Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Brad Walker on the US vault scene, Lagat's 1/2 marathon debut & Baylee Mires...

Pole vaulter Brad Walker (left/photo by Paul Merca) has been relatively quiet on the indoor scene this winter, opening up on Sunday in Fresno at the Run for the Dream meet using a short six-step approach, and clearing 18-0 1/2 (5.50m) to win.

But it's been outside the runway where he's been active, as the two time Olympian and 2007 world outdoor champion has moved to the Phoenix area from Chula Vista and the Olympic Training Center to join forces with former world class vaulter Dean Starkey to start up the Atlas Training Center, a place where aspiring vaulters of all levels can train.

The physical facility is still in the works, but Walker and Starkey have collaborated on online coaching sessions and webinars, and have a camp scheduled for March 13-15.

In this piece written by Red Shannon of Bleacher Report, Walker talks in detail about what he's been up to since the Olympics, the state of the men's pole vault in the United States, the struggles the post-collegiate vaulter faces in finding coaching, access to facilities, etc.

Walker talks about how the University of Washington has been a hotbed for vaulters, with coach Pat Licari at the helm.

"In my opinion, Pat has grown into the best technical coach of the pole vault in the US. I still chat with him regularly about my jump. He has a unique ability to see and understand how small positions and movements can lead to very important weaknesses or strengths. Pat addresses things like the pole carry or dropping of the pole while most other coaches overlook those "small" details. His success speaks for itself."

Here's some other links:

Bernard Lagat talks to Runner's World writer Peter Gambacchini after setting the American record in the two mile at Saturday's Millrose Games in New York; 

Just breaking as we post this:  Lagat has signed on to run the New York Half-Marathon on March 17th, in an announcement made by New York Road Runners president/CEO Mary Wittenberg.

“I’m excited to be running a half-marathon,” said Lagat, 38, who re-claimed his U.S. indoor two-mile record at Saturday’s Millrose Games with his winning time of 8:09.49. “It’s a big step up in distance, but I think I’ll be well prepared. Of course, there’s a bit of uncertainty—‘can I cope with the distance?’—but that makes it exciting; the challenge is what really appeals to me.”

Unless you were paying real close attention, not many people may have realized that Washington's Baylee Mires (left/photo by Paul Merca) threatened the school record in the 800 meters at the Husky Classic on February 9th, as the sophomore from Spokane ran 2:06.73, just short of Amanda Miller's mark of 2:06.69.

Entering this weekend's conference meets around the country, Mires is ranked #18 in the 800, just outside the top sixteen needed to get into the NCAA championships (top 16 individuals on the performance lists get in; there are no more automatic and provisional qualifiers).

Mires will be a factor in this weekend's MPSF meet, where she's behind Oregon's Laura Roesler (2:04.66), BYU's Kelsey Brown (2:04.94), Arizona State's Shelby Houlihan (2:04.94), and Stanford's Amy Weissenbach (2:05.83).

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