It was President’s Day in San Diego and a few of America’s best distance runners gathered to run a fast 10K.
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It was President’s Day in San Diego and a few of America’s best distance runners gathered to run a fast 10K.
The day before the New York City Marathon a much shorter championship race takes place. With a whole mess of prize money on the line, American middle distance runners lined up on a rainy Saturday morning to decide this year’s USATF 5k Champion. At the end of a sprint through Central Park, it was Paul Chelimo and Emily Sisson that walked away with the proverbial humongous novelty check.
It’s happening again: we are bum-rushing another unsuspecting city for the sake of bringing you just-ok media coverage of a world-class event
The origin of the Called Shot, as it relates to modern sports talk, dates back to a New York World-Telegram headline that read “RUTH CALLS SHOT AS HE PUTS HOME RUN NO. 2 IN SIDE POCKET.” This headline, of course, ran after game three of the 1932 World Series when (sure, I know this is disputed, but for the sake of history and not being a stick in the mud, we’ll believe the rest of this story) in the top of the 5th inning, the Great Bambino pointed to center field and then slapped the next pitch 440 feet into nothing but Wrigley Field grandstand.
The man called his shot. The man then did exactly what he said he was going to do.
This trope plays out in sports all the time, though it takes many different forms: Cassius Clay driving to Sonny Liston’s house in the middle of the night just to tell him he’s going to kick his ass. Michael Jordan closing his eyes before a free throw and saying, “Hey Dikembe, this one’s for you baby.” The 40-year old white guy at your local YMCA screaming “game” as he releases from Steph Curry-distance, game tied 19-19, then actually drills it.
Displays of confidence, earned or unearned, are heralded. The anything-can-happen quality is what makes sports fun. Upsets and close games are what keep us watching. But there is something to be said, and I’d say arguably more entertaining, about witnessing a sporting hero declare their intentions, and then watching them deftly navigate through the chaos to land safely, exactly, where they said they would.
This is what I saw on Sunday in Berlin. I watched as Eliud Kipchoge called his shot, and then went out and ran faster than any human had ever done before him. He denied going for a world record, instead opting to say he was looking for a “personal best.” But then Kipchoge asked for world record pace — the rabbits would go out in 61-minutes for the half marathon. This was Eliud calling his shot in a truly Eliud way. But unlike shooting a free throw or swinging at the next pitch, we’d have to wait for nearly two hours to see what he could do.
I caught a glimpse of him at the 5km mark, flanked by three pacers, where he already had 10 seconds on the field. Behind him was Wilson Kipsang, the second name on the bill, who already looked cooked.
By the halfway point I was sitting in a beer garden near the finish line where they had the race projected onto a huge inflatable screen. The early morning crowd, half intoxicated at that point, watched him clear halfway, down to a single pacer, in 61:06, just six seconds off his intended goal and more than a minute clear of the 2nd place runner.
Calling your shot doesn’t always go as planned. There is that now-infamous GIF of Nick Young launching a three-pointer from deep, then turning around to walk away with his arms in the air, not bothering to watch as the ball bricks off the back iron.
The running equivalent would be just not bothering to go with the rabbits. No one would blame Kipchoge for blowing up, as there are plenty of opportunities to do in the marathon. But at the halfway mark we realized that this was not a Nick Young-level attempt at calling your shot. He was going for it, and we’d either watch him blow up or get the record.
The next time I saw him I was standing on the photo bridge behind the finish line. He was hammering towards the finish, fully enveloped in the moment. After running for a little over two hours, Kipchoge was slapping his chest, arms outstretched as he broke the tape in 2:01:39. Covered in salt, the man who had just averaged 4:38 per mile for 26.2 miles sprinted to his coach Patrick Sang and covered his face in what was probably a few different emotions. Disbelief? Elation? Sweet relief?
Not all world records are equal. We can’t immediately recall how all of them were set, what kind of build-up led to the moment in time where someone did something no one else had ever done. Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record, however, has the intangibles — those things we can’t quite reach out and touch that make something special.
People that you probably don’t want to meet at parties will tell you that it’s because of Nike and their never ending marketing campaign. But for me, and hopefully for the rest of you, it’s because we watched someone at the peak of their talent, calling his shot like one of the greats and then gently closing his eyes with a grin before executing completely, unquestionably, beautifully, what he set out to do.
Capturing the elation of Eliud Kipchoge and his world record-setting run at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
Ryan Sterner breaks down Eliud Kipchoge’s chances at the 2018 Berlin Marathon and why he’s not buying the “PR” talk.
We have decided to send Ryan Sterner to Berlin to cover the 2018 Berlin Marathon. Did we make a mistake?
Ryan Sterner was faced with a bet that he couldn’t break 60 seconds for 400 meters with little to no training. The inside story of how he did it.
Day three and four of the USATF Outdoor Championships was contested in the rain. Finals included the men’s and women’s 1500 meters, the 5,000m, and steeplechase.
Day Two of the USATF Outdoor Championships was contested in the rain. Finals included the men’s and women’s 100 meters ft. Noah Lyles.
Day One of the USATF Outdoor Championships was contested in the rain. Finals included the men’s and women’s 10,000 meters.
After every Diamond League meet this season tune in and hear two idiot Blog Boys Ryan Sterner and Stephen Kershtalk shop about what happened. Stockholm!
Ryan Sterner and Stephen Kersh discuss everything that took place at the Oslo Diamond League including the atmosphere with shirtless fans.
Eugene, Oregon. Better known to some of you nerds as TRACKTOWN USA. Home to Hayward Field. Birthplace of Nike. Where Steve Prefontaine won a couple of races and where we first met Galen Rupp’s insane face mask. Yes, TRACKTOWN USA has a rich history and after this weekend you can add another little notch to its already impressive timeline:
May 2018 – a few idiot bloggers sneezed around the city streets for two whole days in an attempt to bring sub-par content to
the masses you people.
That’s right nerds, Scott Olberding, Stephen Kersh, and I will be in TRACKTOWN USA for the 2018 edition of The Pre Classic. Based on our preliminary editorial calls, here is a small list of things you can expect from us: memes; motion-sickness-inducing live video updates; probably some charts; you bet your ass a blog or two; a lot of shouting; some behind the scenes footage of ATHLETES, and our ongoing attempts to answer the age old question of “professional athletes, are they really just like us?” The answer is of course not, they’re better and also far more bizarre than any of us could even conceive.
Anyway, in order to round this blog out to a serviceable word count, here are some thoughts ahead of this weekend from the blog boys and chief blog boy Chris Chavez.
“Much like Steve Prefontaine is considered the most influential and inspiring runner of his era, I believe that Ryan, Scott and Stephen are the most influential writers in the track and field blogosphere at the moment.”
“One of the funniest things I’ve ever heard happened when I was on a bus en route to Eugene. I was traveling to Eugene from Portland for a college cross country meet. Our coach wasn’t really speaking and didn’t seem too happy, so the women’s coach leaned over and asked him if anything was bothering him.
‘Of course something is bothering me, I’m heading to fucking Eugene.’
And, so, as I write these words while waiting for my flight to Eugene, I cannot help but feel the exact same way. It’s a curious place. But not curious in the fun, interesting way. More curious in the what-the-fuck-happens-here-when-the-students-leave kind of way. I would answer mostly skullduggery and general malfeasance.
This all being said, I am excited to attend Pre Classic with my fellow Blog Boys. They’re nice to me and we always have a fun time together. As far as entries go, they’re all good. This is a Diamond League meet. Do you know what a diamond is? It’s precious. It’s a precious fucking stone. These are all precious entries and the races will be great.
This all being said, I hate Eugene.”
“I’m looking forward to the closing ceremony where we get to fire a every article with a byline including ‘Historic Hayward Field’ into space. This is the last Pre Classic at that stadium before it gets its big remodel.
Also, the entries. They are all certifiably nice. Personally, I hope we get a new coronation of new US Spring Gods in Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman. How fun are those guys?
I’m also looking forward to jogging with the hung-over fans on Pre’s Trail at approximately 9:30am on Saturday. Speaking of which, I will be very much looking forward to trying to coerce Stephen to walk to the Wild Duck at 9 p.m. on Friday night.”
“Stephen and Scott have only terrible things to say about Eugene.
The first and last time I was in Eugene was for the 2012 Olympic Trials. I was 22. Most of my downtime was spent sleeping on a slowly deflating air mattress in the corner of someone’s living room. I ate pop tarts and coffee for lunch. I drank my dinner. Despite all of this, I had a great time.
I am 28 now. If I tried to live like that again, I’d walk away from Eugene with a herniated disc while feeling nothing but ill will for the place.
This weekend, however, I plan on maintaining a high fiber diet and sleeping on a real mattress, which I hope to settle in to no later than 9 pm every night. I also plan on talking exclusively about the pollen count.
What about the races? Sure, I bet they’ll be great.”
I did some research on how to identify a cult in the U.S. and I think by becoming a Strava member, I’m part of a fitness cult now.
We tell you how to follow the action from the 2018 Boston Marathon with live updates, splits and all the information that you want.
Our first beer review of Boston Marathon weekend goes to Start Line Brewing. Watch as Citius Mag founder Chris Chavez drinks his first beer.
In the sporting world there are winners and there are losers. But I’m talking about a more generalized notion of winner and loser
We hit the road from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to witness 40+ teams take on the harsh task of running a 340-miles relay race called The Speed Project.
I’m a huge idiot. I’ve never ran a marathon. I’ve never used a GU. I don’t even know what they are. So I reached out to some ‘experts’ about energy gels.
Perhaps you’ve heard: Russia was banned from competing at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. But they’re hosting their own party!
Giannis Antetokounpo posterized Tim Hardaway Jr but does Giannis have the build, the fundamentals & intangibles for triple jump?
As we approach the first birthday of CITIUS MAG, we wanted to create a formal way for loyal readers to support us, if they so choose.
Christian Coleman ran a world record in the 60-meter dash and then had to go out of his way to get drug tested and now there’s some technicalities. Odd!
This is the first and the last article that will be written about LaVar Ball on CITIUS MAG but please imagine what he would be like for running.
We’re getting in a time machine and taking you to the year 1964 for no particular reason and then breaking down the top 5 pre-race pump up songs.
Ryan Sterner decided to try and eat President Donald Trump’s dinner of two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish and a chocolate shake from McDonalds before running.
Just two words by Shalane Flanagan perfectly captured the emotions surrounding one of the best moments of the year for U.S. distance running.
I haven’t come within 10 miles of running the marathon distance. I have, however, spent the last month of my life basically bathing in the marathon culture. I was at the finish line of the New York City Marathon when Shalane did the damn thing. And I spent last weekend hobnobbing around Sacramento for the 35th California International Marathon with a press credential hanging around my neck granting me more access than I rightfully deserved.
From the outside looking in, the whole point of a marathon for most people was to just finish. If that’s the case, then a marathon was only a few steps removed from being a hot dog eating contest. There had to be more.
When I got to the starting line of the CIM it was still dark, not yet 6 AM. The PA was blaring Imagine Dragons at a skull-shattering volume, but no one seemed to mind.
I caught whiffs of conversations — stories of preparation or lack thereof. There were runners sitting on the curb, applying what my nose positively identified as Icy Hot, or some other menthol knock-off. But Icy Hot wasn’t the only goo. I saw runners rubbing various shmears and semi-solids into any nook or cranny that carried even a scintilla of a doubt about its ability to stay chafe-free. I’m positive most of the product names ended in GLIDE. Overall, the atmosphere was jovial. Selfie sticks and chuckling and groups in matching t-shirts abound.
The only place where things felt panicked, maybe even desperate, was near the port-o-potties.
In New York, I heard rumors of the Verrazano Bridge running yellow with urine by the time the 50,000 some runners clear the area. In Sacramento, the announcer repeatedly warned people to please respect the neighbors and keep their pre-race ones and twos in the port-o-potties.
I imagine the warning provided a chicken and egg type moment for some of the more refined folks. Had the thought of skipping the line and shitting in someone’s yard occurred to them before the announcer made them privy to the practice?
My assignment for the race was to sit in the elite women’s lead van and observe. We had the back doors swung wide open for maximum visibility and relied on bungee cords stretched within an inch of their lives to keep them ajar.
The marathon doesn’t really get interesting until the element of disaster knocks on the door. This starts to happen at roughly mile ten. And since both men and women started at the same time, the women’s lead van was a perfect vantage point for the back-of-the-pack men’s race (also, Sara Hall was the only female runner we saw that day, as she ended up winning by over two whole minutes).
Now, I’ve seen folks having bad races before: someone maybe 30 seconds behind at the end of a steeplechase or having a little lie down at the end of a 10K. But nothing compares to the face of a marathoner having a bad day. Waking up in the middle of mile 16 and realizing that you, covered in salt, mouth like a dried sponge, still have ten miles to go is probably something not too far off from a religious experience.
We passed runners with sullen, lifeless faces, the skin around their eyes a bright pink that gave the impression of a freshly powdered corpse. I watched one guy try to suck whatever he could out of a GU packet and then nearly vomit it back up. Around mile 20 we passed a man covered in his own filth. Later we learned he had shit his pants at mile eight and went on to run somewhere around 2:16. A pretty decent trade-off, if you ask me.
We passed the runners who called it quits. Some sitting on the curb holding an ailing body part, others walking with their hands on their hips, looking for answers in the pavement beneath their feet. When we went by our driver apologized for not being able to pick them up, but assured them that the “meat wagon” was coming.
Other people we passed were having far more impressive outings. There were runners who, at mile 20, looked like they had just started their engines. They had the wide-eyed look of an animal in a trap, probably hungry, probably closer to death than they knew but running with a ravenous energy in an attempt to jump-start their depleted limbs.
And then there was the finish line.
Some people were jubilant, but most just kind of stopped running — like Forrest Gump in the end zone. They had vacant looks on their faces, stood bleary and blinking, coming to terms with the trauma they had just inflicted on their bodies.
At the end of it all, while we CITIUS boys were making our way back to the elite athlete area, I looked at them and without a hint of irony said, “I’m tired.”
We sat around drinking coffee in the cafeteria as the elite runners started to filter in. Limping, wet, perhaps in shock, we greeted a handful of them, spoke earnestly with the ones we knew and congratulated anyone that approached our table.
I couldn’t pretend to understand what they went through. A washed-up runner cursing his cramped calves after a 5K fun run, and a woman who can’t walk up stairs because she brought her body to the brink and continued to burn are two completely different things.
I now understand the fundamental difference between running marathons and running anything shorter. There didn’t look to be anything inherently fun about running a marathon. Stringing together a good training block can be fun. But the fun really isn’t in the 20 mile long runs or the solo workouts in the pitch black morning. The fun is filling in those consecutive days in the running log, maybe enjoying a beer afterward and feeling like you earned it.
Any fun you were probably having wears off somewhere between a week before the race and right before the gun goes off. I saw the faces of every elite athlete before the start. Existential dread could be one way to describe it, a duck on the pond could be another.
A lot of fuss was made about the bathrooms in the elite staging area. These 100 or so elite athletes were all fawning over the 20 pristine port-o-potties they had to themselves. If you’re engaging in a supposedly fun activity but the best thing you can say about it is that the bathrooms were great, maybe you should reconsider your definition of fun.
The entertainment value of a marathon — the crux of this entire thing — is best compared, I think, to the episode of Seinfeld called “The Dealership.”
Do you remember? This is the episode where Kramer and some poor schmuck of a salesman see how far they can take the car before it runs out of gas.
In the beginning, the car salesman doesn’t understand what Kramer is doing. He’s nervous. Agitated, even.
“How low are you gonna go?”
“Oh, I’ve been below the slash a number of times. This is nothing. Just put it out of your mind.”
Eventually, the car salesman comes around, screaming that he’s never felt so alive, that they can’t stop now, that they need to see how far this thing goes on empty. To him, it was life-changing.
That’s the only reasonable answer I could come up with. The fun isn’t in the act itself but seeing what you can find on your way to the bottom of the well. Maybe it’s a gear you never knew existed. Maybe it’s a dark place where you question every decision you ever made. But in the end, if you make it to the end, you’ll have accomplished something. Was it fun? Was it worth it? I guess that’s for you to decide.
After the race, I hung around Sacramento waiting for my flight, feeling inadequate. All around me people had just participated in a facet of the running world that I was only partner to. It was a self-imposed exile, I suppose, as nothing is stopping me from running a marathon other than thinking that I might die if I tried. But slowly, over the hours waiting for my plane, I made up my mind. I became Kramer’s car salesman: bearing witness to this crazed phenomenon, I desperately wanted to partake and see, finally, how far I could go before the needle breaks off.
Running her second marathon in five weeks, Sara Hall crossed the finish line in Sacramento in 2:28:10 to become the 2017 U.S. Marathon Champion.
Nearly 70 women will vie for the crown of USATF Marathon Championships winner in Sacramento this Sunday. Among those women are an Olympian, various U.S. road race champions, collegiate All-Americans, and a U.S. cross country champion. All of them aren’t only competing for the crown, but also for their piece of the biggest prize purse the California International Marathon has ever offered.
One of the most interesting runners in the field is Janet Bawcom. Back in 2012, Bawcom, a relative unknown leading into the season, had a breakout year running 2:29 for the marathon and competing for the U.S. at the London Olympics in the 10,000 meters. Bawcom, now 39, has kept a relatively low profile since then, but will still come into CIM with one of the fastest PR’s over 10k and the marathon.
Sara Hall is the other runner in the field with a resume the caliber of Bawcom’s, though she may be coming into CIM with a bit of a handicap. Only last month, Hall ran a personal best in the marathon with a 2:27 fifth place effort in the Frankfurt Marathon.
“It’s probably my best recovery after a marathon yet,” Hall told CITIUS MAG last week, which answers the obvious question, as there’s no doubt about her current fitness. If she’s true to her word, Hall, 34, will be one to beat.
The seasoned vets, though, aren’t the only ones to watch. Katie Matthews, who competes for BAA, will be making her marathon debut. A multiple-time All-American out of Boston University, Matthews has seen some post-collegiate success on the roads. In 2017, she has run 1:12:27 for 20k and clocked 1:30:51 over 25k.
The field isn’t without a few wildcards. Lauren Totten of El Dorado Hill, Calif, debuted in the marathon at Grandma’s in 2014, finishing in 2:35. She’s since lowered her PR to 2:33 in a third place finish at last year’s CIM. Ashley Brasovan is also an interesting player. She had early career success as a Foot Locker champion but struggled with injuries throughout college. The Florida native took some time off but ran 2:41 at CIM last year in her debut marathon. Look for all three of these women to be vying for a top five finish.
And what would a race preview be without a good darkhorse pick?
Kaitlin Goodman will be looking to replicate her 2014 CIM performance where she ran 2:39, good enough for ninth place. Coming into this race, though, she’ll be riding a wave of personal bests that bode well for a good performance in Sacramento. This season, Goodman lowered her track 10,000 meter personal best by six seconds (31:55), her 5,000 meter PR by 10 seconds, her road 5k by 30 seconds, her road 15k by 50 seconds, and her half marathon by 90 seconds. The trend? The farther the distance, the bigger the PR.
All these athletes, though, have their hay in the proverbial barn. The last thing to worry about in the world of things runners can’t control is the weather.
At race time Sunday morning, the temperature in Sacramento will be hovering in the low 40’s. The humidity will be 68% and there will be a breeze of about 11 miles per hour. Of all things fretted over in the meticulous — and oftentimes tedious — preparation for a marathon, the weather on December 3 will not be one of them.
We’ll see you there.
It doesn’t take too much to put a small town on the map. “Birthplace of Paul Bunyan,” or “home to the world’s biggest corncob festival” or even “where buffalo wings were born.” You know it’s a big deal when these things have been slapped to the front of the welcome signs as you reach the town’s city limits. It lets the passersby know that within the small, drive-by town is something great, something worth remembering.
So when I found out that Sarah Pease was from Elizabeth, Indiana (population: 162), I figured they were in the process of erecting some enormous fiberglass statue in her honor. Within their city limits is a three-time All-American while at Indiana University (probably reason enough to at least put a “home to Sarah Pease” sign up); someone who has run in every track and field U.S. Championships since 2010, four times made the final, and finished 4th in 2010; she’s a two-time Olympic Trials qualifier; she’s run in a Diamond League meet. In terms of running accolades, Pease has a fairly impressive resume.
Pease is enjoying the kind of success and longevity that eludes plenty of runners post-collegiately, and is still working day in and day out. She’s running 100+ mile weeks in preparation for the California International Marathon, and is a volunteer assistant at IU while pursuing a master’s degree in kinesiology.
She’s already got an Olympic Trials marathon qualifier under her belt, a 2:41 which she ran in her one and only marathon. On December 3rd, she is hoping to lower her PR in Sacramento, and rub elbows with some stiffer competition (she won her debut marathon by 16 minutes).
We sat down with Pease and discussed how her training is going, and what she’s hoping to accomplish in Sacramento this weekend.
CITIUS MAG: How has the training been going overall?
SARAH PEASE: I’ve been running 100-120 miles per week for the whole training block. So the mileage is a lot more, but I also do longer repeats and longer thresholds and tempos than I do when I’m training for track.
But I still keep some of the quicker stuff in the training. That’s how my coach likes to do it. It kind of keeps you sharp — it’s fun, you feel like you’re in this huge long distance training block and then it’s nice to do a little bit of turnover and feel like you’re fast again.
CM: What sparked your interest in the marathon?
SP: I always really liked doing longer distances and longer workouts and rhythmic things. So I kind of always thought the marathon had potential to be my best event. I wanted to at least try it and try it a few times because probably the first time you’re not going to get it totally right.
And being a running fan, I watched Boston and New York and the Marathon Trials and I wanted to see how good I could be at the distance.
CM: You ran 2:41 in your first marathon in February. What did you learn from that first marathon that you’re going to take into this one?
SP: I’m excited for CIM because it’ll be good to be in a competitive marathon. There were so many things I didn’t know what to expect during my first one. Definitely being more conservative at the start. Being someone who runs track, you don’t have to be very patient. Even with the 10,000 meters it’s not that much time compared to the marathon. I learned that you have to be patient for a really long time. I felt so good at the beginning of the marathon and kind of didn’t do a good job reeling that in.
The fueling was different. I’ve never fueled before up until I did the marathon, so I’m getting used to that. I didn’t even have water bottles at my first marathon, so I’m excited for that as opposed to trying to drink out of cups.
There are just a lot of elements. But I would say that being a little more patient will help me a lot.
CM: Have you taken any cues from steeplers that have made the transition to the marathon?
SP: A lot of times people train very differently, so I don’t want to feel like I should train like this person or that person. But I’ve read a lot about the mentality, about the nutrition, a lot of things outside of the actual training part. I’ve tried to learn as much as I can in as short of a time as I can. I feel the marathon is something that takes a while to really master. And it takes a while because you can only do it a few times a year. In track, I’m used to having a bad race and turn around and do it again and fix those things, but this is a little different.
So I’ve read a lot about the marathon mentality. I just try to listen to my coach and put blinders on to what’s happening on the outside in terms of the training. For me it’s really easy to trust him and get the work done and feel good about it. He knows what will work best.
CM: Do you find the marathon stuff carries over to the faster stuff?
SP: Yeah, I think for me I get really strong. It’s like a really great base phase. I get to have this long build up of consistent training and mileage. It helped me a lot through the spring and summer this year. I did a marathon in February and had to take some time off after that. When I finally did get back to running I was still really fit from all the miles I did.
CM: What’s your goal going into CIM?
SP: As far as a time goal I think running around 2:35 would be a really good step. We thought I was around that fitness last time but for one reason or another it didn’t happen. But I think I’m handling the training a lot better this time.
As far as finishing, my goal is definitely to be top ten. But then ultimately I want to position myself to race late and try to see how many people I can beat.
If I can be top ten and run pretty fast then I would be pretty happy with that.
CM: I know you’ve run one full marathon before. Is this the start of a full transition to the roads? Or to the marathon in general looking toward 2020?
SP: I’m kind of still thinking about it. I think it’ll kind of depend on how the next marathon and probably the one after that goes because I still am going to run track in the spring. I want to run the 5k and the 10k and drop some PR’s on the track.
But I’ve been doing more and more road racing. I don’t know yet if it’ll be a full switch but I like the training for the marathon a lot. So if I see some success in the marathon, and get my time to a place that’s competitive in the U.S. then I might shift my focus more to that. But I also love the 10k, so I may shift my focus there.
How to catch the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon live on Sunday, November 4, 2017. Info includes streaming, TV, results and runner tracking info.
The more we study teens the less we seem to understand them. We’d like to turn your attention to the Porta Potty Challenge inflicting the country.
As great of a resource as Google is, the items that occupy the front page of most searches end up there through some combination of paid placement and/or shadowy computer algorithms. This means that any blowhard with a computer, an internet connection, and enough money can land on the front page. And I know you’re not going past the front page.
For people just looking for a quick “HOW TO” article or attempting to diagnose a weird rash, this can prove discouraging. Despite being firmly rooted in the Age of Information, the internet–our greatest informational resource–is full of misinformation. That, and our rapidly diminishing attention spans mean we’re spending less and less time doing our research. In 2017, most articles looking to inform a reader about anything would be better served to just eliminate all pictures and blocks of text and replace them with flashing GIFS. “IT’S POISON IVY,” flashing on the screen over and over is this generation’s ideal WebMD page.
With that being said, I’ve created a series of images and GIFS to help our high school readers get re-acquainted with cross country racing. If you’ve been feverishly googling “how to race a 5k” ever since practice started but have only found Runner’s World articles about “going slow and steady” or “running within yourself,” please know that–if you’re a high schooler–this is a stupid strategy. We at Citius Mag are here to teach you how to properly run a 5k cross country race in just two easy steps.
1. Attempt to PR in the mile in the first mile of most races
The ideal racing strategy in most high school races is to run your first mile far faster than your overall finishing pace. Do you fancy yourself a 17 minute 5k runner? Then please go out in 4:50. Are you faster than that? Maybe you’re a 16 minute 5k’er–then you should probably go out in 4:30.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at this chart below. These are the top-50 finishers in the 2016 Minnesota State Cross Country championship. The average finishing time was 16:40, but the average first mile was 5:05 or roughly 15:47 pace. Did anyone in that race run a 15:47? No. No they didn’t. But they went out in what I like to call “aspirational pace.” Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
2. Die a slow death
Where do you go after you nearly PR in the mile during a cross country race? Downhill, baby. Most high school cross country races are races of attrition. You go out stupid fast, and then the person who dies the least wins.
a) Resident Citius Good Boy, Paul Snyder, ran his best high school 5k in a time of 15:22. He remembers his splits as 4:30-9:30-15:22. “No one passed me after the first 400m,” he said. And with good reason, because so far, he employed the two hard and fast rules of high school cross country racing: go out far too fast, and die slowly.
If he had maintained his 4:30 mile pace, he would have ran 13:58. Instead he ran 4:30, 5:00, 5:52 for the last 1.125 (that’s about a 5:12 mile). Those are some phenomenal positive splits.
b) The first time I broke 17 minutes in a high school 5k I ran 4:59-10:40-16:58. So, what is that? 4:59-5:41-6:18 for the last 1.125 (or 5:36). I remember I got like 12th place in that race. What could I have done different to run faster and probably place higher? You guessed it, ran a faster first mile, die less.
c) If you look at the chart above, you’ll see that the finishing times all trend this way. Go out fast, die, and then die less. The ones who hang on are the winners.
As stated before, the average first mile from our sample of Class A Minnesotans was 5:20. The average second mile was 5:47, average 3rd mile was 5:49.
Now, you might be thinking, “well that’s stupid. I should go out and race a little bit smarter than that.” Please don’t. In college and professional running, the person who goes out the fastest is generally considered the martyr. They’re going to go out fast, have an impressive lead for about a mile of the race, and then finish like 55th. High school is the last chance you’ll get to go out there, race like an idiot, and still be rewarded. If this isn’t the absolute epitome of your time in high school I don’t know what is. Cherish it.
The leaves are starting to change colors. We consulted with our good friend what’s their favorite part of cross country season.
Citius Mag asks the question every runner has asked about other professional athletes since the beginning of time: how fast could LeBron James run a mile?
EMMA COBURN AND COURTNEY FRERICHS 1-2 PUNCH
Emma Coburn lowered her own American record, broke the meet record, and won the gold medal in the 3000m steeplechase Friday night.
Not to be outdone was her fellow USA teammate, Courtney Frerichs, who also broke the the American record, and would be the meet record holder had it not been for Coburn.
Coburn and Frerichs stayed calm as Jebet of Bahrain and Chespol of Kenya set a hot early pace. Coburn looked very smooth over the water barriers and used the obstacles to put herself in position each time they came around. Coming over the final water barrier she went from third to first and would not relinquish the lead, holding off Jebet, and a charging Frerichs. Frerichs would run a fantastic final 100, to steal the silver medal, lower her PR by over 15 seconds, and give America the 1-2 punch in the women’s steeple.
The last qualifying spot
Johnny Gregorek advanced to the 1500m final. After running in last for a majority of the race, Gregorek let out what is becoming a signature kick over the last 300 meters, running the fastest split of anyone in the field. He moved himself into 7th place in 3:38.68, snagging the last little ‘q’ qualifying spot. He has one day of rest before he enters the final as the Last American Hope. Needless to say he has quickly become an American hero.
Here he is in his post-race interview with Lewis Johnson where he gave us a great quote, “We needed an American in the final, so I said ‘Let’s do this Johnny G.'”
Women’s 100m hurdles
Kendra Harrison is the fastest woman in the world this year by 0.2 seconds. In a sprint event that’s night and day. But Harrison has developed a knack for underperforming in high performance situations. The world record holder missed out on the 2016 Olympic team after she finished 6th in the trials — a month later she went on to set the world record. In 2015, the last world championships she ran in, she false started in the semi-finals and was disqualified.
She’ll get her first crack at a major world final tomorrow, though, despite finishing 4th place in her heat after cracking the first hurdle and struggling to finish in her semi-final. She managed to squeeze in on time. Hopefully tomorrow she’ll bring her A game, and prove that she’s more than just a name in the record books.
Brenda Martinez has had a tough go in London. She finished 4th in her opening heat of the 800m, and sneaked into the semi-final on time, albeit as the 2nd slowest qualifier.
In today’s semi-final, though, the 2013 World Championships silver medalist failed to advance to the final. Martinez stuck with eventual winner, Neyonsaba the whole race, but found herself boxed on the inside on the bell lap. She tried making two different moves, but didn’t have the position to either swing wide or pass on the inside. She ended up finishing third in the slowest of the three heats, and well outside of the 1:59.74 it took to get through to the final.
Martinez is a household name in American track and field circles, but has failed to replicate her 2013 season that brought a silver medal. American fans can’t help but feel a little disappointed. But Martinez or not, we still have Ajee Wilson and Charlene Lipsey in the final.
Robby Andrews DNF’d in the smei-final of the men’s 1500m today. On the penultimate lap, Andrews, who was in last place, started making some moves. He jostled by a few other athletes and on the homestretch was midpack when he pulled up lame. From our stream, he looked a bit like a sprinter pulling up after tearing a hamstring. He pounded the track out of frustration, and stayed on the infield as the men went around the track one more time.
After the race in an interview with Lewis Johnson, he said that his calf locked up and he had to stop running. Up until now Andrews was having a good season, winning his first national championship as a pro, and looked poise to unleash is signature kick to make it into his final.
His streak of bad luck on the world stage continues, as in last year’s Olympics Andrews was disqualified in the semi-final after taking one too many steps on the infield in the homestretch of the 1500m.
But Citius loves him dearly, and we wish him well.
Today’s 3000m steeplechase final went off without Colleen Quigley. She was DQ’d, after finishing third in her qualifying heat, for stepping on the curved line after a water jump. The one-inch infringement was apparently enough of a “material advantage” to warrant the IAAF to give her the boot. The USATF tried protesting on her behalf but to no avail.
Today’s women’s 800m semi-final had another fast and loose interpretation of the rule book, as Lynsey Sharp was disqualified from her semi-final heat after “impeding another runner” during her race. The infraction? Her forearm went wide as she crossed the finish line and brushed up against the eventual third place finisher Charlene Lipsey.
Had she not been disqualified, she would have secured the final qualifying spot in Wednesday’s final.
This “rules are rules” mentality that the officials in London have been maintaining is an obvious detriment to the quality of the fields. Did the athletes gain any advantage from the above scenarios? Obviously not. Were other athletes opportunity at a clean and fair race ruined because of them? The answer is no. But I suppose if you have a rule book in your hand the impulse to flex your muscles just because you can must be a little too great.
UPDATE: Lynsey Sharp has been reinstated into the women’s 800m final. Sorry for the rant.