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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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 20161026 gerardvandeveen

gerrit-van-der-veen-and-wilson-kipsang-addressing-press-in-eldoret.jpg

Gerard van de Veen with Wilson Kipsang


Dutch Manager Handles The Greats

The spectacle of international road racing at the elite level is so grand as to sometimes be overwhelming: picture several dozen exquisite and exactingly prepared thoroughbred men and women, positioned on starting lines in front of huge teeming fields of tens of thousands and prepared to race for life-changing prize money over the streets of some of the world's greatest global capitals. Against this backdrop, it is often easy to overlook a key player in all of this: the elite athlete's agent or manager, the person who toils alone in anonymity to ensure that all non-racing aspects of the athlete's life run smoothly, that the annual race calendar is wisely assembled to include the proper progression of races against the appropriate opponents, and that the overall trajectory of an athlete's career is arcing properly to pinnacle, career-capping - even world record - performances. It is a daunting task which requires superior multi-tasking skills, an engrained knowledge of how to select and develop road racing talent, a nuanced yet important relationship with the athlete, and a keen sense of mother wit. Many aspire to become managers on the road racing circuit, but only a select few truly excel.

One of the more successful managers who presides over a stable of world-class road racers is Amsterdam-based Gerard van de Veen.

 

Morris_160213_6919.jpgMeb Keflezighi, photo by Kevin Morris

Legendary Marathoner Is Also An Exceptional Person

October 2nd, 2016

In surveying the spectrum of sport, it is not unusual to observe certain world-class athletes who, frankly, are unpleasant human beings. Inwardly focused on perfecting their craft, these often-impatient, self-absorbed performers are frequently oblivious to the world around them, with little time for or interest in others. In contrast to that selfish group, there is Meb Keflezighi - a world class marathoner who is quite the opposite of that narrow pack of athletes who project that loathsome personality that says it's all about them.

No part of the life of Mebrahtom Keflezighi is ordinary. In 1987, his father, Russom Keflezighi, fled war-torn Eritrea in a move that would eventually bring his entire family to the United States. One of the Keflezighi children was 12 year old Meb. No one could envision that one day he would grow up to be perhaps the greatest American distance runner ever.

 

Kenyan Athletes Capture Half Marathon Victories In Usti nad Labem

Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic

When an incessant, day-long rain – which threatened to spoil the 6th annual Mattoni Usti nad Labem Half Marathon – magically subsided just prior to the race start, several dozen of the world‘s top professional road racers, along with another 3600 intrepid runners, suddenly knew the emerging weather – damp, windless conditions and a cooling temperature of 16 degrees Celsius [62 degrees Fahrenheit] could permit some special performances in the finale of the 2016 RunCzech Running League. Several such performances – including a clocking under the mythical one hour barrier – did occur.

 

Half Marathon To Conclude The RunCzech Season


Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic

Several world class athletes were highlighted at Friday’s pre-race press conference in Usti nad Labem – just a day before the Mattoni Half Marathon will bring the curtain down on yet another successful RunCzech Running League racing series. In the afterglow of last Saturday’s terrific Birell Prague Grand Prix 10K – where RunCzech Racing Team athlete Abraham Kipyatich’s world-leading 27:40 made him the surprise winner and Violah Jepchumba’s winning time of 30:24, also a world leader, was just 3 seconds off Paula Radcliffe’s world record – many wondered if the Usti finale might produce a road racing encore.

Kipyatich Surprise Men’s Winner

Prague, Czech Republic

Last April, Kenya’s Violah Jepchumba thundered through the first 10 kilometers of the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon in 30:29 and then sailed on to victory in 1:05.51. Her 10K split was a world leader and made her the #3 10K road performer of all time. But wait, there’s more. Her world-leading finishing time also made her the #3 half marathon performer of all time. As the road racing world reflected on Jechumba’s achievement – and the improbable way the dazzling 10K and half marathon clockings were achieved in the same race – many wondered just how good this 25 year old upstart could be. Tonight we caught a glimpse.

 

Jepchumba, Chebii Are Pre-Race Favorite

Prague, Czech Republic

On Saturday, the city of Prague will host a 10K road race which has the ingredients to be one of the fastest road contests of the year. But the competition will also feature a little twist. When it comes to race staging, the revered RunCzech Race Series – widely recognized for its much-coveted IAAF Gold Label Race Series distinction – likes to chart its own path. While most race organizers schedule their urban road duels to take place early in the day – shortly after the cock crows – RunCzech leadership enjoys exploring new ways to celebrate the sport we love. And in the case of Saturday’s upcoming Birell Prague Grand Prix 10K, that means a race start for its 10,000 competitors just as the sun sets on one of the world’s most idyllic European cities.

A pre-race press conference held Thursday showcased three of the more accomplished world-class athletes who will be competing Saturday evening.

 


Centrowitz_MattFL-Rio16.JPGMatthew Centrowtiz, photo by PhotoRun.net

 

Buenos Aries, Argentina

In the afterglow of outstanding track & field performances at the Summer Games of the 31st Olympiad, reflection of the fortnight is fresh. It is the perfect time to assemble my top ten favorite moments of these Games. Little objectivity is involved here. If you perhaps detect a not-so-subtle leaning toward American athletes, I plead guilty as charged. National pride - and prejudice - is prevalent throughout the Games and I am certainly no exception.

Being somewhat of an admitted "homer" and especially with Team USA having earned 32 medals - its most bountiful hardware harvest in recent Olympiads - restricting a listing to just ten memorable performances is difficult indeed. Thus, I've provided an honorable mention section as well. How stunning was track & field at these Olympics? Check out the Honorable Mention moments - as stellar as they are - that couldn't break into my Top Ten. In no particular order, they are: USA's Ashton Eaton defends deca crown and ties Ŝebrle's Olympic record; Jamaica's Elaine Thomson captures sprint double; USA's Michelle Carter uncorks monster final throw to swipe gold from shot put legend Valerie Adams; USA's Kerron Clement finds his 400H hurdle stride and wins gold to complete résumé; American Jeff Henderson's final round jump wins long jump gold; Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk dominates the hammer with world record heave; and Germany's Christoph Harting drops final throw bomb to keep Olympic discus gold in the family.

The Top Ten listing below reflects my personal preferences - moments that moved me, that will stay with me the rest of my life. Here's my list - in ascending order, of course - of my Top Ten Rio Moments:

Felix-Bartoletta4x1Q-Rio16.JPGAllyson Felix gets baton from Tianna Bartoletta, photo by PhotoRun.net

 

  U.S Women Soar; U.S. Men Baffled Again

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Everyone loves the 4x100 meter relay. Fans relish the spectacle, the electricity of this furious event which really is four mini-races all packaged in a 40 second presentation. With both the men's and the women's short relay finals being held Friday night, those who love track & field were prepared for a double dose of the event that requires both speed and execution. In the end, they got it all: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Allyson Felix to English Gardner, Thursday night, August 18, 2016, 7 pm local time, photo by PhotoRun.net

 

USA Relay Woes Continue


Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Yesterday at the Olympic Stadium as the USA women's 4x100 meter relay team was preparing to compete in their preliminary round, you could look around the stands and easily identify the American fans. They were the ones - in fearful anticipation - who were averting their gaze, shielding their eyes, afraid to witness yet another Team USA relay disaster.

The team the USA was sending out onto the track made sense. Tianna Bartoletta - fresh off her clutch, gold medal long jump performance the night before - was scheduled to lead off, just as she had done in the 2012 Games when the Yanks grabbed the gold with a world record performance. She would then hand off to the veteran Allison Felix who would race the backstretch before handing off to English Gardner to run the curve. The former Oregon star would then pass to Olympic newbie anchor Morolake Akinosun. Keen observers anticipated that when - or if - the Americans would make the final, a rested Tori Bowie would step in for Akinosun to run the anchor.

As the heat got underway, the seasoned Bartoletta got out well and flew around the curve. It was clear the Americans had the early lead. The first exchange between two veterans was just what you'd expect - conservatively scripted and carefully performed. Felix looked solid down the backstretch.

But then it happened.

T

Kipruto_ConseslusFV1a-Rio16.JPGConseslus KIpruto takes gold, Evan Jager takes silver and, for then, Ezekiel Kemboi takes bronze, photo by Photorun.net

 

Early Olympic Sessions Producing Great Performances

So you say you're too tired, you returned back to your hotel too late after yesterday's evening session of track & field, you had a few adult beverages to unwind, and you just can't make it to the morning sessions. Well, suck it up princess. This is the Olympic Games. Don't let a little sleep deprivation cause you to miss the action of this quadrennial celebration of sport. After all, you can sleep when you're dead.

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