Monday, November 5, 2018

Flanagan fights to podium place at New York Marathon


Shalane Flanagan
battled her way on to the podium for the third time at the New York City Marathon on Sunday, the 37-year-old backing up last year’s victory with a typically tough, courageous performance to finish third in 2:26:22.

Kenya’s Mary Keitany took victory in 2:22:48, the second-fastest time in event history, with Vivian Cheruiyot coming home second in 2:26:02.

On the final run to the line, Flanagan repeated “I love you” to an adoring New York crowd, who were treated to another inspired performance by the Bowerman Track Club athlete.

“I just was overcome with emotion in that stretch as everyone is. I think 50,000 runners feel overwhelmed,” she said. “I love this community and I love the running community. I love New Yorkers. I’ve had an unbelievable time performing here and really appreciate the fans that are here and everyone who supports us.”

Flanagan was asked afterward about whether this may be her final race, but she was putting off any decision on the day itself.

“I think I’m going to take a few hours to decompress and really evaluate. I don’t want to be too soon to make a decision,” she said. “I do feel like my heart is leaning toward serving others with the knowledge that I’ve gained.”

For more on Flanagan’s fine performance, check out Runner’s World.

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Cragg impresses on comeback in New York

Amy Cragg finished a terrific third in her comeback race from injury at the US 5K Championships, the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line, in New York City on Saturday morning.

In a race won by Emily Sisson in 15:34, Erika Kemp finished second in 15:50 with Cragg coming home third in 15:54.

“It felt really hard and really fast,” Cragg said. “A shock to the system, but I’m very happy with it.”

The 34-year-old Bowerman Track Club athlete last raced when finishing third in the Tokyo Marathon in February, then bypassed a fall marathon after injury troubles, telling Runner’s World this week: “I hurt my hamstring, and it was pretty bad, but as it healed and I started running again, we figured out that I had some biomechanical issues and other injuries I was probably just running through.

“The main goal right now is to just get back to where I was before all this happened. Once we solidify that I’m completely healthy and ready to move forward, that’s when we’ll start making those decisions.”

Fellow Kimbia athlete Jessica Tonn finished 11th in the same race, the Brooks athlete clocking 16:14.

Watch Cragg’s interview below with Letsrun.com:

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Flanagan all set to fly in New York


Shalane Flanagan will return to the scene of her greatest triumph this weekend when taking to the start line in Staten Island to defend her title at the New York City Marathon.

The Bowerman Track Club athlete has had a low-key year so far, coming home sixth in dire conditions at the Boston Marathon in April, the last race she completed. But the 37-year-old is confident of a stout title defence this weekend.

“My fitness is good, I couldn’t ask for better,” said Flanagan, who admits she has made no career plan beyond this Sunday. “Over the past two years I’ve acted as if each marathon is my last, not knowing where it’s going to take me. Until I cross the finish line, I honestly don’t know.”

In an interview with Runner’s World, Flanagan revealed she expects to be in contention with the leading elites, who include Vivian Cheruiyot, Mary Keitany and fellow American Des Linden.

“I feel like I can take big risks this year. That’s the beauty of being the defending champion. I’ve already accomplished what I really wanted, so now I have the ability to really do whatever I want,” Flanagan said. “I don’t feel the panicky desperation to win—I am calm and calculated, but also willing to do big things.

“If I have a presence and I’m a factor in the race, that to me is a winning scenario. I really just want to be an ultimate competitor up front.”

 

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Quigley, Scott and Frerichs impress in season climaxes


Colleen Quigley, Marc Scott and Courtney Frerichs impressed in their final races of the outdoor season last weekend.

Quigley was in action at the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York, where the Bowerman Track Club athlete finished a close second to Jenny Simpson in 4:20.

Quigley had struggled with injury earlier in the year but made a strong finish to the summer season, setting PRs in the 1500 (4:03.02) and steeplechase (9:10.27). She was proud, if a little frustrated, by her effort in New York.

“I kind of feel like I misjudged it a little bit,” she said. “I did that last year and told myself I wasn’t to do it this year, and it happened again. It’s a tough road mile. It’s hard to gauge how far you are from the finish. I was trying to follow Jenny and stick on her shoulder. By the time I realized how close we were to the finish it was too late.”

For more reaction watch her interview below with Letsrun.com.

At the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Courtney Frerichs and Marc Scott were both in action. Unfortunately Evan Jager was forced to withdraw from his race shortly before after struggling with a foot injury.

Frerichs claimed another top finish when placing second in the women’s 3000m steeplechase in 9:15.22, an elimination race won by Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech. With that Frerichs helped Team Americas to victory in the overall contest.

Scott, meanwhile, represented Europe in the men’s 3000m, also an elimination race. In what was a truly world-class field, Scott was the third athlete to be eliminated, forced off the track with two laps to run, and he placed sixth overall to cap a great season.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

An Honest Hero: memories of Major Paul Koech


While we at Kimbia feel the sharp sadness of Paul Koech’s passing, we continue to be inspired by his integrity, conviction, and quiet humbleness. Koech (pictured above with his wife, Zipporah) was a much-loved figure in the sport, one known and respected far and wide for his achievements on the track but more so for his kind, compassionate behavior off it.

As such, we are delighted to share a few words below by Anders Samuelson, an English teacher at Freeport High School in Freeport, Maine.  In 2011, during the winter of his junior year at Bowdoin College, Samuelson spent three months living with the Koech Family and helping out in various English classes at Major Koech’s primary school, Silgich Academy.  Samuelson says of the Koechs, “I don’t think they really had any idea who I was when I arrived, but they trusted Tommy, and welcomed me into their home like family.  I am forever grateful for my time at Silgich, and in the wake of Major Paul’s passing, am reminded of what a miracle he created there in the quiet corn fields of Kipsomba.”

 An Honest Hero

In running, as is the case in life, the best ones dress simple, keep quiet, and work hard.  Major Paul was one of the best: 26:36 in Brussels, 12:56 in Zurich; the man could positively haul. Some of us would create bona fide monuments around those times; hang-the-lucky-singlet-over-the-mantle kind of things.  But to Major Paul, those impossible times were but numbers; to flash briefly on a scoreboard, smile at while cooling down, and then forget about. For as Major Paul knew, life is about so much more than PRs, and miles logged.

When I think of Major Paul, I think of him in his worn, red Bata flip-flops, a pair of “smart trousers” and a loose fitting button-up.  (I suppose just about everything was loose fitting on Major Paul; just like he was impossibly fast, he was always impossibly fit..). When he was home on his farm with Zipporah and his children, he seemed to love the simple things: checking on his chickens, chatting with the manure guys, and drinking chai.


Paul Koech pictured with students of the SilGich Hill Academy, who he was a huge supporter of throughout the years

I love to think of Major Paul in his favorite lawn chair, pouring Zipporah another cup of chai saying, “chai, chai, chai,” to himself; just in pure celebration of tea’s existence. Major Paul loved his chai. Whenever you drank chai with Paul, he had this great habit of filling any silences with some single word that summed up whatever it was that you had last been talking about.  For instance, if you’d been talking about running, after a few seconds of total silence he’d cross one leg on top of the other, flutter his flip-flop for a second, and then look off into the distance toward Eldoret and say, “sport…” or “training…” and then just let the word hang for a moment.  I would love to have known what Paul was thinking during those pauses.

Kenya has produced hundreds, if not thousands of world-class athletes in the past few decades.  Anyone who’s spent any time in the Rift Valley Province will tell you that the talent is deep.  But I think Major Paul would be the first to remind this generation of Kenyan talent that being an athlete is a responsibility, and wearing one’s national kit is an honor not to be taken lightly.  I think it will be some time before Kenya, or the world sees an athlete and human being so authentically righteous as Paul Koech.

May he rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

 

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