Tabor Stevens – The American Star You Likely Haven’t Heard Of – Gets A Big Win, So Does German Fernandez And Michael O’Hara X 4, Geoffrey Kamworor And President Bush

April 9, 2015

We’re over our jet lag from World XC and wanted to say a few things about last week. Previous versions of The Week That Was – our weekly recap – can be found here.

Questions, comments, please email us or post them in our running fan forum.

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Hiwot Ayalew Wins in New Orleans

Abdi Celebrates Making the 2012 Olympic Team

Abdi Celebrates Making the 2012 Olympic Team

The third time’s the charm.

Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew, the 2013 world silver medallist whom we ranked #1 in the steeple last year, finally got a much-deserved win at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic 10-K in New Orleans over the weekend after finishing as the runner-up the last two years. She picked up $6,900 for the win.

The good news for Emma Coburn fans is Ayalew didn’t run faster than she did last year. Ayalew, who ran 32:05 in 2013 and 31:47 in 2014, ran 31:55 this year. Ayalew will be back competing in the States next month as the Pre Classic announced on Wednesday that she’ll be part of a loaded women’s 5,000 field.

The men’s winner was 18-year-old John Muritu of Kenya in 28:55. The week before, he picked up $3,000 by winning the Azalea Trail Run 10k in Mobile, Ala., in 28:34. Four-time US Olympian Abdi Abdirahman was fifth in 29:18 — a result that left him encouraged. “Even though I finished fifth, I’m happy,” Abdirahman said to after the race. “It was an improvement from my last race (64:24 19th-place showing at NYC Half).” If Abdi can make a fifth Olympic team next year, it will be quite the accomplishment.

The top American man was Girma Mecheso in third in 29:04.

More: *Hiwot Ayalew wins women’s 2015 Crescent City Classic
*18-year-old Kenyan John Muritu wins Crescent City Classic

All Hail Adams State And American Tabor Stevens, Who Couldn’t Break 4:20 or 10:00 But Now Is An 8:32 Steepler

Fans of D-II and D-III action don’t often get a lot of love on LetsRun but this week props are due for Adams State. Two Grizzly runners picked up wins at Stanford.

Win Winning Was Easy for German Fernandez

23-year-old redshirt senior Tabor Stevens got the win in the men’s steeple in a new pb of 8:32.50. Last year, Stevens ran 8:35.05 to win the NCAA D-II title, the fastest time put up by an American collegian in 2014. He followed that win up with an 11th-place showing at USAs in the steeple before winning the NCAA D-II XC title in the fall.

Stevens deserves huge props for his development at Adams State. In high school, his pbs were just 1:53 (800), 4:22 (1600) and 9:29 (3,000) on the track for Canon City (Colo.) High School.

The other big win for Adams State came from redshirt freshman Oliver Aitchison of Great Britain. The NCAA D-II indoor mile champ this year dominated heat two in 3:40.77 — faster than the 3:43.74 put up by German Fernandez to win heat 1 (MB: GERMAN IS BACK BABY!!!! ). Of course, to call Aitchison a freshman is a bit like calling an African junior with a suspect passport a junior. Aitchison is 23 and ran 1:48.14 before coming to Adams.

The importance of Fernandez taking down heat 1 can’t be understated. Yes, German is a guy who was running 3:55 solo miles as a freshman at Oklahoma State way back in 2009. But a win in 3:43.74 over four guys who broke 4 indoors should brighten his mental confidence after a disastrous indoor campaign. He dropped out of the Millrose 5,000 before he would have been lapped and then ran 8:37.15 for 8th in the two-mile at USAs.

### Other Performances of Note

The distance meet of the weekend was at Stanford where Stevens, Fernandez, and Aitchison got wins and Shalane Flanagan was outkicked in the final lap of the 10,000 but ran 31:09.02 to show she is ready for the Boston Marathon April 20th.

There are were a few other track performances from last week that we didn’t mention on our homepage or in our Stanford recap that are noteworthy:

  • Mississippi State’s 20-year-old British import Rhianwedd Price, who was DQ’d in the mile at NCAA indoors, ran a near-five-second pb to put up the early NCAA leader of 4:11.67 in a race she won by more than eight seconds at the Florida Relays.
  • Kenya’s 19-year-old phenom Ronald Kwemoi, who ran a world junior record of 3:28.81 last year in Monaco before getting third at the African champs, set a meet record of 3:38.04 at the Kanaguri Memorial Middle and Long Distance Meet in Kumamoto, Japan. It wasn’t Kwemoi’s opener on the year. Previously, he won the 1500 at the Kenyan Trials meet for the World Relays by 1.2 seconds in 3:37.1.
  • American 800 ace Ajee Wilson ran her second outdoor race of 2015, winning the 1500 at Princeton in 4:22.62 (she ran 4:30.09 on March 28 to win the 1500 at the Danny Curran Invitational in Chester, Pa.) For comparison’s sake, last year she ran 4:21.16 in her first 1500 of the year on May 2 (before running 4:12.10 later in the year).
  • 2013 U.S. Worlds team member and 2014 NCAA 1500 runner-up Cory McGee ran an 800 PB at the Florida Relays of 2:04.13 (previous pb of 2:05.04) in finishing fourth in the race won by Chanelle Price in 2:00.62.
  • Michigan star Erin Finn, who had been out since Pre-Nats in cross country with a foot injury, returned to action last week with a 9:24.55 second-place showing in the 3000m at the Cal-UVA-Michigan Tri-Meet (winning time was 9:21.59). And since it drives us nuts when sites/newspapers talk about scored meets but don’t mention the score, for the record the team scores at the meet were:
1. Cal 152.5
2. UVA 143.5
3. Michigan 100
1. UVA 143
2. Michigan 132
3. Cal 111

Michael O’Hara Quadruples

In last week’s recap, we pretty much focused on the 2015 World Cross Country Championships and didn’t talk about the sensational performance of Jamaican high schooler Michael O’Hara at the Boys and Girls Champs.

The 19-year-old, who was the 2013 World Youth champion and 2014 World Junior bronze medalist at 200, did the following:

Won the 100 on March 27 in 10.42, running into a 2.4 m/s headwind.
Won the 200 on March 28 in a world-junior-leading time of 20.59, running into a 1.8 m/s headwind.
Won the 110 hurdles on March 28 in 13.49, running into a 3.8 m/s headwind.
Anchored the winning 4 x 100 team.

Correcting for wind using the calculator at, his times would have been 10.25 for 100 and 20.45 for 200. The site doesn’t have a 110 hurdles conversion but a flat 110 run in 13.49 into a 3.8 m/s headwind would be equal to a 13.00. We’re assuming this was run over 39″ not 42″ hurdles (only 17 men in history have broken 13.00 at the senior level) but regardless it was a special run as in that race he beat 2014 World Junior 400 hurdles champ Jaheel Hyde (13.52). Hyde wasn’t too shabby himself at “Champs” as in addition to finishing second in the 110 hurdles, he won the 400 hurdles in a new Jamaican junior record of 49.01.


One other thing from the week before last: Australia’s Jeff Riseley deserves props for being the first Aussie to pull of the 800/1500 double at the Australian champs in 24 years with times of 1:47.13 and 3:43.8.

More: Michael O’Hara Impresses With Four Titles In The 100, 200, 110H And Anchoring Calabar’s 4 X 100*Results
*Jeff Riseley Becomes First Man In 24 Years To Win The 800/1,500 Double

Stat of The Week

1 hour, 13 minutes, 20 seconds amount of time South African Caroline Wöstmann chopped off at the Two Oceans Marathon this year from her time two years ago.

The huge PR (4:54:43 to 3:41:23) paid off with a shock win for Wöstmann (the race distance is 56 kilometers, or 34.8 miles).

Coming into the race, Wöstmann’s coach wanted her to shoot for 3:50 in the race but Wöstmann thought that was too ambitious.

“My coach said I should aim for 3:50,” Wöstmann said to Race Results Weekly after the race. “I said ‘No, 3:50 is too hard.’ I don’t know how it happened. [Spectators] said I was 12th on Ou Kaapse Weg (just after halfway). I’m training for the Comrades and I felt good up the hill, so I overtook some girls up the hill and then some more going down. Then I thought I might make the podium, but I started doubting myself.”

According to RRW, Wöstmann is “the first South African winner in 14 years, and the very first since the race became a real international event.”

More: RRW: Caroline Wöstmann Is Upset Winner at Two Oceans Marathon


800m Medals. Full 800m photo gallery here:

Chanelle Price: World Indoor Champ in 2015

Weekly Free Coaching Advice — You Have To 100% Trust Your Coach

In light of Wöstmann’s quote above, we have some free coaching advice. You need to be with a coach that you believe in 100%. Take Chanelle Price for example.

She ran 2:01.61 as a prep but only 2:01.49 in college. However, she is now one of the world’s best as a post-collegiate. The ironic thing is, she’s still with the same coach she had in college (J.J. Clark). The difference? 100% trust and belief in what they are doing. As Price explained to us earlier this week:

“(J.J. Clark and I) really started to click these past few years. I ran 2:01 in high school and he got me [at the University of Tennessee] and people were confused why he wasn’t able to take me to 1:59 or 1:58 right away.

“But it wasn’t Coach, it was me. I wasn’t really buying into his training. It wasn’t the same as what I was doing in high school so I wasn’t really trusting in it. We didn’t really click my first few years in college. These past few years we’ve really clicked. I’ve bought into everything he tells me to do. I really trust him and I think that’s the biggest difference. I believe in him and I believe in my training and I really can’t see myself with anyone else.”

We liked that quote so much we just moved it to QOD status once we put it in here (mid-day on Wednesday) to make sure everyone sees it.

In all honesty, the trust an athlete has in his or her coach is very important. One could argue that the fact the athlete believes in what they are doing is more important than what they are actually doing.

More: LRC Q&A: World Champion Chanelle Price Talks About Maturing, Last Year’s Foot Injury, And Her Plans For The 2015 Season

6 Quotes of the Week (that weren’t quote of the day)

#1 – Alberto Salazar With Some High Praise

“I want to see what he’s (Andy Powell) doing.

“I’ve never seen anything like that indoors. They were on fire. You want to talk batting averages? Andy Powell is batting a thousand.”

Alberto Salazar talking to The Oregonian‘s Ken Goe about why he’s requested Andy Powell to send him the Oregon Ducks’ training logs from indoors.

More: The Oregon Project’s Alberto Salazar praises UO men’s distance coach Andy Powell: Oregon track & field rundown
*MB: Why would Alberto Salazar ask to see Andy Powell’s training logs when I’ve heard Salazar writes the workouts for UO?

#2  Boston Is In A Week and A Half — It’s Time To Get Excited

“I think this year my fitness is right about there (where it was in 2011), if not a little better. But you never know how things are going to unfold. The weather is different, the tactics are different, the field is different.”

Desi Linden, talking in a television interview with the Boston CBS affiliate about her fitness approaching Boston and comparing it to 2011 when she almost won the race.

Linden, despite only having finished 10th last year (albeit in 2:23:54), enjoyed last year a great deal: “It was certainly special. There was just a different feeling to it. It was very patriotic as Americans, but it felt universal as well. The whole, ‘We Run Together,’ you felt that out there and you felt it in the crowd, cheering you on. It was bigger and it was better. It was runners taking a stand. It was a pretty awesome day to be a part of.”

More: Fueled By Past Finishes, Desi Linden Ready For 2015 Boston Marathon
*Nick Arciniaga Has High Hopes for 2015 Boston Marathon

#3 It’s A Good Thing A Famous Woman Said This: 

“I have a 5.10m jump on my mind but at the same time, I think that 5.15m is the limit for women [in the pole vault]. I will try to draw nearer this mark and set a world record, which will stay for 100 years.”

Yelena Isinbayeva, the women’s world record holder in the pole vault at 5.06m (and two-time Olympic/three-time World champ), talking to

More: Isinbayeva plots a glorious goodbye

#4 Kara Goucher’s One Goal/(It Helps To Have Money in the Bank)

“I don’t have any races planned at all in 2015. I will race when I am ready. The ideal season would be a combo of track and roads, but I am no longer in a situation where I have to race and I’m not going to put myself in a situation again where I am on a big stage and not ready to go. The only race on my calendar is the Olympic Trials Feb 13, 2016. Anything else is secondary to that goal.”

Kara Goucher talking to about her plans, or lack thereof, for 2015.

More: Q&A With Kara Goucher Talking About Her Last Year Since She Moved To Colorado And Making The Team For 2016

#5 Phoebe Wright On How To Run An 800 PR — Get Out Fast And Hang On

“All my breakthroughs and PRs have been by somehow getting put in a fast race, where I lined up as the slowest person in the field. You take a bite out of the person in front of you’s backside and hang on. Once, I was following Geena Gall around and she brought us through in 56 or 57, which is way out my wheelhouse. My PR for 400 was 55 and change, so I was well beyond the red zone. In the exact second I got myself together and regrouped, Geena must have slowed down and I accidentally passed her. I thought, ‘Uhoh, now I have someone on my heels,’ so I had to keep going so I didn’t look like an idiot in front of 50,000 people. Not looking like an idiot can keep you going through the red zone; plus, you absolutely don’t want to lose the pack, and you end up running fast. You would be shocked at how ecstatic those fourth and fifth place finishers are.”

Phoebe Wright talking in a great piece on how to run the 800 by Sarah Barker on The piece also includes quotes from the Science of Sport’s Ross Tucker, who says, “If you run an even-paced 800 [both laps the same], you’re under-performing. The guy who slows down the least is usually the winner.”

More: Exercise Physiologist Ross Tucker Explains The Pain And Pacing Strategy Of The 800 Meters
*MB: The PAIN of the 800 meters explained by an exercise physiologist

#6 Benjamin Limo on Why He Resigned from Athletics Kenya

“Many times we are in IAAF meetings, officials ask me hard questions about doping in Kenya, which I fail to answer and AK is not ready to deal with the menace … it happens that majority of athletes affected by such vices come from almost one camp and AK is doing nothing to curb the vice. The same accused managers are foreigners enjoying protection of AK but destroying the image and athletes’ future yet we have not seen any action taken …Working in a dysfunction system, even if you are good, the system will obviously fail you. Your name will be dragged into the list of bad managers, when you are not. That is why I had to quit as AK chairman of Uasin Gishu and secretary of Central Rift region.”

– 2005 World 5000 champ Benjamin Limo talking to Capital.FM.

More: Former 5000 World Champ Benjamin Limo Resigns Position As Athletics Kenya Branch Chairman Over AK’s Unwillingness To Combat Doping


Kipsiro at Commonwealths

Moses Kipsiro Story Gets Scary

Last week, Ugandan star distance runner Moses Kipsiro said he’s received what he considers a death threat from the coach/policeman, Peter Wemali, that Kipsiro and others have accused of sexual assault (the text allegedly said if Kipsiro continued to “tarnish” the coach, that “I will deal with you, trust me”). It sounds like Kipsiro should take them seriously as Kipsiro claims another man has already been murdered.

The accused man claims everything is false including the allegations of sexual assault. He says it’s all a matter of politics – Kipsiro votes one way and he another.

Wemali is entitled to his day in court. But politics doesn’t seem to explain away the typed letter the victimized women wrote up last year that detailed the allegations.

More: Moses Kipsiro Says Coach/Policeman He Accused Of Rape Has Murdered Another Athlete That Spoke Up Against Him & Tried To Abduct Kipsiro’s Brother
*Moses Kipsiro: “I am fearing for my life and my family. Yesterday one of my brothers (Ayeko Simon) was arrested over an incident.”
*Daily MailMo Farah’s Training Partner Moses Kipsiro Receives Death Threats After Accusing Coach In Uganda Of Raping Young Female Athletes
Last year: Daily Monitor: Uganda’s female athletes sexually harassed by coach

LA 2024?

Last week, Olympic writer and Los Angeles-area resident Alan Abrahamson urged the USOC to dump Boston as the U.S.’s candidate for the 2024 Olympics and get behind LA’s 2024 bid. Boston 2024 seems doomed due to a lack of local support over a fear of costs unless public sentiment changes.

Boston was trying to alleviate some of those cost concerns by advocating building up a pop-up Olympic stadium (as the IOC will be paying for temporary but not permanent structures). That wouldn’t work in our minds or Abrahmson’s:

“Just to be super-obvious about this: Los Angeles has an Olympic stadium proven (1984, 1932) for ceremonies and track and field. Boston? It’s got no suitable stadium. There is no such thing as a pop-up Olympic stadium. Why has the IOC never voted for such a proposal? Because it is ridiculous.

“What is Boston proposing? A pop-up stadium. (No) Thanks.”

Building a stadium that vanishes after the Olympics seems completely wasteful and is not a way to get public support.

As we’ve said before on the messageboard, if IOC money can be used for pop-up stadiums, then the rules should be changed to allow the same amount of money to support a permanent stadium. In our minds, the Olympics should leave a legacy, and a stadium that can last for generations is a great legacy.

The ideal solution would be something like this. (We’ll switch and use LA as an example). The NFL wants to go to LA but they don’t want to pay billions for a stadium and want financial help from the taxpayers, which taxpayers don’t want to give to billionaires.

The Olympics want to go to LA but don’t want to pay billions for a stadium either. So the two groups work together. Olympic money is used to build a stadium that is built to debut at the Olympics but with the mind it can quickly be transformed into an NFL stadium. Once the Olympics are over, the NFL team can take out the track and add more seating around the field and buy the stadium from the Olympics (for a discounted price that is negotiated before hand).

The NFL and Olympics splitting the cost of a stadium seems to make more sense than the Olympics building a temporary stadium just because the rules say Olympic money can only be used if it is temporary. A joint NFL/Olympic stadium would keep the taxpayers from being on the hook for a new stadium. Sure the billionaire NFL owners would get a good deal, but they’re going to get one no matter what, usually at taxpayer expense. If taxpayers see their NFL team will be left with a stadium they don’t have to pay for, that is a reason they might actually get behind an Olympic bid. The only problem with this plan is the NFL doesn’t want to wait until 2024 to put a team in Los Angeles.

More: Boston 2024 is doomed: be done with it

Photo of the Week

Last week, on the way back from the world cross country championships in Guiyang, China, co-founder Robert Johnson had an overnight layover in Beijing. As he was walking out of the airport to go to his hotel, a really well-dressed man in a suit was walking into the airport all alone.

“Man, that guy looks a lot like lot Geoffrey Kamworor,” thought Johnson. “Wait a minute, could it be? That is Geoffrey Kamworor, isn’t it?”

“Geoffrey?” said Johnson.

“Yes,” replied the man who indeed was Kamworor.

As for what the hell Kamworor was doing coming into the airport. Kamworor had flown to Beijing for a press event to announce the opening of ticket sales for this summer’s World Champs in Beijing.

We doubt if any American men pack a suit like this when they are travelling to a major competition.

Memo to American distance runners, please remember to pack your suits (just in case you win Worlds) when you travel abroad

Memo to American distance runners, please remember to pack your suits (just in case you win Worlds) when you travel abroad

Johnson tried to show Kamworor the splash page honoring him but had trouble pulling it up on his phone (the Chinese censors might have been at work). Kamworor said he’d check out LetsRun later.

Being super prepared seems to be a hallmark of the Kenyans. When LRC’s Rojo bumped into Paul Tergat and Moses Kiptanui at an obscure road-race in 2001, he told them we could take them to the White House if they had appropriate dress. They were certainly prepared:

Paul Tergat and Moses Kiptanui with President George W Bush

More: LRC Archives From 2001: Paul Tergat and Moses Tanui’s Secret American Fan


Dr. Brown Presumably is the Houston Doctor

Dr. Brown Presumably is the Houston Doctor

A Journalism Mistake By The Sunday Times is known for being a leader of the anti-doping movement. That being said, we gotta give a thumbs down to the Sunday Times of London. They certainly did some good in shedding light on the Nike Oregon’s Project’s attempt to get a pharmaceutical edge by using L-Carnitine.

Those attempts certainly (the Times report that Dathan Ritzenhein flew to Houston hoping to get an injection that Alberto Salazar hoped would give Dathan a “two- to three-minute advantage”) conflict with coach Salazar’s statements a year later that one doesn’t “really need anything” besides beta-alanine, iron and Vitamin D.

While we can relate to the desire to turn over every legal stone to run as fast as possible ( co-founder Robert Johnson once wrote either USATF or USADA back when he was competing asking if he could take a supplement he saw advertised as pro-HGH; they said he could but he never took it), running is supposed to be about who is the best — thanks to a combination of talent, smart training and hard work — not who has the best doctors.

The fact that the Sunday Times implied that the NOP inadvertently violated the rules (they implied that when Ritzenhein and Alvina Begay received L-carnitine injections in 2011 they had violated an anti-doping rule) when in fact they didn’t, is simply a mistake journalists can’t make. Mistakes like that hurt the anti-doping movement.

More: WADA Issues Statement On NOP L-Carnitine Usage – Doping Rules NOT Broken With 2011 Advice The Sunday Times had previously implied that Ritz might have inadvertently broken doping rules.*Denver Post Article
*Good News, Bad News: Everything You Want to Know About the Nike Oregon Project and L-Carnitine Injections
*Full Coverage: L-Carnitine Tag

Recommended Reads

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