'Tis the Season

"Hopefully, the IAAF has learned from [the Oscar Pistorius] experience and we look forward to working with it to ensure a just outcome here for Ms. Semenya. The world will be watching."

Jeffrey Kessler, chairman of Dewey & LeBoeuf, LLC global practice. Caster Semenya and her legal team plan to sue the IAAF for $120,000,000.00.  

LRC US Distance Rankings
And The Winner Is ...

LRC US Rankings 2009 was a banner year for US distance runners and for LetsRun.com and we thought of no better way to celebrate the end of the year than with the first-ever LetsRun.com US year-end distance rankings. Instead of the 12 days of Xmas, it's the 12 days of LetsRun.com during the final 12 days of 2009. We give you the top 10 in each distance event.

Women's 5,000m: Shalane Flanagan Leads The Way Jen Rhines may have been 9th at the Worlds this year, but she is only #3 in the US rankings, as Flanagan and Jenny Barringer get the top 2 spots.

Women's Steeple: Jenny B Reigns Supreme Barringer was sensational in 2009 at many distances and smashed her American steeplechase record. A measured race at Worlds, however, left her just short of the medals.

Men's Steeple: Huling's 8:14 Earns Him #1 Ranking In Down Year For US

Women's 1,500: Rowbury Is The Class Of Most Amazing 1,500 Quartet In American History Coming into the year, only two Americans had ever broke 4:00 outdoors. Well, this year, three Americans broke four and none of them were our #1-ranked metric miler for the year.

Men's 1,500: Lagat Leads Strong American Contingent The USA put 3 guys into the 1,500m final at the World Champs and Bernard Lagat came home with a bronze in a very strong year for US 1,500m runners. Outside of the World Champs, frosh sensation German Fernandez went undefeated in the NCAA ranks and took down Tony Waldrop's 35-year-old NCAA indoor record.

Women's 800m: Maggie Vessey And Anna Willard Turn Heads These two women who started 2009 as no-names in the world 800m ranks turned quite a few heads with their Golden League and IAAF Grand Prix wins. However, only one of them could be ranked #1 and that is ... You'll have to click through to find out.

USA Track and Field National Championships Day 4 Men's 800m: The Nick Symmonds Show Symmonds was clearly the top dog in the US in 2009 as he was the first US Worlds finalist in over a decade. We break down the top 10 and recap the year for the men's half milers.

Recommended Reads:
Profile On Pole Vault Great Yelena Isinbayeva
UK's Daily Mail writes a lengthy profile of Russian pole vault diva Yelena Isinbayeva. She talks about growing up poor and wanting to be rich and glamorous. A former star gymnast who grew too tall, by 1998 she was a world youth champion in the pole vault and now she has re-set the world record 27 times. Isinbayeva, like a Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, seems to have that same insane drive to win that's 5 steps above even the average pro.

2. Big News Outside US - Star Welsh Rugby Player Publicly Announces He Is Gay
Some really fascinating quotes in the this article.

Last Big Swim Meet Before Swimsuit Ban Pushes World Record Total Over 250
In just over 20 months, the swimming record books have been re-written by the performance-enhancing swimsuits. Since February of 2008, over 250 new world records have been set in swimming. Michael Phelps, wearing a normal suit, was beaten again by a scrub in the super suit.

Trends Of The Year And Decade

NY Times' Christopher Clarey Looks At Sports' Controversy And Shifts In The "Aughts"
We agree that BALCO, Marion Jones, sports gambling and other controversies were balanced by an increase in oversight by WADA and governing bodies.
Speaking of Marion: Marion Jones May Re-Start Basketball Career In Australia

Running Times Article On Increased Depth In American Marathoning
Writer argues Americans are running faster at the front and in the middle of the pack in 2009.

LRC Training Talk Thursday Episode II
Access to the best minds in the sport. Free and easy. You won't find more useful training talk anywhere. Only from LetsRun.com.

Click Play Below To Hear Our Conversation With Author Matt Fitzgerald.

Matt talked for more than an hour about his new book: "Racing Weight - How To Get Lean For Peak Performance." At last, someone has the guts to write what everyone knows - runners want to lose weight so they can run faster. We think the book is very practical for the beginner to the pro. Also we wanted to promote Matt's revolutionary book with a foreword by legend Dr. Tim Noakes, called "Brain Training For Runners." LRC Coaching Guru John Kellogg is a fan of Brain Training and says his training is based significantly on principles that also appear in Noakes' and Fitzgeralds' work.

Meb Kefleighi wins the 2009 New York City Marathon in New York Boston Is Back - Hall And Meb Running Boston In 2010

No matter who else they get, John Hancock Financial and the Boston Marathon won the race before it started by signing the two biggest stars in American marathoning. Both should have a shot at the first American win since Greg Meyer in 1983. Poll to the right: take your quick pick of who will finish first.

Top US Stars Line Up Winter Half Marathons

Shalane Flanagan Talks With Reporters About Upcoming Half Marathon Debut
Flanagan is without a doubt the best American female 5,000m and 10,000m track runner in history. Already an Olympic medalist and American record holder in every one of her main track events, she's looking for a new challenge and will start with the Houston Half in January.

Thousands Of Visitors Listened To Training Talk Episode 1 With John Kellogg - Don't Miss Out On A Chance To Learn From A Coaching Genius

LetsRun.com Training Talk Episode 1
1st Episode Featured Guest: Coach John Kellogg
Pull down "Episode #1" from the player above and listen to it if you missed it or click here.
LRC Training Talk Article 1 - Is Your Training Repeatable?
In 2010, we at LetsRun.com hope to make a huge push to talk more about training.

2009 In Review ...

LRC What Was The LRC Quote Of The Year In 2009? We're letting our loyal site visitors determine the quote of the year for 2009. No need to log in. All you have to do is pick your favorite quote of the day from the ones we give you for each month.

Semenya Counsel Set to Sue IAAF For Mega-Fortune $120,000,000
Caster Semenya and her high-powered legal counsel have announced their intentions to sue track's global governing body IAAF for an absurd sum of money. They also plan to sue Athletics South Africa but apparently since they don't have money they're only going to sue Chuene and company for $20 million.
*NY Times Article on Semenya Calls Hers One of the Stories of 2009

Bekele Has Sights Set On Komen's Indoor 7:24.90
The Ethiopian juggernaut plans to attack the formidable mark in February in Birmingham. Bekele has already set the 2000, 2-mile and 5000m marks on the same track. Bekele's best-ever indoor 3k is 7:30.

Friend of Carl Lewis' Admits To Spiking Ben Johnson's Drink With 'Roids
This revelation from Johnson's soon-to-be-released autobiography Seoul to Soul is certainly not proof that the disgraced sprinter was clean (he admits to using a designer steroid at the time). But it does explain why stanozolol was in his system at the time of the test, an occurrence Johnson has claimed must have been the result of tampering.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2020 Olympic Bid Scrapped - IOC Hint That Africa Has Strong Chance Of Hosting

Good Read: Science of Sports Guys Record Their Top-10 Stories Of 2009
Theirs is one of the best sites on the web for running fans.

Interesting Interview With Former GBR Shot Putter Geoff Capes
Youngsters, read this quote: "There is no comparison with how athletes today get provided for, be it coaching, expenses, travel, equipment, medical attention or sponsorship. My only sponsor was my local butcher who supplied me with extra meat... I worked nights as a policeman at the time and you had to try and fit preparation for major championships in and around that. I would work a beat on the Friday night, compete on the Saturday and be back for the next shift on the Sunday."

Sports Illustrated Writers Do Their Homework - 5 Track Athletes In Decade's Top 20 Female Athletes
#3 Yelena Isinbayeva was first, followed by #12 Paula Radcliffe, #14 Carolina Klüft, #18 Cathy Freeman and #20 Tirunesh Dibaba. 27 world records for Isinbayeva, 2:15:25 for Radcliffe, 22 straight wins in heptathlon for Klüft, Sydney tear-jerker for Freeman and utter dominance by Dibaba.

The men's rankings were way more US-biased dominated by athletes in major US sports like basketball, football and baseball. Only Usain Bolt (#5) made the top 20 and only 3 tracksters made the top 30.
LRC Boards
Bekele not on SI's top 20 athletes of the decade.

IAAF.org redesigns their homepage.

Interview With Zap Fitness Coach Pete Rea - Upcoming 2010 Distance Summit Contributor

Surprise: Manny Pacquiao And Yelena Isinbayeva Win USSA Global Athletes Of The Year In 2 Million Person International Vote
In a vote that must have been mostly Amerian (we advertised it on LetsRun, but it was also in USA Today), somehow Yelena Isinbayeva won the women's voting and Linet Masai was 3rd. Even more amazing is the fact that Usain Bolt DIDN'T win, finishing behind Pacquiao and Roger Federer.

Young Guns

Recommended Read: Former HS Track Phenom Marquise Goodwin Profiled After Walking On For Texas Football
Sure, he jumped a national record 26'10" last year, but we might be more impressed with the big plays he has made for Texas this year as a WALK ON freshman to help the Longhorns get a spot in the national title game against Alabama. Sounds like a great kid.

Another Junior Record Setter - HSer Nick Vena Puts The Shot 67 Feet In NJ Meet

Wild Olympic News

Tulsa Loonies Elected Officials Stirring Pot For 2020 Olympics Bid
Their Vision: Beijing 2008. London 2012. Rio 2016. Tulsa 2020.

Article On Chicago's Ouster And Strained IOC/USADA Relationship
Recommended Read US companies and consumers basically fund a huge portion of the mega-money Olympics. But the IOC is sick of being bullied by the US and many think that is the reason Chicago basically got embarrassed in the 2016 voting.

When In Rome ... Tokyo Olympic Officials Spent 130 Million Yen On 4 Trips
Even more crazy is the 15 billion yen total bill for Tokyo's failed 2016 bid.

Icy Reaction
"I feel totally opposed to everything the Olympics stand for. They're not fulfilling their charter."

- Lindsay Van after the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear a case brought by female ski jumpers attempting to force the IOC to include female ski jumping in the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics.

Rudy Giuliani Will Be In Brazil On Security Contract For 2016 Rio Olympics - Won't Run For Senate

BT Says With New Super Broadband, Users Can Watch High Def Online By 2012 Olympics

Ready For TMZSports? You better be, as it's coming soon. Hell, the sports gossiping may already be here in the track and field world if these photos from a party in Jamaica with Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt are any indication.

Lots Of Random Links
*Usain Bolt Is Sports Illustrated's 5th-Best Male Athlete Of The Decade The only track guy on the list. We guess if Kobe was only #16 that it's too much to ask to put Bekele on there.
*English Tunnel Train Drama Crushes British Runner's Chance For 1st International Appearance In UK Vest
*Alter-G Treadmill In The News You can now get one for the bargain price of $25,000.
*Collis Birmingham Is One Of 1st 8 Australians Named To 2010 Commonwealth Games Team *Scottish Cyclist David Millar Gets Lifetime Ban For EPO Use Overturned & Will Compete Apparently, he's been very helpful in trying to help the anti-doping people and therefore we guess we think it's an okay decision.

Non-Running News From Kenya
*Wash Post: In Kenya, ethnic distrust is as deep as the machete scars. Last year's near civil war is still a big thing in many people's minds.
*Kenyan Women Would Rather Get AIDS Than Get Pregnant

Q&A With Boston Marathon Director Guy Morse

Ian Dobson And Erin Donohue Among Top Entrants At Emerald Nuts Midnight Run In Central Park On New Year's Eve
Also look out for Patrick Smyth in the men's race, he had a stellar 2009. If you want to enter the 4-mile race, click here.

Weekend Distance Running Results

Recap Of Japan's National High School Ekiden Champs
The story of the day was the winning team's 3rd leg - a Kenyan named Bitan Karoki - going for Sammy Wanjiru's leg-record. He came up 8 seconds short but still ran 8,100m on the road in 22:48 (keep in mind these are high schoolers).

Latest IAAF Permit XC Race Results From Brussels
An Italian won over a pack of Kenyans and Ethiopians with Ukranian Sergey Lebid in 5th.

Safaricom Baringo Half Marathon Results
Agnes Kiprop took her 2nd-straight women's win.

LRC The Week That Was Let's be honest; last week, not a whole lot actually happened in the running world. The majority of the running news was about what is likely to happen in 2010. We were busy finalizing our top 10 rankings for the year and thought about bagging The Week That Was, but then remembered that our New Year's resolution for 2009 was to do it every week for 2009, so here it is - in somewhat abbreviated form.

New Feature: Products We Use And Recommend: ING Bank (Checking And Savings)

ING Orange Checking And Savings Bank Review A message board thread on outrageous overdraft fees got us to write a review of ING's banking products. ING has no fees including no fees for overdrafts. We have used them at least since 2004, and have never been disappointed. Read our review and seriously consider switching banks. Not only is their product great but they support world class marathoning throughout the world.