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Coleman_ChristianPC-Pre19.JPGChristian Coleman, photo by PhotoRun.net

Hanging with Track & Field Royalty at Pre


Palo Alto, California

June 30th, 2019

For those who want to experience the exhilaration of witnessing live the performances of the world's greatest track & field athletes, you can devote time and resources to travel to foreign lands to be in the stadium to savor in person the fights for the medals at either the Olympic Games or the World Championships. In doing so, you'll see all of the world's finest performers in a span of about 9 or 10 days. But there is another way: you can attend the Prefontaine Classic and be present for outstanding competitions with most of the same athletes. At Pre, you won't see every single finalist or even every event "athletics" has to offer. That said, the competitions you will see will be fierce battles among the world's best in that particular event. And you'll experience it all in about 2½ hours.

And for a couple of dozen journalists, there is an added benefit: the opportunity to engage in conversation in the mixed zone with a flood of Olympic and World Championship medalists and other global class performers - more in one afternoon than you'd ever have in a single session of a 10-day global championship. It is a rare, crowded, and frenzied occasion all crammed into just a few precious and exciting hours. Here are a select few of the tasty morsels offered up by some of the world's greatest athletes: after their competition on the Stanford campus:


Athlete Of The Meet Darlan Romani PRed 3 times, his best put of 74-2¼ moving him to No. 9 on the all-time list. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

Palo Alto, California

une 30, 2019

Staged at a new venue and unfurling a new fast-paced and constrained Diamond League presentation, the 45th edition of the Prefontaine Classic signaled a new and exciting era as an array of global athletes delivered sparkling performances. In adherence to tight DL television window guidelines, Tom Jordan and his staff nimbly produced a crisp, nonstop parade of 13 Diamond League contests, sprinkled in 5 non-DL events, and kept the capacity crowd fully engaged in a compelling gathering that was fully presented in less than 2½ hours.

June 8th, 2019
Austin, Texas

Capping off a truly memorable day of sprinting by young, emerging collegiate women, the 200 meter finalists put on a clinic in the furlong final.

The preliminary round on Day Two offered a premonition of how hard fought this event would be. Those who didn’t bring their A game were quickly dispatched. Four of the advancing athletes set personal bests as it took 22.65 or better to earn a lane in the final. In Heat 2, LSU super frosh Richardson showed she was ready as she roared around the curve and crossed the line first in 22.37 to set a new facility record and collegiate leader. In doing so, Richardson, who had also earlier ran 10.99 to qualify for the 100m final, became the first woman in World U20 history to clock sub-11 and sub-22.4 in the same day. Yet the Tigress’ new leading marks were short-lived. In the very next heat, USC junior Angie Annelus delivered her own special message as the defending champion threw down a 22.35 clocking to lower the stadium best and collegiate-leading time even further.

June 8th, 2019
Austin, Texas

Unfazed by blazing sun and 98 degree temperatures, the women’s 1500 meter finalists eschewed cat-and-mouse race tactics, drilled down to a challenging early pace, and authored a championship race that produced some sparkling times.

June 7th, 2019
Austin, Texas

With dusk temperatures still in the 90’s, 24 of the best collegiate high jumpers squared off on the griddle-hot jump apron for the men’s high jump final. Among the competitors was LSU sophomore JuVaughn Harrison who two days earlier had prevailed in a tight long jump battle, his winning jump of 8.20m/26’11” sealing the victory by an inch. Even before the competition got underway, Harrison sensed this could be a special day. “I knew early on during the warmups that it was going to be a very good meet,” confided the SEC high jump champion.

June 7th, 2019
Austin, Texas

The men’s 800 meter final showcased a last lap battle between two of the most talented middle distance collegians: Kansas junior Bryce Hoppel and Texas A&M junior Devin Dixon.

Two days before the final, the preliminary round whetted appetites for the championship showdown. Heat 1 pitted Hoppel, undefeated in individual events in 2019, against collegiate leader Dixon. Hoppel exhibited textbook racing skills in posting a new facility record of 1:45.26 to edge the Texas A&M junior [1:45.67]. Dixon’s teammate Carlton Orange showed he could be a factor in the final by ringing up the 3rd fastest first-round clocking of1:46.86 in winning Heat 2. No other advancers cracked 1:47.

temp.PNGBlocks, photo courtesy Brooks Running

Scribe Reminded Of Midwestern Values

May 12, 2019

Even before embarking upon a 280 mile mid-week drive from my Silver Lake, Ohio home to Muncie, Indiana to serve as the announcer for the Ball State-hosted 2019 Mid-American Outdoor Track & Field Championships, I was looking forward to what I knew would be high-caliber competition. I wasn't disappointed. Miami University's Sean Torpy won the 1500 meters, the 800 meters, and the 5000 meters all in the space of the final afternoon while his twin brother captured the steeplechase crown. Kent State's talented multi-athlete T.J. Lawson, groomed by his head coach and father Bill Lawson, won the decathlon for the third consecutive year and even flirted with the conference record. And the host school's Bryeana Byrdsong was a joyful, surprise winner of the women's 100 meter dash. While the MAC may be considered by some to be a mid-major conference, I found the championships I announced to have all of the vigor and passion of a Power-5 conference championship gathering.

But beyond the track meet, I was struck by something else. The off-highway nature of my roundtrip drive to Muncie and back afforded me the opportunity to leave the numbing sameness of interstate driving and embrace some backroad travel in northwestern Ohio and eastern Indiana. And in the process, the optics of the trip reminded me of my midwestern roots and reawakened in me my pride as a midwesterner. While my innate midwestern pride had never completely vanished, my Ivy League education and my somewhat different life journey had dimmed my appreciation of midwestern culture and the pride that comes with it. Off the interstate, I suddenly found myself on state roads flanked on both sides by long stretches of rural flatlands and a long, clean horizon, only interrupted on occasion by grain silos and church steeples. The roads took me through little towns and hamlets: like Findlay, Ohio which touts itself as Flag City USA; Celina, Ohio situated adjacent to gigantic Grand Lake; and Redkey, Indiana - a small burg whose welcome sign features, well, a red key. Witnessing these towns and their dated buildings evoked memories of a bygone era when hard work and persistence could lead to success without the current challenges presented by global markets and the ongoing evolution of American retailing.

Joan Benoit Samuelson Still Inspires 

Well into the 21st century, running in America continues to thrive as a broad-based activity embraced by men and women of various ages, differing economic strata, and various social classes. But it wasn’t always this way. In America 50+ years ago, the sport of road racing in general – and marathoning in particular – was a rather odd pursuit often reserved almost exclusively for post-collegiate, aging white males.

So how did this once eclectic pastime evolve in this country into the all-encompassing healthy activity it is today? While the marathon of course goes back to Ancient Grecian times, America as a whole was first reawakened to this sport by a few important early pioneers. But the country’s interest in the 26.2 mile event really gained widespread domestic attention in the 1970’s when America’s Frank Shorter won marathon gold at the ’72 Olympic Games and countryman Bill Rodgers later launched his road racing tear which ultimately resulted in 4 marathon victories in both the Boston and New York City marathons. The country was hooked.

If Shorter and Rodgers are the Kings of America’s running boom, then Joan Benoit Samuelson is the Queen. Just as Shorter and Rodgers demonstrated to American men that they could compete successfully against the world’s best, Joan Benoit Samuelson continues to inspire American women through her own performances and to show women that they, too, can race effectively and win medals at the highest global levels. On the 40th anniversary of her life-changing 1979 Boston Marathon victory, a look back now can reveal the tremendous influence she has had in transforming running from a lonely ritual for a few into an uplifting activity for many.

Worknesh Degefa wins 2019 Boston Marathon, in 2:23.31, photo by PhotoRun.net

WomanStart-Boston19.JPGWomen's start, 2019 B.A.A. Boston Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Unfurling a bold race plan, Ethiopian Worknesh Degefa - a Boston first-timer whose only prior exposure to the historic race course was limited to her viewing of last year's Patriots' Day broadcast - threw the gauntlet down shortly after the 5 kilometer mark, broke away from the lead pack, and held on over the final miles to capture the laurel wreath in the 123rd running of the B.A.A. Marathon.

Weather is always a consideration in the marathon. Fear of another meteorological nightmare similar to last year's horrid weather conditions was anticipated as late as Monday's dawn. But the rain ultimately subsided before the start as the race got under way under humid conditions and with temperatures in the low 60's.

Hall_SaraH-Boston19.JPGSara Hall took an early lead, photo by PhotoRun.net

After an opening 5K led by American Sara Hall in 17:34, Degefa dropped in a subtle but effective surge and crept away from the early lead pack of maybe two dozen athletes. It started as a sneaky tactic reminiscent of Joan Benoit's early break in the '84 Olympic Marathon. The move, unanswered by her competitors, quickly gave the Ethiopian a 35 meter lead. When Degefa crossed 10K in 33:58 the lead had increased to 50 meters ahead of the chase pack led by 2012 Boston champion Sharon Cherop and Worknesh's Ethiopian countrywoman Mare Dibaba. When Degefa, who rang up a PR of 2:17:41 in finishing 2nd in January's Dubai Marathon, continued to crank consecutive sub-5:20 miles the lead had grown to 1:24 when the leader reached 15 kilometers in 50:21.

Cherono Denies Desisa 3rd Wreath!


Cherono-Desisa-Boston19.JPGCherono and Lelisa call upon their inner speed, photo by PhotoRun

Cherono-DesisaFH-Boston19.JPGAnd it comes to the final meters, photo by PhotoRun

April 15th, 2019

Patriots' Day

Boston, Massachusetts

In a road racing war of attrition over the last nine miles, 30-year old Kenyan Lawrence Cherono ultimately turned back all comers - including his final challenger 2-time Boston champion Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa in the very final strides - to take the laurel wreath in one of the closest finishes in the 123 year history of this storied marathon.

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Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

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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