Sean Quigley won the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run through Central Park. Finishing 2nd was Ohio State's Brian Olinger. We guess we should have predicted this one as Ohio State doesn't win anything on New Year's Day anymore - although we got to give them credit for giving our Texas
Longhorns a scare in the Fiesta Bowl the other night.
*Eritrea's Samuel Tsegay Shockingly Dominates Spanish XC
*Italy Edwin Soi Over Lebid, Gharib And Baldini In Bolzano, Galkina Samitova Takes Women's 5k
*Japan Fujitsu Wins New Year Ekiden - Results and Recap
*Brazil Kwambai And Yimer Win In Sao Paolo
*Portugal Merga And Felix Win In Amadora
Trevor Dunbar Commits To Portland
In another attempt to be funny we'll mention that Dunbar probably won't be shoveling snow off any tracks next year because Portland doesn't have a track. Seems like a good fit between blue collar program and blue collar kid. Sometimes it's a dream for a kid to go to their parents' alma mater, and both of Trevor's parents spent at least two years in
so we're happy for him.
*Trevor Dunbar Discusses His College Decision With The Oregonian Dunbar's mom and dad both went to Portland, he likes the coach and, unlike the Oregon Ducks, the Pilots offered up some dough!
*Dunbar Message Board Thread
Weekly Drug Update:
Another week passes and yet another Eastern European woman goes down in a major doping scandal. This time it was a sprinter, Bulgaria's Tezzhan Naimova. Naimova, the winner of the 100m and 200m at the world juniors in 2006, admitted that she had been manipulating her urine samples just as a large group of Russian women had done last summer. As a result, she was banned for two years.
2 years? Urine manipulation should result in an automatic lifetime ban in our minds.
The head of the Bulgarian Track & Field federation, Dobromir Karamarinov, said he "was shocked" that Naimova was busted. Well if we were Bulgarian, it wouldn't shock us considering that 11 Bulgarian weightlifters tested positive before the Olympics. As a result, sadly we must say just the opposite of Karamarinov. It may not be politically correct but we're almost shocked when a top Eastern European woman doesn't test positive.
Certainly the same can be said about American sprinters or baseball players a few years ago and maybe NFL football players currently if they actually tested in a serious fashion but from Jolanda Ceplak in 2001 to the recent Russian women, it's over the top with the Eastern Europeans. Wait - we shouldn't cast such a wide shadow. We forgot some of their champions like Gabriela Szabo were never busted - she just happened to be riding in a car with EPO in it.
Ekiden Madness in Japan: 3 Straight Days of National TV Distance Running To Kick Off the New Year
There are not a whole lot of Americans, even big runningfans, who understand what a huge deal distance running is in Japan. But trust us, it is.
Perhaps nothing better than the New Year shows the Japanese fascination with distance running and in particular the Ekiden (a distance running relay where the runners carry a sash instead of a baton). The New Year in Japan starts off with 3 straight days of Ekidens on national television. First up, is the New Year's (Professional) Ekiden, the top professional Ekiden of the year. This year's New Year's Ekiden had a new twist, the foreign
ringers runners were only allowed to run the second and shortest leg (8.3km) of the Ekiden. Boy did they not disappoint. David Monti of Race Results Weekly reported that 3 people ran faster for 8.3km on the second leg than the existing world best for 8km on the roads (21:54 Josphat Ndambiri, Komori Corporation (KEN)
22:02 Gideon Ngatuny, Nissin Foods (KEN)
22:02 Yacob Jarso, Honda (ETH). Knowing the Japanese inclination for accuracy we can only assume the leg was way downhill. The race was a barnburner and after nearly 5 hours of running came down to a three way sprint finish with Team Fujitsu winning by one second.
But in the crazy world of Japanese sport, the Hakone Ekiden reigns supreme as the quintessence of distance competition. Hakone is basically the equivalent of our NCAA Cross-Country Championships, except it's males only, is only for schools in Eastern Japan, it takes place over two days, it's a relay race, it's run on the roads, and most of the legs are something like 15-25km long. Yet it totally captivates the nation in Japan for two days and is the most popular Ekiden. (Brett Larner did a nice job of explaining the importance of the Hakone and New Year's Ekidens here last year)
The other major inescapable difference is that the Japanese runners absolutely run themselves into the ground like no other nation's athletes. Watching the Japanese race is gut-wrenching, heart-pounding, jaw-dropping, toe-tingling, often all in the same race. Letsrun did not have a correspondentat the 2009 Hakone, but JapanRunningNews' Brett Larner was there and his Ekiden recap and subsequent - more editorialized - Ekiden review are perhaps the must-reads of the week. The review is long, and it involves a lot of Japanese names that you probably have never heard of, but it's definitely worth your time for a few reasons:
Record Run for Ryuji Kashiwabara
1. If Larner is to be believed, this year's graduating class has some serious studs with big-time marathon and half marathon potential. So you can tell all your friends in 4 years, "Dude, I've known about Kensuke Takezawa for years now, he was such a STUD in college!"
2. It's just plain inspiring to read about guys literally running themselves so hard that they fall face first on the pavement. Forgive the naive comparison, but the Japanese collegiate runners seem to have as much regard for their own well being as Kamikaze pilots. Seriously, it seems they get themselves as close to death as is humanly possible in a one-hour, non-contact human foot race.
3. One Kenyan (yes they have ringer Kenyan runners in their university system too; actually theirs are better) stalled going pro for a few years to stay in college because he loved running Ekiden (Ekiden is the broad name for what is, essentially, a team road relay race where a sash is passed rather than a baton). This year's Hakone was his last as he plans to join a corporate marathoning group next year, and he spent his savings from working at a restaurant on flying his mom to Japan to watch him. Oh, and he ran the equivalent of 60:05 for the half marathon. And that would have been only his 4th-best career time. This is the caliber athlete we're talking about in these races, although he is certainly one of, if not THE best.
4. Larner loves the Japanese running scene, writes well, and those two things make a great combination!
Scintillating First Day Of Hakone Ekiden Surprise Toyo Univ. leads team race. Japan Running News' Brett Larner recaps an amazing first day of action at Japan's biggest sporting event, the Hakone Ekiden. The final leg, 23.4km with 800+ meters elevation gain, was won in 1:17, one of 4 records set on the day.
*Great Slate Article On The Appeal of Once A Runner The novel is being re-released in April. A cult classic.
*Another Great Interview With John McDonnell The guy was so focused on winning he didn't visit Ireland for 17 years in his prime.
*Everyone's Excited For Jelimo's Indoor Debut She's the Olympic champ and undefeated at 800 for her life but has never run an indoor race. We've always said indoors do little for a young athlete's development and this proves it.
*Kenyan Cyclists On The Way
*More On Kenyan Cyclists Zakayo Nderi And Samwel Mwangi
*Results Of The Kenyans' Alpe d'Huez Time Trial
LRC Thread From August: Kenyans On Bikes
We've got all of our 2008 photos galleries in one place. Relive 2008 in pictures. Going through them, Wejo picked out some of his favorites and some things he totally forgot about. A great way to relive a great year in track.
*Alan Webb Being a Fan at the Olympic Trials Marathon *The Hordes of People in Boston for the Olympic Trials *Lance Armstrong and Robert Cheruiyot *Hanson Brothers at a Biker Bar Along the Boston Course *Remember When Tyson Gay Was Considered A Better 100m Runner Than Usain Bolt? *Kara Goucher Running 9:00 for 3k *Hard to Believe This Bob Kennedy Shoe Still Has the 5000m 12:58 AR *Tirunesh Dibaba 14:11.15 *Jacob Hernandez and Andrew Wheating's Epic Battle at NCAAs *Jenny Barringer Celebrating at NCAAs *Amy Yoder Begley's Gutsy Run at the Trials *Tyson Gay 9.77 *The Fastest 100 of the Year: Tyson Gay's 9.68 (his adidas uniform and the photos are beautiful) *Bolt 9.69!!! *Bolt Lightning Bolt *Bolt Gold Shoes *Shalane Flanagan Getting 3rd but Not Being Sure *Geb's 2:03:59 *For Those Of You Who Believe in Conspiracy Theories, the Clock Seems Stuck on 2:03:59 *Sam Chelanga Dominating Pre-NCAAs *The World's Fastest Couple *Paula Radcliffe is Back *Rupp versus Chelanga *Rupp over Chelanga *Usain Bolt, Kevin Garnett and Crew *But For Sure the Photos of the Year