WTW: The 2nd-Greatest Year In US 10,000 History, Molly Huddle Refuses To Feel Sorry For Herself, LetsRun Hits The Road In Maine, And A 5th Olympic Team For Abdi?

by LetsRun.com
September 9, 2015

Our weekly recap – the Week That Was – appears below.

If you missed our analysis of the first Diamond League final in Zurich, you can relive it here: 2015 Weltklasse Zurich Full Meet Recap: Asbel Reigns Supreme, Ayana Takes Down Dibaba (Again), Eunice Sum Rebounds as David Rudisha and the Steeplechase Medallists Struggle.

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.

Stat of the Week

7 – number of Kenyans that broke 28:00 on the road last week at the 20th Birell Grand Prix road race in Prague (the race was won by Daniel Chebii in 27:42).

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10 – number of Americans that have broken 28:00 this year for 10,000 on the track.

Research by LetsRun.com reveals that 10 is the second most sub-28s in US history. The record is 14, which came in 2012.  The 2000s have been a great time period for US 10,000 runners. Up until 2000, only 24 US men had ever broken 28:00. Now 64 US men have done. So 40 Americans have broken 28:00 for the first time in their careers since the start of 2000.

# of Sub-28:00s by US Men By Year Since 2000
2015 – 10
2014 – 2
2013 –  8
2012 – 14
2011 – 7
2010 – 4
2009 – 4
2008 – 9
2007 – 8
2006 – 5
2005 – 2
2004 – 5
2003 – 4
2002 – 6
2001 – 2
2000 – 3

Update: Former American steeple record holder George Malley has come up with the other years:

1999 2
1998 0
1997 1
1996 0
1995 2
1993 1
1992 1
1991 2
1990 2
1989 2
1988 1
1987 1
1986 5
1985 4
1984 8
1983 3
1982 4
1981 3
1980 3
1979 1
1978 2
1977 0
1976 3
1975 1
1974 1
1973 0
1972 1

Women’s 10,000 News

In the women’s race at the Birell Grand Prix, previously unheralded Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir, just 21, ran a 30:55 pb to get the win. The win in our minds certainly supports Molly Huddle‘s theory that the medal opportunity in the women’s 10,000 at Worlds was indeed a once in a career opportunity. Had Tirunesh Dibaba been at Worlds, Huddle and Emily Infeld would have been kicking for 4th. Throw in a top young talent like Jepchirchir in 2016 and they might be kicking for 5th.

Infeld, Flanagan and Huddle earlier this year Infeld, Huddle and Flanagan earlier this year

Of course, last week, Infeld’s training partner, Shalane Flanagan, whom Infeld beat by nearly three seconds in Beijing, ran a new American road record of 31:03 at the 23rd Rabobank Tilburg Ladies Run 10-K in the Netherlands. So maybe Infeld is in 31:00 shape this year. The question becomes, can Infeld become a 30:30 runner by 2016 as it normally takes that type of fitness to medal?

Flanagan’s record erases Lynn Jennings‘s 25-year-old mark of 31:06 from the books.

Props to Molly Huddle / A Historic 5th Olympic Team for Abdi Abdirahman?

2015 US 20k Results

MEN (gun times) –
1. Jared Ward, 26, Provo, UT                59:24 PB $10,000
[10K halves: 29:49 / 29:35]
2. Sam Chelanga, 30, Tucson, AZ             59:25 PB   5,000
3. Dathan Ritzenhein, 32, Belmont, MI       59:27      2,500
4. Luke Puskedra, 25, Ogden, UT             59:30      1,500
5. Tyler Pennel, 27, Blowing Rock, NC       59:35 PB   1,000
6. Abdi Abdirahman, 36, Tucson, AZ        1:00:09        700

WOMEN (gun times) –
1. Molly Huddle, 31, Providence, RI       1:06:26 PB  $10,000
[10K halves: 33:16 / 33:10]
2. Janet Bawcom, 37, Flagstaff, AZ        1:07:26 PB   5,000
3. Brianne Nelson, 34, Golden, CO         1:07:28 PB   2,500
4. Neely Spence Gracey, 25, Boulder, CO   1:08:02 PB   1,500
5. Blake Russell, 40, Pacific Grove, CA   1:09:00      1,000
6. Tara Welling*, 26, Portland, OR        1:09:12 PB     700

Speaking of the women’s 10,000, Molly Huddle deserves some props for overcoming her early celebration in Beijing quickly. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Huddle responded by crushing the competition last week at the US 20k championships in New Haven at the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race, winning by a minute in 1:06:26.

The men’s title in New Haven was won by Jared Ward (59:24), who also has won the US marathon champs (2:12:56) and 25k champs (1:14:57) this year. He certainly will be among the people viewed as an Olympic hopeful when the 2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials gun goes off early next year.

Speaking of the Olympic Trials, one name further down the list of results in New Haven caught our attention – 6th placer Abdi Abdiraham (60:09). That result certainly was the best of the year for the 38-year old Abdirahman and likely gives him and his fans hope that he could soon do something that no male US track and field athlete has ever done – not Carl Lewis, not Frank Shorter, not Jesse Owens – make a 5th Olympic team.

Two female US track and field athletes  have competed in 5 Olympics – Willye White (1956-1972) and Gail Devers (1988-2004) – but no men. US sprinter Willie Davenport was a five-time Olympian but only four of those Olympic appearances were at the Summer Games (1964-1976). His 5th Olympic appearance was at the 1980 Winter Games.

Props to Jairus Birech

*Editor’s Note: We received word that the Birech who ran the 60:23 half-marathon in France was actually Jarius Birech‘s brother, Cosmas Jairus Birech.

Birech last year at the Continental Cup

Jairus Birech has had a busy few weeks. The Kenyan Trials and Diamond League winner in the steeple has had the following race schedule the last few weeks.

August 22nd – Won his heat in Beijing in 8:25.77.
August 24th – finished a disappointing 4th in Beijing in 8:12.62.
September 3rd – won the $40,000 DL title by finishing 2nd in Zurich in 8:15.64.

If you thought given the fact that he’d run three steeples in the span of 11 days that Birech was exhausted think again. On Saturday, just two days after his DL steeple in Zurich, he set a new pb at a half marathon in France. At the 30th Semi-Marathon International de Lille Métropole in Lille, he ran a 60:23 pb. That’s the good news. The bad news is much like in Beijing, it was a tight finish up front. Birech was only 4th as the top finishers (including race winner Stephen Chebogut) ran 60:19.

Thumbs up to the meet organizers of the 3rd Flame Games in Amsterdam. According to Race Results Weekly, the “organizers used a “knockout” format in which the last place athlete at 500m, 700m, 900m and 1100m was forced to drop out.”

We’d love to see a video of the race so if you can find one, email us. We’ve always thought there are plenty of ways to make distance races more interesting. At the start of a men’s 5000, we’d love to see meet organizers draw a number out of a hat and that means that lap has to be run under 60.00 or you are DQ’d. Do you have any crazy ideas on how to make distance races more interesting? Post them here: MB: Creative ways to make boring distance races exciting – let’s hear them. Post them now.

Women’s 1500 Results from 2015 Flame Games.
1. Gudaf TSEGAY, ETH, 4:09.24
2. Angelika CICHOCKA, POL, 4:10.69
3. Selah BUSIENEI, KEN, 4:11.06
4. Susan KUIJKEN, NED, 4:11.75
5. Mimi BELETE, BRN, 4:12.28
6. Katie MACKEY, USA, 4:13.97
7. Karoline Bjerkeli GRØVDAL, NOR, 4:15.62
8. Danuta URBANIK, POL, 4:16.22
Kristine Eikrem ENGESET, NOR, DNF
Lydia WAFULA, KEN, DNF (pace)

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

“I was a sprinter, not a runner.

“I don’t ever run anymore.”

-sprint great Carl Lewis talking last week in a Wall Street Journal feature on his current fitness routine. Lewis stays fit by doing aerial yoga.

MB: Carl Lewis swinging on silks in the WSJ. In tights, no less. The whole world thinks T&F athletes are sissies…

Tweet of The Week

Video of the Week

The mascot for the Zurich Diamond league meet is more than just quite a character – he’s also a great pole vaulter.

LetsRun.com has been unable to confirm that the Zurich mascot is a relative of the world’s greatest mascot Berlino, despite their facial similarities.

Recommended Reads/Listens

Some of our favorite articles/podcasts from the last week appear below.

Ato Boldon Interviews Hicham El Guerrouj For IAAF Inside Athletics El Guerrouj talks about overtraining for the Sydney Olympics out of “fear,” winning double gold in Athens and how he thinks Asbel Kiprop can get his 1500 WR.

Martyn Rooney Missed The Birth Of His Son To Anchor The GB 4×400 To A Dramatic Bronze Medal “Now I can take a medal home to my baby.”
*Rooney Joked About Naming His Son “Bird’s Nest” “I couldn’t go home without bringing something back to my wife. I’m proud of what she’s done and hopefully she’s proud of me.”

How Did The World Champions Celebrate Their Victories In Beijing? Some drank. Some didn’t. All were up very late.

IAAF Profile On Allyson Felix Felix talks about the decision to challenge herself with the 400 this year and the possible 200-400 double at Rio 2016.

Steve Magness Podcast Interview With Phoebe Wright On Mindsets, Struggles And What It Takes To Run Professionally A lot of great insights into elite running on the college and pro level and the transition in between.

Successful Kidney Implant Behind Him, Aries Merritt Is Optimistic About Repeating His Success From 2012 In 2016 (includes video) Merritt’s doctor talks about how they had to avoid using EPO (which is a normal treatment method) so he could stay eligible and how amazing it was Merritt could get bronze at Worlds in the condition he was in. Leslie F.Thomas: “His blood is toxic by the time he has to race, and to be able to focus and concentrate at that level. I think determination and his will to win are the secret sauce. Certainly, with his kidney function, it showed you how much willpower means compared to the biology.”

Philip Hersh For The Chicago Tribune: “US Wins At Ballot Box, Loses In Sport At Track And Field Worlds” “It seems pretty clear the U.S. federation leaders had their eyes on the wrong prizes – places within IAAF governance rather than places on the awards podium.”Call it karma: in a sport foundering under doping problems, tone deaf USATF grandees quietly made confessed doper Dennis Mitchell the U.S. relay program director this year. That one, you can blame entirely on the leadership.”

David Woods For The Indy Star: Beijing Was One Of The US’s Worst Worlds Ever, But That Doesn’t Mean We Have To Panic For Rio The US won its fewest medals (18) since 2003 when doping bans dropped the total from 20 to 16. The US also took home zero gold medals in men’s individual running events, something that had never happened since the modern Olympic Games debuted in 1896.

UK Independent: “Legacy Of Doping Means Clean Wins Meet With Distrust” Drug cheats ruin the sport for clean athletes and fans because even if the clean athletes win, they’re still under suspicion.

Paul Kimmage Rips BBC’s Former Athletes For Biased Stances When It Comes To Doping Kimmage says they unfairly vilify Justin Gatlin while giving other athletes (like UK’s Linford Christie) a pass.

NZ Distance Runner Kim Smith Is Lucky To Be Alive After Several Large Clots Were Found In Her Lungs After Giving Birth To Her First Child She had surgery to get rid of the clots, but will have to stay on blood thinners for the rest of her life.

Did You Never Make It To High School Nationals? Well You’re In Good Company With Asbel Kiprop Kiprop also talks about his desire to win another world title and break the WR so he can be as great as El Guerrouj, his love for rally racing and possibly racing Mo Farah over 5000m next year.

Previous Recommended Reads from other weeks can be found here.

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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