Friday, August 31, 2007

A short conversation with: BRAD WALKER


OSAKA, Japan—Brad Walker (left, /photo by Paul Merca), a 2005 University of Washington graduate and school record holder in this event sat down for a brief chat Friday afternoon, after he easily qualified for the finals of the world championships Thursday night, clearing 18-8 1/4.

Walker, who is one of the favorites to win the world title, and who has the highest vault in the world this year at 19-6 1/4, successfully cleared 18-2 1/2 on his first attempt Thursday night, then needed two attempts to make 18-8 1/4. The former Washington Husky was one of seven men to successfully clear 18-8 1/4.

Unlike two years ago in Helsinki, where he came in a fresh-faced rookie on the professional track & field circuit, he enters the world championships as one of the favorites to win Saturday night’s event, which gets underway at Nagai Stadium at 7:30 pm, local time (3:30 am in Seattle).

Walker enters the competition as the reigning world indoor champion, and the silver medalist in this meet, as he was upset by Rens Blom of the Netherlands in a wet competition in Helsinki in 2005.

Walker last competed in Monte Carlo on July 25th, where he placed fourth in the Herculis Super Grand Prix meet, jumping 18-11 (5.77m).

During our conversation, he revealed that since the Monte Carlo meet, he had not touched a pole until Thursday night’s qualifying, as he’s had a lingering back problem, dating back to late 2006. He’s had to modify his training schedule for this season in order to work around the back problem. Walker said that since he’s been in Japan, he’s been able to get help and treatment from the USA Track & Field medical staff, an area he admits he hasn’t been as consistent with at home.

He admits that having his support team with him, including University of Washington vault coach Pat Licari, girlfriend and former UW vaulter Carly Dockendorf, parents Diana & Thomas, and sister Tanya, has made the world championships experience a little less stressful and enjoyable.

His most formidable opponents are last year’s world #`1 Steven Hooker of Australia, who’s jumped 19-4 3/4 (5.91m) and the German trio of Danny Ecker, Tim Lobinger, and rising star Bjorn Otto, the event’s rising star, according to Track & Field News, in its Osaka preview.

PM: You cruised through the prelims Thursday night. Talk about the prelims.

BW: Got through the competition okay. I only took three warmup jumps and three competition jumps. I tried to keep the jumps to a minimum.

PM: What are your impressions of the Osaka runway?

BW: The runway is really good. It’s a good solid runway. The girls jumped really high, so you can tell it’s good. A lot of the vaulters spoke to each other, and we thought that it wasn’t exceptionally fast, but that being said, it’s a good place to jump really high.

PM: Have things changed for you over the last two years, now that you are one of the big guns in this event, and how?

BW: I like to think of the change as a part of the natural progression of being an athlete. You’re going to come out of college thinking to yourself that you’re going to be one of those emerging guys that comes out and takes control of the event and bring it forward. I feel that’s where I am, and I’m confident going into the final that I know what I’m capable of jumping and know what it takes to get a medal, and I’m ready to go do it.

PM: Good luck in the finals Saturday night.

BW: Thanks!

For more information on the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, please visit http://www.osaka2007.iaaf.org.

For more information on Washington state-affiliated athletes competing at the world championships in Osaka, please visit http://paulmerca.blogspot.com.

Anson Henry's Canadian relay squad seventh...

OSAKA, Japan—Washington State university grad Anson Henry ran the second leg of Team Canada’s 4 x 100 meter relay Friday night, as the Canadians finished seventh in a time of 39.43 seconds.

The race was won by Brazil in a time of 38.27.

Earlier in the meet, Henry ran in the 100 meters, advancing as far as the semi-finals, where he finished sixth.

The former Pac-10 champ ran on Canada’s relay team in the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2001 and 2003 World Championships. Henry was the 2004 and 2005 Canadian champion in the 200m.

In Saturday’s penultimate day of competition at Nagai Stadium, Mountlake Terrace’s Brad Walker, a 2005 University of Washington grad who attended University HS in Spokane, will compete in the finals of the men’s pole vault. Walker only needed three jumps in Thursday night’s qualifying to advance.

Walker is a two-time USA outdoor national champion, and the reigning world indoor champion in this event. He finished second in the 2005 world outdoor championships in Helsinki, and currently has the world’s best jump this season at 19-6 1/4. Walker’s event gets underway at 7:30pm, Osaka time (3:30 am, Seattle time)

The final athlete competing with ties to the state of Washington competing will be Bernard Lagat in the men’s 5000 meters on Sunday. Lagat has already claimed a world title at 1500 meters earlier in the meet.

For more information on the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, please visit http://www.osaka2007.iaaf.org.

For more information on Washington state-affiliated athletes competing at the world championships in Osaka, please visit http://paulmerca.blogspot.com.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Brad Walker & Bernard Lagat easily qualify for finals..


OSAKA, Japan—Mountlake Terrace resident Brad Walker (left, /photo by Paul Merca), a former University of Washington standout, took only three jumps Thursday night at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships to advance to Saturday night’s pole vault finals.

Walker, who is one of the favorites to win the world title, and who has the highest vault in the world this year at 19-6 1/4, successfully cleared 18-2 1/2 on his first attempt, then needed two attempts to make 18-8 1/4. The former Washington Husky was one of seven men to successfully clear 18-8 1/4.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Walker said, “Cleared 5.70 meters (18-8 1/4) and luckily got the chance to shut it down. It's anybody's game, and I am sure there will be a lot of people in the mix in the finals.”

The newly crowned world champion at 1500 meters, Bernard Lagat, was one of three Americans qualifying for the men's 5,000m final on Sunday night for the first time in World Championships history, along with Matt Tegenkamp and Adam Goucher.

Lagat showed no fatigue from his gold-medal performance in Wednesday night's 1,500m final, easily advancing by placing third in Heat 1 of the 5 km semifinals in 13:46.57.

“The key was to make it into the finals. I'm glad I did it. I need to save as much energy as I can. Of course there was no celebration after yesterday, but I did not have a good sleep, as the film about the 1500m final was running in my head,” Lagat told the IAAF media crew, before being hustled off to the ceremony where he received his world championship gold medal.

The only athlete with ties to the state of Washington scheduled to compete is Washington State grad Anson Henry in the first round of the men’s 4 x 100 meter relay. Henry, who is competing for Canada, was sixth in the semifinals of the 100-meter dash. It is possible the Canadians may rest him for the finals on Saturday night.

For more information on the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, please visit http://www.osaka2007.iaaf.org.

For more information on Washington state-affiliated athletes competing at the world championships in Osaka, please visit http://paulmerca.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bernard Lagat wins world title at 1500 meters...

Bernard Lagat is all smiles after winning the world championship at 1500 meters Wednesday night in Osaka, Japan. /photo by Paul Merca

OSAKA, Japan—Washington State University graduate Bernard Lagat used a strong finish tonight here in the Japanese city to win his first ever world title at 1500 meters at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships at Nagai Stadium, in a time of 3:34.77.

The man many call one of the most consistent middle distance runners of the current generation entered these world championships having won two Olympic medals, and a silver medal at the 2001 world championships while competing for his native Kenya. However, the only medal missing from his resume of world and Olympic meet experience was a gold, and Wednesday night, that gold medal was added to his collection.

The gold medal won by Lagat tonight was the first ever in this event in either world championship or Olympic competition won by an American since 1908 when Mel Sheppard turned the trick.

Lagat was at or near the front of the pack for most of the race, but far enough to stay away from any potential danger, including elbows and getting trapped on the rail.

After passing 400 meters in 58.63 seconds, the leaders of the cohesive pack were current world leader Alan Webb of Reston, Virginia along with Lagat and the Kenyan duo of Shedrack Kibet Korir, and Asbel Kiprop. Kiprop took the lead with two laps to go, passing 800 meters in 1:58.08, followed by Webb and Lagat. With the pack still relatively tight at the bell, it was Kiprop and Webb, running side-by-side, followed by Lagat in third with Korir on his inside shoulder in fourth.

Afterwards, a beaming Lagat said, “It feels great to be a champion, representing the United States. I've waited since 2004 for this. I can never be happier than this right now.”

Coming down the stretch, defending champion Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain made a run at the lead as Webb and Lagat came around the outside. Coming from two meters back, Lagat sprinted cleanly to the front and went on to win in 3:34.77.



“My coach James Li (the former assistant coach at Washington State, who is currently the distance coach at the University of Arizona in Tuscon, where Lagat currently resides) is a master of laying out strategy. He came out to my hotel room and said that you have the speed and the experience, and that's the most important thing. He said that you know what to do. I was thinking about relaxation the whole way through during the race.”

“I wanted to be in the top three up until the last fifty meters. I was thinking to myself in the last fifty, 'I think I'm going to win this, but I didn't want to celebrate just yet'. I've never been like this--I've always been a silver medalist. (in world and Olympic competition).

Shortly before Lagat’s race, Rainier Beach High School graduate Ginnie Powell, who had missed most of the major European outdoor meets with an injury, finished fifth in the 100-meter hurdles, running 12.55. Defending world champion Michelle Perry of Los Angeles took home the victory in a time of 12.46.

“I felt that it was a good race. Considering that I am competing with an injury and haven't had any races. I'm pleased. I'm happy. I had a minor fracture in the side of my (left) knee and a lot of fluid in there. That left me out for about three weeks, missing the whole first half of the European season.”

Lagat will have very little time to savor his victory in the 1500 meters, as he will compete in Thursday’s qualifying round of the 5000-meter run, an event in which he’s won two US outdoor titles.

Also competing on Thursday is former University of Washington and University High School (Spokane) star Brad Walker in the men’s pole vault qualifying round. Walker is the reigning world indoor champion in this event, and won the silver medal at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki. Walker enters these world championships as one of the favorites in this event.

For more information on the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, please visit http://www.osaka2007.iaaf.org.

For more information on Washington state-affiliated athletes competing at the world championships in Osaka, please visit http://paulmerca.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Interview with Kara Goucher...

Kara Goucher proudly displays her bronze medal earned in the women's 10000 meter run at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan. /photo by Paul Merca
OSAKA, Japan--Once upon a time, Kara Grgas-Wheeler was touted as perhaps one of the up-and-coming American female distance runners after winning the 1999 NCAA cross country title along with two NCAA championships on the track while attending the University of Colorado in 2000.

Between the end of the 2000 and 2004 seasons were four years of frustration, compiling a series of injuries that would make the average runner contemplate entering another sport.

In a 2006 interview with the online publication fast-women.com, she said, “My senior year of college, I had a knee injury. I had a stress fracture in my kneecap and also tendonitis. I had a quarter of the patellar tendon in my knee taken out. That was 2001. That set me back a lot. My right leg became so weak that then I got a stress fracture in my right femur while cross-training on the elliptical machine, of all things”.

“I was really devastated. I did absolutely nothing for three months except sit around and gain weight. Then I had two more femoral stress fractures, in January of 2004 and July of that year. When we moved out here (to Portland, Oregon from Boulder, Colorado) that November, I was dealing with compartment syndrome in my right calf.”

But Kara Goucher’s certainly not an average runner, especially after her stunning performance in the 10000 meter run on Saturday night here in Osaka at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, where she snagged the bronze medal in a time of 32:02.05, silencing those who thought that an American couldn’t earn a medal of any color on the world stage.

Her medal was the first medal earned by an American in either world championship or Olympic competition at this distance since Lynn Jennings turned the trick at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

The move to Portland, Oregon with husband Adam, a 2000 Olympian at 5000 meters who placed sixth in the 2006 World Cross Country Championships 4k race in Fukuoka, and the opportunity to train under American marathon great Alberto Salazar has paid dividends, and reaffirmed her position as one of the USA’s top female distance specialists.

The 2005 season under Salazar was essentially a transition year for Kara. Both she and Adam were told by Alberto that the most important thing was to stay healthy.

“I'm doing 90 miles a week, more than I've ever run--but what takes the time every day is the drills and stretching, the ART (Active Release Therapy, an assisted stretching technique), and the time to get a massage."

In the weeks before the world championships, she and Adam, along with Alberto and University of Oregon standout 10k runner Galen Rupp left Oregon to train in Park City, Utah (altitude 7000 feet).

During their stay in Park City, all they did was essentially run, eat, nap, run, and do the other associated things like massage, aqua jogging, weight training, and running drills.

"It's more than a full-time job," she said. "I don't really do anything else."

The schedule that she described is essentially the same that she and Adam operate on when they are in their Portland home. For the Gouchers, running is a full-time job

Asked why the couple settled on Portland, she said the key reason for the move to the Pacific Northwest is the emphasis that Salazar puts on all aspects of preparation for key races during the season, including the world championships.

That attention to detail came into play during their camp in Park City, where they ran numerous workouts wearing a special suit to simulate heat and humidity while gaining the benefits of altitude training.



Kara Goucher jogs her lap of honor after earning the bronze medal in the 10000-meter run at the World Championships. /photo by Paul Merca


“We knew going into Osaka that it was going to be hot. It was something that went into our preparation, and we prepared for it. I wore the sauna suit, which was a glorified garbage bag. We came to Osaka and trained during the heat of the day, I did a time trial during the time of the 10k (late evening in Osaka). “

“I knew I was going to be uncomfortable, and I prepared for it. It was uncomfortable, but it was uncomfortable for everybody.”

In describing the race, Kara said it was quite rough, with a lot of pushing, shoving and elbowing that is typical of an international championship race.

“Normally I like to sit on the rail in a race, but because it was so rough, I ended up moving into lane 2 to stay away from the traffic. I could hear people around me getting frustrated with the bumping, and I tried not to let it bother me. My goal was relaxation for as long as possible.”

On the bus ride to the stadium, Alberto told her that she was ready to place in the top five.

“Normally in a race that I run really well, I run well, then I tend to doubt myself for a few laps, and finish strong. This time I told myself that I’m going to press the pace, and if I blow up, I’ll probably run the same as if I run conservatively. I was going to stay with the leaders for as long as I could.”

“Every lap, I kept gaining more and more confidence. With 2k to go, I decided to go for it. If I rig, I rig. At least I’m going to go down knowing that I went for it.”

Goucher said that in the last lap, she resigned herself to a fourth place finish, but she found within herself the strength to make one final push. Down the backstretch, with Britain’s Jo Pavey ahead, she told herself to go for it, knowing that she would regret it if she didn’t.

“I knew I was on the edge of dying. I was going to go by her and hope the move breaks her will. Some of the folks were telling me afterwards that I should’ve waited until the final straight, but I knew that if I didn’t go, that I might break.”

When asked about Beijing next year, she said that the preparation for the Olympics will be similar to the preparation for these world championships.

One part of the world championships experience that she’s reveled in is meeting and talking to track and field athletes in other events. ‘I’m a total track geek. I follow all the events, and it’s cool to see people that you read about. Growing up, I idolized Carl Lewis & Flo-Jo (Florence Griffith Joyner), and I wanted to run fast like them.”

Ginnie Powell advances to finals of 100m hurdles at worlds..


OSAKA, Japan—Former Rainier Beach High School standout Ginnie Powell advanced to Wednesday night’s finals in the 100-meter hurdles Tuesday with her strong fourth place finish in the semi-finals at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships at Nagai Stadium.

Powell, a many time state champ at the south Seattle high school, crossed the finish line in 12.67, in a heat won by her American teammate and defending world champion Michelle Perry in 12.55.

After her race, Powell said, “It was a faster time than yesterday. I need to get stronger and faster at the end. The start was good. The first five (hurdles) were pretty good and strong. There are things I can definitely work on. But I am very satisfied at this point just to be racing again and to be in the final. It starts all over again tomorrow. Everybody has the same chance to win tomorrow. It's a very loaded field. There's a lot of talent in the hurdles. Anyone in the final tomorrow is capable of winning.

Wednesday night’s 100 meter hurdles final gets underway at 9:05 pm, Osaka time (Seattle is 16 hours behind Osaka).

Also competing Wednesday night will be former Washington State Cougar Bernard Lagat in the men’s 1500 meter run at 10:05 pm, local time. The two time Olympic medalist at this distance won his semi-final head on Monday night.

Another former Cougar, Dominique Arnold, the current American record holder in the 110-meter high hurdlers, has withdrawn from the world championships due to an injury to his Achilles tendon. Arnold was scheduled to compete in the first round of his event at 11:40 am, local time on Wednesday.

For more information on the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, please visit http://www.osaka2007.iaaf.org.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bernard Lagat advances to the finals of 1500...


Bernard Lagat pulled away from the field to win heat 1 of the 1500m semis at the World Championships in Osaka Monday night. /photo by Paul Merca

OSAKA, Japan—Former Washington State University great Bernard Lagat stayed out of trouble for most of the race, and used a fast finish to win tonight’s semi-final race in the men’s 1500 meter run in a time of 3:42.39 at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, and advance to Wednesday night’s finals.

The two-time Olympic medalist and current American record holder at this distance said, “The race went OK. It went actually the way I wanted it. I didn't want to get into trouble today, running from the back all the way. At some point I got boxed in. I had to get myself out of it. I managed to get out and run the last 200 meters really hard. (The pace) didn't really matter to me. I knew it was terribly slow. I wanted to run the way it is.”

Lagat also told members of the media that he felt that he ran a significantly smarter race than he did in last Saturday’s opening round by staying out of heavy traffic. As Lagat swung to the outside to free himself from the pack in the final straightaway, several athletes were involved in a collision which ultimately resulted in the disqualification of France’s Mehdi Baala, one of the pre-meet favorites.

Lagat’s teammate, Alan Webb, who currently has the fastest time in the world this year at 1500 meters, secured a spot in the finals with his fifth place finish in the other semifinal race, running 3:41.08.

Tuesday night, Ginnie Powell competes in the semi-finals of the women’s 100 meter hurdles. The two-time US champion from Rainier Beach High School finished second in her opening heat Monday morning to advance to the semis.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ginnie Powell rolls into semi-finals of 100m hurdles..


Ginnie Powell, formerly of Rainier Beach High School (l) battles Canada's Perdita Felicien in the first round of the women's 100-meter hurdles Monday at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan. /photo by Paul Merca

OSAKA, Japan—Former Rainier Beach High School standout Ginnie Powell easily advanced to the semifinals of the 100-meter hurdles Monday morning, finishing second in her heat.

Powell, the two-time American champion, who entered the meet with a season and personal best time of 12.45, looked very smooth and in control as she ran 12.76, 3/100ths of a second behind Canada’s Perdita Felicien.

In other action involving athletes with state of Washington ties, former University of Washington discus thrower Cecelia Barnes, competing in her first world championship, threw 173-11 to finish 13th in her flight, and failed to advance to the finals.

Anson Henry 6th in 100m semis; Pickler finishes heptathlon in 25th...

Diana Pickler gets ready to throw the javelin in the heptathlon competition at the world championships in Osaka, Japan Sunday night. Pickler finished 25th overall. /photo by Paul Merca

It was a quiet night for Washington state athletes competing here in Osaka at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships.

Diana Pickler, who finished her senior season at Washington State, finished 25th in the heptathlon, scoring 5838 points.

Her marks on the second day of competition included a long jump of 19-8 3/4 (853 points); a javelin toss of 130-0 (660 pts.); and a 800m time of 2:20.63 (815 points).


Anson Henry, the former Washington State star, mentally prepares himself moments before the start of the 100 meter semi-finals at the world championships. /photo by Paul Merca


Anson Henry, another ex-Cougar, finished sixth in the semis of the 100m dash in a time of 10.20, a season best for the Canadian.

Sunday morning in Osaka...

Ian Waltz, the former Washington State standout, prepares to throw the discus Sunday morning here in Osaka, Japan. /photo by Paul Merca

5:25 pm--Fairly quiet morning session today here at the World Championships as far as athletes from the state of Washington go.

All the action centered in the discus, where Ian Waltz, Jarred Rome, and Mart Israel all failed to advance to the finals.

Waltz, the Washington State grad, finished 13th overall, throwing 205-7, while Rome, formerly of Marysville-Pilchuck High School was 15th with a mark of 203-0.

Mart Israel, an Estonian who was at the University of Washington this past academic year before being declared ineligible, was 22nd with a throw of 197-7.

Afterwards, Waltz said, "I had a good warmup, then I started pressing a little bit. I felt like I was too fast, too explosive during the competition. I'm not happy with the way I threw, and we'll go from there."

Tonight, former Cougars Diana Pickler finishes up in the heptathlon, and Anson Henry runs in the semis of the 100 meters. I apologize for not including Israel and Henry in the preview.

I hope to post an interview with Kara Goucher that I conducted this afternoon in the next day or so.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pickler 25th in heptathlon after day one...

Portland's Kara Goucher (center) is poised to pounce on Great Britain's Jo Pavey with less than one lap to go in the women's 10000-meter run at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, in which she earned a bronze medal here in Osaka. /photo by Paul Merca

In tonight’s session, Washington State’s Diana Pickler threw the shot 36-9 3/4 worth 610 points, and ran the 200 in 24.61, which netted her 923 points. After the end of the first day, Pickler stands 25th with 3510 points.

Shortly before the World Championships, Pickler earned a sponsorship deal with Asics.

If you’re a distance geek, you had to be thrilled with Portland’s Kara Goucher, who upset the form chart with her stunning third place finish in the women’s 10k. For the United States, this marked the first time since Lynn Jennings turned the trick in the Barcelona Olympics of 1992 that an American woman made the podium in either the world championships or the Olympics.

Goucher, taking advantage of a slow pace, ran a season best of 32:02.05 to capture the bronze medal. In the final lap, she took advantage of her speed to rocket past Great Britain’s Jo Pavey with 200 meters to go.

Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba won the 10 k in 31:55.41.

Among Americans, Deena Kastor was sixth in 32:24.58, while Katie McGregor placed 13th in 32:44.76.

Afterwards, an ecstatic Goucher said, “We’ve been training so hard in the heat. With the pace so slow, I was thinking to myself that this is good for me. With two laps to go, I was thinking that fifth or sixth would be good, but then I thought about running in the sauna suit, and the 90-mile weeks, and the aqua jogging, and I said to myself, ‘sprint!’”

“I’ve never been in a race so rough. I was running in lane 2, but I said that I don’t want to fall, so I hung out there. It’s an honor to be here.”

Tomorrow, Ian Waltz & Jarred Rome will compete in the discus qualifying at 9:30 am, while Pickler continues in the heptathlon.

Good night from Osaka!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Morning session highlights from Washington state athletes...


Former Washington State University star Bernard Lagat runs in the pack in heat three of the men's 1500 meter qualifying heats /photo by Paul Merca


6:50 pm--The evening session is about to begin shortly, but I wanted to give you an update on Diana Pickler in the heptathlon.

Pickler stands in 14th position after the high jump, where she cleared 5-8 1/2, worth 903 points.

When the evening session starts, Pickler will be throwing the shot (she's throwing in group B, if you're watching on wcsn.com), then finish day one with the 200 meter dash (lane 5, heat 4). Remember that she got in trouble in the 200 at the NCAA meet, where she was DQ'd for running inside her lane.

I'll post a recap after tonight's session concludes.

12:15 pm--
Bernard Lagat, the former Washington State University standout, had a little bit of a minor glitch as he advanced to the semi-finals with his third place finish in heat 3 in the men's 1500 meters, running 3:41.68, behind Spaniard Arturo Casado, and Mekonnen Gebremehdin of Ethiopia.

According to Lagat, he got bumped around a bit in the early going. "I didn't run as smart of a race as I normally would. I'm not the kind of person who will run, get tripped, and get boxed in the middle. I learned a lesson today and I'm going to run differently in the semis."

"Running as bad as I did, I really feel strong."

In the women's heptathlon, Washington State's Diana Pickler stands seventh after one event, as she ran 13.34 in the 100 meter hurdles. The high jump is currently in the second hour of competition.

And earlier today, Uli Steidl, the eight-time winner of the Seattle Marathon, finished 37th with a time of 2:30:03.

Tracking Uli Steidl in the marathon...


10:45 am--Uli's final time was 2:30:03, good for 37th place. I have not been down to the mixed zone to get a quote from him.

We are underway with the meet, so it's so long for now.

10:15 am--This is what I know as of now--Uli finished around 2:30 and change. I have not had a chance to talk to him, as it's my understanding from his teammate Martin Beckmann that Uli's in the medical area, probably for a heat-related issue. I don't want to speculate any further.

Got the hard copies of his splits from 25 k (1:26:36, 59th), 30 k (1:44:58, 51st); 35 k (2:03:39, 42nd), and 40 k (2:22:26, 38th). As you can see, from a placing standpoint, he made a big move from 30 to 35k.

I'll do my best to find out his status.

8:56 am--
The racing's started! Luke Kibet dropped a 15:39 5k, and he leads after 35k (1:52:35), with Shami of Qatar 2nd 23 seconds down, and Kiplagat 3rd 31 seconds behind his countryman. There are two Japanese runners lurking behind the top three.

It's Kenya and Japan for the World Marathon Team Cup competition! Can you imagine how crazy the home fans will get if they can pull up?!?

Uli was 68th at the half-marathon in 1:12:37, 4:08 behind the leader. His 20k was 1:08:49.

Looks like I will have to bail and walk to the track to get finish photos, and start working on quotes.

8:39 am--
30k split is 1:36:56 (15:45), and it's now down to four. Kibet, Shami of Qatar, Kiplagat, and Asmeron.

8:22 am--
25 k split was 1:21:11, with Ali Mabrouk El Zaidi the leader and a group of 10-12 as the leaders pass the Osaka Castle.

Uli's split at 15k was 51:26, and he stood 78th at that point.

8:10 am--
Crossed the half-marathon point in 1:08:30, with Uganda's Alex Malinga the leader. 20k was crossed in 1:04:59, with about 10-12 runners. The last 5k was covered in 16:20, so it's slowed slightly.

Uli's 10k split was 33:35, and he was in 81st place, 1:03 behind the leader.

Weather now is 84 degrees, 65% humidity, and heat index is 89.

7:50 am--
Pace has picked up a little bit. Kiplagat and Luke Kibet of Kenya lead a group of eight thru 15k at 48:39, the last 5k run in 15:48, down from 16:14.

Have not seen complete 10k splits yet, so I don't have an official split for Uli.

7:35 am--
Lead group crossed 10k at 32:51, led by William Kiplagat of Kenya, and a group of about 35 runners behind. Rough guess from the TV pictures, but I'm thinking Uli is about 30-45 seconds back. They only showed splits for the top 50 on the world feed.



7:20 am--
The marathon is underway. Uli entered the stadium wearing a cooling vest, and seemed in good spirits when I said hello.

The runners ran 1300 meters of the track before heading out on the roads. The turnaround point is by the Osaka Castle, one of the city's landmarks.

From watching the world feed here in the press center, it looks like the shots are of the leaders. While they were on the track, Uli dropped to the rear of the pack.

By the way, it's getting humid. I'm thinking we'll have a 20-25% dropout rate, but I could be wrong.

6:15 am--Good morning (or good Friday afternoon in the Pacific Northwest)...welcome to Northwest Runner's coverage of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships from Osaka. We're 45 minutes from the start of the men's marathon, where eight-time Seattle Marathon winner Uli Steidl will be running for his native Germany.

I am in the main press center next door to Nagai Stadium. I'll be tracking how he's doing here in the MMC by watching the world feed on the TV monitors (it should be the same as the wcsn.com coverage).

The plan is for me to take pictures of the start of the race at the stadium, then track the progress here at MMC.

I am literally flying by the seat of my pants on the marathon coverage. If any of you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Now off to the stadium to take warmup pictures and the start!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Isi speaks to the international media...



Pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva holds a pole signifying the world record progression in her event at an adidas media function here in Osaka this morning. /photo by Paul Merca


OSAKA, Japan—Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva, the current world record holder in the pole vault, spoke today to members of the international press corps at an adidas media event where she exhibited her hand-drawn illustration that is part of the German sportswear company’s “Impossible is nothing” advertising campaign.

She also took time to answer questions about her preparation for the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, which begin Saturday here in the Japanese city.

When asked about the technical changes she’s made in the last year, she said, “It’s getting a lot better. I’m getting more confident in my jumping. I feel like I’m flying over the bar. I’m using longer poles now, between 4.50 and 4.55 meters long (14’9” to 14’11”), and my grip is a lot higher as well.”

“Last year was a bit difficult, since that was the first year of making the technical changes (which included a change in coaches). This year, I feel like I’m flying over the bar, as opposed to jumping over the bar. I am a lot more confident in my ability to go over the bar, as opposed to last year.”

On whether or not she feels she can be beaten here in Osaka, she simply said “No”. In response to a follow-up question on who may be going for the other medals, she said, “That is not my problem. I only focus on myself, and the bar. As long as I do my best, it’s impossible for the other girls to beat me. Sorry, ladies!”

On whether or not she gets bored being the best, she said, “It depends on the competition. Sometimes I don’t start jumping until about 2, 2 1/2, even three hours after the start. I try to push myself every time I compete. It’s difficult, but I enjoy pole vaulting. You could say it’s my passion.”

For the link to Yelena’s story, visit adidas.com.

Domo arigato, Mister Roboto...

Well, I finally made it here to Osaka, after the long journey that started in Seattle, with stops in Los Angeles (where the helicopters have cameras, according to the great American philosopher Snoop Doggy Dogg), and Hong Kong!

Landed around 2:30pm, then went through customs and immigration. The bad part was taking the IAAF media bus to Nagai Stadium for accreditation...that took forever, not to mention having to haul luggage around. Let's just say it sucked!

Went to dinner tonight with Randy Miyazaki of trackandfieldphoto.com, Cheryl Treworgy of prettysporty.com, and Brian Russell from NBC Sports at Outback Steakhouse. Tonight's celebrity sightings included Olympic marathon bronze medalist Deena Kastor at the Asics hospitality suite; 800m runner Diane Cummins from Victoria & 10k runner Katie McGregor from Minneapolis; and Team USA coach Juli Henner.

As we come up on 11 pm, I am fried...I'm going to bed in my traditional Japanese room.

Good night!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Here I am in Hong Kong!


Just got into the Hong Kong airport about an hour ago, and I'm taking advantage of the service here at the Cathay Pacific business lounge.

Tested my Skype service, and it's all good! As you can see, I am wearing my Skype headset in order to talk thru my laptop. I look like a geek, but, at 2 ceents a minute, I'll take it. The real test will be in Osaka!

See you in Osaka in a few hours!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sitting in the Alaska Airlines business lounge at Sea-Tac!

Hey all--Just a quick note letting you know I am waiting for my flight to Osaka, Japan to cover the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in the Alaska Air business lounge here in Seattle.

The trip's gotten off to a rocky start, as I lost my debit card on the way to the airport...fortunately the bank was still open, and I withdrew some cash, which I'll have to convert to yen when I get to Japan. Hopefully, I can get a new card by the time I get to Japan.

The itinerary takes me to Los Angeles, then Hong Kong, then Osaka. I am flying business class, which is huge.

Will try and drop a line from Hong Kong!

Ten athletes with state of Washington ties to compete in Osaka at IAAF World Track & Field Championships

Former Washington State University standout Dominique Arnold, the current American record holder in the 110-meter high hurdles, is one of ten athletes with links to the state of Washington competing at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan. /photo by Paul Merca

OSAKA, JAPAN--2004 Olympic 1500 meter silver medalist Bernard Lagat, a graduate of Washington State University, leads a contingent of ten track and field athletes with ties to the state of Washington into Osaka, Japan for the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, which begins on Saturday August 25th, and concludes on Sunday, September 2nd at Nagai Stadium.

Besides Lagat, who is the current American record holder in the 1500 meters, and a two-time US national champion in the 5000 meters, the state of Washington contingent includes Dominique Arnold (Washington State), the current American record holder in the 110 meter high hurdles; Brad Walker (University of Washington/University HS-Spokane), the 2006 IAAF world indoor champion in the pole vault; the reigning two-time American 100-meter hurdles champion Ginnie Powell (Rainier Beach High School); and 2004 US Olympians in the discus Ian Waltz (Washington State), and Jarred Rome (Marysville-Pilchuck High School).

Two athletes with Washington ties will compete at the world championships representing their native countries, led by sprinter Anson Henry (Washington State), a 2004 Olympian who will run on Canada’s 4 x 100 meter relay squad; and, Uli Steidl (Seattle University assistant track & cross country coach), an eight-time winner of the Seattle Marathon, who will run the marathon for Germany.

Rounding out the contingent with state of Washington ties are recent Washington State University graduate Diana Pickler, who will compete in the heptathlon; and former University of Washington standout Cecelia Barnes, who will compete in the women’s discus.

Dr. Bob Adams of Redmond, Washington will serve Team USA as one of its team physicians.

The IAAF World Track & Field Championships will be carried on a pay-per-view basis on the internet at www.wcsn.com. Daily coverage will be seen on the Versus network, and weekend coverage will be seen on NBC Sports.

Below is the list of athletes competing in Osaka, along with the local time of each athlete’s first appearance at the meet. Note that Osaka is 16 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight time. The complete event schedule is listed at http://osaka2007.iaaf.org.


NAME AFFILIATION EVENT DATE & TIME(S)
(local Osaka time)

Uli Steidl Germany/Seattle U. marathon 0700, 8/25

Diana Pickler Washington State heptathlon 1000, 8/25

Bernard Lagat Washington State 1500 meters 1125, 8/25
5000 meters 2045, 8/30

Ian Waltz Washington State discus 0930, 8/26

Jarred Rome Marysville-Pilchuck HS discus 0930, 8/26

Ginnie Powell Rainier Beach HS 100 meter H. 1010, 8/27

Cecelia Barnes Univ. of Washington discus 1000, 8/27

Dominique Arnold Washington State 110 meter H. 1140, 8/29

Brad Walker Univ. of Washington pole vault 1935, 8/30

Anson Henry Canada/Washington State 4 x 100m relay 2040, 8/31

How they got to Osaka:

Uli Steidl (marathon)—Selected by German federation on the basis of two sub-2:20 marathons in 2007 in Boston (2:19:54), and Duesseldorf (2:19:45) within a three-week span.

Diana Pickler (heptathlon)—Scored 6029 points to finish second at the US championships.

Bernard Lagat (1500m/5000m)—Finished third in the 1500 at the US championships (3:35.55); won the 5000 in a time of 13:30.73.

Ian Waltz (discus)—Finished second in the US championships with a throw of 208-8.

Jarred Rome (discus)—Finished third in the US championships with a throw of 208-6.

Ginnie Powell (100 hurdles)—Won her second straight national title, running 12.63.

Cecelia Barnes (discus)—Finished fourth in the US championships (182-1). Bumped third place finisher Summer Pierson, as Pierson didn’t have the IAAF qualifying standard of 193-7. Barnes has thrown 197-5 this year.

Dominique Arnold (110 hurdles)—Finished second in the US championships (13.17).

Brad Walker (pole vault)—Won the US championships with a jump of 18-8 1/4.

Anson Henry (4 x 100 meter relay)—Finished second in the Canadian championships at 100 meters in 10.37. Canada’s 4 x 100 meter relay team is one of the world’s top 16 teams.

MEDIA NOTES: Paul Merca will be in Osaka covering the IAAF World Track & Field Championships beginning Thursday, August 23rd, and will blog at http://paulmerca.blogspot.com. He can be reached by cell at 090-1726-4566. From the USA, dial +81 90-1726-4566. Please contact him at clubalrd@earthlink.net.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Craig Masback on Blaine Newnham's column...

In my post on August 5th, I had a link to the Seattle Times, in which Blaine Newnham wrote about Alan Webb's American record in the mile, titled "Can Webb lead American fans to circle the track once again?"

USA Track & Field chief executive officer Craig Masback, who in his younger days was an outstanding miler, takes exception to Newnham's column, written on August 5th.

For Masback's thoughts, here's the link.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

List of Washington-affiliated athletes at Worlds...


Here's a quick list of athletes with state of Washington affiliations, along with links to their bios competing at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships:

Uli Steidl (Germany/Seattle U. assistant coach)--marathon
Anson Henry (Canada/Washington State)--4 x 100m relay
Ginnie Powell (Rainier Beach HS)--100 meter hurdles
Cecelia Barnes (Univ. of Washington)--discus
Diana Pickler (Washington State)--heptathlon
Bernard Lagat (Washington State)--1500 meters; 5000 meters
Dominique Arnold (Washington State)--110 meter hurdles
Brad Walker (Univ. of Washington)--pole vault
Ian Waltz (Washington State)--discus
Jarred Rome (Marysville-Pilchuck HS)--discus

In addition, Dr. Bob Adams from Redmond will serve as one of the team physicians.

SOURCES: USA Track & Field , Athletics Canada, DLV.

World Championships profile--ULI STEIDL


Note: This is the first of a series of profiles of athletes from the state of Washington that will compete in the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan starting on August 25th. Kicking off the world championships at 7 am on the 25th is the men's marathon. Seattle resident and Seattle University assistant track & cross country coach Uli Steidl will run representing his native Germany. Steidl has been a remarkable force in local running circles, having won the Seattle Marathon eight times. Here's a profile story written on Uli by Alexander Pochert, courtesy of the German federation site, www.leichtathletik.de.

I used babelfish.altavista.com to translate the story to English. It's a little rough, but I hope you get the main points of the story.

The story in German is posted at http://www.leichtathletik.de/index.php?NavID=1&SiteID=28&NewsID=15102

---

Ulrich Steidl - German one in Seattle

Beside Martin Beckmann (LG flax field EN genuine things) represents Ulrich Steidl (SSC Hanau/Rodenbach) the German colors with the WM Marathon (25 August) in Osaka (Japan). For nearly 15 years the Hessian lives in the USA, since May 2006 is he owner of the "Green Card", the durable residence permit. It starts with marathon races or other large running feels it still than Germans, however "less in the daily life."

In December 1992 he came as a young chemistry student to the University of Portland. Originally it had intended to remain one and a half years in the states. At the end it stood however before the choice to terminate its study in the USA or to begin it again in Germany. Ulrich Steidl decided for the former and locked its study after a university change after Seattle with the master.

2001 he became acquainted with its current wife Trisha. In the summer of the same yearly the two run-inspired married on the summit of "The Mountain", as the inhabitants call that around Seattle nearly 4,400 meters high Mount Rainier. In its "new homeland" erlief it itself among other things by eight victories in consequence with the Seattle Marathon a good name in the scene. In addition, with Ultralaeufen over 50 miles its name emerges again and again in the starting lists. The people from its closer environment describe it than versatile, training-industrious athlete, "running simply love."

From the teacher to the professional

And it can follow to this love for some time absolutely. Since 2004 was Ulrich Steidl chemistry teacher at a Highschool (Edmonds/Woodway HS). In the past year it stood before the choice to concentrate on the training occupation and to only operate a running as hobby to dedicate or those few years, which still remain to it, fully and completely the sport. In its decision for running it became supported by the zoegerlichen behavior of its head master to give it the promised unlimited place at the school.

"I had a temporally limited contract for the years 2004/05 and 2005/06 only, but the head master has me in September 2005 promised that I am taken over automatically for 2006/07, then however ' my ' place publicly wrote out, without saying to me of it which. There I felt pushed already before the head. Finally it offered then an unlimited contract nevertheless to me, but to the time I had already decided not to apply me no more for ' my ' place."

Training camp in Kenya

In addition it came that his wife Trisha got a clearly better paid job as cross country and track coach at Seattle University and the married couple does not have children. Supported it also its wife: "I do not want that he back-looks and says at the age times, what would be if?"

Following the Seattle Marathon, which not only he, but also Trisha as winners terminated, Ulrich Steidl traveled to the runner country Kenya. After some days in a suburb of Eldoret it went for the freshbaked "professional" into a Trainigscamp 30 kilometers east, at the edge of the "Kaptagat Forest" on 2,400 meters height. Since there was no maintenance except a small television and a billardtisch, the concentration did not fall on an expanded training particularly heavily.

Children, those into the school run – an erring faith

The first unit lined up to everyone at six o'clock tomorrow. In the connection there was dte, which with milk instead of water one aufgebrueht then at eight o'clock breakfast, consisting of toastbrot and. After a lunch with white rice and potato -, yellow carrot and pea soup followed at four o'clock a second, loose training unit. With dinner there was nearly each day Ugali (corn court) with vegetable and each second day also little meat.

With one of the many myths, which surrounds the Kenyan runners, Ulrich Steidl can clear up after its stay in East Africa: "the largest erring faith in Germany is that the Kenianer is so good, because they run as a child each day of 15 kilometers to the school. We saw not one child running in four weeks to the school. But us often with training runs several children for some hundred meters afterwards-ran. ' Mzungus ' (white ones) do not see those to stop often."

Strong appearance in Boston

At the latest in the spring the efforts for it disbursed themselves this yearly. With strong head wind and rain he ran on 12 April with the Boston Marathon after 2:19:54 hours in a field gespickt with numerous world class runners as outstanding twelfths in the goal. Only three weeks later, "not yet completely recovered from Boston", terminated Ulrich Steidl the Duesseldorf Marathon (6 May) after 2:19:47 hours.

Together with Martin Beckmann (LG flax field EN genuine things) and Mario Kroeckert (TSV Bavarian 04 Leverkusen) it would have wanted to obtain a "respectable" result now with the WM as a crew. To the injury-conditioned refusal of Mario Kroeckert go the two remaining German runners now as single fighters to the start. But after its intensive preparation (160 to 200 km per week) the "German one" will concern from Seattle also this task with much heart.

Monday, August 13, 2007

14 Olympic medalists, 22 World Outdoor medalists lead Team USA to World Champs

release courtesy Tom Surber, USATF Media Relations

INDIANAPOLIS - Led by superstars Jeremy Wariner, Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay, Sanya Richards, Adam Nelson and Michelle Perry, Team USA will look to continue its role as the world's #1 track and field team at the 2007 IAAF World Outdoor Track & Field Championships. USA Track & Field on Monday announced the Team USA roster for the 11th edition of the Championships, which will be held August 25-September 2, in Osaka, Japan.

Team USA set an all-time record in winning 14 gold medals at the most recent World Outdoor Championships held in 2005 in Helsinki, Finland. The Americans added eight silver medals and three bronze medals to win 25 overall, matching the Team USA medal tally at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Experience leads the way

On the Team USA roster are 14 Olympic medalists - including 2004 individual or relay gold medalists Jeremy Wariner, Sanya Richards, Darold Williamson, Dee Dee Trotter and Dwight Phillips. Other Olympic medalists include Angelo Taylor, Terrence Trammell, Bernard Lagat, Bryan Clay, Adam Nelson, Lauryn Williams, Torri Edwards, Allyson Felix, and Deena Kastor.

Team USA will feature 22 previous World Championships medalists, including reigning individual world champions Allyson Felix, Lauryn Williams, Michelle Perry, Tianna Madison, Sanya Richards, Bershawn Jackson, Dwight Phillips, Adam Nelson, Walter Davis and Bryan Clay. Relay gold medalists include Darold Williamson and LaShawn Merrit. Other previous World Championships medalists on the roster include Wallace Spearmon, Angelo Taylor, Bernard Lagat, Terrence Trammell, James Carter, Tom Pappas, Brad Walker and Torri Edwards.

The roster also is peppered with no fewer than 10 individual American record holders.Suzy Powell, Matt Tegenkamp, Jenn Stuczynski, Breaux Greer, Shalane Flanagan and Alan Webb all have set ARs in 2007, while Sanya Richards, Deena Kastor, Bernard Lagat, Dominique Arnold, Tim Seaman and Teresa Vaill all previously broke, and still hold, American records.

World leaders

As of August 13, 11 athletes on the Team USA roster had combined for 13 world world-leading marks in their events thus far in 2007. Men's world leaders are Tyson Gay (100m, 9.84 & 200m, 19.62), Jeremy Wariner (400m, 43.50), Alan Webb (1,500m, 3:30.54 & Mile, 3:46.91), James Carter (400m Hurdles, 47.72), Brad Walker (Pole Vault, 5.95 meters/19-6.25) Reese Hoffa (Shot Put, 22.43m/73 feet 7.25 inches) and Breaux Greer (Javelin, 91.29 meters/299 feet 6 inches)

Women's world leaders are Allyson Felix (200m, 22.18), Sanya Richards (400m, 49.52), Michelle Perry (100m Hurdles, 12.44) and Tiffany Williams (400m Hurdles, 53.28).

NBC, Versus to broadcast meet

The 2007 World Championships will be broadcast in the United Stated daily on NBC and Versus. The broadcast schedule is as follows. All times Eastern; subject to change; check local listings.

August 25: 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. on Versus

August 26: 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. on NBC

6:00 - 8:00 p.m. on Versus

August 27: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. on Versus

August 28: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. on Versus

August 29: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. on Versus

August 30: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. on Versus

August 31: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. on Versus

September 1: 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. on NBC

9:00 - 11:00 p.m. on Versus

September 2: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. on NBC 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. on Versus

The full Team USA roster by event is listed below. Team roster notes and additional rosters - sorted alphabetically, by age and by residence - also are forthcoming and are posted on the USATF Web site, at: <http://www.usatf.org/events/2007/IAAFWorldOutdoorChampionships/roster.asp>

Team USA Roster

Men's Roster by event - As of 8/10

100 meters: Tyson Gay (Fayetteville, AR), Mark Jelks (Kansas City, KS), J-Mee Samuels (Fayetteville, AR)

200 meters: Tyson Gay (Fayetteville, AR), Wallace Spearmon (Fayetteville, AR), Rodney Martin (Los Angeles, CA)

400 meters: Jeremy Wariner (Waco TX)*, Angelo Taylor (Decatur, GA), LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, VA), Lionel Larry (Los Angeles, CA)

800 meters: Khadevis Robinson (Santa Monica, CA), Nicholas Symmonds (Springfield, OR), Duane Solomon (Los Angeles, CA)

1,500 meters: Alan Webb (Reston, VA), Leonel Manzano (Austin, TX), Bernard Lagat (Tucson, AZ)

3,000-meter steeplechase: Joshua McAdams (Provo, UT), Aaron Aguayo (Phoenix, AZ), Thomas Brooks (Eugene, OR)

5,000 meters: Bernard Lagat (Tucson, AZ), Matt Tegenkamp (Madison, WI), Adam Goucher (Portland, OR)

10,000 meters: Abdi Abdirahman (Tucson, AZ), Galen Rupp (Portland, OR), Dathan Ritzenhein (Boulder, CO)

Marathon: Mbarak Hussein (Albuquerque, NM), Simeon Sawe (Santa Fe, NM), Fernando Cabada (Bloomington, IN), Mike Morgan (Rochester Hills, MI), Kyle O'Brien (Shelby Township, MI)

20-kilometer race walk: Kevin Eastler (Aurora, CO), Tim Seaman (Chula Vista, CA)

50-kilometer race walk: Kevin Eastler (Aurora, CO)

110-meter hurdles: Terrence Trammell (Ellenwood, GA), Dominique Arnold (Irvine, CA), David Oliver (Orlando, FL)

400-meter hurdles: Bershawn Jackson (Raleigh, N.C.)*, James Carter (Raleigh, N.C.), Kerron Clement (Gainesville, FL), Derrick Williams (Fayetteville, AR)

High jump: Jim Dilling (Fond du Lac, WI), Jamie Nieto (Chula Vista, CA), Jesse Williams (Raleigh, N.C.)

Pole vault: Brad Walker (Mountlake Terrace, WA), Jeff Hartwig (Jonesboro, AR), Jacob Pauli (Cedar Falls, IA)

Long jump: Dwight Phillips (Snellville, GA)*, Miguel Pate (Tuscaloosa, AL), Trevell Quinley (Sacramento, CA), Walter Davis (Baton Rouge, LA)

Triple jump: Walter Davis (Baton Rouge, LA)*, Aarik Wilson (Bloomington, IN), Lawrence Willis (Lafayette, LA), Kenta Bell (Decatur, GA)

Shot put: Adam Nelson (Charlottesville, VA)*, Reese Hoffa (Athens, GA), Dan Taylor (Carbondale, IL), Noah Bryant (Santa Barbara, CA)

Discus: Michael Robertson (Beebe, AR), Ian Waltz (Chula Vista, CA), Jarred Rome (Chula Vista, CA)

Hammer Throw: A.G. Kruger (Ashland, OH), Kibwe Johnson (Ashland, OH)

Javelin: Breaux Greer (Scottsdale, AZ), Eric Brown (Fayetteville, AR)

Decathlon: Bryan Clay (Glendora, CA)*, Tom Pappas (Knoxville, TN), Paul Terek (San Luis Obispo, CA), Robert Arnold (Santa Rosa, CA)

4x100m Relay Pool: Tyson Gay (Fayetteville, AR), Mark Jelks (Kansas City, KS), J-Mee Samuels (Fayetteville, AR), LeRoy Dixon (Los Angeles, CA), Darvis Patton (Fort Worth, TX), Leonard Scott (Greenville, NC), plus anyone on the team roster

4x400m Relay Pool: Jeremy Wariner (Waco TX), Angelo Taylor (Decatur, GA), LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, VA), Lionel Larry (Los Angeles, CA), Darold Williamson (Woodway, TX), Jamaal Torrance (Raleigh, NC), plus anyone on the team roster

*Denotes IAAF Wildcard as defending world champion
Women's Roster by event - As of 8/10

100 meters: Lauryn Williams (Miami, FL)*, Torri Edwards (Corona, CA), Carmelita Jeter (Long Beach, CA), Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, CA)

200 meters: Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, CA)*, Sanya Richards (Austin, TX), Torri Edwards (Corona, CA), LaShauntea Moore (Akron, OH)

400 meters: De'Hashia Trotter (Knoxville, TN), Natasha Hastings (St. Albans, NY), Mary Wineberg (Cincinnati, OH)

800 meters: Alysia Johnson (Canyon Country, CA), Hazel Clark (Knoxville, TN),Alice Schmidt (San Diego, CA)

1,500 meters: Treniere Clement (Knoxville, TN),Christin Wurth (Springdale, AR), Erin Donohue (Haddenfield, NJ)

3,000-meter steeplechase: Jennifer Barringer (Boulder, CO), Anna Willard (Ann Arbor, MI), Lindsey Anderson (Morgan, UT)

5,000 meters: Shalane Flanagan (Pittsboro, NC), Jennifer Rhines (Mammoth Lakes, CA), Michelle Sikes (Winston Salem, NC)

10,000 meters: Deena Kastor (Mammoth Lakes, CA), Kara Goucher (Portland, OR), Katie McGregor (Saint Louis Park, MN)

Marathon: Mary Akor (Gardena, CA), Zoila Gomez (Alamosa, CO), Ann Alyanak (Bellbrook, OH), Samia Akbar (Herndon, VA), Dana Coons (Vienna, VA)

20 km race walk: Teresa Vaill (Gainesville, FL)

100-meter hurdles: Michelle Perry (Santa Clarita, CA)*, Virginia Powell (Los Angeles, CA), Lolo Jones (Baton Rouge, LA), Nichole Denby (Champaign, IL)

400-meter hurdles: Tiffany Williams (Columbia, SC), Sheena Johnson (Los Angeles, CA), Nicole Leach (Los Angeles, CA)

High jump: Amy Acuff (Isleton, CA), Erin Aldrich (Dallas, TX)

Pole vault: Jennifer Stuczynski (Churchville, NY), Nikole McEwen (Medford, OR), Jillian Schwartz (Jonesboro, AR)

Long jump: Tianna Madison (Los Angeles, CA)*, Grace Upshaw (Santa Monica, CA), Brittney Reese (Gulfport, MS), Rose Richmond (Bloomington, IN)

Triple jump: Shani Marks (Brooklyn Park, MN)

Shot put: Kristen Heaston (Palo Alto, CA), Jillian Camarena (Tucson, AZ), Sarah Stevens (Tempe, AZ)

Discus: Suzy Powell (Modesto, CA), Rebecca Breisch (Chula Vista, CA), Cecilia Barnes (Fresno, CA)

Hammer throw: Brittany Riley (Carbondale, IL), Kristal Yush (Baton Rouge, LA), Jessica Cosby (Mission Hills, CA)

Javelin: Dana Pounds (Colorado Springs, CO)

Heptathlon: Hyleas Fountain (Kettering, OH), Diana Pickler (Pullman, WA), Virginia Johnson (State College, PA)

4x100m Relay Pool: Torri Edwards (Corona, CA), Lauryn Williams (Miami, FL), Carmelita Jeter (Long Beach, CA), Allyson Felix (Santa Clarita, CA), Mechelle Lewis (Columbia, SC), Mikele Barber (Raleigh, NC), plus anyone on the team roster

4x400m Relay Pool: De'Hashia Trotter (Knoxville, TN), Natasha Hastings (St. Albans, NY), Mary Wineberg (Cincinnati, OH), Sanya Richards (Austin, TX), Monique Hennagan (Stockbridge, GA), Me'Lisa Barber (Raleigh, NC), plus anyone on the team roster

*Denotes IAAF Wildcard as defending world champion

paulmerca.blogspot.com goes on the road to Osaka!


Just a quick note to all our loyal cyber-readers that paulmerca.blogspot.com will be covering the IAAF World Track and Field Championships from Osaka, Japan.

We'll be in Osaka starting Friday, August 24th, and continuing throughout the duration of the world championships!

In the days to come, we'll post previews related to the championships, with emphasis on athletes from the Pacific Northwest...keep checking in!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Diana Pickler receives grant from USA Track & Field...


INDIANAPOLIS - The USA Track & Field Foundation presented Elite Athlete Development Grants to three athletes, USATF Foundation Director Tom Jackovic announced Friday.

The USATF Foundation Elite Athlete Grant Program contributes to the pursuit of world-class performances by American post-collegiate track and field athletes. Athletes must meet minimum performance standards to be eligible.

Athletes receiving $3,000 grants include heptathlete Diana Pickler, discus thrower Stephanie Brown Trafton and decathlete Ryan Harlan.

A four-time All-American at Washington State University, Pickler earned a trip to the 2007 World Championships with a runner-up finish in the heptathlon at the USA Outdoor Championships. She finished the 2006 season ranked #5 in the U.S. in the heptathlon by Track & Field News.

The USATF Foundation provides a means to attract and guide funds to new and innovative track and field programs with an emphasis on providing opportunities for youth athletes, emerging elite athletes and anti-doping education. The Foundation depends on donations from its Board of Directors and from generous fans of track & field.

The Foundation assists people of all ages, all walks of life, and all ability levels in finding enjoyment and accomplishment and achieving fitness through our inclusive sport.

For more information on USA Track & Field and the USATF Foundation, visit www.usatf.org/foundation.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ryan Brown wins in the Netherlands....

Ryan Brown, who recently finished a successful career at the University of Washington, won an 800-meter race in Uden, The Netherlands on August 4th at the Mondo Keien Meeting.

Brown led three Americans across the finish line, winning in a time of 1.46.71. The 2006 NCAA outdoor and 2007 indoor champ at 800 was followed by Elliot Blount, who ran 1.46.95, and Jebreh Harris, who stopped the clock at 1.47.64.

The full story on the meet is posted here, courtesy the IAAF.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Blaine Newnham's thoughts on Alan Webb...

Veteran sports writer and columnist Blaine Newnham of the Seattle Times, who covered the feats of Steve Prefontaine while working for the Eugene Register Guard, offers his thoughts on new American mile record holder Alan Webb.

For the full story, go here...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Now for an article on a guy I'd like to read about...



Bernard Lagat competes in the 2006 IAAF World Athletics Final race in Stuttgart, Germany. /photo by Paul Merca (c), 2006

Former Washington State University standout Bernard Lagat is featured in a great article written by Luke Cyphers at ESPN The Magazine!

"He runs alone sometimes, out on a high Arizona plateau where towering timber opens onto mountain meadows. Herds of elk graze amid the splendor of the Coconino National Forest. "I see them all the time," Bernard Lagat says. "I try to scare them and make them run."

Lagat is about the least threatening person you'll meet. At 5'7'' and 134 pounds, he's a perfectly mannered gentleman with a perpetual look of knowing amusement. And yet for the past 10 years, he has been one of the top runners in the world, part of the line of Kenyans who've dominated middle- and longdistance events since the 1960s. In 2000, he won the 1,500-meter bronze at the Sydney Olympics. In 2001, he clocked 3:26.34 at a meet in Brussels, the third-fastest time ever. In 2004, at the Athens Games, he lost to Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj in one of the most thrilling races in Olympic history. Now the 32-year-old Lagat is looking ahead to next summer in Beijing, where he could medal in either the 1,500 or the 5,000."

For the full article, go here...

Tyson Gay shooting for world record in 100m Friday in London



Tyson Gay wins the 100 meter dash at the 2006 World Cup in Athens (c) Paul Merca, 2006

LONDON -- American sprinter Tyson Gay believes the current summer weather in London should help him target Asafa Powell's 100-meter world record at Friday's London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace.

For the full story, go here...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Scott Jurek calls out Dean Karnazes...

Before anyone in cyberspace gets all riled up, let me be the first to say that I quite honestly don't know squat about ultra-running, other than the fact that these people run for a REALLY long time...why?

The only answer I have is I have absolutely no clue.

Seattle's Scott Jurek, who is one of the best ultra-runners in the world, called out Dean Karnazes recently on Scott Dunlap's blog...you can read it
here


So, who in the hell is Dean Karnazes?

Karnazes is the guy who Time Magazine calls one of the 100 most influential people. Right...

What's he done, you might ask? He completed 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, ending with the New York City marathon, which he completed in three hours thirty seconds, according to Time. His book, Ultramarathon Man, was the #7 bestselling sports book worldwide in 2005.

He recently did a stunt in June where he ran 128.75 miles in 24 hours on a treadmill suspended above New York's Times Square. He was voted by fans who logged on to espn.com as the winner of the ESPY for "Best Outdoor Athlete" by a large margin.

Apparently in this interview that was posted on Scott Dunlap's blogspot site, Jurek, who has more outstanding credentials in the sport than Karnazes, expressed displeasure with the way the PR machine of Karnazes, while bringing up publicity to the sport, has left out some of the other top athletes.

Jurek says, "It's good to bring [ultrarunning] to the general audience, but from the standpoint of elite athletes who are working their butts off, training and racing, not making any money...it's not like I'm jealous or envious since I have gotten my share of publicity...but it's getting a little old. It's time the media began focus on the true champions of the sport and those that are doing amazing things because we kind of get lost in the shuffle."

If you want to see an interesting take on Jurek and Karnazes, see this thread at letsrun.com.

Quite honestly, I like what one guy posted on letsrun--why don't Jurek & Karnazes have a match race the way Michael Johnson & Donovan Bailey did ten years ago in Toronto?

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