Where Your Dreams Become Reality
The Week That Was May 4 - May 10, 2009
We start off our recap with some sentimental stuff before analyzing the super GP in Doha and the Oregon 4 x Mile attempt. Along the way, we ponder whether Eliud Kipchoge is the most underrated runner in history and we also definitely answer who is the greatest 4 x Mile team in history - 2009 Oregon or 2005 Michigan?
Mother Of The Week Award (& Maybe Mankind Isn't Doomed After All)
A great story emerged out of Pittsburgh last week, where the marathon returned after a long hiatus. In the race, 22-year-old Jess Tambellini was on his way to a 3:40 time as he passed the 26 mile mark. Then he ran into some trouble. As Tambellini recounted to the Pittsburgh paper, "I just passed the 26-mile mark and then I went down. I don't remember falling down, I was delirious. But I remember the medical staff wheeling me past the finish line, I was so embarrassed I came that close."
Imagine that. Someone embarrassed that they collapsed at the end of a marathon. Well, it's clear this guy had some unreal parenting as Jess was taken to the UPMC Mercy hospital where he got treatment for low blood sugar and dehydration. Tambellini's parents and two older sisters were all running the race as well. When they finished, they were told Jess was in the hospital. Did Jess's mom go there freak out, and baby him? Nope, she pressured her son to get back out on the course (his chips were still on his shoe) and finish the race.
That's exactly what happened. He drove back out to the course and finished in 6:22:28 - and he still beat 8 men in the process.
Tambellini and his mom deserve major props. Tambellini summed it up perfectly, "When you start something, you might as well finish it."
Or Maybe Not ...
News from Korea last week did dampen our hope that maybe old-school values were on the comeback. Clearly there is a reason why people are overly cautious and babied - because if someone is told to do something difficult and it doesn't work out, watch out as a lawsuit might be coming ... even in Korea.
Yes, that's right. We thought America was the only place where trial lawyers dominated until we read that a professor and university in Korea were going to pay out roughly $40k to the family of a woman who sued after their daughter died running a half marathon. Apparently the professor offered extra credit to any woman running a 10k and any man running a half marathon. The woman attempted the half herself, tragically died and now someone has to pay.
Whatever happened to the concept of there just being really unfortunate accidents where no one is to blame? Life is a 4-letter word, after all.
Korea May Be Going Down The Tubes But At Least Japan Is Still Old School
However, we loved reading how when Mogusu was struggling with motivation to resume training while his coach fought for his life, that another coach, Masahito Ueda, head coach of Yamanashi Gakuin University, said the following to the Kenyan:
"If Kimura wakes up and sees that you're not running any more it's going to be much worse."
So Thumbs Up to Matt for getting the job done and for Mike being a true old-school friend. Hopefully Matt at least bought Mike a six pack or a pair of shoes or something.
More Good Human Interest: *Cop Jumps In Moving Vehicle To Stop It From Plowing Over Marathon Runners
Enough human interest; the 2009 pro season got underway in major fashion last week with big meets in Doha and Osaka. Time to break down the pro action before we look at the collegiate scene.
IAAF Doha Super GP - What An Unreal Opening Meet!!! *Results *Watch Meet On Demand At Universalsports.com *If you watch online, see this viewer's guide so you can fast-forward to your events. *IAAF Recap Of Sensational Meet That Produced 13 World Leads!
Collegiate Action - Oregon Gets Record But Comes Up Short - FSU Jumpers Jump Far
While most LRC visitors clearly thought they'd easily go sub-16:00, analyzing it objectively ourselves, we figured there was no way they'd run faster than 15:57. What people don't realize is it's very hard to run by yourself from the front. We figured Centrowitz, Andrew Wheating and Galen Rupp, who might all be able to run 3:55 in a perfectly set up race, probably would run no faster than 3:57.5 for 2 of them and 3:59 for one of them. The wild card was the 4th leg. And since no other Duck had run faster than 3:46-7 for 1,500 this season, we figured the best they'd get out of this leg would be a 4:03, as you normally want to take someone's PR and add at least two seconds, which would indicate a 4:05-7 for this leg. Since we figured Kiptoo Biwott was really better than his PR, we thought maybe he could do 4:03. So we thought the sub-16 was possible but we also said to ourselves, "If that team is running at Penn Relays in the wind, where you don't get splits from an adoring crowd every 400, no way do they break 16:00."
In the end, our thoughts ended up being pretty accurate and we think the collegiate and Bowerman field record of 16:03.24 was the perfect ending on the night. Oregon gets the collegiate record, but the elusive sub-16:00 collegiate barrier remains intact.
Then we decided to figure out "Who truly is the greatest 4 x Mile team in collegiate history? How would the 2009 Duck team stack up against the old record holders, the 2005 Michigan Wolverine squad of Nick Willis, Nate Brannen, Andrew Ellerton and Mike Woods?" We decided to throw in the 2002 Stanford team of Don Sage, Grant Robison, Jonathon Riley and Gabe Jennings into the mix as well, as that was an old team coached by Lananna and there was talk that all 4 could go sub-4 on the same day. Here are the teams and their PRs on the day they made their 4 x Mile runs.
***Correction #1: Nate Brannen emailed us. He read our comparison and noticed that our pre-April 2005 PR's for Brannen and Ellerton were not correct. Part of his email reads: "I ran 3:39.05 in 2004 for the 1500 meters but ran 3:55.11 indoors in 2005. That converts to a 3:37.85 indoors. Given indoors is slower than outdoors, one would think I would run faster on a 400 meter track than a 200, but for this purpose, take the exact conversion from my mile time indoors. Ellerton ran 3:58.68 for the mile in 2004 in Burnaby, Canada and that converts to 3:41.19. This makes our average from 1500 (or converted mile times) to 3:38.2775." So we have changed the times below and also altered our analysis slightly, although this revelation only drives home our point further: Michigan 2005 was the best NCAA 4xmile team ever.
Based on 1,500 PRs at the time of their 4 x Mile attempts, the 2005 Michigan team has the best average over Stanford by almost a second.
The stats clearly reveal that the greatest 4 x Mile team (those that had actual 4 x Mile competitions, not converted 4 x 1,500s) in collegiate history (at least that we are aware of without trying to think back too far in history) is the 2005 Michigan Wolverine team, as those guys were all in their prime and on their way to running fast that year. Think about it; no way in hell do they lose with Willis on the anchor. The stats support what the LRC visitors said in the votes. 2005 Michigan would beat 2009 Oregon.
But a Thumbs Up to Oregon for going for it and creating some buzz. More: Ducks Get Collegiate Record, Miss 16-Minute Barrier *Message Board Thread Race Video above.
In other collegiate action, FSUs Brian Chibudu jumped a collegiate leader of 26'5 over the weekend. Scary to think that he's only the 2nd-best jumper on the team. FSU also features 2008 outdoor NCAA champ Ngoni Makusha, who has been injured (Makusha jumped for the first time outdoors this year and went 25'4.5"). A college team with two guys who have gone 8.0 meters. Very impressive.
When's the last time that there is a team so good that their 2nd-best jumper could win NCAAs? Oh wait, that was only 2007, when Cornell's Rayon Taylor won the triple jump when his teammate Muhammad Halim was injured.
The Heps (Ivy League Championships) is like no other track meet in the country. We're big fans and Rojo is the distance coach at Cornell, which won its 7th straight outdoor men's title on Sunday. Normally that wouldn't get mentioned in the Week in Review. However, this year there was a controversy surrounding Jimmy Wyner, one of Rojo's runners, and it is the talk of the message boards. Wyner won
the 1,500m and then was DQed for excessive celebration (he started
celebrating about 50 meters from the finish). There
The incident even has gotten its own satirical story here: "Wyner's 1,500m DQ Part of Elaborate Plan to Increase LetsRun.Com Message Board Readership, Wejo Says"
Other Doping Articles Worth Reading: *Good News, Bad News Heading Into the Giro d'Italia One of the contestants has already been booted but cycling fans seem to be excited about gradually ridding the sport of cheats. *Long, Interesting Read On The Dilemma Caught Dopers Face *AP On Freezing Blood Samples To Test Later Having your samples frozen to be tested later seems like a great deterrent and it's taking place more and more commonly.
Some Good Quotes From Last Week
1. "You know what? I don't know. I think any place can be [a good place to train]. Everybody talks about how 'you need to go to altitude, you need to go here, you need to go there,' and quite personally, I think it's where you're comfortable at. I feel really comfortable here in my job. Everyone at work and my boss is so supportive of my running. We have a nice national forest to run in, with trails and softer surfaces. There are sidewalks to run on. I mean, I can't complain. The weather I love, 'cause I like the warm weather. It's ideal for me, maybe not for someone else." - Kristin Price, winner of the Pittsburgh Marathon this weekend, in a great interview with Runner's World. 27-year-old 2002 NCAA 10k champ.
2. "Your endurance gets stronger as you get older. Maybe you need an extra day's recovery in between hard sessions but I think mental toughness and maturity comes to the fore a bit, and your heart's more in it." - Paula Radcliffe on the same day she announced she will run the Berlin World Championships marathon.
3. "I wanted not to be intrigued by the glamour of each place and just focus on my criteria. In the end, (Duke) was a clear first choice even though on the surface it looks terrible because historically they haven't been a great track program. They're definitely on the rise." - HS decathlon record holder Curtis Beach on his decision to attend Duke, not known as traditional track power.
Some Recommended Reads From Last Week
Looking Head to Next Weekend:
Remember The Last Week With The Quote of the Day - Day By Day: