Guys, I was not the original poster. I am actually a bit surprised this event got so much attention - Benjamin ran 1:09:34 in the Monumental Half in Crocs without too many people noticing.
To answer some questions - I am originally from Russia, been here since 1993. My wife is American, originally from Texas. I am an LDS convert, her parents converted not too long before she was born, so we do not have Mormon pioneer genes. Our genes are not that great - not completely terrible, but I've seen lots of kids in the US that have much better genes. It is an interesting discussion, though, to see what happens over several generations if everybody down the line stays away from alcohol, tobacco, and other harmful substances, is physically active, eats meat in moderation, and consumes a lot of fruit and vegetables. It would be hard to find a perfect sample over multiple generations even among those who have pioneer lineage - members of our faith are pretty good at abstaining from alcohol and tobacco, but not as good at eating healthy and exercising.
It will obviously depend on the runner, but if you grew up running in Crocs (like my kids) or various shoes without a whole lot of support (myself), there is no significant difference between a Croc and a racing flat in terms of speed. When I was 18 I specifically trained for the 800 for about 6 months and ran 2:12 in spikes. When I was 37, I specifically trained for the 800 for a month and was able to run 2:12 again in Crocs. When I was 31, after some sprint training I ran 2:14 wearing racing flats. At the age of 17 I ran 27.5 200 in spikes. At the age of 37 I was able to run 28 low in Crocs. I have not done precise experiments switching shoes between intervals so I would really compare apples to apples, but my feeling is that I would not see a whole lot of difference even at sprint speeds.
It is not so much the shoe as it is the runner. With some experience you can train yourself to adapt to a variety of shoes. Ultimately it is all about the power of your legs relative to your body weight and your aerobic capacity.
I have approached Crocs in the past about the sponsorship, but they did not want to pursue it. Maybe it will be different this time. But at this point we have not been paid by Crocs to do anything - we just have been using them for reasons stated in the articles above.
I think if Crocs wants some publicity, for the order of magnitude of around $100K or so, or possibly even less, they can find a young man in East Africa with the talent and work ethic to run sub-60:00 that grew up running barefoot or almost barefoot, then pay him to train in Crocs for a couple of months to get used to it, pick a good race, hire some pacers, and he will run sub-60:00 in Crocs. I'll make sure to try to sell them this idea if they ever talk to me with a listening ear.