Boulder Wave Articles


Freya Ross’ Comments on Withdrawing from the Virgin London Marathon

Freya Ross in action at the 2012 NYC Half-Marathon (Photo by PhotoRun, Inc. All rights reserved)

As reported earlier by the Virgin London Marathon organizers, Freya Ross (adidas) has had to withdraw from this year’s race. It was a tough decision for Freya, who debuted in London in a wonderful time of 2:28:10, and then followed up by being the top UK finisher in the Olympic Marathon, despite being called in to replace Paula Radcliffe just a week before the race.

Freya’s comments on the decision: 

“I’m really disappointed I’ve had to withdraw. Training had been going well for the last few weeks and I was looking forward to running in London. The injury problem started last Monday with a niggle in my right hip, it seemed insignificant and I didn’t think it would affect me. However, over the next few days it worsened and I now can’t run pain free. Between myself, Steve [her coach Steve Jones], and the Physio I’ve been seeing, we had to make the decision yesterday that I would not be able to run the marathon. The Physio thinks it is probably a small strain around the top of my hamstring/glute. She thinks that it will improve quickly with rest.”

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Louise Damen Wins UK Cross Title!

Louise Damen (center) at the awards ceremony following her victory at today’s McCain UK Cross Challenge Final and World Trials

 

Louise Damen (Winchester and District AC) stormed over the final kilometer in Birmingham’s Cofton Park to win the senior women’s title over 8,000m at today’s McCain UK Cross Challenge Final and World Trials. With the victory, Louise locked in her place for this year’s IAAF World Cross-Country Championships, as well as achieved a career “hat trick” of UK cross-country titles over the three main age divisions.

Driving back from today’s race, Louise was of course in top spirits. “It was actually quite tough today. I had heavy legs and it was a real race. I wasn’t feeling 100%, so I really had to roll up my sleeves and get to it. The course was a bit muddy, but not as bad as nationals two weeks ago. I really only got away today on the last hill with about a K to go, and I think I won by about 8 seconds. Earlier in my career, I won the under-17’s, and the under 20’s, so I was really pleased to win the senior title today. And I think all the work I’ve done the past two years for marathoning has made me a stronger cross-country runner.”

Today’s win continues Louise’s steady comeback from the injuries and hip problems that bothered her last spring and summer after the Virgin London Marathon, which were then exacerbated by 7-8 weeks off from running following a fall during a long run in August. The cross-training and gradual return to training have obviously paid off, as she is getting stronger by the week as World Cross approaches. Her racing comeback began by winning a low-key Hampshire League cross race in October (“I was pleasantly surprised. I won by 97 seconds over 6k and felt good, so I was happy with that.”). Following another good month of training, Louise stepped up to take 3rd overall and 1st senior over the 8.1 km McCain Cross Challenge in Liverpool on November 24th, thereby earning her spot on the UK team for the European Championships. Two weeks later at those championships in Budapest, Louise took a solid 11th overall, a good sign after all the missed training time.

Louise has been on top of her game since the Europeans, with a string of top runs over grass and mud so far in 2013: 2nd at Antrim, 1st at Cardiff, a 60-second win two weekends ago at the English national cross-country championships, and now today’s national title. 

The 2013 IAAF World-Cross-Country Championships will be held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on March 24th. Click here for the IAAF home page for the championships.

 

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Cristiana Frumuz, Monica Florea Take Titles at Romanian Cross Championships

Cristiana Frumuz took her first national title of the year on Saturday, winning the senior women’s title at Romania’s national cross-country championships over an 8,000m course in Botosani. 22 year-old Liliana Danci, who will make her marathon debut next month, took the runner-up spot, followed by two other women supported by our Romanian development program: Elena Moaga (3rd) and Alina Boholtan (4th).

The 6,000m junior women’s race was won by Madalina Florea, who stepped up last year to the international level with a great 7th-place finish in the finals of the 5,000m at the IAAF World Junior Championships. From our development program, Cristina Negru (2nd) and Ionela Dinca (3rd) made it a clean sweep of the podium.

 

 

 

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Naoko Sakamoto Retires

Naoko at the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half-Marathon (Photo by PhotoRun, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Naoko Sakamoto (Tenmaya/ASICS) has announced her retirement this weekend after running the Kita Kyushu Women’s Invitational Ekiden. Brett Larner of Japan Running News has posted a good translation of an Asahi Shinbun article on Naoko’s announcement.

It’s been my pleasure to work with Naoko from start to finish throughout her career as a pro athlete on Japan’s Tenmaya team. Without question, one of my all-time favorite athletes. Naoko worked hard as heck, as is the case with any Tenmaya runner, and was also one of the friendliest and most social of Japan’s world-class marathoners.

There are all sorts of highlights to point to, any of which would have made for a career peak for most athletes. Naoko first jumped to prominence on the Japanese scene with her breakthrough 2:21:51 at Osaka in 2003, coming third behind Mizuki Noguchi and Masako Chiba on one of the great days of Japanese women’s marathoning. That trio came home in the same order seven months later with a spectacular 2nd-3rd-4th at the Paris World Championships, with only the legendary Catherine Ndereba standing between Japan and a sweep of the marathon medals.

Naoko’s most tremendous run, though, was probably at the Osaka Women’s Marathon the next year. Even with the 4th-place world championship result, she was still without a place on the 2004 Olympic team. On a snowy, bone-chillingly cold day, the lead pack shivered through the half in something like 76 minutes. Naoko brought it home in a sub-70:00 second half (in the days when sub-70:00 marathon splits were still a rarity), including running 30K to 40K faster than her 10,000m PB, to win by over two minutes and lock in the Olympic berth.

The next Spring, Coach Yutaka Taketomi hired me to go over to Athens with them to run on the course a few times and scout out housing for the Olympic Games. The road from Marathon into the city was a complete construction zone, and most of our long runs on the course were on dusty dirt roads that seemed in worse shape then when Pheidippides made the journey. Looking for a suitable Olympic rental, we hit almost every neighborhood of the first 10K of the course, including one place whose elderly owners gave us the full tale of the original Battle of Marathon with maps and all, and then had us sit down and toast the Greek Orthodox Easter with them.

It was completely amazing to see everything had been completed when we arrived back in August for the Games. Our house was just near the 10K mark, with Mizuki Noguchi and her squad right across the road on the Aegean Sea side of the course. The Japanese women struck again in Athens, with all three in the top 7: Mizuko with the gold, Reiko Tosa 5th, and Naoko 7th.

It says a lot about the former depth of Japanese women marathoning that at two of Naoko’s career highlights…4th in those Paris World Championships in 2003 and  then 7th in the Athens Olympic Games…she was still only 3rd among the Japanese women.

Naoko’s last race in the US thus turns out to have been last summer’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half-Marathon. Naoko came home 6th on VB’s usual hot, muggy summer day; but in the true spirit of all Rock ‘n’ Rollers, she made sure to go out and enjoy the rest of the day, getting in a stint of parasailing in the afternoon and then dancing up a storm at that evening’s Train concert on the beach.

Naoko (2nd from the left) and her buddies at the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Expo.

As she comments in the Asahi article translated by JRN:  “I still have the urge to get back to the top, but I just can’t do the training I need to get there anymore,” she said.  “I decided that it’s time to stop.  I’m sad that I couldn’t end it with a marathon.”

 

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Meghan Peyton, Freya Ross Selected for Edinburgh Cross-Country

Meghan Peyton (Team USA Minnesota/Mizuno)

 

 

Michael and Freya Ross at their September wedding

Meghan Peyton (Team USA Minnesota/Mizuno) and Freya Ross (adidas) have been selected to represent their respective countries in next month’s Great Edinburgh Cross Country meet in Scotland. Meghan qualified for Team USA off her 4th-place result at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships earlier this month, capping off a strong autumn in which she was also 5th at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day. She’ll have a boost in Scotland as Team USA Minnesota head coach Dennis Barker has been selected as a Team USA coach.

Freya, the Scottish cross-country champion, will run for Team Great Britain and Northern Ireland after a 2012 season that was highlighted by her sterling 2:28:10 marathon debut in London and top UK finish in the London Olympic Marathon. She will have the home field advantage, with the January 5th race taking place in Holyrood Park, one of her old college training grounds and just a short jog from the site of her wedding this September. She commented in an article in today’s Scotsman newspaper,  “I am looking forward to the race and I always enjoy running at Holyrood Park – I think of it as my home ground having trained there often when at university. It always feels right to start the New Year with that event and it is great to be picked again.”

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It’s a Boy for Kiyoko Shimahara!

Kiyoko after her (where else?) 2008 Honolulu victory.

Long-time Boulder Wave athlete Kiyoko Shimahara gave birth shortly after noon today (December 6th Japan time) to her first baby, a boy coming in at 5 lb 18 oz and 19″ (2680 grams, 47.5 cm). Mom  and son both reported doing well and in perfect health. No name yet for the baby.

Kiyoko was for many years a member of the Shiseido Running Club before leaving to become one of the founding athletes on the independent Second Wind AC in Tokyo. She has enjoyed a stellar career with numerous top 3 finishes in marathons and road races around the world, including victories at the 2008 Honolulu Marathon, the 2009 Hokkaido Marathon,  and the 2009 Yokohama Women’s Marathon; silver medal in the 2006 Asian Games marathon; 6th place in the 2007 IAAF Osaka World Championships Marathon; 3rd in the 2009 Chicago Marathon, and a PB of 2:25:11. In  comments she released via her Second Wind club today, Kiyoko is leaving the door open to a possible return to training and racing, waiting to see how she feels in the upcoming months.

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Irvette van Zyl Won the Tough One!

Late news, but…Irvette van Zyl (nee van Blerk) took the women’s title last Sunday (November 24th) at South Africa’s 39th City Lodge RAC Tough One 32K in 2:04:44, nearly a minute up on 2nd place Kim Laxton. It was Irvette’s second title at the Tough One, following her 2:04:54 win in 2010.

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Nuta Olaru Wins A Close One in Windy Vegas!

Nuta Olaru (ASICS) has just won this evening’s Zappos.com Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, her second win this year on Competitor Group’s Rock ‘n’ Roll circuit. Her 2:51:31 win was just two seconds ahead of runner-up Andrian Neal. The margin of victory was a repeat of her two-second victory in October’s USATF master’s championship. The Competitor Group website shows tonight’s finish as being even closer, 1.27 seconds.

“This was so tough, it was very, very windy. I also had a cramp in my right leg, so I decided to wait and sprint the final 100m. It was a crazy wind…sometimes behind us, sometimes behind, left side, right side. I feel like the last ten miles it was only in our faces, ” commented Nuta after the race. If anything, Nuta’s sprinting must be getting better with age; at the 2005 New Las Vegas Marathon, she was part of a four-women lead pack still together with 400m to go, and ended up 4th in the final sprint.

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Louise Damen Qualifies for European Cross Championships

Louise Damen (adidas) has earned a spot for next month’s European Cross-Country Championships by finishing as 1st senior and 3rd overall in yesterday’s McCain UK Cross Challenge incorporating the European Cross-Country Trials. It was a great confidence-building run for Louise after a long stretch of physical rehab this year. Louise completed the 8.1 km course in Liverpool’s Sefton Park in 27:55, commenting afterwards on the UK Athletics website, “I’m no spring chicken, it’s ten years since I won my first senior GB vest, so I’m really pleased…The under-23 girls are so strong and it’s great to see them step up. When I found myself at the front it was unintentional and I decided to pull back a bit. I didn’t feel too good on the second lap and got a bit detached but on the final lap I knew I had to use my marathon strength and I felt good.” Louise was also on the 2010 silver medal-winning UK senior women’s team at the Europeans.

The European Championships will be held in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday, December 9th.

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Lidia Simon Repeats in Osaka

Lidia Simon (ASICS) successfully defended her title today at the Osaka Marathon, winning in 2:33:12 (adjusted). This is Lidia’s fifth career marathon win in the city of Osaka, going along with her three career wins at the Osaka International Ladies’ Marathon and her 2:32:48 victory in last year’s inaugural running of the Osaka Marathon mass race. This past summer, Lidia became the first woman ever to have competed in five Olympic marathons.

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