The Week That Was In Running - November 15 - November 21, 2010

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By LetsRun.com
November 24, 2010

This week, we get our weekly recap out to you earlier than normal so you can read it while waiting for the NCAA cross-country championships to get started. This week, we tell you why Vin Lananna is downplaying cross-country at Oregon, we analyze the 15km world record, continue to praise Geoffrey Mutai, analyze how US marathoners stack up against the rest of the world and more.

Vin Lananna Downplays Cross-Country / Takes A Subtle Dig At "Cross-Country Only" Programs

Nov 24, 2008; Terre Haute, IN, USA; Oregon coach Vin Lananna congratulates
runners after the Ducks won the team title in the NCAA cross country championships at the LaVern Gibson cross country course. Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

While we're not recapping NCAA XC in this Week That Was, we want to start our weekly recap off with a little cross-country talk. Check out what Vin Lananna said to The Register Guard about how Oregon views the  NCAA cross-country meet:

"We look at the cross country season as a way to prepare for the track season. We can't focus our attention solely on cross country. It needs to be within the context of our track and field team."

Now some of you are probably saying to yourself, "Wow. I can't believe the Oregon cross-country coach would say that. Remarks that downplay the importance of distance running are what got Martin Smith fired at Oregon."

We see why you think that at first glance. But to us, this quote was Lananna taking a dig at the "cross-country only" programs at NCAAs. You know who we are talking about - the schools like Oklahoma State and Iona that put all of their resources into distance running.

Putting The 15k World Record In Perspective

Last week, Kenya's Leonard Patrick Komon shattered the 15k world record by 16 seconds by running 41:13, which is 27:28 10k pace. A world record is a world record, but it is certainly still on the soft side as far as world records go. People need to realize that the half marathon world record is 58:23, which means someone has run 13.1 miles (remember, 15k is just 9.32 miles) at a pace that equates to 27:40 10k pace. Even-splitting the half marathon world record would give someone a 41:30.5 15k. So the old record was a little more than one second better than what the pace of the half marathon record gives you for 15k.

According to LetsRun.com coaching guru John Kellogg, the new 15k world record equates to a 59:24 half marathon (and 26:51 for 10k). Converting things the other way, JK says the half marathon world record equates to 40:31 for 15k (and 26:24 for 10k).

More: Leonard Patrick Komon Smashes 15km World Record

Geoffrey Mutai (L) of Kenya runs next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedaechtniskirche (Emperor Wilhelm Memorial Church) at Kurfuerstendamm boulevard during the 37th Berlin marathon in Berlin September 26, 2010. Some 40,000 participants were expected to take part in the marathon event in the German capital.   REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT ATHLETICS)

Geoffrey Mutai's Hot 2010 Continues

Komon wasn't the only Kenyan male to run fast last weekend. Geoffrey Mutai won the New Delhi Half Marathon in 59:38 and then told the IAAF he thought he could go a lot faster - "I could have run under 59 minutes had there been anyone to push me."

Someone may want to point out that Mutai only won the race by one second, but that doesn't mean Mutai wasn't telling the truth about not being pushed to his limit. If there is anyone on the planet that could run a tactical 59-minute half marathon, it's probably Mutai, who has had an incredible 2010.

Check Out His Great 2010:
January 23 - 37:41 1st Place In Kenyan XC Race
February 19th - 59:43 1st Place RAS Al Khaimah Half Marathon
February 28 - 27:44 3rd Place World's Best 10k
April 11 - 2:04:55 2nd Place Rotterdam Marathon
June 26 - 27:27 2nd Place Kenyan 10,000 Champs
July 28 - 27:33 3rd Place African 10,000 Champs
September 26 - 2:05:10 2nd Place Berlin Marathon
November 21 - 59:38 1st Place New Delhi Half Marathon

How Do US Marathoners Stack Up Against The Rest Of The World?

Last week there was an article in The Oregonian on Shalane Flangan raising the bar for US marathoners. That article mentioned how women have run a 2:25 marathon roughly 400 times and that US women have done it just seven times.

We decided to do some research and compare who is better - the US men or US women.

The stat site that we pay to use is www.tilastopaja.org. They say that 153 women have broken 2:26 in the marathon, including three Americans in Deena Kastor (2:19:36), Joan Benoit Samuelson (2:21:21) and Kara Goucher (2:25:53).

For the men, the 153rd-fastest person in history is Ethiopian Deressa Chimsa, who has run 2:07:54. How many Americans have run faster?

Two - and only one was an athlete who hadn't already done it for another country before becoming an American, as one was Khalid Khannouchi (2:05:38) and the other was Ryan Hall (2:06:17).

Top 5 US Women/Men Marathoners Of All Time (As Of 11/16/2010)

Women
1. Deena Kastor - 2:19:36 - #5 All-Time
2. Joan Benoit Samuelson - 2:21:21 - #16 All-Time
3. Kara Goucher - 2:25:53 - #147 All-Time
4. Desiree Davila - 2:26:20 - #178 All-Time
5. Magdalena Lewy Boulet - 2:26:22 - #182 All-Time

Men
1. Khalid Khannouchi - 2:05:38 - #18 All-Time
2. Ryan Hall - 2:06:17 - #33 All-Time
3. Bob Kempainen - 2:08:47 - #280 All-Time
4. Alberto Salazar - 2:08:51 - #294 All-Time
5. Dick Beardsley - 2:08:53 - #301 All-Time

Granted the comparison above may not be totally fair due to the relative lack of depth in women's marathoning. 3 minutes above on the men's side is less than 300 places. On the women's side 7 minutes is roughly 200 places.

Quote Of The Week #1 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)

Speaking of women's marathoners, high praise was dished out last week for 2010 New York City champ Edna Kiplagat. Admittedly, the man who gave the praise is a bit biased as he's her manager, but check out what Brendan Reilly of Boulder Wave Management Company had to say about his star athlete in the Denver Post:

"I've been fortunate to work with the last three (marathon) gold medalists in some capacity or another and I really think we have someone here who's going to develop into a special runner."

If you want to learn more about Kiplagat, both The Boulder Daily Camera and Denver Post had nice profiles of her and her life in Boulder last week: *New York City Marathon champ Edna Kiplagat right at home in Boulder
*Mike Sandrock: Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat and Chilean miner Edison Pena light the way

European 400m Champ May Move Up To 800

Considering LetsRun.com is a distance-oriented site, one of the more popular thoughts when there is a good 400 meter runner is "What could they run for 800?" Well, if the coach and dad of former FSU runner and current European 400-meter champ Kevin Borlée gets his way, letsrunners may get to see their dream become a reality. Dad and coach Jacques Borlée wants his son, who has a 44.88 400 PR, to move up to 800.

Kevin is an identical twin and - despite the fact that he's the European 400 champ - is viewed as the "slow" twin. Although our question is "Is that really fair?" Looking back at the last six years, Kevin has had a faster seasonal best than his brother in two of those six years. And this year, while he was slower for the year, he was faster when it counted - at the European Champs. You can compare the two below.

Jonathan Borlée                                         
2005 - 47.50
2006 - 46.06
2007 - 47.85
2008 - 45.11 Out in semis of Olympics
2009 - 44.78 National record and NCAA title
2010 - 44.71 National record but no medal

Kevin Borlée                                         
2005 - 47.86
2006 - 46.63
2007 - 46.38
2008 - 44.88 National record in Olympic semis
2009 - 45.28 4th at NCAAs
2010 - 45.01 European gold when it counted

More: Despite Being European 400m Champ, Kevin Borlee's Dad Wants Him To Move Up To The 800

Weekly Free Coaching Advice

Our weekly free coaching advice comes from 14:04/28:57 runner (but 2:12:45 marathon man) Peter Gilmore. How do you run 2:12 when your 5k PR is only 14:04? The answer is simple according to Gilmore's blog on the Bay Area Track Club's website:

"How do you run a fast marathon?

... There is, however, one common thread that connects the training of the vast majority of successful marathoners. They run a lot of miles. Yep, that’s my great insight. Seems a little obvious right?

I should back up a few steps. If the most common question I get asked is, 'How do I run a fast marathon?,' the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th ... most common questions have something to do with diet, running form, sleep, footwear, stretching, weights; anything but actual running. American runners seem to have an unending fascination with all these extra-curricular activities, yet we continue to get slower at running marathons. It reminds me of the weekend cyclist who spends $5,000 for a new bike that weighs 3 ounces less, but he's still got the pot belly under that colorful jersey.

So what's my point? If you want to improve your performance in the marathon, stop worrying about minimalist shoes, caveman diets, and new-age running form, and start worrying about getting out the door and running a little more than you did last week. High mileage works!"

Runner Of The Week/Quote Of The Week #2 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)

We just wanted to give some props to US marathoner Wendi Ray. The 37-year-old works in a restaurant, buys her own shoes and still finished sixth among Americans at the ING New York City Marathon in 2:38:58. Check out the quote she gave Korey Mallien for a profile of her New York run:

"My goal was to finish in the top 15 (in the U.S. championships), but I thought there was no way that was going to happen. My training had gone very well, but my restaurant job was two to three times busier than most summers and I was on my feet 13 hours a day, so I was concerned about being fatigued."

For her effort, she won $10,000. What's she going to do with it? Buy a new treadmill and some shoes:

"It's not enough to quit working, but it helps a ton. I just went to look for a new treadmill and I go through about 10 pairs of running shoes a year, at about $100 each, so I'll probably put some money toward those things."

More: Ray Sixth In U.S. Marathon Championships

Other Happenings Of Note

*Former Kansas Great And World 1,500 Record Holder Wes Santee Dies

Haile G Unretires
Haile G's Back!!!
*Reuters Story By Sabrina Yohannes Here
*LRC Jos Hermens And Haile Gebrselassie Take To National TV To Deny NY Times Story - Were They Forced To Do It?
*
LRC Update The NY Times Stands Firm: "The New York Times stands by its story."
*
LRC Update Former Imprisoned Ethiopian Journalist Says Hermens'/Gebrselassie's Leak And Then Denial Of NY Times Report Is Part Of Attempt To Raise Awareness Of Geb's Plight In Ethiopia, Where He's Had A Lease To Land Worth At Least $7.2 Million Taken By The Government
*LRC Tributes Pour In For The Great Haile Gebrselassie

Recommended Reads

*Former Kansas Great And World 1,500 Record Holder Wes Santee Dies
*
LRC Jos Hermens And Haile Gebrselassie Take To National TV To Deny NY Times Story - Were They Forced To Do It?
*
LRC Update The NY Times Stands Firm: "The New York Times stands by its story."
*
LRC Update Former Imprisoned Ethiopian Journalist Says Hermens'/Gebrselassie's Leak And Then Denial Of NY Times Report Is Part Of Attempt To Raise Awareness Of Geb's Plight In Ethiopia, Where He's Had A Lease To Land Worth At Least $7.2 Million Taken By The Government
*
LRC Juantorena, Coe, Kipketer And Rudisha All Together In One Room For The First Time Ever
*LRC Bernard Lagat Says The 5k Is His Focus; Watch Out For His Brother, Robert Cheseret
*LRC Dayron Robles And David Oliver Agree On One Thing - Allen Johnson Is The Best Hurdler Of All Time
*
New York City Marathon champ Edna Kiplagat right at home in Boulder
*Mike Sandrock: Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat and Chilean miner Edison Pena light the way


Quotes Of The Day From Last Week

Monday: "When you are right to 700m ... you say, 'Oh my god where is that finish line? Who has stolen the finish line?'"

- World record holder Alberto Juantorena talking about what it's like to hit 700 meters on pace in an 800-meter world record attempt. Juantorena was talking during an incredible surprise gathering in Monaco of the last 4 world record holders at 800m - Juantorena, Seb Coe, Wilson Kipketer and David Rudisha. For 40 minutes, these legends reminisced about their record runs, paid their respects to one another, discussed the uniqueness of the 800m and were almost giddy to be together. Well worth a read or watch of our exclusive video as we guarantee you'll learn something.


Sunday: "You never know the limit of a human being."

- World record holder Alberto Juantorena during an incredible surprise gathering in Monaco of the last 4 world record holders at 800m - Juantorena, Seb Coe, Wilson Kipketer and David Rudisha. For 40 minutes, these legends reminisced about their record runs, paid their respects to one another, discussed the uniqueness of the 800m and were almost giddy to be together. Well worth a read or watch of our exclusive video as we guarantee you'll learn something.


Saturday: "Despite the subsequent (and expected) protestations by Hermens and Haile on government-owned ETV, who denied the accuracy of the entire story, scarcely a soul here in Addis Ababa doubts that Hermens spoke with the knowledge and approval of Haile. In fact, ETV's report (in Amharic), in which the phone tapping charge was cleverly censored, has only reinforced the impression that both the leak and denial were deliberate acts to mobilize international attention to Haile's predicament."

- Prominent Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega writing on Ethiomedia.com about the Haile Gebrselassie/Jos Hermens/New York Times saga. Nega is a man who "has been in and out of prison several times while he was editor of one of several newspapers shut down during the 2005 crackdown." His piece, which is entitled "Haile Gebreselassie's land troubles in Ethiopia," explains that Haile recently had a lease to land that is worth $7.2-$9.1 million taken by the government.


Friday: "The New York Times stands by its story. Jeré reported what he was told. We reported the story correctly."

- Tim Connelly of the New York Times responding to LetsRun.com when asked for a reaction to the fact that Jos Hermens and Haile Gebrselassie said what was reported in Tuesday's paper contained falsehoods. As a result, many believe Hermens and Geb were strong-armed into going onto television to denounce the NY Times.


Thursday: Late: "I did not say that (Haile's phone was tapped) and I did not suggest any thing like that at all."

- Jos Hermens, Haile Gebrselassie's agent, denying on national television appearance in Ethiopia that he told the New York Times that Haile Gebrselassie's phone had been tapped. In the interview, Gebrselassie also rips the New York Times. The question is were they forced to do it by the people in power in Ethiopia? Will the NYT stand by the story? Check back to find out as we break this story.  Update at 11:58 am EST with three translations of the entire interview.

Early: "I just don't want to screw it up for them."
- What Villanova's 5th runner, freshman Emily Lipari, reportedly says at the end of each race. The 5th man or woman is our favorite runner at LetsRun.com and we next year perhaps should do a whole series on the 5th runners at the top schools. Good luck on Monday to all the 5th runners.


Wednesday: "Hermens (Haile's agent) also suggested that Gebrselassie's emotional decision to retire might have stemmed in part from political pressure he was feeling in Ethiopia. His phone has been tapped by government officials and he has faced some sort of blackmail attempt, Hermens said of his client."

- Jeré Longman in the NYTimes writing about political pressure on Haile Gebrselassie and his decision to unretire. Taking on Paul Tergat is one thing; publicly taking on the Ethiopian government is another. We guess it's game on.


Tuesday: "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.


Last Week's Homepages
*Mon (Nov. 22) *Sun (Nov. 21) *Sat (Nov. 20) *Fri (Nov. 19) *Thu (Nov. 18) *Wed (Nov. 17) *Tue (Nov. 16)

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