We’re back with the stories, news, and generally fun stuff that has happened in the world of track and field and running this past week. Due to editorial bandwidth, we may have been unable to provide full coverage of these happenings, but they deserve attention either way.
Lap 1: The Nike v. Boris Berian Legal Saga Continues
Nike received the temporary (14 day) restraining order they sought against Berian while they conduct discovery into the details—specifically the possible inclusion of reductions—in his contract with New Balance. Berian has already withdrawn from all races prior to next month’s Olympic Trials, so this shouldn’t affect him that much. Nick Symmonds, Jesse Williams (Brooks Marketing Manager), and Sally Bergesen (Giselle CEO) have filed declarations in support of Berian, all basically testifying that, contrary to Nike’s claims, reductions aren't assumed provisions of every contract a professional runner signs.
Lap 2: Oregon's Hot NCAA Championship Unis
The Oregon Ducks have never been hesitant to try something new with their uniforms. Their football team, thanks to a generous contract with Nike, is notorious for debuting a new uniform each week that is somehow more out-there than the last one. For this week and weekend's NCAA championships, the track team enters the fray with a tie-dyed number featuring silhouettes of Bill Bowerman and Steve Prefontaine. The school website describes the uniforms:
UO competitors will be adorned in tie-dye uniforms featuring silhouettes of legendary Oregon coach Bill Bowerman and peerless Ducks distance runner Steve Prefontaine. The uniforms include Nike’s “AeroBlade” technology that reduces wind resistance, and are the same model that will be worn by the United States team in Rio in August.
They’re a far cry from the traditional two or three-tone outfits other schools adorn, but the University of Oregon is on-brand with these.
Lap 3: Molly Huddle to Make Marathon Debut
The New York Road Runners announced on Wednesday that U.S. 10,000m Champion Molly Huddle will make her marathon debut at the New York Marathon on November 6th, 2016. She owns a half-marathon time of 1:07:41. At age-31, Huddle is reaching the age where 10,000m runners start to transition up to the marathon to finish out their careers. Shane Flanagan made her debut in New York back in 2010 and finished second overall. Huddle likely hopes for similar success in her debut.
Lap 4: Underground Half Marathon in NYC
Vice Sports did a feature Thursday on the fifth-annual Midnight Half, which is run in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. There are no road closures, no finishers medals, or tech-tees.
Runners start in Lower Manhattan, then have to run to four checkpoints half-buried throughout Brooklyn, in order, before returning across the East River to the finish line in the Lower East Side. The runners can get to the checkpoints any way they want to as long as it's on foot.
It’s obviously not a certified course, and this year’s winner, Dave Knowles, only ran 12.6 miles. Regardless, it sounds like a fun, and somewhat terrifying way to compete. Aside from dealing with things like traffic and pedestrians on unclosed streets, a runner may be constantly haunted by the specter of a runner emerging from a different route to take the lead. It’s hard enough to mentally deal with runners threatening to pass from behind, but when they can overtake you from nearly any direction without warning, that seems like a whole different level of stress.