Elite-Only Marathon Set For December 20 In Arizona

Kellyn Taylor

(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(24-Sep) -- An elite-only marathon has been organized for Sunday, December 20, in Chandler, Arizona, organizers announced today. The one-time event, called The Marathon Project, will be held on a 4.3-mile (6.9 km) loop surrounding the Rawhide Events Center on the Gila River Indian Reservation. Participation will be limited to 50 men and 50 women.

"We wanted to create a flat, fast course for professional athletes so they could showcase their talents," said Josh Cox of BOOM Management who is one of the race founders along with Big River Race Management's Matt Helbig and HOKA Northern Arizona Elite's Ben Rosario. "We wanted to look back at 2020 and know that we did everything within our power to help not only the athletes, but also the sport."

With every important marathon in the United States cancelled since March due to the pandemic --including the prestigious Boston, Chicago and New York City races-- elite marathoners have had few chances to compete seriously. A lucky few have received invitations to the London and Valencia Marathons --which will be held as elite-only races in October and December, respectively-- but most marathoners have had to make due with virtual races, treadmill challenges, and pop-up track meets.

Organizers said today that automatic entries would be given to the top-25 male and female finishers from the 2020 USA Olympic Trials Marathon. Several have already decided they will compete, including Stephanie Bruce (6th), Kellyn Taylor (8th) and Julia Kohnen (10th) on the women's side, and Augustus Maiyo (5th), Martin Hehir (6th), Colin Bennie (9th), and Scott Fauble (12th), on the men's.

"The course looks so flat and fast it almost looks boring," joked 2:24 marathoner Kellyn Taylor through a statement. "But that's 2020; making lemonade out of lemons."

The weather should be good. A typical day in Chandler at that time of year would have a low temperature of 40F/4C and a high temperature of 66F/19C. The race will begin at 7:30 a.m., and pacemakers will be used to encourage fast times.

Organizers said that the event will be fully compliant with USATF and World Athletics anti-COVID precautions, and will also meet the State of Arizona guidelines for in-person, outdoor events.  Spectators will not be permitted.

Registration for interested athletes begins today at http://www.themarathonproject.com.

Salwa Eid Naser Avoids Whereabouts Ban Due To Apartment Snafu

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The whereabouts case brought by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) against 400m world champion Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain has been dropped by the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal after a filing failure was backdated and a missed test reversed, allowing the sprinter to avoid three whereabouts failures within a 12-month period.

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Jepchirchir & Kiplimo Take World Half Titles In Fast Races

Jacob Kiplimo

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All Eyes On Cheptegei At Saturday's World Half Marathon Championships

Joshua Cheptegei

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Three Big Questions Ahead Of The OSU Invitational

Ryan Raff

In a year in which the NCAA indoor, outdoor and cross country championships have been canceled due to COVID-19, it’s safe to say that a mid-October invitational cross country meet has never been more anticipated than Saturday’s OSU Invitational in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

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Which Of The 2020 World Records Is Best?

Joshua Cheptegei, Mondo Duplantis

For a year in which both the world indoor championships and the Olympic Games were postponed, 2020 has seen its fair share of world records. (Of course, one could argue that those events being postponed aided in world record achievement, particularly in the cases of Joshua Cheptegei and Letesenbet Gidey.) A season with so much history has begged a question: which among these world records is the best? 

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Michigan Pro Ekiden And Half Marathon Born Out Of Necessity

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Joshua Cheptegei Topples Bekele Again With 26:11 10,000m WR

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For the second time in less than two months, 24-year-old Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei has taken a world record from Kenenisa Bekele. After breaking Bekele’s 5,000m record on August 14 in Monaco in 12:35.37, Cheptegei on Wednesday ran 26:11.00 in Valencia, Spain, to dismantle the 26:17.53 Bekele ran in 2005.

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Letesenbet Gidey Crushes Women's 5,000m WR In 14:06.62

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22-year-old Letesenbet Gidey smashed fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba’s 5,000m world record on Wednesday night in Valencia, Spain, by running 14:06.62. Gidey, running in the NN Valencia World Record Day, took down Dibaba’s 14:11.15 mark which had stood since 2008.

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How to Watch: 2020 NN Valencia World Record Day

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The 2020 NN Valencia World Record Day starts on Oct 7, 2020 LIVE on FloTrack

Kitata Prevails As Kipchoge Falters, Kosgei Dominates In London

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