Where Your Dreams Become Reality
The Week That Was August 31- September 6, 2009
Last week was full of a lot of action. For the 2nd straight week, an American broke 13:00 flat in the 5k (isn't it fun to write that?), for the first time in a long time someone almost broke 1:42.00 and Anna Willard staked her claim to the #1 US ranking at 800 meters. Plus the Golden League concluded with great runs by Bekele, Richards and Bolt and the Caster Semenya story got crazier and crazier.
Tegenkamp Goes Sub-13:00!!!
Breaking 13:00 is no easy treat and Tegenkamp obviously deserves a major Thumbs Up for doing so (we were surprised that only 28% of LRC visitors thought he'd break 13:00, as he ran 13:04 two years ago and we thought all summer long he was in close to AR shape).
If Teg and Ritz raced over 5000m, who do we think would win? The answer is easy - Teg. There is no chance Ritz would run away from him and Teg would probably outkick him 99 times out of 100. That being said, because he put himself out there a week earlier, Ritz stole Tegenkamp's thunder and got the AR.
In this day and age of global running, everything has to be devoted to the WChamps for an American-born athlete to have any chance of medalling. But that singular focus clearly cost Teg his AR as the race in Brussels ended up being a bit tactical by Golden League standards. He had to run two 5ks at Worlds, so taking a week off to make sure you are ready to go sub-13:00 and challenge a 13-year-old record probably looked good on paper when it was all planned out, but at the end of the day Ritz has the thunder and the AR.
It's crazy how much more exciting Ritz's race was and how much more buzz it created because it was so unexpected.
In reality, Tegenkamp finished closer to Bekele than Ritz did. The problem for Teg was that the whole field didn't go out at a suicidal pace in Brussels like they did in Zürich.
Stat of the Week #1 - Tegenkamp Came Closer To Beating Bekele Than Ritz
We also wanted give props to Tegenkamp for being honest as to admitting he felt a little "jealous" when learning of Ritz's AR. No doubt that the AR had been a long-time goal of Tegenkamp's.
Medalling At Worlds Isn't Going To Be Easy For Ritz Or Teg
Looking at the 3k results from last week's race in Rieti, it's worth noting that 7 Kenyans and two Ethiopians ran faster than 7:34.96. Adam Goucher is #2 all-time on the American-born list for 3,000 at 7:34.96. It should be noted that Tegenkamp has run the equivalent of 7:31.00 and that Bob Kennedy has the AR at 7:30.84 and Bernard Lagat has run 7:32.43 and Sydney Maree's 7:33.37 is the 2nd fastest all-time). More: *Rieti Results
David Rudisha Sets African Record In 800 - 1:42.01
The 1:42.01 is the fastest time in the world since Wilson Kipketer set the world record of 1:41.11 on August 24th, 1997. After that race, Kipketer never ran faster than 1:42.27. Rudisha is now #4 all-time at 800 behind Kipketer (1:41.11) Seb Coe (1:41.73), Joaquim Cruz (1:41.77). For a while now, LetsRun.com has been a big believer in Rudisha, as we started getting the bandwagon going for him back in May of last year. The only shocking thing to us is how did he go out in the semfinals of Worlds?
Rudisha told the IAAF he didn't like the "cold" weather during the semifinals of Berlin.
He talked to us (interview below) and mentioned he was having leg problems so perhaps the "cold" weather made him tighten up during the semi.
His flameout at Worlds is the perfect example as to why it's wrong for the IAAF - in the 800 - to have a 3-heat semifinal. They need to add an extra round and have a two-heat semifinal. The 800 is already the toughest event to qualify for the finals in.
We also think his flameout shows that 800 meter runners need to race. In our minds, it's a big mistake for an 800 guy to go from July 25th to August 20th without racing.
The scariest thing about Rudisha, a former decathlete, is that he's only 20 years old. Kikpeter had better be sweating as Rudisha or Kaki might come and get his record.Rudisha at Worlds
Thumbs Up to Brit Lisa Dobriskey (pictured right, after being awarded silver in Berlin). After getting 4th in the Olympics, she seemingly suffered heartbreak again this year as she was struggling with an injury early in the season. But she's really come on as of late. After silver at Worlds, this week she showed that her narrow loss to Maryam Yusuf Jamal was no fluke as she edged Jamal for the win in Rieti. Last week she broke 4:00.00 for the first time. When healthy, she clearly is one of the best in the world but deserves a lot of credit for her inspirational in-season comeback. As she told morethanthegames.co.uk:
"The season started so badly and I really experienced the lowest point I've ever had as an athlete - the feelings I had there were pretty horrible and it's a really dark place," said Dobriskey. "But to come out of the other side it really proves what a bit of hard work and determination can do."
His 2009 season has clearly been the best of his career, but his PR didn't really reflect his status as a World Championships finalist (and it probably still doesn't) Considering he won his previous race in Gateshead, we'd say that we'd like to see him get in a real barn-burning time trial type 1,500 if there is one left somewhere this summer as his PR might come down lower. But then again, the all-out big races for time are the ones that Manzano hasn't mastered yet. He bombed at Pre this year (3:58.68) as well as Zurich (3:42.30).
Stat Of The Week #2 - Leonel Manzano Was (And Still Is) Slowest WChamp Finalist, As The Photo Above Reminds Us
Did you know that Manzano, who entered the World Championships final with a PR of 3:34.14, was the only Worlds finalist with a PR over 3:33.00? All eleven of his competitors had run at least 3:32 (Lopez Lomong had the slowest PR at 3:32.96) in their careers. All told, the eleven other finalists have broken 3:33 at least 84 times - led by Bernard Lagat's 41 times under 3:33.00. This stat is not a "knock" on Manzano, in fact it shows what a great racer he is (and has been for a long time).
Lagat 41 Times Under 3:33
We sort of hate twitter but guess it can be useful at times. Anyone else besides us hate twitter - at least initially?
Stat Of The Week #3 - The # Of Times Anna Willard Has Run Over 2:00 And # Of 800s She Has Lost At 800 This Year
Anna Willard At 800 In 2009
There are going to be some interesting calls when Track & Field News does their rankings this year in a number of events (for example, men's 5k - Is Ritz or Teg #2 or #3 in the USA? - we guess Ritz has to be #2 unless Teg gets the record), but in the women's 800, could it be that Willard is #1? She's won two Golden League 800s (we don't care if one of them was on before the telecast even started) and broken 2:00 three times. The fact that she has only raced three 800s is interesting but how could she not be ranked #1? Maggie Vessey had the world leader for a while but has had too many 2:03s to her name and was only 4th at USAs. No one else could even be close.
Boards: Anna Willard Golden League win for Anna Willard in the 800m 1:59.14.
Kenyans Break 4 x 1,500 Record/Quote Of The Week
Many falsely assumed that Kenya would absolutely smash the old record, as the new record only averages to be 3:39.06 per man and the slowest Kenyan on the team coming into the meet, Geoffrey Rono, had a seasonal best of 3:36.96 (he ran 3:33.59 in Rieti after the record attempt) and a PR of 3:32.55, but the meet director in Brussels knew better. The following quote by meet director Wilfried Meert is definitely our
Quote Of The Week:
We love the quote as it's totally true and because we were unsure if the meet directors realize how much damage is being done to the sport to have every race a boring rabbitted affair. At least a few of them know what is going on.
The splits for the Kenyans ended up as follows: William Biwott 3:38.5, Gideon Gathimba 3:39.51, Geoffrey Rono 3:41.4 and Augustine Choge 3:36.9. Choge is a 3:30 guy, Biwott is the world junior record holder in the mile and Rono barely ran a sub-4:00 mile equivalent, so the race director Meert was definitely correct.
Bolt 19.57 - Richards 48.83
Sanya Richards ran 48.83, another new 2009 world leader, to win her share of the Golden League jackpot. Richards won by more than the distance between the start/finish line and the mile start line. In mathematical terms, she was about 2.5% better than any other runner in the field (10m/400m x 100 = 2.5%). Nobody - and the field was stacked with the best in the world - was even close to Richards.
More: LRC Recap Bolt Does It Again In Brussels
More: Boards: HULING ... 8:14!!!
Bekele Has Won 29 In A Row At 5k & 10k
At 10,000, Bekele's win streak is twelve, although it's been a lot longer since he lost at 10k. In fact, Bekele has never lost at 10k, so his win streak there is infinitely long.
Speaking of Lagat, we think it would have been very interesting if Lagat had been in the race and healthy, as Bekele had to have been tired and the pace wasn't overly ambitious. Of course, if Lagat had been in the race, Bekele probably would have pushed the rabbits out faster. More: LRC 12:58.56 For Matt Tegenkamp In Brussels
Caster Semenya Story Gets Crazier & Crazier
And if that accusation wasn't shocking enough, the head of Athletics South Africa Leonard Chuene kept saying everything was the result of racism. How about this ridiculous quote as our Quote Of The Week #2 :
"This is about racism. These rumors come from South Africa. Why did these people write to the IAAF? These are the same people who don't want the 2010 World Cup, the same people who bring black people down and the same people who refuse to believe that Africans can make it on the world stage."
Amazingly, the person who resigned wasn't Chuene but rather coach Wilfred Daniels.
Of course, just in the past few days, Semenya has come out as a "cover girl" for YOU Magazine. See her "makeover" here.
Weekly Drug Update Drug News
NCAA XC Season Gets Underway - *2008 Nike XC Champion Reed Conner Wins By A Mile In First Meet For Badgers Impressive win for Wisco coach Mick Byrne's freshman. *Arkansas Razorback Solomon Haile Comes Out Of The Gate Strongly With A 23-Second Victory Over His Teammates *Video Of Solomon Haile After The Race Coach Bucknam and Solomon Haile spoke after the opening race. *Next Foot Locker Champ? HSer Lukas Verzbicas Opens With 1-Minute Win *Jacob Kirwa Gets Massive Win In New Mexico Jacob Kirwa smashed the field and Nicodemus Ngetich by 54 seconds. New Mexico season preview where they talk about how conference foe BYU should be worried about their team. *Michigan And Their Two New Zealand Freshmen Open Season At Home *Bill Matthews Runs First Race As Georgia Bulldog *Adams State Opens Up With Big Wins *Pre's Run Kicks Off Oregon's Season
Recommended Reads From Last Week
Remembering The Last Week With The Quotes of the Day - Day By Day:
Monday: "The average
runner out there, they think that things can just happen like that and
it's not [like that], it's a series of years. It does take a lot of
effort, a lot of work, and if we [Americans] keep on this path we're
going to see more and more and have a big group of Americans competing
at this level." - Matt Tegenkamp talking after he broke the 13:00 barrier with a 12:58.56 in Brussels on Friday night.
Saturday: All-Time USA 5,000m List
"I have achieved everything."