Week That Was 10/28/13 – Walking On At Wisconsin, Marathon Abstinence, And Wilson Kipsang’s World Record Is Broken?

by LetsRun.com
October 29, 2013

Last week was a bit off an off week as the running world took a deep breath before a big week of action this week, which will feature the first New York City Marathon in two years as well as NCAA cross-country conference action.

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a ton of interesting stuff to talk about.

This week, we give out free coaching advice to Alberto Salazar and Shannon Rowbury, introduce you to a true hero for walk-ons at Wisconsin, and talk about marathon abstinence and teetotalers at Rio 2016. Plus running in the Serengeti, bad running journalism and Wilson Kipsang’s world record is broken?


Serena Burla Serena Burla

Serena Burla Becomes 2nd American In 2013

First we start off with some news we missed from last week.

American Serena Burla PRed at the Amsterdam Marathon, running 2:28:01 for second place. Her previous PR was 2:28:27.

That makes Serena the second-fastest American this year, behind Shalane Flanagan‘s 2:27:08 at Boston. Well done and worthy of mention.

Free Coaching Advice For Shannon Rowbury And Alberto Salazar

Shannon Rowbury celebrating her 3000m victory in London earlier this year Shannon Rowbury celebrating her 3000m victory in London earlier this year

There was an interesting read last week where Alberto Salazar talked about Shannon Rowbury joining his group. The most revealing thing we found was he said he views her best event as the 5,000. We can understand why a 29-year-old would want to move up, but if we were a female distance runner who had run 4:00 and 15:00, we’d stay as far away from the 5,000 as possible. In the 5,000, we guess an American record is a possibility (14:44) but in terms of being competitive internationally, you’re still 15 seconds away from being truly competitive. As a result, we’d stick the 1,500 as the 1,500 often has somewhat random outcomes. The 5,000 does not.

Article continues below player.

As we think about it some more, we’ve come up with a plan. Here’s our free coaching advice to Alberto and Shannon:

2014 is a non-championship year. Train for the 5,000 in 2014 and get strong enough to take a crack at the American record, then move back to 1,500 racing in 2015 when the championships roll around unless all of the top-notch African talent like Dibaba/Defar abandon the track for the road$$$.

As for Rowbury, we’re excited to follow her for the next few years. She certainly should have plenty of motivation given the fact she’s got a new training group and has the agonizing PRs of 2:00, 4:00 and 15:00.

More: Alberto Salazar On Shannon Rowbury Joining The Oregon Project

Email Of The Week I
A True Hero For All College Walk-Ons

We always say the best thing about LetsRun is you – the visitors. LetsRun really is at its heart a front page full of the latest running news and then a social community of the biggest running fans in the world interacting on our world-famous forums.

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While we try our best, we can’t find everything interesting about running. Thankfully, if we miss something, our astute readers don’t miss much. After last week’s weekly recap came out full of praise for the Wisconsin Badgers, we received this great email from Dallas White which is full of praise for Wisconsin’s Michael Van Voorhis:

On Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 11:05 AM, Dallas White wrote:Dear LRC,

Just read the weekly right up and enjoyed hearing about Wisconsin’s success this year. I wanted to point out a fun fact: UW top runner Michael Van Voorhis started out with the Wisconsin Track Club Cows here at UW (when I wasn’t an old man I ran with him while in grad school & coached the women’s team). Pretty cool to see him come so far after walking on to the Badgers after a year with us. We’ve had a couple other runners start out with us, then have some success with the Badgers (including Hanna Knurr, who scored for the women at their surprise national berth a couple years ago).

He ran with us his first year, and then during his second year he walked on during XC after impressing at the Badger early season XC meet. I’ve had the pleasure to continue running with him here and there over the last couple summers as well. He’s a smart guy, chemical engineering, has had internships over the last couple summers.

Here are the results from his freshman year XC club national race: http://www.clubrunning.org/races/2010/results_nats2010.php. It was pretty brutal, and I remember that being a good result for him. His best XC race from his freshman year 2010 appears to be a 25:36 at UW-La Crosse Jim Drews Invite (a pretty good D3 meet, with the occasional badger siting). His best track race with us his freshman year was a 15:01 (http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/wis/sports/m-track/auto_pdf/110507_Wis_Twilight_Results.pdf). Let me know if you have any other questions. I’m glad to see another Wisconsin Track Club alum get noticed on LRC – my old teammate Nick Burant placed in the World Champs contest earlier this year!



Dallas is a little bit biased as Michael is just Wisconsin’s #2 runner. But the kid is certainly an inspiring walk-on. From 4:23/9:44 in high school to a year-plus in purgatory on the club team to 14:06 and being Wisco’s #2 guy. Very impressive.

Email Of The Week II/Photo Of The Week I
Pure Dedication

The email below speaks for itself.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dan Walters
Date: Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 1:24 PM
Subject: Running in the Serengeti
To: letsrun@letsrun.com

Brojos, I traveled to Tanzania with my father’s side of the family this past summer and wanted to share a running picture with you guys. Our family is composed mostly of runners and while on safari in the Serengeti, there was a strong need to get in some miles. At this particular camp, we weren’t allow to stray from the property due to many deadly animals freely roaming around (no barriers between the camp and the plains of the Serengeti), so instead we had eight people hammering out laps on the dilapidated volleyball court used by the camp’s workers.
Starting in the upper left and moving clockwise, runners in this picture include my father (2:42 at 2013 Chicago Marathon at age 58), my wife (3:08 at 2013 Grandma's Marathon), my cousin (2:46 at 2010 Boston Marathon) and my Grandmother (2nd place at the US Senior Games 5k in 2011, 82 years old). Photo courtesy of Dan Waters Starting in the upper left and moving clockwise, runners in this picture include my father (2:42 at 2013 Chicago Marathon at age 58), my wife (3:08 at 2013 Grandma’s Marathon), my cousin (2:46 at 2010 Boston Marathon) and my Grandmother (2nd place at the US Senior Games 5k in 2011, 82 years old). Photo courtesy of Dan Waters

Anyway, just further reinforced that you can put the miles in pretty much anywhere. Just matters how bad you want it!

Dan Walters


Photo Of The Week II
IAAF Worlds In Doha In 2019?

Doha is expected to bid for the 2019 IAAF World Track and Field Championships. LetsRun’s friend Alan Abrahamson has written a column that everyone should read before evaluating their bid. We can sum the column up with one photo which should serve as a reminder to everyone involved in evaluating Doha’s bid what Doha is still like:

Look closely.

No, the swimmer in lane five isn’t country less. She’s just from Israel and thus wiped off the screen in Doha.

More: This Just Has To Stop

Fact Of The Week That May Only Interest Us

“The New York City Marathon founder Fred Lebow loathed the practice of charity running, but a team bearing his name was started after his death in 1994.”

– The above is a quote from a New York Times article on how the 2013 ING New York City Marathon was having trouble filling it’s 8,000 charity spots this year.

Lebow was a legend because he was authentic and real. Can you imagine the head of a major marathon saying nowadays they disliked charity running?

More: Hitting The Wall: For Marathon Charities, Numbers Are Slowing

Video Of The Week/What About The Sport

The second annual Save the Children World Marathon Challenge was held last week, where relay teams of 26 to 36 kids, 13 years and younger run 200-meter legs in an attempt to beat the marathon world record of 2:03:23.

50,000 kids from more than 60 countries, including 12,000 in the US, competed in the challenge. The winners? The fastest time was put up by the Thomas Tallis School in London, which produced a marathon in 1:51:39, but this was truly a time where we think everyone who participated was a winner and we almost never say that. The kids got active and learned appreciation for professional marathoners, and the Save the Children Charity also benefitted.

Here is a highlight video from 2012 event:

Did you help out or know of a team that competed? Email us a picture/video and we’ll highlight it on LetsRun.com.

More: *Record Numbers Run Relays In World Marathon Challenge
*A Race To Save Lives On The Line Former NFL player Vince Workman helped out in Connecticut.
*Actress Bridgit Mendler Runs The Race In CA

Website Of The Week

Every once in a while, we try to introduce you to an interesting website. Well, this week, we came across one that had a list of the “Fastest Marathon Debuts” in history, as Kenya’s Mark Kiptoo put up the 15th-fastest ever by finishing second in Frankfurt in 2:06:15 last week.

We started looking around the website and was like, “This website is very interesting.” The website is run by a guy who has a list of his spectator PRs for every event in track and field and they are incredible: from 9.58 for 100m, to 12:46.53 for 5,000. He even has a bucket list of track and field/running events he wants to see before he dies that includes things like the Penn Relays, which is a sign of a true fan as the site is from the UK.

We were thinking, “Whose site is this?” And then it all made sense.

The site: http://www.jonmulkeen.com is run by Jon Mulkeen, who is the web editor for the IAAF. It makes sense that he’d have such an interesting site as you can see his passion for the sport on the site.

Great job, Jon, with your site.

And LRCers, if you are getting married soon, Jon also is a wedding photographer on the side.

Do you know of a quirky/interesting website? Email us your suggestion.

5 Quotes Of The Week (that weren’t quote of the day)


“It’s not a big place. But they’re thin; they fit just fine.”

– 71-year-old Bill Staab, president of the West Side Runners, telling the New York Times how most of the time he has several Ethiopians sharing his two-bedroom apartment with him.

More: Marathon As Melting Pot: Striving Immigrants Find Long Distance Running Far From Lonely In New York City


“Minorities seem to keep running longer here (with the West Side Runners). They’re not getting into triathlons or buying a house in the suburbs.”

– Staab with another quip to the New York Times.

More: Marathon As Melting Pot: Striving Immigrants Find Long Distance Running Far From Lonely In New York City


“Members of the Australian Olympic Team, including athletes and officials, will not be permitted to drink alcohol in the Olympic village….We don’t want them rolling around the village drunk and disrupting other athletes who are about to compete.”

– New Australian Chef de Mission, Kitty Chiller, announcing a new policy for Rio 2016 after some Australian athletes generated some bad publicity in London 2012.

More: Alcohol banned in Olympic village for Australian Olympic team competing at Rio Games


“(I have) no sex for two months before the marathon; wife get pregnant after marathon.”

– Kenyan marathoner Joshua Kimaiyo, now deceased, talking to Toni Reavis in 1999 about his dedication to training.


“Age is just a number. If you think you’re old, if you tell to yourself you’re old, if you’re old mentally, then you’re old automatically physically.”

– The great Haile Gebrselassie explaining how he can be so good at age 40. More: Haile G’s 3 keys to running success: discipline, commitment and hard work and – oh yeah – accepting pain

Bad Running Journalism

A few weeks ago, we gave one of LetsRun.com co-founders’ alma mater a little ribbing for some poor sports journalism. We then asked you to send us other examples of bad sports journalism as it relates to track and field.

A visitor tipped us off to this dandy which comes from the NCAA’s very own website. They too, like the people at Yale, are confused as to how the scoring in cross-country works:

badsports journalism ncaa


That’s just bad.

Here’s another very misleading one as explained by a LetsRun.com visitor who wants to remain anonymous:

I hate picking on smaller schools because I don’t expect as much from their SIDs as I do from larger schools, but St Anselm, a DII school in Manchester, NH recently posted this release regarding their women’s XC team: http://www.saintanselmhawks.com/sports/wxc/2013-14/releases/20130928dwg28x. They seem rather pleased with their runner up finish in this meet. The meet they competed in, the Purple Valley Classic, is hosted by Williams College. It’s a quality DIII meet with most of the better NESCAC schools so 2nd place as a team would be a fine result. St. Anselm moved up from seventh in the DII regional rankings to 4th after this meet, largely as a result of this press release (I’m speculating somewhat here, because I can’t imagine why else they would have moved up).

Here are the results from this meet. St Anselm actually finished second in the JV race! Look at the race headers. If you scroll down you’ll see the results of the Varsity race listed second, Middlebury won, St Anselm didn’t even compete in the varsity race. FWIW, they race 5k in the JV races, 6k in the women’s varsity race, so you can’t even compare finish times and speculate.

Do you have examples of Bad College Running Sports Journalism? Please email us the links. We very much are looking forward to seeing a slew of really positive/totally misleading releases being written next week after teams get trounced at conference, but the release makes it sound like they did really well.

Action Of Note From Last Week

Recommended Reads

Former Elites Share Their Advice To Ryan Hall About How To Get Good At Running Again After His Almost 2-Year Stretch Of DNS/DNFs At Marathons

Toni Reavis Looks At Why Ryan Hall And Dathan Ritzenhein Aren’t As Good As The Top Kenyans

Great NY Times Feature on NY’s West Side Runners: Marathon as Melting Pot – Striving Immigrants Find Long Distance Running Far From Lonely in NYC

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 10/28:

“I was very surprised when I saw her being recognised as the winner yet I didn’t see any female athlete in front of me. It is a case of indiscipline from a runner. … There is no way a winner can get into the stadium without the crowd noticing her presence but I’m very happy the organisers solved the issue as soon as possible.”

– Standard Chartered Nairobi International Marathon champion Winfridah Kwamboka talking about having the honor of breaking the finishing tape stolen from her at yesterday’s race. The culprit, Selina Ariong’onyang, wouldn’t confess, though, saying, “I am the winner and what has happened here today is demoralising, could it be because I come from a marginalized area?”

Sunday 10/27:

“The 2013 ING New York City Marathon men’s race on paper very much looks like one that’s been worth the wait. In running, the ultimate dream of every marathoner is to be the Olympic champion. During non-Olympic years, the biggest honor in our eyes is to be named the London Marathon champ. Well, the 2013 ING New York City marathon field boasts the reigning Olympic (and world) champ, Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, as well as the reigning London marathon champ, Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia, and the New York and Boston course record holder, Geoffrey Mutai, who is the reigning New York champ from 2011.”

– Excerpt from our New York City Marathon Men’s Preview.

Saturday 10/26:

“The recruiting process was a lot like milk. Fresh milk always tastes really, really good, but as it ages it begins to turn sour. I had a lot of fun talking to coaches and taking all of my visits, but eventually it begins to really drag on you. Obviously, it is a very exciting time, but it was also hard to tell other coaches no.”

– HSer Patrick Perrier talking about the college recruiting process. The 4:12/9:03 guy has committed to Stanford.

Friday 10/25:

“It is this perilous peak of perfection that keeps driving these athletes, and setting new standards. When I first visited Kenya in 1999 I asked the now sadly departed Joshua Kimaiyo, younger brother of two-time Honolulu Marathon champion Eric, where he lived. ‘Close by,’ he said, meaning just several kilometers away from their training camp in Kapsait. ‘How often do you go home?’ I asked. ‘Maybe once a week to see if things are alright,’ he confided. ‘And no sex for two months before the marathon; wife get pregnant after marathon.’ They don’t even go home at the end of training! Others watch their children, others tend their lands.They are 100% committed to eat, sleep, and run, period!”

“And when world record holder Wilson Kipsang trains with Chicago course record setter Dennis Kimetto, and 2011 Boston and New York course record holder Geoffrey Mutai at a camp so isolated that no actual road leads to it – with dozens of other acolytes training by their side every day – it makes Ryan Hall’s flights from Flagstaff, Arizona to Redding, California to Iten, Kenya to train inconsistently on his own, while Ritz pulls two-months solo marathon training duty in Park City, Utah, seem disconnected to the best-use practices of their craft. And that is totally setting aside the question of pure talent.”

Toni Reavis blogging about the differences in marathon training between top US runners like Ryan Hall and Dathan Ritzenhein compared to top Kenyans. He concludes with, Even the best Americans functionally training by themselves are simply no match for the factory-like group training in East Africa.” Agree or disagree? Post in our forum: Tony Reavis ‘Quote Of Day’ on Kenyan 26.2 success is BS.

Thursday 10/24:

“So far, it’s been a good year for our camp and management since [Wilson] Kipsang and [Dennis] Kimetto have gone out there and ran unbelievable times and won so convincingly. We have trained together for three months and I believe I’m also in the kind of shape they are in so it motivates me to go and give my best.”

– 2:03:02 man Geoffrey Mutai hinting that we could see some big things from him at next weekend’s NYC Marathon. If he’s in as good shape as his training partners, Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto, who just ran a World Record 2:03:23 in Berlin and 2:03:45 in Chicago, then watch out.

Wednesday 10/23:

“One of the secrets, thank you for reminding me, is to accept the pain. Without pain, no gain,”

Haile G giving out training tips.

Tuesday 10/22:

“Boston Marathon in 2006, 13th mile, I realized my half marathon split was 1:02:44, which was my PR for half marathon because I hadn’t raced a half marathon before. We were also on World Record Pace … at the Boston Marathon course … and no tailwind. The second half was not that fast.”

Meb Keflezighi‘s number 18 on his “26 most memorable miles” talking about the 2006 Boston Marathon, where he ended up finishing 3rd in 2:09:56.


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