Perspective - What Fans Can Take Away From This Weekend's Half Marathons

1. New: Arizona Republic's Jeff Metcalfe Gets Mahon's Take On Hall's Defeat And Deena's Big Race In P.F. Chang Phoenix
Coach Mahon knew Ryan Hall wasn't in shape, Deena's sub-70 makes her a contender again at 36.

2. Solid Group: Team USA Minnesota Go 1-2 In Houston's USA Half Champs With Antonio Vega And Pat Smyth
Patrick Smyth having a great young pro career, Antonio Vega gets the win of his career in Houston.

3. Shalane Didn't Go For Broke In Conservative Houston Win
Shalane's sub-70 debut - Schumacher being patient with athlete who has never run long workouts before.

4. Bairu PRs By 45 Seconds - Looks Ahead To Fall Marathon Debut
Good to see 2-time NCAA XC champ Bairu get a win over Hall. Bairu is probably Canada's top XC, half marathon, 10km and 5km runner.
*LRC MB: Bairu Over Hall

LRC: Photos From Houston Half And Full Marathon

Athlete Interviews

Man Of The Weekend - USA's Brett Gotcher Runs 2:10 Debut

Houston Chronicle: Gotcher Makes Splash
McMillan Elite's Brett Gotcher credits training partner Paige Higgins with getting him ready for his big first splash. Amazingly, Gotcher only finished 7th with the 4th-fastest US debut of all time.
*Houston Chronicle: How Houston Marathon Was Run It was run fast.

More From Weekend - Biwott Triples In Bermuda

LRC Boards: US Jeff Eggleston 2:14 Debut In Phoenix

Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott Wins Mile, 10k And Half Marathon In One Weekend In Bermuda The Oregon alum will be sad when he has to get back on a plane for Eugene.
*LRC Archive - Shadrack Kiptoo Biwott Talks About His Brother Duncan Kibet
*Biwott Tells the Royal Gazette He Wants To Come Back To Bermuda
*Steve And Sara Slattery Compete In Bermuda Along With Kenia Sinclair

*Asbel Kiprop And Saif Shaheen Smoked In Kenyan XC Race

Collegiate News

*PSU's Ryan Foster Just Misses Collegiate Record In 1k He ran 2:19.60 to set a new Australian record, as the CR is 2:19.57. LRC MB: Penn State Frosh Casimir Loxsom also runs 1:16.92 as a frosh for 600.

New Mexico Freshman Walk-On False Starts In 400m, Comes Back To Beat Galen Rupp In His Pro Debut At 800m Rupp apparently was sick and went 54-60. Shannon Rowbury ran 4:34 the mile at the same meet. *UNM Press Release
Full Results
Rupp Race Video
Nike Man Galen Rupp Opening Pro Season With A 3,000 & 800 In New Mexico Meet In Albuquerque

This Weekend's Elite Racing

Houston's Aramco Half Marathon And Chevron Marathon
*Brett Gotcher Runs 4th-Fastest Debut In US History (2:10:35) Amazingly, that time only got him 7th in Houston, but Mr. Gotcher gets our top headline for the day!!!
*Shalane Flanagan Runs 69:41 In Half Debut As American Antonio Vega Has A Breakout 61:54 To Win The Men's Title
*Ethiopia's Teshome Gelana Sets CR Of 2:07:37 To Win Men's Marathon As Teyba Erkesso Defends Women's Title In 2:23 It was Gelana's 2nd marathon in 6 weeks as 6 guys broke 2:10.
*AP: Antonio Vega, Shalane Flanagan & Brett Gotcher All Feel They Made Big Strides Towards 2012 Olympics On Sunday Vega won the men's half in 1:01:54. *Race Press Release

Pre-Houston News
*Recommended Read: Shalane Flanagan Talks Before Her Debut Half Marathon In Houston

Coming Up Later In The Season In New York City

Because We Love The Sport

LRC Exclusive Athletics Kenya Embarrasses Itself Again - Linet Masai And More Follow-Up From Zayed
You won't find these photos and stories anywhere else unless maybe you're in a secret IAAF meeting. Our suspicions were confirmed - and then some - from Linet Masai's ridiculous treatment in Zayed at the world's richest race. - World's 2nd-Biggest Running Website In 2009
Alexa rankings are b.s. (but okay for order of magnitude), but we thank our readers for making us the biggest independent running website in the world. Our goal has never been to be the biggest but the best.

The Power Of LetsRun - Save Team High School XC In Oregon
Yes, that's right, the Oregon HS Sports people want to eliminate team qualifying for Oregon's state XC meet.
Oregon High School Cross-Country ...

Dubai Marathon - Friday - Another Marathon For Smiley Haile

Athletics - Bupa Great Manchester Run & Great City Games Good Read: Haile Gebrselassie's Daily Life As He Trains For Marathons And Operates Huge Business

Sammy Korir, First Man To Run Sub-2:09 Ten Times In Career, Will Race Haile In Dubai

Previous: Haile Wins Dubai Tune-Up On New Year's Eve
The Emperor is somehow still one of the fastest human beings on the planet.

LRC: Photos From Houston Half And Full Marathon Gotcher, Flanagan and Vega grabbed headlines, but these photos are the best way to see the rest of the elites in action and we tell you how they finished in the photo captions.

Upcoming Races In New York:
The Armory: Erin Donohue And Andy Baddeley Highlight New Balance Games Mile The mile fields are solid if you're in the city looking for a good meet.

IAAF: Preview Of Empire State Building Run-Up Race They need to have a run up that new building in Dubai.

Turkish/Ethiopian Olympic Star Elvan Abeylegesse Given Fair Play Prize For Giving Rival Melkamu Her Extra Spikes Before Worlds 10,000m She helped set up the race of the year, where huge favorite Meseret Defar blew up in the last 50, then it looked like Melkamu had it before she slowed down just before the line allowing Kenyan Linet Masai to win.
LRC Archive: Women's 10,000m: 9,950 Meters According To Form And A Very Bizarre Finish

Worth Noting - The Man Who Helped Deceive IAAF About Caster Semenya Also Ran S. Africa Athletics Into Massive Financial Debt Leonard Chuene was corrupt from head to toe.

Deena Kastor Runs 69:43 As Simon Bairu (62:47) Blasts Ryan Hall At P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon Kastor was thrilled to win for the first time in almost a year while Bairu said he expected to beat Hall. Kastor: "Today was the first time in a couple of years I felt like my old self running again." *LRC MB: Bairu Over Hall *LRC MB: How Did Deena Do Today?

Other Weekend News

Benita Willis/Collis Birmingham Win Austrlian World XC Trials Ryan Kevin Batt, who trains with Ryan Gregson, won the junior men's trials. *Full Results
*Kenya’s Leonard Komon And Linet Masai Win 5th Leg Of IAAF XC Series In Spain It was Komon's first win in 3 tries this season as the world champ Gebremariam was only 6th some 49 seconds back. Masai obliterated the women's field.
*Recap Of Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon The race in hot conditions in Mumbai is an IAAF gold race.
*Ethiopians Dominate Italian XC Meet
*Recap Of 7th AK XC Meeting

Last Week's 10 Most Interesting Stories

Our Favorite Track And Field Magazine:
Australia's "Inside Athletics"
Most people don't come to for the fancy graphics or the polished mainstream approach. You visit the site because we know the sport and we try to tell it how it is. And if we try to sell you something, it's at a super cheap price and it's something that will benefit you (like our industry-leading running shoe deals). Well, going with that theme, we want to recommend our favorite magazine (sorry, Runner's World). The mag looks great in print and amazingly for free online and deals with important issues in the sport without dumbing things down. [Note: our only relationship with "Inside Athletics" is that we really like their product.]

This Month:

Great Read:
The New "1 Strike And You're Out" False Start Rule
We've said all along: everyone will love this rule until Usain Bolt gets Dairy Queened at a big meet and 30,000 people who paid to see him for the only time in their life get really angry. Isn't it like kicking Michael Jordan out of the game after 1 personal foul or 1 technical?

*Wanjiru And Stefano Baldini Talk Sense About The 2-Hour Marathon
For the record, we give Wanjiru a < 1% chance at a sub-2:00 non-downhill marathon in his career despite whatever hype is out there.

Two Great Causes

Fundraiser For Former NCAA DIII Champ Johanna Olson As She Battles A Brain Tumor Olson is tough. She won an NCAA XC title after her first bout with cancer.

Fundraiser For Jenny Crain February 4th In Wisconsin
There are some great running items up for bid in a silent auction.  2.5 years after her accident, Jenny, a former Olympic hopeful hit by a car on her morning run, needs your help.