The Week That Was In Running - October 11 - 17, 2010

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October 21, 2010

No Shortcuts To Being Olympic Marathon Champ

2004 Olympic marathon champ Stefano Baldini's career is now over and the IAAF had a nice piece last week on the great Italian's great career: A Look Back At Stefano Baldini's Glorious Career. The article mentioned that during his career, Baldini "ran about 180,000 kilometres in both training and competition covering a distance which is four and a half times as long as the earth's circumference."

ATHENS - AUGUST 29:  Mebrahtom Keflezighi of the United States crosses the finish
line second to win the silver medal as first place finisher Stefano Baldini of Italy collapses in the foreground during the men's marathon on August 29, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, Greece.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

We decided to try to figure out how much mileage Baldini was averaging. Baldini first shows up in competition results on in 1992 when he ran 13:39 for 5k at age 21. So if in 18 years, he ran 180,000 kilometers that would be 10,000 kilometers per year or 62,000 6,200 miles per year, which is 118 miles per week. If one assumes that Baldini had been running for a bit longer, let's say he started training seriously at age 15 in 1986, then he covered those 180,000 kilometers over the span of 24 years and that's still 89.17 miles per week including weeks and days off. Looking back farther still, we know that Baldini first ran at age 10 in 1981. Even if one goes that far back, Baldini still averaged 73.8 miles per week since he was 10 years old. And remember - this includes days off and weeks off. Very impressive.

Consider what percentage of American collegiate runners come anywhere close to this. If you average 90 miles per week for a year but take two weeks off before and after seasons, your weekly average is just 82.98 for the year. If you average 90 miles week but take two weeks off between seasons and run two months of 70, 70, 60 and 50 as you taper for a championship, your yearly average is just 78.95 per week.

The moral of the story is to be the Olympic marathon champ you need to run a lot. Remember 1972 Olympic champion Frank Shorter supposedly averaged something like 120 miles per week, including time off, over a seven-year period in his heyday.

More: A Look Back At Stefano Baldini's Glorious Career

Proof Positive That Kenyan Professional Runners Aren't Spoiled
Tired of coddled professional American sports stars ? Well then we suggest you adopt a Kenyan distance pro, as they certainly aren't coddled. Last week, we were reminded of this fact all over the place.

The winner of the Des Moines Marathon was Kenya's Jacob Kirwa, who ran 2:14:20 in his debut. Guess how he got to the race? On the bus. The Des Moines Register described his travel as follows:

      Kirwa flew out of El Paso to Dallas on Saturday morning. He took another flight to Kansas City, where he was supposed to be picked up by a friend yesterday afternoon.

      His ride never showed.

      Kirwa instead paid $45 and hopped on a Greyhound bus. The bus reached Des Moines at 10:30 Saturday night and he arrived at his hotel soon thereafter.

      He was picked up at his hotel at 7:15 a.m. by local Kenyan Joe Kipnusu. Heavy traffic slowed them in reaching Nollen Plaza. Kirwa was pinning his race bib on his singlet 10 minutes before the start of the race.

For his efforts and his 2:14, he only netted $4,000.

In Baltimore, race organizers wouldn't give David Rutoh travel expenses to the race or even a bib number. So he purhcased his own, #3294,  and went out and won the race and $23,000 in 2:13:11.

Of course, if you are thinking (like us) that it doesn't seem fair that one guy ran 2:13:11 and made $23,000 while another ran 2:14:20 and only got $4,000, please realize that the amount of money one makes doesn't necessarily reflect the times they run. For example, also in Baltimore, American Max King ran 2:15:34 and got $1,500. Had he run that in Chicago the week before, he would have received at least $5,500 (we are mentioning Max in part to congratulate him on his PR as he's one of the toughest and most old-school guys out there).

But the biggest proof of how some people run very fast but get paid very little comes from an article last week on cult favorite Josephat Menjo, who ran a solo 12:55 and 26:56 this summer with a 3:53 mile in between. The article by Pat Butcher is a recommended read and says Menjo only got paid a total of $10,000 for those efforts.

Without training, we're almost certain he could run a 2:13 marathon.

In addition to reading the recommend read on Menjo, check out the video of him below winning the Belgrade Race Through History over former World Champ Eliud Kipchoge. They race through a castle, past knights and more:

Menjo and the Knights:

More: Des Moines Marathon: James Kirwa Smashes Course Record *Bib #3294 Pulls Stunner In Baltimore *Fantastic Profile Of Josphat Menjo - The Man Who Soloed 12:55 And 26:56 This Summer

Two Things To Take Home From The Amsterdam Marathon

The Amsterdam marathon was held last week and if you missed it, there are two things you need to know about it.

1) We have another 2:05 guy in Getu Feleke, who lowered his PR from 2:08:04 to 2:05:44. 22 men in history have now accomplished the feat. To put that in perspective, please realize only 20 men have ever broken 3:30 in the 1,500. The big $$$ in the marathon is drawing all of the talent to that event. Don't believe us? Well please realize that 21-year-old Abrehem Cherkos was fourth in his debut in Amsterdam in 2:07:29. Cherkos is a guy who in 2006 ran 12:54 for 5,000 at age 16. And now he's already running the marathon. Why? Because the marathon is where the money is.

2) 25-year-old Wilson Chebet ran the second-fastest debut ever to finish 2nd in 2:06:12. Chebet also was 2nd at Falmouth in August. Prior to that, he was best known for being 9th at the World Half in 2009.

More: Largely Unknown Ethiopian Getu Feleke Runs 2:05:44 In Amsterdam *16 yr old who ran 12:54.19 now moves up and debuts in the marathon!

2010 World Half Marathon Championships - Let Us Introduce You To Wilson Kiprop

NAIROBI, July 29, 2010 Kenya's Wilson Kiprop (C), Geoffrey Mutai (R) and Uganda's Moses Kipsiro Ndiema attend the awarding ceremony for the men's 10,000m race at the 17th Africa Senior Athletics Championships
in Nairobi, Kenya, July 29, 2010. Wilson Kiprop, Moses Kipsiro and Geoffrey Mutai won the gold, silver and bronze medals respectively. (Xinhua/Raymond Makhaya.
Wilson Kiprop On The Podium At The African Champs

The World Half Marathon hampionships were held last weekend and the big news was that Zersenay Tadese's bid for five wins a row came to a halt as he was defeated by Wilson Kiprop in the sprint for home.

Who is Kiprop, you ask? Well, he's a 23-year-old Kenyan who is enjoying a fine 2010. This year, he's raced six times and won five with his only loss coming in his marathon debut in Prague in May, where he was 5th 2:09:09. If Kiprop had known he what he was going to do the rest of the year, we imagine he'd have waited to make his marathon debut as he'll probably garner a pretty nice marathon appearance fee now. After his marathon debut, he's raced four times and all four races have been spectacular:

June 26, 2010 - 1st place Kenyan Champs 10,000  - 27:26.93 PR
July 28, 2010 - 1st place African Champ 10,000 - 27:32.91
Sept. 4, 2010 - 1st place in Lile Half Marathon - 59:39 PR
Oct. 16, 2010 - 1st place World Half Marathon Champs - 60:07

In the women's race, 2009 world cross-country champion Florence Kiplagat was the victor. The victory had to be special for Kiplagat, who had been struggling on the track in 2010. The victory proved to us that Kiplagat's future lies on the roads (or in cross-country) and in the longer distances.

Last year, Kiplagat did run fairly fast on the track, as she ran a Kenyan record of 30:11 for 10,000 but was only 12th at the World Champs in the 10,000. This year, she had not finished higher than 6th in any European race and had run just 14:52. The lack of European 10,000s clearly had hurt Kiplagat as she's not nearly as good at 5,000, where her PR is a modest 14:40 (yes we do realize the American record is 14:44). We're sure there were some who saw her finishes this summer in European 5,000s of 11th, 6th, 9th and 12th and wrote her off.

But at the longer distances and in cross-country, Kiplagat excels. She's now a perfect two-for-two at the 13.1-mile distance for her career and just 23 years old. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for her.

More: *Results/Team Results *Kenya: Kiprop So Close To Stars *Men's Race: Zersenay Tadese Is Human After All His drive for five straight world titles was upended by Kenya's Wilson Kiprop. The 59:33 PR guy defeated Tadese, who got the silver, by 4 seconds. Tadese walked across the finish line and was limping soon thereafter. He had to be helped up the awards stand. The US men, led by Sean Quigley (63:23), were 6th. *Women's: Favorite Florence Kiplagat Takes Down Dire Tune In Last 800 The US women, led by Stephanie Rothstein (73:37), were 7th. *Kenyans Overcame 40-Hour Trip To Nanning, China Whoever planned the trip should be fired. Pre-Race: Men's Race Preview - Tadese Drives For Five *Women's Race Preview Florence Kiplagat, the 2009, World XC champ, is the favorite. *Wilson Kiprop Was Scared Before His World Half Marathon Championship Win

Recommended Click

*Story With Photo Of Washing Machine Flying Off Very High Story

Other Happenings Of Note
*Alan Webb Ties The Knot
Menjo Caps His 2010 Season In Style By Taking Down Eliud Kipchoge And Shaheen To Win In Belgrade "Menjo" finished his remarkable 2010 season, during which over the span of 11 days earlier this year he ran a solo 12.55.95 for 5,000 meters, a solo 3.53.62 mile and a solo 26.56.74 10,000 meters, with a narrow win over Kipchoge. *Pre-Race Artilce On Historic/Scenic Belgrade Race That Is One Of Paul Tergat's Favorites
*Updated: Ritz Out Of Denver Half Because Competitor Group Couldn't Find A Strong Enough Field For Him The website "broke this story" and reported that Ritz isn't running because his training is going so well and he did not need another race. Well, the Denver Post contacted Ritz and it turns out the reason is a compeltely different one. Ritz wanted a hard race before NYC and Competitor couldn't get him a strong enough field. Ritz didn't want to do a glorified training run (like Meb did at Rock N Roll San Jose), so he's not running. Incidents like this one are why we often don't link to stuff that is largely pr in nature (Ritz has a blog hosted on Competitor). We commend Ritz for being forthright with the Denver Post.
*Martin Lel And Robert Cheruiyot Withdraw From New York City Marathon Sadly, Lel, who was the best marathoner on the planet heading into the 2008 Olympics, hasn't raced since then. The good news is the race has added 2:04:27 man James Kwambai.
*USATF Set To Name Man Whose Team Was Next To Last At ACCs As Olympic Coach 18 points over 21 events at ACCs is apparently enough to get Andrew Valmon the Olympic head job. We guess it's not that big of a deal, since the US coach does little more than babysit, but it's certainly surprising. In 2009, Maryland scored 21 points, in 2008, they had 54 and in 2007 they had 30.

NCAA XC Action

The other big action was the NCAA cross country season heating up with the pre NCAA meet, the Chilipepper meet, and more. Making sense of it is always difficult but the one thing we can tell you is that the Stanford men are very, very good (they went 1, 2, 3 at Pre NCAAs). Oklahoma State however went 1-2-3-4 at Chilipepper. Everytime we think of pre NCAAs we think of the 2008 version where Sam Chelanga absolutely dominated (see photo on the right). (It is worth noting that despite Chelanga's dominance Rupp beat him at NCAAs).

Stanford likely will be #1 in the next NCAA XC Polls, but you can tell us for sure. Voting open now in the Fans' Polls.

Quotes Of The Day From Last Week

Monday: "Stanford basically gave the rest of the U.S. the middle finger on Saturday with that performance. Comments?"

- LRC message board poster "Big Boy" commenting about the Stanford men, who had dominating 1-2-3 finish at Pre-NCAAs on Saturday. In terms of comments, there are plenty of people who still don't think Stanford is as good as Oklahoma State or Oregon. We'll find out 5 weeks from today (Monday).

Sunday: "Before the race I was weak. After midnight I was still awake, thinking about all the top guys who were in the race. I was so fearful. I didn't sleep well because I was thinking of the other guys and thinking about how to win this. In fact, I woke up very early - I was just walking from my bed to the toilet. I was trembling."

- World Half Marathon champion Wilson Kiprop on what he felt before his World Championship win over Zersenay Tadese on Saturday. He and Tadese battled stride-for-stride until the final 50 meters (video of finish on right hand side of homepage or here).

Saturday:  "People don't realize many women today run faster than the men who won the Boston Marathon in the past."

- Tom Derderien talking a Wall Street Journal article entitled "It's Time for Women to Run Faster." The article talks about the gap between men's and women's qualifying times for the Boston Marathon.

Friday: "The American record in the 1,500 is winking at me right now. Can I dip under 3:30? There are lots of great questions that I'm incredibly curious about and I'm sure Vin already knows the answers. He just won't tell me."

- US mid-d star Andy Wheating dreaming big about his future plans as he tries to complete the 13 credits he needs for his sociology degree.

Thursday: "I ran that race like an idiot and there's no excuses for that. I didn't know how I did it ...
I'm such an idiot. I can't believe I ran it so slow for such a long time because it was a slow race and it was over at the last 200m."

- Andy Baddeley after the Commonwealth Games 1,500m final. Rojo annointed this "Quote of the Month" just because of Baddeley's honesty. We figured we might as well make it at least Quote of the Day.

Wednesday: "(The weather) It was not that bad. I was there and had several athletes run. I get annoyed when people expect perfect everything for a marathon. Here is the check list.
ORGANIZATION? It was excellent.
COURSE? Flat and fast.
CROWD SUPPORT? Excellent energy on the course.
HUMIDITY? Not a factor
COMPETITION? Every American had someone to run with and many had pacers.
WIND? Often a factor in Chicago, but not this year.
TEMPERATURE? About 10 degrees over ideal with 60 at the start and 70 at the finish. Much better than any World Championship or Olympic Games over the past decade.
Races are not run in a bubble and to ask for more than 90% is ridiculous.
For us Davila, Morgan, Young, and Canaday all ran their personal bests."

- Kevin Hanson of the Hansons - Brooks marathon team basically telling the crybabies on the message board talking about how hot it was in Chicago to grow a pair. Well done, Kevin.

Tuesday: "It was the greatest marathon race I have ever seen, and the biggest surprise. It was a total shock. You can't imagine how bad things looked in Kenya 10 to 12 days ago. I thought he would maybe finish second or third, or he might have to drop out. At the Olympics, he was sure to win because he was so fit. But here, where the field was maybe better than the Olympics, he was not ready to run his best. In Italy, we have an expression: We say a runner like this has very big balls. After what we saw today, the world record is just around the corner."

- Federico Rosa (Sammy Wanjiru's manager) on Sammy Wanjiru's incredible victory over Tsegaye Kebede at the 2010 Bank of American Chicago Marathon. Calling it the greatest marathon race ever may not be an overstatement. The world's two greatest marathoners, Wanjiru and Kebede, battled mano-a-mano over the final kilometers for not only the Chicago win but also the $500,000 World Marathon Majors title. Wanjiru was dropped multiple times but somehow managed to dig deep and get the win. Truly an epic race. Our recap is here but you really need to have seen it.

Last Week's Homepages
*Mon (Oct. 18) *Sun (Oct. 17) *Sat (Oct. 16) *Fri (Oct. 15) *Thur (Oct. 14) *Wed (Oct. 13) *Tue (Oct. 12)

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