WTW: We Double Down On Ryan Hall, Give Some Love To The Valencia Half And Abraham Cheroben, Try To Figure Out When Kenya And Ethiopia Got Good At The Marathon And Triple Jump Mania In Brazil

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by LetsRun.com
October 19, 2015

Our weekly recap – the Week That Was – appears below. Past editions of The Week That Was can be found here.

We already provided many of our thoughts on the top collegeiate meet of the weekend the 2015 Wisconsin adidas Invitational in a separate article – LRC Wisconsin adidas Invitational Recap: New Mexico Women (32 Points) Crush It; Wins For Syracuse Men (101 Points), Frosh Allie Ostrander (19:21 CR) And Marc Scott (23:35) .

Questions or comments? Please email us or post them in our fan forum.

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Before we get started, we need to make a correction from last week. Last week, we gave props to Steve Jones for running 2:07:16 in Chicago in 1985 without rabbits. That wasn’t correct. He had a rabbit – sort of. The rabbit couldn’t make it more than four miles at the blistering pace Jones was running according to this article on FleetFeetBoulder.com. The article has a great quote from the race. After being clipped by Boulder-based Kenyan Simeon Kigen, who had run 2:10:14 in 1984, Jones asked Kigen to take the lead. Kigen replied, “No thank you, I am fine where I am.”

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Stat of the Week I

106 – days between the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon and the proposed 2016 Kenyan Olympic Marathon Trials.

120 – days between the Virgin Money London Marathon and the men’s Olympic marathon.

Last week, Athletics Kenya announced they’ll be having a mid-February Olympic trials as they don’t think the runners have enough time to get ready for the Olympics after a spring marathon. So now they’ll have even less time to get ready for the Trials. Brilliant.

We ripped the announcement:LRC It’s Official: David Okeyo And Athletics Kenya Really Don’t Understand The Sport – Announcing A February Marathon Trials In The Middle Of October Is Ridiculous

Having a February trials isn’t a bad idea (if they could get a huge prize purse which seems unlikely), but announcing it in mid-October of the year before is absurd. Additionally, at least the last 10 World Champs in the marathon all ran an April marathon.

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We had to laugh when we searched for photos of Joanie and found this one

We Double Down – Ryan Hall Has Had A Great Marathon Career

Last week, a few people got very upset when we tried to defend Ryan Hall by comparing him to American icon Joan Benoit Samuelson in terms of the age when they ran their last really fast marathon. Let us be clear, we weren’t trying to say that Hall is equal to Samuelson in the sense of being an Olympic champion or trailblazer for an entire sex of runners. We were just defending Hall’s career by saying his inability to run a fast marathon after age 29 isn’t that abnormal.

A number of people weren’t happy about our comparison. Take this excerpt from an email we got:

“[Joanie] is the epitome of what a distance runner should be, and what tens of thousands of competitive runners at all levels aspire to. She was completely committed to the pursuit of excellence. She was incredibly competitive. She was laser focused. She was absolutely determined not to be deterred by obstacles in her path, even seemingly huge ones. She was tough as nails. She was a winner.

“Unfortunately, Ryan Hall is none of those. He is obviously an extremely talented athlete who had some outstanding performances. But he was never able to put one together on the big stage. The closest he came was his pr in Boston, which was clearly an outstanding race. But it was just as clearly massively wind-aided. More importantly, it was a time, not a championship. And he has never come close to it since, in any sense. His career is littered with did-not-finish’s, did-not-start’s, a multitude of excuses why, abandonment of anything even resembling competent coaching, many poor performances, and frankly bizarre behavior.”

Perhaps comparing Hall to Samuelson (who lost some years when she gave birth at 30 and 33) wasn’t the smartest thing to do but we think the emailer’s second paragraph is simply false. Hall has had a great career and many times has been able to “put on together on a big stage.” Anyone remember this from his marathon debut in London in 2007?

He hasn’t come close to winning a major but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t run great time after time. Case in point:

Ryan Hall finishing his marathon debut in London

Stat of the Week II
Most sub-2:10s by Non-African-Born Americans

Ryan Hall 8
Alberto Salazar 4
Dathan Ritzenhein 3 (plus one 2:10:00)
Bill Rodgers 2
Dick Beardsley 2
Alan Culpepper 1
Benji Durden 1
Bob Kempainen 1
David Morris 1
Greg Meyer 1
Jerry Lawson 1
Ken Martin 1
Ron Tabb 1
Total 27

Hall has nearly one-third of the entire sub-2:10s produced by Americans not born in Africa (Meb leads the list of Americans period at 9). For comparison’s sake, an all-time great like four-time major champ Geoffrey Mutai has 10, as does two-time world champ Abel Kirui (who failed to break 2:10 last week in Amsterdam where he ran 2:10:55).

More: MB: Ryan Hall=Joan Benoit Samuelson? 
*LRC Week That Was: Ryan Hall = Joan Benoit?, Chicago Drops Pacers, We Celebrate Steve Jones’ 1985 Run, Great Advice From Joe Newton

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Stat of the Week III

In the Ryan Hall = Joan Benoit Samuelson thread last week, we came up with the following stat.

April 24, 1994 – first time that a Kenyan woman broke 2:30 in the marathon (Angelina Kanana ran 2:29:59 in Hamburg)

March 24, 1996first time that an Ethiopian woman broke 2:30 in the marathon (Fatuma Roba ran 2:29:05 in Rome)

In case you are wondering about the men, here is what we’ve come up with.

October 19, 1983 – first time a Kenyan man broke 2:10 in the marathon (Joseph Nzau ran 2:09:45 in Chicago)

April 14, 1985 – first time that an Ethiopian man broke 2:10 in the marathon (Abebe Mekonnen ran 2:09:05 in Hiroshima)

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Stat of the Week IV

42.9% – percent of total Olympic track and field medals for Brazil that have come in the triple jump.

The bad news for Brazil, which has won just 14 total medals in athletics over the years, is their top male triple jumper was just 38th in the world this year for men (Harold Correa) and 21st for the women (Keila Costa). Maybe triple jump fans in Brazil will at least get to see a new world record by Christian Taylor or Pedro Pablo Pichardo next year in Rio.

More: 299 days until the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics – a look at the best Brazlian track and field athletics over the years

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Valencia Photo from Race Organizers

Valencia Photo from Race Organizers

Valencia Half Marathon and Abraham Cheroben – We Bet You’ve Never Heard of Him And He’s Leading the World for the 2nd Year in a Row

The Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon took place in Spain this past weekend and 22-year old Abraham Cheroben of Kenya got the win in a world-leading 59:10. Last year in Valencia, Cheroben surprised with a 58:48 world leader and this year he backed it up with another world leader. Cheroben’s career demonstrates that the focus in Kenya has shifted to the roads. All-athletics.com shows no track races for him EVER. He blitzed a 27:35 10k on the roads this year, but we likely will never know what his potential is on the track as almost certainly his next move in distance will be up to the marathon.

One thing we know is Valencia is starting to make a name for itself for being fast. Race organizers said their aim is “being the fastest half marathon in the world” and getting a world leader two years in a row helps. Getting fast times doesn’t happen by chance. Organizers this year wanted to bring in 10 guys who had run under 60:00, including Leonard Komon, the Kenyan 10k and 15k record holder on the roads, and let them race and see what happens. (Komon faded to 16th in 1:02:53). *Valencia recap

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Toronto and Amsterdam Marathons

Down Goes Cherop

Down Goes Cherop

There were two big international marathons last weekend, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the TCS Amsterdam Marathon.

In Toronto, Ethiopia’s Shure Demise got the win in 2:23:37 while Ishhimael Chemtan outsprinted Gilbert Kirwa to win by 1 second in 2:09:00 on the men’s side.

Getting the most attention on LetsRun was the battle for 2nd in the women’s race. (See: “Crazy battle for second place in Toronto Women’s Marathon – did race organizers get it wrong?“) Toronto’s final straight is way too short and Fatuma Sado and Sharon Cherop rounded the final turn within a stride of one another. Sado stayed in front as Cherop tried to come from behind and pass her extending her arm out as they bumped. Cherop never got by Sado and then fell to the ground clearly crossing the line in third.

Somehow the timing system originally gave second to Cherop which would have been a terrible decision. Then race organizers reversed course and decided to give both athletes the second place money. A nice gesture, but we’re not sure why. Cherop was clearly third and some have argued if anything she should have been DQ’d for extending her arm out (we disagree). However, she definitely wasn’t 2nd. (Picture of them colliding before the fall at the right and you can watch the finish battle here at Trackie.ca). *Toronto Recap

Jerome Drayton’s Canadian Marathon Record Will Turn 40
Toronto also served as the Canadian champs and Eric Gillis won on the men’s side in 2:11:31 while Lanni Marchant won on the women’s side in 2:28:09 just missing her 2:28:00 Canadian record. Gillis’ run meant that Jerome Drayton’s 2:10:09 Canadian record from 1975 will turn 40 on December 7. Gillis’ training partner Reid Coolsaet ran 2:10:28 in Berlin this year. Eight times Gillis and Coolsaet have run under 2:12, but never under 2:10:09.

Amsterdam – Tiki Gelana DNF
In Amsterdam Bernard Kipyego and Joyce Chepkirui got the wins in a cold rain. Don’t think poor weather means you can’t run fast as Kipyego ran a 2:06:19 pr.

However, the race was equally as newsworthy for two runners who didn’t do well. 2012 Olympic champ Tiki Gelana, who won Rotterdam in 2:18:58 in 2012 and then won the Olympics but hasn’t run under 2:24:06 since, dropped out. On the men’s side, two-time World champ Abel Kirui said before the race he might be in pr shape (2:05:04) but he was only 10th in 2:10:55. He ran 2:09:04 in Tokyo earlier this year after not recording a marathon finish in 2013 due to injury. *IAAF Recap of Amsterdam

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This Week’s Sign of the Apocalypse

“We have discovered we are capable of winning medals in the walk race. We are going to have the trials, either here in Kenya alongside three other nations, or take them abroad in one of the challenges.”

David Okeyo, Athletics Kenya vice president, announcing that Kenya will start going after medals in the walks.

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

#1 Running A Marathon (Slowly) Doesn’t Mean You’re Likely To Lose Weight

“This idea that you’re going to run a marathon and the pounds are going to melt away is not realistic….Just because you cross the finish line doesn’t mean you were running at a really vigorous pace seven days a week. You’re so focused on going far, so you’re not necessarily doing a vigorous run.’

– Harvard University’s lifestyle and nutrition researcher, Mary Kennedy, talking about a study she did of 64 charity runners which showed that 75% neither gained nor lost much weight.

This confirms what one ex-All American cross country runner, who put on a ton of weight in his first five years after college, told us when he started running again to try to get the lbs off – “I’m convinced you have to run hard to get the weight off.”

More: The pointlessness of the long distance runner: You can run as many marathons as you like but you’ll still be fat, say scientists

#2 Winning Isn’t The Goal – Even For Gold Medallists

“I never really approached finishing first as winning. To me, it was to find out just how well I could do. The willingness to find out is what’s important – and to not be afraid to find out. And if you truly feel that you have given everything you have, you should be happy with the results.”

-1972 Olympic marathon champ Frank Shorter talking to Dave Hunter of RunBlogRun.

#3 Usain Bolt Likely Feels The Same

“No one chooses the 400m, I don’t think. Hopefully I won’t end up as a 400m individual, but I can’t rule it out I don’t think.”

-Brit Jodie Wiliams, who was a World Youth champ at 100/200 in 2009 and World Junior 100 champ in 2010, announcing to Athletics Weekly that she’ll be training for the 200/400 this year, with the focus being the 200 and the 400 being for the 4 x 400. Moving up to the 400 individually might be the right call as her pbs are just 11.2022.46.

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College Sprinting Gets Decimated – Or Maybe Not

Last week on the collegiate front, there was a big development as Baylor’s Trayvon Bromell went pro by signing with Ricky Simms and New Balance after his sophomore year. After that, some in the Canadian media also reported that USC’s Andre De Gasse was going pro but that rumor was shot down by De Grasse’s mother. Even if De Grasse goes pro, there will still be a lot of top sprint action in the NCAA next year. Here are the top eight returners for next year, assuming De Grasse is at USC.

Rank Name Class (’15-’16) School ’15 SB (wind-aided) ’15 SB (wind-legal)
1 De Grasse, Andre SR-4 USC 9.87 9.92
2 Hester, Tevin SR-4 Clemson 9.87 10.05
3 Baker, Ronnie SR-4 TCU 9.94 10.05
4 Teeters, John SR-4 Oklahoma State 9.98 10.07
5 Williams, Kendal SO-2 Florida State 9.98 10.07
6 Robinson, Bryce SR-4 Tulsa 9.99 9.99
7 Givans, Senoj-Jay JR-3 Texas 9.97 10.03
8 Bacon, Jaylen SO-2 Arkansas State 10.10 10.10

More: LRC Baylor’s Trayvon Bromell Goes Pro With New Balance A big signing for New Balance as it gets into the sprint game, locking up the services of the world junior record holder and the future of American sprinting. Also big for Ricky Simms (Bromell’s new agent) as he’ll stay in the sprint game after Usain Bolt retires.
*MB: Trayvon Bromell signs with New Balance

Andre De Grasse’s Mom Denies Report He Is Going Pro Earlier we had the news that theToronto Star reported that Canadian sprint star Andre De Grasse was going pro. Now his mother is denying the report and said De Grasse doesn’t even have an agent. Further proof very little good has come out of Toronto this week*Discuss

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Big And Important Calls For More Independent Drug Testing

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Recommended Read

The Story Behind Peter Norman, The White Guy In The Black Power Salute Photo With John Carlos And Tommie Smith At The 1968 Olympics 

Recommended Reads from past weeks can be found here.

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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.


Questions or comments? Please email us or post them in our running fan forum.


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