The Week That Was In Running - January 17-23, 2011
January 25, 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 our message board (218 posts and counting): Another one bites the dust, Delaware Men's Xc and Track cut. Additionally, a lot of good pieces have been written about the decision in columns on the Internet.
One you already know about, as we featured an excerpt from a column written by former Delaware runner and current Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman as our Quote Of The Day on Saturday. 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 online 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 message board.
We now wanted to introduce you to another great column on Delaware fiasco by former Delaware runner Lexi Ambrogi. The name may ring 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 Muir to 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."
and most importantly:
"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 way Muir got 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 Illustrated Columnist 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 Cowardly Release
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. Its 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 (although Wejo took the train from Mombassa to Nairobi):
"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 Kenya 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.
Message Board Post Of The Week
In our minds, Wanjiru is the greatest marathoning talent to ever live. As fans of the sport, we hope he gets his personal life together real soon.
Otherwise, his fall from grace will be legendary. Which brings us to our Message Board Post Of The Week. If Wanjiru doesn't get things together, message board 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.
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, Barmasai is undefeated for the marathon in his life - a perfect three for three (2:16 and 2:10 wins 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 marathon in 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 unofficially limit 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 in Dubai, 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 halfway but they certainly didn't hold it. The most interesting thing about Dubai was how nearly everyone in the men's race totally 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 certainly earned his $10,000 the hard way - 62:47-70:52.
Seeing that made us think - did anyone go out behind the lead 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 halfway in 63:48. Yet he kept plugging away and picked up a cool $25,000 by finishing 5th (although he also faded a bit, as his time was 2:09:08, giving him a second half split of 65:20).
4) Many were probably surprised that men's pre-race favorite and 2:05:39 marathoner Eluid Kiptanui dropped out. Well there may be more to the story than meets the eye. A industry insider has told LetsRun.com that Kiptanui's agent, Volker Wagner, signed Kiptanui him to a Rotterdam marathon deal where an attempt at the world record may occur in April. What we can't figure out is why Kiptanui would even bother to then go to Dubai as it is a prize money only race.
5) The women's race winner in Asselefech Mergia of Ethiopia needs to officially be considered a premier 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 half was 71:12 and her 2nd half was 71:26.
New: Dubai Photos
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
BarringerSimpson looked great in her first significant action since her shock defeat at the US championships in the 5,000 on June 25th and subsequent injury (Simpson had run an 800 tuneup last week in 2:07.79). Simpson won the mile at the New Balance Games at the Armory in a world-leading 4:28.60. Great to see Simpson back in action and looking good.
What was even better in our minds 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 view, 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 speedwork 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 the same race as Simpson was 18-year-old Irish athlete Ciara Mageean. In Ireland, Mageean is sometimes referred to as the next Sonia O'Sullivan. In America, we here at LetsRun.com refer to her as Ireland's version of Jordan Hasay (but better).
Anyway, Mageean is very, very good and has PRs at 18 of 2:03 and 4:09. She was running the New Balance meet because earlier this month she broke a lot of college coaches' hearts and inked a 6-figure deal with New Balance to go pro early. We think we forgot to put that up on LRC, but it's newsworthy and we wanted to make sure everyone knew she was a pro now - you can read about her deal here. How did her pro career start, you ask? Decently. The bad news is she was beaten by more than 10 seconds. The good news is she set new Irish indoor junior records in the 1,500 (4:17.0) and the mile 4:38.81.
- In other action at the Armory, 2011 NCAA champ Phoebe Wright opened up her first indoor season as a pro in fine form, as she dominated the women's 800. Not only was her winning time of 2:00.39 a new indoor best for Wright (previous indoor PR of 2:01.47), it also was the third fastest 800 of Wright's career (she broke 2:00 twice outdoors last year and has a PR of 1:58.22. More importantly, Wright opened up way faster than she normally does. For comparison's sake, Wright opened last year in 2:04.00 and the year before in 2:05.71.
- Additionally, St. Peter's junior Najee Glass briefly set the a new national high school 500-meter record when he was clocked in the 62.22 at the Armory, breaking the old mark from 1984 of 62.40. Once the accolades started to come in, several people who watched a video of the race saw some blatant lane violations by Glass. Glass ran the better part of at least two turns in the outside part of the lane on his inside and also cut in before the cones. Sorry, but there is no way
Video replays aren't allowed, so Glass wasn't DQed, but Track and Field News has already stated they won't count the record. We don't know why people don't use this as an educational moment for Glass, who in our minds should maybe DQ himself if that's at all possible. At the very least, rule books need to be updated. In our minds, any and all video replays should be allowed.
- In non-Armory action, Indiana redshirt sophomore Andy Bayer ran a 7:48.36 at home to become the 4th-fastest American collegiate in history. Sorry, Washington lovers, marks on the oversized track don't count. Major kudos to you, Mr. Bayer!!! According to Track and Field News, the top five US 3,000 times on legit tracks are as follows:
1. Galen Rupp 7:44.69
2. Adam Goucher 7:46.03
3. Joe Falcon 7:46.42
4. Andy Bayer 7:48.36
5. Doug Padilla 7:48.6+
6. Jonathan Riley 7:48.79
We know we said five and listed six, but Padilla's time is converted. Plus he was a 24-year-old at the time. Despite being a redshirt, Bayer is still only 20 (his birthday is on Feb. 3rd), so he'll only be 22-23 when he's a senior.
- In other non-Armory action, Duke senior Kate Van Buskirk had a great weekend, as she set a new collegiate record in the 1k of 2:41.00 after splitting a 2:04.15 in a 4 x 800. That 1k time is equivalent to something like 2:03-flat for 800.
A pretty darn good bit of work for someone who came into the year with a PR of 2:08 that dated from her junior year of college. How that happens, we have no idea, but congrats on the huge, huge, huge breakthrough.
- Van Buskirk wasn't the only person running fast at 800 last week at the collegiate level. However, you probably didn't hear about the other one as it appears on the JUCO level. South Plains (TX) Natoya Goule ran 2:06.90 - a time that would place her #2 on the NCAA D1 list. South Plains apparently has a hell of a track team, as their men's 4 x 400 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.
Good work, South Plains. Also kudos to your Sports Information Coordinator Joe Walker. In a day and age when many Sports Information Directors can't seem to get their college meet results up within 24 hours of the meet being over, Walker is getting his program publicity on LRC.
- One thing we didn't see getting any publicity was the fact that 2008 Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis put up a world leading 3:58.92 in a low-key affair in Ann Arbor where 2nd place was 4:07.80 (he did have a rabbit for 1k). He also doubled back and ran a 1:55.95 in the 800, in race that was won by former E. Michigan runner Curtis Vollmar in 1:55.93. Discuss: Willis Opens in 3:58.92
More: *Jenny Simpson's First Race Since Injury Results In World Leader In Mile (4:28.60) *LRC MB: Simpson 4:28.60 *Simpson Keeping Options Open For Outdoors - May Focus On 1,500, Steeple Or Even 5k *Duke Senior Kate Van Buskirk Sets Collegiate Record In 1,000 *Van Buskirk's Baldwin Scholar Page *Did Glass Set Record? *Video Shows Glass Ran Inside The Line During His 500m HS Record *HSer Najee Glass Breaks National Record In Boys 500 (62.22) *Najee Glass Smashes 27-Year-Old HS 500m Record *IU's Bayer Speeds To World's Best 3000-Meter Time
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 Francisco is bigger than what is offered in Boston. Overall, $9,000 was handed out in San Francisco versus $3,900 in Boston. You can see the individual breakdown below.
|WOMEN'S MONEY IN SAN DIEGO-
1. Molly Huddle, Saucony, 19:19 ($2,000)
2. Renee Metevier Baillie, Nike, 19:31 ($1,000)
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
Quote Of The Week (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)
"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."
- Sports psychologist Dave Shaw being quoted in an article in the Independent.
Other Happenings Of Note
World Champ Joseph Ebuya Only 23rd At Armed Forces XC Championships It was the 2nd straight poor performance for Ebuya, who was the defending champ, and now it's time to get nervous. He was leading the first few circuits and blamed his loss on a non-acclimatization to the heat. *IAAF Recap Of Armed Forces - Teen Steals Show In Kenya
Looking Ahead (Time To Start Getting Excited For......)
Fri: 1/29: The Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden. Be sure to get your butt in the seats or at least watch it on TV if you don't live near New York. It's broadcast on ESPN starting at 8 PM EST so set your DVR. More: *Ticket Info *Pro Start Lists
Sat: 1/30: Chevron Houston Marathon; USA Half-Marathon Championships
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 to what he thought when he heard that Don 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, ran more than 41,000km, and got diagnosed 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.
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 and cross-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.
"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.
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
- Luke Watson talking after winning the marathon at the Bermuda International Race Weekend after 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.