Jenny Simpson, Eric Jenkins, Diego Estrada, Mac Fleet, Chris Solinsky, The PSU Men And Villanova Women Impress, The Mystery That Is German Fernandez, And Where Were The Arkansas Men?
May 1, 2013
Last week’s Weekly Recap can be found here.
This week, we heap praise on Diego Estrada, Eric Jenkins, Mac Fleet, Chris Solinsky and the PSU men but give the most to the Villanova women. Along the way, we slam the Arkansas men, talk about the mystery that is German Fernandez and announce Lawrence Okoye, a future NFL star for the San Francisco 49ers. Plus a 17-year-old runs 10.01 – and he’s from Japan.
The Drake Relays Presented By Hy-Vee Get It Right
We often ask, “What about the sport?” and try to come up with ways the sport can be better presented to the public. Well, when someone gets it right, they need to be praised.
So kudos to Midwest gorcery store chain Hy-Vee for pouring more than $500,000 in prize money to the 2013 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee. In many pro events, Drake was offering $25,000 for first, whereas a Diamond League meet offers just $10,000. Unbelievable.
And to announce a “London Rematch” race, the Drake organizers would fire off fireworks to get the fans attention. Everything was EXTREMELY well done.
The money resulted in the following world-leading results:
•Women’s pole vault — Yarisley Silva, Cuba, 15-11
•Women’s long jump — Brittany Reese, United States, 22-9¼
•Women’s 1,500 — Jenny Simpson, New Balance, 4:03.35
• Men’s 400 hurdles — Michael Tinsley, adidas, 48.55 (runner-up Johnny Dutch had No. 2 world mark, 48.73)
• Women’s 400 hurdles — Zusana Hejnova, 54.41
• Women’s 100 hurdles — Queen Harrison, 12.71 (the first four finishes in the race ran the four fastest times in the world so far)
• Men’s mile — Nick Willis, 3:55.70
• Women’s high jump — Ruth Beitia, 6-4 ¾
• Men’s shot put — Reese Hoffa, 71-2 3/4
As a result of the quality fields, the meet also had ESPN2 coverage on Saturday (taped delayed). Well done Drake, Hy-Vee, and presumably USATF, which helped get this on TV (meet was live on Internet on ESPN3 on Friday).
Now for some attendance news. First the great news from GoDrakeBulldogs.com: “Saturday’s session featured a sellout crowd of 14,504 for the 48th consecutive year. The Thursday and Friday morning and afternoon sessions also recorded the highest attendance figures since Drake Stadium’s 2006 renovation.”
Record attendance for the last 7 years means excellence was rewarded. One interesting tidbit from the attendance figures is the morning/afternoon session on Friday at Drake had a higher attendance (12,378) than the evening session, which featured many of the marquee pro races (11,827). This would seem to indicate something we’ve said for a while – a lot of the “fans” at meets like Drake and Penn are actually parents/friends/relatives of competitors (and possibly competitors if competitors are counted as ticket holders).
The good news is the meet made a concerted effort to entertain the people in attendance. So hopefully next year, many of the parents or relatives in attendance will bring their friends on Friday and the sport gets still more fans.
One tiny bit of constructive criticism for Drake. If you are going to spend more than a half million on prize money, how about hiring one guy to record every split of every competitor in a relay? We imagine a volunteer could be found to do it or one employee could do it for a few hundred bucks. PennRelaysOnline.com has the best results site we’ve ever seen.
And also while ESPN2 coverage is great, don’t forget the local media has been giving you free publicity for years.
We’re not sure of all the details, but next year take that into account when coming up with the rights/restrictions for the newscasts. ESPN2 and USATF should not be blocking the local media from showing highlights of action so it can show up on ESPN2 a day later. More interest in Drake means more people will watch it taped delayed on ESPN2.
What about the action at Drake? We’ll be brief, as we covered it extensively as it happened. For us, the highlight of the entire week was seeing 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson win $25,000 in dominant fashion in her first race back under coach Mark Wetmore. You also had a national HS record by Mary Cain.
LRC Wow: Jenny Simpson Impresses With Drake Relays Record And World Lead In 1,500
*MB: Tim Hutchens (sic) on Jenny Simpson “The World Champion is Back.”
*MB: THE WETMORE FACTOR
*MB: Morgan Uceny adidas 4:17.71
*Saturday: Queen Harrison Upsets Dawn Harper, Kellie Wells, and Lolo to Take Home $25k, Nick Willis Wins Mile Zusana Hejnova won the 400m hurdles with a world leader, Reese Hoffa had a world leader and Nick Willis won the mile by over 3 seconds, plus Bjorn Otto won the stacked pole vault.
*Father To Be (And 30-Year-Old) Nick Willis To Run Shanghai, Pre And NY But Not Run In Europe Before Worlds
*HS: Josh Evans Runs 4:10.86 1,600 For Iowa State Record
Several Quick Thoughts About The 2013 Penn Relays
A good weekend for the boys from Penn State, who took down both the DMR and 4 x 800 crowns at Penn Relays.
Is Oregon senior Mac Fleet now the favorite for NCAAs in the 1,500? Fleet winning NCAAs isn’t out of the question. The 2011 NCAA runner-up indoors as a sophomore got the best of 2012 NCAA 1,500 champ Andy Bayer on the anchor of the 4 x mile at Penn.
We think the Oregon coaching staff made a mistake by running Fleet on the leadoff leg in the DMR, where Penn State got the win. With world-class performers Elijah Greer and Mike Berry running legs two and three, Fleet 100% should have anchored. If he had, we very well might have started off by congratulating Oregon and not PSU for two Penn titles.
In terms of other contenders for the NCAA 1,500 title, the top four times in the collegiate season were produced at Stanford last week:
1 Masters, Riley SR-4 Oklahoma 3:38.79
2 Atchoo, Michael JR-3 Stanford 3:39.57
3 Hatz, Alex SO-2 Wisconsin 3:39.87
4 Peters, Rich SR-4 Boston U. 3:40.05
5 Fleet, Mac JR-3 Oregon 3:40.21
Earlier In The Month On The Boards: Mac Fleet – Booom! He’s back
The biggest kudos from Penn, however, belong with the Villanova women. Unlike so many teams that put all of their eggs into the one relay where they think they have the best bet, the Wildcats ran all three of the distance relays at Penn (DMR, 4 x 1,500 and 4 x 800) and they won two. The best was the third race of the weekend, where Villanova set the collegiate record of 8:17.45 in the 4 x 800 thanks to a sensational 2:02.25 anchor by Emily Lipari, who came into the race with a 2:06.77 800 PR.
The mark by ‘Nova was a new collegiate record and would have been a new American record had two pro US teams not beaten the old mark of 8:17.91 set by Tennessee in 2009 some three hours earlier in the US vs. the World 4 x 800 at Penn.
Not only were the ladies from Villanova fast and successful, they also were classy. A great gesture for them to dedicate their DMR victory to Associate Athletic Director Gordon Finch, who died suddenly at his home April 16, which brings us to our
Quote Of The Week I (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day):
“A year ago, when we won Penn Relays, he (Gordan Finch) handed us our wheel. At numerous Big East championships he’s put medals around our necks so we wanted to dedicate this one to him. We didn’t tell our coaches that we were doing this. We wanted to surprise them. He’s always been a huge supporter of Villanova track and field and the whole athletic community at Villanova so we wanted to support him the way he always supported us.”
– Emily Lipari after the Wildcats won the the DMR crown on Thursday.
In the US vs. The World 4 x 800, the USA Red team of Lea Wallace (2:02.0), Brenda Martinez (2:00.6), Ajee Wilson (2:03.1), and Alysia Montano (1:58.6) took down the ridiculously soft AR by running 8:04.31. The two fastest splits of the day from the 32 competitors belonged to Montano (1:58.6) and Martinez (2:00.6), who both seem well on their way to strong 2013 campaigns.
Martinez passed up a shot at $25,000 by not running the Drake 1,500, so thankfully she was rewarded with an American record.
The Penn Relays men’s Olympic Development mile was a higher quality affair than in recent years, as the first five all broke 4:00.
1. Jonathan Sawe (Kenya) 3:57.03
2. Michael Rutt (New Jersey/New York TC) 3:57.18
3. Tyler Mulder (Nike) 3:57.37
4. Robby Andrews (adidas) 3:57.82
5. Owen Dawson (unattached) 3:59.74
All of the guys in places two-five were first-time sub-4 Americans, meaning now there are 401 Americans under 4 in history according to Track and Field News.
More significant was one runner who didn’t break 4. The mystery that is German Fernandez continued as the former world junior indoor record holder, who ran 3:55.02 by himself as a freshman in college in 2009, only ran 4:03.14, after he faded on the last lap.
Don’t rule out Fernandez in 2013. Last year, he was only 10th at NCAAs but ran 3:34 by the end of the year. He is a SUPREME talent.
Three comments about the USA vs. the World Men’s DMR.
1. Kenya’s third Olympic 800-meter man in 20-year-old Anthony Chemut (1:43.96 PR), who went out in the semis of the Olympics at age 19, had the best 1,200 split of anyone (2:51.6). Might he end up being a 1,500 man? Time will tell.
2. Is anyone besides us amazed that television commentator Lewis Johnson was a middle distance runner. His intuitive understanding of the discipline just seems to be lacking at times. How can anyone call a less than 2-second lead on the anchor of a DMR as “comfortable.”
The DMR usually comes down to the anchor because over a 1,600, there are few “comfortable” leads.
In fact, the USA’s David Torrence, whom Lewis said had a “comfortable” lead, was caught less than 200 meters into the anchor leg.
3. Of course, it’s not every day that a guy goes out in 26.2 on a 1,600 leg but that’s what we had Caleb Ndiku unofficially splitting. Ndiku, the 2010 world junior XC and 1,500 champion, split 3:52.9 as Kenya finished second to Ethiopia.
More: Men’s DMR Splits
A Thumbs Down has to go the University of Arkansas men. The Hogs may have won their first NCAA title in a long while this winter, but how can the Hogs skip Penn Relays and Drake Relays and instead compete at home?
Contrast them to the University of Oregon, which is the one program that seemingly still tries to do it all – XC, Indoor, Outdoor, Dual Meet, Relay Meets, etc. The Ducks entered a record 9 relay teams at Penn.
What about the sport? We feel like the Hogs’ 800 guys should consider a mutiny. Instead of competing for glory in front of tens of thousands, they ran in front of basically no one at home. Consider our Stat of the Week below:
Stat Of The Week
7:08.84 – cumulative 2013 seasonal best times of Arkansas’ four best 800 runners so far this year (including indoors).
7:08.96 – collegiate record time in 4 x 800 set by Arizona State in 1985.
7:10.20 – cumulative 2013 seasonal best times of Penn State’s four best 800 runners so far this year (including indoors). The Nittany Lions defended their Penn Relays crown.
7:11.17 – Penn Relays record for 4 x 800 set by Penn State in 1985.
Normally we put Recommended Reads near the end, but not this week. The guy featured in our one Recommended Read this week might be distance running’s biggest star over the next 15 years, so it’s important you learn about his life story:
Orphaned at age 13, he fell into depression and stopped going to school and training. Now at age 18, he’s a 12:47 performer. Truly incredible.
2013 Stanford Notes – Chris Solinsky’s Comeback Flourishes/Eric Jenkins’ Remarkable Improvement Continues
The big takeaways for us from the 2013 Payton Jordan meet (which was a bit anti-climactic compared to last year’s crazy Olympic year edition)? Watch out US fans – Chris Solinsky‘s comeback is coming faster than expected. His 13:23 was a big step forward in his comeback from his 2011 injury and he realized it:
Quote Of The Week II (We Actually Made This Quote Of The Day Mid-Day On Tuesday):
“I’m really happy. I’m probably more psyched about this (13:23) than the 26:59 to be honest …
I know I’m not in the same league as Galen, Lagat and Lomong right now, but I’m coming for ’em. You guys hear that? I’m coming for you.”
– Chris Solinsky talking after running 13:23 at Stanford. Solinsky was in a great mood and pointing in a joking manner at the camera when talking “to” Rupp, Lagat and Lomong.
At the start of the year, Solinsky said he was getting ready for the 2014 season. That’s clearly not the case anymore. He said he was never really in trouble during the race and purposely ran in the back of the back for most of the race as he just wanted to figure out where he is and he’ll go for the “A” standard at Oxy in a few weeks.
The 5,000 was also newsworthy as it produced two of the ten fastest collegiate 5,000s in history. A few months ago, only big-time aficionados had ever heard of Northeastern’s Eric Jenkins. Yes, coming into the year he was a 3:59 miler, but those aren’t rare at all nowadays at the collegiate level and his 5,000 PR was 14:09. Now, he’s run less than half a second behind what Galen Rupp ran in college? Ridiculous.
Indoors, his 7:50 PR was a big eye opener before he briefly finished second at NCAAs in 7:46.21 before getting DQed for pulling on another runner’s jersey in the last lap. Since then, he’s only continued to improve.
If you thought that the 7:46 (DQ race) was good, realize an even-paced 13:18 means you go through 3,000 in 7:58-9 and you have to keep going for another 2,000. By John Kellogg‘s conversion chart, a 13:18.58 is equivalent to 7:41.54 for 3,000.
And since we know it’s hard to break into the ranks as a young collegiate coach, kudos to Jenkins’ coach at Northeastern, Ryan Vanhoy. Vanhoy’s prospects have gone up a great deal the last year. A little over a year ago, the twenty-something-year-old was volunteering at his alma mater UNC (2009 grad). When distance coach Pete Watson left mid-year to go to UVA, Vanhoy started to get paid. But when there was a regime change at UNC over the summer, he was out of work. He took over mid-season at Northeastern (December 7th) and now is the coach of a 13:18 guy.
No coach in the world is so good that they can take total credit for Jenkins’ transformation, but we know one thing at a minimum – Vanhoy certainly isn’t screwing him up.
Ten Fastest Collegians In History At 5,000*
(Bold = American)
13:08.28i Lawi Lalang (Arizona) 02/11/12
13:08.4 Henry Rono (Washington St) 04/08/78
13:13.74i Stephen Sambu (Arizona) 02/11/02
13:15.33 Diego Estrada (NAU) 4/28/2013^
13:15.77 Bill McChesney (Oregon) 05/16/81
13:16.98 Alistair Cragg (Arkansas) 04/30/04
13:18.12i Galen Rupp (Oregon) 02/13/09
13:18.46 Brent Vaughn (Colorado) 05/04/08
13:18.47 Cam Levins’ (Southern Utah) 04/20/12
13:18.58 Eric Jenkins (Northeastern) 4/28/2013
^US Citizen but runs for Mexico internationally.
Looking at the list, you’ll see that Jenkins wasn’t even the top collegiate athlete in the race at Stanford. That honor went to American citizen Diego Estrada of NAU. Estrada redshirted last year to focus on making the Olympics, so we initially forgot he was a collegian. Should Estrada’s mark count as the American collegiate record? We guess not, as Estrada ran for Mexico in the Olympics last year.
Remember Bernard Lagat was a US citizen in 2004 when he won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics for Kenya as he wore the Kenyan vest and no one credits that mark to the US, so Estrada’s mark shouldn’t be credited to the US this year.
*Please don’t email us and tell us that two Americans have run faster than Estrada while in college. We know that Ian Dobson ran 13:15.33 in a Stanford jersey at the 2005 USA meet his senior year after the NCAA meet. We also know Bill McChesney ran 13:14.80 in Europe in 1982 after his last NCAAs.
Track and Field News doesn’t recognize marks after the NCAA meet of an athlete’s senior year and neither do we. Common sense to us says your college career ends at NCAAs of your senior year. For some reason, Stanford credits Dobson’s mark as a school record, but they shouldn’t.
Stat Of The Week II – Eric Jenkins – The Youngest Sub-13:20 Performer In US History
On Sunday when he ran 13:18, Eric Jenkins was 21 years and 155 days old (DOB is 11/24/1991). We believe he’s the youngest American to ever go sub-13:20, surpassing the late Bill McChesney of Oregon. McChesney ran 13:18.6 on July 15, 1980. He was born January 8, 1959, meaning he was 21 years and 190 days old when he first went sub-13:20.
Don’t know McChesney? Learn about his life story via the following links:
Does the age of the best 5kers in US history interest you? Then take a look at this message board thread from 2009: Best Young US 5k performances – All Time
Women’s Action at Stanford
What do we make of Jordan Hasay‘s 32:06.64? Our main thought is that the move up in distance was the right one for her. She’s now basically as close to the ‘B’ standard in the 10,000 (1.64 seconds) as the 1,500 (1.28 seconds), but in relative terms she’s way closer in the 10,000 obviously. 1 second in a 1,500 is a lot. 1 second in a 10,000 – not so much.
In terms of the women’s 5,000, 2012 US Olympian Kim Conley got the win in 15:22.07. The woman she edged last year at the Trials for the third and final Olympic spot in gut-wrenching fashion, Julia Lucas, wasn’t too far back in third at 15:23.77 . Both of them seem like legitimate contenders for Moscow, behind NCAA star Abbey D’Agostino (15:11 at Mt. Sac on April 11th), who is a near lock in our mind, and Alisha Williams (15:09.73 at Stanford) if she runs the 5000. American record holder Molly Huddle hasn’t opened up on the track this year but, given her vastly superior 14:44 pb, it’s hard to think she doesn’t make the team assuming she doesn’t have any setbacks as she did run a 15:28 road 5000 before the Boston marathon.
One person who at first glance seemingly is going to have a tough time making it to Moscow after making it to London last year is Julie Culley. The Olympic Trials winner last year was only 10th at Stanford last week in 15:41.41. Before you write her totally off, realize that last year she only opened up outdoors at 5000 with an 8th place showing at Mt. Sac (15:29.80).
The runner-up at Stanford was former Washington runner Katie Mackie who had a big pb as she went from 15:31.59 to 15:23.65. A good sign for Mackie who was 9th in the 1,500 Trials last year. Indoors, Mackie seemingly was working on her speed as she ran the 800 at USAs. Outdoors, she’s showing off improved strength. It will be interesting to see what she does in the 1,500 this spring. Or does she possibly try to move up and make the 5000 her main event?
Editor’s Update at 12:21 pm on 5/2/2013: A number of people emailed in to talk about how the women’s 5000 was eerily similar to the Trials 5000 in that Lucas mistimed her kick and staggered home and was passed by Conley, just as she did at the Trials. At The Trials, Lucas went with 3 laps to go. At Stanford, she was more patient and went 600 out. But the result was the same, Lucas had very little left the last 200. At the Trials, flashresults.com says came home in 38.30. At Stanford it was very similar – 38 something. Race video here.
More: *LRC 2013 Payton Jordan Women’s Results And Flash Recap *LRC Payton Jordan Men’s Results And Flash Recap *2013 Moscow World Track And Field Championships – Women’s American “A” And “B” Qualifiers
Free Training Advice Of The Week: Be Happy
Last year, US 1,500-meter runner Will Leer was training in one of the best training groups in the world as it included Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis and others in Michigan.
The season didn’t turn out how Will wanted, as he was 12th at the Olympic Trials.
“After spending four years at Pomona College thirty miles east of Los Angeles, he (Will Leer) romanticized returning to Southern California for days filled with surfing, coffee on the beach, training in beautiful weather, and relaxing with college friends,” writes Kevin Sully in a nice piece in the Daily Relay.
So Will packed up his bags, and moved to California to live with his sixty+-year-old parents and train by himself.
The results speak for themselves. Leer is running better than ever in 2013, having won USATF indoors in the mile and the 3,000 and he won the 5,000 at Mt. SAC last week.
“There is a huge part of running that is mental, if you aren’t happy, if you start out miserable it is only going to get worse, I’m happy living in California, I’m in a place that I thoroughly enjoy,” said Leer.
So there’s your free training advice. Be happy.
*Will Leer Profile Here
Stupid Decision Of The Week
Last week, Japan released it’s 2013 Moscow World Championships marathon team. They decided to only send three women, not five. That’s not what we think is stupid.
What is stupid is they didn’t name Yukido Akaba to the team. Akaba is pretty darn good and would have been a medal threat in Moscow. She was fifth at the last World Championships after all and – more importantly – just finished third in 2:24:43 in London. If you are third in London, you definitely can finish third in Moscow.
Brett Larner has more on this decision here. Some of the reasoning behind the decision is well intentioned (to promote domestic races, the Japanese federation said that from foreign races only times under the 2:24:00 automatic standard would count) as they need runners competing domestically or their whole corporate system would likely disintegrate. But come on – she’s a medal threat.
The good news about the Japanese team? It includes Athens Olympic gold medallist Mizuki Noguchi.
British Discus Record Holder Lawrence Okoye Quits Track & Signs NFL Deal Even Though He’s Never Played Football
Last week, Britain’s 21-year-old discus record holder, Lawrence Okoye, signed a pro contract with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers even though he’s never played football. According to ESPN, “The 6-foot-6, 304-pound British athlete wowed scouts at the super regional combine at Cowboys Stadium in April, running the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds and posting impressive results in the vertical jump (35 inches) and broad jump (10-foot-5).”
Our thoughts? It’s certainly a loss for track as some were tipping Okoye for an eventual world record. But we love the NFL and spend way more time watching the NFL each year than we do the discus (we hate to admit it, but, we’ve probably watched more NFL on a single weekend than we have discus in our entire lives).
And since we are known for making accurate predictions about sport, let
us Rojo make one here. Okaye will be a star. Mark our Rojo’s words.
How can we say that?
1) He’s a physical freak with a dream NFL body.
2) He’s not afraid of contact.
3) He’s got a good work ethic.
That’s all you need to be a star in the NFL. Let us explain.
1) As for his body, well check out what his new coach Jim Harbaugh said about him in the Sacramento Bee, “An Adonis, a great physical specimen of a man. … Our creator created a beautiful man.”
Don’t believe Harbaugh? Well, then look at his twitter profile pic.
There simply aren’t that many 6’6″, 300-pound men in the world who are naturally fast and strong. Okaye is one of them. And given the fact that he’s passed Olympic drug tests for years, there is zero reason to fear (unlike a lot of NFL stars) he’ll get popped when the NFL starts testing for hGH in a few years.
2) Okaye played rugby before taking up track.
3) What many don’t realize is that Okaye took up track seriously only at age 18. To go from discus neophyte to British record holder in 3 years requires a lot of work. He’ll basically do the same in the NFL and be a star in a few years.
One thing we found funny. Okaye recently tried on pads for the first time. He allegedly found them to be way lighter than expected.
Video Of The Week
To prove that it wasn’t a fluke, the World Youth record holder (10.19 at age 16) ran 10.03 in the finals. And the best part about Kiryu? He’s still only 17 (DOB is December 15, 1995).
More: *MB: New Japanese JR record for 100m… 10.01 seconds! *Japan High School Senior Yoshihide Kiryu Runs World-Leading 10.01 100 To Tie The 100m Junior WR And Put Himself At #2 All-Time Japanese *IAAF Article
Doping News – Good News: IAAF Opening Blood Testing Center For Ethiopian And Kenyan Runners In Kenya
We laughed when many people said a few years ago that Ethiopian and Kenyan runners wouldn’t dope. When there is money or pride on the line, human beings have shown they will cheat. Ethiopians and Kenyans are no different than anyone else in that matter.
With the recent doping positives in Kenya, it was good to see that this week the IAAF will open a blood testing center in Kenya for Kenyan and Ethiopian runners. Now it can carry out biological passport testing on them.
1986 European Female Shot Put Champ Is Now Living As A Man Because Of Doping
While doping often just cheats those of us who believe in the purity of sport, sometimes it can have more severe consequences. Click on the thumbnail below to be taken to the BBC article where you can see the full photo of 1986 European shot put women’s champion Heidi Krieger, who is now a man, Andreas Krieger. Krieger’s body was ravaged by steroids and “she” is now living as a man.
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.
– 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh talking about picking up GB’s national record discus thrower Lawrence Okoye as an undrafted free agent even though he’s never played football in his life. Okoye says, “I realise it’s going to be a ridiculously tough process. I will have to work even harder than everyone else, I have a lot to catch up on.”
– Alysia Montano after her her 1:58.6 split led the US to the win at the Penn Relays and an American record by 13.6 seconds (yes, the old record was a bit soft).
– Tim Hutchings talking on ESPN after Jenny Simpson‘s SENSATIONAL first race back under the tutelage of college coach of Mark Wetmore. 15 mph winds didn’t stop Simpson from running a world lead and dominating the US’s best.
“The Stasi (East German Secret Police) had built wooden crates, like rabbit crates, in hotel rooms. If they believed an athlete was going to flee – because the Games were in West Germany – they would put this athlete in the crate and carry them back to the GDR (East Germany ) … I find it so symbolic. We were objects, we weren’t people.”
– Former East Germany 4 x 100m Word Record holder Ines Geipel talking about the systematic doping in East Germany and the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. She says when the Stasi found out of her plan to flee to the United States they operated on her and “cut the stomach in such a way, through all the muscles and everything, so that I couldn’t run any more and didn’t have a way of getting to the rest of the world any more.”
“I’ll remember to the day I die, I came around the curve, and I looked up and saw my three Arkansas teammates holding hands behind the finish line. I remembered what Coach said, ‘It’s not about you. It’s about the great athletes that came before you and the great athletes that will come after you.’ I shut my eyes and sprinted as hard as I could and leaned at the tape.”
– Legendary Arkansas miler, Joe Falcon, on the 1989 Penn Relays where 4 Americans under the guidance of John McDonnell upset the Mt. St. Mary’s team, which featured 3 Kenyan Olympians including Olympic 1,500m champ Peter Rono. Article is from a book excerpt of the new John McDonnell biography: John McDonnell the Most Successful Coach in NCAA History. We had two people review the new book and give them to you today – the start of Penn Relays – in honor of the great John McDonnell. When McDonnell was at the helm, not only was Arkansas a 3-sport national power, they also dominated Penn Relays. Sadly, in the year 2013, the Hogs, who had 4 guys at 1:48.56 or faster indoors, don’t even go to the meet. LRC Review #1, LRC Review #2, Book Excerpt.
What About The Sport?
“I used to play football, but my teachers told me to focus my natural talent on running. My father did not like this. He thought sport would distract me from my education. I accepted my father’s advice, but continued training without telling him.”
– Ethiopia’s World Junior Cross-Country champion and World Jr. 5,000m record holder (12:47.53) Hagos Gebrhiwet talking about getting his start in running. Gebrhiwet had an even harder than usual struggle to the top as he had lost both his father and mother by the time he was 13 and quit running for a while to do farm work to provide for his 5 siblings. Thankfully, he came back to it.
– Un-sponsored American Jason Hartmann after moving from 9th at 35k to finish 4th in Boston for the second straight year. We celebrate Hartmann and all of the fine pro performances a week after the fact, as due to the bombings we only gave a cursory coverage of the race last week.