New York Vs. Chicago, Your Worst Race Ever, Eugene 2018, $$$, PEDs In The Military, And Talent Does Not Go Away

The Week That Was In Running – September 8 – September 14, 2014

September 16, 2014

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

Last week, the track and field world started to prepare for the pro off-season as the season-ending 5th Avenue Mile and Continental Cup were held. Don’t despair, the end of the track season means the fall marathon season is about to heat up. As a result, this week we talk about Fifth Avenue, the Continental Cup and the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.

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New York and Chicago Ready to Battle

(These 3 Really Did Race Last Year) Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Archive licensed by

These three really did race last year and Bekele will be in Chicago this year.
Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Archive licensed by

The 2014 TCS New York City Marathon elite field is now out and the big news is that New York landed the biggest fish of them all. Wilson Kipsang, the world’s #1 marathoner, isn’t defending his title in Berlin where he set the world record last year. He’s headed to the Big Apple.

Kipsang, who is also the London Marathon course record holder thanks to his win there in April and is history’s most prolific sub-2:05 guy (4 times), will race 26.2 miles for the first time in the continental US on November 3rd. Kipsang was scheduled to make his New York debut in 2012 when the race was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy and ended up running Honolulu instead.

It will be interesting to see how Kipsang does in a non-rabbitted race. Remember, he likely would be the reigning Olympic champ had he not made a tactical mistake in the non-rabbitted Olympics (he finished third). Kipsang will have more to worry about than just pace in New York as the field also includes defending champ Geoffrey Mutai as well as Olympic champ Stephen Kiprotich and many others.  The women’s field is stellar as well. Defending champ Priscah Jeptoo will face London champ Edna Kiplagat as well as Mary Keitany in her first post-pregnancy marathon.

Last week, the Chicago marathon field was released. Below we compare the New York and Chicago fields numerically and you’ll see that New York comes out on top. Some of you may have forgotten, but when Mary Wittenberg began her career as the CEO of the New York Road Runners, Chicago had surpassed New York as the most competitive marathon in the US. Not any more.

A Comparison Between 2014 Chicago and  New York Marathons

Men CHI NYC Edge
Sub 2:04 0 2 NYC
Sub 2:05 2 4 NYC
Sub 2:06 5 4 Chicago
Sub 2:07 5 7 NYC
Sub 2:08 5 9 NYC
Sub 2:09 6 11 NYC

Sub 2:10

7 13 NYC


Sub 2:20       2       3      NYC
Sub 2:21 3 4 NYC
Sub 2:22 4 4 Even
Sub 2:23 4 5 NYC
Sub 2:24 4 7 NYC
Sub 2:25 4 7


Chicago Does Have Two Studs in Kipchoge and Bekele and Could Have the World Record
The above box discounts a little what Chicago has in its field this year as it has two of the most intriguing guys making the transition from the track to the marathon in the last decade in Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele. Conceivably you could see a world record this year in Chicago.

Kipchoge, the 2003 World 5000m champion has run 2:04:05 (6th-fastest ever) and never slower than 2:05:30 and has been first, second, and first in his three marathons (Hamburg, Berlin, and Rotterdam) respectively. Very impressive.

Kenensia Bekele is arguably the greatest distance runner ever on the planet (3 Olympic golds, 5 World golds, 11 World XC golds, 5000 and 10,000 world records) and he ran very well in his marathon debut – 2:05:03 for the win in Paris.

The Chicago course isn’t as fast as Berlin, but with Kipchoge and Bekele in the field 2:03:23 (the world record) can’t be discounted. Last year Dennis Kimetto ran 2:03:45 in Chicago and he said he wasn’t even focused on the time.

*Messagboard Discussion: 2014 new york marathon elite field

Talent Doesn’t Go Away (Yet Again)

Take a look at the top 10 race results from the 2014 5th Avenue Mile as compiled by Race Results Weekly:

PROFESSIONAL WOMEN (photo times) –
1. Jenny Simpson, 28, Boulder, CO (New Balance)            4:19.4  $5000 + 1000p
2. Brenda Martinez, 27, Big Bear, CA (New Balance)         4:19.6   3500
3. Ciara Mageean, 22, Dublin, IRL (New Balance)            4:21.2   2500
4. Heather Kampf, 27, Minneapolis, MN (Asics)              4:21.4   1500
5. Ingvill Måkestad Bovim, 33, Oslo, NOR (adidas)          4:21.9   1000
6. Morgan Uceny, 29, Watertown, MA (adidas)                4:22.0    750
7. Hannah England, 27, Birmingham, GBR (Nike)              4:23.1    500
8. Jordan Hasay, 22, Portland, OR (Nike OP)                4:23.9    250
9. Treniere Moser, 32, Portland, OR (Nike OP)              4:24.3
10. Mary Cain, 18, Bronxville, NY (Nike OP)                 4:25.5

The top two names, Jenny Simpson and Brenda Martinez, certainly were far from a surprise as both are world championship medallists who were coming off of wins in the Diamond League final in Brussels.

But the third-place name: Ciara Mageean – Ireland?

We’re sure many of our US visitors saw that name and thought, “Who the heck is that?”

In case you don’t remember us talking about Mageean in 2010, Mageean is yet another example of the adage that “Talent Doesn’t Go Away” as she was a big hope in Irish athletic circles before injuries derailed her big time in 2012 and 2013 (she missed all of last year).

As an 18-year-old in 2010, she won wold junior gold in the 1500 in 4:09.51, ahead of Jordan Hasay, who is the same age (Hasay was 4th in 4:13.95). In 2011, she got down to 4:07.45, before struggling in 2012 (4:10.85) and missing all of 2013 with injuries.

The only other name that die-hards might not recognize on the top 10 is Ingvill Måkestad Bovim of Norway. She’s a 4:02.20 1500 runner, was 6th at the 2011 Worlds and has run 4:04.11 this year.

2014 5th Avenue Mile Photo

Ciara Mageean on the left. Click for a 5th Avenue Mile Photo Gallery.


In terms of talent not going away, it’s worth reporting that former US sensation German Fernandez, now 23, whom we obsess over here at, ran a 3:57.5 mile at 5th Avenue last week.

*LRC Archives: 2010: Week That Was From 2010 Talking About Mageean
From The BBC This Year: Ciara Mageean wins Irish title as she makes return after injury *Ciara Mageean a superb third in Fifth Avenue Mile in New York

Stat Of The Week I/New York Is Indeed an Expensive City 

They always say New York is an expensive city. That’s true indeed as shown by these stats. Running 5th Avenue on paper cost Jenny Simpson $24,000.

$30,000 – amount won by Sifan Hassan won for winning the Continental Cup in Morocco last week.
$15,000 – amount won by Shannon Rowbury for finishing second at the Continental Cup in Morocco last week.
$6,000 – amount that Jenny Simpson won for winning the 5th Avenue Mile last weekend ($5000 for the win + $1000 for leading at halfway).

Simpson has beaten Hassan the last two times they’ve raced at 1500. Simpson has beaten Rowbury the last seven times they’ve raced each other to move her head-to-head record to 20-10 against Rowbury.

The one thing missing above is appearance fees. Simpson could have received one one to run in New York and she wouldn’t get one to run at the Continental Cup so it’s not a perfect comparison.

As fans, we were wondering why Simpson wouldn’t run the Continental Cup. Did Simpson commit to 5th Avenue long before she realized she’d be in the hunt for a win at the Continental Cup? Did she somehow not know about the event (we know of one pro who ran in the Continental Cup and at the beginning of the year didn’t even know what it was)? Was there any particular reason why she in New York and not Morocco?

Yes there was.


We reached out Jason, Jenny’s husband, with those questions and he responded as follows:

All the 1500m Diamond League races were so close this year and Jenny was always in the mix for the win – beginning with Shanghai and ending with Zurich. Considering how well she ran at the end of the year last year (Moscow & Fifth Ave) and with the break in the middle of the summer, I always believed her odds of winning races would continue to rise as the summer went along. I think most people would agree a top 3 or top 2 finish in Morocco was a reasonable guess at any point during this season. 

Truly though, her decision to run in NYC was largely based on racing in front of US fans and most importantly her family. Often it is the only race they can attend throughout the season. It’s becoming a bit of a family tradition.

We’re all for family traditions (in fact, some of the staff just took a family trip to NYC ourselves) but here’s some advice for the Simpson family in 2018 if she’s still this good: run the Continental Cup, win it and use the $24,000 to have the family reunion in whatever foreign country the event is held in. A better idea would be for the NYRR to have the 5th Avenue Mile the week after the Continental Cup. The sport’s leaders need to start working together and trying, if possible, to not schedule major events the same day as each other.

The two countries that are bidding for the 2018 Continental Cup are Ostrava, Czech Republic, and Bydgoszcz, Poland.

2014 Prize Money Figures/Stat of the Week II

Speaking of prize money, last week, Toni Reavis had an article up on his website where he talked about prize money. Check it out. Did you realize Haile G won more than $3.5 million in his career and Paula Radcliffe more than $2.2 million? In that light, here are some interesting prize money figures for this year:

$133,000 – amount of prize money that Kenyan steeplehaser Jairus Birech won at the IAAF Diamond League and Continental Cup events this year. Birech won six DL events at $10,000 a pop, was fourth in another ($3,000) and won the DL points title ($40,000) and the Continental Cup ($30,000).*

How does that figure compare to what the two leading Americans, Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn, racked up this year?

$86,000 – amount of prize money won by Jenny Simpson at IAAF Diamond League and USA Champs ($7,000 for the win) and 5th Avenue Mile.**

$69,500 – amount of prize money won by Emma Coburn at IAAF Diamond League and Continental Cup events this year as well as the USA Champs ($7,000 for the win).**

Had Simpson run the Continental Cup, she could have won $110,000 on the year.

No doubt Simpson makes significantly more from New Balance more than she does in prize money.

*Not including anything Birech was given by Kenya for winning the African Champs and getting second at Commonwealths.

*Not included in that are appearance fees or the amount of money won at the IAAF World Challenge event in Tokyo as the amount is unknown.

More: Toni Reavis: Prize Money Validates A Sport’s Worth – Running Needs To Do Away With Hidden Appearance Fees

What About The Sport? Eugene 2019/2018

The attendance or, we guess we should say, the lack thereof, at the Continental Cup in Marrakech last weekend was embarrassing. Hardly anyone was in the stands at the event, which also was the case the African Champs a month earlier.

Watching the event, we thought to ourselves? This event would be perfect for Eugene.

Team scoring, big stars, but not an event that needs a stadium of 40,000+. Eugene has the perfect size stadium for the Continental Cup and fans would actually go out and watch it. That’s a win for the sport. (The stadium in Morocco seats 45,000. Eugene gets about 12,000 for the Pre Classic).

There is only one drawback and that is a drawback for Nike. adidas is the official sponsor of the IAAF and all of the uniforms at the Continental Cup are adidas.

Would Eugene be willing to host such an event? We doubt it because they didn’t bid for it. USATF is officially tied to Nike for the next 26 years and Eugene unofficially is tied to Nike until Phil Knight dies. Instead, Eugene is bidding for Worlds in 2019.

At World Juniors this year in Eugene, all of the IAAF officials were in adidas gear but the competitors were a completely different story.

Of course, the question works both ways. Is the IAAF willing to put a big event like Worlds in Eugene – the birthplace of Nike – when it’s official sponsor is adidas? We have a little more on this below, but we’ve said for a long time, there is one, main reason Worlds should be in Eugene, and that is if Nike wants to buy it and pay the IAAF a huge premium for the Worlds. Worlds in Eugene benefits Nike more than anyone else. An extra $20 million or so in the IAAF coffers might do the trick and that’s not that much money for Nike. Otherwise, Barcelona is a better city logistically for Worlds.

The attendance wasn’t the only thing that was brutal in Morocco. It was also brutally hot.

Trivia question for all of you track and field buffs out there. What was the one event in Morocco that was won where someone set a personal best mark? Because of the conditions, there was just one.

The men’s triple jump.

France’s European champion Benjamin Compaoré exceeded the 17.46m he put up to win the European Champs, as he leapt 17.48m to get the win over South Africa’s Godfrey Khotso Mokoena, who set a new South African record of 17.35m (previous record 17.25).

What’s Your Worse Race Ever?

Last week at the Continental Cup, the two Americans in the men’s and women’s 5000 had really rough races.

Andrew Bumbalough, who has a 13:12 pb, ran 14:51 and was lapped.

Katie Mackey in happier times — after wining the 2014 Falmouth Mile

Katie Mackey, who has a 15:04 pb, ran 17:06 and was lapped.

Getting lapped in an outdoor 5000 is VERY hard to do. Getting lapped when you have those pbs is even harder to accomplish.

On the bright side of things, both runners did earn money ($2000 for Bumbalough as he was 7th and $1000 for Mackey) and also scored points for Team Americas as every finisher in the Continental Cup – which only has 8-person fields – scores.  Some fans on the forum weren’t too happy with the results and bashed Bumbalough, whom we’ve been told had struggled with illness in St. Moritz a while back, for the showing. Not us.

In a team competition, where you get points to score, you’d be a fool to drop out. Plus we can relate to the notion of having nothing on a big stage.

Every now and then, runners simply have truly awful days. co-founder Weldon Johnson only represented the US twice in his career. The first time was at the 1999 World Half-Marathon Championships in Palermo, Italy. Sick with food-poisoning, Weldon ran 74:58, finishing 105th out of 109 in the men’s race (there were 8 additional DNFs). It’s a good thing the men’s and women’s races were held separately as 32 women ran faster in the women’s race. Johnson’s only other US appearance was at the 2003 Pan Am Games, where he ended up a DNF due to a plantar tear in his foot.

Anyways, in light of the performances by Mackey and Bumbalough, it got us to thinking, “What’s your worse race ever?” Tell us in the forum about a time when you ran unfathomably bad. The best — uhh, worst entry will get a prize.

As for Mackey, there was a real good reason as to why she ran over 17 minutes. She was violently sick. She started suffering GI problems on Wednesday in Morocco. Think of your classic puking travel horror story. Except now try to go run a 5000 in 90-degree heat.

That’s never going to end well.

After the race was over, Katie texted her husband and coach, Danny, the following: “I could barely stay upright 8 laps into the race and it was the worst running experience I have ever had, I would have dropped out if it wasn’t a big team meet and I didn’t take someone’s spot.” nation, before you bash someone, realize that elite athletes don’t go from world beaters to also-rans without a pretty good explanation. Both runners gutted it out to make sure they scored points for Team Americas.

As of Monday, when we reached out to the Brooks Beasts, Katie still hadn’t been able to eat any solid food and had lost 10 pounds.

“What’s your worse race ever?”

Video of The Week/Soon Everyone Will Run Sub-4 In The Mile

Did you ever dream of running sub-4 in the mile? Well we’ve got great news for you: you soon may be able to do it – without getting on PEDs.

The video above details the efforts that researchers at Arizona State have made in coming up with a jetpack that can be attached to runners to make them run faster. They’ve already brought down some runners’ mile times by 18 seconds, even though the pack weighs 11 pounds.

The pack is being designed at the request of the military. Being faster could be a matter of life and death for Navy Seals.

That got us to thinking. Does the US military use PEDs on its soldiers?

We’re dead serious when we ask that.

We all know PEDs work. If we were a soldier in combat, we’d want to be on both EPO and a mild dose of steroids. We’d probably also want some Adderall and maybe modafinil as well.

So military experts, please tell us in our forum if you know the answer:

Messageboard: Question: Does the military put its soldiers on PEDs? If not, why not?

Stat of The Week III

$28.5-30.0 million – yearly contract that Nike will pay NBA star Kevin Durant for the next 10 years.
$17.7-22.5 million – yearly contract that the Dentsu will guarantee the IAAF through 2029 for all marketing/sponsorship deals for all IAAF events including the World Champs + TV rights for everywhere but Europe and Africa.

Seeing those numbers reminds us that it’s amazing how much money exists in the sports world and how little of it goes to track and field.

$350 $300 million/10 years – reported amount of Kevin Durant’s deal with Nike. (A reader has pointed out the Durant Deal is $300 million for 10 years, and potentially $350 million for 20 years)
$500 million/20 23 years – reported amount of USATF’s deal with Nike.

If we are the IAAF and see those numbers, it would be hard not to think, “Ok, if Track Town USA/Nike wants Worlds in Eugene, then we need to get paid.”

More: IAAF And Japanese Advertising Agency Dentsu Extend Marketing And Sponsorship Partnership Through 2029 *Dentsu Gets Global Marketing And Licensing Rights For Major IAAF Events As Well As The Media Rights Outside Of Europe And Africa *IAAF Press Release

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

A Violation of Law by the U of O?

“Clearly they’re skirting the open meetings law. Obviously they’re going to have to deliberate about getting the national (sic) championships here,”

University of Oregon professor Bill Harbaugh complaining after he was unable to attend a University of Oregon Board of Trustees “training” event to hear a presentation from TrackTown USA about their ongoing bid to win the 2019 Worlds for Eugene.

More: UO board bars the public from ‘training’ event

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

An American Mentality Is Key To A Brit’s Success

“I’d say my attitude changed when I went over to the States this summer. I adopted a grittier, more confident, ‘American’ mentality and it paid off, especially as I needed it to beat Shalane Flanagan in a sprint finish! Shalane is fearless and I adopted the same, more aggressive approach.”

– Brit Gemma Steel, who ran a stellar 68:13 half marathon this month and has run 31:27 and won Beach to Beacon and finished second at Falmouth, talking about the key to her breakthrough this year.

Make Your Summer 2015 Vacation Plans Now/Plan Your European Vacation Now

The schedule for the 2015 IAAF Diamond League season came out last week. Are you planning to maybe take the kids to Europe next summer or do Europe on a backpack while in college? Combine it with some top-notch track and field action:

15-May: Doha
17-May: Shanghai
30-May: Eugene
04-Jun: Rome
07-Jun: Birmingham
11-Jun: Oslo
13-Jun: New York City (same weekend as NCAAs)
04-Jul: Paris
09-Jul: Lausanne
17-Jul: Monaco
24/25-Jul: London
30-Jul: Stockholm
22-30 Aug: Worlds in Beijing
03-Sep: Zurich (Final, part 1)
11-Sep: Brussels (Final, part 2)

As you can see above, yet again the NCAA championships and the adidas GP in New York will be on the same weekend. We really wish that could be avoided.

Interesting Articles

 “Why Running Movies So Often Look Unbelievable”

Toni Reavis: Prize Money Validates A Sport’s Worth – Running Needs To Do Away With Hidden Appearance Fees

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 9/15: 

Emma Coburn talking after winning the IAAF Continental Cup steeplechase by outkicking her Diamond League rival Hiwot Ayalew for the first time to get the win in 9:50.67. Coburn ends the most successful year of her career with a championship title and $30,000 payday.

Sunday 9/14: 

Lauren Fleshman, talking in a New York Times feature on Oiselle’s use of pro runners, not models, when presenting its new styles at Fashion Week.

Saturday 9/13:

– South African attorney Martin Hood reacting to the Oscar Pistorius verdict. One columnist went further: “There are good prospects for the state to appeal on a point of law. The higher court might even rebuke her for getting it wrong. The mistake she made really was elementary.”

Friday 9/12:

 – Valentin Balakhnichev, the president of the Russian Athletics Federation, talking to the Russian newspaper Novye Izvestia about how he thinks Russia is doomed for failure unless they start getting scores of naturalized black citizens. Discuss this topic in our forum: Russian Athletics Head – We’re doomed for failure unless we get more black athletes.

Thursday 9/11:

Wednesday  9/10:

Tuesday 9/9: 

– Brent Merrick talking about his son, Jaden Merrick, who set the 6-year-old single-age world record for 5K with 22:26 at the Park to Park 5K in Waterloo, Iowa.

Questions? Comments? Email us.