For Trials of Miles, This Is Only The Beginning

The last stop on the Trials of Miles Qualifier circuit saw young stars come out on top – except in the duel between me and Malcolm Gladwell.

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:

Sooooo...that race wasn’t exactly what I wanted. The photo above is maybe one of the last few moments that things were going well for me.

After weeks of hype for this silly exhibition mile showdown, Malcolm Gladwell took the win against me 5:15 to 5:23. Major kudos to Izzy Seidel for winning the race outright in 4:54 (as expected). 

Personally, I was a little bit bummed because I ran 14 seconds off my personal best and training had been going super well. My initial plan was to sit-and-kick on Gladwell since my workouts were certainly indicative that I could run near or under my personal best. (I estimated that sub-5 would be a tall order and Gladwell also agreed on his side of things.) Days before the race, Will Leer told me, “You can’t sit on someone older than you unless they have an Olympic medal and you don’t.” So out of respect for this unwritten rule of running, I pivoted the plan to just try and run 76s each lap. Hopefully, it would have been enough to create a little gap on Gladwell since his plan was to run 78s for the beginning and try to close hard. I went for it and paid the price in the final lap.

All feelings of disappointment dissipated fairly quickly when I saw the excitement from my other friends in the race. It just felt great to be back out and racing for the first time in months with friends. Race day jitters, post-race hugs and hundreds of fans in the stands were among things I missed in silly time trial efforts last year. It felt nice to have a degree of normalcy back for a night at Icahn Stadium.

Nothing like a good ass-kicking to rip the bandaid off and get back into training. I’ll exercise my rematch clause against Gladwell at some point. My hope is to get back to training soon and give this another try or two before shifting my focus to Chicago Marathon training.

Most importantly, this was the final stop on the Trials of Miles Qualifier series and it was the perfect bow on our three-stop tour. I’ll have the Trials of Miles guys on my podcast soon to share some of the origin stories of how their meets came to be but it accomplished the main goal of getting people qualified for the Olympic Trials, bringing the sport to viewers for free on the YouTube live stream and making it fun and sometimes different than the sport we’ve grown accustomed to watching. I’m excited for what we cook up next together…

More from New York City...

– One of the best performances of the day I missed in person since I was still collecting my breath from the mile. Stevens Point (WI) high school junior Roisin Willis notched a three-second personal best to win the B-heat of the women’s 800m in 2:00.78 – which is the fastest time by an American  16-year-old. The result ended up being faster than the A-heat, which was won by 1,500m & 10,000m world champion Sifan Hassan in 2:01.54. Mary Cain’s 1:59.51 high school record is certainly in jeopardy. In recent years, we’ve seen Athing Mu and Sammy Watson give it a scare. Willis has time on her side to try and snag it.

– In the men’s 800m, Mexico’s Tonatiu Lopez continued his hot streak on the Trials of Miles circuit with his second win. He stunned many of us in Kansas with his 1:44.30 under windy conditions and then downed a strong field in New York with a 1:45.24.

Empire Elite and recent CITIUS MAG Podcast guest Eric Holt’s winning streak continues. He notched a 3:39.85 personal best for his third victory at a Trials of Miles meet. (Justyn Knight won the fast heat of the men’s 1,500m at the Texas Qualifier but we’re still down to call this a triple crown.)

– Was thrilled to see Dani Aragon notch a personal best of 4:07.66 in the women’s 1,500m. The time was just shy of the Olympic Trials standard but could get her in as they fill the fields.

Jean-Simon Desgagnes, Mike Leet, Brandon Doughty and Travis Mahoney gave us quite the finish in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase with a four-man battle after the final barrier. Desgagnes won in 8:29.41. Leet and Doughty notched the U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying standard and it was especially meaningful for Doughty since it was his first race in more than 1,000 days.

– Tracksmith’s Alexina Wilson won the women’s steeplechase in 9:32.69 to come super close to the Olympic standard. Katy Kunc was second in 9:39.52. Former Yale captain Kayley DeLay took nearly 20 seconds off her personal best to get the U.S. Olympic Trials standard and run 9:40.81 for third.

Russell Dinkins apparently found time to train at a high level while saving track and field programs across the country this spring. He won one of the heats of the men’s 800m in 1:51.89 and then spoke with Ali Feller about some of the work he did with Minnesota, William & Mary, Brown and Clemson.

Full results of the NYC Qualifier can be found here.

– A special message from Cooper Knowlton and Dave Alfano from Trials of Miles Racing:

“Back in December, during the height of the pandemic, we came up with the idea of putting on a spring race series that was designed to give elite U.S. athletes a chance to chase OTQs. We had no idea what the series would look like or where we would go, but when we heard from our friend Mark Pinales that he could get us a permit at a track in Austin we jumped at it and the next day the Qualifier series was born. 

Over the course of the last few months, this race series has brought us from Austin to Kansas City and finally to New York where it ended on Friday night. Each race has brought its own set of challenges (humidity, wind, smelly air), but the athletes have shown up, raced hard, and in four weeks at Hayward Field, there will be 10 people on the line who stamped their ticket at one of our meets. We’ve also been fortunate to see two national records go down 🇲🇽 🇩🇪 and countless other performances that have inspired and excited the running world at large. 

It’s been quite a ride and it would not have been possible without the help of so many friends, sponsors, coaches, agents and passionate fans. There are too many of you to list by name but a special thanks belong to Chris Chavez, CITIUS MAG, Heartbreak Running Co., The Loop Running Co., Zach Zarda, Coach Alstin Benton, Kyle Merber, Ali Feller, Joshua and Aaron Potts, David Melly, Emma Abrahamson and Mark Pinales.  ❤️  We’ll see you again soon.”

Photos by Johnny Zhang

You can re-watch the whole broadcast here… (I’ll be uploading individual races over the course of the next few days…)

More results from around the world…

– The Boston Boost Games happened this weekend and it didn’t have the same look as past years due to the pandemic. Most Adidas athletes were contractually obligated to compete so there wasn’t a shortage of stars. 

On the roads: Nikki Hiltz won the women’s mile in 4:31. Clayton Murphy bounced back from a rough 800m in New York to win the men’s mile in 4:01. 

On the track: Shaunae Miller-Uibo won the 200m in 22.08. Keni Harrison won the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.49. Grant Holloway won the 110m hurdles in 13.20. Isaiah Young beat Noah Lyles in the men’s 100m 9.94 to 10.10. Aleia Hobbs won the women’s 100m in 11.05.

Wayde van Niekerk eased up with some hip tightness before the finish line in the men’s 200m, which was won by Jerome Blake in 19.89. NBC Sports’ Lewis Johnson later shared that van Niekerk later walked back to the meet hotel without the limp that people saw on television. 

Full results from the meet can be found here.

– Weather at the Diamond League season opener was not ideal with rain and wind. There was a funny point where Mondo Duplantis was seen holding an umbrella for Sam Kendricks in the pole vault

Notable results from this meet included: 

– Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith upsetting Sha’Carri Richardson in the women’s 100m 11.35 to 11.44 (-3.1 m/s wind) which is Richardson’s first 100m loss since the 2019 U.S. Outdoor Championships.

–USA’s Hilary Bor running 8:30.20 to beat Kenya’s Leonard Kipkemoi Bett for the win in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase – which is the first American Diamond League win in the event since Evan Jager in 2017.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen closed in 56.27 to pull away from Ollie Hoare in the men’s 1,500m in 3:36.27. Athletics Australia should just name Hoare to the Olympic team at this point.

Kenny Bednarek won the 200m in 20.33 (-3.0 m/s wind) to beat Andre de Grasse.

Laura Muir won the women’s 1,500m in 4:03.73

Full results from Gateshead can be found here.

More news…

– Major kudos to Cam Levins for giving the Olympic standard chase one more chance and getting it. He went to the S7 Marathon in Austria this weekend and ran 2:10:14 while leading solo for the final 25 kilometers and combating some heavy precipitation

In 2018, he ran the Canadian national record of 2:09:25 in his marathon debut at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. A year later, he could only muster up a 2:15.01 with Olympic team spots on the line since the race served as the Canadian trials with the top runner earning a spot for Tokyo as long as they also ran under the Olympic standard of 2:11:30. (Trevor Hofbauer got it with his 2:09:51). 

In 2020, with races canceled for most of the year, Levins went to London and dropped out due to the cold and rainy conditions. At the Marathon Project, he only ran 2:12:15. This was his last chance and he did it. 

Now, the selection process rests in the hands of Athletics Canada. Levins is up against Ben Preisner (2:10:17 at The Marathon Project) and Tristine Woodfine (2:10:51 at the 2020 London Marathon) for those final two spots.

– Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba, who is unable to compete in the women’s 800m due to World Athletics’ testosterone regulations for athletes with differences of sexual development, competed in a 5,000m race in Andújar, Spain and was just shy of hitting the Olympic qualifying mark of 15:10.00. The testosterone limits prevent her from competing in women’s events from 400m through the mile.

– 21 people, including ultra-marathon champion Lian Jing and Huang Guanjun, died during an ultramarathon in Gina’s Gansu Province after conditions turned to freezing rain and high winds during the event. Runners were climbing 6.500 feet above sea level when tragedy struck. The New York Times rounded up some of the accounts by survivors.

Aliphine Tuliamuk spoke with the Washington Post about her worries about leaving her baby daughter Zoe at home while she heads to compete at the Olympic marathon in August. Japan has imposed some tight restrictions on who will and will not be allowed to enter the country for the summer Games and she’s looking for a possible exemption that would allow her to bring her baby and fiancé. 

– Two-time Olympic champion and four-time world champion Christian Taylor ruptured his Achilles at the Ostrava Golden Spikes meet. He underwent surgery and spent much of his time responding to supporters on Twitter wishing him a speedy recovery. This will knock him out of the Summer Games in Tokyo but he said, “I'm not ready to hang it up though. I have to lay low, get healthy and come back with a bang.”

– For Sports Illustrated, I spoke with New York City Marathon race director Ted Metellus for insight into what the 2021 edition of the race will look like with 33,000 runners and some slight changes.

– The sport lost two legends this past week. 1964 Olympic 400m champion Lee Evans, whose 43.86 world record stood from 1968 to 1988 and who also raised his fist on the podium in Mexico City, died at 74 years old. British star Ron Hill, who was the second man to break 2:10 in the marathon and won the 1970 Boston Marathon, died at 82. Last year, Jesse Squire recorded an episode of Track and Field History to spread the word about how his legacy is everywhere.

On the CITIUS MAG Podcast

“Nike was trying to offer me less than what they offered me when I came out of college. To me, it was just a slap in the face. I was like, ‘I’ve made the Olympic team. I’m pretty much, you know, not to sound cocky, but like I’m probably going to make another Olympic team. I’ve made five USA teams since I graduated. How could I possibly be worth less than I was when I came out of college?’ They were able to come up a little bit when I was just straight up, like, ‘No. That’s not a starting point.’ And they came up a little bit, but I’m still making almost three times what that was, with the same bonus structure, with the same incentives and no reductions. So now I don’t have to worry about ‘Oh you didn’t race ten races this year.’ Yeah like I’ve raced eight. Who really cares? I didn’t make it up by doing things like the local turkey trot to get my tenth race.

Lululemon isn’t ticky tacky and counting every little thing. They want me to be happy. They want me to live the values that their brand holds to be important, which I also believe in and stand behind. They want to be a good ambassador for their brand, which I always felt like I did for Nike. I always felt like I was a good ambassador for their brand, but it just was never enough.”

Colleen Quigley was a previous guest on this show back in February 2018. Now, she’s back with some BIG news. After five years of training with the Nike Bowerman Track Club, she announced she was leaving the team in January. Under coach Jerry Schumacher and Pascal Dobert, the FSU grad became one of the best U.S. female steeplechasers and has made every U.S. national team since the 2015 world championships. She’s the 3rd fastest U.S. steeplechaser ever with a 9:10.27 PR. She’s run 4:03.02 for 1,500m & 4:20 for the mile. She is now coached by Portland State’s Josh Steitz and will be running for Lululemon. That’s the big news. That’s her new sponsor. You’ll hear all about that decision and more.

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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:

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