Top American marathoner and two-time Olympian Kara Goucher is leaving Nike Inc., her sponsor of more than 12 years, aligning herself instead with an upstart women’s apparel maker based in Seattle. The departure deprives Nike, which uses its affiliation with top runners to help drive sneaker and apparel sales, of the most visible face in women’s distance running.
Ms. Goucher has helped ignite a recent resurgence in American women’s distance running and will try to make one more Olympic team in 2016. She has accepted an offer to sign up with Oiselle, a seven-year-old running apparel company founded by a former cross-country runner.
Runners tap into all kinds of crazy sources to find motivation to get to the finish line, but until this past September they were without a hateful floating cherub called the “Blerch” to spur them forward.
That’s when Matthew Inman of the online comic The Oatmeal released a six-part series in which the Blerch—a devil-on-the-shoulder-type character that thwarts Inman’s running motivation with the promise of cake and naps and Netflix marathons—first appeared and became a beloved phenomenon.
This week, I’ve thought a lot about how Harper’s life will be inevitably shaped and influenced by being her father’s daughter, and in what ways. Sure, she may be embarrassed as a teen when her dad walks through the house in front of her friends wearing padded bibs and a beard looking more like a Mexican luchador than a cyclist, but my conclusion is that her life will benefit exponentially from being the child of someone as passionate, dedicated, active and peculiar as her father. (I’ll have to remind myself of this realization when his 5am alarm wakes me habitually, or when I squeeze my pregnant belly into our economy sized car to make room for Shadow Fax, his carbon fiber time trial steed.)
The Peachtree Road Race on July 4 will boost its purse prize exclusively for American athletes to $100,000 as it hosts the USA 10K Championships for men and women for the second consecutive year. The money is more than double the $40,000 available for Americans at Peachtree in 2013. The winning U.S. male and female will now each earn $15,000.
Rich Kenah, a world championships 800-meter bronze medalist both indoors and outdoors and later a prominent runners’ agent, is the new executive director of Atlanta Track Club, which stages the Peachtree Road Race. “Playing host to both U.S. Championship races is an honor, and focusing our entire prize purse on U.S. athletes this year seems the ideal way to showcase them at the AJC Peachtree Road Race, the largest road race in the country,” Kenah said.
You’ve run along Congress Avenue, down Cesar Chavez Street and up that big hill up Enfield, right? Nearly every major foot race in Austin takes place west of Interstate 35. One of the few runs staged on the east side — the St. James Missions 5K — kicks off at 9 a.m. March 29.
The St. James run, now in its seventh year, benefits the Alzheimer’s Association Capitol of Texas chapter. Just as importantly, it helps fund the church’s homegrown wellness program.
Dave McGillivray has five kids of his own, ranging in age from 23-year-old Ryan to 4-year-old Chloe, enough to keep any father busy. But each spring, as longtime director of the Boston Marathon, McGillivray finds that his horde grows to thousands. He feels an almost paternal responsibility for each of his runners, never so much as this year’s field of 36,000 men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 83. All the runners matter to him, from the first one to fly over the finish line to the last one to straggle in.
Two years ago, the Marathon nearly melted in 89-degree weather, with 200 runners taken to the hospital and hundreds more treated in the medical tent. But last year, with perfect running weather, McGillivray recalls having few worries. Then the bombs went off.
Runners, on your marks! The Chicago Marathon 2014 is open for registration. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon began accepting registrants at 12 p.m. Wednesday.
Last year, the website crashed shortly after runners began signing up, so Chicago Marathon organizers said they switched their registration to a lottery system for the first time. Runners will be guaranteed one of the 45,000 spots if they have participated in five of the last 10 years or meet certain time requirements: 3 hour 15 minute for men, 3 hour 45 minutes for women. A lottery will be held for non-guaranteed spots.