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November 12 2017

Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV Review

The Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist has been filling an important place as an ‘all-arounder’ trail shoe for many runners since 2009, and thankfully for most of us, it hasn’t undergone any tremendous changes in the fit or ride since then. This spring, the Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV ($115) will be released and though the changes are again relatively subtle, I am appreciating them. The fourth iteration comes in a bit lighter at 8.7 ounces (women’s) and 10.2 ounces (men’s), retains the 8mm drop introduced in the Mountain Masochist III, and costs slightly more. Overall, this very durable shoe is easy to choose when my runs consist of hard-packed dirt roads, softer singletrack, or even rocky terrain. It’s a shoe that can go any distance while keeping your feet and legs well-cushioned and protected out there on the trail.

The Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV. All photos: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV Upper

The Mountain Masochist IV upper is made from a more breathable abrasion-resistant mesh that snugs up to the foot very comfortably and with less potential hot spots thanks to the new 3D-printed overlays which are much less obtrusive and restrictive around the shoe. These have been slimmed down significantly from the previous models’ webbing overlays yet still integrate with the lace routers to provide an excellent, accommodating fit through the midfoot. I feel like this change has improved the breathability and moisture management of the shoe overall, and it certainly eliminated a potential blister point for me at my medial great toe.

The traditional laces have been replaced with new, smooth-gliding speed laces that have worked flawlessly for me despite significant dust and dirt accumulation from various runs over the past few months. I appreciate the ease of a one-pull cinch to snug up the shoes and haven’t had any issues using gloved hands in chillier temperatures. The laces are a bit thicker than the ones used in other speed-lace or speed-dial set-ups, and it eliminates the pressure lines the thinner ones can create which my feet definitely appreciate.

Near the end of the padded, gusseted tongue, a lace pass-through has been attached to the reinforcement that now runs along the middle aspect of the tongue. The reinforcement protects the foot from the plastic speed-lace mechanism while the pass-through gives the long end of the speed laces a place to go without creating a pressure point like lace 'garages’ sometimes do. Once the lace is threaded through this spot, there’s no reason to remove it; all the lace adjusting can be done with it in place which is a nice fuss-saving aspect if you’re changing socks or shoes mid-race.

The rest of the upper seems relatively unchanged from the Mountain Masochist III. The stiff heel counter provides ample support on uneven terrain and the trim padded ankle collar and Achilles notch remain comfortable but not overly squishy. The toe bumper provides adequate protection for most trail incursions via a thin and somewhat flexible rand with support from the outsole wrapping up through the center. All in all, the upper works better for me than all previous iterations.

The Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV lateral upper.

Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV Midsole

The Mountain Masochist IV is built on the familiar slightly curved Integrafit last with the FluidFrame midsole. This midsole utilizes Columbia Montrail’s same FluidFoam and FluidGuide technology as before to combine lightweight but effective cushioning with a bit of extra support medially for later miles when running form tends to begin revealing the accumulated fatigue. I have a rigid, neutral foot and appreciate every bit of the firm but responsive cushioning. I do not notice the 'guide’ aspect of the midsole at all except that at the end of a long run, my feet and legs still feel well-supported by the shoes.

One slightly strange thing I’ve noticed each time I’ve put these shoes on-and it’s kind of hard to describe-is that the heel cushioning is very noticeable. It’s almost as if there’s a 'pod’ of cushioning that is ensconced within the heel. The first few times I ran in the shoes, it almost made the heel-to-toe transition a bit clunky. The ride has since smoothed out, but the sensation of significant heel cushioning has remained. This is not a 'bad’ thing, but is different from the other Columbia Montrail trail shoes I’ve worn.

The 16mm stack height of the heel and 8mm stack height in the forefoot keep the overall feel of the shoe relatively low to the ground thus eliminating any tendency toward ankle tilts or rolls when the shoe is accommodating various terrain features. Currently, I have over 200 miles in the shoes and still do not notice any significant loss of cushioning or comfort. I can easily see these shoes as 50k and 50-mile shoes, and if I ran 100s, I’d slot them in my list of top shoe choices as well.

The Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV medial upper.

Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV Outsole

I was pleased to see there were no significant changes made to the outsole of the Mountain Masochist IV. The full-length Gryptonite sticky rubber outsole has the multi-directional lugs and shock absorbing rectangles arranged in the same tread pattern as the Mountain Masochist III. Similar cut-outs are present revealing the full-length TrailShield which I find to provide excellent rock and root protection here in Colorado. After 200-plus miles, I have barely smoothed the little tiny dots off the lugs and see no significant wear anywhere-not bad for a solid heel striker.

I’ve worn this same outsole on previous iterations of the shoe in a variety of climates from the wet and muddy Pacific Northwest to wintery rock-strewn trails in Ohio and then on the prickly, sandy, desert trails in Arizona. It’s simply a well-performing outsole in any of these areas. Of course, there are always times when larger, deeper lugs and more specific tread patterns can be helpful for extreme conditions, but for a generalist trail shoe, Columbia Montrail has it dialed in.

The Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV outsole.

Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV Overall Impressions

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been a Columbia Montrail fan since the beginning of my trail and ultra days back when Montrail was one of the few companies making trail running shoes (RIP, dear Vitesse) in 1997. I love that the feel of the Mountain Masochist IV isn’t that far off from what I remember of the first Mountain Masochist I wore in 2009. Technology has come a very long way since then, but the fit, comfort, and overall feel of the shoe links past trail memories with current adventures, and I love that. The Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV is an excellent all-around trail shoe that can cover most any distance with relative comfort and protection.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Are you a Mountain Masochist wearer?

  • What aspects of the shoe do you most appreciate?

[Editor’s Note: If you're affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a shoe brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

The Columbia Montrail Mountain Masochist IV viewed from the top.

Football Star online slot game – Facts, figures and bonuses

Over the years, developers of casino games have produced all kinds of sports-themed online slot games, many of which are themed around football, the…

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Running Into The Sunrise

[Author’s Note: Canyon de Chelly is pronounced as “canyon de SHAY.”]

“The Indian, he says maybe the white man makes the woman go through the door first because he doesn’t know what’s on the other side.”

So said Allen Martin, Navajo elder, mid-way through a pre-race prayer in the sand at the mouth of Canyon de Chelly, Arizona on October 14. In the final moments before the morning sun crested the horizon of the Chuska mountains–thereby beginning the race the Canyon de Chelly Ultra– all runners, spectators, and volunteers clustered around a bonfire built in a small depression in the sand. We left a gap in the circle facing east, as a way of welcoming the sun and saying thank you to the coming of a new day. Allen went through a litany of motions, words, and songs, largely in Navajo but masterfully peppered with English to keep us attentive, all of it meant to say thank you to the various life-giving forces and to ask for strength in the day ahead.

The duality of “male” and “female” is a central component in the Navajo belief system. To this end, Allen recruited two volunteers, one male and one female, from the group of runners to represent all of us. Using a fan made of eagle feathers (“my grandpa gave me this when I was given tribal responsibility,” he said. “It is very important to me”), he waved it in the smoke rising from the fire and wafted it over himself. The smoke drifted clearly in the cold morning air, making distinctive swirls. He then did the same with his volunteers, beginning somewhat randomly–per the joke above–with the woman. He asked them to repeat after him a brief prayer in the Navajo language, which, given the vast linguistic distance between English and Navajo, elicited further laughs from the crowd. Allen laughed too. Despite the formality and gravity of the proceedings, he was clearly enjoying himself.

Just as the sun crested the horizon, Allen’s son Shaun Martin rallied all the runners to the start line and sent them off yelling. Shaun is the race director of the Canyon de Chelly Ultra and has become somewhat of a celebrity among native runners. Expertise and accomplishment attract attention anywhere, and his work with various running groups on the Navajo reservation has been rewarded with success that seems massive in a place not known for big achievements in the American sense of the term. In a land riddled with poverty, obesity, alcoholism, and depression, Shaun has guided young native runners to impressive victories on the national and world levels. He does this, he says, because he fosters relationships with his runners. “Anyone can look up a 10k training plan on the internet,” he told me when I asked about his coaching. “The training is no secret. The trick to coaching is connecting with your runners.”

In 2013 he started the Canyon de Chelly Ultra as a way to simultaneously celebrate his Navajo running heritage and to raise money for young runners on the reservation. The race sold out in two days the first year, and the pace has only quickened since, to the point that UltraSignup is now hounding him to create a lottery so that people don’t crash the website trying to sign up for the race. Shaun reserves 10 spots for locals from Chinle, Arizona (the town at the mouth of Canyon de Chelly), and there were native runners from other parts of the reservation as well. But the overwhelming majority of runners were white people from around the country (and, in several cases, the world.) This, I think, reflects the general demographics of our sport. But beyond ethnicity, the race seems to represent the deeper values that set trail running apart from other strictly competitive sports.

The Navajo are a “Dené,” or Athabaskan, people who migrated to the American Southwest over many generations from northern Canada. The Navajo language is mutually intelligible with several First Nations and Native Alaskan languages from tribes who live thousands of miles to the north. But for almost as long as anyone can remember, their homeland has been the rocky, labyrinthine canyon country of what is now the Four Corners region. And among this landscape, their heartland is Canyon de Chelly.

Canyon de Chelly is a conglomerate of three main canyons and countless smaller ones that begins as minor depressions high in the Chuska Mountains and quickly grows into snaking canyons of vertical rock walls hundreds of feet high that wind down to the valley bottom at Chinle (which is a Navajo word meaning something like “where the water comes out.”) The canyons are checkered with the detritus of past civilizations who left ruins and drawings that inspire a nervous awe in both Navajos and visitors. When explaining the need to respect archaeological sites to the assembled runners at the pre-race meeting, Shaun’s father-in-law William Yazzie told us of the Ancestral Puebloans (whom he called “Anasazi”): “They left a long time ago, maybe for a good reason, maybe for a bad reason. But we don’t touch any of that stuff. We don’t want that on us.” His next comment was only half-joking: “If you touch that stuff, you might have a ghost following you around, and you can only get that off with a ceremony with a Navajo medicine man. It’s a pain. So just don’t touch it.”

These stories and the perspective from which they are told lend a historical significance to the canyon that is further amplified by the farms and hogans (tradition Navajo homes) that exist within its red walls. Histories of Native American/White relations all over the U.S. follow similar lines: after a (sometimes prolonged) period of resistance, most natives were forced to live on reservations, at which point white opportunists arrived and exploited loopholes and ignorance to take away huge portions of what was often the best land on the reservations.

The Navajo fought fiercely against Western intrusion–first Spanish, then Mexican, and later American–into their land until finally being subdued by the mountain man Kit Carson. His troops spent several months between 1863 and 1864 traveling through Navajo country burning crops, killing animals, and fouling water sources. The scorched-earth tactics had the desired effect, and in 1864 nearly all Navajos were forced to walk hundreds of miles to the southeast, to a place called Bosque Redondo. There, Navajo families withered away for five long years in dense concentration, watching their crops fail, their elders die, and their dignity evaporate.

They were finally allowed to return to what is now the Navajo Reservation in 1868. With this in mind, I asked Shaun what the Navajos thought of Canyon de Chelly being designated a national monument in 1931, which put it at least partly under federal jurisdiction. He didn’t seem fussed about it. “You know,” he said. “When the Navajo came back from the Bosque in 1868, the white man kept drawing lines in the sand and telling them not to cross. This was just another line in the sand.”

But this line was different, because as far as the Navajos were concerned, nothing changed. Canyon de Chelly is a “living monument,” which means that people still live within its boundaries. So this was–and remains–the other way around: no non-Navajo is allowed to enter Canyon de Chelly without a guide and a permit. The only exception came in 2013, when Shaun started the Canyon de Chelly Ultra in close cooperation with the Navajo Nation and the National Park Service. That race is the one day a year when 150 people of all nationalities are allowed to run through the canyon twice–once from bottom to top, and again from top to bottom. The only discerning factor is how fast can you sign up. The total distance is 34 miles, which means that runners get to see 17 miles of sand, rock, orchard, petroglyph, and cottonwood, twice. When this is combined with Navajo histories and songs at the pre-race meeting, group prayers at the beginning and end of the race, and local art and jewelry as the prizes, you can’t help but feel a certain gravity of place as you run through the canyon. The race and its attendant ceremonies provide a context to Canyon de Chelly that relegates the competitive part of the race to a subordinate position, below values like respect, family, and history. When you go into the canyon, you imagine–or maybe not–that you can hear voices from the past just out of earshot.

For as long as I have been trail running, I have been drawn to its community. This sentiment has been repeated to me by countless other runners, all of whom extol the sense of inclusiveness and approachability of the people in our sport who just want to spend a lot of time running in beautiful places with good friends. Competition is fun, but it has always felt secondary to the experience and the challenge. At Canyon de Chelly, this sentiment was both supported and given a new element. The Navajo culture provided a context and therefore a reason to think outside ourselves even while practicing an individual sport. Shaun and his family use the race as a way to suggest to us a way to use personal achievement as a means to create good for other people. We can raise money for good causes, but there’s more to it. We can run into the sunrise yelling as a way to be grateful for a new day, and to celebrate the essential tension between positive and negative, and to appreciate the many life-giving forces all around us. This way of thinking gave us a sense of purpose that was characterized by the clear directions of the race markers. Rarely has the way forward felt so clear, and it was this way because we were asked to look for a way forward for many, not just for one. If for only one day, they gave us a reason to run and a place in the fabric of human cultures that meant something. This is an end that can be accomplished with the rituals of many cultures, and in this respect the Navajo way of life is but one way forward of many. But it’s a pretty good one.

Allen Martin performed the post-race prayer as well. The sun had set behind behind the pale canyons to the west, and the wind picked up. The 20 or so people left at the finish line stood shivering in running clothes while Allen spoke in Navajo and wafted more smoke around with another eagle-feather fan and passed around a cup of water blessed by the ceremonies for everyone to drink from. He told us that in this way we all honored each other as people, and as members of our community. It was an important thing to do, he said, with the implication that this was better than nothing. “Normally, this ceremony lasts all night long,” he said, laughing again. “You get sore butts.”

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Have you run the Canyon de Chelly Ultra? Can you share a few thoughts about your experience with it?

  • Have you participated in another race or group event that possessed such a strong cultural significance?

Spurs trio expected to start for England vs Germany tonights

Tottenham Hotspur are expected to have three representatives in the England team to face Germany at Wembley this evening. It was confirmed yesterday…

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November 05 2017

Cesc Fabregas looks ahead to Chelsea vs Man Utd

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has taken to social media to remind his followers that the Blues face Manchester United tomorrow. The Spain…

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Colorful Cat Folk Art by Heather Galler Now 50% OFF!

I’m a color person. My favorite part of house painting is collecting paint chips (then convincing hubby to paint the walls something other than white).

So I fell in love with Heather Galler’s art on Etsy. Her folk art style is rich with saturated jewel tones, similar to the color palettes used by the late, great Laurel Burch. , Thedesigns make bold statements, andare available on a wide array of products, including ceramic tiles, pillows, jewelryeven shower curtains!

She even does custom cat portraits.

Visit her Etsy store and follow her on Facebook, where you’ll see her vast body of work.

The post Colorful Cat Folk Art by Heather Galler Now 50% OFF! appeared first on Mousebreath Magazine.

Chelsea legend & Aston Villa's John Terry confirms awful injury news

Aston Villa & John Terry

It’s going to be a long time before Aston Villa see John Terry back on the pitch.

On Saturday night the Chelsea legend has taken to Instagram to report his bad injury news.

Sheffield Wednesday picked up a huge win on Saturday in the Championship beatingAston Villa2-1.

The result was a shock, asSheffield Wednesday became the first team to win at Villa Park in the league this season.

For the second match in a row, Wednesday’s Adam Reach and Jordan Rhodes found the target in the away win.

Chris Samba scored a late consolation for Villa.

However, aside from the defeat, the result was bitter for Villa asJohn Terry and Robert Snodgrass both went off in the first half with injuries.

Chelsea hero breaks his 5th metatarsal

Now 36, Chelsea legendJohn Terryis of course approaching the end of his career.

Could that be sooner that expected?

Terry, an ever-present for Villa this season, exited the match after 20 minutes.

He’s now confirmed he’s broken hisfifthmetatarsal on social media, writing:

Devastated is an understatement to how I’m feeling tonight, after my CT scan I have just had news that I have broken my 5th metatarsal.

I will be doing everything I can to get back fit as soon as possible.

It’s unclear how long Terry will be sidelined for, but it’s likely to be several months.

Thursday Play Session

My human had to finish and hand in a draft of something (non-cat!) yesterday. So this is going to be a mostly Wordless Thursday, since she didn’t have much time to help me blog. But she did take a break to give me a really fun play session on my castle cat tower. I think you can see how much I’m enjoying myself without any captions!

P.S. Wish her luck on this project, because she is going to need it!

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The post Thursday Play Session appeared first on SparkleCat.

Pep Guardiola hints at Man City's plans to sign Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has hinted that he is plotting a fresh attempt to sign Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. The former Barcelona boss…

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October 22 2017

Can Jamaal Lascelles Break into the England Squad?

The latest England squad has been announced for the upcoming qualifiers at the beginning of October, with the usual array of names featuring. Gareth Southgate has been labelled as fairly predictable and safe with his selections in recent months, and the announcements regularly divide Premier League fans. Newcastle supporters have been impressed by captain Jamaal []

Never Too Cool for School

therapy cat in school auditorium

Here’s another therapy cat first for me: I visited a school to meet with several classes of youngsters. They were PALS program preschoolers, and I was there with a therapy dog, Mr. Scruffles. My human, and the human that was handling Mr. Scruffles, had to talk a little about pets, and then all the kids got to pet us.

welcome sign for therapy pets from Love on 4 Paws

The teachers, supervisors and kids worked hard to make us feel welcome! The team member with Mr. Scruffles showed off some of the tricks he did and you know I had to do the same! I sat up, did my high five and pawshake and I rang my bell! (Yes, my human brought my brand new bell.)

I will tell you something funny. Being in this big school auditorium was new to me, and I didn’t have time to explore all of it on my leash. So I was a little bit nervous during the part of the presentation where the humans were talking. But once that ended, and the children got to pet us, I went right into therapy cat mode! I’m used to children putting their hands all over me, and I know I’m there for them.

The teachers kept the petting part very orderly- only five kids at a time got to pet us, and most of the teachers had told their students how to pet dogs and cats. Here is a cool tip, in case you know any young kids who need to learn: tell them to use only two fingers. (As my human heard them called once, your peace sign fingers.) That made it a lot easier for them to be gentle with me, and they could still see how nice I was, and how soft my fur was.

therapy cat looking at refreshments supplied by school

After the presentation, the humans were treated to refreshments. Isn’t that a nice spread (at least if you’re a human)? Some bad kitty took a flying leap into the tortilla chips. I have no idea who it was. We also got a nice gift and a thank you card! It was a very sweet visit.

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The post Never Too Cool for School appeared first on SparkleCat.

'Newcastle can win the Premier League with Rafa Benitez' (BBC Video)

Newcastle beat Crystal Palace

It was another superb weekend for Newcastle United as they collected three points against Crystal Palace.

MikelMerino scored from an 84th minute corner to deflate Palace’s confidence after last weekend’s win against Chelsea.

The result leaves Palace four points adrift from safety at the bottom of the table.

As for Newcastle, they are up to 6th in the Premier League with 14 points on the board after nine matches.

‘Newcastle can win the Premier League’

According to the BBC’s website on Saturday night, Garth Crooks has bigged up Newcastle’s chances of doing something big in the Premier League.

The BBC tell their readers Garth Crooks says he believes Rafa Benitez has the pedigree and is capable of winning the title with the right resources while in charge of Newcastle United.

On the recording below, Crooks speaks highly of the Magpies.

However his highest prediction is that Newcastle can be a top six side.

Watch the video below.

Also see: Newcastle fans loved what Jonjo Shelvey did to Palace’s Yohan Cabaye.

Pietro Pellegri: Man Utd and Chelsea join the race to sign Italian wonderkid

Manchester United and Chelsea are the latest clubs to join the chase for Genoa starlet Pietro Pellegri, according to The Sun. The Premier League…

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October 08 2017

Abdulkadir Omur: Arsenal tracking Trabzonspor starlet

Trabzonspor wonderkid Abdulkadir Omur is a transfer target for Arsenal, according to The Sun. The 18-year-old starlet is reportedly on Gunners boss…

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October 01 2017

Bad for Real Madrid: Eden Hazard to out-earn Paul Pogba

Eden Hazard & Chelsea

Chelsea haveEden Hazard under contract until 2020.

Hazard signed a new five-and-a-half-year deal in February 2015. But many people thought the playmaker to agree an extension over the summer to cement his place as Chelsea’s main man.

At the same time, stories linking Hazard with a Chelsea exit have been doing the rounds for quite a while.

The 26-year-old currently takes home in the region of 200,000-a-week.

Real Madrid are often labelled as the likely suitors should Hazard ever leave Chelsea.

Having fun, a few skills for you to enjoy!! #cfc

A post shared by Eden Hazard (@hazardeden_10) on Sep 14, 2017 at 11:31am PDT

Paid more than Paul Pogba

According to the Express on Sunday, Hazard is ready to agree a new deal with Chelsea.

Haven’t fans heard this many times already?

The Express say that Hazard’s new deal will make him the best paid player in the Premier League, above Paul Pogba.

Pogba is on 290,000 pounds a week at Man United. But Hazard’s new deal will see him earn 300,000 pounds a week with Chelsea.

It’s believed the deal will be completed when Hazard returns from international duty once some minor details are sorted out.

Chelsea 0 Man City 1

After Saturday’s defeat to Man City, Chelsea have already dropped more points at home this season than last.

Kevin De Bruyne scored the only goal of the game to maintain Man City’s position at the top of the Premier League.

Man City have become the second team to beat Chelsea at the Bridge this season after Burnley on the opening day.

The Blues return to action after the international break with a match against Crystal Palace.

Also see: Chelsea fans single out one player for hate after Man City.

Barcelona fans will love what Pep Guardiola did after he beat Chelsea.

September 10 2017

Premier League Betting Tips: September 9-11, 2017

by George Keaney This weekend is an intriguing one as far as the top of the table goes, with the title contenders all facing tough tests, Here’s an…

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Liverpool & QPR old boy Djibril Cisse scores in the Swiss league (Video)

Liverpool & QPR old boy Djibril Cisse

Now 36-years-old, former Liverpool, QPR and French international striker Djibril Cisse is back scoring goals.

Back in 2015, Cisse announced his retirement from the Beautiful Game.

Speaking onFrench TV programme J+1 at the time of his decision, Cisse said:

You have to know how to listen to your body from time to time. Today I can no longer play football at a high level, or even play football full stop.

Djiril Cisse scored over 250 goals in his 16-year career, including nine goals in 41 matches for the French national side.

The striker was forced to overcome many obstacles and challenges, after horrendously suffering not one but two major leg breaks, shortly after signing for Liverpool in 2004 and ahead of a move to Marseille in June 2006.

Djibril Cisse scores in the Switzerland

But, slightly under the radar, Cisse has returned to the pitch in recent months.

Back in July, third division Swiss club Yverdon announced they’d landed Cisse.

And so far Cisse’s return is going great. He’s scored five goals in six matches, andYverdon are second in their league.

On Saturday, Yverdon beat Basel II 2-1.

Djibril Cisse scored the winner with a 93rd minute penalty.

He celebrated like a boss!

Kylian Mbappe confirms joining Arsenal was a real option

Paris Saint-Germain new boy Kylian Mbappe has confirmed that he had the chance to join Arsenal in the summer transfer window. The France…

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August 27 2017

UTMB Intrigue

Last year in this space and on this weekend, I wrote a piece titled UTMB Envy in which I spoke about how badly I want to one day run UTMB and how every year around this time I envy those who get to do so. This year, I am sad to say, I feel the same way. I really wish I was heading over to Chamonix, France like many of my friends and not just to run but I’d also love to go over there to see the whole thing unfold.

I completely agree with Bryon Powell, who wrote in iRunFar’smen’s preview articleon Mondaythat this year’s UTMB is the deepest, most competitive men’s field ever assembled for a trail 100 miler. And in reading that, it reminded me of a time seven years ago when he and I said the same thing about the men’s race atWestern States. The 2010 Western States 100 turned out to be an inflection point for our sport and to this day resonates with me as one of the single best days of competitive ultrarunning I have ever seen. Perhaps this year’s UTMB will be another such inflection point.

Allow me to take you back to the last Saturday in June of 2010 and give you a sense of the men’s field that day:

First of all, there were ‘the big four.’ Two-time defending champion, Hal Koerner, was returning and by all accounts was in the best shape of his life. Two-time Leadville Trail 100 Mile winner Anton Krupicka was coming to run his first Western States after a series of impressive tune-up races and a seemingly incomprehensible training schedule. Alaskan Geoff Roes was making his way to Squaw Valley, California to run his first Western States after completing what was, perhaps, the single greatest season of ultrarunning ever. And, Catalan phenom Kilian Jornet was making his North American ultramarathon race debut after wowing the ultra world with his exploits in other parts of the world. For most prognosticators, the winner was going to come from one of those four.

However, chasing that group were some impressive runners, some names that will still be recognized and others perhaps less so. Zach Millerwas back as one of only a few returning top-10 runners from 2009. Nick Clark and Ian Sharman were running, believe it or not, their first Western States. Gary Robbins was coming down from Canada, Neal Gorman from Virginia, and Leigh Schmitt from Massachusetts. To top that all off, the grand master himself, Tom Nielsen, was returning to Western States after several years away.

In short, it was a stacked field in which most of us believed anything could happen. And, indeed it did! On the slightly modified course, in the end, Geoff Roes closed hard after Foresthill, passing Anton Krupicka at mile 89 and going on to set a new course record. Krupicka held on for what was, at the time, the fastest second-place finish ever and Kilian Jornet, after making a few rookie mistakes, managed a third-place finish.

Hal Koerner didn’t have his best day and ended up dropping at the river crossing as did Leigh Schmitt. Miller, Robbins, Clark, and Sharman, however, all went on to impressive top-10 finishes and the race went down in history. To this day, I can still feel the energy that was coursing through the awards ceremony that hot JuneSundayafternoon. It was positively palpable.

Looking at next weekend’s UTMB, I have a hunch it could be quite similar to that 2010 Western States. While certainly the field is deeper and more robust and the cast of characters is different, it could, nonetheless, be another inflection point for the men’s side of our sport and that is wonderfully exciting!

For a continued trip down memory lane, here are a few memories from that great day in 2010:

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri. Their Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale is one of the best of this variety I have tasted. It’s fruity yet dry with just a touch of sourness. Wonderfully drinkable and simple.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Do you remember the 2010 Western States men’s race? What stories from the race can you recall?

  • What about this idea of inflection points? Do you think next week’s UTMB could be an inflection point for the men’s side of the sport?

  • Can you think of parallel inflection points for women’s trail ultrarunning? What races shifted what we think we know about it?

Bournemouth's statement on Sergio Aguero assault

Bournemouth on Sergio Aguero

Just as the Sunday papers were releasing their first editions alleging that Sergio Aguero could have assaulted a police officer, Bournemouth had their say.

Man City beat Bournemouth 2-1 on Saturday in a match which had an epic finish.

Raheem Sterling scored a winner in the 97th minute which set off wild scenes with the away fans.

Sterling was sent off in the melee, while Sergio Aguero could into a confrontation with a policeman.

Things got physical as Aguero stepped in to stop a Man City fan from being hurt by the officers.

The Man City forward seemed to push a policeman after the footballer was shoved away from the scene.

‘No assault took place’

On Saturday nightBournemouth released a statement which should help to make sure Aguero receives no punishment.

The club posted the following message on their website:

The club have been advised that due to a misunderstanding, an earlier statement alleging assault has been withdrawn and no assault took place.

AFC Bournemouth recognises that stewards and police were carrying out their duties in preventing encroachment onto the pitch, with the safety of players and supporters in mind.

The club will make no further comment on the matter.

Aguero has also defended his actions in the matter on social media.

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