Where Your Dreams Become Reality
The Week That Was September 14 - Sept 20, 2009
Last week was quite a week, as Ryan Hall fot ready for New York, the #1 and #2 marathoners in history squared off in Berlin and some sprinters ran really fast in Shanghai.
Let's Start Off Angry
The Week that Was is always finished up at LetsRun.com headquarters on Monday and this Monday we are angry. Angry at competitor.com and universalsports.com for blowing it yesterday with their coverage of the Philadelphia Distance Run and Berlin Marathon. So a Thumbs Down to competitor.com and universalsports.com.
Yesterday, we got up at 2:50 a.m. to watch the Berlin marathon live on Universal at 3 a.m. One small problem. It didn't come on at 3:00. At 3:00, it said to check back at 3:05 and then 3:10 and then 3:30. Finally, around 3:45 a.m., the race came on but the broadcast had zero commentating and it wasn't being broadcast live - it was probably 45 minutes to an hour behind what was going on. No thanks.
Instead we followed the race on the Berlin marathon site as they had a blog and there was a ton of people talking about it on the LRC message board. Around 5:30 a.m., we went to bed for 2 hours before waking up to watch Ryan Hall's run in the Philadelphia Distance Classic. Yet again, we were disappointed. Nowhere near to the same extent as by the universalsports.com disaster, but that had gotten us cranky.
So we were in a bad mood and it started to be lifted by Ryan Hall throwing down a 4:27 13th mile to take the lead. Only seconds from victory, what happens. Competitor.com cuts to some useless commercial that they'd already shown probably 5 times in during the broadcast.
To their credit, Competitor.com quickly issued an apology and said that cutting to a commercial was a technical mistake and the race's finish is now available on their website. We still haven't seen an apology from universalsports.com, but you can watch the race or race highlights at the following link. That video link has some great audio from the best in the business - Toni Reavis.
There also is some good news involving universalsports.com, as their television channel is now available in the US on Directv channel #604. So now we can watch replays of Berlin or London on our 50 inch plasma. That deserves a big-time Thumbs Up, as watching the replay with Reavis was worth the wait.
Half Marathons In Philly & Great Britain
In the mix? Yes. A favorite. Nowhere close. The favorite for New York will be the forgotten man - Martin Lel.
Martin Lel is one of the all-time greatest marathoners in history - a three-time winner of the most competitive marathon on the planet, London, and a two-time winner in New York. He's been seemingly forgotten in 2009, as he didn't run a spring marathon, having to pull out of London at the last minute with an injury.
However, Lel is back and back in a big way. On Sunday, he ran in a much more competitive half marathon than Hall ran - the Great North Run in Britain - and he won it going away in a new PR of 59:32.
People need to remember that Hall is amazingly good, but when he and Lel are both at their best, Lel is simply better. Lel has a 2:05:15 PR, achieved in 2008 in London, when he was the last man on the planet to beat the great Sammy Wanjiru in the marathon. Hall's PR was also achieved in that race, as he was 5th in 2:06:17.
Thoughts of that race - 2008 London - send chills up our spine. That's certainly a trip worth taking down memory lane. What a race. You can read the LRC recap of 2008 London here, but remember that's the race when Hall motored up to the rabbits and asked them to pick it up - in a race that went through the half in 62:13 was won in 2:05:15. Unreal.
And we loved the respect Lel gave Hall afterwards as he told LRC the following about Hall:
Hopefully, New York 2009 is equally as exciting.
At the Great North run, it is worth noting that American Olympian Jorge Torres made his half marathon debut. It was a pretty successful one, as he ran a 62:42. We'll finally see how that translates to 26.2 this fall.
Looking at the women, it was all sevens for Catherine Ndereba, as she was the winner in Philly for the 7th time (69:43), 7 years after her last Philly win. At the Great North Run, Portugal's Jessica Augusto won in 69:08.
Tegenkamp & Yoder Begley Win US 5k Titles
Tegnekamp will race again next weekend in a stacked 5th Avenue mile, where he'll race Bernard Lagat and Leonel Manzano and others. The women's race is worth seeing as well, as there will be a great UK vs. USA showdown with Hannah England and Lisa Dobriskey facing off with Christin Wurth-Thomas and Shannon Rowbury.
It's great to see the lightly-raced Tegenkamp run some races. But how cool would it been had he just hopped in the half marathon and tested his sub-13:00 fitness against Hall in the midst of his marathon training? That's a fantasy matchup for the ages and it also might reveal to Teg if he should ever consider the longer distances.
*Matt Tegenkamp And Amy Yoder-Begley Win US Road 5k Crowns In Providence *LRC MBoards: US 5k Champs - Providence, RI *Women Now Make Up 55% Of Providence Field, Run For Variety Of Reasons *Fam Praises Teg's Tactics As Oregon Track Club Put Green Jerseys On Top Of Podium
Sprinters Run Really Fast In Shanghai (Thanks To Track & Wind)
9.69 Part Deux!!!
With all of the big-time distance road action last week, many may have not realized there was one big-time track meet in Shanghai with some big-time sprint action.
Thumbs Up to Tyson Gay for equalling Usain Bolt's 9.69 time from Beijing. If Gay is 100% healthy in 2010, he can at least challenge Bolt, as Bolt can't run 9.69 every week ... or can he?
And how about Carmelita Jeter? She moves ahead of disgraced sprinter Marion Jones to #2 on the all time list with the 4th-fastest 100 ever in women's history, thanks to her 10.64 win. Jeter certainly proved that her 10.67 the week before at the WAF (World Athletics Final) wasn't a fluke. Now she trails only three Flo-Jo times.
If Jeter continues to not test positive, she may end up being the #1 female star in the sport in 2010.
Wind Reading Reveals Jeter & Gay Have Actually Run Better Performances Before
Jeter's 10.67 at the WAF was a superior performance to her 10.64 in Shanghai. In Shanghai, Jeter was helped by a 1.2 meters-per-second wind, while at the WAF she ran into a -.1 headwind. Her WAF time is equivalent to a 10.66 in no wind, whereas her 10.64 is equivalent to a 10.71 with no wind.
With Gay, his 9.69 was helped by the maximum allowable wind of 2.0 meters per second. A 9.69 with a 2.0 tail wind is equal to a 9.80 with zero wind. His 9.71 in Berlin came with a 1.2 wind and thus equates to a 9.76 in no wind.
Liu Returns In Hurdles
Liu, who had clocked 13.70 seconds running into the wind in a practice session a week prior, was obviously very happy with his run as shown by his post-race comments: "I had not expected to run so fast. It's just beyond my imagination," said the former Olympic champion and WR holder.
Liu's return to track is important to the health of track and field, as he's very, very popular in China and there is a lot of money in China, as exhibited by the big names in Shanghai, where Liu was the headliner.
So a big-time Thumbs Up to Liu, who had Achilles surgery last December. LetsRun.com co-founder Robert Johnson also had Achilles surgery last December and he can barely jog 3 miles at 9 minute pace and somehow Liu is running world class times again.
Before we move away from Shangai, we wanted to to give out one more thumbs up. Lastly, a big Thumbs Up to the track itself in Shanghai. It must be very fast. Certainly the favorable wind conditions didn't hurt (but that all should be part of a well-designed track) but 4 PRs and 2 SBs in the men's 100 and 2 SBs and 1 PR in the women's 100. The Chinese certainly know how to design fast tracks.
Konchellah/Kamel Loses Yet Again
In Berlin, Kamel was almost unbeatable, as he won the 1,500 and came back and got 3rd in the 800. Since Worlds, he's raced 5 times and lost 5 times.
More: *Shanghai Results
Free Training Tip
Caster Semenya Story Comes To A Conclusion - "She was sacrificed for a medal, simple as that."
The Racists Made Me Lie!
The Caster Semenya story continued to generate international headlines last week, but in our minds, it came to a conclusion as it was revealed that the head of Athletics South Africa Leonard Chuene knew as early as January there were questions about Semenya's gender, that gender tests were conducted on her prior to Berlin and that he was advised by Dr. Harold Adams to withdraw her prior to Worlds. But Chuene refused and, as a result, Semenya has seen her inter-sexed condition be revealed by the media.
One South African athlete summed up the situation perfectly by telling South Africa's The Times, "She was sacrificed for a medal, simple as that."
The story just gets more and more interesting. Rather than it being a racist inquiry by a bunch of bigoted Westerners as Chuene has long claimed, the Semenya story in reality is yet another example of national governing body/personal incompetence. And the victim sadly is a teenager.
Chuene was a man who, according to the London Times, knew that "Semenya had internal testes and produced abnormal amounts of testosterone for a woman" and yet he let her race, but afterwards claimed that he's been lying about it all for the following reason: "Tell me someone who has not lied to protect a child. My only crime committed was to take a decision that she must run, and she won."
That, our friends, is Our Most Ridiculous/Disgraceful Quote Of The Week.
Shame on Mr. Chuene. Please do us all a favor and resign immediately.
More: *Chuene "treated Caster as pawn." *Caster Semenya Is Real Victim As Cover-Up And Lies Mire Nation In Scandal *Seb Coe Worried That Semenya Could "Rewrite The Sport Overnight" *Ridiculous: South Africa Files Complaint With United Nations Over Semenya Affair *Athletics South Africa (ASA) To Have To Answer To National Assembly *Carl Lewis Chimes In & Blasts ASA For Not Protecting Semenya *Reasonable Assertion: IOC Head Jacques Rogge Says IAAF Simply Ran Out Of Time Semenya's big breakthrough and world-leading 1:56 came only a couple of weeks before Berlin. *Photo Of Semenya Back To Training *No Surprise: Email Records Show South African Administrators Are Lying About Knowledge Of Pre-Worlds Tests We'll have more on the latest dirty secrets from the Caster Semenya saga on Monday. *ASA General Manager Again Denies Knowing About Any Pre-Berlin Tests Of Semenya
Berlin Marathon: Haile G Almost Does it Again
A Thumbs Up to Haile G for going for it and being on world record pace through 35k. When the world record is 2:03:59, everything has to be pefect. The wether in Berlin was a little hot and the early pace might have been as well. Geb's 1st 5k was 14:30, whereas WR pace is 14:41.5 per 5k, or 29:22 10k pace.
Geb's 1st three 10ks were run all faster than that - 29:15, 29:19 and then 29:10. That's 30k in 1:27:44, which itself is a new world record. The race reports online from Berlin indicated that the pacer stepped back at 30k so Haile could get his 27th world record, but we've watched it in slow motion and those guys went side-by-side over the 30k mark.
Regardless, finding a pacer that can run a 30k world record is no easy task, and Sammy Kosgei deserves props for going 32.25 km with Haile G. According to the McMillan calculator, a 1:27:44 30k is by itself equal to a 2:06:22 marathon.
So basicaly to rabbit Geb, you have to get a Ryan Hall type in top shape and tell him to go all out for 30k. Unreal.
The problem with the record attempt in 2009 was that - unlike in 2008, when Geb was actually had a race on his hands and was being pushed by James Kwambai very late into the race - Geb had no one near him in Berlin after the rabbit dropped out, as the 2nd-fastest marathoner in history, Duncan Kibet, wasn't up to the task in Berlin and was a DNF. So Geb was left to run the final 10k all alone and he quickly began to struggle after 35km.
Regardless, a 2:06:08 isn't too shabby and it was great to see Geb go for it on television in the US.
Kibet Already Has One World Record
Recommended Reads From Last Week
Other News We Didn't Talk About
Remembering The Last Week With The Quotes of the Day - Day-By-Day:
Monday: "Any race, any race ... ANY RACE. I am not afraid of anyone."
Saturday: "Usain Bolt brought 60,000 people to the stadium in Berlin, I'll bring a million to the streets."