Week That Was: Meb Has Won Boston, Emails From Meb’s Brother, and Ryan Hall’s Mom, Rita Jeptoo, Sub 5 Beer Mile, Annie Bersagel, Drake, Penn and More

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by LetsRun.com
April 30, 2014

Previous versions of the Week That Was can be found here.

Questions? Comments? Email us.

With Boston going on last Monday, we didn’t do a Weekly Recap last week. There’s no way we can recap two weeks worth of action here so feel free to catch up on stuff we don’t mention below by checking out our homepage archives, our 2014 Penn Relays, 2014 Drake Relays Coverage and 2014 Boston Marathon coverage.

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An American, Meb Keflezighi, Has Won Boston

Talk about Disney type endings. On Patriots Day 2014, the year after the Boston Marathon was attacked by terrorists, an American won Boston for the first time in more than 30 years.

It’s ok. Pinch yourself. More than a week has passed and it really did happen.

Meb Keflizighi‘s victory was both INSPIRATIONAL and STUNNING at the same time.

We know many people can’t believe Meb’s lead held up. Here’s an anecdote. The guy behind us in the press room, who is a very connected person in the sport and makes his living evaluating elite talent, didn’t take Meb’s early lead seriously at all. “They (the top Kenyan and Ethiopians) don’t care. They (Meb and Boit) are like a domestique in the Tour de France,” said the man around the 15 mile mark. He then added he was taking bets from his friends as to how much Meb would lose by.

Another anecdote:

We were talking to another reporter for a major US publication after the race. He too couldn’t believe what he’d just saw. As the reporter said to us after the race:

“I didn’t even cover the race, because I told my editors (beforehand) there was no way the race result would produce a story…. beyond the human stories in the middle of the pack.

Simple math. 2:08:37 should not have won that race, in those conditions.”

History will forever show American Meb Keflezighi to be the 2014 Boston Marathon winner.

How did it happen?

Three thoughts.

1) Meb won because he ran a 2:08:37, negative split pb just two weeks shy of his 39th birthday.

Meb ran a phenomenal race. Just because the top Kenyan and Ethiopian runners ultimately made what in hindsight was a huge tactical error in letting Meb grab a minute plus lead, don’t let that obscure the fact that Meb ran an incredible race.

The second half of the Boston course is much harder than the first. The second half’s net elevation drop is roughly half of what you get in the first half (150 feet versus 300 feet) and it includes the big Newton Hills. Yet running all alone for most of the second half, Meb ran a negative split and a PR to get the victory.

How did the slew of 2:04 and 2:05 guys not run down Meb? (Meb only had the 14th best PR in the field going into the race)

They didn’t because Meb held up very well and Meb made it VERY HARD on Wilson Chebet or anyone coming from behind to catch him.

Wilson Chebet ran 29:26 from 30k to 40k – that’s 2:04:11 pace. Yet he couldn’t catch Meb.

At the end of a marathon, leaders often fade. Not Meb. From 35k (21:75 mile) to the finish, Meb barely slowed. He averaged, 4:55.3 per mile which is 2:09:01 marathon pace and Meb ran 2:08:37 for the win. Had Meb faded at all, he would have lost.

Meb didn’t falter. For Chebet, who was 51 seconds behind Meb at 35k, to catch Meb, Chebet would have had to average 4:43.8 pace from 35k on in home (2:04:02 pace). He couldn’t quite do it.

2) The top seeded males let Meb get too far ahead.

Some American homers think any talk of a pacing mistake by the top seeded runners from Africa takes away from Meb’s victory. We don’t agree with that sentiment but even if we did, we’d still talk about the pacing mistake as there is zero doubt in our minds that it occurred.

On a day where conditions were clearly more than acceptable for fast running – remember, the top 4 women in the women’s race all broke the previous course record – 2:08:37 won the men’s race on a course where the course record is 2:03:02. Moreover, Meb did not get out to his early lead by really slamming the pace down. Meb got a lead of 33+ seconds when he ran two straight 15:18 5k segments between 10 and 20k. Meb only had one other 5k segement the rest of the race slower than 15:18. Here’s a 5km segment comparison between Meb and Chebet:

Meb – 15:09 – 15:20 (30:29) – 15:18 (45:47) – 15:18 (61:05) – 14:55 (76:00) – 15:10 (1:31:10) – 15:27 (1:46:37) – 15:12 (2:01:49)- 6:48 (2:08:37)
Desisa – 15:11 – 15:20 (30:31) – 15:27 (45:58) – 15:40 (61:38) – 15:20 (76:58) – 15:33 (1:32:31) – 14:57 (1:47:28) – 14:29 (2:01:57)- 6:51

The top runners simply let Meb go. As Nick Arciniaga said to us after the race, ‘Ok these guys are just playing games.’ Jeffrey Eggleston‘s blog on Boston reveals the leaders ran the 17th km over 3:30 – that’s slower than 5:38 mile pace.

Why would they do it? Well for starters, they believed they would catch Meb. As we stated above, if Meb fades in a significant manner at all, he gets caught.

After that, it’s a matter of simple psychology. In an excellent piece on his blog, Toni Reavis has pointed out that many were focusing on defending champion Lelisa Desisa, waiting for him to make his move (Editor’s update: We just read American Jeffrey Eggleston’s blog on Boston. Eggleston, who ended up 8th in Boston, had a great line about Meb’s break, “Personally, I did not feel threatened by the early break. If defending champion Lelisa Desisa didn’t care about the gap, then why should I?”). Desisa simply didn’t have it, he never did make a move and ended up a DNF.

As for Kenya’s top entrant, 2013 Tokyo and Chicago Dennis Kimetto, Reavis also revealed after the race that Kimetto was nursing a hamstring injury. Running his first Boston and nursing an injury, it’s very easy to understand why Kimetto didn’t want to push and wanted to do as little work as possible (In the end, he was one of the four men who made it to 35k in the chase pack before he aggravated the hamstring injury and was forced to drop out.).

Kimetto and Desisa were the only two guys in the field with credentials much bigger than everyone else. Besides those two, there is no one in the field that likely was confident enough to want to lead the charge until they were forced to. The same psychology exists on the track. When there are a slew of people of similar ability, it’s normally stupid to push the pace early because then you end up just serving as the rabbit. If you are a 2:06 guy like ultimate third placer Franklin Chepkwony and you are running with a couple of 2:03 guys up front, you are quite pleased to be in the hunt. You aren’t thinking, “Let’s get going, we gotta go catch the 38-year old.”

In fact, after the race, Chepkwomy explained why he didn’t set off on his own, “We were scared to follow because we knew (Boston has some) really tough hills. That was the thing I was scared of. I was thinking if I follow the lead group maybe I will kill myself when I get to 29 and 30k.”

Chepkwomy, who had never run Boston before, was happy to run with everyone else thinking they knew best. Many others were in the same boat.

Below we list the 5 finishers behind Meb but before Nick Arciniaga in 7th and tell you why all five of them would be hesitant to really push.

Running/Why They Might Not Want To Push
2. Wilson Chebet KEN 2:08:48 – 2nd major and 2nd Boston (1st Boston was 2012 where name of game was be patient in the heat)
3. Franklin Chepkwony KEN 2:08:50 – 1st Boston, 1st Major.
4. Vitaliy Shafar UKR 2:09:38 – 1st Boston, 2:11:52 pb coming into Boston.
5. Markos Geneti ETH 2:09:50 – 2nd Boston and 2nd Major – only 6th in his only other Major (Boston last year).
6. Joel Kimurer KEN 2:11:03 — 1st Boston, 1st Major.

A few guys, did push briefly according to coach Claudio Beradelli as told by Toni Reavis. Beradelli said runner-up Chebet did push at one point but backed off.

“He pushed for 600 meters, then said, ‘why push by myself?’. Boston is complicated. There is a fear to go unless all go,” said Beradalli.

With the bombings last year, few people paid close attention to last year’s pro race (we ourselves waited a week to write our recap: 2013 Boston Marathon Men’s Race: Lelisa Desisa Wins 3-Way Kick For Title And Remains Undefeated At The 26.2 Distance). But it’s worth pointing out that last year, the top three runners were all content to let it come down to a kick. Running into a head-wind, Desisa won in 2:10:22 by going 64:54-65:27. The second and third placers behind him last year, were also both in the field this year, Micah Kogo and Gebre Gebremariam, and showed they are willing to let it come down to the end. (Gebremariam was a DNF this year and Kogo was 17th in 2:17:12).

3) Wilson Chebet Tried To Catch Meb Too Quickly

At the post race press conference, Chebet was asked why they didn’t go after Meb sooner. “We had a big group and we thought we’d catch them at 35k,” replied Kipsang who added that when he got to 35k and couldn’t see Meb he knew it was going to be very tough to get the victory.

He then proceeded to do his best to try to get victory as he ripped a 14:39 5k (that’s 4:39.7 pace), which included a 4:32 24th mile, which ended up being too much for himself to handle.

Marathon expert Sean Hartnett was on the lead men’s truck and was the one who timed Chebet in 4:32 for mile 24. Afterwards Hartnett said, “I thought that (4:32) would send him past Meb or crack his oil pan, and I think it cracked his oil pan.”

Had Chebet come after Meb a bit more gradually, he might have had a little something left in the tank at the end. Remember, at 40k, Chebet was only 8 seconds back. But he was totally exhausted and lost ground over the final 2.2 k.

One last thing about Chebet. We loved his attitude after this one was over. After the race, Chebet was upbeat about his second place finish. Whereas an American 2:05 runner would probably be kicking himself for spotting Meb more than a minute at 30k, Kipsang was positive.

“Despite the fact that I didn’t win, I was Boston strong,” said Kipsang.

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You know how your coach always told you not to look over your shoulder. Don’t tell that to Meb
.

Late in the race, in the press room, Meb was shown looking over his shoulder (he looked both ways at 24 miles), and press members violated the old mantra of, “No cheering in the press box,” as there were a slew of people yelling at the tv urging Meb on along the lines of, “Don’t look around Meb, just run.”

At the post-race press conference, Meb was asked about it and the quesetion had a negative tone about it (like wasn’t that dangerous).

Meb disagreed. “Looking back is not a bad thing. It can save you a win.”

Meb felt seeing that his competition was coming motivated him to give it everything he had. Meb was clearly laboring but seemed to find a second wind as he willed himself to victory.

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Two Great Quotes from Meb After He Won Boston

“You can’t test the heart,”

and

“For me it was a win to come here healthy and in one piece – the rest is a mental game.”

Meb who clearly mastered the mental aspect of this one.

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Photo Of The Week I – Fans Celebrate Meb’s Win In Boston.

We received an email the day after Meb won Boston from LRCer Jeff Hensley showing how some LetsRun visitors celebrated Meb’s win:

Jeff and his brothers “all ran Boston on Monday and went out for some fun by Fenway Park at night….best way to describe an American victory in 30 years. Go MEB!!!”

The Pic from L to R is Jeff, Matt then Mike and the sign was right behind the green monster. Matt got 24th overall and Mike was 117th. Jeff and his brother Bobby ran as well as their dad – his first since Greg Myers’ last American win and he was a 2:16 guy back in his day.

A few articles on the Hensley family:

http://fl.milesplit.com/articles/126430-284-boston-marathon-more-than-a-race-for-matt-hensley#.U2Ge6leYRnQ

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2013/jan/14/psl-family-makes-marathon-magic-at-disney-park/?print=1

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Email Of The Week I – Meb’s Brother Tells Us Not To Discount Meb Prior To Boston

We received the following email from Hawi Keflezighi, Meb’s brother and agent, before the Boston Marathon. We got it after we previewed the international field but hadn’t yet previewed the Americans or Meb. It proved to be right on the money.

I saw the top 11 post you guys made for the Men’s Race at the Boston Marathon. I like the breakdown. I know you’ll be doing a breakdown on the American field soon, and I look forward to reading that.
Please tell Robert to not count Meb out because of age. People have been doing that since Meb was 33. Yes, eventually Father time will catch up to Meb as it does to everyone, but let it come, don’t wish it for it to come.
Meb is in good shape now, and he is healthy. In the Fall of 2012, after the London Olympics, Meb was in great shape, but the NYC marathon was canceled. This is the bottom line on Meb, he has to work very hard to stay healthy at this age and when he is training hard. But as you have seen in the past, when he gets to the starting line without major setbacks in his training, he delivers. He delivers doesn’t mean he will win the race, it just means he has solid performances.
The field is very good and deep and much credit to John Hancock for assembling such a strong field, but remember, Meb had the 12th fastest time in the field when he won the 2009 NYC Marathon. In the 2012 Olympics, there were over 25 runners with faster PB’s than Meb. And in the 2004 Olympics, 38 had faster PRs than Meb. Boston is a championship style race, and Meb excels in these types of races.
Hawi was right on the money? If you want to know more about Hawi, we interviewed him in Boston about him getting Leo Manzano a deal with Hoka One One. You can watch that here.

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Email Of The Week II – Ryan Hall’s Mom Sends Us Thanks

With over a million unique visitors here at LetsRun.com, we get quite a few interesting emails each month. We love it when we get ‘thank you’s.’

After Robert Johnson’s story on how Ryan Hall and the Americans played a small role in helping Meb win on Patriots Day went viral – American Strong: The Untold Story of American Teamwork and How Ryan Hall Helped Meb Keflezighi Win Boston – our inbox was flooded with thank yous. The best one? This one from Ryan Hall‘s mom really meant a lot.

Robert,
Thank you so much for the positive spin you put on the Americans and especially my son Ryan in supporting Meb’s win in Boston. Your article turned my aching mother’s heart (for my son’s disappointment) into rejoicing! We have always taught Ryan that God is more interested in his character than his accomplishments. It appears that he got it.

Like Ryan, we are so pleased with Meb’s victory. No one deserved it more. He was always so gracious when it was Ryan on the podium, a role model for Ryan in good sportsmanship.

Again thank you so very much!
Susie Hall

We hope the email reminds everyone that the pros that you cheer and rip on the messageboard are real people, with husbands, wives, moms, dads, and grand moms. We’re all for fans being fans, but an email from Ryan’s mom brings a touch of humanity to everything.

For the record, we can say we have zero idea why anyone thinks our story on American Strong was a) put out by Hall to make himself look good or b) put out to try to detract from Meb’s win.

Criticize Ryan for having a bad race, that’s fair. But to criticize him for self-promotion is just flat out wrong. Hall wasn’t happy with his race, didn’t go to the media room, went straight to his hotel, packed his bags and left town. The story only came out because three Americans besides Meb who had good days in Boston told us about it after the race – Nick Arciniaga (7th in 2:11:47), Jeffrey Eggelston (8th in a new pb of 2:11:57) and Craig Leon (12th in 2:14:28 (pb 2:13:58)).

Speaking of Eggelston and his PR, he’s got his own blog entry up on the race here.

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The Women’s Race – A Remarkable Race Across The Board But Truly Remarkable by Rita Jeptoo

The women’s race was the opposite of the men’s race. In the men’s race, few of the top runners from Kenya or Ethiopia brought their ‘A’ Games. In the women’s race, nearly all of them did. Without a substantial tail wind behind them (the wind helped, but only a little), the top four finishers in the women’s race broke the old course record of 2:20:47.

Farther down, according to Ken Nakamura, the race set all-time records for any marathon for the fastest times ever recorded by someone finishing sixth (2:21:29 by Duliba), seventh (2:22:02 by Flanagan), eighth (2:23:00 by Cherop), ninth (2:23:22 by Ongori), 10th (2:23:54 by Linden) and 11th (2:24:21 by Oljira).

As for the two Americans, Shalane Flanagan and Desi Linden, we think both should be very proud of their efforts.

As we said immediately after the race, less than six months ago, Linden was capable of just 2:29:15 on the super flat Berlin course. Just last month, she managed only a 71:34 half marathon in New York. In Boston, she averaged 71:47 for a full marathon. That’s big-time progress.

She didn’t go with the leaders early on – but that was a good and smart thing. She knows she can’t run 2:18 and thus did a great job of running her own race and waiting for everyone else to come back to her. They didn’t but she can’t control what others do.

As for Flanagan, the facts are she ran a 3:36 pb. When you PR by that much, there’s not a whole lot to complain about.

It’s easy now to say, “What was Flanagan thinking? Leading is stupid. Why be the rabbit for others?”

The problem with that line of thinking is we don’t see anyone saying that right now about Meb. If Flanagan’s bold early running had paid off in a huge early lead and a stunning victory like Meb, she’d be being praised right now for brilliant tactics.

Instead, she loses and now some want to criticize her? People should judge the process, not the outcome.

Meb showed the best way for an American to win Boston is to somehow get the field to spot you more than a minute at 30k. The best way to gap the field is probably by going very hard at the start. In New York last year, Deba got more than three minutes on Priscah Jeptoo by doing that and nearly won the race.

And remember, after the race in Boston, winner Rita Jeptoo herself said she wasn’t feeling great at the start and it took about 10k for her to settle in so it’s not implausible to think Flanagan might have been able to get clear. If the rest of the pack hadn’t been on their game early, Jeptoo might have let Flanagan go.

Now, if we were Shalane and had not got the lead early on, we probably would have backed off, but to be honest, none of it would have mattered.

Rita Jeptoo wasn’t losing in Boston. Her 2:18:57 makes her the fourth fastest women in history, but we’d argue that given the difficulty of the Boston course, Rita Jeptoo’s run in Boston was the greatest marathon ever run by a woman not named Paula Radcliffe. Boston is certainly more than 20 seconds more difficult than London, barring a huge tail-wind.

The Sub 2:19 Women’s Marathons In History
1 2:15:25 Paula Radcliffe GBR London 13.04.2003
2:17:18 Paula Radcliffe GBR Chicago 13.10.2002
– 2:17:42 Paula Radcliffe GBR London 17.04.20052
2. 2:18:20 Liliya Shobukhova RUS Chicago 09.10.2011 – doper
2 2:18:37 Mary Keitany KEN London 22.04.2012
3 2:18:47 Catherine N’dereba KEN Chicago 07.10.2001
-2:18:56 Paula Radcliffe GBR London 14.04.2002
4 2:18:57 Rita Sitienei Jeptoo KEN Boston 21.04.2014

Above, we talked about how Meb won because he didn’t die at the end of the race. He held up amazingly well at the end.

Well guess what? As Jeptoo was nearly just as fast as Meb from mile 23 to the finish. Meb finished off a negative split 2:08 performance by running the final 3.21875 miles in an unofficial 15:49. Jeptoo covered her final 3.21875 miles in 15:56 by going 4:48 (mile 24), 5:02 (mile 25), and 5:02 (mile 26).

Going out in 69:24 for the first half of a marathon is going to cause nearly every woman in the world to slow down.

Don’t tell that to Rita Jeptoo. After going out that fast and then running Heartbreak Hill and all of the Newton Hills, she decided to finish off her marathon and the rest of the field by running the final 3.21875 miles at 2:09:48 marathon pace. Yes, that’s not a typo. That’s how fast she ran from mile 23 to the finish.

THAT’S REMARKABLE.

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Annie Bersagel Joins The Sub 2:30 Club

Flanagan wasn’t the only American to run a big PB last week. On Sunday, 2013 US Marathon champion Annie Bersagel knocked nearly two minutes off her pb and ran 2:28:59 (previous pb of 2:30:53) to win the Dusseldorf Marathon in Germany.

Is it too early to start looking forward two years to the 2016 US Olympic Trials? We don’t think so. Flanagan and Linden clearly have the inside track to two spots on the US team if they show up healthy at the start line.

The battle for the third spot should be interesting.

The US’s Sub-2:30 Peformers in 2013 and 2014
2:22:02 Shalane Flanagan
2:23:54 Desiree Linden
2:28:01 Serena Burla
2:28:11 Kara Goucher
2:28:48 Lauren Kleppin
2:28:59 Annie Bersagel

More: *Dusseldorf Photo Gallery *Annie Bersagel PRs To Win 2014 Dusseldorf Marathon In 2:28:59

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Photo of The Week II

Last week, there was supposed to be one other marathon performance of note. A planned Masters Marathon World Record attempt by Haile Gebrselassie at the Hamburg Marathon had to be scrapped when Haile pulled out with a pollen allergy problem a few days before the race.

If he only he had one of these (many thanks to LRC visitor, Patrick Carroll. former DIII runner, creator of http://endurancesport.co and assistant XC coach at Wilmington College (Ohio), who is good at photoshop).

More: Mboard: Say it ain’t so: Haile G pulls a Rupp – pulls out of Hamburg marathon WR attempt with pollen allergy

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The First Sub-5 Beer Mile

That picture of Bersaegel and beer reminded us that some are hyping the fact that the first sub-5 beer mile was run last week by James Nielsen.

Sorry, in our books, that’s a record that doesn’t count.

There needs to be spectators and fellow competitors to make sure the beers are drank in their entirety (and to make sure no one cuts over the rail on the turns).

No spectators and no fellow competitors = no record. Although BeerMile.com is listing James’ time as the record. We see James emailed us this week, so maybe we can get back to him and set up a race vs Nick Symmonds.

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Email Of The Week III– History Repeats Itself Once Every 40 Years

This email comes from LetsRun.com super-vistor David Graham and it concerned our coverage of the Drake Relays men’s mile.

Hey Guys,

I had a deja vu moment in seeing the photo of Aman Wote so far ahead of the pack, winning the Drake Relays in 3:53. It reminded me of Tony Waldrop winning the Penn Relays in 1974 in…3:53. And you can see how large his lead was by looking at the May 1974 cover of Track & Field News:

Aman ran 3:53.39, Waldrop 3:53.2.

(Editor’s update: Former American steeplechase record holder George Malley (aka “malmo”) has pointed out that the Penn Relays photo is misleading. Obscured in second place behind Waldrop is Penn’s Denis Fikes who ran 3:55)

Wondering what Waldrop is up to now? He recently was named to the President of the University of South Alabama.

As for Wote, he got so far ahead because it was super windy at Drake, yet he still tried to break the 3:51.71 meet record to pick up a $10,000 bonus.

In the men’s mile at Penn this year, it was won by Penn sophomore Thomas Awad who broke 4 for the first time ever in 3:58.34. Robby Andrews’ inconsistency in the mile continued. A week after beating the likes of Jordan Williamsz, Sam McEntee and Donn Cabral in a 1,500 at Princeton, Andrews only could manage 4:10.44 at Penn.

MEN –
1. Thomas Awad, Penn 3:58.34 PB
2. Mike Rutt, NJ*NY TC 3:58.51
3. Liam Boylan-Pett, NJ*NY TC 3:59.81
4. Ford Palmer, NJ*NY TC 4:00.00 PB
5. Owen Dawson, unattached 4:00.13
6. Christian Gonzalez, NJ*NY TC 4:01.63 PB
7. James Shirvell, Yale 4:02.38 PB
8. Coby Horowitz, Bowdoin College 4:06.44 PB
9. Robby Andrews, adidas 4:10.44
10. John Moore, Stotan Racing 4:16.99
DNF– Brian Hill, NJ*NY TC
DNF– Declan Murray, NJ*NY TC

More: Penn soph Thomas Awad – 3:58.34

####

There was a lot of other track interest of note over the last two weeks. We won’t mention it all here, but will mention two 800 races of note. Caster Semenya won the South African champs, but only in 2:03:05. At Mt. Sac, a slew of guys ran really fast. NCAA indoor champ Brandon McBride ran a new pb of 1:45.35 but that only got him fifth as Duane Solomon ran 1:43 and Erik Sowinski ran a pb:

MEN –
800m: Section 1 –
1. Duane Solomon Saucony 1:43.88 WL/MR*
2. Erik Sowinski Nike 1:44.58 PB
3. Wesley Vasquez Puerto Rico (PUR) 1:44.64 NR/PB
4. Brandon McBride Miss State (CAN) 1:45.35 PB

Track and Field News reported that this is the first sub 1:44 ever in April.

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Thank You HyVee and Drake

The Drake Relays have really upped their game the last two years by having some races with $50,000 in prize money with $25,000 going to the winner thanks to supermarket sponsor HyVee. The top pros are now marking Drake on their calendars if their race is a $50,000 race.

This year was no different and there were two tremendous races at Drake and one amazing performance.

In the men’s 400m LaShawn Merritt and Kirani James went head to head once again. The 400m superstars raced each other 5 times last year with Meritt winning three times and getting the win at Worlds. They raced for the first time in 2014 at Drake. More head to head matchups is what the sport needs. In case you don’t know the result we won’t spoil it for you. You can watch it here.

In the women’s 100m hurdles, World Champ Brianna Rollins suffered her first lost in nearly two years as training partner Kristin Catlin upset Rollins as both were timed in 12.58. You can watch the race here.

The performance of the meet was Derek Drouin of Canada jumping 2.40 in the high jump. Only four men have ever jumped higher: Javier Sotomayor (2.45), Patrik Sjoberg (2.42), Igor Paklin and last year’s sensation Bohdan Bondarenko (2.41).

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Dan O’Brien Gets Our Praise

We aren’t sure how we came across this story on Dan O’Brien, the 1996 Olympic gold medallist and 3-time world champion in the decathlon. We think someone emailed it to us but can’t find the email. Anyways, the story appeared on reddit. Go there for the full story.

My son is a junior in high school, and recently he’s been showing some interest and skill in the decathlon. I know nothing about this event, especially in terms of collegiate programs.

So, without much hope, I found Dan O’Brien’s website, and sent an email to him, through the website, telling about my son, and asking a few questions……

Then, during lunch yesterday, my cell phone rings. “Hello, this is Dan O’Brien.”

He talked with me for 30 minutes about my son, about how he could pursue the goal of being a decathlete, what he needs to do this season, etc. It was tremendous.

At the end of the conversation, he made me promise that I will keep him updated about my son, then he asked for my address so that he could send my son a signed book and poster or something.

And I’m a nobody. Just some random dad who wrote him an email with clueless questions about my son.

I just wanted to point out that Dan O’Brien, Olympic gold medalist, three-time world champion, former Versace model, is a pretty good person.

That’s it.

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Quotes Of The Week (that weren’t quote of the day):

#1

“Wow, the American girl was running like a 10K.”

Rita Jeptoo, 2014 Boston marathon champion, talking about the fast early pace set by American Shalane Flanagan according to Toni Reavis.

#2

“All right, what Ethiopian or what Kenyan is coming now? When Meb popped up next to me. I know my jaw dropped. And I got chills and goosebumps up my spine. I got a front row seat for such a huge part of running history.”

Andrea Walkonen, a former Boston University runner who ran as an elite woman in Boston, telling Runner’s World what it was liked to be passed by Meb Keflezighi in the final 1k of the 2014 Boston marathon. Walkonen finished 25th in 2:37:06.

#3

“Typically at a track meet you’re running in front of your mom and your dad and maybe your grandmother, but here you’re running in front of like 70,000 people. That definitely changes it.”

– Columbia coach Willie Wood talking (with a little exaggeration) to the Columbia school newspaper about the Penn Relays. Columbia, which was 5th indoors in the DMR without John Gregorek on the anchor, was sixth with him at Penn.

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Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Drive?

On Wednesday night, LetsRun put up two stories that were similar in nature and got very different headlines.

One, which got the label ‘gutsy’ was about Canadian distance runner Krista Duchene who fractured her femur in a half marathon a few hundred yards from the finish but found a way to get there: Gutsy: Defending Canadian Half Marathon Champion Krista DuChene Finishes Race With Broken Leg, Still Finishes 3rd.

The other, which was labeled ‘disturbing’ was about a Kenyan marathoner that nearly died trying to get the finish of a marathon in Italy: Pretty Disturbing Video: Kenyan 2:10 Man Eliud Magut Almost Dies As He Tries To Finish Marathon In Italy.

We’re not sure exactly what to make of the two stories. Why do we praise one but then get upset about there other? When is desire and drive praised and when is it criticized? Anyone remember Julie Moss at Ironman?

Yes, we know story from Italy was ripped because there is the impression by some that the Kenyan runner was being forced to try finish. But do we know that to be the case? DuChene’s race shows most elite runners are pretty damn self-motivated.

What do you think? Post in the messageboard thread about Padova.

More: Pretty Disturbing Video: Kenyan 2:10 Man Eliud Magut Almost Dies As He Tries To Finish Marathon In Italy The video shows Magut was barely staying on his feet and collapsed multiple times as race officials watched and urged him on to try and finish. Finally he went down and had to be taken away in an ambulance.
Gutsy: Defending Canadian Half Marathon Champion Krista DuChene Finishes Race With Broken Leg, Still Finishes 3rd DuChene finished this year’s race “running” with a fractured femur for the final 500m. She was in first before breaking her leg and after limping to the finish line still managed third.
*Marathoner Krista DuChene vows return after fracturing femur *Q&A: Krista DuChene ready for recovery

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What About The Sport?

Generally, we find it maddening that many of the top runners from Africa will run under different names at different races. Sometimes they go by what Americans would consider a middle name and sometimes by their last name. On that front, we’ve got a prominent name change to announce. We’re glad people are at least aware that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed. As David Monti reports:

Reigning IAAF World Half-Marathon champion Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor has decided to compete under the name “Geoffrey Kamworor” for now on. Previously, he had run races as “Geoffrey Kipsang,” but after the IAAF used his second family name on his bib at the World Half, he decided is was better to stick with Kamworor going forward to avoid confusion.

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Email Of The Week IV

We promise this is a real email we received.

Hi,

My name is Lillian and I’m with the No.1 STD dating site. Our site is for people living with Herpes, HPV, HIV/AIDS, and/or any other STD and we have 818,900+ users. You have a great site. http://www.letsrun.com We are wondering if it is possible to add one small banner on your site? In return, we can pay you $2 on each profile or $40 commission on each sale you drive us. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Best regards,
^^^^^

We had to write back and tell them that clearly they were mistaken.

As a site focused on distance running, the site was comprised of people not having sex

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Recommended Reads

Gutsy: Defending Canadian Half-Marathon Champion Krista DuChene Finishes Race With Broken Leg, Still Finishes 3rd DuChene finished this year’s race “running” with a fractured femur for the final 500m. She was in first before breaking her leg and after limping to the finish line still managed third. She ended up having surgery that night to repair the break with a plate and three screws.

Would This Make Track More Popular? Really Cool Photos/Video Of Flaming Hammer Throwin

Play By Play Photo Essay Of US Handoff Fiasco From Penn 4×400The US gave the Bahamas the win when the anchor leg Manteo Mitchel accidentally grabbed the Bahamas baton instead of his own. There is actually a picture with three hands on one baton (Mitchel’s and the two Bahamas runners).

Great historical photo gallery of Penn – Jesse Owens, Roger Bannister, etc.

NY Times: Penn Relays – The meet that never stopped runningPenn was started to give track and field a team component and featured the first 4 x 400 ever run, between Penn and Princeton. It proved to be wildly popular.

Toni Reavis runs into last Boston survivor to leave hospital, John Odom, and realizes we live in a small, small world His wife went to high school with Ryan Hall’s father and his daughter went to college with Meb.

The Inside Story: How did Meb get far enough ahead to win 2014 Boston? Toni Reavis tells you Reavis has the scoop of what went on in the top African pack. “Some guys didn’t realize Meb was up ahead,” but the main problem was everyone was waiting for Desisa to make a move and by the time they realized Desisa didn’t have it, Meb was too far ahead as Dennis Kimetto re-pulled his hamstring in trying to go after Meb.

LRC American Strong: The Untold Story of American Teamwork and How Ryan Hall Helped Meb Keflezighi Win Boston American Meb Keflezighi rightfully got the glory but his American competitors helped him out. The untold story of American Strong. This story went viral and was ready by nearly 200,000 people.

Suspect On The Run: One BAA runner’s nerve-wracking experience during a run in the midst of the manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bomber

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Quotes Of The Day & Last Week’s Homepages:

Note: To see a particular day’s homepage, click on the hyperlink of the date. The hyperlink below the date on the quotes will take you to that particular article – not that day’s homepage.

Monday 4/28:

– Japanese marathoner Yuki Kawauchi talking about a 1,500 race he ran as a sharpening workout. He ended up leading most of the race before getting dropped on the last lap and finishing 12th in 3:54.87.

Sunday 4/27:

Walter Dix on anchoring the USA 4 x 100 to victory at Penn Relays as they ran 38.57 to beat Jamaica by .01.

Saturday 4/26:

LaShawn Merritt after he won $25,000 in a stacked showdown against Kirani James,Luguelin Santos, Jeremy Wariner and others at the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee. It was Merritt’s first ever Drake, which featured a fireworks introduction in the Moscow Rematch races. Read our recap of Friday’s action at Drake here.

Friday 4/25:

– Manager Gerard Van der Veen talking in a fantastic piece by Toni Reavis, who has the inside scoop on how/why the top Africans let Meb get so far ahead that he couldn’t be caught in Boston.

Thursday 4/24:

– Pole vault world record holder Renaund Lavillenie talking yesterday after successfully returning to competition for the first time since his WR with an 18-8 3/4 (5.71m) win at the Drake Relays, where the event was held in a shopping mall. Earlier in the week, Drake had a high jump competition in a Hy-Vee Super Market. Kudos to Drake and Hy-Vee for thinking outside the box and spending a ton on the pros. *Video

Wednesday 4/23:

Meb Keflezighi tweeting a picture of himself on the phone with the President, who called him after he won the Boston Marathon.

Tuesday 4/22:

Dick Patrick writing about 2014 Boston Marathon champ Meb Keflezihgi.

Questions? Comments? Email us.


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