Getty Images

The Running Decathlon: The 1500m

Leave a comment

Kelly Hayes, a spotter on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, is attempting to to complete “The Running Decathlon” which consists of the ten most widely-run track events. His goal is to run each race “half as fast,” or in twice the time, of the current world record in each event. And he will attempt to run these races in the footsteps of those who set the records on the very tracks, and in the very stadiums where the records were set.

His “quest” serves as a platform to raise funds to purchase a $90,000 exoskeleton Bionic Suit, which allows those with critical spinal injuries to rise from their wheelchairs and actually take assisted walks. Think Tony Stark from Ironman. He is relying on donations to the Bridging Bionics Foundation to make this a reality.

Follow Kelly on his journey, which begins in Rome on July 7, 2016, here, on Facebook, Twitter and at race2walk2016.com where you can make a 100 percent tax-deductible contribution towards the purchase of an exoskeleton Bionic Suit for the Bridging Bionics Foundation. One hundred percent of your donations will go towards the purchase of these suits.

Please turn Kelly’s steps into dollars. And we will turn dollars into steps for those who want to walk again.

Eighteen years ago, Hicham El Guerrouj set a record that is currently the longest-standing world record in the 10 events that make up The Running Decathlon.

On July 14, 1998, at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome in the Golden Gala meet, El Guerrouj, inspired by both immortality and a $50,000 bonus for a world record, ran the 1,500m in 3:26.00. He averaged an incredible 54.93 per lap in breaking the standing mark of Algeria’s Noureddine Morceli by more than a full second.

There was justice in the victory. Just two years before, at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, El Guerrouj suffered a devastating defeat to Morceli in the same 1,500 meters. As the pair jockeyed for position at the start of the fourth and final lap of that Olympic final, El Guerrouj clipped Morceli’s right foot and tumbled to the track. Displaying incredible fortitude, he rose to finish the race, but his dream of a gold medal ended with a 12th-place finish.

The legend is that El Guerrouj, distraught and seemingly inconsolable, took tearful refuge in the bowels of the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta. There, he received a telephone call from Morocco’s King Hassan, who not only consoled him in his defeat, but also urged him to run his best in the future.

El Guerrouj went on to victory in a number of races over his rival over the next two years and today, still, he holds world marks in the 1,500m, the Mile and the 2,000m.  He also still holds indoors records in the 1,500m and the Mile that date back to February of 1997.

And gold would eventually be his as well. In the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, his final as a competitor, El Guerrouj won the 1500 meters that had eluded him in his two previous Games (he finished second in 2000 in Sydney to Kenyan Noah Ngeny who had paced the 1,500-meter record run in Rome two years before) and doubled up with a gold medal in the 5,000 meters.

Current NBC commentator, and former miler, Craig Masback,  told Sports Illustrated back in 2001 that El Guerrouj “has the cardiovascular system of a man 6-foot-6, the legs of a man 6-foot-2 and the upper body of a man 5-foot-2. In his prime he stood 5-foot-9 and weighed in at a sleek 126 pounds.

But, as a middle-distance runner, he towered above all who came before. Or since.

Other Standards in the 1500m

Olympic Record:   3:32.07  Noah  Ngeny  (KEN)

Women’s Record:  3:50.07 Genzebe Dibaba (ETH)

American Record:  3:29.30 Bernard Lagat  (USA)

** Lagat ran the third-fastest 1,500m ever in 2001 in a race where he finished second to El Guerrouj in Brussels. At the time, he was a Kenyan citizen. He became a citizen of the United States in 2004 and set the American standard in 2005.

Men’s 60-year-old Record: 4:24 Nolan Shaheed (USA)

Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore does push-ups during Winter Storm Stella

Dan Patrick Show
Leave a comment

Not even a foot of snow is going to stop the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore from getting a workout in.

During an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Cantore was asked by Dan if he would perform push-ups on air during his next live shot and sure enough, Cantore obliged.

Not only did Cantore knock out 28 push-ups, but he continued his weather report with ease.

If only there would have been some thundersnow.

Fighting doubt and finding my voice in sports journalism

Leave a comment

I was once told by an internship advisor that I should give up my dream of working within the world of hockey in favor of event planning. Why? Not because I wasn’t knowledgeable in the sport, but because it was “hard.”

After a summer of treating me as his executive assistant he felt it was his place to tell me that my talents, which he only saw as keeping an Outlook calendar and making phone calls, would be better suited elsewhere.

It’s fair to say I didn’t listen to him, but part of what he said was right. Working in sports is hard.

Being a woman in a male dominated field comes with its ups and downs. I’ve been the only woman on press row and in press conferences, I’ve been subjected to season-long “towel interviews” by teams trying to get a rise out of me and as a colleague of mine wrote about, I’m constantly being tested by The Quiz.

Along the way I’ve worked with women who have viewed me as an enemy rather than an ally and men who have thought themselves more superior, but unlike some women I know, I’m lucky enough to consider those encounters rare.

As an introvert, it would have been easy to take this guy’s advice and run, but I didn’t. He motivated me to do the exact opposite of what he suggested.

I sometimes think about that summer conversation and wonder where I would be if I had in fact listened to his outdated and sexist ideals, but I can’t picture it. I remember sitting there, listening to what he said and remember how I never spoke up. I let him knock down my goals, even though I knew he didn’t do to the three male interns in the office.

I’m not proud of that, but I fought back in my own way.

I earned more internships, and now work as a sports producer. That’s the best revenge, even though he probably doesn’t remember the conversation or my name.

I think back at my 19-year-old self and am proud for ultimately not backing down, though I should have told him to shove it. It was a good lesson and one I hope less women will be forced to learn as the years go on.

Being in sports journalism isn’t easy, but it’s helped me find my voice. It’s given me the confidence that I never had before and this is only the beginning.