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A Fan's Guide To The 2009 Reebok Boston Indoor Games
By LetsRun.com

Feb 5, 2009 - Recently, we've come to the official conclusion that track isn't more popular because it's rarely presented properly. For a race to be truly compelling, people need to have a ton of information about the event and the main participants. If people know the story lines involved in the race, then it's interesting. If they don't, then it's not.

In our minds, information creates drama, which creates entertainment.

In that light, we hope to give you, the visitors of LetsRun.com, the story lines for the major meets this year. This is our first attempt, so hopefully it's goes alright. Below you will find a preview of the Reebok Boston Indoor Games events in the order they are set to go off. (Note: We don't have anything on the masters races).


Men's College 800: Which Red & White Is Better? Ohio State Or Cornell?


The favorite appears to be Ohio State redshirt sophomore Dan White, who ran the fastest 800 for a frosh last year in the Big 10 at 1:49.71. White is in good form, having gotten an indoor PB of 1:50.56 last week at Penn State. The guy most likely to challenge White appears to be Cornell's Andrew Levy, who ran a school record 2:24.31 to win the 1k at Penn State about a month ago. Levy, who is coached by LetsRun.com co-founder Rojo, has had the most remarkable transformation of any athlete Rojo has ever coached. Almost out of nowhere (he ran a 4:40 indoor mile at one point last year), Levy started splitting 1:50 last year and has continued the good form this year as his PB in the 1k has come down 11 seconds already this season. Levy was so slow as a freshman that one of the Cornell runners tried to convince Rojo that he must have lied about his times to get recruited.

Based on accomplishments, the field drops off significantly after those two. There are two junior college runners from JUCO power Rend Lake in this race. Don't know Rend Lake? Well, they produced the fastest collegiate miler in the country last year in Boaz Lalang, who ended up on the Kenyan Olympic team at 800 meters. Dey Tuach has a 1:52 PB from what we can tell, but we bet he ends up running better than that down the road. He was 11th in cross-country nationals this year. James Grantham is more of a miler, having run 3:54 for 1,500. Bentley's Dan Darcy recently ran 1:55.

LetsRun.com Prediction: 1) White 2) Levy

MBTA Men's 200m: Which Williams Is The Best?

ERIC SEELY (USA)         

Rubin Williams, who used to run for Tennesse, has PBs of 10.12 and 20.40. Ivory Williams is a guy who ran a ridiculous 9.94 last year in Eugene at the Olympic Trials but failed to make the finals as his 10.05 in the semis was subpar only in America. His 200 PB is 20.62. Former Florida A&M runner Chris Hargrett has bests of 10.12 and 20.78, whereas former Wake Forest sprinter Eric Seely has run 21.05.

LetsRun.com Prediction: Ivory Williams is the best short sprinter in the field but Rubin Williams is probably the best 200-meter man in the field. Ivory Williams has already run 20.81 indoors this year. He's hot and in form. We're going with him. 1) Ivory Williams 2) Rubin Williams

Nutrilite Women's Pole Vault: A Battle Between The Past & Present Of US Vaulting

There is real buzz in the women's pole vault at this meet. You've got a battle between the past and future of US pole vaulting.


When women started doing the pole vault, the American scene was dominated by one person - Stacy Dragila. Dragila is a 9-time US outdoor champ and of course the 2000 Olympic champ. But Dragila is 37 and over the last few years, age has been catching up to her. But entering 2009, Dragila is finally healthy and seems to be rejuvenated. She's working with a new coach in Ty Sevin, and given the fact that last week at Millrose she vaulted higher than she had indoors since 2004 (4.64 meters/15'1.5" - a mark that would have gotten her an Olympic bid had she done it last year), it looks like her last year in athletics is going to be a good one. To read a great profile of the rejuvenated Dragila, please see this piece by Barbara Huebner for Universalsports.com.

Dragila is back in good form and that's good as the present and future of US pole vaulting, Jenn Stuczynski, needs a domestic rival. In Dragila's absence, Stuczynski has raised the bar as she's the American outdoor record holder at 4.92 meters (16'1.75") and of course the 2008 Olympic silver medallist. Stuczynski gave Dragila's American indoor record of 4.81 (15'9.25") a scare last week and this week she'll have $25,000 worth of extra incentive as there is a $25,000 bonus for a new American record on the line.

Other competitors could spoil the Dragila-Stuczynski matchup. 2008 US Olympian Erica Bartolina set a PB at the perfect time last year (4.55m) at the Trials. She'll need to do it again her to battle for the win. Australian teen phenom Vicky Parnov, the winner of World Youth Gold in 2007, is in the field at age 18 but is probably a year or two away from really challenging the top women. She has gone 4.40m and was 3rd at Millrose. Chelsea Johnson was 8th at last year's Olympic Trials and has a PB of 4.73m. Norway national record holder Cathrine Larsaasen (4.30 PB) also is vaulting.

LetsRun.com Prediction: We're tired of picking the favorite. 1) Dragila 2) Stuczynski

METRO Women's 800 Meters: Olympic Trials Rematch


The women's 800 features the top two finishers from last year's Olympic Trials in Hazel Clark and Alice Schmidt. Clark, a 3-time Olympian and the 2008 OTrials champ, is running an indoor 800 for the first time since 2006. Probably since she is getting up there in age, 31, she doesn't want to go too long without keeping in touch with her speed.

Since Schmidt is 4 years younger than Clark, we're giving her the edge in this one. In an indoor 800, a lot of people could challenge for the win. Nikeya Green, who ran 2:02.68 to win the USATF indoor title in Boston in 2007, might step it up and contend here.

We're particularly interested in seeing how Treniere Clement and Katie Waits look. Heading into last year, Clement was the reigning 3-time US 1,500 champ but she picked a terrible time to have an awful year. Will she rebound in 2009? It's hard to say. She did run an indoor 3k in 9:31 a few weeks ago, which is an OK time (she ran a 9:26 in 2005), but getting beaten by 20 seconds by Sarah Bowman probably wasn't in the plan. As is the case for Alan Webb, in our minds this race is a big one to get her confidence back given how she ran last year.

Waits was on fire in 2007 as she was the NCAA runner-up in 1:59. She almost certainly would have made the Worlds that year but she skipped USATF to get married. In her first season as a pro, she never found her rhythm last year and only had a SB of 2:02.38.

Canadian Leanna Maclean only has a PB of 2:04 and Karen Shinkins, the Irish record holder in the indoor 400, is probably the rabbit as she's 32 and has never run an 800 in her life.

LetsRun.com Prediction: A hard one to predict since no one really has raced yet. 1) Schmidt 2) Clark 3) Waits

Reebok Men's 60H: Trammell Is Running Fast (And Angry?)


Two-time Olympic silver medallist at 110h, Terrence Trammell, leads this field. Based on his stunning performances at Millrose last weekened when he won the 60h and came in 2nd in the 60, it's clear Trammell comes into 2009 very motivated after bombing out in the heats of Beijing last year. He absolutely destroyed a ton of the guys in this field last week at Millrose as he won by .19.

Last year's champ Antwon Hicks, who was a well-beaten 2nd at Millrose last week (7.64 vs. 7.45), could challenge. Aries Merritt, the 4th placer from last year's Olympic Trials, is also in the field, although he was only 5th at Millrose last weekend. The field also includes Ron Bramlett, who was 4th at Millrose in 7.78.

Former Wolverine and 2007 NCAA champ Jeff Porter will have to improve on his 7.64 PB if he is going to have a chance to win. The same can be said for Aubrey Herring (7.61 PB) and Ryan Fontenot (7.69 PB).

LetsRun.com Prediction: 1) Trammell 2) Merritt 3) Hicks

Women's 3k: Get Ready For The Kara Goucher Show!!!


Having watched her just destroy the Millrose mile field last week and knowing she was running the 3k this week, we fully expected this to be the Kara Goucher show. Then we looked at the field and thought, "Wow, she might have a race here."

Leading the charge would likely be Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego. Kipyego, the most decorated women's distance runner in collegiate history with 8 titles, certainly isn't chopped liver as she's run 4:06.67 for 1,500, 8:56.72 for 3k and 15:11 for 5k.

The being said, Goucher's PBs are 4:05.14, 8:34.99 (outdoors) and 14:55.02. Goucher, a 2007 Worlds bronze medallist at 10k, is one of the best female distance runners on the planet. Kipyego has the potential to be in that class. Additionally, we just realized that Kipyego ran here last year and was dead last in 9:05.

2008 US Olympian Christin Wurth-Thomas ran 8:54.97 last year here for 4th before going on to have a great year. If this was a 1,500 or mile, we think you'd have a good race between Wurth-Thomas and Goucher but 3k is a bit far for Wurth-Thomas. She could do some damage if Goucher is having an off day. Amy Mortimer set her 3k PB of 8:55.72 last July in Ireland, so she can't be ignored either.

LetsRun.com Prediction: Upon further review, we don't think Goucher will be challenged. She looked amazing last week at Millrose and since we are big believers that Strength = Speed, we will throw out that the American record for the indoor 3k is 8:34.99 set by Shalane Flanagan two years ago at this very same meet. Goucher's outdoor PB isn't too far off that.

MBTA Men's 400m: The Rennie Quow Show!


32-year-old Michael Blackwood of Jamaica has run 44.60 during his career and is the most accomplished of the runners in this field. A bronze medallist in 2000 for Jamaica in the 4x 400, Blackwood also has individually won the World Athletics Final as well as the Commonwealth Games gold, both in 2002. Last year, he was eliminated in the heats of Beijing.

Who could challenge Blackwood? The leading prospect has to be Rennie Quow of Trinidad & Tobago. Quow was the world junior gold medallist in 2006 and is still only 21. He is the favorite in this race as he comes into it off of a great 2008 when he ran 44.82 and was 7th in the Olympic final. He's also in good shape, having gotten the win in the 600 yard dash at Millrose last Friday.

Michael Tinsley, the 2006 NCAA champ in the 400m hurdles in 2006, had a world ranking of #10 in the hurdles in 2006 when he ran 48.02. He's not as good at the flat 400, although he has run 46.02 indoors before. Former LSU Tiger Kelly Willie earned 2004 Olympic gold as a relay member and has run 44.63 but only 47.25 last year. The least accomplished of the guys is American Drew Morano, who has run 45.65.

LetsRun.com Prediction: Quow is a star in the making. Can't go against him. 1) Quow 2) Blackwood 3) Tinsley

Reebok Girls HS Mile
Annually this is one of the best HS races of the year. Rather than tell you all about it, you can find more info in the following video preview at dyestat.com. The field is a good one and includes:

Emily Jones
Harvard, MA, USA
Brianna Welch
Glen Head, NY, USA
Jessica Parry
London, ON, CAN
Cory Ann McGee
Pass Christian, MS, USA
Emily Lipari
Roslyn, NY, USA
Amanda Winslow
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
Alyssa Allison
Herculaneum, MO, USA
Stephanie Brown
Downs, IL, USA
Brittany Koziara
Orlando, FL, USA
Shelby Greany
Suffern, NY, USA
Bridgett Dahlberg Newton, MA, USA

Nutrilite Women's 60m


Teen sensation (wait, she just turned 20) Bianca Knight leads the field in the 60 meters. Knight, who broke the collegiate record in the 200m heters last year at NCAAs and then quickly turned pro, is running well as she won at Millrose last weekend in 7.23. Afterwards, she stated that he goal is to get the world record for the 200m indoors at the Tyson Invitational next weekend in Arkansas.

2008 US Olympic Trials champ at 100m, Muna Lee, was 2nd to Knight last weekend in 7.28 and obviously can't be pleased with finishing 2nd considering her PB is 7.11. 2006 world indoor champ Lisa Barber has the best PB in the field at 7.01 but she was way back at Millrose in 7.34 for 5th. Her twin sister, Miki, who was 4th at USAs in Boston last year in 7.22 will also run, as will Caremelita Jeter, who was 4th in 7.30 at Millrose.

Olympic 110mh runner Sally McLellan of Australia is in the field and while it's always good to watch an Olympic medallist, she is totally overmatched in the flat 60m. Former Texas A&M runner Simone Facey of Jamaica has run 7.23 before so she could be in the mix.

Jamaica's Sheri-Ann Brooks was last in New York last week and may be last here if she doesn't run better.

LetsRun.com Prediction: Millrose reversed. 1) Lee 2) Knight

Reebok Women's Mile Run: A Repeat From 2008


We were very excited about the race as we thought it might be the U.S. unveiling of teen phenom 17-year-old Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahegn, who is only 127 days older than Jordan Hasay but has a 1,500 PB that is 4.36 seconds better than Hasay's (4:10.14 to 4:14.50). But Kalkidan was a late pullout (if you want to read about how good she is, see the part we scratched out below as we spent a ton of time researching her).

The favorite has to be Australia's Sarah Jamieson. She's got the best PB in the field at 4:00.93 for 1,500 and she had the best 2008 campaign as she ran 4:02 last year. She is 33, however, so age may start to catch up with her soon.

Who could challenge her?

Ethiopia's Mestawot Tadesse has the 2nd best PB in the field at 4:04 and she did run pretty well to get third in the Millrose mile last week in 4:38. It looks like she's well on her way to having a much better 2009 than 2008 as last year, she only ran 4:12 for a seasonal best. She was also a non-factor in Boston last year as she was just 7th. The 4th placer at Millrose was Great Britian's Barbara Parker, who also ran 4:38. She's in good form but her personal best is only 4:12 for 1,500. Both Parker and Tadesse could be factors in our minds.

We're ruling out a lot of others for the win. Irish steeplechase national record holder Roisen McGettigan was an Olympic finalist last year but in our minds the mile is just too short of event for her to win. American Lindsey Gallo has run 4:07 in the past and she's recently relocated to the Washington, DC area, so it will be interesting to see how she responds to the new training environment but the 2:10 800 she ran last month doesn't make us real confident in thinking she's race sharp. Ireland's Kelly McNeice barely broke 5 (4:56.99) at Millrose, so we're ruling her out here and Ireland's Erica Fountain only ran 2:09.85 for 800 two weeks ago.

That leaves us with only one person left to discuss. 17-year-old Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahegn is a wild card in our minds. We're sure you've never heard of her but you probably should have. If she were an American, she'd be a big, big deal. Currently, the LRC message board is going crazy about Jordan Hasay having made her college choice. Well, Gezahegn is only 127 days older than Hasay and Hezahegn's PB is 4.36 seconds better than Hasay's (4:10.14 to 4:14.50).

In Britain, everyone is gaga about 19-year-old Stephanie Twell. Well, virtually no one (except us) realizes that Gezahegn and Twell raced this year at the Bupa Great Edinburgh International on January 10th. You can be forgiven for not realizing Gezahegn raced there as the IAAF recap left her out of the results, but she finished just 2 seconds behind Twell in 5th in 19:18 - some 14 seconds up on American Emily Brown.

4:10 for 1,500 is very fast at age 17. She may be the real deal. It will be interesting to see how she does in Boston as this is her first-ever indoor race, but we're very excited to see her race.

LetsRun.com Prediction: 1) Jamieson 2) Tadesse 3) Parker

Reebok Men's Pole Vault: In Battle Between Last 2 Olympic Champs, Can Hooker Get The World Record?


Last week at Millrose, reigning Olympic champ Steve Hooker went into the meet with very modest expectations given limited training. Well, maybe he should train less in the future as he left the building with Millrose and Madison Square Garden Records as he vaulted (19'8.5"). Plus he gave Sergei Bubka's world record a very good scare on two attempts at 20'2.5".

Now the expectations are up as a $25,000 bonus is on the table for a world record in Boston. Moreover, agent Mark Wetmore has shipped the runway up from Millrose to make the conditions more conducive for a record attempt. Before he can go for a record, he'll have to win first and The most likely challengers for the title include 2004 Olympic Champion Tim Mack as well as 2008 OTrials champ Derek Miles, who was 4th in Beijing. Mack and Miles are both 36, though, and if Hooker is on, it's a battle for 2nd as the 6.01m that Hooker vaulted last week is Mack's PB and is better than Miles' (5.85m).

Mexican national record holder Giovanni Lanar has a PB of 5.82 and can't be discounted either. Jacob Pauli (5th at the 2008 OT) is no slouch either.

LetsRun.com Prediction: We don't really like it when an event is hyped as a world record attempt as it normally leaves the fans going home feeling dejected. Instead we're going to try to enjoy this battle between the last two Olympic champs. 1) Hooker 2) Miles 3) Mack

Men's College Mile: An Unbelievably Deep Field
Lots Of Guys Wanting To Break 4

This is a fantastic college field that really has us pumped. Admittedly, LetsRun.com co-founder Robert Johnson has two of his athletes in the field, so of course he is psyched, but in general we think it's great that young college guys are going to get to race in a real quality field in front of a large crowd.

JIM WYNER (CORNELL)   - 3:42.66
DAVID PROCTOR (BU)  -- 3:59.14
JEFF SEE (OHIO STATE)  - 3:58/3:40.76
ANDY MILLER (CORNELL)  - 4:00.9relay
BOBBY EDGERTON (UNH) - 3:45.88/148.8
- pace?

This is a hell of a collegiate race if we do say so ourselves. We've listed the PBs of everyone in the field next to their name.

Eleven guys are racing and no doubt all of them are dreaming of going sub-4 at some point in their careers, perhaps in this race. Only three of them have actually done it at the mile distance, so this should be exciting, as seeing an athlete break 4 for the first time is always special.

For many in the field, this race is a rematch from the Terrier Classic on January 24th. At that race, which you can watch in the video player below and on the left, Syracuse's Brad Miller got the win in 4:00.19 over BU's David Proctor (4:00.26), Hayden McLaren (4:00.28), and Felix Kiboiywo (4:02.93). You really should watch the race, as it's rare to get a more thrilling blanket finish between 3 guys. The win was undoubtedly nice for Miller, but we're sure he wants to go sub-4.

Between those 3 for this race, who is the favorite? It's hard to say. Cases can be made for all of them. Proctor is running in his home town and he's got the best mile PB of the bunch. McLaren did most of the work in the race on the 24th, so if he can sit behind a rabbit, he might be hard to beat. And one certainly can't ignore the fact that Miller was the actual winner of the race.

Brad Miller Edging Proctor & McLaren On 1/24

Overall, we'd say that Ohio State's Jeff See should be considered the favorite. See has run the absolute fastest at 1,500 or mile of anyone in the field as he's run 3:40 for the 1,500 each of the last two years. He seems to be in good form as in his opener for the 2009 campaign, he picked up double wins at the Michigan/Ohio State dual meet in 4:06/8:11. A very strong double just hours apart.

See's never gone sub-4 for an actual indoor mile before - and we expect that streak to end in Boston on Saturday.

But honestly, no one in the field should be discounted. Rojo's boy Jim Wyner of Cornell just ran a 1:50.6 split on the tight track at Millrose last weekend, where they say subtract close to 3 seconds to get an 800 equivalent for a banked 200m track. Providence, Syracuse and Cornell both have two runners in the field. An interesting sub-plot becomes, "Will any school have two sub-4s in one race? Or will any school average sub-4?"

We'll find out on Saturday.

LetsRun.com Predictions: 1) See 2) McLaren 3) Proctor 4) B. Miller ... 10) Wyner 11) A.  Miller. Rojo doesn't want to provide motivation for the other runners.

Visa Men's 60 Meters: 4 Complete Studs Battle For The Title


This race is a good one. It may end up being a replay of the matchup that we thought we were going to see between 2008 US indoor 60m champ Michael Rodgers and 9.85 man Travis Padgett, who was DQed in is pro debut last week. In Padgett's absence, Rodgers, the surprise national champ from last year, got a PR and world-leading win last Friday at Millrose in 6.51. Padgett certainly can run near that fast as he ran 6.56 to win NCAAs in 2007 for Clemson.

The other big names in the race both competed in the 2008 Olympics for the US - one at 100m and the other at 200m. 2008 US 100m Olympian Darvis Patton, who ran 9.84 wind-aided to make the team last year and 9.89 legit, has a 60m PB of 6.58. 2004 Olympic 200 champ and 2008 200m silver medallist Shawn Crawford (although Crawford gave up his silver to the DQed Churandy Martina in the ultimate classy act), who was third at Millrose last week in 6.62, actually has the best 60m PB of anyone in the field at 6.47. But remember, he ran 6.47 in 2004 when he was coached by the now disgraced Trevor Graham. We don't expect him to get closde to 6.47 this weekend although he did run 6.55 last year to win this race.

Others in the field include Rae Edwards, who ran 6.57 to get third at USAs last year but hasn't run faster than 6.69 this year. Great Britain's Tyrone Edgar was 4th at Millrose in 6.63. Jamaica's Lerone Clarkes has a 6.63 PB and former junior college champ Trell Kimmons of the USA supposedly has a 6.53 PB, but that was run at a junior college meet. In non-Juco competitions, his best is 6.60.

LetsRun.com Prediction: Padgett won't want to get DQed again so he'll start slow. 1) Rodgers 2) Padgett 3) Patton

Women's Long Jump: Can a World Champ Regain Her Form?


This long jump competition is full of a lot of interesting stories. It should be a good competition. But if we hadn't researched it, we'd think it was boring as hell as we aren't big long jump aficionados. It proves knowledge = excitement.

Last year, in this event Swedish beauty Caroline Kluft got all the attention but long jumper/heptathlete Lela Johnson got the win. Johnson is back to defend her title and has a PB of 6.78. She'll be challenged heavily by 2008 US Olympic Trials champion Grace Upshaw. Upshaw pulled out a clutch jump last year at the Trials as she went from 5th to first on her last jump. Upshaw is a big-meet performer as she's represented the US at the last two Olympics (8th in 2008 and 10th in 2004) and last 3 world championships. Her PB is 6.88 (22'7").

It will be interesting to see how Tianna Madison performs. Madison won the outdoor 2005 world championships in the long jump in totally shocking fashion as a lowly sophomore at the University of Tennessee. She followed that up with a world indoor silver in 2006 but then has struggled mightily as a pro since then. She hasn't gone farther than 21'7.75" in the last two years, while her PB is 22'7.25".

30-year-old Jenny Adams is back in the long jump looking to recapture the magic from 2001, when she won the NCAA indoor LJ crown before setting Europe on fire that summer in the 100 hurdles, when she won 5 IAAF Grand Prix events before getting 5th in the Worlds. Her PB is from that 2001 NCAA meet (6.68 or 21'11").

Former Colorado St. jumper Janay Deloach has a PB of 6.48.

LetsRun.com Prediction: A great field makes it tough to pick. 1) Madison 2) Upshaw 3) Johnson

Reebok Boys High School Mile
There is once again a great high school mile, spearheaded by US leader Andrew Springer, who will be challenged by Foot Locker runner-up Trevor Dunbar, Nike cross winner Reed Connor and a host of others. Instead of telling you all about it, we thought you should just check out dyestat.com as they have a great capsule on everyone in the field.

Men's 2 Mile: Can Rupp Challenge The Ethiopians?


This race is full of talented guys but is a bit hard to handicap as many of them haven't raced this year. In our minds, one of the following three people will win ths race: Markos Geneti or Bekana Daba of Ethiopia or Adrian Blincoe of New Zealand. If we had to pick a 4th, we'd say Galen Rupp.

The 20-year-old Bekana Daba of Ethiopia is a largely unknown guy who should really be better known (and he may very well be better known in the near future). Two years ago, this guy ran 13:06 as an 18-year-old when he went on to run at the WChamps (bombed out in the 1st round). His PB of 7:40.92 is 2nd best in the field. The guy with the best PB in the field is the 25-year-old Geneti. Geneti ran 7:32.69 in 2007 and he also has the best 5k PB in the field at 13:00. Last year, he ran 7:41.81 to get second in Boston.

Does anyone remember who won in Boston last year? It was Craig Mottram, who ran an Australian record 7:34.50. How quickly people forget in the track and field world. Mottram's season ended up being a disaster last year but it certainly started auspiciously.

If a non-African is going to win, we think Villanova assistant coach Adrian Blincoe of New Zealand has the best bet. Blincoe ran 13:10 last year for 5k and he's run 7:48 for 3k in the past. He ran the New Balance mile in late February and went out hard (1:57.5) before fading to a disappointing 3rd place finish in 4:00.33. Blincoe's post-race comments caught our attention, though, as he told David Monti, "My training has been going better than it was at this time last year. I'm in great shape." So he may get up there.

But since we wrote that, we just got an email from Blincoe who said he's sick and it's 50-50 that he'll race. So we're certainly not picking him to win.

The race also has a lot of Americans who in our minds are very, very good distance runners but likely overmatched at this short of a race. It's good to get to see them race and it's good that they want to work on their shorter distances, but we'd be shocked if they challenged for the win. Well, we take that back about one of them, Galen Rupp, as he consistently keeps surprising us. After Pre-NCAAs in XC, we thought no one would be able to beat Liberty's Sam Chelanga, but Rupp went out and did it. Thus, we're very excited to see Rupp race but to us, he is a natural 10ker/marathoner. Given the fact that his PRs are 7:49 for 3k and 13:30 for 5k, it's hard to see him challenging for the win. His foot speed just isn't quite good enough, but we admit his speed does keep getting better and better as he did beat Steve Sherer in a mile earlier this year.

Others in a similar boat include his training partner Josh Rohatinsky (who has a PB of 7:51 and was 6th here last year in 7:52) and Brian Olinger. Olinger is a steeplechaser but we find that ultimately there are a lot of steeplechasers who really are better suited for longer distances. It's hard to believe that Olinger's flat 3k PR is only 7:55 considering he's somehow run 8:19.29 for the steeple. Clearly, he's about maxed out at 8:19 unless he gets a bit faster in the flat 3k.

There are two Kenyans in the field in Solomon Kandie and Haron Lagat, but they really are B team Kenyans (Kandie has the best 3k PR of the two of them at 8:12.38, but has run 8:29.40 for the steeple) and likely won't factor in the race.

LetsRun.com Predictions: 1) Daba 2) Geneti 3) Rupp

Visa Women's 200: Expect A Cakewalk For Solomon


Reigning 2-time US champ at 400h, Tiffany Ross-Williams, is one of the best in the world at hurdles but 200 meters is short for her as her PB is only 24.40. She's the class of the field but indoors just isn't her thing and she likely will struggle.

In our minds, the person that will run away with this race is 2004 world junior champion at 200m, Shalonda Solomon, as she has major 200 meter credentials. In 2006 she was the NCAA champ and ranked #8 in the world at the event. Her PB of 22.36 is by far the best in the field.

Former Nittany Lion Shana Cox (23.15 200 PB) will be making her 2009 debut. Others in the field include Shareese Woods (22.74 PB) and Ashlee Kidd (22.99 PB).

LetsRun.com Prediction: 1) Solomon wins easily

1,000: A Race For The Ages
3 Olympians, A World Champion And A Worlds Team Member Battle It Out


This is one of many races that in our minds is worth the price of admission alone. What a race. What a field!

Seriously, this field is insane and is exactly what an indoor race should be for us - full of quality and at a slightly different distance. The 1k is one of our favorite events.

In this race, you have two 2008 US Olympians at 800 meters in Olympic Trials champion Nick Symmonds and Trials 3rd placer Christian Smith battling a Kenyan Olympian at 800m in Boaz Lalang, who went all the way from Juco meets at Rend Lake to the Olympics for Kenya in on year (Remember, we told you he was a star in the making last year). Throw in a former world indoor champion at 800 in David Krummenacker, who will be looking to prove he's not past his prime, and you've got an unreal battle. Wait, we shouldn't forget 2007 World Championships team member at 800 meters, Duane Solomon, who used to run for USC.

Former prep star Karjuan Williams, who ran 1:50 as a 9th grader in 2004 before getting a Pan-Am JR silver in 2006 but has struggled since then, is also in the field.

LetsRun.com Analysis: We're going to rule out Williams for the win. Of the rest, Smith, Symmonds, Lalang and Krummenacker have had a lot more success at the mile than Solomon, who may struggle at 1k. Krummenacker is just past his prime in our minds. So that leaves us three: Lalang, Smith and Symmonds. Who between these three?

We'll go with Symmonds, as he's proven to be sharp at this meet in the past, having won the 800 here in 2007 before getting 2nd last year.
Predictions: 1) Symmonds 2) Lalang 3) Smith

Women's 5,000: An American Record In the Making?

WOMEN'S 5000 METERS        

Are you down about the fact that the greatest female distance runner on the planet in double Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba was a late pullout of the meet? Don't be.

We fully expect this may turn into an American record attempt for Shalane Flanagan. Fresh off her inspirational bronze medal in the 10k at the Olympics, Flanagan is making her 2009 debut in her hometown. Considering her outdoor American record in the 5k is 14:44.80, Flanagan won't even have to be in tiptop shape to get the record. The American indoor record is nearly 8 years old and still belongs to Marla Runyan at 15:07.44. Flanagan ran an American record 30:22.22 for 10k to get bronze in Beijing. All she has to do is run her 10k pace and she'll be able to kick and get it. Seeing her bust 15:00 here is a likelihood in our minds.

But a victory and American record aren't 100% sure things. We find it unbelievable that Flanagan has dumped her coach, John Cook, just after getting a bronze medal at the Olympics and have no idea what that means about her fitness. Additionally, some others in the field are pretty talented.

Others to watch are led by 2008 Olympic 5k finalist Jen Rhines and Ethiopian Sentayehu Ejigu. Rhines ran a PB of 14:54.29 outdoors at the age of 34 and seems to be aging like a fine wine. Ejigu has run 14:35 before and she's gone sub-15:00 in Boston (14:58), but those great performances were done in 2004. Is she fit again in 2009? She's only 23, so it's very possible.

Former Villanova star Marina Muncan, who was 2nd in the Millrose mile last week, appears to be the rabbit. That right there shows you how good Tirunesh Dibaba is. To have someone rabbit her, they need someone who is 2nd in the Millrose Games mile. Dibaba's world record of 14:27.42 is 4:37+ pace per 1,600. Unreal. 15:00 is 4:48 pace for 1,600.

LetsRun.com Prediction: Flanagan gets the win and the American Record. 1) Flanagan 2) Rhines 4) Ejigu

Men's Mile
Will The Good Or Bad Alan Webb Show Up? Webb vs. Willis? Warhurst vs. Razcko?


This field includes many of the best North American-based milers. The race has a ton of great story lines and is worth the price of admission itself. Where to begin?

How about with the return of Alan Webb? The man who was absolutely en fuego in 2007 when he ran world-leading times at 1,500 (3:30.54) and the mile (3:46.91, which was an American record) and a surprising world #2 at 800 (1:43.81), but did horribly by those standards last year, is back on the indoor circuit after a year-long hiatus. Last year, in apparently an attempt to not peak too early, Webb skipped the indoor circuit and he never got going in 2008. This year, Webb isn't making the same mistake.

Will the good or bad Alan Webb show up? That is the question.

Past history indicates a good Alan Webb should show up because he's sort of alternated good and bad years the last 4 years. His seasonal best in the 1,500 has yo-yoed up and down the last 4 four years. In 2005, it was 3:32, it was 3:46 in 2006, then 3:30 in 2007 before going back up to 3:35 last year. The trend says it's time for another good year.

If the good Alan Webb shows up, the question then becomes, "Can he challenge 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Nick Willis?" Whenever these two race, it has special meaning to most track fans, as every race is for some unexplained reason still viewed as a judgement of sorts as to whether Alan Webb made the right call to go pro and leave Michigan and Ron Warhurst (who is Willis' coach) seven years ago.

Willis clearly is the big favorite in this race. Compared to Webb, he comes into the race after a dream-like season, plus he is race sharp as he briefly made things interesting for Bernard Lagat last week.

Can anyone besides Webb possibly challenge Willis? Well, last week Willis was clearly a class above Chris Lukezic and Pablo Solares at Millrose. Lukezic only ran 4:03 last week and he has struggled in Boston in the past (4:05 in 2007) so we are discounting him. Solares shouldn't be totally discounted. At Millrose, he wasn't too far behind Willis (1.37 seconds) and he certainly has fond memories of Boston as he got the win in this meet in a big upset in 2007. However, the 2007 mile wasn't nearly as strong as this one. If you were going to look for a long shot pick to win, Solares might be the man.

The two with the most realistic chances of challenging Willis in our minds have to be the US's Rob Myers and Canada's Kevin Sullivan. Myers earned a win two weeks ago over a quality field in the New Balance mile at the Armory. That's the good news. The bad news is the time was only 3:59 and a 3:59 at the Armory by no means is anything close to Willis' 3:59 at Millrose. Additionally, Myers' indoor PR is only 3:57.82 and to challenge Willis, he'd probably need to be in close to outdoor PR shape (outdoor mile PR is 3:53.78) The ageless wonder Sullivan, 34, has run 3:57 indoors each of the last two years. However, to beat Willis, we think he'd have to be in PR indoor shape. His indoor PR is 3:55.33 but that is from 1995.

LetsRun.com Prediction: Attempting to predict what Webb does in this race isn't really possible. But we'll try. Willis is likely the class of this field by a wide margin with a reasonably fit Webb still a class above everyone else. 1) Willis 2) Webb 3) Myers

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