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The Week That Was May 5- May 11 2008
May 12, 2008
*Last week's week in review can be found here
By LetsRun.com

A good week indeed in the world of distance running as the professional Grand Prix circuit got underway in a big fashion in Doha, Qatar, the US collegiate season really kept its momentum with some great conference action across the land and some super fast performances in Oregon, and the road action was plentiful as usual. And no worries, the soap opera that is known as the anti-drug crusade continued to entertain.

Where to begin?

How about with the two mid-d phenoms? One American. One Kenyan.

Oregon Twilight - Mid-d Phenoms Boaz Lalang and Andrew Wheating Shine
There is nothing better than being new to the sport of running and believing anything is possible. The rate of improvement when one is new to the sport is staggering and one always thinks it will continue until a few years later when reality takes over. Well nothing could possibly compare to being a neophyte to the sport and being world-class. How exciting would that be?

That's exactly the situation with American Andrew Wheating and Kenyan Boaz Lalang. Over the last few weeks, the buzz about these guys keeps getting bigger and bigger and each week they keep the momentum going by running faster and faster. This week they both put on a show for the ages at Hayward Field - the spiritual home of distance running in the US.

Men's 1,500 - Wheating Runs US Leader With 26.1 Final 200
Wheating, who in the last month broke 4:00 for the first time and ran a 1:47 800, won the 1,500 with a US leading 3:38.60. 3:38.60 is very fast for a collegian. But what really impressed us about the race is how dominant a victory it was and how smooth and effortless his 26.1 last 200 looked.

Andrew Wheating 3:38.6:

Larger version
via Runnerspace here

Just watch the video. Look at the gap he put on the field in the last 150. Simply unbelievable. A thing of beauty.

The race proved one thing. Wheating needs higher goals. He came into the season only hoping to break 1:50 and maybe run sub 4:00. That's the beauty of having gone to a high school that didn't have a track program and not running track until your senior year of high school.

Wheating's college teammate at Oregon, AJ Acosta, summed up Wheating's situation perfectly when he said in a great pre-race profile of Wheating.

"(Andrew) is just now starting to come into his own, and he's so new to the sport he's excited about everything," Acosta said. "That's one thing he has going above everyone else. Some people sometimes just go through the motions. Andy is excited to be here." We're excited to see him burst onto the scene.

To prevent the Wheating bandwagon from getting too large, we will acknowledge that his final 200 looks maybe a little more amazing than it really was because the rest of the field was basically running 60 second pace after a quick opening 56 400.

Oregon Twilight: Andrew Wheating Blows Away Field Final in 200m to Run 3:38.60 at Oregon Twilight Meet The Oregon soph's run was super impressive. In our minds he managed to upstage Boaz Lalang and Barrack Obama. Obama showed up and did a hurdle in his suit.
On the boards: Andrew Wheating 3:38.60!!!!!
More: Wheating, Obama Surprise
Oregonian
*
Great Prerace Article on Wheating
Oregonian
On the boards: Andrew Wheating 2007 vs Tom Byers 1974 Byers ran 4:18 in the mile one year, and 3:38 for 1500 the next. That's not enough to stop the Wheating bandwagon.


Photo From Rend Lake College
Video of His Race
:

Men's 800 - Lalang Runs 1:45 As We Knew He Would
For the last month, we've been singing the praises of Boaz Lalang. The secret is now out of the bag. In Oregon, he put on quite a show as he absolutely obliterated the 800 field by more than 1.5 seconds by running 1::45.15. Lalang was so good he was way, way in front of the rabbits the whole way.

You think if a guy was going for a world junior record that the people out in Oregon could at least provide him with a quality rabbit. We won't complain too much as they do more for track than anyone else in the US but one of the reasons track and field is so great is that it is a global sport. If you are already spending hundreds of thousands on mediocre up-and-coming Americans, is it too much to ask for a few hundred for an impoverished Kenyan?

I guess we'll just have to wait and see how good this young lad truly is. Can he join David Rudisha and Abubaker Kaki and Abel Kiprop as the world's 4th young mid-d phenom? Time will tell.

In addition to appreciating Lalang's victory, we hope everyone will read the great pre-race profile on Lalang (as well as the one on Wheating that we mentioned earlier). Lalang seems like a total class act.

The Legend Grows:
Boaz Lalang 1:45.15
Dominating Victory in Oregon.
Boaz Lalang Profile We already think he's a phenom. Now others seem to agree. *Message Board thread here *Older Message Board Thread On Who Is Boaz Lalang?

The other big news at the Oregon Twilight meet was the appearance of Presidential Candidate Barrack Obama. Obama brought the meet to a stand still as he shook hands, held babies, and went over a hurdle in his suit, with Vin Lananna nearby throughout.

Obama has one fan for sure in American Olympian 1500m runner Lauren Fleshman. Fleshman won the 1500m and threw up an "O" at the finish. We assumed the "O" was for Oregon, but Fleshman explains in her post-race interview it was for Obama. That has got to be a track and field first.

Doha Super Grand Prix: Who Needs Shoes? Allyson Felix Is Very Fast and So is David Oliver
The 2008 track and field season got underway for real with the kick off of the IAAF summer outdoor season with Doha Super Grand Prix in Qatar.

Qatar wants to host the 2016 Olympics and they have the oil money to make sure they put on a good show (even if no one watches. See the videos below. The attendance looks more like what you might see at say the distance night races at Penn or Mt. Sac).

The performance of the meet was David Oliver's 12.95 in the high hurdles. The world record is Liu Xiang's 12.88 and Oliver's reaction to the gun was a slow .22 seconds. A good start and unbelievably Oliver, whose pr was only 13.08 before the meet, could have had the world record. The pressure and attention will be on Xiang before the hometown fans in Beijing, but he'll have his hands full. Dominque Arnold has run 12.90 and some regard Cuba's Dayron Robles as the top hurdler in the world. Gold is expected of Xiang in Beijing, but a spot not on the podium is a possibility.

Allyson Felix showed she is the best sprinter in the world from 100 to 400 as she picked up double wins in the 100 and 400 and she dipped under the 11 second barrier for the first time in the 100. After Felix's success last year at 400, we figured she'd have a good shot for gold at 400 if she wanted to run it (but the schedule in Beijing is not friendly to the 200-400 double). We never thought the 100 would be a viable option.

Felix should get a big test this weekend at the adidas Track Classic where she's running the 100 and facing the top 4 from last year's World Champs.

In the 800, African teen champ David Rudisha got the win in 1:44.36 as four guys broke the 1:45 barrier. Last week we wrote about the future of the 800 likely being battles between the two teen sensations, Rudisha and World Indoor Champ Sudan's Abubaker Kaki. We can't wait to see them race in 2008.

Performance of the Meet: Augustin Choge
But the performance of the meet is one being overlooked everywhere and one you have to see to appreciate. In the men's 3000m, Augustine Choge lost his shoe with 500 meters to go. It didn't stop him. He went on to win the race in a world leading 7:32.01, winning a thrilling four-way sprint down the final stretrch with one shoe. Running with one shoe on is very awkward yet Choge outsprinted some of the best runners in the world including Edwin Soi who has a ferocious kick and used it to win both the 3000 and 5000 World Athletics Final titles last year.

Highlights from the races below. (You may have to watch an ad below before the highlight clip, it seems hit or miss).


*
Subscribers Watch on Demand on WCSN.com
Doha Super Grand Prix: Allyson Felix 10.93, 49.83, David Oliver 12.95
*Results.
On the boards: David Oliver 12.95 @ Doha
*
Allyson Felix 10.93/49.83 -
Doha Preview:
* Ethiopians Pull out Of Meet Due To Politics

*LaShawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner to Race 200m in Doha on Friday

Travis Padgett 9.96 100 Meters
Normally we don't cover some obscure college meet that features just sprint action. But news of a male human being running sub 10 in the 100 meters is sort of like driving by an accident on the free-way impossible to ignore. Clemson's Travis Padgett ran a sensational 9.96 - the #2 time in the world behind Usain Bolt's 9.76 (which was our #1 story last week) at the Orange & Purple Classic.

Mr. Padgett picked a perfect time to break 10 flat for the first time as the shoe companies are always full of money in the Olympic years.
*Clemson Recap: Travis Padgett 9.96, Veronica Campbell-Brown 11.02, 22.38
*
More on Padgett: Travis Padgett Runs 9.96 - Clemson's star is now #2 in the world
*Video of Padgett's run

Continued on Page II of the Week That Was: Brian Sell, Ritz, Paula, Drugs, College News, A High School Championship Won by 1 Girl, and the Thread of the Week

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