In 2011, we lost some great runners and we became aware of new ones. We saw many changes to the sport of running, both in IAFF rulings and major marathon qualifying times. However, many of the decisions reached in 2011 will start taking place in 2012, so even though the year is over, its impact hasn’t begun to be felt.
Run Rabbit Run
The IAAF decided that women who run with male pacers have an unfair advantage. Therefore, they are banning male pacers. In fact, they tried to strip Paula Radcliffe of her world record but everyone complained and they decided to start the new rule in 2012.
Where Do All the Logos Go?
The U.S.A. Track & Field (USATF) has finally let runners have a better chance of competing with other sports to earn money. Runners may now put more sponsors on themselves, although where they are going to put them is anybody’s guess. Skimpy shorts and sports bras don’t leave much room.
One of the World’s Greatest Runners dies of cancer. In 1978, Norwegian Grete Waitz entered her first New York City Marathon—as a pacemaker. She wasn’t even planning to finish. Not only did she finish, she won, and set a new world record. She won nine NYC Marathon titles, still the most in race history. In 2005, Grete was diagnosed with cancer. She died April 9, 2011 in Oslo, Norway. The running community will greatly miss her.
Boston Marathon Raises Standards or Excludes More People?
The Boston Marathon has become too popular. The good news is that more people are running marathons, the bad news is that finish times are going downhill. Boston has changed their registration process to favor faster runners. Starting in 2012 runners will be accepted by how much they beat their qualifying time, for example, registration will open first for people who beat their time by 20 minutes or more; two days later, ten minutes or more, and so on. If there is any space left after the first week then the rest of the qualifiers get a chance to register. In 2013 every one will have to run five minutes and fifty-nine seconds to qualify.
American Woman on Top
American Jenny Simpson won the gold in the 1500 meters at the World Championships. This is the first time an American woman has won gold in any major global championship since 1984. And in the men’s 1500 an American, Matthew Centrowitz, won the bronze. Suddenly, U.S. runners are in the right place for the London Olympics.
Can a Double Amputee Really Have an Unfair Advantage?
Oscar Pistorius: A double amputee ran the 400 meters in 45.07 seconds. He runs on carbon-fiber prostheses. His time qualified him for the Daegu world championships. People seem divided, do his prostheses give him an unfair advantage? Or is this just a super inspiring story? He reached the individual 400 meter semifinals but the IAAF decided that he could only run the first leg on South Africa’s 4-by-400 meter relay. However, Pistorius is a slow starter and had to sit this one out.
World Record Breaker Dead at 24
This may be the year’s saddest story, Sammy Wanjiru died at age 24. In 2007, Wanjiru set a world half marathon record and won Olympic gold in 2008, where he crushed the Olympic record by running a 2 hours 6 minutes 32 seconds marathon. He fell from a first-story balcony at his house in Nyahururu, Kenya. The exact circumstances of his death remain unknown
2011 Running Shoes Trivia
What type of running shoes did Steve Jobs wear?
The New Balance 992.