The Week That Was In Running - January 12 - 17, 2011

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January 18, 2011

Quotes Of The Week (That Weren't Quote Of The Day)

Quote Of The Week #1 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)

    "In other words, LaShawn Merritt has been banned from the Olympics because he took a pill that he thought would give him a bigger penis ... Surely there's no shame in being forever known as the medallist who wanted a bigger gong. Seems to me, this is one rap where you hide the truth and say: 'I took steroids because I wanted to be even faster.'"

- Paul Lewis writing in the New Zealand Herald about the LaShawn Merritt doping controversy. Lewis writes that Merritt's sex-related excuse for a doping positive test is nowhere near the #1 best sex-related excuse in history. That goes to 1992 Spanish Olympic walking champion Daniel Plaza, who beat a 1996 positive doping test by saying that an extending session of oral sex with his pregnant wife resulted in him testing positive for nandrolone.
Kiwi Author Rips LaShawn Merritt Over His Drug Positive

Quote Of The Week #2 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)

    "Sports was considered a pastime, only for lazy people or people with a lot of time."

- American miler Leo Manzano talking about how sports were viewed in his native village in Mexico in a nice profile on him in the Austin American-Statesman. The article also quotes Manzano describing what his parents thought of his running when he joined the track club in middle school: "All they saw was I was running and had no job. They thought, 'What are you doing wasting your time?'"
Leo Manzano Rejuvenated And Focused On 2012

Quote Of The Week #3 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)

    "London may not be as easy as New York."

- Marathoner Mary Keitany talking in an article in the Daily Nation about her preparations for this spring's London Marathon. Despite being a marathon novice, Keitany, who was third in New York in her marathon debut in November, knows that the London marathon is the most stacked marathon in the world each year in terms of professionals. We just hope she didn't kill her future appearance fees in New York.
More: After Finishing Third In Marathon Debut, Mary Keitany Hoping To Up Game & Win In London

Praise To Those Trying To Raise The Profile Of The Sport

We haven't given out Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down in a while and since there are definitely some people/companies needing some praise, we will bring the Thumbs back this week for those who are trying to promote the elite level of track and field/distance running.

Thumbs Up to 2009 World Championships 1500-meter bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury, three-time USA Champion David Torrence, 2000 Olympian Bolota Asmerom, and the Bay Area Track Club for putting on the first ever Bay Area Cross Challenge last week.

A pro cross-country race in the US - imagine that. Such a great development. In our minds, nothing can top that from a true distance runner's perspective as cross-country is true distance running and in our book should be in the Olympics (winter would be great, but we'd even say put it in the summer and take out the 10k. Sounds blasphemous at first, but with some hay bales and a cool course, the XC might get some television in the US).

Prize money went seven deep.

 1. Molly Huddle, Saucony, 19:19 ($2000)
 2. Renee Metevier Baillie, Nike, 19:31 ($1000)
 3. Magdalena Lewy Boulet, Saucony, 19:32 ($750)
 4. Alissa McKaig, ZAP Fitness/Reebok, 19:33 ($300)
 5. Reilly Kiernan, New York Athletic Club, 19:49 ($200)
 6. Nicole Blood, Nike Oregon Track Club, 20:11 ($150)
 7. Meghan Armstrong, Team USA Minnesota, 20:26 ($100)
 8. Tanya Zeferjahn, Bowerman AC, 20:36
 9. Kate Niehaus, Unattached, 20:44
10. Alexa Glencer, Impala Racing Team, 20:49

1. Ben Bruce, Nike Oregon TC, 23:12 ($2000)
 2. Kevin Chelimo, Nike Oregon TC (KEN), 23:12 ($1000)
 3. Max King, Unattached, 23:12 ($750)
 4. Jon Pierce, Mammoth Track Club, 23:49 ($300)
 5. Phillip Reid, Asics Aggies, 23:55 ($200)
 6. Jacques Sallberg, Unattached, 23:57 ($150)
 7. Stephan Shay, Saucony, 24:08 ($100)
 8. David Torrence, Nike, 24:12
 9. Cole Atkins, ZAP Fitness/Reebok, 24:14
10. Joe Driscoll, ZAP Fitness/Reebok, 24:19

More: Molly Huddle Wins, Ben Bruce Wins 3-Way Sprint

Thumbs Up to the University of Portland for trying to increase the awareness of track and field and present it to the public in an entertaining way. Far too many college programs put zero effort into marketing or presenting the sport to the casual sports fan, but Portland is going to have Trevor Dunbar go for sub-4 at the halftime of an upcoming baksetball game. They also are putting on a series of all-comers meets in the middle of the week at night when the community is encouraged to race.

Very refreshing in a day and age when in the last month we had a prominent coach of several world champions complain to us that many colleges won't even let pro track and field stars touch the college tracks. More: Trevor Dunbar To Run Mile Race On 240m Track At Halftime Of Portland Basketball Game

Lastly, a Thumbs Up to New Balance for stepping up to save the pro indoor meet in Boston by taking over title sponsorship of the meet formerly known as the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. New Balance employee Josh Rowe was apparently shown the door at Nike a few years back and he's slowly trying to get New Balance into the game of association with elite level track and field, as they also are now the title sponsor of the outdoor high school national meet.

More: Reebok Boston Indoor Games Becomes New Balance Indoor Grand Prix *More On New Balance's Rescue Of Boston Indoor Games *New Balance Games At Armory Next Week To Feature Stacked Women's 800 And 1,500 The 800 features Maggie Vessey vs. NCAA champ Phoebe Wright, whereas the mile features Jenny Barringer vs. Canadian Olympians Carmen Douma-Hussar and Megan Wright, Ireland's Ciara Mageean (the reigning IAAF World Junior Championships silver medallist at 1,500m), Serbia's Marina Muncan (the 2009 World University Games 1,500m champion) and Americans Frances Koons, Lindsay Gallo and Brenda Martinez. *LRC MB: New Balance is getting hard into the running game

Cross Country: IAAF World Cross Country Championships XC Action: Ebuya is Not Invincible
Speaking of Cross Country just when Joseph Ebuya seemed to becoming a dominant force (see On The Boards: Is Joseph Ebuya 2011 form nearing the form of 2002-2006 Kenenisa Bekele's?)and on his way to a second world title, he got crushed in an XC race in Spain this past weekend. Ebuya had two wins in 4 days two weeks ago and we were full of praise for him last week on this page. Maybe that took something out of him as he was only 5th to World 10k and 15k record holder, Leonard Komon in the Seville XC Race that had a $420,000 budget. Ebuya has been very inconsistent on the track but until this race in XC, he had been on a steady profession to the top. On the distaff side, Vivian Cheruiyot, world 5k champ, defeated world 10k champ Linet Masai. Masai had defeated Cheruiyot one week earlier in the snow in Edinburgh. World XC with defending champ Emily Chebet also in the mix should be a great one.

*Seville XC Recap and Results

Praise To India's #1 Marathoner

Last week, the Mumbai Marathon was held and we didn't mention that India's Lyngkhoi Binning defended his title as India's top marathoner with a 2:21:16 clocking. 2:21 for a male, even in hot conditions, isn't something that normally garners much praise on (unless a female like Paula Radcliffe was running it). However, we should praise Binning as his story is inspiring. He is going to use his $6,000 prize money to get his father treatment for tuberculosis. As Binning told

"There is no proper medical facility where I live. To provide better treatment, I have to bring him to a city hospital. But I didn't have enough money for that. Thankfully, after this win, I can immediately start my father's treatment."

The story gets better. In a day and age of bloated government and everyone having a sense of entitlement, Binning hadn't asked anyone else for help prior to the race as he was confident he could help himself:

"I wanted to do as much as I could for my father. I was confident of doing well in the Mumbai race, so I didn't ask anyone for help."

More: *Indian Winner Binning Lyngkhoi To Use Prize Money To Treat Ailin Father *Indian Runners Aim For Olympics Entry At Mumbai Marathon

The Week That Is To Be/Thumbs Down For The Week

What goes up, must come down right? We feel obligated to give a thumbs down to somebody although no true villain exists. How about a Thumbs Down to the Millrose Games for not telling us who will be in the men's two mile and the race is next week? We know Galen Rupp is racing in it but don't know who he is racing.

One of the biggest problems with track is it's incredibly hard to follow the sport, as there is no schedule published in advance and fans have no idea who is racing when or where.

That being said, we certainly know it's not easy to be a meet director, as athletes often pull out at the last minute since athletes are basically free agents and can do as they please, but we here at aim to try to help you the fan out in 2011 by telling what you can look forward to. When we started "The Week That Was" a few years ago, we thought about also writing a "Week That Is To Be" that looked ahead. Instead in 2011, we hope to put in a blurb most weeks as to what there is to look forward to.

This Weekend: New Balance Games
Next Weekend: Millrose Games & the USA Half Marathon Championships
Two Weekends From Now: USA Cross-Country Championships/New Balance Indoor Grand Prix

Millrose at the very least will feature Wanamaker Mile king Bernard Lagat versus 2010 world indoor champ Deresse Mekonnen in the mile. That and Millrose's history should be enough to get some of you in the seats. We learned last week that the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix will feature Alan Webb versus Nick Willis with high school phenom Lukas Verzbicas thrown into the mix. More: *Willis, Webb (And Verzbicas) To Battle In Mile In Boston *LRC MB: Webb vs Willis vs Verzbicas at New Balance Indoor

Actually, we just came up with a legitimate Thumbs Down. Thumbs Down to the idiots in Spain who voted suspected doper Nuria Fern├índez as Spain's top female track athlete in 2010. We know the voting was taken before the doping scandal broke but couldn't some common sense come into play? This would be like giving someone an award for their huge charitable donation after they were accused of stealing the money which they donated. At least note, she won the voting but will not receive the award. More: Nuria Fernandez Voted Spain's Top Athlete In 2010

Did You Know???

Did you know that Oregon running back LaMichael James, who was third in the Heisman voting this year, is also a track and field runner for the Ducks?

It's true - James was fifth in the PAC-10 100 and had a windy seasonal best of 10.52 last year.

Pundits always say that the #1 reason that the SEC wins the national title every year in football is because of their superior speed. That's certainly true in the case of James, as his 10.52 wouldn't even make the final of the SEC meet and his wind-legal seasonal best of 10.72 would have placed him just 18th in the SEC.

Did you know that Russian high jumping stud Alexsandr Shustov wants Russia to adopt a cutthroat qualifying system like the US where the top finishers at the national champs go to Worlds or the Olympics?

Thumbs Up to him, for that as it's the way it should always be done in the US. We understand why coaches and agents of the very best US athletes like to complain about the US system as possibly hurting their stars' chances for medals (remember Tyson Gay in 2008), but the alternative of having bureaucrats decide is un-American and unacceptable in our mind.

Imagine if the following people all indicated they wanted to run the 5,000 at Worlds next year and USATF administrators were left to pick the team:

Alan Webb, Dathan Ritzenhein, Chris Solinsky, Bernard Lagat, Matt Tegenkamp, Bernard Lagat, Evan Jager

Absolute chaos would result and the situation would even be worse if all of the athletes weren't sponsored by Nike, as any selection of Nike athletes would probably questioned since Nike basically supports USATF (realizing that all of those studs are sponsored by Nike makes us give them a mini-thumbs as their sponsorship of track and field is way, way, way bigger than anyone else and we've been full of love for New Balance earlier for their support of the Boston meet).

More: *Aleksandr Shustov, Russian High Jumping Stud, Wants Russian Qualifying System For Big Events To Be Like USA - 1-2-3 At National Champs * Oregon's LaMichael James, Who Was Third In Heisman Voting, Will Still Run Track This Spring

Recommended Reads

Shockingly we didn't really have any listed as such on our website last week.

Weekly Doping Update

IOC Backs Doping Rule That Will Ban LaShawn Merritt From 2012 Games It will be interesting to see if this is ruled as 2nd punishment for a single crime. A German lawyer says it's just a condition of participation - not a sanction. If not going to the Olympics isn't a sanction, we don't know what is.

False Start: Trial Of Cheating Greek Sprinters Kostas Kenteris And Katerina Thanou Starts & Then Is Quickly Postponed Until January 21
Pre-Trial: 6 Years Later:
Greek Sprinters To Stand Trial For False Statements At 2004 Olympics
*Spain Calls For Doubling Doping Bans From 2 To 4 Years

As Career Comes To An End, Armstrong Not Losing Sleep Over Doping Investigation

Quotes Of The Day From Last Week

Monday: "Apart from Seb Coe, who is trying to honour a promise, and a few athletes who are defending the sport they love, no one in this country can seriously believe athletics needs an arena with 60,000 seats, even after the 2012 Olympics, which have been invested by governments with a hypnotic power to turn us all into hammer throwers and 800 metres runners."

UK writer Paul Hayward, arguing that is it crazy for there to be a 60,000-seat athletics stadium in the UK after the Olympics. He says the sport is in the "margins" in the UK. Just food for thought for all those who think track is super popular in Europe.

Sunday: "My legs are not as long.

But it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

US 1,500m star Leo Manzano in a lengthy profile in the Austin American-Statesman.

Saturday: "I stay far away from reading comments on message boards ect (sic), which honestly is a shame because I am sure there are a lot more encouraging people out there than critics but I cannot entertain the words of critics in my head. When I do hear the criticism I give little merit to those words because most of those people do not know me, my unique situation or are offering wisdom. I do listen to the words that come from people I trust and have a relationship with. In terms of motivation, I have been motivated by a lot of different things in the past over my past 14 years of running including wanting to prove people wrong but what I have found to be the most motivating thing for me to run for is loving God and other people."

Ryan Hall, the finest American-born marathoner in history, writing in an online chat one year out from the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials.

Friday: "I am resigning as MAAU vice president because I have not contributed as I have wanted. I take responsibility for my part but I have only served one term of two years.

What about others who have been there for so many terms? What have they been doing? I don't want to accuse anyone but they should know their weaknesses and if they are not contributing and not taking MAAU forward, they should leave."

K Yogesvaran, Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union vice president, announcing he was stepping down because he was not making the impact he wanted. We wish more administrators were like him.

Thursday: "The thing that really makes the difference - iconic, driven coaches like Arthur Lydiard. You can't just dial up another coach."

- Peter Snell talking about the importance of coaches over administrators and exercise physiologists.

Wednesday: "Last year he (Galen Rupp) only averaged 80 miles a week ... That's not enough. This year we're doing 110 now and he's already feeling a lot stronger. Someday he'll be at 120 or 130. Not next year. We'll do it gradually.

- Alberto Salazar on his pupil Galen Rupp.

Tuesday: "I had a choice between losing my leg or losing my life, so I chose to live."

- 1996 Olympic discus champ Ilke Wyludda on having her leg amputated after getting septicemia.

Last Week's Homepages
*Mon (Jan. 17) *Sun (Jan. 16) *Sat (Jan. 15) *Fri (Jan. 14) *Thu (Jan. 13) *Wed (Jan. 12) *Tue (Jan. 11)


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