Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Marty Liquori Audio Interview

Click HERE for a 30 minute interview with Villanova legend Marty Liquori conducted on July 25th of this year. Well worth a listen.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Remembering Sydney Maree's 13:01.15 in Oslo

On this day in 1985 Villanova legend Sydney Maree set a US National Record in the 5000 meters, running what was on that day the third-fastest time in history. In the process he chased Morocco's Said Aouita to a new world record of 13:00.40, breaking Britain's David Moorcroft's two-year old record (13:00.41) by the thinnest of margins. Maree's time of 13:01.15 -- which destroyed the extant US National Record of Alberto Salazar by over 10 seconds -- would stand as the US record for 11 years until Bob Kennedy became the first American (and first non-African) to break the magical 13:00 barrier in July 1996. Maree's 13:01.15 remains the fastest 5000 meters ever run by a former Villanova athlete.

Aouita and Maree waged an epic battle over multiple laps, with Aouita able at the end to ward off Maree by two strides. As the video above shows, Maree took the lead at the bell and held the lead for most of the final lap but was unable to stave off Aouita, who retook the lead in the final 150 meters of the race. Aouita would go on in the next month to claim the 1500 meters world record, a record that Maree himself had held briefly in 1983.

Sports Illustrated described the race this way, in its August 5, 1985 edition:

Two men were out to get him. Sydney Maree, the former 1,500 record holder, and the Olympic champion at 10,000, Alberto Cova of Italy. Both are renowned finishers. After Torstein Brox of Norway and Bob Verbeck of Belgium had rabbited past halfway at near-record pace, Aouita took over and kept up a steady flow of 63-second laps. Only Maree and Cova stayed with him. "From 3,000 to the end, I felt very bad," said Aouita. "Not in my legs, but in the stomach." Aouita is all chest and legs and teeth. He has run a 1:44.37 800, but speed training is said to hurt his flat feet.

Maree stayed second, so close that Aouita would always sense him. "From 2,000 meters, I knew he was there and going well and that he would attack," said Aouita. "The question was when."

And whether Aouita could respond. "I felt [then] that I couldn't do it today," he said. "At 3,000 I even thought of dropping out of the race."

With 600 to go, the pace got to Cova, and he fell away. Ten meters before the last-lap bell, Maree took off. The sight of him cutting in ahead jolted Aouita. "I liked it very much when he attacked," said Aouita later. "He helped the last 400 meters."

Aouita came to Maree's shoulder with 200 to go, and Maree held him there, outside, running farther on the turn. But Aouita fought even with 150 to run, pulled ahead off the turn and sprinted through the stretch. "I knew," he said. "I knew when Sydney sped ahead it was going to be a world record."

That was an awful lot of certainty for what turned out to be a very near thing. He hit the line in 13:00.40,.01 faster than Dave Moorcroft's great solo run at Bislett in 1982.

Aouita's last lap had taken but 54.4 seconds. Maree had given Aouita the world record with his long charge, and Aouita acknowledged it. "If he had gone from 800 meters, we'd have broken 13 minutes," he said, greedy and happy at the same time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

VIDEO: Nicole Schappert Closes in 64 to Take Morton Mile

Nicole Schappert's World-Leading Mile

Nicole Schappert (pink top, bib 52) won the Morton Mile in Dublin in dramatic fashion, storming back to beat Australian Olympian Zoe Buckman at the tape. The race went out in laps of 66.9, 69.8, and 69.7 before Schappert closed the deal with a final lap 64 to take the win. Schappert's time of 4:30.65 is the fastest mile run in the world so far during the outdoor season. It capped a European tour that saw Schappert establish new PRs in the 800, 1500, and mile.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Schappert's Monster Kick takes Morton Mile in New PR
Curtis Comes 3rd in 3000 Meters

Nicole Schappert unleashed a monstrous kick today in Dublin, Ireland, and ran down Australia's Zoe Buckman to take the Morton Mile in 4:30.65. Schappert's time is the #1 time in the world so far this year. In the process, she not only broke the stadium record, but defeated two Olympic-bound athletes in Zoe Buckman and Gen Lacaze. Her time is also yet another PR for Nicole, who came into the race with mile PRs of 4:37.40 (outdoors) and 4:33.16 (indoors). The race went out in 66 and 2:16, with Schappert hitting the bell in third place. On the heels of her 2:02.86 PR over 800 meters just 3 days ago, this constitutes a hell of a week for the former Villanova All-American.

On the men's side, Bobby Curtis came third in the 3000 meters, in 7:54.25, a 15 second improvement over his 8:09 run a week ago. He's coming back off a lower-leg problem and is working back into racing fitness.

Morton Pre-Games: Women's Mile
 1. Nicole Schappert   USA   4:30.65  PR
 2. Zoe Buckman        AUS   4:30.86 
 3. Gen Lacaze         AUS   4:32.19
 4. Tereza Capkova     CZE   4:32.69
 5. Emma Coburn        USA   4:33.24
 6. Renee Tomlin       USA   4:34.39
 7. Lennie Waite       SCO   4:35.42
 8. Aisha Praught      USA   4:35.96
 9. Eloise Wellings    AUS   4:36.83
10. Shalaya Kipp       USA   4:40.31
11. Jamie Cheever      USA   4:42.44

Morton Pre-Games: Men's 3000 Meters
 1. Ben True           USA   7:44.40
 2. Elliot Heath       USA   7:45.26
 3. Bobby Curtis       USA   7:54.25
 4. Philipp Pfieger    GER   7:58.25
 5. Rob Mullet         GBR   7:58.65
 6. Malcolm Hicks      NZL   8:01.99
 7. Conor Bradley      IRL   8:04.52
 8. Collin Jarvis      USA   8:07.25
 9. Dan Mulhare        IRL   8:07.54
10. Alex Cornwall      GBR   8:11.04

Villanova Track Stars Come from Near and Far

London 2012: Villanova duo to run in Olympics
July 25, 2012


Sometimes, it begins with an e-mail. Other times, a current athlete will give a tip about someone from her home country

Whatever the case may be, Villanova women’s track coach Gina Procaccio has always tried to make it a priority to recruit runners from around the world. And that commitment to global recruiting has not only helped Villanova maintain its lofty status as one of this country’s great programs for distance running, it’s also established an impressive tradition on the world stage – one that will continue this month.

At the 2012 London Olympics, two Villanova women’s track alums – Sheila Reid and Marina Muncan – will be the latest in a long line of Wildcat Olympians. And both will represent different countries, with Reid running the 5,000 meters for her native Canada and Muncan running the 1,500 meters for Serbia.

It all stems from the school’s pledge to bring some of the planet’s best young runners to the Main Line, no matter where they come from originally.

“I think it’s important,” Procaccio said. “I always like to have at least one international student on the team. I think it’s really helped us. Even for the American kids, it’s good for them to meet kids from other cultures and see how they live.”

Led by head coach Marcus O’Sullivan, an ex-track star from Ireland, the Villanova men’s track program has made a similar commitment. And Adrian Blincoe, a ’Nova men’s track alum and current assistant coach under O’Sullivan, would have been the third ex-Wildcat runner at the 2012 Olympics – representing a third different country.

But after qualifying for the 5,000 meters with the New Zealand team, Blincoe was forced to withdraw from the Games last week because of what he called a “pretty significant tear in my peroneal tendon.”

When Procaccio heard the news, she felt terribly for her ’Nova coaching colleague.

“The Olympic Games are a big deal and he’s been training really well and he was really fit,” Procaccio said. “That’s devastating to an athlete. It only comes along every four years and I know he’s been training well. That’s really disappointing to hear.”

Despite his own disappointment, Blincoe took the time to remark over email, just one day before New Zealand issued the press release announcing his withdrawal from the 2012 Games, what it means to have so many Olympians who went to Villanova. On top of the runners, ’Nova alum Andrew Sullivan will compete in the Olympics for Great Britain in men’s basketball and Lisa Karcic for Croatia in women’s basketball.

“Villanova University is an institution which encourages cultural diversity and that manifests itself in several ways,” Blincoe said. “In these athletes, Villanova has a presence at the biggest sporting event in the world. Each of them will know the history that Villanova has had at the Games, and they’ll also feel the support of the tight-knit Villanova community cheering them on.”

Originally, it looked like as if the Villanova community would not get the opportunity to cheer on Reid at the Olympics. Despite leaving Villanova a couple of months ago as one of the school’s greatest all-time runners and winning the 5,000 meters at the Canadian Olympic Trials, she didn’t qualify for London at first because her time didn’t meet the Olympic “A” standard, and she didn’t meet the “B” standard time twice as required.

But after two appeals, Reid was – finally, thrillingly – named to the Canadian Olympic Team two weeks ago due to the country’s “Rising Star” provision. Basically, Canadian Olympic officials decided what Villanova already knew: Reid is a star.

“We’re just thrilled that it worked out,” Procaccio said.

For Reid, the women’s 5,000 meters will be held at Olympic Stadium from Aug. 8-11. That’s when the former NCAA champion will set her goal on adding to her running legacy – although medaling in her first Olympics may be too much to ask.

“I think she’s got a bright future,” Procaccio said. “I think she’s someone who can possibly challenge for a medal in four years. What we’re looking for this time around is we definitely want her to get that experience, just to see what it’s like to sit in the call room for 20 minutes before you race with the competition. Her goal is to try to make it to the finals. That would be a huge achievement to make it to the finals.”

Muncan – whose 1500-meter heats begin Aug. 3 – will also have the odds stacked against her as she makes her Olympic debut. But the 2006 ’Nova grad, according to her college coach, just has a knack of running her fastest when the pressure is on.

Like Reid, Muncan may be laid-back off the track but is a fierce competitor when she’s on it.

“Marina has always been a big-meet performer,” Procaccio said. “She would always rise to the occasion and run her best races at the NCAA Championships. I’m really excited to see how she does.

“The thing with the Olympic Games is you never know,” the coach added. “People go in there that you’ve never heard of and they become heroes overnight. That’s the spirit of the Olympic Games.”

Villanova certainly knows about the spirit of the Olympics. The school’s women’s program has had an Olympic representative in every Summer Games since 1988, including multiple-Olympians Vicki Huber (1988, 1996), Sonia O’Sullivan (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004) and Jennifer Rhines (2000, 2004, 2008). O’Sullivan won a silver at the 2000 Olympics.

And the Villanova men’s program also has a rich tradition, sending runners to every Olympics from 1948 to 1992, winning 10 medals in that span.

“It’s definitely a streak we want to keep going,” Procaccio said. “My whole philosophy here is to develop athletes in the collegiate system and leave them with room to go on and run professionally. That’s always been the Villanova tradition. I ran professionally. Marcus, the men’s coach, ran professionally. So I think we attract those caliber of kids – who wants to see how far they can go and run.

“And putting kids on the Olympic team is part of that tradition.”

Email Dave Zeitlin at djzeitlin@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter at @DaveZeitlin.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bobby Curtis & Nicole Schappert at Morton Games Tomorrow

Bobby Curtis is among a solid list of international competitors over 3000 meters at tomorrow's Morton Pre-Games meet in Dublin, Ireland. Nicole Schappert will compete in the mile. Here are the start lists to those race, with lists for all events HERE.

Morton Pre-Games -- Men's 3000 Meters Start List
Michael Coe (USA)            Daire Birmingham (IRL/Pace)
Elliot Heath (USA)           Will Gray (GBR)
Bobby Curtis (USA)           Joe Townsend (GBR)
Ben True (USA)               David Fitzmaurice (IRL)
Collin Jarvis (USA)          John Eves (IRL)
Philipp Pfieger (GER)        Alex Cornwell (GBR)
Joe MacDonald (GBR)          Ciaran Doherty (IRL)
Dan Mulhare (IRL)            Brian McGinely (IRL)
Jake Robertson (NZL)         John-Paul Williamson (IRL)
Dan Clorley (GBR)            Andrew Connick (IRL)
Malcolm Hicks (NZL)          Martin Quinn (IRL)
Conor Bradley (IRL)          Eoghan Totten (IRL)
Colin Hacker (USA)           Michael MacDiarmada (IRL)
Matthew Lambert (NZL)        Ryan Brockerville (CAN)
Eddie McGinley (IRL)         Zane Robertson (NZL)
Andrew Agnew (IRL)           Darragh Rennicks (IRL)
Rob Mullet (GBR)

Morton Pre-Games -- Women's Mile Start List
Gen Lacaze (AUS)             Eloise Wellings (AUS)
Nicole Schappert (USA)       Stephanie Reilly (IRL)
Tereza Capkova (CZE)         Lennie Waite (SCO)
Emma Coburn (USA)            Jamie Cheever (USA)
Zoe Buckman (AUS)            Shalaya Kipp (USA)
Renee Tomlin (USA)           Leanna MaClean (CAN)
Aisha Praught (USA)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another Big PR for Nicole Schappert
Former Villanova All-American Goes 2:02.86 at Belgian 800

And the beat goes on for Nicole Schappert. Today in Belgium, the former Villanova All-American (in the yellow top in video above) ran yet another big PR in a summer of PRs. At Ninove, Schappert ran a new 800 meter PR by finishing 9th in 2:02.86. This time surpasses her previous PR (2:04.91, set on June 17 of this year) by over two seconds, and continues a breakout 2012 for Schappert, whose 800 meter PR was 2:07.45 as recently as April of this year.

Memorial Rasschaert -- Ninove, Belgium

Women's 800 meters
 1.  Vessey Maggie      USA    1:59.98  
 2.  Moore Erica        USA    2:00.05  
 3.  Price Chanelle     USA    2:00.15  
 4.  Smit Angie         NZL    2:01.18  
 5.  Bereket Lemtem     SLS    2:01.22  
 6.  Mackey Katie       USA    2:02.23  
 7.  Wright Phoebe      USA    2:02.31  
 8.  Kubo Ruriko        JPN    2:02.35  
 9.  Schappert Nicole   USA    2:02.86  
10.  Parewyck Mariska   LAT    2:06.06  
11.  Debroux Charlotte  BEL    2:07.35  
     Den Haeze Wendy    BEL    DNF

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stress Fracture Forces Blincoe Out of London Games

Adrian Blincoe Withdraws from Olympic Games
dotcom on July 19, 2012

Athletics New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Committee are disappointed to announce Adrian Blincoe’s withdrawal from the New Zealand Olympic Team to London 2012. He was set to compete in the men’s 5000 metres.

Blincoe, together with his support team, made the decision to withdraw after an injury to his ankle.

The full extent of the injury is as yet unconfirmed but New Zealand Olympic Team Chief Medical Officer Lynne Coleman says it is a suspected fibula stress reaction.

Blincoe is currently returning to the US where he is based and will get further medical advice and treatment.

Blincoe made the following comment overnight.

"Today I had to make the tough decision of having to officially withdraw from the New Zealand Olympic team due to injury. After discussions with my coaches and medical team it became apparent that I would not be able to compete at a high level at the Olympic Games.

I have been dealing with an ankle injury for the past four weeks and it has greatly impacted my training and pre-Games racing schedule. The injury has been regressing in spite of constant treatment. It is now clear that trying to race with the injury, in conjunction with the training that has been missed, would not allow me to perform at the level which I would expect from myself as a member of the New Zealand Olympic Team.

I wish everyone on the New Zealand Team good luck and I will be cheering for all of you."

Dave Currie called the decision courageous and expressed his sympathy for the athlete.

Athletics New Zealand’s High Performance Director, Scott Goodman, paid tribute to Blincoe, who has been a stalwart of New Zealand Athletics teams in recent years, having run at the Beijing Olympics, the Melbourne and Delhi Commonwealth Games and numerous World Cross Country Championships. Blincoe was a finalist in the 1500 metres at both previous Commonwealth Games and holds the New Zealand 5000m record at 13m 10.19s.

“Adrian was very excited to be running for New Zealand in London and this is an immense disappointment for him. His experience at major championships will be sorely missed in the team” Goodman said.

Australian Ace Jordan Williamsz Joins Villanova Track

The new pipeline from Oceania keeps producing top-notch middle distance talent for Marcus O'Sullivan's men's team. Joining Villanova for the fall 2012 semester will be one of Australia's top young talents, Jordy Williamsz from Melbourne. Williamsz, one month short of his twentieth birthday, will bring to Villanova some impressive PRs: 1:47.34 (800 meters, July 2011), a brand new 3:36.74 (1500 meters, May 14 2012), 8:13.75 (3000 meters, December 2011) and international experience: he represented Australia at the 2009 World Youth championships in Bressanone, Italy.

Williamsz, a protege, as it were, of 1:44/3:32 Melbourne Track Club stalwart Jeff Riseley, follows in the footsteps of such previous Villanova "down under" runners as Adrian Blincoe, Nic O'Brien, Matt Gibney, Sam McEntee, Hugo Beamish, Mathew Mildenhall, Carl Mackenzie, and (albeit briefly) Ben Guest. Williamsz was part of a Melbourne Track Club group that visited the US this spring to run the early outdoor season; among other competitions, he competed at the Penn Relays in April and at the Swarthmore Last Chance meet in May, where he ran a new 1500 PR of 3:36.74. The addition of Williamsz gives Villanova two 3:36 1500 meter men. His 1500 meter PRs have been improving steadily over the past few years: 3:46.06 (2009), 3:44.27 (2010), 3:40.96 (2011), and 3:36.74 (2012). Still only 19 years old, Williamsz looks to have a bright future both collegiately and internationally.

Here's Williamsz (white singlet, green bottoms) and Sam McEntee going 3:36 over 1500 meters at Swarthmore in May.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vicki Huber on the Magic of Hayward Field

Hayward, the home of track
Vicki Huber Rudawsky
Delaware Online
July 17, 2012

Sixteen years ago, the adventure began with one phone call.

My friend Kris, who I had become close to while living in Eugene, Ore., made the long-distance call to Delaware to urge me to return to Eugene in preparation for the 1996 Olympic Trials.

The only problem was that my daughter was only 6 months old at the time, and while I had returned to training, I desperately needed my parents’ help to do so.

Kris didn’t miss a beat. “You need to come back to Eugene,” she said. “Come live with us [her husband and three daughters], and I’ll be your nanny for a year.”

Although I had lived in Eugene for two years previously, those two years were a tough time in my life – a time when training was not a priority. I had made some contacts, met with Coach Dick Brown and knew most of the runners who lived in town, but I stayed away from the track.

I decided to take Kris up on her offer, and my parents tearfully sent their daughter and 8-month-old granddaughter across the country, praying that we would be taken care of.

I felt the magic of Hayward Field instantly. My first workout with my new training group was a 4-mile tempo run on the track, which I breezed through in a pace that surprised not only me, but Brown and everyone on the track that day.

Hayward Field is the home track of the University of Oregon, but it also has been the heart of U.S. track and field for many years.

It has hosted some of the most amazing showdowns in track history, as well as countless NCAA Championships and Olympic Trials.

The people of Eugene are truly avid track fans, and on any given evening a random track event will bring hundreds out to fill the stands.

When it was time for Alyssa and me to return to Delaware, it was with a heavy heart. It was the right thing to do, but we were leaving people who had become family.

In 2008, Eugene was host to the track and field Olympic Trials, and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel there for work. Rudy and I decided that we should make it a family trip, to visit Kris and her family as well as try to take in some of the festivities of the Trials. It was so good to be back, despite the changes to Hayward Field.

The track, which used to be open to anyone and everyone, is now surrounded by walls, which are padlocked most of the time. Where there once could be an older person strolling around the track for exercise at the same time five Olympians were doing a time trial, I imagine the track is now used only by select groups.

Regardless of the changes, the magic of Hayward Field never fades. Being at the Trials in 2008, in and around Hayward Field surrounded by thousands of track fans, we were giddy with excitement. When three Oregon men qualified for the 800 meters, we cried along with the crowd. Even with no tickets to get into the stadium, we watched the events on huge TV screens right next to the stadium. We left there knowing that we would be back in four years.

On June 20, we headed back to Eugene. We were so excited to visit Kris and the family, as well as watch the trials.

This time, we had tickets for every day of the meet and Alyssa could not wait to tackle Pre’s Trail. Only at Hayward Field would the stands remain packed for two 10,000-meter races in the pouring rain. Only at Hayward Field would you run into Mary Slaney and Al Joyner on the way back to your car. Only in Eugene would you run past Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan on an early Sunday morning run on Pre’s Trail.

Yes, the runners from Oregon definitely have an advantage being the hometown favorites.

However, each and every athlete shares in the energy of Hayward Field. Each runner, thrower and jumper is cheered on to success and personal bests. The Olympic Trials, when in Eugene, are just plain magical.

Vicki Huber Rudawsky won 8 individual NCAA championships and 7 Penn Relays watches while running for Villanova from 1985 to 1989. During her collegiate career, she set an NCAA record in the 3000 meters. She represented the USA at both the 1988 and 1996 Olympics.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New PRs for Muncan, Schappert & Reid at Italian 1500 Meters
Muncan's 4:06.48 Reclaims Serbian National Record

Three former Villanova All-Americans competed in the 1500 meters tonight at the Lignano International meet in Italy. All three set new PRs in the process of finishing 3-4-5 in the race. Marina Muncan, who had her Serbian National Record bettered over the weekend by Amela Terzic (4:07.59) at the World Junior Championships, reclaimed that record by finishing 3rd, in 4:06.48. Next across the line was Nicole Schappert, who continued her 2012 habit of impressive performances and set yet another PR in coming 4th in 4:06.87. The time improved upon her previous PR of 4:07.79 set on May 18th of this year. In 5th was Sheila Reid, who also set a new 1500 PR of 4:07.07, seven-tenths of a second better than the 4:07.77 she ran earlier this month. Reid remarked afterward: "Not bad for 5K training." All in all, excellent work. Next up on the schedule for Reid and Schappert is another 1500 competition in Ninove, Belgium on Saturday.

Women's 1500 Meters -- Lignano, Italy
1.  ANDERSON Gabrielle    1986   USA   4:04.84
2.  DOBRISKEY Lisa        1983   GBR   4:05.27
3.  MUNCAN Marina         1982   SRB   4:06.48  NR
4.  SCHAPPERT Nicole      1986   USA   4:06.87  PR
5.  REID Sheila           1989   CAN   4:07.07  PR
6.  CUSMA PICCIONE Elisa  1981   ITL   4:07.55
7.  INFELD Emily          1990   USA   4:07.77
8.  MACKEY Katie          1987   USA   4:08.09
9.  MALOY Elizabeth       1985   USA   4:08.12
10. MAGNANI Margherita    1987   ITL   4:08.94
11. MOSER Treniere        1982   USA   4:09.34
12. BERLANDA Eleonora     1976   ITL   4:13.43
13. TADESSE Mestawot      1985   ETH   4:17.10
--. BECKWITH Molly        1987   USA   DNF
--. SUJEW Elina           1990   GER   DNF
--. TOMLIN Renee          1988   USA   DNF 

400:   1:06.5
 800:   2:13.1
1000:   2:45.3
1200:   3:17.8

Bobby Curtis Goes 8:09.64 in Cork City 3000

After tweaking his calf in his previous race -- a DNF over 5000 meters in Sweden 10 days ago -- Bobby Curtis competed today over 3000 meters at the Cork City Sports meet in Ireland. Curtis came 7th in the race in 8:09.64 -- about 5.5 seconds off the outdoor PR (8:04.12) at this distance he set in August 2010 at Crystal Palace. Curtis has gone 7:50.17 indoors over 3000 meters (February 2008). Today's race was won by Australian Olympian Collis Birmingham, who clocked 7:55.31.

Cork City Sports 3000 Meters
 1. Collis Birmingham    84 Australia        7:55.31        
 2. Michael Mulhare      89 Ireland          8:02.62        
 3. Jonathan Taylor      87 Great Britain    8:03.32        
 4. Gebremariam Tigabu      Ethopia          8:03.37        
 5. Jake Robertson       89 New Zealand      8:04.57        
 6. Ryo Kiname           91 Japan            8:06.56        
 7. Bobby Curtis         84 USA              8:09.64        
 8. Dan Mulhare          85 Ireland          8:10.84        
 9. Kazuharu Takai       84 Japan            8:11.06        
10. Juan van Deventer    83 South Africa     8:12.85        
11. Teruo Taneno         89 Japan            8:14.17        
12. Kenta Matsumoto      91 Japan            8:15.49        
13. Ryuji Kashiwabara    89 Japan            8:18.88        
14. John Travers         91 Ireland          8:19.97        
15. Matt Lambert         87 New Zealand      8:21.54        
16. Joe Townsend         89 Great Britain    8:23.73        
17. James McCarthy       84 Ireland          8:34.08        
18. Daire Bermingham     87 Ireland          8:44.47        
--. Billy Ryan           90 Ireland               DNF        
--. Frank Bollen         82 Belgium               DNS        
--. Sean Hehir           85 Ireland               DNS

Monday, July 16, 2012

Curtis to Test Fitness at Cork City Sports International 3000

Coming off a DNF in the 5000 meters in Sweden due to a lower leg problem, and after some rehab with guru Gerard Hartmann in Limerick last week, Bobby Curtis has been added to the 3000 meter race at the Cork City Sports Classic on Tuesday night in Ireland. As the start list below shows, the race could prove to be fast as 7:38 Aussie Olympian Collis Birmingham leads the entries.

Cork City Sport International -- 3000 meter Start List (with PRs)
Collis Birmingham   1984   Australia     7:38.77
Juan van Deventer   1983   South Africa  7:41.06
Jake Robertson      1989   New Zealand   7:43.00
Bobby Curtis        1984   USA           7:50.17     
Jonathan Taylor     1987   England       7:57.16
Frank Bollen        1982   Belgium       7:57.00
Dan Mulhare         1985   Ireland       8:01.00
Michael Mulhare     1989   Ireland       8:02.08
Sean Hehir          1985   Ireland       8:02.70
Kazuharu Takai      1984   Japan         8:04.48
John Travers        1991   Ireland       8:09.83
Matt Lambert        1987   New Zealand   8:13.10
Ryuji Kashiwabara   1989   Japan         8:15.36
Dáire Bermingham    1987   Ireland       8:21.49
Joe Townsend        1989   England       8:28.99
James McCarthy      1984   Ireland       8:37.65
Kentaro Matsumoto   1991   Japan
Ryoto Kiname        1991   Japan
Teruo Taneno        1989   Japan
Billy Ryan          1990   Ireland

Muncan, Reid and Schappert in Lignano 1500 Tuesday

Marina Muncan (Serbia, 1500 meters) and Sheila Reid (Canada, 5000 meters) are Villanova's sole female track representatives at the upcoming Olympic Games in London. Tomorrow in Lignano, Italy they will compete in the 1500 meter race amid some very fast company. They'll be joined by fellow Villanovan Nicole Schappert, a finalist over 1500 meters at the US Olympic Trials. Here is the start list:

Lignano 1500 meters -- Start List (with 1500 PR)
Lisa DOBRISKEY       1983    GBR    4:02.13
Gabrielle ANDERSON   1986    USA    4:06.46
Katie MACKEY         1987    USA    4:06.67
Elina SUJEW          1990    GER    4:07.36
Sheila REID          1989    CAN    4:07.77
Nicole SCHAPPERT     1986    USA    4:07.79
Muncan MUNCAN        1982    SRB    4:08.33
Treniere MOSER       1982    USA    4:09.35
Elizabeth MALOY      1985    USA    4:09.64
Elisa CUSMA PICCIONE 1981    ITA    4:11.55
Margherita MAGNANI   1987    ITA    4:11.65
Emily INFELD         1990    USA    4:11.73
Eleanora BERLANDA    1976    ITA    4:13.70
Mestawot TADESSE     1985    ETH    4:18.69
Renee TOMLIN         1988    USA 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Schappert 5th & Reid 8th at Flanders Cup 1500 Meters

Nicole Schappert and Sheila Reid competed Saturday in Belgium at the Flanders Cup fixture with almost identical 1500 meter PRs (4:07.79 and 4:07.77, respectively). Neither came close to threatening either mark. Their heat was a relatively slow one, with the winner coming home in 4:11.85. Schappert finished 5th in 4:13.91, while Reid -- in her first race since being named to the Canadian Olympic team at 5000 meters -- was 8th in 4:15.62. Next up for Reid and Schappert is another 1500 race on Tuesday in Lignano, Italy, where they'll be joined by fellow Villanovan (and Serbian Olympian) Marina Muncan.

For a short interview with Sheila from the folks at Writing About Running, click HERE.

Here are the Saturday results from Belgium:

Flanders Cup -- Women's 1500 Meters
1.  Katie MACKEY        USA    4:11.85  
2.  Emily INFELD        USA    4:12.13  
3.  Ashley MILLER       USA    4:13.12  
4.  Angela SMIT         NZL    4:13.72  
5.  Nicole SCHAPPERT    USA    4:13.91  
6.  Renee TOMLIN        USA    4:14.15  
7.  Kim CONLEY          USA    4:14.70  
8.  Sheila REID         CAN    4:15.62  
9.  Molly HUDDLE        USA    4:17.30  
10. Elizabeth MALOY     USA    4:17.70  
11. Kelly MCNEICE       IRE    4:18.49  
12. Marlies MANDERS     NED    4:18.95  
13. Ayako JINNOUC       JPN    4:19.13  
14. Lesley VAN MIERT    NED    4:19.47  
15. Stephanie GARCIA    USA    4:30.61  
--- Wendy DEN HAEZE     BEL    DNF      
--- Aisha PRAUGHT       USA    DNF      
--- Valerie LEHMANN     SUI    DNF      
--- Fanny PRUVOST       FRA    DNF

Friday, July 13, 2012

Schappert & Reid at Belgian Flanders Cup 1500

Nicole Schappert and Sheila Reid will contest the 1500 meters at the Flanders Cup fixture in Belgium on Saturday. As the start list below reveals, the meet is populated with many athletes who will compete at the London Games at the end of the month.

Flanders Cup -- Women's 1500 Meters Start List
9800   MANDERS Marlies        PACE
9907   VAN LEEUWEN Ellen      PACE
9775   BETTICHE Amina         ALG
9917   MACKEY Katie           USA
9916   REID Sheila            CAN
9915   SCHAPPERT Nicole       USA
9914   MALOY Elizabeth        USA
9912   HUDDLE Molly           USA
9911   TOMLIN Renee           USA
9930   MILLER Ashley          USA
9910   INFELD Emily           USA
9907   RAMOS Beverly          PUR
9909   CONLEY Kim             USA
9906   MCNEICE Kelly          IRE
9905   HOWARD Julia           CAN
9925   JINNOUCHI Ayako        JPN
9904   PRAUGHT Aisha          USA
9895   VAN MIERT Lesley       NED
9903   LEHMANN Valérie        SUI
9927   SMIT Angela            NZL
9902   SAMIRI Tauria          ITA
9901   BONGIOVANNI Ombretta   ITA
9899   CHEEVER Jamie          USA
9894   PRUVOST Fanny          FRA
9780   HOFSTEDE Helen         NED
9897   MCKAIG Alissa          USA
9896   FLÛCK Joëlle           SUI
9893   GOLDKAMP Mary          USA
9892   RUIJTERS Evelien       NED
9891   SOETHOUT Jana          GER
9890   NICKLESS Bethany       USA
1803   MARECHAL Anne-Sophie   BEL
9642   WEVER Lisanne          NED
9512   TRUONG Perrine         SUI
9889   MELLSOP Caroline       NZL
9888   KORLIMA Lonah Chemtai  KEN
9887   TAKA Azaunt            ISR
9510   GADISH Roni            ISR

Reid's Pre-Olympic Schedule to Include 1500 Meter Races

The story below provides details on Sheila Reid's schedule in the weeks leading up to the London Games at the end of July. In an effort to work on her speed, she intends to contest two 1500 meter races in the next 7-10 days, one in Belgium and one in Italy. Many people view the 1500 meters as Reid's most competitive event, even though she'll be competing in the 5000 meters in London. Reid has NCAA and Canadian national titles at both distances. Also, the article provides a hint at what exactly constituted the so-called "competitive readiness test" alluded to in yesterday's announcement from Athletics Canada that Reid had been added to the Olympic team. On can infer from the article that a representative of Athletics Canada went to Villanova to witness Reid in a workout, one that turned out to be "her best 5000 training session of the year." Convinced of her fitness, her appeal was approved.

Shelia Reid on run to London Olympic Games
Newmarket runner won national title, fell short of standard

John Cudmore
Jul 12, 2012

Sheila Reid will run in the London Olympics, after all.

The Newmarket resident is among five athletes Athletics Canada added to its 45-member roster being unveiled Thursday by the Canadian Olympic Committee, ending an appeal process that started shortly after she won the 5,000 metres at the Canadian track and field championships June 29 in Calgary.

Despite winning the race, Reid had not achieved Athletics Canada standards during the extended qualifying period. That requirement included a national championship and two races completed within B standard times. Reid had one such race time to her credit for the 5,000 metres and two at 1,500 metres, arguably her best event.
After her initial appeal for Rising Star consideration was denied that night by Athletics Canada, it went to a three-member independent panel and ultimately to the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada.

She was resigned to the notion that her hopes for an Olympic debut would have to wait until at least 2016.

“Once we heard back from the second appeal, I just wanted to put it to rest,” Reid said yesterday from Philadelphia, where she is a graduating student at Villanova University. “I didn’t know the decision was still being worked over.

“There were definitely times I felt it was hard to keep fighting. It wasn’t that I didn’t deserve to go, but it would have been nicer if my legs did the talking for me. In the end, it’s a relief I didn’t have to fight my way on to the team.
“At first, I took it personally, but I don’t think it was meant that way and I’m glad they looked it over.”

In a sport typically dominated by athletes from East African nations, Reid knows she faces a tough task starting with the preliminaries Aug. 7. The final is Aug. 10.
“I don’t want to put myself in the category that I’m just happy to be there,” said the 22-year-old graduate of Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Newmarket. “I don’t want to go just for an experience, but to prove I am among the best athletes in this sport in the world. There are people there I know I can be competitive with.

“The whole thing is a total trip. I’ve dreamed of this since watching my first Olympics in 1996. It’s the highest stage we can be on in our sport.”

She credits the diligence of Athletics Toronto coach Hugh Cameron, Villanova head coach Gina Procaccio and her father, Tom, for pursuing the issue through the appeal process.

“(Athletics Canada) were just doing their job,” said Cameron, who also coached Reid as a member of the Newmarket Huskies Track Club. “The onus was on us to convince them to change their minds.”

In the end, Athletics Canada dropped its opposition to Reid’s inclusion.

“Rather than dispute the appeal, Athletics Canada agreed with us that Sheila had a pretty good case to be included,” Tom Reid said. “I think, in the end, they want her on the team.”

Last night, Reid flew to Europe, where she will prepare for the 5,000-metre qualifying race with prep races in Belgium and Italy, before heading to Team Canada’s training base in Germany.

“I was going to Europe for races anyway,” she said. “I just need a bigger suitcase.”
In Europe, she’ll run in 1,500 races in Belgium and Italy to get in a bit of speed work prior to the preliminaries Aug. 7.

Upon hearing Tuesday the appeal was taking a positive turn, she turned in her best 5,000 training session of the year to cement her inclusion on the team.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reid, 4 Others Added to Canadian Olympic Team

5 track athletes added to Canadian Olympic team
CBC Sports
Posted: Jul 12, 2012 9:39 AM ET

Five athletes have been added to Canada’s track and field team for the London Olympics.

The addition Thursday of runners Sheila Reid, Daundre Barnaby, Aaron Brown, Kerri-Ann Mitchell and Tremaine Harris brings the Canadian track and field roster up to 45 athletes.

Reid (women's 5,000 metres), Brown (men's 200 metres), Harris (men's 200 metres) and Mitchell (women's 100 metres) all got in through Athletics Canada’s Rising Star provision after failing to qualify at the Canadian trials.

A spot opened up for Mitchell after Phylicia George decided to drop out of the 100 metres in London to concentrate on the 100-metre hurdles.

Barnaby, who was born in Jamaica and now lives in Brampton, Ont., won the men's 400 metres at the Canadian Olympic trials on June 29 but had been waiting to receive his Canadian passport.


As a result of a second -- and final -- appeal, Sheila Reid was today named to the Canadian Olympic team for the 2012 London Games. Reid's first appeal, to Athletics Canada -- the country's Olympic authority, was quickly (almost summarily) denied over a week ago days ago. Today's decision was given by a second group composed of individuals not affiliated with Athletics Canada. In their opinion, Reid's performances (a 5000 meter win at the Canadian Trials + an Olympic "B" time of 15:23) was sufficient to meet Athletics Canada's "Rising Star" provision. Even though much of the discussion over the past few days has focused on the fact that Athletics Canada's "Rising Star" provision stipulates than two "B" performances were required (and that Reid has only one), other language of the provision states the following:
"Notwithstanding the criteria, in truly exceptional circumstances, the NTC [National Team Committee] may in its sole discretion identify athletes/relays as rising stars and may select them to the Olympic team."

While Athletics Canada initially refused to see Sheila Reid's case as rising to meet the "truly exceptional circumstances," the second appeal board -- after deliberating close to a week -- did, and its decision gained Sheila Reid a spot on the Canadian team. It announced today the following:

"Sheila Reid submitted an appeal for Rising Star consideration based on winning the Canadian Track and Field Trials in the 5000-metres and having an Olympic B standard in the event. Sheila also has two Olympic B standards in the 1500-metres. Reid was the national champion in the 1500-metres in 2011 and is a five time NCAA champion demonstrating her ability to compete on demand in championship races. The National Team Committee was willing to nominate her in the 5000-metres pending a competitive readiness test which she successfully completed earlier this week."

The official announcement from Athletics Canada is HERE. Reid arrived in Belgium today in preparation for the London Games.

“I’m relieved and excited,” Reid said. “This season has been more challenging than ones in the past. I had my collegiate obligations while also trying to satisfy the Olympic standards. I feel like it would be hard to have everything and I was very disappointed in my collegiate season. This is nice way to kind of sum everything up, to know that all the hard work I did before this wasn’t for nothing.

“I think anyone who knows me and knows the kind of racer I am, knows I race to win. When you kind of chase the times it makes it kind of a different race. I’m just excited because I know that now that I have made it to this stage, I know I can kind of do my best and just run for place instead of just time.”

“I am thrilled that Sheila will get to compete in an Olympic Games at such a young age,” Villanova women’s track coach Gina Procaccio said. “The experience will be invaluable to her future success.”

Congratulations to Reid for becoming the third Villanovan (joining Adrian Blincoe and Marina Muncan) who will compete in track at the London Games.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Villanova Olympic Moments: Larry James in Mexico City

Larry James won a gold medal in the 4x400 meter relay at the 1968 Mexico City Games. He also won a silver medal in the 400 meters, finishing second to Lee Evans in a 1-2-3 USA sweep. Both Evans and James ran sub-44 and both broke the existing World Record. That world record technically belonged to James himself: he had set the official 400 meter world record at the 1968 US Olympic Trials, despite finishing second to Lee Evans. There, the Might Burner ran 44.1 to Evans' 44.0, but what would have been Evans' world record was disallowed due to his use of unsanctioned spikes. The record, as result, went to James. These two giants of the quarter mile went 1-2 again in Mexico City, with both again under the existing world record. After Mexico City, James returned to Villanova having cemented himself as one of the program's icons. He won three NCAA titles at that distance after the 1968 Games, adding to the title he won in 1968. Here is the 400 meter final, with James in lane 2.

1968 Olympics: 400 meter medalists
1. Lee Evans (USA)     43.8  WR
2. Larry James (USA)   43.9
3. Ron Freeman (USA)   44.4

Carrie Tollefson & Steve Holman to Run NJ Celebrity Chase

Olympians to Run for Rec Funds in Belmar Race

Inaugural Belmar Chase 5K, preceded by the Celebrity Chase, comes to Belmar July 28

By Shawn Smith
Manasquan-Belmar Patch
July 11, 2012

Two Olympians will run for a chance to win $5,000 in recreation funds for a local town when the Belmar Chase 5K comes down Ocean Avenue July 28.

Carrie Tollefson and Steve Holman will literally chase down local mayors and celebrities during the "Celebrity Chase" prior to the inaugural 5K, which is part of a celebration to kick off the 2012 Olympic games.

2000 U.S. Olympian Rich Kenah will direct both events.

“I’ve seen the impact running can have on people of all ages and abilities,” Kenah said. “The world’s best get to go out and compete for gold every four years, but almost anyone can go out and run a 5K. That’s the message I hope to resonate in this community.”

The first runner across the finish line wins $5,000 for his or her town recreation department. The slowest celebrities will get a pre-determined head start; the faster ones will try to chase them down. If either Tollefson or Holman, who will start last, chases everyone down, the $5,000 will be split among the towns represented.

Tollefson, 35, is the 2004 Olympic Trials champion at 1500 meters and competed for Team USA in Athens, Greece. Holman, 42, competed at the same distance at the 1992 Olympic games; is the 1999 U.S. Champion at 1500 meters; and was fourth in the 1993 World Indoor Championships.

The race organizers also announced a prize purse of $3,500 for the Belmar Chase 5K. The male and female winner will each be awarded $1,000, with second place earning $500 and third place earning $250.

Circle BMW of Eatontown is sponsoring the event and will be donating a part of the $5,000 “Celebrity Chase” prize.

“It’s been an honor to serve the communities of the Jersey Shore for more than 31 years,” said Thomas J. DeFelice Jr., founder and president of Circle BMW, in a release. “We’re proud to give back to those communities and to support their recreation programs.”

The night before the Belmar Chase, the Belmar Kids Chase will make its debut, with sprint races on the beach for children ages 5 to 14 and a free kids dash for children ages 2 to 4. The Belmar Kids Chase will be held on Friday, June 27 at 6 p.m. on the beach in Belmar adjacent to the Taylor Pavilion. Everyone that participates in the Kids Chase will receive a T-shirt and medal. There will also be a “Fastest Kid in Belmar” sprint to crown the fastest 9- to 10-year-old boy and girl who are residents of Belmar.

The Belmar Chase will begin at 8:30 a.m. July 28, on Ocean Avenue in front of the Taylor Pavilion. The “Celebrity Chase” will begin just before the main event officially starts.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gold Medalist Ronnie Delany Encourages 2012 Irish Olympians

It was 56 years ago in Melbourne when former Villanova NCAA champion Ronnie Delany took the 1500 meter gold medal, and he's been a fixture in Irish athletics ever since. He recently appeared at the opening of an Irish Olympic exhibition and encouraged the 2012 crop of Irish Olympians:
“I don’t presume to advise contemporary Olympians. They are very well managed, the team is very well prepared. If I was to give advice, and I don’t go out of my way to give advice, I would say two things.

“The preliminary round is the critical one. If you don’t get through the preliminary round, you won’t be in the final. Make sure you qualify. You can have this great aspiration of winning and wanting to do well, but if you don’t get through the first round you’ve had it.

“The second thing is don’t be distracted. Focus on what your job is because this is close to a home Olympics. We won’t be caught up in the euphoria of Beijing or Sydney. You’re in your home environment. They must concentrate and focus, don’t notice or hear the crowd, be so concentrated and so committed to your job.”

The Olympian also singled out Irish boxer Katie Taylor as the athlete that he is most looking forward to seeing in action this summer: “Katie is an incredibly committed athlete and she carries the tag of favourite.

"There’s sort of a good luck omen for her. Her mother is called Bridget, my mother was called Bridget. I’m from Wicklow, she’s from Wicklow. So, please God, that has some sort of good omen for her this year.

“I always thought we should do better in sailing and we have a lot of people qualified in sailing this year. Boxing we’re going to do well in. Minority sports, they’re the ones we can do a springer in. Our equestrians, our swimmers.

“Watch the Irish taking part and competing for our country.”

Rob Denault Goes 3:48.47 at World Junior Championships 1500

Villanova's Rob Denault finished 5th today in heat #1 in the 1500 meters at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain. The top three finishers in each heat (plus the next two fastest times) advanced to the final. Denault ran 3:48.47, equivalent to about a 4:06.2 mile. After the race Denault tweeted: Don't let the highs get too high and the lows get too low, just missed out on WJ final this morning, coming so close just put gas on my fire." Denault qualified for the World Juniors with his 4:42.26 PR run on May 14th of this year at the Swarthmore Last Chance meet. Here are the results of his heat today:

World Junior Championships -- Barcelona, Spain

Heat 1 -- Men's 1500 meters
 1.  Teshome Dirirsa        ETH    3:41.78 Q
 2.  Dominic Mutuku Mutili  KEN    3:41.97 Q 
 3.  Mohammed Abid          MAR    3:42.58 Q  
 4.  Mohamed Abdikadar      ITA    3:46.37 q
 5.  Robert Denault         CAN    3:48.47
 6.  Sean Tobin             IRL    3:49.11
 7.  Izaic Yorks            USA    3:49.21
 8.  Julian Oakley          NZL    3:49.43
 9.  Julius Lawnik          GER    3:49.51
10.  Ferdinand Kvan Edman   NOR    3:50.95
11.  Marc Alcalá            ESP    3:55.68
12.  Mandhar Legseir        ALG    3:59.30

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sonia O'Sullivan Worries about Social Media for Irish Olympians

Athletics: No tweeting ban for Irish athletes -- O'Sullivan

by Cliona Foley
The Irish Independent
July 05 2012

IRISH athletes will not be banned from 'tweeting' during the Olympics, but chef de mission Sonia O'Sullivan intends giving them clear guidelines and warnings about the potential dangers of using Twitter and other forms of social media.

British swimming star Rebecca Adlington has recently stopped using Twitter after the level of personal abuse she encountered on it and it is feared that, in London, the burgeoning phenomenon of social media has huge potential to directly affect athletes' concentration and confidence levels.

O'Sullivan, speaking at the launch of yesterday's 64-strong team for London 2012, admitted it is an area that will need careful management and is a potential distraction that she, as a four-time Olympian, never had to worry about.

"You do find a lot of athletes can't wait to get that tweet out there as soon as possible because it's one of those instant things they like," she said.

"We will definitely have discussions about Twitter, you don't want people putting things on there without thinking.

"If they read something at the last minute that is not positive or might affect them in any way, you don't know what that could do to their performance," O'Sullivan stressed.

"People can say things that athletes really don't need to hear before, or after, they've competed, so we will try and control it as best as we can."

O'Sullivan admitted that it would not be possible or advisable to have a complete internet ban.

"You have to allow some interaction," she acknowledged. "I think a lot of athletes enjoy it (Twitter and Facebook). It helps them relax when they have communication like that.

"They'll want to share things with people outside the village and this will be the first time that they will be allowed to do that. So, in a fairly controlled way, we should be able to do it.

"But once they enter the competition zone it definitely shouldn't be allowed," she said, adding that she will encourage athletes to leave their phones in the village when they go to compete.

Ireland's team for London (64 plus two equestrian reserves) is the largest since Sydney (67) and could yet be bigger.

Steven Colvert (200m) and 400m hurdlers Jessie and Thomas Barr are competing in Liege tonight and will be chasing qualification right up to Sunday night's track and field deadline.

Unlike Athens (49 athletes) and Beijing (51), no swimmers or athletes have been accepted on 'B' standards for London, so more athletes have met higher standards to qualify.


The team includes Dubliner Claire Bergin (4 x 400m), who, having competed in bobsleigh in Vancouver (2010), joins Terry McHugh as the second Irish person to compete at both winter and summer Games.

Ireland's boxers and sailors are tipped as the best medal chances, but O'Sullivan would not put a number or name on potential medallists yesterday.

However, she did say that the team is "of an even higher standard" than the one that won three medals (all boxing) four years ago.

"We definitely have a team capable of winning medals in a number of different sports," she said. "It's been pretty tough to qualify, a lot of athletes have qualified quite easily, they haven't been running around chasing qualification, so, in that sense, it's a stronger team than before and athletes have had time to make a plan and prepare properly."

O'Sullivan also acknowledged that there has never been so much ancillary support and expertise, through the Institute of Sport and the Irish Sports Council.

There will actually be more Irish coaches and support staff (90) in London than athletes, with 76 'officials' accredited, including a medical team that includes renowned Limerick physical therapist Gerard Hartmann.

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) stressed yesterday that these 90 support staff do not include any 'blazers' and only OCI president Pat Hickey and secretary Dermot Sherlock will travel to the Games in an official capacity.

"Any more of our executive committee members who go to London will go under their own steam and pay their own way," Hickey said.

Ireland's final preparations include a pre-Games holding camp in London (using Lensbury and St Mary's, Strawberry Hill) from July 18, with athletes filtering from there into the village ahead of their competitions, though some sports are holding their own camps elsewhere

Catching Up with Marty Liquori

Marty Liquori was the last American to be ranked #1 in the world in the mile/1500 meters, and he was the last American to be ranked #1 in the world at 5000 meters. Among other accomplishments, he also won three consecutive NCAA outdoor mile titles (beating, among others, Jim Ryun and Dave Wottle in the process). In the summer after his freshman year at Villanova, Liquori advanced to the 1500 meter final at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. In recent years, he's been a mainstay on the music scene in the Gainesville, his hometown for the better part of three decades. Earlier this year he was selected by INsite Gainesville as one of Gainesville's 25 Most Interesting People.

Gainesville's 25 Most Interesting People - Marty Liquori
by Rachel Rakoczt
INsite Gainesville

Marty Liquori has run in the Olympics, hosted international sports broadcasts, and launched a successful business. But only now, at 62, has he achieved his boyhood dream of being a jazz guitarist. On Monday and Thursday nights, Marty plays with his band Hot Club Deville at Leonardo’s 706 and occasionally at Ballyhoo Grill.

“I look at it as if I have never had a real job,” he says. “I’ve never worked a 9-to-5.”

When Marty was 14, he thought fame was a bus ride away from his hometown in New Jersey to New York City. But his plans changed when his high school coach told his parents he could get college scholarships for running, a sport he took up only because the basketball coach wanted his players to run to get in shape.

“It was the first time I did an individual sport, and I liked that,” Marty says. “I used to get frustrated when other people weren’t as dedicated as I was.”

Marty became the third American high school runner to finish the mile in less than four minutes. This brought him to the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. At 19, he was a freshman at Villanova University and the youngest 1500-meter (just under a mile) finalist.

“My mind was blown even before they shot the gun,” he says of the experience.

When the ’72 Olympics in Munich came around, Marty was ranked No. 1 in the world in the 1500 meter and was expected to win, but he suffered a foot injury and couldn’t compete. He was also injured for the ’76 Olympics. But he had already begun a side job, as he was asked to be a commentator on the races in Munich for ABC.

The ’72 race was exactly the style he excelled in—a slow start, fast finish. When the producer started the countdown to go off the air, he couldn’t hold in his feelings. “The producer said ‘One’ and I said ‘Sh**, that was perfect for me.’” Lucky for him, he said it just after they cut. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have been asked to broadcast again, which he did for 25 years, covering more than 100 events, including 12 Boston Marathons and seven Olympic games.

“Sometimes bad things turn into something good.” Still, he kept up his training.

In 1980, his running career came to a close when the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the tense relationship with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

“Basically, my reaction was that I’m not going to train for four more years if some president can pull the rug out from under us,” he says.

In addition to broadcasting, Marty was busy with Athletic Attic, a running shoe store he and then-University of Florida track coach Jimmy Carnes opened in Gainesville after seeing Europeans in track suits and special shoes at the Olympics. The concept of a store only for running shoes, without fishing gear and other sports equipment, was new. Learning from a book about how McDonald’s started, they franchised the business to expand to about 250 stores. Soon, the idea had gained popularity around the country and other such stores began to appear.

Marty became a spokesperson for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. About a year later, he found he had had a mild, chronic form of leukemia. Back then, it was predicted that he had about 10 years to live. So he sold Athletic Attic and stopped broadcasting.

“I said that if I had 10 years, I didn’t want to be flying around everywhere broadcasting,” Marty says.

His wife Debra got him guitar lessons for Christmas. “I knew he might not be able to keep up the level with running and I hoped it could fill a void,” she says. The lessons paid off.

“Now I’m getting paid to have fun,” he says. And he still runs a bit, too.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ex-Nova Harrier Craig Segal Reflects on the Lure of Running

WHY I RUN: Measure life in miles, not minutes

Written by
Craig Segal
For NJ Press Media
July 5, 2012

What compels you to wake up every morning, lace up your shoes and run? What is it? Why do you run?

I feel as though I have been asked these questions hundreds of times. The answer, for me, is simple.

I measure my days not in minutes, but in miles.

Running always has been an enormous part of my life, but by no means did it come easy. It has always been something that I have had to work at.

From a humble introduction to the sport — struggling to make it up the famed “Start Hill” at Holmdel Park with my father as an elementary schoolboy — to progressing into an NJSIAA Meet of Champions winner, to competing as a Division I runner for Villanova University, I always knew there was something about the sport that would strike a chord within me.

Running is tangible. You can measure progress, success, failures, triumphs and defeats. It is emotional. You have your “ups” and your “downs,” your good days and your bad.

It is this state of flux that keeps me interested, and keeps me coming back for more. This is what gets me out of bed for an 18-mile run in the bitter winter cold and has me doing intervals on the track during our humid New Jersey summers.

I am addicted to the adrenaline — the rush I get while blasting around the final turn of the track during the last interval of a workout, or the way the hair stands up on the back of my neck as I hear the crowd roar 17 miles into a marathon.

The sense of accomplishment after a hard day of training, or setting a personal best at a distance, is unlike anything I’ve yet to come across elsewhere.

The sport of running is unique in that it is truly relative. An individual attempting to break four minutes in the mile, and tying up on the backstretch of the track, is experiencing the same struggle as the weekend warrior who sprints toward the finish of the local 5K.

Regardless of whether you are in first or ten-thousandth place, it is the common pain and exertion that every runner can associate with.

The beauty of our sport is that running not only has taught me a lot about myself and my own character, but it has taught me a lot about others. I have met amazing people through the sport — some of them training partners, some of them coaches, and some of them a newbie getting his first taste of my true love.

The lifelong relationships I have developed with these individuals are priceless.

Running also is a release. It is a daily opportunity to take a step back, reflect, and lose myself — a mental break from the everyday stresses of the workplace, home life or relationships.

It is my form of therapy. Running allows me the chance to do some serious soul-searching. Be it running through the hills of Harthshorne Woods, the boardwalk in Belmar, up “The Bowl” at Holmdel Park, or endless loops around the Manasquan Reservoir, I revert back to a childish innocence and simply appreciate the action of putting one foot in front of another.

So this is what running means to me. This is why I run. It is not a sport. It is my lifestyle.

Craig Segal, co-owner of Runner’s High in Freehold, a shop specializing in running shoes and apparel, has been a competitive distance runner for 17 years. He is a graduate of Holmdel High School, Villanova and Monmouth Universities.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Reid Appeals Athletics Canada's Denial of Olympic Berth

Sheila Reid is evidently awaiting word on a second appeal of Athletics Canada's decision not to award her a spot on the 2012 Olympic team. Her first appeal -- directly to Athletics Canada -- was denied quickly on the day it was submitted. This second appeal is to a committee composed of individuals not directly affiliated with that group and was submitted on July 3rd. Here's more detaila from MyKiwartha.com:

Reid claims title, misses Olympic standard
John Cudmore
July 3, 2012

CALGARY -- Sheila Reid is the freshly minted women’s champion for the 5,000 metres following her victory at the Athletics Canada Olympic trials on the weekend in Calgary.

However, she is not bound for London and the Olympic Games starting July 27, despite her status as best in the land.

A Canadian title doesn’t guarantee an Olympic berth, the price some athletes pay for the aggressive Own The Podium program which often places domestic qualifying standards above international standards.

Reid won the race Friday night in 16 minutes, 15.23 seconds, better than one second ahead of fellow Athletics Toronto and former Newmarket Huskies teammate Megan Brown (16:16.44) but well off the Canadian qualifying standard.

It was a bittersweet victory for the 22-year-old Newmarket resident, who had one B standard qualifying time to her credit and required at least one more in addition to a victory in Calgary to earn outright a ticket to London.

An appeal to Athletics Canada to include Reid on the London-bound team under the Rising Star exemption for top prospects was denied Saturday. A subsequent appeal to a three-member panel was presented last night with the Athletics Canada ruling pending as of this afternoon.

Reid required nothing less than a victory in the 5,000 metres to be considered for the Olympic team. The multiple NCAA track and cross-country champion for Villanova University also needed to beat the Canadian B qualifying standard of 15:30.0. The A standard is 15:20. However, competing in altitude in Calgary is not conducive to optimal performance for distance athletes.

“I was trying to do just enough to win the race,” explained Reid, the lone runner in the 5,000 with a B standard time to her credit. “I felt good halfway through, but I wasn’t going to take off and collapse later in the race.”

For the appeal, the Reid camp cited the Rising Star exemption, an option unique to track and field.

Under Rising Star, promising young athletes have a one-time chance to qualify despite not attaining A standard results. In the case of Reid, the opportunity would be a valuable experience looking ahead to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

She knows the appeal is a longshot.

“The result gave me the right to appeal but I didn’t want to get my hopes up either way,” she said this morning. “If in four years I don’t qualify then I’d just have to realize I wasn’t good enough. At this point, I’m at peace with anything they decide.”

Ironically, in most countries her victory in Calgary would have sent her to London.

“In any other country you qualify by meeting standards and wins,” she said. “This is time-chasing more than about wins. But I know the rules going in so there is no sense complaining about the rules half-way through.

“I do agree the Olympics are a special event and I think we should uphold a certain level of excellence but not at the detriment of athletes.”

The decision does not alter Reid’s plan to compete professionally in Europe this summer.

Curtis a DNF at Sollentuna Grand Prix 5000

Here are the results from today's 5000 meters at the Sollentuna Grand Prix outside of Stockholm, Sweden. After the race, Curtis cited a minor lower-leg problem as the reason for dropping out of the race. Here's what he wrote on Twitter:

Bobby Curtis ‏@BobbbyCurtis

DNF tonight. Lower leg giving me problems. A few days of cross training and treatment should put me on track
Sollentuna 5000 meters -- Results
1.  Josephat Menjo       79   Kenya     13:16.87  AR
2.  Yuki Sato            86   Japan     13:28.79  SB
3.  Monder Rizki         79   Belgium   13:41.62
4.  Akinobu Murasawa     91   Japan     13:47.98
5.  Mumin Gala           86   Djibouti  13:51.01
6.  Yoshihiro Wakamatsu  86   Japan     13:52.27
7.  Olle Walleräng       85   Sweden    13:56.09
8.  Abdi Hakin Ulad      91   Denmark   14:07.43  PB
9.  Scott Fraser         86   UK        14:09.75
10. Tuomas Jokinen       87   Finland   14:11.15  PB
11. Ababa Lama           93   Sweden    14:14.36
12. Jerker Lysell        89   Sweden    14:16.45  PB
13. Haben Idris          87   Sweden    14:18.86
14. Erik Widing          87   Sweden    14:21.02
15. Anton Danielson      90   Sweden    14:24.51
16. Andreas Åhwall       89   Sweden    14:52.49
--  Bobby Curtis         84   USA       DNF
--  Alex Kibet           89   Kenya     DNF (pace)
--  Willy Rotich         76   Kenya     DNF (pace)
--  Adil Boafif          78   Sweden    DNS

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bobby Curtis Begins Post-Trials Efforts in Swedish 5000

On Thursday night in Sweden, Bobby Curtis will begin to put the disappointment of his 10th place finish at the US Olympic Trials 10,000 meters behind him. He'll contest the 5000 meters at a meet in Sollentuna, on the outskirts of Stockholm, against a well balanced field. As is well known, Curtis stayed off the track in the lead-up to the Trials -- a strategy he now admits was a mistake. This will be his first track 5000 of the summer. By all accounts Curtis entered the Trials at a high level of fitness, but he was unable to respond when the pace quickened in the latter stages of the 10,000 final. With all the pressure now off, and with a solid base training banked away, don't be surprised in Curtis runs a creditable 5000 race tomorrow against this field. Three men in the group have better 5000 PRs than Curtis, and Kenyan Josephat Menjo is a sub-13:00 man who has run 13:10 this season. The meet organizers have secured two rabbits for the race, so hopefully the pace with assume the metronome quality that suits Curtis.

Sollentuna Grand Prix 5000 meters -- Start List

Bib   Name                YR    Nat       PB        Year  SB      
106   Bobby Curtis        84    USA       13:18.97  2010   --  
107   Yuki Sato           86    Japan     13:23.57  2006  13:33.16
108   Akinobu Murasawa    91    Japan     13:34.85  2011  13:43.68
109   Adil Boafif         78    Sweden    13:33.47  2012  13:33.47
110   Yoshihiro Wakamatsu 86    Japan     13:42.26  2012  13:42.26
111   Josephat Menjo      79    Kenya     12:55.95  2010  13:10.55
112   Mumin Gala          86    Djibouti  13:17.77  2011  13:32.24
113   Tuomas Jokinen      87    Finland   14:15.99  2010  --  
114   Monder Rizki        79    Belgium   13:04.06  2008  --  
116   Scott Fraser        86    Britain   --        --    14:10.00
117   Anton Danielson     90    Sweden    14:08.36  2011  14:10.06
119   Ørjan Grønnevig     91    Norway    14:10.87  2012  14:10.87
120   Erik Widing         87    Sweden    14:11.20  2012  14:11.20
121   Haben Idris         87    Sweden    14:08.37  2011  14:12.31
122   Jerker Lysell       89    Sweden    16:28.15  2005  --
123   Andreas Åhwall      89    Sweden    14:24.54  2011  14:28.27
124   Alex Korir (pace)   89    Kenya     --         --    --
338   Olle Walleräng      85    Sweden    13:56.08  2009  -- 
392   Willy Rotich (pace) 76    Kenya     --        --    -- 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Olympic Trials/European Championships Summary

Several Villanova athletes competed in the US and Canadian Trials, as well as the European Outdoor Championships, over the past week. Here's a summary of their efforts:

US Olympic Trials (Eugene, OR)
(1) Bobby Curtis finished 10th (27:58.48) in the 10,000 meter final.
(2) Nicole Schappert advanced to the 1500 meter final, and finished 10th in 4:13.51.
(3) Frances Koons ran 16:45.93 in finishing 14th in heat #1 of the 5000 meters semi-final.
(4) Shericka Ward was DQ'd for a false start in the 100 meter hurdles prelims.
(5) Jen Rhines scratched from the 10,000 meters and DNS'd in the 5000.

Canadian Olympic Trials (Calgary, BC)
(1) Sheila Reid won the 5000 meter final, in 16:15.23, but was left off the Canadian Olympic team.
(2) Carmen Douma-Hussar made the 1500 meter final, where she came 6th in 4:19.76.
(3) Allan Brett finished 13th in the 1500 meter semi-final, in 3:50.06.

European Championships (Helsinki, Finland)
(1) Marina Muncan advanced to the 1500 meter final, and finished 12th in 4:12.33.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Nicole Schappert Comes 10th at US Trials 1500 Final

Nicole Schappert finished in 10th place today in the 13-person Olympic Trials 1500 meter final, running 4:13.51. As her splits reveal (see below), over the first three laps Schappert found herself consistently at the back of the closely-packed group, and was only 1.4 seconds back at the bell. When the runners struck for home, however, Schappert was unable to find her kick and fell out the back of the pack. Overall, though, a great first half of 2012 for the former Villanova All-American: PRs at 800 meters, 1500 meters (where her 4:07.79 was an Olympic "B" standard), and the mile. All should provide solid momentum for the rest of the outdoor season.

US Olympic Trials 1500 Meter Final
 1.  Morgan Uceny       adidas        4:04.59
 2.  Shannon Rowbury    Nike          4:05.11
 3.  Jenny Simpson      New Balance   4:05.17
 4.  Gabriele Anderson  Brooks        4:07.38 
 5.  Anna Pierce        Nike          4:07.78 
 6.  Sarah Bowman       New Balance   4:08.25
 7.  Margaret Infeld    N Y A C       4:08.31
 8.  Alice Schmidt      Nike          4:09.64 
 9.  Katherine Mackey   Brooks        4:11.46 
10.  Nicole Schappert   N Y A C       4:13.51 
11.  Treniere Moser     Nike          4:15.84 
12.  Brenda Martinez    New Balance   4:17.41 
13.  Sara Vaughn        Nike          4:30.89

10.  Nicole Schappert  NYAC
     @ 300 meters:    50.02 (11)     50.02
     @ 700 meters:  1:57.90 (12)   1:07.89
     @ 1100 meters: 3:05.88 (11)   1:07.98
     @ 1500 meters: 4:13.51 (10)   1:07.63

Without "A" Standard, Reid Left Off Canadian Olympic Team

Sheila Reid will not compete in the London Olympics for her native Canada in 2012. Reid yesterday won the 5000 meters at the Canadian Olympic Trials, but did so in a rather pedestrian 16:15 (the Trials were held at altitude in Calgary) -- well off either the Olympic "A" (15:20) or "B" (15:30) standard. Reid would have earned an automatic berth on the team had she run faster than 15:20 and finished among the top three at the Trials. She might well have made the team as well via the so-called "Rising Stars" provision adopted by the Canadian Olympic authorities, but she fell short of qualifying for that as well. Briefly, the "Rising Star" provision stipulates that a non-"A" standard athlete could be named to the Olympic team if (a) no other athlete in the event had achieved the "A" standard, and (b) the athlete in question had achieved two "B" standard times within the window. The first stipulation was met, as no Canadian women had run under 15:20 for 5000 meters in the allotted time window. Reid herself had come close, but her PR 15:23.64 run on April 21st was just a few seconds short. Megan Wright came close as well, running 15:21.75 eight days later. However, the second stipulation (possession of two "B" standard times in the event) evidently scuttled Reid's chances. Reid had run the "B" standard only once -- not twice -- and therefore was seemingly not a live option for the "Rising Star" exemption.

Canada Running described the Reid's 5000 meter race this way:

In the women’s 5,000m Tarah Korir put up an excellent fight, leading the first nine laps of the twelve-lap race. Korir was passed by fellow Athletics Toronto athletes Sheila Reid and Megan Brown, who sailed into the finish with times of 16:15.23 and 16:16.44 respectively. Reid holds the Olympic “B” standard in this event and could be eligible to compete under the Rising Star status should Athletics Canada deem the one “B” standard enough.

Evidently, Athletics Canada did not deem one "B" standard sufficient to name Reid to the squad, even though she won the event at the Trials. Indeed, the decision by Athletics Canada to leave her off the Olympic team was appealed, but that appeal was rather quickly denied. As a result, Canada will send no woman to London in the 5000 meters. Villanova fans will recall that Carrie Tollefson won the 2004 US Trials at 1500 meters, had only the "B" standard, and by virtue of her Trials victory was the sole US representative in that event at the 2004 Games, despite there being other American women who held the "A" standard and who finished in the top three at Trials. Winning the Trials with a "B" standard was deemed sufficient in that case. In addition, Marina Muncan, another former Villanova All-American, was named to the Serbian team last week as the country's sole 1500 meter representative once she attained the "B" standard. In Tollefson's case, the USATF respected the Trials enough to name its winner to the team, even if it meant leaving off the team two other women who had already run the "A" standard. In the Muncan case, having someone represent the country in the 1500 meters was important enough for the Serbian Olympic authorities, despite their choice not having the "A" standard.

In Canada's case, it's obvious that Athletics Canada did not take their own Olympic Trials seriously: (a) they held the Trials at altitude, virtually guaranteeing that no "A" standard was attainable in the distance events, and (b) they denied the 5000 meter winner at the Trials a spot on the Olympic team, despite that person possessing a send-able "B" standard and without having to deny any other "A" standard person a spot on the team. Canada would rather send no one to the London Games than allow a qualified "B" standard Trials-winning runner to go. Finally, Athletics Canada has declared that it will not allow any Canadian athlete to chase the "A" standard (or, in Reid's case, a second "B" standard) once the Trials were completed.

At bottom, Reid just missed the "A" standard at both 1500 meters (4:06.00 -- Reid ran 4:07.77) and at 5000 meters (15:20.00 -- Reid ran 15:23.64) and was forced by the Trials schedule to pick one event to gain a spot on the Olympic team. With two "A" standard women in the 1500 meters, neither of whom had any incentive to run fast at the Trials (they'd make the team merely by finishing in the top three, no matter what the time), Reid opted for the 5000 meters. She won the race -- and the Canadian national title -- but in a time that was neither a "B" (as required by the Rising Star provision) nor an "A" (which would have guaranteed her a spot on the team). At the end of the day, Reid came tantalizingly short of a spot in two events.

The athletes chosen for the Canadian squad are listed HERE.

Muncan 12th at European Championships 1500 Meter Final

Here are the results of today's 1500 meter final at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki. Former Villanova great Marina Muncan made her first European outdoor championships final, finishing 12th in 4:15.63, well off her 4:08 season's best. Muncan was named in June to her first Olympic team for her native Serbia.

Women's 1500 meter Final
 1.  ÇAKIR-ALPTEKIN, Asli       TUR   4:05.31   
 2.  BULUT, Gamze               TUR   4:06.04   
 3.  MISHCHENKO, Anna           UKR   4:07.74   
 4.  GORBUNOVA, Yekaterina      RUS   4:08.63   
 5.  FERNÁNDEZ, Nuria           ESP   4:08.80  SB
 6.  SUJEW, Diana               GER   4:09.28   
 7.  CAPKOVÁ, Tereza            CZE   4:10.17   
 8.  KHALEYEVA, Kristina        RUS   4:10.26   
 9.  HARRER, Corinna            GER   4:10.38   
10.  MACÍAS, Isabel             ESP   4:11.12   
11.  MÅKESTAD BOVIM, Ingvill    NOR   4:13.32   
12.  MUNCAN, Marina             SRB   4:15.63