Monday, March 25, 2013

Silver for Team USA Men at World Cross

The big pre-race story of the 2013 World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz Poland was a tough course and wintery conditions, and when the dust — or, snow — settled the importance of both was borne out by the big post-race story: a team silver for the American senior men’s team. Elliott Heath placed 30th in the race, the fifth finisher for Team USA, and ahead of two-thirds of the what is widely considered the deepest field in any distance race on the planet. Meanwhile, Fionnuala Britton and Emily Infeld keyed strong placings for their respective teams, each of which finished just outside of the medals.

Matching her best finish at World Cross, Britton crossed the line in 14th place, leading the Irish team to a fifth place team finish. After grabbing team and individual gold at Euro Champs, Britton and Ireland reprised that form chart by being the top European representatives in Poland. Ireland scored seven points better than France and while the reigning two-time European champion was nine seconds ahead of Sophie Duarte, France’s top runner and the second European finisher in Poland.

In her first appearance at a World Championship, Infeld took a strong 21st and was the #2 finisher on a fourth-place American team, ahead of US runner-up Kim Conley and Deena Kastor, previously a medalist at this event.

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

World Cross 2013: Now Add the White Stuff


or, Wuthering Snow in the Madding Crowd of Poland in Middle March with Great Expectations
Guest Editorial by Van Townsend

Elliot Heath, he of the 19th Century English novelist moniker, might just spring a surprise in snow-laden Poland at World Cross. Don’t let the downplayed social loser media and web wannabes fool you into thinking World Cross isn’t the ultimate testing ground for mental and physical toughness: this game goes out fast and never lets up. WC is relentless pain. Look at interviews with Jerry’s guys, Bumbi and Brent, who have been there before. It is not pretty.

And now add the white stuff.

The Africans, which actually mean a gazillion athletes given nationality from well-paid countries such as Bahrain, Qatar and other historic hotbeds of harriers (not) will of course be in Bydgoszcz. But snowy turf doesn’t cater to these Runners-of-Fortune. On the course preview days at Boston World Cross in ’92, Read the full article

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Recap of KIMbia in Daegu at 2011 World Championships

Despite a promising early season that saw four athletes qualify for the US team headed to Daegu, the 2011 World Championships ended up a somewhat lackluster affair for the members of KIMbia Athletics.

Beginning on a down note, Chris Solinsky and Delilah DiCrescenzo had to withdraw from the competition due to injuries — though Solinsky’s withdrawal opened the door for teammate Andrew Bumbalough to make the trip. Once there, Bumbalough drew the second of two heats for the 5000m, a race which featured three more competitors than the other heat and, eventually, a mid-race fall that seemed to unsettle the quick early pace. After things slowed dramatically in the fourth kilometer, Bumbi came home in 13:44, a time placing him 9th in the heat and just a few seconds outside of qualifying via time.

In the 10,000m, despite possessing the fitness that powered a 30:59 solo effort at the US Championships, and a 14:45 in Paris, Shalane Flanagan placed 7th in 31:25, while teammate Matt Tegenkamp took 10th on the Men’s side. If the performances were behind what we have seen from Flanagan and Tegenkamp in previous world-level championships (notably, Flanagan’s Olympic Bronze in 2008, and Tegenkamp’s 4th Place in the Osaka World Championship 5000m in 2007), the meet did mark Teg’s first tussle with the 10,000m distance at this level.

Moreover, Daegu also capped a year in which Bumbalough made both the cross country and the outdoor track World Championship teams for the first time as a senior athlete, after representing the US on the junior level in each discipline. Beyond that impressive achievement, the experience at Worlds will surely serve the young athlete well, having made breakthroughs on the track (14-second 5000m PB) and cross country (2nd at US Champs) this year.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Delilah: Episode 9 — The Dream, On Hold

What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart? In this case, you have your boyfriend try to do something really difficult to make you feel better. Delilah DiCrescenzo and her break-through season came to a halt thanks to a stress fracture. Back in New York, she copes with the disappointment the best way she knows how — with a pick-me-up from her friends — and prepares to look ahead to London 2012.

For more on DELILAH, go to PumaRunning.com.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bumbalough Headed to Daegu as Solinsky Withdraws

After a dream 2010, Chris Solinsky has had a nightmare 2011. Battling a lingering hamstring injury for the entire summer, a hard workout just days before his planned departure for Daegu ended up stinging the niggle into a strain. Thus, upon consulting with doctors and his coach, Solinsky decided that it was better to abandon his ambitious hopes for the World Championships — ideally, to set the table for a big Olympic year — in favor of ensuring his health for the Olympic push itself. Ultimately, Solinsky said that he felt that two weeks might have been enough time for the hamstring to recover and get him to the starting line — but that the mere two days between prelims and final simply wouldn’t be negotiable, given the pattern of recovery that had developed after hard efforts earlier in the season.

If there is any silver lining to be found in this disappointment, it could be that Solinsky’s spot will be filled by his own teammate, Andrew Bumbalough. Bumbalough made World Junior Championships teams in cross country and on the track, at 1500m, and broke out on the senior level with an “A”-standard 5000m performance in March. Solinsky said he will be making an elk-hunting excursion to take the edge off his frustration and disappointment, while Bumbalough packs for South Korea, where he will now get valuable championship experience. The Tennessee native and 2nd-year pro explained the timetable for discovering that he would be competing in Daegu and his goals therein.

Have you had a chance to learn Korean yet? What’s been the timeline of the last few days from Chris and Jerry deciding not to run, and you being officially added to the US team?

Learning Korean wasn’t really necessary. After seven weeks in Europe, and nearly three of them by myself, I completed the entire Rosetta Stone series solo. Time is money.

But the running timeline has been kind of crazy. I certainly wasn’t expecting to get called up. Chris is one of the toughest athletes I’ve ever been around. He would have done everything possible to get himself to the line. But as soon as I found out that there was even the slightest possibility that Chris’s hamstring might not allow him to run I kept my training runs going and added in a couple of workouts just to stay sharp. There isn’t a whole lot of fitness that can be gained or lost in this time period, it’s just about trying to keep the body accustomed to the hurt. It has been a particularly tough challenge in the heat and humidity of Tennessee – but that should serve me well in an equally hot environment in Daegu.

Coming out of USA’s as an alternate, was Jerry gearing your training and racing to keep you prepped for Worlds, just in case?

“Gearing me for worlds” really isn’t the best way to describe it. Because to be fair, we really didn’t know this was going to happen. Chris has dealt with this injury for a long time, almost the entire season. But he has been able to manage it and get by for several months. Obviously it got to the point where that was no longer possible and so he had to pull out. Had I known since June that I was going to Daegu, we probably would have approached the last few weeks differently. However, we have made the best of the information that we had at the time and have constructed a training plan accordingly. Sometimes as an athlete you have to be ready to roll with the punches – that’s what I’m trying to do right now!

What are your goals and game-plan for Worlds?

The goal is to race smart and relaxed in the prelim – stay in contact but use as little energy as possible to be ready for a big finish. The first step is making the final so that is certainly a goal of mine. But to achieve that goal I’ll need to follow through on some of the little steps like being relaxed early, finding myself in good position, and really kicking home. Additionally, this is my first Senior World Track competition so I’ll be looking to gain as much experience from this year, which I can implement for the Olympics next year.

What race from this year do you think will provide the most confidence as you take the line in South Korea?

I look back to Melbourne where I ran 13:16 as one of my best races of the year. I did a great job of what I just talked about – staying relaxed and striking at the right time. That should prove to be helpful when I begin to approach my prelim in Daegu.

You competed for the US in both Cross Country and Track at the World Junior Championships level. After making your first senior team in Cross Country earlier this year, how does it feel to check-off that achievement on the track, especially coming in your first full year as a pro?

My goal from when I joined the group (back in September), and sat down with Jerry to discuss what I wanted to get out of this year, was to make the World team. I had a good US Champs this year but wasn’t quite strong enough to finish out the race with the top three. Despite having raced well I was still disappointed having not achieved that goal. I really wanted to make the team.

Obviously, this is not the situation I dreamed about – having to replace a friend and a teammate. I am really disappointed for Chris because I was there through all of the hard training this year. I saw how hard he worked and how ridiculously fit he was. He was poised to do something great this year. I got the call letting me know the situation and immediately felt bad that he was being denied the chance to compete but also realized it was now my responsibility to get as ready as I could in just a couple of weeks!

Bumbalough will start the Men’s 5000m on September 1st.

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