The Best Running Moments of 2012

Siegel Selected as CEO 

After an extended and messy search that lasted 16 months, USA Track & Field selected marketing consultant Max Siegel, who had been on the USATF payroll working on sponsorship development, as their CEO. Siegel previously worked in the music industry and in business development for NASCAR. Under his leadership, the USA track & field team had its most successful Olympic Games in 20 years, collecting 29 medals—11 over second-place Russia.

June

National Running Day 

Millions of Americans celebrated National Running Day, held annually on the first Wednesday in June. Originally started in 2008 by more than a dozen running industry leaders and race organizers, National Running Day has grown at the grassroots level to include hundreds of group runs, happy hours and running clinics in every corner of the country. National Running Day 2013 will take place on June 5. 

IAAF Celebrates 100 Years 

With 100 NYC schoolchildren sprinting through a closed-off Times Square, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the global governing body of running, celebrated its 100th anniversary. Speaking to the assembled children, IAAF president Lamine Diack said, "Having 100 children run 100 meters to make 100 years is an appropriately symbolic way to celebrate the IAAF Centenary. The strength of our spirit today—as it was 100 years ago—is to appeal to the youth of the world."

NYRR New York Mini 10K

The First Women-Only Race Turned 40

The NYRR New York Mini 10K, the world's original women-only race, celebrated its 40th anniversary in New York City. The race, which had only 72 participants in 1972, celebrated 6,125 finishers in 2012. Jackie Marsh, who won the inaugural race as 17-year-old Jackie Dixon, was on hand to witness reigning world championships gold medalist Edna Kiplagat win the race in a performance that was nearly five minutes faster than Marsh's winning time 40 years earlier.

Track Town USA, Revisited 

The running world turned its attention to Eugene, Oregon, for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, the "do-or-die" qualifying meet for the U.S. team at the Olympic Games. Although the cool, rainy weather was more characteristic of an Oregon winter, the action at Hayward Field was piping hot, with Ashton Eaton breaking the decathlon world record on his home track (a prelude to his Olympic gold), Galen Rupp winning a historic 5,000m/10,000m double (breaking the trials records in both events), and Allyson Felix rebounding from the "dead heat" debacle in the women's 100m to win the 200m with the sixth-fastest time in history.

August

Highlights From the London Olympics

Big Night For Britain 

In a span of just 80 minutes, three British athletes won Olympic gold on their home soil. Kicking off the fun at 7:55 p.m. was long jumper Greg Rutherford, whose fourth-round jump of 8.31m was only the 574th-best in history, but good enough for gold. 

At almost the same time as Rutherford's gold-winning leap, Jessica Ennis was lining up for the final event of the women's heptathlon at 8:35 p.m. In the 2:08.65 it took Ennis to complete the 800m, Britain had locked up its second gold medal of the evening. 

Distance runner Mo Farah capped off the night for his country by outsprinting his training partner Galen Rupp and two-time defending gold medalist Keninisa Bekele to capture his first Olympic medal. Rupp earned silver and Tariku Bekele edged his brother for bronze. Farah would come back to win gold in the 5,000m, becoming only the second man since 1980 to win both events in the same Olympic Games. 


AP Photo

Silver For Rupp, Manzano 

Galen Rupp became the first American since Billy Mills (in 1964) to win a medal (he won silver) in the men's 10,000m. Adding to Team USA's silver medal tally, Leo Manzano's nail-biting finish in the men's 1500m catapulted him to the honor of first American to medal in that event since Jim Ryun in 1968.

Bolt's Triple Double 

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt became the first man in history to defend his Olympic 100m title. For good measure, Bolt defended his 200m title four days later, and anchored Jamaica to its second straight 4x100m relay Olympic gold two days after that. Bolt's Olympic accomplishments earned him millions in endorsements and bonuses, and the title of IAAF Male Athlete of the Year for the fourth time in his career. 

Rudisha's Dominance 

Kenya's David Rudisha did not disappoint in his 800m final. Running from the front, Rudisha won the gold medal and broke his own world record in 1:40.91, becoming the first man ever to run under the 1:41 barrier. His victory by .82 seconds—an eternity in the 800m—was considered by many experts to be the greatest distance race ever run.

At Long Last, Felix Golden 

After finishing in silver-medal position in Athens and Beijing, Allyson Felix won Olympic gold in the women's 200m, and followed that up with gold medals in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays to become the first female track athlete since 1988 to win three gold medals in the same Olympic Games. Felix was named IAAF Female Athlete of the Year.

Merrit's Dream Season 

In a two-and-a-half month span to cap his 2012 season, American hurdler Aries Merritt won the final 12 races he started, including the U.S. Olympic trials and the Olympic Games. In his final race of the year, Merritt, who had never even won a USA title until this year, broke the world record in the 110m hurdles, running 12.80 in Brussels. Merrit was also the world indoor championships gold medalist in the 60m hurdles in March.

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