The Week That Was: Centro Goes Pro Early - Or Does He?; Dropping Out of A Marathon Is Good; Women Marathoners Have It Easy; And All Hail Yuki Kawauchi
December 6, 2011
2011 Nike Cross Nationals
The 2011 Nike Cross-Country Nationals were held, which crown the best high school cross-country team in the land. The story of the day was that the
Fayetteville-Manlius girls Manlius Girls Cross Country Club won their 6th straight "national title" as they defeated New York rival Saratoga by a score of 60 to 84. In the boys race, CBA of New Jersey came through as the favorite and won 91 to 95 over Texas' South Lake Carroll.
Or were the scores really 128 to 183 in the girls race and 221 and 235 in the boys?
We would argue the latter. One of the things that drives us nuts about cross-country is the fact that individuals not on scoring teams don't count in the team scores. At the NCAAs, where most of the top individuals are on the top teams, it doesn't make a huge difference. But at the high school level, it makes a huge difference in the final score, as there really isn't much if any recruiting done at the high school level, so many of the top individuals aren't on the top teams. For example, at this year's NXN, only 6 of the top 25 finishers in the boys race counted in the team scoring and in the girls 12 of 25.
In the LetsRun.com world, everyone would count in a race. Feel free to email us if you think we are crazy but to us it makes no sense that people can lose to someone in a race and not have it affect them in the team score.
In other high school action, the Foot Locker West Regional was held. The headline story from that race in our minds was summed up perfectly by the following message board thread titled: Girl qualifies for Footlocker Nationals... declines invitation
Yes, that's right. And we think we'd do the same thing. 4th placer Sarah Robinson bowed out because of a commitment to the US national U17 soccer team. In a day and age when a focus on self rules the land, it's great to see someone putting TEAM first.
While we are on the topic of High School running, we thought we'd answer a common question we get in the LetsRun.com email inbox, "Why don't you cover High School running more?" Several reasons.
a) We try to cover truly elite running and most often high school running isn't truly elite.
b) We don't think that hyping high schoolers is necessarily great for teenagers because a lot of them get used to running for the "press/fame/hardware" instead of learning to enjoy the process. When they get in college, it can be a real struggle as they no longer are winning and no longer getting any press.
c) You all are more interested in what we do cover. If we were going to cover high school more it would make sense to start a different site.
In that light, we thought the following message board thread was pretty eye-opening: 2008 footlocker class huge flop. The thread points out that only three of the men's 2008 Foot Locker finalists were even in the top 100 at NCAAs this year. It's hard to do well as a freshman or sophomore male in college, but as juniors, one would expect a bit more. It just shows what a big jump high school is to college.
More: F-M Girls Win 6th Straight National Title *DyeStat Recap: Futsum And CBA Win On Boys Side, F-M And Sara Baxter For The Girls *6th Straight NXN Victory For Fayetteville-Manlius Girls Coach Bill Aris said he dedicated all his efforts to his father and fellow coach, John Aris, who passed away less than a month ago. *MileSplit Pics And Video *On The Boards: *Futsum Wins It!!
We know it drives some people nuts when we hype our own stuff at LetsRun.com. Well, get ready to go totally ballistic, as this week we hype not only our own stuff but our own content that is inspired by a sponsor - PUMA. As past of PUMA's sponsorship of LetsRun.com, PUMA is giving away 100 pairs of their new Faas shoes and we've been holding a contest to see who gets the free gear. Honestly, reading about the winners is truly inspiring as it gives us insight into the greatest asset of LetsRun.com - the community of people who come and visit each and every day. You can read their stories below. Puma isn't even paying us to put this here. We're inspired by the stories and you all apparently are too by the emails we've received.
PUMA Faas Winners
Batch #5: The Coaches
Batch #4: Married Guys and a Guy Whose Wife and Kids Left Him
Batch #3: Winter Wonderland: South Dakota, A National Champion Coach, Valdez, Alaska, and TxRUNNERgirl Represent
Batch #2: A 27:31 10ker, A Marine Corps Marathon Champ, A Girl From Our Favorite High School, And a Guy Who Loves Asics, And a (Shoe) Geek
Batch #1: A Boxer Who Runs 100 Miles A Week, A Guy Sick Of Getting Free Nikes, A Soldier Doing Intervals With Incoming Rounds, A 16-Year-Old Aspiring Champ
*Japanese Running News Recap Of 2011 Fukuoka International Marathon: Ndambiri With The Win, Kawauchi With The Wonder - Fukuoka International Marathon
*Jake And Zane Robertson Chasing A Dream In Deepest Africa If you aren't familiar with their story, the two twin brothers left home four years ago at 17 to live and train in Kenya. Apparently they are now living separately with African girlfriends, one in Kenya and one in Ethiopia.
*For 16-Year-Old Jacko Gill, Olympics Are Just One Throw Away Jacko's dad, Walter: "When he goes into a build-up phase, he does three training sessions a day. Some of them are in the middle of the night. The house shakes and the dog runs outside. We might be asleep, and he'll be lifting weights or bounding up and down the stairs to our bedroom door. He's definitely different. How we ever produced that, I'll never know, but we're very proud of him."
*Driven By Olympic Dreams, USA Athletes Are Flocking To Las Vegas Half This Weekend As It's The Last Good Chance To Make Marathon Trials
*Looking Back: Sally Meyerhoff's Promising Path Cut Short
*Rich Castro, Founder Of Bolder Road Runners, Retires As Head Of Road Runners We loved this quote: "Before there was a running boom in Boulder, before Frank Shorter won his gold and silver Olympic medals and helped Steve Bosley start the Bolder Boulder 10K, before the Boulder Creek Path and all the area training groups, there was Rich Castro."
Other News Of Note From Last Week
The athletes got two pieces of good news. One that appears to be fortuitous, one because of the athletes' hard work. First, the hard work: the athletes got USATF to drop their own uniform restrictions at all national championships except the Olympic Trials (which fall under USOC rules). So anything will go apparently in terms of uniforms. The other news was the IAAF announced that athletes can have two small corporate logos instead of one on their jerseys in IAAF meets and these don't have to be shoe company logos. Rome wasn't built in a day but this was some rather quick progress for the athletes.
*TFN Article Post Explaining Changes *LRC thread
LRC Chaos At USATF Convention
As Athletes Make Good Progress On Logo Restrictions The twittersphere blew up after a meeting that was being streamed on the internet without the participants' knowledge was shut down in grand fashion with people storming out of it, but all in all the athletes are making good progress. Bob Hersh of the IAAF surprised them by saying in 2012 the IAAF will allow 2 logos on jerseys.
*New IAAF Rule Will Let Athletes Display 2 Logos On Uniforms Nick Symmonds: "Who knows, you could be seeing Nick McDonald's running in the Olympics next year."
Time To Look Ahead To ...
This weekend (Dec. 10th), the first ever Sally's Run will be run in honor of US Olympic marathon hopeful and triathlete Sally Meyerhoff, who died tragically in a cycling accident earlier this year. Proceeds will support the newly-formed Sally Meyerhoff Foundation, which was created by her family "to provide financial assistance for distance runners and triathletes trying to launch a pro career." To find out more about the foundation or race, check out this website: http://www.sallymeyerhofffoundation.com/
Quote Of The Week (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)
The Former Coach Of Jake & Zane Robertson Talking About How Into Running The Twins Were Before They Decided To Move To Africa To Train With The Best As Teenagers
"They were very determined. I have never met a more single-minded pair trying to make it to the top. They spent all their time on the computer, researching what the Kenyan athletes were doing. In the end, they decided the only way to get to the top was to leave home and train with the best."
- Don Willoughby, coach of the Robertsons when they were in New Zealand, talking in a New Zealand Herald profile of the twins. The profile described the twins' move to Africa as "a physical and spiritual experiment that has taken them from promising junior champions to the verge of world class, but so far, it's probably been more about the journey than the destination." Our response would be - life is a journey - not a destination.
Quotes Of The Day From The Week:
- Nick Symmonds joking(?) that he's even willing to legally change his last name to satisfy potential sponsors, as an athlete's name is prominently displayed on bibs worn in competition.
Sunday 12/04: "At 36 km a spectator yelled, 'Go Kawauchi!' loudly, and, hearing him, Imai looked back. And the action began ...
Imai came back at 39.3 km, and it became the kind of race organizers dream about, two intensely popular runners going for the throat one against the other for their Olympic dream. Imai surged. Kawauchi surged. Imai! Kawauchi! If you weren't a fan of the sport this was the kind of race that would make you one, and if you were you'd be jumping and shouting like thirty of us were in a sushi place in the mountains west of Tokyo. Surge, attack, counter, on and on until finally Kawauchi, able or willing to go somewhere Imai couldn't, went to the limit at 40 km to break Imai down. Kawauchi clocked 6:50 for the final 2.195 km, the fastest in the field by 18 seconds and 22 seconds faster than Ndambiri's closing split. That's 16 seconds a mile at the finish. Across the line in 2:09:57, a characteristic collapse, oxygen on a stretcher, and a tearful Imai empty-handed and desolate except for the minor consolation of a 9-second PB ...
It's true, 2:09:57 and 3rd place isn't that competitive and is not good enough to guarantee Kawauchi a spot on the Olympic team. But with a race like this he sure as hell deserves it. 2:09:57 puts him into a new place, one where Tokyo wasn't just a Hollywood miracle, one where he is the real thing. Under extreme media attention and hype, including ridiculous ads for the Fukuoka broadcast showing him running in a business suit wearing a backpack, the self-training Kawauchi stuck to his principles and did things his way. He went up against the elite, one of Hakone's greatest stars, one coached by an Olympic silver medalist who took another runner to Olympic gold. And rejoice, for he conquered. If the federation picks him or no, he's got nothing to prove to anybody."
- Japan Running News recap of the famed 2011 Fukuoka marathon, the first of three Japanese Olympic qualifying races, where amateur Yuki Kawauchi put up a heroic performance once again and took home 1st Japanese honors in 2:09:57.
Saturday 12/03: "(Because I used Enzyte), I got jokes, I had emails, I had Facebook messages ... (But) It was the truth. As much as I'm a hard worker, I'm an honest person and you just can't be half of one thing in life. If I work hard, I also have to be honest because the two go together."
- Defending Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt talking about the tiny mistake he made that had much bigger consequences.
Friday 12/02: "When Commonwealth Games double gold medalist Moses Kipsiro withdrew from the World Championships last year on grounds that someone was bewitching him, it came to pass as a simple story.
- Opening two paragraphs in Uganda's New Vision in an article on witchcraft which fits perfectly with the recent LetsRun.com thread: Do you think ghost (sic) exist? Many athletes in Uganda have fled their home training area as they believe they have been cursed by witches. Others say accusing someone of being a witch is just an excuse to burn their house down and take their property.
Thursday 12/01: "On my tombstone I want it to read: husband, father, runner and soldier. And I have run workouts and races all over the world; not to mention I have dragged my kids to many track meets to see the elite compete. And how many LRC fans have done intervals with incoming rounds? All I can say is that when you are nailing your splits it is hard to stop just because of a little gun fire and rockets."
- Russ Stewart, Major, US Army, one of the LRC Puma 55 announced today. Our apology in advance for giving one of our sponsors the QOTD, but we really liked the quote.
Wednesday 11/30: "We're keeping all options open ..."
- World Championships bronze medallist at 1,500, Matt Centrowitz, answering a question about where he plans to train and what shoe company he plans to sign with, now that he has decided to not use his 5th season of eligibility at Oregon and go pro.
Tuesday: 11/29: "It's always good to get in the (Olympic) team as quickly as possible. I'm going to have a real crack at the Zatopek, get in the first three, get the A-standard and get in the team early."
- Australian Craig Mottram talking about why he'll be running the Zatopek 10,000 next week even though he still views the 5,000 as his best event. Mottram admits he'll have his hands full, as the favorite will be Australian record holder Ben St. Lawrence (27:24.95).
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