January 25: Michael Wardian Defends Miami Marathon Crown // Texas Tykes Can Challenge Leo Manzano // Club Track Championships in NYC // Thomas Dold Will Run Up Empire State Building Again // Houston's 'Very Positive Running Culture'

Michael Wardian  will Defend His ING Miami Marathon Crown"I won a bunch of marathons last year and it all started with a really good run in Miami," states Wardian, a Virginian whose 2010 included  the USA 50K title, a third place at in a six-day race across the Sahara, and a  World 100K Championships bronze medal. An international shipping broker, Wardian arrived in Miami last year less than 24 hours after an 80-hour work week spent moving aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti. His 2011 plans include the  56-mile Comrades Marathon and the Capetown Two Oceans Marathon, both in South Africa, but looking to Sunday's marathon in Florida, he affirms "I feel ready to run fast in Miami. I want to go for the Olympic Trials standard. anything under 2:19 will do, and I'm going for that." if Wardian gets the time he needs, he can celebrate the following Tuesday in new York, where he'll surmount 86 flights of stairs at the Empire State Building Run-Up. The guy doesn't spend much time recovering.  Winning in Miami could be a tall order this time, however. The field includes Peter Kemboi of Kenya and Tesfaye Alemayehu of Ethiopia, who have personal bests of 2:09:21 and 2:11:50, respectively. (photo of Michael Wardian by Victah Sailer) More

'Hey, Texas Kids, Let's See what You got,' Leo Manzano ProclaimsOn Saturday, March 5, Leo Manzano, who ranked #1 in the U.S. and #6 in the world for the 1500-meter run in 2010, will take on all challengers ages 5 to 13 in a Texas Dream Mile in the town of Gonzales, which is where the 203-mile Texas Independence Relay begins (you can read about that event at "More," too).  There's no charge;  just show up. Yeah, kids, Leo's plenty fast, but … I dunno, if enough of you hop on the track, maybe you can box him in or something. The link at "More" also includes a terrific video reviewing Manzano's career. He's one of the very best people in our sport. (photo of Leo Manzano by Victah Sailer) More

National Club Track Championships will Return to new YorkThe 2011 USATF National Club Track & Field Championships will be at Icahn Stadium on July 8 and 9, the fourth time the championships have been held in new York since 2005.  The meet will be hosted by the Central Park Track Club new Balance (my homeys!), who captured the 2009 combined team title the last time the event was held at Icahn Stadium. "we are extremely pleased that the Club Championships are returning to one of America's premier track & field venues, in an area that is a hotbed for our sport and the USATF club program," says USATF Director of Grass Roots Programs Andy Martin. "we look forward to continued growth in 2011 and an exciting event." at the 2010 club championships in San Francisco, Central Park TC won the men's team title and Norfolk Real Deal TC  of Virginia  claimed the women's crown. More

Thomas Dold goes for 6th Empire State Building Run-Up WinDold, from Germany, headlines the 34th annual Empire State Building Run-Up Powered by MMRF on Tuesday, February 1. He's won the last five Run-Ups  and he's only 25; a sixth victory would break a tie with previous five-time winners Paul Crake of Australia and Al Waquie of the United States. in this year's Run-Up,  400 competitors will  race up 86 flights – 1,576 stairsteps – to the outdoor observation deck of  the tallest building in new York City. Dold's top competitors will include  Jesse Berg of Chicago  and Tim Van Orden of Vermont. The women's defending champ, Melissa Moon of new Zealand, will not be present but  three-time titleist Suzy Walsham of Australia, who missed 2010's Run-Up due to pregnancy, has a chance to tie Cindy Harris' women's record of four victories in this race – though Harris, now 42, will be present herself.

This year, the Empire State Building Run-Up will also feature a charity race for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Approximately 100 participants will run for charity in the day’s first race, which will start at 8:00 a.m. The preliminary race will start at 9:00 a.m., followed by the ESB Brokers’ Challenge race at 9:30 a.m. and the Team for Kids race at 9:40 a.m. The women’s invitational race will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will be followed by the men’s invitational heats at 10:35 and 10:40 a.m.   For more information on the Empire State Building visit www.esbnyc.com or www.facebook.com/EmpireStateBuilding

How Did Houston Develop Its 'very Positive Running Culture?'Rice University's  track and field coach Jon Warren has labeled it as such. this weekend, Houston will stage the Chevron Marathon and an Aramco half Marathon which includes the USA half Marathon Championships, and a year from now, the city will host the men's and women's U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Back in 1972, the first Houston Marathon drew 113 runners, and even as recently as 2002, notes Managing Director Steven Karpas,  "we were still a 26.2-mile local fun run. we were struggling to draw 7,000 participants. now we're having to turn away more than 7,000 applicants." The boom in Houston can be attributed to some of the same factors as the gains achieved by running elsewhere – charitable tie-ins, greater participation by women, a strong business model, and, as writer Dale Robertson puts it, the fact that "fitness arguably matters more than at any time in human history, and all it takes to be a runner is discipline, willpower and a decent pair of shoes." Others suggest it helps that Houston Marathon treats rank-and-file runners like elites. "I've run 12 or 13 different marathons, and none is more user-friendly" than this Texas race, claims Houston Area Road Runners Association President Ron Morgan. "You're indoors (at a convention center) until right before you start, and then you're back inside right afterwards. The food they provide, the water, the Gatorade, all the hoopla on the course. … You've really got to nitpick to find any faults with the organization." (photo of Brett Gotcher, who's doing the Chevron Houston Marathon, by Giancarlo Colombo/Photo Run) More

Atlanta Track Club Launches new Marathon WebsiteThe site,  atlantamarathon.org, is focused on the Atlanta Marathon and Marathon Relay, which will be on October 30. The site  provides access to online registration and gives participants, spectators and volunteers the opportunity to catch up on the latest information and news regarding the event.   The Atlanta Marathon and Marathon Relay starts and finishes at Atlantic Station and features a challenging loop course entirely within the City of Atlanta.  The course is a tour of  well-known sites and neighborhoods like  Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia Institute of Technology, CNN Center, Philips Arena, Georgia Aquarium, the Olympic Rings, Turner Field, Grant Park, Virginia-Highland, Piedmont Park, Buckhead and stretches of Peachtree Road.  Online registration for the 2011 Atlanta Marathon and Marathon Relay is available now and will remain open through Wednesday, October 26.

When It Comes to Progress, Is Usain Bolt Really one of a Kind?The "Boston Globe" article linked up at "More" suggests that the astonishing 100 and 200-meter breakthroughs the tall Jamaican achieved in 2008 and 2009 represent even more of an anomaly than we might have felt. Writer Paul Kix ponders whether the limits of human athletic performance have been achieved.  "We’re reaching our biological limits," says Geoffroy Berthelot, a research specialist at the Institute for Biomedical Research and Sports Epidemiology in Paris who is quoted by Kix. "we made major performance increases in the last century. and now it is very hard." It's supposed to be hard. (photo of Usain Bolt by Victah Sailer) More

What's It Like to have Your College Running Program cut? It happened to Anthony Raimondo and some of his University of Delaware teammates, who came back from a morning run to learn by e-mail that their school's men's cross country and track & field programs will not be funded and are being reduced from varsity to club sports. Apparently this almost happened at Delaware in 2008, but parents and alumni (and lawyers) managed to obtain a reprieve. part of the reason for the cut is attributable to the financial climate and part to fears of non-compliance with Title IX, though Delaware has not been issued any warning along those lines. Click on "More" to read Raimondo's thoughts on the loss of a track program that will be 100 years old this spring – which will be its last season – and his feelings about his coach, Jim Fischer, "one of the nicest people you'll ever meet." and if you think cross country and track are inexpensive varsity programs, well, they're even cheaper than you imagine. More

'The Event Chose me,' says British 800-Meter Ace Jenny MeadowsThe 2009 World Championships bronze medalist observes "you need to have a lot of natural speed (in the 800) but still be able to do the mileage as well. You're not fast enough to be a sprinter, and don't have enough endurance to be a distance runner. I think I like that combination." She's actually moved down to the 400 but was inspired to come back to the event after seeing her countrywoman Kelly Holmes win gold in it (and the 1500) in the 2004 Athens Olympics a precocious – and diminutive – talent, Meadows has been nicknamed The Pocket Rocket. "when I was young I was always the smallest of our training group but quite competitive," Meadows remembers.  "The boys didn't like to get beaten by a girl. there was one guy who really struggled against me, so he gave me that name." (photo of Jenny Meadows by Victah Sailer) More

Leonard Komon Earns a Cross Country Victory in SpainKomon was the 2008 World Cross Championships country silver medalist and has been on three gold medal Kenyan teams at those Championships. on Sunday, he finished nine seconds ahead of Olympic 10,000-meter bronze medalist and world 10k road recordholder Micah Kogo at the Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza in Elgoibar, Spain. Komon's time was 32.05 on a 10.8k layout. It was his third triumph in Elgoibar in four years. Komon, who had won another Spanish cross country race on the previous Sunday in Seville, states  "I now fly to my country to build up for the national trials" for World Cross; those trials are on February 19. in the women's race in Elgoibar, European Championships 5000-meter bronze medalist Sara Moreira took first place over Spain’s Diana Martín by just one second with a 22.08 for 6.6k. More

Indiana's Andy Bayer Runs Fastest 3000 Meters of 2011Okay, it's early yet. But Bayer is just a sophomore, and his 7:48.35 on Saturday at the Gladstein Invitational was also an Indiana University record. Teammate Andrew Poore, a junior who was second to Bayer in 7:55.54, remarked "Andy is a one-of-a-kind talent. hopefully I can maybe give him a run for his money in the 5k, but overall he’s hard to beat." More

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January 25: Michael Wardian Defends Miami Marathon Crown // Texas Tykes Can Challenge Leo Manzano // Club Track Championships in NYC // Thomas Dold Will Run Up Empire State Building Again // Houston's 'Very Positive Running Culture'

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