Allow me to re-introduce myself. This week, the tables were turned on me and I popped on Le Run Down (a podcast hosted by Justin Pugliese out of Canada) and it was a really fun conversation that I wanted to relay to you all. I know some people may know me as one of their news sources on Twitter. Some people might know my voice more as a podcaster. Others might simply be readers from my work at Sports Illustrated and various other places before that. It was kind of therapeutic for me to sit down and share some of my story as to how I’ve gotten to certain places in my career. I divulge some of my own personal running goals and aspirations.
It took me a while to come up with the right answer to “What does running mean to you?” because as simple a question as it is, I’ve always kind of ignored it as just low-hanging fruit for an interview but never thought about how it applies to me. Toward the end of the episode, I open up about how I really do think it’s changed my life for the better.
If you give it a listen, I think you’ll walk away from it getting to know me a bit better as a person and not just a running reporter or personality.
I try to keep this upper portion of the newsletter to be a bit more personal. Next week, I’ll share some super exciting news about a new podcast sponsor, an official race on the calendar for me and a showdown that you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, if any coaches are subscribed to this newsletter and want to give me some feedback on my 10 x 400 track workout (60 seconds rest) where I went 71-74-77-75-76-77-76-77-79-76, does this mean I might be in shape to crack my unofficial personal best of 5:12? (Maybe I got too carried away in the first rep) Reply to this and let me know. I need to sharpen up some speed in the next two weeks. Trusting the process…
Onto this week’s news….
Mondo Duplantis Makes History
Mondo Duplantis cleared 6.15 meters at the Rome Diamond League for the highest-ever outdoor pole vault mark. World Athletics actually no longer recognizes it as a world record but screw it, it’s easier to explain to a casual fan. He now owns the highest marks indoors and outdoors. Back on Feb. 12, he cleared 6.17 while Levels by Avicci played at the indoor stadium in Toruń, Poland and then a few days later he cleared 6.18 meters at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow.
Afterward, he apparently told the media: "I wanted the outdoor world best at 6.15 so there would no longer be any confusion. I now have the best jumps indoors and outdoors!"
A reminder that Mondo is just 20 years old and turned pro after one season of competing for LSU. This was a great tweet by CITIUS MAG contributor David Melly that summed up Thursday’s showcase of young talent in Rome and others who have thrived with providing us tremendous performances amid a global pandemic.
Chris Chavez @ChrisChavez“Watch this" @kwarholm gets amped before the start of his race at the Rome Diamond League and runs a meet record of 47.07 for the 400m hurdles. It’s the third-best time of his career. Kevin Young’s world record lives another day. https://t.co/8FXZ7PHNsH
Also...for what it’s worth, Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi called for the outdoor world record to be recognized again. She tweeted: “Can we separate indoor and outdoor World Records again please!? We should be able to call 6.15m the outdoor World Record. Please 🙏🏼”
Other notable results from Rome:
– Speaking of young talented stars: Jacob Kiplimo beat Jakob Ingebrigsten in the 3,000 meters 7:26.64 to 7:27.05 as they battled down the final 100 together. The two 19-year-olds inserted themselves into the all-time list at No. 7 and 8, respectively. Only Daniel Komen, Hicham El Guerrouj, Ali Saïdi-Sief, Haile Gebrselassie, Noureddine Morceli, Kenenisa Bekele & Mohammed Mourhit have run faster.
– Kevin Young’s world record in the 400 meter hurdles of 46.78 lives to see another day as Karsten Warholm ran 47.07, which is his third-best time of the year and the ninth-fastest time in history.
– Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson lets us know she’s still the top woman in the 100 as she recorded the fastest time of 2020 with a 10.85 victory…
The Diamond League will come to a close with a meet in Doha next week.
Minnesota Keeps Fighting
I saw a few photos on social media of more than 400 student-athletes and coaches uniting on Minnesota’s campus for a protest march against the university’s decision to cut four teams. It wasn’t just the men from the teams that were being cut. They were joined by members of the women’s team and there were football players present.
Rachel Blount of the Star Tribune was on the scene and caught thrower Eric Rousemiller speaking and telling those gathered, “This is a statement from the flagship university of this state that our sports, our teams, our families are not worth the money.”
On Wednesday morning, the Big Ten reversed course on its decision not to play football this fall and instead will go on with eight games in eight weeks starting in October. I got a tweet or two sent to me asking whether this means that the University of Minnesota might reverse course on its decision to cut the men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s gymnastics and men’s tennis programs after the 2020-21 season. I reached out to their athletic department and associate athletic director Paul Rovnak issued the following statement: “Athletics is still facing a significant loss in revenue, tens of millions of dollars this year alone, and still needs to take steps to ensure compliance with its commitment to provide gender-equitable participation opportunities for students consistent with federal law requirements.”
For more information, check out LetHerRun’s new website.
Maybe There’s A Cross Country Season?
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors is weighing whether or not to approve the Division I Council’s proposals to move the 2020 fall championships to spring 2021. Now we run into a big scheduling issue with indoor track and cross country when you notice that the 2021 indoor championships are scheduled for March 12-13 and the rescheduled 2020* cross country championships would be held on March 15. As noted by the USTFCCCA: “For now, 255 runners from each gender will compete at the cross country finals site. Regular-season competition could be conducted Jan. 30-March 6, with championships selections on March 7. T]here is some concern in the membership about conducting cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field in the spring term. The Division I Competition Oversight Committee will continue to evaluate the issue.”
– ESPN is making a four-part 30 For 30 documentary on Oscar Pistorius titled The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius. It will be released on ESPN+ in the fall with all episodes dropping at the same time. The film is by the same director that made the 9.79* documentary on the 1988 Olympic men's 100m final in Seoul that centered on Ben Johnson’s doping.
– Former IAAF president Lamine Diack was found guilty of corruption in relation to the Russian doping scandal and was sentenced to two years in prison. He was also sentenced to two years of suspended jail time and fined $590,000. He’s 87 years old and won’t go to jail right away since his lawyers said he will appeal and continues to deny all allegations. He has been under house arrest in Paris since 2015. Sean Ingle of The Guardian has a very thorough recap of the whole Diack saga. It’s not over since they’re being investigated for their roles in the awarding of the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro and the 2020 Summer Games to Tokyo.
– The HOKA One One NAZ Elite squad is looking for an assistant coach to Ben Rosario. Last week, I noted that the team re-signed a new deal with its sponsor. It’s good to see there’s going to be a bit of an expansion on the coaching staff. Check here for all the details and requirements.
– Two of the OGs of CITIUS MAG – Stephen Kersh and Ryan Sterner of Rabbit Wolf Creative – released a short film called Wild and Tough: Jim Walmsley’s Hardrock Solo Attempt following the ultrarunner’s attempt at running the fastest-known time on the course. I won’t spoil.
– Sandi Morris shared a blog post after there was outrage among the pole vault community regarding a photo of the Vault Barn facility in Texas where a Confederate flag was on display. The image from Instagram was re-posted and then deleted by Vaulter Magazine. Morris goes into great detail about what transpired on social media, the pressure by other athletes to address the photo’s removal and most importantly why she’s speaking out about it. Here’s the part that struck me the most:
“The pole vault is already one of the least diverse events in track and field - particularly in the United States. I hate that the pole vault is already such a difficult event for kids to get into. It is a niche sport that attracts privileged kids, with parents who have the financial ability to get them access. (Yes, I was one of those kids and there is nothing wrong with being one.) But just imagine… you’re a little black or brown child, you want to try the pole vault and happen to live in this area, and your parents learn about this club. Whilst walking in, expecting a welcoming oasis for learning about the pole vault, you are instead faced with a confederate flag - a symbol that most definitely would make any person of color uncomfortable. And quite frankly, it should make everyone uncomfortable.”
– The United States will not be sending a team to next month’s Half Marathon World Championships in Gdynia, Poland. Former CITIUS MAG contributor Becky Wade was part of the team that also included Keira D’Amato and Jared Ward and wrote on Instagram: “I’m bummed, obviously, but understanding of the situation and fired up to earn another chance to rep the 🇺🇸 soon.” Japan will also not be sending a team, according to Brett Larner of Japan Running News.
Just a week after Riley Masters was on the CITIUS MAG Podcast professing about how performance is key in an athlete’s branding, we’re going to take a look at a different way track and field marketing. Spencer Brown, known to many as The Athlete Special with 57K+ subscribers on YouTube, joins the podcast to discuss his recent contract signing with Brooks and joining the Beasts with coach Danny Mackey. It’s an interesting deal because if you look at his personal bests of 3:59 for the mile and 3:39 for 1,500 meters that doesn’t necessarily mean someone will be rushing to sign him out of college – especially when money appears to be tight with all brands. However, Spencer has created a loyal following on YouTube and so I sat down with him in Boulder to explore how he built it and what his expectations and plans are as a pro runner. It’ll be interesting to follow along his journey to the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials in real-time. Plus, if you’ve followed CITIUS Mag since the start, you might recognize him as one of our first contributors and a former Blue Jeans Mile world record holder.
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Once again, if you made it this far down into the email, I’m thankful for you taking the time to read this much about track and field things.
If you enjoy the work that do here in putting together this newsletter and podcast weekly for you. It would mean a lot for me if you made sure that you’re subscribed to both and if possible, leave a little review on Apple Podcasts or possibly forward this along to a friend who might be interested in keeping up with al the latest happenings in the sport.
My inbox is always open to discuss any of the aforementioned topics or any other possible story that I missed.
Until next week…