The Best of 2023 ⏱

Sponsored by New Balance

Lap 147: Sponsored by New Balance


The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix will be held on February 4, 2024 at The TRACK at New Balance, the state-of-the-art indoor track and field complex located across the street from New Balance's world headquarters in Brighton, Mass. Rest assured, the stars will be out as Gabby Thomas, Jake Wightman, and Noah Lyles have already been announced as starters. But that should come as no surprise – now in its 29th year, the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix has played host to nine world records and 16 American records. The 2023 edition was the first time the event was staged at The TRACK and the crowd was buzzing with excitement from start to finish. Come see what the type is all about!

The 2023 Annual Shareholders Letter 📩

You weekly scribe | Photo: Justin Britton

We have made it to another Christmas, and unfortunately from a writing standpoint, this one fell on a Monday. I don’t have too much to reflect on from a personal perspective. (Maybe I’ll  save that for the three-year anniversary in nine weeks time.) But the oldest sport in the world – according to some cave paintings – has survived another year. Ah, hell… not just survived… 2023 was a memorable one! Time is not everything – likes on Instagram are – but an unbelievable 18 world records were broken this year, a number so large that I have to list them out below or you might not believe me:

  • 400m Indoor - Femke Bol - 49.26

  • 1500m - Faith Kipyegon - 3:49.11

  • Mile - Faith Kipyegon - 4:07.64

  • 5000m - Gudaf Tsegay - 14:00.21

  • Road Mile - Diribe Welteji - 4:20.98

  • Marathon - Tigist Assefa - 2:11:53

  • 50K (Wo) - Emane Seifu - 3:00:30

  • 35K RW - Maria Pérez - 2:37:15

  • Pentathlon Indoor - Nafissatou Thiam - 5055

  • 2000m - Jakob Ingebrigtsen - 4:44.13

  • 3000m Indoor - Lamecha Girma - 7:23.81

  • 3000m Steeple - Lamecha Girma - 7:52.11

  • Pole Vault - Mondo Duplantis - 6.23m

  • Shot Put - Ryan Crouser - 23.56m

  • Road MIle - Hobbs Kessler - 3:56.13

  • Marathon - Kelvin Kiptum - 2:00:35

  • 100K - Aleksandr Sorokin - 6:05:35

  • Mixed 4x400 - USA - 3:08.80

(This is from the World Athletics certified events list.) 

That feels like a lot, and is probably a record in and of itself. At some point the recent updates to shoe technology will stabilize and every distance record will have been set using pacing lights and this gold rush will slow down. 

But for now, I’m still enjoying the onslaught despite it minimizing the personal bests of anyone whose career pre-dates the pandemic. The fact that now across brands there is pretty much an evening playing field, shoe-wise, is most important. Ideally the obsession with time is pacified and our focus can turn more towards winning. Have we reached Drew Carey levels of believing everything is made up and the points don't matter?

Speaking of winning, this past year was highlighted by a tremendously successful and entertaining World Championships in Budapest, which was universally praised as being one of the best in recent memory. And with 2023 being a banner year for global championships, and just about all the major players returning and presumably in even better form, then I see no reason why 2024 won’t be even more exciting – imagine something on the scale of a high school boy breaking four-minutes in the mile in the 1990s! 

If ever there was an opportunity for the sport of track and field to make good on its spectator sport potential, it would be a year that includes the World Indoor Championships, World Cross Country Championships, and the Olympics. The question of course is how do WE capitalize on it?

Unfortunately, I am not Seb Coe – I have zero Olympic medals and am not in charge of anything. (Just last week when trying to convince my two-year-old daughter to get in the bath, she told me that, “Laoise is boss.”) As fans, our individual impact might not be as impactful as what decisions are being made at the very top where the money is, but there are certain actions that we can collectively take that could help.

This call to arms isn’t unique to this year specifically, it’s something that you can always do to help the sport. Now just seems like a good time to remind everyone, while they’re making New Year’s resolutions that they won’t keep. (Like, you’re just making up a completely arbitrary number right now and saying you are going to run that many miles this year. Do you really think in April you’ll be thinking about that?) Anyway…

The thing I am begging you to do this coming year as a fan of track and field – assuming you even want to help :/ – is to vocalize that passion. Scream it loudly around the water cooler! Share your excitement and tell the story with any coworker who talks too much about sports betting. For the love of god: post about it! Your enthusiasm is contagious and can galvanize other sports fans to take an interest before they see the Olympic results on the morning news.

Pick favorites and cheer for them – and do the opposite too! Retweet good articles on your timeline. Leave comments on Instagram posts. Text your friends that the Diamond League race that you were telling them about is about to start. 

To enjoy this sport requires context and there is a tremendous barrier to entry that those of us who grew up in it likely do not realize. Help break down the walls for those trying to get in. 

And while a great race is fun to watch, it’s short-lived. The best part of being a fan of any sport is the conversation, the dialogue, and the debate. And the more people we have actively engaged in those discussions the more fun they will be. Be the change Stephen A. Smith you wish to see in the world… of track and field.

Part of the reason that I enjoy being a fan of this sport so much is because I am constantly talking about it with friends who feel similarly impassioned. And so as we finish up what was a fantastic year of track and field, I asked the team at CITIUS to help me recap it with some of their top highlights below. If you don’t have any friends who like this sport as much as you do, then you can borrow mine. But hopefully, by next year you have done your part to proselytize those in your life!

The Race of the Year 🏁

Photo: Justin Britton

For the second year in a row, the women’s finish at the New York City Marathon brought some of the most gripping, thrilling, and unpredictable miles of racing over any surface or any distance imaginable. While Hellen Obiri’s ultimate victory wasn’t crazy surprising – she’d won Boston earlier this year and is quickly becoming one of the biggest threats at a new distance after years of top-tier performance on the track – the late-race drama delivered. Watching Obiri, 10,000m world record holder Letesenbet Gidey, reigning champ Sharon Lokedi, and former marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei duking it out through Central Park was truly a clash of titans we won’t soon forget. David Melly

Throughout the World Championships in Budapest, I couldn’t stop getting excited for the women’s 100m final, and when it finally happened, it delivered. This race had all the major players and storylines. It was the ultimate exclamation point on a brilliant 2023 campaign for Sha’Carri Richardson. Her disbelief at the finish and the emotion that followed was contagious and even sent me, Kyle and Mac bolting out of the stadium chanting “USA! USA! USA!” No matter your personal feelings about Richardson, her winning was the best outcome for the sport. Chris Chavez

I would never call Josh Kerr an underdog, but I think a lot of people expected Jakob Ingebrigtsen or Yared Nuguse to win. Maybe I was too focused on the other 1500m heavy hitters, but Josh appeared to fly under the radar all season… until the bell lap of the 1500m final, where he took off and denied Jakob the world title. I’m pretty confident that my heart rate while watching in the stands was higher than anyone standing on the starting line, if that's any indication of how excited I was for this race. Jasmine Fehr

At the Paris Diamond League, we had the 1500m WR holder Faith Kipyegon matched up against the 5,000m WR holder Letesenbet Gidey – what more could you ask for? What made this race so special was that we were treated to both a world record chase and a legitimate race at the same time. With 200m to go, the record seemed like it may have been out of reach, until Faith started doing Faith things – like closing the last half lap in 28.1 seconds while running away from both Gidey and the world record pace lights. Owen Corbett

It has to be the World Championships men’s 1500m Final. That battle over the last 200m between Josh and Jakob was unforgettable! David McCarthy

Best race? No. The best competition! Katie Moon and Nina Kennedy went back and forth like a boxing match in the pole vault out in Budapest. Rarely do we get a tie for the gold medal but when we do, it’s like getting stoppage time in soccer. They both attempted seven heights to finally tie at the WL of 4.90, both probably just as exhausted as I was from holding my camera pointed towards the sky all night. Justin Britton

Sha’Carri’s iconic World Championship 100m title! After the scary yet speedy semi-final, it was truly a magical moment to witness her hard work over the years finally pay off. Jasmine Todd

It was a treat watching Josh Kerr be so intentional and open about training changes over the 2023 season to take home gold, especially while having to take down Jakob, who had a historically great outdoor season going into the World Championships. Mac Fleet

It wasn’t just that Faith Kipyegon won the Monaco Mile that made it my race of the year… although 4:07.64 is pretty good. It’s that in addition to Kipyegon’s incredible performance, SEVEN national records fell and 11 women ran personal bests. Me, Kyle Merber

Best Celebration 🎊

Photo: Justin Britton

The excitement from Gianmarco Tamberi after winning the high jump at Worlds. The steeple pit and all! David McCarthy

After so much drama around the Team USA Relay training camps, it was fun to see the obvious relief and joy from all eight team members of the men’s and women’s 4x100m while celebrating together on their victory laps. Mac Fleet

When Laulauga Tausaga won the women’s discus at the world championships, it was such a big upset. But not only that, she was the first woman from the USA to win a world championship in the discus and she celebrated accordingly. Jasmine Todd

Justice for Brody Buffington! He’s one of the few people who has paid the price for celebrating. The Catoctin High School (MD) senior was DQ’ed for celebrating across the finish line for the 300m final at the Maryland 1A West region meet and then again after he anchored his team to victory in the 4x200m relay at the MPSSAA State Championships. Never stop celebrating, Brody. Chris Chavez

Some athletes almost seem a little jaded after winning championship titles, but you could tell just how much the 800m win meant to Mary Moraa. She spent a good few minutes dancing and hopping around after crossing the finish line. She wins for the most genuine, wholesome post-race celebration. Jasmine Fehr

Because he’s been racing professionally for over two years, it’s easy to forget sometimes that 20-year-old Hobbs Kessler is still just a kid. And that was never more evident than in the pure joy he showed back in October after winning the road mile at the inaugural Road Running World Championships in world record fashion. Owen Corbett

Gianmarco Tamberi is the sport’s greatest showman and he takes the title for best celebration after becoming Italy’s first ever high jump world champ. I think he celebrated for more time than it took for the entire high jump competition to take place. Justin Britton

Mondo Duplantis’s world indoor record-setting 6.22m vault way back in February was particularly memorable not just for his ebullient celebration but for the atmosphere and excitement of the crowd at All-Star Perche, a meet co-founded by Duplantis’s mentor and fellow vaulter Renaud Lavillenie. Turns out that putting veteran athletes in charge of creating an incredible competition and fan experience is a good idea! David Melly

It warmed my cold dark heart to see Athing Mu so excited and enjoying the sport again as she set the American record winning the 800m at Pre. I just want the best runners in the world to be happy! Kyle Merber

Coach of the Year ⏱

Photo: Kevin Morris | @kevmofoto

Lance Brauman deserves a bunch of credit for his work in guiding Noah Lyles to three world championship gold medals. Throughout the season, Lyles said that Brauman’s been holding him back in practices and races. If he’s holding back and still running personal bests in the 60m (6.51) and 100m (9.83), then I’m excited for what 2024 could hold. Chris Chavez

It’s hard not to choose Dathan Ritzenhein. Most pro groups only have a couple of athletes that are relevant on the world stage, but Dathan’s group is almost entirely comprised of athletes that can compete on the highest level. OAC is one of the more recent pro groups that’s popped up in the U.S. and it has already established itself as one of the best teams in the world. Jasmine Fehr

You heard it all spring, “Coach Flo knows”. Floréal, in his fifth year leading the University of Texas, led the women to the program’s first outdoor team title since 2005. The Longhorns were built around superstar Julien Alfred, who this year alone won five NCAA titles and was a part of collegiate records in five different events. Add in Rhasidat Adeleke, Kevona Davis, Ackelia Smith and it’s an unbelievable group in Austin. Owen Corbett

Danny Mackey, just for how well Josh Kerr’s win at Worlds was planned, executed, and achieved. David McCarthy

Laurie Henes slots in as coach of the year for me. She led the NC State women to a 3-peat at the NCAA Cross Country Championships with one of their top runners injured (only announced the day prior) and another sick. To do that year after year is no small feat. Justin Britton

Dathan had a year to remember and a coaching range that few can match. Hellen Obiri to Yared Nuguse and everyone in-between? Come on. Mac Fleet

Dathan Ritzenhein has truly built something special with On Athletics Club in Boulder. It’s not often that a coach and team can produce an American record in the mile and a Boston Marathon champion in the same program, let alone in the same year. And on top of the stellar results produced by the OAC squad, they also seem to be particularly skilled at supporting each other, having fun, and producing one helluva podcast. David Melly

Ryan Crouser! I mean truly the man coaches himself, came up with a new technique and has broken the World Record in men’s shot put over and over. This was a tough pick with Arkansas’s Chris Johnson in a close second. Jasmine Todd

Can I have two? [Editor’s note: yes, you can, boss!] Given the fallout with their father and previous coach, Gjert, I am incredibly impressed by Henrik Ingebrigtsen stepping up to help guide Jakob to such a historic season, given such turmoil. This award should double as big brother of the year as well. And the other is Gemedu Dedefo who coaches the new marathon world record holder Tigist Assefa, the world champion Amane Beriso, and the NYC Marathon course record holder Tamirat Tola. Kyle Merber

Most Underrated Athlete 🗣

Photo: Johnny Zhang | @jzsnapz

I still don’t think enough people are talking about how good Olivia Markezich’s year was. She popped off at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, backed it up with a big personal best and fourth place finish at the U.S. Championships and then took third at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. She is a contender to win the U.S. Olympic Trials in the steeplechase, folks. Chris Chavez

Alicia Monson. She gets a decent amount of attention but not nearly enough for how good she is. Her 5000m American record of 14:19.45 is ridiculously fast. And her 30:03.82 10k?! That still blows my mind. She was also 5th in the 10,000m at Worlds where she doubled up with the 5000m. For all that she’s accomplished in the last year, Alicia deserves even more recognition. Jasmine Fehr

Yomif Kejelcha won just three of his nine races this year, but had five second place finishes, overshadowed by some historic performances. The Ethiopian missed the road 5k WR by a second (12:50), became the third fastest half marathoner in history (57:41), and earned a silver medal at the World Road Running championships. Owen Corbett

Although Matthew Hudson-Smith had a shaky start to the season, but despite the final at the World Championships being so stacked, he came out with a silver medal. Jasmine Todd

Nozomi Tanaka is my most underrated athlete (no need to keep reading if you’re a big fan of Japanese running, as she is not underrated to you) as she is sneakily strong in many events. Tanaka is only 24 and has run 3:59, 8:40 and 14:29 while already holding 6 Japanese NRs. She is never intimidated by the favorites and will put herself in the front of the race. Justin Britton

Gudaf Tsegay has three World titles, the world record in the 5000m, and personal bests ranging from 1:57 at 800m to 29:29 at 10,000m. She just also happens to have the unfortunate timing of competing at the same time as megastars like Faith Kipyegon, Sifan Hassan, and Letesenbet Gidey. And while she’s probably one of the biggest names to Ethiopian track fans, she’s never quite reached the level of international recognition and fandom that she deserves. Maybe an Olympic gold added to her resume next year will help right that wrong. David Melly

The fact that WA decided to expand the Athlete of the Year award to three athletes during one of, if not the most dominant individual season of all time is criminal to the celebration of Faith’s 2023 greatness. In an era of always trying to proclaim who is going to be the next great in athletics, we should take a breath and enjoy Faith’s once in a lifetime performances, because she is the GOAT. Mac Fleet

Depending who you ask, maybe Luis Grijalva is not underrated, but he’s my dark horse for 2024! David McCarthy

We don’t value longevity or consistency enough in this sport and for that reason I just want to appreciate Sam Prakel’s great year. He won two US Indoor titles, one on the roads, and had his highest finish of 4th in what was his sixth straight US Outdoor final, and then got bronze at the World Road Running Championships. Sam is only 29 but has now broken four minutes for eight straight seasons. Kyle Merber

Most Improved Athlete 📈

Two years ago Yared Nuguse was one of the most inconsistent runners in the US, flip flopping between unreal highs and frustrating lows. Now Yared has seemingly eliminated ALL of his poor performances and every time he steps on a starting line fans are expecting something special. He quickly became the heavy favorite in the US after setting American Records in both the indoor 3000m and mile. During his first global outdoor final he finished 5th in a truly stacked race and followed that up with an incredible outdoor mile American Record at the Pre Classic. Mac Fleet

Narve Gilje Nordås came into the 2023 season as a relative unknown. The 25-year-old Norwegian had never made a global final, and never finished higher than eighth in a Diamond League race. He entered the season with a 3:36.23 personal best and then proceeded to run under that mark nine different times, lowering it by nearly seven seconds and earning a bronze medal. Owen Corbett and David McCarthy

How do you measure improvement? Personal bests! In 2023, Anna Hall set personal bests: four times in the 60m hurdles (8.04); three times in the 100m hurdles (12.75); once in the 200m (22.88); three times in the 400m (50.82); twice in the 400m hurdles (54.42); once in the 800m (2:02.97); three times in the high jump (1.92m); twice in the long jump (6.61m); five times in the shot put (14.54m); once in the pentathlon (5004 point total and an American record) and once in the heptathlon (6988 point total and No. 2 on the U.S. all-time list.) That’s a total of 26 times! Chris Chavez

Graham Blanks popped off this year! I know he’s received a ton of attention recently but it’s all well-deserved. He’s always been solid but was never a top pick for NCAA titles or records until this year. Winning the NCAA Cross Country Championships to cap off an undefeated cross season and then running 13:03.72 to set the 5000m collegiate record two weeks after is just nuts. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if he dips under 13 minutes for the 5000m in 2024. Jasmine Fehr

Can an athlete count as most improved if it’s their first year in a new event? Either way, I’m choosing rookie steeplechaser, Geordie Beamish, as my pick for most improved in 2023. This was the first year that the long haired Kiwi gave a crack at the 3000m barrier filled event and came away with a PB of 8:13 and a 5th place at the World Champs. (so close for top 3!). Chapeau, Geordie. Justin Britton

When it comes to taking huge strides forward when it matters most, no one had a better year than Laulauga “Lagi” Tausaga-Collins. The American discus thrower entered the year with a 64.49m personal best, which she improved by nearly a full meter at USAs to hit the qualifying standard and make her second World team in a row. Then once she got to Budapest, she launched an incredible 69.49m haul in the fifth round of the women’s discus final to win her first World title. David Melly

Cravont Charleston went from never making an NCAA or US final to being the national champion at 100m. None of y’all knew his name coming into the meet! Kyle Merber

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Best Social Media Game 📲

I’ve gotta commend Noah Lyles’ continued efforts on YouTube to give fans a behind-the-scenes look into the world champion’s training and personal life. He said that the channel was good enough to show NBC that there is interest in his story and they picked up the documentary series on him. Chris Chavez

Anna Hall has quickly become one of my favorite follows with a fantastic mix of humor, honesty, and an inside look at her unique training. One of the fast-rising greats both on and off the track! David Melly

Nikki Hiltz’s IG is the perfect blend of serious posts that come from the heart and silly content that cracks you up. Their running content is great too, of course, but Nikki uses their platform to advocate for important issues beyond running and I respect that immensely. Jasmine Fehr

Noah Lyles is consistent and he understands that a social media presence will help elevate our sport. His meet day walk-ins are on point. Jasmine Todd

Does Strava count as social media? Of course it does! And in that case, a clear choice is Keira D’Amato. While scrolling through your friends' workouts and long runs that make you jealous of what kind of shape they are in, Keira’s one-liners always provide a chuckle. Owen Corbett

I have been on many runs with friends where a Fred Kerley tweet is the topic of conversation. Justin Britton

Yes this is a meme account, but @nocontextxctrack gets what makes this sport so entertaining to so many of us fans and participants. Mac Fleet and David McCarthy

I probably talk about CJ Albertson’s Strava more than anything else. Though I should mention if you like @nocontextxctrack then you should also follow @heapsgoodrunners. Kyle Merber

Wish for 2024 🧞‍♂️

Photo: @unionathleticsclub

More pre and post game shows at big meets. We aspire to be like a lot of the mainstream sports like the NFL, FIFA, NBA, F1, etc. I would love to see more hype and storytelling leading into the races of our bigger meets outside of World Championships and Olympic Games. Let’s get the people hyped and invested. Jasmine Todd

Let’s hope the contracts keep growing! Jasmine Fehr

Give me a full healthy season and comeback from Donavan Brazier in 2024. Chris Chavez

There are no more rabbits or pace lights. Both make the sport so uninteresting. I hate them. They’re a lazy crutch for production and commentators and I’d love if we could stop having disappointed commentary WHILE an athlete is winning a race because they didn’t set an intergalactic record – "AND THEY COME UP JUST SHY OF....." as an athlete is WINNING a Diamond League. The point of a race is to win first and foremost, I wish we'd convey that to fans. Mac Fleet

To cover Diamond Leagues for CITIUS again 😊 David McCarthy

I’m asking Sifan Hassan to become the first woman to medal in both the 10,000m and the marathon at the same Olympics. Owen Corbett

I love cross country most of all and I can’t wait for the World XC Championships to take place in Serbia. My wish is that every country sends their best XC runners to slop it up under the Balkan sun. I expect the Americans to tweet about “how come this course isn’t pancake flat!!”. Justin Britton

I wish I could understand how to qualify for the Olympics/World Champs. Dana Giordano

Whether or not it’s organized by Sha’Carri Richardson, who admirably used her platform this year to speak up about a wide range of athlete issues, the need for U.S. track and field professionals to gain more collective bargaining power is dire and long overdue. It may be a long shot, but in 2024 it would be fantastic to see a little more organizing success by our hard-working athletes to join the other major professional sports in supporting a thriving players’ union. David Melly

Give me a new shoe company going hard in the marketing game. A few years ago it was HOKA, the past couple of years it’s been On. Who is the next new kid on the block? Kyle Merber

Best Photograph 📸

Photo: Johnny Zhang | @jzsnapz

Nikki crossing the finish line at USAs by Johnny. Chris Chavez

The infamous Kenny Bednarek and Letsile Tebogo fist bump caught by Johnny Zhang. It was such a cool image of sportsmanship and the friendships that are produced in this sport. Jasmine Todd

Watching every woman that Kipyegon pulled to a fast time during her record breaking run celebrate with her on the track was a prime example of why we love track and field. Owen Corbett

The 1500m finish line at USAs taken by Justin Britton is unforgettable. Triumph and glory contrasted with defeat and disappointment. Jasmine Fehr

My favorite photo that I shot is this photo of Jazmin Sawyers from the European Indoor Championships. Pretty often I tell people that being at a finish line doesn’t always keep your creative juices flowing but what it does do is allow you to capture the raw emotions (highs and lows) of what happens the second anyone crosses the finish line, or in this case, exits the pit and sees the white flag. Jazmine hit the 7m mark for the first time ever, won the gold medal and set a British NR. I am so glad to have captured the shock on her face. Justin Britton

Johnny captured the passion of the Italian faithful with their high jumping hero. One can dream about US fans being this passionate at a track meet. Mac Fleet

The downpour at the British national championships by James Rhodes. Kyle Merber

BOLD Prediction for 2024 😳

Photo: Johnny Pace | @pacephoto

Neither Eliud Kipchoge nor Kelvin Kiptum will win the Olympic marathon in Paris. Cam Levins for the win. Chris Chavez

Yared Nuguse continues his improvements to win the 1500m at the Olympics. Jasmine Fehr

I’m not rooting against the guy, but it’s a basic rule of marathoning that everyone has a bad race here and there. Even though Kelvin Kiptum seems to be breaking all the rules of marathoning, I think we eventually see it at either Rotterdam or the Olympics. Owen Corbett

Eliud Kipchoge won’t get a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Justin Britton

Both the women’s 100m and 200m world records go down in 2024. David Melly

Elaine Thompson-Herah breaks the 100m world record. She is back and looks to be top form! With the help of Sharika Jackson, Sha’Carri Richardson, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, I think they will give her the push she needs. Jasmine Todd

Elle Purrier St. Pierre will be the top American in the Paris Women’s 1500m. She’s all the way back. The rest of the Trials 1500m field better saddle up, cause we’re going way under four-minutes in the finals. Mac Fleet

Femke Bol beats Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone over 400m hurdles and maybe breaks the world record! David McCarthy

Britton Wilson Olympic Gold in the flat 400m. And Joe Waskom medals in a tactical Olympic 1500m final. Kyle Merber

Biggest Controversy 🛂

Photo: Johnny Zhang | @jzsnapz

Max Siegel’s five-year contract renewal essentially locks in the executive’s leadership through the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, a key inflection point for the growth of the sport. Particularly given the 81% increase in USATF member dues since 2021 and the fact that many readers are themselves members, you should pay attention to where your money goes. David Melly

What time of day is best to run a marathon in Florida during the month of February? I’d toss money out there that the conditions will still be better than what it was like at the 2016 Trials. Justin Britton

I’m still not quite sure what exactly happened at Team USA’s relay camp. Chris Chavez

Lyles going after other sports for calling their year-end winners “World Champions.” The firestorm of a response certainly made it the biggest controversy of the year in terms of extending beyond just the track world. Owen Corbett

Max Siegel getting his contract renewed. I’m not even American and this STILL fires me up. If athletes were provided with ample resources, maybe his outrageous salary wouldn’t bother me as much – but the fact that many pro runners have to take on second jobs to fund necessary expenses makes this upsetting. Jasmine Fehr

So many athletes leaving the Bowerman Track Club. David McCarthy

Call this recency bias but I really did not love World Athletics giving athlete of the year to multiple people. Our sport has a major issue with trying to be something for everybody instead of doubling down on the track nerds who love and cherish it. In the future, fewer awards for all. There is a reason why the Olympic gold still holds so much clout…. Dana Giordano

There were so many! The fact that Ryan Crouser broke the indoor world record in the shot put and then it didn’t get ratified. Everyone was getting mad that two pole vaulters shared a gold medal. Tyreek Hill ran a Masters race. It still feels like we don’t really know what happened with Issam Asinga. The banter when Marcell Jacobs pulled out of a race. Tara Davis vs. Quanesha Burks. What a year. Kyle Merber

Favorite CITIUS Moment/Interview 🎤

Doing the Jakob Ingebrigtsen interview after his two mile world record at Paris Diamond League. David McCarthy

The one that sticks out to me immediately was after Drew Bosley set the NCAA 3000m record at BU in January in this interview with David Melly when asked about his mustache. Justin Britton

I’m still thinking about David Rudisha’s best-ever workout that he shared when he sat down with me and Kyle in Budapest. Chris Chavez

Karsten Warholm slapping David McCarthy needs to be hyped up more! I love when athletes show their personalities in interviews rather than take themselves too seriously. I’m not sure if Karsten slapping David constitutes “showing his personality,” but it was hilarious either way. Jasmine Fehr

Back in March, Hannah Borenstein enriched listeners of the CITIUS MAG podcast with the untold stories of Ethiopian women, who are quickly becoming one of the most dominant forces in the sport. Owen Corbett

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone quickly correcting Chris’s pronunciation of her name in a rare interview at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix was certainly a personal favorite. And the rest of the interview is great as well! David Melly

Hosting New Balance Indoor Nationals. Not only was it an honor to commentate for the live stream, but being able to interact with the audience and hype the high schoolers up. That same energy is what I want to see in elite track and field! New Balance is onto something. Jasmine Todd

The conversation I had with Marvin Bracy earlier in the year about contract negotiations was fascinating and gave some great insight into the process for fans. But from a personal standpoint, it’s so cool how many CITIUS followers were coming to our group runs this year! Kyle Merber

Rapid Fire Highlights 🔥

  • Eliud Kipchoge and Siffan Hassan have been announced to this year’s Tokyo Marathon field. I wish Kipchoge was returning to Boston for some redemption, but this admittedly is the safer plan with the Olympics on the horizon. I have a feeling Hassan will be the first to win all the Majors…

  • Maurine Chepkemoi, who holds a marathon personal best of 2:20:18, has been suspended for three years for the use of EPO, to which she admitted. If I were to do drugs in 2023, it feels like I’d try one that is less obviously an attempt to cheat.

  • Jake Wightman returned to action to beat up on a bunch of locals trying to enjoy their holiday break at the Park Run in Bushy Park, running 14:52. Meanwhile, Ciara Mageean set a new Park Run world record of 15:13. For Americans, Park Run is a weekly 5K series hosted around the UK. And for fans of Blur, it’s a fun phrase to say in the style of “Parklife.”

  • Hellen Obiri and Galen Rupp will be competing at the Houston Half Marathon on January 14th. We’ve seen Obiri run well in tactical races but she should be able to rip something fast here! And if Rupp runs faster than 60:47 then his ranking may unlock a third Olympic spot for Team USA.

  • Not sure if this is an official announcement, but this sexy hype video seems to indicate that Cooper Teare is joining Cole Hocker in Blacksburg to be coached by Ben Thomas.

  • The 800m 2017 World Champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse has announced his retirement. Never forget when he apologized to his cat for finishing 4th in Rio!

  • Katie Izzo won the Zaragoza XC race in Spain, and earned 1150 points. She is now ranked 11th in the world with top 8 getting Olympic standards. Three athletes ahead of her will lose their ranking by selection, though with World XC on the horizon and a few gold labels left she will have to race again to secure her spot. She is currently in the Road to Paris quota as it seems that countries with three already qualified (Kenya and Ethiopia) will not be considered for the XC spots.

Thank you so much to New Balance for sponsoring this week’s newsletter! With winter here, the snow will soon follow. Well, it depends on where you live, maybe you already have it. Get yourself a pair of the NB Fresh Foam X More Trail v3 to be prepared for those treacherous traditions. If you’re a tough guy like myself who refuses to run on treadmills, then you’ll need them to stay on your feet.