Week in Review: July 27-August 2

August 2nd, 2014

Molly Huddle Running to the win

Molly Huddle Continued Her Winning Ways with the USA 7 Mile Title. (Image: Quad City Times)

USA 7 Mile Championships takes over Davenport, Iowa

The Quad City Times Bix 7 is one of many gems on the USA road-racing calendar each year. The race, named for jazz musician and Davenport, Iowa local, Bix Beiderbecke, is the largest non-marathon race in the Midwest each year. It has a list of past champions that reads like a road running hall of fame, with names like Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samulson, and Khalid Khannouchi. The race typically fields a star-studded international cast but in some years it plays host to USA championship races, which have seen winners like Meb Kelfezighi and Ryan Hall. This year was an American only year, as it again hosted the USA 7 mile championships. Each champion brings home a shiny new trumpet as his or her trophy in honor of the race’s namesake.

Coming into the race, the two athletes that dominated the headlines were this year’s Boston winner and former Bix champion Meb, and Molly Huddle. Huddle, another former Bix champion, is fresh off her American record 5000m in Monaco. Molly certainly lived up to the pre-race hype as she took the lead from the gun and never looked back, winning by over a minute. Meb was not quite as triumphant as some hamstring troubles took him out of the race at mile 5 after leading the early miles. Sean Quigley won the race in a kick after numerous runners shared time in the lead.

Commonwealth Games shows off some former NCAA stars

As we mentioned in our Commonwealth games preview blog: Glasgow, Scotland played host to most of the English-speaking world’s best athletes outside of Americans. While Americans don’t participate in the Commonwealth games, there was a good representation of former NCAA athletes that have adopted America as their training home at some point in their lives.

UTEP’s Blessing Okagbare set the Commonwealth Games record in the 100m and won the 200m while representing her home country of Nigeria. University of Oregon alumni Brianne Theison Eaton, wife of decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton, won a gold medal in the heptathlon for her home country of Canada.  Southern Utah’s Cam Levins got himself a bronze medal in the 10,000m for Canada, While Stephen Chemlany of Iona and Kenya won silver in the Marathon. Shane Brathwaite of Barbados and Texas Tech won bronze in the 110 hurdles, and others surely represented American universities as well as their home country in virtually every event in the competition.

The success of these athletes truly speaks to the NCAA’s ability to develop star track and field athletes. Considering that the vast majority of athletes in the NCAA are American yet the Commonwealth games doesn’t feature them, makes the success of the American system admirable worldwide.

Ethiopian Athletes leave IAAF World Junior Championships Facility, Seeking USA Asylum

Many of the world’s greatest track athletes unfortunately come from some unstable regions in the world. Ethiopia in particular has seen more than its fair share of turmoil in recent memory. With political tensions coming from Egypt over large damming projects on headwaters of the Nile River, the ever-anxious border with Eritrea, formerly part of Ethiopia, as well as porous borders with similarly volatile countries: Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia. Ethiopia is right at the cross-roads of many unsavory situations.

With that in mind, one could hardly blame four young Ethiopian athletes from seeking a better life in their escape from the IAAF World Junior Championships that concluded last weekend in Eugene, Oregon. Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, Dureti Edao, Meaza Kebede, and Zeytituna Mohammed left the athletes village on the University of Oregon campus in a sedan headed for Portland last Friday. They have been found by police and are confirmed to be safe and unharmed. Political asylum is a long hard process and these young athletes have a tough road ahead of them whether it is in Oregon or in Ethiopia.

This is not the first time that runners have used their talents to escape their countries’ unrest. Following the 2008 World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh Scotland, a group of Eritrean runners never boarded their flight home and have lived in Scotland ever since. Their escape of landmines and civil war has resulted in minimum wage jobs and a cold apartment in Glasgow. This story particularly hits home here because Tewoldeberhan Mengisteab, the oldest of the athletes finished 52nd in those championships… I finished 51st in the same race and we recorded exactly the same time. We are the same age, have a similar skill set, but hardly share similar paths in life. Stories like this certainly add a bit of perspective to the lives we live.

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Runner vs Nature: Poison Oak and Ivy

August 1st, 2014

You have been warned! (Photo: My Own 100 Hikes blog)

Running Warehouse’s home is a truly beautiful place to be a runner. San Luis Obispo County is full of open space covered in countless miles of trails. Within the immediate area one can run on the beach or up to 3000 feet of elevation within a 15 minute of drive from this office. We are truly blessed, but every blessing comes with a curse, and our curse is poison oak. The scarlet letter of our trail running faithful shows itself every spring and reappears far too frequently throughout the summer.

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Eugene Hosts World Junior Track and Field Championships

July 30th, 2014
Run, Jump, Throw

Morgan Lake became very familiar with Hayward field as she won the Heptathlon and High Jump. (image: British Athletics)

In most years, the track world would be centrally focused on a world championships or Olympics right now. However, with world championships held on odd years and Olympics in their own quadrennial cycle, there is a gap every four years from these popular events. This allows several smaller championships to shine through during this period and different story lines appear to fill the gap.

The World Junior Track and Field Championships took place this past weekend in Eugene, Oregon and many of the world’s best young track athletes made history. It was the first world championship held in the United States since the World Cross Country Championships occurred in Boston in 1992. With the full spectrum of events held over 6 days of competition, there are far too many stories to cover in just one article. But with many young stars turning out performances that rival their much older peers on the open circuit, the meet certainly deserves mention.

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Common Wealth Games take over Glasgow

July 24th, 2014
Commonwealth games now running

The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth games began with a bang yesterday (Image: Getty)

While the sun may have set a while ago on the British Empire, much of the pomp and circumstances of the time endures to date. The Commonwealth Games, especially for sports fans, are the epitome of those traditions. Glasgow, Scotland plays host to this year’s edition of the quadrennial sports festival that mirrors the Olympics, albeit in a smaller scale for most of the English-speaking world outside of the United States.

Many of the world’s greatest track athletes are invited, making the event a significant fixture on the track calendar. With countries like Jamaica, Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, and India being represented, the competition is sure to be intense. Of course, the United Kingdom will also bring their best athletes to Glasgow as well. However, in this competition they represent their home nations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales instead of wearing the Union Jack.

While the withdrawal of Mo Farah is a big blow to the event, there is still enough great talent in the mix to create legacies and introduce new heroes. The most prominent name on the marquee is surely Usain Bolt, but he is only committed to Jamaica’s 4 X 100m relay team. Other prominent stories include Kenyan David Rudisha, world record holder in the 800, continuing his comeback from injury. New Zealand’s Valerie Adams is continuing her unprecedented winning streak in the shot put, and Englishman Greg Rutherford is hoping to add a matching Commonwealth medal to his Olympic gold in the long jump.

Rudisha Running World Record

David Rudisha has high hopes this year after recovering from a knee injury (photo: AP)

The Opening Ceremonies occurred yesterday and featured Rod Stewart belting out his hits and Scottish terriers leading each country in the parade. Also, during the opening ceremonies, £3.1 was raised for the charity Unicef to help children world wide with some of the participating countries being some of the neediest. While athletes don’t take to the track until Sunday, competition has started in earnest today with swimming, track cycling, gymnastics and many other sports already handing out medals. England’s Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny did do some running today to win gold and silver (respectively) in the triathlon while Jodie Stimpson won for England on the women’s side.

The Commonwealth of Nations is, at best, a rough alliance of countries that share some language, culture, and an increasingly distant history under one monarchy (many times an unsavory history at that). The ability of the countries to come together and celebrate many of their greatest athletes is worthy of notice. Athletes like Bolt and Rudisha, choosing to travel to Glasgow and represent their countries instead of saving their legs for more lucrative meets in the months to come, is a testament to the games and their prestigious history.

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The Badwater Run carries on without the Badwater

July 23rd, 2014
Badwater Run Champion

Harvey Lewis, victor of the race and the terrain. (Photo: Chris Kostman, Instagram)

The Badwater Ultra Marathon, dubbed “the most difficult run in the world”, was won by Harvey Lewis in a time of 23:52:55. Lewis, a teacher at the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts, covered the 135 miles of California high desert over 50 minutes quicker than his nearest competitor, Grant Maughan of Australia. Alyson Venti, an Oceanography Ph.D. student from University of Miami won the women’s race in 28:37:28.

The course, famous for traveling from the lowest point in North America, Badwater, to the trailhead of the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, changed drastically this year due to permitting issues within Death Valley National Park. Over 30 years of safe  and successful events were held in the park by Badwater’s parent company AdventureCORPS. They also host an equally crazy 508 mile bike race from the California coast into Death Valley. The Park suspended all event permits to conduct a safety audit, forcing the Badwater run to start somewhere other than Badwater or be cancelled.

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Dolomites Skyrunning, Rare Alpine Beauty

July 22nd, 2014

In the span of three weeks, Killian Jornet has repeatedly broken through reality taking on the world’s best athletes on the most spectacular courses seemingly every weekend.

Kilian Jornet is part billy goat

This weekend, a week after winning the Hardrock 100 mile race, he won the Dolomites Skyrace beating Rumanian Ionut Zinca.

Laura Orguè took conquered over 3000m of cumulative climbing to take the women's race.

Laura Orgue moved up in distance from her typical specialty, the vertical kilometer (an event with around 1000 meters of climbing over a variety of distances but typically shorter than 5km). So, Really steep.

The race is unbelievably beautiful

And here are more pictures because they are amazing.

Dolomite running

Running through a cave of snow

And through an alpine meadow

Some moments on the course seem more like rock climbing than running

These photos and more can be found at dolomiteskyrace.com

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Shoe Review: Saucony Ride 7

July 21st, 2014


With the seventh edition of the Ride model, Saucony continues its tradition of providing a highly cushioned neutral shoe with an elemental feel. While trends over previous years have been focused on minimalism, Saucony has instead catered to many runners still looking for additional cushioning. Across the brand, Saucony has committed to lowering weight, lowering offsets, and creating a platform that sits closer to the ground, yet still providing more cushioning than a bare to the bone minimal or barefoot engineered shoe. The Ride has become a staple trainer for the neutral runner looking for a soft underfoot feel.

Summary:

  • 8mm offset (28mm heel, 20mm forefoot)
  • 9.3 ounces in weight
  • Removal of medial shank creates a more flexible feel and reduces weight.
  • Addition of plush rubber pods provides a soft feel.
  • 20% greater ground contact due to redesigned outsole
  • Additional vertical flex grooves in forefoot make toe-off smoother

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Emma and Evan Leap over Barriers

July 21st, 2014

Trailed by long blond hair and many of the best steeplechasers in the world, Evan Jager and Emma Coburn have set the standard for Americans. With no big global championships available this year, it is the perfect time for Americans to run all-out with nothing to lose. Our barrier jumping compatriots have taken advantage of the opportunity to build on their legacy, fearless of the world’s best.

While the steeplechase may not garner equivalent attention to some other track events, its unique nature and potential for disaster makes for some loyal fans. When the best from each gender in the country’s history are reaching their peak at the same time, the event is doubly exciting.

Emma Coburn and Evan Jager dominating their discipline.

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Scott Uncategorized

Shoe Review: Nike Zoom Pegasus 31

July 18th, 2014

The Pegasus series has become a favorite of many runners over the years and the legacy continues with the recent release of the Zoom Pegasus 31. (Check out RW’s first look at the Pegasus 31 from May here.) The Pegasus is traditionally known to be a neutral daily trainer suitable for long distances, but in an effort to make the shoe better, the 31st edition gets revamped with a faster road feel.  To help fine-tune this “fast feel,” the Nike development team received technical suggestions from the 5000m and 10000m Olympic Gold Medalist Mo Farah resulting in a firmer ride built for performance.

Overview:

Nike lowered the heel drop to 10mm, 2mm lower than its predecessor, to engineer the quicker design.  The lowered drop, while not massive, can be a factor in promoting more of a mid-to-forefoot strike while running.  Another significant update is seen in the addition of a slightly elevated forefoot, resulting in a smoother and quicker transition of the foot during forward propulsion. Through research, analysis, and feedback from wear testers, who logged over 16000 miles, the new quick and responsive Zoom Pegasus 31 was born.

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Another Generation of Hardrock Adventure

July 14th, 2014
    “Long distance” is an subjective concept. Long can mean a mile to some while others use marathons as “speed training.” However, the unifying quality of distance running, regardless of the distance, is adventure that accompanies the training, racing, and post race celebrating. You pick your poison, but you are rewarded with a story once you endure.

    With that, the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run may stand-alone in the adventure classification.  Built in the footsteps of Rocky Mountain miners – the hardy exploring archetype of the western genre – this run makes no concessions to the weary. The 100 mile distance is only part of the challenge, with the average elevation atop the tree line of 11,000 feet. Not to mention that runners are exposed to extra weather-related variables without sufficient oxygen to process their plight.

    Katie DeSplinter took this amazing picture of a Hardrocker. (found at hardrock100.com)

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