March 10, 2015
Previous versions of The Week That Was – our weekly recap – can be found here.
And the 2015 New Zealand 800 champion is …
Yes indeed. Wheating was allowed to compete in New Zealand and took home the title, winning narrowly over Brad Mathas 1:49.82 to 1:49.89.
Races and wins are a good thing for Wheating, who has struggled with injury in recent years. That being said, Mathas is just 21 and had a modest 1:48.70 pb until three weeks ago when he ran 1:47.91.
The race actually was a fun one to watch. Those who thought at 600 that Wheating was well on to his way to an ho-hum wire-to-wire win were in for a rude awakening as the last 200 was great. 180 meters later, Wheating looked beaten but he used the late surge that carried him to the 2008 Olympic 800 team to get the win at the line. Watch it for yourself (cued to the last 200 to save you time).
In other NZ action, stars Jake Robertson and Nick Willis dominated their events. Robertson won the 5000 by 14.06 seconds whereas Willis won the 1500 by 1.96 seconds. *New Zealand Results here *Race videos here
Stat of the Week I
2:07.64 – PR for 800 for Brit Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
2:11.86 – 800 time needed by Johnson-Thompson to break Nataliya Dobrynska‘s pentathlon world record at the 2015 European indoor championships.
2:12.78 – time run by Johnson-Thompson at Euros, giving her the second-highest score in history (5000).
Johnson-Thompson was justifiably upset with herself for just missing the world record. Given that in her last two heptathlons, she’s run 2:07 and 2:08 for 800, Johnson-Thompson realized she only had herself to blame.
“This is a huge breakthrough, but I am full of regret from the 800m. I thought I could easily run that time and maybe took it for granted. It could’ve been a different story. I should’ve been able to do that,” said Johnson-Thompson to BBC Sport after the event.
In many of the other events, Johnson-Thompson was simply brilliant. The BBC summed up how brilliant Johnson-Thompson was quite well:
Johnson-Thompson’s long jump leap (6.89m) would have won six of the previous seven individual titles at the European Championships while her high jump effort (1.95) broke Carolina Kluft’s championship record.
Johnson-Thompson certainly is incredible at the jumps. Her indoor pb of 1.97 in the high jump is the best in British history indoors or out and her British indoor record of 6.93 in the long jump is just .02 off of the outdoor British mark.
So what’s her weakness? The shot put. A world-class jumper, Johnson-Thomspon was last by a lot in the multi in the shot with her 12.32m.
World Leaders Falter in Men’s 1500 and Women’s 800 at Europeans
Johnson-Thompson’s near world record was far from the only noteworthy event at Europeans.
There were a lot of upset winners. In the men’s 1500, 2015 world indoor leader Homiyu Tesfaye of Germany failed to medal in a very entertaining final. In case you don’t know the outcome, we present to you the last 400 of the final as it’s certainly worth a watch. You have two options: the second one is in English, but we prefer the first one in French as the announcing is way better. Do we speak French? No but we want our announcers to be excited.
What you watched was the Czech Republic’s Jakub Holuša come from 10 meters down in the final 150 to nip Turkey’s Ilham Tanui Özbilen at the line to the delight of the Czech crowd. Behind those two, former Tulsa star Chris O’Hare of Great Britain nabbed the bronze over the world leader Tesfaye.
The women’s 800 also wasn’t kind to the world leader. Brit Jenny Meadows went in as the heavy favorite and world leader and left as a DNS in the final (due to illness), which she only got into after a DQ.
Hopes that 2012 Olympic 800 bronze medallist Yekaterina Poistogova of Russia, who was mentioned in the German ARD report on doping, would simply fade away from the sport seem to have been unrealistic as she nearly got the gold in Meadows’ absence. Thankfully, Switzerland’s Selina Büchel edged her by .05 to become the surprise champion.
Poistogova is very young. She won her Olympic medal at age 21 and just turn 24 on March 1 so she may be the center of some controversy for a good while moving forward.
Büchel, the winner, is even younger. She’s only 23 and speaks good English. We enjoyed catching up with her last year at World Indoors, where she was 4th in the final, and now present an interview with her after her win at Euros courtesy of European Athletics:
A New World Leader At 13.1
Speaking of world leaders, we have a new one in the men’s half marathon for 2015 as Stanley Biwott showed he’ll certainly be in the hunt for the win at the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon next month. On Sunday, Biwott won the NN City Pier City Half-Marathon in the Netherlands in 59:20.
Last year, Biwott was 2nd in London in 2:04:55 and didn’t run a marathon in the fall.
Speaking of London, it’s just 47 days away.
Stat of the Week II
5 – number of Japanese women that broke 2:30 last week at the 34th Nagoya International Women’s Marathon
5 – number of American women that broke 2:30 in all of 2014.
Nagoya certainly was a good race for the Japanese. The Japanese had 11 women under 2:30 in 2014, but zero under 2:25. In Nagoya last week, they had two under 2:25, led by Sairi Maeda‘s third-place 2:22:48 (Mai Ito was 4th in 2:24:42).
Nagoya was also notable for the top two finishers. Kenyan-born Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa set a new Bahrain national record of 2:22:08 that got the win while 40-year-old Russian Mariya Konovalova set a masters WR of 2:22:27.
Before last week, Maeda was best known for two things: 1) Being the collegiate record holder in Japan (as a senior last year at Bukkyo University she ran 2:26:46 in Osaka). 2) Being the daughter in the mother-daughter world record for a single marathon which also was set in Osaka last year as her mom Junko ran 2:55:24 in the same race. Mom was hoping to run Nagoya this year but had to DNS with an injury.
Julia Lucas, A Total Class Act, Retires
We know of few races more dramatic than the 2012 US Olympic Trials women’s 5000: The Women’s 5,000 Final – The Olympic Trials At Its Absolute Best.
The person who made that race, first with a bold bid for victory three laps out and then a cruel crater over the final lap, where she lost a 4+ second lead over third and an Olympic spot in the final 200 was Julia Lucas, who in a piece published by Freeplay last week announced that she is now retired: A Race Is a Race.
Lucas may have lost that race and Olympic spot but she forever gained our admiration. First with her brave race and then with her even braver post-race reaction. Here’s what we wrote about Lucas at the time:
We don’t know how to console Julia Lucas. Her dream season turned into a total nightmare in the last 50 meters.
We’ve started a thread on the messageboard in her honor. We gained a tremendous amount of respect for her for her willingness to go for it and for her frankness after the race.
People admire Steve Prefontaine going for the win at all costs and Lucas certainly did that so we hope they admire her. Sadly her bold move cost her an Olympic spot in the cruelest of two different ways. She lost third by .03 and her bold move helped carry Conley to the “A” by .21. If Lucas waits 20 meters, she probably ends up third but even if she’d finished 4th, Conley would have run over 15:20.00.
One thing we are certain of is that Lucas deserves is everyone’s respect. Her post-race interview is a MUST WATCH (embedded below). What a class act. In a day and age, when most 4th placers blow through the interview area without talking to the press, Lucas showed herself to be a TOTAL CLASS ACT.
In her retirement announcement, Lucas wrote this about the 2012 Trials:
A race is a race. Every race is a race, and just a race. Some people, wiser than me, make that distinction easily. But, for me, it’s been a hard lesson. That race did not end my career, but it did change my trajectory, and momentum is powerful. Momentum drove Kim Conley, who beat me out for the final of the three Olympic spots, to a reinvigorated career, and a new spot at the top of the US rankings. And it left me dazed, stuck in one life moment, and I never quite broke from those spiraling rails.
Lucas is a writer now, living in NYC, working on her first book which we can’t wait to get our hands on. She will be missed.
Trying To Understand Shoe Company Advertising Ethics (Or lack thereof)
Do you remember last year when Oiselle got reprimanded by USATF for erasing the Nike logos from the uniforms of US runners at the World Relays championships and replacing them with the individual logos of the companies that sponsored the runners?
The reprimand in our mind was justified. Nike pays USATF in the ballpark of $20 million a year mainly for one thing — to have their logo on the Team USA uniforms.
Well what if we told you that Nike itself last week erased the logo of the principal sponsor of European Athletics? You’d probably think we were joking, right?
Well take a look for yourself below (the initial tweet from Nike UK is here).
Original photo (or very close to it) of Katarina Johnson-Thompson vs. Nike's tweeted image. pic.twitter.com/CBv4JAoKwI
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) March 6, 2015
What’s missing in the photo on the right? Only the logo of SPAR International, the world’s largest organization of independent food retailers, which has been the principal sponsor of European Athletics since 1996.
Now here’s the really crazy thing. Only a few people complained about it.
Now before all of the anti-Nike people go crazy, please realize something important. Apparently, removing logos is accepted practice in the advertising world, but adding logos is a big no-no.
As explained by a LetsRun messageboard poster:
“Removing logos is pretty par for the course in ad-work, replacing with another is a different story. One of the best examples is Meb’s Boston Marathon win. Skechers’ post win print ads all showed Meb crossing the line….If Skechers actually photoshopped their logo into the Boston Marathon finish line tape, then Skechers would likely have received a not very friendly letter.”
The poster is correct. Take a look at the photo of Meb actually winning the 2014 Boston Marathon on the right. Compare it to the Skechers’ ad that appeared in Runner’s World that appears on the left:
The real finishing tape has a BAA logo and a John Hancock logo.
John Hancock spends a ton to sponsor Boston yet Skechers totally ignores that sponsorship.
Seems crazy to us. If you work in advertising and care to explain this better to us, please email. (Also we find it interesting that still photos shot at Boston can be used for commercial gain by Skechers, but if Skechers had shot their own video of the finish, they wouldn’t have been able to use it).
Maybe, we at LetsRun.com should just start photo-shopping out all of the logos of the shoe companies that sponsor runners and see if they complain.
Quotes of the Week (that weren’t quote of the day)
I – “Sara Hall actually also helped me. I was having trouble leaving eligibility on the table but she told me how Ryan also had to make the decision to leave the NCAA early when he went professional. I thought I was being completely selfish if I went professional so it was just calming to hear that someone like Ryan Hall went through the same thing.”
– former NAU runner Brian Shrader talking to Flotrack about skipping NCAA indoors to go pro early, after he won the 2014 .US 12k.
II – “It’s fair to say it [her resignation] was surprising. … Karen doesn’t plan to make any statements to my knowledge and she’s kind of distanced herself from everyone. … But I can absolutely confirm that this was Karen’s decision.”
– FSU Associate Sports Info Director, Bob Thomas, talking to Running Times about the resignation of women’s distance coach Karen Harvey just over a week out from the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships, where Harvey would have coached the #1 seed in the mile, Colleen Quigley.
III – “I remember feeling a slight pain in Moscow two years ago but I overcame it and held on for the win. However, when I ran in Glasgow, (Commonwealth Games last year) in the last lap, it was really getting serious and couldn’t hold on anymore. The hamstring just snapped.”
– 2013 world steeple champion Milcah Chemos talking to The Standard about a hamstring injury she had last year that resulted in surgery. Chemos is hoping to start training soon, hoping to defend her world title.
We enjoyed getting an update on Chemos, but even more appreciated Chemos’ quote on doping:
“Doping is tainting our sport especially if our Kenyan athletes are involved. Why would someone do it? For what gain? I am telling my colleagues in athletics to run and win clean.”
IV – “It’s just running. It’s not family, not curing cancer, not feeding the world, it’s running around in circles.”
– Nick Symmonds talking to Spikes about how he stays calm thanks to some helpful advice from coach Sam Lapray.
Tweet of the Week I
Ever wondered how far Mike Powell's long jump world record REALLY is? This is how many kids it takes to line 8.95m! pic.twitter.com/B5k8J3jLPK
— IAAF (@iaaforg) March 3, 2015
Video Of The Week
Video via Trail des Fonds de Cayenne Facebook page.
In the upper left of the video, you saw French EPO cheat Hassan Hirt getting taken out (literally) of the French National XC Champs after forcing himself into the race. Hirt’s drug ban recently ended, but he was ineligible for the race, not having qualified. Officials tried to stop him before the race, but he snuck in anyway. The above was the result. *Discuss *Translated Article
The junior college indoor champs were held last week and the men’s and women’s xc champs absolutely dominated.
Harry Mulenga of Central Arizona by way of Zambia pulled off a triple on the men’s side, as he won the 5000m (14:57.44), 3000m (8:36.47), and mile (4:16.17). Barton County Community College’s Lydia Mato of Ghana upped Mulenga by an event on the women’s side as she won four events — the 5000m (17:52.10), 3000m (10:10.73), mile (5:03.35), and 1000m (2:58.42).
The Nate Houle Story: “Trying to live life while you’ve still got it.” Nate Houle had it all: a beautiful wife, wonderful son, and his dream job coaching track at his alma mater Southern Utah University (Cam Levins’ school, Nate was Cam’s teammate). Then, in the span of five months, he lost his job, and was diagnosed with a rare cancer.
Julia Lucas Blogs About The 2012 Olympic Trials 5000 And Her Retirement From Professional Track And Field Lucas despite forgetting most races, she remembers every detail from the Trials 5K. “And so, as I emerge from a career that ended not as I would have liked, disappointed with what could have been and almost was, I still look to running. … A race is just a race, but running can be anything.”
*MB: Julia Lucas wrote an article about losing out in the 2012 Olympic Trials 5000
*LRC Archives: The Women’s 5,000 Final – The Olympic Trials At Its Absolute Best
*“It Should Be Mathematical: One Couple, Two Dreams, .04 Seconds” Popular piece by Michael Heald.
*Official Julia Lucas Appreciation Thread!!!
Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages
To see the actual quotes of the day from last week or last week’s home page or any home page, go to our archive page.