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Top Ten Stories of the Week
2/16/2019

These are the top ten stories based on views over the last week. 

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Maine Woman with MS is running the grand slam of Ultra Running - Marathon Man Gary Allen File 4

Melissa Ossanna, of Bar Harbor, Maine, has big plans for 2019.  Not only will she be turning 50, she has registered for the “Grand Slam of Ultrarunning” (fondly called ‘The Slam’ by those who participate).  This involves running four of the fiveoldest 100-mile footraces in the US, scheduled from June through September. 

This is a laudable and often daunting goal for every runner who attempts it, but Ossanna has another challenge, she has Multiple Sclerosis.  She was diagnosed with the condition in her mid-20’s and struggled quite a bit with temporary blindness, weakness and numbness in her limbs, and severe fatigue, among other issues.  

In 2009, she was unable to stay awake all day at work and was forced to go on intermittent disability.   She thought this might be the beginning of the end of her ability to earn a living, and most importantly, to be able to stay active with her husband and young son. 

Ultimately, she learned that the fatigue was a result of MS-related sleep apnea, which is treatable.   As she started to sleep better, she got some energy back, and was able to return to work full time.  She also decided to take the advice of her neurologist and use this bit of extra vigor to start exercising.  For years, she had been too tired to even consider adding an exercise program to her schedule.  

Where many people would start with a couch to 5K program, an introduction to fitness at the YMCA or something else reasonable, Ossanna happened into town the day before the Mount Desert Island marathon in 2011, had a moment of regret that she wasn’t a marathon runner, and then decided she would become one.  She registered for the MDI marathon 2012 before she even owned running shoes.  

The year of training was a long one, starting with not even beingable to run 0.8 miles (the length of the road she lived on).  However, once marathon day arrived in October 2012, Ossanna was ready and had learned to love running.  

That one marathon led to another, which then led to a 50K, then a trail 50K, then a 50-mile trail race, and then a 100-mile race.    Ever since she started running, Ossanna has not had any notable MS exacerbations.  She attributes her continued health to her running habit, and she never plans to slow down if she can help it.

With her decision to run the Grand Slam this year, Ossanna decided she wanted to raise money for a charity that meant something to her.  She had raised money for the National MS Society in the past, and had considered doing that again, until she ran the Vermont 100 in 2018 and became familiar with Vermont Adaptive.  Vermont Adaptive helps people with disabilities get outside and do active things.  

Becoming active in the outdoors gave Ossanna her life back, and has prevented any permanent disability for her, and she wants to help others to “get outside and play”, regardless of any challenges they face.  

If you want to support Melissa and Vermont Adaptive click on the link.

Top photo: Melissa at the Javelina Jundred 100 miler in AZ

(Marathon Man Gary Allen is an exclusive My Best Runs column.  Gary is one of only a few who have run a sub three hour marathon over five decades and hopes to make it six soon.) 

(02/10/19) Views: 1,014
Gary Allen
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The Rak Half Marathon was amazingly fast as 11 men clocked times under an hour

Kenya's 19-year-old Stephen Kiprop won the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) half marathon on Friday in a course record-equalling 58 minutes and 42 seconds, the fastest time ever recorded by a teenager.

Ethiopians Abadi Hadis and Fikadu Haftu completed the podium and Switzerland's Julien Wanders was fourth in a time of 59:13, a Swiss national record.  This also beats Mo Farah’s European record of 59:32. 

Hadis led Kiprop until the final 50 meters of the race before the young Kenyan powered past him to finish two seconds ahead.  

The race lived up to its billing of being the world's fastest half marathon as 11 men finished inside an hour, the first time it has happened in half-marathon history.  Five women finished under 1:06:30 which makes RAK the fastest women’s race ever too.

Kenya’s Stephen Kiprop continued where he left off last year by winning the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on Friday Feb 8 in an equal course record of 58:42, moving to joint sixth on the world all-time list. In a close women’s race, Senbere Teferi won in 1:05:45, the fastest debut half marathon time in history, with just one second separating the top three finishers.

The men’s field got off to a steady start with a large lead group passing through five kilometres in 14:13 and 10 kilometres in 28:10. 15 men were still in the front pack at that stage, all operating well within the required schedule for a sub-60-minute finish.

The pace continued to increase, though, and by 15 kilometres – reached in 41:48 – Kiprop and Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis had broken away from the rest of the pack. Ethiopia’s Fikadu Haftu, Switzerland’s Julien Wanders and Kenya’s Morris Gachanga formed a chase trio about eight seconds adrift of the leaders.

Hadis and Kiprop gradually increased their lead in the closing stages. After passing 20 kilometres in 55:46, it became clear they could challenge Bedan Karoki’s course record of 58:42 set last year. Haftu and Wanders, meanwhile, had dropped Gachanga by this point and were 17 seconds behind the lead duo with a larger chasing pack not too far behind.

Kiprop, still just 19 years of age, proved to have the stronger finish and outkicked Hadis to win in 58:42, the fastest time in history by a teenager. It was another big step forward for Kiprop, who first broke through last year when winning the Venloop Half Marathon in 59:44 on his debut at the distance. He went on to win the Usti Nad Labem Half Marathon in 59:41 and reduced his PB to 59:21 when finishing fifth in Valencia.

In the women's race, Ethiopia's Senbere Teferi won in 1:05:45, ahead of compatriots Netsanet Gudeta and Zeineba Yimer, with only one second separating all three runners.

Teferi also set a record for the fastest debut time in a half marathon.

There were 2423 men finishers and 755 women.  

(02/08/19) Views: 322
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Is there a time when an indoor track event should be stopped to help a fallen runner like Komey Campbell?

Is there a situation when a race on an indoor track should be stopped when a medical emergency happens to one of the runners?  

If something happens to a football player on the field, the game is stopped so full attention can be given to the fallen player.  There seems to be a protocol in place for such situations.  

If there is a medical situation at a road race, 911 is called and a medical team is there on the spot normally within minutes.  There is normally plenty of space on the road so the race does continue and the fallen runner is given full attention by the medical team.

Indoor track is a different situation.  The space is more cramped and unlike a road race, runners are passing the same spot every 29 to 35 seconds or so.  Being on an indoor track is like being on a busy freeway compared to being on a country road. 

On Saturday Feb 9 at the Millrose Games in New York City the pacer, Kemoy Campbell for the men’s 3000 went down early in the race.  

Larry Allen who was watching from the stands describe the scene.  “The 3000m pacer, a Jamaican 2016 Olympian at 5k went down very suddenly right past the apex of the first turn after about 1000m and landed just off the track surface on the infield. He was clearly unconscious when he landed,” wrote Larry in a text. 

“He was down for 23 minutes (by news reports) and never moved a muscle. It took at least 2-3 minutes before anyone administered any medical help and then according to my Doctor friend, watching the meet with me, the mouth to mouth resuscitation efforts aren’t the current protocol. 

“CPR was crucial and it was a couple of more minutes before it was administered and according to my friend (in real time) the only thing that could’ve really helped was a portable defibrillator and I learned that it must be administered within 5 minutes in order to assure oxygen supply to the brain is maintained.  

“It was 7-10 minutes before he was shocked. There were a series of different people that attempted to resuscitate him by cpr (& mouth to mouth) before (and after) his heart was shocked. 

“There is a major hospital (Columbia Presbyterian) right outside the armory on that side and it is ultimately where he was taken. News reports today indicate that he is in the ICU in a medically induced coma. 

“It was traumatizing to witness up close.  My friend wanted to climb down from the balcony to try and help but there was no real way for him to get down and the back up over the banked track and fence along the top.  He was and is tormented by his inability to be in a place to offer help,” Larry concluded. 

This article is not meant to bring blame to anyone or any organization.  In all the years I have been following track I can not recall a similar situation. I am sure no one would have ever dreamed that something like this would ever happen.  

This was a well conditioned athelete and a runner qualified to pace such an elite field.  It should not have happen but it did.

The scene was very distributing for all of us there Saturday afternoon at the Games.  In my thinking it just makes the performances after the event even more amazing.  It is hard to imagine that Yomif could have 100% blocked out the traumatic scene that had just unfolded.  But maybe since he does not speak English he did.  In any case he almost set a new world record for the mile just 20 or so minutes after Campbell was removed from the stadium.  It was an amazing race to witness up close and personal right at the finish line however there still was somewhat of a fog hanging inside the arena. 

There is a question that should be addressed.  Should the 3000m race have been stopped so full attention could have been given to the down runner?  As it was, runners kept flying past him for several critical minutes making it more challenging for medical personnel and equipment to be at his side.

We hope that Kemoy Campbell will be able to have a full recovery.  Our hearts go out to him and his family. 

(02/10/19) Views: 240
Bob Anderson
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Michael Wardian finished running ten marathons in ten days on Saturday at a 2:55 avg pace and then Sunday ran a 17:01 5k race! Wow!

Michael Wardian is one of a kind.  Most people would think that running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents would be enough.  It was not enough for Michael.  

On Saturday, Wardian set the pending world record for completing 10 marathons in 10 days, with a cumulative time of 29 hours, 12 minutes, and 46 seconds.

That is an average of 2:55:17 per marathon. And it’s more than 43 minutes faster than the previous record (29 hours, 54 minutes, and 56 seconds), set by Brit Rik Vercoe in 2013.

Before heading off to do the seven in seven in seven, he called a running friend.  “I’d like to add three more. I think I can break the record,’” Michael told Chris Farley, owner of Pacers Running stores. So Farley mapped out an eight-loop, USATF-certified marathon course around Hains Point and invited D.C.’s enthusiastic running community to watch history in the making.

Wardian crossed a makeshift finish line on Hains Point on Saturday afternoon, completing his 10th marathon in as many days, with a time of 2 hours, 44 minutes, and 33 seconds (averaging 6:16 per mile). It was his fastest race of the entire journey.

“I’ve been trying to think of how to put it in context so that people can understand how difficult this is,” said Farley.  “If you did a 30-mile week, that’s a strong week for most runners.  Michael did close to that distance every day for 10 days straight.  He ran more than 262 miles in the last 10 days. And he finished the last 5K of a marathon in under six-minute pace. That’s insane.”

Wardian did all of this on just 20 hours of sleep over the past 10 days. While most of that deprivation can be attributed to his rigorous travel to all seven continents, he slept in his own bed, at his home in Arlington the past three nights. Apparently, that isn’t enough to get a full night’s sleep.

“Too excited,” he explained after the race. “I’m just ready to go.”

This is perhaps what makes Wardian most impressive. He is absolutely relentless.

While elite marathoners tend to do one or two key races in a year, Wardian doesn't hit the brakes. In the distance running community, he’s well known for his punishing race schedule of ultramarathons and marathons.

To successfully tackle an odyssey like this, Wardian kept a rigorous training schedule, which included finishing the one of the most difficult 100-mile courses in the world—the HURT 100—just last month.

“The training for each event just builds on itself,” he explains. “I ran the HURT 100 back in January, which was 27 straight hours of running.”

But Wardian’s training was only part of the equation. There were plenty of other challenges he’d have to face, including hydration and nutrition, travel logistics, and weather.

“During the seven marathons in seven continents in seven days, the most challenging part was staying on top of my nutrition,” says Wardian. “You’re really at the mercy of where you are and what food is in front of you.”

“I just eat whatever my body will tolerate,” he adds, noting that he did get sick during his marathon in Santiago, Chile.

But with such a tight travel schedule, it was just a matter of pushing through the tough parts, get enough calories to fuel his next run. For a vegetarian like Wardian, this can be doubly challenging. 

The weather also threw some curveballs at Wardian. “The temperature fluctuations were tough,” he says. “One day might be cold, and the next is hot. While usually your body gets the chance to acclimate to those conditions, this time it was just go-go-go.”

The very next day after finishing 10 marathons in ten days,  Wardian didn't sleep in or take a day off from running. But instead, he competed in the Love The Run You're With 5K with his vizsla, Rosie, near his home. 

Wardian finished ninth overall in 17:01 (a 5:28 per mile pace). The one-of-a-kind runner can!

(02/11/19) Views: 115
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Switzerland’s Julien Wanders made history this morning by setting a European record of 59:13 at the 2019 RAK Half Marathon

After Switzerland’s Julien Wanders made history this morning by setting a European record of 59:13 at the 2019 RAK Half Marathon, becoming the fastest non-African-born runner ever in the process. 

Swiss 22-year-old runs 59:13 to break Mo Farah’s mark as Stephen Kiprop and Senbere Teferi storm to success

Julien Wanders smashed Mo Farah’s European record, while Stephen Kiprop and Senbere Teferi secured thrilling sprint finish victories at another fast and exciting edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on Friday.

In an historic event which saw a total of 11 athletes break 60:00 – the most ever in a single race – Wanders clocked 59:13 to improve the 59:32 continental mark set by Britain’s 10-time global track champion Farah in Lisbon in 2015.

Such was the standard, that time only saw the Swiss 22-year-old finish fourth as Kenya’s 19-year-old Kiprop stormed to success, running a PB of 58:42 to deny Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis in the closing stages.

 

(02/08/19) Views: 71
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I used to dislike hills so much - Michael Anderson on Running File 5

I remember my first marathon (Big Sur) and the days before driving the course. It is a very hilly point to point course on hwy one in Northern California.

Flash forward I did finish in just over 4 hrs.  They have one hill called "hurricane hill" at the 13 mile mark, I remember getting to the top and saying "efff this, never again will hills be a challenge.”

After this race I realized how important hill training is to a training schedule. No matter what you cannot escape hills, they are all around me in my home town.  

I can hate them or learn to love them. I decided to love them and take them as mini accomplishments that need to be conquered. You grind it to the top and then look out over the views, it is very rewarding. I go heavy on hills on all my courses as most trail races are all about getting verticals it’s inevitable.

Hills and loving them!

I find the biggest hills near my house and run them regularly.   You might not think it is helping you because it seems slow but you need to run hills to handle them.  Just do them!  But don’t run hills more than twice weekly and put a day or two in between. 

I love to put my head down and take it one step at a time, sometimes if it’s a new hill I walk very steep sections and then know what the hard parts are and I can be better prepared on my next time up.

Take it as it comes and never say never.  The more you run hills the easier they will become. 

Michael Anderson on Running is a regular My Best Runs column. 

(02/10/19) Views: 71
Michael Anderson
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Yomif Kejelcha misses the world record for the indoor mile by one hundredth of a second

The 112th Millrose Game’s featured event was the NYRR Men’s Wanamaker Mile.  Yomif Kejelcha fell 0.008 seconds short of the indoor mile record, winning the Wanamaker Mile in 3 minutes, 48.46 seconds. 

Yomif was ready to run the first sub 3:48 indoor mile and he almost did it.  He ran even pace with his slowest 200m being 29.21 before running his final one in 28.33.  He was all alone the last few laps breaking the tape in 3:48.46.

The world Record is 3:48.45.  Kenya’s Edward Cheserek placed a distant second clocking 3:53:29 just ahead of USA’s Clayton Murphy 3:53:30.  Both Yomif and Clayton are part of the NIKE Oregon Project.  

But this was not the only outstanding performance of the afternoon.  Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen ran an outstanding 4:19.98 in the women’s Wanamaker mile.  USA’s Colleen Quigley placed second in 4:22.86.

Donavan Brazier wanted Johnny’s Gray’s indoor 800 American record of 1:45.00 set March 8, 1992.  He got it today as he clocked 1:44.41.  

There was over six hours of exciting races with many PR’s and meet records.   

(02/09/19) Views: 66
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Yomif Kejelcha going after 1500m World Record at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham

The two-time world indoor 3000m champion won the mile at the recent Millrose Games in 3:48.46, just 0.01 outside Hicham El Guerrouj’s world indoor record set in 1997, six months before Kejelcha was born.

The Ethiopian will be targeting another one of El Guerrouj’s marks in Birmingham: the world indoor 1500m record of 3:31.18. El Guerrouj recorded that time just 10 days before his world indoor mile record, so given that Kejelcha is in near identical form as the Moroccan during his record-breaking run in 1997, the 21-year-old stands a good chance of taking down the mark in the shorter distance.

There will be tough opposition, too, including the three other men who have won 1500m races in this year’s World Indoor Tour: Torun winner and world indoor champion Samuel Tefera, Madrid winner Bethwel Birgen, and Karlsruhe winner Vincent Kibet.

One week after coming within a whisker of the world indoor mile record, Yomif Kejelcha will be one of the biggest focal points of the Muller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham when he lines up for the 1500m at the penultimate IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting of 2019 on Saturday

(02/14/19) Views: 60
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9 Million dollars have been raised for Children's Miracle Network at Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run

Back in 2002, when Credit Union Miracle Day (CUMD) became the title sponsor of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk, one of the primary goals for the event was to enhance the funds raised for Children's Miracle Network (CMN) through the Credit Unions for Kids program, which already had made the credit union movement one of the largest fundraisers for CMN. The race has been a highly successful addition and in the 18th year of CUMD sponsorship the total funds raised for CMN is closing in on $9 million dollars.

CUMD Chair Theresa Mann said: "Raising funds to help treat sick children across the country is a natural fit for credit unions that strive to give back to their local communities. We are tremendously excited to be reaching $9 million dollars in total funds raised with this year's race. What better way for credit unions to show their commitment to the communities they serve."

Individual runners can still do their part by raising at least $500 for Children's Miracle Network prior to February 15, thus gaining guaranteed entry into this year's event which sold out in December and will take place on April 7. Individuals can raise the funds on their own or by gathering donations from family members and friends.

"Charity entries represent a great opportunity to support the ground-breaking medical research and world-class medical services provided by the 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across the county, and earn a spot on the starting line," said Event Director Phil Stewart. "All funds raised go to the Children's Miracle Network Hospital in the community of each individual fundraiser. I am confident that with the combined support of the sponsoring credit unions and individual fundraisers we will push well beyond the $9 million dollar total this year."

(02/13/19) Views: 56
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The NYRR Millrose Games will always have its Irish air

Even if the list of competitors is not chock-a-block with Irish names there will always be an Irish air about the Millrose Games which are set for Saturday, February 9 at the Armory in Washington Heights, Manhattan.

For one thing the Meet Director this year, as he has been for a number of years now, is legendary Irish middle distance runner and Longford native, Ray Flynn.

“This is the 112th Millrose Games and the eighth Millrose meet at the Armory. It’s a big deal,” Flynn says.

A big deal indeed.

“And if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the Armory is an incredible venue, especially for the kids,” Flynn said.

The New York Road Runners Millrose Games did indeed move, in 2012, from the much larger Madison Square Garden to the cozier confines of the uptown Armory.

The effect, however, was a positive in that the Armory is filled to the rafters with 5,000 cheering track and field fans. 400 extra seats have been squeezed in for Saturday’s meet.

One of those cheering will be, of course, Eamonn Coghlan, the “Chairman of the Boards.”

Coghlan and Flynn are but two Irish middle distance veterans who remind track fans of a golden era in Irish middle distance running, that being the 1980s.

Coghlan is the holder of seven Wanamaker Mile titles and holds, among many other titles and laurels, a World 5000 Meter championship gold medal.

Ray Flynn has 89 sub 4-minute miles under his belt and is both the Irish Mile Record holder (3:49.77) and Irish 1,500m Record holder (3:33.5). Both records were broken in the same race in 1982 in Oslo in the Bislett Games Dream Mile.

Flynn, was an All-American in track and field and cross country at East Tennessee State, where his team in 1975 captured the NCAA Track and Field Championship.

Now 62, Flynn currently works as an agent for track and field athletes and is based in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Millrose is unique in that Olympians, as well as other elite professional, college, high school and youth track and field competitors, line up for the various events.

This year, two lucky Sligo kids will get to rub shoulders with some of the best athletes in the world by racing in the “Fastest Kid on the Block” competition.

Alice Belo and Shane Haran will be representing their county and Ireland.

In Sligo, the Fastest Feet program is being used every year to introduce kids to sport, specifically athletics. The man backing the program is Galway’s Richard Donovan who is also behind the World Marathon Challenge, the North Pole Marathon, the Volcano Marathon and other epic global sporting events.

The Armory being indoors, Alice and Shane need not worry about a return of the Polar Vortex.

No fewer than 32 Olympians are included in this year’s Millrose roster. There are Irish names evident, but they belong to athletes from the U.S., Canada, Australia and indeed Antigua & Barbuda.

(02/08/19) Views: 55
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