LetsRun.com: The Week That Was In Running: February 15 - February 21, 2010

By LetsRun.com
February 22, 2010

To read last week's LRC Week That Was, click Here.
To read any 2009
LRC Week That Was, click Here.

This week our weekly recap of the last week of the world in running gives out praise to Jeff Demps, Deresse Mekonnen, Will Leer, and Japanese coaches as we break down the Kenyan and Ethiopian xc trials for you and along the way introduce you to Paul Tanui.

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

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Odds & Ends

It's been a good last year or so for running authors. Well, the good news continues into 2010, as last week it came out that the BBC will produce a cinematic version of Pat Butcher's The Perfect Distance, an account of the rivalry between Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe.
More: COE & OVETT - THE MOVIE!

For a long while, we've heard whispers that the best Dibaba sister maybe the youngest. Genzebe Dibaba, who just turned 19 on Feb. 8, will obviously have to do a ton if she is ever going to overcome big sis Tirunesh Dibaba, who ruled the 5k and 10k in 2008, but Genzebe may truly be the real deal. Already a world junior 5k silver medallist (just like her big sis was), Genzebe cruised to a 4:04 win on Valentine's Day at the Toyota Indoor Flanders Meeting in Gent. Of course, when Tirunesh was 18, she had already run 14:30 for 5k, whereas Genzebe's 18-year-old 5k best was just 14:55. But little sis may have better speed than big sis.

Sad news to report from Kenya, where former 1:43.97 and 3:31.53 man David Lelei was killed in a car accident. Also injured in the accident was two-time Boston marathon champ Moses Tanui.
More: LRC MB: Kenyan David Lelei dies in car crash, Moses Tanui seriously injured *Boston Marathon Champion Moses Tanui Tells The Story Of Escaping The Fatal Car Crash *Bernard Lagat Writes About Fallen Friend David Lelei

Arkansas Razorbacks v Florida Gators Props need to be given to Florida sophomore Jeff Demps. The junior world record holder at 100m was a big success on the football field as a freshman but not on the track, as he only ran 10.30 after running 10.01 in HS. Well, it looks like this year he's going to be a success in both. In football, he once again averaged more than 7 yards per carry for the Gators and in track, he's leading the NCAA in the 60m thanks to his 6.59 clocking.

 

In a recent headline regarding Usain Bolt, we pointed out how his 200m world record of 19.19 is almost exactly twice his 100 meter world record and wondered how that could be. Well, the people over at speedendurance.com have written a nice piece explaining how it all works out. Bolt's 2nd 100m in his 200 meter world record was actually run in 9.22 - .02 slower than Michael Johnson's 9.20.
More:
LetsRun.com Asks How Is Bolt’s 200m WR Almost Exactly Twice His 100m WR?

In last week's The Week That Was, we gave a Thumbs Down to the NCAA for not putting any Oregon State men on the NCAA descending order list. Well this week, Oregon State officially petitioned the NCAA to allow anyone who qualifies to compete at the NCAA meet even though Oregon State failed to tell the NCAA last summer that they wanted to participate in men's track and field. The NCAA needs to stop enforcing rules that hurt individual athletes for the sake of needless rules compliance.

Sad news to report in that US distance runner Serena Burla was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in her right hamstring. Bothered by consistent knee irritation, Burla, who was 2nd in the US half marathon champs earlier this year in Houston, received a diagnosis that was way worse than what any runner could have anticipated. She'll undergo surgery this Friday in New York.
More:
*LRC MB: Serena Burla support thread *Serena Burla Knee Pain Diagnosed As Malignant Tumor - Let's Give Her Our Support

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RAK Half

The big winners at the RAK Half Marathon last week were Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya and Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey (via Ethiopia). The 28-year-old Mutai is an interesting guy, as he didn't exist in any results database until 2008 (when he ran 27:52 at altitude) and then in 2009, he ran 59:30 and 2:07:01. Well, 59:43 was good enough to get him the win at the RAK half in a race where the top 4 all broke one hour.

Abeylegesse, the Olympic 5k silver medallist at 5k and 10k in 2008, ran 67:07 in her debut. Not too bad considering only ten women have run faster (Paula Radcliffe's 65:40 is the fastest ever) and Abeylegesse said the pace felt slow to her through 15k. More: *Race Recap *Results *Boards: Elvan Abeylegesse Sets Course Record, Late-Blooming Geoffrey Mutai Gets Upset Win In RAK Half Marathon *LRC Photos Of RAK Half

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We Told You So:

Last week, we told you to remember the name Kalkedan Gezahegn. This week, she produced as she broke a 30-year-old world junior record in the mile by running 4:24.10 to get 2nd in sensational Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham. The meet almost certainly will be regarded as the top indoor meet of 2010, save the World Champs, as the marks were excellent all across the board.

Winning the women's mile was Geleta Burka, who ran 4:23.53 to move into position #9 on the all-time indoor list. The women's 2 mile was a fantastic race as well, as it was won by Tirunesh Dibaba in the 2nd-fastest time in history (9:12.23), as the 2nd and third placers also broke 9:13 - Vivian Cheruiyot (9:12.35) and  Sentayehu Ejigu (9:12.68).

But the race of the night may have been the men's 1,500, where once again Deresse Mekonnen (2009 world indoor 1,500 champ, 2009 world outdoor silver medallist) proved that Bernard Lagat got very lucky that Mekonnen didn't get his visa to compete at the Millrose Games; otherwise, Lagat likely wouldn't have won a record 8th title.

Mekonnen improved on his world leader by running a sensational 3:33.10 a time that makes him the 5th fastest in history. The IAAF is saying he's the 3rd-fastest indoor performer in history, but we have him at #5. The top 5 all-time indoors in the 1,500 in history according to LRC as as follows:

1. 3:31.18 Hicham El Guerrouj - Stuttgart 2 Feb 1997
2. 3:31.76 Haile Gebrselassie - Stuttgart 1 Feb 1998
3. 3:32.11 Laban Rotich - Stuttgart 1 Feb 1998
4. 3:33.08 Daniel Kipchirchir Komen - Karlsruhe 13 Feb 2005
5. 3:33.10 Deresse Mekonnen - Birmingham 21 Feb 2010
More: *LRC MB: Deresse Mekonnen - 3:33.10 1,500 - 5th-Fastest Indoor All-Time

Also running 3:33 was Kenya's Augustine Choge, who was 2nd in 3:33.74. Bernard Lagat had a seasonal best of 3:35.40 to get 4th, as 2008 Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis was 5th in a new New Zealand national record of 3:35.80. "To run 3:33 indoors, I can't believe it," said Mekonnen after the race to the IAAF.

In the women's 800, Berlin bronze medallist Jenny Meadows smashed the 7-year-old UK record, previously held by Kelly Holmes, as she ran 1:59.11 for the win. The meet also had some nice field event and sprint action which you can read about below.

And if you didn't realize that Haile G is #2 all-time indoors in the 1,500, you might want to read Sabrina Yohannes' piece comparing Haile G and Kenenisa Bekele in Running Times: Greatest of All-Time? Emperor Haile vs. King Kenenisa
More: *
Full Birmingham Results *IAAF Recap: National Records, World Junior Records And World Leaders Fall In Birmingham *Dibaba, Cheruiyot, Ejigu And Agosto - Great Race! *Jenny Meadows On A Roll After Breaking British Record Held By Kelly Holmes

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Kenyan/Ethiopian XC Trials
Quote of The Week #1

"It is strange how fortunes change. Two years ago, he was dropped when selectors realised he did not know how to run with shoes. Now he is touted as Kenya's saviour in cross country running."
- opening three sentences of Chris Musumba's recap of the 2010 Kenyan cross country trials in the Daily Nation.


2010 Kenyan XC Video Highlights

The trials were won by 19-year-old (some are saying he's 20, but we believe he's 19) Paul Tanui. Tanui is living proof that coaching does matter and the perfect example of what happens when you combine raw talent with systematic coaching. In 2008, Tanui was dropped from the Kenyan junior cross-country team despite finishing 6th in the Kenyan Trials, as he was so raw he didn't know how to run with shoes.

Last year, he went to juniors and got 4th in the world. At this point, Stephen Mayaka saw Tanui's potential and took him to Fukuoka, Japan, where he was employed by and ran for the Kyedenko Electronic Company. One year later, he's the Kenyan champ despite having modest PRs of 13:37 and 27:25.

And not only is he the Kenyan champ - he's a dominant Kenyan champ, as he won by a ridiculous 30 seconds.

The Japanese developed Sammy Wanjiru into the greatest marathoner on the planet. Now Tanui is the Kenyan XC champ. It seems to us that the Kenyans ought to outsource their coaching.

A good omen for the future was the fact that the 2nd placer in the Kenyan Trials, Lucas Rotich, is also 19. Joseph Ebuya, who beat Kenenisa Bekele in XC earlier this year, was 3rd, while two-time top-10 World XC performer Hosea Macharinyang got the final automatic selection spot by finishing 4th. 2008 World XC runner up Leonard Komon was given the first of two wild cards for finishing 5th, as was pre-race favorite and former world junior 5k champion Matthew Kisorio.

The women's race went according to plan up front, as world 10,000 meter champ Linet Masai won by 20 seconds despite running much of the race with just one shoe.

The Ethiopian XC Trials were also held last weekend and the men's race was won by unheralded Azmeraw Bekele. Only in Ethiopia or Kenya is someone unheralded when their half marathon PR is 60:57. Last year's world junior XC champ Ayele Abshiro finished 2nd in a race most thought he'd win. Meselech Melkamu, who is a three-time bronze medallist at World XC and who also was the runnerup in the 10,000 at Worlds last year, won the women's titles as expected.
More:
*IAAF Recap Of Kenyan Trials *Men: Unheralded 20-Year-Old Paul Tanui Crushes Field *Women's Pre-Race Favorite Linet Masai Wins By Big Margin *LRC MBoards: Kenyan XC Team Trials: Masai And Tanui Win *Photos *Results/Video Highlight *IAAF Recap Of Kenyan Trials

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A Coaching Mess At USATF
If you are a coach, you might want to read up on what has happened recently with the USATF certification process, as it seems like basically all of the top coaches have resigned their positions with the USATF's coaching education division due to differences with USATF. There certainly is lots of intrigue and bickering behind the scenes of what was a highly successful program.

We don't know enough to take sides but thought all coaches would want to read the following two items:
*LRC MB: USATF Coaches Education Meltdown *Functionalpathtrainingblog.com: A Sad Time For US Track & Field

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Quote Of The Week #2

    "Now that I’m healthy and I’m training good, and I feel like my support system is there, where it has lacked before, my pinnacle this year is going to be coming out and re-establishing myself as Adam Goucher. I’m not done. I know it’s going to happen. I know it’s there."

- 35-year-old Adam Goucher talking in great interview done by Matt Fitzgerald for competitor.com, where an inspired and possibly enraged Goucher talks how he's aiming for a big comeback in 2010. Amidst F bombs and other curse words, he states his #1 goal for 2010 is a fall marathon debut. Anyone who witnessed Goucher in the 2000 US Olympic Trials knows he should never be counted out.

Goucher also talks about how he sports a "Mrs. Kara Goucher" T shirt and how his wife has inspired him:

"When she won her bronze medal in Osaka in '07 [in the World Championships 10,000m] and then won Great North [a major half marathon in England, which Kara won in a time of 1:06:57 in 2007, defeating world record holder Paula Radcliffe], I was like, "Holy shit! It can happen."
More: *Adam Goucher Is Not Done *LRC MB: Adam Goucher Quote?

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Word Of The Week - Monomania
. At LetsRun.com, one of our goals is always to educate - normally to teach you more about running - but this week, we wanted to teach you a new word so you can impress your friends. Our word of the week is monomania. You can read its definition here or try to decipher it in the following quote from LRC visitor and masters ace Ed Whitlock, who said the following in a great Scott Douglas Running Times profile:

"Running should be a pastime. All sports should be a pastime. There shouldn't be all this professional stuff. I believe that Paula Radcliffe is drug-free, but I do think she pushes the envelope of being a professional runner to the extreme. I don't mean to single her out, but she's living an artificial existence. She's always away from home or sleeping in an altitude chamber. She has this entourage of people constantly around her poking and prodding. That's so far away from what I do and how I would want to live. Monomania leads to terrible things."

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NCAA D1 Conference Action Gets Going

The NCAA D1 conference action got started last week and the biggest meet of the week was the Big East champs, where the Notre Dame men and Villanova women got the team titles.

There was lots of excitement on the women's side, as the meet came down to the 4 x 400 with Louisville trailing 'Nova by 3 points and needing to beat them by 2 spots. Sure enough, 'Nova and Louisville got tangled up on the third leg with the Louisville runner going down.

Cross Country: NCAA ChampionshipsMajor props to 'Nova's Sheila Reid, who tripled and got wins in the 1k (2:45.02) and mile (4:51.33), as well as the 4 x 800 (2:07.0 split) thanks to a blistering kick in all three races.  The Wildcats, who catpured the NCAA XC title last fall, dominated the mid-d events, not the long distance events, at the Armory. Mid-d and distance runners scored 72 of the Wildcats 115 and the breakdown was as follows:
800 - 2 points, 1k - 18 points, mile - 21 points, DMR - 10 points, 4 x 800 - 10 points, 3k 10 points, 5k 1 point.

The vast majority of the major conference meets are this weekend. Are you curious as to how your favorite team will do? Do you not believe it when your coach says you have a chance? Or are you a coach who is too lazy to do the math yourself? Well, milesplit has created a computer program where you can score the meets based off the descending order lists for each conference. You can even include the particular scoring system for your conference and events as it varies for each conference.

Click on your favorite conference here and then click on rankings in the lower right hand side. It's not the most intuitive thing to find, but it does seem to work. If you are looking for conference results, the coaches association has put them all in one easy to find spot.
More: *Milesplit Conference Rankings *Conference Results *Sheila Reid Triple Leads Villanova Women To Big East Team Nail Biter *WVU's Mary Louise Asselin Breaks 16:00 For 5,000 At Big Easts *Notre Dame Men Win By Big Margin Thanks To Middle Distance Points *Flash Results for Big East *Albany Great Danes Sweep Team Titles At America East *Men's Results *Women's Results

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Oversized Tracks Revisited

Last week, we spent a lot of time railing about oversized tracks. As a result, we received a ton of email on the matter, including a great email from Will Leer, who anchored the OTC to a world's best in the DMR.

Leer wrote from Albuquerque, NM where he is doing some high altitude training. Leer said that the members of the OTC also wished they could have run the DMR record on a standarized track. Here are the highlights from his email:

    "We were all adamant about trying to run the race on a 200m track but the opportunity never presented itself. On top that, we (the relay team members) were the first to acknowledge after the race that we had neither run a World nor an American record.  It is not our fault that the Oregon media portrayed this race as a world record attempt. Although such publicity is only good for our dying sport ...

    The OTC Elite ran the DMR in Seattle as part of a workout and a weekend of racing. It wasn't about a record. The 9:25.77 posted by the University of Texas was merely a benchmark and something for us to shoot for while running our bodies into the ground. This relay was, as I mentioned in an interview, maybe not verbatim but close enough, a great opportunity to showcase the talent of our team as well as provide us an opportunity to suit up in our beautiful green singlets and compete TOGETHER. Too often this sport is focused on the against rather than the cooperative, especially at the professional level."

A great email.

Let us state a few things: We never meant to disrespect the members of the OTC who ran the world's best time in the DMR. We just feel it's a shame that so many fast times are run on oversized tracks in front of hardly any fans. But the more we think about it, we guess that's the nature of track and field and we accept that most of a track season is really just glorified practice for the few championship or pro meets that matter.

We think track aficionados, including ourselves, need to consciously realize this fact and therefore tell casual fans which meets/events they should watch. For example, when a relative asks us what days they should go to NCAA outdoors example, we always say, "The final day," as half the other stuff is just practice for the finals. Same thing with USAs - do casual fans really want to go watch the first round of an event where sometimes only 10% of the field is eliminated?

We don't hate oversized tracks; we just think that the NCAA ought to do something about oversized tracks dominating the qualifying (particularly for the distance events) for the D1 indoor meet. At the D3 level, there is a penalty for running on oversized track. For example, last year, we've been told the qualifying times for the men's mile were as follows for D3:

Oversized: 4:08.80, Banked 4:10.00, Standard flat 4:11.00, Undersized 4:11.50. How about something like that for D1?

And one last thing, since we mentioned Will Leer. We've always loved this photo of him and while we don't have the rights to publish it here, we thought Will Leer fans would enjoy it and have been looking for an excuse to include it in "The Week That Was" for some time.

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Another Inspirational Miler
Last week, we did an interview with Maine sophomore Riley Masters, who inspired us all by going from 4:06 to 3:59 in one race, only one week after he broke 2:00 in the open 800 for the first time. Well, he's not the only inspirational miler at the collegiate ranks, as we received an email praising Cam Levins of Southern Utah:

    "I know it's hard to cover everyone but you have a relatively lengthy piece on Riley Masters from Maine praising him for his improvements, etc. I think you should give some love to Cam Levins from Southern Utah despite not living in the NE for being a 4:16 in high school and as a Jr went 3:59 2 weeks after running a 1:56 and a DNF 3k.  The kid has massive talent and unfortunately is sitting 16th right now in the mile despite his massive PR (was 4:04.6 before a couple weeks ago). Small school, small town, big time racer."

We loved the email. "Small school, small town, big time racer." Now that's an old school motto. Southern Utah ought to use that slogan for their team shirts - just add an "s" and say "big time racers."

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Recommended Reads/Listens/Watches From Last Week
*Adam Goucher On War Path For 2012 Olympic Marathon
*Ed Whitlock And The Age Of Simplicity: The Masters Great Achieves Excellence By Focusing On The Essentials
*
SpeedEndurance.com Explains How Usain Bolt’s 200m WR Is Almost Exactly Twice his 100m WR
*LRC: Riley Masters Interview: 4:06 To 3:59 In One Race

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Remembering The Last Week With The Quotes Of The Day - Day-By-Day:

Monday: "As far as limiting yourself, I didn't want to limit myself and tell myself I couldn't do it."
- Maine sophomore Riley Masters talking with Rojo about going from 4:06 to sub-4 in the mile in one race. A week before, he broke 2:00 in the 800 for the first time in his career.


Saturday/Sunday:
"If there was a single most important phrase I could use to describe this man, I would say David Lelei was a perfect gentleman and a true blessing to the lives of so many he was able to touch."
- Bernard Lagat writing about his friend David Lelei, who died in a car accident this week in Kenya. Lelei was 38. Lelei helped pace Lagat and Hicham El Guerrouj in 2001 when Lagat ran the Kenyan record 1,500m of 3:26.34.

Friday: "After Chariots of Fire I think they would prefer everyone to still be wearing baggy shorts, and I can picture the intellectual, clean cut, perfect smile Seb up against 'working class boy.'"
- Steve Ovett explaining why he gives a thumbs down to the proposed BBC film about the rivalry between him and Seb Coe. Ovett is refusing to cooperate with filmmakers.

Thursday: "There a lot of people who have given up on me - and it's not just fair-weather fans. It's also people who have been a part of my life and my running career for a long time. People have said, 'Well, you're probably coming to the end of the ride. You probably need to give it up.' That type of thing has been hard to overcome emotionally, but it just becomes so much fuel for my fire."

"I really, really look forward to the day when I can throw it back in the faces of the doubters. It's going to be great - crossing the finish line and giving them a big middle finger."
- We're not sure if we should publish this quote as it almost seems too perfect to be true. Kara Adam Goucher is planning on a fall marathon and eventually getting a spot on the US Olympic marathon team in 2012.


Wednesday:
"I do what not to do to an extreme. I go out jogging. It's not fast running, just that I do it for a long time. I don't follow what typical coaches say about serious runners. No physios, ice baths, massages, tempo runs, heart rate monitors. I have no strong objection to any of that, but I'm not sufficiently organized or ambitious to do all the things you're supposed to do if you're serious. The more time you spend fiddlediddling with this and that, the less time there is to run or waste time in other ways."
- If we didn't have to click through an absurd 6 pages to read this article, we'd call the interview with Ed Whitlock a Recommended Read. We read a lot of junk every day, but letsrun.com message board frequenter Whitlock - who ran a 2:54 marathon at age 72 - is a classic.


Tuesday:
"We can't wait to compete. All these guys are elite track guys in high school, and they miss it, too. I just love the competition of track. It's a sport where it's all on you, and I miss that competition."

"I'm downplaying it a bit, but it's a pretty big deal this weekend. It's has been 22 years since a guy has worn a track uniform at Oregon State. There are going to be a lot of smiles."

"In track and football there's good cross training. There's no problem pursuing their dreams. If they have a strong desire to get it done, they will."
- First quote from Oregon State football player/high jumper Jordan Bishop, next from women's track coach Kelly Sullivan and next from football coach Mike Riley. Bishop and five of his gridiron teammates became the first Oregon State men to wear a track uniform since Karl Van Calcar won the NCAA title in the 3,000 steeplechase in Eugene in 1988. Bishop, a former high school track star, won the 1st flight of the UW Husky Invite high jump in 7'0.5" and his teammate came in 2nd.

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