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2008 Reebok Boston Games LetsRun.com Recap: Defar and Dibaba Restore Order in Boston
Fans in Boston at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games have been spoiled in recent years thanks to the performances of the Ethiopian distance stars. World records (Tirunesh Dibaba in the 5k in 2005 & 2007) or very close world record attempts (Meseret Defar in the 3k) are a yearly occurrence. The Emperor himself Haile Gebrselassie made his only US track performance outside of the Olympics in 2004. In 2005, fans witnessed Kenenisa Bekele, in his first race since the tragic death of his fiancee, stop a lap early and be beaten by Alistair Cragg.
The Ethiopian assassins Dibaba and Defar were (back) in Boston in 2008, as were 3 of the top 6 shot putters in the world (World Champ Reese Hoffa, 2007 World #2 Adam Nelson, and former World Indoor Champ Christian Cantwell), America's newest vaulting sensation Jenn Stuczynski, the world's greatest female athlete Carolina Kluft, and the Great White Hope Craig Mottram.
Despite the star power in Boston, things didn't go according to plan in Boston, and the spoiled crowd was not it's normal raucous self as the night went on. The 3 studly shot putters fizzled as no one threw over 70 feet and Christian Cantwell got the win in a pedestrian 68-9.75 . Jenn Stuczynski did take a shot at the American indoor record in the vault, but she came up short. The World Record in the 3000m was always going to be a stretch for Tirunesh Dibaba, but she could not even break the 8:30 barrier and "only" ran 8:33.37. Carolina Kluft finished last in the long jump. Were Boston fans actually going to go home from a sporting event disappointed for the first time in probably 2 years (the Red Sox won the World Series, the Patriots are 18-0, and the Celtics are dominating the NBA)? Not so fast. In the last 2 events of the day order was restored in Boston. Meseret Defar and Kim Smith put on a spirited duel in the seldom contested women's two mile as they both smashed drug cheat Reginald Jacob's indoor world
Event by Event Recaps Below With the Professional Distance Races First
Women's 800: Cornell's Finest
We at letsrun.com should not be surprised when Morgan Uceny wins a race, but we were on Saturday. The former Cornell star dominated the Ivy League and won nearly every race we saw her run (LetsRun.com's Rojo is the men's distance coach at Cornell), but this was Uceny's first race on the professional circuit.
The quarter was reached in a slow 62.3 with a tightly held bunch. Uceny took the lead on the last lap and powered onto the final stretch in the lead having opened it up coming off the turn. Then she appeared to tie up in the 15 meters before the finish as Nicole Cook closed fast. Uceny however was too far in front and held on to the win in the relatively slow 2:05.75 to Cook's 2:05.81* (Editor's Note: The race unfolded as described. However, Wejo is an idiot and thought Morgan finished 2nd and even talked to her after the race about how close she was, only to find out 4 hours later she won. He wants to publicly apologize to Morgan for being an idiot (or for swearing he saw Cook announced as the winner on the scoreboard he was standing underneath)).
Uceny who is training in Michigan with Lindsey Gallo and others, told USATF afterwards, "The goal was to win. Obviously I wanted to run an OK time, but winning was definitely the priority. It's a perfect starting point. The time wasn't great, but getting the win in the first meet of my first professional season is great."
Event 20 Women 800 Meter Run =============================================================== Name Year Team Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Morgan Uceny USA 2:05.75 2 Nicole Cook USA 2:05.81 3 Nikeya Green USA 2:06.11 4 Amy Teteris CAN 2:06.32 5 Leanna MacLean CAN 2:06.34 6 Lashinda Demus USA 2:09.78
The Men's 800: Khadevis over Symmonds
The quarter was reached in a pedestrian 57.5 seconds. No that is not a letsrun.com typo. 57.5 seconds. Then the real running started. However despite the slow pace, coming around the final bend the two studs in US 800m running Robinson and Symmonds were the two clear of everyone else battling for the win. Robinson had the lead and Symmonds tried to slingshot off the turn around him but Robinson had too much left and held on for the win in 1:50.92 to Symmonds 1:51.16, as they both had a huge negative split.
Khadevis was pleased with the win after the race and said one of the things he wants to work on is being able to win races besides using his traditional front running style. "I just wanted to win. My coach (US Record holder Johnny Gray) is going to be upset because the pace was too slow. I want to work on sitting and kicking although today I had the lead... You can invest in the short term or long term and I don't want to sacrifice the long term results (to have short term success indoors)... That way when I get in big races if I need to sit and kick I'll be comfortable doing it."
For Khadevis it was his first 800m win as a father. He is the proud father of 3 month old Zion who was born on October 20th (technically his son's name is Khadevis Zion Robinson, but he now goes by Zion because Khadevis found out when they brought him home they realized by Zion's crying "he's not Khadevis". (You'd laugh if you saw Khadevis imitating his son's cry) Khadevis is one of the best interviews in the sport. Entertaining; interesting; he actually says something interesting and what he believes instead of some corporate friendly PR line. Most post race interviews are pretty useless, but everyone should see Khadevis' interview because he's so damn entertaining (and since we use our camera as a voice recorder we now have it up here.)).
Event 3 Men 800 Meter Run =============================================================== Name Year Team Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Khadevis Robinson USA 1:50.92 2 Nick Symmonds USA 1:51.16 3 Said Ahmed USA 1:51.57 4 Sam Burley USA 1:51.60 5 Andrew Ellerton CAN 1:52.42 6 Mike Pachella USA 1:52.46 7 Larry Brooks USA 1:53.13 Splits - 400: 57.5
Women's Mile: Jenelle Deatherage Gets Biggest Win of Career
Former Wisconsin star Jenelle Deatherage shot to the front on the final lap and opened up a gap on the field. She led into the final bend and Lauren Fleshman tried to make a late charge but it was too late.
Deatherage held on for the biggest win of her career in 4:32.95 as Fleshman finished second just ahead of Roisin McGettigan of Ireland.
Deatherage told David Monti afterwards that the breakthrough win was "a long time coming". Deatherage had run 4:07 for 1500m in 2004, but had not broken 4:10 the last 2 years, so she switched coaches to Juli Henner (who coaches Chris Lukezic and Kevin Sullivan) and saw immediate results with the upset win.
Event 12 Women 1 Mile Run Splits 800 =============================================================== Name Year Team Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Jenelle Deatherage USA 4:32.95 2 Lauren Fleshman USA 4:33.46 3 Roisin McGettigan IRL 4:33.96 4 Liliya Shobukhova RUS 4:35.54 5 Sara Hall USA 4:35.62 6 Amy Mortimer USA 4:35.72 7 Lindsey Gallo USA 4:36.01 8 Jen Toomey USA 4:36.27 9 Tiffany McWilliams USA 4:36.32 10 Mestawot Tadesse ETH 4:42.00 11 Anne Shadle USA 4:45.71 -- Jess Minty USADNF Splits: 800 - Mortimer: 2:17.3, 1200 - McWilliams 3:26.6
Men's Mile: Pablo Solares Wins, Rupp Comes Up Short, Salazar Talks About Rupp's Plans
The race featured 2005 US World's 1500m runner Chris Lukezic and "the Kid", Alberto Salazar protégé and 10k World team member, Galen Rupp (we think Galen needs a nickname email us your suggestions). Would Rupp join the list of sub 4 minute milers?
The opening 400 was in 61.3 and the half mile in 2:01.4 as Rob Myers stalked the rabbit Moise Joseph. Galen Rupp was second from last at 800, but immediately moved up to the middle of the pack at this point. Rob Myers led at three quarters of a mile in 3:02.5 and he and Pablo Solares of Rice (Solares is a fifth year senior at Rice with no NCAA eligibility left) would wage a spirited battle right until the wire. Myers led coming off the final turn but Solares came up on him to pass him by the narrowest of margins winning in 4:00.34 to Myers' 4:00.35. Galen Rupp finished in 6th in 4:02.02 as everyone came up short of the 4 minute barrier.
We talked to Alberto Salazar afterwards about Rupp dipping down to run the mile this indoor season (next week he even has a tougher test as he's faces World Champ Bernard Lagat and Craig Mottram in the Millrose mile) as part of his Beijing Olympic buildup. Salazar said the plan is for Galen to "work on his speed work and learn how to be competitive with a bunch of people around him, (with) a bunch of bodies at the end of races. In 5 and 10k there are usually a couple of guys left at the end (that Galen needs to get used to trying to beat). But here (in the mile) there are 5 or 6 guys he's got to try and beat at the end. So that's the whole idea is to put him in races where he's going to get beat by a lot of people but he's going to learn to fight."
After Millrose, Rupp will run a 2 mile in Birmingham England on February 16th, where Salazar said, "Hopefully after these (mile) races if he goes out in 4:08, it'll feel somewhat easier."
And we must point out that we gave Solares the LetsRun.com Performance of the Week 2 weeks ago for being ultimate unheralded runner and breaking four the first time in a race where 2nd place was 4:26. Not sure what we'll give him this week, but the LetsRun.com jinx is gone.
Event 8 Men 1 Mile Run =============================================================== Name Year Team Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Pablo Solares MEX 4:00.34 2 Rob Myers USA 4:00.35 3 James Nolan IRL 4:01.06 4 Boaz Cheboiywo KEN 4:01.48 5 David Freeman PUR 4:01.93 6 Galen Rupp USA 4:02.02 7 Jason Jabaut USA 4:02.38 8 Fumikazu Kobayashi JPN 4:03.38 9 Max Smith USA 4:03.53 10 Chris Lukezic USA 4:05.03 -- Moise Joseph HAIDNF Splits: 400: 61.3, 800 - Myers: 2:01.4, 1200 - Myers: 3:02.5.
Women's 3000m: Tirunesh Dibaba Wins but Is Upset Afterwards
Nonetheless, Dibaba opted for the 3000m and ran before Defar. The women's 3000m was the Dibaba show as Tirunesh and her sister, Ejegayehu, dominated from gun to finish. As would be expected Tirunesh got the win (she overshadows her sister so much we think most people don't realize how good Ejegayehu is. Ejegayehu ran 30:24 for silver at the 2004 Olympics in the 10k and has 2 World Championship track medals as well)
The 1600 was reached in 4:36.1 and Tirunesh would actually pick things up the 2nd half to finish in 8:33.37. Nonetheless, her expectations are high and after having set 2 world records at this meet (in the 5k in 2005 and 2007) she was disappointed afterwards. She had a sullen look on her face as she addressed the press afterwards through her translator. She said she was inflicted by the same stomach pains that hampered her run at the World Championships last year (she still won the gold). "It's a very serious problem, and I think it's getting worse. We have seen so many doctors and they told me I have nothing," her translator told the press as quoted by David Monti (the translator was very hard to hear).
A rare site was what was going on in the back of the women's 3000m. Sally Kipyego the NCAA star who just dominates the NCAA ranks was almost lapped and finished in last place in 9:05.45. It just shows you how great the top pros are as Kipyego's time was still a collegiate leader.
Event 13 Women 3000 Meter Run =============================================================== Name Year Team Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Tirunesh Dibaba ETH 8:33.37 2 Ejegayehu Dibaba ETH 8:36.59 3 Megan Metcalfe CAN 8:52.85 4 Christin Wurth-Thomas USA 8:54.97 5 Sally Kipyego KEN 9:05.45 -- Miesha Marzell USADNF
Women's 2 Mile: Defar and Kim Smith Smash Old World Record
The mile was reached in 4:38.4 and Smith was still right on Defar. Drug cheat Regina Jacobs' (anyone remember this classic letsrun.com Regina interview?) 2 mile indoor record (9:23.38) was extremely soft and almost a certainty to fall, but the crowd was pumped and Smith was trying to hang with the 2007 IAAF Runner of the Year. Defar cranked down the pace the second half of the race and 6 minutes in, had started to open a gap on Smith. 1.5 miles was reached in 6:55.7 (a quicker 2:17.3 for that quarter) but Smith never gave up and at times seemed to even close the gap on Defar.
But there was little doubt barring a tremendous collapse who was going to win this one. Defar won in 9:10.50 smashing the old record and was soon followed by Smith in 9:13.94, also shattering the old record.
Smith's solo 14:50 performance at the Valentine's Day Classic 3 years ago in Boston showed a lot of people she belonged on the world stage, but Smith said her fifth place at the World Champs in the 10,000 last year is what has given her the confidence to truly believe that she can run with the best in the world.
She knew she was in good shape coming in and said, "It's a pity Meseret was there or I could have claimed it (the world record) for myself."
Defar said she was not surprised to beat the soft record but then added some words that just show how good she is, "I'm not running today 100%." Yes ladies and gentleman she breaks a world record, runs the equivalent of 8:30 for 3k and wasn't at the top of her game.
Defar had put the customary excitement back into the Boston air. Craig Mottram would keep the excitement on a high note to end the night in the next race.
Christian Hesch, known for running in his board shorts, rabbited the field in a winter cap (if you're from California 70 degree indoor air is apparently cold). The 400 was reached in 60.5, the 800 in 2:00.5, and the 1200 in 3:02, but Craig Mottram was getting antsy. Nick Willis of New Zealand, Markos Geneti of Ethiopia, and Andrew Baddeley of the UK were on the heels of Mottram. Even though we believe the rabbited pace was supposed to be 4:04, Mottram had had enough and he went around Hesch and the racing was on.
The 1600 was in 4:04.47 and soon the only runner attempting to stay with Mottram was a more aggressive Nick Willis (Willis, the young former University of Michigan star has been criticized by some for not being as aggressive in races as another young former University of Michigan star (Alan Webb)). Willis fell off of Mottram with 800 to go and that was the end of his running on this day as he finished 17 seconds back over the final 800, but we really give him a lot of credit for going for it as that's what he's got to do to be truly competitive on the world scene. You don't win big-time 1,500s from the way back.
Now it was Mottram versus the clock. 2400 was reached in 6:04.3 (2:00 for the last 800) and Gebrselassie's area record of 7:35.24 was in trouble if Mottram could keep his increased pace for another 600 meters.
Mottram would do just that as he finished in 7:34.50 to break Gebrselassie's meet record and become the fastest ever for 3000m indoors on American soil. Markos Geneti came up for 2nd in 7:41.81 after Nick Willis faded.
Mottram said he did not know it was Gebrselassie's record he beat until after the race. He said, "Had I known it was Haile's (record), I would have tried a little bit harder. He's obviously the greatest distance runner of all time... It's one record I'll be proud to have."
Mottram indicated that he will have physio travel with him 100% of the time this year, so he can stay on top of any injuries that rise up. He said last year he did not treat a minor hamstring problem earlier in the year. At the World Champs, he was a disappointing non factor in the 5000m final.
Afterwards Willis indicated that it's a goal of his indoors to try and be more aggressive and not worry about the consequences of blowing up. "This indoor season is about teaching myself to be more aggressive... I'd rather do that (go out hard and then coast it in) than run (conservatively) and get 2nd. I've ever done this before but it's all right."
Event 10 Men 3000 Meter Run =============================================================== Name Year Team Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Craig Mottram AUS 7:34.50 2 Markos Geneti ETH 7:41.81 3 Andrew Baddeley GBR 7:45.10 4 Adrian Blincoe NZL 7:48.94 5 Nick Willis NZL 7:51.35 6 Josh Rohatinsky USA 7:52.90 7 Kevin Sullivan CAN 7:54.01 8 Thomas Morgan USA 7:59.30 -- Christian Hesch USADNF
Flash Results, Inc. Reebok Boston Indoor Games - 1/26/2008 Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center Boston, MA Event 16 Women Long Jump ========================================================================== Name Year Team Finals ========================================================================== Finals 1 Lela Nelson USA 6.50m 21-04.00 6.40m FOUL 5.67m FOUL 6.50m 6.34m 2 Elva Goulbourne JAM 6.40m 21-00.00 5.98m FOUL FOUL 6.40m 6.34m 6.28m 3 Carolina Kluft SWE 6.34m 20-09.75 6.18m 6.28m 6.23m 6.25m 6.34m 6.32m
Women's Pole Vault: Dragila's Record Survives
Men's Shot Put
Flash Results, Inc. Reebok Boston Indoor Games - 1/26/2008 Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center Boston, MA Event 6 Men Shot Put ========================================================================== Name Year Team Finals ========================================================================== Finals 1 Christian Cantwell USA 20.97m 68-09.75 20.97m FOUL FOUL 20.95m 2 Reese Hoffa USA 20.70m 67-11.00 20.14m 20.06m 20.42m 20.70m 3 Adam Nelson USA 19.86m 65-02.00 FOUL FOUL 19.53m 19.86m 4 Dan Taylor USA 18.59m 61-00.00 18.37m 18.43m FOUL 18.59m
Other: Andrew Rock blew away the field the last 30 meters of the 500 to win in 1:02.87, Ashlee Kidd won the 200 in 23.55, Dabryan Blanton won a close men's 60 in 6.65, Miki Barber won the women's in 7.27, and Antwon Hicks won the hurdles in 7.59.
High School Miles:
In the girls' mile Jessica Parry of Canada, who had the fastest pr in the field, opened things up in the third quarter mile after reaching the half in 2:28. She gapped the field, and only Jillian Smith of New Jersey even attempted to bridge the gap to Parry. But Smith had a lot left and ended up winning the mile going away by over 4 seconds in 4:48.83, as she ran away from Parry once she caught her.
Flash Results, Inc. Reebok Boston Indoor Games - 1/26/2008 Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center Boston, MA Event 17 Girls 1 Mile Run Jr. Invit. =============================================================== Name Year Team Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Jillian Smith Manahawkin, NJ 4:48.83 2 Jessica Parry London, ONT, CAN 4:53.05 3 Mary Kate Champagne Plattsburgh, NY 4:55.57 4 Keely Maguire Georgetown, MA 4:56.02 5 Bridget Dahlberg Newton South, MA 4:58.67 6 Sarah McCurdy Bay Shore, NY 4:58.83 7 Brianna Welch Glen Head, NY 5:00.61 8 Kristin Reese Holmes, NY 5:00.85 9 Nicole Benson Peoria, IL 5:02.29 10 Tori Pennings Warwick,NY 5:02.43 11 Caitlin Lane Greenwich, NY 5:06.79 Splits - 1/2: 2:28
Boys Mile: Lowe ad Puskedra Battle, and Battle, and Battle
The two were near the front the entire way and the pace was more than honest from the gun. The quarter was 61, the half 2:04.4 with Puskedra leading Lowe. The two would then trade the lead multiple times the final half mile in a great battle. Lowe came back ahead with 600 to go, but at the 1200 in 3:07 Puskedra came back ahead. If we have this right, Lowe then passed him with 300 to go, only to have Puskedra pass him with 100 to go and to hang on for the narrow win 4:08.77 to 4:08.99, as Lowe couldn't make one final pass on the homestretch. So that's 4 lead changes over the final 800 but we have lost count. A great race and a fast time for the high school studs.
Flash Results, Inc. Reebok Boston Indoor Games - 1/26/2008 Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center Boston, MA Event 7 Boys 1 Mile Run Jr. Invit. =============================================================== Name Year Team Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Luke Puskedra Ogden, UT 4:08.77 2 Colby Lowe Southlake, TX 4:08.99 3 Kyle Merber Dix Hills, NY 4:12.42 4 Charles White Colorado 4:13.33 5 Cory Leslie Sansusky, OH 4:13.76 6 Christopher Brown Southlake, TX 4:14.00 7 Michael Fout LaPorte, IN 4:14.70 8 Joseph Franklin Tallahassee, FL 4:14.82 9 Christopher Derrick Naperville, IN 4:14.84 10 Sintayehu Taye Ashburnham, MA 4:15.03 11 Mac Fleet University City, CA 4:28.19 Splits: Quarter 61, Half - 2:04.4, 3/4th 3:07.
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