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August 9, 2018

The Lodi Mile Captures the Spirit of a Town

Unless you’re a big fan of wine, you may not have heard of Lodi, California.

The town with a population of nearly 65,000 is primarily known for its wine industry but often sits in the shadow of better known wine grape growing regions in the nearby Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

“We still have a small town feel even though the population has grown in recent years,” said Dave Phillips, co-owner of Michael David Winery, Lodi’s preeminent wine-making company. “Everyone is very proud of what we’ve developed with Lodi now being recognized as a great wine region.”

While runners are much more likely to down a beer than a glass of wine after a race or training run, the blue-collar spirit Lodi prides itself on has more similarities to distance running than you’d think.

“For both running and wine making, it takes a lot of hard work, grit and determination to produce something great,” said Jeff Merrill, race director of the Lodi Mile. “Distance running and Lodi’s culture go hand in hand. Neither of them may know that right now, but we’re trying to make that connection.”

A Lodi native, Merrill first found his love for the sport while running on the local high school cross country and track teams. Those teams drew from what Merrill affectionately described as “a nucleus of nerds and outcasts” that over time banded together as a team while developing a fondness for the sport.

“We had a decent football team, but it didn’t match what our cross country team was doing. So it made us wonder why we weren’t getting any attention,” Merrill said. “It made us think what we needed to do to make this sport popular and translate what we love about it to let other people get excited about it, too.”

That’s the genesis of the Lodi Mile started. Shortly after finishing his collegiate running career at the University of Michigan in 2010 (including competing at the Maccabiah Games, a.k.a. the Jewish Olympics, in 2009), Merrill began contemplating about how to bring an elite race to his hometown.

But having an idea for a race and learning the logistical hurdles to actually putting one on were two very different things.

“I had no idea what I was doing when we started it. I just assumed if I put this thing on lots of people would show up,” Merrill said. “I was pretty naive, which helped in some ways because I simply cold called and Facebook messaged different pro runners asking them if they wanted to compete.”

The first two editions of the race in 2013 and 2014 were run out on a country road that cut through plots of vineyards, inspired by the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York City that runs between Central Park on one side and city’s iconic skyscrapers on the other.

The remote location of the country road, however, made it challenging to get large numbers of spectators to watch the races.

Starting with the 2015 edition of the race, Merrill opted to move the race to the heart of downtown Lodi, which has helped the event become an attraction whether you’re a running fan or just out on the town for a few glasses of wine on a warm summer day.

“There are a lot of road races and track meets, but there aren’t many that are real spectacles that people go to like you go to a concert, movie or sporting event,” Merrill said. “You plan your day around it because you want to see a show.”

For the 2018 edition of the race, a big goal is on the mind of race organizers — a sub-four minute mile on the roads of Lodi.

Despite having the likes of Garrett Heath and the late David Torrence as past men’s race winners, the Lodi Mile has yet to produce a sub-four minute time.

If it was to happen this Sunday, it would be the first sub-four minute performance in San Joaquin County since Don Bowden became the first American to break four minutes in the mile when the Cal-Berkeley athlete ran 3:58.7 in Stockton in 1957.

Whether a sub-four mark is achieved, Merrill has grown the race, now in its sixth year, into something that is uniquely Lodi. Rather than traditional trophies, race winners are awarded decorative grapewood branches. The winning teams in the high school team competitions have their names engraved on large oak wine barrels, Stanley Cup-style.

For Merrill, it all comes down to athletes and spectators alike having an experience as unique as the spirit of Lodi itself.

“I want them to walk away saying, ‘Well, shit, that’s something I’ve never experienced before.'”

August 7, 2018

Starting Speed Work: When Courtney Frerichs Broke 60 Seconds For The 400 Meters

An animated look at when Courtney Frerichs, now the American record holder in the steeplechase, broke 60 seconds for the 400 meters – a major goal for her.

July 30, 2018

Kim Conley, Garrett Heath Headline Lodi Mile Elite Fields

The sixth edition of the Lodi Mile on Sunday, August 12 will feature two-time Olympian Kim Conley in the women’s race and 3:53 miler Garrett Heath along with four other sub-four minute milers in the men’s race.

Conley, who competed in the 5000 meters at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, has the fastest mile personal best in the field by over four and a half seconds.

Conley will arrive in Lodi fresh off an altitude training stint in Flagstaff, Ariz. Her lone race of 2018 was a 15:49.08 5000 meter effort at the Portland Track Festival.

Among Conley ‘s competitors will be 4:06 1500 meter runner Stephanie Brown, former University of Washington standout Eleanor Fulton, and 2013 NCAA 1500 meter champion Natalija Piliusina.

Heath, the fifth place finisher in the 10,000 meters at this year’s USA Outdoor Championships, will be seeking his third Lodi Mile title having previously won the race in 2013 and 2017.

Heath will be joined in the elite men’s field by four other men who have broken the four minute mile — Henry Wynne, Brannon Kidder, Chad Noelle and Tripp Hurt.

The Lodi Mile course takes athletes on two half-mile loops around downtown Lodi, California. The starting gun for elite men’s race will be at 11:00 a.m. with the women’s elite race at 11:10 a.m. The full event schedule can be found here.

Women’s elite field
Kim Conley (mile PR: 4:24.54)
Stephanie Brown (mile PR: 4:29.06)
Eleanor Fulton (mile PR: 4:30.34)
Natalija Piliusina (mile PR: 4:32.67)
Ayla Granados (mile PR: 4:38.49)
Rebecca Mehra (mile PR: 4:40.46)
Baylee Mires (mile PR: 4:43.91)
Savannah Colon (mile PR: 4:46.31)
Tori Tsolis (1500m PR: 4:10.62)

Men’s elite field
Garrett Heath (mile PR: 3:53.15)
Henry Wynne (mile PR: 3:55.23)
Brannon Kidder (mile PR: 3:56.06)
Chad Noelle (mile PR: 3:57.02)
Tripp Hurt (mile PR: 3:58.54)
Isaac Updike (mile PR: 4:03.47)
Matt Palmer (1500m PR: 3:46.6)

July 9, 2018

A Tinman, Repaired: What We Can Learn From Tyler Mueller

Tyler Mueller’s alternative rise to professional running from his time at Lehigh through his multiple retirements, injuries and now a leader on Tinman Elite

June 25, 2018

GALLERY: USATF Outdoor Championships – Day Three and Four

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.

June 24, 2018

Breaking Down Shelby Houlihan’s Incredible Double

Shelby Houlihan pulled off a historic achievement on Sunday by becoming just the second woman to ever win both the 1500 meters and 5000 meters at a single USA Outdoor Championships.

The only other woman to ever pull off the same feat was Regina Jacobs in 1999 and 2000, though her career is universally considered tainted by a later doping ban.

A couple things to address about Houlihan’s accomplishment:

First, the dominant fashion she did it in. Houlihan demolished Jenny Simpson over the final meters of the 1500 final, putting 0.73 seconds on her. That’s the same Jenny Simpson who’s the greatest U.S. middle distance runner of her generation. In the 5k, Houlihan still had company with Rachel Schneider on her heels with 100 meters to go but was able to seemingly change gears twice to ultimately win by 10 meters.

The term “strength is speed” really rings true in Houlihan’s case. The 5k training she’s focused on in the past two years has given her the aerobic stamina to not be as fatigued as her competitors at the end of races. Once they get to that point, it’s game over as Houlihan the best top-end speed of anyone in the field.

Second, one can only hope Houlihan, who is the best she’s ever been, can build upon this success in years to come and not have a magical season go to “waste” in a non-championship year. We saw a fellow Jerry Schumacher athlete Chris Solinsky have a career season in 2010, also an off year. While we all look back with awe at what Solinsky accomplished that season (first American under 27 minutes for 10k and three sub 13 minute 5k’s), he didn’t get the chance to prove himself at a major global championship while at peak fitness. At 25 years of age and in her third season as a pro, all indications are Houlihan is nowhere near the top of her game yet.

Third, this has to make you wonder what event Houlihan focuses on in years to come. To me, it’s a no brainer – she should run the 1500 meters at major championships.

While it would be easier for Houlihan to win U.S. 5000 meter titles in what’s a less competitive talent pool domestically, the 1500 meters has proven to be wide open on the international level and more favorable to American runners.

In the last ten years, U.S. women have made the finals of 5000 global championships more often than in the 1500, but when it comes to winning medals, the count is 5-0 in favor of the 1500 runners. In fact, the highest finish in the 5000 was Molly Huddle’s sixth place finish in 2013.

The reason for this? East African 5k runners often run brutally fast final stretches of races (often under 2:50 for the final kilometer) that Americans have simply been unable to hang on to. Though Houlihan is certainly capable of breaking through the U.S. glass ceiling in the 5k, it is simply more difficult than the 1500.

June 24, 2018

Western States 100

A trip to the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run from Squaw Valley to Auburn in California. An ultimate test of limits for runners.

June 24, 2018

The Story of a Runner, an Italian Restaurant, and Dreams Come True

The timeless tradition of carbo-loading before races resulted in some fun social media traffic this weekend at the USA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines.

Here’s the backstory:

Due to a flight delay, world silver medalist Courtney Frerichs didn’t land in Des Moines until midnight the night before her steeplechase preliminary race.

Luckily, her husband, who was already in Iowa, picked up some spaghetti and meatballs from the local Olive Garden and had it ready for Frerichs to chow on in the early hours of Thursday morning.

We posted the clip of Frerichs talking about her late night meal after her steeplechase prelim.

The tweet caught the watchful eyes of Olive Garden’s social media team, who responded with well wishes to Frerichs.

The night before her steeplechase final, Frerichs tweeted photos from the West Des Moines branch of the famed Italian restaurant chain.

It turns out Olive Garden provided her entire family a free dinner — including dessert. The carb-heavy meal seemed to work for Frerichs as she finished in a strong second place less than a second behind champion Emma Coburn.

“I pretty much always go to Olive Garden when I’m racing in the states because I know their meals work,” Frerichs said.


June 23, 2018

Shelby Houlihan outkicks Jenny Simpson, Matt Centrowitz Back On Top

Chris Chavez is joined by Nicole Bush, Pat Price and Kevin Liao to discuss day 3 of the US Championships to recap Shelby Houlihan and Matt Centrowitz’s win.

June 23, 2018

The Dawn Harper-Nelson Exit Interview

Dawn Harper-Nelson competed in her first outdoor national championships in 2004. Fourteen years later, she will be racing in her last U.S. championships after announcing that the 2018 season would be her last as a professional hurdler.

Haper-Nelson walks away from the sport one of the most accomplished high hurdlers in history — a two-time Olympic medalist (including gold in 2008), two-time world medalist, four-time Diamond League champion, and four-time U.S. outdoor champion.

We had a chance to catch up with Harper-Nelson after the first round of the 100 meter hurdles for what we’re calling her exit interview:

Citius Mag: What’s the game plan this weekend? Is tomorrow it?

Dawn Harper-Nelson: Oh no, I have Diamond League races to come. But this will be it for USA nationals. In the finals, you guys are doing to have to drag me off the track. I’ve had so much fun competing for USA. I want to finish this up with a complete bang and obviously a W.

CM: You seem relaxed.

DHN: I kinda surprised myself with how relaxed I was [in the first round]. Before the race, you’re nervous, but as soon as the gun goes off, you know this is what you train for. I have 11 family members here, so we’re all just having fun.

CM: How hard was it to decide this was it for you?

DHN: Honestly, it wasn’t that hard for me. I’ve always known from the time I was a child I wanted to be an Olympic champion, a wife, and a mom. I never wanted track to run my life so much that at some age I realize there’s a world around me. I’ve had a great career. Me and my husband talk about it, and I’m personally ready to have some babies. I want to come to these events with my kids and say “mama did that.” It’s still bittersweet because I’m having fun with it, but it’s time. I find myself having a pull to do something else. I’m blessed that I can make the decision, and it’s not an injury or not being able to get a lane that forces me out of the sport.

CM: Every time we see you at a U.S. championships, the hair style is always different. What’s going on with this hairstyle?

DHN: They wanna call me “old lady in the field,” so my friends and family members are like, “Give them some gray hair since they want to call you old.” I was totally against it. They told me it’s my last year to play with it. So this is just me being silly.

CM: Different athletes in professional sports choose to handle their retirement differently. Was it tough deciding how to do it?

DHN: It really was. I initially thought I’d wait until the last race and announce this is it. I was talking to my agent to let him know this is how I want my plan to be. The whole time my husband was telling me I was crazy and that people want to celebrate with you. My agent told me meet directors will be mad if you run at their races and then never see them again. He told me we have to announce it and let fans know so they can take in all your joy and cartwheels and things. It was the right decision.

CM: What are some of the other races when you’ve found yourself bawling at the end?

DHN: Diamond League finals. I have four Diamond League championships, and each one of those came down to who crossed the line first in the final. It was all or nothing. For me, those were moments at the ends of seasons when I rose to the occasion. Obviously, there are my two Olympic medals. Those are like my kids. You put four years of sacrifice on the line to say this moment, for 12 seconds, this is it. Sometimes, I sit back and will cry thinking back on my career and how it’s been pretty sweet.

CM: After you retire and someone asks you what you do for a career, what are you going to say?

DHN: I’m going to say “I used to run.” That sounds better than “retired.” When you hear someone say they’re retired, you think of someone of retirement age — like almost 70. I will be proud to say I’m a retired track athlete. Because in conversation that will follow up with, “Oh, how did that go?” [Laughs.] I’ll be able to explain what track and field is and then say how it’s given me the life I have.

CM: Looking back, do you have regrets about how anything has gone during your career?

DHN: No, not really anything that when I walk away I hated it in the moment. Training with Bobby [Kersee] early in my career, he was very good at explaining the reasons for every time I died on the track in practice. I was blessed to also have Michelle Perry, a two-time world champion, and Joanna Hayes, an Olympic champion, training with me early in my career. I saw what they did and understood the sacrifices that have to be made. They have medals, so I knew I absolutely have to be doing this — and more. Now that I’m older, I do have the regret of not understanding that I don’t have to push my body as much. For the last two years, I’ve been hammering, thinking I have to do all this. My body is telling me it’s tired because I’m 33 or 34 now. It was right before this nationals that I learned that lesson. My husband was telling me, “I think you’re doing too much. You’re not recovering as well.”

CM: Is this the least amount of pressure you’ve ever felt for a U.S. championships?

DHN: In a sense, but I am so hard on myself. I have a goal here as if I’m trying to make another team. I’ll enjoy it, but I better be on that podium. That’s just the mindset I have. If that’s not the expectation, I shouldn’t be here.

CM: What’s the difference between the top hurdlers when you were first starting on the elite level versus the best hurdlers now? What have some of the advances been?

CHN: I feel like more hurdlers now are focusing on speed. I’m a technician and you can win a lot of races if you hurdle clean. But now they’re running clean and they’re fast. If you put them in the flat 100, they’re going to put up a competitive time.

June 23, 2018

What to Watch on Saturday at the USATF Championships

Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs face off in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase final. Matthew Centrowitz and Drew Hunter square off in the 1,500 meters.

June 22, 2018

My First Day at Western States: I’m a huge failure

Today has been full of mistakes. My first day on a press trip, and I’ve completely, totally, utterly dropped the ball.

I’m currently on-assignment covering the Western States Endurance Run. I cannot emphasize enough the poor job I’ve done.

Today was a day where the elite athletes were all meandering around the Village at Squaw Valley – totally accessible to media, and I failed to gather one goddamn interview. It would have been great to have sat down for a few minutes with Courtney Dauwalter (complete badass, overall winner of the 2017 Moab 240-MILER-WTF[!]), or Jim Walmsley (0-2 at Western States, but we all want him to finish this year). But I didn’t. I failed to gather one soundbite, one photo.

Instead, I went for a run along the Truckee River. It was beautiful, but I should have been contacting athletes for interviews.

Then, I ate a robust bowl of oatmeal on the back porch of the cabin I was staying at. The cabin is about a mile from the Village at Squaw Valley. I should have been heading over to the Village to find the athletes I had contacted a few hours earlier.

After my oatmeal, I sat around the cabin. Did some small talk. Nothing productive. It was during this time of nothingness where my appetite began to build. I should have sucked it up and gone to the Village to find some athletes, but, as I’m sure you can now tell, I didn’t. I drove 15 miles to Tahoe City (past Squaw Valley) to find a salad and an iced coffee. Cognitive dissonance. It’s beautiful.

Once 2:00 PM rolled around, I now thought it was the right time to go find some athletes. The sun was in full force, and obviously these athletes would be walking around the ski area, soaking up the sun the day before they race 100 miles through the California mountains and canyons.

I didn’t find a single athlete. I did find a delicious chocolate chip cookie, though.

Truth be told, my day wasn’t a total failure. I tagged along with my girlfriend to the Salomon crew house so she could see Lucy Bartholomew before she raced. While they went over her race plan, I waited in the den and watched as a French man and a Swedish man worked in tandem to prepare for tomorrow’s race.

The Swede, Johan Steene, will be lining up at 5:00 AM tomorrow morning to take on the burden of Western States. Hearing him talk about eating baby food at mile 65 was the closest thing I came to any sort of professional journalism today. As it turns out, nutrition – second only to having legs – is the most important part of completing Western States.

“I bought these today,” Johan said about the baby food. “It seems like it will be good.”

Apparently Johan hadn’t ever experimented with the baby food before planning to use it during one of the premier ultramarathons in the world. Seems fairly non-traditional for a Swede to do something without proper calculations, but Johan, my new favorite runner, seemed sure of himself.

And so, that’s all I have to report from the day before Western States: as long as you’re confident, you should be fine.

June 22, 2018

Noah Lyles, Aleia Hobbs Run Away With USA 100 Meter Titles

The dream seasons of Noah Lyles and Aleia Hobbs continued Friday with victories in the 100 meter dash at the 2018 USATF Track and Field Championships.

Lyles, known primarily as a 200 meter runner, sneaked past Ronnie Baker in the final meters of the race to earn his first U.S. title.

He was pretty psyched after the race.

After giving his review of Incredibles 2 yesterday, Lyles rocked socks with the movie’s logo in the final. The superhero powers clearly transferred through.

Baker set a personal best of 9.90 despite finishing second. He’s headed to Europe after this to chase fast times.

Unstoppable on the collegiate level all year, Hobbs became the first woman since 1991 to win both the NCAA and USA 100 meter titles in the same year.

Ashley Henderson had a tough NCAA championships, missing the 100 meter final before finishing sixth in the 200 meters. The San Diego State junior bounced back with a stellar second place finish today in Des Moines and a personal best of 10.96 seconds.

Jenna Prandini struggled with injury throughout 2017. Now healthy, she looked confident winning her semi-final before finishing third in a season’s best 10.98 seconds.

June 22, 2018

GALLERY: USATF Outdoor Championships – Day One In The Rain

Day One of the USATF Outdoor Championships was contested in the rain. Finals included the men’s and women’s 10,000 meters.

June 22, 2018

Returning to Des Moines

Nicole Bush opens up about her thoughts on returning to Des Moines for the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships – five years after her national title

June 22, 2018

What to Watch on Friday at the USATF Championships

Jesse Squire takes a look at the big events on Day 2 of the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships including an old school vs. new school match up.

June 22, 2018

Stephanie And Ben Bruce’s Consistency and Breakthroughs

Stephanie and Ben Bruce chat about their experiences at the 2018 USATF Outdoor Championships and the work it took to get there.

June 21, 2018

Watch The U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships online: Live stream, TV Info, Results

How to watch the USATF Outdoor Championships online from June 21 to June 24 live from Des Moines. Live results info included.

June 21, 2018

What to Watch on Thursday at the USATF Championships

Gwen Jorgensen competes in her first U.S. track and field championship since committing to the marathon full time. Molly Huddle makes her return.

June 20, 2018

2018 U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships Preview Show

Chris Chavez and Kevin Liao break down all of the action and top performances to expect at the 2018 U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines

June 20, 2018

Shelby Houlihan vs. Jenny Simpson is the ultimate battle in Des Moines

If anything has characterized the 2018 track season thus far, it’s been the changing of the guard we’ve seen in many events, particularly in the sprints.

The aging Justin Gatlin and retired Usain Bolt have handed the torch to youngsters Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles in the short sprints. The name Allyson Felix is nowhere to be found at the top of the yearly marks, having been replaced by the likes of NCAA stars Lynna Irby and Kendall Ellis. And Sydney McLaughlin and Michael Norman have catapulted themselves into superstar territory in track and field circles.

We’ve seen less of this trend in the longer distance races, but could there be a shift in the power structure coming soon in the women’s middle distances?

Without a doubt, Jenny Simpson has been the alpha dog of U.S. 1500 meter running in recent years. She’s won the last four 1500m outdoor national titles and has four global medals over the metric mile distance, including a thrilling silver medal at last summer’s World Championships.

Despite her dominance, she showed a bit of vulnerability a few weeks ago at the Pre Classic, when fellow American Shelby Houlihan unleashed a furious kick on the final straightaway to pull off the upset in a personal best 3:59.06, besting her personal best by over four seconds.

The race was Houlihan’s first career victory against Simpson.

We have all witnessed Houlihan’s big kicks in the past (see her dominant U.S. indoor doubles the last two years) but never before had she exhibited that kind of closing speed on a stage as big as a Diamond League meet.

Houlihan’s progression makes you wonder if she might be prepared to take the U.S. women’s 1500m championship belt from Simpson in the near future.

If father time is indeed undefeated, that day may be coming sooner than later, as Simpson turns 32 years old this August, while Houlihan is just 25 years of age.

All of this makes the matchup between Simpson and Houlihan this weekend at the USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines all the more fascinating, as both athletes return to a state where they have roots (Houlihan was a dominant runner on the Iowa prep scene, while Simpson spent part of her early childhood in the Hawkeye State) to race on the Blue Oval.

Editor’s note: Both have declared for the 1500 meters, though Houlihan is also entered in the 5000 meters. It’s a doable double, though it certainly isn’t easy — the 1500m prelims are on Thursday, 1500m final is on Saturday and 5000m final is on Sunday.

We know, of course, that winning in a fast, rabbited race like Houlihan did at Pre isn’t the same as doing so in tactical championships contests, which Simpson has mastered in her career.

With a gun to my head, I still pick the more experienced Simpson in the confines of this weekend’s championship meet, but don’t be surprised if Houlihan continues inching toward earning the title of America’s best miler.

June 17, 2018

Me and My Dad (An Essay By Trevor Dunbar)

How a trip to the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials with his father, Marcus, helped open a young Trevor Dunbar’s eyes to the sport.

June 15, 2018

Exclusive Sneak Peek: Year of the Bison – A Portrait of Nick Symmonds’ Final Season

CITIUS MAG readers get an exclusive look at the first five minutes to “Year of the Bison” A Portrait of Nick Symmonds’ Final Season.

June 13, 2018

Running Things Considered: Is Steve Prefontaine Overrated? One Caller Thinks So

On Running Things Considered, one caller decided to share this thoughts on Steve Prefontaine being one of the most overrated U.S. runners ever.

June 13, 2018

Ski to Sea: The Largest Multi-Sport Relay In America

Get to know Ski to Sea: The 94-mile, seven-event relay race that covers a large portion of Whatcom County.

June 11, 2018

Is The Unicorn Era In Track Upon Us?

Juan Miguel Echevarria’s long jump at the Stockholm Diamond League making rounds on the internet. Could he be characterized as a track and field unicorn?

June 11, 2018

Big Meet Pod – Stockholm Diamond League

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!

June 8, 2018

The Big Meet Pod – Oslo Diamond League

Ryan Sterner and Stephen Kersh discuss everything that took place at the Oslo Diamond League including the atmosphere with shirtless fans.

May 29, 2018

Lane 9: The Last Pre Classic and NCAAs Heating Up

We take a deep dive into the best performances from the 2018 Pre Classic before Hayward Field’s renovations begin. Spoiler: Teens are still fast.

May 27, 2018

Pre Classic Photos Gallery – Day 2

May 26, 2018

Prefontaine’s short-form Friday program excites

As many have noted, this will be the final Prefontaine Classic at the current Hayward Field facility, before renovations begin for the 2021 World Championships. Announced ahead of the meet at the press conference, meet director Tom Jordan noted that the 2019 meeting will be held June 28-29 and that meet management hopes to keep it “in the region.” They will announce the location when the contract is finalized with the venue. Does “region” imply pacific northwest? Or perhaps just the west coast? There aren’t a ton of facilities in the immediate area that can host ~15,000+ fans, so it is possible that they will get creative with an existing large facility (e.g. Seattle’s Safeco Field or Portland’s Providence Park). Who knows. I’m wildly speculating here.

The men’s javelin was poppin’. The German trio of Thomas Rohler, Johannes Vetter, and Andres Hoffman really got the crowd going with some big throws as they went 1-2-3. Rohler and Vetter traded off the facility record and that was pretty cool. They both also made World top-10 throws. Big bucks. This picture was also taken, which was a real treat. Absolute units:

In the men’s pole vault, we had some very nice athletes in American Sam Perkins, Swedish young buck Armond Duplantis, Olympic Champion Thiago Braz (Brazil) and current world record holder Renaud Lavillenie. Guess what?! Braz no-heighted, Lavillenie had an off-day at 5.56m for 5th place and Perkins/Duplantis came in 1-2.

Women’s 800! This was the national field – the Diamond League field tomorrow (Saturday) is absolutely outrageous. Regardless, we got some exciting action. Natoya Goule of Jamaica got the W in 2:00.84. Stephanie Brown was right behind in 2:01.84.

The women’s 1,500 was flush with American women. They went through 800m in around 2:12.xx and bunched up a bit after the pacer dropped off. There was a bit of a tussle with 400m to go and Emily Lipari hit the mondo. Dani Jones sailed to victory in a new PB of 4:07.74. Here is a photo that Ryan Sterner took:

On to the men’s 800m. We had one American in the field with Erik Sowinski, with fellow American Harun Abda on pacing duty. Abda came through in 49.8 and the next fastest through 400m was Emmanual Korir in 51.9. Korir would go on to win, with Nigel Amos in 2nd (1:45.51). He trains in Eugene. Hometown boy. Nice.

Lastly, we’ve got the men’s 2-mile. Also, lots of great Americans in this field. Chelimo, Jenkins, Hill, True, Bor, Mead, Kipchirchir. You get the picture. Again, we had a bit of a disconnect with the pacing as Lopez Lomong was through one mile in around 4:11, with the pack 4 seconds back. The crew was bunched up with 800m to go and we had ourselves a dang foot race:

 Selemon Barega goes on to close over the last 400m in 54.x, with Paul Chelimo in 2nd.

We look forward to seeing you all online tomorrow.

May 24, 2018

The CITIUS MAG Blog Boys will be at the Pre Classic

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.”

May 23, 2018

What Does It Mean To Have Balls While Racing?

Craig Mottram won the 2-mile at the Pre Classic and said, “It comes down to the size of your balls.” What are balls when racing?

May 22, 2018

Stories Behind The Singlet: Steve Prefontaine’s Iconic Race Kits

Illustrator Luke McCambley gives us a short history lesson at some of the iconic kits that Steve Prefontaine wore throughout his career.

May 7, 2018

LANE 9: What To Make of Galen Rupp’s 2:06 Win In Prague

20 days after dropping out of the Boston Marathon, Galen Rupp won the Prague Marathon in 2:06:07. Our analysts process the performance.

May 3, 2018

A critique of Asbel Kiprop’s response to doping allegations

Breaking down Asbel Kiprop’s lengthy response to reports that the three-time world champion and 2008 Olympic gold medalist tested positive for EPO.

April 21, 2018

The 2018 London Marathon is Kipchoge’s Race

Editor’s note: Thank you to loyal reader Lena Weidenbruch for writing this year’s London Marathon Preview. She is a student at Fordham University and is currently studying abroad in foggy foggy London Town. 

If the conditions are right on Sunday, there is no reason that we shouldn’t see the world record
broken in the 2018 London Marathon.

Going undefeated since 2014, Eliud Kipchoge, who tops the elite men’s start list, is the man for the job. Because of Kipchoge, any man who wants a chance at the win must also take a chance at the record. There are four men in particular who undoubtedly have their sights set on victory that will likely go out in world record pace to challenge Kipchoge. Mo Farah, Daniel Wanjiru, Kenenisa Bekele, and Guye Adola will do their best to challenge the 2016 Olympic Marathon Champion. The stakes are different for each man on this list, and Kipchoge’s performance on Sunday will prove whether or not these stakes even matter in the first place.

Mo Farah will compete in the marathon for the first time since retiring from the track last
summer with ten global gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. In the race that is being
treated as his debut at 26.2, Farah will prove that he has what it takes to be competitive with the
best of the best on the road. After winning the Vitality Big Half-Marathon in March, 3 seconds
ahead of Daniel Wanjiru, Farah confidently told The Guardian “The good thing is here I’ve
learned I looked as good as Wanjiru. Some of my sessions and the work I’ve done in the past
four weeks have been unbelievable. I think I still have it.”

Daniel Warinju is the reigning London Marathon champion. The Kenyan broke the tape last year
with a time of 2:05.48. Wanjiru is looking to repeat last year’s success in London but faces a
bigger challenge this year because of Eliud Kipchoge’s addition to the lineup.

Kenenisa Bekele is quoted by LetsRun as saying “It will be an honor to race alongside Sir Mo
Farah and Eliud Kipchoge as well as the other great athletes in the field. I have been training
very hard with the aim of arriving in London in April in the best possible condition.” When
Bekele says he aims at arriving in the best possible condition, that means arriving in world
record-breaking condition. Bekele ran the second fastest marathon of all time in 2016 but has
failed to complete multiple races over 26.2 miles since then. This year’s race against Kipchoge
will be the ultimate indicator of whether Bekele still has what it takes. The last contestant that cannot be counted out is Guye Adola. In 2017 he had the fastest marathon debut of all time at the Berlin Marathon with a time of 2:03:46, finishing second behind Kipchoge. With only one marathon under his belt, Adola has got to prove that he has more than just beginner’s luck.

The stats of these headliners together are insane. Between just Farah, Kipchoge, and Bekele there are eight Olympic gold medals, 12 World Outdoor Championship gold medals, and four world records. Throw Warinju and Adola into the mix, and you’ve also got the reigning London champion, and the fastest marathon debut of all time. Three of these men have personal bests of under 2 hours and 4 minutes and two of them, Kipchoge and Bekele, have gone within 10 seconds of the standing world record. Kipchoge is the only man to have proved that he is capable of going under Dennis Kimetto’s 2014 world record of 2:02.57.

Almost exactly a year ago Kipchoge clocked 2:00.25 in Nike’s Breaking2 attempt, unofficially
breaking the world record by a whopping 2 minutes and 32 seconds. The timing has never been
better for Kipchoge to go under the record again. If the rest of the elite field is up for the literal chase, that should be enough to get Kipchoge across the line sub 2:02.57. After his entry for this year’s race was announced, Kipchoge told The Guardian, “remember I ran the third-fastest time in history last year (London 2016) and I just missed out on the record by a few seconds. London is truly the place to break the world record.”

Any man who wants to be competitive in this race must go out in world record pace, meaning
that it is possible we might see multiple men go under the record on Sunday. The men’s elite
field for London 2018 does just about the best job it can in lining up competition for the man
dubbed the greatest marathoner of the modern era. Rather than a race against the clock, or even
the world record, the 2018 London Marathon will be a race against Eliud Kipchoge. Can the man
be beat? We’ll have to wait and see.

April 17, 2018

Des Linden: The Badass

Why Des Linden is a badass from the viewpoint of a Michigander who’s been paying attention and why you should think so as well.

April 16, 2018

Thoughts on the 2018 Boston Marathon As Told By GIFS

This is not your typical recap of the Boston Marathon. Rather this is a collection of thoughts and reactions, as summarized by GIFs.

April 16, 2018

2018 Boston Marathon Live Blog Bonanza

We tell you how to follow the action from the 2018 Boston Marathon with live updates, splits and all the information that you want.

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