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American Women Own the Middle Distances for 2014

August 28th, 2014
Jenny Wilson New Balance Running

Jenny Simpson capped off her historic year today by winning the Diamond League title.

Today’s 1500-meter race at the Zurich Diamond League has tipped the scale for American middle distance women. The ladies in Red White and Blue can justly claim to be the best in the world in the 800-1500 for 2014.

Run Fast Get this sweet trophy

The Diamond League trophy is almost as sweet as the $40,000.

In Switzerland Jenny Simpson dove to the line to earn the win in the Diamond league final by a mere hundredth of a second over countrywoman Shannon Rowbury. This feat earned Jenny the overall Diamond League trophy, the accompanying $40,000, and an automatic entry into next year’s World Championships (meaning Team USA will have 4 women at next years World Championships). The race also adds to an amazing season for Shannon who bettered her personal bests at 1500m and 5000m and broke the American Record in the 2-mile.

Jenny and Shannon are running so well that it is easy to overlook women like Brenda Martinez who notched a solid 4:01.36 season best today. Brenda started the season well by anchoring USA teams to American records and gold and silver medals in the 4 X 800 and 4 X 1500 at the IAAF World Relays but has mostly flown under the radar since.

Equally impressive to the Americans’ success in the women’s 1500m is their American peer’s success in the 800m. Beginning with the indoor season where Chanelle Price won the World Indoor Championships in that event, American women have repeatedly held their own in the two-lap event this year.

800m women run fast

Chanelle Price was the best in the world indoor and Ajee Wilson has shined outdoor.

Chanelle backed her indoor championship up with her second place finish in the Doha Diamond League event and her first ever sub 2-minute performance. Brenda Martinez was the next athlete to perform internationally with her own sub 2 minute 800 to win the Hangelo World Challenge meet in the Netherlands. Laura Roesler finished her dominant final collegiate year with a win at the NCAA championships and a second place at the USA Track and Field Championships. Beating Laura at those championships was the phenomenal 20-year-old Ajee Wilson.

Hindsight shows that Ajee Wilson’s win at the USA championships was only a tune-up for her race at the Monaco Diamond league a few weeks later. In Monaco, Ajee ran a world leading time of 1:57.67 to end Eunice Sum’s 14 win unbeaten streak.

So far there are 6 American women under 2 minutes for the 800 this year, 2 more than the next best country Russia, and there are several other Americans that have run 2:00 or 2:01. With the Diamond League final for the women’s 800m being held next week it will be interesting to see if any American women can mimic the success of Jenny Simpson with a win there. Either way, American success at next week’s 800m in Brussels would only add to the middle distance success that USA has seen this year, but after today, American’s have already done enough to claim dominance for the year.

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Week in Running: News from May 24-31

May 30th, 2014

Week in Review: May 24-31

IAAF World Relays Debuts in the Bahamas

The story of the week undoubtedly came from the Bahamas where the IAAF World Relays were held for the first time and were hailed as a resounding success. The athletes apparently enjoyed the trip to the tropical island to run track in front of rabid fans. Yohan Blake was announced as the “Most Valuable Teammate” for anchoring Jamaica to 4 X 100 and 4 X 200 meter victories, but New Balance athlete Brenda Martinez deserves a hearty mention for her anchor legs on American Record 4 X 800 and 4 X 1500 meter teams that secured gold and silver medals, respectively. Overall, Team USA returned with medals in 8 out of 10 events (damn dropped batons).

Christian Taylor isn't just a Triple Jumper. (IAAF)

Oiselle Owner clashes with USATF

Oiselle stirred up some controversy by sharing a photo of the American Record 4 X 1500 ladies with the Nike Swoosh logos on the uniform replaced by the logos of their respective sponsors. While USATF often chooses to operate as though closing their own eyes makes them invisible to the world, protecting their biggest sponsor’s interests is not something they should be expected to take lightly. Nike funds the lion’s share of USATF’s operations (including athletes’ trips to the Bahamas for the World Relays) and the logo on the national team uniform is undoubtedly USATF’s most valuable asset to be sold. While Oiselle continues to make noise in the running industry by making great product, (certainly a favorite among women in the Running Warehouse hallways) and Sally Bergesen is by all accounts an admirable woman, they should know that intellectual property is not something to be trifled with.

Jon Sutherland Can't be Stopped! (Runner's World)

California Man Runs Every Day for a Really Long Time

Of course the rest of the World didn’t stop running while athletes competed in the Bahamas. In fact, for 45 years and 2 days (on Tuesday) nothing has stopped Jon Sutherland from his daily run as he now holds the record for most consecutive days run. Inspired by friend and former record holder Mark Covert, Sutherland has run at least one mile a day during a streak that started as a teenager. Through surgery and hurricanes he as averaged an incredible 11 miles per day logging over 190,000 miles total. Not all of those miles were at a leisure pace either; Sutherland boasts an impressive 28:51 10k personal record. Sutherland shows no signs of slowing down either, on Tuesday he ran twice, once for the local TV cameras and once for himself. (more from ESPN last year, here)

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