WTW: Alan Webb’s 3:46.91 Would Have Gotten 8th in Monaco, Ajee Wilson the Present and Future, Tons of USA PRs in Europe and the LRC Singlet

The Week That Was In Running – July 14 – July 20, 2014

by LetsRun.com
July 22, 2014

Previous versions of the Week That Was can be found here.

In case you missed our extensive Friday coverage and analysis of the incredible Monaco diamond league meet, go here as we don’t want to repeat ourselves below. It was one of the best track meets you’ll ever see and we recapped it’s extensively.

The meet saw 5 men run 1:42 at 800, 7 break 3:30 at 1500, an American record by Molly Huddle at 5000, and the most impressive performance of all may have been the World leading 800 by Ajee’ Wilson to snap World Champion Eunice Sum’s 14 race win streak. What a meet.

Questions? Comments? Email us.

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A 20 Year Old American Ran a World Leading 800 to Stop the 14 Race Win Streak of the World Champion

We said we weren’t going to rehash Monaco, and we’re not. However, Ajee’ Wilson, a 20 year old American, running a world leading PR, to stop the reigning World Champion’s 14 race win streak when the World Champion runs the second fastest time of her life, is pretty impressive. US visitors can watch the highlights of Ajee Wilson’s race below and read all about it here.

It’s time to enjoy the present and possibly the future of the women’s 800: Ajee’ Wilson.

Track fans always seem to be looking ahead as pointed out by this thread:  Mary Cain fans, serious question. Do you think she’ll ever do what Ajee Wilson did today? Win a DL in a WL time?

Alan Webb Runs An American Record 3:46.90 Mile And Finishes Just 8th?

Alan Webb Ran 3:30.54 to Win the 1500 in Paris in 2007 Alan Webb Ran 3:30.54 to Win the 1500 in Paris in 2007

In case you somehow missed it – it was a Friday afternoon in the middle of the summer, after all – the 2014 Herculis Monaco Diamond League track meet was an INCREDIBLE track meet. Five men ran 1:42 in the 800, a woman jumped 15.31 in the triple, a man ran 19.68 into the wind in the 200 … we could go on and on, but the highlight for us was the men’s 1,500 where a record 7 men broke 3:30.

Now, despite the fact most of you are big-time track and field fans (why else would you be on LetsRun?), we know most of you have no idea that what means. Even die-hard track and field fans can’t really relate to the 1,500.

So in honor of our friends at Bring Back The Mile, we decided to convert the times from the historic men’s 1,500 in Monaco to mile times using the standard 1.08 conversion. The results are staggering:

Results From The Mythical Monaco Men’s Mile Presented By Bring Back The Mile/LetsRun.com

1 Kiplagat , Silas                 KEN    3:44.25
2 Kiprop , Asbel                   KEN    3:45.13
3 Kwemoi , Ronald             KEN    3:45.51
4 Souleiman , Ayanleh    DJI      3:46.35
5 Iguider , Abdalaati         MAR   3:46.62
6 Wote , Aman                    ETH    3:46.70
7 Willis , Nicholas              NZL     3:46.70
8 Manzano , Leonel            USA     3:47.86
9 Centrowitz , Matthew    USA    3:47.98
10 Ingebrigtsen , Henrik  NOR   3:48.38
11 Özbilen, İlham Tanui  TUR    3:50.15
12 Cronje , Johan                RSA    3:50.79
13 Carvalho , Florian         FRA    3:52.93
Magut , James Kiplagat    KEN        DNF
Rotich , Andrew Kiptoo      KEN        DNF

Let’s further put that in perspective for you.

American Alan Webb holds the US mile record at 3:46.91. That time makes him the 8th fastest miler in the history of the mile. If Webb had been in Monaco on Friday and run his AR of 3:46.91, he would have placed just eighth in the race.

Yes, that’s right. 7th placer Nick Willis’s 3:29.91 1,500 is a better equivalent time than Webb’s 3:46.91 mile (Webb’s actual 1500 PB is 3:30.54).

Those results make us feel sorry for France’s Florian Carvalho. Can you imagine running the equivalent of a 3:52 mile and not finishing within two seconds of anyone in the race, and only within 4.5 seconds of two people in the race?

Seeing those results, we totally understand how American Leo Manzano – despite his silver medal – was the last guy accepted into the field. Everybody was a stud and in shape.

Actually, the more we look at the results, maybe we should feel sorry for Matt Centrowitz and Henrik Ingebrigtsen. They both ran the equivalent of sub-3:50 in the mile and received zero dollars in prize money (8 deep). Of course, we bet Ingebrigstsen gets a nice bonus from his shoe sponsor for the national record.

Discuss this topic in our messageboard: Apples to oranges: Webb ran 3:46 solo.

More: One Of The Greatest 1,500s Ever: Silas Kiplagat Fastest Time in 10 Years, World Junior Record, 7 Men (Including Nick Willis) Sub-3:30, Leo Manzano And Matt Centrowitz PR


Can people stop saying that the pacemakers went out too quickly in the race?

We heard Steve Cram say it on the TV broadcast and then read it in Race Results Weekly.

The world record pace is 54.93 per lap. The rabbit ran the first lap in 54.10, meaning Kiprop was basically around 54.5. You couldn’t have a more PERFECT pace for the first 400 than that.

That’s ideal since not only do you want to string out the field early in a record attempt and let the main players have the inside of lane 1, it’s also better physiologically that the first lap should be a bit faster than average in the 1,500 because of reliance on the phosphocreatine “quick energy” (or “fight or flight”) system in the early stages of a race at that pace. In a sense, it’s better to “get the ball rolling” in shorter mid-d races (800 to mile) if there’s not much time later in the race to make up for a start that’s too slow. You’re going to be relying hugely on phosphocreatine as an energy source when coming off the line anyway, and it won’t negatively affect your race to get out a tiny bit quicker than you intend to average, so why not take advantage of the quick energy system?

To illustrate that this is the most common strategy for mid-d records, ask yourself how many 800 WRs (or even 800 PRs) you can think of that were done WITHOUT positive splits. The same idea usually holds true for the 1,500, although the first lap isn’t usually quite as fast relative to the other laps as it is in the 800. It’s advantageous when going for a fast time in a 1,500 to get out of the gate just a tiny bit ahead of pace in that first straightaway (and therefore for the first full lap).

Big PRs Of Note

There were a ton of runners with American ties setting PRs all over Europe last week that may have not been noticed as they either occurred way back in the results in Monaco or at a pretty small European meet.

We thought we should highlight the ones of note:

In the middle of the week in Luzern, Switzerland,the sixth and seventh placers at USAs in  Craig Forys and Andy Bayer both PRed in the steeplechase. Forys had a small PR at 8:24.09 (previous best of 8:26.30) and Bayer a huge one of 8:25.71 (8:37.21 previous best). Of course, it needs to be pointed out that it was just steeple #4 of Bayer’s life.

NCAA third placer Justine Fedronic sporting the Stanford singlet last summer in Paris NCAA third placer Justine Fedronic sporting the Stanford singlet last summer in Paris.

23-year-old Justine Fedronic, the former Stanford runner who was third at NCAAs last year, lowered her PR from 2:00.97 to 2:00.41 on Friday  in Monaco. That was the good news. The bad news is she pulled a Jordan Hasay and PRed while finishing last.

2013 NCAA indoor and outdoor 800 champ Elijah Greer PRed and got under the 1:45 barrier for the first time at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden, Belgium  on Saturday by running 1:44.91 for 4th (previous pb 1:45.04). The same race wasn’t a good one for his old college rival Robby Andrews as Andrews ran just 1:49.70. Andrews by our count has run 12 800s this year and none have been faster than 1:46.28. Andrews’ PR of 1:44.71 is from 2011.

American 1,500 man Will Leer got under the 3:35 barrier for the first time at the same KBC Night meet by running a big PR of 3:34.26 (previous PR 3:35.27). Leer also got the win in the race. In the same race, NCAA champ Mac Fleet ran a seasonal best of 3:38.62 (PR is 3:38.35). In the fourth heat, NCAA fourth-placer Peter Callahan of New Mexico (via Princeton) ran a PR of 3:39.27 (previous 3:39.90).

In the women’s 1,500 at the same meet,  US steeple star Emma Coburn, as well as former Duke runner Kate van Buskirk, ran 1,500 PRs as Coburn ran 4:05.29 for seventh (previous best of 4:06.87) and van Buskirk ran 4:05.38 for eighth (previous best 4:06.97). 

In the women’s steeple in Belgium, American Nicole Bush had a massive PR as she won in 9:24.59, smashing her old PR of 9:34.76 by more than 10 seconds. The 9:24.59 moves Bush up to #12 in the world for 2014, just behind Stephanie Garcia (9:24.28).

People who had been paying attention to Bush’s races of late may have been wondering, “Where did that come from?” A week earlier Bush was just 11th in Glasgow in 9:36.71 and two weeks before that she was a disappointing 8th at USAs in 9:48.08. But Bush had opened her season very well with a 9:34.76 PR on June 7th.

The biggest PR of the week had to have been former Iowa State star Betsy Saina. Saina’s torrid 2014 continued as she ran 14:39.49 for fifth in Monaco. Her PR coming into the year? 15:12.05. Earlier in the year, she joined the sub-31 club with a 30:57.30 at Stanford.

We think a 32+ second PR at 5,000 more than makes up for the 9:00.65 last-place 3,000 that Saina ran in Lausanne earlier in the month.


Out of old habit, we scour results looking for Russian women middle distance runners running fast at home.  With all of the drug busts in recent years, we’ve been disappointed of late as each week we fail to find anything of note. This week we finally found a performance worth mentioning. At the Kuts Memorial meet in Moscow, world indoor 1,500 7th placer Svetlana Karamasheva lowered her PR from 2:00.37 to 1:58.70.

Some Records Apparently Aren’t Made To Be Broken

Earlier in the year, former Foot Locker champion and US Olympic Marc Davis thought he’d seen the last of his 18-year-old streak as the American 5k road record holder at 13:24 as Bernard Lagat ran 13:19 at Carlsbad earlier this year. Well this week, it comes out that the course was found to be  13.5 feet short so the record stands as the cone for the turnaround was placed at the wrong spot.


We had two thoughts when reading this story.

1) 1981 New York City Marathon/Alberto Salazar. If you are under the age of 35, please click on the link to the left to learn some T&F history.

2) Has anyone confirmed that the person putting the cones on the course wasn’t Davis himself ? 😉 He was out there as a spectator. That would be a brilliant move.

In all seriousness, the press release is pretty detailed about what happened.  Executive Race Director Tracy Sundlun realized things looked short when watching a video replay of the race and apparently the blame resulted from some new utility company surveyor’s mark. A big Thumbs Up for Sundlun for being thorough and ordering a remeasure of the course and invalidating the record run. If only everyone in our sport felt that rules should be followed to a T.

Also kudos for them for still paying Bernard Lagat his AR bonus money.


We talked about this our Monaco 800-meter recap but how cool is it that the Australian 800 record of 1:44.40 has survived since Ralph Doubell ran that to win the 1968 Olympics? Talk of the now nearly 46-year-old record has been a popular topic every few year on LRC (2008 talk about it here2010 here).

The record is going to fall, very possibly later this summer, but it was great that before it falls, it was tied by 22-year-old Alex Rowe last week at 1:44.40. This way it gets a little more time in the spotlight.

We imagine an Aussie would look much better in it than emloyee 1.1. We imagine an Aussie would look much better in it than Employee 1.1.

As for Rowe, his record-equalling run ended up costing him money. Yes, costing him money. Because he ran in Monaco, he was late reporting for the Commonwealth Games and will be fined up to $1,300. Since he’s sponsorless, he’s not getting a national record bonus from a shoe company.

Since Rowe’s coach Justin Rinaldi (JRinaldi) has posted on LetsRun.com about his training in the past, we want to make it up to him. A national record should never cost someone money. If Rowe is still sponsorless after the Commonwealth Games, we’ll pay him $1,300 if he runs a Diamond League 800 in the old-school LetsRun.com singlet.

More: LRC What An 800: Nijel Amos Takes Down King David As Five Men Run 1:42

*Delighted Alex Rowe Equals 46-Year-Old 800m National Record
*Record Eases Alex Rowe’’s Pain Over Fine
*Athletics Australia: Alex Rowe Did the Right Thing, But Still Has To Cop A Fine
*Bernard Lagat’s 5K American Road Record From The Carlsbad 5K Will Not Be Ratified As Course Was Found To Be 13.5 Feet Short

Does This Mean That Shalane Flanagan Is Going To Run Chicago?

Last week, 2:22.02 marathoner Shalane Flanagan ran 69:45 for 13.1 in Chicago and then said afterwards, “I came to run the streets of Chicago and today was the first real long effort I’ve had since the Boston Marathon. What I ran today is basically what I want to run in my fall marathon, my marathon pace of 5:19 a mile.” 

Since we know she’s not running 5:19 pace in New York, and we doubt she’d get much an appearance fee in Berlin, is it safe to say that Shalane is going to run the Chicago marathon this fall? All signs are pointing that way in our book.

How You Do In Under-Distance Events Doesn’t Really Matter

We guess you don’t need to run well at an under-distance event to do well at your main event.

A week after running just 46.34 for 8th in the 400 in Glasgow, Nijel Amos ran 1:42.45 to win the 800 in Monaco.

Two weeks after running 3:57.22 for 1,500, Jenny Simpson ran just 2:05.08 for 800 in Madrid last week.

Quote Of The Week I (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day)/ Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Be A Sprinter?

“I haven’t trained for three weeks. I need to come back bit by bit.” 

Asafa Powell talking to reporters after running to competition from his drug ban in Luzern on Tuesday, where he ran just 10.30. Powell did “come back a bit” as later in the week he ran 10.15 in Heusden.

In case you missed it, Asafa Powell’s drug ban was officially reduced from 18 to 6 months early by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS). Our thoughts? We’ve got no problem with the decision. Considering that CAS also demanded that the Jamaican anti-doping authorities (JADCO) also pay Powell and Sherone Simpson‘s attorney fees, it’s pretty clear to us that JADCO really screwed up.

More: Athletics – Powell Third On Comeback After Doping Ban Ends
*AS Officially Reduces Asafa Powell’s And Sherone Simpson’s Drug Bans From 18 To 6 Months – They Can Compete Immediately
*MB: Powell and Simpson’s Drug ban reduced to six months. They are now free to compete again.
*Science Of Sports’ Ross Tucker Blogs About Long-Term Implications Of Powell’s & Simpson’s Bans Being Cut To 6 Months 


Quote Of The Week II (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day)

“There is no secret. The secret is in the head, not in the legs. It’s the determination, the passion, the interest, the commitment, the focus, the dream. There are not secrets. These are true of any person who can rise above the ordinary.”

– Brother Colm O’Connell talking about David Rudisha in a new BBC documentary 100 Seconds to Beat the World: Father, Son and the Holy Coach.

The documentary airs at 10 pm England time (5 pm ET) on Tuesday on BBC Four.

O’Connell also had this to say after Rudisha failed to make the finals at Worlds in 2009 after failing to make the 2008 Olympics:

“God sometimes puts you to the sword and tests you to see if you stay with it even when things are not going well. You have to have a belief there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

More: Irish Examiner article on the documentary: Rudisha’s long road to Olympic glory with Holy Coach from Mallow.

Quote Of The Week III (That Wasn’t Quote Of The Day)

“Even if you take a cow to the river to drink water and it refuses you don’t kill it. We have implored on the athletes to save the country an embarrassment and do their duty.”

– Kenya’s Commonwealth games athletics team manager, Paul Mutwii, talking last week to The Nation when it was feared the Kenyan athletes might boycott the Commonwealth Games. The boycott was avoided when the Kenyan government agreed to pay the athletes their large per diems (which add up to more than $6,000 for boxers) before departure (the athletes didn’t believe the government would pay them once they got there).

More: AK In Crisis Meeting With Runners
*Kenyans Won’t Boycott Commonwealth Games As Kenyan Govt. Pays Athletes Full Allowances Ahead Of Trip Ezekiel Kemboi hinted they would boycott if not paid in full.
*Govt. Agrees To Pay Athletes $250 Per Day – Adds Up To $6,000 For Boxers

Tweet Of The Week/Proof That We Are All Potential Dopers

This actually happened this week but needs to be highlighted immediately.

Yes, the Queen is the Queen of England and Estimate is her horse and it tested positive for drugs.

Recommended Reads

British Commentators Say What We’re All Thinking: How Is Justin Gatlin Running 19.68 Into A Headwind At 32-Years Old? An interesting look at the reactions from some commentators including Steve Cram when Gatlin ran the 8th fastest 200 of all-time. They were more than a little skeptical.

Former Football Player Turned Runner, Ford Palmer, Is Balancing A Busy Life With Olympic Hope Read all about the rise of Palmer, a former HS football star who became someone who never broke 4:00 in the mile, never made NCAAs, but finished 5th in the 1,500 at the 2014 US Championships.
*MB: Ford Palmer on ESPN: Runner, Vegan, Lifeguard, 4:00.00 miler
*See our interviews/analysis on Palmer from USAs here and here.

Other News Of Note

LRC Top Track And Field Agent Emanuel Hudson Arrested For Allegedly Trying To Extort A Saudi Sheikh Of $15 Million  Crazy story. Hudson is the head of HSI, agent to many former sprint stars. *Discuss Here

Wow: Oscar P Allegedly Gets Into Drunken Altercation At A Night Club It turned physical and Oscar P was knocked down. There’s debate whether the altercation will show up at sentencing.

Bernard Lagat Wins 2-Mile In 8:27 Over Garrett Heath (8:29) And Emmanuel Bett (8:31)

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 7/21:

Sunday 7/20:

Matt Scherer, one of the best pacers in the sport, announcing his retirement from track and field via twitter.
*MB Archives: Matt Scherer – best rabbit in the biz?? *Matt Scherer – Best Pacer in the World – Monaco

Friday 7/18:

Asbel Kiprop talking at the Herculis Monaco pre-meet press conference about his goal for today’s meet. Be sure to watch it live at 2:35 pm ET.

Thursday 7/17:

Emma Coburn talking about herself and Jenny Simpson to Spikes Mag, which takes a look at the star Americans’ friendship.

Tuesday 7/15:

– Ultra runner Adam Campbell, who survived a lightning strike during the Hardrock 100 Mile this past weekend and went on to finish 3rd.

Questions? Comments? Email us.



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