The Best Closes In Track History, Let Us Introduce You To Brannon Kidder, Erik Sowinski’s HS Coach, Praise From Nick Willis, And More, The Week That Was

The Week That Was In Running: February 25 – March 3, 2013 By March 6, 2013 To read last week’s Weekly Recap, click here. This week’s weekly recap is a bit shorter than normal for three reasons. 1) First there was some big action we’ve already covered. Lopez Lomong set the American indoor 5,000m […]

Join Our Supporters Club To Keep Reading Sign up today to get a free 12-week training program and t-shirt.

The Week That Was In Running: February 25 – March 3, 2013

March 6, 2013

To read last week’s Weekly Recap, click here.

This week’s weekly recap is a bit shorter than normal for three reasons.

Article continues below player

1) First there was some big action we’ve already covered. Lopez Lomong set the American indoor 5,000m record on Friday (photos here). Jenn Suhr broke the world record in the pole vault (world record video here, photos here) on Saturday. And then on Sunday, high schooler Mary Cain won her first senior USATF title (article here, photos here, video here). We recapped those feats at the links above.

2) We’ve been getting ready for 2013 NCAAs.

3) Flu-like symptoms have been going through LRC’s East coast offices.

But like getting in a second training run late at night, we felt it was better to get in something, rather than nothing at all.

This week we spend most of our time looking at the historic best closes in track and field history, we also introduce you to Penn State frosh Brannon Kidder, apologize to Kara Goucher, email with Erik Sowinski’s high school coach, explain why typos are great for LetsRun and receive praise from Nick Willis.

We Give Some Photo Love to The Weekend’s Big Action:


Lopez Lomong American Record 13:07.00!


Jenn Suhr World Record Holder


USATF Title #1 For Mary Cain


Five Quick Thoughts

**** #1 Geoffrey Kipsang Axes Himself From World XC

Did anyone else besides us find it odd that the Kenyan papers said Geoffrey Kipsang was “axed” from the 2013 World XC team? In reality, the 2011 world junior champ, who recently won the RAK Half in 58:54, didn’t report to camp and basically told the Kenyan officials,  “I’m not interested.” So he wasn’t axed – unless you can ax yourself.

Yet the headline on was “Glory prospect Kipsang axed from WC team” and the article began “Reigning World Cross junior champion, Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor who was penned as a major prospect for the senior men gold medal in Poland was sensationally axed from the team on Thursday by Athletics Kenya.”

It’s shortsighted for the 20-year-old to skip the event in our eyes. Having a few major titles behind your name will make you far more marketable to a marathon than just having a time.

**** #2 Three Top 30 (Mo Farah) Half Marathon Performances In Rome

Wilson Kiprop At Kenyan Olympic 10,000m Trials In Eugene

We bet a lot of people didn’t notice the results to the 2013 Roma-Ostia Half Marathon. Coming into the weekend, only 30 men in history had run 59:20 at the 13.1 distance. Three people did it in Rome, including two newcomers. The race winner was 2010 World Half and 2012 Kenyan Olympic Trials 10,000 champ Wilson Kiprop in 59:15 (equaling his previous PR of 59:19).

The second and third placers ran 59:19 and 59:20 and are guys you’ve likely never heard of. 24-year-old Robert Chemosin was the runner-up. Given his 60:14 win in Udine last year, he didn’t come totally out of nowhere, but 23-year-old third placer Simon Cheprot only had a 61:04 PR coming in. Cheprot ran on the US road scene back in 2009 and 2010 as a 19- and 20-year-old (2009: 1st Wharf to Wharf, 1st Fifth Season in IA, 1st Crazy 8s, 2010: 6th Crazy 8s, 7th Cooper River, 8th Bolder Boulder, 9th Cherry Blossom).

At the 13.1 distance, the three men in Rome are now in terms of time the equivalent of Mo Farah – top 30 in the world all-time. Farah is the 30th fastest 5k man in history at 12:53.11. Shows how overrated the focus on time can be in track and field.

More: 2010 World Half Champ Wilson Kiprop Wins Roma-Ostia Half Marathon In 59:15 As Filomena Cheyech Wins Women’s In 67:39 The men’s race was fairly close with Edward Kwemoi Chomesin 2nd in 59:19 and Simon Cheprot 3rd in 59:20.

**** #3 What’s In The Water At Penn State?

What is in the water in State, College PA? Their mid-d crew has been tearing it up during the regular season. Last week they ran the #2 DMR time in NCAA history without 1:45.31 man Cas Loxsom (1:46.98 this indoor season) and the team has two freshmen and a sophomore on it.

The anchor of the team is sophomore Robby Creese. Creese is doing really well (3:57.11 mile this year, 3:58.94 last year) this year, after anchoring Penn State to Penn Relays 4 x 800 glory last year.

Forget about Creese and Loxsom for a second. Let us introduce you to the 1,200 leg – frosh Brannon Kidder. Kidder is overshadowed right now justifiably by Loxsom and Creese but Kidder has been having a hell of a freshman campaign (1:48.17 and 3:59.48) himself.

At NCAAs, it looks like Creese will handle the mile/DMR anchor duties and Loxsom will not run the DMR at all. A smart move by PSU in our minds for Loxsom’s long-term prospects. An NCAA individual title will do a lot more for his marketability than a DMR title would and by not running the DMR – he’s fresher for the 800. Fellow senior and #1 800 seed Elijah Greer isn’t running a DMR for Oregon (Oregon didn’t qualify), so let the two studs compete fairly.

Plus, while PSU only has one guy who has run 1:46 this year in Loxsom, they have 6 who have broken 1:50. 1:48.92 man Zavon Watkins is plenty fast to keep them in the hunt in the DMR.

More: PSU Runs #2 DMR In NCAA History – 9:26.60 – Without Cas Loxsom
*Texas DMR Goes From #1 In The Nation To Not Going To Nationals After Notre Dame Is Run
*The Race Of His Life! Arkansas’ Leoman Momon, Who Was Just 8th At SECs, Runs 1:46.07 A Beamonesque improvement as his SB was 1:50.21 and his PR was 1:48.73.

**** #4 A Bad-Ass Win Streak Keeps Going

Last week in our special College Conference Week That Was we talked about the longest winning streak in the country by Wisconsin-Milwaukee coming to an end. Well, we got an email about an impressive win streak that is still going. The email was actually by a rival at another school:

The reason im sending this is to give you a pretty cool story about a small midwest DIII school, Monmouth College. The mens track team has not lost an indoor conference championship since ’99. Their womens team has won 12 straight indoor titles. Along with indoor titles are the outdoor titles. Coach Roger Haynes is an amazing coach as you can tell by his teams accomplishments. I know its a small conference and by some means not the fastest or most competitive conference but how many programs in any division can say they have swept mens and womens titles for 12 straight years? (yes they won again this weekend) thought this would be a cool little story for the letsrun faithful!

So congrats to Monmouth College? Does anyone else know of a streak longer than 12 straight indoor and outdoor titles for a dual program? Email us.

Kara Goucher At Rock N Roll New Orleans

***** #5 We Apologize To Kara Goucher

Last week, we said when your dream is to when a world marathon major, that it’s not a good sign to lose a half marathon by 3 minutes to your own training partner and 4 minutes to the race winner, as was the case for Kara Goucher in New Orleans.

Well, an emailer reminded us that we failed to consider that Goucher is on the way back from an injury and Goucher herself was quite happy with the performance as she tweeted:

“Thrilled to run under 72 today at #RnRNOLA ! Awesome support in the big easy! The comeback begins …”

It’s good to see she’s upbeat. We actually loved her follow up tweet this week as the Dumb and Dumber association summarizes her situation perfectly:

Historic Closes In Track And Field History

Mary Cain’s 58.6 final 400 got us thinking about some historically great closes in track and field history as 58.6 is very good – both men and women.

In terms of the women, Meseret Defar closed in 56-high at the end of a 5,000 – a 15:02 race – to deny her rival Tirunesh Dibaba her share of the year-end $1 million jackpot at 2006 Berlin meet. Watch the last 500 meters for yourself below.

Ignore the 53.74 split that shows up on the screen. It came up early at 14:59.23. The winning time was 15:02.51 – so leader-to-leader the last lap was 56.91, but Defar was just off the lead at the bell so she probably ran 56.7-8.

More: *MB Vault from 2006: *53.74 last lap for Defar!!!

In terms of the men,’s coaching/stat guru John Kellogg told us to check out two races. We loved the video of the race below from the 1987 European cup final, where Spain’s Jose Luis Gonzalez – aka Speedy González – closes in 50.1 to beat Steve Cram in a 3:45 race. We’ve set it to start just before the last lap begins:

More: MB: sub 50 sec last 400m in a mile

The fastest close JK is  aware of in mid-d/distance human history belongs to Kenya’s Alex Kipchirchir. He closed in 49.5 at the end of 3:52.60 1,500m at the IAAF World Cup in 2006, dusting eventual Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis by 2+ seconds.

It’s interesting to note that much of the LetsRun talk after the race focused on Gabe Jennings‘ showing in the race.

We have been unable to find a video of the historic 49.5 close. If you know of one or have a copy of the meet which was televised, please email us. If you know of other great women’s closes in history, email us as well.

MB Vault: 2006: Last 400 in 49….Last 300 36,6 by Kipchirchir
2006: Gabe Jennings
*2007: Was Chebii’s 50.68 the fastest last lap in a distance race ever?
*2012: Fastest kick in track history

The Many Benefits Of Having Of Having Typos On LetsRun – We Hear From Erik Sowinski’s High School Coach

We know the typos that occasionally appear on LetsRun drive some of you nuts. This week we actually have proof that there is a benefit to them, in addition to us being able to get news up much faster as we don’t have to wait for an editor to read it. Plus it keeps our costs down. We’re still more profitable than Yelp.

Erik Sowinski With USATF Title #1

Erik Sowinski With USATF Title #1 (Video Here)

Each week, we get a few emails from the grammar/typo police that let us know about mistakes – which we are happy to get as then we can make corrections. This week we got one from a guy telling us that we were spelling American 600-meter record holder (and new USATF 800 champion) Erik Sowinski‘s name wrong as we had it as Eric and not Erik.

The grammar police guy was none other than Erik’s HS coach, who shared some great nuggets of wisdom about Erik’s HS days. It will give hope to all of the HS 1:59 guys out there. The email comes from Josh Johnson, who coached Erik his junior and senior years at Waukesha West HS:

I actually got to start my coaching career coaching him right (after I got) out of college (UW-Whitewater) in 07, his junior year.  He ran 1:59 his junior year coming off a broken leg from basketball.  His senior year he won state in 1:54.29 in a very tactical/negative split race.  It was a pretty solid field.  2nd place finisher Kyle Winter is a senior at Marquette and won Big East’s last year indoor…4th place finish Sam Mutschler ran at Texas A&M and ran 1:50.  He split 1:52.4 at NON in the 1600m medley with splits of 25.8/52.4/1:20.x and also anchored the 4x800m that day (video).   Thanks for the response and I am a huge fan of Letsrun, so I appreciate.  Whatever else you would like to know, let me know

Email/Tweet Of The Week

We loved that email but it’s not our email of the week.

On the Northeast, the end of February/beginning of March is always a dreary time of year where virtually everyone could use a pick me up. Thus we now share with you our Email and Tweets of the week. We always say the best thing about LetsRun is you the visitor – whether you are an Olympic medallist or just a normal fan.

Tweet Of The Week

(On a related note, LRC unfortunately wasn’t actually at the meet. We just know track so well (and have a really good HD TV) that it seems like it. Employee Contractor 1.1’s car broke down in Flagstaff, and he didn’t have his drivers license so he couldn’t rent a car.)

Email Of The Week

Thanks for having a Running site that tells the truth.  While everyone was showing love to the likes of Lance Armstrong and other lying cheats, you guys always follow the truth without being petty or trigger happy.  I try to visit your site daily and just wanted you to know how much I value the work you do.  You are what and the rest of the guys don’t have the balls to be.  Oh, and if you get a chance to feature Lopez Lomong … don’t hold back.  I met him at the Trials last summer.  Great story and a heart of gold … he’s The American Dream.  The same for Bryshon Nellum.  I met his family waiting in the festival area at Hayward Field the day he made the team in the 400m.  We spoke for an hour and I had no clue who they were wating for.  He and fellow USC runner, Josh Mance gave my buddy and I the all star treatment.  The bias gang banger image I had was destroyed. He is solid. 

When we wrote back and told him we were going to use his email, he wrote back with even more praise.

Bryshon and Lopez … wow I could go on for hours about both of them and how their really the kind of guys athletic super stars should be.  I’ve seen it first hand and you can’t fake sincerity (that’s how I knew Lance was dirty a long time ago … he just didn’t seem honest when the doping questions came up).  Another guy we bumped into was Curtis Beach the day after Eaton set the WR.  Again, what a nice guy.  Track is a sport full of people like this that should never be mentioned in the same sentence as Marion Jones, Ben Johnson, Regina Jacobs and on and on.  That’s why I sent the email.  You guys are protecting the ‘good guys’ by exposing the ‘cheats’. You are defending the integrity of the sport and are doing so with an enthusiasm that leaves loyal fans like me coming back for more.  I’m not alone. Many other fans feel the same.  They just don’t take the time to tell you thanks!

Meet The Sub-4 NCAA Miler Who Qualified For NCAA With Zero Sub-60 400s All Year

We received another email last week that we loved perhaps the most of all, but to avoid having to pick favorites we just gave it another name – it’s our Weekly Free Training Advice (in the year 2013, we are all winners and deserve medals for just participating).

It supports our #1 training mantra of Strength = Speed.


First off love the site, I check it daily.

Second, because I am an avid reader I am quite familiar with your philosophy that strength equals speed.  Well I have a perfect example for you.  I run at the XXXXX (Major State D1 School) and we just had a guy qualify for NCAA’s in the mile, XXXXX.  I was talking to him today and we realized that he ran sub-4 with ZERO intervals under 60″ quarter pace.  Not sure if my coach would love me sharing this info so if you don’t mind keeping this a private conversation I’d appreciate it.

Recommended Reads

LRC Meet The New York City 5th Grade Teacher Who Also Is The Coach Of An Olympic Medallist

Quotes Of The Day & Last Week’s Homepages:

Note: To see a particular day’s homepage, click on the hyperlink of the date. The hyperlink below the date on the quotes will take you to that particular article – not that day’s homepage.

Monday 3/4:

“She’s thrashed them. That’s what you call a real bad beating.

So she’s run like 58 – something like that for her last 400 meters – that is world class closing speed.”

– Television commentator Tim Hutchings, who was fourth in the 1984 Olympic 5,000, after Mary Cain‘s dominant victory at the 2013 USA Indoor Meet.

Sunday 3/3:

“I was in a groove tonight. I knew some big things could happen, I just need to be healthy and come down the runway … I knew if I could execute and stay focused and listen to the instructions I had that it could happen. I guess I knew where I was in my training, I just wasn’t going to let everyone else know.”

– 2012 Olympic pole vault champion Jenn Suhr talking after setting the indoor pole vault World Record at 5.02m to win US Indoor Championships. She broke the previous indoor WR held by Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva at 5.01m.


Saturday 3/2:


– Indoor times put up by Lopez Lomong during the 2013 season, marks that would make him the #1 American in both events had it not been for a Beamonesque 4+ second seasonal best by Arkansas’ Leoman Momoh, who went from 1:50.21 to 1:46.07 last night.


Friday 3/1:

“She is so good she could turn professional right now. If she decided to sign a pro contract right now, every company in the business would be bidding on her. But she hasn’t decided that she wants to forgo the college experience. I think she will make that decision at the end of high school.”

“I still look at my college running as the best time of my life. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss that. It could be the same with her. Or she might decide that just concentrating on running will be better for career.”

Alberto Salazar talking about whether Mary Cain will go to college or straight to professional running after high school.

Thursday 2/28:

“Initially, after the marathon last year, I was kind of gung-ho and excited to do cross country. And the thing that made me disappointed about it is that it’s become very insignificant, I guess. My excitement level wasn’t going to be matched by the excitement that the race would create, unfortunately.”

“It’s really sad to me, because cross country is something that I love a lot. I started thinking about it over the course of the winter. Just knowing that unless I went there and I won the race, it really wouldn’t matter, probably. No one would care. Then they announced that the next cross country championships are somewhere in interior China in 2015. The race has become insignificant.”

“I wanted to do something that I would be excited for, people would care about. Right now, the half marathon is this rocking distance that people love. Road running is really doing so well. I knew that I would be really excited to come to the NYC Half.”

Dathan Ritzenhein, talking about his decision to run the NYC Half instead of the World Cross-Country Championships. Unfortunately for this year, the “miracle on dirt” seems to be over.

Wednesday 2/27:

“I’m very pleased, I am feeling really good and I am ready to invade. … Trust me, in terms of physical conditioning, it’s going exceptionally well, it’s over the top and it’s right where I wanted it to be.”

– Reigning 100m champ Yohan Blake, who split 45.7 over the weekend.

Tuesday 2/26:

“He’s just got to make a choice at that point depending on where he thinks his chances of winning two medals are. … What he runs in the London Marathon in 2014 will give us a good idea of whether it’s an option. … I think Farah will be a really good marathoner, but will he be the best marathoner in the world? He’s the best distance runner in the world right now on the track but to go to the marathon at some point, there is no guarantee that he will be the best in the world there. I’m sure he can be a top-five guy in the world. But whether he’s going to do a marathon rather than track in Rio, I don’t think we know that right now.”

Alberto Salazar talking about Mo Farah‘s plans for the marathon in 2014 and 2016. Whether he goes for it in 2016 will largely depend on how his debut goes next year in at London.

Filed Under: