but given the delay, and also Tokyo 2020’s postponement until 2021, she is now considering competing.

“I think every athlete honestly feels like if they win Boston, then they will have done something incredible. And I definitely want to do that." Tuliamuk told Olympic Channel, in an interview for a forthcoming podcast episode.

Tuliamuk told us that the change to the schedule would leave an emotional mark.

“The Boston Marathon is one of those traditions, right in the middle of spring," the American runner added.

“In 2018 after New York (Marathon), I was like ‘let's run Boston.’ Of course, it was too late to ask to run Boston and I didn't get in." She told us.

"I hope that someday the opportunity will present itself for me to run in Boston.”

Tuliamuk also revealed in her Olympic Channel interview, that she has a rather unique reason to be excited if she takes part in the Boston race.

"I think that the two marathons that I've run this last year, has put me as put me in a place where I really think that I could run with those ladies that ran Boston Marathon and actually, I have a fun fact. Mary Kay, who recruits the John Hancock elite athletes for Boston and I have something in common. We love crocheting. We talked about that last year after the New York City Marathon.

“After the trials I gave her one of my crocheted hats. I'm like, ‘In the future, maybe I'll run the Boston Marathon. And then after the race, you know, do the celebration, Mary and I will be crocheting together.”

The Boston Marathon postponement has presented the United States with a potentially massive change to win the race in the form of Tuliamuk this September, should she compete. If you told her that at the start of 2020, she'd probably have eaten her hat.

 

(04/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by Andrew Binner
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

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

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800m silver medalist Emmanuel Korir is disappointed to be locked up in foreign land due to the coronavirus pandemic

Emmanuel Korir observed that he is unable to train at all, unlike his Kenyan counterparts who can do individual training following the closure of camps. He said this will give the Kenyan-based runners an edge once the crisis ends.

While imposing a lockdown, the USA government said: “All parks and recreational areas are now closed to the public and all limits. Public and private gatherings of any number of people are prohibited. Anyone returning from travel at 100+ miles outside the city must self-quarantine for 14 days.”

The kinesiology (the scientific study of human or non-human body movement) student at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) said he wishes he was in Kenya.

“We are not allowed to do any kind of training. Luckily, back home in Kenya, I could run in the forest alone or conduct some training on my own unlike here. Life is at its worst but I have to try my best to survive,” said Korir.

The man, who anchored Team Kenya to the 4x400m relays title at the Africa Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria two years ago, hopes that he will manage to return stronger once the pandemic is over.

“I had good plans this year and I was ready to compete at the Doha Diamond League opener (in May) but all that is water under the bridge. I have nothing to look forward to. No one had expected this pandemic,” added Korir.

As a student, he conducts his classes online with two to three lessons per day.

“I do my studies by attending online classes that keep me busy, killing off the boredom,” he said. He said he is facing the most difficult time of his life with the only move allowed being a trip to the grocery store.

“We are allowed to have enough stock for about two weeks but one can still replenish whenever provisions run out,” he added.

(04/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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Despite the epidemic in 1920, Olympics went ahead

It’s a macabre coincidence that the lead-up to the Olympic Games of 100 years ago was fraught with a universal calamity all too similar to that which we are now facing in 2020.

Already by January of 1919 there had been 400,000 deaths reported in the USA alone from the “Spanish Influenza” epidemic which was ravaging the world, but there was no question of that country – the most successful at the Games since their revival in 1896 – withdrawing from the next celebration planned for 1920. Far from it.

In March 1919 the Central News Agency in New York reported the definitive decision of the US sports administrators: “In reply to a query from the Swedish Athletic Association, prominent officials here at the Amateur Athletic Union declared ‘America stands ready to send a representative athletic team to the next Olympic Games, regardless of the time or place which may be designated’”.

The members of the French Olympic Committee – whose opinion counted for much as founders of the modern Olympic movement – were more circumspect, but their hesitation had nothing to do with health matters. They declared, “The Olympic Games should not be held before 1921 as there would not be sufficient time for the Allied countries which have supported, and are still supporting, the burdens of the war to prepare adequately for a meeting in 1920”.

Those burdens of war had, of course, been horrendous. There had been an estimated 8.6 million military fatalities – 1.3 million of them in France and over 900,000 throughout the British Empire – and yet the toll from influenza between 1918 and 1920 would be far greater. Though there was not even public radio in those days there was still widespread newspaper reporting of the epidemic but no screaming headlines of doom-laden predictions. The Minister of Health in Great Britain, for instance, announced in July 1919 that in the six months to 31 March there had been 136,000 deaths from influenza in England and Wales, but this caused no barrage of demands from Members of Parliament for immediate Government action. To provide some sort of perspective, in his same address to the House of Commons the Minister reported that there had been 488,000 visits to venereal disease treatment centres the previous year. The MPs moved on, undisturbed, to other business.

No thought was apparently given to the idea of suspending major international sporting events attracting thousands of spectators. Already in 1919, in the euphoria of peace at last, there had been an Inter-Allied Games held from 22 June to 6 July at the Stade Pershing, in Paris, specially built for the occasion by the US Army, in which 1500 athletes from 18 nations took part. Then, when the protracted Olympic Games of 1920 opened in Antwerp as per schedule on 20 April, lasting until 12 September; there were actually more competitors than there had been in the Stockholm Olympics of 1912 (2607 as against 2547) and one more country (29).

Why was there such indifference at these mass gatherings to the health implications? Well, that’s a question which needs more expertise to answer fully than that of a mere athletics writer with an interest in history, but perhaps a salient factor is that the populace of a century ago lived with the impact of infectious diseases every day of their lives to a far greater extent than we do today, and though there were strong views expressed on the wisdom of taking part in an Olympic Games these were for other reasons entirely.

In Britain a campaign to boycott the Games on the grounds that they were getting too seriously competitive was led by no less a person than Sir Theodore Cook, who had helped organise the 1908 London Games and had written the Official Report and become an International Olympic Committee member! For those reasons, his views were naturally given due attention but were out-weighed most notably by the counter-arguments of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and an avid athletics enthusiast. Then Sir Theodore rather undermined his stance by entering the literature section of the Olympic Arts competitions in Antwerp and taking second place!

(04/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bob Phillips
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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Remembering Boston 2014, when Meb Keflezighi ran all the way to one of the defining victories in the race’s 123-year history, becoming the first U.S. male runner to win in 31 years

Before starting the 2014 Boston Marathon, Meb Keflezighi had four names scribbled in marker on his race bib corners: Martin, Krystle, Lingzi and Sean.

Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lingzi Lu died as a result of the twin bombings near the Boylston Street finish line during the 2013 Boston Marathon. Three days later, Sean Collier, a policeman, was shot and killed in a confrontation with the attackers.

Keflezighi ran in 2014 in their memory and with his own remembrance. All the way to one of the defining victories in the race’s 123-year history, becoming the first U.S. male runner to win in 31 years.

A year earlier, Keflezighi left an observer grandstand near the finish line of the Boston Marathon about five minutes before the bombs went off.

“The four victims that died in the explosion were spectators just like me,” he said.

It marked a career turnaround at age 38 for Keflezighi, who had been dropped by Nike three years earlier. He considered retirement. The 2004 Olympic silver medalist and 2009 New York City Marathon champion had placed 23rd at his previous marathon and withdrew before the 2013 Boston race with a calf injury.

Keflezighi went out hard from the start, keen on meeting his minimum pre-race goal: to set a personal best. At the halfway point, he and little-known American Josphat Boit led the field by 30 seconds.

In the chase pack, other Americans conversed and strategized not to push the pace in pursuit.

“We needed to give Meb as much space as possible,” Ryan Hall, the fastest American marathoner in history, texted Tim Layden, then of Sports Illustrated and now of NBC Sports. “If the African guys were going to try to catch him, we weren’t going to do the work to help them. It wasn’t my day to win, as much as I wanted to. Meb winning was the next best thing and what the US needed.”

Keflezighi pulled away from Boit between the 15th and 19th miles, opening a one-minute lead. The margin dropped to about eight seconds at the 25-mile mark, but Keflezighi held off Kenyan Wilson Chebet by 11 seconds on Boylston.

“This is beyond running,” Keflezighi, whose full first name, Mebrahtom, means “let there be light” in the Eritrean language, said in a finish-area TV interview. “This is for the people, for the Boston Strong. We’re resilient as runners.”

Keflezighi, born in Eritrea, moved to the U.S. at age 12. His first time running seriously was in San Diego in junior high school, when PE students were given a grade for how much effort they put into a mile. He eventually earned a scholarship to UCLA and made his first Olympic team at age 25 in 2000.

Keflezighi retired from elite running in 2017 after 26 marathons, but he felt complete after Boston in 2014.

“99.9 of my career was fulfilled,” Keflezighi said after winning Boston. “Today, 110 percent.”

(04/20/2020) ⚡AMP
by Meb Keflezighi
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

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

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Kenyan athletes risk to lose more than 50 million U.S. dollars, in endorsements, prize money, time bonuses, and appearance fees by the end of the year because of lack of competition due to the coronavirus threat

Athletes Representative Barnaba Korir said sportsmen need government bailout just like other sectors of the economy to be able to stay afloat.

"Kenyan athletes will lose more than 5 billion shillings. This is from appearance fees, prize money and other endorsements outside their annual contracts. It is a big loss to the Kenyan economy," Korir said on Monday.

Kenya has more than 1,000 elite runners from 400 meters to the marathon, who solely depend on running for their livelihood.

New York marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor said that since he canceled his race at the World Half marathon in Poland in March, he does not anticipate running until late in the year.

"It was my dream and plan to compete at my fourth World Half Marathon in Poland. I wanted so much to gauge myself in one last race before turning my focus to the track competition ahead of the Olympic Games. Both have now been postponed," Kamworor said.

Kamworor said athletes are suffering because there are no more competitions, and welcome the decision by the Kenyan government to provide cash bailouts to the most vulnerable.

"Now I live in Eldoret with my family. However, it has been tough because when you are used to training together then suddenly you are not allowed to, it's a bit hard. But it's the situation we all find ourselves in and we must adjust accordingly. That's the nature of life and sports," he added.

Typically athletes get paid quarterly for their endorsement contracts, which provide the base level of income, essentially their salary. Those payments are still flowing according to Korir and for the top runners, this might continue for some time.

But there are fears athletes whose contracts have lapsed and were due to end in September after the track season closes may find it hard to renew their contracts.

"Athletes need races to prove their fitness. That is now there and top shoe companies may be reluctant to open new contracts," Korir added.

Athletes will also lose out on the time bonuses. Events like the Diamond League and the Continental Tour and Indoor Tour have all been postponed claiming a sizeable amount of the athletes' income.

"They could even get paid more if they broke certain performance benchmarks stated in their contracts. None of those will have to be paid now," he added.

Generally, the loss of appearance fees, prize money and performance bonuses mean certain athletes would see significant income dips. That would be especially true for marathon runners who can make hundreds of thousands of dollars from just one race.

(04/20/2020) ⚡AMP
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Bolt goes viral with cheeky 'social distancing' Olympic photo

Retired track star Usain Bolt showed he's still a few steps ahead when he posted a picture of him outstripping his rivals at the Beijing Olympics with the cheeky caption: "social distancing".

Bolt's post, featuring a picture of the 2008 Olympics 100m final, blew up on social media, drawing more than half a million likes and 90 000 retweets.

It showed the Jamaican crossing the finish line at the Bird's Nest stadium in a then-world record time of 9.69, glancing round from Lane 4 as his despairing competitors trail two paces behind.

"Savage", commented one Twitter user, while New York Times journalist Christopher Clarey posted another picture of Bolt out in front on his own, captioned "self isolation".

Bolt's chest-thumping celebration in Beijing added to a legend that grew further when he won the 200m in another world-record time. He retired in 2017 with eight Olympic gold medals and the current 100m mark of 9.58, set in 2009.

Bolt, 33, has been encouraging Jamaicans to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic, posting videos of himself exercising at home and juggling footballs with a friend. He also helped promote a major fundraiser, Telethon Jamaica.

After retiring from athletics, Bolt, a Manchester United fan, attempted to launch a career in football, and had a trial with Australia's Central Coast Mariners before contract talks failed.

(04/19/2020) ⚡AMP
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Group seeking to use Tokyo's Olympic Village to shelter homeless

A group representing the homeless is asking to use the athletes village for next year's Tokyo Olympics as a shelter during the coronavirus pandemic.

An online petition addressed to Tokyo Olympics organizers and the city government has drawn tens of thousands of signatures for permission to occupy the massive housing complex going up alongside Tokyo Bay.

The village was to be home to 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympic athletes. It is largely complete and empty with the Olympic opening postponed by the virus outbreak until July 23, 2021.

"We don't know how long this downturn will last, and so we have to change how we think," Ren Ohnishi, chairperson of the Moyai Support Center for Independent Living, told The Associated Press. "That includes how we work, how we deal with housing, how we give aid to those who need it."

Tokyo Olympics organizers declined comment, and the Tokyo metropolitan government also had no immediate comment on the petition. It's unclear when the petition will be submitted.

The petition reads in part: "If the outbreak continues for some time, many people may fall into poverty or lose their homes."

The homeless in Tokyo living on the streets total about 1,000 people. Another 4,000 are estimated to be staying at so-called "net cafes" -- numbering about 500 -- that offer internet access and cubicles to spend the night, according to a Tokyo city government study.

Many net cafes were shut down after the government asked businesses where the coronavirus might spread to voluntarily close.

The city government has prepared about 500 rooms at hotels for those who are no longer able to stay at the net cafes, and more are being readied if needs grow, city official Kazuo Hatananaka said.

Experts say homeless communities might worsen the pandemic's spread because of the inability to practice social distancing.

Society needs to grow more inclusive or else the outbreak will spread," Ohnishi said. "Our society is being tested. In Japan, many people still blame the poor as causing their own plight."

Although Tokyo appears orderly and prosperous, the city has a class of homeless people. They can be seen alongside rivers, under railway tracks and tucked into parks. Communities of the homeless have sprung up, many living out of cardboard boxes.

Nearly 16% of Japanese people fall below the poverty rate with annual income below the cutoff of 1.2 million yen ($11,000), according to 2017 Japanese government data. The poverty rate for single-adult households with children is higher, at 51%.

The unraveling of extended family support networks and job insecurity have left many in Japan vulnerable to setbacks that can lead to homelessness. Japan's culture of conformity also leaves many ashamed to seek help.

The athletes village complex is a joint real-estate venture involving major developers and the city of Tokyo. It will eventually have 24 buildings, including upscale condominiums that are priced at more than $1 million. Some units have been on sale, with occupancy planned after the Olympics close.

Japan has more than 10,000 reported cases of the coronavirus with about 200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Tokyo's daily reports of cases have climbed to more than 100 in recent weeks, and worries are growing that hospitals will run out of beds.

The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people and can include a fever, coughing and mild pneumonia. But those who don't have severe symptoms have added to the problem by unintentionally spreading the sickness. Worldwide cases have surged to more than 2 million people.

Japan declared a "state of emergency," initially centered around Tokyo and six other urban regions. This week it was expanded nationwide.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has mentioned using the village complex to house those under quarantine or patients who don't require intensive care in hospitals. But the city has bought hotel space and secured other housing, such as prefabricated homes built for security during the Olympics, for such use.

(04/19/2020) ⚡AMP
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USA Track and Field lays off seven and CEO takes a 20% pay cut

USA Track and Field has laid off seven people from its 65-person staff and CEO Max Siegel is taking a 20% pay cut to offset lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization that runs the country’s largest summer sport has been forced to cancel dozens of events, including the Olympic trials, which were scheduled for June. In 2016, trials produced around $5 million in revenue. They will be rescheduled to mesh with the Olympics, which have been pushed into 2021.

Sports Business Daily reported that all the cuts came in divisions that support the 8,000 live events the USATF sanctions.  

(04/19/2020) ⚡AMP
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The 2020 European Athletics Championships cancelled because of coronavirus

The 2020 European Athletics Championships in Paris have been cancelled amid the coronavirus crisis.

The event was due to be staged at the French capital's Charlety Stadium from 25-30 August.

Great Britain topped the medal table at the 2018 championships in Berlin.

"We had hoped in these troubled times to offer European athletes a major event to aim for at the end of this summer," said European Athletics interim president Dobromir Karamarinov.

"The health and safety of all athletics' stakeholders - including athletes, fans, officials, partners and everyone connected with the sport - is paramount."

A statement on the European Athletics website said: "The decision to cancel was driven by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the associated risks linked to the current situation, which are far from being under control, as well as the existing ban on mass gatherings in France."

The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo have been postponed until next year, while the World Athletics Championships in Oregon have been moved to 2022.  

(04/19/2020) ⚡AMP
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Should I wear a face mask while running and exercising outside?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a face mask in public.

But what if you’re zooming past people on a bike or running on an empty trail? Many people have asked if they still need a mask. Let’s face it: they’re not the most comfortable accessory when sweating your way through a workout.

Here’s what you should know to stay as safe as possible while exercising outdoors.

Should I wear a mask while exercising outdoors?

The answer depends on where, and potentially when, you’re exercising.

The CDC recommends wearing a mask in public settings where it’s harder to stay away from people, like grocery stores and pharmacies. Currently, the rule is to maintain at least six feet between yourself and others. If you’ve jogged along Kelly Drive or in Wissahickon Valley Park, you know that’s often impossible, especially on sunny Saturdays.

“If you’re in an area where you know you’re going to be crossing paths with a lot of other people, you 100% should be wearing a mask, but in general, try to avoid those situations,” says Patrick Davitt, the director of the University of Sciences’ Health Science Program.

Davitt suggests finding less crowded areas and avoiding peak hours. As an avid runner currently training for a 100-mile race, he runs almost daily, often still outside, and without a mask during early morning jaunts.

“As long as you’re running alone in an unpopulated area, you can keep the mask at home,” says Davitt. “But if you see someone in your oncoming path, cross the street well in advance — it’s just common courtesy as a runner.”

Avoid people, even if you’re wearing one

Make the effort to hop off the sidewalk or swerve into the grass. As a runner or biker, playing the game of coronavirus Frogger is extra important since others may not see you whizzing by from behind.

This applies even if you’re wearing a mask. Experts say that masks don’t replace social distancing, which remains one of the most important ways to slow the spread of the virus.

“Keeping that six feet of distance from someone else is more important than anything else,” says Bucks County Health Director Dr. David Damsker.

If wearing a mask, remember it won’t make you invincible. You may also need to adapt your workout, but don’t let this discourage you.

“Running and being outdoors is good for you, so you don’t want to stop,” says Davitt. “Just understand that exercising with something that’s covering your mouth, that you’re not used to wearing, is likely to change how your workout looks, and that’s okay.”

How to exercise with a mask

The obvious change: wearing a mask makes it harder to breathe. You may need to decrease the volume and intensity of your workout.

“Airflow will be restricted, so your body will have to work harder to perform at the same rate as you would without the mask, and that becomes exponentially true as the intensity goes up,” says Davitt. “The faster and harder you’re breathing, the more the mask is going to affect that.”

Listen to your body. This is extra important if you have underlying conditions, like asthma. Don’t be afraid to slow down and take breaks. Davitt says now may be a good time to back off a little anyway, especially if you’re prone to pushing yourself to your limit.

“If you go too hard, that can compromise your immune system, which you don’t want right now,” says Davitt.

To get used to exercising with a mask, practice inside. Wear it for at least an hour and get moving. Five minutes of jumping jacks is a great place to start.

“If it’s irritating your face, you need to find a way to reposition it or find another mask that works better for you,” says Dr. Alexis Tingan, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and sports medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Make sure your mask is comfortableComfort is crucial so that you don’t adjust your mask once outdoors — which, experts emphasize, is essential to avoid spreading the virus. It’s challenging enough to avoid fidgeting with a mask when you’re not sweating it out, so take time to find the right fit. 

One of the most comfortable Face Masks on the market is being made by UjENA Fit Club.  These are made from high quality four-way stretch fabric.  These Mindful Face Mask is what lifetime runner Bob Anderson is wearing all the time while in pubic. 

A proper fit will also help you avoid a rash. If the mask starts to bother you, address it immediately.“Running has an analgesic effect, so your pain sensitivity gets temporarily dulled” says Davitt. “But it’s just like avoiding a blister — if you continue, you might be limited from going outside at all the next day.

”You may have to head home earlier than planned. If you’re far from home in a crowded area, Davitt says to act strategically. Can you use your shirt as a barrier to readjust the mask? Or shrug your shoulder to your ear to reposition?

Avoid touching the mask with your hands.As the weather gets warmer, working out with a mask becomes less appealing. Choose a style that’s optimal for exercising.“I’d advise against the ear-loop medical masks. They can get soggy,” says Tingan.

“While the CDC recommends cotton for indoor situations, there’s no set guidelines on exercising. Cotton is going to be incredibly uncomfortable and you’ll become much more likely to touch the mask.”

 

Cotton absorbs sweat, but it’s not moisture-wicking. The sweat stays in the fabric, often leaving you soaking wet by the end of a workout. Finding a breathable material is key. If you’re shopping online, look for the words “breathable” and “microfiber.”

“You’ve got to work with your resources. The mask prevents droplets from going out into the air, so anything is better than nothing,” notes Tingan. “But if cotton makes your workout miserable, then you’re less likely to wear it correctly, or to wear a mask altogether.”

You may want to find an alternative for exercise. Tingan recommends balaclavas and buffs.

Balaclavas cover the whole head and neck; look for a style that covers the mouth and nose. Avoid wool, and look for microfiber, an absorbent, fast-drying material.

A buff is a tube of stretchy material that you can pull up over your nose and mouth. Its name comes from one of the main brands that makes them; they’re also sometimes called “neck gaiters.”

“Balaclavas and buffs have elastic and a close fit, so they’re also less likely to move around when you’re running,” says Tingan.

If you go the cotton route, consider wearing a sweatband around your forehead. This helps trap sweat to prevent you from wiping your face.

Virtual exercise and races

Own a treadmill, stationary bike or bike trainer? If you’re anxious about exercising outdoors, it may be worth checking out trending virtual exercise apps like BitGym, Virtual Runner, and Zwift allow runners and bikers to explore different courses, often simulated from those around the world. Some apps, like Zwift, allow you to also compete with others.

“I can be cycling alongside someone from Sweden or Brazil, or running down the road and see this cartoon avatar trying to pass me,” says Davitt of Zwift. “It’s making the indoor workout more fun, and it brings back a sense of camaraderie that’s missing while we’re all social distancing.”

(04/18/2020) ⚡AMP
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The Comrades Marathon 2020 has been officially postponed

The 2020 Comrades Marathon has been postponed indefinitely. The postponement of the most famous and historic ultramarathon in South Africa was announced on Friday morning by Athletics South Africa.

The Comrades Marathon route travels between two cities, Pietermaritzburg and Durban. The direction changes, however, between “up” and “down” years. “Up” years see racers run 87K with about 2,000 meters of elevation gain. “Down” years are a bit further, hitting 90K, but the run is a net downhill.

It was set to be a down year in 2020, so the race was scheduled to start in Pietermaritzburg and head to Durban, on South Africa’s east coast. The cut-off for the Comrades Marathon is 12 hours.

Both Jim Walmsley and Camille Herron, American ultra running legends, were set to compete at the 2020 event was originally scheduled for Sunday June 14.

The news follows the April 9 announcement that South Africa would be extending its lockdown by another 14 days, before re-evaluating the country’s public health needs. 

Aleck Skhosana, president of Athletics South Africa, told Sport24, “The Comrades Marathon is therefore postponed from 14 June to a suitable date that will be determined between ASA, KZN Athletics and the Comrades Marathon Association as soon as conditions around the management of the virus allow us to under the guidance of the Government.”

(04/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Comrades Marathon

Comrades Marathon

2020 race has been officially cancelled. Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and mental strength to conquer the approx 90kilometers between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. A soldier, a...

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The ruling decathlon world champion Niklas Kaul intends to use the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to work on his weaknesses

"For me, as a younger athlete, the postponement to 2021 due to the corona crisis is only a minor problem. It gives me the chance to improve and work on my apparent gaps and update my technical skills in several topics," the 22-year-old 2019 Doha winner commented.

Inner conflicts might, in the first place, tear older athletes as many intended to take the 2020 Olympics as their career ends.

Some might decide to add another year and months of intense training efforts. Others have to face the hard truth of an unexpected end of their career as a sportsman.

"We all know that sport is only playing a side role at present. Health is the most important topic for society," the youngest athlete ever to win the decathlon crown added.

Restricted training is providing the opportunity to concentrate on other things, the Mainz-born university student said.

This week he joined a list of sports celebrities cheering triathlon champion Jan Frodeno as a virtual crowd.

The German ironman winner set up a home triathlon to raise money for charity projects around his adopted home town Girona in Spain. Like many parts of the country, the region has been struck by the virus crisis.

"I am happy to be part of Jan's fantastic challenge to some extent as he deserves respect for action like that in hard times," Kaul emphasized. Frodeno managed to collect over 200 000 euros from fans, sponsor partners, and fellow sportspeople.

Athletes must be creative at present, Kaul stated. "Current training efforts are far from what we do in normal times. Things usually look different ahead of a major event like the Olympics," the student on his way to be a teacher of physics and sports at the Johannes Gutenberg-University commented.

"To reduce the effort was a mental problem for most of us as it came somehow unexpectedly," he added. He feels exceptionally sorry for athletes having to quit now. "For many athletes, this was the last chance to attend the Olympic Games."

To care for the staff of clubs and associations is the most important task now. "All parts of society are affected, and help is needed for many people in trouble since the virus outbreak," he underlined.

For athletes who decided to continue, the goal must be to use the break in the best possible way. He called it an unknown challenge. "The ones making the best out of a difficult situation will be the ones benefitting most in the end."

He decided to subordinate everything possible to be ready when the Games take place in 2021. To shift the Games to 2021 was the right step, he stressed.

Kaul stopped a training camp in South Africa after the announcement of the IOC to shift the Games to next year.

The decathlon athlete expects the European Championships scheduled for the end of August to be postponed as well.

Until further plans can be set up, he sticks to jogging, ergometer training, and a little jumping around in the backyard," he said. "We have some weights and medicine balls around."

Kaul emphasized training like that is only suitable to keep a certain fitness level. Sprints and technique training can't take place orderly.

While the break is taking off pressure from athletes' shoulders, it must be clear "that we can't go on like that for several months."

(04/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Oliver Trust
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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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Faith Chepng’etich has said her main priority remains defending the title she won in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 when the Olympics are held in Tokyo after coronavirus-enforced postponement

Olympics 1,500 metres champion Faith Chepng’etich, who also won the world title in London in 2017, has been training alone following government ban on public gatherings and sports activities.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed to 2021 in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Talking to Nation Sport on phone at her home in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, Chepng’etich yesterday said she as embarked on long runs and speed work to stay fit as she waits for coronavirus pandemic to be contained.

The athlete has said she is in good shape, having recovered from a hip injury she suffered at the 2019 World Championships and had been looking forward to posting good results at the Olympics in Tokyo before the games were postponed to next year.

“I was in good shape this year and I was hopeful of retaining my title and to even run my personal best compared to last season. The virus has stopped the world and we just have to understand and wait,” said Chepng’etich who trains under the Global Sports Communication in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

The athlete said her plan was to use the Diamond League races to gauge her performance ahead of the Olympics, but she must now continue training for next season.

(04/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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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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Geoffrey Kamworor’s dream of sealing a fourth World Half Marathon crown is still alive despite coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted sports activities globally

Coronavirus pandemic might have delayed Kamworor’s plans of achieving his goal after the championship was postponed from March 29 to October 17 in Gdynia, Poland but the 27-year-old is leaving nothing to chance.

Although the intensity of his training has reduced following government regulations aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, Kamworor is using all the tricks in the book to keep himself fit in readiness for any eventuality.

“As it looks, this year will have few activities, especially the long distance races,” said Kamworor, who runs for 20 kilometres daily in Eldoret in addition to working out on the treadmill.

“I have been reduced to that and there is nothing someone can do especially when the world is battling to stay safe from coronavirus,” the current World Half Marathon record holder said.

He reckons the current situation has instilled in athletes a strong sense of discipline, forcing them to change their training regimes.

(04/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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World Half Marathon Championships

World Half Marathon Championships

The first one was first held in 1992. The collaboration with the world half marathon championships allows the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation to continue its strategy of supporting sports events that help to position València as the city of running. It has been the main contributor to the Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon for the past five years. The Spanish Federation...

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Boston Marathon was supposed to be run on Monday, and officials tell Boston Marathon runners to stay home, wait for official September start

Monday represents the originally scheduled date of the 2020 Boston Marathon until the coronavirus pandemic moved the race to September.

Officials in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the site of the start of the race, are reminding runners to remain home on Monday and wait for the fall to run the marathon.

The Hopkinton select board issued a statement Wednesday night “strongly urging” runners to remain home and avoid the marathon course.

Parking restrictions in downtown Hopkinton, around the Town Common, and in locations near the start line will be in place, the town said.

“In the spirit of keeping not only those who run, but the citizens of Hopkinton and its first responders safe, we are asking everyone to continue complying with the Commonwealth’s Stay-at-Home Advisory,” Select Board Vice Chair and Boston Athletic Association Liaison John Coutinho said in a statement.

Normally, 4,000 local, state and federal law enforcement officers and 480 members of the National Guard are on hand for the running of the Boston Marathon. There are also 1,900 medical personnel present, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

“We urge anyone considering running the Boston Marathon course this weekend to stay home, follow social distancing guidelines, and help flatten the curve. Groups of runners would divert valuable, urgent resources from the cities and towns along the course. We must work together to stop the spread of coronavirus, so we can run again in September,” a BAA spokesperson said.

In March, officials announced that for the first time in the marathon’s 124-year history, it would be postponed. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said that rescheduling the event versus canceling it saves regional economies roughly $211 million. Charities gain around $40 million from the event.

Gov. Charlie Baker designated Sept. 14 as a state holiday so people could take the day off and celebrate a new version of Marathon Monday.

(04/17/2020) ⚡AMP
by Michael Bonner
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

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

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The International Olympic Committee will face several hundred million dollars of added costs because of the postponement of the Tokyo Games

President of  the International Olympic Comittee, Thomas Bach spoke in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt on Sunday.

Estimates in Japan put the overall cost of the postponement at $2 billion-$6 billion. Except for the IOC portion, all added costs will be borne by the Japanese side according to an agreement signed in 2013 when Tokyo was awarded the Olympics.

Bach said it was “impossible to say for now” the extent of the added costs for the IOC caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We agreed with the prime minister that Japan will continue to cover the costs it would have done under the terms of the existing agreement for 2020, and the IOC will continue to be responsible for its share of the costs,” Bach said. “For us, the IOC, it is already clear that we shall be faced with several hundred million dollars of additional costs.”

Before the postponement, Japanese organizers put the official cost of the games at $12.6 billion. However, a government audit report in 2019 said the costs were at least twice that. All but $5.6 billion of it is in taxpayer money.

Tokyo said the 2020 Games would cost about $7.3 billion when it won the bid seven years ago.

On Friday, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee said the pandemic left some doubts about the games going ahead next year.

“I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” Toshiro Muto said, speaking through an interpreter. “We certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer.”

Bach was asked about the possibility of another postponement. He did not answer directly, but said later in the interview that Japanese organizers and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “made it very clear to me that Japan could not manage a postponement beyond next summer at the latest.”

Bach was also asked if the pandemic provided an opportunity for some athletes to violate the doping rules with no threat of testing. Bach countered that the delay could allow new testing methods to be developed. He also said tests made before the Olympics would be saved for 10 years for retesting.

(04/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by Stephen wade
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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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Two-time defending women's Two Oceans Marathon ultra-marathon champion, Gerda Steyn, confirms bid for Two Oceans hat-trick in 2021

Two-time defending women's Two Oceans Marathon ultra-marathon champion, Gerda Steyn, has confirmed her return to the race in 2021.

According to the official Two Oceans Marathon website, this will be no ordinary return as the current Two Oceans Marathon queen has left it in no doubt that her intention is to "defend her title".

In other words, one of the finest - male or female - long-distance athletes South Africa has produced is setting her sights on a hat-trick of Two Oceans Marathon wins come Easter Saturday, 3 April, 2021.

Steyn was of course gunning for a Two Oceans Marathon treble at what would have been the 51st edition of the race on 11 April, 2020.

Like so many sporting events scheduled to take place, the 2020 edition of the race had to be cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe.

Steyn potentially joins a super-elite list of runners.

Should Steyn be victorious once again in 2021, she’ll become the first athlete to win three titles in a row since Lesotho's Angelina Sephooa did so between 1997-1999.

Steyn would also join a small group who have won the Two Oceans Marathon three times or more.

First to win three titles was Beverley Malan in 1982, 1983 and 1985

Monica Drogemuller claimed the title in 1990, 1991 and 1992

Angelina Sephooa won in 1997, 1998 and 1999

The Nurgalieva twins, Olesya and Elena, claimed victory in 2008, 2010, and 2011; and 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2012, respectively

“I simply love this race,” said Steyn.

“I have to come back and try and make it number three in a row.”

Steyn almost causes women's Two Oceans Marathon ultra record to tumble in 2019.

Steyn won her first Two Oceans title in 2018 when she defeated Dominika Stelmach by just over two-and-a-half minutes.

Twelve months ago Steyn clinched victory by an astounding 10 minutes ahead of runner-up, Irvette van Zyl.

Her victory in 2019 was decidedly more emphatic.

(04/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by Manfred Seidler
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Two Oceans Marathon

Two Oceans Marathon

2020 race cancelled. Cape Town’s most prestigious race, the 56km Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, takes athletes on a spectacular course around the Cape Peninsula. It is often voted the most breathtaking course in the world. The event is run under the auspices of the IAAF, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Western Province Athletics (WPA). The Ultra Marathon celebrated...

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World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge says he has focused on strength training while in isolation to stay injury-free

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge urges athletes to continue training to avoid injury.

Kipchoge, whose season was wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, has returned to his family in Eldoret from their training camp in Kaptagat to heed a Kenyan government call to remain safe and avoid public places.

The Olympic marathon champion was due to defend his title in Tokyo in August and use the London marathon on April 26 as his gauging race, though both competitions have been pushed back to 2021.

Kipchoge warned fellow athletes not to switch off training, saying if they push their bodies too much whenever the situation around the world improves, they will be prone to injuries.

"Keep training, doing what you used to do. I have a physio all the time and when something emerges, it easy to solve it. The actual period on course and the long runs help me chase away the injuries," he added.

(04/16/2020) ⚡AMP
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Switzerland’s Julien Wanders very much at home in Iten Kenya

Switzerland’s long distance running star Julien Wanders fell in love with Iten in 2014 when he was just 18 years old, and later found the love of his life in that land.

On that first visit, he told his parents he wanted to be training in Kenya, and that wish came to pass.

So smitten was Wanders, the European Half Marathon record holder, that when the coronavirus pandemic hit the world, he decided to remain in Iten and continue with his individual training, following the guidelines set by the government of Kenya after all the camps were closed.

“I had the chance to go back home to be with my family but decided to stay here,” he said.

“I have a perfect opportunity to train here alone as we focus on the next season which we are not sure when it will start. I’m happy that the government of Kenya reacted early enough to fight the spread of the virus unlike other countries,” said Wanders, who is under the Global Sports Communications stable.

He hails his girlfriend Joan Jepkorir for supporting him during his training.

“Of course another reason why I decided to remain was because of my girlfriend who I have been dating for the last three years. She has been helping me very much in my training,” he added.

Jepkorir, a graduate of Kenyatta University, also runs a restaurant in Iten.

Wanders, has been training in Iten for the past six years and the love for running made him pack his bags and head to the North Rift region that is teeming with world beaters.

Wanders is under coach Marco Jaeger, who is based in Geneva.

“It has been a long journey for me since I started training in Iten and I am focused to improve my performance after choosing the place as my second home. I have achieved a lot and my performance has improved tremendously,” he said.

(04/16/2020) ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Natalie Bowbanks is going to run her London Marathon in her parents’ back garden

A runner will be taking on the entire 26-mile distance of the London Marathon in her parents' back garden in Co Armagh to raise money for the NHS.

Natalie Bowbanks, from Tandragee, has already smashed her £1,000 fundraising target as she aims to run 2,096 laps of the garden on April 26.

No stranger to marathons, the practice manager at My Dentist in Portadown is a pacer at the Belfast City Marathon and has competed in 64 events worldwide, but this will be her first in Tandragee.

Natalie has run marathons in New York, Paris, Berlin, Lanzarote and Dublin, as well as completing the Belfast City Marathon for the past 10 years.

The disappointment after the cancellation of the London and Belfast events because of coronavirus inspired the 38-year-old to help out the NHS.

So far, Natalie has raised more than £1,200 and is thinking of increasing her target to £2,000.

"I knew when London was cancelled I would probably cover the distance anyway, but I didn't think of the back garden at that stage," she explained.

"Obviously, there were going to be certain restrictions, so I kind of just pinched the idea from other people that I had seen all over the world who I would follow on social media.

I just thought that I would follow suit.

"I don't specifically know where the money will go in the NHS, but I have a few friends that work as nurses and doctors.

"Hopefully the money can go to personal protective equipment or wherever it's needed."

Natalie set up her GoFundMe page on Friday evening and raised £500 within 24 hours.

(04/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ralph Hewitt
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Tyrone footballer Conor Meyler's dad has pulled off the incredible feet of completing a full marathon from his garden shed to raise money for hospital his wife works in

Seanie Meyler, a former inter-county player himself, celebrated his 54th birthday on Monday by taking on the mammoth task 'with little to no training' for a special reason.

Fundraising for the intensive care unit (ICU) South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, where his wife works, he has already pulled together over £19,299 for the cause.

“She works with a team of dedicated and hard-working nursing staff to give top-class attention and nursing care to individuals who are in this high-risk unit,” as the GoFund Me page said.

“I plan to run a marathon on my 54th birthday on 13th April 2020 in my garden shed on a borrowed treadmill, and the funds raised will all go to a comfort fund for this nursing staff.”

Tyrone forward Meyler provided live updates during the day as his dad hit the treadmill and ran the 26.2 miles in just 3 hours and 56 minutes.

In blowing away his £4,000 target, Meyler has helped raise vital funds for the ICU at the frontline of the battle against coronavirus.

(04/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by James Wyllie
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Athletes completing doping bans in the next year could be eligible to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics

Athletes completing doping bans in the next year could be eligible to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, which is an unintentional cause of pushing the Games back one year.

According to the Athletics Integrity Unit, about 40 of the 200 or so banned track and field athletes are international-level competitors who stand to gain from the Olympic postponement. The AIU maintains a global list of track athletes banned for doping violations.

COVID-19 has put the world on hold, and with it, all running competitions. This unprecedented landscape means that runners serving doping bans aren’t missing out on competition, while simultaneously avoiding regular testing. This seems like a very convenient loophole. However, WADA president, Witold Banka, told the Associated Press that they don’t have the ability to “cherry pick” when athletes’ bans end.

In order to achieve Olympic standard within the qualification window, an athlete would need to return to competition a few months clear of the qualification deadline (June 29) and subsequent Games. This means most runners whose sentences were completed around April 2021 would stand a chance at qualification.

Evan Dunfee, world championship medallist in the 50K race walk, says the situation is unfortunate. “I wish there was a solution, but it would never win at CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport).

People have tried before to prevent athletes from competing at the next Olympics, even if their ban had ended, and they lost that at CAS. Hopefully the AIU and WADA can double down on their efforts once testing resumes, and continue to stamp out cheating in our sport.”

(04/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Kenyan Daniel Wanjiru suspended for doping violation

Kenyan runner Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru, a former winner of the London Marathon, has been suspended due to irregularities in his biological passport, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old won the prestigious London race in 2017 and was fifth in the 2018 New York Marathon.

"The AIU has provisionally suspended marathon specialist Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru of Kenya with immediate effect for an Athlete Biological Passport violation under the @worldathletics anti-doping rules," the AIU said on Twitter.

He was suspended for "use of a prohibited substance/method".

With the charge having been issued, Wanjiru will now wait for his case to be heard.

The 27-year-old, who beat Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele to the 2017 London Marathon title, has a marathon PB of 2:05:21, set when winning the Amsterdam Marathon in 2016.

In a statement released by his management company Volare Sports, Wanjiru protested his innocence, adding that he has “never used doping”.

Wanjiru is also quoted as saying: “This statement comes from the heart. I am clean in the sports I do. The ABP (athlete biological passport) finding is confusing and frustrating me. Specialists have informed me about how this can happen and I have come to realise there can be hundreds of reasons found why HB is fluctuating.

“I feel I am already seen as a sinner of doping, but I am not. I am innocent.

“It’s very painful what’s happening to me now. I’ve always believed that those athletes who are suspended because of a doping violation, were indeed guilty of what they did. But I’ve realised that being charged of guilt is just easy and now proving being unguilty is hard.

“I stand for clean sports. My results of the past came through hard work only. I have never used doping. We are currently investigating the case. Knowing I have never used anything, I have faith everything will be all right.”

(04/15/2020) ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Matej Toth hopes his body can withstand one extra of year of training in his push to claim back-to-back Olympic 50km race walk titles in Tokyo next year

Following the decision by the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by a year following the Covid-19 crisis, thousands of athletes have had to adjust their plans to peak for the summer of 2021.

Given the fact Toth has not completed a race for more than 18 months, the delayed Olympics would appear to be an advantage for the Slovakian, although he does not necessarily read the situation that way.

“My case is little bit complicated because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make one more suitable winter preparation,” explains Toth, who will be aged 38 next year. “For me, it would be ideal if the Olympics was in October. But my personal benefit is not as important as the benefits of the majority of athletes.”

Currently in lockdown in Banská Bystrica, Toth, who is hoping to become only the second man in history to successfully defend an Olympic 50km race walk title, has experienced the full range of emotions in recent weeks.

In fantastic shape after a training camp in Tenerife and preparing to make his seasonal debut at the well-established international race walking meet in the Slovak spa town of Dudince in March, the coronavirus outbreak put an end to his plans.

“We tried to concentrate on training for as long as possible,” explains Toth. “But after the last training camp in Tenerife (we returned on 29 February) we realised the (Covid-19) problem is very serious. The competition was cancelled two weeks ahead of schedule. We tried to find other races, but day after day they were all cancelled too.

“It was very frustrating, I had been preparing for more than three months to complete in Dudince, with only one goal: to achieve the entry standard for Tokyo. I was very disappointed and sad. I thought I might as well throw my fitness in the rubbish bin. I was frustrated I could not compete but at that stage it seemed as though the Olympics would still go ahead. I realised it was impossible to do the entry standard and prepare for the Olympics – I didn’t have enough time for both.”

Yet once the IOC announced a postponement of the Games by a year to 2021, the decision brought clarity to athletes and it acted as a huge personal relief to Toth, who last completed a race when earning 50km silver at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin.

“The most important thing is the stress now eases,” says the 2015 world champion. “Now we can solve the most important thing – the health of the world. Before the decision to postpone the Games, we were under pressure. It was like we had fallen between two stools: preparing for Olympics and doing everything we could to stay healthy.”

(04/15/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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There is no backup plan if the postponed Olympic Games can not be held in the summer of 2021

Tokyo Olympics organizers have no backup plan in the event the 2020 Summer Games, now postponed until 2021, must be postponed once again, a spokesman for the Games said on Tuesday.

The Associated Press reported that organizers are still moving forward with plans to launch the Games in July next year.

“We are working toward the new goal,” Tokyo Olympics spokesman Masa Takaya told journalists in a phone call on Tuesday. “We don’t have a B plan.”

He added that “Tokyo 2020 and all concerned parties now are doing their very best effort to deliver the games next year.”

The Games were set to begin this summer in Tokyo, and officials were initially reluctant to suggest the spread of coronavirus could disrupt plans for them to go ahead as planned. Some countries, citing concerns over the virus, said they would not send their athletes to the Games if they took place this summer. But Japan and the International Olympic Committee did not formally postpone the Games until late last month, as the pandemic continued to dramatically upheave daily life around the globe.

 

(04/14/2020) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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

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European cross-country champion Robel Fsiha could be stripped of title for doping

In February, Sweden’s Robel Fsiha was suspended for an anti-doping violation after he tested positive for an unnamed substance. Following the announcement of his suspension, the Eritrean-born runner requested his B sample be tested as well, but that, too, has come back positive, according to a report by Inside the Games.

Fsiha won the 2019 European Cross-Country Championships in December—the first Swede to win gold in the event—but now he could have his title stripped.

Fsiha was tested in Ethiopia in November, a month before he won gold at the European Cross-Country Championships. The test was analyzed in Lausanne, Switzerland, and it registered as positive for a banned substance in February.

When news of the positive test and Fsiha’s subsequent suspension broke, he told Expressen, a Swedish news outlet, that he hadn’t taken any banned substances, and that the only medication he’d taken recently had been for a cold. The Swedish Anti-Doping Agency is now investigating Fsiha’s case, and he could be stripped of his European championship and sentenced to a ban from competition for up to four years.

Before last season, Fsiha hadn’t had much of an impact in the athletics world, only competing in Swedish competitions from 2014 to 2018. In 2019, however, he competed internationally on several occasions, including at the world and European cross-country championships.

At the worlds, which were held in Aarhus, Denmark, in March 2019, he placed 17th in the senior men’s race. He was the top European and fastest athlete not representing an African nation in the event. The top Canadian men that day in Denmark were Ben Preisner in 77th and Rory Linkletter in 82nd.

Several months later, in December, Fsiha travelled to Portugal for the European Cross-Country Championships.

He won the 10K race in 29:59, 11 seconds ahead of second place. Switzerland’s Julien Wanders, the European 10K and half-marathon record-holder, came in fourth, 26 seconds behind Fsiha, and he will move into the bronze position if the Swede is stripped of his medal.

(04/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Kenyan steeplechase star was aiming for another global gold and a world record in 2020, but coronavirus outbreak has forced him to go back to the drawing board

Conseslus Kipruto knows what it takes to become an Olympic and world champion: talent, hard work, a never-say-die attitude. This, after all, is the man who won the Diamond League final two years ago wearing just one shoe.

But now the 25-year-old Kenyan will have to find another quality: patience. The postponement of Tokyo 2020 means Kipruto will have to wait another year to defend his Olympic title.

“It’s very disappointing, but we understand what’s going on in the world because of this coronavirus,”  he tells me from his home in Eldoret. “The way I’ve trained, the aim was to defend my title in Tokyo, but the IOC made the right decision, in my opinion.”

Kipruto has won four major 3000m steeplechase titles in the last four years. The first came at the Rio Olympics in 2016, followed by his maiden world title in London in 2017 and then gold at the Commonwealth Games the following year. Last year, he missed several months of vital training with an ankle injury. But he built a pool in his back garden, regained his fitness through aqua-jogging and went on to retain his world title in Doha by the thickness of his vest. It was an extraordinary story.

And he had been taking that impressive form into his preparations for Tokyo.

“My preparation was going very well,” he says. “We were pushing hard and actually I was on course to defend my title in Tokyo and was hoping to run a world record or close to a world record, so you can see why I am disappointed.”

Like thousands of athletes all over the world, Kipruto finds himself in fabulous shape but with no competitive racing on the horizon. There’s no guarantee that he’ll be in the same condition in 12 months’ time and the knock-on postponement of the World Championships in Eugene to 2022 means his next two years will have to be recalibrated.

“It’s really frustrating because I don’t know about next year,” he says. “My plans and my prayers were to have the Olympics this year and in 2021 to defend my title at the World Championships and then in 2022 to go to the Commonwealth Games (in Birmingham). Now I don’t know and I’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”

(04/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by Chris Dennis
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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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Pregnant mom Meliessa Kegler runs her own marathon

After COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the Milwaukee Marathon, Meliessa Kegler created her own course and ran 26.2 miles, while 19 weeks pregnant.

A countless number of events have been cancelled due to COVID-19, including the Milwaukee Marathon this past weekend.

That didn’t stop 38-year-old Meliessa Kegler of Janesville, Wisconsin. She was determined to run the 26.2 miles even at 19 weeks pregnant.

“I mean, it’s weird. I mean any woman will tell you, pregnancy makes everything weird,” Kegler said with a laugh. “When I originally signed up for the marathon, I guess I was pregnant but I didn’t know, which probably wouldn’t have stopped me.”

She’s been training for months and when the race was canceled, she decided design her own course around Janesville. Kegler mapped out a 6.5 mile loop that she ran four times.

“A marathon is all mental. There is training that goes into it but that last 26.2 miles is just a celebration of what you’ve been through to get to that point,” she says.

(04/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by Tim Elliott
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Nike Develops Face Shield for Health-Care Workers on the front lines of the coronavirus fight

With personal protective equipment in short supply for medical workers on the front lines of the coronavirus fight, Nike is offering up its services.

The Beaverton, Ore.-based athletic company announced today that its innovation, manufacturing and product teams have developed face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses in partnership with health professionals from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

Nike delivered its first shipment of face shields and PAPR lenses to OHSU on Friday. The sportswear giant’s PPE is being provided to medical systems located in the vicinity of its Oregon world headquarters, including Providence, Legacy Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente.

“Nike’s generous response to the COVID-19 crisis helps to instill an added layer of confidence and support for health-care workers that we can safely carry out the jobs we were born to do,” said Dr. Miko Enomoto, associate professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine at the OHSU School of Medicine.

The Swoosh’s version of a face shield features elements of its footwear and apparel that have been repurposed, including TPU from its Air soles, collar padding meant for shoes and cords originally destined to become apparel. The full-face shield includes three parts which come together through a nine-step process, a collaborative effort of a few Nike teams at its Air Manufacturing Innovation facilities in Oregon and Missouri. Similarly, Nike is making PAPR helmets using the same TPU that is being utilized for the face shields.

n March, OHSU announced a $7 million donation from Nike’s current and former top brass — CEO John Donahoe and wife Eileen, Chairman Mark Parker and wife Kathy, and founder Phil Knight and wife Penny — to coordinate care and provide equipment as it combats COVID-19 in Oregon.

Other athletic companies based in the United States are also offering their manufacturing capabilities to help solve the PPE shortage. Last week, Under Armour said it has delivered 1,300 face shields to the University of Maryland Medical System and expects to make more than 500,000 fabric face masks and 50,000 fanny packs.

And New Balance said on March 27 that it is creating masks in its Lawrence, Mass., manufacturing facility to be used by health-care professionals.

(04/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by Ella Chochrek
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For more than a decade, Briton Sarah Tunstall has been among the most successful and visible runners on the World Mountain Running Association

A bronze medal at the 2008 European Championships at 22 and World Championships the following year thrust her into the scene's spotlight. In 2015, she won the WMRA World Cup and in 2017 raced to European silver and took a second world bronze. A fourth place finish in the World Cup standings last year at 33 showed that she's not disappearing from the circuit any time soon, even as the New coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc with the mountain running season calendar as well.

"2020 looks like it is going to be a strange and stilted season," Tunstall says. "Many races I would run have already been cancelled throughout France, Italy and Switzerland, and rightly so. I’d love to think we could be racing towards the end of the summer but after having the winter off I was in no rush to race anyway and I was already playing the early season by ear."

That also means that she isn't currently based in her usual early season training base in the French Alps, a regular part of her routine since 2015, when she was drawn to the region by a stubbornness to finally get back into the shape of her early career successes after a string of injury setbacks derailed her ambitions.

“I was citing the World Championships in Wales as my main excuse to be there - which it was - but having spent so much time there it became very difficult to return to the UK. We've been spending time in the Alps regularly ever since and will try to make it last as long as we can.”

She probably didn’t foresee that alpine lifestyle when she competed in regional and national cross country competitions and fell races as a junior athlete.

“I would make County cross country and England Fell teams but my best result - which I was delighted with - was finishing 10th at the English National Cross Country in my final year. It sounds like a cliché but I think that enjoying the sport is the main factor that will ensure a good transition (from junior to senior competition). Luckily this should be more likely in the fell/mountain scene as it can be less regimented or monotonous compared to track or road training.”

“If you’re still enjoying running,” she says, “that can be a big part of making the jump up to senior as running becomes more of a personal choice and if you enjoy it you will choose to keep running.”

She made two national teams as a senior in cross country, finishing second in the U23 race at the 2008 European Cross Country Championships and 55th at the World Cross Country Championships the following year. Yet her career and strongest interest still gravitated towards the mountains.

“On a selfish front I’d love them to stay that way so I can enjoy the simplicity of the beautiful races but I don’t want them to die out or get lost amongst the big brands or long, gnarly and overhyped races. I may be a traditionalist, but I find it quite conflicting to the understated sport of mountain running and think that the mountains should be able to sell themselves without excessive marketing."

(04/14/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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The date for this year’s Big Sur Marathon has been confirmed after being postponed due to COVID-19

A month after it was postponed because of the coronavirus, organizers of the Big Sur International Marathon announced Monday the 35th edition will be part of a revamped version of an area traditional running weekend in November.

The marathon, originally scheduled April 26 but postponed because of coronavirus concerns, will be held Sunday, Nov. 15 from Big Sur to Carmel. The Monterey Bay Half Marathon, originally scheduled Nov. 15 on its traditional course in Monterey and Pacific Grove, has been moved to Saturday, Nov. 14.

“We don’t really have any goals as far as participation,” said Race Director Doug Thurston. “We hope as many of the April 2020 entrants will come back on Nov. 15.

“We will be prepared for them. But I think just having an event this year with all of the craziness in the world, I think that will be considered a win.”

In addition to the marathon and half-marathon changes, marathon organizers said other distance races originally planned for April 26 have also been switched to Monterey Bay Half Marathon weekend. All April race distances, except the 5K and 3K, will be held Sunday, Nov. 15 in their original locations on Highway 1.

Registrants who entered the April 5K will automatically be registered for a new 5K to be integrated within the Half Marathon on Nov. 14. The By-the-Bay 3K will not be held this year.

“First, we want to thank you for your patience and support over these past few weeks as our board, staff, and volunteers worked to navigate this new reality,” said event management via its website announcement.

While other Peninsula events postponed or canceled events this year, Big Sur organizers were hopeful of maintaining original dates. A decision was made in mid-March to postpone.

To reschedule, organizers worked with businesses throughout the Monterey Peninsula to determine if, for example, the Monterey Conference Conference and host hotels, would be able to participate.

(04/13/2020) ⚡AMP
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Big Sur Marathon

Big Sur Marathon

Hopefully this amazing race will return in 2022 since 2021 has been cancelled as well as the 2020 event. The Big Sur Marathon follows the most beautiful coastline in the world and, for runners, one of the most challenging. The athletes who participate may draw inspiration from the spectacular views, but it takes major discipline to conquer the hills of...

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7-year-old Steven Burgess runs backyard marathon to raise money for hospitals, non-profits during COVID-19 pandemic

A 7-year-old North Carolina boy is proof that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.Steven Burgess is staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with schools closed until at least May 15.

However, he came up with a plan to not only help others, but get some time outside in his backyard.According to ABC-affiliate WWAY, Burgess's mom, Eliza Burgess, said he decided he would run for 6 hours in his backyard to raise money for hospitals, food banks, and missions in his community like Vigilant Hope, Meals for Heroes and Nourish NC.

"It started out as something fun to do," Eliza Burgess said. "Then, I saw he was serious about it, so I thought, 'Let's share this and uplift some people.' I have been blown away by the amount of people who want to donate.

"Around 37,000 steps later, Steven Burgess raised more than $1,500.

Steven Burgess said keeping his mission at the front of his mind inspired him to keep his legs moving.

"I just wanted to raise money for the hospitals and give them help," Steven Burgess said.

Both Steven and his mom hope his mini marathon will show others how easy it is to make a difference from your own backyard.

"I think this will inspire others to show them what they can do," Eliza Burgess said, "I think the reason this inspired so much support is that people really do want to plug in and they want to encourage each other and we want to help, and sometimes we don't know what to do because we are all stuck at home."

(04/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by Kelsie Hoffman
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Kenyan Wesley Korir set to bounce back from injury, eyes Boston Marathon

Former Boston Marathon champion said he has been battling with the injury. 

Former Cherangany legislator Wesley Korir is hoping to return to Boston Marathon in September after a one-year injury lay off.

Speaking in Eldoret, the former Boston Marathon champion said he has been battling with the injury, which he picked during the 2019 Boston Marathon, for the past one year. Boston Marathon was switched from April 20 to September 14 following the outbreak of the coronavirus around the globe.

“My target is to run in Boston this year after the postponement of the event from April to September due to coronavirus. I am optimistic that my injury would have completed healed by then,” said the 2012 Boston Marathon champion.

Korir, who has been championing for athletes rights, said Boston and Chicago have been part and parcel of his marathon career having made his debut in 2008. “Boston and Chicago have been my best courses and returning to Boston this year will be great,” he said.

The two-time Los Angeles marathon winner, said the postponement of the Boston Marathon was a blessing in disguise for him as he will be ready. The 38-year-old runner said his target is to reclaim his position in Boston—a city he has spent much of his time as a youth and an athlete.

Korir featured in Chicago in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 but his luck came in 2011 when he finished second in 2:06.15.

He made his Boston marathon debut with a win in 2012 in 2:12.40 but failed to defend his title the following two years, finishing fifth in 2013 and 2014. He was fourth in 2016 and sunk deep in 2017 to place 15th. He won the Los Angeles Marathon in 2009 and 2011 in 2:08.24 and 2:09.19. 

(04/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

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

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Kane Cornes ran a full marathon around his tennis court

Former Port Adelaide midfielder Kane Cornes completed an entire marathon, but did it isolation style – around his tennis court.

The SEN host ran a total of 42.2km in 239 minutes and raised $4,922 for the Hospital Research Fund the Fight campaign in the process.

Their aim is to help fund a clinical trial to find a cure for the coronavirus.

Cornes admits he underestimated the task he set for himself.

“It didn’t sound as crazy as it felt at about the 34km mark yesterday,” he told SEN’s Whateley.

“It was all fun and games until about 10 and the kids were playing footy on the tennis court as I was running and we had music going and it was all good, but fast forward about an hour and 20 minutes post that and it got really, really brutal.

“The idea just came about just staying home for 14 days after I came home from Victoria and doing the right thing and wondering how I was going to exercise. I went for a run around the tennis court on the first day back and I got to 20km and wasn’t too bad.

“I thought maybe I could do a marathon and raise some money, but it was very, very hard and I’m glad it’s done.

“I’m absolutely paying for it (this morning). For those that have done a marathon or any endurance event, it wasn’t the lungs in terms of the fitness, it was just the wear and tear on the legs.

“I didn’t understand, and I probably underestimated, the twists and turns of the tennis court. So, every 10 and then 30 metres you’re turning and it’s just brutal on your knees and your lower back and your hips and I’m not getting any younger.”

Cornes added that he had to reverse the direction he was running because of the soreness building up thanks to the constant turning around the tennis court.

“I changed (direction) at about the 22km mark I realised it was a stupid thing to do (doing the whole marathon in the same direction),” he said.

“I didn’t want to go back on my word and you say you’re going to do something and you usually do it, but I just had to (change direction) because my left hip was just killing and I thought I wasn’t going to finish unless I changed direction and it really helped that little change-up.”

The 300-gamer thanked everyone who watched the livestream and contributed by donating to the cause.

(04/13/2020) ⚡AMP
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Study suggests that running and training for a marathon could help you live longer

Need another reason to sign up for a marathon? New research suggests training and running a marathon for the first time could reverse some of the effects of aging on our bodies.

Researchers found that for the 138 healthy, first-time marathon runners they tracked, training and completing the London marathon was associated with a four-year reduction in their "vascular age."

Specifically, they found that marathon training reversed the age-related stiffening of the body's main artery and helped reduce blood pressure.

As we age, the walls of our arteries, which deliver oxygen and nutrients to all our vital organs, grow thicker and stiffer, making our heart work harder to pump blood around our body. While a normal part of aging, this can contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia and kidney disease, the study said.

"Our study shows it is possible to reverse the consequences of aging on our blood vessels with real-world exercise in just six months," said senior author Dr. Charlotte Manisty, a senior lecturer at University College London and a consultant cardiologist at the Barts Heart Centre and University College Hospitals.

"These benefits were observed in overall healthy individuals across a broad age range and their marathon times are suggestive of achievable exercise training in novice participants."

The greatest benefits were seen in older, slower male marathon runners with higher baseline blood pressure, according to the study which published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The researchers didn't specify a particular training regimen, with participants encouraged to use the "Beginnner's Training Plan" provided by the marathon, which consists of approximately three runs per week that increase in difficulty for a 17-week period prior to the race.

The researchers found that the marathon training decreased systolic blood pressure -- when the heart beats -- by 4 units (mmHg), and diastolic blood pressure -- when the heart rests between beats -- decreased by 3 units (mmHg). Overall, the exercise reduced stiffness in the aorta, the main artery in the body.

The health benefits were not related to how fast the participants completed the race nor were the participants experienced runners, said Manisty. The average marathon running time was 5.4 hours for women and 4.5 hours for men -- below average completion times.

But Manisty said she didn't think the health benefits were unique to running a marathon. The key takeaway, she said, was to set a training goal and structure, and stick to it. Also, she said it was never too late to start sustained exercise, with the study finding the greatest changes in the oldest runners.

(04/13/2020) ⚡AMP
by Katie Hunt
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Michael Wardian set out for a virtual ultra marathon. He kept running for 2½ days.

n the early days of the second full month of the global novel coronavirus pandemic that has all but paralyzed the sports world, Michael Wardian went out for a run around the block. He woke up early Saturday morning, laced up his shoes and stepped outside to run around his Northern Virginia neighborhood.

He circled the block and then did it again. And then again and again. Wardian ended up running for more than 2½ days, skipping sleep and piling up miles. When he finally unlaced his shoes late Monday night, he’d run 262½ miles in all, winning a long-distance event called the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, a virtual race inspired by the social distancing recommendations that make a standard road race impossible in the midst of a pandemic.

The unique event was intended to fill a void for distance runners who saw their race calendars wiped clean by the spread of the coronavirus. It brought together more than 2,000 runners from nearly 60 countries and turned into a captivating affair with a drama-filled, controversial finish.

“We do not know when this situation is going to end, and this is a fun way to bring a whole bunch of people together to be able to test their fitness, join a community, and do something together when many people cannot leave their homes,” a Calgary-based distance-running outfit called Personal Peak wrote in a March post announcing the race.

The rules were simple enough. The runners had to honor social distancing recommendations and either compete on a treadmill or in some sequestered environment. Some, such as Wardian, circled their neighborhood, while others circled their backyard. One entrant did laps around his living room in Dubai, and another ran circles in a Canadian coffee shop that had been closed because of the virus.

Runners were connected via Zoom and required to run 4.167 miles each hour. After hitting their hourly mark, the runners flashed their watch to the camera and then waited for the next lap to begin at the top of the hour.

For each 4.167-mile lap in the race, Wardian made 10 loops around the block in his Arlington neighborhood. That means that once the race began Saturday morning, he passed the same neighbors, same trees, same parked cars — same everything — more than 620 times.

The race began with more than 2,400 entrants, but they slowly dropped, and Monday was mostly a duel between Wardian and a runner halfway around the world named Radek Brunner, who was pounding out miles on a treadmill in the Czech Republic. Wardian officially won shortly before midnight Monday after more than 62½ hours of running when Brunner was disqualified because of a technicality.

Brunner failed to start running his 63rd lap precisely at the top of the hour, apparently because of some technical difficulty or confusion, and organizers reluctantly said they had no choice but to disqualify him for a rules violation.

In winning the event, Wardian ran the equivalent of 10 marathons in a little more than 2½ days. That’s a bit farther than running straight from Washington to Pittsburgh. Perhaps equally impressive: A sleep-deprived Wardian consistently turned in sub-10-minute miles, but his fastest lap was his final one, when he averaged 7:23 over the event’s final four miles.

Wardian, who turns 46 on Sunday, is well-known on the ultra circuit, his running exploits growing longer each year. He has raced against horses, run around the Capital Beltway, completed marathons on seven continents (twice) and competed in the U.S. Olympic marathon trials and most every other premier distance event. Until this virtual competition, though, he had never run so many hours and so many miles consecutively, he said.

To prepare, Wardian ran a full marathon in his neighborhood the week before, knowing he would be in for a grueling turn in the virtual race. After the first hours of the event ticked by Saturday, the field whittled down quickly. Treadmills broke, hamstrings tweaked, work and real life beckoned, quick power naps turned into full-bore slumber. But mostly the miles and hours just became too much.

By Sunday evening, after 36 hours and 150 miles, the field was down to 14. By that point, Wardian was running in the dark, and his kids were nearing bedtime. Overnight, the runners kept dropping, and at one point, Wardian thought he would be joining them. Around 3 a.m., he briefly stopped running and walked over to his wife, Jennifer.

“I was crumbling in the middle of the night,” he later explained. “She asked if I was all right. I said, ‘No, I just don’t want to be doing this anymore.’ She said that’s not a good enough excuse.”

So he kept going, finding a second wind. He would usually finish his 4.167-mile lap in 40 or so minutes, which gave him a bit of time to catch his breath before lining up again at the top of the hour. This was the reflective period when others typically bowed out.

After 42 hours and 175 miles, Matt Shepard, who had been circling the Tall Timber coffee shop in Canada, Matthieu Weiner of Pennsylvania and Scott Martin from Oregon all dropped. Then Greg Armstrong in Tennessee an hour later. And then, after 46 hours of running, the last female runner, Anna Carlsson, who had been trekking through the outdoors near the northern tip of Sweden, had to stop. She had been running on a frozen lake that had been plowed for the occasion but had to drop when a snowstorm approached.

Finally, as the race hit the 48-hour mark Monday morning, just Wardian and Brunner were left. Both knew it wasn’t the speed or mile-pace that counted. It was a race of attrition, and the last man standing would be the sole winner. Brunner sneaked quick naps at the bottom of each hour, but Wardian hadn’t slept since Friday night.

“Sleep, what? None,” Wardian said at one point. “This is my money race. I don’t need to sleep.”

Because we live in virtual times, the entire event was streamed online, first on YouTube and later on Facebook, and thousands tuned in to watch the runners in Zoom’s now-familiar checkerboard format. The audience was able to engage and ask questions of the runners as they rested between laps.

“Let’s keep doing this!” Wardian said into the camera after he was 216 miles into the race.

And so they kept running into a third day and night. Even with 250 miles behind them — around 9 p.m. Monday — both were turning in a relatively fast pace, and Wardian had his sights set on what organizers say is the virtual backyard ultra record: 69 laps.

But then a whistle sounded for lap No. 63. Wardian took off running in the dark, but more than 4,000 miles away, Brunner stood still on his treadmill, seemingly unaware the lap had started. The online audience watched as Brunner fielded a phone call from race organizers, visibly in disbelief that after 62 hours of running, he was disqualified over what seemed like a minor infraction.

Wardian finished his lap and was slightly confused, too — and also disappointed the race was over and he couldn’t add another record to his lengthy race résumé.

(04/12/2020) ⚡AMP
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