The Wall Street Journal Introduces The World To The Man Versus Horse Marathon

By LetsRun.com
June 14, 2011

Ever had a crazy bar argument?

In 1979, a bar argument in Wales as to who would win a long distance race - a horse or a runner - resulted in a race being created in 1980 entitled the "Man Versus Horse Marathon."

The "marathon" is actually a hilly 22 mile race that features an overall climb of 4,000 feet. The Wall Street Journal has gone to Wales and written an article about the crazy race as well as produced an interesting video about the race which is embedded below:

Human have won the race but only twice in the race's history. First place is $1,700 although it used to be even higher. There are a bunch of youtube videos on the race including the one below that puts the race in perspective and has footage of Jesse Owens' race against a horse back in the day.

The LetsRun.com messageboard's have discussed similar topics in the past as there is a 50 mile man versus horse race in Arizona and The Onion had a satire piece about Meb Keflezighi beating a horse at the ING New York City Marathon.

More: *WSJ:  Bipeds Make a Horse Race Out of Contest of Man vs. Beast *Man Versus Horse Marathon Wikipedia Page *MB: Man vs. Horse 50 mile endurance Run *MB: Irony of Onion Satire: Meb v. Horse Marathon

Wall Street Journal Video On Man Versus Horse Marathon


Youtube Video on 1995 Race Which Featured A Kenyan Relay
Team That Lost The Race

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The Week That Was In Running - January 12- 17, 2011

To read last week's LRC Week That Was, click Here.
To read any 2010
LRC Week That Was, click Here
.

By LetsRun.com
January 24, 2011

Delaware Men's XC & Track Bite The Dust

Last week, track and field's gradual decline into anonymity was accelerated as the men's programs at Delaware and Bemidji State were cut.

We'll focus our outrage on Delaware because let's face it, it's a pretty big school with a pretty big athletics budget and the program is just over 100 years old as its track and field team first competed in 1911. There has been a lot of discussion about the axing of the Delaware program on the thread about Delaware on ourmessageboard (218 posts and counting): Another one bites the dust, Delaware Men's Xc and Track cut. Additionally, a lot of good pieces have beenwritten about the decision in columns on the Internet.

One, you already know about as we featured an excerptfrom acolumn writtern by formerDelaware runner and current Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman as our Quote Of The Day onSaturday. We highly recommend Pearlman's column and encourage you to read it yourself. That being said, if you read it and don't like Pearlman's column, we need to warn you. Don't rip him to shreds on-line or call him nasty names as he will hunt you down and find you.

No joke. A LetsRun.com visitor from California wrote us to say that just after reading the Pearlman article on LetsRun.com he came across a blog post about Pearlman on gizmodo. Gizmodo wanted to get the word about how Pearlman wrote a column on CNN entitled, "Tracking down my online haters," where Pearlman talks about how he tracked down and confronted some of the people who had written hate-filled speech about him on twitter.

A big thumbs up to Pearlman for defending Delaware xc and track and field and a second thumbs up for trying to enforce civility on the Internet. If only we could track down some of the anonymous jerks whose posts have to be deleted from our very own messageboard.

We now wanted to introduce you to another great column on Delaware fiasco by former Delaware runner Lexi Ambrogi. The name may wring a bell as back in 2008 when Delaware axed men's indoor track, Ambrogi wrote a great column entitled, Men's sports teams held back by Title IX. Well Ambrogi has risen to the occasion for the second time in two years as we loved her column in the Delaware News Journal on the most recent decision: Ambrogi: No legit reason for UD to cut running. In that piece, Ambrogi does a great job of explaining what we always say is the case - Title IX had little to nothing to do with the decision - it's just an excuse for the AD Bernard Muirto cover his tracks for an unpopular budgetary decision.

Ambrogi correctly pointed out the following:

"Muir cited gender equity and Title IX compliance. But curiously, the university is already en route to compliance with Title IX."

andmostimportantly:

"No school has ever lost funding for being out of compliance."

Having already blown away the bogus reasoning offered by Bernard Muir for the cuts, Ambrogi really hits her stride when she directs her outrage towards the cowardly wayMuirgot the word out about the cuts. Before we tell you how it all went down, we ask you to ponder how if you were Muir you'd inform a coach who has been working at a school for 29-years that his program was being axed and then how you'd then inform the 38 athletes that their team was a thing of the past.

Hopefully, you wouldn't choose to forward an email to the team or tell the coach less than 12 hours before telling the public.

As Ambrogi wrote:

But the most insulting part of this decision is the way veteran coach Jim Fischer was treated. Muir assured the athletes Wednesday that the board had spoken with Fischer and that he was aware of this decision.

"Yeah, last night, right?" cracked a senior on the team.

Yes, last night. The man who has given his life over to a program for 29 years was called into a room and given the news 12 hours before Muir's mass e-mail message reached the public. It was a cowardly move and a blatantly disrespectful way for the university to handle the situation.

This is Fischer's program, and these athletes are Fischer's men. The news should have reached the team from their coach, not from an e-mail with FWD in the subject line.

So we give a big thumbs up to Ambrogi for writing another great column and a big thumbs down to Muir for being a coward. If one is going to be an AD of a major college program (or even a high school one), they need to realize that their decisions are often times going to be unpopular but if they aren't able to at least stand up and defend them, then perhaps they should pick a new business to be in. We know that D1 college sports is now a big business but ADs need to realize that for the vast majority of the athletes, their sport is one of the most important things in their lives and a huge calling.

If you want to contact Mr. Muir, you can find his contact info here.

More: *Sports IllustratedColumnist Joins LRC Faithful In Ripping Delaware For Cutting Its Men's Track & Field/XC Teams *Tracking down my online haters *Sportswriter Tracks Down Rude Twitter Haters In Real Life *A Blogger Is Irate *Delaware's CowardlyRelease

Show US The Money

Last week, we gave out props to the people at the Bay Area Track Club for sponsoring a professional xc race in America. Imagine that.

Well Edward Breen, who runs for the Greater Boston Track Club, wrote us to remind us that race in San Diego isn't the only pro cross country race in the US besides the USATF championships. As Breen's email said:

The Bay Area Cross Challenge sounds like a great event, but it's not the only game around. Don't forget about the Mayor's Cup XC meet in Boston. They've been offering prize money for years. The field is significantly larger as well.

Breen is certainly right on the money about the Mayor's Cup and we thank him for writing (and thank all Bostonians for their crazy regional spirit). That being said, the money in San Franciscois way, way bigger than what is offered in Boston. Overall, $9000 was handed out in San Francisco versus $3900 in Boston. You can see the individual break down below.

WOMEN'S MONEY IN SAN DIEGO-
1. Molly Huddle, Saucony, 19:19 ($2000)
2. Renee Metevier Baillie, Nike, 19:31 ($1000)
3. Magdalena Lewy Boulet, Saucony, 19:32 ($750)
4. Alissa McKaig, ZAP Fitness/Reebok, 19:33 ($300)
5. Reilly Kiernan, New York Athletic Club, 19:49 ($200)
6. Nicole Blood, Nike Oregon Track Club, 20:11 ($150)
7. Meghan Armstrong, Team USA Minnesota, 20:26 ($100)
8. Tanya Zeferjahn, Bowerman AC, 20:36
9. Kate Niehaus, Unattached, 20:44
10. Alexa Glencer, Impala Racing Team, 20:49

WOMEN'S MONEY IN BOSTON
1. Katie Dicamillo, NEW BALANCE BOSTON 17:06 $600 + 300a
2. Reilly Kiernan, 22, NYAC 17:08 300 + 200a
3. Jenn Donovan, NEW BALANCE BOSTON 17:15 200 + 100a
4. Lesley Higgins, 30, NYAC 17:24 150
5. Joan Bohlke, NEW BALANCE BOSTON 17:26 100

Sammy Wanjiru Has Another Bad Week
Sammy Wanjiru's winter just keeps getting worse and worse. Earlier this month, he was accused of attempting to kill his wife. This week, he was the one in harm's way as he was involved in a car accident where his Lexus Land Cruiser rolled several times.

Amazingly, Wanjiru emerged largely unscathed.

The thing that we wanted to point out was just how different things are in Kenya than in the US and how dangerous driving is over there. Remember, Paul Tergat was almost killed a few months ago as well.

The US State Department website has a lot about driving conditions in Kenya. It's warnings include:

"When there is a heavy traffic jam, either due to rush hour or because of an accident, drivers will drive across the median strip and drive directly toward oncoming traffic.....Inter-city night-time road travel should be avoided due to the poor road and street light conditions, and the threat of banditry throughout the country."

If you are going to Kenya, driving may not be a good option but the train is definitely out:

"Travel via passenger train in Kenya is considered unsafe, particularly during rainy seasons, because of the lack of routine maintenance and safety checks."

And one more thing, if you do get in an accident in Kenya, don't expect any help. The most amazing thing about the accident in Kenay for Wanjiru was the fact that the truck that he almost hit didn't even stop according to the Daily Nation:

Ipara said in a bid to avoid colliding with an oncoming lorry, Wanjiru’s Lexus Land Cruiser lost control and veered off the road and rolled several times .

The lorry did not stop after the accident.

More: *Sammy Wanjiru In Serious Car Crash But Apparently Is Okay *Message Board Thread On Wanjiru *State Department Warnings On Kenya *Stats Showing Kenya One Of Least Safe Places In World To Drive

Messageboard Post Of The Week

In our minds, Wanjiru is the greatest marathoning talent to ever live. As fans of the sport, we hopehe gets his personal lifetogether real soon.

Otherwise his fall from grace will be legendary. Which brings us to our Messageboard Post Of The Week. If Wanjiru doesn't get things together, messageboard poster "Whisky Tango Trot" says that Wanjiru will be known quite simply as the:

"Tiger Woods of marathoning."

We must admit we laughed out off load when we read that. We try not to make fun of others personal problems but that post is just too good to ignore.

The World's Richest Marathon - Big Dollars In Dubai

The world's richest marathon in terms of prize money, the Dubai marathon, was held last week. The race supposedly offers zero appearance fees but $1,000,000 in prize money per gender including $250,000 for first.

Kenya's David Barmasai and Ethiopia's Asselefech Mergia were the big winners. Several thoughts.

1) Barmasai's win was heartwarming as the 24-year old Kenyan was running just his third marathon of his career and his first outside of Kenya. He went into the race just hoping for a modest top 10 finish and $10,000. In the end, he surprised himself and won and got$250,000.

According to Pat Butcher's nice profile of Barmasai, Barmasaiis undefeated for the marathon in his life - a perfect three for three (a 2:16 and 2:10 win in Kenya being his two other races). Equally as interesting is the fact that Barmasai has never even bothered to run a 10k or 15k or even half marathonin his life. He went straight up to the marathon.

2) We've always wondered what would happen if races like New York, Boston and London didn't unofficiallylimit their foreign fields to a certain number. In Dubai, one gets a glimpse as to what would happen if truly all the world's best lined up on a single day. The depth of running in Kenya and Ethiopia is truly amazing. At halfway inDubai, the men's split was 62:46 and there were 12 guys in the lead group, including 10 from Kenya.

In all of 2010, only 10 men in the US ran 62:46 for a half-marathon race. In Dubai, 10 Kenyans are splitting that.

3) They may have split 62:46 at half-way but they certainly didn't hold it. The most interesting thing about Dubai was how nearly everyone in the men's racetotally blew up. The 2nd half was run into the wind and the winner Barmasai went 62:46-64:32. But 10th place was 2:13:39. Ethiopia's Alebachew Debas Wale cerrtainly earned his $10,000 the hard way - 62:47-70:52.

Seeing that made us think, did anyone go out behind the league pack and run smart and win big money?

The answer is yes. Ethiopia's Deressa Edae was way back in 18th place - more than minute back at half-way in 63:48. Yet he kept plugging away and picked up a cool $25,000 by finishing 5th (although he too faded a bitas his time was 2:09:08 giving him a second half split of 65:20).

4) The women's race winner in Asselefech Mergia of Ethiopia needs to officially be considered a premiere women's marathoner. She already had strong credentials coming in, having won bronze at the 2009 worlds and having finished third in London last spring in 2:22:38. Interestingly enough, she didn't really fade at all. Her first halff was 71:12 and her 2nd half was 71:26.

More: David Barmasai And Asselefech Mergia Each Pocket $250,000 *Top Results And Prize Money **LRC Thread *Photos Here *Race Website
*Meet The Marathon's Newest Star in David Barmasai

US Track Action

As February approaches, the action on the US indoor circuits started to get a little hotter as it always does this time of year. US fans should take heart to the fact that Jenny Barringer Simpson looked great in her first significant action since her shock defeat at the US championships in the 5000 on June 25th and subsequent injury (Simpson had run an 800 tune-up last week in 2:07.79). Simpson won the mile at the New Balance Games at the Armory in a world leading 4:28. Great to see Simpson back in action and looking good.

What was even better in our mind was what Simpson said after the race. She told David Monti that she's not sure what event she'll focus on in 2011 - the 1,500 or the steeple but then added that she's also curious to see what she can do in the 5,000. That is great news in our mind as we were fearing that Simpson was making the same mistake so many runners make and that's to think they will get better by focusing on their speed work when in reality everyone's training motto should be as follows:

Strength = Speed.

A big thumbs up to Barringer for saying the following.

"But, when it really comes down to it, I'm a strength person. I do aerobic runs. The 5-K is something that I know I've never had a chance yet to show how good I am at it. It's something that I really want to do."

In other action at the Armory, 2011 NCAA champ

2:00.39 is actually the 3rd fastest 800 race of Wright's career (her pb is 1:58.22).

More:


Read more: http://www.letsrun.com/2011/simpson-0123.php#ixzz1C6TiEuBe

**

HSer Najee Glass Breaks National Record In Boys 500 (62.22) *Najee Glass Smashes 27-Year-Old HS 500m Record
*Oops, Not So Fast: Video Shows Glass RanInside The Line During His 500m HS Record
This isn't a matter of him running a step or two on the line. He was clearly running in the wrong lane for parts of two turns and had better be DQed.

College Stuff

Duke Senior Kate Van Buskirk Sets Collegiate Record In 1,000 She had an incredible weekend as she ran 2:41.00 after splitting 2:04.15 on a 4 x 800.

Letsrun staff:

Just wanted to pass along some of the performances of South Plains College track and field through two meets.

Just last night the men's 4x400 relay team of Anton Kokorin, Isaiah Gill, Bralon Taplin, and Rondell Bartholomew ran 3:05.18, which would be the fastest time in the NCAA by nearly a full second and broke the facility record set by Florida in 2005. The women's 4x400 relay team of Janeil Bellille, Jura Levy, Sparkle McKnight, and Janelle Redhead nipped Texas Tech at the line in 3:37.49, fourth fastest in the NCAA.

Natoya Goule set a NJCAA national record in the 600 yard dash Friday night and came back Saturday to run a 2:06.90 800 meters, number two in the NCAA.

Jura Levy's converted 55 dash time would rank number nine in the 60, and Janelle Redhead's 400 meter dash from last week would rank eighth.

Pretty salty stuff and I just would not be doing my job if I did not pass it on to you guys! Check out our website, www.spctexans.com, or contact me if you need additional details.

Thanks for all you guys do for the sport!

Letsrun staff:

Just wanted to pass along some of the performances of South Plains College track and field through two meets.

Just last night the men's 4x400 relay team of Anton Kokorin, Isaiah Gill, Bralon Taplin, and Rondell Bartholomew ran 3:05.18, which would be the fastest time in the NCAA by nearly a full second and broke the facility record set by Florida in 2005. The women's 4x400 relay team of Janeil Bellille, Jura Levy, Sparkle McKnight, and Janelle Redhead nipped Texas Tech at the line in 3:37.49, fourth fastest in the NCAA.

Natoya Goule set a NJCAA national record in the 600 yard dash Friday night and came back Saturday to run a 2:06.90 800 meters, number two in the NCAA.

Jura Levy's converted 55 dash time would rank number nine in the 60, and Janelle Redhead's 400 meter dash from last week would rank eighth.

Pretty salty stuff and I just would not be doing my job if I did not pass it on to you guys! Check out our website, www.spctexans.com, or contact me if you need additional details.

Thanks for all you guys do for the sport!

You may think, for example, that a footballer who is paid £50,000 a week is very motivated but, in fact, research shows that athletes who are paid the least tend to be the most motivated."

http://www.independent.co.uk/student/career-planning/mastery-over-the-mind-gets-ailing-athletes-back-on-track-2192288.html

On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 9:27 AM, Edward Breen <ted.breen@gmail.com> wrote:

>

> Edward Breen

>1. Jon Phillips, 26, NYAC 23:54 $600 + 300a
2. Harbert Okuti, 24, WESTCHESTER TC (UGA) 23:57 300
3. Abiyot Endale, 24, WESTCHESTER TC (ETH) 23:58 200
4. Colin Leak, 23 24:03 150 + 200a
5. Ruben Sanca, 23, BAA 24:06 100 + 100a

Quote Of The Week #1 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)

    "In other words, LaShawn Merritt has been banned from the Olympics because he took a pill that he thought would give him a bigger penis...Surely there's no shame in being forever known as the medallist who wanted a bigger gong. Seems to me, this is one rap where you hide the truth and say: "I took steroids because I wanted to be even faster.""

-Paul Lewis writing in the New Zealand Herald about the LaShawn Merritt doping controversy. Lewis writes that Merrit's sex related excuse for a doping positive test is nowhere near the #1 best excuse in history. That goes to 1992 Spanish Olympic walking champion Daniel Plaza who beat a 1996 positive doping test by saying that an extending session of oral sex with his pregnant wife resulted in him testing positive nandrolone.
More:
Kiwi Author Rips LaShawn Merritt Over His Drug Positive

Praise To Those Trying To Raise The Profile Of The Sport

We haven't given out thumbs up and thumbs down in a while and since there are definitely some people/companies needing some praise, we will bring the thumbs back this week for those who are trying to promote the elite level of track and field/distance running.

Thumbs up to 2009 World Championships 1500-meter bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury, three-time USA Champion David Torrence and 2000 Olympian Bolota Asmerom and theBay Area Track Club for putting on the first ever Bay Area Cross Challenge last week.

A pro cross country race in the US - imagine that. Such a great development. In our minds, nothing can top that from a true distance runner's perspective as cross country is true distance running and in our book should be in the Olympics (winter would be great but we'd even say put it in the summer and take out the 5k or 10k).

Prize money went seven deep.

More: Molly Huddle Wins, Ben Bruce Wins 3-Way Sprint

Thumbs up to the University of Portland for trying to increase the awareness of track and field and present it to the public in an entertaining way. Far too many college programs put zero effort into marketing or presenting the sport to the casual sports fan but Portland is going to have Trevor Dunbar go for sub-4 at the half-time of an upcoming baksetball game. They also are putting on a series of all-comers meets in the middle of the week at night when the community is encouraged to race.

Very refreshing in a day and age when in the last month we had a prominent coach of several world champions complain to us that many colleges won't even let pro track and field stars touch the college tracks.

More: Trevor Dunbar To Run Mile Race On 240m Track At Halftime Of Portland Basketball Game

Lastly a thumbs to New Balance for stepping up to save the pro indoor meet in Boston by taking over title sponsorship of the meet formerly known as the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. New Balance employee Josh Rowe was shown the door at Nike a few years back and he's slowly trying to get New Balance into the game of association withelite level track and field as they also are now the title sponsor of the outdoor high school national meet.

More: Reebok Boston Indoor Games Becomes New Balance Indoor Grand Prix *More On New Balance's Rescue Of Boston Indoor Games *New Balance Games At Armory Next Week To Feature Stacked Women's 800 And 1,500 The 800 features Maggie Vessey vs. NCAA champ Phoebe Wright, whereas the mile features Jenny Barringer vs. Canadian Olympians Carmen Douma-Hussar and Megan Wright, Ireland's Ciara Mageean (the reigning IAAF World Junior Championships silver medallist at 1,500m), Serbia's Marina Muncan (the 2009 World University Games 1,500m champion) and Americans Frances Koons, Lindsay Gallo and Brenda Martinez. *LRC MB: New Balance is getting hard into the running game

What goes up, must come down right? We feel obligated to give a thumbs down to somebody although no true villian exists. How about a Thumbs Down to the Millrose Games for not telling us who will be in the men's two mile and the race is next week. We know Galen Rupp is racing in it but don't know who he is racing.

One of the biggest problems withtrack is it's incredibly hard to follow the sport as there is no schedule published in advance and fans have no idea who is racing when or where.

(It's certainly not easy to be a meet director as athletes often pull out at the last minute as athletes are basically free agents and can do as they please) but we here at LetsRun.com aim to try to help the fans

The Recommended Read

Oregon's LaMichael James, Who Was Third In Heisman Voting,Will Still Run Track This Spring 3rd in the Heisman but only 5th in the PAC-10 100. James' windy PR of 10.52 wouldn't even make the final of the SEC meet and his wind-legal PR of 10.72 would place him 18th.

Millrose Has So Little Money That ...
FDNY Versus NYPD Being Hyped As One Of Big Events At Millrose

Aleksandr Shustov, Russian High Jumping Stud, Wants Russian Qualifying System For Big Events To Be Like USA - 1-2-3 At National Champs The system is fair and that is what Shustov wants.


S


Other Happenings Of Note


Quotes Of The Day From Last Week

Monday: "Oh, great. Lance is being tested by his greatest admirer. And to the outside world it looks convincing."

- Andreas Breidbach, head of EPO testing at UCLA's anti-doping lab from 2003 to 2006, giving his initial reaction as towhat he thought when he heard thatDon Catlin, who has been viewed as the leader of the US anti-doping movement for the last quarter century, was teaming up to test Lance Armstrong to insure Armstrong was clean upon his return to cycling in 2008. If Catlin's credibility ends up getting destroyed, then everything goes out the window in our minds.


Sunday: "If I'm going to die, I want to die running!"

- Japanese comedian, Kampei Hazama, after completing a 744 day around the world run, during which he passed through 18 countries, ranmore than 41,000km,and gotdiagnosed with cancer along the way.


Saturday: "Behind the blather and fan-board loudmouths, however, is an ambivalent reality. Playing at home against Georgia Southern in last month's I-AA semifinals, Delaware drew 10,317 fans to a stadium that holds 22,000 (for its football game). One week earlier, in the quarterfinals against New Hampshire (a conference rival), that total was 8,770.

Really, 8,770.

Not that football should lack a place at Delaware. Without (it), where would all those poor, deprived Division I transfers spend their final seasons? Without (it), who would even know West Chester University has a team? Without (it), what would the university's athletic department do with those 103 coveted spots?"

- Sports Illustrated's Jeff Pearlman writing about the University of Delaware's cowardly decision to drop men's track and field andcross-country and their using the normally made up Title IX excuse in the process. We'd never heard of Pearlman until he wrote this piece but we already are big fans, as he wrote a book on the partying ways of the Dallas Cowboys - the official NFL team of LetsRun.com. Pearlman's blog is here.


Friday: "We have agents and management groups who prey on young people's financial dreams and aspirations with no regard to the person's education or even athletic growth. Of course I wish Curtis all the best."

- Texas A&M coach Pat Henry on 19.99 200m man (with a 2.0 wind)Curtis Mitchell turning pro and skipping his senior season at Texas A&M.


Thursday: "If London doesn't have a stadium where we can organise major championships in athletics, that puts it in a category in Europe that I can't even think of."

"Is there any other capital in Europe where you can't do this? Even Vilnius or Tallinn can do that. Maybe the capital of Albania doesn't have a stadium, I don't know."

"I am astonished when I see all these articles about it. I amazed there is even a discussion when a promise was made at the time that we made the bid. They should just get on with it. It's ridiculous."

- UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee talking in The Telegraph.


Wednesday: "He always makes me think of how I dreamed about the Olympics."

- Michelle Kwan on the legendary Olympic filmmaker Bud Greenspan.


Tuesday: "When I saw the two Ethiopians take a wrong turn I knew it was important to put in a good five miles in the second half of the loop. That was the turning point."
-
Luke Watson talking after winning the marathon at theBermuda International Race Weekendafter the top two runners ran off course. Showing great range, Watson was nipped at the line in the pro mile. *Video of mile finish here.


Last Week's Homepages
*Mon (Jan. 24) *Sun (Jan. 23) *Sat (Jan. 22)*Fri (Jan. 21) *Thu (Jan. 20) *Wed (Jan. 19) *Tue (Jan. 18)

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