Races — Keflezighi Looks Ready for Olympics at Rock N Roll San Diego 2012

running-advice-bugSAN DIEGO – (June 3, 2012) – The 15th Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego event on Sunday morning was a star-studded affair. Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, appears ready for the upcoming London Olympic Games. The 37-year-old ran smoothly and effortlessly on Sunday, winning the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego ½ Marathon in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 11 seconds, his second consecutive victory in his hometown. Ryan Hall, 29, the U.S. record-holder for the half-marathon at 59:43, struggled because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, and finished a distant second in 1:05:39.

Meb Ran Away with the RNR Half Marathon (Photo: Competitor Group)

The women’s half-marathon was won by New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith in 1:08:37, a time that would have placed her seventh among the men.

Nixon Machichim of Kenya broke away with a little over two miles remaining and won the men’s Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in 2:10:03. Russia’s Alevtina Ivanova also made a late burst and won the women’s marathon in 2:27:44. The men’s and women’s marathon champions each earned $25,000.

More than 30,000 entrants from all 50 states and 40 countries were greeted with ideal running weather on Sunday morning. The men’s half-marathon was the keynote event, expected to be a tense duel between the two Olympians. But after about a mile, it was no contest. Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist, pulled away and the suffering Hall could not keep up.

“I wanted to go out early because I know how the race will be in London,” Keflezighi said. “I tried to duplicate what it will be like there.” The San Diego course is similar to London in that it has several turns and downhills. “This was not a do-or-die race, but I’m a competitor,” Keflezighi said. “I’m not a guy who likes to sit back and waits to kick in the last mile.”
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Racing — Coach Joe’s Notes to the Olympic Marathon Trials Athletes

running-advice-bugI’m not Facebook friends with all of the athletes that figured prominently in this past weekend’s 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, but if I were I’m sure each of them would have posted something on their wall about their performances. I would have then perhaps taken a moment to comment on their performances. Not just a “good job” but a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind as I watched the race. So today, here are my comments to some of the standouts at the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.

Dear Ryan — Ryan, oh Ryan. We love you brother. You are our fastest marathon runner. In fact, you were minutes faster than any American runner last year and you’re sitting on something like a four minute gap over everyone else in between your PR and theirs. We get it that you don’t like to “run in back”, but you seem to keep doing the same thing over again. You get out in front and lead the race from the start and then don’t quite have it at the end. Here’s all I’m saying: when you’re sitting on like a four minute differential in your PR over everyone else in the race, maybe let the other guys lead and save it for the last two miles. Then bust out that great speed and take it home. Granted, things will be different at the Olympics where there will be much faster people in the field. But you are a great talent and still young. You can race to make the difference between first and second.

Dear Shalane — Shalane, the people of Portland are really proud of you. You were facing the probably the toughest competition ever in a US Olympic Trials and you were far from the most experienced runner in the bunch. A lot of people were thinking that experience would trump the young speed in the field. I wasn’t one of those people. I knew it was going to come down to the new faces. I admit that I had picked Desi to take the win, but I would have put money on you to win, place or show. You looked great out there. Your form is picture perfect. With more experience at the marathon distance you are going to be unstoppable. Nice work!

Dear Meb— Meb, I met your dad once. Ever since, I’ve been a huge fan. You were such an inspirational American story before this win, but this just really tops it. Now you can add “comeback” to the resume. You looked so strong out there in the last miles. When other people were falling apart, you had it. You looked great on the hills in New York the last couple of outings as well. Despite Ryan’s speed, you really are the strongest American marathon runner right now. What you have is the combination of strength and strategic thinking that it takes to win. You’ve shown that you can perform on tough, hilly courses like New York and Athens with international competition. The question is how will you do in London? Thrilling I’m sure!
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Olympics — Keflezighi, Flanagan Win 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials

running-advice-bugRyan Hall led much of the US Olympic Marathon Trials today in Houston, but it was Athens silver medalist Meb Keflezighi that took the win and the first position on the US Men’s Olympic Team. Keflezighi finished the close race in an unofficial time of 2:09:08, which would be a new personal best for him.

The other two members of the Men’s US Olympic Marathon team headed for London would be Ryan Hall who finished in 2:09:13 and Abdi Abdirahman in 2:09:47. Portland’s Dathan Ritzenhein came in fourth in a personal best 2:09:55. The top four finishers came in within one minute of each other. This will be one of the strongest US Olmypic Marathon teams in a long time, based on the amount of Olypmic experience represented by Keflezighi, Hall and Abdirhman collectively.

In the women’s trials, Shalane Flanagan takes it in 2:25:38, which will be a new personal best for her. Desiree Davila is second in 2:25:55 and Kara Goucher finishes third in 2:26:06. Amy Hastings is fourth in 2:27:17. The previous Olympic Trials record was Colleen De Reuck’s 2:28:25 finish from the 2004 Trials, so all four of the first women were faster than the old Trials record.

The race will be televised later today on NBC stations nationwide at 3:00PM Eastern Time. Check your local listings for exact times.

Talent on Display
The full strength of US Marathon running was on display here in Houston today. Among the favorites were some of the favorites runners in the world among both men and women. When we look at both the winners and the runner’s up, we see Boston marathon front-runners, Olympians and New York City Marathon champions among them. It was an impressive list of runners who had been intent on securing one of the spots to compete for the US in the marathon later this year in London.

Looking at the men first, winner Meb Keflezigihi had faltered a few years back, but has now returned to his earlier greatness. After winning silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, he didn’t make the team for Beijing. But over the past few years, he won the very touch New York City Marathon in 2009 and then ran a personal best there in 2011, a time that he would beat in today’s Trials by just a few seconds. Many people will be happy with Meb’s victory today, because as they say, “he’s got fans.”

Ryan Hall on paper would have been expected to win this race if we only looked at his personal best times. In terms of raw speed, he’s the fastest US marathoner in history. But his performances have been a little up and down the last couple of years. He tends to start races very hard, telling people before the race today that he “doesn’t like to run in back.” But since going “coachless” he hasn’t found his success from earlier in his racing days. Hall’s most recent stand-out performance was his 2:04:58 in the crazy-fast Boston Marathon of 2011. In Chicago later last year, he ran 2:08:04 showing his inconsistency at the moment. He’s got the speed and he’s still young at only 30 years old.

On the women’s side, everyone had been looking to Deena Kastor to win another Trials after her win in the 2008 Trials. But the young guns were coming after her. With the likes of Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher in the race, not all of the favorites were going to make the team. Desiree had run an outstanding 2:22:38 in Boston in 2011 and she was my pre-race pick to win, having run such a strong time this past April. But Kara Goucher was sitting on a 2:24:54 PR and Deena Kastor still held an astonishing 2:19:36 PR from back in 2006, meaning she could have had the speed in the tank to win.

Shalane was one of several Portland runners in the race, joined by Dathan Ritzenhein and Kara Gouchers among others. She is wicked fast, having been a major contender at the 10,000M distance and winning the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in the 10K. She’s raced primarily at the shorter distances and half-marathons, running the fastest time by an American in 2011 at the Miami Beach Half Marathon in 1:09:58. Her marathon debut at NYC in 2010 was a 2:28:40 which earned her second place that year.

Running Advice and News


Racing — Meb and Deba Blazing Fast in San Diego

running-advice-bugRunning competitively on the roads for the first time in his hometown, Meb Keflezighi didn’t have time to acknowledge all the well-wishers along his half-marathon route at Sunday’s Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon to Benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Instead, he rewarded them with one of the most memorable races of his illustrious career.

Meb Keflezighi Wins Rock N Roll San Diego

At the second edition, Keflezighi delighted a cheering, happy crowd at the SeaWorld finish line by winning handily in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 40 seconds, nearly three minutes ahead of runner-up Drew Polley (1:05:38).

As much as the spectators reveled in Keflezighi’s victory, they also marveled at Bizunesh Deba’s triumph in the women’s marathon. At the 14th running, the 23-year-old Ethiopian burst across the finish line in 2:23:31, an event record and the fastest time ever run by a woman in California. The previous state best was 2:24:52 by Joan Benoit (USA) at the inaugural women’s Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles on August 5, 1984. The Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon course is not record standard per USA Track & Field rule because it drops more than 1 meter per kilometer.

The men’s marathon winner was Terfa Negari also of Ethiopia in 2:11:18, and the women’s half-marathon champion was Gina Slaby of Tucson, Ariz., in 1:16:33. While the performances by Deba, Negari and Slaby were impressive, it was Keflezighi who intrigued the crowd the most.

The UCLA grad led all the way, pulling away from Kenya’s Martin Lel after four miles on the undulating, curvy course through the streets of San Diego. Lel, a three-time winner of the London Marathon and the runner-up of that event this year, shadowed Keflezighi through the early stages of the race. Then, when Keflezighi ripped off a 4:24 spurt from mile three to four, Lel was done. He struggled for another two miles before dropping out. After that, it was Keflezighi against the clock.
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Marathon — Meb to Run Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon

running-advice-bugSan Diego, CA –– The streets of San Diego will be alive with music and the excitement created by fans of hometown hero Meb Keflezighi during Sunday’s Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon To Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®. Keflezighi, running on the roads in the city he grew up in for the first time as a professional, will have plenty of supporters among the crowd, including his parents, brother, sister, wife, children, friends, former classmates and many in the community who have watched his rise to stardom with pride.

“It will be something special,” Keflezighi said, of his pro debut in San Diego. “I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to doing it. It’s an opportunity for a lot of (familiar) people to see me. It should be fun running in the city where I grew up. I don’t get that treat very often. I’ve always wanted to do it.”

The diminutive Keflezighi, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen upon his graduation from UCLA in 1998, finished second in the marathon at the 2004 Olympics, becoming the first U.S. medalist in the event since Frank Shorter won gold in 1972 and silver in 1976. He will be trying to regain the form that has made him one of the world’s premier distance runners.

After his performance this Sunday, Meb plans to continue running in shorter road races throughout the rest of this year and next. His only commitments are to the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 6 and the U.S. Olympic marathon trials Jan. 14 in Houston. Should he make the U.S. team – he missed out in 2008 because of a pelvic injury incurred during the Trials in Central Park where he placed eighth – it will be on to London for the 2012 Games.
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David Letterman – Top Ten Thoughts from New York City Marathon

It isn’t everyday that a marathon running topic makes it onto the David Letterman Show. Here’s one from last month before the New York City Marathon in which none other than Meb Keflezighi presents the Top Ten list.

The Top Ten Thoughts While Running The New York City Marathon



Racing — Keflezighi wins Rock N Roll San Jose, Ready for New York

running-advice-bugSan Jose, CA — On a perfect autumn morning in the Bay Area, reigning New York City Marathon champion and U.S. Olympian Meb Keflezighi successfully defended his title at the 2010 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon, crossing the finish line in 1 hour, 1 minute and 45 seconds.

It was a day when age counted for much, as 35 year-old Keflezighi was joined by 35 year-old Blake Russell who won the women’s race.

Keflezighi, with Mammoth Track Club teammate Patrick Smyth pacing, opened up a lead within the first three miles, hitting the 5K mark at 14:20. He never looked back, keeping a significant lead straight to the finish. As he looks ahead to the ING New York City Marathon on November 7, the 2009 champion of both races says he is hoping for a double repeat performance.

“I felt strong and maintained,” Keflezighi said. “My training is coming along as planned and I hope it goes the same. This is the race I really enjoy though. New York will be all business.”

Teammates Brian Medigovich and Paul Hefferon, representing the Hansons Brooks Distance Project of Rochester Hills, Michigan, came in second and third, running 1:04:55 and 1:05:55, respectively.

Blake Russell, who represented the U.S. in the marathon at the Beijing Olympics, made a successful return to racing after the birth of her first child, winning the women’s race in a swift 1:11:55.
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Racing — Meb Keflezighi Returns to Rock ‘n’ Roll in San Jose

running-advice-bugSAN JOSE, CALIF. — Defending Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi will lead a field of more than 13,000 entrants at the 2010 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon on Sunday, October 3. Meb will once again look to use the lightning quick San Jose course as a launching pad to victory at the November 7th ING New York City Marathon, the same countdown he utilized so successfully in 2009.

A three-time national 10,000 meter track champion (2000, 2002, 2004), the 35-year-old Keflezighi has won an impressive 20 USA road, track and cross country titles during his illustrious career. But the highlight to-date came at the 2004 Olympic Marathon in Athens where the UCLA grad picked up the silver medal, becoming the first American male to earn an Olympic Marathon medal since Frank Shorter’s silver in Montreal 1976.

The Bay Area has proven to be a place of good fortune during Keflezighi’s career. He set the U.S. 10,000 meter track record in Palo Alto in May 2001 (27:13.98), a time that remained on the books for nine years. And during last year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Keflezighi’s unofficial 20K split (12.4 miles) of 57 minutes, 52 seconds was better than Mammoth Track Club teammate Ryan Hall’s U.S. 20K record by two seconds. Keflezighi went on to complete his half-marathon victory in San Jose in 1:01:00, a 25-second improvement over his previous best which came in winning the USA Half-Marathon Championships in Houston in January ’09.

Following last year’s San Jose run, Keflezighi went on to make more history by becoming the first American male to win the New York City Marathon since 1982. His winning time of 2 hours, 9 minutes, 15 seconds was also a personal best.
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Races — Keflezighi, Gebrselassie to face off at NYC Half Marathon

running-advice-bugNEW YORK —Reigning ING New York City Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi of the United States will return to the New York to compete in the first spring running of the NYC Half-Marathon on Sunday, March 21. Keflezighi will be running in his first competitive race since his win in New York last November. Keflezighi will face off against marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie in the race.

“Meb’s victory in New York last November was one of the shining moments in the storied history of our race and sport,” according to race organizers. “Meb and the American athletes are stronger than ever. Each will be looking to take on Haile and the others in what promises to be a spectacular run through the city streets.”

Joining Keflezighi will be a trio of outstanding compatriots including three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, two-time Olympic steeplechaser Anthony Famiglietti, and former NCAA cross country champion Josh Rohatinsky. All men will join the previously announced long distance legend, marathon world record-holder, and 2007 NYC Half-Marathon champion Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia. Read more…


Racing — Past Champions Merga, Kosegi Among Boston Contenders

running-advice-bugBOSTON — The organizers of the Boston Marathon have announced the international elite field for the 2010 Marathon. 2009 Boston Marathon champions Deriba Merga of Ethiopia and Salina Kosgei of Kenya will return to defend their titles for the 114th running of the race on April 19.

Among other returning champions Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, Dire Tune of Ethiopia, and Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia will also be contending for the title. Organizers announced separately back in December that Americans Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi will lead the American contingent at the event.

In the 2009 men’s race, Deriba Merga of Ethiopia clipped Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot’s three-in-a-row streak and ran away from the lead pack in the Newton hills, unchallenged to the finish. Merga is just one of three Ethiopians to interrupt Kenyan dominance of the event over the past two decades.
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