The Week That Was In Running: January 2-8, 2012

By LetsRun.com
January 9, 2012

In this week's weekly recap, we praise the Japanese collegiate system, wonder if Alan Webb and/or Kenenisa Bekele are done, talk about the $347 marathon and talk about the dream job that lets you charge $200 an hour while running the Boston marathon.

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Stats Of The Week

13:48/28:48 - The average PRs of the 10 starters on the fastest on-paper team at Japan's New Year's collegiate ekiden. Think about that. A college team with 10 runners whose PRs average 28:48. In the US, maybe you get that with 5-man averages, but not with 10.

1:54.25 - Winning time put up by freshman walk-on Raffi Cote in an 800 in January of 2009 to defeat Galen Rupp, the current American 10,000 record holder.
1:54.52 - Winning time put up last week by unknown DIII runner Matt VanDenHengel to defeat Alan Webb, the American mile record holder.

9:42 - Losing time for 3k put up by the great Kenenisa Bekele at the 2012 Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross-Country meet.
5:12.2 - Mile pace that Kenenisa Bekele ran  for 3,000 in Edinburgh (admittedly, the course was both hilly and muddy - and possibly long - as the winning time by Olympic 1,500 champ Asbel Kiprop was just 9:20).
4:13.9 - Mile pace that Kenenisa Bekele ran for 10,000 meters during his world record.

13:57/19/GBR - The 5,000 PR/Age/Nationality of the second-place finisher Jonny Hay in the men's international race at 2012 Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross-Country meet. He beat two Olympic champions as well as an Olympic runner-up. MAJOR, MAJOR PROPS to Mr. Hay, who is just 19.

More: *Records And Stats From Hakone 2012 *Toyo University Takes Eight Minutes Off Hakone Ekiden Course Record In Historic Win *Alan Webb Returns With A 1:55.02 And Loses To A Senior From Gwynedd-Mercy College Whose PR Is 1:53.53 In his first race since April and his first race since dumping Alberto Salazar, American mile record holder Alan Webb busted the rust with a 2nd-place 1:55.02 performance in a race that was won by the previously unknown Matt VanDenHengel. For everyone writing off Mr. Webb, we remind you that "talent doesn't go away" and that two years ago, Galen Rupp similarly lost to a freshman walk-on in January in the 800 in a 1:54 race. Since then, Rupp has run 13:06, 26:48 and 60:30. *Webb runs 1:55.02 today at Armory *Alan Webb's 800m In 1:55 Was A Good Thing *Webb spotted in 800 at Armory *Rupp loses to freshman walk-on at 800

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A Few Quick Thoughts About Alan Webb's Loss, Kenenisa Bekele's Loss And Asbel Kiprop's Win


Alan Webb In Better Times

Alan Webb
1. Good Cop (A Positive Take On Webb's 1:55): One of our favorite phrases about running is one we credit to Nick Willis and it's "Talent never goes away." As a result, Alan Webb shouldn't be totally written off.

Do people remember his last comeback? He got a lot better in a real hurry. He opened with a 1:52.32 800 on August 14 of 2010 and people basically wrote him off then, but then ran a 3:41.16 1,500 on August 28th, and then a 1:48.34 on September 3rd before running a 3:36.21 1,500 on September 9. So he went from a 1:52 800 to the equivalent of a 3:53 mile in less than 4 weeks. Given that, we were kind of expecting a 1:52 again this time, but the race was indoors and Webb was only beaten by .50 in this race. In 2010, Webb finished 7th and was 1.92 seconds behind the winner.

2. Bad Cop (A Negative Take On Webb's 1:55): Are we simply deluding ourselves? He ran 11+ seconds off his PR!

Yes, talent doesn't go away and yes, we've pointed out that Galen Rupp lost in similar fashion two years ago and has gone on to do great things. That being said, Rupp is a long distance runner/marathoner with 1:49 800 speed. Webb is a former middle-distance star who has a 1:43 800 PR, so a 1:55 800 isn't good for Webb.

Conclusion: Webb needs to run an indoor campaign and get close to at least 3:55 for the mile indoors for us to think he's going to be a player at the Trials.

Webb showed in 2010 that he can come back to national class shape in a hurry. That being said, making the US Olympic 1,500 team is not going to be an easy task in 2012. Webb showed in 2010 that he can get back to 3:53 mile shape. Even with a slower start, we imagine he can do that again this year, but with Cenro, Manzano and Wheating out there, someone in 3:53 shape probably won't be in the hunt for an Olympic spot in 2012. A Gabe Jennings isn't going to win in 2012 (history lesson to younger visitors to LetsRun.com - Gabe Jennings was viewed as rock star when he won the 2000 Trials but his 1,500 PR of 3:35.21 is just barely under the Olympic A standard of 3:35.50).

Kenenisa Bekele
1. Good Cop (A Positive Take On Bekele's Loss):

If Bekele is healthy, it's hard to see him not being a major factor again. He is a SUPER TALENT (more on that in our quotes section below) who is still relatively young (29) and apparently motivated, as he's spending $1 million of his own money to build a soft track in Ethiopia so he doesn't get hurt. As we stated above, "talent doesn't go away" and given the fact that he ran 26:43 last year on limited training, we see little reason to believe that he won't be even better in 2012.

If he was able to run 26:43 with limited training last year, shouldn't he be able to do better a year later? Given the fact that most of the Kenyan talent is in the marathon, aren't you virtually guaranteed to medal if you are in 26:35 shape at the Olympics?

Plus, Bekele seemingly is very upbeat about his prospects for 2012 despite the loss as he told the IAAF: "But generally I am happy that I am healthy and have no injuries at the start of the Olympic year. Regarding the Games in London I remain optimistic - I think in the summer we will see the real Kenenisa Bekele again."

2. Bad Cop (A Negative Take On Bekele's Loss):
Haile Gebrselassie
never won a global 10,000 title after the age of 27. Admittedly, Haile might have actually been older than 27 when he won in Sydney in 2000, but you get our point. Even if healthy, at some point, one has to stop winning, as Father Time always catches up to everyone. Plus what are the odds he actually stays healthy?

Conclusion: It's always hard to predict that a near-deity might actually lose a race, particularly when they are seemingly healthy and motivated and still under 30. But could 2012 end up being a repeat of 2011? Bekele might indeed get into better shape than last year, but that maybe that shape isn't good enough to win in London. Maybe it gets him a bronze like Haile got in 2001. Time will tell. We think a Golden Bekele is the most likely outcome.


Kiprop Making A Mockery Of the Pre Classic In 2009

Asbel Kiprop
1. Good Cop (A Positive Take On Kiprop's Win):

Ever since Kiprop came onto the scene, LetsRun.com has always felt that he was a special talent. Much how Usain Bolt just looks different than everyone else in the sprints, the super-skinny but lanky Kiprop seemed to be a breed apart in the 1,500. After all, this guy had the endurance to win the junior world XC title and the speed to run 1:43 for 800. But at the end of a sub-par 2010 when Kiprop only ran a 7:53 3k, we along with some of the top minds in the sport, like Renato Canova, started to wonder if Kiprop was training properly. Canova even wrote on LetsRun.com that Kiprop never "goes for something long in training."

Well, this victory and the fact that Kiprop threatened last year to move up to the 5,000 may be a indication that Kiprop is doing a lot of endurance work. If that's the case, and this race is a sign that Kiprop is actually going to do some longer stuff in training and actually getting fit like when he was a junior and won the junior world XC title, then everyone else in the world except for maybe Silas Kiplagat is running for 2nd place.

2. Bad Cop (A Negative Take On Kiprop's Win):
There would actually be nothing bad to say about it at all if we knew that the others in the race were actually fit. The only question we have is how fit were the others, including the other Olympic champions in the race? How fit could they possibly be if a 19-year-old amateur from Britain was able to get second and if 5 Brits were able to beat Bekele?

Conclusion: There is no way this result makes the other 1,500 runners in the world feel better about their chances.

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ING New York City Marathon Raises Its Entry Fee By $60 As Police Are Going To Charge Them A Lot More

As the title of this section indicates, the price to run the ING New York City marathon went up by roughly $60 last week. The minimum amount to run the marathon will now be $216 for NYRR members and the maximum will be $347 for foreigners. Most US people will pay $255.

If you are looking for us to condemn this development, then you are looking in the wrong direction.

In principle, we feel like all races should be self sufficient and that a road race should pay for what it costs to police it. So ignoring the whole debate as to what it actually costs or should cost to pay for the police in New York given the fact that cops are allowed to retire with padded pensions, it's reasonable that New York City would ask to be fairly compensated.

And we're glad that the NYRR raised fees to offset the new expenses instead of cutting corners or reducing the elite budget.

Also in principle, we know that to have an elite pro field costs a ton of money and we want the NYRR to have a lot of money, as we know they'll spend it all on the sport of running, with a lot of that going to the elite field. And please don't email us saying that all races money should be given away to charity. Giving the money back to the sport in New York, including the pros, is way better than what happens at many of the big road races in the US where the "profits" end up in the back pocket of the Falcon Capital hedge fund that owns the Rock 'n Roll Series of races managed by the Competitor group.

Given that professional running isn't a sport that has a television contract with any significant rights fees, the money for elite fields has to basically come from the pocketbooks of the masses. Yes, the NYRR probably could run the race and charge $50 per person, but there would be no money for an elite field.

Oh yeah, one more thing since we just mentioned television. New York also announced  last week that ESPN2 will air its race live starting in 2012. If only ESPN2 would pay big money for it, then there would be no need to charge $255 for an entry. Actually, there would be - it's called supply and demand. The NFL has billions in TV money and yet people routinely pay hundreds of dollars each week to go to games. Paying it once a year to run a marathon is certainly equally appropriate.

More: New York City Marathon Organizers Raise Entry Fees By About $60 To Compensate For Increased Police Costs *NYTimes: New York Marathon Raises Entry Fee By Roughly $60, Citing Police Costs *2012 ING New York City Marathon Will Be Broadcast Live On ESPN2

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Email Of The Week #1 - While The University Of Maryland Can't Find $5 Million To Endow Its Track And Field Program, It Has Found $7.2 Million To Build A Mansion For Its University President


Not Good Enough

We say it nearly every single day - the best part of LetsRun.com is you the visitor. We rarely miss major news because people take the time to email us interesting links. Kudos to Brandon Boyera, a former Shippensburg University athlete and DII All-American in cross-country, who took the time to write us the following:

The University of Maryland has decided to build a new $7.2 million dollar mansion for the president, yet the University can't afford to keep their track and cross country teams. I thought that this news was worthy of the front page. I didn't go to UMD, but I do care about our sport and what happens to it. This is flat out wrong. Cutting athletic programs should be the LAST option. I am embarrassed for UMD and if I was on the team currently and saw this news I would be appalled. I hope you guys bring this to the attention to the rest of Letsrun.com's viewers, maybe there's still time for something to be done about this injustice. The link to the article is below. Thank you.

More: *Board approves demolition of University of Marylandís presidentís home to build a new one

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Email Of The Week #2 - Geena Gall Wins

Last week, we also encouraged LetsRun.com visitors to vote for 2-time NCAA outdoor 800 champ Geena Gall as she attempts to win a $100,000 wedding. We did so - not because we really think people should spend $100,000 on a wedding - but because if it's going to be given away, it might as well come to a track person. Well, the power and size of the LetsRun.com nation has been proven again. Your clicking has worked, as Gall wrote in with an update:

I wanted to say THANK YOU to you and everyone who voted for my fiancee and I!

We really appreciate your support by posting that link.You guys are so great!Thanks again to everyone on LetsRun.com who voted!!!!The 2nd round is next Wednesday and we have to interview with the judging panel on Skype! Wish us luck.

We won the 1st round with the most votes out of all the couples!

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YouTube Channel/Video Of The Week

Last week, one the bigger stories was how supercoach Renato Canova predicted that the men's marathon world record would go down this spring. A number of articles were written talking about Canova's prediction but very few of them mentioned that the prediction came courtesy of Italian Alberto Stretti. We embedded Stretti's interview into our story (and have embedded it here once again) but wanted to get his name out there as he does a lot for the sports (and he's also a LetsRun.com visitor).

Strett is the one who had the interview with Canova. He also has some other videos on the site, including highlights of Edwin Soi's road race win on Dec. 31st as well as Canova's comments after that race.

Check out Stretti's YouTube channel.

More: Renato Canova Says Men's Marathon World Record Will Fall This Spring (& Says WR Holder Makau Is At Best The 4th Best Marathoner) He ranks the men's marathoners as follows: 1) G. Mutai 2) Moses Mosop 3) Wilson Kipsang.

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Website Of The Week - Eliterunnertraininglogs.blogspot.com/

The header at the top of the website pretty much describes it accurately - eliterunnertraininglogs: A collection of elite distance runner's logs from the early 20th century to today.

Want more info? Check it out or check out the email we got from the founder below.

Hey guys,

I started a new blog to bring back some old sets of training logs from a website I did several years ago.  If either of you know folks who might be interested in having logs put out there please send them the site link or my email.  I am not just looking for superelites, but, regular folks who have run pretty well.  My goal is to provide as broad a spectrum of training styles as possible for posterity and historical reference.

- Will Steele

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

#1 -
Agent Jos Hermens Talking About How Kenenisa Bekele Might Be Too Talented For His Own Good

"(In 2009 when Bekele was last coming back from injury), with very little training, he became double world champion, which is amazing. In a short time, he got in shape. Thatís maybe his problem, sometimes. Heís so talented, he gets with one, two monthsí training, to again be the best in the world."

- The quote from Hermens comes from a Running Times interview of Hermens where he says the $1 million track that Bekele is building himself so he won't get injured will be done in January/February. If one doesn't think that spending $1 million on a track is going to motivate someone to train, then we think they are crazy. Plus it's an Olympic year.

More: Agent Jos Hermens Talking About How Kenenisa Bekele Might Be Too Talented For His Own Good

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#2 - Renato Canova Says Who Is Unbeatable In The Marathon At The 2012 Games

"About the women, I have several women under my control that can look for a medal at the Olympics. But honestly, the Shobukhova I saw in Chicago in my opinion is unbeatable if there is the same shape. She was running the last half in 68:55, the last two kilometers in 6:52 with a temperature of 29 degrees (Celsius) and very high humidity. I don't think anybody else can run that fast."

More: Renato Canova Says Men's Marathon World Record Will Fall This Spring

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#3 - Former 100m World Champ Kim Collins Thinks There Is No Way Yohan Blake & Usain Bolt Can Train Together With Same Coach Long Term

"The idea of Yohan Blake being the man to beat Usain Bolt sounds good on paper. This, how-ever, poses a problem. Two male crabs cannot live in the same hole."

Colllins added that one of them will inevitably have to be the co-pilot and no one wants to be the co-pilot.
*More: Racers not big enough for Blake, Bolt

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#4 - A Great Description At The History That Was Made At The 2012 Hakone Collegiate Ekiden In Japan

"This year Toyo redefined what was possible, refusing to settle back and run conservatively, attacking each stage to take an incredible 8:15 off Waseda's 2011 Hakone course record, running 10:51:36 to become the first school ever to average under 3:00/km for the entire course, its ten men averaging 2:59.4 per km, an average of 1:03:05 for a half marathon for all ten men on the team. Only ten American men, all pros, ran that fast for a half marathon in all of 2011."

*Japan Running News' Brett Larner writing about this year's race, where the average leg was a little longer than a half marathon (21.79 km versus 21.1).
More: *Toyo University Takes Eight Minutes Off Hakone Ekiden Course Record In Historic Win

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#5 - Tim Hutchings Leads The Tributes For The Legenday Coach Frank Horwill, Who Died On January 1st

"He was a quite remarkable, brilliant man; a true eccentric, full of energy, and one who oozed confidence and passion for the sport of running. He was one of the last of the great old school of coaches: whistle, stop-watch, baseball cap and a bus ticket to get to and from the track - and he was very rarely late for a session for decade after decade of coaching at a wide variety of London tracks. And all this after living one of the most fascinating lives one could imagine before athletics became his love; a book on Frank's 84 years would be a fabulous read."

Horwill, the founder of the British Milers club, died last week at age 84. Much of his training ideas were picked up by Peter Coe, who used them on his son Seb with great success (two Olympic golds and two silvers).

More:
Tim Hutchings Appropriately Leads Tributes For Legendary Coach Frank Horwill

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#6 - A Lawyer Explains How He Once Was Able To Conduct Negotiations While Running The Boston Marathon

"The opposing counsel doesn't seem to be bothered by my heavy breathing."

- R. Laurence Macon, who certainly is a running fanatic, as he set a new world record by finishing 113 marathons in 2011.

More:
Prominent 67-Year-Old Texas Lawyer Ran 113 Marathons In 2011 To Set New WR

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#7 - A Guy Who Was Robbed Of The Ultimate Olympic Glory In 1984 Talks About What Should Happen To Drug Cheats

"I've always thought that, once caught, these people should be banned for life. It's sickening for those who spend their lives training hard and doing it the right way."

- The quote comes from Brit Mike McLeod, who certainly knows what he's talking about.

People under the age of 40 (like the co-founders of LetsRun.com) probably have little idea who McLeod is. History says he was the 1984 Olympic 10,000 silver medallist (and the 2nd-to-last non-African to medal in the 10,000) but he actually crossed the finish line third in that race. The intiial runner-up Martti Vainio of Finland was soon bounced for anabolic steroids and thus McLeod was elevated to the silver medal. Since then, the winner of the 1984 Olympic 10,000 Alberto Cova of Italy admitted he blood doped (it wasn't illegal back then), so in some ways one could say that McLeod is the rightful winner of the 1984 Games.

Anyway, McLeod's quote comes from a nice Independent article on how the Olympic drug cheats that initially win Olympic gold before getting the doping DQ deny Olympic champs like Asbel Kiprop their golden moment. Definitely worth a read.

More: The Independent: When the drugs deny real winners their golden (or silver or bronze) moment - A look at Asbel Kiprop's lost golden moment

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Recommended Reads

*Profile On 1:05:00 Half Marathon Runner Tommy Neal, Who Was Diagnosed With Type 1 Diabetes Just A Month Before The Trials
*Renato Canova Says Men's Marathon World Record Will Fall This Spring (& Says WR Holder Makau Is At Best The 4th-Best Marathoner)
*The Independent: When the drugs deny real winners their golden (or silver or bronze) moment - A look at Asbel Kiprop's lost golden moment

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Other News Of Note From The Last Week

LRC Todd Morgan And Pete Watson To Be New Women's And Men's Cross-Country Coaches At UVA

Universal Sports Moves From Free To Cable (Directv) Only

Ebay Says £32,500 Bid To Sponsor British Sprinter "doesn't appear to be bona fide." There seem to be a few sad people out there: "For me personally, I wouldn't be missing about with someone's career but there are certain people out there who like to mess things up."

Teddy Tamgho's 19-Year-Old Fight Victim Says His 6-Month Ban Is "Spurious" As He Was Going To Be Out With Injuries Anyway "I do not want to ruin his career, he's brilliant, but that should not give him free rein. "If he becomes [Olympic champion] I would feel bitter because justice has not worked. I do not hope he fails, but it would be a shameful medal. He should at least apologise face to face."

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Quotes Of The Day From The Week:

Monday 1/9: "I think in the summer we will see the real Kenenisa Bekele again."

- Kenenisa Bekele speaking confidently despite his poor showing in the Great Edinburgh XC race on Saturday, where he finished 11th, losing to a group that included a 19-year-old 13:57 runner from the UK. It was only his 4th XC loss ever and the first time in almost ten years that he did not finish inside the top ten in an international race. But Bekele is still confident about London, although he's not sure if he'll be trying to defend both his 5k and 10k titles.


Sunday 1/8: "If he runs a marathon now, he won't be able to run in any indoor meets. It's going to take a long time to recover. We wouldn't be able to get back to work on his speed until March or April."

- Alberto Salazar talking about why his star pupil Galen Rupp will not race the Olympic Marathon Trials next weekend.


Saturday 1/7: "I pretty much moved out there in a leap of faith. I had no job, nowhere to live, and I knew one person who I had met one time, and I was living in his apartment because he let me while he was out of town."

- US Marathon Trials qualifier Tommy Neal, on moving out to Colorado to train for the 2012 Trials. He self-coached himself to a 1:05:00 half marathon qualifier, only to later be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. However, he is still racing and don't count him out, as now he's coached by Renato Canova.


Friday 1/6:  

- Trailer of a film that highlights the work that Team USA Minnesota runners Matt Gabrielson, Josh Moen, Jason Lehmkuhle and Andrew Carlson have put in to get ready for next weekend's 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. The trailer will give you goose bumps as the music is great and the video is full of epic quotes. In fact it starts with one: "It's the biggest race of my life because it's the Olympic Trials and I guess if this isn't the biggest race of my life, then what is?"


Thursday 1/5: "I have left specific instructions that if I die on the course, my friends are supposed to drag my body down the rest of the course and across the finish line. And then lie about the results."

- 67-year-old prominent Texas lawyer Laurence Macon talking in a Reuters article about how he set a new world record by running 113 certified marathons in 2011. Macon, whose best marathon was a 4:45, didn't start running until age 49 and once conducted a negotiation while racing the Boston marathon.


Wednesday 1/4: "It is very easy to train when you have won a silver medal. It is not so easy when you have won the gold. I think somebody like Jessica (Ennis who got silver) is more than ever aware that medals are not given out easily.

"For Mo (Farah), Daegu was not brilliant overall but I think it was the best possible result for him going into 2012. He's got confirmation that he's good enough to win but also he's got the warning that there are other guys who can do that as well."

- British coach Charles van Commenee talking about how sometimes a silver is better than gold. In the same interview, van Commenee said he'd be "very, very pleased" if Britain wins a single gold at home in 2012.


Tuesday 1/3: "We work very hard to keep races affordable while ensuring a world-class experience for all of our runners. The increase (of roughly $60 per participant) in the marathon price reflects both rising costs for the New York Road Runners and the new fee instituted by New York City on organizations like ours."

- NYRR spokesperson Richard Finn explaining that because of increased police costs the NYRR is raising the entry fee for the ING New York City Marathon roughly $60 per person to $216 for NYRR members, $255 for non-member U.S. entrants and $347 for international applicants.

Remember, everything in NY costs way more than it does elsewhere. Cowboys stadium with a retractable roof cost $1.3 billion while MetLife stadium cost $1.6 billiion.

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