Figured I have a little bit of extra time in my day during quarantine to round up the biggest news and headlines in the sport while also providing a little bit of extra commentary and analysis beyond what I share on Twitter. Bringing back a newsletter for what feels like the 20th time might be worth a shot. Who knows what the consistency of this might be?! I’ll try to get to it weekly by putting together a Google Doc throughout the week and then dropping it in your inboxes on Friday so that you can catch up on everything ahead of the weekend.
For starters, I just wanted to say a quick thank you to anyone who reached out after I made a guest appearance on the Ali on the Run Show. It was fun for me to peel back the curtain a little bit on how I go about balancing all my work whether it’s written features for Sports Illustrated, editing and producing podcast episodes for CITIUS MAG or Runners of NYC or any of the shows on our podcast network. If you haven’t given it a listen yet, go for it. Ali Feller is someone who is also very passionate about the sport so I had a great time feeding off each other’s enthusiasm.
Alrighty, let’s hit some news and notes from around the track and field world:
– If you’re reading this on Friday or Saturday morning, here’s a heads up to keep an eye on the CITIUS MAG Instagram later today to watch the MVMT Race Series in Boston. Race director and coach Jon Green has put together a detailed safety plan so that the races are in accordance with USATF and Massachusetts guidelines. The meet is also hoping to raise money for Good Sports – is a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts that creates opportunities in sports and outdoor activities for children in low-income communities. There will be a women’s 1,500; men’s 10,000 and women’s 10,000. The last one will surely be the marquee event to watch since it features:
- Molly Seidel – 1st track race since 2018 USAs 10,000m (8th in 32:24.78 PR) and first race since making the 2020 Olympic team at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials with her runner-up finish. First race since appearing on Dana Giordano’s ‘More than Running’ podcast.
- Abbey Cooper (née D’Agostino) 1st 10,000m race since she won Heps in May 2014.
- Natosha Rogers: 1st outdoor track race for her since 2017 USAs 10,000m. She won the USATF cross country title earlier this year. You can listen to her comeback story on the CITIUS MAG Podcast.
- Keira D’Amato: Mixing it up with the pros after crushing virtual time trials including a 15:04 5,000m.
– Tinman Elite announced three new members to its growing roster with former Arkansas Razorback Cam Griffith (who holds personal bests of 3:39.86 for 1500m and 13:52.65 for 5000m); Eastern Kentucky’s Jamaine Coleman (who has represented Great Britain at the senior and junior level in the steeplechase, won a bronze medal at the 2017 European U23 championships) and 2018 U.S. marathon champion Brogan Austin (2:12 marathon personal best who has been training under coach Tom Schwartz but now officially has made the move to Boulder.) You can check out the announcement in the well-done video below by Ben Weingart – a past guest on the CITIUS MAG Podcast.
– The City of Chicago and race organizers made the decision to officially cancel the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Registered runners for the 2020 race will have the option to receive a refund for their entry or to defer to 2021, 2022 or 2023. This one stung for me a little bit because I was planning to make this my big race for the year. Last year, I ran 3:06:04 in Berlin and surprised myself by taking 10 minutes off my personal best. The goal for 2020 was to break three hours and possibly get under enough to qualify for Boston. I am totally at peace with the race cancellation. There are many more important public health matters at the moment. I’m among the people who have hit ‘virtual race fatigue’ after running a series of races in the spring that didn’t sniff my personal bests. Training 16 weeks to come up short again would be pretty dismaying. Instead, it doesn’t take much to organize your own one-mile time trial later in the fall. Coach Kate Gustafson and I have drawn up a training plan for a late September mile in New York City, where maybe I take another crack at getting close or under five minutes. That’s a goal that’s evaded me for years.
– Lots of people, including Molly Huddle, are still mindblown by Shelby Houlihan’s 14:23.92 for 5,000m. That set the bar pretty high for the Monaco Diamond League’s own race on Aug. 14. 2019 world champion Hellen Obiri will be the marquee name in the women’s 5,000 meters with her 14:18.37 PR. Last fall, she ran 14:26.72 to win gold in Doha. Sifan Hassan (14:22.12 PR) and 2019 world championship bronze medalist Konstanze Klosterhalfen (14:26.76 PR) will also be in the race. As of right now, there are no American women slated to race in it. To my knowledge, Noah Lyles is the only American star announced for the meet so I’ll be interested to see how he takes to international travel restrictions and guidelines due to the pandemic if he has to race in Louis II Stadium of Monaco. You can re-watch the Bowerman intrasquad 5,000-meter races on their official YouTube channel.
– Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the leading figures in the country’s fight against the coronavirus. appeared on a digital cover of InStyle. It is a known fact that he’s a marathoner and used to pound out a few miles a day at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When asked by Noah O’Donnell how he’s staying healthy, he gave us a little update on his running: “Well, I make exercise a significant part of my regimen. Christine and I put in 3½ miles of power walking every day. I used to say “run,” but I don’t run very much anymore because at the end of the run, various parts of my body hurt so much. Power walking is very enjoyable and relaxing, and we look forward to it.” Gotta love this man. As a former Xavier High School (NY) grad, that’s some good praise for a Regis alum. A few people have asked me and Leigh Anne Sharek if we could get Dr. Fauci on the Runners of NYC Podcast. We reached out and made contact with his people. We were told his schedule is a bit packed (understandably so!) but we’ll continue trying once things get better. So in order for that to happen, please wear a mask so we can stop or slow the spread of the coronavirus.
– The Athletics Integrity Unit came down with a decision on a sanction for 2016 Olympian and former Oregon sprinter Deajah Stevens. She has been suspended 18 months – essentially knocking out any chance of making it to Tokyo unless she successfully appeals – for her whereabouts failures violations. The suspension started Feb. 17, 2020 and runs through Aug. 16, 2021. Her three missed tests came in 2019. On Feb. 21 in Oregon – The doping control officer arrived but her home has restricted access and no one answered. On Aug. 18 in West Hollywood, a similar thing happened again but the DCO called five times and knocked on three occasions. Stevens was not listed in a directory. Her phone was dead and went to voicemail. No one answered. The third missed test came on Nov. 25 in West Hollywood again. She was not in the directory again. The DCO made six calls but the number wasn’t working. Stevens had changed her number after getting harassed and threatened by someone. The suspension, which could have been two years, was shortened due to the negligence. You can read the full decision here. Back in May, former Harvard sprinter and current New Balance pro Gabby Thomas was also provisionally suspended for whereabouts failures but she was cleared by the AIU earlier this month after her appeal and hearing.
– In more anti-doping news: USADA announced that Kevin Castille – who tore up the U.S. Masters scene in 2012 [pre-Lagat turning 40] with records in the 10,000m (28:57.88) and 5,000m (14:00.09) – tested positive for a banned steroid in April 2019 at the USATF Masters 10K Champs. There was always some suspicion around Castille from his fellow competitors and it was briefly mentioned in this 2016 New Yorker profile. The ban runs through 2023 so this essentially ends his career since he’ll be 51 when it’s over and forever labeled a cheat.
– The Athletics Association, which made some waves on social media conducting polls and surveys of athletes ahead of the Olympic postponement, finally launched its website and announced its board of athletes, which includes several high profile names including Christian Taylor, Emma Coburn, Ashton Eaton, Allyson Felix, Nick Willis. The group describes itself as “an independent body that will protect and advance the future of Athletics by unifying and defending the voice of elite Track and Field athletes worldwide – ensuring that they are at the heart of the decision-making process.”
– The 2021 Olympic track and field schedule changed. You can find every race on the World Athletics website or if you’re just interested in finding out the finals, I pulled those dates and color-coded them in this tweet.
PODCAST: This week’s CITIUS MAG Podcast guest is Chanelle Price. The 2014 800m World Indoor champion has raced sparingly in recent years due to setbacks in her training. Despite the struggles, Chanelle refuses to give up or retire. She’s getting ready to give the 2021 Olympics a shot as a member of the Nike Oregon Track Club.
Give it a listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can also read some of the notable quotes and tidbits in the complete show notes.
Support for this episode comes from GOODR SUNGLASSES – I’ve been rocking Goodr sunglasses throughout the past couple of months and they’re the best. No slip. No bounce. No fog. Polarized. Ridiculously affordable starting at $25 a pair. No discounts needed when they’re already the most affordable performance shades on the planet. | Visit GOODR.COM/CITIUS to check out some of my favorite pairs.
If you made it this far down into this, let me know what you thought. Should I keep doing this? Am I just asking for more extra work? Did you learn something new? Got something you want me to share? Feel free to hit me back: [email protected]