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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Superfan Daily: New Zealand Update

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch yesterday, causing severe damage and significant loss of life.  The city was struck by a 7.1 earthquake last year, but the depth and location of this one made it more devastating.  Prime Minister John Key said "We may be witnessing New Zealand's darkest day".

"Gutted" is how many Kiwis are describing their empathy for those affected, and it is a descriptive word.  For more, go to BBC News.

While this is truly horrible news, it is news to the track and field world because only four days later Christchurch was set to host the International Track Meet, New Zealand's premier invitational.

The meet is not going forward.  QEII Park, the stadium hosting the meet, has suffered severe damage, and the entire city is under a five-day state of emergency.  There is no official word yet, but it is not possible to hold the meet.

Of more immediate concern is the safety of athletes in New Zealand.  TrackFocus reports that Alberto Salazar, Galen Rupp and Steve Magness are all safe in Australia.  Japan Running News reports that the nine Japanese runners and their staff at a Christchurch-based training camp are all safe (after a few terrifying moments).  Let's Run's message board reports that Alan Webb, Nick Willis, Lee Emmanuel, and Will Leer were all in Wellington and are safe, which appears to be confirmed by Willis' post at

Willis is looking at putting together a fund-raiser mile race in Newtown, a southern suburb of Wellington:
There are a bunch of us ready to run an exhibition mile (and an 800m for some) at Newtown on Saturday once given the official word. Hayden Shearman is going to help organise a fundraising platform, and we can make this a good opportunity to help in what little way we are able to the CHCH cause.

if interested in running a fast 800m or mile, please facebook me, and I will help put the potential fields together.
Keep the people of Christchurch in your thoughts.

What's On
The XL-Galan, the last IAAF Indoor Permit meet of 2011, takes place today at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm.  There are two World Record attempts in the offing, plus some good showdowns in the women's 1500 and the men's triple jump.
Meet website
Live webcast link (begins at 1:30 PM EST)
Schedule and start lists / Runnerspace page
IAAF preview

Track on TV
Bud Greenspan Presents: Beijing 2008 - America's Olympic Glory, tomorrow at 9:30 AM on Showtime Family Zone

News Links
Runner's World's Racing News has all the headlines, including Edison Pena's next race and Deena Kastor's new baby.

The USTFCCCA's college weekend roundup, and Ken Goe's daily Oregon track report.

Jessica Ennis headlines the UK team for the European Indoor Championships.

Linet Masai determined to win World Cross.

Russell Brown, surprise Boston mile champ, now training with Andrew Wheating.

Alberto Salazar talks about getting Alan Webb's attitude right.

Dathan Ritzenhein blogs about the never-ending sickness that comes with a child.

Allyson Felix still thinking about a 200/400 double at the USATF Championships.

Pat Butcher writes about the year of the rabbit.

Yes!  Athletes are replacing sports drinks with beer.  I'm just rehydrating and refueling while under the table...

Will the 100th Bay to Breakers be the last?  I doubt it.  It may not exist in its current form, but someone will continue to hold "the world's sickest traveling party".  It's San Francisco, after all.

The Kenyan XC team now preparing for a Worlds defense.  It looks like Geoffrey Mutai got his demand of being able to train on his own instead of at the Kenyan camp.

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