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 July 19, 2021, Issue 136

Taylor Werner races in Massachusetts in May.

Taylor Werner wins her first national title

Taylor Werner had the biggest race of her young professional career on Saturday, winning the inaugural USATF 6K Championships in 18:21. The event was held in conjunction with the Women’s 6K Festival, run on a point-to-point course from Malone College to downtown Canton, Ohio.

Lindsay Flanagan pushed the pace early in the race, leading a big pack through the mile in 4:51 and hitting 3K in 9:11. Emily Durgin broke up the pack by pushing the pace up a hill during the fourth kilometer, and only Werner could stay with her. Werner pulled away from Durgin during the final kilometer to win by six seconds. Running her first race as a pro, Elly Henes took third in 18:35. (Results)

Werner’s first year of professional running has had its ups and downs, but she was thrilled with her victory on Saturday. “I feel like I’ve really struggled to find myself in this whole pro world after turning pro in December, so being able to come out here, have confidence, and just know that I can run with these women, it was just an incredible experience. I can’t wait to keep building on this,” she told after the race.

A two-time NCAA runner-up on the track, Werner gave up her remaining eligibility at the University of Arkansas last winter to join the Puma-sponsored, North Carolina-based professional group coached by Alistair and Amy Cragg. Werner’s 6K title was the first milestone for the unnamed group. Werner’s teammate, Fiona O’Keeffe, also had a strong day, finishing fourth in 18:41.

Werner told the Repository that she felt defeated after the Olympic Trials (she finished 11th in the 5,000m final in 15:56.83), but she was determined to turn things around. “The pro world is so much more intense with so many talented women,” Werner said. “Trying to navigate it can be really tough. I've just been learning to focus on myself recently. Suddenly my confidence soared.”

The race offered $15,000 in prize money, with Werner taking home $5,000 for her win. It’s good to see a different race throw its hat into the ring to host a national championship at a new distance, and create another racing opportunity on the women’s side. Werner will race again next weekend at the Bix 7 Road Race in Iowa. Durgin, who earned $2,500, also finished second at the USATF 10K Championships two weeks ago, and she now holds a solid lead in the USATF Running Circuit standings.


Thanks to New Balance for supporting Fast Women

As the Olympic Games approach, Rule 40 is now in effect. The rule temporarily limits how athletes can talk about their sponsors and sponsors can talk about the athletes they support, but there will be a strong contingent of New Balance women representing the U.S., thanks to their fantastic showing at the Olympic Trials. Sydney McLaughlin and Gabby Thomas could make history in Tokyo. The entire U.S. women’s 1500m squad—Elle Purrier, Cory McGee, and Heather MacLean—is sponsored by New Balance, as are Trials champions Emma Coburn and Emily Sisson. And Kendall Ellis is part of the relay pool. Both the data in the lab and the results on the track indicate that New Balance’s spikes are top of the line.

New Balance is a big company doing big things, so I really appreciate that they’re also taking notice of and supporting this niche newsletter about women’s running. In addition to their support of women’s pro running, I’m particularly excited about the indoor track that New Balance is currently building. The Boston area already has several world class indoor facilities, but this new one is aiming to become the fastest in the world, so it’s sure to draw some incredible competition to the area. (You can watch New Balance Boston team members get a tour of the facility a while back in this video.)

You can check out all of New Balance’s great products at or your local run specialty shop. (I’ve been loving training in both the Fresh Foam 1080v11 and the Fresh Foam 880v11.)

Josette Norris runs a 1500m in May.

Josette Norris runs 3:59.72!

This newsletter was all queued up to send late Sunday/early Monday when Josette Norris won the Sound Running Sunset Tour - SoCal 1500m in 3:59.72, so I'm stopping the presses. On one hand, Norris' sub-4:00 1500m isn't a shock. She hadn't yet been in a fast 1500m this season, she's on a major roll, and the conditions at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo, California, were perfect. On the other hand, she came into the race with a personal best of 4:06.17, and a 6.45-second improvement at this level is virtually unheard of. The race came down to a two-person battle between Jessica Hull and Norris over the final 200 meters, and Norris was able to hold Hull off down the homestretch. Hull, who will next race for Australia at the Olympic Games, finished second in 4:00.73.

This was Norris' first race back since she placed eighth in the 5,000m final at the Olympic Trials, a disappointing race by her standards. A year ago, Norris would have likely been thrilled with her Trials run, but she's running on a new level this year. She is just the tenth U.S. woman to break 4:00 in the 1500m, and her time places her ninth on the U.S. all-time list. Nikki Hiltz, third in 4:02.94, ran a big season best and Michaela Meyer had another eye-opening performance, lowering her personal best from 4:09.78 to 4:04.02 in finishing fourth.

Earlier in the evening, Taryn Rawlings had a big run to win the mile in 4:28.93. (Yes, the meet included both a mile and a 1500m.) Raevyn Rogers, who will run the 800m for the U.S. in Tokyo, summoned a big kick late in the race and finished a close second in 4:29.26. And at the American Track League meet, held on the same track earlier in the day, Sinclaire Johnson won the 800m in 2:00.63Next up for Norris, assuming her plans remain the same, is a 5,000m race next weekend.

Sabrina Stanley wins back-to-back Hardrock 100 titles three years apart

The 2019 Hardrock 100 was canceled due to record snow and avalanche concerns, and last year’s event didn’t happen due to the pandemic, so when the race began in Silverton, Colorado, on Friday, some of its competitors had been waiting for that opportunity for three years. Sabrina Stanley, the defending champion, who lives in Silverton, got out to an early lead, just as she did during her 2018 win, but by the 16th mile, Courtney Dauwalter had caught her.

Dauwalter pulled away and led the race through mile 62, when she had to drop out due to stomach issues. At that point, Stanley took over the lead and dominated. She finished in 27:21:48, just three minutes, 24 seconds off Diana Finkel’s course record from 2009. Stanley’s margin of victory was more than four hours.

Darcy Piceu finished second in 32:08:17, running into the finish hand-in-hand with her 12-year-old daughter, Sophia. Piceu has run this race eight times, and she’s finished first or second every time (with wins in 2012, 2013, and 2014). Meghan Hicks, managing editor of iRunFar, the outlet doing the best coverage of the race, finished third in 33:04:59. (Race report from iRunFar | Results)

The course features more than 33,000 feet of climbing throughout its 100 miles, and an average elevation of roughly 11,000 feet. But one of the hardest parts of this race is getting a spot on the starting line, particularly for women. This year, 146 runners were accepted into the field, but only 16 of them were women. The race’s lottery system favors those who have the most experience running the race, which has made it hard for newbies to break in. But starting next year, the race announced last week, the percentage of women accepted into the race will be no less than the percentage of women who enter the lottery. I’d be curious to hear what, if anything, the event is doing to increase participation from other underrepresented groups, especially people of color.

Sarah Hopkins poses with Bethany and Megan Hasz after a race in 2019.

Mixed news for women in coaching

The Tucker Center released its 2020–21 Women in College Coaching Report Card and cross country and track and field still both receive failing grades for their percentages of female coaches at the NCAA Division I level. The percent of female track and field head coaches (now 18.4%) went down 0.2 percent during the academic year and the percent of female cross-country head coaches (now 17.7%) went up 0.2 percent, so there was little change overall.

For the first time, the report looked at the percent of BIPOC coaches. “White coaches held 2,986 of the 3,567 (83.7 percent) head coaching positions across 32 Division I conferences, and women of color were dramatically under-represented,” the report reads. Track and field is doing better than most sports with 30.8 percent BIPOC head coaches, but only 11.8 percent of track & field head coaches are BIPOC women.

Last week, the University of Minnesota announced that Sarah Hopkins, who has been the school’s head women’s cross-country coach for eight years, will also take over the men’s cross-country program, now that Steve Plasencia is retiring. Prior to taking over as the women’s head coach, Hopkins served as a volunteer coach for the program for eight seasons, a path that requires great patience and supplemental financial support. Florida State coach Kelly Phillips announced her retirement from coaching.

Outside of the college ranks, Tinman Elite announced that Joan Hunter, mother of group founder Drew Hunter, would take over as the group’s head coach. I haven’t paid the closest attention to what the group has been up to in recent years, but I’ll have to start doing so, because the announcement included the detail that Tinman Elite plans to add a women’s team, which Hunter will also oversee. (More from the Washington Post and DyeStat)

Ajee' Wilson in 2010, when she was still in high school. (This is the most recent photo of her that I own!)

Additional Results

  • Kate Grace won her second Diamond League meet of the season on Tuesday in Gateshead, with a mile victory in 4:27.0. No one in the field went with the rabbits, so the race basically came down to a 100m dash. Great Britain’s Katie Snowden took second in 4:28.04, and Helen Schlachtenhaufen was third in 4:28.13. The meet didn’t have the same depth that others have had this season, because many athletes are getting ready for Tokyo. The Diamond League is now on pause until the Olympic Games are over. (Results)

  • Running against men at Penn’s Franklin Field on Saturday, Ajee’ Wilson held her own, running 1:57.85 in the 800m. It was Wilson’s fastest time since 2019 and probably her last race before she heads to Tokyo. This meet offered any women who dared the rare chance to race against Wilson, as she doubled back in the mile and her heat included runners from a range of abilities. Wilson won in 4:43.21. The meet was originally scheduled for Friday evening, but it was postponed due to thunderstorms.

  • Maggie Malone broke her own American record in the javelin on Saturday, throwing 67.40 meters (221 feet, 1 inch).

  • Showing her versatility, recent Olympic Trials steeplechase competitor Grayson Murphy won the Cirque Series Alta Trail Race, a 7.1-mile race with 2,545 feet of climbing, over the weekend. (Results)

  • Linden Hall, who will represent Australia in Tokyo, ran a 4:00.00 1500m in her final tuneup race.


Other News

  • The Distance, a 65-minute film about Japan’s marathon tradition and Naoko Takahashi’s Olympic marathon win in 2000, was released last week. The story starts out focusing on her coach, Yoshio Koide, and his drive to produce an Olympic marathon champion, but it gradually shifts to Takahashi telling her own story. I particularly enjoyed hearing her talk about some of the small details of her Olympic marathon win, including how handing a bottle to a teammate and attempting to throw her sunglasses to her family led to her big moves. The documentary can be viewed for free at the link, and you can choose subtitles in 12 different languages.

  • The Washington Post published a long, detailed piece on Olympians who are also mothers. I appreciated that the piece acknowledged that women have been doing this for a long time, and it starts out with Wilma Rudolph’s story. The article looks at what has changed, and what could stand to change a little faster. “In a way, I feel like I’m that turning point,” Aliphine Tuliamuk told the Post. “I’m the point between the past, where female athletes wouldn’t talk about their pregnancies because they were afraid they would lose their sponsorships, and the future. Now, other athletes will be able to look at my story and say if she did it, I can do it, too. It’s a new era.”

  • I appreciated hearing from Alicia Monson in this Runner’s World Q&A. Monson never made it to the mixed zone after her Olympic Trials race because of her medical troubles. Monson talks about what it was like to make the Olympic team and then go straight to the hospital, and she has a message for someone out there: “I would like to say sorry to whoever had to hold the plastic thing that I puked into, because I definitely puked all over him.” Monson was also on the C Tolle Run podcast last week, where she talked more about the injury she had over the winter and coming back from that, among other things.

  • This is a fun piece in which Molly Seidel’s former coaches share what she was like when she was young. It also includes a good photo gallery.

  • USATF’s Robert Chapman says that more than ever, USATF is making sure that this year’s Olympic alternates are ready to go, “because the chances of them being called into action is greater than what they would be in a normal Olympics.”

  • Tara Davis, part of the U.S. long jump squad for the Tokyo Games, announced last week that she has signed with Champion, an unconventional choice for a track and field athlete right out of college (though the brand also sponsors Alexi Pappas). Scrolling through the field event results of the Olympic Trials, it’s striking how many of the athletes are unsponsored. Even if Davis’ main event doesn’t get much TV time, she has gone above and beyond to make herself visible, from wearing a cowboy hat and boots during her post-competition celebrations to starting a YouTube channel with her Paralympian boyfriend Hunter Woodhall, which now has more than 276,000 subscribers.

  • There’s not a lot of transparency regarding how much professional track and field athletes get paid. Kevin Hanson said last week that each member of the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project based in Michigan has an “essential needs contract” of $30,000, after taxes. (Reading carefully, it’s not clear how that breaks down and if it includes housing, or if it’s cash.) Many of the team’s athletes make another $15,000 per year, and get health insurance, by working in the Hansons’ running stores. Women who can break 32:20 in the 10,000m earn another $25,000. And there are additional bonuses for things like top finishes at USATF road championships and cross country championships. The team also pays for athletes’ travel and lodging for races. I’ve gotten the sense that compensation varies wildly in professional running. As Amy Yoder Begley points out in response, many track athletes don’t make that much. Val Constien, for example, didn’t have any sponsor contracts when she made the Olympic team. Alli Cash responded that she’s run 4:05/15:19 this year and she’s still confused by pro running contracts (but working on signing one).

  • It’s official, Christina Clemons has signed with Doritos after wearing Doritos earrings when she made the Olympic team. And no, I have no idea whether that means they pay her in cash, Doritos, or something else.

  • If you’re near Northern Vermont, there are going to be Olympic watch parties at Elle Purrier St. Pierre’s high school during her Olympic races.

  • In this piece, Rachel Schneider says it was a bit stressful changing sponsors right before the Olympic Trials. Schneider is getting her master’s in clinical mental health counseling and had to turn in homework assignments during her down time at the Trials. 

  • The Associated Press reported that running legend Tegla Loroupe, now the chief of mission for the IOC’s Refugee Olympic Team, tested positive for Covid prior to traveling to Tokyo.

  • Sha’Carri Richardson will run the 100m/200m double at the Prefontaine Classic August 21, which is sure to get a ton of media coverage.

  • In addition to Des Linden, past Boston Marathon champions Edna Kiplagat (the 2017 champ), Atsede Baysa (2016), and Caroline Rotich (2015) will run the Boston Marathon on October 11. In the wheelchair race, Manuela Schär and Tatyana McFadden, who have collectively won every Boston since 2013, are back. Boston also announced last week that the 2021 race will be the first World Marathon Major to offer equal $50,000 course record bonuses in the open and wheelchair races.

  • Roisin Willis beat out some tough competition to be named the Gatorade National Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year for 2020–21. Jonathan Gault did a good Q&A with Willis for

Millie Paladino

Additional Podcasts

  • Wes Felix, Allyson Felix’s brother and agent, was great on the Citius Mag podcast, talking about the business side of the sport. He said that prior to working with Allyson, she had five figures of additional sponsorship, outside of her shoe contract, and by 2012, he’d helped her hit seven figures, and figured out some of how to get there by reaching out to Serena Williams’ agent in 2009. He also has some really interesting things to say about Saysh shoes’ origin story. He mentioned that Felix raced in Saysh shoes throughout the indoor season, so in retrospect, it took running fans a while to figure that out. 

  • It was interesting to hear Amy Cragg reflect on her running career in more depth on the Keeping Track podcast, especially because two of the three hosts are former training partners of Cragg. She talked about peaking at 140 miles per week during marathon training, running a 14:55 5,000m time trial in practice (her official PR is 15:14) before she won a bronze medal in the marathon at the 2017 world championships, and the overtraining syndrome that plagued the end of her competitive career. For more on Cragg, she was also featured in this Women’s Running article last week.

  • It was good to learn more about Millie Paladino on the Beer Mile podcast, because she’s one of many pro runners who never or rarely ends up on podcasts. She comes on around the 12:15 mark of the episode. You won’t want to miss this one if you want to hear all about the Shrek party New Balance Boston is planning.

  • Heather MacLean has done a fair amount of media recently, but I still learned some new things about her on the Running Rivals podcast, like the fact that her late father was an iron worker, and she was touched to learn that the new New Balance indoor facility is being built by workers from the union her father was once a part of. And she told the hosts, “I know I’m like so extra and really basic with the whole Dunkin’ obsession, but it’s really my whole personality so I don’t even care.”

  • Triathlete-turned-Olympic Trials runner Lauren Hurley was on I’ll Have Another and I loved that she said, “I thought (running success) was a possibility because I started following Keira D’Amato’s story. She’s a huge inspiration to me and I was like if she can do it all, maybe I can do it all.”

  • Elly Henes will race Sir Walter Miler before she moves out West, and she said on the Summer of Miles podcast, “I’m not a miler by my mom’s standards, but by my standards I am, so the last thing I want to prove to her before I leave Raleigh is that I’m a miler and I can run under 4:30!”

Other episodes from last week: Cory McGee on Convos Over Cold Brew, Molly Seidel on Without Compromise, Mary Cain on Running For Real, Dawn Harper-Nelson and &Mother co-founder Molly Dickens on Running Realized, Paula Radcliffe on Gemili & Poz, and Tori Gerlach on For the Long Run.


Something that made me laugh

  • Paul Chelimo discussing the beds in the Olympic Village. (Though apparently they can hold 440 pounds, are quite sturdy, and were designed prior to the pandemic.)


A huge thanks to New Balance for their support of Fast Women over the past several weeks, and to all of you who support this newsletter via Patreon.

If you’re interested in talking running during the week, join me in the new Fast Women forum. Registration is required, with the hopes of keeping things more civil.

I hope you have a great week!


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