The Week That Was In Running: April 30 - May 6, 2012
To read the last Week That Was, click here.
May 11, 2012
We know it's already Friday but we wanted to get out our weekly review as we figured people would need something to read as they watch the Samsung Diamond League opener from Doha and better late than never right?
This week we start with an email from a fan who tells us Lopez Lomongis no Vénuste Niyongabo, then we try to figure out what the openers of Andrew Wheating and Doran Ulrey mean before taking a look at Robby Andrews getting outkicked by Michael Rutt. Along the way we criticize the new world record holder at 25km and annoint Donn Cabral as our 'Hero of the Week' as we try to end the DMR as we know it and maybe even the 10,000.
Email of The Week: Lopez Lomong Is No Vénuste Niyongabo
Last week, one of the bigger stories was Lopez Lomong's stunning 13:11 5000 debut (for all intents and purposes). A 1,500 runner who has instant success at 5000 reminded us of 1996 Atlanta Olympic champ Vénuste Niyongabo and we explained our rationale in last week's weekly recap. So if you didn't read it, you can check it out now.
Well we got a great email that basically said, "No so fast - Niyongabo got really lucky"
We've always said the best part about LetsRun.com is you the visitor as you are the lifeblood of the sport and are very knowledgeable. This email certainly supports that hypothesis.
Check out what Dan Norberg, a financial analyst from Stockholm, had to say.
I was as thrilled by Lopez Lomong's race at Peyton Jordan as anyone. But to claim that he is a gold medal, or even medal, contender at the games based on the Niyongabo story? I find it very farfetched and I assume you find it so as well despite your latest the week that was?
Why? In my opinion the 5000m was weak at the OG 1996.
Before the OG 1996 Vénuste Niyongabo was number 17 on the 5000 metres all-time list. Of those 16 men ahead of him on the list, 12 Men did not run the 5000 metres at the OG 1996. The 4 men ahead of him on the list, Bob Kennedy, Tom Nyariki, Shem Kororia, Khalid Boulami, placed 6th, 5th, 9th and 3rd respectively at OG1996 5000m.
Niyongabo was number 5 coming in. With superior 1500m speed compared to those 4 men ahead of him on the list. He had a personal and seasonal best of 3:30.09 (improved to 3:29.18 1997 still No 9 performer all-time) going in to OG 1996. Bob K had a 1500m PB of 3:38.32, and the other 3 has no listed 1500m PB at iaaf.org, but I'm quite sure they didn't possess the same 1500m speed as Niyongabo.
Niyongabo was lucky. He chose between two evils, Morcelli/Hicham in the 1500m and Gebreselassie in the 5000m. He choosed the 5000m and the possibility of facing Gebreselassie. However, Gebreselassie DNS:ed the 5000m due to severe blisters on his feet. The blisters was a result of running a very tough 10 000m on the hard track in Atlanta.
The race at Peyton Jordan indicated that Lomong should be able to run faster. Maybe close to 13:00, and it is going to be very interesting to see what his increased aerobic capacity will give in the 1500/mile. If he still is in the 3:32-33 range he don't have any particular edge over todays crop of 5000m elite, but if he can move down to 3:30ish he do have an edge, but not the same edge Niyongabo had in 1996. Still, if he places in the top 6-8 in the 5000m he has done a terric job. Top 3 would demand something extra.
Letsrun.com wrote "Take a look at the medallists and their times from the last 6 Olympics and tell us a 1,500-based runner moving up isn't way more suited for a medal than a 5,000/10,000 type who speciailizes in rabbitted time trials."
As I described above 1996 was weak and at both the 2004 and 2008 OG he would have been blown away. Hicham el Guerrouj ran 7:23 for the 3000m back in 1999 and 12:50 for the 5000m in 2003. Lomong has a whole lot to prove before you can even remotely compare him to Bekele, Eliud K and Edwin Soi. To compare today with 1988 and 1992 is farfetched as well. 5000m running has evolved quite a bit since the eighties, early nineties. In 2000 maybe....
Buster Mottram took bronze in 2005. When he ran his PB of 12:55 he closed that last 1000m in 2:25-2:26. In that race he was 2nd to Haile G. If Lomong shows he can close the last 1000m, in a 13:05ish race at least, in 2:25 with a last 400m being the fastest (53-54" range) then he is a medal contender.
On the other hand, if he improves to 3:30ish he maybe should stick with the 1500? Although he don't seem to have the same type of wheels as Centrowitz for example so I guess the 5000m is his best chance after all. Not an easy task to be top 3 at US Olympic trials to begin with and after this performance he is rather the hunted one than the hunter.
Who is Dan Noberg you ask? Well Dan described himself as follows:
"I'm a big fan of your site and has been visiting it since the start. As a student of the sport I try to visit it every day. I follow both the international and the college running scene and LRC is the place to be.
I'm a financial analyst from Stockholm who ran a 1:50.48 800m and 3:48.93 1500m back in the day. I ran 2:58 in my first, and so far only, marathon (2009 NYCM with very little preparation. I know what the wall in marathon-running is) and I'm going to redeem myself at the 2012 NYCM.
(2:23 would make me go crazy. I'll take a 2:35 any day.)"
Do you have equally brilliant insight? Well email us.
What To Make Of Andrew Wheating & Dorian Ulrey's Season Openers & The Webb/Andrews/Rutt 800
Last week, 2004 US Olympian and 3:30 performer at 1,5000 Andrew Wheating and Dorian Ulrey made their season debuts at the Oregon Relays in windy conditions. Wheating got the win in 3:44.97 to Ulrey's 3:45.30.
What do we think of it? Well first of all, people need to realize that it was windy so we aren't paying attention to times. Also it's very important that people remember that Ulrey isn't a chump. Because the end of Ulrey's NCAA career wasn't good last year (only 8th at NCAA outdoors), people seemingly have forgotten that he did run 3:35.23 in 2009 and did run 3:37.68 last July. So beating him is a positive for Wheating.
But it's hard to compare two guys who are running their seasonal debuts so we tried to see if anyone else in the race was any good so we could use them as the yardstick. The third placer in the race - Kris Gauson - who was some 1.01 behind Wheating - did run a 3:40.16 pb the week before at Stanford.
So basically all we know is Wheating/Andrews are in decent shape. Probably at least 3:39-40 shape. Sorry, wish we could tell you more.
East Coast 800
The Wheating-Andrews matchup at 1,500 wasn't the only anticipated duel last week. On the East Coast, Alan Webb, Robby Andrews, Michael Rutt and decathlon star and 1:47.99 800 man Curtis Beach all toed the line at 800m.
The race certainly didn't live up to the hype (but they rarely do). In the end, Rutt got the win in 1:46.86 to Andrews 1:47.11, Webb's 1:51.05 and Beach's 1:56.57. What to make of it?
All we'll say is that Rutt is legit and he deserves some props for out-kicking Robby Andrews - repeat out-kicking Mr. Kick himself, Robby Andrews (race video below). If you didn't know it already, Rutt did make the world indoor final this year so he is someone worth of your attention. But we're not writing Andrews off by any stretch even though he didn't look like himself over the last 50m. Our main take away from that race is that Andrews should never lead a race. The guy likes to come from behind and yet he led most of the race from 300 to 750 as the rabbit pulled away. If Andrews loses when he's in the pack, then we'll read more into it. But Rutt deserves some props.
As for Webb and Beach? All we can say is it was a little and a lot disappointing for them respectively. Webb's strength to us is his strength. It's clear he's struggling with his speed so the 1:51 wasn't a shock, but it was a seasonal best and way better than the 1:54 he ran early last month. The guy is an aerobic monster for a 1,500 guy so just racing the 800 was good for him as the workout is a race.
As for Beach? He had done the high jump and hurdles before hand but the guy was NEVER in it.
Men's 800 With Andrews, Webb, Rutt & Beach
More: LRC Michael Rutt Wins the Robby Andrews, Alan Webb, Curtis Beach 800m Showdown *Duke Results *Duke
On the boards: Rutt Wins 1:46.86, Webb 1:50, Andrews 1:47.11
*Oregon Twilight Results *Twilight Photo Gallery *Twilight Video *More Collegiate
Oregon Twilight: Andrew Wheating Returns With 3:44.97 Win Over Dorian Ulrey Wheating got the win over former World Championships team member Dorian Ulrey in windy conditions. Video of last lap on right of homepage, full race here. Tommy Skipper no-heighted and Jordan Hasay ran 4:19.90 and 2:08.32.
*More on Wheating's Win Here
What About The Sport I - Men's World Record Falls in 25km
Last week, one of the bigger stories was that a new men's 25km world record was set as a Kenyan ran 1:11:18 at the BIG 25 Berlin, breaking Sammy Kosgei's 21:11:50 world record. Now 25km isn't the most common of distances but it is running - go out and run a 60:10 half marathon and keep going for an extra 3.9 km without slowing down.
Instead of using the athletes name, we used the term "a Kenyan" on purpose even though one of the things we really focus on at LetsRun.com is to try to present the Kenyan and Ethiopian stars of the sport as individuals instead of an unnamed dark mass.
We did so because in this case it's warranted. The actually world record older is Dennis Kimetto - but he has pulled some ridiculous hijinks so far this year. In terms of running, Geoffrey Mutai's training partner has done nothing wrong as he is a perfect three for three on the year, taking home titles at three very big road races. But as we explained in April, in February, he won the RAK Half-Marathon as an 18-year old but by the time he won the Berlin Half on April 1 in 59:13, he was said to be in his mid-20s.
Well guess what? At the time of those two wins, he was going by the name Dennis Koech. Now it comes out his real name is actually Dennis Kimetto and he's actually 28 (which to us is late 20s not mid 20s).
For distance running to be popular, the stars of the sport need to be individualized. A big part of sports is rooting for and against particular teams/individuals. A big part of the NBA's success last year was that people were rooting against LeBron James. This is 100% impossible when the athletes aren't even going by a consistent name.
For a runner's name and age to change by 10 years is ridiculous. Both Dennis and his agent deserve blame on this one.
More: Dennis Kimetto Breaks 25km World Record in Berlin In the last 3 months Dennis Koech has become Dennis Kimetto and gotten 10 years older. He is the same guy, is a training partner of Geoffrey Mutai, and he is a huge talent. He's 3 for 3 in races outside of Kenya with this
*Dennis Koech (Kimetto) Gets 7 Years Older In The Span Of 2.5 Months
What About The Sport II? - Change The Order Of The DMR
We here at LetsRun.com have long had a love/hate relationship with the distance medley relay. Our love of the event is simple-its got a lot of mid distance running. Our dislike for the event is many faceted.
A relay is supposed to be about who has the best team of runners but the DMR isn't normally about that as one runner is running 40% of the distance on the last leg. So for the most part, the race just comes down to who has the best miler. In our minds, at least half the time, the race should just be cancelled and the teams out to line up the milers and the results would be the same.
Making it worse is the milers often just jog around for 800 as no one has a big enough lead to make pushing the pace all that worthwhile.
So what can be done about the DMR?
Well we have a solution courtesy of Princeton star Donn Cabral.
A few days after earning the biggest wins of his career at Penn Relays where he anchored Prineton to 4 x mile and DMR victories, Cabral gave an interview to Runnersworld. You wouldn't think a guy would trash the very event that just gave him glory but Mr. Cabral did just that, as Cabral explained:
I was actually thinking this weekend that the DMR could be a lot cooler if instead of ending with a 1600 leg, they switched up the order a bit so it ended with a shorter leg so it would become less tactical. It would be cooler if we started out with the 1600 and ended with the 800 so if you get a big lead, everybody's running for it and not waiting for the last 200 [meters] or 150.
Cabral is officially our Hero of The Week. One of track and field's biggest problems is no one sit backs and thinks, "What about the sport?" They just act in what is in there own self interest.
Cabral, days after winning big in the DMR, is willing to admit, "Hey the DMR is really pretty stupid - let's change it so guys have incentive to actually run"
We talked to Cabral about his plan and he'd like to see the race go 1600, 1200, 400 and 800.
One thing we thought might be cool and would add drama to the event would be to draw the order of the event out of a hat at the start line of NCAAs. Give the competitors three minutes to talk about with their coaches and then fire the gun. Speaking of drawing things out of a hat, here's another crazy idea.
To prevent people from jogging for 20 laps before running hard for 4-5 laps in a 10,000. What if perhaps twice in the first 20 laps a ball random number between say 56 and 65 should be pulled from a hat. Let's say 62. If you don't run the next lap in 62, you are removed from the race. Can you imagine the nervous anticipation as that number came up?
Gimmicky? Sure. But so is the shot clock and three-point line. Something has to be done for the fans.
Comments? Any ideas to save the sport? Email us.
Cabral isn't the only person trying to make the sport better. We enjoyed reading the following what Alan and Shayne Culpepper (Both 2000 and 2004 US Olympians for you younger visitors) are doing to help grow the sport.
What Do You Do To Help The Sport? Former Olympian Alan Culpepper And Wife Shayne Are Volunteering To Help More 200 Children From Kindergarten To 5th Grade Learn To Run "The goal for this is not to identify future Olympians. It's to create a habit that they can maybe take through life."
LRC Wesley Korir: From Zero To Hero At Chicago The first time Wesley ran Chicago (photo here), he paid his entry fee like everyone else and started with the masses. Now 4 years later he's returning as the Boston Marathon champ. Learn more about Wesley (he hopes to be a US citizen soon) and how the late Sammy Wanjiru inspired Wesley to be a champion.
Is Profiled By The Candian Press & Everyone Absolutely Justifiably
Just Gushes About What He's Done - Including Levins Himself
RR: 50 stunning Olympic moments No 27: Ann Packer wins 800m in 1964 "Packer won gold in Tokyo having never previously run an international 800m race, and with the final itself only her eighth ever two-lap run." Not only that - she set a new world record of 2:01.1. Very impressive stuff (she had opened a 2:11 in her 1st 800 in May that year).
Other News Of Note From Last Few Weeks
LRC Diego Estrada Would Have Been Eligible to Run Olympic Trials (But he was given incorrect info from USATF) Now he'll run for Mexico.
Lilac Bloomsday: Kenya's Allan Kiprono, Ethiopia's Mamitu Daska Take Bloomsday Titles Janet Cherobon-Bawcom was second overall 57 seconds behind Daska. *Results
Remember Him? German Fernandez Runs 3:43.88 Two weeks ago, he ran 3:46.32.
Now he's down to 3:43.88. Coach Dave Smith said Fernandez "looked the best he's looked in a long, long time. ... He competed well ... and is
kind of starting to look like the old German Fernandez."
*Message Board Thread Here
College Conference Action: Hepstrack.com *BigEast Central *More Conference
Usain Bolt 9.82 Opener! Sanya Richards-Ross Beaten
Usain Bolt showed he should be a force in 2012 as he blasted the field. In other action, Novlene Williams-Mills ran 49.99 to upset Sanya Richards-Ross in the 400 (50.11), Yohan Blake ran 19.91, and Carmelita Jeter ran 10.81.*IAAF
*Video And Flash Recap Of Jamaica Invitational And Bolt's 9.82 100m Opener Ben Bruce won the steeple and AJ Nation ran the 1,500 and was in the steeple too, as Hilary Stellingwerff won the 1,500.
*Do You Like Rap? An Usain Bolt Rap
On The Boards: Bolt 9.82 at 2012 Jamaica Invitational
*Brigette Foster Hilton 12.51 in 100h!!!
Japan: In Bad Weather Liu Xiang Opens in 13.09, Allyson Felix Runs 11.22, Amantle Montsho Runs 50.52
*Recap Of Last Week's Japan Track Action: Paul Tanui Runs 13:19 5k And Jairus Kipchoge A World Leading 8:18 Steeplechase
Chris Solinsky Will Not Enter The 2012 US Olympic Trials
"I tore 90% of my hamstring off my pelvis. I'm going to have to bag it
this year and swallow the hard pill that it's not going to happen. It's
a matter of my body not responding"
*LRC Message Boarders Do It Again: Solinsky Pulls Plug on 2012
*Quick Interview From Before Announcement He also talks about how if he bumps into the rival Oregon Project guys on a run if they'll run together.
Wired: Study Reveals Joggers Live 5 Years Longer 20 minutes, 3 times a week is enough.
Kenyan Prison Champs: Kiprop & All 1,500 Runners Watch Out: Silas Kiplagat Runs 1:44.8 In Kenya updated The IAAFand tilastapaja didn't even list an 800 PR for the guy.
Day 1: Silas Kiplagat Runs Fastest 800m Of Day (1:47.1) In Pouring Rain Isaac Korir won the 10k (28:25) over Africa XC champ John Mwangangi.
*The Usually Cocky Silas Kiplagat Taking On A More Humble Tone "I cannot say that I'm the best, I'm not the best, there are emerging athletes."
*IAAF: Kenya Dominates Youth Meet: 3k Won By Kenyan Boy In 8:06
Quotes Of The Day/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 5/7: "I felt good, I was running fast. Then, as everybody does, I kind of glanced up at the big JumboTron and I see this little guy over my shoulder. I was like, ‘Oh my god!' I had to pick up the pace."
"I hate — like italicize hate — losing at Hayward.. I love (the fans) as much as they love me. And I love putting on a show here."
- Andrew Wheating talking about his win in the 1500 (3:44.97) at the Oregon Twilight Meet over Dorian Ulrey (3:45.3). It was his first race in 9 months after coming back from his hamstring injury.
Sunday 5/6: "... tonight he ... honestly looked the best he's looked in a long, long time.
He competed well, lead in the second half of the race, got out-kicked in the end, but still ran much better than he has in a long time and is kind of starting to look like the old German Fernandez."
- Oklahoma State Coach Dave Smith on German Fernandez after he ran 3:43.88 Friday night in Arkansas. Two weeks ago, Fernandez ran 3:46.
Saturday 5/5: "I look back and think about what I ran in high school and what I'm running now, and it's just so ... I couldn't have dreamed of running what I am now. I don't even know if I fathomed it was possible."
"I look at the times I ran and I kind of go, 'Wait, is that my best time?' It's pretty amazing."
- Cam Levins talking about his meteoric rise that has resulted him running 13:18 and 27:27 in the span of 9 days, when coming into the year his PR was just 13:40.
Friday 5/4: "I'm 27 years old and I'm just getting in the prime of my career. I was setting myself up to have a really legitimate chance to win a medal (in London). That's been the hardest part, because of where I saw my progression going and what I was capable of."
When people find out you're a runner, the first question they ask is,
'Have you ever run in the Olympics?' That's kind of a hard pill to
swallow. But, realistically, I have two more Olympic cycles in me. I'm
not going to let this beat me."
- Chris Solinsky announcing that due to setbacks coming back from his hamstring injury and surgery, he will not be entering the 2012 US Olympic Trials. You heard it here first.
Thursday 5/3: "(After racing against Sammy Wanjiru at the 2010 Chicago marathon, Wanjiru) gave me a hug and he told me, 'Wesley, you run like a champion. I promise you one of these days you'll be a champion.'"
"After he passed away it hit me really hard. I wanted to do it. I trained so hard, I just wanted to do it for him."
- 2012 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir talking about how Sammy Wanjiru spotted something special in him after they raced against each other for 20 miles in Chicago in 2010. Korir, who had to pay for entry fee to Chicago just four years ago, will return to Chicago this fall as the Boston Marathon champ.
Wednesday 5/2: "Her work ethic overshadows her true talent. No matter how well she does, it never is good enough. We're just seeing the beginning of a great history for Ajee' Wilson. She can take it as far as she wants."
-Darren Boone, assistant track coach of high school phenom Ajee Wilson, who hopes to become the first high schooler to go sub 2:00 in the 800.
- World and Olympic steeple champ Brimin Kipruto, who is hoping to be the first man to ever defend an Olympic steeplechase title..