Category Archives: USATF

Headphones Are Safe Again

Brandes radio headphones, circa 1920
Image via Wikipedia

In case you missed it, the USATF is now permitting runners to wear headphones again.  Yes the USATF recently changed the rules again for its sanctioned and insured events (official release).

The sudden change of course throws a curveball to the many races that disqualified runners for wearing headphones.  I’ve heard at least one story of a streaker whose streak was officially broken because they were DQ’ed after completing a race wearing headphones.  Will they continue enforcing the ban as is their right? Should they reinstated runners who were DQ’ed after reviewing marathon pictures? I doubt they will reinstate runners but should they continue enforcing their previous bans?

The USATF has decided to leave the decision about headphones up to the individual race directors, except in the case of USATF Championship races, where those competing for awards can’t wear portable audio devices.

I personally am not a fan of wearing headphones while racing and have had an occasional problem when trying to pass someone who was wearing them.  It is one thing to train with headphones, but to me racing is a more pure component of running and it is easier to enjoy the event and surroundings without them.

This quote from The Final Sprint sums it up well:

“The difficulty in enforcement was part of the reasoning,” said USATF Rules Committee chairman John Blackburn through a news release. “However, several good-sized races have demonstrated that they were able to enforce the rule. There were strong opinions on all sides of this discussion, both understanding the issues related to athlete safety, race organization, difficulty of enforcement. This resolution appeared to be the best position for USATF overall.”

Many race organizers thought the genesis of the ban was due to safety concerns; runners may be listening to music which is so loud that they cannot respond to instructions should an emergency arise. Indeed, the issue had been couched that way by many who supported the ban, who also argued that plugged-in runners were discourteous to their fellow athletes, running in their own world and blocking race courses.

While the rule modification will certainly provide race organizers with much-needed breathing room, it will do little to quell the debate amongst runners themselves. Many serious recreational runners don’t want to line up next to headphone wearers, afraid that their competitive efforts may be impeded. The new language of the rule may prompt some event organizers to offer headphone-free starting corrals to mollify those concerns.

What is your opinion on wearing headphones during a race?

HT Run to Win

HT The Final Sprint

[tags] USATF, headphones [/tags]

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Twin Cities Running Jackpot

The Twin Cities Marathon organization has been given 13 years worth of USATF Championships.

At the recent USATF Annual Convention the race organization was awarded championships in 6 different events, including a first ever 1 mile championship.

Here is the complete list provided by The Final Sprint:

  • USA Road Mile Championships (Men & Women): 2009 – 2012
  • USA Women’s Marathon Championship: 2009
  • USA Men’s 10 Mile Championship: 2009
  • USA Men’s Marathon Championship: 2010
  • USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship: 2010
  • USA Masters Marathon Championships (Men & Women): 09-15

This is great news both for the organization but also for the Twin Cities in general and our strong running communtiy. This will continue to bring in high quality competitors, sponsorship dollars, and a lot of added fun to the events.

You can read the official press release from Twin Cities Marathon here (pdf)

[tags] Twin Cities, Marathon, USATF, Championships [/tags]

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Race Review: Rocky’s Run 8k

The Rocky’s Run 5k & 8k brought back a lot of college memories for me.  I’ve done a lot of trail races since college, but this is the first “cross country” race.  So many things about it were similar to a cross country meet.

Location – a golf course, we ran on a few golf courses throughout my career, most notably the Notre Dame Invitational.

Format – this event was a 5k and 8k.  The women’s USATF race was the 5k and the men’s was the 8k – just like in college.  NCAA men run a 10k championship race, my alma mater was NAIA so we stayed at the 8k all year.

Weather – this was like an early season race, warm and sunny! My first collegiate 8k was at Purdue on an extremely hot morning.

Team – This was part of the USATF Team XC series.  We cheered for our female teammates (and Kirk who ran the double so he could score in the Grand Prix) and they cheered for us. All of the other factors heightened the team feeling.

Ok, but what about the race? This was my hardest workout since Twin Cities so I pretty much had no expectations going into it.  When you have no expectations you can come out happy! I ran a 34:40 which is just at 7 minute pace and we actually cut off a little piece of the course.  How does a golf cart mislead the race leaders?? I finished 44/87, just missing the top 50%. But I was a 1:20 faster than the average!

The course was fairly hilly, nothing major but lots of little ups and downs that wear on you over 5 miles.  The course had a lot of turns and made numerous loops (see picture).  Since this was my first year here I had no idea where in the world we would be going next, except for seeing the string of people ahead of me, occasionally.

I think I may have been a little dehyrdated.  The sunny conditions took some out of me.  The nicest thing though was how short the race felt compared to the marathon. And the rest of the day I wasn’t sore or tired.  What a nice feeling.  It did help that I had an hour to lounge around after the race talking with Nathan and Mike, while we waited for AAA to retrieve Nathan’s car keys for him!

Another little highlight of the morning was the fact that the Rocky’s Run raises money for the University of Minnesota’s Women’s Cross Country Team‘s scholarship fund. After the 5k it was announced that their Varsity team won Big Ten Championships! You can read more about the story of Rocky here.

[tags] Rockys Run, University of Minnesota, XC [/tags]

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The new CEO of USA Track and Field (USATF), Doug Logan started a blog shortly after taking over the post.

In his inaugural post, on Shin Splints, he had this to say:

When I became CEO of USA Track & Field on July 17, I had several concrete plans for my first several weeks on the job. One is that I would be a sponge, listening to anybody and everybody in the sport in order to learn as much as I can about it. Another was to start a blog.

Writing a blog is relatively easy, but naming it is more difficult. About one week into the job, it hit me: Shin Splints. They are a slight irritant. They don’t kill you, but they make you sit down and think about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Both are things to which all blogs should aspire. So aspire I shall.

I haven’t read all of his posts yet, but this is a great step forward in transparency for the organization. This is just one of many improvements that appear to be on the horizon.  My biggest complaint is that there is no RSS feed for the blog.  This means that you have to actually go to the website to see if he’s updated at all – which is more than a slight irritant.

Hopefully, this new addition will be good for the sport.  If nothing else it will be an insight into the CEO of running.

What do you think?

Updated 9/21/2009 They still don’t have an RSS link, though somehow I get an e-mail from their marketing department about new blog posts.  I think they need a website overhaul that includes a blogging platform.

[tags] USATF, Blogs, Doug Logan [/tags]

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True Olympic Spirit

So far there has been a lot of great competition in the 29th Olympiad. For me this is the first Olympics where I have seen any controversy or even thought about boycotting the Olympics. Ultimately, after reading comments from both current and former Olympians about the decision I think the world has made the right choice to not boycott.

Yes, China has a lot of policies that are really messed up and harmful to many people around the world. Every country has some policies that someone would vehemently disagree with, but the Olympics are about overcoming.  Overcoming adversity to triumph.  Overcoming fear and getting personal goals.  Overcoming politics and creating peace and unity.  The theme for this year’s Olympics is One World, One Dream.

Yao Ming & Lin Hao

Yao Ming & Lin Hao

I’ll step off my soap box and highlight some great stories about the Olympics and Olympians.

1) Opening Ceremony was pretty sweet – lots of colors, emotions, and powerful stories about the flag bearers. Including the story about Lin Hao, one of the students in May’s deadly earthquake in China.  According to the reports, this little guy pulled 2 classmates out of the school building.

2) Lopez Lomong has an amazing story. He was selected by the US Olympic Team Captains to carrying the red, white, and blue into the Olympic stadium.  You probably have heard this but he was a “Lost Boy” from Sudan. He literally ran for his life to flee the terrible violence that has killed millions.  He arrived here and has built a great running reputation.

3) Sudanese Athletes are competing and trying to overcome the violence in Darfur. Training with logs, boulders, and paint cans several athletes are in contention for medals, including Abubaker Kaki Khamis in the 800m. From the Washington Post:

“We see this as an opportunity to bring us together and lift up the country,” said [Abdullah] Nyala [Sudanese 1500 meter runner], whose parents are farmers in Darfur. “We have all tribes on the team, and there is no problem.”

“I’ve got nothing to do with the government,” Nyala said. “I’m running for Sudan, I’m running for the whole country, and I’m also doing it for myself.”

4) Ryan Hall has an amazing story and I am a big fan.  I’m sure you have heard about him! Runner’s World recently did a great spread about him. As did The New Yorker. He is a solid athlete and a medal contender in the marathon.

Lots of information is available at NBC’s website. Track events start Friday, Aug 17. The USATF has a lot of information at their site as well, including a complete roster with bios about most of the athletes.  The Final Sprint has and will have more information and stories about athletes and “live coverage”. Finally, Down the Backstretch, a Minnesota focused blog has a list of some great links to follow Olympic coverage (the links focus on more than just Minnesotans!)

[tags] Olympics, Sudan, China, USATF [/tags]

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