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Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.

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Kawauchi_YukiA-Boston18.JPGYuki Kawauchi, photo by PhotoRun.net

April 16th, 2018

Patriots' Day

On a day fit for neither man nor beast, Japan's Yuki Kawauchi was able to turn back the challenges of several fellow competitors and to endure the cruelest of Mother Nature's meteorological conditions to win the wind-swept and rain-soaked 2018 Boston Marathon.

When the elite men's start commenced amidst driving rain, a formidable headwind, and sub-freezing wind-chill temperatures, marathon aficionados scoffed when lightly-touted Kawauchi bolted to the front from the start and forged a sizeable early lead as he free-wheeled out of Hopkinton on the downhill to Ashland. After the Japanese marathoner split 5K in 15:01 under miserable conditions, the prevailing thinking was that the smarter, authentic competitors would let this early rabbit go and wait until deep into the second half of the race to begin the serious racing.

 

Des Linden running into history, photo by PhotoRun.net

 

Linden Is 1st American Women's Boston Champion Since 1985

April 16th, 2018

Patriots' Day

Along with the other elite women competitors, two-time United States Olympic marathoner Desiree Linden stood shivering at the Hopkinton start line this morning for what seemed like an eternity. But after the starting pistol was fired, she took her time, kept her cool, and ultimately showed - to herself, her competitors, and others - she had the winning race plan which she executed with perfection.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

February 18th, 2018

Day Three of the 2018 USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships is a day that Katie Nageotte will never forget. The adidas athlete had the type of pole vault competition that few could ever match and most could only dream about. In arguably one of the most important competitions of her young career, the 26-year-old Ohio native made 8 consecutive first-attempt clearances, re-set her PR 3 times along the way, won her first national championship as a professional, cleared a world-leading 4.91m/16’1¼”, became only the 4th American woman to clear 16 feet, is now ranked #4 on the all-time indoor PV world list, and took 3 noble, albeit unsuccessful, attempts [her only misses of the day] at what would have been a world record clearance at 5.04m/16’6½”.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

February 18th, 2018

With no Olympic Games or outdoor world championships on the 2018 calendar, the annual USATF indoor showdown took on added meaning as the sole American pathway to the only global championship of the year: Birmingham’s World Championship gathering just two weeks hence. As a result, a somewhat curious and varied assemblage of talented American women – established veterans and rising stars – met in the Land of Enchantment to battle for the coveted spots on the U.S. world indoor team.

 

EP-170209345.jpg&maxh=400&maxw=667.jpgMatt Ludwig, photo courtesy of New Herald

January 6th, 2018

 Katie Nageotte's Winning AL Clearance #2 on 2018 World List

While Saturday evening's artic winds were driving wind chill temperatures beyond 20 degrees below zero in Akron, Ohio, inside the Stile Athletics Field House on the University of Akron campus, a few world-class pole vaulters were heating things up with some of the best clearances of this early 2018 indoor season.

Why in the world would some of the best vaulters in the world make a wintertime trek to Akron, Ohio? First of all, the University of Akron's indoor facility houses one of the best indoor track & field venues in the nation, especially for the pole vault where 5 different vault pits can be utilized simultaneously. In addition, Zip head coach Dennis Mitchell - Akron's vault maestro and a national class pole vaulter in his own right back the mid-80's - has built a terrific track & field culture, not just for his highly-successful teams, but also in particular for his pole vaulters who have garnered 5 NCAA pole vault titles in the past 4 years. Further, the Saturday night pole vault competition for elite men and women represented the pinnacle of the 6th annual U of A Pole Vault Convention - a multi-day on-campus instructional pole vault seminar that attracted well over 100 aspiring vaulters of all types: boys, girls, men, women, grade school, high school, collegiate, professional; and post professional.

Hill_DarrellH-Brussels17.jpgDarrell Hill, photo by PhotoRun.net

 Young Pro Reflects on Emerging Career, DL Shot Crown

January 1, 2018

Athletes, like others, are not born with confidence. Some may think they are, but they are mistaken. That's faux confidence. One needs to earn self-assuredness- either nurtured by others, or cultivated by one's own experiences, or both. Some find a way to build it through a pretense of confidence, a self-acknowledged charade that they are confident, hoping ultimately to build a reality out of what they know to be an attitudinal placeholder until it can be supplanted by the real thing. Darrell Hill - the reigning Diamond League shot put champion - has travelled his own pathway, from happy-go-lucky, stand-in 35 foot shot putter who is in it for the fun to one of the most proficient putters of all time at age 24. And through it all, he has gained genuine confidence.

 

Kendricks-Duplantis-LaVillenie-Lausanne17.jpgSam Skinner, Mondo Duplantis, Renaud Lavillenie, photo by PhotoRun.net

December 24, 2017

Earlier this month, the focus was on the women and the selection of the premier female track & field athlete of 2017. Now it is time to turn attention to the men and - employing the same measurement metrics of progression of marks, head-to-head competition, and honors won - determine the male track & field athlete of the year. With many athletes registering outstanding, if not career, years, the undertaking is an understandably difficult one The undoubtedly subjective evaluation process renders the ultimate determination often unsatisfying as reasonable minds can easily - an quite often do - come to differing conclusion. But proceed we must!

To become a top 5 finalist an athlete's annual record must sparkle. A finalist must have authored a season that offers an overall luster devoid of tarnish - or at least no smudge of any material nature. Every year there are several skilled and achieving athletes who just miss achieving finalist status, yet are worthy of honorable mention. This year, those honorees, listed in alphabetical order, are:

Wlodarczyk_AnitaW1b-WC17.jpgAnita Wlodarzyck, photo by PhotoRun.net

December 19th, 2017

Selecting a single track & field performer as the Female Athlete of the Year is a difficult task every year. And this go-around is no different. Four of my top "finalists" - all with gaudy, yet nearly evenly-matched, credentials accumulated during this championship year - would be worthy to wear the AOY crown in almost any other year. But in my view, the one other finalist is head and shoulders above the others. Before unveiling my rankings in this clearly-subjective undertaking, a quick review of the measurement metrics is in order. Long ago, Track & Field News identified three progressively-weighted criteria for the annual evaluation of the leading performers. They are

•Progression Of Marks. Some weight is given to the clockings, the height, or the distance achieved by the athlete during the year. Progressive improvements throughout the year warrant special merit.
•Head-To-Head Competition. Track & field is more than simply posting outstanding marks. It's about winning. As such, more weight is accorded to the athlete's record in competing against his or her world-class competitors. When faced with the best in your event, did you prevail?
•Honors Won. Ah, but our sport is more thansimply posting some wins. At its zenith, track & field is about its best athletes rising up at that most important moment, vanquishing the field, and winning when it counts the most - in championship competition, particularly global gatherings. That's why the most weight is given to the significant honors the athlete garners at the most important competitions at season's end.

There are a number of women who authored impressive years spiced with sparkling marks, important victories, and coveted global titles. But each had a slight chink in her armor that kept them from ascending to the top 5. Nonetheless, all are most worthy of honorable mention. In alphabetical order, they are:

Murphy_ClaytonQ-USAout17.jpgClayton Murphy, photo by PhotoRun.net

This is the second part of a two-part series on the topsy-turvy 2017

of America's Olympic 800 meter bronze medalist.

Calamity, Then Restoration 

"Life is what happens to you while you're planning on doing something else." - John Lennon

As if Clayton Murphy's self-imposed goal of earning a spot on Team USA's World Championship team in both the 800 meters and the 1500 meters was not challenge enough, in the days leading up to the USATF outdoor track & field championships, Mother Nature intervened to deliver scorching temperatures, making Murphy's Sacramento quest more daunting still. Even with an 11th hour scheduling change to evade the day's heat peak, the mercury still registered 113 degrees as the first round of the 800 meters was announced. Normally perky middle distance racers were grim faced walking onto the track as if they were being led to the gallows. Peeling off his ice vest, Murphy was all business. Running a measured race requiring only a modest, yet decisive move over the final 150 meters, Murphy captured an automatic qualifier. Scurrying through the mixed zone, Murphy headed back to the hotel to rest, eat, and prepare for the first round of the 1500 some 4 hours hence. While the 1500 first round race was more strenuous than Murphy's earlier 800 meters, he was up to the challenge and advanced by posting the fastest time qualifier of the day. Day One's mission was accomplished. In the Day Two 800m semi with blistering temperatures still well above 100, Clayton once again looked sharp, snaring yet another auto qualifier for the closing day's 800 meter final.

Murphy_ClaytonQ-Rio16.jpgClayton Murphy, photo by PhotoRun.net

 "You'll never achieve what you never planned for." - Collins Hasty

As the current year began and after 3 consecutive years of eye-popping middle distance progression, Olympic 800 meter bronze medalist Clayton Murphy looked forward to 2017 with optimism and ambition. "It was exciting to have a year like 2016 and view all the opportunities I had in front of me as well as the challenges we knew would be ahead," states Murphy as he reflects on the beginning of this world championship year. "There was no 'let's see if we can mimic what we did the year before.' It was, 'let's see if we can do better than we did the year before.' That was exciting to me to have that challenge, to try to get better every year."

RunBlogRun Some photographs on this site have been reproduced with permission from runblogrun.com.