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The Week That Was April 7 - April 13, 2008
April 16, 2008
*Last week's week in review can be found here
By LetsRun.com

A transatlantic flight and having to pay our taxes has caused a big delay in our weekly recap. But what a week it was last week in the world of distance running. The most amazing marathon on the calendar lived up to its billing with two fantastic races

Before we get started in full force, let us start with two numbers.

This Week's Sign That Apocalypse Is Upon Us (At Least in Distance Running in the US)

1283 = Number of Words That 101 94 Year Old Brit Buster Martin Received In the LA Times For Running London
24 = Number of Words that Ryan Hall Received In the LA Times For Running 2:06:17 in London (it might have been zero).

Yes, that's right. There was either nothing or next to nothing in the LA Times about the 2008 Flora London Marathon or Ryan Hall's amazing performance. We searched their website and all we could find was the following on the marathon "Martin Lel of Kenya won the London Marathon for the third time in four years in 2:05:15, setting a course record. Ryan Hall was fifth in 2:06:17, the third-fastest time by an American." However, it's not clear if that actually ever appeared as if you click on the link that shows up in the search results, there is zero, zilch, nada about Mr. Hall or Mr. Lel.

Americans Can't Seem to Understand the
Top Marathon in the World is In London

Ryan Hall in the Distance

Photo by Simon Bradshaw
The LetsRun photos are here

Meanwhile, our favorite 90+ -year-old marathoner received two different articles. We find human interest stories associated with running to be great and we even highlighted Martin on our own front page. We just don't get why coverage of the human interest stories and of actual results have to be mutually exclusive. Can't running be covered as the professional sport that it is?

If you want to contact the Los Angeles Times, you can complain at this page.

*Buster Martin Pre-Race Article (Roughly 1043 Words)
Buster Martin 1st Pr-Race Article (240 Words)
Ryan Hall 0 to 12 Words (note how nothing appears on this link)

Speaking of the Maasai, they got a ton of press in London. Then the race came and one of them (Isaya) had to drop out of the race and went to the hospital. (These guys hunt lions and now they're going to a hospital?)  It was a letdown, but only for one day. Turns out his ceremonial strap (they ran with spears and shields) was on too tight and his circulation was getting cut off. So the next day, he went back and finished the marathon. He said, "It was very important for me to do this. This is what I came to England for." Also running with him was his tribesman, Taico, who had dropped out as well to go to the hospital to watch after his friend. Great perseverance and great friendship.
*Maasai Warriors Finish Marathon  *
Maasai Quickly Adapt To Britain: *Donate Here (13,331.00 Raised so far)

Before we get to our own coverage of London, let us provide you with:

Proof Positive That the British Write Much Better Than Americans
We were amazed with how much better the British sports writers are with their prose. The following two sentences from Rick Broadbent's profile of Ryan Hall in the London Times are simply unreal. They capture so much in so few words about both Ryan Hall and the American perspective on distance running it's unreal. Would it be possible to define Ryan Hall any better in so few words?

"Big in Big Bear, California, he has no bugbear about the low profile he has elsewhere in the United States. Distance running is on the fringes in a country where the quick-fix rules, but Hall is the real deal."

Almost makes us want to take an English class, but what would LetsRun.com be without daily typos and grammatical mistakes? At least we can acknowledge great writing when we see it.

*Rick Broadbent's Profile of Ryan Hall

(Wejo was also super impressed with how many British journalists from came up and thanked him, saying LetsRun was a must part of their day. It's the ultimate compliment for what we do at LetsRun. (He even heard from a guy who has done some broadcasting on WCSN who laughed about people saying his coverage "sucked ass." The Brits definitely are a bit more laid back than a lot of Americans and understand not everyone is going to like everything they do.)

The LetsRun photos are here

Photo by v1ctory_1s_m1ne's

2008 Flora London Marathon - Just How Good Was The Men's Race?
As usual, we'll assume you know what happened in the race. If not, please see our special 2008 Flora London Marathon Special Section. What we'll do here is try to put in perspective just how good the men's race was on Sunday. Prior to Sunday, just five times in history had a man run under 2:06 in the marathon. On Sunday, three did it in a single race. You've got to feel a bit for Abderrahim Goumri. He runs the 6th fastest marathon in history and finished 3rd in London.

The race gave us the fastest-ever 3rd place ( 2:05:30 - Gourmi), 4th place ( 2:06:15 - Emmauel Mutai), 5th place (2:06:17 - Ryan Hall) and 6th place (2:06:38 - Deribe Merga) in history.

Putting Ryan Hall's Performance In Perspective
Ryan Hall's 2:06:17 performance is simply amazing. 5th in London may not impress the casual fan but to us it was a simply breathtaking performance. Everything about it was impressive. The time itself is very, very, very impressive. One also needs to consider that the weather turned nasty towards the end of the race or it's possible Hall would have been under 2:06.

Total Exhaustion

by photorunn.net
More Photos on Letsrun here

People can analyze the conversions all they want but it certainly ranks right up there with the greatest performances ever put forth by American-born athletes in distance running. According to LetsRun.com guru JK's tables, Hall's 2:06:17 converts to the following
1500 - 3:28.67
Mile - 3:45.41
3k - 7:27.22
2mile - 8:03.12
5k - 12:53.0
10k - 26:52.6
15k - 41:15
Half-Marathon - 59:27

All of those times are better than all of the current American records. Many like to point out that Alan Webb's American record in the mile is 8th all-time and Hall was only 5th in his race. True, but prior to Sunday, Hall's time would have made him 12th all-time, as prior to Sunday, only 11 men had broken 2:06:20. As it stands now, counting London and Rotterdam, Hall is 17th on the all-time marathon list. Considering the mile is run infrequently nowadays, Hall's performance certainly compares to Webb's.

Ryan Hall Talks About His Race
Bob Kennedy was the standard-bearer for US distance running in the 1990s and he had the lead in the 5k at the 1996 Olympics at the bell. A true inspiration and hero, he ended up 6th. Fifth place at the 2008 London marathon and 6th in the Olympics are certainly comparable as both events represent the pinnacle of the sport - and London wasn't limited to just 3 Kenyans.

Conversions and comparisons aside, the most impressive thing for us about Hall's run was that the way it was run was very gutsy. 1) He got with the leaders right away - out in 14:21 for the 1st 5k. 2) He wanted the pace to be fast - when the pace slowed at 25k, he asked the rabbits to pick it up. 3) Hall considers himself to be a rhythm runner, but the pace was very erratic on Sunday and Hall hung in there. 4) The weather wasn't great at the end.
*Message board Thread:
Comparing Hall, Webb & Kennedy
*Message board Thread:
Hall Breaks Cabada's US 25k Record By 34 Seconds En Route To Marathon
*Women's Post Race Interviews
London Men:  Lel Leads 3 Under 2:05:30!!!, Ryan Hall 2:06:17
Ryan Hall Reflects On his Incredible Run
Photo Gallery
*Men's Post Race Videos/Interviews


Women's Race - Big Breakthrough For Irina Mikitenko
Several things stand out about the women's race. For one, it represented a breakthrough for Germany's Irina Mikitenko, who picked up her first marathon victory after finishing 2nd in Berlin in her debut. Our only questions concerning her are "What took her so long to start running marathons?" This seems to be her event. The 34-year-old clearly should have come to the marathon earlier in her career (although in the post-race press conference she said now was the perfect time). She's got great track credentials (14:42 5k pr) and should be a threat for the next few years.

Gete Wami very much impressed us with her 3rd place effort. The favorite finishing 3rd normally doesn't deserve big time praise but in this case it clearly does. She suffered a horrific fall in the 2nd half of the race, got up and made a race of it. Very impressive. A huge thumbs up to her for her efforts.

Gete Wami Talks About Her Fall
And Wondering If She Lost Her Teeth

It's too bad there wasn't a great camera angle of her fall as the spill was so violent she said the following of it, "When I first got up, the first thing I did was feel my teeth as I felt my teeth had fallen out." Also a huge thumbs up to her for the class she showed in her post-race comments. We're tired of reading about world-class athletes making excuses or being sore losers and you see it all the time in distance running. Here is someone who actually had a very legitimate reason to whine and moan about how she should have won, but she did not make excuses. She simply said, "I was disappointed at first, but now I am happy I was able to come back and finish 3rd."

Very classy.
*LetsRun.com London Women: Mikitenko Wins Crazy Women's Race
LetsRun.com London Special Section
*Women's Post Race Video

Rotterdam Can't Be Forgotten
There was another significant marathon this week - Rotterdam. It certainly shouldn't be forgotten, as Kenyan William Kipsang ran what at the time was the 5th fastest marathon in history (2:05:49) to win. We're sure he's happy with the big PR and win but given what happened a few hours later in London, he's only the 8th fastest in history now. Still not too shabby.

Since we are officially still in awe of the performances in London, we think it's interesting to compare the splits of Ryan Hall and Kipsang from Sunday. They certainly back up our contention that if they'd gone out slightly more conservatively in London and the weather had remained good, people could have run even faster.

Distance Hall Split Kipsang Difference

5k -
10k -




At 35k (21.75 miles), Hall was 34 seconds up on Kipsang, which is basically the same amount he was up on Kipsang in the first 5k. Then Hall paid the price for going out so hard and for the weather being off and for him not being in the contention for the win.

*William Kipsang sets 2:05:49 course record in Rotterdam

Non-London Performance Of The Week
London totally dominated the action this week, but a performance that really raised eyebrows was US high schooler Chris Derrick's virtually solo 13:55 run at Arcadia. The Stanford-bound Derrick ran a big negative split (covering his last 3,200 in 8:49) to set a US HS-only 5k record. Clearly our Performance of the Week. While we were very impressed, we do admit that 5k times by HSers probably seem a bit more impressive than they might actually be just because we aren't used to seeing HSers race 5k on the track. Sub-9:00 3,200s are almost ho-hum nowadays.

In other action at Arcadia, the boys and girls 3,200s did not disappoint. In the boys race, Luke Puksedra won a nice battle with New Zealand's Dominic Channon in 8:46.60 to 8:48.00 thanks to a 61-second last lap. In the girls race, Jordan Hasay was actually challenged, but she ended up with her 3rd straight title as she won in 10:03.07 to Christine Babcock's 10:04.03.
*Chris Derrick Runs Solo 13:55 At Arcadia To Smash HS-Only National Record
*Video of Chris Derrick's Historic 5k
*IAAF: Hasay/Derrick Win MVP
On the boards: *Luke Puksedra/Chris Derrick Talk

Post-College US Track Action
Spring is finally here and the US pros are starting to race as, unlike the rest of the world, they need to be ready to rock and roll just to make the team. The best race came at Arizona State, where 2007 NCAA 1,500 champ Lopez Lomong squared off with Osaka 4th-placer in the 5k, Matt Tegenkamp, 2007 NCAA 5k champ Chris Solinsky and Jonathan Riley. Many on our very own message boards seemed to think Tegenkamp was the favorite given his 3:34.25 1,500 PR, which is significantly faster than Lomong's 3:37.07. Some even expected a tight three-way battle as Solinsky's pr of 3:37.27 is close to Lomong's.

Not a chance.

Assuming he's been focused and training hard, we figured Lomong would prove to be the class of the field at 1,500 and we were proven right. In many instances, 1,500 prs are misleading, as a strong 5k guy can go over to Europe and hang on and run a good time that is often way faster than one seen in collegiate races in the US. It doesn't mean they stand a chance of winning a quality 1,500 - closing hard the last 300.

Lomong is the real deal. He's got 1:45.79 speed in the 800, coupled with endurance that was good enough to get him 4th and 3rd the last two years at NCAA cross country over 10k.

Well, apparently Lomong's training has been going just fine as he did what we thought he'd do - win fairly comfortably in 3:39.50 to Tegenkamp's 3:40.12.

Given the fact that he ran the 800 at USAs because he was unsure if he'd have his citizenship in time, people seem to forget that Lomong was the NCAA champ at 1,500 last year - not the University of Texas' Leonel Manzano (If you truly have forgotten, you can watch the race video here). Yes Manzano went on to get 2nd at USAs, even defeating the eventual world champion in Bernard Lagat, who was 3rd. But in our minds, if Lomong had run the 1,500 with a clear mind at USAs last year, he would have had to be considered to be the better bet for the team than Manzano.

It's hard to bet against Manzano as the guy was the NCAA 1,500 champ as frosh and he has greatly improved his endurance since then. However, how do you not pick the guy with way better 800 speed (1:45.79 pr vs 1:49.26 pr) and better endurance? Manzano had by far his best xc season this year when he finished a very credible 27th at NCAAs - but that's still 36 seconds behind Lomong.

It's hard to know what would have happened, but yes, we could imagine he could very well have finished 2nd with Manzano 3rd and then Lagat - who ended up as the world champion - being left off the team.

Which brings us to thoughts of this year. Assuming Lomong doesn't run the 800, one of the big 4 will be left off the US 1,500 team. And don't forget we haven't even mentioned 3:33.28 1,500 runner Chris Lukezic or 3:34.89 man Rob Myers, who in normal years would be considered real beasts. It's certainly going to be a great race to watch. It may not be popular to admit it but making the team is far from an easy guarantee for stars like Webb and Lagat. It's going to be an awesome race for sure.

Speaking of Lukezic and Myers, people in our minds have an unfairly poor view of how good they are compared to runners of recent past. They both have 1,500 PRs better than the over-hyped 2000 Olympic Trials champion, Gabe Jennings, whose career best is 3:35.21

While we are talking about Lukezic, he ran his first outdoor 1,500 of the season at the Sea Ray Relays where he finished 2nd to his training partner, Canada's Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan grabbed the win in very windy conditions by running 3:44.28 to Lukezic's 3:44.71. Trust us, it was very, very windy. Those were pretty good performances, as Kentucky's John Richardson, who went sub-4 (and 7:56 3k) indoors, was more than a second back in 3rd at 3:45.80. We only mention this as we were trying to get an excuse to mention that Cornell's Andy Miller, who is coached by Rojo, was 4th in 3:46.70.
Lopez Lomong Smokes Matt Tegenkamp, Chris Solinsky and Jonathon Riley in 1,500
*Matt Tegenkamp Reflects On His 3:40 Outdoor Opener
*Video of Lopez Lomong - Leonel Manzano Battle At 2007 NCAAs
*Sea Ray Relays Results

European Cup 10,000
We don't think we've seen any reference to this race on the home page other than the pre-race article we linked to, and that's because it was hard to find any post-race articles (although we just found one), but quality 10ks are hard to come by and this one was pretty good. In the women's race, reigning Olympic silver medallist Elvan Abeylegesse got her 3rd win at the event and an Olympic A standard. Lornah Kiplagat was 2nd in 31:53.72 and failed to get the Olympic A standard of 31:45.00 as well as the Netherlands' even more stringent qualifying time of 31:22.14. It's interesting to see that the post-race reports say there will be a ladies 10k at the Golden Spike Grand Prix in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on June 12.

In the men's race, Turkey's Selim Bayrak got the win and the A standard.

Women's Race
1. Elvan Abeylegesse, TUR 31:36.33 WL [Olympic A Standard]
2. Lornah Kiplagat, NED 31:53.72 [Olympic B Standard]
3. Hilda Kibet, NED 32:05.49 PB [Olympic B Standard]
4. Aniko Kalovics, HUN 32:09.02 [Olympic B Standard]
5. Alina Gherasim, ROU 32:29.52
6. Nataliya Berkut, UKR 32:36.90
7. Volha Krautsova, BLR 32:43.28
8. Volha Minina, BLR 32:58.36 PB
9. Helena Javornik, SLO 33:07.4
10. Nathalie De Vos, BEL 33:10.76

Men's Race
1. Selim Bayrak, TUR 27:47.75 NR, WL [Olympic A Standard]
2. Carles Castillejo, ESP 28:07.55 [Olympic B Standard]
3. Oleg Kulkov, RUS 28:48.55
4. Sergey Yemelyanov, RUS 28:49.55
5. Juan Carlos De la Ossa, ESP 28:55.58
6. Daniele Meucci, ITA 28:56.53
7. Aleksey Reunkov, RUS 29:09.22
8. Stsiapan Rahautsou, BLR 29:14.22
9. Paulo Gomes, POR 29:15.22 P
10. Licinio Pimentel, POR 29:22.18 P
11. Gian Marco Buttazzo, ITA 29:32.75

Turkish double at European Cup 10,000m in Istanbul
Lornah Kiplagat To Run 1st Track Race In Nearly a Year

You'll Be Hearing About This For a Long, Long Time
The other big news of the week came Sunday on the front page of the Sunday New York Times which had an article linking Maurice Greene to steroids. Since we're sure this story will dominate the airwaves we'll just let you read about it below yourself. Same thing for the rest of the news from the week. It all appears below.

Maurice Greene, HSI Linked to Steroids A few HSI athletes have been caught doping in the past (Larry Wade the most notable), but this NY Times article brings to print some of the rumors some of you may have heard. And it is a sad, sad day for American sprinting if true.
Times Of London Story on Maurice Greene Being Accused Of Doping
Maurice Greene Defends Himself He says he never used drugs but did pay for teammates' bills without asking what it was for. Greene: "This is a bad situation for me. My name's come up in something and it's not true."

Maasai Quickly Adapt To Britain: *Donate Here
(13,331.00 Raised so far: )
Maasai Mania Comes To America: *Great NPR Interview of Greenforce Director About Maasai's 1st Few Days In Britian
Snow was a huge shock to them.
Maasai Learn To Quickly Love Tea With 10 Spoonfuls of Sugar Imagine how great sugar would be if you never had it before. They also are obsessed with Coco-Pops. They aren't worried about the marathon at all.
Maasai Impressed By Flatscreens & Shrek They like the donkey in Shrek, as they have donkeys at home.
Maasai Told to Not Kill Livestock They See, Not Urinate in Public
Maybe the Brits need to go to Eugene for diversity training.
says Mania: Britain.

Marion Jones' 8 Relay Teammates Told To Return Medals The IAAF told Jerome Young's teammates to do the same thing, but lawyers stopped the IAAF from making them do it.

Olympic Marathon Trials Are This Weeekend
Colleen De Reuck Out of Olympic Marathon Trials
The almost-44-year-old defending champ is out with an unspecified injury. She did run a 57:17 at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler on Sunday (which is only 2:30 pace), so maybe that made her reconsider.
*2004 10k Olympian Elva Dryer Feeling Good About Chances Despite Dropping Out of US Half Marathon in February
Univ of Dayton XC Coach Ann Alyanak Hoping To Make Team

Head of WADA Warns Olympic Hopefuls About New HGH Test He says the belief that HGH can be cycled through the body quickly and not get detected by a drug test is a thing of the past. The new test will supposedly last longer.

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