Five Thoughts On The 2014 NYC Half Marathon

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by Weldon Johnson
March 16, 2014

Hopefully now you’ve read our recap and post-race reaction on the men’s 2014 NYC Half Marathon and women’s 2014 NYC Half Marathon.

Now five quick takeaways on the race.

1) Mo Farah Is A Fierce Competitor

One thing almost got lost with Mo Farah falling down during the race, and then passing out after the race, was that in between, he got back up and competed, and battled back to finish second.

Farah is making his much anticipated marathon debut next month. He had every reason – or perhaps it’s best to say £750,000 reasons –  “to save himself for London.” If Farah had sat on the curb after falling or jogged it in people would have understood. Running a fast half-marathon is not necessary before a full-marathon.

Yet there was Farah chasing down Stephen Sambu and gaining on Geoffrey Mutai. Even more telling was it was clear after the race – from watching Farah shake his head at the finish and talking to others like NYRR head Mary Wittenberg – that Farah really was upset not that he fell, but that he didn’t win.

In sports, fans and pundits often like to believe that the champions just don’t want to lose. They have the will to win that others don’t have. If that’s true for Mo Farah, then he developed that will to win that others don’t have later in life, because for much of his pro career, he lost, and he lost a lot. A more likely scenario might be that champions like Farah get fitter, start to win, get used to winning, and then start to believe they are going to win every time out. Winning then becomes more of a self-fulfilling prophesy, because the belief you are going to win is very powerful.

Props to Farah for competing like a champion. We noticed it more today when he lost.

Molly Huddle After Her Debut

Molly Huddle After Her Debut

2) Nice Debuts by Kipyego and Huddle

Sally Kipyego and Molly Huddle did well in their half-marathon debuts. They were running side by side both in their debut for much of this race, but it shouldn’t be a surprise Kipyego beat Huddle at the end. Kipyego is an Olympic and world 10,000 silver medallist, Huddle is a rung lower than that as a runner. As for their times of 68:31 and 69:04, we’d be surprised if Kipyego didn’t run at least 1:08.

Huddle said she wanted to run 69 and she almost ran 68 something. It would have been nice to see Huddle dip into the 1:08s, but it was a solid debut for her.

Half-marathon records are a bit dicey as many races like the NYC Half are point to point and therefore not record eligible (editor’s note: David Katz, Olympic course measurer, has written to remind us the NYC half course is record eligible), but Huddle is now the 5th fastest American for 13.1 under any conditions.

All-Time US Half Marathon List

67:34        Deena Kastor (Asics)         04/02/06
68:05        Kara Goucher (Nike)        08/02/09 (also ran 66:57)
68:31        Shalane Flanagan (Nike)        02/24/13
68:34        Joan Samuelson (Athletics West)    09/16/84 (all-athletics lists a 68:23+)
69:04        Molly Huddle (Saucony           3/16/14(

(Time on left from Track and Field News, Times from right from All-Athletics)

Don’t read too much into how either will do as marathoners. Kipyego said her longest long-run is only 14 miles. Huddle ran an indoor 5000m on the track two weeks ago and was slowing down at the end. Both are gearing up for a 10,000m at Stanford and 26.2 is a long way for each of them.

MB: Molly Huddle in Half

3) Mutai vs Farah Will Have to Wait Until London

The main course is next month’s Virgin Money London Marathon will Farah will make his debut against Geoffrey Mutai and a stacked field. Who beat who today would mean very little for London next month so it’s almost better for the casual fan that the Farah and Mutai match-up today fizzled out because of the fall. The marathon is all about the unknown and the anticipation. We’ve got that now.

4) Meb and Desi Wait for Boston

For Desiree Davila Linden and Meb Keflezighi it’s all about Boston. They directly or people in their camps said as much. Meb missed 5 days of training in the last two weeks but indicated he is in tremendous shape. Both Meb and Desi have shown they know how to put it together for the full-marathon so don’t read too much into what on paper aren’t that impressive performances.

5) Thumbs Up to Matt Tegenkamp

Much has been made of the heated rivalry between Nike coaches Jerry Schumacher and Alberto Salazar. Check out the photo below. It’s Matt Tegenkamp a Schumacher athlete, looking after Mo Farah’s (Alberto athlete) daughter, as the medical personnel attends to her dad. Refreshing to see human decency – certainly a nice gesture by Tegenkamp.

Matt Tegenkamp Looks After Mo Farah's Daughter

The aftermarth of Mo Farah’s collapse. Photo by Kevin Morris http://kevinmorris.photoshelter.com *Full 2014 NYC Photo Gallery

 More: *MB Talk:  *Teg is a really good guy *NEW YORK HALF MARATHON OFFICIAL THREAD! *Should Mo Farah stick with track *Mo fell because he kicked himself *Can we all agree that Mo Farah is primarily a mid distance runner? *Farah vs Mutai NYC 1/2: Who You Got?
*Full 2014 NYC Half  Coverage