November 30, 2009 - Last week was a hodgepodge type of week in the running world, but we have you covered. Our observations are short and all over the place, but nearly all running fans will have at least something that interests them, as we talk about seemingly everyone in the sport, including Sammy Wanjiru, Günther Weidlinger, Angela Bizzarri, Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, Alberto Salazar, German Fernandez, Ryan Vail, Tim Montgomery, Caster Semenya, Aisling Cuffe, Lukas Verzbikas, Joe Rosa and others.
A Scalp Worth Taking
Photo: Austria's Gunther Weidlinger after almost decapitating himself running into a steeple barrier in Osaka World Champs. Video here.
Not a whole lot of actual running action occurred last week, but the highlight may have been the Great Australian Run, where one of LetsRun.com's favorite runners, Austria's Günther Weidlinger, had a day he'll want to tell his grandkids about. He defeated Sammy Wanjiru as he won the 15km in 43:01. Of course, so did two others in Collis Birmingham and Martin Dent. We guess Wanjiru isn't exactly in shape
this time of year.
And we wonder how much the appearance fee was to entice
him to travel to Australia for 9.3 miles of running?
More: *Weidlinger Wins, Wanjiru Withers At Great Australian Run
The other big action came in the HS ranks, where we started to get ready for the post-season championships, as qualifiers were held to pick qualifiers for Nike Cross Nationals and Foot Locker. While Foot Locker may have lost some of its luster, we are pleased to report that it still had the top individual talent. It looks like on the girls side, there will be a "super four" competing at Foot Locker, with one stud
coming from each region: South - Chelsey Sveinsson, Midwest - Megan Goethals, Northeast - Aisling Cuffe, West - Molly Grabill. Cuffe had quite a weekend, as she won the NE region by 46 seconds and took down the 28-year-old course record by 21.6 seconds.
In terms of the boys, the potential first sophomore winner of Foot Locker Boys, Lukas Verzbikas, got the win in the Midwest, but unfortunately the showdown that we'd like to see, however, between him and Joe Rosa will not take place as the Rosa twins are running Nike.
We wonder who would have won?
Hard to say.
Which is more ridiculous? Running 14:18 and winning the national 2 mile in 8:53 as a freshman (Verzbikas) or running 14:53 at Holmdel (Rosa)?
More: LRC MBoard Footlocker To Have Big 4 *LRC MBoard: Has Nike's NXN ruined Footlocker Nationals? *HS Junior Aisling Cuffe Runs To Tremendous 46-Second Win At Foot Locker Northeast
Thanks Goodness Reebok Isn't A Sponsor
Not that he didn't deserve it, but you have to admit that it was a bit comical that last week Alberto Salazar, a man who only coaches Nike-sponsored athletes, was named the 2009 Nike Coach Of the Year by USATF. Confused? Don't be. He is USATF's coach of the year and the award is named in honor of Nike, which basically pays all of the bills for USATF.
More: LRC Threads: *Salazar - Named Nike Coach of the Year by USATF *Meb wins NYCM, Rowbury medals at Berlin WC, and Al Sal didn't coach them yet he gets NIKE Coach of the Year?
Get Your Reebok Grand Prix Tickets Now (Actually Reebok Isn't A Sponsor Here Either)
Reuters reported last week that Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay will race in New York next year (as well as London and Brussels). It even speculated that in New York, there could be a super race with Asafa Powell thrown in the mix. Given that there isn't a World Champs next year, New York may be as close as it gets.
Now, nothing is official, but hey you might want to get your tickets early. Actually, we just went to the meet website to see if tickets are even available yet and found out the meet has changed names for 2010 - it will be the adidas Grand Prix. As for tickets, they go on sale at some point in December.
Follow The Leader
Lots of interesting post-NCAA articles last week. One from the Stillwater News revealed that men's winner Oklahoma State used a "Follow the 6th year Ryan Vail" strategy that worked well. Having read that article, it seems even weirder to us that German Fernandez didn't follow the game plan. He was 8 seconds behind Vail at 3k.
As for the Villanova women, they relied on a care-free approach. They key to their successes was staying loose according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Head coach Gina Procaccio said the key was as follows: "I think they feed off me and my assistant acting like total goofballs. We want to keep them laughing because if they're laughing, they have to be relaxed."
As for the women's individual champ, you can see how Angela Bizzarri has progressed over time from a young HSer in 2002 to an NCAA champ in 2009 thanks to a photo album on Cincinatti.com or read about her transformation in a nice Running Times feature that was published prior to the championships. She's got lots of room for improvement as she only runs 40 to 50 mpw. Double that and who knows how fast she'll be.
Quote of the Week #1
"Be good kids. Follow your heart. If you feel that something is wrong, don't do it."
- advice given by the mother of Portland Pilot Joash Osoro to him on her death bed. Osoro was orphaned at age 8 and somehow learned to farm and survive basically all alone. Read about his remarkable journey here as recounted by The Oregonian's Doug Binder. Osoro finished 67th at NCAAs as a frosh.
Quote of the Week #2
"An athlete can be so consumed by being great. And we were too similar, we both wanted to achieve at any cost and you can’t have two people like that together ... We did discuss doping. But we just discussed the fact that we thought everyone was doing it."
- former 100m world record holder Tim Montgomery talking in a second London Times piece about his relationship with Marion Jones, who to this day claims she didn't knowingly dope.
Quote of the Week #3
"You can never relax in prison. I cannot tell you how bad it is. You have to join a gang for protection. You have to let it be known: 'If you come at me, I'm going to give you all I've got, I'm willing to lay it all on the line for my respect.' In a New York prison I was celled once with a paedophile and I had to beat him. It was against my morals; I believe everyone deserves a second chance. But if I didn't, the other inmates would have thought I was soft."
- former 100m world record holder Tim
Montgomery talking in a second London Times piece about his life in prison.
Quote of the Week #4
"Did I feel I was crossing the line when I was doping? No, not coming from the streets. It wasn't even a second thought. I'm not going to sugar-coat it, there wasn't even a second thought that I was cheating. It was all about getting one over the system and if I could, I would.
That was what I learnt on the streets. But I tell you, if I'm cold, Marion's even colder. Marion didn't care about anything."
- another great quote from Tim Montgomery in the London Times. The articles are MUST reads, as Montgomery insists among other things that he actually was clean when he ran his 9.79 world record and that Maurice Greene was a doper.
Quote of the Week #5
"It sucks when I was running and they were writing those things. That sucked. That is when it sucks. Now I just have to walk away. That's all I can do." She smiled a small, bemused smile. "Walk away from all of this, maybe forever. Now I just walk away."
- Caster Semenya talking in an unbelievably long story on her in the New Yorker.
Recommended Reads/Views From Last Week
*Brett Larner Answers LetsRun.com Message Board User - Compares US And Japan 18-22 y/o Distance Runners *Transient Professional Athletes Struggle With Real Estate Market We thought this was an interesting read.
*New Yorker Article On Caster Semenya And South Africa In-depth article, good writing, goes beyond the superficial arguments.*HS Junior
Joe Rosa Runs 14:56 At Holmdel
*Chance To Learn About A
Unique Elite/Popular Running Group - Tokyo-Based Second Wind AC As
Described By Knowledgeable LetsRun Visitors Brett Larner And Pat Butcher Training format that just seems to make sense ... and is producing excellent results.
*Joash Osoro Profile - UPortland Runner Adopted By American Family From Kenya
*Tim Montgomery Talks About His Relationship With Marion Jones Montgomery pulls no punches in describing the real Marion Jones (not the cute, crying Marion Jones on Oprah). Really a fascinating read.
*Tim Montgomery Talks About Why He Cheated, Life In Jail, His Regrets And Lessons Montgomery describes dealing heroin and crack on the streets as a kid, being completely jealous of Maurice Greene (who he then claims was using drugs), and the rough stuff he went through as he moved from prison to prison.
*LRC Photos From Meb Keflezighi's Appearance In The Macy's T-Giving Day Parade With Miss America
Remembering The Last Week With The Quotes of the Day - Day-By-Day:
Monday: "I wanted to break the course records at Bowdoin Park and Bear Mountain but came up
short, so this is nice to finally get one."
- Aisling Cuffe,
junior at Cornwall HS, after winning Foot Locker Northeast by 46
seconds and crushing the Sunken Meadows course record by 21 seconds
despite reported 40 mph winds. The previous record was held by Christine Curtin
(Kinney National Champion) set in 1982. The top 10 individuals from 4
Foot Locker regionals advance to the Foot Locker Cross Country
Championships. *NE Results *South
*Midwest Results *NE Photos *South Photos
Sunday: "It's probably one of my biggest victories because I have beaten two Olympic champions and I have beaten the European champion."
- Austria's Günther Weidlinger.
The owner of every Austrian national record from 1,500m to marathon,
including steeplechase, added a 15km road race victory over Sammy Wanjiru as another feather in his cap on Sunday at the Great Australian Run. Weidlinger set a PR in 43:01 and Aussie Collis Birmingham
was second in an Aussie national record 43:19. Wanjiru - winner of the
2009 BoA Chicago Marathon seven weeks ago - shares the 15km world
record of 41:29 with Deriba Merga and Felix
Saturday: "I remember thinking 'They drink milk like it is water!'"
- University of Portland freshman runner Joash Osoro
on his early impression of America. Originally from Kenya, Osoro was
orphaned as a young child and forced to learn how to farm so he could
eat. His life changed drastically when he was adopted by a North Dakota
family. Osoro finished 67th at the NCAA D1 XC Championships this year.
I feel I was crossing the line when I was doping? No, not coming from
the streets. It wasn't even a second thought. I'm not going to
sugar-coat it, there wasn't even a second thought that I was cheating.
It was all about getting one over the system and if I could, I
would. But I tell you, if I'm cold, Marion's even colder. Marion didn't
care about anything."
- One of many startling quotes from Two Recommended Read interviews given by BALCO cheat and former world junior and senior 100m record holder Tim Montgomery. Montgomery spells out how he got his drugs, how girlfriend/wife Marion Jones got her drugs and gives his story on Maurice Greene's name appearing on a Mexican drug dealer's client list.
am very honored and grateful for this great honor that I've been
presented. However, I do so humbly as I know there are
many other coaches out there that have done an equal or better job in
helping their athletes achieve their goals. I am especially proud of
the resurgence in American distance running that is occurring and thank
all those athletes and coaches that have worked so hard for the last
ten years to make this possible."
- Alberto Salazar in accepting the USATF Nike Coach of the Year award for 2009.
"The race yesterday, and this is something lots of people won't understand, but the race isn't going to matter in the long run." - Jenny Barringer
Tuesday: Men's Race: "When
I came to pre-nationals and lost, I thought I was making a mistake. But
then I went back and did a lot of hard work. To be honest, there was
pressure today, knowing I ran away hard last year but they caught me."
Women's Race: "I definitely remember ... all of a sudden going
light headed and thinking, 'I don't know how to run any more.' I just lost my head and didn't feel good.
Then the next thing I knew I was on the ground thinking, 'Is this
really happening to me? Is this a race?' I really believe that my character spoke today
by finishing. This is slightly embarrassing and very surprising to me,
but it doesn't take away anything that I've done the last few years.
I've had a really fun and phenomenal year. This season did have a lot
of value and I will take that with me."
- Quote 1 from 2009 NCAA XC Champion Samuel Chelanga of Liberty. Quote 2 from Jenny Barringer - holder
of 6 NCAA track records and the US steeplechase record - who finished
163rd after entering the meet as the prohibitive favorite. USA Today's Dick Patrick writes a great race recap from a memorable day in Terre Haute.