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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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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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Shalane Flanagan to Get Upgrade to Olympic Silver

Shalane Flanagan will soon be the official 2008 Olympic silver medalist at 10,000 meters, after Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse was handed a retroactive doping ban and stripped of her results from August 2007 to 2009. The International Association of Athletics Federations made the announcement about Abeylegesse on Wednesday.

An Abeylegesse sample that was collected at the 2007 World Championships was retested and found to contain a banned steroid. Abeylegesse was initially the 10K silver medalist at that meet as well as the following year’s Olympics. Shalane was initially the bronze medalist at the 2008 Games in a then-American record (and still personal record) of 30:22.22.

After the IAAF announcement on Wednesday, Shalane said that she was elated by the news. The IAAF has told KIMbia that they’ve officially amended the 2008 Olympic results. The next step is for the International Olympic Committee to reallocate the medals.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Emily Infeld 2nd at U.S. 15K Championship


Emily Infeld made a rare off-track foray a successful on Saturday, taking second at the Gate River Run 15K in Jacksonville, Florida. The race served as the U.S. 15K championships for women and men.

In the longest road race of her life, Emily set a personal best of 49:42. Jordan Hasay won in 49:28, and Neely Spence Gracey was third in 49:47. Those two are deep in preparation for next month’s Boston Marathon, making Emily’s season opener that much more impressive.

“Starting to like these longer distances but excited to be back on the track for some 5k/10k action,” Emily wrote on Instagram after her race.

In the men’s race, won by Olympian Leonard Korir in 43:22, German Fernandez was 14th in 44:57 and Sean Quigley was 20th in 45:33.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Andrew Bumbalough Runs 2:13 Debut Marathon

In his debut at the distance, Andrew Bumbalough ran 2:13:58 to place 25th at the Tokyo Marathon on Sunday. The race was won in an event record of 2:03:58 by former world record-holder Wilson Kipsang.

Andrew met his goal of having his first marathon be a controlled learning experience. Before the race, he had said he’d be happy with a time between 2:11 and 2:14. He passed halfway in 1:06:15, then slowed over the second half, but never disastrously so. Mission accomplished!

Andrew’s road to a marathon start line was longer than originally planned. His 1:02:04 half marathon PR in March 2015 was to be the first step in a build-up to the Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2016. Soon after that race, however, Andrew began to be plagued by what was ultimately diagnosed as a sports hernia, which required surgery in the summer of 2015. In 2016 he missed more time owing to a sacral stress fracture. He resumed running last July, and in November showed he was the Andrew Bumbalough with a 28:06 track 10,000.

Andrew now plans to recover from Tokyo before building for a summer track season.

 

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