Oregon Relays Will Be Fun For Years to Come

Catch up on all of the action that took place at Hayward Field and the Drake Relays over the weekend + more news

This is the CITIUS MAG Newsletter, a weekly round-up of the biggest stories in the running and track & field community with analysis and commentary by me, Chris Chavez. If you’ve been forwarded this email or stumbled upon a link online, you can sign up and subscribe here:

Keeping this one fairly short since I promised myself that I wouldn’t work too hard on vacation. Enjoying the Siesta Key beach for a few days before heading back to the Midwest to broadcast the Trials of Miles Kansas City Qualifier alongside Kyle Merber and the Running Report duo of Joshua and Aaron Potts.

I’ll send a bonus newsletter out about that later this week. Let’s get to the good stuff...

The Drake Relays and Penn Relays are staples of the sport in late April but with a shiny new stadium in Eugene, the Oregon Relays may have entered the conversation. Hopefully, it doesn’t take place on the same weekend as the other two meets since we already have them splitting talent and fans’ attention. The first Oregon Relays at the newly renovated Hayward Field provided high-quality racing to really get people amped for what’s to come at the Trials. 

Here are some of the notable performances:

– Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo broke Sanya Richards-Ross’ Hayward Field record in the 400m with a 49.08.

– Jasmine Camacho-Quinn took the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.46. Sydney McLaughlin set a personal best after dropping down in distance with a 12.86 for fourth place in the race.

– Laura Muir won the women’s 1,500 by taking out the race hard, gapping the field and holding on for a 4:01.54. Don’t forget that she ran 3:59.58 indoors in February. Helen Schlachtenhaufen was the top American in the race with her runner-up finish in 4:04.36. Anything can happen at the Olympic Trials but she’s on that list of contenders who can sneak into the top three on the right day. Jenny Simpson raced for the first time in 16 months and finished back in ninth place with a 4:10.07. On Instagram, she wrote: “Didn’t have a great performance today. But the road to Tokyo was always going to be a great challenge. And I’m up for another great challenge.’

– Adelle Tracey won the women’s 800m in 2:03.25. World champion silver medalist Raevyn Rogers finished third in 2:03.89. On the men’s side, Michael Saruni took the win in 1:46.64 over Isaiah Harris.

– The comeback continues for Trayvon Bromell. He won the men’s 100m in 10.01 (+0.3 m/s wind). He got out hard and no one could catch him down the stretch. Noah Lyles was the closest but took second in 10.17. A faster 100m race went down in Miami, Fla. where 400m specialist Fred Kerley ran 9.91 (+2.0 m/s wind). Kerley joins Wayde van Niekerk and Michael Norman as the only men in history who have broken 10 seconds for 100 meters and 44 for 400 meters.

– Blessing Okagbare won the women’s 100m in 10.97 ahead of Morolake Akinosun.

– The men’s 3,000m steeplechase was my favorite race to watch. Isaac Updike sat patiently and made his move in the final lap to beat U.S. champion Hillary Bor and Mason Ferlic. Updike, who runs for Empire Elite in New York City but doesn’t have a main shoe/apparel contract, pocketed the Olympic standard with his 8:17.74 win. Mason Ferlic also got under the Tokyo qualifying time with an 8:22.00 in second place. Updike and Ferlic are slated to run at this weekend’s Trials of Miles Kansas City Qualifier.

– Ollie Hoare, who watched the Australian Olympic Trials from afar, made a statement for his Olympic consideration by winning the men’s 1,500m in 3:33.54. Canada’s Justyn Knight took second in 3:35.85. 800m world champion Donavan Brazier was the top American with his 3:37.58 for third place. High school star Hobbs Kessler recorded the fastest final lap with a 56.06 and finished 6th in 3:40.46.

– A little bit of love for the hammer throw as Rudy Winkler threw a world-leading 81.98 meters.

More Results From This Weekend

– Last Wednesday, Rachel Schneider won the U.S. One-Mile Road Championship in 4:30.26. Eric Avila just edged out Craig Engels for the win on the men’s side in 3:58.96. It was Schneider and Avila’s first U.S. titles, respectively.

– Josette Norris ended up beating Schneider in the 1,500m on the track just a few days later in 4:06.17. Just another person to add to that aforementioned Olympic Trials conversation.

– A reminder to keep your eyes on Leah Falland’s progress in the steeplechase ahead of the Olympic Trials. I had her on the podcast a few weeks ago and then she ran 9:44.17 in her first steeplechase race since 2017. She lowered her season’s best to 9:32.53 with her win at the Drake Relays. Can she be the one that breaks the Emma Coburn, Courtney Frerichs, Colleen Quigley big three that we’ve seen in the event as the United States national team since 2016?

– Morgan McDonald had an ankle injury scare two months ago but appears to be back in top form with a 5,000m victory at the Drake Relays on Friday afternoon. He ran 13:21.39 on his 25th birthday. NAU’s Nico Young set a U.S. junior record of 13:24.26 in third place. Young is 18 years old and turns 19 in July. (It looks like Young wore Nike spikes that were painted to look like Adidas spikes since NAU is backed by them. H/T Track Jeans.)

– Later that night, 19-year-old Cole Hocker went on to run 13:19.98 to win the 5,000m at the Oregon Relays. Cooper Teare made it a 1-2 for the Ducks with a 13:20.24 for second place. Iowa State’s Edwin Kurgat and Wesley Kiptoo followed suit right behind them in 13:20.48 and 13:21.02.

– NAZ Elite got out of its recent funk with victories at the Valley O.NE Marathon in Nebraska. Rory Linkletter took the men’s title in 63:57. Stephanie Bruce ran a personal best of 69:55.

– In a very low-key marathon dubbed as The Rust Buster Marathon, Robert Groner ran 2:34:32 for the win in New Jersey. This was her first official race since she dropped out of the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

– Keturah Orji of The Atlanta Track Club set a new triple jump American record of 14.92m. The previous record was 14.84m held by Tori Franklin since 2018.

Other Notable News

– Tinman Elite announced its decision to part ways with coach Tom “Tinman” Schwartz. The move had been rumored for a while if you paid close attention to Instagram. It’s like when an NBA player follows a team account and sends fans into a whirlwind except it was the Tinman Elite account no longer following Schwartz and he stopped following members of the team including Drew Hunter and Sam Parsons. 

LetsRun.com reported on the split and then Schwartz’s wife took to the messageboards to defend her husband and her account of what’s happened behind the scenes of the split. Tinman Elite is now being coached by Cory Leslie with assistance from Joan and Marc Hunter in the lead-up to the Olympic Trials. As for the team name, which comes from Schwartz’s nickname, he wants to see a rebrand but the team hasn’t said if they’ll make any change.

– Des Linden announced that she will be running the Boston Marathon on Monday, Oct. 11. This will be her eighth time running Boston. At 37 years old and fresh off a 50K world best, you can’t count her out to possibly win or likely podium in this fall’s race when all of the World Marathon Majors are stacked upon each other, which means elite talent will be spread across six races and the Olympics takes some top talent out of contention as well.

– Andy Bayer announced his retirement at 31 years old. He qualified for the 2019 world championships in Doha in the 3,000m steeplechase and ran 8:12.47 in the final to become the seventh-fastest American of all-time in the event. However, he was dropped by Nike at the end of 2020 and decided it would be best for his family if he pursued other career opportunities.

– What’s the latest with the U.S. Olympic Trials? The trials are set to take place at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. from June 18-27. Lane County, where the University of Oregon is based, moved from low risk to high risk to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. This week, TrackTown USA (which serves as the local organizing committee for the trials, announced it will refund all fans who bought tickets to the event. A revised ticking program will be announced in May that fits the COVID-19 limits and restrictions in place by the local and state government on crowds and gatherings. Athlete families will have the first dibs at purchasing tickets before sales open up to the general public. Fans who retained their tickets before the refund get the next priority.

The NCAA announced it will allow up to 50% fan capacity for its 2021 outdoor spring championships based on recommendations from the NCAA COVID-19 medical advisory board. However, the exact capacity percentages will vary by the site depending on state and local health mandates so don’t expect to see a half-full Hayward Field when the NCAA outdoor track and field championships start there on June 9.

– The World Relays will be held in Silesia, Poland from May 1-2 but the United States, Canada and Jamaica will not be sending a team.

– World Athletics released the schedule for the 2022 world championships at Hayward Field. They will be held from July 15 to 24, 2022. The schedule allows for athletes to double in the: 100-200; 200-400; 800-1500, 1500-5K and 5K-10K.

– Some good news: Clemson’s men’s track and field and cross country team was saved after Title IX complaints were raised by the #SaveClemsonXCTF group, which was led by Russell Dinkins (who is now four-for-four after working with Brown, Minnesota, William & Mary and Clemson to help reinstate their programs after cuts). The decision comes five months after athletic director Dan Radakovich said that the decision was final. Never stop fighting.

– The International Athletes’ Commission announced the results of a survey on Rule 50 of The Olympic Charter that bans any athlete protests or demonstrations on the Olympic podium, in competition or at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. It determined that 70% of 3,457 international athletes surveyed (from 185 National Olympic Committees) said protests and demonstrations were not appropriate in the field of play or during the ceremonies. 65% said the podium was not appropriate. As noted by Gabriela DeBues-Stafford on Twitter, this certainly doesn’t seem like it reflects the majority opinion in track and field. Michael Johnson asked the question: “Taking the 70% claim at face value, I wonder what percent of those polled have been marginalized and targeted for hate.”

– 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion Aliphine Tuliamuk’s Olympic training is underway. This weekend, she ran 16.15 miles at 7:14/mi pace. If you’re not already following her on Twitter, you’re missing out!

– Molly Seidel said on Instagram that she was looking for a race in early May since her visa travel to Japan for an Olympic marathon test event in Sapporo was denied.

– According to the Irish Times, Pete Julian’s training group in Portland has added Sonia O’Sullivan as an assistant coach. Her daughter Sophie is running for Washington. O’Sullivan is the 2000 Olympic silver medalist in the 5,000m. She won gold in the 5,000m at the 1995 world championships and is also a two-time world cross country champion. O’Sullivan was previously helping out with Nic Bideau’s Melbourne Track Club.

– 2012 Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford has been training with Great Britain’s bobsled team with possible hopes of competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

– New York Road Runners announced its first major race since the pandemic with the Mini 10K on June 12. It is a women’s-only race in Central Park. The race plans to host 1,200 runners including 25 professionals. Sara Hall looks to defend her title from 2019.


THE CITIUS MAG PODCAST

“I’m not changing. I’m simply just sharing who I am and how I always identified.”

Nikki Hiltz is now a two-time guest on this show. Our first episode together April 17th, 2019 during the Boston Marathon weekend. For this one, I’m joined by David Melly, the host of the Run Your Mouth Podcast, for another crossover episode.

April 2019 was just the start of Nikki’s hot streak that year. They finished third at the U.S. Championships and qualified for the world championships. They went on to make the final in Doha and ran a personal best of 4:01.52. Expect Nikki to be in the mix for that Olympic team in the 1,500 meters, which is shaping up to be one of the must-watch events at Hayward Field during the Trials.

We touched on Nikki’s recent announcement that they identify as trans non-binary on Transgender Day of Visibility, which was March 31.

If you caught us using multiple pronouns for Nikki during this episode, it’s because Nikki explains that they now use she/they as personal pronouns.

We also touch on plans for the 2021 Pride 5K, Olympic Trials training and much more.

You can catch the latest episode of the podcast on iTunes so subscribe and leave a five-star review. We are also on Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify

Full show notes available here.

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That’s it from me in the latest edition of the CITIUS MAG Newsletter. I’m going to hit the beach for a little bit.

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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