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LetsRun.com: The Week That Was in Running: October 19 -25, 2009
This week we give props to arguably the greatest runner in any country's history, talk about how good the Japanese are at marathoning and how bad they are at the 800, introduce you to Gilbert Kirwa, catch up with Usain Bolt, Caster Semenya and Craig Mottram, and get ready for the 2009 New York City marathon by giving out free training tips from New York legends past, present and hopefully the future. Plus, see how you stack up with other LRC visitors at 5k and our Iphone App of the Week.
Frankfurt Marathon - The Greatest Runner In Austrian History Just Got A Little Bit Greater & Remember This Name - Gilbert Kirwa
For a while now, LetsRun.com has been leading the Guenther Weidlinger bandwagon. Weidlinger is a guy who is famous in many circles for slamming his head on a steeple barrier at the World Championships. But to us, he is famous for having amazing range.
This spring, we told you about Weidlinger as he already had the Austrian records 1,500m (3:34.69, 3,000m (indoors: 7:44.19), 3,000m steeplechase (8:10.83), 5,000m (13:13.44), 10,000m (27:36.46), 10k road (28:10) and the half marathon (61:42). The question was if could he complete the list with the marathon NR. He came up an agonizing 17 seconds short.
Well, you can add the marathon to the list now as Weidlinger ran 2:10:47 in Frankurt on Sunday to become maybe the greatest all-around runner in any first world nation's history. We certainly don't know of anyone who possesses legitimate national records at every distance from 1,500 through the marathon including the steeple. A big Thumbs Up to Gunther.
Up front in Frankfurt, the relatively unkown Kenyan Gilbert Kirwa overtook Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot late in the race and remained undefeated for his life in the marathon with an impressive 2:06:14 clocking. In April, Kirwa had run 2:08:21 for the win in Austria in his debut. The 23-year-old Kirwa is now in a 3-way tie for 17th all time on the list of fastest marathoners in history. Interestingly enough, Ryan Hall, whose PR is 2:06:17, is way back at 25th as the 2:06:15 range is overpopulated.
More: LRC: Runners with national records in every event from 1,500 to the marathon including the steeple? *Kirwa Remains Undefeated For His Life At Marathon And Runs Course Record 2:06:14 To Win In Frankfurt
Statistics Of The Week
For those of you that think genetics have nothing to do with running, we present to you the following numbers:
1:46.16 - that is the mark of the new Japanese 800 meter record, as Masato Yokota broke the 15-year-old record of 1:46.18 last week. In comparison, 20 Americans went sub-1:47.00 in 2009.
24 - the number of Japanese-born marathoners who have run faster than 2:08:47, which is the #2 time by an American-born runner (Bob Kempainen, and it was on Boston's point-to-point course). That figure also includes 11 sub-2:08s compared to the US's 1.
Usain Bolt Profiled From Jamaica - No Drugs, No Vitamins and No Worriesarticle by Ian Chadband was full of fascinating info. How about Glen Mills on what would the Jamaican people would do if Usain cheated:
"If Usain cheated, he wouldn't be safe; they would turn on him. But like Usain, when your conscience is clean, it doesn't matter what is said. I understand how every outstanding performance in the sprints is viewed with suspicion but, from where I sit, I can't even get Usain to take natural vitamins."
Speaking of not taking vitamins, Bolt certainly doesn't live a lifestyle totally dedicated to running. Bolt's dedication apparently is in not going out every night of the week. As his manager Norman Peart said:
Yes indeed. Totally different - a freak, as Chadband writes:
"Bolt breaks all the rules and still breaks all the records. Hates vegetables and loves Kentucky Fried Chicken."
But in reality, isn't that why Bolt is so popular. It's not just because he runs so fast. Rather, it's because he runs so fast and enjoys it both on and off the track. Plus, Bolt is a nice guy who apparently treates people well. Bolt's father is most proud of the fact thae way Bolt operates off the track.
"You know, it's not just what he achieves; it's the way Usain carry himself, the way he always listen, treat people right, always try to do the right thing. It's that he is a jovial person nobody has a bad word to say about. That's what makes me most proud."
LetsRun.com Reader Figures Out Mean & Median 5k Times Of LRC Visitors
Last week was an interesting one from a statistical standpoint. In December 2007, a LRC visitor started a thread under the name "Be Honest," where he asked, "My 5K PR is 15:45. Am I the median for Letsrun?" Well, the thread has received a ton of resposnes over the the last 22 months as some 437 posts have been posted on it over that time and 211 people have posted their 5k PRs.
Well, finally someone has decided to weigh in with a statistical analysis. A track geek who wishes to remain anonymous wrote us this week and stated that he had analyzed the data and come up with the LRC median and mean.
LRC readers are pretty fast - or at least they say they are - as the the median was 15:40 and the mean was 15:58.
4 Quotes Of The Week To Get Us Ready For Sunday's ING NYC Marathon
Quote Of The Week #1
"The thing I am most proud of is that for the first time in years I felt like I was 'back.' I had lost the things that made me 'Ritz' when I was racing and training. 'Dathan' is who I am to my friends and family, and when I am off the track, but I evolved to the point where that alter-ego, 'Ritz,' who was the toughest guy out there, was gone ... I had changed over time and last Sunday, I got that back."
- Dathan Ritzenhein, aka "Ritz," writing about his World Championships bronze medal in the half marathon.
Quote Of The Week #2
"My preparation has gone very well and it wouldn't surprise me if I get a PR in New York."
- a seemingly rejuvenated 34-year-old Meb Keflezighi talking in a Runnersworld interview. Meb's marathon PR is 2:09:21 and that time would have won in New York four of the last six years. Meb has relocated permanently to Mammoth and seems to be training better than ever.
Quote Of The Week #3
"I will enter aiming for one thing, victory."
- 4-time Boston marathon champion Robert 'Mwafrika' Cheruiyot stating his goals for next Sunday's ING New York City marathon in a Daily Nation article.
Quote Of The Week #4
"It's a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours. It used to be that running a marathon was worth something - there used to be a pride saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it's, 'How low is the bar?'"
- Adrienne Wald, the women's cross-country coach at the College of New Rochelle, talking in a New York Times article that asks whether slow marathoners have a place in the sport. The article points out that 44% of the "runners" at the Honolulu marathon finish in over 6 hours and some even take a lunch break midrace.
We do know one thing - as more people have started doing marathons, the times have gotten way slower.
TheBizrunner.com points out that that median marathon time from 1980 to 2008 has gone from 3:32 to 4:16 for men and from 4:03 to 4:43 for women.
One BALCO Casualty Gets Released And Continues To Lie While Another Tells The Truth From PrisonESPN The Magazine's feature on Tim Montgomery from prison came out but we finally found time to read it last week and it's definitely worth it. The piece was a fascinating look into prison life as well as the sprint world. We loved the following quote: "Drug dealers want to be athletes and athletes want to be cool."
Among the things we learned is that Montgomery is constantly challenged to race by other inmates but he has remained undefeated so far. Montgomery also revealed that he got into heroin trafficking and check fraud because he thought he'd have to pay back the IAAF $270,000 if he was going to be allowed to compete after his drug ban expired:
"The simplest way to raise the money that came to mind was to sell drugs. I took the money I had from running and tried to double up. In the process, I lost I have a lot of money to pay back. I made good money, but I spent good money. I took chances with the check [fraud] thing to make it. People say, 'How did you get yourself in trouble?' I wanted to run."
Montgomery is the among the most likeable of all those involved in the BALCO scandal, as - unlike Marion Jones - he didn't lie about his involvement in it. He fessed up to the BALCO grand jury just as he fessed up to ESPN. One who didn't fess up last week, however, was Montgomery's former coach Trevor Graham. Graham was released from one year's home confinement last week and proceeded immediately to try to repair his image by giving an exclusive interview to the New York Times. Graham, who interestingly enough is married to a police officer, had the gall to say the following:
"I didn't do anything wrong."
Shame on you, Mr. Graham.
Past, Present And Possibly Future NYC Champs Give Out Our Weekly Free Training Tips
In looking for our Weekly Free Training Tip, we decided to go with some advice from New York Marathon champions of the past, present and hopefully future, as the marathon is on Sunday.
We'll lead off with hopefully a future NYC Champ in Ryan Hall, who said a hard thing to learn is that one can't win all the time:
"I've had a lot of time to think about Beijing and the question of what constitutes success in running. I used to get upset when I didn't win, but I have a more mature attitude now. What's the point in everyone running if only one person can win? For me, I've decided that I want to run every race with a big heart, and that I want to leave a legacy."
That quote comes from a nice Amby Burfoot feature on Hall on Runnersworld.com.
Now for a little free training advice from reigning NYC Champ Paula Radcliffe, who talks about learning to tone it down a bit when you get older:
"The hard thing I'm finding now is that my body is nearly 36 but my mind still feels like it did when I was 18 and probably will still always feel like that so I just have to be more sensible about how I do the training and the recovery."
And, lastly, we go to former NYC champ Steve Jones, who reminds us in an Independent profile that sometimes training can just get a little too scientific for one's good:
"What I do (when I'm coaching) is make it simple. There's no science in it - no heart-rate monitors. It's just running - running instinctively. Anyone who saw Steve Jones run in the Seventies, Eighties and early Nineties knew that he ran by the seat of his pants nearly all the time. You don't see that any more and that's what I'm trying to teach these guys. None of it comes out of a book. It all comes out of my own experience."
Jones' British marathon record of 2:07:13 from 1985 is almost 25 years old and that fact doesn't please Jones:
"To be honest with you, I think it's a little sad. I mean it's great to have the British record, and it appears that I might have it for some time yet, but I think it's a little sad that the rest of the world - well it's the African nations really - have kind of moved on and we haven't."
Iphone App Of The Week
It seems as every week we are bragging about how smart and informed the LetsRun.com visitors are. Well we have proof once again, as LRC visitor James Condon has developed an iphone app to help you figure out race pace. Go to the itunes store and search for "pace Calculator" or "James Condon" and you will see the FREE app. James described his app as follows:
I have been a big fan of LRC for a long time. I just wanted to say I really enjoy the website and your analysis of the running news. You can't find anywhere else for better running coverage! Anyway I read the "LRC the week that was" all the time and find myself continually converting the race times to various paces. So I made an iPhone/iPod touch app to calculate any pace for a time and distance. That way I can quickly figure out things like the 1k pace Ritz ran for his 60:00 half marathon. Anyway its free and its simple like the sport, nothing fancy you just put in the time, distance, and pace you want and it outputs it.
We took a look at the app and the good news it the app works both ways. So if you know you can run a 4:34.6123 mile for half marathon and want to figure out what your total time would be, it works that way as well. (4:34.6123 per mile for a half marathon gets you a 60:00).
Caster Semenya Update
Not a whole lot actually happened with Semenya last week, but we did find it interesting that Austrian Erik Schinegger, a person who was banned from skiing as a woman way back in 1967 when it was found out she had internal testes, decided last week to let his voice be heard when the London Times caught up with him? Does Shinegger, who after she found out she had testes, spent 6 months having corrective surgery so she could live and compete as a man, feel that Semenya should be allowed to compete as a woman?
"I don't think so. If she has testicles, that would give her a physical advantage over other women competitors, for example in terms of muscle development. I think that is a problem."
Craig Mottram Resurfaces
Where's Craig Mottram been? We have no idea as the Australian hasn't raced since last November's Great Australian Run (as he was having some Achilles problems). But we do know where he'll be. On November 23rd, the third white man under 13:00 will be in Japan running the leadoff 5km leg of the Chiba Ekiden. Mottram is one of the great media personalities in the sport so it's great to have him back.
Mottram appears to be in pretty good shape, as he ran a low-key 5k in Australia in 13:50 in a race where 2nd place was 17:49.
More: *Craig Mottram To Return At Chiba Ekiden *LRC MBoard: Buster known for his medals and kicking a%! ... not his sub 13 *LRC MBoard: Where Is Craig Mottram?
One Last Thing
Before we get to the Recommended Reads and Quotes of the Day, we wanted to give a Thumbs Up to Jaymee Marty. According to The Washington Post, 5 years ago, Marty was a couch potato who ran 25:56 for 5K in her first race. On Sunday, she set a new masters record for the Marine Corps Marathon by running 2:50.15. More: *Muliye Gurmu Uses Sprint To Win Women's Race in 2:49 *Navy's John Mentzer Wins In 2:21:47
Recommended Reads/Watches From Last Week
Remembering The Last Week With The Quotes of the Day - Day By Day: