The Week That Was In Running: March 12-18, 2012

By LetsRun.com
March 19, 2012

Last week, as most of the world took a week or two off as the transition from indoor to outdoor track is made, not a whole lot happened in terms of action. Thankfully, there were a couple of hot 13.1 races across the globe which allowed us to start thinking about the Olympic men's 10,000.

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NYC Half - Who Has The Inside Edge For The Men's US Olympic 10,000 Team?

US Runners With "A" Standard In 10,000 - 27:45.00
Galen Rupp (Nike)   26:48.00        2012
Bobby Curtis (Reebok)   27:24.67        2012
Tim Nelson (Nike)    27:28.19        2012
Matt Tegenkamp (Nike)   27:28.22         2012
Other Contenders:
Scott Bauhs (adidas)    27:51.78        2011
Ed Moran  27:43 in 2007 and 27:52 in 2008.
Chris Solinsky 26:59 in 2011
Dathan Ritzenhein 27:22 in 2009.
Chris Derrick ?????

As we pointed out a few weeks ago, only a few US men have the "A" standard in the 5,000 and 10,000. In the 10,000, four US men have the "A" and there are probably 4-5 more that conceivably could get it.

Assuming he's healthy and not having an asthma attack, it's virtually impossible to imagine that Galen Rupp wouldn't make the team. Thus there are only two spots left. Well, four of the contenders raced in New York and the results were as follows:

Dathan Ritzenhein 61:52
Scott Bauhs 62:44 (needs "A")
Ed Moran 62:51 (needs "A")
Bobby Curtis 63:05 (has "A")

What does that tell us? It tells us Ritz has a leg up on the other three. He's 52 seconds - or 4 seconds per mile better - than the others right now, whereas the other three are only separated by 21 seconds total (less than 2 seconds per mile).

To be truthful, isn't that we'd expect? Ritz to have a leg up on the other three?

Oh yeah, one more thing about the 5,000 and 10,000 teams at the Games. A number of you may be wondering if the 10,000/5,000 double is doable. It very much is. The 5,000 doesn't start until after the 10,000 is over, so it's likely someone like Galen Rupp, who in our minds has next to zero chance of medalling at 5,000, might end up dashing someone's Olympic dreams in that event. Remember, Rupp doubled last year.

More: LRC Recap: Peter Kirui & Firehiwot Dado Prevail After Head-To-Head Battles
*LRC Preview Of NYC Half: Who Triumphs In The Big Apple?
*MB:
NYC Half 2012 race coverage thread and updates.
*MB:
Today was Ritz's worst finish Since....
*
MB:
Did Kim Smith get pawned? (sic)
*MB: Todd Williams is really good at broadcasting

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Rating The US Women At The NYC Half

Three of the top five from the women's Olympic Marathon Trails were on hand in New York. Kara Goucher, third at the Trials, was best of the group, finishing third in 1:09:12. Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, fifth at the Trials, was also fifth here in a PR by over a minute in 1:09:55. Desiree Davila, second at the Trials, was ninth here in 1:10:44.

Kara Goucher 1:09:12
Janet Cherobon-Bawcom 1:09:55 (PR)
Desiree Davila 1:10:44


My Mom Is Fast
More 2012 NYC Half Photos Here

First, props to Janet Cherobon-Bawcom for a PR by over a minute. The longer distances are fairly new to her and she's getting better quickly.

Some of you are probably wondering what happened to Desi. You shouldn't be. Desi's PR is a modest 1:10:34, so to come within 10 seconds of her PR two months after the Trials is a decent run.

As for Kara's 1:09:12 in third place, realize that is the slowest half marathon of her life except for a 1:14 in her first race back from pregnancy. This was still a pretty good run for her being close to the Trials. The fact it was her slowest competitive half ever shows how damn good she is at the half marathon.

The fact Kara's slowest half is faster than Desi's fastest also shows how the full marathon is a different beast than the half marathon. Don't forget, Desi nearly won last year's Boston marathon. To be a factor in London at the Olympics, Desi will need to get faster in the half. Running 10 seconds a mile faster doesn't seem impossible and that would put Desi at close to 1:08:30.

Kara already has the speed in the half, all she needs to do is extend it to the marathon. Easier said than done.

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The Kenyan 10,000 Trials Will Be In Eugene & We React

Last week, the Kenyan Commissioner of Sport said, "You do not hold national trials in another country because you have an all expenses paid trip by Nike."

Well, guess what happened last week:

It's Official: The Kenyan Men's 10,000m Olympic Trials Will Be Held At Pre Classic

Ignoring national pride, from a technical perspective - to us, anyway - having a race not at altitude makes a lot of sense, as running at altitude and runnng at sea level are often two different sports.

That being said, we have a few problems with the decision.

1) If Athletics Kenya and Nike are going to move a country's Olympic Trials to another country, then they need to pay for everyone to show up - end of story.

The stories have all said that Athletics Kenya will send 15 people to Eugene. Well, that sounds fine until you realize the following men all have the "A" standard in Kenya.

1 26:43.98

Lucas Rotich KEN

16 Apr 90

Bruxelles
2 26:48.99

Josphat Bett KEN

12 Jun 90

Eugene OR
3 26:50.63

Paul Tanui KEN

22 Dec 90

Eugene OR
4 26:51.95

Emmanuel Bett KEN

30 Mar 83

Bruxelles
5 26:53.27

Eliud Kipchoge KEN

5 Nov 84

Bruxelles
6 26:54.25

Mathew Kisorio KEN

16 May 89

Eugene OR
7 26:54.64

Mark Kiptoo KEN

21 Jun 76

Eugene OR
8 26:55.29

Leonard Komon KEN

10 Jan 88

Eugene OR
9 26:55.73

Geoffrey Kirui KEN

16 Feb 93

Bruxelles
10 26:59.81

Titus Mbishei KEN

28 Oct 90

Bruxelles
11 27:06.35

Geoffrey Kipsang KEN

28 Nov 92

Eugene OR
12 27:10.05

Moses Masai KEN

1 Jun 86

Eugene OR
13 27:13.67

Bidan Karoki KEN

21 Aug 90

Stanford CA
14 27:21.62

Paul Lonyangat KEN

12 Dec 92

Bruxelles
15 27:22.09

John Cheruiyot KEN

5 Jul 90

Eugene OR
16 27:22.53

James Rungaru KEN

14 Jan 93

Yokohama
17 27:23.85

Martin Mathathi KEN

25 Dec 85

Kobe
18 27:23.99

John Thuo KEN

27 Nov 85

Kobe
19 27:24.18

Edward Waweru KEN

3 Oct 90

Fukuroi
20 27:25.63

Peter Kirui KEN

2 Jan 88

Daegu
21 27:28.64

Stephen Sambu KEN

7 Jul 88

Stanford CA
22 27:29.40

Leonard Korir KEN

10 Dec 86

Stanford CA
23 27:30.50

Kevin Chelimo KEN

14 Feb 83

Stanford CA
24 27:30.53

Mike Kigen KEN

15 Jan 86

Bruxelles
25 27:31.15

Aron Rono KEN

1 Nov 82

Stanford CA
26 27:32.9hA

Wilson Kiprop KEN

14 Apr 87

Nairobi
27 27:32.97

Dennis Masai KEN

1 Dec 91

Bruxelles
28 27:33.14

Patrick Mwaka KEN

2 Nov 92

Fukuroi
29 27:38.9hA

Geoffrey Mutai KEN

7 Oct 81

Nairobi
30 27:39.21

Josphat Muchiri KEN

12 Feb 85

Kumagaya
31 27:40.60

Paul Kuira KEN

25 Jan 91

Hachioji
32 27:41.32

Gideon Ngatuny KEN

10 Oct 86

Kumagaya
33 27:41.33

Lewis Korir KEN

11 Jun 86

Helsinki

33 people with the "A" standard. How do you limit that to 15?

Yes, we know that flying people internationally is expensive, but we don't care. Nike flies hundreds of high school kids each year to Oregon each year for its Nike Cross Nationals. If someone with the "A" standard wants to compete, they should be allowed to be there. Cap the field if you want but not at 15.

2) It's way too soon before the Olympics.

The date is June 1st. The Olympic 10k is August 4th.

We here at LetsRun.com have always said that the best way for a country, particularly Kenya with it's amazing depth, to pick its best team is to pick the team at the very last possible date. Get rid of the training camps and what not and just hold the Trials on the last possible date acceptable by the IOC or IAAF and let capitalism/darwinism/survival of the fittest get you some real talented and in-form guys.

The regular Kenyan Trials are three weeks after Pre - on June 23rd. If anything, we think Athletics Kenya should have had the 10,000 Trials three weeks AFTER Pre - well two weeks anyways as the Olympic rosters are due on July 8th according to the IAAF.

3) It's way too close to the spring marathons.

By having it on June 1st, it's next to impossible for many of Kenya's best marathoners to recover and have a chance. The winner of the NYC Half last week, Peter Kirui, also was the winner of Kenyan 10,000 Trials last summer. Well, guess what? He needs to get paid and there isn't much money in track, so he's running the Rotterdam marathon on April 15th. The 10,000 in Eugene is less than 7 weeks after that and less than 6 weeks after London (April 22nd).

So what happens if say Geoffrey Mutai, who won the Kenyan XC Trials, Boston and New York last year and is the best runner on the planet in our minds, has a bad race in London and is somehow left off of Kenya's Olympic marathon team. He's going to have a hard time being ready to go in Eugene some 6 weeks later so he's a likely wild card spot, meaning there would be no room for Kirui.

The 10,000m guys nowadays are more likely to be the marathon guys, so they need the most time to get ready. Yet the 10,000 Trials are 3 weeks before the 5,000.

One more thing on Pre - Pre officials announced there will be also be in essence a "B" men's mile on Friday night (the night of the Kenyan Olympic Trials) in addition to the Bowerman mile on Saturday. A ton of guys likely will be wanting Olympic "A" qualifiers. The only problem? You can't get an Olympic qualifier in the mile - it has to be in a 1,500m. Both races need to get approval from the IOC for mile times to count as Olympic qualifying times. We're big supporters of "Bring Back the Mile" but unless mile times get approved as qualifiers, we don't see too many people running miles that close to the Olympic Trials unless they have a qualifier already.

More: *It's Official: Only The Kenyan Men's 10,000m Olympic Trials Will Be Held At Pre Classic *Ken Goe Article *Prefontaine Press Release *Kenyan Commissioner Of Sport Rips Plan To Hold Kenyan Trials In Eugene *A Men's Mile, Women's 800, 1,500 Will Be Held On Friday Before Pre Classic *Editorial: Kenya's Olympic Trials in the US a big blow to the nation

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Japanese Olympic Hopeful At 10,000 Impresses At 13.1

Since in talking about the NYC Half, we talked about the Kenyan and US's Olympic men's 10,000 teams, we figured we might as well talk about Japan's Olympic 10,000 hopefuls in the light of some good 13.1 running last week.

A Japanese Olympic hopeful at 10,000 last week ran sub-61:00, only it was in Japan, not in the US. In his 13.1 debut, 20-year-old Chihiro Miyawaki ran 60:51 to capture the 2012 National Corporate Half-Marathon Championship in Japan. That is a very good time as it would make him the #7 performer all-time in US history. Instead, it makes him the #6 performer in Japanese history and the guy is only 20 years old.

Another Japanese runner, Masato Kihara, ran 61:15 in that same Japanese race. Additionally, the top Japanese performer in New York also broke 62:00 in Yuta Shitara (1:01:48), so on the weekend three Japanese guys broke 62:00 but only two Americans did it (Meb ran 61:41, Ritz ran 61:52).

A closer look at the top Japanese guy on the weekend, Miyawaki, reveals he has a 27:41.57 10,000 PR from last November. And that got us to thinking, "How many Olympic 'A' qualifiers does Japan have (sub-27:45.00)?"

The answer: 3.

Tsuyoshi Ugachi   27:40.69
Chihiro Miyawaki  27:41.57
Tetsuya Yoroizaka 27:44.30

That got us to ask ourselves, "What other countries have any 'A' qualifiers in the men's 10,000 at all?"

The list is so small that we extended it out to "B" qualifiers (28:45) and it made us appreciate Kenya all the more.

Countries With Olympic "A" Qualifiers In Men's 10,000 - Sub-27:45.00
Kenya - 33
Ethiopia - 5
USA - 4
JPN - 3
GBR - 2
ERI - 2
AUS - 1
MEX - 1
FRA - 1
ECU - 1
ITA - 1

Countries With A "B" Qualifier - POR (1), RSA (1)

Another way to keep score is as follows:

#Of "A" Qualifiers In Men's 10,000
Kenya 33
Rest Of World 21

Thus, the Olympic 10,000 - which will go straight to a final - will have a max of 23 people in it unless more people qualify.

With a list like that, it's hard to believe that Kenya hasn't won the men's 10,000 since Naftali Temu in 1968. Of course, it needs to remembered that Kenya boycotted 1976 and 1980 and track and field truly went professional in the 1980s. Since the start of the professional era, there haven't been that many real chances to win gold, considering Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele have had a stranglehold on gold since 1996.

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Chinese Women's Olympic Marathon Trials

Last weekend, the Chinese Olympic women's marathon trials were held. Any fear that people had of obscure unknown Chinese women coming out of nowhere to dominate like Ma's Army did back in days of Wang Junxia nearly 20 years ago are officially over.

The top three finishers in the trials are all relatively known commodities. Wang Jiali, who was 8th in Daegu, got the win (2:22:41), 2007 London champ Zhou Chunxiu was 2nd (2:23:42) and Zhu Xiaolin, who was 4th at 2008 Olympics, was third (2:24:19). 2009 world champ Bai Xue was way back in 2:43:27 and didn't make the team.

The most striking thing about the Chinese team is how experienced they are (some might say past their prime). The winner, Jiali, is 26-year old but she did PR by 3:31 to run 2:23:42.

2nd placer, 33-year-old veteran Zhou Chunxiu, is a shadow of her former self as she ran 2:19 in 2006 and won London in 2007 in 2:20:38. Third placer Xiaolin's pr dates from 2002 - nearly 10 years ago - when she burst on to the scene as an 18 year old with a 2:23:57.

More: *Chinese Women's Olympic Trials Are Held - 3 Experienced Runners Win Spots *MB: Videos of Ma's Army World Records FINALLY surface

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


(Meb With an Illegal Jersey!)
More 2012 NYC Half Photos  Here

"A year ago at this time I was like trying to scramble ... but we've just got to be patient for the light at the end of the tunnel for things to turn around. In life, you always have your ups and downs, ups and downs, but if you're patient enough to wait then good things will happen."

- American Meb Keflezighi talking prior to the 2012 NYC Half Marathon.

Meb are certainly way better off now than his was a year ago. A year ago, he wasn't running a spring marathon as no one would pay him, he had no shoe sponsor and many were writing him off. Now he's coming off two straight marathon PRs, including a win at the Olympic Marathon Trials, and he has a new sponsor (Skechers).

More: Brief Chat With Meb Keflezighi

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Recommended Reads

*The New York Times Introduces Kirani James To The World
*Meet NCAA Mile Champ Chris O'Hare Of Tulsa
*LRC 2012 Track & Field By The TV Numbers With the indoor track season now over, we thought we'd take a chance to look back and tell you how the indoor meets did on television (as well as on YouTube for Millrose). The stats reveal that new era hasn't taken over at all, as at least 5 times more people still watch track on television as on the Internet.

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Other News Of Note From The Last Week

Bob Day dies at 67; UCLA's greatest distance runner: Bob Day set records in multiple events, led the Bruins to a 1966 national championship and represented the U.S. at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. His 3:56.4 in the mile and 8:33 in the 2-mile were national records.

Robby Andrews Turns Pro Last week, LRC broke the news that Andrews was leaving the University of Virginia. Now the 800m star has done what most expected - turn pro. He'll be coached by Jason Vigilante and train with American mile record holder Alan Webb. He has not signed an endorsement deal yet but will be represented by Ray Flynn.

Replacement Runner - Clement Langat - Wins African XC Men's Individual Title
*Kenyans Dominate African XC Champs

Seoul: Kenyan Wilson Loyanae Shatters CR (2:05:37)

Fatuma Sado (2:25:31) Wins LA Marathon & $155,000 With Equalizer Battle Of Sexes Bonus

Oscar P Runs 45.20, Gets Close To Olympic Selection

Married Jeremy Wariner (With A Kid Coming In October) Opens Season With Wind-Aided 20.66 At TCU

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Quotes Of The Day From The Week:

Note: To see a particular day's homepage, click on the hyperlink of the date on the left. The quote's hyperlink will take you to that particular article - not that day's homepage.

Monday 3/19: "I just tried to tell myself that she (Dado) must be hurting as much as me, but obviously she wasn't."

- Kiwi Kim Smith after hammering and leading for virtually the entire 13.1 miles at Sunday's NYC Half Marathon before losing at the very end to 2011 ING New York City marathon Firehiwot Dado, who set a new CR (68:35).


Sunday 3/18: "Some people like golf, some people take off to Florida...

I like clicking my stopwatch."

- Legendary coach Gags (Frank Gagliano) in a Wall Street Journal profile on him and the NJ/NYC Track Club. Julie Culley, Gags' athlete, is running the NYC Half on Sunday (watch live at 7:30 am Eastern). It's her first half marathon and apparently the first by a Gags-coached athlete.


Saturday 3/17: "The meet's reputation as 'the toughest race to win' came from the simplicity of the program: 12K race for senior men, 8K for senior women. The IAAF era has seen as many as 76 countries entering teams. Those runners were marathoners and milers, steeplechasers and road warriors, all in one event. Some of the greatest runners of all time found World Cross too challenging - Haile Gebrselassie never won a World Cross title - and some stars made their names there. In early April of 1975 Steve Prefontaine sent a few pairs of Nikes to a relatively unknown up-and-comer who had just finished third at World Cross in Rabat, Morocco; Bill Rodgers wore those shoes when he won the Boston Marathon in 2:09:55."

- Parker Morse, writing in a Running Times article on the history and origins of World XC (which go back to 1903) and why it has lost so much of its luster over the years. This weekend last year, we were getting ready for another edition, but this year the world's "toughest race to win" isn't even happening.


Friday 3/16: "I think it is too early for me to get the world record, but if I break it, no problem."

- Pro pacemaker Peter Kiriui, talking about his plans ahead of the Rotterdam marathon, which will be at least his 6th marathon start, but the first he will start with the intention of finishing. Kirui was part of the pace team that led Patrick Makau to his WR in Berlin and Wilson Kipsang to his 2:03:38 in Frankfurt (where he decided mid-race to finish in 2:06:31). He also paced Makau to last year's world lead and Sammy Wanjiru to a 2:06:24 victory in Chicago. Now he's tuning up in this weekend's NYC Half and looking for a 2:04-5 at Rotterdam.


Thursday 3/15: "I'm always tense before races and it affects everyone as well. Even before the men 3,000m final in Istanbul, I was so nervous at the warm-up that I was thinking if there were a replacement, I would have gladly given up the chance to him."

- Kenya's Edwin Soi, talking about how he felt before the World Indoor 3,000m final, where he nipped Mo Farah for the bronze medal. Soi also talks about his collision with Farah and his team tactics with silver medallist Augustine Choge.


Wednesday 3/14: "This is, to my mind, the most important event that ever happened to our country, even more important than Christopher Columbus landing."

- James Clarkson, Grenada’s police commissioner, speaking when authorizing celebrations in Grenada after 19-year-old Kirani James' World Championships victory. The quote comes from a great profile of James from The New York Times, a definite Recommended Read.


Tuesday 3/13: "When I first saw Fujiwara, I noticed his pelvis was going up and down, left and right - it wasn't very stable. I tried to make sure his pelvic area was more relaxed - removing wasted energy to release that explosive power."

- Hiromi Kashiki, the creator of a popular dance style based on highly suggestive hip-gyrating movements, explaining to Reuters what she worked on during a one-on-one workout with Arata Fujiwara the day before this year's Tokyo marathon - a race in which Fujiwara would finish faster than ever - 2:07:48 - to make the Japanese Olympic team. Fujiwara was named to Japan's Olympic marathon team on Monday, and becomes LRC's newest sensation, as he had the guts to dump the Japanese corporate system. Sadly, amateur sensation Yuki Kawauchi was snubbed from the alternate spot despite finishing 1st in one Trial race.

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