November 18, 2013

Molly Huddle at the 2012 USA Olympic Track & Field Trails.     Photo: Courtesy of Saucony

Records Fall at Road Racing Champs

Olympian Molly Huddle sets world's best 12K

From the gun, the 12K .US Road Racing Championships in Alexandria, Virginia, on Sunday was a two woman race between national record-holders: Molly Huddle, the American record holder for the 5,000 meters on the track, and Shalane Flanagan, the former holder of that title.

“Those two gapped us in the first 200 meters.” said Laura Thweatt, who placed third in the race. “I would have loved to see those two battle it out. We had two of the greatest distance running women in the world battling for the record and the win.”

The two matched each other surge for surge through 11 kilometers. Huddle dropped Flanagan in the last kilometer and broke the finishing tape in 37:49—eight seconds faster than Flanagan, 21 seconds faster than the world’s best time, and 35 seconds than the previous American record for 12K.

“I was trying to save a little bit in case Shalane dropped a hard mile,” Huddle told Race Results Weekly. “12K is kind of an unusual distance for me so I didn’t know if the bottom would drop out at any point.”

12K is an unusual distance for anyone, and it's not a distance that's commonly raced. Both woman dipped under the previous best times, but Huddle’s record only stands at a world’s best because the International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF), the international governing body for the sport, doesn’t ratify world record in this distance. Deena Kastor ran the previous American record (38:24) in 2006, and the previous world best (38:10) was set by Lineth Chepkurui of Kenya in 2010.

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Malamutes are often used as sled dogs due to their strength and indurance     Photo: Kyslynskyy/Thinkstock

Wolf Hunter Kills Malamute

Pet dog shot six times

A Missoula man's malamute was fatally shot by a wolf hunter on Sunday. Layne Spence was skiing with his three dogs near Lee Creek, Montana, when Little Dave, a two-year old brown and white malamute, was shot in the leg.

“I started screaming ‘Stop, stop,’ and the man kept shooting,” Spence told the Missoulian, noting that the hunter was 15 yards away, holding an assault weapon. “I shouted ‘What are you doing?’ and the guy said, ‘I thought it was a wolf.’”

The hunter reportedly shot the malamute six times and took off without another word. Spence carried Little Dave back to his truck and immediately filed a report with the Missoula County Sheriff's Department when he returned to town.

“Not every big dog is a wolf," Spence told the paper. "These are pets, they all had their collars and lights on, they were all with me the entire time ... I was standing right there."

Montana's general rifle season for wolf hunting is September 15 to March 15, 2014. This year's season has fairly loose regulations as state officials try to decrease the predator's population due to livestock and elk herd attacks. Lower fees, and a five-wolf-per-person bag limit are two of the major changes for the 2014 season, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

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The Moscow anti-doping laboratory has been provisionally suspended for six months.     Photo: Shutterstock/Snvv

Olympic Drug-Testing Quality Questioned

Moscow laboratory provisionally suspended

With fewer than three months until the Sochi Winter Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency has provisionally suspended Moscow's anti-doping laboratory for six months over questions of integrity. The Russian program will lose accreditation unless steps are taken toward reform within the next two weeks.

Reformation requirements for the Moscow Anti-Doping Center (extending to its Sochi satellite) include hiring indepedent "quality management" experts to help construct a new management system of accuracy and reliability by December 1—and putting that new system into place by April 1.

If these stipulations are met, "then the...six-month suspension of accreditation of the Moscow laboratory shall never come into effect," WADA said in a statement.

WADA regularly assesses the integrity of its accredited labs by sending them "blind samples" for testing and then checking for any false positives or false negatives. In August, WADA suspended a Rio de Janeiro laboratory in charge of drug tests for next year's World Cup. Footballers' samples will now be diverted to Switzerland for testing.

If the Moscow laboratory's accreditation is similarly revoked by WADA, the host city will have to stomach the cost (and the embarrassment) of exporting samples to other labs—while already footing the largest bill of any Olympics, at $51 billion.

The Moscow Anti-Doping Center may appeal the decision in the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the next 21 days.

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Freediver holding his breath deep in the water.     Photo: Felix Renaud/iStockphoto

Man Dies After Diving Record Attempt

Nicholas Mevoli hoped to reach 236 feet on one breath

A Brooklyn man attempting a freediving record died in that attempt on Sunday after staying submerged for three minutes and 38 seconds and reaching depths of 200 feet.

Nicholas Mevoli, the first American to dive to 100 meters (328 feet) unassisted, was aiming to reach 72 meters (236 feet) in one breath without the assistance of fins at Vertical Blue, a championship event in the Bahamas.

Mevoli’s progress downward appeared smooth until about 68 meters when he seemed to turn back, according to The New York Times. But instead of heading to the surface, he dove down again to reach the record.

It was only just after Mevoli shot to the surface under his own power and flashed the OK sign that he lost consciousness. According to those on the scene, Mevoli had pulmonary edema, and 800 cubic centimeters of fluid was pulled from his lungs. He was pronounced dead less than an hour later; his body is still awaiting autopsy.

“It’s an extreme sport,” Mike Board, the British record-holder, told The New York Times. “We all make split-second decision, and sometimes we pay the consequences. But his will to get the job done and win is that made him such a great free diver.”

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Ming the clam dies at 507     Photo: mkistryn/Thinkstock

Oldest Living Animal Killed During Research

Ming the clam dies at 507

Have you ever wondered what the world's oldest living animal is? Well, it’s a clam, and it's dead.

Scientists killed the 507-year-old bivalve mollusc named Ming (a reference to the Chinese dynasty in power when it was born) in an attempt to determine how old the creature actually was. The mollusc was found in an Icelandic seabed in 2006 by researchers from Bangor University, according to The Independent

Determining the age of a clam is similar to counting the rings on a tree. In Ming's case, more than 500 growth lines were compressed into just a couple millimeters. "It’s worth keeping in mind that we caught a total of 200 ocean quahogs [hard clams] on our Iceland expedition,” scientists told Science Nordic. “Thousands of ocean quahogs are caught commercially every year, so it is entirely likely that some fishermen may have caught quahogs that are as old as or even older than the one we caught.”

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Supercell in the American plains     Photo: Minerva Studio/Thinkstock

Deadly Storms Hit the Midwest

Six killed as more than 77 tornadoes touch ground

A series of powerful supercell thunderstorms rolled across the Midwest on Sunday triggering an outbreak of tornadoes that demolished towns and killed at least seven people. According to AP News, six people died in Illinois, which suffered the brunt of the storm. The seventh death occured in southern Michigan.

By Sunday morning, forecasters at the National Weather Service had issued a rare PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation) tornado watch for Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. This was the first PDS watch since May 31, when a series of tornadic storms ripped across central Oklahoma, spawning the now infamous El Reno twister.

Radar and storm chaser reports suggest that as many as 77 tornadoes touched down in the Midwest on Sunday, with a majority striking Illinois. Three people were killed, and at least 35 taken to the hospital, in the small town of Washington, Illinois. Three people were also killed in Massac County, reports The New York Times.

The severe storms led to at least 230 flight cancellations at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, and power outages throughout the Midwest, according to The New York Times. The extent of the damage has yet to be determined as the storms subsided late Sunday evening. 

Grayson Schaffer's "When the Luck Ran Out in El Reno", in Outside's December issue, examines the powerful Oklahoma storm that killed noted stormchaser Tim Samaras and his team on May 31.

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