Des Linden Smashes the 50K World Best & Goes For Wine

Hear from Des Linden after she became the first woman to break three hours for the 50K.

Never in doubt. Many of us in the running community were glued to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon looking for constant updates on Des Linden’s 50K debut and possible record attempt. Due to the remote location of the race, there was no live stream.

At a small race just outside of Eugene, Ore., Linden took more than seven minutes off Dixon’s best and became the first woman to break three hours for the 50K distance with her 2:59:54 finish. That’s 5:47 per mile for 31.1 miles. Click here for a quick look at her Strava data.

(Please note: World Athletics does not recognize the 50K distance as a world record distance so the phrasing is ‘world best’ here. Call it a world record and you’re subject to being corrected in the same way Hermione Granger says, “It’s Leviosa, not Leviosar!” However, USATF does recognize it as a record-setting distance and she broke the previous American record of record 3:13:51 set by Janis Klecker in 1983.)

The previous world best was 3:07:20 by Great Britain’s Aly Dixon, which equated to a 2:36 marathon and then about five more miles of work. Linden’s personal best of 2:22:38 and recent training clearly suggested that she was going to smash this. It’s just an appetizer for what could be a future foray into more ultrarunning.

"I hope the 50K does become more popular,” Linden said in her press conference afterward. “I think Aly Dixon took a huge swing at it and took a nice chunk of time off. She's been so supportive of this effort, which I think some people might go, 'Ah. I could hold it for much longer.' It speaks to women in sports. In running specifically, this community is so supportive and we want to push things forward. We want to see progress. We want to see recognition. We got a little bit of pushback on hyping this event. That's the point. Let's get people excited. I hope that people got excited and I hope the record does move forward and the 50K does get more eyeballs on it and is run more often."

This was Linden’s first official race since she finished fourth at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Her initial plan was to double back and run the Boston Marathon just two months later but that got canceled due to COVID. She still found a way to push herself and try some new things in training like Destober, where she ran a mile for each corresponding day of the month for 31 days and a total of 496 miles. She’s previously said that she wants to give ultrarunning and trail running a shot but yesterday mentioned that getting back to major marathons would be her priority once the world gets back to normal. 

“If I’m finishing top 5, top 10 and contending at the front – that’s what is exciting to me,” Linden said. “I love competing at that level. If that gets too far away from me, then I’ll shift and make sure that I’m enjoying what I’m doing, have fun competing or chasing down different goals.”

In the same race: The Atlantic CEO Nick Thompson broke the 45-49 USATF age group record for 50K in 3:04. The previous mark was 3:06:10 by Mike Wardian. Thompson ran 2:29:13 at the 2019 Chicago Marathon at 44 years old.

PS: I asked Des what her celebratory drink of choice is after her 50K 2:59 world best. She said she’s headed toward the Portland area to hit some wineries. “We’re going to mix it up and confuse everyone with some nice Oregon reds.” 🍷🍷🍷

(Lead image courtesy of Brooks Running)


We Completed The David Goggins Challenge!

How did I spend my weekend and why’s this newsletter coming on Wednesday instead of Monday? Well…I ran 48 miles in under 48 hours to help raise more than $80,000 for the Release Recovery Foundation, which is a non-profit offering scholarships for people from underserved communities to seek the resources and assistance they need against substance abuse and mental illness.

The idea behind this started during a February long run when Zac Clark, who many of you may know as the winner of the most recent season of The Bachelorette, proposed the idea of doing something crazy to push me and my friends Zac Price and Ryan Welsh out of our comfort zones and embrace the David Goggins Challenge. For those unfamiliar with it, you have to run four miles every four fours for 48 hours – a grand total of 48 miles. At first, we were hesitant but then leaned into it and embraced the sufferfest. (Such a weird thing for me to mix into my mile training but it’s for a good cause.)

I’m super thankful we decided to do it because with each one of those miles there was a renewed joy in the sport as a means of bonding, educating, inspiring and fundraising with community and friends – both new and old. For me, it was also eye-opening to hear just the vast scope of how much substance abuse and addiction impacts people’s lives.

I don’t want to make this newsletter too long or about this so I recorded a podcast episode with Zac and Ryan recapping our whole experience including all the highs and lows. You can listen to it now.

I’m already nervous for whatever ridiculous challenge Clarky comes up with next…

The fundraising page is still open if you’re interested in supporting the cause.


Results From This Weekend

The Miramar Invite took place in Florida over the weekend. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch live but was able to pour over some of the results and will catch a full replay of it soon. Here are some of the notable highlights…

Sha'Carri Richardson 10.72! Holy shit. Yes, it was wind-legal with a +1.6m/s reading. Whoever she was subtweeting a few weeks ago has a super tall order to try and top her performance. That run makes her the sixth-fastest woman in history behind just Florence Griffith Joyner (10.49), Carmelita Jeter (10.64), Marion Jones (10.65A), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.70) and Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.70). The last American gold medalist in the women’s 100 meters is Gail Devers. Jones won at the 2000 Olympics in Athens but was stripped of her gold medal due to doping. The Tokyo Olympics would be Richardson’s first U.S. national team. If you recall 2019, she set the collegiate record in the 100 meters with a 10.75 victory at the NCAA Championships but then finished eighth at the U.S. Championships and did not compete in Doha.  

– Kyree King defeated Justin Gatlin in the men’s 100 meters 9.97 to 9.98. King bounced around in college from Mt. San Antonio College to Western Kentucky and then finishing up his eligibility at Oregon. That race was a personal best for him. Gatlin, who just turned 39, has now gone under 10 seconds in 10 of the last 12 years. If you took out last year’s pandemic-washed season, 2018 (when he has a season’s best of 10.03) would be the only year since 2010 that he hasn’t broken 10 seconds.

– The men’s 800 meters was won by the Atlanta Track Club’s Abe Alvarado in 1:47.29. The reason this race has seen some discussion is due to Matthew Centrowitz’s 1:50.97 in sixth place. I wouldn’t read into it too much. From what I’ve noticed on Instagram, the clickbait headline to go with is “Is Matthew Centrowitz done?” and it’s just a bunch of people making a bigger deal about this and then others piggybacking off some of the criticism he got for an Instagram comment he made a few weeks back. Centrowitz has run slower than this before and it wasn’t a big deal. It’s April. Calm down. As noted by Nick Willis on Twitter: “I ran "only" 1.49.5 four days before going 3.29 in Monaco.  You really can't read into 800m performances from Milers unless it's declared a prioritized race. You can't just look at fitness in a vacuum.  What makes mile training so interesting is that each athlete is trying to find that perfect marriage b/w speed and endurance.  If you lean toward the endurance side more, it takes a long time for the spring to come around.”

– Meanwhile over at an All-Comers Meet at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia, 17-year-old Christine Mboma and 18-year-old Beatrice Masilingi of Namibia ran 49.24 and 49.53 for 400 meters at altitude. Mboma’s previous personal best before this race was 50.97. Masilingi dropped from 50.42.

– Remember when I was writing about Gudaf Tsegay breaking the indoor 1,500m world record and just winning a lot indoors? Well, she’s back at it outdoors. She ran 14:49.7 at altitude in Addis Ababa at the Ethiopian national championships. According to statistician Jon Mulkeen, that’s the second-fastest 5,000m performance at altitude in history behind Hellen Obiri’s 14:48.5 in Nairobi in 2018. Something to think about: Addis Ababa’s elevation is 7,726 feet above sea level. Nairobi is 5,889 feet above sea level. Oh also...Tsegay beat world record holder Letesenbet Gidey by seven seconds.

– Thought you’d make it through this newsletter without a little bit of shoe controversy? Based on photos, it appears that Tsegay, who is sponsored by Adidas, ran that 5K in Nike spikes.

– DeAnne Price broke her own American record in the hammer throw with a 78.60m heave at the Tom Botts Invitational in Columbia, Missouri. She’s now the third-best thrower on the all-time list behind Anita Wlodarczyk and Betty Heidler. Wlodarczyk owns 19 of the top 20 farthest throws of all-time. Price’s throw just missed the top 20 and sits at no. 21.


Other Notable News

– The Boston Red Sox unveiled new yellow and blue uniforms to commemorate Patriots’ Day on April 17 and 18 against the Chicago White Sox. This year’s Boston Marathon has been postponed until the fall so the jerseys are a nice touch for a weekend in which runners typically flock and celebrate in Boston. 

– Speaking of the Boston Marathon, the BAA announced participants at the 2021 Boston Marathon on Oct. 11 "may be expected to produce up to two negative COVID-19 tests” prior to race day regardless of vaccination status. More details to come at a later date on testing timelines and requirements.

– The NN Running Team announced that the NN Mission Marathon has been moved to Twente Airport in Enschede, The Netherlands. This is Eliud Kipchoge’s first marathon since his eighth place finish at last October’s London Marathon and possibly his final prep race before he shifts his focus to defending his Olympic title at the Summer Games in Sapporo.

– Science Hill High School (TN) junior Jenna Hutchins announced that she has committed to BYU and will join coach Diljeet Taylor’s squad in 2022. Last December, she ran 15:34.12 to set a high school national record in the 5K. She is also the first high school girl to break 16 minutes on grass for 5K. The 2020 Foot Locker Nationals were canceled but she certainly would have been the favorite. As a freshman, she finished eighth in 2018 and then fifth a year later.

– If you’re deep into Sports Twitter, you know that Earvin Magic Johnson has a unique Twitter feed that sometimes can read like an Associated Press news feed. Last week, he put out a question: “I'm a BIG track and field fan and I watch every year! Does anybody know if they will have qualifying races for the Olympics? If so, when??” Everyone was quick to respond and extend the invitation to one of the best NBA players of all-time. With USATF CEO Max Seigel and others reaching out, could this mean we could have some fans in attendance at the Olympic Trials? What makes Magic Johnson more deserving to be in the stands than a family member who has been part of an athlete’s journey to the Trials?

The Court of Arbitration has decided to partially uphold the doping ban of high jumper Ivan Ukhov & stripped his 2012 Olympic gold. The ban has been reduced to two years and 9 months. The IOC can now upgrade Erik Kynard as the 2012 Olympic champ. Derek Drouin, Mutaz Essa Barshim and Robby Grabarz initially tied for bronze but could also see a silver medal upgrade. In the CAS case for high jumper Svetlana Shkolina. Her ban was also reduced from 4 years to 2 years and 9 months from Feb. 2019. Results from July '19 to Dec. '14 have been disqualified, which means World Athletics can award  U.S. high jumper Brigetta Barrett the gold medal from the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. According to statistician Mirko Jalava of Tilastopaja, following these decisions from CAS, Russia has extended its lead in the total number of performances DQ’ed since 2004 to 2,764. Ukraine has the next-most with 792. That’s more than three times more than the next worst doping-offensive country!?

THE CITIUS MAG PODCAST NETWORK

“We hear all this talk about ‘pushing the sport forward,’ but to us, pushing the sport forward means both more fans and more engaged fans. What’s going to make people watch a [whole] 5k? If you know the runners in the race, if you have stakes and know their personality and what they’re up to, you won’t take a bathroom break during the 5k.”

There’s always talk about the issues in the sport. Ben Crawford and Matt Wisner of New Generation Track and Field Magazine joined David Melly on the Run Your Mouth Podcast to discuss ideas for solutions, their plans and goals with their new magazine. It’s for sure one of the most interesting episodes of Run Your Mouth so I highly recommend it. Steam and download the newest episode of Run Your Mouth on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your shows.

Social Sport launched a new monthly show with Emma Zimmerman bringing on Kamilah Journét for a series called “Cut to the Chase.” In this first episode, they tackle the subject of social media holidays like National Girls and Women in Sports Day, Women’s History Month, Black History Month, International Women’s Day, Earth Day and the pros and cons of them as well as what they represent for folks of marginalized identities.

On D3 Glory Days, they guys chat with current Wartburg athlete Joe Freiburger, who has had one of those legendary D3 progressions from a four-mile run in Air Jordan’s to aspiring national champion.


That’s it from me in the latest edition of the CITIUS MAG Newsletter. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, learned something new or have any questions or commentary on anything featured in this issue, feel free to hit my inbox: chris@citiusmag.com

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