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March 30, 2017

The Gray Zone: Will the Men’s 800-meter AR Go Down?

Some people have tried to go to the Gray Zone and never come back alive. Is there anyone out there who break the 800 meter American record?

March 29, 2017

Some thoughts on the just-released Stanford Invite heat sheets

Allie Ostrander in the steeple? King Ches in the second heat of the 10,000m? Is German Fernandez in 5,000m shape? We ask the tough questions but answer few.

March 29, 2017

Can we get one more Shannon Rowbury vs. Molly Huddle race on the track in 2017, please?

As Molly Huddle plots her final season on the track, we’re just hoping for one last clash against Shannon Rowbury for the 5,000m American record.

March 29, 2017

Can Galen Rupp, Jordan Hasay break the men’s and women’s half marathon American Records?

Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay head to Prague this weekend, to compete in a traditionally very quick half marathon, and try to each break a decade old AR.

March 28, 2017

What next? Matthew Centrowitz could target Bernard Lagat’s 1,500m American record

He’s got an Olympic gold and several world championship medals, Matthew Centrowitz could not focus on Bernard Lagat’s 1,500m American record.

March 28, 2017

The 400m hurdle American Record seems poised to fall, but who breaks it?

In an event headlined by Olympic medalists like Dalilah Muhammad, Ashley Spencer + Shamier Little and Sydney McLaughlin, the record is in jeopardy.

March 28, 2017

Will Molly Huddle lower her own American Record in the 10,000m this year?

As part of a Citius Mag series examining which American records might fall this outdoor season, we zero in on Molly Huddle’s odds over 10,000 meters.

March 28, 2017

Examining the U.S. outdoor track record books before the start of the season

This week, we’ll take a look at records and which ones we believe could be broken in the 2017 outdoor track season.

March 27, 2017

Real talk from female track and field reporters on their experience covering the sport

Female track and field reporters share their experiences, challenges and hopes of covering the sport in a male-dominated setting.

March 26, 2017

Charting team scoring at the 2017 World Cross Country Championships

With the World Cross Country Championships wrapping up mid-day on Sunday in the U.S., we decided to take a closer look at how the team Senior Men’s and Women’s scoring played out. Okay, here we go!

Starting with the men’s race, it was essentially a battle between five teams: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, and USA.

The following chart outlines each 2K split within the 10K race, by team position:

(mobile link)

 

 

Ethiopia did a wild job of hammering the last 4,000 meters, moving from 3rd place to 1st over the course of that distance. The US was in 3rd at 6K and spent the rest of the race battling with Uganda and Eritrea, ultimately finish 5th in a VERY tight 3rd, 4th, and 5th placing:

(mobile link)

 

 

For the women’s race, it’s hard to understate how hard Kenya rolled. For instance, there was only one split in the entire race where they did now have the top four spots secured. That’s pretty good! The US also did a great job of cutting down the last 2K, picking up about 30 points over the distance. about Here are the women’s team scores by split for the women’s 10K:

(mobile link)

 

To really drive it home, here are the team positions by split. It was a little more spread out, with a lot more of the jockeying action occurring in the middle of the pack. Fun fact – Uganda was in fifth place the whole race!

(mobile link)

 

Some of our overall takeaways: the East African countries fared very well, which was likely helped by the race being held in hot and humid conditions.  The Kenyan Women were dominant. The American teams beat who they should have, coming in at fifth place in both Senior races.

Lastly, for accountability, here are my predictions based on my Power Ranking model, compared against the final results (for the men’s race that had at least four racers finish):

March 26, 2017

Going long with breakout U.S. distance runner Noah Droddy

Chatting with Noah Droddy about his 61:48 mark at the NYC Half Marathon, how he’s spent his last few years and the state of American distance running.

March 24, 2017

How Eric Jenkins became Ricky Rocksford

How professional distance runner Eric Jenkins once doubled as a rapper named Ricky Rocksford and whether he would ever make music again.

March 24, 2017

A Numerical Guide to the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships

With the 2017 World Cross Country Championships slated to pop off mid-day Sunday (East Africa Time Zone), the Citius Mag Stats Department scoured the internet for the finest publicly available XC figures, data and numbers, in order to prepare the following statistical dossier.

First off, we would like to thank the good folks at the IAAF for sending some excel files our way. The following charts could not have been made without them. Also, many thanks to Isaac Wood of BYU coaching fame for providing a lot of help with data collection. More on Isaac to come.

Let’s jump right in. The first chart we have showcases the average age of each team (with at least four racers) for the Senior Women’s 10,000m contest.  There is a pretty wild range, from twenty-one years-old for the Japanese women’s team, all the way up to thirty-one years-old for the Spanish team.

(mobile link)

 

 

For the Senior Men’s race, we a see a similar spread, although it is slightly more compressed. Burundi comes in as the youngest, with an average age of twenty-one years-old, and Kuwait rounding up the top-end of the range, with an average age of twenty-nine years-old.

(mobile link)

 

 

Interestingly, both American teams are near the older end of the spectrum, with the Women’s team at an average age of twenty-seven, and the Men averaging twenty-eight.

Here is the same data, displayed geographically.

Senior women’s race, average age by country (mobile link):

 

 

Senior men’s race, average age by country (mobile link):

 

 

One interesting trend – it appears that the East Africa countries are younger than average, while the American and European teams appear slightly older.

Now to get into the meat of our analysis. The following two charts involve a lot of tables and aggregation in the background. Along with the help of Isaac and Justin Britton, we identified a 5,000m, 10,000m, half marathon and/or marathon time that they have run recently. From there, we indexed their time to the IAAF scoring tables, which approximate the strength of each performance, making it possible to draw comparisons across different events. Now, you may point out that this may not be the most precise way to calculate the final result. I would agree. But what this approach brings in is a objective approach that is applied evenly to the entire population. Which is better than blindly guessing.

Unsurprisingly, Kenya has the strongest team, based on past performances. They have multiple athletes who have run under 13:00 for 5,000m and under 27:00 for 10,000m. The following chart shows the rest of the field benchmarked against the Kenyan team. So, for example, Kenya’s top 5 athletes average 1,209 points on the IAAF tables.  That is equivalent to 13:00 in the 5,000m, 27:11 in the 10,000m and 2:07:23 in the marathon. Pretty good! By comparison, the U.S. has an average score of 1,138, which is 94% of Kenya’s score. 1,138 points gets you 13:19 in the 5,000m, 27: 56 in the 10,000m and 2:11:21 in the marathon. Also pretty good!

(mobile link)

 

For those asking what the heck is going on with Nigeria, they have several athletes with marathon PBs north of 2:40. It is possible that some of these athletes have run times slightly more commensurate with the rest of the field but I have yet to find anything on the world wide web that would indicate that. It could be a rough day for the Nigerian team.

Here are those same data points, displayed geographically:

(mobile link)

It’s a little tough to discern the differences in Africa, so here is a zoomed view of the region:

(mobile link)

As you can tell, it is going to be pretty tight up front, with 10 teams in the 90%-100% range. It’s sports. Anything could happen. That’s why we are racing.

For posterity, here are Isaac’s selections, based on a blended statistical/judgemental approach:

And here are mine, based on a pure Power Score approach:

March 24, 2017

2017 IAAF World Cross Country Kampala: Who To Watch

Kampala, Uganda hosts the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. We preview the heavy hitters in this weekend’s championship.

March 24, 2017

Brandon Hudgins updates on his fight with Vasculitis and the next step

Brandon Hudgins has run a mile in under four minutes but his latest challenge is a battle with Vasculitis. He updates us on his fight and its challenges.

March 23, 2017

Will Claye on his relationship with YG, an upcoming album and top five rappers dead or alive

Will Claye discusses his upcoming album, his relationship with YG, how he got interested in music and names his top five rappers dead or alive.

March 21, 2017

Jake and Zane Robertson: The Fastest twins ever in the Half Marathon

Jake and Zane Robertson, the twins who moved from New Zealand to Kenya at the age of 17 are now the fastest twins over the half marathon distance. Zane captured the New Zealand and Oceania Record at the 2015 Marugame Half in 2015 when he clocked a 59:47 and over the weekend Jake recorded a 60:00 to win the Lisbon Half for his debut at the distance.

 

It’s been 10 years since the Kiwi duo moved from New Zealand to Africa. Without cell phones, much money or sponsorsship, the two brothers have spent years grinding alongside many of the worlds best runners, over dirt roads, cinder tracks and thin air.

For those who don’t know the story about the two from Hamilton, NZ, here’s a brief recap: The brothers were obsessed with the sport since their youth, as many of us are..except this was different. They both knew everything and anything about the East African runners. They were obsessed with specifics right down to their height and weight. In 2006, Jake was able to have his first in-person rendezvous with a few of the Kenyans when he qualified to race at the World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. He mentioned the idea of moving to Kenya to train and the Kenyans urged them to.

After digging into the archives a bit, for results from dating back to 2007, it looks as though Jake had a 5,000m time of 14:28 at the age of 16. Zane had a similar personal best.

Currently, the twins are now 27 years old with the following personal bests:

Robertson Brothers PRs

Zane might show the greater range than his brother, but they both are a force over the half marathon distance. Zane’s 1/2 PR stems from a narrow second place at the 2015 Marugame Half Marathon and Jake has nipped at the heels of sub-60 this past weekend in Portugal. This easily ranks them as the fastest twins in the distance of all time. (Obviously, let’s be real and recognize that finding twins to do this all is an outlier and that’s what truly makes the Robertsons special.) Zane is only the fourth non-African to run sub-60 for 13.1 miles and for about 10 miles of Sunday’s Lisbon Half, Jake was on pace to break Zane’s national record.

Although Jake’s time in Lisbon was a phenomenal debut it still only ranks him as 36th all-time..on that course. It’s the 27th year of the race and yet it’s a wild stat that not many half-marathons can boast.

The two brothers remain very supportive of each other and still train a good amount together. I once read that Zane splits time with an Ethiopian training group and then heads back to Iten at times to live in a house next to Jake. The two are never ones to settle down, and have coined the phrase “Heavy In Da Game.” Their marathon debut in 2017 has not been ruled out.

Jake Robertson Lisbon Finish

Jake finishing in Lisbon.

In their start in Kenya, the Robertsons fought malaria, slept on a cement floor and struggled to adjust to life. The likes of Steeplechase kings, Patrick Sang and Saif Saaeed Shaheed aided in the housing the two at first and served as mentors as well. It appears that they may have received some sort of sponsorship backing now.

Zane and Jake Robertson are both 3-4 on the all time New Zealand 5000m list, 1-4 over 10000m and 1-2 for the half marathon.

If you’ve got 28 minutes, watch the video above and it’ll show you that hard work truly pays off, some insights on Kenya and how the risk was worth the reward for the two Robertson twins from Hamilton.

March 20, 2017

Re-visiting Carl Lewis’ National Anthem mishap

Carl Lewis is an legend but others just know him as one of the worst national anthem performers in history. Look back at the performance and what happened.

March 18, 2017

Five things to do in an empty Times Square during the NYC Half

For 364 days of the year, Times Square is a hellacious cesspool. But during the NYC Half, it’s cleared out. We help you make the most of it.

March 18, 2017

2017 World Championships to be held in Jamaica…sorta

Why go to London when you can watch all the sport’s biggest stars in Jamaica in June.

March 18, 2017

Artin Black: WWII-era NYC’s Forgotten Running Folk Hero

Who was “Artin calisthenic marathon runner” and why did he send a partially clothed beach portrait to Fiorello H. La Guardia? Exploring little-known details of NYC running legend.

March 17, 2017

Central Park: a surface-level skimmed history

Home to six miles of this weekend’s NYC Half Marathon course, Central Park has long stood as a proxy for the highs and lows of New York City.

March 17, 2017

2017 NYC Half Preview: Feyisa Lilesa vs. Callum Hawkins and the Americans; Molly Huddle’s three-peat chances

A look at the elite races at the 2017 NYC Half. The field includes U.S. Olympians Meb Keflezighi, Jared Ward , Molly Huddle, Amy Hastings and Desi Linden.

March 15, 2017

What we talk about when we talk about Jenny Simpson’s latest Instagram

Rio 1500-meter Bronze medalist Jenny Simpson is a lot more like rapper Nicki Minaj than you might have guessed. Here’s why.

March 13, 2017

Footrace Fever: What is the greatest race ever run? (Bracket contest)

What is the greatest footrace in history? We’ve decided to put together a bracket and allow you to vote on who wins all throughout March. Enter now!

March 13, 2017

Footrace Fever: Classic Races Regional Breakdown (Voting)

Enter the Footrace Fever Bracket Challenge and help us determine what is the greatest race ever. Vote now for your favorite classical race.

March 13, 2017

Footrace Fever: Olympic Races Regional Breakdown (Voting)

Enter the Footrace Fever Bracket Challenge and help us determine what is the greatest race ever. Vote now for your favorite Olympic races.

March 13, 2017

U.S. Races Regional: Breakdown (Voting)

The 2017 Footrace Fever bracket challenge is underway on Citius Mag and we’re calling on you to help us decide what is the greatest race ever. We have pop culture, Olympic, U.S. and classic race separated into different regions.

We ask that you download and print out a bracket, Fill it out and tweet it @CitiusMag with #FootraceFever in order for you to submit your bracket and be eligible for a surprise.

Unlike the NCAA basketball tournament, where you sit and watch the outcome out of your control, you have the power to rock the vote and help your favorite races advance. Vote in the polls below. Voting for the first round will end on Saturday. We will craft the next round of the tournament on Sunday and then voting will re-open for the following round on Monday.

Download your bracket now! Tweet it. Vote. Vote. Vote.

If I asked an average American to name the best races ever run on home turf, they’d respond with a gaggle of answers. Some would mention the race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire to hit a boatload of homers while juiced to the gills, others would hint at the proverbial Rat Race, but not many would reference the incredible foot races we’ve hosted over the years. Plus, as shocking as it may sound, they all weren’t run under the innovative light pollution near Palo Alto. For the sake of transparency, I had to re-visit some of these races before providing insight. So let’s hold hands as I walk us through some completely subjective comparisons and knee-jerk reactions.

Domestic Races

The American Mazungo vs. an Impressive Second Place

2010 Chris Solinsky’s 26:59 vs. Ryan Hill’s World Indoor Championship 3,000-meter Silver Medal

I was a senior in high school when Solinsky ran this race and I had no idea it even happened until my freshman year at Portland when I was surrounded by running nerds. It’s a shame because it is a really inspirational thing he did because he is too big to run that fast but he did it anyways and maybe I would have been inspired to run faster had I seen this performance sooner. Random aside: Solinsky was in our fantasy football league when he was an assistant at Portland and he would shit talk us from his altitude tent while he ate pizza and made better draft picks then us. The dude rocks.

Ryan Hill got second place in a race run under a roof. I’m not sure about this one but it snuck in with our committee as a 16th seed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke34rkz1XR0

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Meb wins vs. Ryan Hall Catching a Vibe and a Nice Tailwind

Meb winning the 2014 Boston Marathon vs. Ryan Hall running 2:04 at the 2011 Boston Marathon

Not going to watch either of these, just going to go off memory. Meb won because Ryan Hall slowed everyone down (I think) and Ryan Hall ran well because a nasty tailwind and the hand of God pushing him over (down??) Heartbreak Hill. Alright!

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Fingernails vs. a Fast Collegiate

1996 Gail Devers Olympic Gold 100m vs. 2009 Jenny Simpson runs 3:59 1,500m at Pre Classic

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?! Even if Devers loses, she wins a “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” title. That being said, it’s hard to not will every being in your body to root for Smilin’ Jenny. This was the pre-Simpson days, but she runs with so much joy it makes me want to vomit.

Visit this RunnerSpace link to watch Jenny’s race.

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The First Fast High Schooler vs. Kissing Cousins

Jim Ryun runs 3:59 in High School vs. 1984 Olympic Trials Men’s 800-meter tie!

Before running sub-4 in the mile was the latest fad to sweep our nation’s teens, Jim Ryun did it. He was probably ostracized and “owned” because he ran a whole lot back in the days when that wasn’t cool, but when we look back on his accomplishments, it is clear to see he was a good teen. The other race was recommended to us by our buddy Dan Lilot and he knows his stuff.

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A super fast mile vs. A super tight finish

2007 Pre Classic – Komen 3:48 Mile vs. 2008 Olympic Trials Men’s 800-meter race

Unless you’re sipping a bit too much promethazine, thus throwing your body into a bumbling stupor, then you understand a 3:48 mile is FAST. Even though this happened in Eugene – which is a hellscape full of allergies – it was cool. On the other side, we got ourselves a race featuring a 2008 6’5” track giant Andrew Wheating, the ghost of Khadevis Robinson and, as my girlfriend just put it, a Ken Doll (Nick Symmonds).

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ANOTHER FAST HIGH SCHOOLER vs. Sweet, Sweet Revenge

2001 Pre Classic – Alan Webb HS Mile Record vs. 2001 US Champs 5,000-meter – Bob Kennedy Gets Scalps

My friend showed me this Alan Webb race in high school and we’d watch it before we raced senior year. As someone who never watched track in high school, but still managed to see this race via YouTube, I’d say that qualifies as *tRaNsCeNdEnT*. Lilot also passed along the Bob Kennedy joint. Apparently Kennedy had lost to Goucher a few years earlier and went Omar Little on him. Also in my five-minute search for a video, I couldn’t find one but I did find a LetsRun photo essay which seems way more important and historical.

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El G Goes Down vs. A Dead Heat!

1996 Olympic Men’s 1,500 Final vs. 2012 Olympic Trials Women’s 100-meter Fiasco

The World Record holder falls down, my friend’s dad (Abdi Bile) is in this race, and the singlets are all dope. Quite the ordeal! Trying to compete with this race is a weird situation where Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh starred in a Requiem for a One Hundred Meter Dream.

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A Beautiful Man Sets a WR vs an Oldish Man Runs 3:55 in a 5K

2007 100-meter dash WR by Usain Bolt at Reebok Grand Prix vs. 2013 US Champs 5,000-meter – Bernard Lagat closes hard

Watching Bolt run is art. He covers 100-meters in nine, perfect strides and then spreads joy and love into the ether. He is a treasure. The Bernard Lagat race is cool too, though. They racewalk for two miles and then he rips everyone’s face off with a 3:55 last mile. Galen Rupp is seen smiling at the end of this race. Rare.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vno5qQmE6qk

Click here to watch that bizarre 2013 U.S. Championship 5,000m race, which also sneaks into the bracket.

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Do not forget to vote in the Classic Races, Olympic Races and Pop Culture Races brackets. Tweet your bracket to @CitiusMag and use #FootraceFever.

March 11, 2017

Citius Talks Tech: reviewing the new WADA app

Welcome to a new, sporadically-occurring column here at Citius Mag, “Citius Talks Tech,” where a randomly selected member of our staff will be talking about tech, and its intersection with the wild and wacky world of athletics.

Have a topic you’d like us to dissect? Simply do us a Twitter (@CitiusMag), but please, nothing too difficult, like “how do computers work?” or “what is a app?” 

Yesterday, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) launched a new app and platform called “Speak Up!” that the group hopes will encourage prospective whistleblowers to report perceived instances of doping violations, through its easy-to-use interface.

There’s lengthy press release, but the main takeaway is that Speak Up! is a pretty good idea from a confidentiality standpoint, in that it allows informants to open up private, anonymous correspondence with WADA, without having to use personal phone numbers or email addresses. That said, the fact that there is also an app feels like a somewhat ham-fisted attempt on the part of WADA to make snitching cool for millennials.

If you’re interested in poking around the Speak Up! Website (which lets you do everything the app does), feel free to check it out because I’m not writing anything else about it. The web is nothing new to a tech expert (henceforth, “techspert”) like me.

Instead, let’s venture over to the app, whose icon is pictured in the bottom right of this screenshot from my dang cell phone:

It’s worth noting that it looks like this app is about arranging pickles in a parallel fashion. It’s also worth noting that when you open the app up, it’s just the website:

Call me old fashioned. Call me a Luddite. Call me what you will. But I just don’t think apps are going to save the world, like some technocratic folks seem to. Out of the thousands (hundreds?) of apps that have been developed, maybe seven or eight are actually useful, and the rest are either bad, dumb, stupid, or apps for the sake of being apps.

All-in-all, if you’re looking to anonymously blow a whistle or wear a wire on behalf of WADA, stick to the tried and true methodology of cutting out letters from magazine articles and gluing them to a manila folder. 

But if you must use tech, just use the website, because it’s less likely to crash, and you’re less likely to mistake it on your home screen for that phone video game where you cut fruits and vegetables in half.

March 10, 2017

What makes a meet great from an athlete’s perspective

Dear meet directors, here’s what separates a great track meet from a good one. Some tips from professional miler Kyle Merber.

March 9, 2017

On the 20th anniversary of Biggie’s murder, track’s strange ties to the case

What we know about the case surrounding former Oregon track standout, David Mack who was a person of interest in the unsolved killing of hip-hop legend Biggie Smalls.

March 7, 2017

Nobody remembers anything: Five under-appreciated, legendary runners for Millennials

There’s more to American distance running history than Frank Shorter and Pre. Kyle Merber shares five legendary runners that everyone should know.

March 6, 2017

Flagstaff Strong: What’s the hardest workout witnessed at altitude?

Flagstaff is one of the most popular destinations for distance runners to train at altitude. Pros, coaches share the craziest workouts they’ve witnessed.

March 6, 2017

Pledging allegiance: A look at the nationality transfer system

By the numbers, the United States has more transfers of allegiance than any other country. What’s the deal with the IAAF transfer freeze and why it matters.

March 5, 2017

Liao: USATF gets it right with off-distance races at USA Indoors

The off-distances at the 2017 USATF Indoor Championships provided us with many races of intrigue and several record-setting performances. So kudos to USATF.

March 5, 2017

USATF Indoor Championships: Day 3 live results, analysis and quotes

Live updates from the 2017 USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Live blog, results, analysis, reactions.

March 5, 2017

PHOTOS: USATF Indoor Championships (Day 2, March 4) by Jason Suarez

Photos from Day 2 of the USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships. Noah Lyles & Phyllis Francis broke records. Shelby Houlihan, Paul Chelimo dominated.

March 4, 2017

USATF Indoor crowns several first-time national title holders with Shelby Houlihan, Paul Chelimo

The 2017 U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships crowned several first-time winners on Day 2. Shelby Houlihan won the mile. Paul Chelimo won the two-mile. The 300s saw records fall.

March 4, 2017

USATF Indoor Championships: Full Day 2 recap, analysis and results

The latest updates from the 2017 USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Live blog, results, analysis, reactions.

March 4, 2017

Sammy Watson sets new U.S. High School record in the 1,000m

A brilliant indoor season continues for Sammy Watson of Rush-Henrietta High School as the senior ran 2:43.18 to set a new U.S. high school record and advance to the 1,000 meter finals.

The previous record was held by Sarah Bowman 2:43.40 in February 2005.

Back in 2014, a 17-year-old Mary Cain clocked a 2:35.80 but was a professional with Nike at the time so it is not listed as a U.S. high school record.

Watson’s time was the fifth fastest of the day.

If you’re keeping up with Watson’s indoor campaign, she’s set high school indoor records in the 600m (1:27.13), 800m (2:01.78) and now 1,000m.

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