WTW: David Rudisha’s Crazy Fast High School, Middle School Love Denied For Ritz And Symmonds, All Hail Zap Fitness, And Don’t Be (Most) Impressed By Marla Runyan’s Blindness
The Week That Was In Running – September 30 – October 5, 2014
October 7, 2014
We break down the pro action below that was highlighted by the USA Marathon Championships and Asian Games.
All the college action is broken down in a separate article here, and a must-read from last week is The Wetmore Formula, our profile on legendary Colorado coach Mark Wetmore.
Don’t believe us on the Wetmore article? Emma Coburn loved it:
— emma coburn (@emmajcoburn) September 30, 2014
Speaking of Emma, she, like many pros, has been enjoying a little time off from running. She did her first run in three weeks yesterday, after some time in Morocco (below), Paris, and her hometown of Crested Butte, Colo.
Taking a few weeks off from running. Enjoying a few days of my break on the coast of Morocco in El Jadida! pic.twitter.com/KDFqoJQxfi
— emma coburn (@emmajcoburn) September 15, 2014
Nick Symmonds has been busy as well. He’s back running, his biography Life Outside the Oval Office comes out in two weeks and he’s been mountain climbing, but before we turn to this past week’s action we wanted to remind all of you to really watch what you eat:
— Nick Symmonds (@NickSymmonds) September 27, 2014
Good Week/Bad Week
Those That Had a Good Week
- Zap Fitness – the North Carolina-based club headed by Pete Rea had a current member (Tyler Pennel 2:13:32) and former member (Esther Erb 2:34:01) win the men’s and women’s 2014 US marathon champs held at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon last week. Both runners are former small-school stars (Pennel – Western State, Erb – Case Western). Erb, a former Fubright scholar, is now an assistant coach at Rider in New Jersey and runs for the NYAC. Both picked up $26,500 for the wins.
More: In His Debut, Tyler Pennel Wins 2014 USA Marathon Championships In 2:13:32; Esther Erb Comes From Behind To Win Women’s Title (2:34:00)
*A Chat with Esther Erb, 2014 U.S. Marathon Champion
- Edna Kiplagat – the reigning London Marathon champ proved she’ll be a force to be reckoned with at the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon next month as she got the win at the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run Half-Marathon in a course record of 1:07:57 – just 16 seconds off her pb.
- Grant Fisher – 14:43 at Portage – The reigning Foot Locker champ showed that his decision to focus solely on running (he used to also play soccer) probably was a smart one as he ran 14:43 at the Portage (Mich.) Invitational last week, missing Dathan Ritzenhein‘s course record by just 3 seconds.
MB: Grant Fisher- 14:43 at Portage
Those That Had A Bad Week
- Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea – 6-time world champ (XC and roads), world record holder half-marathon), Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea – 2-time world xc medallist), and Ibrahim Jeilan (Ethiopia – two-time 10,000 medallist) – they all struggled at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Lisbon where they ran just 63:29, 63:34 and 64:10 respectively.
- Haile Gebrselassie- The 41-year-old ended up a DNF at the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run Half-Marathon due to breathing problems.
MB: Geb DNFs at 19 minutes
Email of the Week – Marla Runyan’s Blindness Is Far From The Most Impressive Thing About Her
Last week on the homepage, we had a link to a Runner’s World feature on Marla Runyan, the legally blind US Olympian: Runner’s World Catches Up With Marla Runyan.
After that, we got a great email from John O’Donnell of Washington, DC, a legally blind reader of LetsRun.com. It’s a great email as he says the media has repeatedly failed to talk about the greatest aspect of Marla Runyan. It’s our email of the week:
John’s email is right on the money. The line “Imagine Dan O’Brien, Bryan Clay or Ashton Eaton getting fourth at the NYC Marathon” is a great one. Sure it’s little hyperbolic as Runyan wasn’t an Olympic gold medallist in the multi, but O’Donnell makes a great point – Runyan’s range was truly remarkable for any track and field athlete, let alone someone who picked up distance running late in life.
Remember, Marla was recruited as a high jumper out of high school (here’s an LA Times article on her from 1986 when she was a 5’4″ high jumper). Then she became a heptathlete in college where she garnered a 5,761 pb, was a competitor at the 1996 US Olympic Trials, and earned a US top 10 ranking by TFN. Then she became a mid-distance runner as moved to the 800 and then quickly to the 1,500 where she made the 2000 Olympics (4:02 pb). By 2002, she was a long distance runner with a top-five and 2:27:10 showing in New York. In 2004, she ran 14:59 and made another US Olympic team – this time in the 5000. All while being legally blind.
Video of the Week
The men’s marathon at the Asian Games was pretty exciting as three guys ended up battling it out on the track for the medals. Since we imagine many of you don’t know the outcome, we’ll let you see it for yourself before we talk about it.
The three guys battling it out are Kenyan-born Ali Hasan Mahboob of Bahrain, the 2006 Asian Games 5000 champ and 2010 Asian Games 10,000 champ, 2:08:09 marathoner Kohei Matsumura of Japan and 2:08:14 man Yuki Kawauchi of Japan.
Now that’s what we call a race.
After the race, the two Japanese runners were very disappointed not to have won.
Personally, we don’t think the Japanese should feel much shame for being outkicked on the track. We timed the last 200 of Ali Hasan Mahboob, which he let up at the end of, and it was pretty quick – 30.9
One thing worth noting. If Yuki Kawauchi, who got the bronze, had been the top Japanese finisher he would have been pre-selected for the 2016 Rio Games.
Stat of the Week
4 seconds – amount of time that separated the men’s medallists in the marathon at the Asian Games.
7 minutes, 36 seconds – amount of time that separated the women’s medallists in the marathon at the Asian Games.
1. Hasan Mahboob Ali, BRN, 81 2:12:38 PB Gold
2. Kohei Matsumura, JPN, 25 Nov 86 2:12:39 Silver
3. Yuki Kawauchi, JPN, 5 Mar 87 2:12:42 Bronze
1. Eunice Kirwa Jepkirui , BRN, 20 May 84 2:25:37 NR Gold
2. Ryoko Kizaki, JPN, 21 Jun 85 2:25:50 Silver
3. Lishan Dula Gemechu, BRN, 17 Feb 87 2:33:13 Bronze
The men’s marathon wasn’t the only crazy race at the Asian Games. In the men’s 800, the top 3 finishers were all DQ’d so the medallists crossed the line 4th, 5th and 6th.
More: Mahboob Completes African Sweep of Asian Games Distance Gold Medals
*Japan’s Kohei Matsumura And Yuki Kawauchi Return To Japan Crushed After Only Going 2-3 In The Asian Games Marathon By A Few Seconds Kawauchi: “If I was that close I should have won. … I’m disappointed with this bronze medal. Gold and silver were right there before my eyes. If I didn’t feel disappointed then it would be time for me to stop being an athlete.”
*Matsumura Extremely Disappointed By 1-Second Loss “I was targeting the win, so even when I actually received the medal at the ceremony I only felt disappointment. As time goes by that feeling is only getting stronger.
*All Three Medalists Disqualified In Men’s 800m On Day Of Controversy At Asian Games
*6th Placer Who Ended Up Third: “I was sad for the disqualified three guys.”
Tweet of the Week/One Fast High School
Last week, we came across a tweet from David Rudisha who stopped by his former high school, St. Francis Kimuron, to give a pep talk to some up-and-coming athletes.
Great moments with young upcoming athletes from St:Francis Kimuron My former High School. pic.twitter.com/VRU6UpRMOO
— David Rudisha (@rudishadavid) September 30, 2014
What caught our eye was the record board in the photo. We thought to ourselves, “How fast are those other guys from Rudisha’s HS?”
So we blew up the picture so we could jot down the names and then did a little research.
Here are the PBs of those names on the board in the picture.
Lucas Rotich (age 24)
PRs: 7:35.57 (3,000); 12:55.06 (5,000); 26:43.98 (10,000)
Comments: Rotich’s 26:43.98 is the #2 10,000 performance since 2008, behind only Kenenisa Bekele, who ran 26:43.16 in the same race (2011 Memorial Van Damme in Brussels).
Daniel Salel (age 23)
PRs: 3:54.72 (mile); 7:38.91 (3,000); 13:08.23 (5,000); 27:07.85 (10,000); 60:41 (half marathon)
Comments: Salel was the 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist in the 10,000. He won the 2007 World Youth Championships at 3,000 meters; his classmate Rotich was second. What are the odds of two American high school teammates going 1-2 at World Youths? One billion-to-one?
David Rudisha (age 25)
PRs: 1:40.91 (800)
Comments: We don’t need to say much about Rudisha. World record holder, 2011 World champion, 2012 Olympic champion. Arguably the GOAT.
Stephen Kiprotich (age 23)
PRs: 8:25.60 (3,000 steeplechase); 61:34 (half marathon)
Comments: No, it’s not the same guy as 2012 Olympic/2013 world marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich (he’s from Uganda), but 61:34 for a half isn’t too shabby. Per All-Athletics.com, only 10 Americans have ever run faster (record-eligible courses).
Cyrus Rutto (age 22)
PRs: 7:37.57 (3,000); 13:12.91 (5,000)
Festus Kiprono (age 18)
PRs: 8:39.0h (3,000 steeplechase)
Comments: Kiprono won the steeple at last year’s African Junior Championships.
That’s pretty ridiculous. In the three-year span from 2007 to 2009, a single high school produced a 1:40.91 800 runner and three sub-13:15 guys.
8 Quotes of The Week (that weren’t quote of the day)
I – Nick Symmonds Explains How He Got Into Running
“One hot August day, just before I began my eighth grade year, I voiced my soccer frustrations to two friends as we sat by our local pool. My friends had just signed up for the cross-country team and suggested I do the same.
Normally I would have laughed at the idea of “running for fun,” but these weren’t just any two friends. Rather, I was lounging poolside with the two prettiest girls in my class. I had a huge crush on one of them and would have gone out for the dance team if she had asked me to. Hormones had recently kicked in and I found the opposite sex fascinating.”
II – Dathan Ritzenhein Also Talks About Middle School Romance
“We were boyfriend and girlfriend in the sixth grade, and then she dumped me at the rollerskating party at the end of the end of the year. Then we never dated again until college.”
– Dathan Ritzenhein talking to Mitch Kastoff about his now wife Kalin, herself a two-time Foot Locker qualifier.
Kastoff’s piece in the Daily Relay about Ritz’s return to Michigan is full of running info as well. Ritz is now self-coached but does still interact with Alberto Salazar, and he reports that his “training has turned around and everything has gotten so much better” since he’s returned home. As for his proudest career accomplishment, it’s not the 12:56 5000 or the NCAA xc title – it’s making the 2012 Olympic team in the 10,000 after coming up short in the marathon – “the satisfaction of coming back when you’re down on the floor, that’s what I love.”
More: The Parable of the Prodigious Son
III – Dennis Kimetto Talks About What Inspired Him At Age 16
“We didn’t have television or radio at home, so at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney I went to the community centre in the village and watched. The memory of Haile versus Tergat in the 10,000m inspired me. I thought, perhaps I could run at that level.”
– new marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto talking to the IAAF about how past greats inspired him to take up the sport. Once he agreed to go for it, his father gave him his blessing: ““My father said, train as well as you can and go for it, you can change your life.”
IV – Another Star Also Started Dreaming At An Early Age
“I believed I would be Olympic champion from the age of 14. I didn’t want to live with my regrets, so I never gave up that belief.”
– Kelly Holmes, Olympic 800 and 1500 champ from 2004, talking to The Independent.
“Those Camelbak sacks that carry several liters of fluid and the ever-popular water-bottle belts that look like they ought to be carrying ammunition seem ridiculous for an event replete with water stations. I don’t see any elite runners wearing them.
One of the reasons I started running was because it was simple. It took a pair of shorts, a cotton T-shirt, a pair of socks and a decent pair of running shoes. I’ve learned that there are only two things not to skimp on: shoes and (for the women) a running bra reminiscent of a breastplate.
Since winning the marathon lottery, I have been inundated with emails about the necessity of the latest running technology, including designer sunglasses, sleeves that aren’t sleeves, socks that will keep your feet fresher. Stop right there. We all know that nothing will keep feet fresh at 26 miles. Nothing.
In my opinion, all the running paraphernalia is 80 percent hype and 20 efficacy.”
– 4:45 marathoner Selma Kalousek writing in the New York Times about how running should be a simple sport.
“As I said before, I’ve spent a lot of time the past few months wrapping my head around where I’m at, where I’m going, and fulfilling my ultimate goal of making another Olympic team. I’ve realized that the best way to think about this marathon is to go back to the basics, just like how I became an Olympian- through small steps and consistency and focusing on getting the most out of myself instead of comparing myself to others. When I was in high school I would have laughed in your face if you told me I would be an Olympic long distance runner 10 years later. My coaches, teammates, and friends would have done the same if they were being honest. I was legitimately just trying to make top 5. But when I got to college and gained knowledge and guidance, and put in year after year of training, I found myself standing on podiums. I had to battle back through injuries and plateaus, but every time, I found that small, continuous steps took me big places.”
– Lisa Uhl blogging on her websites chaselisa.com last week prior to her marathon debut his week in Chicago.
VII- Weight Gain Is Good (for the Winter Olympics)
“Track is so 20 pounds ago”
– Summer and winter Olympic medallist Lauryn Williams talking to NBC Sports about how her track and field career is over. Williams, who thought she was totally retired from all sport, may return to the bobsled this winter.
VIII – Maybe It’s Best To Just Avoid Running Farther Than 5k
“I think I could do a half-marathon or I can run with her (Caroline Wozniacki) for the first 5K, but I am done after that.”
– tennis star Serena Williams talking about running since former world #1 Caroline Wozniacki will be running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon.
Performance of The Week
Christine Kennedy ran 2:59:39 last week at Twin Cities. That’s our performance of the week.
Why? Because Kennedy is 59 years old – well maybe we should say young.
On the age-graded charts, a 2:59:39 surpasses even Paula Radcliffe‘s 2:15:45 world record. Runner’s World converts it to 2:14:31.
Thanks to LetsRun.com guest columnist Joanna Harper for alerting us to Kennedy’s run. Harper was right on the money when she wrote, “Obviously, the age-graded tables need to be adjusted, but still Christine’s race was superb by any standards.”
At the Lloyds Bank Cardiff Half-Marathon in the UK, 44-year-old Emma Stepto ran a pb of 1:12:29 which converts to a 66:58.
Doping News That Didn’t Make it On The Front Page
From Race Results Weekly:
The Belarus middle distance runner Natallia Kareiva was convicted of doping via the biological passport process. Her results are annulled from July 28, 2010 (including her 7th-place finish at the Olympic 1500m final). She is banned from 22-Aug-2014 to 21-Aug-2016.
Doping Fact That May Only Interest Us
The 2015 list of prohibited substances came out last week from WADA. We took a look at it. Did you know you are allowed to compete in track and field legally drunk but not in the following sports:
Air Sports (FAI), Archery (WA), Automobile (FIA), Motorcycling (FIM), Powerboating (UIM)
The legal limit is .10 for those sports.
On a related note, it appears that something that 1991 World Championship bronze medallist Steve Spence as well as LetsRun.com co-founders Robert and Weldon Johnson once used is now banned: MB: Is glycerol really banned by WADA? Does that mean that Steve Spence (and myself) are dopers?
LRC Feature The Wetmore Formula Those who know him best insist there aren’t any secrets to Mark Wetmore’s success as a distance coach. Yet few can match his accomplishments. How does he do it? We go back to his Bernard High roots in the 1970s and do our best to explain. Chris Lear has read this piece and loved it: “This is why I go to letsrun. Thanks for the read.” Discuss On The MBoard: LetsRun.com Investigates: What Makes Mark Wetmore So Special?
Runner’s World Catches Up With Marla Runyan People under the age of 25, if you don’t know who Runyan is, read this.
Steve Jones Vividly Recalls Setting The 2:08:05 Marathon WR 30 Years Ago In Chicago Jones didn’t wear a watch, didn’t have a rabbit and thought at 23 he was only on CR pace.
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.
“When Mo switched to Nike, I never wanted him to do the marathon. I didn’t agree with it. It’s because when you run a marathon you never know the law of unforeseen circumstances. … From a motivational point of view you have to remember that Mo had already done so much on the track. The London Marathon this year didn’t go well for him and if I’m honest part of me was happy. I thought to myself ‘Well at least he’s got it out of his system.’ Mo is a Ferrari and Ferraris don’t do well in off-road car rallies. His system as it stands isn’t geared for that.”
– Alberto Salazar talking about how he never wanted Mo Farah to make the move to the marathon in the first place. He didn’t dismiss a return to the distance, though, saying, “People forget that it took Haile Gebrselassie andPaul Tergat numerous attempts at the marathon before they actually got it right.”
Blake Theroux: “We’re really, really good, and I think we showed that today. I think if other teams look at these results, they’re going to be scared. They should be scared, because this is really like a dream team for us and we’re really pumped for the season. It’s a good way to start it.”
Mark Wetmore: “I was watching to see how many men could break 25 (minutes). I thought it would be maybe four, and it was seven. Then I was hoping for a pretty good block of the women to run under 21:30 and they did that. It’s what I was hoping for and a little bit more.”
– Colorado’s top runner on Saturday, Blake Theroux, as well as coach Mark Wetmore, talking about the team’s opening race of the season at the Rocky Mountain Shootout. In a pre-race article, Theroux talks about their goal to be the best CU team ever.
“Sometimes it is so hard because you target to be the first and you don’t get that. At that time, I tell myself to go for the best and I find myself running the best time because I missed the first position. Yeah, sometimes I feel unlucky. … In the future, I have to make sure I win a race. I’m not disappointed because if I get disappointed, I will not achieve what I want if I say I come number two, number two always. I focus for the win and whatever I get that day, I appreciate it.”
– 7-time runner-up in World Marathon Major races, Emmanuel Mutai the “eternal bridesmaid,” speaking after his most recent 2nd place finish at the Berlin Marathon. Mutai broke the previous WR, still finished 2nd for the 7th time and here he is talking about upping to 42K long runs and going for 2:02 next year. Amazing.
– Beer mile world record holder James Nielsen sharing what his favorite shoes are and how he received a message from Bob Kennedy after he wore them to set the beer mile WR at 4:57.1. If you never read about Nielsen’s feat back in April, check out the LRC beer mile archives here.
– Welshman Steve Jones talking about the 2:08:05 WR he set in Chicago 30 years ago. Even at mile 23, he had no idea he was on record pace. When he finished, he thought he might have set the course record, not the WR. The2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is next week.
“I started as a wrestler and you can imagine that that was a fairly typical jock world, full of lots of slogans and yelling. I got talked into going out for cross country in ninth grade, ostensibly to ‘get in shape’ for wrestling. … The coach was totally different. He was eccentric and he was funny and we were relaxed. All that yelling and putting people down never existed. When it was over, I continued to wrestle, but I thought, ‘This (XC) is a lot cooler, to tell you the truth.’ So that’s what Ed Mather did: he made it fun.”
– Mark Wetmore, the active coach with the most NCAA cross-country team titles, talking about how he got his start in the sport in 9th grade under the tutelage of Ed Mather.
“It’s a fact that the world of marathon changed completely during the last 6 years : different training, different stimuli and, essentially, different mentality. Young athletes approaching marathon today know only THIS type of marathon, this training (harder than in the past) and this interpretation (more aggressive than in the past). They don’t put any limit in their mind, well knowing that, if you want to win, you need to be THERE, with the leading group, without fearing to finish the fuel after 30 km only (also if frequently this is what happens), because today NEVER we see some athlete finishing in top 5 in any marathon coming from behind, like many years ago could happen (think at the victories of Orlando Pizzolato in NY, or Gelindo Bordin in Boston, when after HM they were not in top 20…).”
“Today, everybody runs fast in training for being ready to run fast in competition. Sometimes they are able of unbelievable performances, sometimes they go to burn themselves in training, however this aggressive interpretation is the only way for reaching the top.”
– Renato Canova talking about the progression of the men’s marathon world record and how men’s marathoning is at a completely different level than it was 6 years ago when Haile Gebrselassie was the first man to break 2:04 (and there were only 3 men sub-2:05). Canova thinks it won’t be long before we can see sub-2:02:30, namingDennis Kimetto himself, Wilson Kipsang and Kenenisa Bekele as guys who could potentially lower Kimetto’s 2:02:57. What do you think? Discuss on our message board: Renato Canova QOD – He’s right but wrong (Kebede and Korir came from behind, Wanjiru, not Geb attacked in ’08)
Questions? Comments? Email us.