Friday, February 29, 2008

No Finishing Times for Most Runners in Dec. Honolulu Marathon

It seems time really does stop in paradise. Directors for the Honolulu Marathon have finally given up on getting exact finishing times for the vast majority of its 23,000 participants (race release; AP/NY Times story). Heavy rains at the December 9, 2007 start supposedly wreaked havoc on the timing system, which seemed to fail at multiple points during the race. The race was timed by SAI Timing System (company site), which used a new type of disposable timing chip. The new chip is supposed to unburden race staff, since volunteers no longer need to clip chips off of runners' shoes after the finish. Of course, this didn't quite work out as planned at Honolulu, as race staff had to painstakingly review race day video to try to calculate finishing times - ultimately deemed an impossible task. Hopefully, SAI's tag line simply seems ironic at this point, rather than prescient: "the next step in the evolution of transponder timing."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Can Lifting Weights Really Help Your Running? Maybe. Maybe not.

Good article today in the New York Times by Gina Kolata (story) on the question: does weight lifting really boost performance in endurance athletes? It's well balanced and covers most of the bases. In general, the piece comes down on the positive side, which makes sense, but also makes it clear that much of the evidence on lifting's benefits is anecdotal or based on very small studies, which are typical in sports medicine. The article, though, closes by skimming on an issue we at Run Junkie wonder most about when looking at this topic: with limited time to train, should a person cut running time to add weights, or would it be better just to devote all that time to running. The article largely feature athletes who seem to have little pull on their time, which has little bearing on those of us with a full (often too full) non-running life.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

World Record Holders and Huge Prize Money at Zayed International (Half) Marathon

Although it's really a half marathon, the Zayed International Marathon in Abu Dhabi (UAE) - set for February 28 - brings a full prize purse and talented field (race site). Both of the current world record holders at the half marathon distance are set to toe the line: Samuel Wanjiru (58:33) and Lorna Kiplagat (1:06:25). And the prize money is nothing short of astounding. Total purse is $ 2 million, with $300,000 going to the first place male and female - plus a cool $200,000 bonus for a new world best time (prize list). Eurosport story on the Zayed (story).

Postscript: (2-29-08) As expected, Wanjiru and Kiplagat take first place in the half. See Khaleej Times piece on the race (story).

(Photo by jonrawlinson, used under Creative Commons)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NYC Marathon Starts Accepting Applications

The contest to get into the Nov 2, 2008 New York City Marathon started yesterday (race site). Applications for the lottery are being accepted now through June 1 for US residents, May 1 for international runners. Guaranteed entries exist for some: See criteria (link). The best way to assure entry, of course, is simply to run fast. Here are the qualifying times for this year:

Open (Age 18-39) Masters (Age 40+)

Marathon Half-Marathon Marathon Half-Marathon
Men 2:55:00 1:23:00 3:10:00 1:30:00
Women 3:23:00 1:37:00 3:38:00 1:44:00

Veterans (Age 50+) Veterans (Age 60+)

Marathon Half-Marathon Marathon Half-Marathon
Men 3:30:00 1:40:00 3:45:00 1:48:00
Women 3:52:00 1:50:00 4:13:00 2:00:30

Monday, February 25, 2008

26.2 in the City of Angels: LA Marthon Kicks Off March 2, 2008

Even for those of us not toeing the line at the LA Marathon this coming Sunday, March 2, it's an event worth celebrating (race site). After a hard (and continuing) winter at Run Junkie Headquarters in the high country of the intermountain west, just knowing there's a marathon going off in warmer climes is enough to herald hope of spring and the clear, dry running trails that go with it. And, if that's not something worth a "hip, hip, hurrah," we don't know what is. For all you've ever wanted to know about the upcoming LA Marathon, plus some good training tips, check out these recent articles in the LA Times:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

800m Runner, Khadevis Robinson, Great On and Off the Track

The 800 meters is a tough event. It's a pulse-pounding, lung-busting distance, and the level of national and worldwide competition is very high. One of the standouts in the 800m for the past decade is Khadevis Robinson - the subject of a great article in toady's New York Times (story). Coached by legendary 800m runner, Johnny Gray, Robinson is 31 and still making finals and winning meets. His PR of 1:43.68 is 1.08 seconds off of Gray's American record, which he's shooting for, if a bit reluctantly. Perhaps more impressive than his times and his Olympic Team credentials are his feats off the track. Rudderless after a disappointing Olympic Trials in 2000, he decided to get a graduate degree in public administration and then started a youth track club in Santa Monica (Youth Track and Running Club). Clearly, life beyond the track hasn't slowed him on the track; he's realistically gunning this weekend for a spot on the indoor U.S. Worlds team.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Race Update: Robie Creek Registration Grinds to a Halt - Yet Again

See 2009 Robie Creek Registration Update

Registration for the 2008 Race to Robie Creek ground to a halt for the second year running, with the servers failing to keep pace with anxious athletes looking to enter the April 19 Boise-area half marathon. From the moment the registration link went live on the Robie Creek site (site) at 8:00am (MT), users were met with halting, fitful, and downright dead connections, which continued through the morning and seemed likely to keep up much longer. The chaotic home page marked well what was to greet would-be participants (see image; click to enlarge). As news breaks on the situation, Run Junkie will report it.
Postscript: (2-18-08;3:05pm) Robie Creek site reports race is full; posts race logo for 2008.

Postscript: (April 18, 2008) Race instructions on the eve of race day (post).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Record at Tokyo Marathon Set By Swiss Roethlin

Viktor Roethlin set a new record at the Tokyo Marathon, clocking 2:07:23 and throwing down the gauntlet for Beijing in August 2008. Japan seems fertile ground for the Swiss runner, where he came away with a bronze in last year's World Championships marathon (story).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ethiopian Bekele Sets Indoor 2-Mile Record

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele pounded the boards today to a new 2-mile record at an indoor meet in Birmingham, England. His time of 8:04.35 just bested the old mark of 8:04.69 held by countryman, Haile Gebrselassie (story).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Need for Speed: US Marathoners Hall & Ritzenhein give interview at XC trials

Not afraid of a little speed, U.S. Olympic marathon team members, Ryan Hall and Dathan Ritzenhein, are in San Diego for the 2008 USA Cross Country Championships in hopes of also making the cross country Worlds team. Hall and Ritzenhein took 1st and 2nd in the marathon trial in November, which was held in Central Park. The two held a teleconference in the run-up to the cross country trials set for Saturday. USATF posted the interview (interview), where they talk about their preparation for the upcoming race, future marathon race plans, and battling the smoggy conditions in Beijing (previous post on topic).

Postscript: (2-16-08) Ritzenhein wins men's 12k; Hall takes 5th. Both make Worlds team.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Race Update: 2008 Race to Robie Creek Bans iPods

Well, the "toughest half marathon in the Northwest," just a got a bit tougher. Directors for the popular, Boise-area Race to Robie Creek half marathon, set for April 19, voted to uphold the USATF rule against media players of any type in its sanctioned events (race site; news story). While banishing iPods in most public running events seems a little over the top to us at Run Junkie, we fully support this instance since Robie Creek is a well-populated race run on some narrow trails. See our previous post on registration for 2008 Robie Creek (set for Feb 18 @ 8:00am) (post).

Postscript: (April 18, 2008) Race instructions on the eve of race day (post).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Science Wire: Run the Numbers on Living to 90

You know all those good behaviors the health police keep yappin' about? Well, we all better start listening to them if we want to make it to the ripe old age of 90. A recent study in U.S. male physicians found that, in those living at age 70, some simple behaviors - not smoking, avoiding obesity, keeping blood pressure normal, avoiding diabetes, and of course exercising - pushed the chances of making it to age 90 to over 50 percent (study). The fewer the healthy behaviors, the lower the chances of joining Club Nonagenarian (see figure, click to enlarge).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

An Ideal Running Weight? Maybe. Maybe not.

We buy racing flats to save a few grams in weight so we can possibly shave a couple seconds per mile off our finishing times. So it goes to follow that many of us can be a bit obsessive about our body weight as well. If we can just get down to 4 percent body fat, all our dreams will be realized: we'll fly up the hills like angels, descend like Tour riders, and have the foot speed of Bernard Lagat. At least that's how the reasoning goes. Yet, is that really the case? Maybe yes, and maybe no. Check out this great article on Running Times online that goes over the potential benefits and pitfalls of the quest for the ideal racing weight - whatever that might be (story).

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Have Chicken, Will Travel - To the Olympics

So how do you like your chicken? Steeped in steroids with a dash of animal medication and insectiside? If so, you're out of luck if you're on the United States Olympic team headed to Beijing. After some painstaking detective work that found any manner of chemicals in local Chinese fare, the New York Times reports today that nutritionists for the U.S.O.C. have decided to ship in most of what they need, especially lean protein, like chicken (link). The move looks to keep athletes healthy and, especially, out of hot water with doping control agents.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Race Report: Empire State Building Run-Up 2008

King Kong was the unofficial winner of the very first Empire State Building Run-Up, with Fay Wray a very close second. The less hirsute winners of the 2008 edition were German Thomas Dodd and Aussie Suzy Walsham. Dodd took his third title in a row, scaling the 86 floors (1,050 ft) in 10:08. Walsham took the palmares in 12:44. Australian pro cyclist, Paul Crake holds the record time with his 9:33 in 2003. New York Road Runners organizes the event (story).

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Lagat Wins Wanamaker Mile for 6th Time

The 101st Millrose Games (site) saw Bernard Lagat take the Wanamaker Mile for the sixth time in his storied career. In a replay of last year's race, Lagat was able to kick around cagey Australian Craig Mottram in the final laps to win on the banked track in Madison Square Garden in 3:57.51.