Saturday, May 27, 2017

Courtney Frerichs Sets Steeple PR at Prefontaine Meet

Start the month with the proverbial rust buster (and food poisoning), end it setting a personal best.

That’s how May went for Courtney Frerichs, who took 1 second off her steeplechase PR at the Prefontaine Classic on Friday, three weeks after opening her season in Doha, Qatar. That rust buster was a 9:45.91 steeple on May 5, marred by contracting food poisoning while traveling. Last night, she ran 9:19.09, a solid improvement over the 9:20.92 she ran on the same track to place second in the Olympic Trials last June.

Courtney was fifth in a race won by Kenyan Celliphine Chespol in an under-20 world record of 8:58.78.

Courtney’s next steeple will be at the USATF championships in Sacramento, California, which will select the team for the world championships, which begin on August 4 in London. Qualifying heats of the steeple in Sacramento will be run on June 22.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Amy Cragg Named to World Championships Marathon Team

In what is technically known as a no-brainer, Amy Cragg was named today by USA Track and Field to the marathon squad for this summer’s World Championships in London.

Amy’s teammates will be Serena Burla and Laura Thweatt, both of who have set marathon personal bests this year. Amy, in contrast, has been focusing on shorter races before beginning her marathon build-up. In February, she set a PR of 68:27 at the Marugame Half Marathon in Japan. Last Friday, in her first track race since 2015, she was only 7 seconds off her 10,000-meter PR with her runner-up 31:17.20 performance at the Payton Jordan Invitational.

The World Champs marathon (both women’s and men’s races) will be run on Sunday, August 6. The women’s race over the four-loop course will start at 2 p.m. local time. Anyone who last year saw Amy win the Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles and then finish 9th in Rio knows she’ll be ready to roll regardless of the weather.


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Friday, May 5, 2017

Bannister Anniversary Day: The Perfect Time to Watch “Everest on the Track”

May 6, 1954 will always be a landmark date in athletic history. That’s when Roger Bannister did what was said to be impossible and became the first person to break 4:00 for the mile.

But as our documentary “Bannister: Everest on the Track” details, that first sub-4:00 was much more than just sporting news. Like the conquest of Mt. Everest, it spoke to humanity’s need to challenge supposedly insurmountable barriers. And like the summiting of Everest, Bannister’s epic run inspired a world still reeling from World War II that the future could be better than the past.

While it’s always a good time to watch “Everest on the Track,” this Saturday, the anniversary of that first sub-4:00, should be considered appointment viewing.

Our friends at Tracksmith are making the day even more special. They’re providing a free download code for “Everest on the Track” for the first 100 orders of their Bannister-inspired White Collection of singlets, shorts and tops.

Indiewire named “Bannister: Everest on the Track” one of the best sports documentaries ever made, putting it in such company as “Hoop Dreams,” “When We Were Kings” and “The Endless Summer.”

Learn more about the film here, and order it here or here.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Amy Cragg Turns Jeptoo Ban Into a Positive

Amy Cragg has a knack for turning what could be a negative into a positive. For example, finishing fourth in the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials motivated her to redouble her efforts on the track, resulting in winning the 10,000 at the Olympic Track Trials later that year. Now she’s converted the fallout from a former competitor’s drug bust into the seed for nurturing the next Amy Cragg.

In 2014, Amy finished fifth at the Chicago Marathon. Later that year, the initial winner, Rita Jeptoo, failed a drug test, and subsequently received a doping ban and erasure of her recent competitive record. The Chicago Marathon adjusted the results, moving Amy to fourth place, and awarded her the additional $5,000 in prize money that went with placing fourth.

Amy, in turn, is donating that $5,000 to Girls on the Run Chicago, that city’s branch of the nationwide program that uses running to teach young girls about self-confidence, goal setting, and other positive life skills.

“It is my biggest fear that kids will give up before they even try because their belief was robbed from them,” Amy says about the effect of dopers on young runners. “Programs like Girls on the Run provide a nurturing environment for girls to realize their full potential and connect with the community around them in a positive way. I have seen first-hand the power of running and the positive impact sport can play in the lives of kids. Running should be a sport for everyone, but to get kids out there and excited we need to give them heroes.”

Next up for Amy is a return to the track and the 10,000 at the Payton Jordan Invitational on Friday night.



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