Archive for May, 2009

Reebok Grand Prix

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

The IAAF.org report on the Reebok Grand Prix was posted this morning. I’ll be emptying out my notebook on Tyson Gay later today for a follow-up.

There were a lot of articulate and likeable women winning races last night. Another quote I haven’t (yet) seen in use, from Carmelita Jeter: “I’m doing better because I have a new coach, and I’m actually listening to him now. It’s not just in one ear, out the other, like it used to be.”

It’s about respect

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

The scene: a media work room in the bowels of Icahn Stadium in New York. Time: About an hour after the end of the Reebok Grand Prix. It is silent except for the sound of laptop keyboards.

The door opens, and TYSON GAY peers around the room. Quietly, he walks to the far wall and picks up a meet poster. He is halfway back to the door, when

REPORTER: Hey, do you have a credential for this room?

The Preserve

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

It was a week or two ago that two different stories caught my attention. They didn’t have an obvious link, but both referenced a place: Eugene, which hosted a spectacular Olympic Trials last summer and will host the USATF Nationals next month. (Yes, I’ll be there.)

Alan Abrahamson, in his “Open Letter to Doug Logan“, had this to say about Eugene:

Eugene, Ore., is a nice-enough place; Hayward Field there is rich with tradition. So what? You and I both know you’re not going to grow the sport from Eugene. Indeed, it’s not unreasonable to argue that going back time and again to Eugene – the Olympic Trials there last summer, the nationals there in a couple weeks and again in 2011, the Trials there again in 2012 – only reinforces the image of track and field as a niche sport in an eco-cute college town when what you need is instead an electrifying presence in New York, in Chicago and especially in L.A.

Earlier this month, Ron Bellamy at Eugene’s Register Guard quoted Pre Classic race director Tom Jordan:

“For a long time, rightly or wrongly, I had the feeling that the Pre Classic was kind of the last bastion of keeping the reputation of Eugene as a track capital going,” Jordan said. “And that’s no longer the feeling at all. It’s sort of like the engine’s firing on all cylinders and we have a great potential to create a whole new generation of track fans.”

With new leadership at USA Track & Field — CEO Doug Logan — Eugene can’t assume that what it’s been in the past, or what it became last year, will be immediately understood or appreciated. Or ignore the fact that there are track fans who want to see the Trials in larger cities after they return here in 2012.

The vision that came to mind was the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the blast shelter in the Arctic permafrost created in an effort to store a sort of backup for biodiversity–samples of seeds from around the world, so species might be re-established if they are ever lost. I imagined Eugene as this sort of preserve for track, hiding away in Oregon as a shelter from which the sport might re-emerge if it’s lost elsewhere.

It’s a nice idea, but it suffers from the same problem as the seeds: if the species is lost due to a hostile environment in the outside world, don’t we need to fix the factors which caused it to die out before we try re-establishing it?

Running in Bolt’s shadow in New York

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

You can find my preview of Saturday’s Reebok Grand Prix on iaaf.org.

You know you’re a track geek if…

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

…you saw headlines saying, “Obama nominates Sotomayor” and your reaction was, “The high jumper? Isn’t he Cuban?”

Unsolicited endorsement

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

A few years ago I started in a new business venture. (For those who don’t know me outside of running, my “day job” is as a web programmer, building websites for a company I co-founded. Yes, I’m aware this site isn’t a great representation of our work, but when we’re busy our own sites come in last on the priority scale.) In that entrepreneurial role, I started reading weblogs of a few other start-ups, just to see what’s going on out there.

That was how I found Atayne (pronounced “Attain”), through the blog of its founder. They bill their products as “performance with a point of view,” and that point of view is that you can have quality, performance running gear made with renewable resources and non-toxic materials.

A shirt made from recycled bottles and coconut husks might not sound like such a great idea, but I have one now (thanks to my brother, who got me one for Christmas) and it’s actually awesome. It’s as comfortable (maybe more) as any other performance top I own (and I’ve had quite a few), and it looks pretty sharp, too.

Times are tough out there for struggling start-ups, but in the name of never letting a good crisis go to waste, I think that makes it all the more important that we put our consumer dollars behind companies with values that match our own. Like it or not, in the marketplace, money is speech, and it’s worthwhile to consider what our spending is saying. The great part about buying Atayne apparel is that not only is it ecologically responsible, you don’t have to compromise on price or quality to do it.

I don’t know the Atayne people, and they don’t know me. But I think they’re doing good work, and I think they deserve the support of the running community.