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December 1, 2018

Here’s to the blue collar runner

EDITOR’S NOTE: Noah Droddy (fast) has been a Citius Mag supporter since day one. That’s why when he sent us this blog ahead of CIM, we decided to throw him a bone. Let that be a lesson to the rest of you. 

It is 5 AM and I am sound asleep, but the bed I share with Emma is already half
empty. She has had her first cup of coffee, and by now is likely running loops of a
nearby park in the pitch dark. She did it yesterday too. She’ll do it again tomorrow.
Day after day she toils in the still dark. She will finish just in time to shower, eat
quickly, one more cup of coffee and head out the door for a full day teaching at a
Boulder preschool. After school, she will train again. After a brief moment to
decompress and dinner, she’s in bed early to prepare for the same routine

Why? An Olympic Trials qualifier. The gold standard of the post-collegiate athlete.
Emma is an accomplished athlete, having finished 39th at the 2016 Olympic
Marathon Trials, and she has always balanced her training with some amount of
work and school. But this time would be special; the barriers to marathon fitness
were especially high. A full time demanding job, graduate studies, a sore hamstring,
and a needy boyfriend waiting on the couch at home – enough to scare a mere
mortal into adult recreational sports. But not Emma. She chose to do this because it
is hard.

The California International Marathon has shined a spotlight on the citizen runner.
The runners laying down fast times while holding down full-time jobs. In distance
running, we keep the “blue-collar runner” in the highest esteem. Why? Well,
probably because they are motivated by the love of the sport, and the pursuit of their
absolute limits. Not sustained by dreams of big money or fame, their ambition is
pure. They have done their absolute best in difficult training circumstances, and no
doubt many of their performances will still rank among the best the USA has to
offer. The idea that someone could love something so much and pursue it with such
tenacity and sacrifice in the name of personal satisfaction inspires the imagination.
It forces fans and competitors alike to ask themselves – what am I really capable of?
What do I really want?

Everyone says that just getting to the start line of a marathon is a win in itself.
Surviving the demands of the buildup and showing up healthy enough for a 26.2
mile race is extraordinarily difficult in the best circumstances. I agree with that –
seeing Emma start that marathon will be an emotional moment for me, knowing
what she went through just to get there. But I know she wants more, the start line
will mean less to her. That’s how we’re wired as competitors, and the mission
isn’t over at the start line. So I’ll cheer her on with vigor all the way home. Because
of what this means to her, because of what she means to me, and because of what
runners like her mean to the sport we all love.

So here’s to the blue-collar runner, but specifically to my blue-collar runner. Emma,
you inspire me daily. I strive to emulate your toughness. You have taught me to find
joy in my work when at first glance I can’t see it. You have taught me to appreciate
what I have. Your buildup has made me a better athlete, a better person. May you
and your competitors have the races you all deserve this Sunday. I am tremendously
proud of you no matter what. To the moon.

November 14, 2018

Where Does American Men’s Marathoning Go From Here?

Even after solid performances from the American men at the 2018 New York City Marathon, the American stars faced criticism.

November 4, 2018

The New York City Marathon Gallery

It was a great day to run fast.

November 4, 2018

Scott Fauble is good at the marathon

Scott Fauble has never been the guy everyone talks about, and that’s fine but let’s take notice of him now.

November 3, 2018

USATF 5K Championships | New York City

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.

November 1, 2018

Des Linden: Races Are Supposed To Hurt

At the 2018 Rock ‘N’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, Des Linden demonstrated why she’s the embodiment of grit.

October 4, 2018

GRIT (Episode 1): Building The Fire

GRIT is a four-part series that takes you through Stephanie Bruce’s buildup towards NYC Marathon on Sunday November 4th.

September 20, 2018

It’s Been Almost A Week Since Kipchoge Ran 2:01:39. Did I Miss Something?

What can the reception to Eliud Kipchoge’s performance in Berlin tell us about the current state of running fandom?

September 19, 2018

Eliud Kipchoge called his shot

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.

September 17, 2018

Breaking Down The Most Impressive Part of Eliud Kipchoge’s World Record

The splits are crazy but we’re going to breakdown the actual most impressive part of Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record yesterday. It’s his post-race celebration.
The man accelerated after running a 2:01:39 marathon. People typically can’t walk after a 26.2 mile race but as we’ve come to learn in recent years – there is no one like Eliud.
A few things to note:

As he crosses the finish line, he does the classic hand clap and fist pump. That’s a great celebration because it shows that you’re happy. Sometimes people finish the race and don’t feel happy. Maybe they didn’t run well and they don’t do the hand clap. The hand clap is nice because it shows that Eliud is impressed with his performance – as he should be.

Another interesting thing to note is that he didn’t wear a watch. That’s good because he didn’t leave the door open for that terrible picture of someone crossing the finish line and looking at their watch. I think he knew that he was going to set a world record today and that’s why he left the watch at home. Maybe we should all leave the watch at home?
Probably about 10 steps after he crosses the finish line and stops clapping, he does a similar head slap to the one by Mo Farah after he won gold at the London Olympics in 2012. That’s an interesting move. It kind of insinuates the “unbelievability” of what just happened. He can’t believe it so he hits his head. He jumbles his brain around a little bit to make sure that what has happened is real. Eliud, it is. It’s really cool, man. You don’t need to hit your head so much. That’s probably not a safe thing to do after a marathon.
After he does the head slapping, he does an arms wide open move and runs for 10 steps past the finish line and toward his coach Patrick Sang. At this point he jumps – well, it’s kind of a jump but more of a three to four inch vertical leap (an estimate based off nothing). For a distance runner that seems fine.
Patrick Sang lifts him up but first gets low. That’s important to note. He gets a little lower. Eliud goes over and Patrick goes under with the arms. Sang uses the momentum of Eliud’s vertical leap to propel Eliud like a child into his arms.
It’s beautiful. Eliud is tiny and looks like a newborn in Patrick’s arms. So happy to be alive and run such a beautiful race.
And of course…it sounds so much better when you add Celine Dion to it.

Thanks to Taylor Hite for the illustration!
September 16, 2018


Capturing the elation of Eliud Kipchoge and his world record-setting run at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

September 13, 2018

What to Watch For 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.

September 12, 2018

I am going to Germany

We have decided to send Ryan Sterner to Berlin to cover the 2018 Berlin Marathon. Did we make a mistake?

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!

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