The Week That Was In Running ~ May 10-16, 2010

May 18, 2010

Last week was an epic week. There was a ton of action (almost too much). The BCS power conferences had their conference meets last week, the Diamond League got under way in impressive fashion, Tyson Gay ran 19.41, Charlie Francis passed away, and there were a ton of high quality road races. We try to recap it all for you. Along the way, we announce the return of Nancy Langat and give out special praise to AJ Acosta for an amazing performance at PAC-10s and famed coach Renato Canova for ripping the idiots on the LRC message boards.

Power Conferences Hold Their Conference Meets
Most of the big time BCS power conferences held their conference meets last week and the results were very impressive. Things are so hot in the BCS conferences that the nation's #1 men's team, Texas A&M, was only able to finish 3rd in the Big 12. Traditional power Arkansas was only 7th, yes 7th, in the SEC. The competition was simply astounding in most areas. All together, seven new national-leading marks were put up along with eight new national #2 marks. The top performances were as follows:

Men's 110h -NCAA #1 and #2 - Ronnie Ash (OU) 13.31, Lehann Fourie (Nebraska)13.44
Men's 400h - NCAA #1 and #2 - Jeshua Anderson (Wash St.) 48.63, Amaechi Morton (Stanford) 48.94
Men's LJ - NCAA #1 and #2 - Alain Bailey (Arkansas) 27'4.75", Christian Taylor (Florida) 26'10.5
Men's TJ - NCAA #1 - Christain Taylor (Florida) 54'8.75"
Men's Javelin - NCAA #2 - Cooper Thompson (USC) 253'3"
Men's Decathlon - NCAA #2 - Nick Adcock (Missouri) 7704 pts
Women's 200 - NCAA #1 & #2 - Jeneba Tarmoh (Texas A&M) 22.65, Porscha Lucas (Texas A&M) 22.72
Women's 400 - NCAA #1 - Keshia Baker (Oregon) 50.76
Women's 800 - NCAA #2 - Phoebe Wright (Tennessee) 2:01.81
Women's 4 x 400 - NCAA #1 - Arkansas 3:31.05
Women's LJ - NCAA #2 - Shara Proctor (Florida) 21'11.5"

It's interesting to see how top-notch competition inspires people. In the four events where new national #1s and #2s were set, both top marks came from competitors in the same conference, as great competition led to great marks. There was no better example of this than in the SEC men's long jump, where Arkansas' Alan Bailey jumped 27'4.75" on his 6th and final attempt to take the win away from Florida's Christian Taylor, who had jumped 26'10.5". Taylor had a great weekend, as in addition to his NCAA #2 mark in the LJ, he put up an NCAA #1 in the triple jump 54'8.75".

Oregon's Ashton Eaton also was incredibly impressive. He scored an incredible 39.25 points at the PAC-10 champs thanks to the following:

Decathlon - 1st (8154)
LJ - 1st - 25'7.5"
110h - 1st - 13.54
100 - 2nd - 10.33
4 x 100 - 4th - 40.36

Of course, you don't have to be from a BCS conference to run fast or jump far. In the men's 100, Texas San Antonio senior Teddy Williams ran a national leading 10.03 at the Southland Champs. TCU's Neidra Covington leaped 44'2" (NCAA #2) in the Mountain West Champs.

Mid-D & Distance Action
But what about the mid-d and distance action, you say? Well, obviously at conference, normally guys and girls don't run national-leading marks in the mid-d or distance events, but that doesn't mean that the power conferences aren't incredibly competitive in those events. Check out these anecdotes:

In the SEC, you had to run under 2:10 and 1:50 to make the 800 final.

In the Big 12, 11 guys broke 30:00 and you had to run 29:39.37 to score. That 11 included 6 Colorado Buffs at 29:41.19 or better. In the PAC-10, 11 guys also broke 30:00 and it was even harder to score (29:38.99 earned you one point).

In the PAC-10 on the women's side, you had to run under 16:30 to score in the 5k (16:27.62 was 8th).

In the Big Ten, you had to run under 9:00 to score in the steeple.

Special props in our mind should go out to Stanford's Chris Derrick, who won both the 10k and 5k in the super-competitive PAC-10. A very good performance for someone who missed the indoor season.

Auburn's Ben Cheruiyot won the 10k and the 5k in the SEC. For the women, Lisa Koll won the 10k and 5k at the Big 12 meet, setting a track record in 10k (33:51) and a meet record in the 5k (15:22). Also in the Big 12, Oklahoma State's John Kosgei won the 10k and 5k.

More: PAC-10:
*Final Results *Ken Goe PAC-10 Recaps *Wheating Wins, Primm chokes to 4th... *Upset > Zoe Buckman beats Katie Follet by 5/100ths to Take Pace Ten 1500m Title *Chris Derrick easily puts away Oregons Distance Runners! Big 12: Lisa Koll 15:22! *LIVE Results *LIVE Blog Big 10: *Final Results SEC: *Final Results *Florida, LSU Dominate SEC Track & Field Championships To Win Titles

NCAA Track and Field: Pacific-10 Conference Championships
AJ Acosta Celebrates His 2nd Place In The 1,500

Special Props To AJ Acosta
While there were a lot of fine performances over the weekend, we feel that 2005 Foot Locker national champ AJ Acosta of Oregon deserves a section of praise all to himself. Acosta scored in three distance events at PAC-10s and ran times in all three that would qualify him for NCAAs if he ran them at regionals. He was 4th in the steeple (8:52), 2nd in the 1,500 (3:41), and 3rd in the 5k (13:46.87). Very legit times in all three races. He deserves particular props for the 8:52 steeple, as he'd been openly mocked on the message boards all spring (and really for four years as shown by this message board thread) for even attempting to run the steeple.

Don't believe us? Well, the Saturday before the PAC-10 race, some idiot on the message board posting under the name "What Else" wrote the following about Acosta and the steeple:

    "I'm surprised someone of Vin Lananna's caliber of a coach would let one of his athlete's try the steeple without having the form and technique down first, and it's not like this is his first time racing a steeple, either. Especially when he could be used elsewhere. 9:35's and DNF's are just embarassing for a sub 4:00 miler."

Well, AJ's two previous attempts at the steeple may have been a 9:35 and a 9:32, but now he's an 8:52 guy. Plus he was able to come back and run 3:41 in the 1500 and then 13:46 in the 5k.

AJ was likely in the steeple because it's traditionally one of the weaker events at a conference meet and thus one of the easiest to get points in. Vin likely thought AJ had very little chance of getting many points in the 5k coming back the same day after running a 1500m final. Thus, if AJ wanted to score in 2 events it would be the 1500 and the steeple.

That makes AJ's 13:46 PR even more impressive in the 5k. Yes ladies and gentleman after 4 hard races, he came back and ran a 13:46 PR.  Acosta had not run a 5k in 2 years, yet after a 3:46.58 1500m heat and an 8:52.62 steeple on Saturday, he came back and ran a 3:41.83 1500m (a sub 4 mile) and then the super impressive 13:46 5k pr on Sunday. In one weekend AJ validated his collegiate career.

Acosta deserves big props for helping carry the Ducks to the Team Title. The Ducks won by 12.5 and Acosta scored 19 by himself, whereas potential NCAA favorites Andrew Wheating and Matt Centrowitz only scored 10 points (the Ducks may be saving them for NCAA doubles according to Ken Goe). If the public isn't impressed by AJ, at least his teammates are. Centrowitz, who won the 1,500 but dropped out of the 5k, had the following to say to Ken Goe about AJ:

    "I watched him finish the race (5k) and I was in awe. I sat there for five minutes after his race to take it all in."

While anonymous idiots were bashing AJ a week prior to the meet, he was very confident and knew all along what he wanted to do. The Oregonian quoted him as follows and he certainly backed up the talk:

    "I think the plan is to run everything. We'll probably enter all three, and whatever we decide to run, we'll run. If we decide to scratch something for whatever reason, we'll scratch it. I'm ready to do it all. I'm ready. I'm a workhorse. Put a load on my back, and I'll get it done."

The Diamond League Begins In Impressive Fashion
The much-hyped IAAF Diamond League got under way last week in Doha. Time will tell if the marketing of the Diamond League will work or not, but one thing can't be doubted - there will be an insane amount of competition at each event. The #1 rule of track and field should be recognized as follows: Lots of money = lots of fast performances.

In Doha, there were 5 sub-10s in the men's 100, 4 sub-1:44s in the men's 800, 4 sub-8:10s in the men's steeple, two 12:51s in the men's 5k, plus a 4:01 in the women's 1,500. Neophytes might think we were talking about cumulative results from a pretty good entire season and not merely the opening meet.

Things worth noting were 2008 Olympic champ Nancy Langat's 4:01.63 win in the women's 1,500. That's the 2nd-best time of her career. Good to see her back in form after seeing her struggle last year when she went out in the semis at Worlds. Some were probably thinking that 2008 Olympic men's 1,500 champ Asbel Kiprop was going to struggle in 2010, as he was only 2nd at Millrose and then just 4th in his two 1,500s of the year (4th in Melbourne in 3:43.67 and 4th in Kenya in 3:49.4). Don't count on Kiprop struggling, as he looked great in finishing 2nd in the men's 800 in 1:43.45. Considering David Rudisha ran 1:43.15 in Australia in March, his 1:43.00 win wasn't a shock, but it was impressive nonetheless.

You can see the results or watch race video highlights at the links below but we wanted to take a minute to comment on the men's 5,000 in Doha.

Men's 5,000 - Renato Canova Talks And We Listen
Eliud Kipchoge
and Vincent Chepkok both ran 12:51. Very impressive indeed. Yet because people haven't been running very fast in recent years in the 5k, someone on started a message board thread pondering what illegal performance-enhancing drug the top two were on.

Thankfully, famed coach Renata Canova chimed in and wrote a long defense of Kipchoge and Chepok. Canova said that in recent years the times haven't been fast in Europe for a simple reason - a lack of rabbits. You can see his post in its entirety here, but we'll provide you with an excerpt. It's certainly our Message Board Post of The Week. We wish everyone would follow his advice - Don't post about what you know nothing about:

    The most part of posters in Letsrun don't know anything about WHAT THERE IS BEHIND TOP PERFORMANCES: they don't know the type and the level of training, don't know the real life of every top athlete, don't know anything about the top Athletics World, but want to speak thinking to know everything...

    This is the ridiculous side of this Website, that, being free, has to accept a lot of stupidities from people thinking to be intelligent.

    I like to read all what I'm able to find about the life of wild animals, but I'm not an expert: so, if I go in a specific website, I read, if I don't know I ask, but I don't go to teach to the scientists what they have to do, and I don't try to explain something I don't know.

Did You Know?
A new Ethiopian men's national record was set in the men's steeple in Doha. The new record belongs to Gary Roba who ran 8:10.29. The US Men's national record is still better. Dan Lincoln ran 8:08.82.

More: Blazing Times In Doha From 100m To 5,000 *Results *Recaps *Photos *Diamond League Video Highlights Asafa Powell impressed the crowd with a 9.75w in the first round. Distance times were fast as well - 12:51s for Eliud Kipchoge and Vincent Chepkok, while David Rudisha and Asbel Kiprop ran 1:43s in the 800. Olympic champion Nancy Langat won the women's 1,500 in 4:01 to announce her return to the top. World champion Joseph Ebuya struggled home in 13:33 for 9th in the 5,000. *Asafa Powell Impresses, Allyson Felix Cruises In Opening Diamond League Meet On The Boards: RUDISHA VS KAKI *Two 12:51's in Doha! Think there might be a new PED out there? *Is this the year that Kipchoge cracks 1240..or at least sets a PR??? *Joseph Ebuya is not very good *Asafa Powell wind-aided 9.81

Tyson Gay 19.41 for 200m
The race of the week may have come from Britain, however, where Tyson Gay broke the straight 200 meter world record by running 19.41. Very impressive. Even more impressive is the fact that Gay apparently is just getting started. Check out what he said in a pre-race interview to Dave Martin:

    "I've been running 400s this year so my track levels have got stronger but I haven't been in spikes for long - just over a week now - and I still haven't done any real speedwork."

The old-record belonged to Tommie Smith, who ran 19.50 nearly 44 years ago, way back in 1966. Smith deserves major props for running so fast so long ago - and on a cinder track. It was great that the people in Britain flew Smith in for the occasion. Smith had an interesting thing to say about Gay's prospects against Usain Bolt. We'll label it the Quote Of The Week #1 (That Wasn't The Quote Of The Day) and it comes from UK's The Guardian.

    "I think [Gay can beat Bolt] at the 100 metres, I really do. He's quicker than Bolt; I mean quicker but not necessarily faster. If he gets out first, he will maintain but, if he gets out with Bolt, then Bolt's going to beat him. I'd love to see them race together."

Last week, we promised you a Race Video Of The Week and this week we think Tyson Gay's 19.41 certainly should suffice.


More: *Tyson Gay 19.41 200 *Tommie Smith Thinks Gay Can Beat Bolt At 100m *Boards:Tyson Gay 19.41 straight 200m in the UK *Boards: Did Gay really run 8.72 from 50m-150m??

Hot Road Action

  • There was hot road action across the globe but the hottest roadie is without a doubt Kenya's Lineth Chepkurui. She picked up a cool $40,000 $35,000 at the ING Bay to Breakers by setting a world record, beating the men in the battle of the sexes (by 51 seconds) and winning the checkpoint prize along the way. Chepkurui's new 12k world record will be 38:07 - some three seconds faster than the previous record, which Chepkurui herself set at Lilac Bloomsday a few weeks ago.
  • At the UAE Healthy Kidney 10k, 2009 World Cross-Country champion Gebre Gebremariam ran the fastest 10k ever in Central Park (27:42) to take home the title. It's worth noting that former marathon world record holder Khalid Khannouchi was spotted in the results at 30:31 as he attempts yet another comeback.

    It's also worth noting that US miler Jon Rankin was in the race. Always good to see the milers doing over-distance. Even better to see athletes serving as positive role models. As shown by the picture on the right, Rankin, who suffers from kidney disease himself
    "spread good cheer to children and teens at the pediatric dialysis unit at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, New York."  Pictured is Rankin and 19-year old patient Ciara Strickland.
    More: *Gebre Gebremariam Wins In 27:39, Breaks Central Park Course Record And Pockets $27,500 *Message Board Thread On Race *Khalid Khannouchi Returns *Amateur Reporter Gives Interesting Insight Into Healthy Kidney Runners Kamais, Birmingham and Co. *LRC Photos
  • The US Road mile championships were held last week. It's worth noting that Olympic flag bearer and World Championships team member Lopez Lomong was only 6th, as David Torrence continued his strong 2010 campaign and grabbed the win. Anna Pierce won the women's race over Sarah Bowman  and Christin Wurth-Thomas.
    *More Anna Pierce And David Torrence Win US 1 Mile Road Champs *Boards: 1 mile road championship thread
  • Lastly, in Britain, Haile  Gebrselassie and former World Cross-Country champion Worknesh Kidane took home the titles at the Bupa Great Manchester Run on Sunday. *Haile Struggles But Wins BUPA Manchester 10k

Photos Of The Week
LRC Photos Tell Story Of Doha Diamond League Opener Who has time to look up every result? See our photos and find out who won every event in Doha.
LRC Special:
Photos From Haile's New Resort, Tsegaye Kebede's Crib And Addis National Stadium
LRC Photos Of Khalid Khannouchi, Gebre Gebremariam Healthy Kidney 10k

Random Fact Of The Week
A new senior women's national record was set last week in Korea by a high school freshman who ran 15:38 for 5,000m.

Everyone Who Works In The NFL, NBA And MLB Needs To Read This:
Quote Of The Week #2
"In U.S. professional sports, doping bans generally require sitting out a few games or some portion of one season. A heartfelt apology in front of television cameras and a resumption of athletic excellence often bring about a virtually complete societal exoneration. Such is not the case for those who test positive for drugs in most Olympic sports. The penalties are longer, and the stigma seemingly permanent."

- The Washington Post's Amy Shipley writing on the differences between what happens to an athletes who dope in track and field (Justin Gatlin) versus the mainstream sports in the US. Last week, Brian Cushing, the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year, still won the award in a re-vote despite the fact that he tested positive for a banned drug during his award-winning season.

File photo of athletics coach Francis of Canada talking with sprinter Johnson during a workout in Toronto RIP Charlie Francis
Charlie Francis, the coach of disgraced former Olympic 1988 sprint champ Ben Johnson, died last week. We don't have time to talk about the impact Charlie Francis had on the world of track and field and sports in general but will say that people under the age of 30 probably don't realize just how absolutely shocking Ben Johnson's positive test was way back in 1988. If you want to learn more, check out the following articles:
*Ben Johnson's Coach Charlie Francis Dies After 5-Year Battle With Cancer *AP Obituary *LRC MBoard On Francis
*Ben Johnson Says The Time Has Come To Speak The Truth - Will Appear At NYC Symposium, Release Book

Recommended Reads
If you read one track and field article last week, we hope it was the article in Sports Illustrated by David Epstein on the role (or lack thereof) of genetics on sports performance. We certainly know that many people involved with the sport are jaded and think everything comes down to natural talent. Epstein's piece was very refreshing, as it gives hope to call that everything isn't genetically pre-determined.

You really need to read the long piece to understand it, as it's complex (and in our minds a bit contradictory, as it says that genetics can't explain performance but genetics might play a big role in motivation), but we'll give you a few of our favorite quotes.

Quote Of The Week #3 (That Wasn't The Quote Of The Day)
"If you want to know if your kid is going to be fast, the best genetic test right now is a stopwatch. Take him to the playground and have him race the other kids."
- Carl Foster, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Wisconsin-La Crosse (see page 4 of Espsein's article).

Quote Of The Week #4 (That Wasn't The Quote Of The Day)
"Who says motivation isn't genetic? In these mice it's absolutely the case that motivation has evolved."
- Theodore Garland, a physiologist at UC-Riverside (see
page 8 of Epstein's article). Epstein also then quoted Wayne Gretzky, who once said, "Maybe it wasn't talent the Lord gave me, maybe it was the passion."

Quote Of The Week #5 (That Wasn't The Quote Of The Day)
"Genes do not act in a vacuum. Genes are very plastic. They can be turned on or off. Look at a caterpillar and a butterfly: They've got the same genes. One flies, and one can barely crawl."
- Bernd Heinrich, a biologist, author and the 1981 North American 100K champion.

To read last week's LRC Week That Was, click Here.
To read any 2010
LRC Week That Was, click Here.

More Recommended Reads
*David Esptein - Sports Genes
*Mike Hurst - A Personal Perspective On Coach Charlie Francis
*ExcellentProfile Of Jamaican Sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser
*The Story Of New Teenage Marathoning Star Eliud Kiptanui
*StephenMayaka - The First Kenyan HS Runner In Japan
*LRC Chris Solinsky Is The Tallest And Heaviest Sub-27 Man In History Quotes Of The Day - Day-By-Day:

"Eaton will go down as one of the best collegiate track and field athletes of all-time."
- Oregon track director Vin Lananna talking about Ashton Eaton, who one week after winning the PAC-10 decathlon, ran 10.19w in the 100, won the high hurdles, won the long jump by a hair on his last jump and ran a leg on the Oregon men 4 x 100 relay. Combined with AJ Acosta running 8:52 in the steeple, 3:41 for 1,500 and 13:46 for 5,000 in a 24-hour span, the Oregon men held off USC narrowly, while the women had the best meet in the history of the PAC-10 and won almost every Sunday event.

Sunday: "In my years of coaching, including in the States, I've found that track is not a rich person's sport. Rich kids might have the talent, but they don't have that 'extra oomph.' A lot of people here are living in poverty and they want to get out."
- Jamaican coach Wainworth Small, who offers his services to promising runners at no charge. "You'd cry if you knew what went on in their lives," he says. A great insight into the rise of Jamaican track and field from Britain's Telegraph journalist Tom Leonard.

Saturday: "I've grown extremely tired of hearing people just talk about their faith. I want to see their faith ... I want to see my faith. Faith is something to be lived, not sat around and talked about. I want my walk to back up my talk. I want my deeds to align with my creeds. I want to live out what I believe. I want to serve."
- Josh Cox in an interview where he talks passionately about his faith and some of his specific training for the upcoming Comrades marathon in South Africa.

Friday: "A decade ago, when Pitsiladis began to study elite athletes, his medical students would ask why East Africans dominate distance running, to which he would reflexively respond that their secret is in their genes. 'But after 10 years of work,' he says, 'I have to say that this is a socioeconomic phenomenon we're looking at.'"
- Quote from a Sports Illustrated article from former Columbia 800 runner David Epstein about genetics in sport that says Ethiopians and Kenyans couldn't be more different genetically and that a random medical student can have more "sprinting genes" than Asafa Powell or Usain Bolt.

Thursday: "Charlie brought really the East German program (to Canada). The tale goes that he convinced some of the East German coaches to give up their stories in exchange for Levi's and American dollars."
- Athletics Canada head coach Alex Gardiner talking glowingly about Charlie Francis, the man who changed sport forever by doping Ben Johnson to 1988 Olympic 100 glory (before the infamous drug DQ). Francis died Wednesday at the age of 61 after a 5-year battle with cancer.

Wednesday: "Over time, Paula told me a lot about her workouts. We did one long run where I just pestered her about what she did before she ran 2:15, and it was great. It made it seem like anything can happen. She really reiterated that with proper training and just no limits set on yourself, anything can happen. She got there just from working hard. There is no secret potion."
- Kara Goucher in an interesting Brief Chat where she talks a lot about training with Paula Radcliffe.

Tuesday: "In soccer, we would have killed for the ratings we're getting right now." - USATF CEO Doug Logan (former head of MLS).
"Your average everyday person knows who Usain Bolt is. Everyone says, 'Oh, you run track - do you know Usain Bolt? I say, 'Yeah, and I run, too.'"

- US phenom Allyson Felix.


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