Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Michelle Sikes in Kenya: A Long Hill

Michelle Sikes Doing Hill Work in ItenMichelle Sikes, Rhodes Scholar-extraordinaire, has spent the past few weeks in and around western Kenya  pursuing some first-person scholarship about the rise of the female Kenyan distance runner.  Between dozens of interviews with local running legends, she has even managed to fit in some training, and shares below…

We ran up a mountain today.  Godfrey (Kiprotich) was EXACTLY on-time – 8:30am on the dot.  Thinking that he just might happen to arrive late, I went off to breakfast in order to have a pre-run coffee.  However, just after I left the room, he pulled up in Ben Maiyo’s faithful white truck!

We took our usual seats, in our usual order, in the cabin of the truck.  From left to right, we sit (fellow Oxford student) Jonathan, then me, and then Godfrey behind the wheel (the driver sits on the right in Kenya!  Another legacy of the British…)  We passed the Viewpoint and from there, it was down, down, down…The Viewpoint was to be our finish line.  Our starting point was a primary school 2000 meters below it. Read the full article

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Bairu Beats Hall, Nelson and Vaughn Impress in Debuts

Bairu at Stanford 2009In a match-up pitting Canada’s best distance runner against the fastest American half-marathoner in history, KIMbia’s Simon Bairu came home the victor, winning the Rock and Roll Arizona Half Marathon over Olympian Ryan Hall. Bairu’s 1:02:47 not only won the day, but also took nearly of two-minutes off of the course record. Running just his second half-marathon, Bairu used the 11th mile to put 26 seconds between himself and Hall, and only lengthened his lead to the tape. With high hopes for his next race — the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Poland — Bairu certainly seems on the right track.

Meanwhile, a hop, a skip, and a very long jump away in eastern Texas, the USATF Half Marathon National Championships brought together a deep domestic field.  Houston has a history of auspicious, break-out races — from Hall’s own AR, to KIMbia’s Jim Carney winning the National Championship in his debut in 2008 — and Tim Nelson and Brent Vaughn looked to add their own chapter to that story as each took his first swing at the 13.1-mile distance. Read the full article

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Friday, January 15, 2010

2010 US Season Set to Kick Off in Houston, Phoenix

Tim Nelson at Stanford 2009The domestic professional season kicks off this Sunday with the American southwest serving as ground zero.  The US Half Marathon Championships will run through the streets of Houston and feature a handful of KIMbia athletes, while the Rock and Roll Arizona Half Marathon goes off in Phoenix, with Simon Bairu taking on American Record Holder Ryan Hall.

There is plenty to be watching and a couple of Running Times pieces have gone inside the KIMbia stories that will be playing out this weekend. Chief among them? The half marathon debuts of Tim Nelson and Brent Vaughn. Vaughn expressed his confidence as he looks ahead with a new coach and new training approach:

“I’m training harder. I’m doing a lot more general strength stuff. My coach now is Jay Johnson. I think he’s a great coach. One of his strengths is knowing how hard I can push once the running is done.”

The full interview can be found hereRead the full article

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Monday, January 11, 2010

End of 2009 Q&A: Matt Tegenkamp

Teg at Stanford 2009As we move into 2010, our athletes will each be sharing a look back at 2009, which we will be running throughout the next two weeks.  Next up: Matt Tegenkamp, who spent the past year making his third global championship final and breaking 13:00 in the 5k, running 12:58.56 in Brussels — a 6+ second PB and just two seconds away from the American Record.

What were you thinking with 800m to go in Brussels? Were you anxious that the pace was slowing too much and perhaps you would not get a shot at sub-13:00 and/or the US record?

With 800 to go, I knew exactly were I was for time and I was disappointed that the pace slowed and by the fact that I didn’t do anything about it.   I don’t think the other athletes would have let me get to the lead but I think if I had just made the effort the pace would have picked back up.  It was tough coming so close to the AR but it was a huge ste p forward and I know I left time on the track that day!

Now that you’re under 13-minutes, does it feel at all like a weight has been lifted? Read the full article

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

End of 2009 Q&A: Brent Vaughn

Vaughn at 2009 Pre ClassicAs we move into 2010, our athletes will each be sharing a look back at 2009, which we will be running throughout the next two weeks.  Next up: Brent Vaughn, who is preparing to step up to the half-marathon later this month.

1. You have talked a bit about moving up in distance starting in 2010.  Any idea yet when and where you might make your 10k/Half debut, and if longer races will be a part of the coming year?

I am planning to try out a longer race this winter before the track season starts.  I’m not planning to specifically get prepared for anything, but just want to run a road race during my preparation for the 10k and this upcoming track season. [Ed. Note: Brent has since entered the Houston Half Marathon where he'll compete for the USATF Championship at that distance.] Read the full article

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