What A Week – Shannon Rowbury Breaks 3:57, Eric Jenkins Breaks 13:10, 15-Year-Old American Sammy Watson Runs 2:03 and Is Maine Better Than Kenya At Producing Distance Runners?

by LetsRun.com
July 23, 2015

Our weekly recap – the Week That Was – appears below. We tried to get it out earlier in the week but have been busy enjoying ourselves a little in the land of sub-13:20 runners (see below).

The biggest action last week took place at the amazing 2015 Monaco DL meet. If you missed that coverage, go to our 2015 Monaco Special Section as we try not to repeat ourselves below.

Article continues below player

LRC Genzebe Dibaba Runs 3:50.07 To Smash 1,500m World Record!!! Shannon Rowbury Crushes AR!

LRC Asbel Kiprop Puts On An Exhibition, Running 3:26.69 To Destroy 1,500 Field And Become Third-Fastest Man In History

Past editions of The Week That Was can be found here. Questions or comments? Please email us or post them in our running fan forum.


Eric Jenkins was pumped earlier this year

Eric Jenkins was pumped earlier this year

Eric Jenkins Goes Sub-13:10 At A Young Age – What Does That Mean?

Last week, American Eric Jenkins became the 13th member of the American sub-13:10 club as he ran 13:07.33 in the Netherlands. At the age of 23 years, 7 months and 25 days, Jenkins is the second-youngest American in history to break 13:10 (Jenkins was the youngest American in the sub-13:20 club as he did it in 2013 at the age of 21 years, 4 months and 26 days).

Here’s a twist on the age stat for you, however. The oldest man to first break 13:10 in US history is American record holder Bernard Lagat, who never broke 13:10 until he was 30 years, 8 months and 24 days old. The youngest American to break 13:10, Chris Derrick, who did it at 22 years, 7 months and 16 days in 2013, is the slowest member of the club.

America’s Sub-13:10 Club / Age They First Broke 13:10
1. 12:53.60 AR Bernard Lagat – 30 years, 8 months, 24 days
2. 12:55.53 Chris Solinsky – 25 years, 6 months, 9 days
3. 12:56.27 Dathan Ritzenhein – 26 years, 7 months, 30 days
4. 12:58.21 Bob Kennedy – 23 years, 10 months, 21 days
5. 12:58.56 Matt Tegenkamp – 24 years, 6 months, 7 days
6. 12:58.90 Galen Rupp – 24 years, 3 months, 12 days
7. 13:01.15 Sydney Maree – 28 years, 10 months, 19 days
8. 13:02.40 Evan Jager – 24 years, 5 months, 30 days
9. 13:02.74 Ben True – 28 years, 4 months, 23 days
10. 13:02.80 Hassan Mead – 24 years, 8 months, 7 days
11. 13:07.33 Eric Jenkins – 23 years, 7 months, 25 days
12. 13:07.95 Lopez Lomong – 28 years, 2 months, 1 day
13. 13:08.04 Chris Derrick – 22 years, 7 months, 16 days


Ben True Leads the US and has a DL win at 5000

Ben True Leads the US and has a DL win at 5000

Stat of the  Week I / Is Maine Better Than Kenya At Distance Running? (Per Capita)

Speaking of fast 5000-meter running, Maine native Ben True also ran fast last week, as he put up the #1 time in the US this year and qualified for Worlds with a 13:06.15. Below is the list of US men under 13:20 so far this year (home states in parentheses). Does anything stand out to you?

  • Ben True 13:06.15 (Maine)
  • Eric Jenkins 13:07.33 (New Hampshire)
  • Galen Rupp 13:12.36 (Oregon)
  • Bernard Lagat 13:14.97 (Arizona / Kenya)
  • Ryan Hill 13:15.92 (North Carolina)
  • Garrett Heath 13:16.31 (Minnesota)
  • Diego Estrada 13:17.30 (California)
  • Will Geoghegan 13:17.85 (Maine)
  • Riley Masters 13:17.97 (Maine)
  • Chris Derrick 13:19.56 (Illinois)

Three of the guys are from Maine. That’s pretty remarkable considering Maine has a population of just 1.329 million.

Maine is producing one sub-13:20 guy for every 443,000 people.

Guess what the ratio is for Kenya this year?

Kenya has had 12 people run sub-13:20 this year and its population is 44.35 million.

So that’s one sub-13:20 for every 3.70 million people.

So Maine is more than 8x better at producing sub-13:20 men this year than Kenya. Well done. Or maybe we should say, “Dirigo.”

Of course, most of the elite runners in Kenya come from the Kalenjin tribe. There were 4,967,328 Kalenjin in 2009 so let’s move that up to 5,000,000. If 12 of the Kenyan sub-13:20 runners this year are Kalenjin, then the Kalenjin produce one sub-13:20 runner for ever 416,667 people, slightly better than Maine. But if just one of those 12 isn’t Kalenjin, then Maine still wins.

More: Ben True Gets IAAF Standard As Eric Jenkins Explodes To A 13:07 And Lauren Johnson Destroys Her PR To Make Worlds On A Night Full Of Fast American Running


Shannon Rowbury Winning USA Gold at World Relays Earlier This Year

Shannon Rowbury Winning USA Gold at World Relays Earlier This Year

Shannon Rowbury Breaks the 1500 American Record

If we told you at the start of last week the women’s 1500 in Monaco was going to be very fast, Dibaba was going to run 3:50 and two other women would break 3:57, it probably wouldn’t have been a shock for you to learn that Mary Slaney‘s American record of 3:57.12, which had stood for nearly 32 years (31 years, 11 months, 22 days) had fallen as you’d assume one of those three women was American Jenny Simpson.

In actuality, three women did break 3:57 but the surprising thing is the third one and new American record holder at 3:56.29 is Shannon Rowbury, not Jenny Simpson.

Rowbury, who won bronze at 2009 Worlds, has obviously been a top 1500 runner for a long time, but the fact that she, and not Simpson, is the American record holder is surprising.

Consider these stats.

Rowbury had never broken 4:00 in her career until last year when she did it twice – both but times she ran 3:59 (3:59.49 and 3:59.93). So in her career, she’s broken 4:00 three times with the last time being a 3+ second PB. For comparison’s sake, Slaney broke 4:00 eight times in her career and Jenny Simpson has done it six times so far, with her best being 3:57.22 from Paris last year.

Slaney first broke 4:00 at age 22. Simpson first broke 4:00 at age 22. Rowbury first broke 4:00 at age 29. In that way, Rowbury is a bit like Bernard Lagat in the 5000 – the person who gets under a barrier (in this case 4:00, in Lagat’s case 13:00) last ends up being the fastest.

Coming into the Monaco race, Simpson held a 19-6 against Rowbury at 1500/mile, with five of Rowbury’s wins coming during Simpson’s largely disastrous 2012 campaign when she failed to make the Olympic final and ended up soon deciding to go back to guidance of Mark Wetmore. Take out 2012 and the record was 15-1 at 1500/mile in favor of Simpson. A very one-sided matchup. At 1500/mile before Monaco, Simpson had beaten Rowbury seven straight times with her last loss against Rowbury coming in Brussels in 2013 (when Simpson was wiped out as part of a fall at the bell), which was the only time outside of 2012 that Rowbury had beaten Simpson at 1500 or the mile.

Jenny Simpson vs. Shannon Rowbury at 1500/mile (according to tilastopaja.org)

1500 m/Mile Jenny Simpson USA  Shannon Rowbury USA 
Pre Eugene OR 2009-06-07 3:59.90 (2) 4:03.92 (5)
adidas New York NY 2010-06-12 4:03.63 (4) 4:04.00 (5)
NC Eugene OR 2011-06-25 4:05.66 (2) 4:06.20 (3)
Herc Monaco 2011-07-22 4:03.54 (5) 4:06.55 (9)
WC Daegu 2011-09-01 4:05.40 (1) did not reach final (0)
Fifth Avenue New York NY 2011-09-24 4:22.3h (1) 4:27.0h (7)
Millrose New York NY 2012-02-11 4:07.27 (1) 4:07.66 (2)
Pre Eugene OR 2012-06-01 4:06.10 (2) 4:07.16 (4)
OT Eugene OR 2012-07-01 4:05.17 (3) 4:05.11 (2)
Aviva London 2012-07-13 4:07.76 (2) 4:08.63 (6)
OG London 2012-08-06 did not reach final (0) 4:11.26 (6)
DNG Stockholm 2012-08-17 4:04.71 (5) 4:03.15 (4)
WK Zürich 2012-08-30 4:08.38 (7) 4:07.14 (3)
CityGames Newcastle 2012-09-15 4:38 (4) 4:41 (6)
Fifth Avenue New York NY 2012-09-22 4:29:90.0h (10) 4:27:00.0h (5)
DrakeR Des Moines IA 2013-04-26 4:03.35 (1) 4:09.05 (4)
Herc Monaco 2013-07-19 4:00.48 (1) 4:01.28 (4)
VD Bruxelles 2013-09-06 4:10.70 (10) 4:07.05 (4)
Fifth Avenue New York NY 2013-09-22 4:20 (1) 4:29 (10)
adidas New York NY 2014-06-14 4:02.54 (3) 4:03.36 (4)
Areva Saint-Denis 2014-07-05 3:57.22 (2) 3:59.49 (5)
DNG Stockholm 2014-08-21 4:00.38 (1) 4:02.96 (4)
WK Zurich 2014-08-28 3:59.92 (1) 3:59.93 (2)
Pre Eugene OR 2015-05-30 4:00.98 (1) 4:02.28 (4)
NC Eugene OR 2015-06-28 4:14.86 (1) 4:14.99 (2)
Herc Monaco 2015-07-17 3:57.30 (4) 3:56.29 (3)
Wins: 19 7

It should be pointed out that if you include all events, the record is 23-12 largely because Rowbury leads 4-2 at 3000/2 miles (it’s 1-1 at 800).

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Rowbury and the Rowbury vs. Simpson rivalry. Is this the new normal for Rowbury or will this prove to be a one-off event?

Over the years, some people have run incredibly fast in Monaco and never come close again. In 2010, Andrew Wheating and Ryan Gregson ran 3:30.90 and 3:31.06 respectively in Monaco and Wheating hasn’t come within 3.49 seconds of that since and Gregson hasn’t come within 2.86 seconds. And others have run surprisingly fast in Monaco – Mo Farah’s 3:28.81 in 2013 was a stunner – but showed that it’s not a fluke (Farah ran 3:28 last week in Monaco).

It’s certainly going to be a fun summer for US 1500 fans.

More: Good Q&A With Shannon Rowbury About Running 3:56.29 To Break The American 1500 Record In Monaco Rowbury talks about her rivalry with Jenny Simpson, medaling at worlds, training with NOP and her thoughts on the Turkish dopers who placed ahead of her at the 2012 Olympics.
*MB: Shannon Rowbury Fires back at Jenny Simpson
*LRC  Genzebe Dibaba Runs 3:50.07 To Smash 1,500m World Record!!! Shannon Rowbury Crushes AR!

Stat of the Week II

In Monaco last week, there were a new world (1:42.51) and U.S. (1:43.34) leads put up in the 800 – one by Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Amel Tuka and one by Boris Berian.

5.55 seconds – amount that Nijel Amos improved his PR in 2012 (down to 1:41.73)
5.55 seconds – amount that Boris Berian has improved his PR in 2015 (down to 1:43.34)
3.51 seconds – amount that Amel Tuka has improved his PR in 2015 (down to 1:42.51)

More: A Guy You’ve Never Heard Of From Bosnia Runs 1:42.51, Boris Borian Runs 1:43.34, The Clean World Record In The Shot Put By Kovacs? And Ghribi Runs World-Leading Steeple

Video of the Week

Have you ever seen a sub-10 100-meter sprinter like Asafa Powell racing a three-time Olympic XC skiier at 100m – with the skier on snow and the runner on a track?

We didn’t think so.

More: Asafa Powell Raced Against Olympic Cross-Country Ski Champion Dario Cologna In Switzerland

Quotes of the Week (that weren’t Quote of the Day)

#1 – Some Over the Top Criticism for Scott Jurek’s Appalachian Trail Record

“We really don’t think that the top of Katahdin should smell like a bar. He (Scott Jurek) hiked down with the summons.”

– Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell talking after he gave Scott Jurek a series of tickets after he celebrated his new Appalachian Trail record on top of the mountain with a champagne celebration. In the end, four tickets were given out, one “for the drinking of alcoholic beverages in public places (BSP Rule 7 and Maine State General Law)” one “for littering (BSP Rule 4.5)” and one “for hiking with an oversize group (BSP Rule 2.2).” “In addition, media personnel were issued a summons for violation of a commercial media permit which prohibited filming within 500′ of Baxter Peak.”

The summons sound legitimate until you realize the littering charge was for champagne hitting the ground and read Bissell’s sanctimonious lengthy Facebook post on the mountain’s Facebook page where he ripped the record attempt for ending in Baxter State Park:

“Scott Jurek’s recent completion of the Appalachian Trail in the shortest time on record is a remarkable physical accomplishment. With all due respect to Mr. Jurek’s ability, Baxter State Park was not the appropriate place for such an event.”

More: Scott Jurek Was Ticketed By Park Rangers For Breaking Rules Against Drinking After He Celebrated Breaking The Appalachian Trail Record
*MB: Scott Jurek illegal littering and drinking at Maine state park???

#2 – Nick Willis On His Doping Fears

“My biggest fear is when sponsors are effectively in charge of the whole sport. People are scared of saying anything negative which might reflect poorly on their sponsor because they want to get into future races and negotiate better contracts.”

– Nick Willis talking about doping and the state of the sport. We 100% agree. If shoe companies truly cared about the sport to being clean, it would be a A LOT cleaner. We think shoe companies should include bonuses in shoe contracts for any athletes that help uncover a doping violation.

#3 – Nick Willis On The Secret To His Success – His Assistant Coach (Two-Year-Old Son Lachlan)

“When he copies my wife and yells ‘arms, Daddy, arms’ [in reference to working them like pistons] on a hill workout in the sun in some foreign land, it makes you realise what a special treat this is.”

–  Nick Willis talking to the New Zealand Herald about making living “six months a year out of a suitcase” a family affair.

#4 – Tiffany Porter Is Excited To Be Representing GBR Along With Her Sister — Just With One Caveat

 “The day my baby sister beats me is the day I retire from track and field.”

 “I’m just really excited for what the Ofili sisters have in store. As long as I am No 1!”

Tiffany Porter talking about her sister Cindy Ofili eight years ago (first sentence) and then last week in The Telegraph.

More: Tiffany Porter: I can’t wait to represent Great Britain with my sister – as long as she doesn’t beat me
*Video Interview With The Two Sisters After Their 1-2 Finish At British Champs

#5 – Robby Andrews talks about why he’s a 1500 guy

The 1,500 is my strong suit. I have more potential in the 1,500. It plays to my strengths. Coach [Jason] Vigilante told me that in the 1,500, I’d be closing in 1:48, and to do that I had to run 1:44. [The 1,500] was the longterm goal.”

More: Robby Andrews Talks About The Decision To Do The 1500 Rather Than The 800 At USAs/Worlds

#6 – South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk On Breaking 20 in the 200

“Every year since I started running the 200m I’ve crossed the line hoping that the clock shows 19.”

– South African Wayde van Niekerk talking after running 19.94 in Lucerne. That being said, he said his focus is still on the 400 where he’s run 43.96 this year.

More: South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk Excited To Break 20 Seconds In The 200, But Says The Focus Is Still On The 400

#7 – Some Praise/Criticism For Asafa Powell 

“Based on what we know of Asafa, expectations should be moderated by common sense and history. For sure, he looks a much more relaxed sprinter and different individual. His race execution generally has improved some in this, the first full season of taking coaching instructions from his brother Donovan. Asafa seems to be a man on a redemption mission.

“This is one occasion, however, where heading into a major championship, I would be willing to settle for a simple medal podium finish for Asafa. My sincere hope is that he will not totally implode and be right there in the mix in that 100m final in Beijing. He should at least win a medal, if he wins the gold it will be a massive bonus.”

– excerpt from a column in the Jamaica Gleaner perfectly titled “RESPECT IS DUE TO ASAFA, BUT ….” Last week, Powell recorded his 90th sub-10 in his career, but despite that, Powell has just two individual medals to his name (bronzes in 2007 and 2009).

Fast Sprinting At World Youths / Is Sammy Watson America’s Next 800 Star?

The 2015 World Youth championships (under 18) were held last week in Colombia. You can look at all of the medal winners here but the short sprints stood out to us.

Could the next sprinting phenom actually be Japanese? Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Ghanaian father, Japanese mother) set championship records at in both the 100 (10.28, despite -0.4 wind) and 200 (20.34). He’s just 16 years old.

On the women’s side, American Candace Hill continued her sprint domination as she ran 11.08 (championship record, despite -0.7 wind) and 22.43 (World Youth record despite -0.7 wind) for double gold.

Sammy Watson at New Balance Nationals

Sammy Watson at New Balance Nationals

There was one US mid-d/distance medal and it was gold for Rochester, N.Y.’s Sammy Watson. The 15-year-old lowered her pb to a stellar 2:03.55. For comparison’s sake, Ajee Wilson‘s pb at age 15 was 2:07.08. At age 16, Wilson ran 2:04.18, at 17, she ran 2:02.64, and at 18, she ran 2:00.97.

In June, at the New York state meet, the sophomore Watson ran a NY state record for 400 of 52.69 without using starting blocks. At the time, her 800 pb was 2:07.86. She improved that to 2:07.02 to win the New Balance Outdoor Nationals an and then to 2:04.27 at the US trials before running 2:03.55 in Colombia.

After winning gold, she got a great reception at the airport when she returned home as “a group of about 50 relatives, teammates, schoolmates, school officials, coaches and members of the media” met her at the airport.

More: Sammy Watson arrives in Rochester as a world champion
Rush-Henrietta’s Sammy Watson returns home with gold
Rush-Henrietta’s Sammy Watson sensational at state meet
World Youth Medal Winners

Oregon Gets Some More Transfers

The Oregon women’s track team picked up two huge transfers as Big 12 indoor freshman of the year Hannah Cunliffe (7.28 for 60 at University of Oklahoma) and SEC 800 champ Brooke Feldmeier (Ole Miss) said they were transferring to Oregon.

More:  MB: Hannah Cunliffe transferring to Oregon from Oklahoma…

Recommended Reads

14-Year-Old Amaris Tyynismaa Has Used Running To Almost “Cure” Her Tourette Syndrome In the process she’s become one of the country’s top young runners, running times that could have qualified her for Foot Lockers as an 8th grader. Article has a good quote from her coach who said, “My biggest fear, once I realized how really, really good she is, was that I didn’t want to be the guy who breaks her.”

Interesting Stuff: Statistical Analysis Of Genzebe Dibaba’s 3:50.07 And Other World Records: Will Other Previously “Untouchable” Records Fall Too? Crazy Stat: Dibaba closed in 2:01.7 for the last 800m, which would have made her the 8th-fastest Ethiopian woman in the 800m ever. *Stat Analysis From Before Dibaba’s WR Saying How Many Women’s WRs Are “Unphysiological”

Good Q&A With Shannon Rowbury About Running 3:56.29 To Break The American 1500 Record In Monaco Rowbury talks about her rivalry with Jenny Simpson, medaling at worlds, training with NOP and her thoughts on the Turkish dopers who placed ahead of her at the 2012 Olympics.
*MB: Shannon Rowbury Fires back at Jenny Simpson
*LRC  Genzebe Dibaba Runs 3:50.07 To Smash 1,500m World Record!!! Shannon Rowbury Crushes AR!

IAAF Inside Athletics Interview With Usain Bolt Ato Boldon has a lengthy video interview with Bolt talking about Rio 2016, why Bolt doesn’t do the 400 and his biggest sacrifices. Bolt says it’s a problem being so tall because he is “unable to hide” and is spotted wherever he goes.

Nick Willis Talks About Making Living “Six Months A Year Out Of A Suitcase” A Family Affair “When he copies my wife and yells ‘arms, Daddy, arms’ [in reference to working them like pistons] on a hill workout in the sun in some foreign land, it makes you realise what a special treat this is.”

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. Past editions of The Week That Was can be found here. Questions or comments? Please email us or post them in our running fan forum.

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