Apolo Ohno completes his Ironman journey

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
Apolo OhnoAP Photo/Larry RosaApolo Ohno rejoiced as he finished his first full Ironman at the world championships in Hawaii.
As Apolo Ohno neared the finish line of the Ironman World Championship at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on Saturday, the music was loud and so was the public address announcer.

“Let’s welcome No. 144 to the finish line,” he said. “From Utah, Apolo Anton Ohno. You … are an Ironman!”

Ohno clenched his fists, pumped his arms and looked to the sky as he crossed the line before walking to the end of the finishers’ chute. There, a blanket was draped across his shoulders and a lei put around his neck.

The heat, locale and 140.6-mile race distance were a long way from the Winter Olympics, where Ohno made his name by winning eight medals -- including two golds -- in short-track speedskating.

It was yet another accomplishment for Ohno, who has also run the New York City Marathon, won “Dancing With the Stars,” hosted a TV game show and become a successful businessman.

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Carfrae, Kienle stage big Kona comebacks

October, 13, 2014
Oct 13
Mirinda Carfrae, Sebastian KienleAP PhotosMirinda Carfrae and Sebastian Kienle overcame historic deficits to win the Ironman world titles.
Recently crowned Ironman 70.3 world champion Daniela Ryf (SUI) made Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) question her ability to win another Ironman World Championship over the weekend.

The Kona rookie stomped the bike course and started the marathon 14 minutes, 30 seconds of defending champion Carfrae. Even for the run course record holder, it seemed like an insurmountable deficit. It wasn't, though.

Carfrae caught and passed Ryf to earn her third Ironman world title, putting together the fastest run in the race’s history at 2:50:26. Just how improbable was Carfrae’s comeback? Since Dave Scott brought the race into the modern era in 1986 by breaking 8 hours, 30 minute, only two other women have overcome deficits of more than 10 minutes on the run, and Carfrae has now done it twice.

Here are the top five deficits overcome since then:

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Korir busy, Kiplagat ready in Chicago

October, 11, 2014
Oct 11
KorirAP Photo/Stew MilneWesley Korir has had success plenty of other places besides the streets of Boston.
CHICAGO -- Former Boston Marathon champion (2012) Wesley Korir may have more commitments than any other elite athlete in Chicago. In addition to meeting with the media to discuss his race plans, Korir is the subject of the new running documentary “Transcend.”

“A movie star? It’s just who I am. I’m a guy that always wants to push myself to the highest limit possible,” Korir said. “Seeing how this has all come together has made me so happy.”

Director Michael Del Monte recently announced the start of the Transcend Running Academy as his next big project with runners.

“We’re excited about the film not being the end of the conversation, but the start of something,” Del Monte said. “It’s the start of getting more Kenyans to where Wesley got and giving them more opportunities.

"You have more than 50 percent of marathon champions come from a population of more than five million people. Why have we not gone there and use their running to elevate them in other areas of life."

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Bekele humble, Kipchoge wows in Chicago

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
Kenenisa Bekele, Mo FarahIan MacNicol/AFP/Getty ImagesKenenisa Bekele and Mo Farah have had different results early in their marathon careers.
CHICAGO -- Like many first timers, Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele believes he over-trained for his marathon debut earlier this year in Paris, where he set a new course record of 2:05:04. Coach Renato Canova already believes Bekele is the “ideal marathoner” and could challenge the world record in his third shot at the distance. Bekele is a little more reserved.

“To put me on top is not the time now,” said Bekele, speaking at a press conference ahead of this weekend's Bank of America Chicago Marathon. “I need to run faster times.”

Bekele’s transition from the track to the marathon has been a success. Meanwhile, double Olympic and World Champion Mo Farah struggled in his first shot at the distance.

“It could be our different body types. Farah started achieving good results at the age of 27 or 28. If you come to me, I started achieving when I was 19 or 18,” Bekele said. “He’s only run one race, so we can’t judge him

Bekele holds a 13-4 record over Farah in head-to-head match-ups. When asked if he would want to race Farah over the marathon distance, he replied with certainty.

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Record pursuits on at Berlin Marathon

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
Dennis KimettoAP Photo/Andrew A. NellesDennis Kimetto has his sights set on the world marathon record in Berlin.
Making history seems to be on everyone’s agenda for Sunday’s 2014 Berlin Marathon.

The last five world marathon records have been set on the streets of the German capital, and last year Wilson Kipsang ran 2:03:23 to set the record and become the only man to run under 2:04 more than once.

This year's men's field features big names, including one who plans to break Kipsang's record.

The favorite: Dennis Kimetto (Kenya), 2:03:45

Kimetto is looking to make it six world records for the Berlin course. The 30-year-old debuted at Berlin in 2012, appearing to ease up before the finish line to allow training partner Geoffrey Mutai to capture the victory.

Mutai will be in New York on Nov. 2, which means Kimetto can run free and set the course ablaze in a similar fashion to his near-record 2:03:45 in Chicago last year.

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Ryan Hall links up with legendary coach

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
HallAP Photo/Steven SenneRyan Hall has been self-coached recently, but is now teaming up with legendary coach Jack Daniels.
Ryan Hall, the fastest American marathoner ever, is putting his trust in coach Jack Daniels after a phase of faith-based self-coaching.

“Jack has already played an influential role in my development as a runner as well as hundreds and thousands of others and I am confident he can help me get back to my full potential as a marathon runner,” Hall wrote on his official website.

“With the Olympic Trials just a year and a half away it’s time to start making progress towards my main goal as an athlete, to return to the Olympics and be at my very best there. This is something that has eluded me the last two Olympics but I am hopeful and expectant for the next years ahead with Jack’s guidance.”

Once named “World’s Best Coach” by Runner’s World Magazine, Daniels is has also advised running greats such as Jim Ryun and Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Hall finished 20th at the 2014 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:17:50. It was his first marathon finished since a second-place showing at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Hall dropped out of the 2012 Olympic marathon at the 11-mile mark due to a hamstring injury. Before its cancellation, Hall also withdrew from the 2012 New York City Marathon due to injury, and 2013 saw him scratched from the Boston and New York City marathons.

Hall was also previously coached by Terrence Mahon while with the Mammoth Track Club. Under Mahon, Hall set the American record for fastest debut marathon by running 2:08:24 at the 2007 London Marathon.

Months after leaving Mammoth, Hall ran his third consecutive Boston Marathon and finished fourth with the fastest marathon time ever by an American in 2:04:58, although American records are not recognized on the Boston course due to the point-to-point layout and overall elevation drop. A strong tailwind also contributed to the fast times in 2011.

Most recently, Hall finished 13th at the Suja Rock N’ Roll San Diego Half-Marathon in 62:53. The 31-year-old has not announced any plans for a fall marathon.

Kipsang, other NYC elites by the numbers

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
Wilson KipsangAP Photo/Sang TanWilson Kipsang set the world marathon record last fall and makes his NYC debut in November.
As if a star-studded American field wasn't enough, the 2014 TSC New York City Marathon has added men's world record holder Wilson Kipsang to its Nov. 2 lineup.

The New York Road Runners finalized their elite athlete field with the announcement of Olympic medalists and past NYC champions from around the world.

“We’re proud to welcome Wilson, a world-renowned marathon icon; Buzunesh Deba, the ultimate running ambassador for our City; and an unparalleled field to “get their New York on” with every stride they take through the City’s five boroughs, as they lead runners from Staten Island to Central Park,” NYRR CEO Mary Wittenberg said in a press release.

Last fall, Kipsang set the world record of 2:03:23 in Berlin. Earlier this year he won the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon in a course-record time of 2:04.27. The addition of Kipsang threatens two-time defending New York Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai’s goal of winning his third consecutive New York City Marathon.

2010 NYC champion Gebre Gebremariam is also entered in the field.

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NYC American elites by the numbers

September, 8, 2014
Sep 8
Meb KeflezighiAP Photo/Charles KrupaMeb Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon in April and will take on New York in November.
The New York Road Runners announced their American elite lineup for the 2014 New York City Marathon on Nov. 2.

Olympians Kara Goucher and Desiree Linden (formerly Davila) headline the women’s field, while Boston rematches await on the men’s side.

“Kara, Desi, and Ryan (Vail) are, along with Meb (Keflezighi), some of America’s most established and adored distance runners,” NYRR CEO Mary Wittenberg said in a press release. “As they lead the way through the City’s five boroughs and diverse running communities on Marathon Day, we’re sure they’ll inspire not only the 50,000-plus runners following in their footsteps, but the next generation of great American marathoners as well.”

Goucher has been sidelined by injuries since the 2013 U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships. New York will be her first marathon since a sixth place finish at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

“Since I ran my first marathon in New York City in 2008, I have wanted to go back and run again,” Goucher said in a press release. “I am so excited after a year of injuries and changes that my return to ‘marathoning’ happens here. New York City is a very special place for me, as I was born in Queens. I have always loved the city, and I have felt a special connection since running my first marathon there.”

Linden is also on the mend after an injury forced her off the course at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. She was fifth at the 2013 Berlin Marathon and 10th at 2014 Boston Marathon.

The women’s field is rounded out by American record holder Deena Kastor, 2008 Olympian Blake Russell, 2013 USA Marathon champion Anne Bersagel and 2:28 marathoner Lauren Kleppin.

In addition to Kefezighi, the New York City Marathon has reunited several of the top American men from April’s Boston Marathon. Nick Arciniaga of Flagstaff, Ariz., was seventh in Bostonand Josphat Boit was 11th with a personal best of 2:12:52.

Nike Oregon Project runner Luke Puskedra will make his marathon debut. He previously represented the United States at the 2012 IAAF Half-Marathon Championships. Working with three-time New York City Marathon champion Alberto Salazar helps as his eyes may be set on the marathon for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

New York by the numbers:

3 - Kara Goucher made her marathon debut with a third place finish at the 2008 New York City Marathon. Her time of 2:25:53 is the fastest time by an American woman on the course.

2:20 - Minutes and seconds that separate Meb Kefezighi and Vail, the top American at the 2013 New York City Marathon. Vail set a personal best of 2:10:57 at the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon.

7 - There are seven American women entered in the race with personal bests of 2:30 or lower. This is a first for the New York City Marathon.

8 - Nick Arciniaga’s sixth-best marathon performance was an eighth place finish at the 2009 New York City Marathon. In 2013, he ran 2:13:11 for the win at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, where he out-kicked Josphat Boit for the U.S. National Title.

10 - Desi Linden (formerly Davila) rose to prominence with her second place finish at the 2011 Boston Marathon. She made the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, but did not finish the marathon in London due to a stress fracture in her femur. This is her New York City debut after a 10th place finish in April’s Boston Marathon.

41 - American record holder Deena Kastor is still competitive at the age of 41. She won half-marathons in March and April.

Impressive elite field for Chicago Marathon

September, 4, 2014
Sep 4
Kenenisa BekeleAP Photo/Michel EulerKenenisa Bekele broke the course record in Paris this year and wants to do the same in Chicago.
Course records and the history books may be in danger on Oct. 12 in Chicago.

Race organizers for the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon have announced their full elite field, featuring five men who have run under 2:06 and three women who have run under 2:23.

The field is headlined by Kenenisa Bekele, world record holder at 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters on the track. Reminiscent of his days at IAAF World Championship meets, Bekele will face off against Eliud Kipchoge, against whom Bekele holds the upper hand with nine wins over the Kenyan.

Another challenger to watch will be Sammy Kitawara, who finished fourth in his marathon debut in Chicago in 2012. Kitawara's experience could benefit him given that 2014 marks the third time he will run the flat 26.2-mile course through the Windy City.

"I am coming back to Chicago for the third time. Chicago is a nice city and it has a good sports atmosphere. I will try to run the race of my life this year, and if God gives me the strength, my target is to run 2:04:28,” Kitawara said in a press release.

Bernard Koech of Kenya has the second-fastest personal best of the field with his 2:04:53 from the 2013 Dubai Marathon. A fast background may be beneficial for Koech, because Bekele has already stated he wants to challenge the course record and world record on race day.

The American field is a bit deeper compared to last year’s race, which included Olympians Dathan Ritzenhein and Matt Tegenkamp. Craig Leon (2:13:52 personal best) finished 12th at this year’s Boston Marathon and will head this year’s American contingent along with Bobby Curtis (2:13:24) and Mike Morgan (2:14:22).

Matt Llano of Team Run Flagstaff has a lofty goal of breaking Ryan Hall’s American marathon debut record of 2:08:24.

On the women’s side Rita Jeptoo looks to defend her crown against Florence Kiplagat. Jeptoo and Kiplagat are the only women in the field who have cracked the 2:20 barrier. Jemima Sumgong, Jeptoo’s training partner, looks to be the next challenger with her personal best of 2:20:48.

Jeptoo could cement herself as one of the best marathoners in history with a third sub-2:20 performance. Only Paula Radcliffe and Catherine N’Dereba have accomplished that feat.

Amy Hastings leads the American side with her 2:27:03 personal best. The 30-year-old skipped running a spring marathon after fighting pain to a 20th place finish at the 2013 ING New York City Marathon.

A rising star to watch will be Becky Wade of Houston, Texas, who made her marathon debut in grand fashion by winning the 2013 California International Marathon and recently inked a professional contract with Asics. Former Olympian Lia Uhl will be making her own debut after being a spectator for the 2013 edition of the race.

Rock 'n' Roll Philly boasts stacked field

September, 3, 2014
Sep 3
Dathan RitzenheinAP Photo/Charlie RiedelDathan Ritzenhein has run for the U.S. on the world stage and will take on the world's best in Philly.
Race organizers for the 2014 Rock N’ Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon have assembled one of the deepest fields of the fall, including several marathon champions and Olympians.

“Philadelphia is one of the most famous half-marathons in the U.S. and we have a world-class field to match a world-class event,” Elite athlete coordinator Matthew Turnbull said.

Dathan Ritzenhein headlines the American field. The three-time Olympian makes a return to the roads after an injury forced him to withdraw from April’s Boston Marathon. Ritzenhein did not race on the track this summer, and in Philadelphia he will be challenged by 2014 Boston Marathon surprise Jeffrey Eggleston.

Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai will also use this race as a tuneup with his sights are set on a three-peat in the New York City Marathon in November.

Kara Goucher, also returning from injury, leads the field of American women. This will be her first long-distance race since leaving her Nike training group and inking a deal with Oiselle and Sketchers. Goucher's toughest challenger will Deena Kastor, the fastest American woman ever over 13.1 miles, who is looking to extend her road-racing career.

Here’s a look at the field by the numbers:

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Grand CanyonCourtesy of Doug WilliamsProtecting scenic Grand Canyon trails has become a priority as runners continue to flock to the park.
In recent years, the popularity of running and hiking from rim to rim at the Grand Canyon has grown significantly. Running rim-to-rim -– and even rim-to-rim-to-rim -– has become a destination feat for ultra runners from across the U.S. and the world.

On some peak weekend days in the spring and fall, the National Park Service estimates as many as 800 hikers and runners are traveling the inner canyon.

Because issues and user conflicts have grown along with the increase in trail traffic, Grand Canyon National Park is instituting an interim system that will require some hikers and runners in groups to get special-use permits.

The interim permit system will go into effect Sept. 15, close to the expected release this fall of the park’s draft revise of its Backcountry Management Plan.

That draft, which may or may not include more permanent regulation of activity on the canyon’s trails, will be subject to public review and comment for about 90 days.

Special use permits will not be required during this interim period for individual runners or hikers, or small groups of friends or family. But permits will be required for organized groups, such as clubs and non-profit organizations. No groups of more than 30 will be allowed.

Permits will be required only for the inner canyon -- the area closest to the Colorado River -- which all rim-to-rim hikers and runners must cross.
The increase in runners and through-hikers has led to more litter and waste, vehicle congestion at trailheads, conflicts between trail users and crowding at restrooms. It also has overstressed the lone wastewater treatment facility in the canyon at Phantom Ranch.

“With rim-to-rim and extended day hiking and running increasing in popularity, we needed to find an interim solution that would give us the tool to educate hikers and runners on best practices until we have a longer-term solution in place,” park superintendent Dave Uberuaga said in a news release Wednesday.

More information about the new interim permit process can be found at nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/sup.htm

Defending champs return to NYC Marathon

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
Mutai-JeptooAP Photo2013 NYC Marathon champs Geoffrey Mutai and Rita Jeptoo are back to defend their titles in 2014.
Two-time defending champion Geoffrey Mutai and reigning women’s champion Priscah Jeptoo will return to the TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 2 to defend their titles, the New York Road Runners announced on Thursday. The Kenyans join an elite field that includes 2014 Boston Marathon Champion Meb Keflezighi.

“Last year, as they led 50,000 runners in the largest marathon ever, both Geoffrey and Priscah were inspirations to us all,” NYRR President and CEO Mary Wittenberg said.

“This November, when they line up in Staten Island to start their journey through the unique neighborhoods of the City’s five boroughs, these world-class athletes will be chasing history, as Geoffrey goes for a New York hat trick and Priscah looks to join an elite group of repeat winners.”

Mutai already holds the course record with his 2:05:05, run in 2011. He is also the fastest marathoner of all-time with his 2:03.02 from the 2012 Boston Marathon, but due to the course’s elevation drop and point-to-point layout the time is ineligible for an official world record.

Jeptoo won last year’s race in come-from-behind fashion, reeling in Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba in Central Park after 24 miles. She would cross the finish line in 2:25:07 for a 48-second victory over the Deba..

Here’s a look at Mutai and Jeptoo by the numbers:

0 - Marathons in the spring for Rita Jeptoo after a leg injury forced her to withdraw from the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon.

3 - Mutai looks to win his third consecutive New York City Marathon. He would become just the third man in history to accomplish the feat and the first since Alberto Salazar in 1980-1982.

4 - Although Kenyans have dominated the marathon scene in recent years, Jeptoo is only the second Kenyan woman to win the New York City Marathon since 2000.

6 - Years in age difference between Mutai and Keflezighi on race day. Mutai turns 33 on October 7.

7 - If Jeptoo captures the 2014 crown, she would be the seventh woman to win in back-to-back years. Only two women have won more than twice. World Record holder Paula Radcliffe last accomplished the feat in 2007 and 2008.

22 - Number of miles run with the lead pack before Mutai broke away for the victory in 2013. Is there a similar plan this year or will Mutai chase a faster time than his 2:08:24 from 2013?

60 - Number of minutes Mutai needed to win the New York City Half Marathon on March 16. He would finish sixth at the London Marathon a few weeks later.

2012 - Had the 2012 race not been cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, 2014 could have been an attempt at a four-peat for Mutai. Only Bill Rodgers has won the New York City Marathon four consecutive times.

Robin Williams: Cross-country runner & track star

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
Robin Williams often credited his drama club at Redwood High School as one of the sparks to his career in comedy. Before he made the world laugh, Williams was a cross-country runner -- and a good one too. On Monday, Williams was found dead in his California home at the age of 63.

"I love running cross country," Williams once said. "On a track, I feel like a hamster."

According to his high school yearbook, Williams ran 1:58.8 for 800 meters in 1969, according to Runner's World. That same year, his 4x400-meter relay team also ran 3:21.7.

Williams ran in the 1984 Dipsea Race in California, where he finished in 232nd place of 1,375 runners. The cross-country trail race is the oldest in America since its start in 1905.

"Besides the hills, the stairs and the downhill, it wasn't bad," Williams told the Marin Independent Journal afterward.

Williams also played soccer for Redwood and went on to play at Claremont Men's College before attending Julliard, where his acting career would take off.

Kenenisa Bekele to run Chicago Marathon

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
World-record holder Kenenisa Bekele will run the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12. The Ethiopian is coming off a two-hour, five-minute, four-second marathon debut and victory in April’s Paris Marathon. He holds world records at 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

"Kenenisa Bekele is one of the best, most versatile and exciting athletes competing on the global stage today,” race director Carey Pinkowski said in a press release. “Any time an athlete of Bekele’s caliber lines up to race, course records and world records are in jeopardy. We expect Bekele to put on a speed show, and it’s not out of the question to think that Bekele could bring the world record back home to Chicago.”

Bekele by the Numbers:

0 – No losses. Bekele is undefeated since he moved to the marathon. Although Bekele struggled with hamstring cramps toward the end of his first 26.2-mile race, he held off Limenih Getachew. Bekele's winning time of 2:05:04 was the fastest debut by anyone older than 30 and a Paris Marathon course record.

1 – American road race debut for the two-time Olympian. He has raced on an American track only five times.

3 – Bekele had three pacers during his run in Paris. Race organizers put the spotlight on him as the star of the event. Bekele might see tougher competition from the elite field in Chicago and might not have as much control over the pace for the lead pack.

6 – Bekele had the sixth fastest debut in history. How will he fare in his second marathon?

$75,000 - 2:03:45 is the current course record, set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2013. Bekele aims to lower the time, which also comes with a $75,000 time bonus reward.

Marathon legend Alberto Salazar turns 56

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
Three-time New York City Marathon champion and 1982 Boston Marathon winner Alberto Salazar turns 52 today.

Now retired from competitive running, the former Oregon Duck is based in Portland, Ore. as the head coach of the Nike Oregon Project. His training group saw success at the 2012 Summer Olympics Games in London as Mo Farah (Great Britain) and Galen Rupp (United States) captured gold and silver medals, respectively, in the men's 10,000-meter run.

In honor of Salazar's birthday and #ThrowbackThursday, here is a quick flashback to his 1982 Boston Marathon win over Dick Beardsley.