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The buildup to Sunday's New York City Marathon focused on the debuts of rookies -- and former University of Wisconsin All-Americans -- Simon Bairu and Tim Nelson.
In the end, it was Nelson and the much-less publicized Matt Downin that proudly carried the flag for the Badgers. Nelson was 13th overall in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 6 seconds -- a time that placed him an impressive fourth among U.S. finishers.
The 33-year-old Downin wasn't far back in 18th, finishing the 26.2-mile course in 2:20:41 to place seventh among Americans. During his time at UW, Downin was a four-time All-American and two-time Big Ten cross country champion.
Bairu won a pair of NCAA cross country titles for the Badgers, but did not find as much success in his marathon debut. The Canadian national record-holder at 10,000 meters dropped out of the race after 23 miles.
Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia won the race in 2:08.14.
Chris Solinsky, a training partner of fellow former Badger teammates Bairu and Nelson, is expected to eventually make the transition to marathons but was driven around the route of this year's NYC event by organizers in a truck.
Considered the "future" of the event by the race's director, Solinsky's experience was chronicled
by George Vecsey of the New York Times
Bairu and Nelson, meanwhile, had plenty of coverage of their preparation for the marathon. Follow the links below for the 'Rookies vs. the World' video series on the duo and training partner Shalane Flanagan, as well as Bairu's blog for the New York Times
and both athletes' take on Twitter.
- Complete Results: New York City Marathon
- Rookies vs. the World video series
- Bairu's New York Times blog
- Twitter: Bairu (@SimonBairu
) | Nelson (@ThatRunnerGuy
After an extremely busy -- and record-setting -- start to his 2010 season, former Badger Chris Solinsky participated in a question-and-answer session with Flotrack.org.
The piece is lengthy and delves into a number of different topics. From his American-record 5,000 meters in May to details about his training habits (spoiler alert: He still uses the Badger Miles system), Solinsky covers a lot of ground.
If you have a few minutes, it's a good read with some great insight. Also, if you're not already, be sure to follow Solinsky on Twitter: @ChrisSolinsky
Read: Q&A with Chris Solinsky
They have only been in the professional circuit for less than a month, but Jack Bolas and Craig Miller have wasted no time working their way to the front of the field.
The former Wisconsin track and field athletes signed contracts with New Balance to begin their new careers as professional runners, following a season that saw both earn All-America honors in the 1,500 meters at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The pair continued their European tour Wednesday with the Morton Mile Meeting in Dublin, Ireland.
The summer continues to heat up for a number of athletes with ties to the Wisconsin men's and women's track programs.
• Incoming freshman Emily Sisson opened the 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships with a 10th-place finish in the 3,000 meters Monday. Her impressive time of 9:16.80 ranks No. 8 on the all-time list for high school athletes, according to Track & Field News.
To put that mark in perspective, Sisson's time would rank No. 9 on Wisconsin's all-time list. Consider the names of Badgers who have run faster and you get a list that reads like a who's-who of UW -- and collegiate track -- history:
1. Kathy Butler (8:48.61); 2. Cathy Branta (8:49.64); 3. Clare Eichner (9:03.06); 4. Mary Hartzheim; 5. Maureen Hartzheim (9:05.37); 6. Stephanie Herbst (9:08.64); 7. Suzy Favor (9:12.33); 8. Cindy Bremser (9:13.4); 9. Kelly McKillen (9:16.48).
That group -- which includes three Olympians -- accounts for a combined 64 individual Big Ten championships, 45 All-America awards and 24 individual NCAA titles.
Sisson won the U.S. junior title in the 3,000 meters last month to earn her spot on Team USA.
• Senior Jenny Soceka, who completed her collegiate eligibility with an All-America performance at the NCAA championships in June, has not slowed down since.
So far this summer, Soceka has set a Big Ten record in the pole vault by clearing 14-3 1/2 (4.35m), competed at the 2010 USA Outdoor Championships and, most recently, finished third at the 2010 Grand Haven Beach Vault last weekend in Grand Haven, Mich.
Soceka cleared 14-0 (4.26m) to match runner-up Mary Saxer, who took the second spot on the criteria of misses. Reigning NCAA champion Kylie Hutson won with a clearance of 14-6.
• On the men's side of the Beach Vault competition, UW volunteer assistant coach Joe Samaniuk cleared 17-5 (5.30m) to finish fifth.
• Across the pond, the duo of Jack Bolas and Craig Miller continue their initial European tour as professionals. Both signed with New Balance following the USA outdoor championships in June, where Bolas finished seventh in the 1,500 meters.
After getting off to a fast start in their first two professional races, the pair ran an elite 1,500 meters race as part of the Folksam Grand Prix stop in Karlstad, Sweden, on July 15.
Bolas led the charge by finishing sixth in 3:39.26, with Miller registering a season-best time of 3:40.16 to take ninth place. The pair were among five Americans in the field, including winner David Torrence, who clocked a 3:37.73 to take the top spot.
Both Bolas and Miller are expected to race Wednesday at the Morton Mile Meeting in Dublin, Ireland. The duo will represent two of the seven athletes confirmed for the event that have gone below the 4-minute threshold.
After four years together as members of the Wisconsin men's track and field team, Jack Bolas
and Craig Miller
are spending at least one more summer as training partners.
And, just like their time as Badgers, it's hard to argue with the results.
The pair signed on to run professionally for New Balance just days after their collegiate careers came to
an end at last month's 2010 USA Outdoor Championships and, the same week, began competing as pros in Europe.
The duo kicked off their post-collegiate careers with a 1-2 finish in the 1,500 meters at the British Milers Club Grand Prix in Solihull, England, on Saturday.
Bolas won the race in 3:40.91 and finished a half-second ahead of Miller, who ran a season-best 3:41.41 to grab the runner-up spot. The duo were the only Americans in the 12-man field.
For Miller, the performance came on the heels of another runner-up finish in his professional debut July 3 in Cork, Ireland. There, he clocked in at 8:02.89 to finish a close second to Australian Ben St. Laurence in the 3,000 meters at the 59th annual Cork City Sports meet.
The pair plan to run at least two more races on their European swing, beginning with the Folksam Grand Prix stop in Karlstad, Sweden, on Thursday. They also are planning to run in the Morton Mile Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, on July 21.
Miller finished his career at Wisconsin as an eight-time All-American after claiming a seventh-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.
Bolas, who held off Miller to win the Big Ten title in May, went on to finish fourth at the NCAA championships and collect the fourth All-America award of his career.
Chris Solinsky's American-record run in the 10,000 meters last month -- along with a near-record run in the 5,000 meters in early June -- has put the former Badger in the spotlight of the running world.
A whole new audience is learning of Solinsky's accomplishments -- not to mention his seemingly endless potential -- thanks to a profile in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated.
Long-time SI writer Tim Layden put together a great piece on Solinsky's path to the pinnacle of American distance running, as well as the unconventional build of his body that draws even more attention to his feats.
"Solinsky, meanwhile, is 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, with the definition and muscle mass of a wrestler or a Division III safety," Layden writes.
Layden has posted a longer version of the feature online at SI.com, with fellow former Badgers Matt Tegenkamp and Simon Bairu providing some insight on their Nike teammate.
SI.com: Chris Solinsky is breaking records without conventional runner's build
Live Video: NCAA Championships | adidas Grand Prix
There are major track and field competitions taking place on both U.S.coasts on Saturday, and Wisconsin athletes past, present and future will be well-represented.
First, seniors Jack Bolas and Craig Miller will race for a national title -- and in Miller's case an eighth-career All-America honor -- in the final of the men's 1,500 meters at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.
That race goes off at 12:30 p.m. (CT), with CBS carrying the event live. You can also watch a free live webstream
Later this afternoon, you have the latest IAAF Diamond League event, the adidas Grand Prix
, set to begin at 3 p.m. in New York. Look for former Badgers Matt Tegenkamp and Evan Jager to make their season debuts in a star-studded 1,500 meters field.
The adidas Grand Prix will air live on NBC and is also available online via webstream
from Universal Sports, for a cost of $1.99.
Also competing at Ichan Stadium in New York is incoming Badgers freshman Emily Sisson, who is racing in the Jim Ryun High School Dream Mile
. The all-star race is scheduled to go off at 5:22 p.m., as part of the adidas Grand Prix.
Mohammed Ahmed talks with RunnersSpace.com about his fourth-place finish in the 10,000 meters Thursday at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Check out additional interviews with assistant coach Mick Byrne and 1,500-meter runners Jack Bolas and Craig Miller after the jump.
|  Day 2 Photo Gallery
Mohammed Ahmed's outstanding rookie season for the Wisconsin men's track and field team continued Thursday, as the freshman raced his way to an impressive fourth-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
There was no catching champion Sam Chelanga of Liberty, but Ahmed dueled some experienced competition all the way to the finish and, in the process, lowered his own Canadian national junior record to 28:57.44.
Running like a veteran, Ahmed rode out the early stages of the race in the middle of the pack, but moved steadily forward as attrition set in and competitors dropped off the pace.
He closed well, knocking off the final 800 meters in 2:07.47, including a spectacular final 400 meters that he covered in 1:00.81 -- the second-fastest final lap of any competitor.
Ahmed becomes the 16th Wisconsin athlete to earn All-America honors in the 10K and earned the program's 11th All-America honor in the event since 2000.
|  Day 2 Photo Gallery
Sophomore David Grzesiak closed out the first day of the decathlon at the 2010 NCAA Championships on Thursday with a five-event score of 3,623 points that has him 20th halfway through the competition.
Oregon senior Ashton Eaton holds down the lead with his collegiate-record first-day score of 4,500 points.
Grzesiak opened the day with a season-best run of 11.46 in the 100 meters to pick up 761 points out of the gate. He posted a mark of 21 feet, 4 3/4 inches on his first attempt in the long jump to add another 702 points to his total.
He heaved 39-10 3/4 in the shot put for 616 points and then cleared 6-4 in the high jump for a 740-point boost.
Grzesiak wrapped up the day with a run of 50.23 in the 400 meters.
He'll finish the decathlon Friday, with the final five events beginning at noon (CT) with the 110-meter hurdles.