Week in Review: Mary Cain Wins, Mo Farah Doesn’t, The Gabe Jennings of the Marathon Retires, and Kenya’s Fabulous World Juniors
The Week That Was In Running – July 21 – July 27, 2014
July 29, 2014
Previous versions of the Week That Was can be found here.
Questions? Comments? Email us.
Quotes of the Week (that weren’t quote of the day)
Even World Class Coaches Prefer To Stay At Home Instead of Spending All Day At A Track Meet
“I’ve never been to a major championships.”
“Why go when the sun is shining here and when you get replays on TV?”
Are/Did Your Parents Not Like How Much Time You Spent Running? You’ve Got Good Company
“His parents (teachers) were not too happy about (that he picked up the sport in late 2012/early 2013) this as they wanted him to get his degree. However he went on and did really well this February and March in African XC and World Uni XC. He continued training and put his Uni on hold for a while to focus on the 10,000m gold which he won tonight.”
– manager Van der Velden writing to Race Results Weekly about how new world junior 10,000 champ Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda picked up the sport in late 2012/early 2013 inspired by Stephen Kiprotich‘s Olympic marathon gold. Since his parents are educators, we wonder if there is any chance Cheptegei could end up at a US university. Since he has a manager, we doubt it but it would be cool if he did come stateside. Edward Cheserek needs some competition.
USA Triathlon Coach On Alan Webb:
“I saw someone who is what I call the seesaw. Incredibly confident, at times bordering on arrogant, but at the same time can be incredibly humble, incredibly vulnerable, incredibly willing to listen. From my experience, these are characteristics of athletes who go on to be the very best.”
– Jonathan Hall, USA Triathlon’s performance leader,who now coaches Alan Webb talking in a TeamUSA.org feature on Webb.
“When I paced a Diamond League meet in London in 2013 in front of 60,000 people in the Olympic Stadium. It was surreal. I thought that must be what it felt like to be an Olympian.”
-Scherer’s quote comes from a Sarah Barker piece on him after he retired last week.
An American Tells How He Set Three Relay World Records In A Single Weekend
“We all just managed to stay alive longer than everybody else.”
– Roy Englehart, 91, talking to the New York Times after he and three other 90+ teammates set age-group world records in the 4 x 100 (2:22.37), 4×400 (12:41.69) and the 4×800 (28:17.10)at the USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships
Mo Farah Pulls Out Of The Commonwealth Games (Again)
“My body is telling me it is time to take a break.”
“My body is telling me it’s not ready to race yet.”
If you believe in jinxes, blame Farah’s late pullout of former 5k record-holder David Moorcroft. Two days before Farah’s pull-out, he
totally jinxed Farah lavished huge praise on Farah by saying:
“If he was able to do the double… in the four years between 2010 and 2014, he’ll have done something that no other athlete’ has ever done and probably no other will ever do – hold double gold at Commonwealth, European, world and Olympic level.” Youngsters, Moorcroft is a former 5k WR holder as he ran 13:00 back in 1982.
WWMCHD: Theoretical – What Would Mary Cain Have Done
Other than world juniors, there wasn’t a lot going on last week on the track. Thus instead of analyzing actual action, a lot of people were speculating on what would have happened had Mary Cain run other events besides the 3000 which was arguably the easiest distance event to win at World Juniors on the women’s side.
Could she have won the women’s 1500 over 3:59 runner Dawit Seyaum?
Message board poster “Cain, best Junior” clearly thinks so as he or she started a thread entitled: In my estimation, Cain would’ve won gold in 800 and 1500 and bronze in 5000. Message board poster “Cain > everyone” was even more bullish as in a similar thread – How would Cain have done in the other events? – he or she wrote that Cain would have also won the 800 and 5000 and had a greater than 50% chance of winning the 1500.
What do we think about Cain’s chance in the 1500?
1) Yes, she would have won.
Cain has run a faster time with a faster close than what won in Eugene last week. At USA indoors, after a 2:16 opening 800, Cain’s winning time was 4:07.05 and her last 400 was 61.08 (31.06, 30.02) which compares favorably to the 4:09.05 winning time in Eugene which featured a final 400 of 61.35 (31.1, 30.2).
2) No, she wouldn’t have won.
At USA outdoors, Cain’s runner-up time of 4:06.34 came after only a final 400 of 63.96. In that race, Cain was soundly beaten by American Jenny Simpson by 1.38 seconds. Two weeks before USAs, Simpson herself was trounced by Dawit Seyaum by 1.88 seconds in New York.
There is a reason they run the race. Could Cain have won? Yes, clearly it’s possible. Would she have won? We’ll never know.
If an Ethiopian version of LetsRun.com existed, they’d have a thread about their 5000 gold medallist Alemitu Haroye who has a 14:52 5000 pb. “In my estimation, Heroye would’ve won gold in 3000 and silver in 1500.”
Or better yet, one on Seyaum, “In my estimation, Seyaum would have won gold at 800, 1500, 3000 and 5000.”
All three of them – Cain, Heroye, and Seyaum – are very good.
If there was a draft of women’s junior track and field runners, it would be very hard to decide who deserved the #1 pick. Cain, with her proven 1:59 speed, would be very hard to not to pick. However, Seyaum is younger than Cain and has run 3:59 without having the resources of Alberto Salazar behind her. Moreover, the coaches in her country have been much better, working at altitude, at producing 5000 and 10,000 runners so that makes her 3:59 even more impressive. It’s like running 3:59 while growing up in Boulder. Haroye is a year older than Cain and Seyaum so that goes against her.
What do you think?
Tell us in our fan forum: If there was a draft of women’s distance athletes after W JRs, who would go #1 – Cain, Seyaum or Haroye?
What Would Mo Farah Have Done?
Cain’s Nike Oregon Project teammate Mo Farah also was in the news last week as a week after saying he was ready for Commonwealths, he pulled out and will instead focus on getting ready for the European championships. Given the fact that the European championships feature zero runners from Kenya, Farah will have a much easier time winning Europeans. Farah was able to win double European gold in 2010 when he had never even won a medal at Worlds.
Ndiku won with a 1:54 last 800 (54.11 last 400) in a 13:12 race. Of course, while he looked like he was going hard at the line, he won by a comfortable margin so who knows how much faster he could have gone. Ndiku won at Pre in 13:01 earlier this year and his close there was better as the race was faster and the last lap basically the same – 54.3 (25.5 last 200).
Farah has certainly closed a lot of races faster than 54, albeit normally slower races. In 2011 and 2012 when he won gold at Worlds and the Olympics, he closed in 52.75 and 52.94 respectively (although the winning times were just 13:23 and 13:41). Heck, in the one 5000 he ran this year, we timed Farah in an unofficial 52.6 in Portland, albeit in another 13:20s race (13:23.42).
In terms of races with a similar finishing time to the Commonwealth Games, in 2013, Farah won a 13:14 race in Birmingham with a crazy fast last 800 of 1:51.0 and last 400 of 53.40 although to be fair to Ndiku it has to be pointed out that the 4th km of the race was very slow (2:52.2).
So would Farah have won in Glasgow?
Any talk of how Farah would have done is absurd. If Farah thought he was in shape to win it, he would have been there. End of story.
As Brendan Foster said after Mo’s pullout:
“I understand the cynicism but at the end of the day I can promise you, after speaking to him a couple of weeks ago, that he wanted to run the Commonwealth Games.
“Well, actually he didn’t – he wanted to WIN the Commonwealth Games.
We do know one thing. Farah’s withdrawal shows one of the inherent challenges marketers of the sport face. With salaries coming from shoe companies based on an athlete’s image, the athletes basically don’t have to run anything outside of the Olympics and Worlds. It’s in their best interest to skip events rather than run them and potentially lose. That doesn’t happen in the NFL, NBA, or Premier League.
If you’d like to know more about Caleb Ndiku’s training, his coach Renato Canova has posted about it on the LetsRun.com forums in a great thread here.
Trivia Question/Track and Field’s Rotating Important Events
Speaking of problems in inherent in the sport.
Here’s some trivia questions for you?
Where were the World Juniors held in 2012? Ok, what about 2010? Where were the Commonwealth Games in 2010?
We bet VERY few of you answered correctly Barcelona (Spain), Moncton (Canada) and Delhi (India).
Our point is the important events in the sport are whatever events people say are important.
In the past, not nearly as many people in the US paid close attention to World Juniors as they did this year but this year it suddenly is a big event because it was in the States in Eugene. The same thing can be said of the Commonwealth Games. Now that it’s in the UK, in Glasgow, it’s suddenly much more important than it was just four years ago.
The same logic applies to many other events. Indoor track isn’t even an official Pac-12 sport. As a result, we’re sure World Indoors has been a total afterthought for everyone up in the Pacific Northwest until suddenly Portland won the right to host it in 2016.
As fans of the sport, these events should always be important. Come on people, don’t just pay attention to it when it’s in your own backyard.
Stat of the Week I
1 – grand total of medals won by Jamaica in the men’s and women’s 100 and 200 at the IAAF World Junior Championships (a bronze by in the 200 by Michael O’Hara). Jamaica only had two finalists in the four event finals and zero in the men’s or women’s 100 finals.
Stat of The Week II
6th – place that American Cas Loxsom‘s 1:46.57 clocking, which garnered him the silver at World Juniors in 2010, would have placed him at this year’s World Juniors.
6th – place that Indiana freshman Tre’tez Kinnaird placed this year in 1:47.13 which was won by Alfred Kipketer in a stellar 1:43.95.
We must admit, we are huge fans of Kipketer. You’d think he’d be scared about going out fast after his epic 48.35 opening lap at last year’s World Youth champs and his near blow up in the 4 x 800 at World Relays this year, but he’s fearless. This year, he went out in 49.42.
If Amos or Rudisha wants to go for a 1:41 at the end of the year, we suggest they hire him as the rabbit and have him go 700.
The Best of World Juniors
Ecuador’s Angela Tenorio was disqualified for a false start in Heat 3 of the women’s 100. Race replays showed no false start.
What happened? The IAAF didn’t get bureaucratic but instead did the right think and let Tenorio run her heat – albeit all by herself after the other races had finished. After the 10k was over, she ran and easily advanced, ultimately winning the silver medal in the final (and a bronze in the 200).
That was the one of the best things in our mind about the whole event. Why? Because bureaucracy and delay normally rule the day with track and field decisions in the United States. Video replays have clearly shown no DQ took place in men’s 3k at USAs in February and the DQ still hasn’t been rectified. We hope USATF saw how much quicker the IAAF acts on things.
In terms of actual performances, the gold by Mary Cain was obviously incredibly rare and special for American distance fans but how about Morgan Lake? She was only person to win two individual golds in Eugene as she won the high jump and heptathlon.
Related: Messageboard discussion: Track Nerds – What was the single best absolute performance (marks wise) at world juniors?
The great performance put on by Kenya needs to be mentioned as well. Do you realize they won 16 medals in the mid-d and distance events (10 events) to finish second in the medal standings? And remember, at World Juniors, countries can only enter two per event.
On the boys side, every Kenyan mid-d/distance runner who came to Eugene except for one got a medal (Fredrick Kipkosgei Kiptoo ran 13:35 and was 5th in the 5000). That’s pretty remarkable. Think about it. In the 15 editions of World Juniors, a US boy has never medalled at an event above 800 meters. At World Juniors in 2014, every single Kenyan boy but one medalled.
On the girls side, seven of the 10 Kenyan mid-d/distance runners took home medals.
The Gabe Jennings Of the Marathon Has Retired
American marathoner Jason Hartmann recently retired and will become a collegiate coach. With a 2:11:08 pb, we wondered, “What does that make him all-time in the US?”
By our count, using tilastopaja.org’s database, it’s 38th all-time in the US.
For comparison’s sake, 2000 US Olympic Trials 1500 winner Gabe Jennings is 38th on the all-time list of tilastopaja.org for US 1500 runners at 3:35.21 (well actually 37th, but we added one as they have Bernard Lagat‘s fastest time listed for Kenya).
In the 800, Olympian Christian Smith is #38 (1:44.86), in the steeple, Dan Nelson (8:22.90) is #38, in the 5000, Nick Rogers (13:18.50) is #38, and in the 10k, it’s Fasil Bizuneh at 27:50.48.
Goldie Sayers: My London 2012 “Nightmare” And The Long Road Back A fantastic read on the comeback of the woman who in her last meet before London 2012 crushed the WR holder before missing 23 months by blowing out her arm in front of the hometown fans in the Olympics.
New York Times Article On The WR Setting “Peerless And Seemingly Ageless” 90+-Year-Old Relay Team From US Masters Champs Good read on the five men who set 90+ age records in the 4 x 100, 4 x 400, 4 x 800. Two of them were war vets and went ashore at Normandy on D-Day. On getting the record, Roy Englertsaid, “We all just managed to stay alive longer than everybody else.”
England’s Steve Way Used To Weigh 230 Pounds And Smoke 20 Cigarettes A Day; Now He’s A 2:16 Marathoner Way started running just go lose weight and get healthy, but got faster and faster and qualified for the CGs by being the 3rd Brit in London. Also, he’s 40 years old and works a 9-to-5 job while putting in 130-mile weeks.
Alan Webb Talks About His “Dream Goal” Of Making The Olympics In The Triathlon And Explains The Process To Get There Some good stuff here from Webb and his wife about his tri training and his mile
More on 800 champ Margaret Wambui’s amazing rags to riches story Wambui is the daughter of a single mom. A former hepthatlete, Wambui only recently switched to the 800 after running 2:05 in the multi, “hers is a tears-eye story of determination, self-confidence and a humble upbringing.”
Worth A Read: This Is Why Journalists Get A Bad Reputation This journalist criticizes the media for asking Bolt some weird questions in his press conference on Saturday. Some funny photos of Bolt’s facial reactions.
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.
“I’ve got to pinch my self, it is very exciting. To come back and actually win is indescribable. … You just try to run the best you possibly can and it was a dream to be honest. I’m still buzzing, I can’t believe it.”
– Australia’s Michael Shelly talking after surprisingly winning the Commonwealth Games marathon in a PR of 2:11:15.
Make Your Predictions Now
– Tell us what you think about the girls 1,500 final, which takes place at 6:55 pm ET. The US could also medal in the boys 800, where Tre’tez Kinnaird (Indiana) was surprisingly the fastest qualifier for the boys 800 final yesterday. But our Race Of The Day is the Commonwealth Games Men’s 5000 final at 12:40 pm ET: Nick Willis vs. Ndiku and Koech – Who you got?.
“I also enjoyed myself quite a lot in my twenties. There was quite a lot of drinking, quite a lot of smoking and quite a lot of late-night kebabs after nights out with the boys in Bournemouth. … I didn’t like the person I saw in the mirror in the morning and I do remember the emotion I felt, the feeling that ‘right, I’ve really got to do something, make some changes.’ … In order to bury your vices you need to find an equal and opposite addiction. You need to find a passion.”
– English marathoner Steve Way talking about his transformation from a 230-pound drinker who smoked 20 cigarettes a day to a 2:16 marathoner. The guy is 40 years old and has a 9-to-5 job, but still puts in 130-mile weeks and will be racing the Commonwealth Games marathon tomorrow.
“The last 50 meters I just felt so good. I know you’re not really supposed to look up at the screen, but I still was looking up and was like, ‘Oh my gosh I’m in the lead.’ There was nowhere else that they would have been that loud for me. It was surreal.”
– Mary Cain after winning gold in the women’s 3,000 at World Juniors, the first long-d medal of any color for the US in the 28-year history of World Juniors.
“I have never been much of a runner. I mean, dashing around in a circle? What’s the point? But my prejudices were overturned by this insightful, powerful sports documentary: 100 Seconds to Beat the World: The David Rudisha Story.”
– Jake Wallis Simons, writing in The Telegraph about the David Rudisha documentary “100 Seconds to Beat the World: Father, Son and the Holy Coach,” which debuted Tuesday in the UK to rave reviews.Here’s how you can watch it for free.
“With the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland in 2016 and Eugene bidding for the 2019 World Championships, the World Junior Championships this week mark an important moment for the future of track and field in the USA, the most powerful athletics nation in the world.”
– IAAF President Lamine Diack talking at the pre-World Junior Champs press conference about the future of track and field in the United States. The US hasn’t hosted an IAAF championship in 22 years (World XC in Boston, 1992).
Questions? Comments? Email us.