Top Running Stories of 2011

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.

Good-bye Greta

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.

Top 10 Most Popular Marathons in the U.S.

Marathons are long (26.2 miles), they’re hard and they take a lot of training and hard work. Yet not all marathons are created equal. Some are extremely popular while others… not so much. Here is our list of the top 10 most popular marathons in the United States.

#1 – New York always has to be the biggest, doesn’t it? So it should be no surprise that the ING New York City Marathon should come in at number one. Last year 43,660 people finished the New York City marathon. It’s not easy to get an entry but if you do this marathon includes running through all five boroughs. You start in Staten Island, cross bridges, pass excited crowds and end in Central Park, by the world famous Tavern on the Green.

#2 – The Bank of America Chicago Marathon slides in at number two. Runners love this marathon because it’s flat. In this case, flat equals fast. It’s a great beginner marathon, or a good time improver. The best part about this course is the wonderful tour of Chicago, you run through diverse neighborhoods and past tons of landmarks. For a runner, there is no better way to see a city. Last year Chicago had 33,701 finishers.

#3 – The Boston Marathon may be the most well-known marathon, but it’s hard to qualify and hard to finish. Last marathon saw 22, 843 finishers. The race takes you past colleges, universities, and some of Boston’s nicer neighborhoods.

#4 – Washington D.C.’s Marine Corps Marathon doesn’t have that large a finishing purse so it’s a good first marathon (you might not be competing with some of the more hardcore marathoners). Plus, you get a beautiful run through D.C. Finishers: 21,405

#5 – Honolulu Marathon is in Honolulu, Hawaii. For this reason alone, we’re surprised it’s not number one. Finishers: 20,323

#6 – The Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Florida is a great way to see Walt Disney world and its characters without having to wait in any lines. The best part? You can always stay for the rides. Finishers: 14, 948

#7 – If you’re going to run the Los Angeles Marathon just pretend you’re running away from the paparazzi or that you’re running after a Hollywood celebrity. Plus, the weather is usually fantastic. Finishers: 14,125


#8 – Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. Not only do you get to run through San Diego, you get a free Sea World ticket! It’s scenic, coastal and there are over 40 stages playing live music to help you on your way. By the way, this is only one of many rock and roll marathons. Finishers: 13,391


#9 –  The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon has been called the “Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America.” So, obviously, it’s pretty. Finishers: 8474


#10 – The Portland Marathon is great if it’s not raining. Actually, it’s great even if it is. Finishers: 8166