Wednesday, February 29, 2012

5 Questions with World Indoors competitor, Mike Rutt

Mike Rutt en route to qualifying
 for the 800 final at USA Indoor
(photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)
The IAAF World Indoor Championships, which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, are less than 10 days away and we'll try and do a few 5 Questions with interviews with the competitors during this period as we ramp up for the last international competition before 2012 Summer Olympics!

Mike Rutt was a star in college at the University of Connecticut and has now moved onto the pro ranks, training and competing for the Frank Gagliano led New Jersey-New York Track Club. NJNY*TC had quite a showing at the USA Indoor Championships, which included Rutt and his teammate, Tevan Everett, being selected to represent Team USA in Instanbul. We were lucky enough to have him answer five questions for us about his college career, his new pro team and his outlook for the upcoming outdoor season. You can follow him on Twitter here.

5 Questions with Mike Rutt

1. Writing About Running: First off, congrats on making your first World's team. How did it feel to cross the line know that you'd be donning the Team USA gear in a few weeks?

Mike Rutt: Thank you very much! Well, it was actually very, very nerve racking, because at the time I knew that there was a lot of contact on the last turn between Tevan and I. Tevan moved out on the turn and I saw an opening on the inside, so I tried to take it. As soon as he sensed me on the inside, he shut the door on me and just bumped me. I took two steps on the inside of the track and was able to get back on the track and finish my last 50 meters well. I wasn't particularly happy with my race, because I had plenty left in the tank. However, once I found out that my runner-up finish was official, I was excited and relieved. It is an honor to be able to wear the USA uniform and to race for my country. It has been a goal of mine to qualify for a US team, and to finally do it is very satisfying. All of the hard work that I have been doing is paying off. This is something that I hope propels me into a great outdoor season.

2. Writing About Running: Your training group, New Jersey-New York Track Club had quite a presence at USA Indoors. How has the group helped you get to position you've found yourself in?

Mike Rutt: The New Jersey-New York Track Club is an amazing group of people both on and off the track. I think since we are a relatively new group, we are still under the radar. But if we continue running fast and winning races, the track community will learn very quickly who we are. Coach Gagliano is not only one of the greatest coaches in the world, but also one of the greatest people in the world. He really knows his athletes inside and out, and he knows what they need to succeed. So I would say that Coach Gags has really helped me get to the position I am in today. Together, we have focused on my weaknesses and tried to work on them, while also making sure I still work on my strengths. The group of guys I train with have also helped me get to where I am today. NJ-NY Track Club has athletes that range from 800 meters up to 3000 meters for men, and up to half-marathon for women. So at practice, we are all constantly pushing each other to reach new levels of fitness that we have never reached before. It's very very rare that one of us will have a great day and nobody else can push us. We are always getting the best out of ourselves in workouts.

Rutt was a star at UCONN (photo: UCONN)
3. Writing About Running: You had an excellent career at UCONN. What was your most proud moment as a Husky?

Mike Rutt: My time at UConn was great. I wouldn't change anything about it. I had plenty of ups and downs throughout my time there, as any athlete does during their career. This is a tough question to answer, so I'll have to give you a top 3. Individually, my greatest moment was placing 2nd at NCAA Indoors last year. I raced as well as I could have on the day and just got nipped at the line. It was a great way to end my indoor collegiate career, even though I didn't come out on top. As a team, last year we won both the indoor and outdoor Big East Championship. It has only been done a few times in school history and to be a part of it was awesome. We worked so hard all year and to see it pay off was an exciting moment for all of the guys and coaches. Lastly, during the indoor season of 2009, I was a part of the school record 4x800 relay team. We ran 7:20.09, which was the fastest indoors that year and one of the fastest in NCAA history. We had a great group of guys in the relay and to post a time like that meant a lot to us.

4. Writing About Running: I assume after World's you'll begin your quest for the A-Standard of 1:45.60. What meets do you have targeted for the Spring?

Mike Rutt: The plan is definitely to go after the 'A' Standard. Although in the final at USA's I feel like in order to place top three, you'll definitely have to run faster than that standard. As of right now we haven't talked too much about what races I will be doing. We will definitely do at least one low-key meet at Princeton to get the season started. We have thrown around the idea of doing Mt. Sac as well, which could be a chance to run a fast time early, whether it's in the 1500 or 800. Otherwise, I know we are trying to put a team or two (one USA, one World team) for the DMR at the Penn Relays, and we will definitely do the Oxy High-Performance meet on May 19 at Occidental. Hopefully if all goes well in Turkey, I can squeak into a Diamond League race or two, which would be a great experience.

Rutt will compete in the prelims on March 9th
5. Writing About Running: What is your goal for World's and what do you hope to take away from the experience?

Mike Rutt: My goal for World's is to have fun and compete. I don't really know what to expect and I don't want to set specific goals, because my goal was just to make the World Team. If I compete well, and run like I know I can, I think there is a chance that I could make it into the final. But again, I just want to have fun and enjoy the experience of competing internationally in a meet such as the World Championships. I'm hoping to come away from the meet with a great experience and some valuable lessons that can help me in the outdoor season.

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Thanks again to Splitcaster for sponsoring the blog this week. If you're interested in sponsoring writing about running (and other great sites like TrackFocusTrack SuperfanPaul Merca and the House of Run podcast) in the future, check out The Relay Network.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Run Down: Jenny Simpson's double at USA's leads a big weekend

Simpson had lots to smile about in Albuquerque
 (photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)
It was another incredible weekend to be a Track and Field fan. Whether you were competing or spectating, it was hard to keep up with it all. The USA Indoor Championships were happening in Albuquerque, NM, tons of conference meets were going on all over the country (USTFCCA has an excellent page with links to all results) and the Brooks PR Invite ended the weekend for the top preps the in country.

Jenny Simpson's performances led the way, as she repeated her 1500/3000 double at USA's. On Friday, she bided her time in the 3000 and took the win in a tactical 9:19.15 over Jackie Areson and Sara Hall and Saturday, she held off a hard charging Brenda Martinez and the newly signed to Nike, Sara Vaughn. It looks like she'll be skipping World's in Instanbul, so the above four ladies will be booking their tickets. Also, it should be noted that Erica Moore looked superb in the 800, winning in a very nice 2:01.08, and pulling her teammate, Phoebe Wright, along with her for a trip to Turkey.

Introducing Erica Moore...
(photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)
On the Men's side, Bernard Lagat said it best with the line (to the AP): "I just wanted to show those guys that Daddy can still kick." That may have been the understatement of the night, as he left Lopez Lomong, a 1:45 and 3:32 guy in the blocks with a 25 second last lap in the Men's 3000. Duane Soloman made it look easy in the 800 and pulled Michael Rutt along with him to Worlds, while Leo Manzano outkicked an unknowing Matt Centrowitz in the 1500. Centro may indeed have heard him coming after he went past Galen Rupp, but it sure didn't look like it.

In the collegiate world, Southern Utah's Cam Levins quadrupled to help the Thunderbirds take the Summit League Men's title. There was also an 800 round he had to run in there to complete this impressive feat. Here's how his weekend went:

Friday - qualified in 800 semifinal (1:54) then won the 3000 final in 8:19 (meet record).

Saturday - at 1:20 pm, he won the Mile in 4:10. At 2:45 pm, he won the 800 in 1:50 (meet record). Finally, at 3:25 pm, he won the 5000 in 14:35. What a weekend. Hope he's got something left for NCAA's and Outdoor!

Martinez runs out of real estate in the
 1500 (photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)
Finally, the Brooks PR Invite was back and produced some excellent results. Molly Seidel continued her excellent season by winning a competitive two mile in 10:13.45, while Texas' Daniel Vertiz ran a very strong race from the front and broke the meet record (in the same event) with a nice 8:59.15. He also led North Dakota's Jake Leingang under 9 in the process. Check out Flotrack's Crack Recap here.

Follow writing about running on Twitter and Facebook

Thanks again to Splitcaster for sponsoring the blog this week. If you're interested in sponsoring writing about running (and other great sites like TrackFocusTrack SuperfanPaul Merca and the House of Run podcast) in the future, check out The Relay Network.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Battle Royale: Rupp/Lagat duel leads USA Indoor Championships

Does Rupp have enough to get by the master?
(Photo: TrackAndFieldPhoto)
The USA Indoor Track and Field Championships kick off Saturday and the distance race of the meet will certainly be the showdown between Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp. They'll close out Saturday night at 8:05pm Mountain Time in an event in which Lagat owns the American Record (7:32.43); the 3000 meters. Both should qualify for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey from March 9-11, as the top two in each event will qualify, if they have hit the standards.

Both are fresh off breaking each other's American Records in recent weeks; with Lagat besting Rupp's 5000 Record and Rupp trumping Lagat's 2 Mile Record just hours later. It should be a two man show, but Lopez Lomong could make things interesting, as he makes his first indoor appearance in an event over 800 meters this year (where he ran 1:47).

Right before the Men take the stage, the Women will square off in another duel of sorts for 3000 meters. The favorite has to be Jenny Simpson, but Sara Hall may give her a run for her money, as she beat her to the line in Boston (after Simpson faded from going out hard). Hall also is coming off a national Cross Country title, so her confidence will be high.

On Sunday (at 2:15), the first distance event will be the Men's 800. Last year's winner, Duane Solomon, leads the field in his indoor season debut. The New York New Jersey Track Club has the next three qualifiers in Michael Rutt, Tevan Everett and Christian Gonzalez, while the unattached (sponsors take heed) Mark Wieczorek rounds out the top five. It'd be nice to see Wieczorek take the win and secure some sponsorship before his outdoor bid to make the Olympic Team. He'll have his hands full in doing so!

Sara Hall will know how to lean
this weekend if needed
30 minutes later, the Men's 1500 will go off. Leading the field is Daegu Bronze Medalist, Matt Centrowitz. Centro looked awesome in the Wannamaker Mile at the Millrose Games, but will have to execute brilliantly again to hold off Leo Manzano, Garrett Heath, Russell Brown, Jeff See (who won last year) and Galen Rupp, who will look to double up after the 3000 Saturday night.

The Women's 1500 field will hit the track next in a Jenny Simpson/Sara Hall rematch. Also, the sharp Brenda Martinez will look to continue her excellent season by facing these two mainstays. The Women's 800 will follow with Phoebe Wright looking to repeat. Erica Moore and Latavia Thomas look to be her top competition as Maggie Vessey has opted out of the event.

The event will be broadcast (via tape delay) Sunday on ESPN at 7:30pm Eastern. Also, everything that isn't on TV will be streamed live via Flash Results will have live results starting Saturday and here's a link to the newly re-designed USA Indoor Championships homepage. Oh, and make sure you wear the right uniform.

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Thanks to Splitcaster for sponsoring the blog this week. If you haven't used this app before, it's awesome. I used it during Aisling Cuffe's National 2 Mile Record last year and think anyone who goes to track meets will love it. Also, if you're interested in sponsoring writing about running (and other great sites like TrackFocus, Track Superfan, Paul Merca and the House of Run podcast) in the future, check out The Relay Network.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Olympic Standards chase starts in Australia

Torrence is ready to make a run at the A
The Sydney Track Classic in Australia has kicked off many athletes chase for the Olympic A-Standards this year. Nick Symmonds had a subpar opener in the 800, running 1:47.44 for seventh, in an event won by Kenya's Asbel Kiprop, in 1:45.91. This doesn't have any bearing on Symmonds attaining the A-Standard though, as he attained it last year, running under the 800 A-Standard of 1:45.60 during the window of May 1, 2011 - July 1, 2012. The one exception to this is for the 10,000, where the window is January 1, 2011 - July 1, 2012, likely due to the small amount of competitive 10,000's available to hit the standard. This makes the US Olympic Trials the last chance to hit the standard with no post-trials chasing.

One guy who is ready to go ahead and get the standard is David Torrence. Torrence won the STC 1500 in 3:35.66, just 0.16 off of the A-Standard. He bested a nice field of Collis Birmingham, Will Leer, Craig Mottram and others in doing so. Torrence has already run the A-Standard in the 800 and has a PR of 3:34.25 in the 1500, but that was run in 2010 in Rieti. He looks to be ready to run another PR in the 1500 soon.

Expect more and more attempts after USA Indoors next weekend. The Stanford Invitational on April 6 and 7 will likely be a big one that many will target, then Mt. SAC two weeks later.

Here are the Olympic A and B Track Standards:

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Run Down: Top 10 Moments in American Distance Running this weekend

Sara Hall gets her first Cross Country title in a lean
What a great weekend it was in track and field. There was a ton of hype leading up to it with the Cross Country Championships and multiple indoor meets. It's hard to only have a top 10, as I am sure I missed some big performances, but here's a few highlights.

10. Kim Conley outkicks Lisa Uhl to run 8:57.62 at the Husky Classic

9. Oregon's Trevor Dunbar and Parker Stinson run big 5000 PR's (13:36 and 13:39, respectively)

8. Jenny Simpson outkicks Shannon Rowbury to win the Wanamaker Metric Mile in 4:07.27

7. Sally Kipyego leads Washington's Katie Flood to a pair of 4:28's (and World leaders)

6. Ryan Hill outkicks Diego Estrada to run one of fastest collegiate 3000's ever (and fastest ever by an American collegian)

5. Bobby Mack kicks from 800 out to win second national title in a year (and first cross title)

4. Matt Centrowitz wins the Wanamaker Mile and leads Miles Batty to a new Collegiate Record

3. Sara Hall outkicks Molly Huddle for first national title at the USA Cross Country Championships

2. Galen Rupp essentially solos the American 2 Mile Record in Fayetteville, Arkansas

1. Bernard Lagat gets American Indoor 5000 Record and leads Lawi Lalang to the Collegiate Record and Edward Cheserek to the High School Record in the process

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Millrose, Husky and the USA Classic lead a big weekend of Indoor Track

Rupp will chase Lagat's record in Arkansas
It's a great weekend to be a track and field fan with tons going on! Along with the USA Cross Country Championships (previewed earlier in the week), there are three big meets that highlight indoor track action across the country.

Here's a little information on each of them:

USA Track and Field Classic
Fayetteville, AR
Saturday, February 11, 5pm Central
Broadcast: Sunday, February 12, 12:30 - 2:30 on ESPN2
Entry List / Schedule

The highlight of the meet will be Galen Rupp's attack on Bernard Lagat's American 2-Mile Record of 8:10.07. New Balance's Craig Miller will be pacing the affair and he'll be joined by OTC/Schumacher Group's Andrew Bumbalough, former California standout Michael Coe, Aron Rono and Stephen Pifer. Lagat set the record last year and it'll take quite the effort to break! The Women's 1500 will feature a showdown between the veteran Treniere Moser, Anna Pierce, who bounced back last week with a nice 1000, Brenda Martinez, who dominated the US Open Mile, Sara Vaughn, Ashley Higginson, Btissame Lahkuoad, who looked great last week, and YouTube sensation, Heather Dorniden. Finally, the Geoff Hollister Mile will feature an absolutely stacked field. Leo Manzano leads the American contingent that includes Jeff See and Russell Brown. Boston winner, Ciaran O'Lionard, is back with an impressive international field that includes Amine Laalou, Daniel Kipchichir Komen, Silas Kiplagat and Boston 3000 winner, Caleb Ndiku. Former Chapel Hill High standout, Jack Bolas will pace the affair. ESPN2 will show the event on tape delay Sunday.

Fast Times at "The Dempsey"
Flotrack Husky Classic
Seattle, WA
Friday, February 10, 4pm Pacific (and Saturday, Feb 11)
Broadcast: Live on Flotrack
Entry List / Schedule

The Husky Classic has turned into one of the premier indoor meets in the country as athletes love the fast 309 meter track at "The Dempsey." Spiked Up, Psyched Up has a nice preview of the distance events. Flotrack will be streaming the entire event and will have a special program for the collegiate section of the meet from 6 to 9pm Eastern on Saturday.

Southern Utah's Cam Levins won't have to look
 far for competition in the Wanamaker Mile
Millrose Games
New York, NY
Saturday, February 11, 4pm Eastern
Broadcast: Youtube Live
Entry List / Schedule

The Millrose Games is sold out! 5000+ will enter the Amory on Saturday to see tons of great competition. You wonder if they would have put together a similar field last year as they did this year, whether or not they could have kept it in Madison Square Garden, as it is truly stacked. Lots of great college athletes are in the fields and Let's Run has an excellent preview worth checking out. YouTube will be showing the event live, which is better than nothing!

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The USA Cross Country Championships kick off a big weekend of competition

Huddle's 2012 return starts
 in St. Louis
There are three big track meets this weekend (Husky Classic, Millrose Games and the new USA Track and Field Classic), but there's also the 2012 USA Cross Country Championships, which will be held this Saturday, February 11th, at Forest Park in St. Louis, MO. There's no World Cross this year, but five slots for the NACAC team are up for grabs. The NACAC Championships will be held on St. Patrick's Day in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Not a bad paid vacation I'd say.

The favorite on the Women's side is American 5000 meter record holder, Molly Huddle. With the recent Olympic Marathon Trials and the aforementioned track meets in play this weekend, competition will be a little lacking on the top end. Sara Hall is registered (Ryan and Desi Davila are speaking at the Friday Panel Discussion), after a nice 3000 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, where she was the top American finisher over the more heralded Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson. Hall has consistently improved in the past few years and hopefully can find her way onto the Olympic team this summer in the steeple. Another podium contender this weekend will be the always strong Renee Metivier Baillie. Former high school phenom, Melody Fairchild, will be competing as well and one interesting entry is the newly pregnant, Julia Webb. Maybe she'll bring her husband and he'll run. Let the speculation begin.

Mack will aim for more
 Team USA gear
On the Men's side, the big news was that Dathan Ritzenhein was planning on bouncing back after a personally disappointing Olympic Trials Marathon and trying to keep the train rolling. That changed a few days ago when Ritz announced his decision to pull out. Some favorites on the Men's side are recent Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country Team Race runner-up (and Raleigh resident), Bobby Mack, McMillan Elite's Aaron Braun, Team USA Minnesota's Chris Rombough, road warrior Christo Landry, steepler Kyle Alcorn and USATF 10k Trail Champ, Joe Moore. A few other interesting entries are triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker and the University of Wisconsin's Elliot Krause.

Runnerspace will be broadcasting the event live at starting at 9:45 Central. Full field information (including juniors and masters races) is available here. Check out this page for Runnerspace's coverage leading up to the event.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

My 2 Spikes Worth: Sponsorship from a Hobby Jogger's perspective

On my usual Thursday afternoon drive home from Winston-Salem to Raleigh, I usually stop off somewhere along the way for a nice trail run. Yesterday, it was the Woodlands trails in Chapel Hill. If traffic is light, I'll usually check out Twitter and see what's going on. One thing I noticed yesterday was Oregon Track Club's Tyler Mulder tweeting out that he's "one of the newest members to be a part of @PowerBar Team Elite! Excited to see how the nutritional side will help me gain some edge!" Believe it or not, I was invited to be part of PowerBar Team Elite as well. I'm going to assume it's more on the prowess of the blog than the flames coming off my shoes in a high seventeen minute 5k. But you know what? I applied for it and they picked me. As Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." From looking at the roster of runners for PowerBar Team Elite, there are some people shooting, and some that are not. Some names I recognized were: Sam Chelanga, Jeffrey Eggleston, Zoila Gomez, Fasil Bizuneh, Molly Pritz, Colleen DeReuck, Zach Hine, Jesse Armijo, Shayla Houlihan, Tyler McCandless, Erin Bedell, John Jefferson, Wendy Thomas, Ryan Vail, Mike McKeeman (Tar Heel), Jimmy Grabow, Ricky Flynn, Danny Mercado, Nick Arciniaga, Stephan Shay and my friend, Joe Moore, who had a great quote on his blog about the sponsorship. "Now all the money I blow on PowerBars, I can save to blow on something stupid. This is a good deal especially because PowerBar makes tons of different stuff. Should be sweet."

Many thanks to PowerBar for the two year sponsorship that is very generous. Hopefully more companies will follow their lead in such a large sponsorship campaign. And if you missed the boat this time, mark your calendar for fall 2013, when they'll open it back up. Lesson to be learned? Unless you've got a deal with another drink company, a la Gatorade, Hammer, etc, apply for stuff like this. The worst they can say is no. The application may take 30 minutes and the payout is worth it.

Another tweet that caught my eye this week was from steeplechaser Derek Scott. "Not fast enough for big shoe contract? Go seek out local options and rep your city. People are willing to help!" He's right. There are tons of great running specialty stores across the country that are willing to help fledgling elites (and non-running stores, for that matter). Once again, I am no elite, but have a nice sponsorship with Raleigh's Capital RunWalk (formerly The Athlete's Foot, Cameron Village). What does this get me? I get some nice gear, free entries to local races and a nice discount at the store. And if I were "elite," like the Elite Racing Team coordinator at the store, USATF 8k Champ and former World Cross competitor, Bobby Mack, I'd get travel to road races and bonuses based on performance. If you are going to the Olympic Trials this summer in Eugene or are on the cusp and trying to get a qualifier, go search out your local running store. I'm sure they'll make it worth your while to wear their kit or logo while you're winning road races and competing at big track meets around the country.

Finally, the elusive shoe deal. Who doesn't want one? We all hear about Matt Centrowitz or Jenny Simpson's deals and druel a little, but that's not reality for most folks. What is reality for many elites is some kind of gear deal or discounted gear deal, or if affiliated with a running store, a "we'll give you six pairs of shoes and three pairs of racing flats" kind of deal. If Ray Flynn isn't banging down your door to get a meeting together for you and Phil Knight, there are some nice options. The Brooks ID team is a nice one worth checking out if you are borderline elite/sub-elite and then there's the tier below that, which I am a part of, the Brooks Fanatics team. This still gets you some nice deals on races and monthly offers that are usually 30-40% off shoes and apparel at Nothing wrong with that! Also, companies like Running Warehouse offer excellent deals for clubs. I got my running club at work a fifteen percent discount code, which is great, and took five minutes to hammer out an email.

So what can you do to make yourself more marketable and get some of these deals?

1. Tweet
And when I say tweet, think "content is king." If you're Andrew Wheating and have run a 3:30 1500, you can get by with "Anybody else notice the Papa Johns guy always twitches his head when he says their slogan?? So annoying!" But if you're still coming up, try and put something out there that people can dig into a little bit.

2. Blog
You don't have to give a blow by blow on your training, but a little look into the crystal ball about how you get there will make people keep coming back.

3. Have a website
This doesn't have to be anything special and can be the host of your blog or just a link to your Twitter/Facebook/Email. When people search for you online after you rip a good race, this is what will pop up first in a Google search. Don't you want to control that and not have it link to some message board post?

4. Be available
This doesn't mean you have to answer every shoutout on twitter or fan request, but don't make it seem like you don't have time for anyone. A few years ago, when my right hamstring first started acting up, I was watching a meet on TV when Leo Manzano said he had been taking some downtime due to hamstring issues. I emailed him about it, and sure enough, he replied back in a few hours with some great information. That goes a long way. Pass on the knowledge!

5. Be yourself
Not everyone is a marketing guru like Josh Cox and trying to be something you're not may rub people the wrong way, or make you feel uncomfortable. If marketing isn't your thing, find a friend that's willing to help. Doesn't have to be a manager/agent type relationship, just someone who's willing to help you put together a plan and email some people. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. I'd be happy to help you, pro bono.

Footnote: But what if I outperform my "gear deal"
If you sign a small potatoes deal and outperform it, renegotiate, opt-out or have an escalator clause that says if I run x, I get y! If you've got a "deal" with Gary's Track Shack and Adidas wants an exclusive, it's gonna work out. I worked in the music business right out of college and had a showcase for one of my bands that ended up gaining them an offer of $50,000 for 50% of the publishing to four songs (from an executive of a company that makes bags that women like). The band had just signed a distribution deal and had never been on the radio. I said take it. They scoffed. The songs were recorded and a year later, the distro deal got weird and they couldn't ever release the songs. Money lost my friends. When money's on the table, take it! If you kill it and go to the Olympics, you're gonna get paid. Don't keep holding out for a better deal that may not be out there.

Now go find a sponsor, no matter how little. People want to align themselves with people that work hard and no one works harder than a competitive distance runner. And yeah, it's an Olympic year, milk it!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Battle Royale: Matt Centrowitz to make pro debut in Boston this weekend

Centro is back
There are two big indoor meets next weekend, the USA Track and Field Classic in Fayetteville, AR and the Millrose Games in New York City. It's a shame they are both held on the same day, but let's face it, that's unfortunately kind of how Track and Field operates. This week, it's all about beantown. Boston is one of my favorite cities and potentially where I'll be for the next year or so (I'll know in the next six weeks). I'll also be running the marathon again in April, if I can stay healthy of course. Cross your fingers for me.

Saturday will be the professional debut of Mr. Matt Centrowitz. After executing a near-perfect race in Daegu to gain a bronze medal in the World Championship 1500, he'll have his hands full. He's racing a stacked Men's 3000 with US Open Mile Champ and Daegu 1500 Silver Medalist, Silas Kiplagat, British miling superstar (representing New Balance), Andy Baddeley, USA Running Circuit Champ, Ben True, jack of all distances, Ben Bruce and last year’s 3000 winner (over Mo Farah), in a race he ran with only one shoe, Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel. If Centro can pull this one out, we'll know he's in top form early. Update: Southern Utah's Cam Levins will be joining the fun as well!

Matt Scherer, pacing with the stars
There are two other featured distance events at the meet; the first being the Women's 800. This will feature New Balance's Maggie Vessey, Georgetown star Maggie Infield, US Open 800 Winner, Fantu Magiso, Canada’s Nicole Sifuentes and high school star, Ajee Wilson, who will be competing against the pros for the second straight week. No telling what kind of shape Vessey is in yet, but she is the class of the field.

The final featured distance event of the night is the New Balance Men's Mile. This event is the one that's gonna put butts in the seats. American superstar and 10,000 record holder, Galen Rupp, will likely receive top billing, but the man whose name you will hear non-stop in the promotion of the London Olympic Games will be Mo Farah. Farah is coming off a career year that culminated with a Gold in the 5000 in Daegu, and will be looking to build off that in Boston. Not to be forgotten is New Englander, Russell Brown, who came to Boston last year and won in front a gathering of friends and family. Also in the field is rising star and "bullet with the mullet," Ireland's Ciaran O'Lionaird. O'Lionaird burst onto the scene last year after a slew of 1500 PR's that landed him in the World Championship final. He's now training with Farah and Rupp in Portland, with Alberto Salazar. He could surprise everyone. Just announced were Kenya's Haron Keitany and Daniel Kipchirchir Komen to further add spice. Finally, Matt Scherer will be doing the pacing, as it looks like he's trying to fill the rabbiting void that David Krummenacker has held over the past few years. No word on if Krum is retiring or just waiting for outdoors, but Scherer better be ready to stay in front of these horses!

Some highlights of the non-featured, but still very exciting events will be Tirunesh Dibaba in the Women's 2-Mile, Anna Pierce vs. Morgan Uceny in the Women's 1000 and Shannon Rowbury taking on Meseret Defar and New Balance poster girl, Jenny Simpson, in the Women's 3000. Not sure why they don't combine the 3k and 2 Mile, but that's how it goes!

All the information you could need on the event is at The meet starts Saturday at 5pm eastern and will be shown on tape delay on ESPN2 this Sunday at 2pm eastern. Flash Results will have the live results if you don't want to wait for the broadcast.

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