Amazing story: Kayla Montgomery

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

I just got done listening to this story (MP3 link, another podcast and can’t find a page for it) of Kayla Montgomery and had to share immediately. Kayla was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis but continued running, even though she finishes races with no feeling in her legs. Not only did she keep running but she kept running fast! Just listen to the story if you want to hear an amazing story about an incredibly inspiring runner.

Never give up.

The USATF debacle

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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For anyone who hasn’t heard yet, there was an absolute mess this past weekend at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships. In the women’s 3000 meter run, Gabriele (Gabe) Grunewald won the race by a comfortable margin after displaying a stunning finish after a tactical race.

You can see the race here. Skip to about 10 minutes into the video to get to the last lap and the incident in question. As you can see in the screen capture I grabbed above from the video, the race by the end wasn’t even close.

The problems started later. As you can see in the video, there was some slight contact between Gabe and Jordan Hasay shortly after the last lap started. This is the kind of contact you see on a regular basis in indoor track. Close quarters, tight turns and high speeds lead to things like this on a regular basis. However, Hasay’s coach (Alberto Salazar) protested the decision to not call the contact a foul on Gabe.

The Head Referee ruled that there was no interference. Salazar appealed the ruling to the Jury of Appeal and, in what has been reported to be a 3-0 decision, Salazar’s appeal was denied. No interference. Next, according to all reports I’ve heard, Salazar appealed a second time. Some reports suggest he even appealed a third time. Finally, Gabe was disqualified, Shannon Rowbury was elevated to champion and Hasay given a spot on the team for the World Championships.

What’s the problem here? Well, according to the USATF Competition Rules (see Rules 119 a and 119 c) the ruling of the Referee should be upheld unless it is shown to be clearly erroneous. Also, the decision of the Jury of Appeal is final. There is no further right of appeal. The Jury may reconsider only if new conclusive evidence is presented.

So, according to all reports I’ve seen, Salazar was allowed at least one more appeal than rules state is allowed. Further, USATF claims the Jury of Appeal was presented new video evidence of the incident in question but the video production company says they gave USATF no new video and USATF has yet to offer any evidence that this new video evidence exists.

The good news is today, two days after all this happened, Hasay dropped the protest that was made on her behalf by Salazar. Gabe gets the championship and spot on the team for the World Championships she deserves. However, this does not abdicate USATF of its responsibility in all of this.

The USATF press release makes it clear they are not admitting any wrongdoing in all of this. If Hasay did not drop the protest, I get no sense that Gabe would have been reinstated. In fact, in this press release itself, USATF is getting caught in a lie. They claim they followed the process laid out in the competition rules but all indications are that they did not.

USATF can not be let off this easily. They have to be held accountable for what happened. We need to keep the pressure on them until they prove real, substantial changes have been made.

I know it doesn’t seem like much but please consider starting by signing this petition. It is asking to show this "new conclusive evidence" that USATF claims was used to overturn the appeal. This would be a first step in holding USATF accountable. Secondly, let’s keep our eyes open for ways to hold Max Siegel to his word when he states "We are all looking forward and will address our processes to try to minimize the potential for controversy or misunderstanding in the future." Suggestion for Siegel: a good place to start would be a transparent process.

Don’t let this go away quietly. Let’s use this ugly affair to spur on some real change.

Los Angeles to host 2016 Olympic Team Trials For Men’s and Women’s Marathon

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

USATF press release below. I’ll add comments later today on this.

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LOS ANGELES -The City of Los Angeles will host the Women’s and Men’s 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, USA Track & Field, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and LA MARATHON LLC announced Wednesday.

The 2016 Olympic Trials will be held Feb. 13, 2016. With separate starts, the men’s and women’s races both will be carried in their entirety on NBC.

"We are thrilled with what Los Angeles will provide to our athletes, the Olympic movement and the sport of long distance running by hosting this event," USATF CEO Max Siegel said. "With television coverage on NBC and incredible public and private support for the race in one of the world’s biggest media markets, everything is in place to continue to elevate the Olympic Trials and give our athletes a platform on which they can truly shine."

"I’m happy and honored USA Track & Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee have chosen Los Angeles as host city for the 2016 Olympic marathon trials," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "With its iconic landmarks and decades of experience hosting world class sporting events, Los Angeles is the ideal location for America’s elite marathoners to prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil."

"The U.S. Olympic Committee is pleased to be returning to Los Angeles with this amazing event," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said. "As the host of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, Los Angeles has a tremendous Olympic legacy and L.A.’s status as a global center of sport and culture make it an exceptional host for the Olympic Trials."

Making history

In winning the bid, LA MARATHON LLC proposed a February race date that accommodates an NBC broadcast and ensures athletes optimal time to recover should they choose to run in the 2016 Olympic Trials for Track & Field in June. The LA Marathon will follow a day later, on Feb. 14, 2016, providing a weekend festival that celebrates road racing on all levels.

"Securing the privilege of hosting the Olympic Trials Marathon could not have been accomplished without the tireless partnership and commitment from business and civic leaders across Los Angeles, including the LA Sports Council," said Tracey Russell, CEO of LA MARATHON LLC. "It truly seems appropriate that today, some 30 years after Joan Benoit Samuelson’s 1984 triumph in the first Olympic women’s marathon here in this city, we’re announcing once again that America’s Olympic marathoners will create history and find glory on the streets of Los Angeles. By securing the Olympic Trials, Los Angeles is now set to deliver this city’s biggest running weekend since that iconic victory, providing our LA Marathon participants and fans with a rare opportunity to be part of an Olympic Trials celebration."

"Congratulations to Mayor Garcetti, to our team at LA MARATHON LLC, and to all of our partners involved in the 2016 Olympic Trials bid," said Frank McCourt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McCourt Global, who in 2008 acquired the operating rights to the LA Marathon. "Today’s announcement clearly illustrates the positive impact that smart people and effective public-private partnerships can deliver for the community and for the sports we’re passionate about. We hope that today marks the start of a very long and productive relationship between LA MARATHON LLC and USA Track & Field."

National tour

Hosting the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon in Los Angeles continues a national tour for the event: In 2004, the women’s Olympic Trials were in St. Louis and men’s in Birmingham, Ala.; the 2008 Olympic Trials were held in Boston (women) and New York (men); and 2012 saw both races together for the first time in Houston. USATF entertained bids for the 2016 Olympic Trials from three cities: Cincinnati, Houston and Los Angeles.

"Houston did a phenomenal job hosting the first combined men’s and women’s marathon Olympic Trials in 2012," Siegel said. "In Los Angeles, we will continue to grow that model and help elevate the excitement for the Olympic Trials throughout the country."

Start times and specifics on the criterium courses for both the men’s and women’s races will be determined in coming months.

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USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org.

LA MARATHON LLC is a leading U.S. running organization dedicated to inspiring the athlete in every runner and connecting communities through health and fitness. The LA Marathon is among the largest marathons in the country with more than 25,000 participants, thousands of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of spectators. The "Stadium to the Sea" course, starting at Dodger Stadium and finishing near the Santa Monica Pier, is one of the most scenic in the world, taking runners on a tour of Los Angeles past every major landmark. The race has been named Best Big City Race by Runner’s World.

2014 Tokyo Marathon elite fields announced

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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The final spring World Marathon Major to announce its field is the Tokyo Marathon. Essentially, any elite who isn’t running in London or Boston will be going to Tokyo. Not a stellar field compared to London or Boston but a reminder of how many sub-2:06 guys and sub-2:23 ladies are out there.

Men

Tadese Tola           2:04:49

Abel Kirui 2:05:04
Sammy Kitwara 2:05:16
Peter Some 2:05:38
Deressa Chimsa 2:05:42
Dickson Chumba 2:05:46
Geoffrey Kipsang 2:06:12
Michael Kipyego 2:06:48
Viktor Rothlin 2:07:23
Yared Asmerom 2:07:27
Abderrahim Bouramdane 2:07:33
Arata Fujiwara 2:07:48
Kentaro Nakamoto 2:08:35
Cyrus Njui 2:09:10
Suehiro Ishikawa 2:09:10

Women

Lucy Kabuu Wangui    2:19:34

Yoko Shibui 2:19:41
Tirfi Tsegaye 2:21:19
Atsede Baysa 2:22:03
Birhane Dibaba 2:23:01
Merima Mohamed Hasen 2:23:06
Caroline Rotich 2:23:22
Olena Shurkhno 2:23:32
Albina Mayorova 2:23:52
Mai Ito 2:25:26
Azusa Nojiri 2:24:57
Janet Rono 2:28:36

2014 Boston Marathon elite fields announced

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Just when you think London pulled in all the top runners, you see the Boston field. Not as star studded as London but hardly a field of pushovers.

Men

Moses Mosop	2:03:06 (Boston, 2011)	KEN

Dennis Kimetto 2:03:45 (Chicago 2013) CR KEN
Lelisa Desisa 2:04:45 (Dubai, 2013) ETH
Gebregziabher "Gebre" Gebremariam 2:04:53 (Boston, 2011) ETH
Markos Geneti 2:04:54 (Dubai, 2012) ETH
Wilson Chebet 2:05:27 (Rotterdam, 2011) KEN
Tilahun Regassa 2:05:27 (Chicago, 2012) ETH
Shami Dawud 2:05:42 (Dubai, 2012) ETH
Eric Ndiema 2:06:07 (Amsterdam, 2011) KEN
Frankline Chepkwony 2:06:11 (Eindhoven, 2012) KEN
Micah Kogo 2:06:56 (Chicago, 2013) KEN
Adil Annani 2:07:43 (London, 2012) MAR
Paul Lonyangata 2:07:44 (Xiamen, 2013) KEN
Dathan Ritzenhein 2:07:47 (Chicago, 2012) USA
Joel Kimurer 2:07:48 (Gongju, 2013) KEN
Lusapho April 2:08:32 (Hannover, 2013) CR RSA
Mebrahtom Keflezighi 2:09:08 (Houston, 2012) USA
Brett Gotcher 2:10:36 (Houston, 2010) USA
Jeffrey Hunt 2:11:00 (Beppu, 2010) AUS
Jason Hartmann 2:11:06 (Chicago 2010) USA
Nicholas Arciniaga 2:11:30 (Houston, 2011) USA
Vitaliy Shafar 2:11:52 (Frankfurt, 2013) UKR
Jeffrey Eggleston 2:12:03 (Chicago, 2012) USA

Kimetto was very close to the world record on a course that, in recent years, hasn’t been considered a world record caliber course (though it was the site of world records and near misses just a decade or so ago). Mosop’s time comes from that very aided Boston of 3 years ago but a 2:03:06 is solid regardless of conditions. Desisa, Gebremariam, Geneti and the rest add some solid depth to the field.

Women

Mare Dibaba	2:19:52 (Dubai, 2012)	ETH

Rita Jeptoo 2:19:52 (Dubai, 2012) KEN
Jemima Jelagat Sumgong 2:19:57 (Chicago, 2013) KEN
Meseret Hailu Debele 2:20:48 (Chicago, 2013) ETH
Eunice Kirwa 2:21:09 (Amsterdam, 2012) CR KEN
Sharon Cherop 2:22:28 (Berlin, 2013) KEN
Caroline Kilel 2:22:34 (Frankfurt, 2013) KEN
Desiree Davila Linden 2:22:38 (Boston, 2011) USA
Flomena Chepchichir Chumba 2:23:00 (Frankfurt, 2013) KEN
Buzunesh Deba 2:23:19 (New York, 2011) ETH
Tatiana Petrova Arkhipova 2:23:29 (London, 2012) RUS
Aleksandra Duliba 2:23:44 (Chicago, 2013) NR BLR
Yeshi Esayias 2:24:06 (Frankfurt, 2013) ETH
Philes Ongori 2:24:20 (Rotterdam, 2011) KEN
Belaynesh Oljira 2:25:01 (Dubai, 2013) ETH
Shalane Flanagan 2:25:38 (Houston, 2012) USA
Yolanda Caballero 2:26:17 (Boston, 2011) COL
Amy Hastings 2:27:03 (Los Angeles, 2011) USA
Lanni Marchant 2:28:00 (Toronto, 2013) CAN
Serena Burla 2:28:01 (Amsterdam, 2013) USA
Noriko Higuchi 2:28:49 (Tokyo, 2011) JPN
Adriana Nelson 2:28:52 (London, 2008) USA
Adriana Aparecida da Silva 2:29:17 (Tokyo, 2012) BRA

Three runners who have gone under 2:20, 9 at 2:23:00 or faster. Another solid field with good depth.

2014 London Marathon elite women’s field announced

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Another stellar field:

Priscah Jeptoo (KEN) 2:20:14 2013 London Marathon champion

Tiki Gelana (ETH) 2:18:58 2012 Olympic marathon champion

Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 2:19:44 2013 Berlin Marathon champion

Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 2:19:50 2011 & 2013 World marathon champion

Aberu Kebede (ETH) 2:20:30 2013 Tokyo Marathon champion

Feysa Tadesse (ETH) 2:21:06 2013 Paris Marathon champion

Tetyana Hamera-Shmyrko (UKR) 2:23:58 2013 Osaka Marathon champion

Jessica Augusto (POR) 2:24:33

Kim Smith (NZL) 2:25:21

Ana Dulce Felix (POR) 2:25:40

Nadia Ejjafini (ITA) 2:26:15

Diane Nukuri-Johnson (BDI) 2:29:54

Amy Whitehead (GBR) 2:33:44

Emma Stepto (GBR) 2:35:05

Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) Debut

Gemma Steel (GBR) Debut

Lyudmila Konavalenko (UKR) Debut

Just like the men’s field, full of big names. Jeptoo, Gelana, both Kiplagats. Plus another highly anticipated debut with Tiru Dibaba. This will be a very fascinating race, just as the men’s race will be.

Meg’s Miles

This article was originally posted by Lighty at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

I would like to share these stories if you have not yet heard about them. Meg Cross Menzies was runner with the Richmond Road Runners Club. She ran a 3:05 marathon and was training for the Boston Marathon. On Monday morning, January 13th, at 8:15am while on a training run she was hit by a drunk driver and killed. She leaves behind her husband and three young children. A friend of hers started Meg’s Miles https://www.facebook.com/events/489458451159627/ to run in her honor and raise awareness of drunk driving, texting and driving, and overall safety of runners and cyclists everywhere. As of right now there are over 72,000 people running all over the world for Meg.

This story really struck a chord with me because I have three children and more than once I’ve had to jump to safety to avoid being hit by a distracted driver. I never gave those things much thought except to be grateful to have escaped intact and irritated at the driver. I suppose I take for granted I’ll come home after my run to take care of my family, my children. Meg never came home after her run. Her kids will never get another hug or good night kiss from their mom. There’s no explanation they can understand why their mommy couldn’t come home anymore. That just breaks my heart. The worst feeling in the world is not being able to take care of and comfort your children. I know Meg does not feel that pain anymore, but we all feel it for her. I think that’s why this story is getting so much attention.

Mark Remy wrote this article in Runner’s World under The List.

http://www.runnersworld.com/fun/the-list-friday-january-17?page=single

He says, "It’s a sad fact that pedestrians, including runners, are hit by cars way too often. Many of them fatally. So why is this case getting so much attention? Why is it affecting so many people, including me, so deeply?

I’ve been thinking about that all week, and I’m no closer to an answer than I was Monday morning. Maybe it’s because Meg was doing everything right, and still got killed. Maybe it’s because she’s left a husband and three beautiful young children behind. Or maybe not everything we want to know is "knowable." Maybe life really is just that capricious."

Sadly, Meg is not the only runner killed on the road this week. Someone posted this article on the Meg’s Miles facebook page.

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/cops-jogger-james-callaghan-hit-by-two-vehicles-killed-in-laurel-1.6811493

I’m sure Jim Callaghan also a family and friends who are trying to cope with his loss.

Please be careful, watch out for cars and please tell these runners’ stories. Maybe hearing these stories will stop someone from getting in a car drunk or texting and driving. And if you haven’t signed up yet, please do and dedicate your run tomorrow to Meg and Jim and anyone else who has lost their life to a drunk or texting driver.

2014 London Marathon elite men’s field announced

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Here’s the field. Comments below.

Wilson Kipsang (KEN), 2:03:23, World-record holder

Emmanuel Mutai (KEN), 2:03:52, London Marathon record holder

Geoffrey Mutai (KEN), 2:04:15, 2013 New York City Marathon champion

Ayele Abshero (ETH), 2:04:23, 2012 Dubai Marathon champion

Feyisa Lilesa (ETH), 2:04:32, 2011 world bronze medallist

Tsegaye Kebede (ETH), 2:04:38, 2013 London Marathon champion

Stanley Biwott (KEN), 2:05:12, 2012 Paris Marathon champion

Marilson dos Santos (BRA), 2:06:34, Two-times New York City Marathon champion

Martin Mathathi (KEN), 2:07:16, 2013 Fukuoka Marathon champion

Stephen Kiprotich (UGA), 2:07:20, World and Olympic marathon champion

Samuel Tsegay (ERI), 2:07:28

Mustapha El Aziz (MAR), 2:07:55

Amanuel Mesel (ERI), 2:08:17

Scott Overall (GBR), 2:10:55

Ryan Vail (USA), 2:11:45

Mo Farah (GBR), Debut, World & Olympic 5000m & 10,000m champion

Ibrahim Jeilan (ETH), Debut, 2011 World 10,000m champion

Chris Thompson (GBR), Debut

Ben Livesey (GBR), Debut

Wow. That’s about all I can say. This is a loaded field. With the usual stipulations that this race is still 3 months out and the field will change before that time, right now, this looks like an amazing field. You have the world record holder, several major marathon champions, two Olympic champions, course record holders galore. Then, of course, you have the hometown hero. Assuming this field keeps its general form, this could be a great race.

Of course, this also makes me feel even more strongly that Kenenisa Bekele was wise to not run London as his debut. Look at this field and tell me where you think he’d finish. Again, assuming this field remains intact and remembering that this would be his debut marathon, I have trouble seeing a route to the top 5 for him in this kind of race. I would have pegged him around 7th or 8th in this field at best.

Bekele to run his marathon debut in Paris, not London

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Debut marathon coming this spring in Paris

For those of you who don’t follow the HillRunner.com Twitter feed and may not have heard elsewhere, Kenenisa Bekele will run his debut marathon this spring in Paris. Previously, there was talk of him debuting in London, where Mo Farah will be debuting this spring.

Some people are questioning this choice. Why would such an accomplished runner, one of the best long distance runners on the track of all time and the current world record holder in the 5000 and 10,000, choose to debut at anything but one of the biggest marathons in the world? Why would he choose a second-tier (or third-tier?) marathon instead?

Personally, I think this is a good choice for him. Given his history, what would it take for his debut to not be considered a disappointment? The London field is always loaded and high profile debut marathoners rarely live up to the hype in their first efforts. In addition, with Mo Farah already essentially in for London, Bekele wouldn’t even be the highest profile debut marathoner as the hometown hero reigning Olympic champion would steal his thunder. By choosing Paris, he goes into a race with a much more manageable field as, by far, the highest profile debutante in the race. He can garner the full attention for his debut, get his feet wet without facing off against one of the best fields in the world and learn what it’s like to race the distance. Then, when he feels he’s ready to face off against the best in the world with some marathon experience behind him, he can go to London, Berlin, New York or whatever his choice might be.

What are your thoughts? Is this a good decision for him or should he jump in the deep end right away?

Big news morning in the US

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Going pro

Two big news headlines coming out of the US this morning.

First, in news that should surprise approximately nobody, Mary Cain is going pro after graduating high school. If you couldn’t see this coming, you weren’t paying attention. She wasn’t running for her high school. She was already on a pro schedule. She was already being coached by Alberto Salazar. Why would she go from that to running for a collegiate team? Instead, she will be joining AlSal’s group in Oregon upon finishing high school.

Is she ready to go pro? On basically a pro schedule this year, she did quite well for herself. It will be interesting to see how this turns out for her.

Second, Portland, Oregon will host the World Indoor Track & Field Championships in 2016. While the chances are probably slim, this makes me want to plan a road trip to Oregon. For the record, the last senior world championship (not counting the Olympics, which is a de facto world championship event) held in the United States was 1992 World Cross in Boston.

What are your thoughts? Is Mary Cain ready to go pro? Is it a good move by her or a mistake? Are you excited to see World Indoors come to the United States? Are you thinking about going?