No more fouls?⏱

Sponsored by New Balance

Lap 155: Sponsored by New Balance

The 2024 New Balance Nationals Indoor track & field championships will return to Boston from March 7 – March 10. The best athletes in high school track & field will compete at the TRACK at New Balance and the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center. One athlete who will be there competing is the 2023 outdoor 2-mile champion, Daniel Simmons of American Fork in Utah. We caught up with him following his big performance in Idaho this past weekend.

Congratulations on the 8:48 at the Simplot Games 3200 this past weekend! In addition to breaking your own record, I saw the altitude conversion is 8:33. How are you feeling about the race?

I'd say it's more like an 8:36, but I loved it. It was a really well-executed race, hitting the splits that I wanted to and coming back from sickness. I think it showed the strength – outside of actual training – that plays a role in helping my mind to be ready and sharp to take care of business.

Did you know that you were that ready to rip coming in? Was there a particular workout that indicated you were ready to take a chance?

We did a workout on the Monday before the weekend, which was just 3 × 600 and 3 × 300. Just a little tuneup hitting the 600s in 72 down to 70s. I hadn't been able to do any workouts the week before, so the 300 is what really gave me confidence, because my coach wanted them at mile pace and I just felt strong and smooth running 45s and 46s. Then in the prelim on Thursday it gave me confidence to hold back for the first 14 laps before closing in 59 or 60.

We're only a few weeks away from New Balance Nationals. Have you decided to commit to the 5000m?

Yeah, I think for sure I’ll do the 5000m. I’ll be running the 4 x Mile earlier in the weekend with my team.

So 13:56 is the high school record and that mark seems within reach. Are we calling this a record attempt?

I would say yes. I'm definitely going for the record and hopefully well beneath it. Well, a few seconds is “well beneath” it, right? I just feel like my strength is still returning to me and running 8:48 is proving that.

Now that you're a New Balance athlete, what's been the coolest experience of that partnership?

It's so crazy when the big boxes of shoes and clothing come to your house. It's just really exciting! That’s been a really fun and exciting experience. But my favorite experience was the first weekend when I knew it was official and ready to sign the contract and stuff. They took us out to the headquarters, and my dad and I were able to see the facility, try out all of the equipment in the lab and just have that personal touch that they’re investing in my career. It’s been pretty special.

If you could go for a run with any New Balance pro, who would it be?

I would probably say Jake Wightman. His 1500 meters at Worlds was one of the most exciting races and I would want to hear about what was going through his head as that happened. 

US Indoor Championships: Let the record show 🇺🇸

Photo: Johnny Pace | @pacephoto

I’d imagine that turning up uninitiated to a US Indoor Championship can feel a bit like walking into your freshman dorm room for the first time and meeting your randomly assigned roommate. The excitement is palpable, but you never know who might show up.

Thankfully, like my own roommate experience back in 2008 – shout out, Andy! – this year’s US Indoors were fantastic. That’s because the stakes were high: two spots per event, for next month’s World Indoor Championships in Glasgow were on the line. Okay… technically, not every event… sorry weight throw! But don’t let that diminish Daniel Haugh’s world record-setting, 26.35m toss.

Speaking of records and personal bests, there were plenty to be had for anyone who wasn’t running further than 800 meters. Downtown Albuquerque sits a bit above 5,000 feet and the altitude makes it a touch easier to sprint, jump, and throw, but a bit more difficult to run for more than two minutes. I feel like a Debbie Downer for even mentioning all that, because ultimately it’s fun when records are broken! But I know many of you read this newsletter for my occasional mentions of things like weather and altitude, so here we are.

After running 7.32 seconds to win in Liéven last week, it was obvious that Grant Holloway’s previous world record of 7.29 was under threat. And it didn’t take long – which is often the case with records – for him to knock another two-hundredths off, when he went 7.27 in the prelims in Albuquerque. This was his 60th straight win in the 60m hurdles, extending a win streak that goes back a decade.

Because Holloway had a bye to Glasgow given his defending champion status, he passed on the final – something he has done before. I know there was some grumbling about this decision, but really… can you blame him? The risk of getting hurt or losing isn’t worth the $6,000 in prize money, or as I like to contextualize it, “10 weeks of daycare.” I just wish that the next time an athlete fairly opts out of a final they don’t need to contest, they say something about the lack of financial incentive, just to apply some additional pressure to up the prize purse. For unsponsored athletes like Allie Wilson (800) and Brian Faust (400), that money might go a long way. It just doesn’t move the needle for a dude who hasn’t lost in ten years.

Meanwhile, the last time we saw Tia Jones in action, she had just been beaten by Devynne Charlton at Millrose, as the Bahamian broke the world record in the 60m hurdles. Well, at USAs, Tia matched that WR time – 7.67 –and continued her tremendous indoor season. It’s hard to believe this will be her first global championship putting on the Team USA uniform. We Americans do have the good fortune of being born into the nation with the most extensive cereal selection in the world, and we also enjoy an abundance of riches when it comes to the hurdles. That’s good news for us fans, but leads to some devastating breaks for serious medal contenders when it comes time to name a three-woman squad. Case in point: Jones finished 5th in the last two US 100m hurdles championships, despite having run 12.38 for the distance. That’s #20 all-time!

Aren’t these great performances worth the small price of the 3000m being won by Yared Nuguse and Elle St. Pierre in 7:55.76 and 8:54.40, respectively?

As regular readers of this newsletter know, the intent of this thing isn’t really to regurgitate the results to races that you watched. If you’d like a more in-depth recap of US Indoors then I’d suggest this piece and for similar future previews/recaps then subscribe to the Citius Mag newsletter HERE

But if you want my off-the-cuff reaction, then I’d say Cole Hocker is the favorite to win Worlds, Ryan Crouser is still very big and strong, Nikki Hiltz is still fast, Bryce Hoppel is consistent, and Tara Davis-Woodhall did not get worse at jumping since last week.

MEMBERS ONLY: How to easily increase viewership 📺

Photo: Johnny Pace | @pacephoto

On Friday night, the US Indoor Championships were not on NBC. They weren’t on Peacock. And buddy, if you think they were even on an NBC-owned network like Bravo, Telemundo, or USA, then I’ve got a bridge to sell ya.

No, despite this being a World Championship qualifier in the middle of a damn Olympic year, the meet was streamed on, behind a paywall. If Gabby Thomas and Trayvon Bromell can’t figure out where and how to watch this meet, then anyone who succeeded in watching the action on their laptop might as well be Neo from The Matrix, mainlining the internet via tube shunted into their noggin.

There are enough barriers to entry to becoming a track fan as is. There are too many events, a million meets, a confusing ranking system, and a lack of establishment media coverage that all combine to make it really, really tough to follow. And unless you live in Eugene, there is rarely more than a single local professional meet in your area each year. 

The way to grow the sport is to make it more accessible, which right now it is not.

We don’t know how many fans watched the meet live on Friday or Saturday night, but because that info hasn’t been published, let’s assume it was small. 

I understand that RunnerSpace, as a business, provides a service, and charges $12.99 per month or $119.98 per year for access to streams for tons of meets that would not otherwise be viewable. I also know that when most partners work with RunnerSpace to stream an event, there is an option to remove the paywall by paying a premium upfront. Why is USATF not subsidizing track fandom? From USATF’s perspective – whose mission statement is quite literally about driving popular engagement in the sport – this is a huge missed opportunity. And it’s so short-sighted. If more people tuned in to watch these supposedly major events, then the potential sponsorship dollars would far outweigh any amount of revenue brought in from having a paywall.

A frequently tossed around idea that I really like is that access to should be included in USATF’s membership plan. Currently, an individual annual membership now costs $55 and includes a 10% discount on streaming.

I am not currently a USATF member because as someone who is no longer competing there is minimal benefit in me being one, and that’s a shame. While the sport continues to flourish with school-aged athletes, we struggle to maintain their interest beyond their days competing. Membership is a huge potential unlock and having access to emails and phone numbers of hundreds of thousands of potential fans would be infinitely valuable to anyone who has ever worked in basic CRM.

Here is the roadmap to use membership to increase viewership:

  • Require USATF membership to participate in USATF events. (We already do this!)

  • Include in every membership.

  • Ping members when MAJOR events are happening, encouraging them to tune in.

  • Sell-in even more valuable member-only deals available from major USATF sponsors. (The more people that sponsors can be in front of, the more valuable the package.)

Like a venture-backed tech company, sometimes you have to spend some money to acquire customers before they are eventually monetized. In the short term it might be more profitable to squeeze every bit of cash out of diehard fans and create animosity in the process, but the long-term benefit of having more people tune-in will pay for itself — via Saudi investment?!


I though Femke Bol was supposed to be a hurdler. Then why has she run under 50 seconds in the 400 meters on nine separate occasions? Six of which were indoors. This weekend at the Dutch National Championships she did it again breaking her own world record running 49.24. The 23 year old, whose birthday is Friday, lost the 2022 World Indoor Championships to Shaunae MIller-Uibo. To win it this time, she’ll have an opportunity to get revenge on the US 400m champion, Alexi Holmes. Revenge is too strong of a word — redemption?

Is Tebogo the biggest threat to Lyles? 🇧🇼

It’s not the hottest take to suggest that the 20-year-old, who earned two medals at last year’s World Championships, would be the biggest threat to upend Noah Lyles’ 200m dominance. But after Letsile Tebogo set a new world record of 30.69 seconds for 300m, besting Wade van Niekerk’s previous mark of 30.81, it feels less like a thought experiment.

One year ago, the Motswana star ran 31.52 at the same meet and last summer ran 44.75 for 400m. He’s getting stronger! Tebogo has always had a great start, if you can recall his 9.91 U20 record that was mostly just a celebration. Now he’s extending his ability to hold that.

At last year’s London Diamond League, Tebogo really made up ground in the final strides. It was a rare occasion in which someone actually closed the gap on Lyles in the final meters. Noah understandably is working on his former weakness, too, and his 60m is now down to 6.43 seconds. IF someone were to beat Noah over 200m, is it possible that they’d do it at his own game, coming from behind to nip him at the line? Fight fire with fire, and all that?

Van Niekerk and Michael Johnson are the next two on the all-time 300m list and neither of them ran particularly strong over 200m the year they blazed their way to 300m glory. Maybe more likely is the fact that I am overanalyzing the value of a random event that no one ever runs.

In partnership with OLIPOP

If there is one thing you can always count on when seeing CITIUS MAG covering track and field, it’s that we’ll be drinking OLIPOP while doing so! The runner’s soda that supports digestive health pairs well with finish-line leans and new personal bests. And there is no better way to support our content than supporting the sponsors who make it all possible! 🙂 

A Modest Proposal: Jump From Anywhere

Photo: Johnny Pace | @pacephoto

The rules for the long jump are among the simplest in all of sports. I’d hesitate to even use the plural form of rules because it is really just one rule: see how far you can jump from HERE. Well, World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon has shared that this beautifully straightforward event may be getting a more dumbed-down revamp soon.

The hinted at update is that rather than having a line or board that athletes must take off behind, there would instead be a legal zone. The jump would be measured from where the athlete took off, not from the board itself. The end results? Fewer fouls called than when Tim Donaghy took the under.

If your immediate reaction is, “Kyle… that means every jump will be way further!” then yes, that is true, and it’s another potential hangup. The event has been in the Olympics since 1896 (and 1948 for women) and if we have learned anything from the way old people have reacted to the super shoes, they will not like their records being broken this way.

At last year’s World Championships, a full third of all contested jumps were ultimately ruled a foul. This is obviously because of the rule that was implemented in 2023 where they put a laser at the edge of the board and if anything was sensed crossing the plane then it’d be deemed a foul. This was a constant issue because athletes were planting on the board, but then their toes were rolling over in launch.

This big new idea therefore seems like a massive overcorrection. How about we just get rid of the stupid laser? And while we’re at it, make the boards less slippery? (I just watched an INSANE video of someone slipping and hyperextending their knee, but I squealed so loudly that I could not in good faith link to it in this newsletter. Instead, I went with Carey McLeod flying. For you psychos who grew up watching LiveLeak videos, you can go find it yourselves.)

Since World Athletics would never just add a new system of doing things on the biggest stage without testing it first (besides the repechage heats at the Olympics), there will be some local and lower-level guinea pigs to tell us how it goes. The irony is that the new technology that will be implemented to make this measurement system possible will likely be prohibitively expensive at the grass root level of the sport. Kids will be learning to jump under one system, only to learn something different if they make it as a high-level collegian or professional, where meet hosts can afford the measuring system.

The long jump is not simply about jumping the furthest. There is an element of precision, and adjustments that are made throughout the competition are a key part of it. There is a story to be told about how aggressive or conservative athletes are taking each approach, depending on where they are positioned in the field. This proposal suggests that rather than leaning into those decisions to make it more interesting to viewers, the head honchos would prefer that element be eliminated entirely.

Now while I appreciate World Athletics’ willingness to test, reevaluate, and consider different approaches to the sport, unfortunately they overstepped the board here. The issue is quite clearly with the presentation. That’s partially because there are way too many events. Take a look at this screen shot of the split screen at the US Indoor Championships. If you are a long jump fan, then it’s better than not watching the long jump at all… I think. But there’s no opportunity to dig into the plot of the competition in that format.

If the goal is to make the long jump more interesting for viewers, then get rid of the pole vault and 800m entirely, or at least don’t try to broadcast them all at the same time. Give the microphone to two athletes or coaches that know the event exceptionally well, and let them discuss launch angles, toe placement, runway speed, and more nuances, using statcast technology like you would in a game of baseball. The best example of this was Holly Bradshaw at the Mondo Classic in 2023.

If fouling really is an issue that World Athletics seeks to fix, and they are unwilling to get rid of the lasers or narrow the sport down to the 10 most popular events (KYLE’S CONTROVERSIAL OPINION ALERT), then how about having fouls shift toward a penalty? Imagine if there is a second line, six inches beyond the board. If you take off past the legal mark, but still from within that zone, then one full foot is deducted from the jumps final length. Make a little gray area!

No one is going to break any records that way, but it’s still a legal jump. I’ve never understood the resistance of track and field to penalize athletes rather than throwing them out entirely. Think of the drama at Worlds in 2011 if rather than being disqualified, Usain Bolt was forced to start five meters back in the 100m and make up that deficit. This WA proposal is like suggesting that the sport does away with reaction times and every athlete starts whenever they’d like. This ain’t the NFL combine!

Rapid Fire Highlights 🔥

  • Grant Fisher ran 12:51.81 to narrowly miss the American 5000m record, despite running solo for the final 3K of the race. If you’re wondering why he did this rather than US Indoors, it’s because his focus is on getting the 10,000m standard and therefore he had no intent in actually running at World Indoors if qualified. A fair and unfortunate downside to the ambitious 27:00 standard.

  • Ethiopia’s Deresa Geleta (2:03:27) and Azmera Gebru (2:22:13) won the Seville Marathon as five new spots for the Olympics were unlocked by men who broke 2:08:10. Lenny Korir is now ranked 70th and needs to remain in the top 80.

  • Just days after receiving a provisional suspension for whereabouts failure from the AIU, Mo Katir has accepted a two year ban. If you read through the reasoning for each of the missed tests there’s a lot of “the dog ate my homework” vibes.

  • Jakob Ingebrigtsen continues to give absolute fire quotes to the media about his Scottish rivals, noting not only was he not scared of Josh Kerr’s 2-mile record, but that he would have beaten him blindfolded.

  • Josh Kerr has committed to running the 3000m at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow. This news is “Carmelo returns to New York” level big, if you’re… well, me.

  • It was DMR qualifying weekend in the NCAA! The University of Washington women broke their own collegiate record, running 10:43.39 with a squad that didn’t even include Sophie O’Sullivan, who has run 4:02 for 1500m. Meanwhile, the Northern Arizona men are the top seed at 9:17.43, but notably the 12th cut-off spot of 9:24.22 by Iowa State is now faster than what was fairly recently the NCAA record, set by Oregon in 2020. (Cue: “The shoes!")

  • Drew Griffith ran faster than Ed Cheserek’s high school 2-mile record, going 8:38.67 at Notre Dame where he will be training next year. Unfortunately it won’t be official to the record books because it is an oversized track or as I like to call it “not short enough short track.”

  • Elizabeth Leechman of Boerne, Texas’s Champion High school – seriously, that’s what the school’s called. It’s named for a guy whose last name was Champion; they happen to have won the boys’ NXN title in 2009, too. This is too long of an aside to be considered an aside now. ANYWAY. Elizabeth – ran 9:43.74 to break her own outdoor national 3200m record. Technically, Mary Cain’s indoor 2-mile of 9:38.68 is faster, though she was a professional at the time. It’s weird how in college if you go pro then you can’t get college records, but in high school if you go pro then you can still get high school records. 

  • Speaking of Mary, according to her World Athletics profile she is now eligible to represent Ireland. I heard that rumor from some of the lads while on a run over Christmas, but didn’t think much of it then since it had been a few years since she last raced on the track. Comeback brewing?!?

  • You have to watch this 1500m finish between Nick Griggs and Cathal Doyle from the Irish Championships.

  • And if we needed further validation that there is nothing better in track and field than championship 1500m running, then check out the British 1500m finish. Don’t worry, Adam Fogg is still going to Worlds, where he will certainly hug the rail and his loved ones closely!

  • The Maurie Plant Meet in Melbourne had some great performances, but the best way to experience it is probably through this Jake Wightman vlog. And while we are plugging athletes’ YouTube channels, Marco Arop deserves way more love for his content.

Thanks so much to New Balance for sponsoring this week’s newsletter! I was hoping to have a full review of the FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4s that I got in the mail last week, but I went skiing this weekend and have only had the pleasure of bouncing around in the house with them. Stay tuned!

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