These are the top ten stories based on views over the last week.
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will Sunday host the 20th anniversary of Great Ethiopian Run - Africa’s largest mass participation sports event post-coronavirus lockdown - with founder Haile Gebrselassie confident the 10-kilometre road race will continue serving the greater good.
Speaking at a pre-race press conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Addis Ababa on Friday, Gebrselassie, a multiple world record holder in distance running, said the race will continue to make positive contribution beyond prize money.
Already, the distance running legend has built a school with proceeds from the annual race’s sponsorship with plans underway for the construction of another in partnership with the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
The former world record holder in the marathon and 10,000 metres also paid tribute to the great rivalry between Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes saying it helped raise the bar in African athletics.
He singled out his career-long running nemesis Paul Tergat for his contribution to the sport.
“Without Tergat the sport wouldn’t be as exciting as it is… he’s my friend and I even feel as though he’s right here with us now,” Gebrselassie, also a successful businessman said.
Tergat had been invited for this weekend’s 20th anniversary race but couldn’t travel as he is attending to his brother and other relatives who were involved in a freak road accident in Baringo County recently.
“Haile Gebrselassie, the legend, my brother, my friend and my worthy competitor in our hey days on the track, in cross country and on the roads, stands out tall for bequeathing Africa with such an incredible mass race that celebrates 20 amazing years this weekend,” Tergat wrote in a message to the organizers.
“Haile stands out as a giant, and one great role model to mankind through the way he was a success in his long professional athletics career, and by the way he has been a tremendous success also in his business undertakings after retiring from athletics.”
The Great Ethiopian Run has been forced to adjust to Covid-19 protocols that include a reduced number of runners starting the race in three separate waves to avoid congestion and to allow for greater distancing.
Three Kenyans – Solomon Boit, Evans Kipkemei and Kennedy Kimutai – are among a trimmed field of 300 elite runners who will line up at the iconic Meskel Square for the race’s start on Sunday.(01/08/21) Views: 95
In 1999, when Justin Gillette was 16 years old and living in Ironton, Mo., he and a friend decided to run a marathon. Despite his lack of experience at the distance, the race went well and he was immediately hooked. Two years later, he won his first marathon, and he has gotten used to winning ever since. Today, Gillette — who now lives in Goshen, Ind., and boasts a marathon PB of 2:25:44 — has an incredible 114 marathon wins to his name, and he hopes to add even more to his resume. In fact, if he can hit 200, he’ll get free pizza for life at a pizza shop in his hometown called the Iron Mule. It’s a lofty goal, but with free pizza on the line, it’s well worth the time and effort to get there.
Gillette’s winning ways
A long time has passed since Gillette won his first marathon, but he’s still winning races regularly. In November, he ran back-to-back marathons at an event in Fort Worth, Texas, called the Texas Quad, crossing the line first in both and securing the 113th and 114th wins of his career. This was only Gillette’s third time running marathons on consecutive days, and while he says “there is a steep learning curve” when it comes to back-to-back racing, he fared pretty well.
“If you run too hard on the first day then you’ll have nothing left for the second day,” he says. “I wanted to get in two quality races regardless of finish place.” Gillette says he left Texas feeling satisfied with both efforts, and getting the two wins was just a bonus. He also notes that this was his first race win in Texas, which leaves only 15 states in which he hasn’t won a marathon. He hopes to check off all 50 states at some point in his career.
Gillette has four children, ages two up to 11, he operates a firewood business and he coaches a number of athletes. On top of all this, he still finds time to train and, of course, race. He tries to run as many marathons as he can each year, but the total number depends on two factors: his home life and how his legs feel. “I have to be a present dad and husband,” he says. In 2020, despite the pandemic, lockdowns and a calf injury, Gillette managed to win 13 marathons, noting that it will take him several more years of winning the same numbers of races to reach 200.
The pizza bet
Before Gillette made the deal at the Iron Mule, he had a similar (although much smaller-scale) agreement with the owner of a restaurant in the Bahamas. It was 2015, and Gillette was preparing to run the Bahamas Marathon. The night before the race, he went to dinner with his wife and friends, and when the owner asked why they were on the island, Gillette responded candidly: “I mentioned that I was there to win the marathon.” The owner laughed and told Gillette that if he won the race, he would eat free at the restaurant for life. As usual, Gillette got the win, and he returned the next night for a meal on the house.
"Not long after that I was at the Iron Mule sharing the story with Coach B,” Gillette says. Coach B is Don Barzowski, owner of the Iron Mule and coach of the high school cross-country team in Ironton. “He offered the same deal at his restaurant — free food for life, but only once I have won more marathons than anyone in the U.S.” Gillette is close, and he currently ranks second on that list, only behind Chuck Engle, who has won “around 200” marathons. Gillette isn’t sure of Engle’s exact tally, but he says he believes Engle has retired, so the total number to beat won’t be changing anytime soon. “My plan is to keep focused on myself and if I get in the 180 to 190 marathon win total, then I’ll check on the record.”
Gillette says he eats at the Iron Mule whenever he visits Ironton, and he always makes sure to update Barzowski on his progress. “Each win, I tell him that I’m getting closer, but then he serves me humble pie and says I’m also getting older,” Gillette says. “At 114 wins, I know it’s a stretch to catch Engle, but it doesn’t mean I wont try my best. Free pizza is a motivator.”(01/13/21) Views: 75
The Melbourne Cup in horse racing is known as the race that stops the nation but, in truth, there’s an event in athletics that holds a country in a far-more-captivated grasp: the Hakone Ekiden.
This 10-leg, 217km relay in Japan has for years garnered viewing figures that defy belief, and this year’s race on January 2-3 was watched by 64.71 million people, according to Video Research Ltd. That means half the Japanese population tuned in, an audience share above that of the Superbowl in the Unites States.
This year’s broadcast, which ran for more than 12 hours across two days, hit a record high with 32.3% average of total Japanese viewership.
The competitors may be students, some of them not yet old enough to buy a drink, but the best are idolised like rock stars, their faces splashed across pull-out supplements in newspapers, their performances dissected on national radio and TV, their appearances mobbed with hordes of screaming fans.
Why so much hype for a long-distance relay involving university teams from one region (Kanto) of Japan? It’s best to ask those who’ve seen it – it’s the only way to believe it.
Before British author Adharanand Finn arrived in Japan in 2013, he knew Ekidens were a big deal, but he didn’t realize how big.
“I had this idea the Japanese are really into marathon running but when you get in with the serious end, their whole year is built around Ekidens,” he says. “To compete in the Hakone is bigger than the Olympics for a runner.”
Finn spent six months in Japan before writing his superb book, The Way of the Runner, and towards the end of his time there he experienced the enchanting electricity of the Hakone Ekiden.
Finn believes the media coverage is key to its popularity and to the audience’s understanding.
“Everyone is reading the background stories, the histories, the timelines and that’s what gives sport its hook. There’s this soap opera connected to it. The TV coverage is brilliant; I’ve often ranted about how terrible coverage of marathons in the UK and US is, cutting away at the wrong time, but in Japan all the stats are all over the screen. It’s so well produced that you can really follow it. A lot of people who watch are not running fans, but they cater for a wide audience.”
It’s a point echoed by Takeshi Nishimoto of Ekiden News.
“I've seen TV broadcasts of many races but Hakone is probably the best road race in the world,” he says. “The director of the broadcast came up with the idea that ‘Hakone Ekiden is a drama of each athlete’. Nippon Television (NTV) closely follows each athlete throughout the year and commentators are fed personal stories to talk about in detail. That's how it truly captivated the hearts of Japanese people.”
Brett Larner, who runs the Japan Running News website, says the Hakone Ekiden has the biggest TV audience of any sporting event in Japan and the second-highest viewership of anything, “surpassed only by Kohaku, a long music special that's broadcast on New Year’s Eve.”
Larner knows countless athletes who participated and the stories they bring back from the course strike a similar tone. “That it's like a blur,” he says. “They can't remember much due to the roar the entire way except for their ears hurting. There are thick crowds almost the entire way, with tens of thousands crowding the start and finish.”
Founded a century ago
The race dates back to 1920, and was founded by Shizo Kanakuri, an Olympic marathoner for Japan in 1912.
“The original purpose was to have college athletes compete in the half marathon to develop and identify talent who can excel in the Olympic marathon,” says Nishimoto. “However, in recent years, the number of entrance applicants of a university is directly affected by the result of the Hakone Ekiden, so universities invest in building state-of-the-art training facilities for Ekiden teams or recruiting systems offering scholarships.”
The legacy it has built over the century since its founding earned the ekiden a World Athletics Heritage Plaque in 2019.
Larner explains that the emphasis on the half marathon in Japanese distance running is most notable in the Kanto Region, given all the legs of the Hakone Ekiden are close to 20 kilometres.
“Hakone is the peak of the year, so the entire year is focused on being ready to run a half marathon at 100% come January. But the rest of the year people are running 1500m, steeple, 5000m and 10,000m, cross country, and not just the half.”
The emphasis on the distance can be a double-edged sword for young talent, according to Finn.
“It’s one reason running is so popular so it’s really good in that way, but with high school and college kids, they train really hard for the half marathon on the roads and it burns a lot of them out, physically and mentally. At 20-21, half marathon training is quite hard on them and it has this all-consuming effect.”
The day before Hakone, the New Year Ekiden takes place over 100 kilometres, a race that features the best athletes running for corporate teams in Japan. Despite the high standard it’s seen as a side-show to the collegiate event.
“Many Japanese traditionally like amateur sports more than professional sports,” says Ken Nakamura, an athletics writer and statistician. “In the early days of professional baseball, it was not held in as high esteem as college baseball, and national high school baseball tournaments held every summer are followed by even those people who do not consider themselves sports fans.”
During his many years based in Japan, Larner has witnessed an astonishing progression in standards at the Hakone Ekiden, which can only partially be explained by shoe technology.
“The sharpest growth in performance has happened since 2012, when Toyo University became the first school to break the 3:00/km barrier for average pace over the entire 217km Hakone course, (which is) no joke given the mountain stages,” he says. “Hakone has continued to grow in popularity, which has created more financial investment, which has resulted in higher performance levels, which has resulted in greater popularity.”(01/09/21) Views: 70
Find out why humans run in this new award-winning documentary
For runners who hate the cold, ice and snow, it’s treadmill season, and when you spend hours upon hours running on the spot, you need to find a distraction. While we can’t help keep you entertained for every run, we do have you covered for about an hour and a half, thanks to the award-winning documentary Just One Step. This film, which features big-name ultrarunners like Anna Frost and Karl Meltzer, looks to answer the question of why humans run, diving into possible explanations in science, psychology and spirituality.
Just One Step is available now on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play, and it’s a great option to keep your mind occupied during your next long run on the treadmill.
“They are everywhere,” the film’s narrator says. “It doesn’t matter where you look.” He’s talking about runners, and it’s true — we are everywhere. No matter what town, city or country you visit, you’ll see people out for runs. But the film wants to know why. “What exactly are we as a species doing out there on the treadmill, track and trail,” the narrator continues. “Why do we do it?”
As the documentary notes, there is not one uniform answer to this question, and after exploring the world of running, it becomes clear that everyone has different reasons for entering the sport and different motivations to stick with it. For many people, though, they have been hooked on running ever since they started.
“It’s an absolute addiction,” says Frost. This can lead us to push past our limits, which viewers will see in the film, turning this leisurely and healthy activity into something dangerous. “For all the benefits we reap, there are consequences as well,” says Just One Step director Benjamin Keller. “It’s this intense, crazy system we’ve developed around running.”
We’ll never truly find the answer to why humans run. But it’s a fun question to consider, and one that can keep your mind busy next time you hop on the treadmill. To stream Just One Step, head to Amazon, iTunes or Google Play.(01/09/21) Views: 63
Tokyo 2020 organizers announced here on Friday that they will continue to make preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games during the second state of emergency in the Japanese capital and three surrounding prefectures.
"We will continue to proceed carefully with all necessary work while adopting the required safety and security measures, in order to progress preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Games due to be held this summer," the organizers said in a statement.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared the state of emergency from January 8 to February 7 for the Tokyo metropolitan area including Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures on Thursday afternoon, authorizing tougher measures to fight a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.
Despite the mounting pressure from the worsening coronavirus situation, Suga promised that the Tokyo Olympic Games would be held from July 23 to August 8.
Suga, who became Prime Minister last September, told a press conference on Thursday, "I am determined to hold a safe and secure games," adding that he is optimistic that enthusiasm among the Japanese public will grow once vaccinations begin.
But Dick Pound, the longest-serving IOC member, told UK's state broadcaster BBC that the Tokyo Olympic Games might not take place.
"I can't be certain because the ongoing elephant in the room would be the surges in the virus," the 78-year-old Canadian said.
Ironically, it was also Pound who raised doubt as early as late February last year that the Tokyo Olympics would not take place in 2020.
Pound, who has been on the IOC since 1978, predicted 10 months ago in an interview with the Associated Press that the Games might be canceled because it could not be postponed considering its size.
"You just don't postpone something on the size and scale of the Olympics. There are so many moving parts, so many countries and different seasons, and competitive seasons, and television seasons.
"You're probably looking at a cancellation," he said in the interview.
The Olympics was pushed back by one year on March 24, nearly four weeks after the Pound interview.
Tokyo 2020 organizers are in a race against time to ensure that test events can restart on March 4 as rescheduled. The first event will be the FINA artistic swimming Olympic qualification tournament from March 4 to 7 at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Overseas athletes have been expected to attend some of the test events.(01/08/21) Views: 62
The annual Little Rock Marathon that was originally scheduled for March 6-7 has been changed to Nov. 20-21 due to coronavirus concerns.
If you have already registered for the marathon, you can move it to the race in November or defer your registration until 2022.
The 19th annual race brings thousands from across the nation and world to compete in Arkansas's capital city.(01/12/21) Views: 62
Usain Bolt might be hot on any track he touches worldwide, and he might have a career as a baller, but for now, the world’s fastest man seems to enjoy music as he released his second project – ‘Living the Dream’, on the second day of the new year (Jan 2, 2021)
Usain Bolt is a known fan of partying and music, and with best friends like Christopher Martin, it’s easy to see how he could fall into music production. Having made his debut in the world of music in 2019 with the release of Olympe Rose Riddim, a medley featuring the likes of Christopher Martin, Ding Dong, Dexta Daps, Munga Honorable, and others, his latest project also promises to be a banger.
The new song features his best friend and manager, Nugent Walker, who goes by the name ‘NJ’, and it is a motivational song that speaks to working hard and never giving up. “House on the hill with a nice city view, just a kid from the country living the dream.” It almost mirrors the story of Usain’s own childhood as he worked hard to get the opportunities he wanted and later reaped the rewards. In the video, he plays the little boy studying hard while also practicing his tennis skills and helping his mother only to return as a successful adult.
The song debuted on Apple Music and iTunes, as well as several local radio stations putting it on rotation, and it’s being distributed by Hapilos Entertainment.
On YouTube, the song received 13k views within the first six (6) hours of being released. While Usain did not sing in the song, he was only featured as the one who produced the song, many joked that he is becoming the “Jamaican DJ Khaled,” who is known for only appearing in songs and shouting his name/ label title at the intro of songs he produced.
Others joked that they waited for Usain to sing. “Usain’s verse flew by so fast that I didn’t even hear t,” one fan commented. Another said, “Usain Khaled we the fastest,” clearly joking. Meanwhile, the song seems to be drawing fans of Bolt from across the world, including India, Africa, and the Caribbean, with many wanting to hear Bolt sing.
https://youtu.be/sRrVeo8t3NM(01/09/21) Views: 60
Being active is good for you, especially if you’ve been sidelined. “It’s important to stay mobile so you don’t make an injury worse or set yourself up for other ailments caused by inactivity,” says Lara Heimann, a physical therapist and yoga teacher in Princeton, NJ.
These steps can help you get back in the groove safely and effectively.
Get the OK From Your Doctor
If you have a serious health problem, check with your doctor or physical therapist before you start a new program. They’ll let you know if it’s safe to start up again and give you specific guidelines for your injury.
Start With Good Posture
Pay attention to your form. “When your posture is suboptimal, your chance of a reoccurring injury is greater,” Heimann says. “Look at this time as an opportunity to stand and sit taller and better.” Keep your spine long. Relax your shoulders. Move from the hips when you do full-body or lower-body exercises.
Change Things Up
Aim for variety instead of repeating the same exercises over and over. By varying your movement, you’ll avoid overloading or overstraining the area that was injured. This is the time for cross-training. “Walk, swim, or practice yoga -- and pay attention to your form,” Heimann says.
Dial It Down
Start exercising at a lower intensity than you normally do, or choose an exercise that’s less challenging. For example, if you usually lift weights, start with lighter weights. If you do squats, don’t go as far down as you used to. If you run, try walking first. Over time, you can inch back up.
Try Gentle Exercises
Low-impact activities or exercises that you can modify are good choices when you’re starting back up. Try yoga, Pilates, tai chi, swimming, water aerobics, rowing, or suspension training. Walking is another great option and may give you an added emotional boost. Studies suggest it helps lower stress and anxiety and boost your confidence.
Watch for Pain
If your workout hurts, scale things back. Try limiting your range of motion, doing a different type of exercise, or lowering the weight you’re using. Listen to your body and get help if you need it.
Enhance Your Recovery
Add small things to your routine that help you recover better. Take time to stretch. After your workout, do deep, 60-second stretches. Try a foam roller to gently stretch and massage your muscles around your injury. Get a weekly massage. Try a yoga class. Drink enough water to stay hydrated every day. Eat well.
Be Patient and Flexible
The road to fitness takes time. Expect ups and downs. Aim for consistent workouts on a regular basis. If you hit a snag, feel pain, or need help, talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or trainer.(01/11/21) Views: 60
2020 has been a very hard year that has changed our lives, with our passion for running and well-being growing even stronger during these difficult times. Two months before the Napoli City Half Marathon we were ready to recreate the images that characterized one of the most beautiful half marathons in Italy, with over seven thousand participants from sixty countries around the world.
We were ready to welcome runners who would have run our event for the first time and others, who, year after year, are running with us and showing their passion for Naples and its half marathon.
We were ready to welcome them and their families and hear their stories as they get to know or rediscover our beautiful city; running the Twingo Relay and the Family Run & Friends with the children.
At the same time, as much as passionate and motivated we are to build, after careful consultations with local and international (political and sports) institutions, we have to announce that due to the public health situation we are forced to cancel the Napoli City Half Marathon, originally scheduled on 28 February, 2021.
The safety of the runners is of utmost importance and we were guided by this absolute priority for our organization. Irrespective of this unfortunate development, we will remain close to the runners, we wish to motivate them to keep on running and training, and we want to share our passion and commitment.
We are working on a digital event (virtual race + virtual expo) that will be announced in the coming weeks. All runners who have already registered for the Napoli City Half Marathon 2021 will have the options to:
1) Transfer their registration to the Napoli City Half Marathon 2022 sending an email to email@example.com with subject “Transfer registration to Napoli City Half Marathon 2022”
2) Request a full refund of the registration by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - with subject line "Napoli City Half Marathon refund". This needs to be done within February 28, 2021 at the latest.
3) Register for the Napoli City Half Marathon Virtual Race and ask, if due, for a refund of the difference in price between the cost of registration for the Napoli City Half Marathon and the cost of registration for the virtual event.
In this case, please send us an email to email@example.com - with subject "Napoli City Half Marathon 2021 digital".
We are looking forward to seeing you again soon.(01/08/21) Views: 59
Despite the pending declaration of a state of emergency in the greater Osaka area as the coronavirus continues its rapid spread, the organizers of the Jan. 31 Osaka International Women's Marathon intend to go ahead with this year's race, in which Tokyo Olympic marathon team members Mao Ichiyama (23, Wacoal) and Honami Maeda (24, Tenmaya) are entered to run.
Last year the JAAF published strict guidelines for the staging of road races amid the coronavirus pandemic. One of the requirements for holding a race is that no declaration of a state of emergency be in place.
On Jan. 7 the government issued such a declaration for Tokyo and is surrounding three prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa. Osaka and neighboring Kyoto and Hyogo have asked to be added to that list.
If the terms of the state of emergency are the same as the earlier one for the Tokyo area, it would last until at least Feb. 7. This would put the Osaka International Women's Marathon inside the emergency period, but race organizers insist it would still be held.
The declaration would limit the number of people able to attend events, but in principle it would still be possible to stage sporting events. Osaka organizers have already announced that Nagai Stadium, the marathon's start and finish point, will not be open to the public, and have asked that people watch on TV rather than cheering courseside.
Fewer than 100 athletes are entered, and all will be required to present a negative PCR test in order to participate.
(01/12/21) Views: 53