Queen of Millionaire's Row⏱

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The 5th Avenue Mile 🍎

For reasons I can only assume are related to New York City’s current municipal staffing shortages, the stretch of 5th Avenue from 80th to 60th Streets has not been renamed “Wee Scotland.” Nevertheless…

There’s only one way to tie a bow on the 2022 track and field season — with a road race! The beautiful tradition of the 5th Avenue Mile is that after a year of butting heads against one another, athletes can show up in one of the least stressful race settings they’d hope to find and enjoy a good old-fashioned foot race.

With the finish-line appearing like a mirage in the distance with a half mile to go, even more so than on the track, the event caters to true racers. The people who don’t need splits or lines on the track thrive. Here, more than almost anywhere else, it’s only about beating the people next to you — there is no consolation prize of a personal best when you lose.

There is a clock, but it doesn’t really matter what it says unless it’s quite fast. Which, in the case of Laura Muir's course record of 4:14.8, it was. So I suppose in this instance the clock does matter. (Sorry for contradicting myself.) But finishing anywhere between 4th and 20th here might as well be the same thing because the depth chart is quite forgettable.

It was also a great day for Nikki Hiltz, who finished second to wrap up a fantastic summer racing domestically, picking up lots of momentum, cash, and wins along the way. And not far behind them was Eleanor Fulton, a fan-favorite here at The Lap Count, who continued her ascent as a world-class athlete despite a lack of sponsorship, a full-time job, and a remote coach. Fulton ran personal bests for every distance she competed in this year, 800 all the way up to 5,000m.

And as we move onto the men’s race, let me reiterate that the clock doesn’t matter —, oh wait… apparently Jake Wightman’s winning time was 3:49.6, and if I may contradict myself some more, this was the deepest mile field ever assembled: the entire field of 21 men broke four minutes!

In second place was the Welshman Jake Heyward, in what will be his (or anyone’s) final race in an Oregon Track Club Elite uniform. This is a tragedy for two major reasons. It’s such a beautiful design with an iconic history behind it. But perhaps more significantly, the team will not be continuing in its current capacity. Both Heyward and Will Paulson are following coach Mark Rowland to Victoria, Canada.

(Watch many of our athlete interviews from the weekend.)

As a thank you for the access and interviews all year long, the CITIUS MAG team then threw a proper after party for the athletes in Midtown, since Coogan’s is gone forever. Despite their best collective efforts, the assembled lightweights could not rack up a big enough tab to completely bankrupt us. But maybe it’s still a good idea for me to link to our Patreon and remind brands of the sponsorship opportunities so we can financially recover before next year…

Zurich Diamond League Final 💎

World Athletics must have misunderstood me when I went off earlier about my affinity for ending seasons on the road because this is not what I meant! The Zurich Diamond League once again opened up day one of competition by inviting athletes to the city square and its temporary, accursed makeshift 563m track. Since this was far from the standard playing field for a major 5000m, the times and points are awarded as if it were a road race, which is akin to the World Series being played on a football field. Maybe it’d be fun in an exhibition, but this is supposed to be a championship!

The lumpy, holding-together-by-a-thread track made it impossible for fans to follow splits (spin zone: focus on racing!) and had many of the athletes confused about when to start kicking. In the men’s 5000m, Nicholas Kipkorir didn’t bite at the early move from the lead pack and when he caught up he kept the momentum going to the finish. Although Kipkorir has run 12:46 and was 4th at the Olympics, that guaranteed spot at next year’s World Championships is extremely valuable for a Kenyan athlete who basically has to advance through a World Champs caliber field at nationals to even make the team. Neither South Sudan’s Domnic Lokinyomo Lobalu who was second, nor Grant Fisher, who wound up in third have the same strenuous path to Budapest.

The same situation applies to Beatrice Chebet, who was second at the World Championships, but first here over Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi and Gudaf Tsegay.

I will bravely agree with LetsRun.com’s suggestion to stop giving wild card entries to World Champions, especially if they don’t compete at the Diamond League final. In fact, I’d take it a couple of steps further to further incentivize racing with regularity at Diamond Leagues — a top world ranking should also get an automatic bid. I admittedly think it’s a flawed system, but use it or lose it.

In the men’s shot put, Joe Kovacs’ huge performance may not be rewarded with an automatic bid to Hungary because of Crouser’s World Championship, but it was good enough for a Diamond League Record. Kovacs’s 23.23m toss, which he knew immediately was special when it left his hand, now puts him second on the all-time list. With twins on the way, the dad strength appears to have already come in.

What about those athletes who qualify for Worlds but don’t want to go? At least that’s the dilemma Kara Winger now faces in the javelin as she won the Diamond League, but is insistent that she is retiring. My advice: just take the vacation. It’s an all-expenses paid trip to Budapest. Then show up and rather than throwing for distance, go for accuracy.

What we saw in Zurich was that the best athletes in the world proved that their dominance all season was no fluke. For the most part, there were no major upsets and the winners kept winning. Look at this lineup of stars who pulled off the double: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.65), Noah Lyles (19.52), Shericka Jackson (21.80), Alison Dos Santos (46.98), Yulimar Rojas (15.28), Kristjan Čeh (67.10), Chase Ealey (20.19), Emmanuel Korir (1:43.26), Soufiane El Bakkali (8:07.67), Tobi Amusan (12.29), Grant Holloway (13.02), and Faith Kipyegon (4:00.44).

But the man who is probably most appreciative of his bid is Andy Díaz Hernández — he has dominated the international circuit all season long, but made the decision to not represent Cuba at the World Championships this year.

And not that he really needed it, but Jakob Ingebrigtsen ran a world-leading 3:29.02.


Not that anyone is doubting Hellen Obiri’s eventual success in her marathon debut, but winning The Great North Run gives more credence to that near-universal confidence. Obiri has already run 1:04:22 for the half — her time was over two minutes off that mark, here — but it was who she beat in Newcastle, the great Peres Jepchirchir, that further validated the now-assumption that she’ll be just fine when she doubles up in distance.

Nothing quite says, “you are ready to tackle the New York City Marathon!” like out-kicking the defending New York, Boston, and Olympic champion. Jepchirchir does not lose very often, especially in the marathon. Her only loss ever came in 2013 when she ran 2:47 — this was long before Peres Jepchirchir was Peres Jepchirchir! And also in the race was Almaz Ayana, the 2016 Olympic Champion and world record holder at 10,000m. She will be making her debut at the Amsterdam Marathon alongside Genzebe Dibaba.

In the also loaded men’s race, it shouldn’t be any surprise that Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo won, since he is the world record holder and all at 57:31. But he did so handily over the Olympic 10,000m Champion, Selemon Barega — 59:33 to 1:00:39. This is a rare case where the 21-year-old Kiplimo is considered the veteran as he has now run six half marathons in his career, while this wasBarega’s debut, at an ancient 22 years old.

Now, what do we think of adding a half marathon to the NCAA outdoor meet?

In partnership with UCAN

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New York City Update - Vol. 3

I am sitting down to write my first sentences for this week’s newsletter at 9:30 pm on Monday night. My heart rate is still elevated from what was supposed to be an easy 30-minute jog, so yesterday’s effort — and 5th Avenue Mile after party — might still be taking a toll on my body. When running is your occupation, proper recovery is part of the job. But now it is a bit further down my list of priorities. The sacrifices I used to make are no longer really viable. All that is to say I stayed out past midnight celebrating the end of the season and am paying the price today.

Week six of training was my best yet. I snuck in 68 miles and had a strong workout on Wednesday, going 2 x 5 mile at 5:16 pace with a half-mile jog between them. This is still within the realm of workouts I used to do and not necessarily groundbreaking, but a necessary step to bridge that gap to where I want to be.

The highlight of this block so far was easily the Sunday long run. With the 5th Ave Mile taking place and my weekend being full of media obligations (re: drinking beer with athletes), I spent a lot of time on my feet. The plan was originally to run 20 miles alternating between an ambiguous effort of hard and easy miles with my coach/spiritual advisor, Tommy Nohilly, on the bike beside me so I could practice getting fluids and gels down.

Having worked with Tommy since college, we’ve always had a great relationship and a collaborative approach to training. He believes in my ability to run a good marathon much more than I do. I don’t really need a coach for this marathon. Like, I can write my own schedule, but most weeks I send him what I’m thinking about for my efforts and he tweaks and fine-tunes them. It’s a healthy relationship and one I’m extremely grateful for. Mainly because his advice is generally a reminder that I am exhausted and to take it a bit easier. That’s the true value of a coach, to provide an outsider’s perspective and more often than not, pull back on the reins a bit.

But then there are the intangibles! A few weeks ago I jokingly sent him this picture after a workout to let him know it went well, and in addition to saying good job, he recognized that my hips were out of line and what exercises needed to be done to adjust them. (I had felt off on the run, but hadn’t told him yet.)

Anyway, Tommy ended up needing to get to the race earlier than me on Sunday so I dropped some bottles and gels on the course and set out solo. It wasn’t hot, but there wasn’t that cross country season crispness to the air, either. (It was quite humid.) I got right into things with opening miles of 6:18 - 5:46. As a miler, every long run can be intimidating, however, the inclusion of a workout into the mix amplifies that tenfold.

At 15 I saw the end in sight and with a strategically placed gradual downhill finish, I was able to close it out with a couple of fast final “on” miles: 5:12 and 5:10. Then because Tommy wasn’t there to tell me not to, I added on another 5:37 mile to cool things down because I felt good.

Ultimately, 21 miles at 5:45 pace is the best long run of my career. It’s amazing how much easier the strength stuff is when you no longer have to balance it with being able to close in a 1500. I’m kinda starting to believe what Tommy was telling me six weeks ago…

Rapid Fire Highlights 🔥

  • John Hancock apparently wants nothing more to do with Boston sports. First, the financial institution ended its sponsorship of the Red Sox and now after 40 years, has announced that the 2023 marathon will be the last of that partnership. Whoever inks the next deal with the BAA will do so with much worse penmanship.

  • Elle Purrier St. Pierre shared on Instagram that she and her husband are expecting a baby! With a due date of early March, the little one has already competed at the World Championships.

  • The greatest female javelin thrower of all time, Barbora Špotáková of the Czech Republic has announced her retirement. The current world record holder (72.28m), a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World champion earned a bronze medal at this year’s European championships at 41-years-old.

  • Former Georgetown standout Robert Brandt announced his retirement after one year running professionally for Under Armour. He finished 7th at the Olympic Trials in the 5000m.

  • In Zagreb, Woody Kincaid ripped a wild final 200m to win a fun 3000m in 7:38. It was good to see Morgan McDonald finish out a tough year battling injuries with a personal best of 7:39. Niels Laros, the Dutch 17-year-old ran, 7:48.25 for another European age group record, which had stood since 1976.

  • Also in Croatia, Linden Hall led a mile field of 13 women to personal bests, and even nabbed one of her own in 4:21.10. Along the way, Elise Vanderelst (4:26.09) of Belgium and Maruša Mišmaš-Zrimsek (4:28.82) of Slovenia both set national records.

  • In Bellinzona, Wade Van Niekerk ran a season’s best of 44.33 to follow up his 44.39 in Zurich. My “bold” 2023 prediction is that the world record holder storms back in dominant form. Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu ran 7:38 to win the 3000m, Kovacs beat Crouser again, and Natoya Goule ran the 38th sub 2-minute 800 of her career.

  • Sara Hall announced she won’t be running the Berlin Marathon due to IT band pain. But she is all in on NYC!

  • Ukraine held its 2022 national championships in the northwestern city of Lutsk, where Valeriya Zinenko ran 31:57 for 10,000m.Thank you so much to Tracksmith