The Week That Was In Running - November 8 - November 14, 2010

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By LetsRun.com
November 16, 2010

NCAA Fields Are Set- Three Newcomers Join The Big Dance

In terms of elite-level distance running, there was very little action last week unless you are a big fan of HS action. Yes, the NCAA Regional meets were held, but covering those in great depth would be like covering the warmup rally at a tennis match before the match actually started. The same teams are all going to race again in 9 days and this time it counts, so why bother analyzing Regionals too much?

That being said, we did want to give a big Thumbs Up to some newcomers to the dance.

On the women's side, Tulsa and Toledo will get the chance to dance on the biggest stage for the first time this year.

For the men, the Richmond Spiders will be dancing for the first time.

Interested in finding out if your favorite school has ever made it to NCAAs or what their highest place has been or if they've ever been top 5? Well, then we highly recommend the NCAA: 2010 Men's Record Book and the 2010 Women's Record Book.

Haile Unretires

The other big news of last week was the fact that the great Haile Gebrselassie unretired after one week. After talking to people that know Gebrselassie well, it seemed likely to us early last week that he would unretire so the news, though welcome, was by no means a shock. We're not big fans of athletes retiring and unretiring but we've got to give Haile some props for not dragging it out like Brett Favre.

That being said, the shocking news was that Gebrselassie, who is known as being an emotional man to begin with, may have been more emotional than normal due to political pressures he is facing in his native Ethiopia, where his phones have reportedly been tapped and he's been subject to blackmail attempts. All we can say is - unbelievable.

Quote Of The Week #1 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)
The other Geb news that we thought was worth mentioning came from an AP article early in the week that talked about how Gebrselassie was reconsidering his retirement. Buried in that article were two great quotes. One came from Gebrselassie's manager Jos Hermens, who (smartly in our minds) tried to lower expectations for Gebrselassie in the years to come. Hermens' quote about London 2012 was right on the money:

"London will be very tough, but a medal is certainly not excluded. Even if you finish your career with a bronze, that is still fantastic."

A storybook ending for Geb would be Gold in London in 2012, but any hardware of any kind would in our minds be an incredible ending to a fairy tale career.

Quote Of The Week #2 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)
The other great article from Hermens in the AP article should give hope to Dathan Ritzenhein and really to all runners who have struggled to master the marathon. After Gebrselassie dropped out at 30k in his first marathon in London with breathing problems, Hermens recounted how Geb reacted:

"He told me and a few others in his room, 'I will never learn the marathon. I'll never make it.' Then he went on to set two world records."

Tributes Pour In For Gebrselassie
One more thing about Gebrselassie. We received a number of touching tributes to the man and his career at LRC that we were compiling when we thought there was a chance he might actually stay retired. Even though he's now un-retired, we wanted to share some of them with the LRC community as they show the effect Gebrselassie has had on people. One man even admitted he broke into tears when he heard of Geb's retirement. You can find them here: LRC: Tributes Pour In For The Great Haile Gebrselassie

More: Haile G's Back!! *Reuters Story By Sabrina Yohannes Here *Video story in Armharic here (with translation from an LRC visitor) *Gebrselassie Reconsider Retirement

High School Action - Venables Gets Holmdel Girls Course Record

As we said, the biggest news of the week really came at the High School level, as a ton of states held their high school meets. Interested in learning more? Milesplit has a nice recap page here (link fixed). The most noteworthy news from the HS level was the fact that Megan Venables broke the 27-year-old Holmdel Park state meet record of 17:35 held by Janet Smith by running a 17:28 in a race where second place was just 19:08. Nothing like winning state by 1:40 and breaking a 27-year-old record. Definitely our Performance Of The Week.

So a big Thumbs Up to Venables for her great run and a big Thumbs Up to New Jersey for having states on the same course every year, as it gives the times some meaning and makes it easier to compare different eras.

More: Venables Gets Holmdel Record


Recommended Reads
Running Times had a nice series in it's November issue about some elite female runners who work full time. If you think it's hard to run 100 miles a week while going to school, imagine what it's like when you're working full time as a mother: Working for the Weekend: Elite runners in this year's National Marathon Championships who hold down day jobs

*LRC: Tributes Pour In For The Great Haile Gebrselassie
*
A New Beginning For Luke Puskedra It's revealed that an iron deficiency hurt him badly last year.
*Ethiopia needs you Haile Gebrselassie, so does the London 2012 Olympics
*Simon Bairu Collapsed At Mile 23 And Then The Ambulance He Was In Ran Into A Taxi And He Had To Get Into Another One


Quotes Of The Day From Last Week

Monday: "First I want to thank you for all your support and great responses. After a few days on the countryside I could take (sic) some decisions. Running is in my blood and I decided to continue competing. My announcement in New York was my first reaction after a disappointing race. When my knee is better again I will start focussing (sic) on my next race. Thank you again for all your support!"

- Haile Gebrselassie confirming via Twitter that his retirement is officially over after one week. Additionally, his coach says he thinks the 37-year-old Gebrselassie can compete until he's 45.


Sunday: "Not that big of a win. I mean, I'm not going to be jumping up and down. It's fun winning a college race, but the real race is the next one. I know a lot of people were running easy. It was still fun to win, but ..."

- Portland's Trevor Dunbar talking about his individual win in the West Regional, where some of the big names took it a little easy. In the end, the #2 Stanford men lost, as did the #1 Oklahoma St. men in their region.


Saturday: "I'm not worried at all about (my decision to train myself). Actually, it's like the most peace I've had - outside of like deciding to marry Sara - it's like Sara has at times been a little nervous about it but I feel I know it's the right decision and even if it doesn't work out and I start running really poorly I will not regret it. Because in order to get to the next level I couldn't stay where I was."

- Ryan Hall, talking in a long Q&A with Steve Nearman about his decision to leave the Mammoth Track Club.


Friday: "I would say one thing about the marathon in particular, 'You have to expect to fail, too.' I dropped out of eight marathons in my quest to win.

I mean sometimes you get beat up. I think he (Dathan) ran a strong race but think he's going to run much better in the future."


- 4-time Boston and NY marathon champion Bill Rodgers talking in a 45-minute episode of NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook, which took a look at whether anything can be done to get Americans consistently in the winner's circle at major marathons. During the show, Running Times editor Scott Douglas had an incredible zinger. He said that Alberto Salazar's obsession with gadgets and form makes him a bit like everyone's "weird uncle - lovable but a little goofy" before adding, "The factor determining whether Dathan Ritzenhein wins the New York City marathon isn't how he holds his thumbs or whether he has a cryosauna the day before." Discuss this Recommended Listen in our message board.


Thursday: "I thought about dropping out there but the cheering on 1st Avenue was too loud and I couldn't stop. Every time I slowed to a walk people shouted, 'Come on! Come on!' It sounded like, 'Gaman! Gaman!'"

- Japan's Arata Fujiwara on his experience at the 2010 NYC Marathon in our Week In Review: New York, NY. "Gaman" is a word in Japanese that has special meaning: "If ever one falters, or feels he can't take it, he is told to put up with it (gaman). Gaman means to take it or be patient."


Wednesday: "What a disappointing weekend, I didn't plan to come back to Ethiopia this way. I wanted to succeed in New York. Now it is time for me to think about a lot of things.I still love running. I will always run. Just give me some time to think things over."

- Haile Gebrselassie tweeting at least that his mind is not 100% made up. We analyze the situation and are led to believe if Haile knows his fans aren't disappointed in him and want to see him run, it may make a difference.


Tuesday: "He is a role model for all of Africa ...

Before he gets out of training, I hope that he comes back one more time because I want to run against him. I need him to come back again."


- Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru talking about Haile Gebrselassie's posssible retirement. Wanjiru was honored on Monday for being the World Marathon Major champion.


Last Week's Homepages
*Mon (Nov. 15) *Sun (Nov. 14) *Sat (Nov. 13) *Fri (Nov. 12) *Thu (Nov. 11) *Wed (Nov. 10) *Tue (Nov. 9)

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