The Week That Was In Running: March 26-April 1, 2012
To read last week's LRC Week That Was, click here.
April 3, 2012
This week we tell you how Galen Rupp's medal chances took a hit, wonder if anyone will ever beat Kenenisa Bekele's world records, disagree with Edwin Moses, tell you how to win an NCAA men's DMR title as Notre Dame did, introduce you to America's newest female running prodigy and try to figure out how a Kenyan star got 7 years older in the span of 2.5 months.
We Start With A Forced Running History Lesson
Last week LetsRun.com was honored to break the story to the world that Khalid Khannouchi, the American marathon record holder and two-time world record holder, was retiring. One thing that struck us in covering the story was that many of today's top college stars might barely know who Khannouchi is. Think about it. Most people get into running in a serious fashion around the age of 15 at the earliest. Khannouchi's last sub-2:10 marathon came in 2006. A senior in college now would have probably only been 16 back then. A freshman 12 or 13.
So if you don't know much about "Special K," we encourage you to learn a little bit about him before getting to our weekly recap.
*LRC Marathon Legend Khalid Khannouchi Officially Retires
*LRC Carey Pinkowski Reflects On Khalid Khannouchi's Career: "He Was The Absolute Best I've Ever Seen" The Chicago marathon director talks about the man who made his name in the Windy City. Plus quotes from London Marathon director Dave Bedford and a tweet from Ryan Hall.
*RRW Flashback On Khannouchi's 1999 Chicago Marathon Race Where He First Broke The WR *RRW Flashback On Khannouchi's 2002 London Race Where He Beat Paul Tergat & Haile Gebreslassie
*1998 New York Times Profile Of Khalid Khannouchi - From Morocco to Brooklyn, A Runner's Road to the Top Nice quote from Joe McVeigh. *1998 Chicago Tribune Profile Of US Immigrant Khalid Khannnouchi
*LRC MBoard: Khalid Khannouchi Retires
Galen Rupp's Medal Chances Take A Hit As Some Super-Fast 13.1s Are Run In Europe
It seems as if every week it ends up being our unfortunate task at LetsRun.com to tell all of the
xenophobes US fans that one of their favorite stars medal chances is taking a dip.
This week, all we can say is last week's action definitely made us think Galen Rupp's chances at a medal just dropped a little.
We've long said that the fact that we are even contemplating the fact that Rupp could medal in the 10,000 is a huge compliment to Rupp. One could easily say it reflects one of the better accomplishments in US distance running in the last 20 years.
To medal in the 10,000, an American-born male is going to likely need some help. (The big help everyone gets and that is the Olympics only allows three entrants per country.) The fact that there is so much more money in the marathon has certainly helped, as many of the top talents are moving to the roads now in the prime of their careers. We've long wondered though if the draw of the Olympics would pull that talent back to the track for a few months in an Olympic year and the answer after last week seems to be most certainly yes.
Last week, there were some scorching-fast times in the half marathon.
In subpar conditions, Ethiopia's Atsedu Tsegay broke Haile Gebrselassie's Ethiopian record by running 58:47 in Prague. That is the 5th-fastest time in history (world record in 58:23) and Tsegay is now the 4th-fastest 13.1 man in history.
For his efforts, Tsegay picked up more than $45,000. Now he said his focus is to make the Olympic team at 10,000. And the crazy thing is he'll need to go out and get an Olympic "A" qualifying time first. One might think the IAAF would start accepting sub-60 times as "A" standard times or just let the Ethiopians enter the three athletes of their choice. We think if "A" standards applied to countries instead of individuals it would make the sport better. Nonetheless, Tsegay does have a road PR of 27:46 although he doesn't have a track PR at all at 10,000 from what we can tell.
In Berlin, Geoffrey Mutai's training partner Dennis Koech showed that his win over a world class field in very windy conditions at the RAK Half in February in 60:34 was no fluke, as he ran 59:14 to edge world half marathon champion Wilson Kiprop by 1 second (59:14-15). And guess what. Koech said he's now focused on making the Kenyan Olympic team at 10,000.
Last week's action shows that the Olympics are still a huge, huge draw. The good news for Rupp is a 10,000m on a track is a very different affair than a half-marathon on the roads, although Koech and Tsegay appear to be huge talents.
More: IAAF Recap Of Prague *RRW Recap
*IAAF Recap Of Berlin 5 Kenyans broke 60 flat as Koech (59:14) edged Kiprop (59:15) on a day which 5 Kenyans broke 60 and 3 Kenyan women led by last year's Rotterdam champ, Philes Ongori (68:25), broke 69. Koech's coach thinks he can get the WR.
Dennis Koech Gets 7 Years Older In The Span Of 2.5 Months
And for those of you who doubt the Kenyan birth dates, here is something for you.
As we stated, Koech is a guy who won the RAK half-marathon in February. At the time, he was reported to be 18 years old (on the Internet telecast, they even said he was 17). Well, guess what. It's now being reported that he's in his mid-20s.
Can someone tell us how his approximate age wasn't roughly known in February? Or how he got 7 years old in the span of 2.5 months? We didn't realize that's what leap year meant.
Track and field needs a commissioner. Until they have one, we're going to take that role of the "Unofficial commissioner" and repeatedly ask ourselves, "What about the sport?" Well, the unofficial commissioner - LetsRun.com - says that a real commissioner would fine Koech or his agent for such shenanigans.
More LRC Mary Keitany & 17-Year-Old Dennis Koech Win 2012 RAK Half Marathon *LRC Photo Gallery of Winners *Top Results *IAAF Recap Geoffrey Mutai Withdraws With Sore Foot And Then Fast Times Are Blown Off Course
Meet America's Newest Female Running Prodigy
The hottest thread on the message board over the weekend was as follows:
The title says it all. As a result, we want to take this time to introduce you to Ms. Hatton. What a talent.
Hatton attends Phillips Academy in Andover, MA - the prep school perhaps best known for producing both of the George Bush presidents.
Up until this year, she's been under the radar for two main reasons.
1) She goes to a prep school, so she's not allowed to compete in the Massachusetts state championships.
2) Up until this year, she didn't run year round, as she played soccer in the fall (and she'd been struggling with injuries).
The time was so ridiculous that some speculated it was possibly a lap short. But the world has changed a lot since 1993, when Wang Junxia put up a 10,000 world record of 29:31.78 (15:05-14:26) that was so fast, many wondered for years if it was a lap short. 17 years after the fact, in 2010, the videos of Wang's race surfaced: MB: Videos of Ma's Army World Records FINALLY surface
It didn't take nearly that long for Hatton's videos to surface. A day later, a video of Hatton's race was online.
Scrutiny of the video reveal Hatton's splits to have been as follows:
5:19 - 1,600m
10:36 - 3,200m
16:30 - 5,000m
21:10 - 6,400m
26:30 - 8,000m
33:17 - 10,000m
Hatton clearly is a talent, as in 9th grade she ran 2:19.88, 4:38.30 (1500m), and 10:35.17. But what she's done of late is truly ridiculous.
First, she ran the indoor mile at New Balance Grand Prix in Boston and ran 4:51.37. Good, but nothing crazy for a high schooler.
Then she went to the USA cross-country meet. Did she run against the juniors? Nope. She ran against the pros and finished 13th overall. Her 6k split would have easily won the junior girls race. And now she runs 33:17.28 in a low-key college/open meet.
33:17 is very good. According to John Kellogg's conversion chart, it converts to 4:32.5 in the mile, 9:49.6 in the 2 mile and 15:50.1 for 5k.
Don't know good times for girls? Well, let us put it into perspective for you. It would have been #6 in the women's NCAA for all of 2011.
Next up for Cayla? A college career at Stanford. We wonder if the coaches even recruited her there or if she got in on her own? If you know, email us.
More: MB: 17-Year-Old High Schooler Cayla Hatton Runs 33:17 10,000m Olympic Trials "B" Qualifier
*April 1: A Q&A With HS Prodigy Cayla Hatton
*Feb 15: Cayla Hatton is no longer under the radar - MileSplit Massachutsetts
Will Anyone Ever Beat Bekele's 5,000 Or 10,000 World Record?
Last week, Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele broke Lasse Viren's world record of 2,850 days for most consecutive days as world 5,000 and 10,000 meter record holder.
When we saw that, we instantly thought, "It's lasted for 2,850 days but it's going to last a lot longer, as no one is even coming close to those times any more." We did a little research and now are wondering - when will anyone ever break the records?
LetsRun.com's research reveals the following stat which is crazy - no one not named Bekele has come within 1 second per lap of either one in 5 years.
Bekele's 12:37.35 seems very safe. The last time someone not named Bekele broke 12:50 was August 18th 2006 when Isaac Songok ran 12:48.66. So it's been almost 6 years since someone not named Bekele came within 1 second per lap of the record. The last time Bekele himself broke 12:50 was July 28, 2007.
Bekele's 26:17.53 also appears to be very safe. The last time someone not named Bekele came within a second per lap of the 10k record (sub-26:42.53) was August 25, 2006 when Micah Kogo ran 26:35.63. The last time Bekele broke 26:40 was June 8, 2008 when he ran 26:25.97.
Some view Wang Junxia's women's 10,000 world record of 29:31.78 as unbeatable, but the facts reveal that people have come closer to that more recently than Bekele's men's record. Wang's record does date from 1993, but Meselech Melkamu did come within a second a lap of it in 2009 when she ran 29:53.80.
Meet The Winningiest Marathoner In History
Recently, 41-year-old Oregonian Chuck Engle set the world record for most marathon victories with his 145th victory. The World did a nice profile of him and what we loved most about it are two things.
1) Unlike others (some might say Dean Karzanes), Chuck understands where he sits in the running world. With a 2:31 PR, Engle states, "I'm a mediocre runner at best. There's at least 4,000 marathon times that have been better than me this year - in the world."
2) We love the fact that his motto is "Run More." On his MarathonJunkie.com website, Engle explains what Run More means to him:
The meaning of RUN MORE could be as simple as running a single step or many miles past what you have previously done. Watching a sedentary person log that first day of running and to see them conquer the first double digit week is almost as life changing as my first marathon. For me, this is as much a part of my RUN MORE theme as upping the elite athletes mileage.
It is my hope to motivate people to put in MORE mileage and to get their body to RUN at a higher rate for the betterment of their running, but also for their life and the lives of those around them. Clearly RUN MORE does not have to be entirely about running. The attitude toward life changes so dramatically with any habitual exercise program that the desire to get fit becomes infectious. For those who can go beyond my running facade and see the non-runner this is where RUN MORE will have a much deeper and farther reaching meaning. Running has been the vehicle for me to get others to achieve things that were completely foreign to them. RUN MORE is my starters pistol for a much bigger race than 26.2 miles; LIFE!
Wait a minute.
Just after we wrote the words above we started poking around Chuck's website. We found this post complaining about the prize money at the Boston Marathon that has these highlights or should we say lowlights:
"As runners are we impressed by the importation of faster times? Do we really care if some guy from Kenya runs a 2:0X marathon? Could that same guy run that same time at a race in his own country or without being paid for the time? In the true spirit of competition, I think it would be done... When Meb won NYC in 2009 and Hall took 3rd at Boston this year, the running community seemed to quadruple in size. It was a real celebration. The rest of these "champions" just take the money and export it back to some East African country. I am not saying they shouldn't have money but for crap's sake let's buy them some shoes and a watering hole not a small island in Barbados."
Wow. We're not sure where to begin. We won't even touch the watering hole comment as its xenophobia speaks for itself.
Does Chuck know why the running community was excited when Meb won NYC and Hall got third in Boston? Because they competed against the best in the world and did really well.
Does anyone remember the reaction when Jason Hartmann won the Twin Cities Marathon in 2009 (we could also have said Sergio Reyes in 2010 or Fernando Cabada in 2008, but don't want to confuse Chuck with Hispanic sounding names)? Probably not, but those wins came at the US Marathon Championships and they were just the US champion. The point is America is a country of winners and we want our champions to be the best in the world. It would be real easy to guarantee that Ryan Hall won the Boston Marathon, but soon people wouldn't care because they would know it was a farce. Think Marine Corps Marathon Champion versus Boston Marathon Champion. (Not to mention if the money stopped being spent the US stars and all the other stars in the world would just compete abroad where the money was).
We guess the NBA should kick out Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) , Steve Nash (Canada), and Tony Parker (France). It's a good thing Yao Ming retired. Ichiro Suzuki, Albert Pujols, and Mariana Rivera - get on a boat and go home. Not sure what Chuck proposes we do with all the Puerto Rican players. They're Americans whether they can vote for President or not.
Chuck's not done:
"You want to know why American distance running sucks? In a nutshell we are importing our athletes as fast as we are exporting our jobs. It's corporate greed. Which company can make slaves of foreign workers and which "big marathon" can import the next course record holder or the "fastest marathon run on American soil." One thing is for sure, it won't be done by an American and his last name will probably have more vowels than a box of Lucky Charms. It's as bad as these races stating that some runner with a last name similar to Keimbiuyot lives in West Chester, PA. What red-blooded American is going to believe he is really from Pennsylvania?"
Someone had better not tell Check that Meb's last name if Keflezighi and he lives in San Diego, California. The solution to American distance running is not to have our guys run 2:12s while the rest of the world is running 2:03s. That is a recipe for disaster. Competition makes us better. Competing against the best of the world makes us better (This does not mean we're against US Championships). Meb Keflezighi and Bernard Lagat may have been born in Africa, but it's hard to argue that them becoming Americans did not make the other American distance runners raise their games. The same concept applies to Americans competing against the best.
6 Quotes Of The Week (That Weren't Quotes Of The Day)
#1 - Steve Cram Talks About What To Do If You Don't Like The Uniform Your Team Gives You
"At the first Games I went to we were given a full suitcase, including athletic kit and smart clothes. It was 1978 and I was a little bit into punk and I was wearing drainpipe jeans. And there was this red crinkly flared leisure tracksuit; flares had gone out two or three years before. I was told I had to wear this to travel in, and of course I accidentally forgot mine. Funnily enough it scaled down a little bit after that."
- Steve Cram, history's 1st sub-3:30 1,500 meter runner, writing in for the BBC.
More: Steve Cram says he's not a "massive fan" of new Team GB gear
#2 - Shalane Flanagan Talking To The Oregonian's Ken Goe About How She Was Stunned To Learn That Race Organizers Viewed Her As The Favorite For The EDP Lisbon Half (Which She Won)
"(At the press conference) I was looking for my name tag to see where I was supposed to sit, and I couldn't find it. I thought, 'Gosh, this is embarrassing. They didn't need me.'"
(Then I was told I was being featured on the podium) I thought they were on crack. When I saw the start list, I was wondering if I should have entered the race. I was wondering what I'd gotten myself into. A lot of the women on the start list had PRs (personal records) that were a minute to a minute and a half faster than mine."
Flanagan's humility paid off nicely as she got the win.
More: Shalane Flanagan Surprised Herself With Lisbon Half Victory
#3 - 2011 US Long Jump Champ Marquise Goodwin Talking About The Difference Between Competing In Track & Field And Football (Where He Is A Receiver)
"There's not a lot of guys in the stands wearing burnt orange and cheering you on. My mom's not in the stands yelling for me. It's different. It was a big learning experience for me.''
Goodwin's quote comes from an AP article which also has this great quote from his track coach at Texas Bubba Thornton who said it didn't surprise him that Goodwin went back to football last fall: "I knew all along he's going to miss the cigar smoke, the big crowds and
the fight song. He's going to die if he's not out there."
More: US LJ Champ Marquise Goodwin Is Now Again Focused On Track
#4 - Tyson Gay Saying He's It's Not A Bad Thing That He Has To Compete Against Usain Bolt
"I don't think it's bad timing. People say, `Dang, you would be the world-record holder and you would be this, you would be that.' At the end of the day, if Bolt wasn't here, I may not have ever thought about running 9.5 or 9.6. Running his times has helped me reach further goals of mine as well as dropping my time. I can't say I'd be better without him. Financially? Media attention? Superstar status? Yeah, maybe. But I don't really look for that. I just enjoy running.''
Gay's quote came from AP article on him after he held an open workout for the media to show that he's on the mend after last year's surgery. Gay revealed that this year he'll only run the 100m.
More: Tyson Gay Holds Open Workout For Media & Says He'll Only Do 100m This Year
#5 - Dartmouth's Abbey D'Agostino Saying It's Better To Compete Than To Time Trials - NAU's Diego Estrada Doesn't Agree
D'Agostino: "It's more satisfying to go into a race to race versus racing against the clock. It's more the intent of the sport."
Estrada: "When we go to California, it doesn't matter if I get last in my heat as long as I run a PR."
Both quotes come from Matt McCue's piece in Running Times.
More: Chasing vs. Racing Some runners chase fast times during the college season, others learn how to race.
#6 -Edwin Moses Thinks Dopers Should Be Forgiven - After All, We Forgive Drunk Drivers
"If you go out and drive drunk, you'll get your drivers' licence back eventually. That's much more critical."
Moses' quote came in a BBC article. The quote in our minds is way off base and we're going to write more about it later in the week.
However, that leads us to a great profile on Edwin Moses in the Scotsman. It is a great read and shows how Moses made himself into a champion. Just a snippet: "There were lots of athletes who were much better than me at a younger age. My younger brother was way better than I was. But in terms of what it took to go to the next level, he couldn't put those elements together. Academically I was on top of the game, but I was not great on the track. I was seconds off being fast enough to get a scholarship, so I went to a college with no track facilities and just became a regular student. In 1974 or 1975, if someone had told me I was going to be an Olympic champion, I would not have believed it. Even in 1976, I'd not have believed it."
More: *Excellent Edwin Moses Profile in Scostman
*Edwin Moses Says He Thinks Drug Cheats Deserve A Second Chance
Shhh. Don't Tell Anyone. Want To Know How To Win An NCAA Title In The DMR? Give Up The Lead On Purpose
Before we get to the recommended reads, we wanted to talk about a nice profile by the South Bend Tribune of the men's DMR team at Notre Dame that won the NCAA indoor title this year.
The article was full of a ton of interesting pieces of info.
1) Notre Dame's 800-meter leg, Randall Babb, got the baton in the lead and he purposely allowed himself to be passed by a couple of teams as the anchor had told him not to give him the baton in the lead. Lots of teams talk in theory about doing this, but a big kudos to Notre Dame for actually doing it in the heat of the moment.
2) We found it very refreshing to learn that a year ago, Notre Dame's 400 man, freshman Chris Giesting, didn't even know the DMR existed: "A year ago, I didn't even know this event existed. But it was really exciting, and I was kind of shocked how competitive it could be. It's kind of surreal. I've already been a part of achieving one of the biggest accomplishments in college track. Now I want more."
3) Every single athlete who has stayed on the team for 4 years during coach Joe Piane's 38-year tenure at Notre Dame has graduated. That's truly impressive.
4) Notre Dame's outdoor track has zero spectator seating. That is truly embarrassing.
More: A Great Article Profile Of The 2012 Notre Dame Men's NCAA Championship DMR Team Hard to believe it's only the 3rd NCAA title in Notre Dame history.
Former CEO Of BETonSPORTS.com Went To Jail To Become A Runner At 50 years old, David Carruthers used his time in prison/house arrest to go from being 192 lbs. and overweight to running a 3:07 marathon and sub 5-min. mile.
1998 New York Times Profile Of Khalid Khannouchi - From Morocco To Brooklyn, A Runner's Road To The Top Nice quote from Joe McVeigh.
Lengthy Edwin Moses Profile "My story is not one of someone who was born to be a champion. I stayed in the sport longer than some who were better than me at 15, 16, 18 or even 20. And I put more into it."
Learn Why High School LJ & TJ Phenom Devin Field May Not Have A Jr. Season The two-time state champ in Texas in the LJ has already gone 25' 5.75" this year and won indoor nationals but can't compete for his team as he doesn't live with his mom, as she moved back to the coast after fleeing from a hurricane. *More On Field
Other News Of Note From The Last Week
Texas A&M 4 X 8 Sets Texas Relays Record With 7:15.99
1984 Olympic 5,000m Bronze Medallist Antonio Leitão Dies He was only 51 years old. The Portuguese club Benfica named its race after him. More On Antonio Leitão's Death Here
*Rosa Mota Pays Her Respects *Video Of 1984 Olympic 5,000m Final Announcer Tim Hutchings got 4th.
Slate Asks: Might Justin Gatlin (And Other Drug Cheats) Be Benefitting From Doping They Did Years Ago? Answer: Yes
Are You A Drug Cheat? Personal Consumption Of Steroids Isn't Illegal In The UK
Auburn Runs 38.30 In 4 X 100 At Texas Relays LRC isn't just a distance site. This 4 x 1 is so good it would have won bronze at the 2011 World Champs.
Quotes Of The Day From The Week & Last Week's Homepages:
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 4/2: "He just represented someone who made running the center of his life. He didn't make a lot of money doing it, but he made his life about running, so he was the forerunner for us all. Micah lived doing what he loved. That's what we can learn from him. How many people can say that?"
- Author Michael Sandrock talking about Micah True aka "Caballo Blanco" of Born To Run fame, who died after going out for a 12-mile run over the weekend.
Sunday 4/1: "My story is not one of someone who was born to be a champion. I stayed in the sport longer than some who were better than me at 15, 16, 18 or even 20. And I put more into it ... I peaked at exactly the right time. There were lots of athletes who were much better than me at a younger age."
- The world's greatest hurdler Edwin Moses in an excellent profile in the Scotsman. Read the article if you want to know about meticulous preparation making someone the best in the world.
Saturday 3/31: "He has the ability to train at very high intensity. So compared to most people, he might not need as many races. You'd prefer to have a couple of races before the trials. But at the end of the day, if his first race is at the Olympic trials, then he'll be ready to run."
- Coach Lance Brauman talking about Tyson Gay, who held a workout for members of the media on Friday and announced he'll only run the 100m this year.
Friday 3/30: "The Olympics are the pinnacle of a running career. If you make the Olympics, you've reached the top. But in today's world, with how many marathoners there are, and with all the best marathoners running the fast times in Berlin and Rotterdam and all these marathons around the world, there are like 50 different marathons where you can run sub-2:10 and not even be close to the win. If you fail to make the Olympic team but you run a fast time and you're up there competing with the top Kenyans like Ryan Hall has - if Ryan Hall never made an Olympic team, he still would have had a brilliant career."
- US marathoner Nick Arciniaga, answering the question whether it's unfair that runners' careers are often judged on whether or not they made the Olympics. Arciniaga wasn't talking about Khalid Khannouchi, but he definitely could have been. Read about Khannouchi's career here.
Thursday 3/29: "I remember seeing him after the (1997 Steamboat Classic) and saying to him, 'If you ever decide to run the marathon, you'll break the world record.' I had not seen an athlete that could run on the road like he did, as relaxed and efficient as he was. It just looked like his feet stuck to the road. It just seemed like he was built to run on the road. ... He (Khannouchi) was the absolute best I've ever seen."
- Bank of America Chicago Marathon director Carey Pinksowski talking to LetsRun.com about American marathon record holder Khalid Khannouchi, who retired earlier this week. From the moment he first saw Khannouchi, Pinkowski knew he was something special.
Wednesday 3/28: "I'm proud of myself. I truly want to thank my family, all the people, the fans, my sponsors who really gave me the opportunity. I want to thank them for the time, the great time I had, the support I had, and the great moments in the history of running that I had as they were a part of it."
- Khalid Khannouchi one of the greatest marathoners to ever live announcing his retirement to LetsRun.com. Take a minute to read about Khannouchi's incredible career that included a 2002 World Record victory over Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrselassie.
Tuesday 3/27: "In one of his early letters, a typically chipper David wrote that he had formed a running club called the jailbird joggers. ... The 'running track' at Eden was a little less than five laps to a mile with six 90-degree turns (picture a fat letter L) and was surrounded by electric fence, barbed wire, flood lights and a gun tower. David was a world away from those ideal running conditions we had joked about in Saint Louis."
"'We run every day…I even have them doing drills, intervals and a long run!' coach David said proudly. 'The guards get pissed when we run in the rain because they have to stand out there the whole time.'"
- Ben Rosario, writing about former CEO of BETonSPORTS.com, David Carruthers, who became a dedicated runner after being arrested for racketeering charges. While in prison he started a jogging club, organized a one mile race in the prison yard, and logged 2,000 miles on one pair of shoes because the warden wouldn't let him purchase new ones from the outside. A definite Recommended Read.