The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Friday, October 30, 2009

Your Morning Link-o-Rama

RW Daily News has all the NYC marathon headlines. Universal Sports has its NYC Marathon dashboard. Ryan Hall tell's USA Today's Dick Patrick he's confident.

Usain Bolt will run seven Diamond League events next year, and says it will take years for people to believe he's not doping.

Britain's Telegraph profiles Olympic/World sprint champ Shelly-Ann Fraser.

Tomorrow is Conference Championship Saturday! Let's Run previews the Big Ten, Pac 10, Big XII, Big East, ACC, and Heps.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Senator & Beer Mile

I've always like Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) better than most if not all Republicans in the Senate. He's no William Proxmire, but then again no one is.

Lugar is generally not a Dick. No surprise, then, that he'd play along...
Senator Lugar an Accidental Grand Marshal of 'Chug-and-Run'
...The rules are simple: Chug one beer before each of the four laps, and eat a hot dog between laps two and three. "The idea is to do something relatively short, relatively painless, and increase the likelihood that somebody would throw up"...

Your Morning Link-o-Rama

RW Daily News is all NYC Marathon stuff.

Let's Run previews the men's and women's races in New York.

Track & Field News has figured out how to use the internet! Two teasers: the table of contents for the current issue, and an interview with 70s steeple star Doug Brown.

The NY Times tells us the Chinese distance stars of the 90s were on drugs. And water is wet.

Tatyana Lebedeva is skipping the indoor season after further achilles surgery. Not a good sign, kind of like your lead singer doing a solo album. It means your best days are long behind you, and there might not even be any more good ones left.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Morning Link-o-Rama

RW Daily News has the main headlines, nearly all about Sunday's NYC Marathon. Biggie: Martin Lel is out.

Bigger news, from my perspective: VERSUS will carry the NCAA D-I cross country championships live! Yeah, baby!

USA Today's Dick Patrick profiles Meb Keflezighi, and Universal Sports' Joe Battaglia does so for Marilson dos Santos. reports on a high school XC DQ and files it under "Dumb Rules". Dumb doesn't even begin to describe it.

The NY Times looks back at young marathoners of the 70s.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Morning Link-o-Rama

RW Daily News has all the main headlines...mostly NYC marathon stuff.

Let's Run has its weekly wrapup.

The Science of Sport begins looking at science and coaching, and the good and bad of mixing them.

Asafa Powell will launch a charity aimed at assisting T&F development in Jamaica.

UCLA v Oregon dual meet renewed! Yes, it has been going for two years, but the contract was not re-upped until recently.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Green Man?

Who the heck is the Green Man?
And why is he running the Chicago Marathon?

ESPN explains.

Semenya Story Fleshed Out

Sydney's Daily Telegraph has the secret pre-Worlds report from South Africa's Dr. Harold Adams on Caster Semenya.
In his report, Dr Adams confirms his advice to [Athletics South Africa president Leonard] Chuene to stop Semenya racing on the world stage in a women-only event, saying: "I sincerely believe that Mr Chuene's decision to refuse that Ms Semenya be withdrawn was reckless, short-sighted and grossly irresponsible.''
Fairly damning stuff. Really good.

Sad News

Cordner Nelson, co-founder of Track & Field News, has died. Few details are yet known.

UPDATE: More from T&FN.

Morning Link-o-Rama

RW Daily News has all the main headlines, mostly about the upcoming New York City Marathon.

The Science of Sport takes another look at death risks in marathoning. As you'd suspect, not much in the big picture, but actually a bit higher than most runners might think.

Britain's Telegraph looks at past gender-identity issues in sports.

Trevor Graham tells the NY Times he's innocent.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Many of which are related to track, many more are not.

1) As a young teen, I was home alone when a pair of deranged murderers on a three-state killing spree came through the neighborhood. No kidding.
2) I got the lead role of Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum when I was a high school freshman. The next year I quit acting for running.
3) My earliest memory was on a bus going to a track meet.
4) Every house I've lived in was built in the 1920s.
5) I studied music from age 5 to 18.
6) I've been west of the Mississippi River only three times, two of them for track meets.
7) I celebrated New Year's in Key West a while back by going to a drag show called Broadway Three-Way (A Musical Menage-a-trois) and then partying in front of the Bourbon Street Pub. And yest, I'm straight.
8) The coldest weather I've ever run in was -20, the hottest was 104.
9) I once drank a gallon of beer at a keg party on a dare.
10) After the first home cross country meet of my college career, I went back to the dorms and played tag football that degenerated into tackle. I was sore for ten days.
11) My first car was a Mercury Marquis. God, was it awful.
12) I graduated from college with the second-highest total milage in a season since Sid Sink had been keeping track at BGSU.
13) When my college roommate appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, I was one of his lifelines. (He didn't get into the hot seat).
14) The very mention of my name can apparently set Toledo coach Kevin Hadsell into a fit of rage. No idea why.
15) I led my high school Quiz Bowl league in scoring my senior year.
16) One of my students was Olympic heavyweight boxer Devin Vargas.
17) I once walked eight miles home from a basketball game because I didn't want to impose on anyone by asking for a ride.
18) I was a National Merit Scholar in high school, then lived in a college dorm where nearly everyone was as well. Humbling.
19) I teach in the same school where my father did, which leads to a lot of needling by my brothers.
20) I saw the last Cleveland Knights of Columbus indoor track meet in 1995, which included an also-ran in the 3000 meters named Khalid Kannouchi.
21) I once beat Olympian Paul McMullen...he was out of shape and overweight and running five times his preferred distance.
22) I hosted a keg party when my parents were out of town one summer and they never found out about's hoping they don't read my blog.
23) In the 7th grade I invented a college football computer-ranking system that was met with fascination at the Ohio Statistical Conference (where I also met Bill James).
24) I owned, and then lost, a Nolan Ryan rookie card.
25) My wife is waaaaaay smarteer than I am.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

April versus October

As I'm sitting here half-watching the Chicago Marathon, and reflecting on this morning's WorldHalf Marathon Championships bronze medal by Ritzenhein, I'm also reading Bill Simmons' latest column.
If you like sports, like television and actively look for reasons to waste time, your two favorite months are probably April and October. In a related story, those are my two favorite months. I love wasting time. I love nothing more than to waste time. I even created a career around wasting time while intermittently handing in columns and recording podcasts. So yes, I like April and October.

Here's what April brings to the table: Opening Day; the Final Four; the NFL draft; the start of the NHL and NBA playoffs; the Masters; Halter Top Day and the start of the outdoor exercise season (East Coast and Midwest only); serial network shows such as "Lost" and "24" setting up their season finales; spring weekend in college; Easter Sunday; and the first slew of weddings. That's a lot of wasted time.

October has the entire baseball playoffs; four football weekends (college and pro); football tailgates; the start of the NBA and NHL seasons; foliage; Halloween, trick-or-treating, Halloween decorations, replays of "Halloween," Halloween parties and girls wearing slutty Halloween costumes; Columbus Day; quality fall shows such as "Mad Men" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm"; fantasy football; the last slew of weddings; the height of the book release season; fantasy basketball drafts; and, again, girls wearing slutty Halloween costumes.
Simmons comes to the conclusion that he's an October guy. Me too, but from my perspective it's mid-October thru mid-November versus mid-May versus mid-June.

Here's what late spring brings to the table: decent weather, championship season for high school and college track, me getting to announce said meets and make everyone listen to what I have to say, the post-AP-test blow-off time in my advanced classes, turning in school keys and getting to do whatever the hell I want from 10 AM to about midnight, ground firm enough to start running on trails again, the advent of cookout weather, and my annual 39th birthday party. By comparison, the only thing April brings to the table is the Boston Marathon and spring break.

October has decent weather, fall foliage, jeans-and-sweatshirt temperatures, cross-country championship season for high school and college, tapering my team for said races which results in me getting home before 6:30 PM, homecoming, a sense of newness and opportunity for another school year, big-time marathons in Chicago and New York, my two favorite holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving), the advent of stew and roast weather, and an annual trip to Terre Haute to nominally see the NCAA XC championships but in reality to get piss-drunk with an old college buddy and then hammer 6 miles with him the next morning.

October wins.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Leftist Political Columnist? ESPN?

Apparently it is so.

I saw Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story last night and found it...feh. And I really like his stuff, but not this stuff. I agree with his basic idea, that lawlessness (economic or otherwise) allows the powerful to abuse the weak, and I didn't think it took 120 minutes to explain that one idea.

In one column, ESPN's Jeff MacGregor did a much better job of explaining how rich people have, through the power of their wealth, the capacity to be real assholes. A common man's leftist screed.

Track Movies

Today on NPR's Only A Game, host Bill Littlefield interviewed Ray Didinger about his Ultimate Book of Sports Movies. I haven't seen it yet, except for the table of contents, but it looks like he and coauthor Glen Macnow did their homework. The usual list of winners are here (Rocky, Hoosiers, Raging Bull) along with some cult classics (The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, Best In Show, Vision Quest).

There are only three track movies listed: two obvious choices (Chariots of Fire, Without Limits) and one not-so-well-known film, The Jericho Mile.

An issue brought up in the interview was the fact that pro athletes and coaches tended to list as their favorites movies that came from different sports. They said it was because they were too critical of the details in their sport that weren't right in a film, whereas they lacked that level of knowledge for other sports. I'd say this is definitely true for me with track films; for example, I can't bear to watch Mariel Hemingway in Personal Best (well, with her clothes on at least).

I've written before that I think Chariots of Fire is a very good film. What else would I rate near the top? In the non-documentary category...

1. Chariots of Fire
The best film made about track & field, and the action was very realistic as well. Bears repeated viewing, but not heavily.

2. College
This is a relatively short (66 minutes) silent film from 1927 starring Buster Keaton. He's a nerd who tries out for every sport in college, with hilariously awful results. Keaton's physical comedy and "Great Stone Face" is on fine display. The people who filmed this knew track & field.

3. On The Edge
Bruce Dern, a pretty darn good runner off-screen, plays an aging man trying to regain some semblance of his former glory in the only place where he could realistically outdo his past self: the Dipsea race. It has the most realistic running scenes I've yet seen.

4. Run, Fat Boy, Run
Maybe even funnier than College.

5. The Jericho Mile
The film is decent at best, the action scenes barely passable. but the backstory on how they made it is amazing. It was filmed at Folsom Prison (of Blues fame) and the three main prison gangs--Aryan Nation, Black Muslims, and Latin Kings--agreed to a truce during filming. They were extras and helped build the track in the film, which still exists some 30 years later.

Honorable Mention: Running Brave, Without Limits, Meatballs, The Four Minute Mile
Dreck: Prefontaine, Personal Best, The Long Run
Worst Track Movie Ever: Saint Ralph (good movie, unwatchable running)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sadly, No Chicago

Inevitably, there has been quite a bit of postmortem about Chicago's losing Olympic bid. I think Obama put it best when he said sometimes you play your best game and still lose. While the USOC's state of affairs can be pointed to, I don't think there was a much Chicago could have done. To stretch a metaphor, they were Tyson Gay running against Usain Bolt.

This escaped my notice until just now. CNN's Jack Cafferty, one of the few coarse no-bullshit liberals on television, said "Rio has naked people dancing, Chicago has chubby people eating. Which do you want to see on TV?" When you put it that way it appears inevitable.