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After Salazar Ban, Nike Shuts Down Oregon Project

After Salazar Ban, Nike Shuts Down Oregon Project

15/10/2019, Australia, Athletics, Runners World Australia, Article # 29553044

Less than two weeks after Alberto Salazar received his four-year ban, Nike has announced the team will be shuttered.

  • According to a memo from Nike provided to Runner’s World on Thursday evening, the Nike Oregon Project will be shuttered.
  • The news comes less than two weeks after Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar was handed a four-year ban by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for doping code violations, including trafficking testosterone.

Less than two weeks after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) handed down a four-year ban to Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar for three doping code violations, Nike has announced that they will be shuttering the team.

“This situation, along with ongoing unsubstantiated assertions, is a distraction for many of the athletes and is compromising their ability to focus on their training and competition needs. I have therefore made the decision to wind down the Oregon Project,” Nike chairman, president, and CEO Mark Parker wrote in a memo that was provided to Runner’s World on Thursday evening.

In the memo, Parker said that though the USADA panel found no “orchestrated doping” or evidence that performance-enhancing drugs have ever been used on Oregon Project athletes, Salazar has been unable to coach while his appeal is pending.

Parker added that Nike will be helping its athletes during the transition as “they choose the coaching set up that is right for them.”

The news comes as top Oregon Project athletes Jordan Hasay and Galen Rupp are preparing for the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.

In an interview with Runner’s World this week, Hasay said she hasn’t spoken to Salazar since the ban was announced on September 30. Hasay added that any decisions about her future will come in the days following the marathon.“I’m just kind of focused on the race now,” she said in the October 8 interview. “Then we’re going to sit down and figure everything out.”

In deciding USADA’s case against Salazar, two independent three-member arbitration panels found that Salazar “trafficked testosterone, a banned performance-enhancing substance, administered a prohibited IV infusion, and engaged in tampering to attempt to prevent relevant information about their conduct from being learned by USADA.”

With Salazar at the helm, Nike launched the Oregon Project in 2001 with the stated goal of making American distance runners competitive again on the world stage. Among the U.S. runners who had their best performances while members are Rupp, a two-time Olympic medalist (10,000 meters and the marathon); Kara Goucher, a world silver medalist at 10,000 meters; Matthew Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic 1500-meter champion; Dathan Ritzenhein, a former U.S. record holder at 5,000 meters; and Hasay, the second fastest U.S. female marathoner in history. At the recent IAAF World Championships, Donavan Brazier won the 800-meter title in an American record of 1:42.34.

Ritzhenhein and Goucher became two key whistleblowers in the case against Salazar once they had left the team. (Read more about the timeline of events here.) To date, no Oregon Project athletes have tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug.

The group eventually included runners from other countries, most notably four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, who left the group in 2017. At this year’s worlds, Oregon Project member Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands won an unprecedented 1500-meter/10,000-meter double, and Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia took silver in the men’s 10,000.

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Oregon Project Coach Alberto Salazar Banned 4 Years for Doping

Oregon Project Coach Alberto Salazar Banned 4 Years for Doping

15/10/2019, Australia, Athletics, Runners World Australia, Article # 29553024

After a four-year investigation, the coach was found to be “orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping.”

  • Alberto Salazar, the head coach of the Nike Oregon Project, was banned four years for trafficking banned performance-enhancing drugs to his athletes.
  • The ban comes after a four-year investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and it also bans endocrinologist Dr. Jeffrey Brown for tampering with the doping control process.
  • Salazar, 61, is legendary in running and has coached many notable athletes, including Mo Farah, Galen Rupp, and Jordan Hasay.
  • In a statement on the Oregon Project website, Salazar said he was “shocked” by the outcome, the Oregon Project “has never and will never permit doping,” and he will appeal.

Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar and Dr. Jeffrey Brown, a Houston endocrinologist, have been banned four years “for orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping,” as first reported by the BBC.

The decision was announced Tuesday night by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The ban begins immediately, even with several members of the Oregon Project still competing in the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar. After the announcement, Salazar’s accreditation for the meet was revoked.

Two independent three-member arbitration panels found that Salazar and Brown “trafficked testosterone, a banned performance-enhancing substance, administered a prohibited IV infusion, and engaged in tampering to attempt to prevent relevant information about their conduct from being learned by USADA.”

The investigation into the Nike Oregon Project, Salazar, and Brown began in 2015. The USADA announcement noted that the investigation included 30 witnesses, 5,780 pages of transcripts, and 2,000 exhibits of evidence. The BBC reported that USADA brought doping charges against Salazar and Brown in March 2017, and the two contested the charges, which then went to arbitration.

Salazar adamantly denied all accusations throughout the process. In a statement on the Oregon Project website posted on Monday evening, he wrote, in part: “I am shocked by the outcome today. Throughout this six-year investigation my athletes and I have endured unjust, unethical and highly damaging treatment from USADAI have always ensured the WADA code is strictly followed. The Oregon Project has never and will never permit doping.” He wrote that he will appeal the decision.

“The athletes in these cases found the courage to speak out and ultimately exposed the truth,” said USADA Chief Executive Officer Travis Tygart in a release. “While acting in connection with the Nike Oregon Project, Mr. Salazar and Dr. Brown demonstrated that winning was more important than the health and wellbeing of the athletes they were sworn to protect.”

Salazar’s athletes have won dozens of Olympic and world championships medals over the years, as well as international marathons. Notable names in running have left Salazar and the Oregon Project in the past few years, including Mo Farah, who won four Olympic golds and six world titles, Matthew Centrowitz, who won the 2016 Olympic gold medal in the 1500 meters, Mary Cain, who at age 17 was a 2013 world championships finalist, and Dathan Ritzenhein, a three-time Olympian who left the team in 2014.

Not every member of the Nike Oregon Project is directly coached by Salazar, but several members of the team are still competing at this week’s world championships. Sifan Hassan, a Dutch distance runner and member of the Oregon Project, won the world outdoor title in the women’s 10,000 meters on Saturday.

Two of his current athletes—Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay—are scheduled to run the Chicago Marathon on October 13. No Nike Oregon Project athletes have tested positive for a banned substance.

Runner’s World attempted to contact Hasay and the Chicago Marathon, but requests for comment were not immediately returned.

On Monday evening, Nike released the following statement:

“Today’s decision had nothing to do with administering banned substances to any Oregon Project athlete. As the panel noted, they were struck by the amount of care Alberto took to ensure he was complying with the World Anti-Doping Code.

“We support Alberto in his decision to appeal and wish him the full measure of due process that the rules require. Nike does not condone the use of banned substances in any manner.”

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How This Rescue Donkey Became a Trail-Running Dynamo

How This Rescue Donkey Became a Trail-Running Dynamo

15/10/2019, Australia, Athletics, Runners World Australia, Article # 29552841

After a lifetime of abuse and neglect, Sherman’s future looked bleak—until author Christopher McDougall found him a purpose.

I’d been waiting for Wes for more than an hour, and now, before he even came to a stop, the look in his eye warned me to brace myself.

“He’s in rough shape,” Wes said as he got out of the truck. “Rougher than I thought.” I’ve known Wes for more than 10 years, nearly from the day my wife and I first uprooted ourselves from Philadelphia to live on this small farm in Pennsylvania Amish country, and I’d never seen him so grim. Together, we walked behind the pickup and pulled open the trailer doors.

Running with Sherman

Christopher McDougall runs with Sherman in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on September 24, 2019.

Inside the trailer was a gray donkey. His fur was crusted with dung, turning his white belly black. In places the fur had torn away, revealing raw skin almost certainly infested with parasites. He was barrel-shaped and bloated from poor feed and his mouth was a mess, with one tooth so rotten it fell right out when touched. Worst of all were his hooves, so monstrously overgrown they looked like a witch’s claws.

The donkey belonged to a member of Wes’s church. Wes is a truly wonderful person to begin with, and as a Mennonite, he’s committed by faith to helping anyone in need—or, in this case, any creature. Wes had discovered that one of his fellow churchgoers was an animal hoarder who kept goats and a donkey penned in squalor in a crumbling barn.

Wes owns the farm next to ours, and when he told me about the donkey he was trying to rescue, I figured why not? We’d wanted to help a creature in need, but this kind of creature—and this kind of need—was way beyond anything I’d imagined.

Early the next morning our savior rolled into the driveway. Scott hopped out of his truck with a confident grin—which quickly faded. “I’ve seen it all,” he said. “But not this.”

Scott, a sales rep for the shoe company Dansko, grew up in upstate New York and paid his way through college by fitting horses for shoes. After he moved to our neighborhood in Lancaster County, he became the go-to guy whenever local farmers needed help with their big work mules and buggy horses.

The hooves, he explained, were a death sentence. Donkeys usually keep their hooves naturally pumiced by foraging for long miles over rocky ground. But if you pen them up on soggy straw, or even leave them standing around in a grassy meadow, their hooves will eventually curl like the nails of a Hindu holy man. Once they’re deformed, the damage can be irreversible and lead to an excruciating death: Because equines have unusually small stomachs, most digestion takes place when their intestines are churned by the rocking motion of walking. Hobble them, and it’s only a matter of time before waste matter blocks their guts until the animal is torn apart from the inside.

The author and donkeys (from left) Flower, Sherman, and Matilda traverse a creek in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. When Sherman first started running, he was suspicious of even the smallest puddle.

“That’s a horrible way to die,” Scott said. “Unless . . .” He paused to think for a moment. “Do you have a hacksaw?”

Scott spent the next three hours performing last-ditch emergency “surgery.” He sawed through each hoof like a tree limb, then shaped them with his steel clippers and a rough file. He flopped back on the grass in exhaustion, sucking in deep breaths of relief. His T-shirt and jeans, spotless when he’d arrived, now looked like they’d been dug out of a swamp.

“I don’t know,” Scott said, his voice sounding weary and resigned. “If he’s not walking by tomorrow, all we can do is make him comfortable before he goes.”

Comfort was his wife’s department, and it wasn’t long before Tanya was roaring up our driveway in her dusty old SUV. She charged into action with her medical kit and shears, swiveling her head back and forth as she alternately crooned to the donkey (who by this point, I had decided to name Sherman) and barked commands back at me: Rags! Baby shampoo! Get the hose!

Running with Sherman

These days, Chris and Sherman usually run 10 to 15 miles a week together.

Suddenly, Tanya clicked off her shears and turned to face me.

“Look,” she said. “If he makes it, you can’t just stick a ribbon on his tail and leave him standing in a field like Eeyore. He’s been abused and abandoned, and that can make an animal sick with despair. You need to give this animal a purpose. You need to find him a job.”

A job? What was I going to do with a donkey, prospect for gold? Pioneer westward? But before I even asked what she meant, I got an idea. If Sherman found his way back to life, maybe I had something for him that was even better than a job: a wild adventure that the two of us could tackle together, side by side.

“That’s your idea?” Tanya snorted. “A burro race?”

She began squinting as I told this story, squeezing her eyes as if trying not to look at me. “So how far would he have to run?” she asked.

“The World Championship has two distances—”

“The World Championship.” She was smirking now, as if she’d just caught the punch line. “Not just a race. A World Championship.”


Running with Sherman

Sherman has changed McDougall’s attitude toward running: “I think I’d be bored if there wasn’t a 400-pound, semi-wild animal by my side.”

Colorado pack-burro racing is a throwback to the Gold Rush days in Leadville, Colorado, when prospectors would hit pay dirt, heave their gear onto their burros, and hightail it to town to file their claims. In 1949, an epic challenge was thrown down: Anyone foolish enough to try was invited to a 23-mile, all-comers burro race stretching from the Silver Dollar Saloon, up and over a 13,500-foot mountain, and back down the far side to the Prunes memorial in Fairplay, erected in honor of a donkey who wandered around Fairplay for years as the town’s shared pet.

Until 1980, women were banned from any Olympic track event longer than 800 meters. Meanwhile, in Boston, Running While Female was literally a crime: Any woman who dared attempt the Boston Marathon in the 1960s was subject to arrest by the cops or, if your dad was in charge, a beating. “If that girl were my daughter, I would spank her,” race director Will Cloney famously snarled after Kathrine Switzer finagled her way onto the course in 1967.

But in Leadville, the hardrock miners saw things a little differently. “Out West, we’ve always known that women were cut from the same leather as men,” said Curtis Imrie, the legendary burro racer who was happy to talk about the many times he’d been smoked by women like Barb Dolan and Karen Thorpe. “Burro racing has none of that nonsense you have back East about ‘protecting’ women.”

Looking back, it’s kind of insane that in Boston, grouchy old men with cigars and overcoats would keep declaring until 1972 that women were too dainty to run their marathon, while in Colorado, the “ladies” had been tearing up a far more grueling challenge for 20 years. Boston likes to boast that it’s America’s oldest marathon, but that’s true for only some Americans. For the other half of the population, the ones who were outlawed for decades from even entering, it’s as if the race didn’t exist. So for all Americans, men and women alike, our oldest marathon is the one that’s always been open to everyone. It’s not going to cost you a fortune, and you don’t have to qualify. All you have to do is show up, borrow a donkey, and get ready for battle.

“So when is this race?” Tanya asked.

“Next July,” I said. “Little less than a year.” Tanya pursed her lips, rocking her head back and forth noncommittally. Tanya wasn’t on board yet with my burro race idea, not by a long shot, but I could tell she was intrigued by the intellectual challenge. For a skilled trainer like her, it was like tackling a math problem for NASA; she wasn’t promising she could put a man on Mars, but she wanted to at least see if she could crack the equation.


“How far will he have to run?”

“Twenty-nine miles,” I said. “Fifteen for the short course.”

“Fifteen. Is short.” Tanya rolled her eyes. “Well, I’m the one who told you to find him a job. But it won’t be easy. Sherman can come up with a million ways to make your life a living hell.”

Tanya and I needed some help, and I had an idea where to look. It was time to call in Vella Shpringa—the world’s only Amish running club.

Our neighborhood in Lancaster County is home to America’s largest community of Old Order Amish, and among those horse-and-buggy drivers is a much smaller sub-group of Amish ultrarunners. Vella Shpringa means “Let’s all run” in Pennsylvania Dutch, and it began as a wholesome way for young Amish singles to get together on Sunday afternoons. The club soon created two magnificent traditions: They adopted an all for one, one for all motto—“The joy of running in community”—and launched the Full Moon Run, a monthly ramble under the stars hosted by various Amish families.

When McDougall first rescued Sherman, the donkey’s hooves were so overgrown they looked like “a witch’s claws.”

Before long, these Amish amateurs were getting fast. Everything the Amish have learned over the past 300 years about how to rely on their own bodies, the Vella Shpringa gang has applied to running. One Amish runner sliced a full hour off his marathon best in the course of a year, improving from 3:59 to a sizzling 2:54. Another wanted to see if a tall, muscular farmer like him could break five minutes in the mile and three hours in a marathon; within a year, he’d nailed both. As a six-man team, the Amish runners have won three Ragnar Relays covering distances from 128 to 200 miles. Leroy Stoltzfus was even featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! when he was spotted near the front of the pack in the Harrisburg Marathon in his long pants and suspenders, while Liz King has several times shown up at the starting line of a 10K in her full-length Amish dress and apron and outrun every other woman in the field.

Two months after Sherman arrived, I volunteered to host the Full Moon Run at our house. The Amish runners not only are strong and fast, but they’ve also been training animals since childhood. Just by luck, I might be living next to an undiscovered talent pool of expert burro racers: Where else are you going to find master horsemen with Boston Marathon speed?

“Is that the famous Sherman?” someone called from the darkness.

A van door slammed, and out stepped Jake Beiler, one of Vella Shpringa’s unofficial group leaders. Jake is tall and slender, but strong as a grizzly (one year at the finish of the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon, Jake nearly single-handedly dunked me headfirst in the water barrel to cool off). I was holding Sherman’s rope, while nearby, Tanya was saddling Flower, her big riding donkey. Jake saw the donkeys were nervous and immediately took command. He switched off his headlamp and kept his hands low, approaching slowly. He moved his head around until he caught Sherman’s eye, locking gaze to let Sherman know he wasn’t in any danger.

“So this is our new friend,” Jake said, his voice low and reassuring. Sherman eyed him warily, but held still when Jake stroked his head and scratched him under the jaw. Around us, vans and pickup trucks continued to arrive, filling the driveway and squeezing into rows across the lawn in front of the house. The murmur of voices grew louder, a stew of English and Pennsylvania Dutch, as runners who hadn’t seen each other since the last full moon greeted each other and loosened up.

Running with Sherman

“Okay,” I told Tanya. “Let’s see how far we get.”

I unknotted Sherman’s rope and yanked it free from the gate. I turned to make sure Flower and Tanya were set, while Sherman began trotting down the driveway—

And kept on trotting.

As soon as he realized he could outrun the commotion behind him, Sherman was off. I watched him go, so impressed by his speed and initiative that it took a few beats before I realized the rope was about to jerk out of my hand as Sherman disappeared into the dark. I sprinted after the fugitive, while Tanya swung herself onto Flower and joined the pursuit. When I caught up with Sherm, he didn’t seem to be escaping; he was clip-clopping happily along like a thoroughbred on parade. I bent down and grabbed the rope but he never broke stride, cruising at a crisp jog.

“What’s he up to?” I asked Tanya.

“Beats me,” she said. She held Flower back to see if Sherman would slow down, but Sherman seemed oblivious. After about a quarter mile, we hit a long grinder of an uphill slope and Sherman didn’t hesitate; he shifted into climbing gear and streamed along so smoothly, I was gasping to keep up. “Holy crap,” I panted. “What’s gotten into him?”

“Anything to mess with your mind,” Tanya laughed. “That’s donkeys.” Sherman ignored us, barreling straight into the night, a donkey on a mission. Only at mile two did I spot the first danger sign: Sherman’s ears swiveled back, detecting some menace in the silence around us. A few moments later, a shout rang out.

“Finally!” a distant voice called, and then I heard pattering feet. The first Amish runners were closing in fast, surging into view as they topped the hill behind us. I tightened my grip on Sherman’s rope, prepared to haul back if he got spooked, but other than the ear twitch, he didn’t flinch.

“You guys are flying,” Jake said, pulling alongside us. Beside him was Laura Kline, the 2012 World Champion duathlete and U.S. National Team triathlete. As many times as I’ve seen Laura on these runs, it still comes as a jolt whenever I spot a gang of young Amish men and, in the middle, this ripped elite athlete in her sleek compression gear emblazoned with sponsor logos. Laura had moved to the Lancaster area from Baltimore a few years earlier, and she soon became a Vella Shpringa regular. Her speed speaks for itself, but it’s her old-school work ethic that really bonds her with the Amish guys; I’ve watched Laura run for miles through unbroken snow up to her knees, and charge into the woods during a freezing winter storm that coated the rocks with ice. When she heard that tonight’s Full Moon might feature donkeys, she had to check it out.

Running with Sherman

“Looks like Sherman’s got some go,” Jake said. “Mind if I take a try?” I opened my mouth to explain why that was a bad idea, then shut it and handed him the rope. I hated to tamper with Sherman’s sudden miraculous mojo, but the whole point of bringing the donkeys out tonight was to see what I could learn from Vella Shpringa. Jake may not have run with a donkey before, but I had to believe his lifetime of animal savvy would let him suss things out. Sure enough, Jake expertly coiled the rope in his left hand and, with the right, gave Sherman a reassuring pat on the rump. The rest of the crew formed a flying wedge with Laura setting the pace, surrounding Sherm so closely on all sides that all I could see were two long ears jutting up from a circle of bobbing heads.

“Get up there, fella,” Jake said as we rounded a curve in the road and approached a long downhill. Sherman was already at a brisk trot, but at Jake’s command, he accelerated into a canter. I dropped off the pace a little so I could get a better look at Jake’s technique. He was only a few inches from Sherman’s left haunch, keeping himself much closer than I usually did. Every few strides, Jake clucked with his tongue or gave Sherm a little pat with his hand, gently reminding him that they were on the job. But Sherman showed no sign of slowing, even when the rope switched hands from Jake, to Jonathan, to Elam. Everyone was eager to take a turn, and they all handled Sherman with the same confidence and purpose—I’m not even sure Sherm was aware when a new runner stepped in.

As we breezed through mile three, eight hooves and 12 feet were pattering in unison, a single drumbeat uniting the tribe. I loved the way everyone instinctively synced their pace, adjusting their speed up or down a notch to make sure that humans and animals were all flowing comfortably. We were having such a blast, it took a good half mile before the distress signals from my legs and lungs made their way to my brain and I realized I was in trouble. Sherman and Flower were keeping up beautifully, but for me, the party was coming to an end. “I’m out,” I said, slowing down and peeling away from the group. Jake handed Sherman’s rope back to me. “Bye, cuties,” Laura called, rubbing Flower’s muzzle. “See you back at the ranch.” With that, she and the Amish guys stormed the hill and were soon out of sight, leaving Tanya and me alone with the two donkeys.

We’d run less than four miles, but we’d run it like real burro racers. “Let’s walk them in,” Tanya suggested. “Always finish on a high.”

Good advice for any run, I thought, then realized I’d learned something even better that night. I’d hoped the Amish could teach me about donkeys, but instead, they’d taught the donkeys something about the Amish. Sherman had discovered the Amish approach to exercise—“the joy of running in community”—and for him, there was no other way.

From Running With Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero by Christopher McDougall. Copyright 2019 by Christopher McDougall. Published by arrangement with Knopf, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

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Amazing Stats From Brigid Kosgei’s Marathon World Record

Amazing Stats From Brigid Kosgei’s Marathon World Record

15/10/2019, Australia, Athletics, Runners World Australia, Article # 29552693

How far could you run at her average pace?

At the 2019 Chicago MarathonBrigid Kosgei of Kenya ran 2:14:04 to shatter Paula Radcliffe’s previous world record of 2:15:25. Radcliffe’s mark had stood since 2003, and was thought to be untouchable—when Kosgei started her world-record run, the second fastest women’s marathon in history was 2:17:01.

Just how fast is the new women’s world record? How long could you run at Kosgei’s average pace? Here are a few fun facts in the wake of Kosgei’s mark.

  1. Kosgei’s average pace per mile: 5:06.8
  2. Kosgei’s average pace per 5K: 15:53.2
  3. Kosgei’s average pace for one lap of a 400-meter track: 76.25 seconds
  4. Kosgei’s first and second half marathon splits, respectively: 66:59 and 67:05
  5. U.S. women’s half marathon record (held by Runner’s World contributing writer Molly Huddle): 67:25
  6. Date the men’s world record became faster than Kosgei’s time: June 13, 1964 (2:13:55, by Basil Heatley of Great Britain)
  7. Time it took Kosgei to go from 35K to the finish: 22:50
  8. Time it took defending men’s champ Mo Farah to go from 35K to the finish in the same race: 23:35
  9. Gap between Farah and Kosgei at the finish: 4:06
  10. Gap between Farah and men’s winner Lawrence Cherono4:13
  11. Time by which the women’s world record has fallen since Kosgei was born on February 20, 1994: 7:02
  12. Kosgei’s age when Radcliffe set the previous world record: 9

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I’m A Runner – Andrew ‘Reidy’ Reid

I’m A Runner – Andrew ‘Reidy’ Reid

14/10/2019, Australia, Athletics, Runners World Australia, Article # 29550709

How to be a Runner

According to Andrew ‘Reidy’ Reid, 39, Bondi Rescue lifeguard and media personality

Feature on lifeguard Andrew “Reidy” Reid who used to weigh 120kg.

Let me explain:

Rain: There is something really special about running in the rain as I find it really euphoric. Plus the roads are quiet and empty making it seem like I have them all to myself.

Uphill: I love running up hills. I feel like it’s making me stronger with every step and the challenge of getting to the top as quickly as I can really gets me excited.

Warm up: It’s so important and something I feel very strongly about. Lots of leg swings and dynamic stretching!!

Morning: I set an alarm every night and wake up 30mins before it every morning. I love the start of the day as it’s the beginning of a new adventure for me. Especially when I’m going for a run because I try and make every run different.

Finish: There is no better feeling in the world than getting to the finish line of a race you’ve trained so hard for knowing you’re going to get a PB. Money can’t buy it that’s for sure!

Hopefully I get that finish feeling at this year’s Gold Coast Marathon when I finally break 3 hours there.

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Everything We Know About Eliud Kipchoge’s Barrier-Breaking Shoes

Everything We Know About Eliud Kipchoge’s Barrier-Breaking Shoes

14/10/2019, Australia, Athletics, Runners World Australia, Article # 29550665

The Kenyan marathoner ran 1:59:40 in a pair of unreleased Nike shoes. Thankfully, their design is online at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Nike Vaporfly Next%, a shoe designed to improve running economy by at least 4 percent, wasn’t the only racing shoe in the V-shape formation that shepherded world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge to the first sub-two hour marathon in Vienna. Kipchoge himself wore something different—an iteration of the Next% that appears to have a bulge (air bags, if you listen to the Internet) in the forefoot.

We’ll get a better look at the prototype as images from the INEOS 1:59 Challenge surface, but until then, we’ve got something better: A U.S. patent filed by Nike in 2018 that looks extremely similar to Kipchoge’s Vienna shoe. The patent drawings, recently unearthed by the site Believe in the Run, outline a cushioning apparatus that includes a segmented sole, three plates (likely carbon fiber), and up to four fluid-filled chambers.

Of course, the shoe isn’t the only factor in Kipchoge’s historic run. First, he’s clearly the “GOAT,” holding the official world record and is undefeated in his last 10 marathons, including a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Plus, he had a rotating cast of pacers not permitted in record-eligible runs, was also handed bottles of Maurten from a bike, and benefited from a pancake flat runway lined with cheering fans. But, were those shoes the X factor?



The pancake stack of cushioning includes a plate between the outsole and the first layer of chambers, a plate between the chambers, and a plate atop the chambers, directly beneath your foot.

Let’s start with the chambers—those visible “bags” seen in the forefoot. They’re made of TPU and contain something Nike calls “tensile strands.” When fluid is added to the chamber and pressurised to between 15 and 30 psi, the pressure places the strands into tension. The strands retain the shape of the chamber, Nike’s patent states, although it’s unclear whether that’s to improve cushioning, stability, energy return, or something else altogether. The chambers also add a slight bulge to the forefoot of the shoe, evident in fleeting views of Kipchoge’s foot.

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1:59:40 the magic Vua follower @oliver5gram at event

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Each side of the shoe has a chamber, with the designs showing the four chambers stacked in a 2×2 formation. However, Nike allowed for the chambers to be replaced with foam blocks—only the bottom two chambers are visible in Kipchoge’s shoe, so it may contain two chambers and two foam blocks, or the top two chambers might be hidden behind ZoomX foam.


Those vertical pillars represent the tensile strands within the fluid-filled chambers. This sketch has four chambers, but other sketches included a top layer of foam blocks and a bottom layer of fluid-filled chambers and vice-versa

Next, let’s talk plates. We can’t be certain that they’re made of carbon fiber, but Nike’s “maybe they are, maybe they aren’t” legalese makes us believe they’re carbon. Regardless, this is officially the year of carbon fiber and Nike’s going all-in, throwing not one but three damn plates inside this thing. Think of them as the bread in a triple-decker sandwich, holding together the two layers of fluid-filled chambers. The bottom plate goes between the outsole and the bottom chambers, the middle plate goes between the chambers, and the top plate sits directly beneath Kipchoge’s foot.

Like the Next%, a carbon plate splits the midsole. Unlike the Next%, there’s a carbon plate atop the midsole and one just above the outsole, too.

Nike explains the kinetics of the cushioning system like this: As the shoe touches down, the bottom plate distributes the force across the first layer of cushioning (fluid- or air-filled chambers, in the case of Kipchoge’s shoe). That force is taken up by the middle plate, and transferred upward to the second layer of cushioning (either chambers or foam blocks) and eventually to the top plate. The design allows for two layers of compression, and the plates’ force-distributing qualities prevent localized force (hot spots) from reaching the foot.


The rear of the shoe appears to be the standard slab of ZoomX foam found in the Next%.

ZoomX Vaporfly Next%


  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Will literally make you run faster


  • Pricey

Without official information from Nike, we have a lot of questions: Why is the chamber system in the forefoot better than ZoomX? By what degree does it improve running economy? Will we see the shoe on the feet of more Nike elites in the coming months? Can anyone without a Nike contract hope to win against this shoe? And, will this shoe ever be available publicly?

For now, we’re resigned to pouring over the patent and images of Kipchoge’s top-secret kicks—tell us what you think about the barrier-shattering shoes in the comments.

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Brigid Kosgei wins the Chicago marathon in world record time

Brigid Kosgei wins the Chicago marathon in world record time

14/10/2019, Australia, Athletics, Runners World Australia, Article # 29550621

She goes under Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old mark.

Brigid Kosgei of Kenya made history today at the Chicago Marathon, setting a world record of 2:14:04.

She smashed Paula Radcliffe’s mark of 2:15:25 from the London Marathon in 2003.

With two dedicated pacers ahead of her, Kosgei went out in a torrid first 5K of 15:28, which projects to a 2:10 marathon. Her pacers slowed the tempo slightly after that, but Kosgei was still well ahead of world record pace. By 10K, she had a 32-second gap on her nearest pursuer. She passed the halfway mark in 1:06:59.

The conditions were perfect for a record run, with temperatures around 40 degrees and light winds.

The 25-year-old earns $100,000 for the win and $75,000 for breaking the Chicago course record, which was 2:17:18, also held by Radcliffe.

Paula Radcliffe with new world record holder Brigid Kosgei.

Kosgei has not lost in 2019, including a victory at the London Marathon in 2:18:20, which was her previous personal best.

The world record comes a little more than a day after Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run under two hours in the marathon in Vienna (1:59:40), though that will not be recognized as an official world record.

Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia, who before today had a personal best of 2:24:02 from Tokyo in March, was second in 2:20:51, nearly 7 minutes behind Kosgei. Gelete Burka of Ethiopia was third in 2:20:55.

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Eliud Kipchoge Breaks Two-Hour Marathon Barrier

Eliud Kipchoge Breaks Two-Hour Marathon Barrier

14/10/2019, Australia, Athletics, Runners World Australia, Article # 29550606




Eliud Kipchoge held a sub-4:34 pace over 26.2 miles, making him the fastest man ever to run that distance.

  • On Saturday morning in Vienna, Austria, Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to break two hours in the marathon as part of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.
  • He finished in 1:59:40, holding a sub-4:34 pace for the 26.2 miles.
  • It will not count as an official world record because standard competition rules for pacing and fluids weren’t followed.

After months of planning and narrowly missing the mark in 2017, Eliud Kipchoge ran the fastest 26.2 miles ever in front of thousands of fans in Vienna on Saturday morning—and crossed the seemingly impossible barrier of two hours.

The 34-year-old from Kenya, who is unparalleled in the marathon, further cemented his legacy by running 26.2 miles faster than anybody in history, finishing the time trial event in 1:59:40. He held a sub-4:34 pace for the distance.

“I wanted to run under two hours and show human beings can do a good job and lead a good life. It shows the positivity of sport,” Kipchoge said. “I want to make the sport an interesting sport whereby all the human beings can run and together we can make this world a beautiful world.”

The race started with fog and mist in Vienna, with temperatures in the high 40s and humidity at 90 percent—a bit above the “ideal” of 80 percent heading into it. There was a 10 percent chance of rain going into the day, and the light rain started around 58 minutes in.

The course chosen for the event was the Prater park in Vienna, which was selected after a worldwide search that used software to take into account factors like temperature, humidity, wind speed, and elevation to find locations with ideal racing parameters.

It included a 1.2K run from the city’s Reichsbrücke Bridge to the Praterstern roundabout, after which Kipchoge completed four flat, 9.6K laps in the tree-shaded park and a final stretch to hit the marathon distance.

The pace groups did their job, flowing in and out in front and behind of Kipchoge with no trouble. He hit his 10K split comfortably in 28:20—slightly ahead of two-hour pace—with the calm stride and bounce fans are used to seeing from the legendary runner.

He hit the 21K mark in 59:35, giving him some breathing room for reaching the two-hour goal. And in all, it was a race run at a clinical rhythm, with most of his kilometer splits not wavering between 2:48 to 2:52 per kilometer—from 33K to 40K, he hit 2:50 exactly for every split.

“The pacemakers did a great job, they are among the best runners of all time,” Kipchoge said. “I thank them and appreciate them for accepting to do the job.”

In May of 2017, Kipchoge came up just shy of the two-hour mark during Nike’s Breaking2 project, finishing with a time of 2:00:25 at a racetrack in Monza, Italy. He held an average pace of 4:35.7, but missed the mark.

In actual races, Kipchoge continued to be unmatched. He now holds the official world record for the fastest marathon with his performance at the 2018 Berlin race, when his 2:01:39 finish shaved 78 seconds off the previous mark. He followed that up by winning his fourth London Marathon in April of 2019. That put his marathon win streak at 10 straight, including an Olympic gold in 2016.

Kipchoge’s 1:59:40 will not count for record purposes because standard competition rules for pacing and fluids weren’t followed.

Just how likely was this? When researchers from Australia crunched data from marathon world records over the past 60 years, they concluded that there was a 10 percent likelihood that the two-hour mark would be fall in May of 2032, and just a 5 percent chance it would happen by 2024.

“Many ideologies [have] been going that no human will break the two-hour mark but personally, I have dared to try,” Kipchoge said in a video of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge documentary series leading into the event. “I am doing it to make history.”

Kipchoge often equated breaking two hours in the marathon to when man first walked on the moon. It would break barriers that humans thought were impossible.

Even with the ideal setup, the thoroughly planned fueling strategy, high-tech shoes, a plethora of pacers, and a car just ahead of him, Kipchoge did what he set out to do.

And just like when Roger Bannister eclipsed the four-minute mark in the mile in 1954, Kipchoge has inspired a new generation to push their limits in the future.

“It is a great feeling to make history in sport after Sir Roger Bannister in 1954. I am the happiest man in the world to be the first human to run under two hours, and I can tell people that no human is limited,” Kipchoge said. “I expect more people all over the world to run under two hours after today.”

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Alysia Montaño Receives Medal Upgrade at IAAF World Championships

Alysia Montaño Receives Medal Upgrade at IAAF World Championships

07/10/2019, Australia, Athletics, Runners World Australia, Article # 29535145

The 800-meter star was awarded her bronze medals after being cheated out of them during the 2011 and 2013 world championships.

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