Where Your Dreams Become Reality
LetsRun.com: The Week That Was April 13 - April 19, 2009
Feeling sorry for yourself or down at the start of the week? Well, stop and be inspired about Will Tarantino. The LRC visitor was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. What has he done since then? Only ran a bunch of marathons, including a 2:29:30 and a 2:26.09. He'll be running London this weekend and we wish him the best of luck. Get more info and check out his charity here.
Mt. SAC Related Links
Were you one of the guys that thought that Lee Emmanuel's victory in the NCAA indoor mile was a fluke? Think again. He showed this week he is 100% legit as he dominated the 1,500 at Mt. SAC with a new meet record of 3:37.99. 2nd place was 3:41.46. People should have realized he was a stud when he won indoors and ignored the fact that he wasn't a big name as his indoor victory was so dominant. 0.98 up on second place
and almost 2 seconds up on third (1.83) thanks to a 54.81 last 400 and 1:22.88 last 600. If German Fernandez does end up running the 1,500 outdoors, Emmanuel is the favorite in our minds as his kick seems to be pretty lethal.
The rest of Mt. SAC featured a lot of interesting action, including Mexico's Juan Barrios outkicking Anthony Famiglietti and Chris Solinsky in 13:16 (video of last 100 here) and Lindsay Anderson running a world-leading 9:46.56 in the steeple. Distance-wise, David Torrence got the biggest applause, winning the Puma mile and a 1-year contract by going 2:05.4 -
Kansas Relays Related Links
Running Fame Comes & Goes Quickly ... Interesting to note how a year ago at this time, Alan Webb was the talk of the track world (despite his bombing at Carlsbad). Ryan Hall was a big deal in the LRC community but not the mainstream media world as only Wejo and Liz Robbins on the NYTimes bothered to interview him in London. This week, Hall is surrounded by every media outlet imaginable in Boston and the LRC messageboard is exploding with Hall-related threads while Webb debuted at the Kansas relays with minor fanfare.
Speaking of Webb's debut, he did win the race in 3:58.90 - defeating former Nebraska runner Peter Van Der Westhuizen (3:59.54) - in the last 75 meters. Not sure really what it all means. A 3:58.9 off of a 3:00 isn't super-impressive, but Webb may have just been playing it safe and going for the win as he's racing Drake next weekend. Clearly, given his 2008 disaster and his 2009 mediocre indoor results, we aren't witnessing the super-confident Alan
Webb that we saw in 2007.
Is Webb cooked or does he have a brilliant conservative strategy? Time will tell, but we think we'll find out real quickly.
Dwain Chambers' Outdoor Debut. Jumping back to Mt. SAC action for a minute, there was some good sprint action, led by Dwain Chambers' outdoor debut. Two great pieces were written on Chambers' run in Mt. SAC, one in the LA Times and one in the San-Diego Union Tribune.
As the Dwain Chambers saga has gotten bigger and bigger each week, we've found ourselves pulling for him more and more and sort of wondered why that was given our famously strong anti-drug stance. Then it hit us when the LA Times Kurt Streeter wrote his piece on Chambers. Unlike Barry Bonds or Marion Jones or Roger Clemens, Dwain Chambers didn't lie once caught. He came
clean and it somehow seems that the shock value of the truth is too much for some people to handle and he's being crucified as a result. He didn't opt to continue to lie like Marion Jones and for that he should be commended:
But one thing that troubled us about Chambers' comeback, although we find talk that he'll challenge Usain Bolt to be ludicrous, is how could he be so good? Admittedly, there is a theory that drug use helps one for a lifetime, but that didn't seem to be convincing on our end. Well Chambers' coach, Dave Plummer, may have provided us with the answer with a quote in the San Diego Union
“You can't teach that. All the great sportsmen have that mentality of no matter what's going on in their life, when they step on that field or that track or wherever, they can turn it on."
Vienna Marathon: No Experience Necessary - Günther Weidlinger Comes Up Just Short. We certainly are giving a Thumbs Up to the Vienna marathon for a novel idea. No chance that last year's champion would repeat, as the elite field was open only to debut marathoners. Very interesting and it got us to pay attention to the race, which ended up being won by Gilbert Kipruto Kirwa in 2:08:21. Think Kenyans aren't forced to be a bit more ambitious than their Western counterparts? How about Kirwa's post-race comments?
Kirwa said in an IAAF article, "I am very happy with this debut victory and with my time. The spectators helped me a lot. It was a great race in a great city. After this debut I hope to run 2:04 one day."
The most famous debutante in the field, 2000 Olympic and 2001 Worlds steeple champ Reuben Kosgei, dropped out.
Even if the race wasn't only for first-timers, we would have paid attention to Vienna as we have been fascinated by Günther Weidlinger's attempt to become the Austrian national record holder at every event from the 1,500 through the marathon including the steeplechase and half marathon. The Austrian record is 2:12:22 and Weidlinger came up agonizingly short as he struggled in the last 2km and ran 2:12:39 - 17 seconds too slow. Hopefully he gets it in his next attempt.
Austrian Andrea Mayr became the first woman to win since 1987 as she clocked 2:30:43.
Some interesting conference action led by the ACC meet and a tight UCLA-Oregon dual meet.
Trash-talking always raises interest in events and thus we paid attention to the UCLA - Oregon meet this week, as after last year's meet, UCLA coach Art Venegas guaranteed a victory in 2009. Well, Venagas' prediction almost came true as the meet was tied heading into the 4 x 400, which Oregon won. Andrew Wheating and Galen Rupp returned to Hayward field and picked up easy wins in their outdoor debuts (Results here, MB Thread).
We found the ACC meet to be fascinating as it didn't quite go according to form. Heading into the meet, Florida St. coach Bob Braman seemed to think his women were in for a dog-fight while the men would largely coast to victory as Braman said prior to the meet:
Well, showing the beauty of conference meets where an easy projected 20 or 30 point victory in the form charts can literally evaporate in an event or two, one almost did get away from the Seminoles, as in the end they won the 4 x 400 to end up tying with UVA for the team title with 141 points. Meanwhile the FSU women ended up defeating V. Tech by 33.
Congrats to the UVA men. In Jason Vigilante's first year at UVA, they ended up getting a share of the first ever conference track crown in program history, as it's clear that UVA really brought their A game. Braman admitted as much as he said, "I can't imagine efforts greater than what were chased down by today."
Now that's an unbelievable stat to us and our Stat of the Week. Someone tell us how in God's name it's possible for a school with UVA's academic reputation and $$$ to have never won a conference title in track before?
Oh yeah. One more thing. Can we give yet another annual Thumbs Down to the ACC for holding their conference meet in April before Penn or Drake? Conference meets are supposed to be championships, not mid-season tests. Clearly the ADs don't give a crap about track and just want to save a ton of dough by not having to keep athletes around after school gets out.
Streak of the Week - 20+ years and counting of sub-2:00 800s. Living in upstate New York, we were well aware of the one of the greatest streaks we'd ever hear of in running. No, not yet another boring neurotic streak of consecutive days run but rather a streak of annual sub-2:00 800 meter runs (without ever running over 2:00). Scott Weeks has done exactly that every year since 1988. Glad to see it show up on the net as if it hadn't we would have actually had write the piece ourselves as it certainly deserve praise.
Weeks clearly loves to run and compete at a fairly high level. We wonder if he can make it 25 years. Scroll Down And Read About Scott Weeks' Sub-2:00 Streak
A very interesting week on the anti-doping front - Bolt smokes up, A USSR legend dies, and an Olympic champ is busted, & Jail time for a race walker?
1) If you ever wanted to know why Usain Bolt is so popular and why athletes often given bogus answers to reporters, you found it last week given the minor uproar when Usain Bolt, a Jamaican, admitted he had once tried marijuana. Besides the fact that he is unreal fast, Bolt is very popular, as people view him as authentic and genuine. Unlike so many jaded American sports stars, he gives honest answers to questions. Well, given how everyone reacted and how Bolt ended up giving a PR apology later in the week, you can see why so many athletes give boring corporate-friendly responses to media questions.
We loved Brian Moore's column in The Telegraph that said Bolt's apology was unnecessary. Moore summed up our thoughts perfectly when he said, "The 'news' that Usain Bolt recently admitted to knowing as a child how to roll a joint belongs in the same category as the fact that bears defecate in woods."
That line right there is proof yet again that the Brits are way better with the English language than Americans.
*British Column: Bolt's Apology Unnecessary "The 'news' that Usain Bolt recently admitted to knowing as a child how to roll a joint belongs in the same category as the fact that bears defecate in woods."
2) There was one big bust on the drug front, as 2004 Olympic cycling champ Tyler Hamilton was busted for a 2nd doping offense and rather than be banned for life, he just retired. While there is no doubt that Hamilton was an out-and-out cheat in his prime who reportedly doped on 114 out of 200 racing days, we are taking back what we wrote about him when we reported his retirement. The headline we used was "Once A Cheat Always A Cheat - Tyler Hamilton Tests Positive For DHEA In Anti-Depression Medication - Career Over Not sure if we're buying the anti-depression excuse." We are feeling a bit guilty as further examination shows that Hamilton was so depressed he knowingly took a banned substance found in anti-depression medication and even told his family he expected to be booted. While we are glad to see a cheat's career come to an end, we are saddened on a human level to see someone struggle so mightily and we hope Mr. Hamilton can find some happiness in the rest of his life.
3) And lastly, we will point out that former 3k world record holder Svetlana Ulmasova died last week at the age of 56. Now, while she was never labeled as a drug cheat, we are certain that her death at the relatively young age of 56 (although given Russian life expectancy is only 62 for men and 72 for women, it's not that young) is causing some ex-dopers some concern as they likely are wondering, "Am I going to pay health costs for my past doping?" We only say that because there clearly was a huge amount of doping going on all across the track and field world in the early 1980s. Click here to see a picture of Ulmasova back in the day and decide for yourself whether you think she was clean or not.
More Doping News *Usain Bolt Apologizes For "Rolling Joint" Comment *In Other Cannabis-Based News: Entire Japanese Track And Field Team Suspended Indefinitely After Pole
Vaulter Allegedly Smokes Pot
This week we did the official LRC review is in and it is very positive: "I believe a
great work only receives the label 'great' if it has passed the test of time. Best Efforts passes the test because it
will refresh the man or woman who was following the runners of the 60s, 70s
Quote Of The Day: Day-By-Day
(10.00) was real good. That's like a low 9.9 or a high 9.8 (with no
wind). So that was a great time. That's what I wanted to do.
That's as good as it gets."