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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.

Desi Linden Prepares for the Defense of her Boston title


 Des Linden training in Michigan, photo by Brooks communications


March 20, 2019

Any Patriots' Day victor will tell you: winning the Boston Marathon is one of the most difficult accomplishments in road racing, to prevail over 26.2 miles against the always star-studded field on the historic and difficult trek from Hopkinton to the Back Bay. But upon reflection there is a more daunting Boston Marathon task: for the prior year's champion to return to Boston the next year and successfully defend the title. This is the challenge that Desiree Linden, the 2018 Boston Marathon champion, faces and embraces.

 Anavia Battle

Anavia Battle, photo by Ohio State Buckeyes

Anavia Battle, photo courtesy of Ohio State Buckeyes

 OSU Sprinter Breaks Through With WL In 200m

March 5th, 2019

Collegiate track & field coaches and those who follow our sport closely will tell you that the performance levels of the very best high school athletes on the track and in the field have recently progressed at an impressive rate. Better advancements in training, nutrition, weight work, event technique, shoes, equipment, and athlete commitment have combined to produce year-after-year bumper crops of top flight prep athletes heading to college. But not all of these athletes prove able to continue the impressive trajectory of progression they authored as preps. For collegiate coaches, the challenge is to properly evaluate this high school talent: to look for strengths; to spot weaknesses; to assess attitudes and commitment, and hope they can arrive at the correct conclusions about which athletes can thrive in the competitive world of collegiate track & field.

One such athlete who assembled impressive - but not mind-blowing - credentials as a high schooler is Ohio State University sprinter Anavia Battle. While a prep at Wayne Memorial in Inskter, Michigan, Battle displayed steady progression and in her senior year captured the 2017 Michigan state 100 meter crown in 11.95 and was the Junior Olympic champion in both the 100m and 200m. The diminutive sprinter and her successes on the oval drew attention. But did she have the potential for continued improvement and championship level success at a Power 5 university? Ohio State University Head Coach Karen Dennis believed she did. "When I first watched Anavia compete, I thought to myself 'This little girl has great mechanics and a very fluid sprinting style,'" explains Dennis who has a particular eye for identifying sprinters, hurdlers, and jumpers with top flight collegiate potential. The positive impressions Battle had during her recruiting visit to OSU was more than enough for this sprinter from the Wolverine State to take her talents to Columbus.


 Danae Rivers resized


Danae Rivers, photo courtesy of Penn State

How Penn State's Danae Rivers Broke The Indoor 1000m Standard


January 31, 2019

One of the rare and special moments in track & field is when a record is broken. In our sport, records exist on a variety of levels - from the PR of a young high schooler to a global record set by an accomplished world-class athlete. Some never-before attained performances can be unplanned, spontaneous occurrences - like Kendra Harrison's 2016 world-record clocking of 12.20 in the women's 100 meter hurdles or Anita Wlodarczyk's gold medal-winning world-record hammer throw of 82.29 meters at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Other records are achieved only after the most careful preparation: event and venue selection, thoughtful assembly of the field, agreement on pacing and opening tempo [or in the case of vertical jumps: event entry and jump count],

Earlier this month, on a blustery winter day in State College, Pennsylvania, a new collegiate record was set in the women's indoor 1000 meter run by talented Penn State middle distance athlete Danae Rivers. Her record performance was not an unexpected surprise; it was the product of the convergence of several essential ingredients: a young, gifted, hungry, and properly-trained athlete performing in the right meet on her home track over a carefully-selected off-race distance in a competition that included the best mix of competitors and featured a precision-like teammate as the early pacer.


Rainbow-Euros14.jpgStadion Letzigrund, photo by PhotoRun.net

 Letzigrund Stadium Inspires Exceptional Performances

Zurich, Switzerland

When you think about it, the venue in which a track and field gathering is held really should have virtually no impact on the performance of the athletes. One lap is always 400 meters. Barrier heights for the men's 110 meter hurdles remain at 42 inches. And a 2 meter high jump consistently measures out at 6'6¾". But we have come to learn that there are a few intangible variables (e.g. the passion of the crowd, the significance of the event, the heritage of the venue, etc.) that sometimes can inspire pinnacle performances in several revered and magical facilities.

One such location is Zurich's Letzigrund Stadium which over the years has been the site of an impressive number of truly outstanding track & field performances. Letzigrund, which can trace it origins back to 1925, has been the site of 25 world record acheivements over the years - including Armin Hary's groundbreaking 100 meters in 1960 as he became the first man ever to run the event in 10.0 seconds; Sebastian Coe's world record performances in the 1500 meters [3:32.1 in '79] and the mile [3:48.53 in '81]; and 8 WR achievements by American athletes [Willie Davenport's 13.2 110H in '69; Rod Milburn's 13.1 110H in '73; Renaldo Nehemiah's 12.93 110H in '81; Evelyn Ashford's 10.76 100m in '84; Mary Slaney's 4:16.71 mile in '85; Butch Reynold's 43.29 400m in '88; Roger Kingdom's 12.92 110H in '89; and the Team USA quartet of Mike Marsh, Leroy Burrell, Dennis Mitchell, and Carl Lewis' 37.87 in the men's 4x100m relay in '91].

Hasay Photo 

America’s #2 All-Time Female Marathoner Poised To Resume Journey

December 10th, 2018

Jordan Hasay’s running journey has been interesting, indeed. The California native burst onto the national scene 13 years ago when she authored an unmatched high school freshman year that featured her stunning victory at the 2005 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, a prelude of future sensational races to come. At the 2008 Olympic Trials, the young Hasay ran 4:14.50 to break the national high school record in the 1500 meters. In the afterglow of that race, the 16 year old prep was serenaded by the capacity Hayward Field crowd which rhythmically chanted “Come to Oregon,” a directive she ultimately followed a year later.

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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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