‪Great win for @justyn.knight at #NCAAXC D1!‬

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The mild mannered, very likable Justyn Knight, the fine Canadian runner, who took ninth in the London World Champs 5000 meters last summer. His pedigree in cross country has impressed many in North America. In 2015, in NCAA cross country, Justyn took fourth, in 2016 he took second, and what would he do in 2017?

Well, he had a perfect day of running today, as he took his first individual NCAA cross country title!

Using that 3:56.7 mile speed, Justyn Knight kept his mojo behind Matthew Baxter and Tyler Day of Northern Arizona. With the finish line in site, Justyn Knight made his move, flying past Tyler Day first and then, finally, past Matthew Baxter, to win, 29:00.11 to 29:00.78!

Justyn Knight runs for Syracuse, under the thoughtful coaching of Chris Fox, who has taken the last decade and rebuilt a fine program at Syracuse, his team taking 11th today.

Knight's move was textbook Justyn, a surgical attack, clean move and bursting finish. Baxter and Day were overwhelmed, but that was okay as they lead their team mates at Northern Arizona to a second straight NCAA team victory.

The wind challenged many, but Knight was going to have his day. Last year, his second place behind Patrick Tiernan (Villanova) showed his talent and his fine training and racing all fall made this nearly a fait accompli.

Top Ten teams, NCAA: 1. Northern Arizona, 74, 2. Portland, 127, 3. BYU, 165, 4.Stanford, 221, 5. Arkansas, 259, 6. Oregon, 274, 7. Iowa State, 279, 8. Colorado, 294, 9. Colorado State, 318, 10. 328.

Top five individuals: 1. Justyn Knight, Syracuse, 29:00.11, 2. Matthew Baxter, Northern Arizona, 29:00.78, 3. Tyler Day, Northern Arizona, 29:04.55, 4. Gilbert Kigen, Alabama, 29:11.8, 5. Grant Fisher, Stanford, 29:12.06, for complete results: https://xcmeet.io/meets/564/xc-scoreboard

And, congrats to Norther Arizona once again!

As a West Coast Athletic Conference alum (Santa Clara University, 81, 82), congrats to the Portland Pilots on their fine second place!

@nautrackfieldxc repeats as the #NCAAXC D1 men's team champs!

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The Saturday before Thanksgiving each year is now the day for NCAA cross country (and Nike Border Clash).

The women's race, over 6000 meters, had the best fans in the sport cheering them on! In the end, Edna Kurgat took the individual title, leading her team, the New Mexico Lobos, to their second win in three years!

Watching Edna Kurgat float around the course, one could see the Lobo dominating the NCAA Division 1 race like few others. And on top of that, Edna lead the New Mexico Lobos to their second NCAA division title. It was their second win at Tom Sawyer State Park.

Edna Kurgat ran 19:19.5, the fastest time ever on the NCAA courese. The @UNMLoboXCTF runner broke the former record, set in 2012, in 19:27.9 by Betsy Saina, then at @CycloneTrackXC.

What makes Edna Kurgat's win even more exciting? The wind that they ran into!

Team scores: 1. New Mexico, 90, 2. San Francisco, 105, 3. Colorado, 139, 4. Stanford, 165, 5. Oregon, 203, 6. Boise State, 264, 7. Boise State, 274, 8, Furman, 280, 9. NC State, 295, 10. Wisconsin 318.

Top Ten: 1. Edna Kurgat, New Mexico, 19.19.5 CR, 2. Amy Eloise Neale, Washington, 19:27.0, 3. Charlotte Taylor, San Francisco, 19:28.6, 4. Allie Ostrander, Boise State, 19:31.2, 5. Weronika Pyzek, San Francisco, 19:34.0, for complete results: http://www.rtspt.com/events/ncaa/d1xc17/mp/

Congrats to the entire New Mexico team!

@unmloboxctf wins the #NCAAXC cross country title in Louisville! #NCAA #NCAAD1

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The big races are here. Your 22-24 weeks of training are paying off! Now comes the time to put it all on the line.

CHALL121215-0014.jpgCatching your breath, photo by Justin Britton

Saturday, November 18, 2017. warm up, early season cross country race, cooldown finish up with , 4x150 meters,

cooldown

I remember a few years ago, being in the offices of a footwear brand, where we were watching the NCAA cross country on streaming video. It was pretty good show, as Ritzenhein and Hall were battling for world domination. It was a fun race!

This year, Flotrack is charging their normal over priced fee, and some will watch, some will not, and for some, the streaming just will not work. Those who watch it will see two fine races, and a ton of side stories. That the NCAA does not understand how many actually watch cross country is sad, but understandable. The NCAA makes billionw off basketball, and quite frankly, it seems that cross country is an also ran.

But, in the end, it is a glorious day. Many of the finest distance runners in North America battle over 6k for the women and 10k for the men.The twitter world will go insane during both races.

On Instagram, I noticed that Olympian Carrie Tollefson, who spoke to the assembled masses on Thursday night, wrote about her first NCAA title. It was fun and positive, and it is a good way to wish the runners competing in Louisville, KY the very best this coming weekend.

Nike-BorderClash19-Poster_full.jpgThe Nike Border Clash was an idea that came out of the eccentric minds of Josh Rowe and Johnny Truax. At the time, around 1998, the brain storm of those two then Nike employees gave rise to the battle for cross country supremacy in the great North West. Which state has the finest high school cross country runners, Washington or Oregon?

That question is answered on the weekend before Thanksgiving, on the campus of Nike in Bearverton, Oregon. The courses run from 4,000 meters to 4,600 meters, and on the cool, damp, (sometimes really damp), wood chip trail that plays an integral part in the course.

Cheptegei_Joshua-WorC17.jpgJoshua Cheptegai, photo by PhotoRun.net
Cheptegei wants fast race
NIJMEGEN (NED): Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei headlines the elite field for the Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run) where he is aiming to attack the world 15km record of 41:13. The world record stands to Kenya's Leonard Komon who is also in the line-up. Other standout names include Brit Callum Hawkins and Ethiopians Yenew Alamirew and Mekonnen Gebremedhin. The elite women's field is headed by world marathon champion Rose Chelimo from Bahrain. From Alberto Stretti.
RunBlogRun opines: Joshua Cheptegai battled Mo Farah in the amazing 10,000 meters in the London World Championships this past summer. Many consider it the finest 10,000 meters in many years, if not, ever. Joshua has a huge heart and great drive. He will be fun to watch over the next decade. Cheptegai is one to watch.

It has been fun watching Shalane Flanagan develop through her career. I recall running in some races with her father, Steve Flanagan, and have been fortunate to work with her mom, Cheryl Treworgy, on some some photography projects in track & field.

Flanagan_ShalaneH-NYC17.JPGShalane Flanagan, photo by PhotoRun.net

Shalane Flanagan has evolved into one of the finest American distance runners on any era. Shalane was raised in the Marblehead area of Massechuesetts, and ran as a high schooler in one of the finest high school states to run track and cross country. At UNC-Chapel HIll, Shalane developed into a fine athlete, and she ran and won NCAA cross country in 2002 and 2003. Her hard charging racing style gave the Tar Heels their first individual NCAA champion in the sport of cross country. She was coached by John Cook from 2004-2008. Cook was old school, and Shalane Flanagan took long warm ups and extensive cooldowns, as well as some serious European style training.

At the Payton Jordan Invite in 2008, Shalane Flanagan and Kim Smith battled, lap after relentless lap. Kim Smith was one tough hombre, and she and Shalane Flanagan battled to the end, 30:34.49 to 30:35.54. This was one of the most exceptional battles among the great races run in Palo Alto on those cool Spring nights, when the gods of running whisper: "Just a little faster."Shalane broke Deena Kastors AR over 10,000m that night.

Watching Shalane in Beijing in 2008 was pretty phenomenal. The ten thousand meters in a global champioinships is particularly difficut event. Shalane kept her cool, and ran an AR as well as the bronze medal performance in the Bird's Nest stadium. It was, as all were, a hot and humid nights. Shalane Flanagan got into a groove and did not quit, did not do the survival shuffle, but battled on, running 30:22.22.

Shalane Flanagan ran her first marathon in November 2010. She took second at New York, and she was not a happy camper. The competitiveness that flows in Flanagan's veins reminds her that victory is near, just not how near.

Her tenth place in London for the marathon in 2012 showed where she was going. I remember a nice chat in 2014 with Jerry Schumacher, her coach since 2009, and his confidence in Shalane. He knew she had great talent and great races in her and that she would win the big one one day. Schumacher would never say that on the record, he is just not that way. Jerry Schumacher wants his athletes to get the accolades. He has never seen an interview of himself that he has liked. That is just no him. But, Jerry made it quite clear that Shalane Flanagan was a special athlete. Jerry Schumacher's smile when he spoke of her running, and her drive said it all. And Coach Schumacher was right.

In 2016, Shalane Flanagan should not have made the team, based off her fitness. But, she willed herself to the win. It was amazingly emotional to watch such an athlete somehow get across that line. Her Rio run, finishing in sixth, as an amazing performance. After her Boston runs, and Berlin runs, Shalane Flanagan had run fast, but some wondered, would she ever win over 26. 2 miles?

That day came on November 5, 2017, as Flanagan kept her competitiveness in check. She was in New York to make the podium, and perhaps, improve on her second. Mary Keitany could not perform and Shalane Flanagan broke Mamitu Daska and Keitany to take the win. Her last three miles were as vicious as they come, 5:11, 5:08, 5:04. Flanagan got stronger as she broke the competition.

How many cross country races did Shalane Flanagan run in her career? How many times did she break the fields over 6k, 8k, 10k in cross country, to win the races?

That cross country heritage did much to build her as a fine athlete. In the NCAA championships tomorrow, perhaps we will see a future Shalane Flanagan.

Cross country makes marathoners.

Harting_RobertFE-Paris13.jpgRobert Harting, photo by PhotoRun.net
R. Harting confirms retirement plan
BERLIN (GER): Robert Harting has confirmed he will retire next year, informs Leichtathletik.de. "I have always struggled with problems for the past two years, it's the first time since 2015 that I can train almost painlessly again, and it's much more positive that you do not go through the year with such a mental load," he said. Harting is hoping to win a medal at the European Championships in Berlin next summer before bidding farewell to competition at the ISTAF in Berlin on 3 September. This year, Harting began his master studies at the University of Arts in Berlin. He also plans to throw at ISTAF Indoor on January 26.
RunBlogRun opines: Robert Harting is one of the finest discus throwers of all times. He is also one of the most entertaining athletes of all times. He also loves the sport and has defended the sport against those that he felt were damaging the sport.

If you want to be the best, you have to work consistently well all season. You also have to work consistently over the years. There are no short cuts. It takes 12-15 years to make it in our sport, whether you run, jump or throw. Athletics is a global sport, with athletes from over 209 (of the 290) countries compete in our sport. Hard work, drive, focus are key.

Schippers_DaphneSF1-WC17.jpgDafne Schippers, photo by PhotoRun.net

Dafne Schippers is a global example. Dafne was a fine multi eventer, and the heptathlon was her home. But injuries and the rigors of the heptathlon were an every ending circle for Dafne. Then, she found that her enormous strength, endurance and speed were helping her speed, from 60 meters to 200 meters. In 2013, Dafne took the bronze in Moscow at the heptathlon. Word got out that she was considering a move to the sprints. In 2014, in Zurich at the European Championships, Dafne Schippers won the 100m and 200m at the European Championships. I loved watching her win over the 200 meters, while still a bit rough, Dafne finished strong and impressed many.

Laura Muir ran the 1,500m and 5,000m in London World Champs. Her 4th in 1,500 meters and sixth in the 5000 meters were tremendous runs, considering that every top rated global woman runner in those events was present.

The women's 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters are two of the most competitive events in the entire sport. I truly love watching both events, as they are such different events. The 1,500 meter final lived up to all the hype, as did the 5,000 meters.

Muir_Laura5kQ-London17.jpgLaura Muir, photo by PhotoRun.net

So, Laura Muir, and rightly so, took some time off racing since the London World Championships. Her first race back was a Scottish short course cross country, and she defended her title.

Also, Laura Muir won the BAWA Female British Athlete of Year award for 2017 as well.

A busy year for a fine athlete. And one who has great races on the horizon.

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