Bjorklund record now Meb's
Grandma's Marathon is going to need a new banner to commemorate the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon men's course record-holder - none other than American superstar Meb Keflezighi, one of the most recognizable faces in distance running.Keflezighi fi...
Grandma's Marathon is going to need a new banner to commemorate the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon men's course record-holder - none other than American superstar Meb Keflezighi, one of the most recognizable faces in distance running.
Keflezighi finished the 2013 Bjorklund, which doubled as the USA Half Marathon Championships, in 1 hour, 1 minute, 22 seconds, good for second place behind Mo Trafeh, who covered 13.1 miles in 1:01:17. But Trafeh in 2014 was caught with a banned substance - he said it was EPO - by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and promptly retired.
As a result, Grandma's now recognizes Keflezighi's 1:01:22 as the fastest time in Bjorklund history.
Keflezighi, now 41, is one of the top American marathoners in recent memory, earning a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. His victories include New York City in 2009 and Boston in 2014. Keflezighi, whose infectious personality has endeared him to hard-core runners and casual fans alike, plans to retire after the 2017 New York City Marathon.
He and Duluth East graduate Kara Goucher have appeared together in a Skechers commercial. Goucher, of course, is the Bjorklund women's record-holder. She was the 2012 champ in 1:09:46.
Goucher awaits silver
Speaking of Goucher, she has yet to receive her upgraded silver medal from the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan. She was third in the 10,000-meter race, but eight years later, in 2015, second-place finisher Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey tested positive for a banned substance during another round of urine-sample checks from that meet.
Goucher has been waiting on the silver medal since 2015. The matter appeared settled late last month when the International Association of Athletics Federations announced that Abeylegesse's results from 2007-09 would be stripped. But Goucher has yet to be formally notified that she's moving up from bronze.
On her blog, she recently wrote: "So it leaves me with a weird feeling. Trust me, I want that medal. I know I'll never recoup the prize money, sponsor bonus or future appearance fee increases, but I do want to hold that medal in my hands."
4K coming to Sky Harbor Airport
The inaugural Runway 4K, held in conjunction with the Duluth Airshow, is June 3 at Sky Harbor Airport.
The brainchild of former Grandma's Marathon executive director Jon Carlson, the Runway 4K is limited to the first 300 entrants. Carlson calls it a great opportunity for a final speed workout before Grandma's, and on a restricted runway where runners will get "buzzed" by an acrobatic plane during the race.
Entry fee is $35, which includes a finisher shirt and a unique medal with a spinning prop. Register at register.chronotrack.com/r/29113.
With Grandma's weekend two months away, registration is steady.
As of Friday afternoon, 8,225 had registered for the marathon, plus a capacity 8,501 for the Bjorklund and a capacity 2,213 for the William A. Irvin 5K.
The 41st Grandma's Marathon is June 17. And while record-holder Dominic Ondoro isn't slated to run, two-time defending champ Elisha Barno hopes to.
• Spots remain for this Saturday's Fitger's 5K. Register at grandmasmarathon.com.
• Grandma's is accepting nominations for its Rudy Perpich Public Service Award. Nominees can be any current or former public employee or elected official who has shown dedication to Grandma's Marathon. Nomination application packets are available at grandmasmarathon.com or by calling (218) 727-0947.
• This year's Minnesota Mile, hosted by Grandma's, is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 7.