The Week That Was In Running - June 14 - June 20, 2010
June 21, 2010
Last week was a light one in terms of new action, so we take a look back at NCAAs, talk about the Great White Hope at 100 meters, praise some high school 800 phenoms, including one bound for 'Nova, before dissing high school running in general, talk about "mechanical doping" and then offer a $50,000 challenge to Anna Pierce.
Not a whole lot of action last week in the world of track and field, so we'll start the week that was by revisiting the 2010 NCAA outdoor track and field championships. Let's start with the shot put controversy. In case you missed it, last week Florida coach Mike Holloway was irate as he said a throw by Kansas' Mason Finley was mis-measured and it cost Florida a point and a co-national championship.
Where do we stand a week later? Well, everyone agrees the throw was mismeasured, including Finley. Finley admitted to the Denver Post that there was "no way" he threw it as far as he said they did, but he still thought he threw it farther than the 3rd-place performer, so it wouldn't have affected the team standings.
"I think they added a meter. I think I threw 19.68 (meters). That was my best throw, by far. I knew I had a really good throw, but no way I'm going to tell you I threw it 20.68. I'm not trying to claim that distance."
As for Holloway, a week ago, he was irate about the whole affair, but it appears that a week later either the PC police have gotten to him or he's simply calmed down as instead of saying things like, "We lost this competition because the officials didn't do their job. I've got to tell my kids that we lost the national title because (meet officials) didn't do their job." Holloway instead issued a statement where he was gracious in defeat. In part, the statement as posted on Track & Field News site read:
The situation with the NCAA shot put is unfortunate and clearly we may never know what true mark was. While we are disappointed with what happened, we here at Florida have moved forward ... In terms of the team title my hats off to Coach Pat Henry and his staff. They are the NCAA Champions and they earned that through hard work, NO ONE gave them anything.
So now that that is settled, let's hand out a few Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down for NCAAs.
Thumbs Up to Minnesota Gopher 1,500 meter runner Gabriele Anderson, who finished 2nd at NCAAs a year "after she was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer. She had surgery to remove a tumor from her neck; a month later, she began several weeks of radiation therapy." Very impressive. A Thumbs Up for the NCAA as well for letting Anderson have a 6th year, as her 5th year was wiped out due to cancer treatments. But let's give a Thumbs Down to CBS for totally ignoring the great story and not interviewing Anderson after the race.
A Thumbs Up certainly needs to go the U of Oregon and coach Vin Lananna for putting on an amazing NCAA meet.
In that light, we enjoyed Curtis Anderson's article in the Eugene Register Guard on what Lananna thought about the meet. It was full of wisdom from Vinny, including these great quotes:
"One of the main reasons I came to Eugene was to make a difference in the sport. I think we moved the needle last week."
Lananna on how he thought the crowd of 45,847 helped all athletes, not just Oregon athletes: "Typically, most people don't even know what the triple jump is. Our fans understood that nobody was more of a detriment to our team than Taylor, yet the crowd embraced him."
And Lananna talking about how even the president of the U of O even showed up:
"I thought the meet exceeded expectations due to the fans and the loyal support of track and field in this community. The university certainly embraced it. The president was at the meet all four days, we had more than 300 people come to our (UO track and field) alumni reunion, and the facility looked great."
Thumbs Up to the NCAA for keeping the Pure Regionals for 2011. As LetsRun.com's research showed, approximately 1/3rd of the people who qualified for NCAAs this year in the "qualify on a certain day or go home" format would not have qualified under a descending order list qualification system. The format rewards people for peaking when it counts, which to us is what track and field is all about and it certainly didn't hurt the power schools like Texas A&M or Oregon.
Thumbs Up to Queen Harrison and Ryan Whiting for being double winners at NCAAs: Queen
Harrison First Woman To Win Both Hurdle Events At NCAAs *Ryan Whiting Wins Shot & Discus at NCAAs
More: NCAA Keeps Super Regionals For 2011 Years LRC MBoard: NCAA Keeps Outdoor T &F Post-Season Format From 2010 For The 2011 Season
LRC Editorial: The Case For (Pure) Regionals
"I don't look fast but I am."
GWH Runs 10.02
We're sure you're asking, "What is GWH?" GWH obviously stands for the Great White Hope and by that we mean France's Christophe Lemaitre. Lemaitre is a white 100 meter man, a rarity in the world of track and field in the year 2010. A white man has never run under 10.00 in the history of the world, but Lemaitre is getting close. He ran 10.02 to get 2nd at the European team champs, losing to former drug cheat Dwain Chambers, who broke 10.00 for the first time since 2001 and ran 9.99.
More: MBoard: White Man Runs 10.02
New Balance (High School) Nationals
The high school nationals were held last week in Greensboro, NC and there certainly were some performances of note. In the girls' 2-mile, senior Megan Goethals just missed Molly Huddle's 8-year-old record of 10:01.08, as she ran 10:01.16 to win a tight affair over Aisling Cuffe (10:02.49). In fairness, it should be pointed out that Huddle's record is nowhere near the equivalent of Lynn Bjorklund's 35-year old record 3k record of 9:08.6 or Kim Mortensen's 9:48.59 3200 record.
In the middle distances, there were some fine performances, but Chris FitzSimons stole the show. The senior from CT ran a 1:47.15 split to take his team to victory in the 4 x 800 before coming from behind again the next day with a 4:05.7 1,600 split to give his team victory in the DMR. And the best part of the story? He's going to Villanova next year. It's great to see the Wildcats getting some top American talent. Spreading around the American talent will certainly help the sport thrive at the collegiate level.
We say FitzSimons stole the show, but in our minds two sophomore 800 runners turned in the most impressive showings. Sophomore Ajee Wilson split 2:00 on a GIRLS 800 meter relay leg and Zavon Watkins ran 1:47.99 on a BOYS 800 meter relay leg. For comparison's sake, the 10th grade national record for girls is held by Mary Decker, who ran 2:02.29 in 1974. For the boys, the record is Michael Granville's at 1:48.98.
More: *Results *HS
Soph GIRL Splits 2:00.59 For 800 In Sprint Med *HS
Soph BOY Splits 1:47.99
*LRC MB: Ajee Wilson, sophomore from NJ, splits 2:00 on a relay leg. Could we see Kim Gallagher's legendary record go down soon?
Proof Positive As To Why We Don't Cover More High School Track And Field
Periodically, we get emails from people complaining that we short change HS running. Our response is we primarily are focused on covering the elite side of the sport and for the most part, high school track and field is far from elite.
Yes, there were some great performances at the New Balance Nationals last week, but by-and-large, high schoolers are far from elite. Dyestat - oh, wait; dyestat doesn't exist anymore - ESPN/RISE's description of the boys' DMR opening leg says it all.
"... but (Joe) Rosa fought back and handed off in the lead with a mind-boggling split of *****. (Zavon) Watkins was right on his heels with a *****. Rosa's split is the second fastest ever recorded by a high school runner and Watkins is No. 3. Only Steve Magness of Klein Oak High in Houston, Texas (***** in 2003), has run a faster 1,200 leg than Rosa and Watkins."
We purposely redacted the times listed in the description and ask you what would be considered a "mind-boggling" split for 1,200 meters? What number comes to mind?
We doubt many of you said 2:59.56 (the other redacted times were 3:00.01 and 2:56.8). So only two HS boys in history have run under 3:00 for 1,200? Those times seem a little subpar to be labeled "mind boggling." 3:00 for 1,200 only equates to 4:10-ish in the mile (which is worth around 9:00 in the two mile).
For comparison, Rosa set the junior class national record in the 2-mile with a time of 8:44.06 at these same championships. Now that's getting into "mind boggling" territory.
Weekly Free Coaching Advice
Once again, we have searched the Internet to find elites advocating the LetsRun.com coaching approach, which above all else emphasizes working on endurance over speed. And this week's advice comes from Anna Pierce (formerly Willard). Pierce, who was one of the US's many mid-d revelations last year, has found - much like Jenny Barringer - that the more she works on her endurance/strength, the faster she gets in the 800/1,500.
Strength/Endurance = Mid-D Speed.
It's true to such an extent that Pierce said her days as a steeplechaser may be over for the time being. Take a look at the following Q&A from A Brief Chat that Runnersworld.com had with Pierce:
RW: If you stagnated in the shorter stuff could you see yourself returning to the steeple?
AP: (Long pause) No. I really don’t see myself stagnating in those events. I guess I just don’t see that happening, because my speed is getting better the more I train my strength side, which is weird. I don’t see myself going to the steeple when I have the capacity to run 50-flat. Honestly, I think I’m just too fast for the steeple and I’m not that strong, it’s too long to be honest. Maybe when I get old and slow I might move up to the 5000 or the steeple.
Pierce (and many who don't understand proper distance training) is surprised that strength = speed, but we are not. She said, "My speed is getting better the more I train my strength side, which is weird." It may be weird, but it's generally true.
That being said, we still are calling BS when she says she can run 50-flat and that brings us to the following offer:
The LetsRun.com $50,000 Challenge To Anna Pierce
LetsRun.com will pay American 800/1,500/steeple star Anna Pierce $50,000 if she ever runs an open 400 meter race on a legitimate track with fully automatic timing in 50.00 or faster.*
Now, maybe she's talking about 50-point on a relay with a running start. That at least is conceivable in our minds, but is not likely to happen. As a result, we'll pay Anna Pierce $5,000 if she ever runs 50-point for 400 meters with a running start as long as the 50 point is done wearing a LetsRun.com singlet and we get exlusive rights to film the race/practice. Heck, we think this whole concept is fun, so we'll pay her $500 for even attempting to run 50-point in a LetsRun.com singlet as long as we get to film it and she still breaks 55.
*The only caveat is she has to pass a drug test and we'll pay up two years after she passes it just to make sure. And we'll pay the money out $5,000 a year over 10 years.
Interesting Quotes From Last Week (That Weren't Quotes Of The Day)
Interesting Quote #1
"Sometimes your family don't understand why you are so upset. My mum said to me 'what are you so mad about? You didn't make the team, so what?' Sometimes people cannot understand the life of an athlete ... I think when you are younger you can look at your life and it really sucks. You can think, I work so hard, why haven't things come together, but actually life is very good. I have the money that I need to live. I have great friends, great family and the training patterns I've got into now are great. When I think about my life at the moment it is not bad."
- American hurdler Danielle Carruthers talking in a spikesmag.com profile of her that is worth reading, as you learn that people are still working part-time jobs trying to make the Olympics. Carruthers works booking tennis courts and often survives on $2 packets of noodles.
Interesting Quote #2
"It gets to him. When he sees Usain making the top-10 list on the sports channel and he doesn't, he doesn't like it. Or that Gatorade advert [in which Bolt is the only non-American sports star featured]."
- Michael Stroh, Tyson Gay's live-in personal assistant and massage therapist, talking in a great Guardian profile about how Usain Bolt's fame rankles Gay. "More Quotes:
Interesting Quote #3
"I've always loved running. Besides you only live one time and when I do stop running it will be over forever. So I am going to make the most of it while I still can."
- 39-year-old hurdler Allen Johnson, who won Olympic gold back in 1996. Johnson is hoping to break 13.20 this year. *At Age 39, Allen Johnson Is Still Hungry
Interesting Quote #4
"If you look back at the late '70s it was all about your finishing time in a marathon. But now running is about being fit, feeling good and empowered, and raising money for a cause."
- Mark Sullivan, president of Formula 4 Media, which publishes a newsletter called Running Insight, talking in a New York Times article about how Brooks is trying to reach the casual jogger.
Weekly Drug Cheat Update
If you need proof that some human beings will do almost anything to get an unfair advantage, then you are going to like our Video of the Week. Instead of showing you an exciting video, we are going to show you a youtube video that ponders the question if professional cyclist Fabian Cancellara, a 3-time world time trial champion and Olympic gold medallist, actually used a motorized bicycle to win several pro races this year. Watch this video and then tell us what you think.
If you don't think there is at least a possibility it's happening, then you are näive. We say if something can be done (to cheat), it probably has been. As a result of the controversy, the Tour de France announced last week that they will scan all bikes for motors at this year's Tour. Our question is: How long until we see some form of "mechanized doping" in the world of running? Maybe the barefoot running craze is actually useful - make everyone race barefoot to ensure they aren't cheating.
Recommended Reads From Last Week
*Altitude & The World Cup
*LRC Exclusive: An Inside Look At The After Effects Of The Rome Golden Gala Fiasco At 400 Meters
*Tyson Gay Tired Of Being In Usain Bolt's Shadow
*Gabriele Anderon Battles Back From Cancer
*Danielle Carruthers Profile The top 10 hurdler has no shoe contract and works at a tennis facility to continue chasing her Olympic dream.
Last Week's Quotes Of The Day:
frustrating (that Tyson Gay doesn't have half the profile of Usain
Bolt). At the end of the day it's not like he's not running fast. He's
just trying to beat a guy that's seven inches taller than him. You do
- Tyson Gay's sprint coach Lance Brauman talking in a fantastic piece on Gay and Brauman in The
Independent Guardian. A British jouranlist travelled all the way to Florida and
Brauman and Gay opened up as a result. Brauman even talked about his
felony conviction which he says doesn't "rank as a real big deal to me."
Friday/Saturday: "People have said to me, 'She's running so well. Why?'
If you have cancer, you know why. Everything has been put into perspective. She willed herself to do this. And the way she fought, and what she's done, that's going to be a story around here forever.''
- Minnesota Gopher coach Gary Wilson talking about Gabriele Anderson, who finished 2nd in the NCAA 1,500m final on Saturday.
history with debuts is strong. It's a good place for significant
athletes. They can throw the pressure of time out the window and just
race. Shalane is a racer."
- ING New York City Marathon director Mary Wittenberg talking in a Boston Globe article on how Shalane Flanagan will as expected make her marathon debut in New York this fall. For her part, Flanagan says, "I would love to win another Olympic medal, but more than anything, I would love to win a major marathon."
Wednesday: "My dad e-mailed me after the race (where I ran 27:29), saying that he remembered Dave Bedford when he ran his world record 27:30, watching him throw up afterwards on TV. He said: 'I just can't believe my son's beaten that.' Nor can I, when you put it like that."
- British 10,000-meter man Chris Thompson talking about his breakthrough 27:29 10,000-meter performance at Stanford last month. Thompson is healthy for the first time in a long time and dreaming big and giving big credit to Nike OTC coach Mark Rowland.
Tuesday: "We lost this competition because the officials didn't do their job," Florida coach Mike Holloway said. "I've got to tell my kids that we lost the national title because (meet officials) didn't do their job."
- Gator coach Mike Holloway after the NCAA meet, where NCAA officials met to determine if Mason Finley's 20.68m shot put was mismeasured (it was 4 feet over his PR). Florida's Kemal Mesic finished 4th (officially) but believes he should have been 3rd, which would have given Florida an extra point to tie Texas A&M for the national title. Get more details at the LetsRun.com message board thread here.