Monday, March 1, 2021

Tuntivate talks about his big breakthrough


On February 20 in Suan Juan Capistrano, California, Harvard graduate Kieran Tuntivate had the biggest breakthrough of his career, the 24-year-old clocking 27:17.14 for 10,000m to join the ranks of world-class.

Tuntivate, a native of Wilmington, Delaware, trains with the Bowerman Track Club under the guidance of coach Jerry Schumacher, and he competes internationally for Thailand. His time in ‘The Ten’, which he ran to finish fifth, saw him secure the automatic qualifying standard for the Tokyo Olympics. He spoke to us about big breakthrough last week.

Did you expect to come out with a time like that?

Not exactly that time, I thought it’d be closer to that 27:30 range. That was a little bit of a surprise, a good surprise. Training has been going really well since the fall with no interruptions at all. My body felt better than ever; altitude was a little difficult, but I started getting my legs back the last two weeks leading up to the race.

What do you put the breakthrough down to?

I think just being able to do the training without getting hurt, being consistent and healthy. The workouts are going to get you fit. Obviously, there’s the aspect of pacing and being in that perfect race – that is probably worth something. I think the last part might be the shoes, everyone is saying they’re a big help and they’re probably worth something, but it’s unclear as to how much.

How long have you been in Portland with the Bowerman Track Club?

I’ve been here since September and started training with them in October.

How was the adjustment?

It was smooth, the guys helped it be smooth. They’re really good teammates in general and, physically, I feel the training was more intense then in college. It was similar but more intense so it took some time to get the body used to that. I felt like every week I was working a little harder to stay healthy.

How did your career progress at Harvard?

I feel like it was steady enough. I had a few issues here and there that probably prevented me from hitting the training the way we really wanted to. But generally it was pretty good. I kept it a little more chill and once it got near time to leave, I had a little more time to take care of my body.

Why did you decide BTC was the right move and when was that decision made?

I first thought it was a possibility in March or April, and I spoke with Jerry (Schumacher) and Tom Ratcliffe on the phone. Once I thought it was a possibility I knew that’s what I wanted to do, for sure. Every coach I talk to seems to only say good things about Jerry and the group. The teammates here are so kind as well.

What is Jerry’s attitude to coaching?

He’s obviously very knowledgeable. He seems to know exactly what we need at what time in terms of workouts. He knows when to hold me back and when to take me out of a workout. He’s not too intense that he’s screaming and yelling at you. It’s encouraging, for sure.

How did you manage the academic and athletic balance through your college years?

Going to Harvard, in the end, did help. I’m not sure where I’d be if I didn’t go there. Coach gave me all the right things to prepare me for where I’m at now, making sure I had a long-term plan and wasn’t trying to run my best times in college and working on that strength aspect of running where if I needed to go to that next level and run post-collegiately, I’d be able to handle the workouts. A lot of the physical part is dealing with the volume and how strong some of the professionals are so coach helped me prepare for that.

What is your typical mileage and training?

Mileage is pretty similar to college. When I arrive the coaches said ‘don’t train too much, the workouts are hard enough.’ I don’t keep track, but if I was to guess it’d be in the 80s.

What is your family background?

My Dad is Thai and my Mom is American.

And you also ticked off the Olympic qualifier. Will you focus on the 10,000m in Tokyo or also try the 5,000?

Jerry has his own plan and I’m not attuned to it yet, but I think we’ll do a 5K.

Do you know where you’ll race next?

Jerry wanted to see how I came off this 10K first. I’m feeling pretty good and I’d like to race but I haven’t worked out since the 10th of February so we’ll see how I feel.

Where are you training now?

We’re in Portland and will be here until whatever camp happens before the Olympic Trials.

Has that breakthrough re-aligned your goals for the year?

I don’t think so. It’s still hard to understand what that time means for me at this stage. You can’t really compare to the top US times, for instance, because if you look at Galen Rupp’s and Chris Solinsky’s times, they’re pretty far ahead of the next group and half of the US top-10 ran those times in championship races so they’re obviously more fit. In a championship race, you’re not going to run 27:17 the way I did, so I want to focus on getting more fit.

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Scott, Cranny scorch to fast times over 10,000m


A host of Kimbia athletes were in flying form at the Big Ten event in San Juan Capistrano in California on Saturday night, with Marc Scott leading the way with a massive personal best over 10,000m. His winning time of 27:10.41 secured the Olympic standard and moved him to second on the British all-time list for the distance. Just behind, Grant Fisher posted a remarkable 27:11.29 on his debut at the distance, making him the fifth fastest US athlete of all time. Back in fifth place, Kieran Tuntivate clocked a massive PB of 27:17.14, the fourth fastest ever by an Asian athlete.

In the women’s race, Elise Cranny was highly impressive when kicking to victory ahead of Bowerman Track Club teammate and fellow Kimbia athlete Karissa Schweizer, their times of 30:47.42 and 30:47.99 making them the sixth and seventh US athletes to break 31 minutes and putting them third and fourth respectively on the US all-time list.

Photo: Sound Running

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Monday, February 8, 2021

Scott sizzles to 3000m PB in Scottsdale


Marc Scott produced an excellent run to take victory at the Prickly Pear Invitational in Arizona on Saturday evening, clocking 7:36.09 to move to fourth on the all-time British list. He was followed home by Grant Fisher who clocked 7:37.21. Sean McGorty was close behind with 7:37.47 while Evan Jager clocked 7:42.51.

In the women’s race, Karissa Schweizer was impressive when taking third in 8:40.25, with Bowerman Track Club teammate and fellow Kimbia athlete Elise Cranny fourth in 8:40.33. Taylor Werner came home sixth in 8:56.53 with Fiona O’Keefe seventh in 9:02.63. In the men’s 800m Josh Thompson took victory in 1:49.15 over Amos Bartelsmeyer (1:49.24).

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Bumbalough on his retirement from pro running


Andrew Bumbalough announced his retirement from professional running earlier this week, the 33-year-old bringing the curtain down on a career that saw him race well at every distance from 1500m to the marathon. The Tennessee native represented USA at the 2011 World Championships over 5000m and at the 2011 World Cross Country Championships, and ran for the Americas team at the 2014 Continental Cup in Morocco. On the track he had personal bests of 3:37.15 for 1500m, 7:37.62 for 3000m, 13:12.01 for 5000m and 27:56.78 for 10,000m. In 2017 he transitioned to the marathon, and in dire conditions at the 2018 Boston Marathon he finished fifth. In 2019 he clocked 2:10:56 to finish 12th in the Chicago Marathon. Below is a Q&A with Bumbalough on the decision to call time on his professional career and what the road ahead will look like.

How have things been this week since you made the announcement?

I knew it was coming so it wasn’t a surprise to me, but the reaction still takes you by surprise. Yesterday was full of text messages and phone calls and things like that, so it’s been a little crazy.

When did you make the decision?

At some point over the summer I started to think about it. With how the [US Olympic Marathon] Trials went, I felt like things were set in place. The Trials had been my focus for the last four years, and what happened after I didn’t really have a plan for. If I made the team I obviously would have gone to Tokyo, but that was the focal point and end point for what plans I had. I dropped out, and I was hoping to pivot after that and run another race, to use the fitness in another marathon, but then Covid started to make its way into North America and things started to unravel with any race plans. With the Boston Marathon cancellation and everything cancelled into the Fall, I didn’t have anything to train for. A lot of my teammates were on the track but I’d moved along from the track, so it gave me a chance to think about what I want to do with my life now and with my future. Around the summer was when I really started to consider it seriously, but it became a little hard to let go moving into the fall. I wasn’t ready to make an announcement until this year.

Were you still running throughout the fall and planning to target any races?

It was more maintenance, keeping the options open. I was definitely not training properly, I told Jerry [Schumacher] I was taking a step away, doing running on my own terms. I was still running a decent amount, and I still am, at least five days a week. But in the summer I was cycling a lot, something I always loved doing, and that’s been a nice outlet. I’ve been getting out into the mountains and doing some hiking, trail running, other forms of exercise that I typically wouldn’t do during a focused training cycle.

You recently launched Highgear Running, which offers personalized coaching for runners at various levels. How did that come about?

I did a project for Nike that connected me with some athletes and the athletes I was working with were CrossFit, multi-sport athletes. One of them approached me and wanted to work on improving the running aspect of his training and he didn’t know how to start. His goal was to run a five-minute mile; he was a big, strong guy, and it was a lofty goal for him. He wanted to squat 450 pounds and also run a five-minute mile so I thought that was a really interesting problem to solve, how to help him work towards his goal. We started working together and through that I met some other athletes and started working with them, and I have realized I really like working with athletes. I always knew I wanted to coach in some form, but didn’t know what that would be. I don’t think I wanted to coach full-time, and I still don’t, in terms of it being my sole career path, but that experience led to the ideation of Highgear and what that might look like.

Is that your primary focus now?

No, my primary focus is product creation and product marketing. Through my time at Nike, I was often used as an athlete to come in and work with product creation teams, working with developers, product managers. In 2014 or 2015 I started to work with the innovation team charged with developing the Next% footwear line so I was at ground level, in the weeds with them, being one of the athlete voices in what became the 4%, the Vaporfly, and the Alphafly, and I still have a voice with that team. I did some work with them into the fall; that was my main thing over the summer and fall. What I really hope to do full-time is work in footwear in the sports industry.

As you look back, what are some of your best memories you’ll take away from your pro running career?

One of the things I’m most proud of, and something that’s bittersweet, is that for five years, from 2010 to 2014, I was in the top five in the 5K at the US Championships. I was third once, second once, one year I was fourth. In 2011 I got to go to the World Championships – I was an alternate and it was because of an injury to Chris Solinsky – and in 2012 I was a couple of seconds off making the Olympic team. I’m proud of being one of the most consistent athletes in the US at 5000 meters, but unfortunately with how deep the US was getting during that time, a couple of juggernauts in Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp were at the top, and it seemed for a lot of that time there was only one spot to go after. But that’s the beauty and the cruelty of our sport.

That run of five years is something I’ll take away and be very proud of along with, later in my career, making a successful transition to the marathon. My first couple of races were OK, they weren’t great, but I started to learn the event and one moment I’m really proud of is being fifth at the 2018 Boston Marathon in those conditions – getting through it and toughing it out. Coming away with a top-five finish at a Marathon Major is something I feel pretty good about. I think I could be a very good marathoner, but my better strength was on the track so to make that transition and run a big PR [2:10:56] in Chicago in 2019, having that range of being a sub-four miler who’s run 3:37 for 1500 and 2:10 for the marathon gives me a lot of pride.

While you will no longer be a professional runner, do you think there will still be races in your future?

I’m not ready to close the door on the idea of racing. It’ll never be the same in that running won’t be the primary focus of my professional life so it’ll have to look different. But other athletes have shown it’s possible at a very high level to have a professional career and also be an elite runner. I haven’t made a decision on what that looks like. I know I owe nothing to anyone other than myself, so that decision would be totally due to my own desire, but over the last month or so my desire to add some more organization to my training has been there, and my body feels really good. It feels really fresh. I’ve been running five days a week, 60 miles a week, half of what I usually do. I’m only 33, I’m not super-old, so it’s very possible that with the right circumstances going after a Boston Marathon or a New York City Marathon or some road racing is out there. I’ve also met some people very into ultra-running and trail running and they are pulling me to do something there, but I don’t know if I have much in me over 50K. I could see myself doing something off-road over a shorter distance.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Bumbalough calls time on professional running

Andrew Bumbalough has announced his retirement from professional running. The 33-year-old, a long-time member of the Nike Bowerman Track Club, will now transition into coaching. Last week he launched Highgear Running, which offers personalized coaching for runners of all levels from the mile to the marathon. 

During a decorated career, Bumbalough showed his class across a range of distances, clocking 3:37.15 for 1500m, 7:37.62 for 3000m, 13:12.01 for 5000m, 27:56.78 for 10,000m and 2:10:56 for the marathon. He finished fourth in the US Olympic Trials in 2012 over 5000m, and he finished fifth in the 2018 Boston Marathon, his highest finish at a Marathon Major.

Speaking to the Citius Mag podcast, he explained the reasons for his decision.

“Over the course of 2020, I was able to decide, I think I’m ready to finally move away from running. I’ve done OK the last few years but I’m ready to take on new challenges and see where I can contribute in different ways. Does that mean I never run a competitive race again? I don’t know. I think that’s too hard of a question to try and unpack.

“Physically, I feel better than I have in a really long time because I’ve taken a big step away from Jerry’s grind, where it just beats you down. If you survive it, you run amazing. If you don’t, you could be pretty tired after a little while…In 2021, I am no longer part of the Bowerman Track Club professional group and no longer a Nike athlete. That just took a little time to say that publicly. I think people who know me pretty well know that’s where I was headed this year. My passion for product has really come alive this year. Some of the teams that I’ve come to work with at Nike have just pushed me even further in that direction.”

“You really have to relish the moments that are good. Ask anyone who has done this.”

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