The Week That Was In Running - December 27, 2010 - January 2, 2011
January 5, 2011
We are still in a post-2010 hangover and operating with 1/3rd of our normal amount of help as various people take vacations, so we now present you for the third straight week an abbreviated version of the Week That Was. We give you enough below to go back in time and relive the week if you missed it yourself - although, truthfully, if you missed the week, you didn't miss too much. Hopefully this is the last time during the Holiday season that we don't write a long recap.
Two big things of note happened last week. One, Sammy Wanjiru, the Olympic marathon champ (and in our mind the greatest marathon talent to ever live), was arrested after supposedly attempting to kill his wife. We don't know what to say about that except "Wow."
Two, the biggest race of the year in Japan took place as the Hakone Ekiden took place. The New Year's Ekiden, which takes place over two days, is basically their version of the NCAA cross-country championships - except it's way bigger and better. Don't believe us? Let us persuade you.
1) The Japanese teams are better than the American teams. This year, the top two teams in Japan both had seven guys with 10,000m PRs under 29:00. We remember in 2003 when Stanford dominated NCAAs under Andy Gerard that their sixth-fastest 10k runner was a 28:55 guy, but we can't think of an NCAA team in at least the last 20 years with depth like the current top Japanese teams. A UTEP team or two from the '70s or '80s likely had 7 or more sub-29:00s on the same squad, seeing as how they had 7 in the top 20 at NCAA XC in 1981 and 3 sub-27:40s on the track the following spring, but while we believe they had 5 at 28:38 or better on that 1981 XC team, we're not sure of all their PRs. If anyone knows, or if we are wrong about the more recent NCAA teams, please email us. But back to the current Japanese teams, the top two squads in the Ekiden came through with course record performances, as those top two teams averaged the equivalent of a sub-64:00 half marathon per man for a 10-man squad (the average length of each leg is 21.8 km).
2) The race is broadcast live on national television (and Larry Rawson isn't an announcer).
If those arguments didn't convince you, then maybe you are a visual learner. Check out the video below, which shows you how there is a big crowd watching and how much better the Japanese announcing is than the American version. The announcers are excited as the teams battled it out for spots 8-11 and one runner takes a wrong turn.
Want to know more? Our friends at japanrunningnews.blogspot.com have it all broken down for you.
3) Japanese Collegiate Ekiden Ends In Thrilling Fashion!!! The two greatest collegiate teams ever assembled (both teams had seven guys with 10,000m PRs under 29:00) put on a show as they both broke the course record and ended up with the closest finish in the 87-year history of the most prestigious Ekiden in the world. *Day 1 Recap
Other Happenings Of Note
Sammy Wanjiru In Serious Trouble
Sammy Wanjiru Arrested For Attempting To Kill His Wife And A Domestic Worker
The charges against the world's greatest marathoner are very serious:
attempting to kill (murder in some accounts) his wife and a housekeeper,
and wounding a security guard by striking him with a rifle butt.
is out on Sh300,000 bond ($3700 USD). Wanjiru allegedly came home drunk,
had an argument with his wife, and then attempted to shoot his wife and the watchman according to this second article. He was in possession of an illegal AK-47 according to this third article.
*Message Board Thread
*Wanjiru's Court Date Is February 9th
Olympic Marathon Champ And Accused Attempted Murderer Sammy Wanjiru And His Wife Supposedly Reconcile Press reports are indicating that the families of Wanjiru and his wife got involved and urged a reconciliation which may result in charges being dropped, although his wife was a bit coy in her responses to the press (as we're sure $$$ is still being negotiated). *Updated LRC MBoard Talk: "He is now officially qualified to be a professional American athlete. Can some of the women on this board tell me why abused women stay with their abuser. Often, until they are beaten to death?"
Sammy Wanjiru's Wife Says She Hasn't Reconciled And That She Wants A Divorce She also claims her mother-in-law is a royal pain in the ***.Other News
*Haile Crushes LRC Favorite Menjo In Angola
*Stephen Furst And Desiree Davila Set Course Records At Emerald Nuts Midnight Run In NYC
*Millennium Mile Results In New Hampshire
*Dos Santos And Timbilil Cruise To Sao Paulo Wins
*Fulfilling Favorite Roles, Tadese And Augusto Prevail In Madrid
*Merga And Cheruiyot Take Dramatic Victories In Bolzano
*Toyota Takes First New Year Ekiden Title
*Kipchumba Breaks Course Record At Xiamen Marathon (2:08:07)
Quotes Of The Day From Last Week
- Olympic marathon champ Sammy Wanjiru,
talking in an article in Kenya's Daily Nation that reveals he and his
wife's family have come together and urged the couple to reconcile. It
seems like $$$ may result in charges being dropped, although she was coy
in her responses to the press.
(Note: The LetsRun.com site is being updated at a minimal level until Monday evening)
- Palestinian runner Nader el Masri, who runs each day in the dangerous Gaza Strip in hopes of representing Palestine at the 2012 Olympics. He's run 100 mpw in the same pair of shoes all year and gets by on $530 per month.
- World indoor 800m bronze medalist and US 800m champ Alysia Johnson.
- Blogger Conway Hill on David Rudisha, David Oliver, David vs. Goliath, and the 2010 Track Year. Like this quote? Help us pick the top quote on LetsRun.com in 2010.
- Beijing Paralympic Silver Medallist Monique van der Vorst on handcycling. Inexplicably, van der Vorst recently started walking again and will not be allowed to compete in the Paralympics anymore.
"He came in about an hour and a half after the winner. He was practically carrying his leg, it was so bloodied and bandaged," Greenspan recalled in an interview with ESPN.com nearly a decade ago. "I asked him, 'Why did you keep going?' He said, 'You don't understand. My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start a race, they sent me to finish it.' That sent chills down my spine and I've always remembered it."
- Excerpt from the AP obituary of legendary Olympic filmmaker Bud Greenspan, who passed away at age 84 on Christmas day. Check out Bud's work here.