LetsRun.com: The Week That Was In Running: March 1 - March 7, 2010
March 8, 2010
Getting Ready For World Indoors & NCAAs
Not a whole lot of action to report last week as everyone took a pause while we prepare for this weekend's World Indoors and NCAAs. Sure, there were some last chance meets at the NCAA D1 level, but why would we waste our time talking about practice? Seriously, a last chance meet is nothing more than practice for NCAAs.
In terms of World Indoors, the US team was announced. Given that a few of the US champs didn't have the qualifying times in the mid-d and distance events and given that others passed on the trip, it's interesting to see who ended up on the team. The US mid-d and distance runners going to Doha: Anna Pierce and Alysia Johnson (800), Erin Donohue and Sarah Bowman (1,500), Sara Hall and Desiree Davila (3,000), Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat (3,000), Will Leer and Garrett Heath (1,500), Nick Symmonds and Duane Solomon (800).
Now we ask ourselves how many medals can that group win? If we were Vegas, we'd put the over/under for number of medals at 1.5 and we might have to bet under.
Who could possibly medal in that group? We'd say Lagat is likely to medal. After that, the only ones that might medal would be Symmonds or Pierce.
And speaking of World Indoors, last week we got all cozy with top US coach John Cook, who gave us a fascinating interview as he was the featured guest of the 5th edition of Training Talk. A Thumbs Up to Cook for speaking his mind and not giving a bunch of politically correct answers. A must-listen in our book.
But the more we think about it, can we give a Tiny Thumbs Down for his decision to not send his athletes to World Indoors? We know they are going to high altitude training in Mexico this week, but a trip to Doha would only delay things by two weeks and, given the fact that there is no World Outdoors this year, does it really matter if they are ready to go early in the year?
But maybe we shouldn't even be dreaming of criticizing Cook because, even if we ignore the fact he's produced a World Championships and Olympic medal the last two years, much bigger names than Shannon Rowbury and Leonel Manzano are skipping World Indoors this year. Last week, to our shock, it came out that steeplechase world record holder Saif Saaeed Shaheen isn't going to be running World Indoors despite Qatar, his adopted country, hosting the event.
This is ridiculous in our minds. Shaheen may not be in top form by his or his coach's standards, but his recent 7:43.44 would be the 8th-fastest of anyone in the 3000 competition (only 2 Kenyans can run, otherwise he'd be lower on the list). We gotta give a Thumbs Down to Shaheen and/or the Qatari organization for holding the host nation's best athlete out of their World Championships. We're literally shocked he's not running.
Another person that deserves a Thumbs Down for not running is 2004 Olympic 800 champ Yuriy Borzakovskiy. We're all for people deciding not to do indoors as they want to prepare for outdoors, but if you run a big indoor season, please finish it off at World Indoors. One guy that will be finishing it off at World Indoors is Abubaker Kaki. Boy are we pumped about that. His duel with compatriot and 2008 Olympic silver medallist Ismail Ahmed Ismail is certainly one of the most anticipated matchups of the meet.
1:43 in early March
One other guy that we wish was running world indoors is Kenya's 800 meter star in David Rudisha. He's clearly in great form as he ran 1:43.15 in the one big meet of last week - the 2010 Melbourne Track Classic in Australia. In that meet, the fireworks expected between the 1,500 Olympic gold and silver medallists Asbel Kiprop and Nick Willis were spoiled by Australia's Jeff Risely who got the surprise win.
We have no clue why Rudisha wouldn't run worlds, where the prize money is $40,000 for 1st and $20,000 for 2nd (see the full prize payouts here). Maybe if the shoe companies would make it a requirement of their stars' contracts or add a significant bonus to run world indoors, then all of the in-form guys like Rudisha and Borzakovskiy would be there.
Since we won't get the dream matchup of Rudisha vs. Kaki, we'll have to settle for our Message Board Thread of The Week: Rudisha vs. Kaki - Who Breaks 800 WR First?
If you want to get a preview of this weekend's great action, please see the provisional world indoor entry list
or the accepted entries for the 2010 NCAA Indoors.
More: *Team USA Announced For World Indoors Starting March 12 *Steeple WR Holder Shaheen Doesn't Make The Host Qatari Team **2010 Melbourne Track Classic Recap
Did You Know? (We Didn't)
Did you know that the Australian 800 meters national record is 41 years old. Yes, 41 years old. That is our Stat of the Week. Ralph Doubell ran a WR 1:44.40 in 1968 - the same year that he won the gold at the Mexico City Olympics. We learned of the stat when we were reading an interview of several of Australia's top current 800 meter runners.
Good News/Quote Of The Week
"I was like 'I'm not even going to approach the competitive running yet' but I was like 'Am I going to have a limp? Will I be able to run with my (15-month-old) son? Will I be able to bike with my son?' and they're like 'Yes.' So I think it's good news. I think it's how much I'll be willing to work. Who knows what level I'll return to? I guess for me the biggest thing was that I'd still be able to put on my shoes and go out for runs, you know? It's such a part of who I am. And just be able to run after my son - like I say, he's kind of puzzled now."
- 2010 USA Half Marathon runner-up Serena Burla talking to runnersworld after a successful surgery to remove a tumor from her leg.
Weekly Free Training Advice
Insidethegames.com had a great profile of middle-distance coach Jama Aden. In the profile, Aden recalled a conversation he had with Abubaker Kaki when he started coaching him. The conversation shows the perfect coach/athlete dynamic in our books:
"I asked him, 'What is your goal?' He just said: 'You are the coach. You tell me.' But I said, 'No, you tell me, what is your goal?'"
The conversation is ideal as the athlete is showing a deference and total trust in his coach. The coach, in turn, isn't overly imposing himself on his athlete's ambitions and is letting the athlete dream (although we'll add that we think it's critical the coach make sure the athlete's goal is realistic). More: Aden Has The Task Of Helping Qatar's Athletes Match Its Country's Big Ambitions
Alan Webb Sighting
In our talk with John Cook, we asked him if he thought American mile record holder Alan Webb could get back on top. Cook said yes and we hope that's true. In that light, there was an Alan Webb sighting last week. He was spotted signing autographs for 200 (yes, 200) in Washington. In the article on his very impressive autograph session, it was reported that Webb is running 3-4 miles a day after his Achilles surgery. That is great news.
The article on the Webb in The Olympian said Webb had a "positive attitude" about the future. Well, that's additional good news. Other proof that he's planning on staying out West for a while came from the fact that it was discovered that his house in Virginia is on the market. And we thought the housing bubble had burst. With LetsRun.com headquarters being in Ithaca, NY, we forgot how expensive properties are
in major cities.
More: *Alan Webb Autograph Session Is Big Hit *LRC MB: Alan Webb Running 3-4 Miles A Day *LRC MB: Webb's House Is For Sale
A Thumbs Up To Doug Logan
And before we end, let us praise Doug Logan. Praise him for the following quote. Let us call it Quote Of The Week #2:
"The UK and Europe have some of the most entertaining broadcasts you can find in track and field, and there is much we can, and will, learn from them. I am committed to changing this paradigm."
The quote comes from Logan's weekly Shin Splints blog, which was devoted to talking about how the special moments in track meets are often lost on television or even at the meets by poor announcers. Logan ponders how to improve the situation and says they are wondering how much money to throw at the situation.
We have a quick and financially pain-free solution. Just hire UK announcers for the US telecasts. Either that or hire us here at LRC for distance events. We'll do it for free.
Speaking of Logan, the Monday before he and USATF awarded the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials to Houston. We think it was probably a wise move. Apparently, Boston didn't really put up a serious bid, so it was either New York or Houston. No one does more for distance running than the New York Road Runners, but everyone needs a little competition. Think about it; without Nike, track and field would be dead in this country, but it's a good thing that every now and then Reebok, adidas, Brooks or even
Saucony signs pro runners. Same thing with the marathons.
*More: LRC Houston Marathon Trials Analysis: Follow The "Support" *LRC The Inside Story: How Houston Beat Out New York For The Right To Host The 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials *US Marathoners And Coaches Respond To "Houston x 2" Announcement *Good Read: Brief Chat: Boston's Guy Morse Hoped That New York And Boston Could Trade Trials Back And Forth *Boston And New York Disappointed With USATF Decision To Go With Houston
Weekly Drug Update - The Next Few Months Could Get Interesting
A quick history lesson: In 2006, 2008 Olympic 400 champ champ Christine Ohuruogu was suspended for a year for three missed drug tests. Ohuruogu claimed she just missed the tests and never took drugs. Well, now one of her coach's prodigies, Callum Priestley, has tested positive for clenbuterol and all we can say is the scrutiny is going to get really intense.
And let's just hope that intense scrutiny doesn't go to the stars of Ethiopian distance running, but who knows what the future holds? Last week, the first Ethiopian was suspended for EPO use, as it was announced that Olympic marathoner Shetaye Gemechu had tested positive. Let's hope her case isn't the tip of the iceberg in Ethiopia.
More: *Ohuruogu Coach Claims He Knows Nothing About Priestley Positive *Gemechu First Ethiopian Runner To Test Positive For EPO *Message Board Thread On Gemechu Testing Positive
If you didn't believe us earlier when we said a little more cash would motivate the stars to show up for world indoors, then maybe this quote will help you understand that for many runners, running is a business first and foremost. Take 2004 Olympic and 2009 world steeple champ Ezekiel Kemboi for example. Last week, he announced he'll run one more year of the steeples before moving up to the marathon which may end up being more financially lucrative for him as it's hard to stay on top in track events in your 30s. Kemboi talked very specifically about the role of money in the following quote he gave to Reuters:
"Other nations give top-of-the-range cars to their Olympic and world
champions. Here we are only given 300,000 shillings (£2,600) for gold
medals, which does not help much."
More: *Kemboi Moving To Marathon in 2011
Recommended Reads/Listens/Watches From Last Week
*LRC Training Talk #5 With John Cook
*Kenya Strikes Back - Linet Masai And Vivian Cheruiyot Eclipse The Ethiopians
*Excellent Read: Article On Jama Aden, Coach Behind Abubaker Kaki And Ahmed Ismail
*LRC Ed Torres Hangs Them Up
*Japan Running News Gives Us Great Interviews From 12 Time Zones Away - Interview With Arata Fujiwara At His Favorite Bar
Popular Threads From Last Week
- ACC Men's 3000 DQ -- Cost VT the team title
- What are some of the biggest running myths?
- Chelsea King's body found in shallow grave
- Half of DII Nationals Mile/5000 Fields are from Adams State
- KYLE MERBER 3:58.5
- could bolt hold the 100, 200, 400 and 800 world records at the same time within the next 3 years?
- bolt 400l
- Anton Krupicka - The Annoying Hipster Runner
- POOR RENEE METVIER
- NRR - Brittney Griner on OTL...another Semenya?
Remembering The Last Week With The Quotes Of The Day - Day-By-Day:
Monday: "I told myself, 'enjoy yourself, hang on and take risks.' In these
moments, one should stop to think. For this medal and record, I had to
find something beyond energy, a mix of a lot of things of my life. I
had nothing to lose. I believed in myself and in my destiny. And this
medal is just a step in my career, not an end in itself."
- France's Bouabdellah Tahri, European steeplecahse and indoor 5,000m record holder and 2009 World Championships bronze medalist. He is talking about his thoughts during the late stages of the championship race.
Sunday: "Alberto ... he's a smart guy, he really is. ... I call him the Viet Cong - and that's a compliment - he will figure itout no matter what."
- John Cook on Alberto Salazar from our interview on Training Talk from Thursday night. Alberto had Galen Rupp run an 800 and mile at the UW last chance meet on Saturday.
Saturday: "I don't get great gratification, as old as I am, that I need to coach somebody. After Abdi Bile, who I think was probably the greatest athlete I will ever coach, I didn't really need to be stroked. Some people will do it for nothing and they'll do it for whatever. I'm not going to do it for nothing. I'm also gonna do it my way, and I know you could say '(or) the highway,' but it's not really that strict. But I'm just
not into self-gratification that I have to coach somebody that's great."
- Coach John Cook talkingto LRC co-founder Robert Johnson about Shalane Flanagan and Erin Donohue leaving his training group last year.
Friday: "I'm not much into running American records in front of 30 people and maybe 20 trees. I think you need to be ready when it counts. ... I believe you gotta race. And I think you gotta race at the right time and be ready to go when it counts. If somebody runs an incredible time then they can't make the American team, that's bullsh*t!"
- Coach John Cook talking to LRC co-founder Robert Johnson in a rare public interview that went for 73 minutes last night on LetsRun.com's live web radio show Training Talk. We highly recommend you listen to the interview that produced so many good quotes, we might have a Cook Quote Of The Day for the next week.
Thursday: "Everyone says, 'Fujiwara doesn't have any speed, he just runs marathons,' but I think, 'Well, that's OK, isn't it?'"
- Japanese 2:08 marathoner Arata Fujiwara talking with Brett Larner. It's great to read interviews from runners all over the world. Every one is different. Fujiwara finished 2nd in the Tokyo marathon, where 6 Japanese ran 2:13 or better in a wind, rain and snow storm.
Wednesday: "We sat down for a minute beforehand and he said, 'There's nowhere to run now, girl, so just hit the sh*t out of it and don't worry about anyone else,' and after I won, all I wanted to do was find Wilf. When I did he kept saying, 'I told you, girl, I told you, girl.'"
- Quote from 1984 Olympic javelin champion Tessa Sanderson about her coach Wilf Paish, who passed away at age 78. His obit is a Recommended Read. Another great quote, this time from athlete Mick Hill: "[Paish] coached all the events in athletics and everyone who came to the track had the same treatment as us and it made them feel special. Myself, Tessa and Peter (Elliot) actually asked him once how much it would cost to get some of his time, but he wouldn't take any money. In a sense he was a victim of his own success."
Tuesday: "When you turn down New York, you'd better be sure you're right for a number of reasons."
- Chevron Houston Marathon director Steven Karpas on Houston winning the right to host the 2012 Men's and Women's Olympic Marathon Trials over New York and Boston.