Race Movie- more than just racing


Race refers to a person's physical characteristics, such as bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color or a competition between runners, horses, vehicles, boats, etc., to see which is the fastest in covering a set course.  In this case, the movie Race refers to both and is an enthralling story of the life and times of Jesse Owens.   As both an avid lover of history and a Track & Field athlete it was nice that this movie captures the story of Jesse (JC) Owens without being simply a list of his life events back to back. It absolutely highlights significant events like his record setting hour in Ann Arbor, Michigan when he captured 3 different World Records and his 1936 Olympic triumphs.  However, it is so much more than a list of accomplishments. It is a truly poignant story of the times that Jess lived in and the challenges he faced. It is a movie that captured the daily racism that Jesse faced and his personal struggles as he rose to fame so quickly. Yet at the same time it is an amazing behind the scenes look at Germany, their desire to host the Olympic Games and what that means in contrast to the Nazi beliefs.  An interesting story of the IOC and their behind the scenes work to try to get Germany to a place where they would be less controversial and more acceptable to other countries.  As an athlete it is was an inspiring story of hard work, natural talent and developing skills to block out the noise.  This is a movie that I think will appeal to many but will absolutely appeal to athletes. I can’t wait to go see it again and my sister can’t wait for it to come out on DVD as she has already stated we need to purchase it.  Don’t wait another minute... Go see it!

The movie "Race" based on the story of Jesse Owens, came out in theaters last week.  This was perfect timing for me, getting ready to race at the USATF 50K national championships, being held concurrently with the men's 50K Olympic Trials.  I thought this was the perfect movie to get me pumped up and fired up for my race.  I was totally right.  But what I wasn't prepared for was how much introspection it caused. 

While I am decently versed in history, and of course know the struggles that blacks faced in the 1930s, as well as the horrors that Jews and blacks faced in Nazi Germany, "Race" was able to bring you inside the world of the athletic politics, as well as feel some of the emotion that these minority athletes faced, both in their everyday lives and as part of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. I tend to think of Olympic greats as strong, confident people.  Having an idol-like view of Jesse Owens I thought the same about him.   "Race" portrayed a different view, one of a young man full of self doubt and struggling to find a place to fit in.  A guy who just wanted to run and be free; free from societal pressure, free from color, free from hate. 

This story touched me on a very personal level as well.  In 2012 I was the first woman to compete in a men's Olympic Trials event, the 50K race walk.  There was a lot of opposition to my competing with the men, negative things being said about me from both men and women.  There were women nationally and internationally hoping for me to succeed so that steps could be made for the inclusion of a women's 50K at the Olympics.  I felt a lot of pressure; pressure to succeed or let women down, pressure from myself.  Pressure not to fail so that people wouldn't say "I told you she wasn't good enough to be there."  But watching what Jesse Owens had to go through was just indescribable.  To have the weight of your people resting on you.  the weight of your country on your shoulders.  The knowledge that an ideal; win and prove Nazi ideology wrong, lose and have them gloat that they were right, rests on how well you perform, I can't even imagine the mental turmoil he must've endured. 

But he succeeded!  He was able to overcome self-doubt, pressure, hatred, and the hopes of millions of people.  And what a message that is.  We can all strive through the hard times and come out better and stronger than before. I highly recommend to anyone who has a passion for sport to see this movie.  The acting was great, the cinematography was fantastic, and the story is one that can't be beat.  Go out, see "Race," and be inspired!

It is easy to just say I liked this movie, and I think you will too. It isn’t just because this movie is about track star Jesse Owens, it isn’t just because the acting and cinematography is excellent, it is mostly because it will make you stop and think about how you relate to people that are different from you. When you finally realize that no one looks exactly like you, but you actually have more in common with virtually everyone, than what is different about you, something changes. We all faces challenges, we all have stress, we all have fears, we all have gifts, we all have desires, we all succeed at something, and we all fail. We can all work hard, we can all stand back up when knocked down, we can all stare straight into the unknown, only really knowing it will be difficult, and choose to move forward. Race gets that deep. Go to watch a movie about one of the most decorated track and field athletes of all time, but be open to what the movie is really about. My wife summed it up like this.  Race Movie; A time capsule of cultural awareness and athletic achievement. Race runs you through a multitude of emotions as the career of Jesse Owens develops, with the lessons of triumph and sportsmanship comes a testimony of blind faith and perseverance with a hint of determination.

A couple weeks ago, USATF Niagara ran a contest with the prize being tickets to go see the Race Movie, about Jesse Owens. All that was asked of our members was to be willing to write up a review.  Compiled from AJ and Sharon Grutturadro, Erin Taylor-Talcott, and Matt Merrill
A couple weeks ago, USATF Niagara ran a contest with the prize being tickets to go see the Race Movie, about Jesse Owens. All that was asked of our members was to be willing to write up a review.  Compiled from AJ and Sharon Grutturadro, Erin Taylor-Talcott, and Matt Merril

5 with roots to Niagara compete at 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials

After a 4 year wait, one of the most anticipated events in American distance running has finally arrived. On Saturday, 167 men and 201 women will hit the streets of Los Angeles for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. No pacemakers. No fast Kenyans or Ethiopians. Just the best American athletes and 26.2 miles on the streets of L.A. to determine which 3 athletes will represent the United States in Rio this August. This year, 4 current or former Niagara Association athletes will be making the trip to L.A. to try and make this year’s Olympic team. All 4 are making their very first Olympic trials appearance. We will highlight who they are, how they got there, and what to expect from them this Saturday. Click on their names for details.

Tim Chichester
Sam Morse
Meagan Krifchin
Jeff Eggleston
Melissa Johnson-White

-articles by Greg Selke

Men’s race

With Galen Rupp deciding to enter the marathon trials, this adds a lot of uncertainty to the equation. While he has certainly had a lot of success on the track, many people are wondering if this will translate to the marathon. This is his debut marathon, and speaking from experience, debut marathons can sometimes be cruel. The 10k, not even the half marathon is nothing like the full. How the race unfolds will determine who gets the 3 spots. If this race becomes a PR type effort, I think Rupps chances get hurt. If it becomes a tactical affair, expect his chances of making the team to be better. Also, if he’s not within distance of the top group by 13.1, expect a DNF out of Rupp.

Most people are saying that the 3 spots are likely going to Rupp, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Meb Keflezghi. While they are the odds on favorites, I think the chances that all 3 have everything go to plan and end up making the team aren’t as good. Each one has something that could limit their day. This is Rupp’s first marathon. Ritz has been training through an injury. And Meb has started to show is age of late. Ultimately, 2 of these 3 will make it.

The last spot will likely go to someone in the “Blue collar group”- either Luke Puskedra, Diego Estrada, Brett Gotcher, Matt Llano, Jeff Eggleston, Bobby Curtis, or Jared Ward. Each of these guys has had a performance in the last 2 years that makes you want to take a second look. I like to compare the marathon trials to the NCAA tournament, you always put your money on the teams coming in with momentum. Luke Puskedra threw down a 1:01:29 in Houston just weeks ago. If that’s his fitness now, look out for him. Add in his 2:10:24 in Chicago last October as well, and he’s the guy you should put your money on.


Men’s top 3

  1. Galen Rupp
  2. Dathan Ritzenhein
  3. Luke Puskedra


Women’s race


Coming in, it’s pretty clear that Shalane Flanagan and Desi Linden are head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. Shalane has had a very dominant past 2 years, running a 2:22:02 in Boston in 2014, finishing 6th in the 10000m at the IAAF outdoor track and field championships, and setting the U.S. women’s road 10k record in a time of 31:03. Linden was the top American woman in Boston last April, running a 2:25:39. Barring a catastrophe they should be the top 2. Nothing indicates they won’t. For the 3rd spot, I will go out on a limb and say that the 3rd spot will be someone out of left field. Someone that not even most distance runners are familiar with. Amy Cragg has been somewhat inconsistent. Kara Goucher has not been close to her dominant form of 2012. There’s not a ton of reasons to be extremely confident in the athletes who are considered favorites to take the 3rd spot. There are about 20 women who could take this 3rd spot. Some familiar, some not. Esther Atkins, Serena Burla, Sara Hall, Kellyn Taylor, maybe even  Maegan Krifchin. I can’t say for sure who it will be. Personally, I’ll say Burla, with not a lot of certainty. It goes back to the whole NCAA tournament argument mentioned earlier. Put your money on the athletes who have the momentum coming into the race.


Women’s top 3

  1. Shalane Flanagan
  2. Desi Linden
  3. Serena Burla

Jenn Suhr breaks own world indoor record

Courtesy USATF

BROCKPORT, New York -- Olympic gold medalist Jenn Suhr broke her own world indoor record in the women’s pole vault Saturday, clearing 5.03m/16-6 at the Brockport Golden Eagle Multi & Invitational at SUNY Brockport.
Suhr (Fredonia, New York) passed her first seven heights before missing her first attempt at 4.60m/15-1. She cleared 4.82m/15-9.75 with ease on her first attempt before missing the world record bar twice at 5.03m/16-6. On her final attempt, Suhr cleared the bar to the delight of the Brockport crowd, besting her previous world indoor record of 5.02m/16-5.50 set at the 2013 USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Suhr made attempts at the world record just two weeks ago at the Doug Raymond Invitational in Kent, Ohio. She set a then-world leading 4.91m/16-1.25 before missing her three attempts at 5.03m.
Suhr has much of the indoor season ahead of her, as she is confirmed to compete at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Sunday, February 14. Fans can watch #NBIGP from 4-6 p.m. EST on USATF.TV and NBC Sports.

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