No DQ In Zürich, Alexa Goes Pro, Taoufik PRs, Amazing Japanese Stamina And High Praise For Taco Bell

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The Week That Was In Running – August 18 – September 1, 2014

by LetsRun.com
September 3, 2014

Our weekly recap is a little delayed this week as a result of Monday being Labor Day in the US.

Most of the big news last week came from the first of two DL finals. Full coverage of the 2014 Weltklasse Zürich meet can be found here. Previous versions of the Week That Was can be found here.

Questions? Comments? Email us.

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The Jenny Simpson/Shannon Rowbury Collision

The big story of last week was Jenny Simpson‘s dramatic and inspiring win in the women’s 1,500 in Zurich, which also gave her the 2014 Diamond League points title and a spot into 2015 Worlds (well, that’s the big news from the LRC perspective – we’re sure throws fans loved the throwing action in Berlin where a world record was set). Simpson’s win only came by the narrowest of margins (although second would have still won her the DL title) as Simpson won by .01 over fellow American Shannon Rowbury after the two had contact in the final strides of the race and both went sprawling to the track.

If you haven’t seen the finish of Zurich, it’s worth a watch:

We have a few more thoughts on the end of the race collision.

1) The fact that the contact wasn’t intentional is irrelevant.

Several people responded on the messageboard with sentiments along the lines of “It might be hard to prove intent” or “it wasn’t clear enough to determine if it (the contact) was intentional” or “Nothing intentional.”

Our response? Intent doesn’t have anything to do with whether there should have been a DQ. In the NFL, pass interference is pass interference whether the receiver/defender meant to do it or not. In running, illegal contact is illegal contact. Intent isn’t relevant.

2)  Shannon Rowbury and Alberto Salazar certainly weren’t going to appeal this one as a DQ of Simpson would have been very bad for them.

If anyone was going to appeal the finish of the race, it would have been Sifan Hassan. It most certainly wasn’t going to be Rowbury. Here are three reasons why Rowbury wouldn’t appeal.

i) The last thing Rowbury and the NOP would want is for Simpson to get DQd as then she wouldn’t be the DL champion and the US wouldn’t get 4 1500 spots in 2015. With Simpson as the DL champ, it’s much easier for Cain, Rowbury and Simpson all to make the Worlds team in 2015.

ii) Rowbury herself might have been one with a DQ. Rowbury was trying to pass on the inside in a race where Jenny Simpson never left lane one in the homestretch. Yes, Simpson did move ever so slightly towards the middle of the lane about 15 meters out but not in a “flagrant” manner (which is a term the NCAA wants to start using but isn’t used by the IAAF). Thus if there was a DQ, it might have been of Rowbury, not Simpson.

iii) Rowbury would look like a hypocrite. Simpson’s drift from the outside of lane one to the middle and then back to the outside was a lot less obvious than Rowbury’s weave at the end of the USA 5000.

In the end, the right call was made. We believe if there is doubt let the racing decide things so the non-DQ was the right call.

A collision at the finish line of the DL final where the margin of victory is just .01 is a big deal. The IAAF/USATF should use this as a teaching moment so fans don’t become outraged when an Olympic spot or medal is on the line in 2016.

Honestly, the outcome of this one race isn’t all that important. What is important is making sure we aren’t hit with another DQ fiasco in 2016 when the whole world is paying attention.

USATF should have a “Head of Officials” who blogs about events like this and explains the rules and how they are or aren’t being enforced. If USATF decides to go that route, we’ll give the blog a ton of free publicity.

More: Messageboard discussion of the collision: Jenny Simpson just ROBBED that win from Rowbury!!! (Will Salazar get her DQd?) *Weltklasse Zürich Coverage *Full Results *Jenny Simpson Does It – Wins Diamond League Final And Title By Diving Across The Finish Line

Swedish star Abeba Aregawi, the DL leader heading into Zurich, had a bad week as she only finished 8th, and it was also revealed she’s being investigated for tax evasion In Sweden The article is translated, but apparently she only claimed $18,500 in income in 2012, but won $72,000 in just Diamond League prize money. *2nd Article

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Alexa Efraimson Goes Pro

Alexa Efraimson won't be wearing adidas gear anymore

Alexa Efraimson won’t be wearing adidas gear anymore

“When you find the right method, and if it’s working, then it’s a good formula,” -17-year old Alexa Efraimson, who was sixth at World Juniors this summer, talking to Dyestat about why she decided early last week she’ll go pro and run for Nike and will continue to work with coach Mike Hickey.

Her father, Dan, expressed a similar sentiment, “The conversation came down to getting the right level of competition for her and creating continuity of where the success was coming from.”

Our thoughts?

Keeping “continuity” as to where the success was coming from would have happened no matter what she decided to do as the success mainly comes from Efraimson’s talent level.

Coaches of true teen phenoms have a great job as runners only have one career, and there is little to compare them to, so when they get into the sport, and improve a ton, which is normal in the late teens and early 20s, the coach gets a ton of credit.

Now don’t misunderstand us. We’re not saying Hickey isn’t a good coach. To us, the hallmarks of a good coach are staying healthy, consistent improvement and strong performances in the big meets which have all been the norm for Efraimson. And loyalty is a trait we certainly admire – LetsRun.com was founded in large part to help spread the training gospel of John Kellogg, the HS coach of the website’s two co-founders. If something isn’t broke, we certainly don’t see the need to fix it.

We’re just trying to point out that Efraimson would thrive under a slew of coaches and also feel she would find plenty of competition as a collegian. We are huge fans of the NCAA system. It gives great goals for runners between the ages of 18 and 23. If Efraimson found herself winning NCAA titles as a frosh, she’d still be able to find plenty of competition as she could run meets like Millrose in the winter or the Diamond League in the summer.

We don’t think “continuity” is a good reason to go pro nor is it necessary to find the “right level of competition.” In our mind, there is one and only reason to go pro early. Money. We hope it was big and guaranteed for a number of years.

Read more: DyeStat – News – Alexa Efraimson Turns Pro, Signs With Nike – DyeStat
*DyeStat Video Interview

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Photo of the Week/The Ultimate Apartment Amenity

This one comes from the Twitter account (@ItsDosSantos) of 19-year-old Portuguese 400-meter runner, Ricardo Dos Santos, who on August 14th set a national record of 45.74 in the semis of the European champs.

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Stat of the Week

35:26 – time for second place finisher in Norway’s women’s 10,000 meters.

Last week, we enjoyed reading how Norway’s Kristin Størmer Steira, a three-time Winter Olympian in Nordic skiing, won her country’s national 10,000-meter track title. Our appreciation for the accomplishment went down when we realized her winning time was 33:40.75 and learned she lapped the field and finished 1:46 ahead of silver medalist Fride Vullum-BridgesNRK.no reports.

More: Olympic Cross-Country Skier Kristin Størmer Steira Wins Norwegian Track 10K Championships 

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Taoufik Makhloufi PRs

We think it’s important to note that 2012 Olympic 1500 champ Taoufik Makhloufi PR’d in the 800 last week in the ISTAF Berlin meet where he ran 1:43.53 (previous pb 1:43.61).

Makhloufi’s 2012 Olympic win was suspicious to some on the PED front, but we’ve always felt that a series of strong performances from Makhloufi after 2012 might quiet some of the critics.

The race between Makhloufi, European champ Adam Kszczot and world champ Mo Aman was quite entertaining. On the off-chance you don’t know what happened as maybe you were gone for Labor Day, we’ve got it cued up for you to the final lap so you can now watch it without knowing the results.

More: Messageboard discussion of 2014 Istaf Berlin Men’s 800.

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The LetsRun.com Guarantee

We’ll pay out $50 if Dathan Ritzenhein and Kara Goucher aren’t announced later this year for the New York City Marathon. Actually, we take that back. Let us re-clarify that.

We’ll pay out $50 each time one of them commits to a marathon not named New York for 2014 (whoever emails us first at letsrun@letsrun.com after the announcement is the winner). Both have said they are running a marathon later this year. We can’t imagine what it would be besides New York. The only thing stopping them from being in the Big Apple is injury.

We can’t wait to tell you, “We told you so.”

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

I – It’s Ok To Have Some Ego

“I always tell my runners you have to have some ego. It doesn’t mean you have to shout from the rooftops. When you go into a race you’ve got to know you can win this thing. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

– 1964 Olympic 5000 gold medallist Bob Schul.

More: 1964 Olympic 5,000 Champ Bob Schul Is Giving Back To His Hometown At Age 77

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II – The Definition of Talent

“I had about one week of full training, full volume and full workouts. It was a good opportunity to see my fitness without really having any work in me.”

– American Dathan Ritzenhein after running 49:12 for 10 miles at Crim.

More: Ritz On The Rebound: Q&A With Dathan Ritzenhein

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III – Totally Dominant

“I felt like we were doing a tempo run,”

Molly Huddle talking to David Monti after she and training partner Amy Hastings gapped the field early at the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race, which served as the US 20k champs. Huddle had good reason to think it felt like practice. She finished more than two minutes – 2:04 – up on third-placer Blake Russell.

More: LRC Molly Huddle, Girma Mecheso Win 2014 USA 20k Titles At Faxon Law New Haven Road Race *Discuss: New Haven

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IV – Elite Runners Just Look Different

“They (members of the BAA elite team) were going the opposite direction and went by like a bullet train, whoosh. An elite runner looks like a different species than the rest of us. You can’t not notice.”

Harvard biomechanics expert Daniel Lieberman talking about passing some members of the BAA high-performance group on the Charles River in a Boston Globe feature on the new running teams in Boston, one sponsored by the BAA/adidas and one by New Balance.

More:  Boston Globe: Boston Works To Reclaim Status As A Runners’ Mecca 

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V – We Only Remember The Good Races

‘The heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good,”

– 39-year-old American and 2008 Olympian Blake Russell, taking Gabriel Garcia Marquez‘s quote about love but applying it to racing.

In her last race at the US 20k champs in New Haven in 2011, Russell bombed and vowed never to return, but as time progressed she found herself remembering an earlier win in New Haven in 2005 and thus returned.

The quote comes from Russell’s blog on New Haven which you can read at blakerussellruns.com.

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Most Amazing Performance Of The Week

This has nothing to do with running. But LetsRun.com is a community of runners and we think of our running forum as the place where you share the same thoughts that you’d share with a group of guys/gals on a group run.

On runs, people talk about life. So nothing should stop us from doing that in the Week That Was. If you only want to read about running, you can skip this section.

Plus we do believe this story helps explain how the Japanese are so good at the marathon.

In Japan last week, there was a HS baseball game that went 50 innings. Yes, 50 innings. The game spanned four days (15 innings the first three days, with the final five on day four).

The final score was 3 to 0. Now here is the reason why we are mentioning the game – both starting pitchers went the distance.

Yes, the distance. The losing pitcher, Jukiya Ishioka, threw 689 pitches. Wining pitcher Taiga Matsui threw 709. Matsui wasn’t done though. He then came back later that day and pitched in relief as his team won the championship.

Truly amazing (apparently they do use a rubber ball which is a little easier to throw than a standard baseball).

Do the Japanese have superior genetics that mean they don’t get tired? Or do they have a superior work ethic? Or is it a combination? We’ll let David Epstein figure that out. All we know is – don’t ever get in an endurance contest with someone from Japan.

We particularly loved the sportsmanship involved with the game. After it was over, the opposing teams immediately lined up opposite sides of each other with the umpires on the end and then everyone bowed.

The post-game bow

The post-game bow

The final inning is on YouTube here.

 More: Tireless Chukyo finally wins 50-inning marathon in high school baseball tourney

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Email of The Week/Taco Bell Deserves Some Big-Time Kudos

Last week, we started a semi-regular part of LetsRun.com called Running in the Real World where we show you how running is viewed by society at large. That article in turn led to a discussion as to whether running is expensive or not: MB: “How Expensive is the Sport of Running?”

The discussion resulted in us receiving a great email from 28:12 10,000 meter runner Josh Simpson:

I see people on a daily basis bitch about 120$ shoes who just left the bike store paying that much only for a tune up and a fixed flat on their 2,000$ bike. Running is expensive? Please….a Pair of Jordan’s alone are roughly 200$. Should shoes and entry fee’s cost what they do? No…. but neither should gas. I think the only thing that hasn’t inflated since I was a kid is Taco Bell…So Kudos to them. They should sponsor some running events.

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Pretty Cool: Youth Olympic Games Ends With 8 X 100m Relay With Mixed Athletes From All Event Groups And Countries The winning team ran 1:40.20 (about 12.53 a runner) for 800m, which is just .71 faster than David Rudisha‘s WR.

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Recommended Reads

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Other News Of Note

Rory Bosio repeats as champ of the 104-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc race that passes through France, Italy and Switzerland She did a curtsy at the finish. MB: American chic wins big ultra – gives curtsy to French crowd *The American men get spanked at UTMB 100 

Former Temple Discus Thrower Claims She Was Bullied, Sexually Groped – Suing For $10 Million The Temple News has written more than 7,000 words on this but for some reason won’t mention the name of the coach who allegedly groped the athlete. Head coach Eric Mobley has been fired.

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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.


Tuesday 9/2:

– Excerpt from an IAAF interview with Olympic and World marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich.


Monday 9/1: 

– Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, who received a standing ovation from the 50,000 crowd after she broke the hammer world record with 79.58m at the ISTAF Berlin World Challenge Meet on Sunday. She broke the record of Germany’s Betty Heidler, who also competed, finishing 2nd and losing her record in front of the home crowd.


Sunday 8/31: 

– Harvard scientist Daniel Lieberman talking about the barefoot running craze, which he started with his scientific research 10 years ago.


Saturday 8/30:

– USTFCCCA’s Dennis Young writing a brief introduction to the 2014 Cross-Country season, which is officially started as of yesterday. If you haven’t been following, go here to check out LetsRun.com’s Top 10 NCAA XC Countdown.


Friday 8/29:

– Jenny Simpson‘s reaction after winning the Zurich Diamond League 1,500m in 3:59.92, taking the overall Diamond League title and $50,000 prize.


Thursday 8/28:

 Emma Coburn talking to Newsweek about her training partner Jenny Simpson. Both Coburn and her non-running-zombie training partner Simpson will try to bring home Diamond League titles to America on Thursday.


Wednesday  8/27:

– Excerpt from IAAF piece by Steve Landells describing the makeup of the winning team in the 8 x 100m relay which ended the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. The randomly assigned teams in the event were comprised of 8 athletes (4 boys, 4 girls) from all event disciplines and different nations. Overall, 66 teams (so 528 athletes) competed.


Tuesday 8/26: 

– Myles Marshall talking after winning 800 gold at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China with a 1:49.12. Marshall comes from some great genes as his father ran 1:43.92 to make the Olympics and his mother ran 2:00.81. We talk more about Marshall and his parents in this week’s Week That Was.

Questions? Comments? Email us.


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