Chris Solinsky or Galen Rupp? Mo Farah is No Bannister or Rudisha, Anniversaries for Joan Benoit, Sir Roger, Love for Kendal Williams

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The Week That Was In Running – August 4 – August 10, 2014

August 12, 2014

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

Questions? Comments? Email us.

Last week was a very light one in terms of action – one of the lightest of the year. The African champs started with the men’s 10,000 and the Michigan Track Classic was held in Ann Arbor. Don’t worry, we still found plenty to talk about.

Ridiculous Lawsuits Spread To Germany

Robert Harting celebrating or 'insulting the (German) state?'

Robert Harting celebrating or ‘insulting the (German) state?’

Fellow Americans, breathe easy. We can now take solace in the fact that we are no longer the only country in the world beset with ridiculous lawsuits.

Do you remember the epic 2012 Olympic men’s discus celebration by Germany’s Robert Harting?

If not, let us try to refresh your memory. He ripped apart his German singlet, then draped himself in a German flag and did a slew of hurdles bare-chested with only the flag on his torso as shown by the video below:

And that rubbed one German the wrong way and he’s filed suit against Harting as a result. Eurosport explains:

Bild’s report reveals that the court case is being brought because of Harting’s shirt-ripping. The allegation is that Harting is in violation of German penal code 90a, which states that anyone who “damages, destroys or commits insulting mischief” against the German flag or its eagle emblem is guilty of “insulting the state or its symbols”, an offence which is punishable by up to three years in prison and a hefty fine.

More: Athletics superstar being sued over iconic ‘Incredible Hulk’ celebration

Mo Farah is No Roger Bannister or David Rudisha

Last week was the 60th anniversary of the Miracle Mile – the matchup at the 1954 Commonwealth Games between the world’s first two sub-4 milers, Roger Bannister and John Landy (the same year they both went sub-4).

Scotland’s The Herald had an exclusive interview with Bannister about the race and we were struck by this quote from him about the Miracle Mile:

It Has Been a Strange ear for Mo Medically As He Passed Out at the NYC Half Too

It Has Been a Strange Year for Mo Medically As He Passed Out at the NYC Half Too

“Yes, but I think the race is the thing. I don’t think time trials are of great importance – either my time trial [the four-minute mile] or his [Landy’s world record]. I had an overall view of the sport and did not want spectators to be let down and they would have been if the time had been 4.05. I would still have won, but spectators would have felt they’d missed something.”

The last sentence REALLY caught our attention. “I would still have won, but spectators would have felt they’d missed something.”

We wish the current pros thought a little bit about the fans like Bannister did back in the day. As we’ve consistently said, the pros need to occasionally ask themselves “What about the sport?” and not just worry 100% about their own self interest.

It’s hard not to see that quote and compare it to what happened at the Commonwealth Games. There, Britain’s favorite distance runner, Mo Farah, didn’t race. Tens of thousands of spectators who bought tickets to the 10,000 and 5,000 finals certainly missed something as a result.

We weren’t the only ones to think so. Marathon world-record holder Paula Radcliffe agrees as she said to The Daily Mail last week about Farah skipping the Commonwealth Games:

“I was surprised he took the decision to pull straight out of the 10,000m. … I looked at the likes of David Rudisha as someone who’s not quite where he wanted to be in terms of fitness but still risked it and he acquitted himself well.”

Rudisha could have easily skipped the games and kept his ‘invincible’ reputation. He didn’t and for that he should be commended.

Skipping major championships – whether it’s USAs for an American (like Farah’s training mate Matthew Centrowitz) or a home Commonwealth Games for Farah – should be a last resort.

Just as we are writing this it came out today that Farah had to be airlifted to the hospital when he collapsed earlier this summer, so that means we’re being critical of the double Olympic champ who had a fairly serious medical condition. However, the same article notes that Paula Radcliffe timed one of Farah’s last hard workouts before the Commonwealth Games, and saw him struggle in the workout, and she still thought he should run the Commonwealths. We agree with Paula.

Another article has also come out where Farah tries to defend himself. Ironically, in our mind, his defense only bolsters our belief he should have raced for Farah said, “I’m not going to turn up in my home country and get beaten. A lot of those Kenyan guys I can beat, but when I’m only 80 or 90 per cent I’m just asking to be beaten.” That statement only reinforces our belief that he was well enough to race,just not win. If only the guaranteed winner raced, the sport would be very boring. Imagine if Rudisha hadn’t raced the 800, one of the best events of the Games would have been a total boring laugher.  Imagine if collegiate runners start skipping NCAA meets they know they can’t win.

A messageboard discussion on this topic has arisen: Lost All Respect For Mo Farah.

More: *Exclusive Interview: Sir Roger Bannister on the Miracle Mile *Paula Radcliffe Slightly Critical Of Mo Farah’s Decision To Skip Commonwealths; Hopes Does Euro Champs *Mo Farah To Return To Great North Run On Sept. 7 Last year’s race was legendary. *LRC Kenenisa Bekele Holds Off Mo Farah In One Of The Most Thrilling Road Races In History – 2013 BUPA Great North Run

Are We Sure She’s Not Adopted? Stat of The Week

Since we are talking about the Commonwealth Games, we’ll throw a random fact in here right now.

Last week, during the Commonwealth Games wrapup, we saw an article on Scottish steeplechaser Eilish McColgan, the daughter of 1991 World Champ Liz McColgan. The article made us look up Eilish’s stats and when we did so we were amazed to find out that Eilish was born on November 25, 1990.

Why did that amaze us? Because mom Liz won the world 10,000 title on August 30, 1991.

That’s just 9 months and six days (279 days) after giving birth. Very good work.


One last thing about the Commonwealth Games. Jake Robertson was right on the money when he said it was absurd how the lapped runners impacted the outcomes of some races. We 100% agree. We’re fine with slower runners being allowed to run but they need to be given strict instructions on how to stay out of the way.

Some of the lapped runners were doing the right thing and moving out while others stayed on the inside. When some do one thing and others another, it creates chaos. It would be better if everyone stayed in lane one or if everyone moved outside.

The Commonwealth Games officials should start moving all runners within 100 meters of being lapped out to lane 4 until the top three finishers are across the finish line.

Father of the Year / A Sprint Champion You Can Believe In

Kendal Williams -  A sprinter you can believe in? *More Kendal Williams Photos

Kendal Williams – A sprinter you can believe in? *More Kendal Williams Photos

We’ve always thought that the key to winning the fight against doping is for the only accepted mindset to be, “Doping is cheating, it’s morally wrong, it’s disgraceful and simply isn’t an option.”

We imagine young athletes don’t grow up dreaming of being dopers but what happens is they get to a certain level and then someone gets into their ear and pumps them the line of, “Hey, nearly everyone (in your event or in our country) does it. You should as well.”

Those lacking the moral conviction that it’s wrong could be tempted to go down the wrong path.

We’ve got good news.

Newly-minted world junior 100 champ Kendal Williams, who is headed to Florida State this fall, has clearly been raised with a strong sense of moral values.

Check out what Kendal’s father Ken said to’s Alan Abrahamson about doping:

“The kid I raised, the family we have, he would not even consider that. We have instilled in him the fortitude, the character, whatever it takes to be a man of integrity. The character of a man is instilled by the standards he sets for himself. I love that and I tell that to him all the time.”

That’s great to hear. The sad thing is apparently you need that type of upbringing to ensure that you don’t end up doping in high school.

Check out what Williams’ coach James May said about how confident he was that Williams was clean, ““I’m 100 percent sure. There are very few kids I can say that about. Mostly God did a remarkable job.”

To us, that’s a scary quote as we’re sure most people just assume that there isn’t doping at the high school level.

We occasionally get emails from fans about stars who are busted for doping later in life like Marion Jones, Mary Slaney, etc. Many fans are outraged that we always call them “doper”. They write, “You don’t think **person xx** doped when she did xx at age xx, do you? There’s no way they doped in HS.” Our response is, “Doping occurs at the high school level.”

Need proof? Biogensis’ Anthony Bosch admitted last week that he had high schoolers paying him $600 a month to dope.

More: A sprint champion to want to believe in *Owner of clinic linked to MLB doping scandal, A-Rod cousin arrested

What Might Have Been? Chris Solinsky Becomes an Assistant Coach

Chris Solinsky breaks 27 *More Solinsky AR Photos

Chris Solinsky breaks 27
*More Solinsky AR Photos

Four years ago, American Chris Solinsky was the best non-African-born distance runner on the planet.

In case you forgot, on May 1st of 2010, in his first 10,000 as a pro, Solinsky shocked the world and became the first non-African to break 27:00.

Later that year, on August 6, 2010, he ran 12:55.53 for 5,000.

Last week, on August 8, four years and two days after that 5,000, it was announced that Solinsky was taking an assistant coaching gig at William and Mary. With his Nike contract up for renewal at the end of this year and with Solinsky a shadow of his former self (he ran just over 30:00 last week at Beach To Beacon), Solinsky clearly is starting to think about the next phase of his life.

Solinsky, still just 29, isn’t retiring. He said all of the right things last week about continuing to run and dreaming of ending his career with an Olympic bid – it’s almost criminal if a man of Solinsky’s accomplishments never represents the US in the Olympics – but it’s pretty clear to us that the move to William and Mary is a sign that Solinsky himself realizes his days as one of the world’s best distance runners are a thing of the past.

(Other pro runners that are assistant coaches are normally just ‘volunteers’ which means they do little work but are allowed to a) work out with the team and b) put it on their resume).

What happened?

Well we think messageboard poster “Kipketer_Pumpkin_Eater” cut to the chase perfectly:

Solinsky tore his hamstring off the bone (after tripping over his dog in 2011). Career over. End of story. When human technological intervention to the tune of metal screws and such are needed, then the days of an efficient natural peak performance are over. What we can say is, ‘It’s a tragedy and I feel for him.'”

That quote comes from the messageboard thread: Chris Solinsky leaving Portland – accepts coaching gig at William and Mary.

In that thread, there was an interesting debate where fans compared Solinsky to Galen Rupp

One poster very crudely stated Solinsky never compared with Rupp.

How quickly people forget.

We knew that statement wasn’t true but after doing some research were stunned at how dominant Solinsky was when matched up with Rupp.

According to, guess what the career record between Galen Rupp and Chris Solinsky is?

Go ahead and guess.

We doubt any of you that hadn’t read the thread said Solinsky 12, Rupp 3.

Here are the results.

Chris Solinsky Versus Galen Rupp Head To Head
 Distance  Location Chris Solinsky USA  Galen Rupp USA 
5000 m    NCAA Fayetteville AR 2006-03-10  13:52.47 (3) 13:56.41 (5)
3000 m    NCAA Fayetteville AR 2006-03-11  7:59.68 (1) 8:07.85 (6)
5000 m    Husky Classic Seattle WA 2007-02-10  13:30.74 OT (1) 13:38.62 OT (2)
5000 m    NCAA Fayetteville AR 2007-03-09  13:38.61 (1) 13:40.38 (3)
3000 m    NCAA Fayetteville AR 2007-03-10  7:51.69 (2) 7:56.79 (4)
5000 m    Or Inv Eugene OR 2007-04-20  13:30.54 (2) 13:30.49 (1)
One Mile    Wash Inv Seattle WA 2010-01-30  3:55.75 OT (1) 3:56.22 OT (2)
3000 m    NC Albuquerque NM 2010-02-27  8:13.85A (3) 8:13.49A (2)
10000 m    Jordan Stanford CA 2010-05-01  26:59.60 (1) 27:10.74 (4)
5000 m    DNG Stockholm 2010-08-06  12:55.53 (5) DNF (0)
5000 m    WK Zurich 2010-08-19  12:56.45 (3) 13:07.35 (12)
3000 m    Rieti 2010 Rieti 2010-08-29  7:34.32 (5) 7:50.46 (14)
5000 m    NC Eugene OR 2011-06-24  13:23.65 (2) 13:25.52 (3)
5000 m    Herc Monaco 2011-07-22  DNF (0) tie! DNF (0)
5000 m    High Perf Eagle Rock CA 2013-05-17  13:27.03 (7) DNF (0)
5000 m    NC Des Moines IA 2013-06-23  15:09.47 (8) 14:54.91 (2)
Wins: 12 3

That’s pretty dominant, isn’t it? Look at 2010, they raced four times outdoors over three different distances 3000, 5000 and 10,000 and Rupp never came within 10 seconds of Solinsky. Yes, 10 seconds. How can that be true you ask?

Rupp fans will point out that Solinsky certainly benefited from being older than Rupp. Solinsky is 17 months older than and it’s certainly a big advantage to be 1.5 years older when two athletes are developing (and given Rupp’s baby-face, he likely developed later than most).

Solinsky fans will say it’s true not only because of age but also because Solinsky was just better.

In high school, Solinsky was an utterly dominant figure. He ran 14:40 and won Foot Lockers by the largest margin ever – 21 seconds. For comparison sake, Rupp ran 14:57 and was second his senior year (Solinsky was 1 year in school above Rupp, HS classes of 2003 and 2004).

In college, Rupp and Solinsky both won 5 NCAA individual titles but Rupp benefitted from having an extra year thanks to him taking off a year between HS and college. If one compares their PRs at the age of 22 when Solinsky finished his collegiate eligibility, the stats are decidedly in Solinsky’s favor:

Solinsky got to sub-27 first .*Chris Solinsky AR Photos

Solinsky got to sub-27 first . *Chris Solinsky AR Photos

PRS at Age 22
Chris Solinsky – 7:36/13:12
Galen Rupp – 7:44/13:30 (Rupp ran 7:42/13:14 at age 23)

The same was still true at the time of Solinsky’s injury.

PRs at Time Of Solinsky’s August 2011 Injury
Chris Solinsky – 7:34/12:55/26:59
Galen Rupp – 7:43/13:06/27:10

What can we add to the discussion?

The biggest contributor to the Solinsky dominance may have been the (shorter) length of the races. People don’t often race 10,000s and Galen Rupp has never been an utterly dominant figure at the 3000/5000 distance. At that distance, he’s often struggled to compete with the sub-13:00 performers. If Rupp and Solinsky had been competing more often at 10,000 or above, then the record might be closer (yes we know Solinsky beat Rupp in their only 10,000 on the track but Rupp beat Solinsky at the 2006 NCAA cross meet (not included above), the one time they met there).

We are certain of one thing – it’s a crying shame that Solinsky got injured as up until the injury he had been enjoying a slightly better career than Galen Rupp.

What do you think? A discussion of this part of The Week That Was has popped up in our fan forum: Brojos missing a key point about Solinsky and Rupp in WTW.

More: Messageboard Discussion: Chris Solinsky leaving Portland – accepts coaching gig at William and Mary.

Quote of the Week I (that wasn’t quote of the day)

60 Years Later, Sir Roger Accepts His Legacy

“I accept that as inevitable (that my sub-4 mile will overshadow everything else).”

“I have no qualms about saying my medical life was more important than my sporting life, though that’s not the way outsiders might see it.”

Sir Roger Bannister talking in an exclusive interview to The Herald about his historic sub-4 60 years ago. Are you a Bannister fan? He’s got a new autobiography out: Twin Tracks.

More: Exclusive Interview: Sir Roger Bannister On The Miracle Mile
*60 Years Ago: Roger Bannister Defeated John Landy In Miracle Mile
*Canadian Runners, Including One Who Was In Race Inspired By Miracle Mile

Quote of the Week II

Sir Roger Wasn’t The Only One To Celebrate a Big Anniversary Last Week

“I have never, ever looked back in a race nor have I ever dropped out of a race. I hope that day never comes and I hope I know enough not to start a race that I cannot finish.”

Joan Benoit-Samuleson, talking in LA at a ceremony celebrating the 30th anniversary of her historic gold medal in the first-ever women’s Olympic marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

More: Q&A With Joan Benoit Samuelson, 30 Years After Gold

Quote of the Week III

  “(Hosting an Olympics or World Cup) is like a wedding..It won’t make you rich, but it will make you happy.”

– Victor Matheson, an economist at the College of the Holy Cross in MA, talking to the New York Times in a Sunday Magazine piece on whether hosting a major international sporting event pays off financially.

More: NY Times Sunday Magazine: Does hosting the Olympics make money? Does it matter?

Yet Another Sprinter Tests Positive As A Result of Stupidity

Last year, Tyson Gay tested positive reportedly because he didn’t look at the ingredients listed on the cream given to him by a doctor. This year, it looks like former world 400 champ Amantle Montsho tested positive because she didn’t read the name of her energy drink.

Montsho claims says she tested positive because her sports drink contained Methylhexaneamine.

The name of her sports drink?

Anabolic Nitro Extreme Energy Surge.

Why anyone wouldn’t at least be worried enough to ask WADA if it was legal to buy a drink which included the word “anabolic” in its title is beyond us.

More: Energy Drink To Blame For Montsho’s Doping Positive

Recommended Reads

LRC A Real Running Hero: The Flo Groberg Story

Dreams Do Become Reality: Donnie Cowart Blogs About His First Sub-4 Minute Mile, Which Came At The Sir Walter Miler After Being Sick And Vomiting For The 24 Hours Beforehand

Alysia Montano’s Journey As A Running Mom-To-Be During her 26th week of pregnancy she beat her husband (a sprinter) in a mile with a 5:40.

Q&A With Joan Benoit Samuelson, 30 Years After Her Historic Olympic Marathon Gold In LA 

Exclusive Interview: Sir Roger Bannister On The Miracle Mile A great read. Bannister, who now has Parkinsons, talks in great depth about his career. Find out more about him in a new autobiography that just came out: Twin Tracks.

Profile Of Badwater Champ Harvey Lewis Lewis certainly is an endurance man. In the 5 days after winning, he also climbed Mt. Whitney and then ran Rim to Rim to Rim at the Grand Canyon.

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 8/11:

– former Tulsa star, Chris O’Hare, talking about his engagement to Tulsa tennis player Megan Burns.

Sunday 8/10:

Thursday 8/07:

Thursday 8/06:

Tuesday 8/05:

Questions? Comments? Email us.


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