Regional Runners Advance to Olympic Marathon Trials

On December 2, five regional runners from ZAP Fitness, an Olympic training center for runners in Blowing Rock, NC, toed the line at the California International Marathon and secured their spots to the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. ZAP runners Josh Izweski and Joe Stilin finished third and forth respectively, clocking times of 2:13:14 and 2:13:19. ZAP athlete Andrew Colley ran a steady pace, finishing in 2:17:27 and claiming 17thplace while teammate Matt McClintock fought hamstring cramps to finish in 2:18:03. In the women’s race, Joanna Thompson ran strong, crossing the finish line in 2:42:26 and knocking 6-minutes off of her marathon personal best. The Atlanta Track Club will host the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials on February 29, 2020 in conjunction with the Atlanta Marathon, which will be held the following day.

 

Newly Discovered Tick Spreading Widely in Eastern U.S.

First discovered in the U.S. on a sheep in New Jersey in August 2017, the Asian Longhorned Tick is spreading quickly throughout the country and has since been discovered in eight other states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The tick is common in other parts of the world and is a serious threat to livestock. In some regions of New Zealand and Australia, the tick can reduce production in dairy cattle by 25 percent. “The full public health and agricultural impact of this tick discovery and spread is unknown,” said Ben Beard, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. “In other parts of the world, the Asian longhorned tick can transmit many types of pathogens common in the United States. We are concerned that this tick, which can cause massive infestations on animals, on people, and in the environment, is spreading in the United States,” Beard said. Unlike most other tick species, a female Asian longhorned tick can reproduce without mating, resulting in hundreds to thousands of ticks on a single animal or person.

 

Former Appalachian Coal Miners Urge Congress to Extend Black Lung Funding

Former coal miners recently visited Washington to urge lawmakers to extend an excise tax that benefits miners sick with black lung disease. The tax is paid by coal companies and funds the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. The fund supplies benefits and a medical expense card to black lung sufferers and their dependents when a coal company appeals the miner’s black lung benefits award or when the company goes bankrupt and is freed from paying black lung benefits. The trust fund paid about $184 million in benefits to more than 25,000 coal miners and dependents in 2017. House Republicans inserted a one-year extension for the tax into a recently released tax bill but advocates say it’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Rates of black lung, an incurable disease, have been on the rise in Appalachia in recent years.