Week That Was: Did Mark Wetmore Pull One Over On Everyone At PAC-12s?, Wisconsin Men Lose, A Savior For The Providence Women, A 3:49 Miler Runs New York, And Is Indoor Track Faster Than Outdoors?

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by LetsRun.com
November 8, 2013

After a hectic week in the Big Apple, we came very close to blowing off our weekly recap this week. However, as runners we know routines are critical to success and we don’t want to start the slippery slope of saying, “It’s okay not to write one this week.” There is a difference between being tired and being lazy, and five days after returning from New York, we are no longer tired and don’t want to be accused of being lazy.

So here goes.

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NCAA Cross-Country Conference Mania:
Oklahoma State Men Win Convincingly, But So Does Colorado; The Colorado Men Go Out Hard; Wisconsin Men Lose;

Providence Women Trot Out A New Runner

The two-time defending men’s NCAA cross-country champions from Oklahoma State finally ran their “A” team at Big 12s last week and won going away as expected. We say expected as there was no other team in the Big 12 ranked in the top 25.

#3 Oklahoma State won by putting five in the top 12 to score 33 points while previously unranked Iowa State was second with 77.

What can we learn from a rout like that?

Well, if you are a Cowboy fan, you’re likely very encouraged by the fact that Craig Nowak was just their sixth guy at Big 12s in 16th place. Why? Because Nowak was one of the few good guys to run Pre-Nats and at Pre-Nats, Nowak finished 23rd and was squashed between top-ranked Colorado’s #3 and #4 finishers. If Oklahoma State’s #6 is better than Colorado’s #4, then NCAAs won’t be close, as Oklahoma State is thought to be better up front.

But Colorado fans likely still feel they have a real legitimate chance. Why? Well, Oklahoma State’s #4 and #5 in Brian Gohlk and Shane Moskowitz finished just behind two guys that were just 78th (Oklahoma’s Brandon Doughty) and 33rd (Texas Tech’s Ezekiel Kissorio) at Pre-Nats and just one spot ahead of a guy who was 64th at Pre-Nats (Kansas’ Josh Munsch). That’s got to make Dave Smith a little bit nervous considering Colorado’s #5 Connor Winter was 28th at Pre-Nats.

More encouraging than that for Colorado fans and discouraging for Oklahoma State fans is the way Colorado ran at PAC-12s. Facing a much stiffer field than Oklahoma State, as the PAC-12 included three top 15 teams (and now three teams that are ranked in the top 6) with #4 Oregon and #13 (now #6) Stanford, Colorado put five in the top 9 and absolutely destroyed the field as they won with 28 to Oregon’s 54.

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The Colorado Men Go Out Hard

Did Mark Wetmore (shown here in a classic photo from the 2003 USATF XC meet) pull one over on all the other coaches at PAC-12s?

Now, the PAC-12 meet was run at high altitude in Colorado, so that’s a HUGE advantage for the Buffaloes. Speaking of that race, afterwards, CU head coach Mark Wetmore said the Buffs disobeyed him and went out hard.

Not everyone is buying that. Amongst the conspiracy theorists is one very knowledgeable source whom we spoke with earlier this week. They said to us something along the lines of, “Did you see what Wetmore said after the meet? I’m not buying it. It was genius coaching if you ask me. He likely knew the other teams were scared ****less about the altitude and likely instructed their runners, ‘Go out with the Colorado guys. They always run smart and they are adjusted to altitude.’ So the Buffs go out harder than normal, to get the other teams in big trouble, knowing they themselves will handle it better than anyone else as they live and train at altitude every day.”

Now that’s a good conspiracy theory, particularly when it comes from a legitimate source and this person is legitimate, trust us. Now, our reply to our source was, “Well if that’s true, why wouldn’t he just admit it and rub it in their faces. If we were smart enough to think of that, we’d certainly want people to know about it.”

The reply was, “I don’t know. Maybe so he can use it again next time.”

What do you think? MB: Did Mark Wetmore outfox everyone in the Pac 12 and haver his guys go out harder than everyone else?

Abbey D’Agostino and Kennedy Kithuka are still huge individual favorites at NCAAs (but boy is Kemoy Campbell running well).  But it’s great that there very well could be more team drama at NCAAs than we thought a few weeks ago.

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Wisconsin Men Lose

The biggest news on the men’s side was that the Wisconsin Badgers men’s team lost Big 10s after 14 straight wins. Coming into the year, that wouldn’t have been a surprise as many people were doubting Wisconsin. But after they got 4th at the Wisconsin adidas meet, most assumed the #7 Badgers would just cruise at Big 10s which only included one other team that was ranked (#24 Indiana).

But the Badgers got stomped at Big 10s despite getting the individual win from Malachy Schrobilgen. Ron Helmer‘s Indiana squad won with 51 points and Alex Gibby‘s unranked Michigan squad was second with 66 with Mick Byrne‘s Badgers third with 71.

The night before the meet, we were talking to a very knowledgeable source about Big 10s and asked him, “Wisconsin will win that easily, right?” He said, “I think they’ll win but they aren’t as good as they ran at Wisconsin. That likely was the result of them knowing that course like the back of their hand.”

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Providence Women Trot Out A New Runner

On the women’s side, #2 Providence got a boost by trotting out a new runner on the varsity. Two weeks after we declared their national title hopes dead unless they brought out a new runner, they did exactly that.

Senior Grace Thek, who has a 16:54 5,000 PR and 4:57 mile PR, was Providence’s 5th woman at Big East in 13th place – way ahead of their previous #5 in Molly Keating, who was just 28th. Now Thek, who debuted the week before against DIII competition at the less-than-well-known Central Connecticut State meet, is by no means necessarily the savior for the Friars, as she was just 167th at NCAAs last year.

More: *NCAA Results Central

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5 More Thoughts About The 2013 ING New York City Marathon

It was truly GREAT to see more than 50,000 out on the roads in New York for the first time in two years and to have the race live on national TV for the first time in 20 years.

We gave you most of our thoughts of our near-week in the Big Apple earlier this week, but here are a few more words of wisdom (We taped the ESPN2 broadcast and may try to watch that this weekend to comment on that next week):

1. Stat Of The Week I

69:07 – 2nd half marathon split for 2013 ING New York City Marathon champion Priscah Jeptoo.
69:53 – half marathon PR of 2013 ING New York City runner-up Buzunesh Deba.

2. Stat Of The Week II

This one is for those of you who think American politicians are overpaid.

$120,000 – salary of Members of Parliament in Kenya in US dollars according to Wesley Korir. That’s 53.5 times the GDP per capita in Kenya of $967 (Good news: This summer the Kenyan Parliament reduced their pay from $120,000 to $75,000 but gave themselves a one time car payment of $58,000).
$2,766,164 – salary American politicians would need to be paid if their salary was 53.5 times the US’s GDP per capita of $51,704.

3. Priscah Jeptoo Did The Opposite Of Mary Keitany

Mile

Deba

Jeptoo

Difference

14

0:05:32

0:05:38

-0:00:06

15

0:05:42

0:05:38

0:00:04

16

0:05:48

0:05:15

0:00:33

17

0:05:23

0:05:04

0:00:19

18

0:05:31

0:05:05

0:00:26

19

0:05:37

0:05:12

0:00:25

20

0:05:48

0:05:26

0:00:22

21

0:05:35

0:05:08

0:00:27

22

0:05:30

0:05:08

0:00:22

23

0:05:22

0:05:06

0:00:16

24

0:05:47

0:05:21

0:00:26

25

0:05:29

0:05:11

0:00:18

26

0:05:39

0:05:17

0:00:22

Heading into New York in 2011, Mary Keitany seemed to be the best women’s marathoner on the planet. She’d run a ridiculous sub-66:00 for 13.1, had run the fastest spring marathon of the year to win in London and came into New York as the favorite. How could she lose? By beating herself. Keitany did exactly that by going out too hard (67:56) and blowing up.

This year, Priscah Jeptoo came into New York as the best women’s marathoner on the planet. She too had run a ridiculous sub-66:00 for 13.1, run the fastest spring marathon of the year to win in London and came into New York as the favorite.

She clearly got the memo and wasn’t going to beat herself by going out too hard. However, she came close to beating herself by doing the opposite. She spotted Buzunesh Deba more than three minutes by going out in 1:16:00 for the first half, but still ended up winning by 49 seconds thanks to the fact she was at least 15 seconds per mile faster than Deba on every mile after mile 15.

As for Deba? She didn’t slow down much the second half. She ran 1:12:38 the first half and  1:13:18 the second half. Not bad for someone running into the wind the whole time. Her strategy or tactics were not the problem. She did both nearly perfectly. Jeptoo was just better.

4. Always Trust Your First Instinct

When we got to New York for the first of three days of pre-Marathon interview sessions, we saw that Spain’s 42-year-old Chema Martinez was on the list to be interviewed. As we said in our pre-race article on Martinez, our first thought was, “What’s this old guy doing in the field?”

We were told he was a true elite, not a master. And he talked up a good game, but in the end there was no chance a 42-year-old Spanish guy, who hadn’t broken 2:10 in 19 straight marathons dating to 2003 (he broke 2:10 in his first two marathons, and is now 0 for 20 since) was going to do be competitive. He ran 68:04 for the first half. Really. And finished in 2:28:21. So here’s a Thumbs Down to that, a bThumbs Down for NYC trying to sell that story to us, and a Thumbs Down for us buying it.

Meanwhile, we’re pretty sure the following top finishers didn’t show their faces in the media area during the three days of pre-race media: #4 Julsius Arile, #5 Stanley Biwott, #7 Jackson Kiprop and #8 Peter Kirui.

We love the New York City Marathon and they are amazingly good at selling stories. And given the fact that more than half of the finishers are foreigners, we totally understand why they heavily promote the best from Europe or South America, who have no chance of winning, in much the same way Boston, Chicago and New York promote Americans, who often have no chance of winning, as it makes the marathon a big event in Europe.

It’s often painful to see a total stud from Africa sitting at a media day with no press talking to them. In Boston this spring, LRC skipped out on talking to some Americans to talk to the likes of Micah Kogo and others from Kenya whom no one was talking to.

Stanley Biwott was one of the few guys who possibly could have won New York on Sunday (even Hannah Storm of ESPN called him her “X” factor). For the long-term viability of the sport, we need the media and public to not treat the fast runners from Africa as anonymous black faces. Anyone like Biwott needs to go before the media.

5. A Guy Who Ran 3:32 For 1,500 This Year Raced New York Last Sunday

Speaking of promoting stories from Europe, there was a European runner in New York whom LRC was fascinated by. We spent a decent amount of time writing a story about him as well, and somehow, we forgot to put it up on the website. An unprecedented mistake on our part (that’s a joke). We guess we were too busy planning the unofficial LetsRun.com post-race party.

So take a minute and read our story on France’s 34-year-old Bouabdellah Tahri. The title says it all: France’s Bouabdellah Tahri Is Ready For His Marathon Debut Just Four Months After Running A 3:49 Mile Equivalent.

Yes, Tahri, who is best known for being a former bronze medallist at Worlds in the steeple, ran 3:32.73 for 1,500 this year. That’s faster than any American, as the top three for the US were Leo Manzano (3:33.14), David Torrence (3:33.23) and Matthew Centrowitz (3:33.58). Tahri was training to run the 10k at Worlds, got tripped at Prefontaine and thus couldn’t do that, so he ended up dropping down to the 1,500 after his coach was mad at him after he only ran 13:17 for 5,000.

So how did he do in New York? Not horribly. Tahri went in the lead pack early on and went through halfway with the top American Ryan Vail (65:38). The end result of 2:18:16 wasn’t what he wanted, but he didn’t embarrass himself like Martinez.

Tahri’s certainly still got a ways to go to catch the great Rod Dixon. The Kiwi, who was an Olympic bronze medallist in the 1,500 in 1972, famously won the 1983 New York City Marathon in 2:08:59 but that was some nine years after his 1,500 PR of 3:33.89, not four months like Tahri.

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4 Quotes of the Week (that weren’t quote of the day)

I

“Dick Beardsley says he can remember every mile (of a marathon). I can only remember when I started, when I finished and when I vomited.”

– A legendary quote from the Dr. William Andberg, aka the Grey Ghost, a legend in Minnesota masters running circles who died in 2007 at age 1996 according to a nice profile of Andberg by downthebackstretch.blogspot.com.

More: Phot ID Bio: The Grey Ghost

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II

“My goals (for 2014) are to try and replicate the sort of times I run outdoors on the indoor track. I guess it will be a true test of, ‘Are indoor tracks actually slower (than outdoors) or is it that people aren’t in their prime shape during the indoor season?'”

“We know what the answer is for college runners (indoors is faster), but I think as you get faster and faster, there is a bit more force being put on your body as you get on those tight turns so this will be a good way to test it out.”

“I think when you are running 60 second pace or slower, the indoor tracks are faster. You get the springback, you get no wind but as you start going faster than 60 seconds while you get those two benefits, you are putting a lot more torque on your body as you go around the bends.”

Nick Willis talking to LetsRun.com last week in New York where he said he’s going to train straight through for World Indoors and really try to run fast indoors.

What do you think? Discuss this topic in our forum: MB: Are indoor tracks faster than outdoor tracks? Nick Willis says yes*. What say you?

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III

“Today he’s still my coach. I still train with his assistance. Now I have help from my brother (who rides beside me). But my coach is still my husband. I follow all of his schedules.”

– Colombian marathoner and widow Yolando Caballero talking to LetsRun about her husband/coach, who tragically passed away at age 44 in 2011, prior to last Sunday’s race.

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IV

“The most important thing for me is not the time. It is the battle.”

– France’s Bouabdellah Tahri prior to New York.

More: France’s Bouabdellah Tahri Is Ready For His Marathon Debut Just Four Months After Running A 3:49 Mile Equivalent.

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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 11/4:

“I didn’t know the gap was, but there was a guy who was riding a bicycle. He came and told me that you are behind three minutes. I realized that three minutes is almost one kilometer. So I started to push the pace. I knew, and I was having confidence that I will make it.”

– Priscah Jeptoo the 2013 ING New York City and 2012-13 World Marathon Major champion talking about how a mysterious man on a bike may have saved her $625,000.


Sunday 11/3:

“Today was just a shit performance. Many words come to my mind none of which are appropriate. It was really bad. I’m really pissed off right now. Mostly because it’s embarrassing.”

– Chris Solinsky talking after a disappointing NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5k, where he was 14th in 14:15. He’ll have another shot at a good race in 2 weeks at the inaugural .US National 12k Championships.


Saturday 11/2:

“When I got drug tested this morning, I was headed down to the lobby and the first two people I saw was Geoffrey Mutai and Stephen (Kiprotich) – the World and Olympic champion. We shake hands, say good morning and then you just head out. You don’t say, ‘How’s training in Iten or anything like that.'”

– Meb Keflezighi talking to LetsRun.com today about how you don’t really know what to expect from your competitors until the gun is fired as no one reveals their training to each other.


Friday 11/1:

“I learned that, if you do things the right way, you will succeed. But in Kenya, a lot of people do things the crooked way, and you find our country being what it is. One thing I’ve done that’s truly the right way, stand for what is right. And I think that’s what I’ve done. I’m comfortable being in America …

What America did was you woke up that lion in me. It’s something in me, and what America did was turn it on. Now I’m taking it back to Kenya.”

– Wesley Korir talking about what he’s learned from living in America. Korir is focused on ending corruption and excessive partisanship in Kenya. Hey Wesley, any chance you can also run for office in the US?


Thursday 10/31:

“Meb’s excellence and longevity may surpass anyone’s. He is an absolute testimony that all of us believe about this sport: Consistency is important. Everyone is going to hit a pothole and he’s certainly had his. But if you have patience and do the right things, you can get back on your feet, back to where you were and back to contending for Olympic medals and personal records. He’s such a shining light for everybody because of the personal path he has followed.”

– Runner’s World editor and 1968 Boston Marathon champion Amby Burfoot talking about Meb Keflezighi in an article comparing him and Ryan Hall.


Wednesday 10/30:

“I’m sort of hoping (it’s the case on Sunday) that it’s like when you are watching NBC’s coverage of golf when you have someone like a Johnny Miller or guys that have played and have the passion for it, that’s it’s different than when you have guys who just find it as one more assignment on their calendar …

I’ve gotten Track and Field News now for thirty some odd years. It’s something I really enjoy. It’s something I’ve followed. It’s something I really like and hopefully if nothing else, that (passion) comes through and I can show the viewer that there is excitement there … hopefully that comes through on the  other side of the TV box and compels people to go, ‘At least this guy is invested it, maybe I can be as well.'”

– ESPN’s John Anderson talking about he’ll make Sunday’s LIVE ESPN2 broadcast entertaining for American sports fans when there won’t be an American winner.


Tuesday 10/29:

“It’s always difficult for athletes to retire. You always think that you could do more. But I’d reached a point where I wasn’t able to compete as strong as before. I had the fitness and I had prepared for the World Championships in Moscow, but I lost the required fighting spirit. You should respect what you are doing.”

“Sport is a great thing, but it’s good to retire early. Athletes often try to put off retirement. We are emotional and open-minded people; we treat everything in a different way. In sport, we think that everything is fair because we have a stopwatch and a tape measure and they don’t lie. We think that everything outside of sport is the same too, but that’s not always the case.”

– Ukraine’s 2008 Olympic heptathlon champion Natallia Dobrynska announcing her retirement from track and field.

 


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