WTW: Putting Mary Cain’s Struggles In Perspective, Fast Times At Stanford, Will Jim Ryun’s Collegiate 800 Record Survive To See Its 50th Birthday + Would A Swede Have Made The Olympics If Not For Meet Management At Stanford?

The Week That Was In Running – April 25 – May 1, 2016

By LetsRun.com
May 3, 2016

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

Stanford Results In A Lot of New 2016 NCAA DI Leaders 

There were quite a few new collegiate leaders set last week, some of which have some historical implications, which we talk about after showing you the new NCAA-leading marks. The NCAA DI leaders from last week were as follows.

McBride Won a Tight NCAAs in 2015 McBride Won a Tight NCAAs in 2014

Men’s 800

1 McBride, Brandon SR-4 Miss State 1:44.63 Jace LaCoste- Mississippi State Invitational

Men’s 1500

1 Yorks, Izaic SR-4 Washington 3:37.74 Payton Jordan Invitational

Men’s Steeple

1 Ferlic, Mason SR-4 Michigan 8:28.77 Payton Jordan Invitational

Men’s 5000 

1 McGorty, Sean SO-2 Stanford 13:24.25 Payton Jordan Invitational

Men’s 10,000

1 Zienasellassie, Futsum JR-3 Northern Arizona 27:52.70 Payton Jordan Invitational

Men’s 4 x 100

1 LSU 38.93 Flournoy, Howell, Acy, Mitchell-Blake LSU Invitational

Women’s 800

1 Baker, Olivia SO-2 Stanford 2:01.02 Payton Jordan Invitational

Women’s Steeple

1 Frerichs, Courtney SR-4 New Mexico 9:29.31 Payton Jordan Invitational

Women’s 10,000

1 Scott, Dominique SR-4 Arkansas 31:56.84 Payton Jordan Invitational

Women’s Hammer

1 Price, DeAnna SR-4 Southern Illinois 238′ 5″ 72.66m SIUe vs SIUC

The most historical mark put up last week was the sensational 1:44.63 800 by Mississippi State’s Brandon McBride. He ran that at home in a race where second place was 1:53 to move to #3 all-time in NCAA history. With NCAA indoor champ Clayton Murphy running great and BYU’s Shaquille Walker also under 1:45 this year (1:44.99), is it possible that the longstanding 1:44.3 collegiate record of Jim Ryun falls in its 50th year of existence?

Doesn’t that just blow your mind? Yes, you read that correctly. The collegiate record is 1:44.3 and Jim Ryun ran that in Terre Haute, Ind., on June 10, 1966.

The 5 Fastest Collegians Ever at 800 *list via TFN
1:44.3+ Jim Ryun (Kansas) 06/10/66
1:44.55 Julius Achon (George Mason) 05/04/96
1:44.63 Brandon McBride (Mississippi St) 04/30/16
1:44.70 Mark Everett (Florida) 06/01/90
1:44.71 Cory Primm (UCLA) 05/21/11

Article continues below player.

Speaking of Walker, it’s worth pointing out he only split 1:51.18 on the anchor of the SMR at Penn.

More: MB:  Mcbride 144.63 

Sean McGorty‘s 13:24.25 5000 makes him the 10th-fastest American collegian ever and he’s only a sophomore, knocking Jorge Torres (13:24.56) of the top 10. That’s the good news. The bad news – he’s only 4th all-time at Stanford.

The 10 Fastest Americans Ever at 5000 *list via TFN
13:18.12i Galen Rupp (Oregon) 02/13/09
13:18.46 Brent Vaughn (Colorado) 05/04/08
13:18.57 Eric Jenkins (Northeastern) 04/28/13
13:19.22 Rudy Chapa (Oregon) 04/07/79
13:19.58i Chris Derrick (Stanford) 02/11/12
13:20.43 Josh McDougal (Liberty) 04/13/07
13:21.0  Gerry Lindgren (Washington St) 05/14/66
13:22.32 Ryan Hall (Stanford) 06/11/05
13:22.54 Ian Dobson (Stanford) 06/11/05
13:24.25 Sean McGorty (Stanford) 05/01/16

Futsum Zienasellassie‘s 27:52.70 makes him the 6th-fastest American collegian ever and now means that 10 Americans have broken 28:00 in college as Sean Quigley (28:03.72) gets bumped out of the top 10.

The 10 Fastest American Collegians in History at 10,000 *list via TFN
27:31.38 Chris Derrick (Stanford) 04/29/12
27:33.48 Galen Rupp (Oregon) 04/29/07
27:38.50 Dathan Ritzenhein (Colorado) 04/30/04
27:41.05 Ed Eyestone (BYU) 04/27/85
27:52.38 Girma Mecheso (Oklahoma St) 04/28/13
27:52.70 Futsum Zienasellassie (NAU) 05/01/2016
27:54.25 Jason Witt (BYU) 05/02/15
27:55.86 Josh Rohatinsky (BYU) 04/29/07
27:59.43 Craig Virgin (Illinois) 06/22/76
27:59.72 Ian Dobson (Stanford) 05/01/05

On the women’s side of the ledger, Courtney Frerichs was already the #4 steepler in NCAA history thanks to the 9:31.36 she ran for UMKC last year. Now she’s #3 for New Mexico.

The 10 Fastest Collegiate Steeplers in History *list via TFN
9:25.54 Jenny Simpson (Colorado) 06/12/09
9:28.26 Emma Coburn (Colorado) 04/28/13
9:29.31 Courtney Frerichs (New Mexico) 05/01/16
9:29.32 Colleen Quigley (Florida St) 06/13/15
9:33.38 Leah O’Connor (Michigan St) 06/13/15
9:37.84 Marisa Howard (Boise St) 06/13/15
9:38.08 Anna Willard (Michigan) 06/08/07
9:38.86 Bridget Franek (Penn St) 06/12/10
9:39.12 Shalaya Kipp (Colorado) 05/04/14
9:39.38 Nicole Bush (Michigan St) 05/02/09

One thing worth pointing out about the top 10 collegiate women’s steeple list. They are all Americans. The women’s list has a ways to go to match the international diversity of the men’s list, where only four of the top 10 all-time are American. One reason why U.S. women excel in some sports on an international level to a higher degree than the men is the rest of the world is much more sexist and athletic opportunities are less plentiful in nature.

In the 10,000, Arkansas’ Dominique Scott moved to #6 all-time in collegiate history with her 31:56.84 clocking.

The 10 Fastest Collegians at 10,000 *list via TFN
31:18.07 Lisa Uhl (Iowa St) 03/26/10
31:25.45 Sally Kipyego (Texas Tech) 05/04/08
31:37.22 Betsy Saina (Iowa St) 04/28/13
31:38.03 Emily Sisson (Providence) 05/02/15
31:41.44 Kate Avery (Iona) 05/02/15
31:51.83* Erin Finn (Michigan) 05/01/16
31:56.84 Dominique Scott (Arkansas) 05/01/16
32:06.64 Jordan Hasay (Oregon) 04/28/13
32:07.20 Aliphine Bolton (Wichita St) 04/28/13
32:08.32 Courtney Smith (Harvard) 04/01/16
32:08.39 Chelsea Blaase (Tennessee) 04/01/16

*Finn still has eligibility at Michigan but since she ran Payton Jordan unattached, her time doesn’t count for collegiate record purposes.


All of that being said, arguably the most impressive run from a collegian at Stanford came from Washington senior Izaic Yorks. Yorks, who gallantly tried to beat Edward Cheserek on the DMR indoors at NCAAs by taking it out hard, easily won the 1500 in 3:37.74 defeating the likes of 3:32 man Evan Jager and 3:31 man and Olympic 5th-placer Henrik Ingebrigtsen.

PR of The Week I / The U.S. Women Are Much Improved at 10,000 

Dominique Scott may be the 7th-fastest collegian in history now, but she was beaten by Michigan student Erin Finn at Stanford. Finn, who is redshirting the NCAA season this year to get ready for the U.S. Olympic Trials, ran 31:51.83 at Stanford, and because of the redshirt her mark does not count on the NCAA lists.

Finn’s previous PR was 32:41.65, so she PR’d by 49.82 seconds!!

She now certainly has to be in the conversation for a U.S. Olympic spot. If one assumes that marathoners Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg won’t double in Rio and that Molly Huddle and Emily Infeld are locks to make the U.S. 10,000 team (barring injury, fall or food poisoning), then there is one spot open for the U.S.

But maybe we shouldn’t just assume Infeld and Huddle are locks. Why? Because the U.S. is MUCH IMPROVED at 10,000 as compared to four years ago. Four years ago, if you had the standard, all you had to do was walk the Olympic Trials and you were an Olympian as only four U.S. women had the standard and Flanagan was doing the marathon.

Since the start of last year, 15 women have broken 32:00 and 12 of them aren’t named Flanagan, Infeld or Huddle. And the Olympic standard is 32:15.

Marielle Hall Was in a Tight one in the 5k at USAs Last Year Marielle Hall Was in a Tight one in the 5k at USAs Last Year

The U.S. leader for 2016 is Marielle Hall, who ran a very strong 31:37.45 in her 10,000 debut at Stanford. Not far behind her was Kellyn Taylor of the Hoka One One NAZ Elite team. Taylor bounced back nicely from the 2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials and ran 31:40.70 at Stanford and came up just short of Finn in the PR department. Taylor PR’d by 49.18 seconds.

US Women Under 32:00 In Last Two Years 
31:09.02 Shalane Flanagan 2015
31:37.45 Marielle Hall 2016
31:38.03 Emily Sisson 2015
31:38.71 Emily Infeld 2015
31:39.20 Molly Huddle 2015
31:40.70 Kellyn Taylor 2016
31:43.79 Liz Costello 2016
31:49.99 Alisha Williams 2015
31:51.84 Erin Finn 2016
31:52.94 Laura Thweatt 2016
31:54.20* Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton 2016
31:54.43 Mattie Suver 2015
31:58.33 Jordan Hasay 2016
31:58.54 Kim Conley 2015
31:59.23 Alia Gray 2016

*Was not a U.S. citizen at the time

PR of the Week II

5.94 seconds – PR set by Australian Linden Hall at Stanford in the women’s 1500, which she dominated with a 4:04.47 run.

Hall used up her eligibility last year at Florida State by placing 8th at NCAA in the 1500. She’s excelling during her first year as a pro, as she lowered her pb from 4:10.41 to 4:04.47. Yes, that’s right. A 24-year-old ran a nearly six-second PR. In the process, she totally dominated the women’s 1500 at Stanford, winning by 3.44 seconds.

Hall isn’t the only person who is doing much better as a pro than a collegian. It certainly didn’t take former Villanova runner Sam McEntee long to solidify his spot on the 2016 Australian Olympic team. McEntee, who won the Australian Trials but didn’t have the 13:25 standard, ran 13:20.72 to punch his ticket to Rio. Coming into the year, McEntee, who ran 3:36 at Nova, had a 13:50 5000 pb.


Georgie Clark as a 24-Year-Old in 2008

Mary Cain Turns 20 / Stat of the Week I / Maybe Nothing Is Wrong With Cain

Today is Mary Cain’s 20th birthday which leads us nicely into our stat of the week:

16:54.60 – cumulative high school 1500 PRs of four women that theoretically could all be on the Stanford track and field team next year: Elise Cranny (4:10.95), Christina Aragon (4:11.24), Ella Donaghu (4:15.29) and Cami Chapus (4:17.12). We say theoretically because while Chapus still has eligibility remaining and is listed on Stanford’s roster, she hasn’t raced in two years.
16:55.33 – American record for 4 x 1500 set at the 2014 World Relays: Heather Kampf (4:09.2), Kate Mackey (4:19.4), Kate Grace (4:16.6) and Brenda Martinez (4:10.2).
17:08.34 – collegiate record for 4 x 1500, set by Tennessee at the 2009 Penn Relays: Chanelle Price (4:19.5), Phoebe Wright (4:19.0), Rolanda Bell (4:19.6) and Sarah Bowman (4:10.2).

At the Stanford meet, two of the more remarkable performances came from high schoolers going to Stanford next year. Montana’s Christina Aragon, the daughter of 3:35 1500 man Chuck Aragon, ran 4:11.24 to move to #3 all-time in the U.S. high school ranks. That result came after her future Stanford teammate Ella Donaghu of Oregon lowered her pb from 4:20.83 to 4:15.28 in another heat to rank #6 all-time among high schoolers.

We are quite proud of ourselves for coming up with that stats above but what does it mean other than the obvious: Stanford gets incredible recruits, a fact that anyone with a brain already knew.

Well, we think it helps provide some cover for Cain.

The next time someone asks you, “What’s wrong with Mary Cain? She hasn’t even beaten her high school personal best.”

The answer should be, “Nothing unusual.”

There are lots of women that don’t equal their high school exploits. Chapus (4:23.14 collegiate best) or Cranny (4:14.05 collegiate best) haven’t beaten their high school bests yet either.

Speaking of Cain, last week, she ran the 1500 at Drake and finished 8th in the 10-person field in 4:12.62. a slight improvement on the 4:13.55 she ran indoors.

We found this post-race comment by Cain to the Des-Moines Register to be interesting. Cain said after the race, “I kind of joke with people that as soon as I got onto the American circuit, the American circuit got really competitive. As soon as I break onto the international circuit, now everybody’s crazy fast.”

That quote seems to be a bit of lowering expectations for Cain. Before Cain turned pro in 2013, the U.S. wasn’t as deep as it is now. In 2012 only four US women broke 4:05 in the 1500 – last year 10 did it – but the fact of the matter is Cain had no problem competing with the depth of the US in 2013 – a year when seven U.S. women broke 4:05 – as Cain made the Worlds team and placed 10th in the final.

We’d be very surprised if Cain made the Olympic team this year, but there needs to be a little perspective. She’s still only 20 years old. The book is far from closed on her.

The fact Cain is only 20 however does not guarantee she turns things around in the future. Aussie Georgie Clark ran 4:06.77 as a 15-year-old and improved slightly to 4:06.50 as a 21-year-old, but never ran under 4:06.

More: *MBMary Cain and Moser KT Tape all over body?!?!
MB: Mary Cain Top 25 Performance in World; only 6-sec behind WL 
Des Moines Register recap of Drake 1500: Jenny Simpson Is Well Aware That No American Woman Has Ever Medalled At The Olympics In The 1,500

Speaking of fast U.S. high schoolers, Kate Murphy, who ran 4:16.98 at age 16 last year and won US and Pan Am Juniors, split a 4:37.65 for 1600 at Penn Relays last weekend. Murphy was the runner-up at the New Balance indoor nationals this year in 4:39.

More: Kate Murphy, SUPER-Sophomore: 4:16!!!

A Look at The New World Leaders From Last Week

110h: 13.08 Omar McLeoud JAM – Drake Relays
400: 44.08 Kirani James GRN – Drake Relays
800: 1:43.37 Nicholas Kiplangat Kipkoech KEN – Nairobi
Steeple: 8:22.31 Matt Hughes – CAN – Stanford

1500: 4:04.47 Linden Hall AUS – Stanford
Steeple: 9:27.09 Lalita Shivaji Babar IND – New Delhi
5000: 14:58.60 Sally Kipyego KEN – Stanford
Pole Vault: 15′ 9¾” (4.82m) Jenn Suhr USA – San Marcos, TX
Hammer: 246′ 5″ (75.11m) Gwen Berry USA – Memphis, TN

We were a little skeptical of the 1:43.37 world leader recorded by Nicholas Kiplanagat Kipkoech in Kenya as his previous best was just 1:45.01 and it doesn’t show up in our Tilastopaja.org database. But the IAAF has it up now and coach Renato Canova has written about the race on the messageboard: MB: 800 World Lead of 1’43.37A by “Unknown” in Nairobi .. *Article claims Nicholas Kiplagat, 2009 World Youth champ at 800, ran 1:43.37 World Leader at Kenya Defence Forces Champs

Berry’s hammer throw moves her to #2 all-time in U.S. history. Watch it here.

Former Arkansas runner Chrishuna Williams didn’t put a world lead up in the 800 at Stanford but she did take home a huge 1+ second pb (1.02 seconds to be exact) and move to #3 in the world by running 2:00.58 for the win at Stanford.

The World’s 5 Fastest Women’s 800 Runners in 2016
1 1:58.45 Caster Semenya RSA
2 1:58.84 Sahily Diago CUB
3 2:00.58 Chrishuna Williams USA
4 2:00.64 Justine Fedronic FRA
5 2:00.72 Laura Roesler USA

Williams only became an 800 runner last year and is making great progress.

The Lilac Bloomsday Course Record Falls

Wonder what happens when you put one of the world’s best distance runners on the roads in the U.S.? They dominate.

Cynthia Limo, the silver medallist at the World Half champs earlier this year, repeated as Lilac Bloomsday champ (where more than 46,000 people entered this year’s race in Spokane, Wash.,) by running a course-record 38:03, beating Lineth Chepkurui‘s course record of 38:10.

The runner-up in the race in 39:42 was former Wichita State runner Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton, who proudly became a U.S. citizen on Friday.

Becoming an American was immediately financially lucrative for Tuliamuk-Bolton as she won $9500 for her efforts – even though if this had been on a track she would have been lapped – to Limo’s $7000.

Bloomsday top 10 results with prize money appear below.

1. Cynthia Limo, KEN                      38:03 CR* $7000
2. Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton, Santa Fe, NM 39:42      4500 + 5000a
3. Jane Kibii, KEN                        39:59      3000
4. Lineth Chepkurui, KEN                  40:22      2500
5. Simegn Abnet Yeshanbel, ETH            40:36      1800
6. Risa Takenaka, JPN                     40:38      1350
7. Etalemahu Habtewold, ETH               40:57      1000
8. Lindsey Scherf, Mountain View, CA      40:59       900 + 2500a
9. Monicah Ngige, KEN                     41:14       700
10. Allison Morgan, Bend, OR               41:36       600 + 1250a

1. Philip Langat, KEN                     34:26  $7000
2. Isaac Mwangi, KEN                      34:38   4500
3. Philemon Cheboi, KEN                   34:42   3000
4. MacDonard Ondara, KEN                  35:02   2500
5. Eliud Ngetich, KEN                     35:28   1800
6. Patrick Smyth, Santa Fe, NM            35:41   1350 + 5000a
7. John Muritu Wanjiku, KEN               35:57   1000
8. Jake Riley, Rochester, MI              36:06    900 + 2500a
9. Joseph Gray, Colorado Springs, CO      36:07    700 + 1250a
10. Brendan Gregg, Davis, CA               36:08    600 +  750a

More: Cynthia Limo sets Bloomsday course record for elite women’s division
*Philip Langat And Cynthia Limo Win Lilac Bloomsday 12K
*Former Wichita State star distance runner earns American citizenship


Tuliamuk-Bolton didn’t even have the most lucrative weekend for a U.S. road racer.

ohiohealthThe largest U.S. prize purse was at the 2016 U.S. Half Marathon Championships, held in Columbus for the first time as part of the Ohio Health Capital City Half-Marathon.

Top 10 Men’s Results 
1. Christo Landry, 30, Charlotte, NC       1:02:52 PB $12,000 + 750i
2. Scott Fauble, 24, Flagstaff, AZ          1:03:06 PB  10,000 + 500i
3. Scott Bauhs, 29, San Luis Obispo, CA    1:03:15      7,000 + 500i
4. Shadrack Biwott, 31, Mammoth Lakes, CA  1:03:19      5,000 + 500i
5. Phillip Reid, 30, San Luis Obispo, CA   1:03:30 PB   3,000 + 500i
6. Tim Young, 29, Fredericksburg, VA       1:03:44 PB   2,000 + 500i
7. Abdi Abdirahman, 37, Tuscon, AZ         1:03:49      1,000 + 500i
8. Scott MacPherson, 29, Columbia, MS      1:03:57        750 + 500i
9. Noah Droddy, 25, Boulder, CO            1:04:08 PB     500 + 250i
10. Louis Serafini, 24, Brighton, MA        1:04:17 PB     250 + 250i

Top 10 Women’s Results 
1. Tara Welling, 26, Portland, OR          1:10:25 PB $12,000 + 1000i
2. Desiree Linden, 32, Washington, MI      1:11:06     10,000 +  750i
3. Brianne Nelson, 35, Golden, CO          1:11:24      7,000 +  750i
4. Lindsay Flanagan, 25, Silver Spring, MD 1:12:16      5,000 +  500i
5. Janet Bawcom, 37, Flagstaff, AZ         1:13:49      3,000 +  250i
6. Lauren Jimison, 25, El Dorado Hills, CA 1:13:53      2,000 +  250i
7. Semehar Tesfaye, 25, Minot, NC          1:14:12 PB   1,000
8. Kelsey Bruce, 23, Dallas, TX            1:14:15 PB     750
9. Esther Atkins, 30, Blowing Rock, NC     1:14:19        500
10. Katie Dicamillo, 29, Providence, RI     1:14:27        250

Update: American Pro Ben Bruce has written us notifying us the prize money above was wrong. The Ohio Health Capital City Half Marathon paid prize money 20 deep. A great way to get deep fields with $3900 going to places 11-20. Here is the prize money: 

  • 1st: $12,100
  • 2nd: $8,100
  • 3rd: $5,000
  • 4th: $4,000
  • 5th: $3,000
  • 6th: $2,000
  • 7th: $1,500
  • 8th: $1,000
  • 9th: $900
  • 10th: $800
  • 11th: $700
  • 12th: $600
  • 13th: $500
  • 14th: $450
  • 15th: $400
  • 16th: $350
  • 17th: $300
  • 18th: $250
  • 19th: $200
  • 20th: $150

But the easiest payday for American road racers came in Pittsburgh at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and Half-Marathon. Americans Tyler Jermann and Phebe Ko picked up $8,500 each for running 2:20:38 and 2:48:00 to place third in the marathons. In the half-marathon, Serena Burla won $6,000 for placing third in 74:48 and Rob Molke won $3,500 for placing sixth in 67:07.

3. Tyler Jermann, USA/AZ          2:20:38   8500a
3. Phebe Ko, USA/CA               2:48:00   8500a
6. Rob Molke, USA/MN              1:07:07   3500a
3. Serena Burla, USA/VA           1:14:48   6000a

*LRC Christo Landry (62:52) And Tara Welling (70:25) Win 2016 US Half Marathon Championships *Results
*Kipkoech Ruto (2:17) And Hailemaryam Dakebo (2:39) Win Pittsburgh Marathon

Tweet of the Week

As shown above, Tara Welling (nee Erdmann) won the women’s U.S. Half Marathon title. She posted her splits from her winning effort on Saturday to Strava.com. Someone complained that she was taking course records for the route from runners as Welling’s splits were so fast that she had to be cycling. See the comments from Holly W below.

American Masters Records Fall 

There were a few other performances from last week that deserve mention.

Jen Rhines became the first American master to break 16:00 for 5,000 by running 15:45.94 at Stanford. The previous U.S. best for someone 40+ was 16:01.73 and belonged to Monica Joyce.

Bernard Lagat was even better as he won the 10,000 at Stanford by running 27:49.35, which also crushed Finland’s Marrtti Vainio’s world 40+ record of 28:30.88. The previous U.S. best for a 40+ person was 28:57.88 so Lagat knocked more than a minute off that (MB: Kevin Castille 28:57 10k at age 40!).

Lagat now is a bona fide contender for the U.S. 10,000-meter Olympic team. Lagat’s chances of going to Rio went up a lot last week. Not only did he get the Olympic standard in the 10,000, but also one of his biggest potential 10,000 rivals, Chris Derrick, only ran 13:40 in the 5000 at Stanford.

Derrick didn’t run the Olympic Marathon Trials as his buildup didn’t go perfectly. We’ll try and find out what is going on with him.

Update: We emailed Chris about his health status and he wrote us back with an update:

“I am healthy and had about 6 weeks of workouts before Payton Jordan after missing about month of training. I knew that the Stanford race would be tough because we have done mostly base work plus some shorter track reps as prep for a hard training phase coming up. Still, it was disappointing result. In the last year I have had a lot of training interruptions and that lack of consistency has made it hard for me to jump into race fitness as quickly as I once did. However, I feel healthier than I have in a long time and am optimistic about where two months of consistent training can get me before the trials.”

Would Sarah Lahti Have Made the Olympics if Meet Management Hadn’t Refused To Put Her in The Fast Heat at Stanford?

There were two interesting developments in the “B” or slow sections of the 10,000s at Stanford.

In the women’s race, 21-year-old Swede Sarah Lahti set a new national record by winning in 31:54.87 in a race that she totally dominated as second place was just 32:11.04. Considering that the Olympic standard is 32:15 and it was the 10,000 debut for the young Lahti, who actually ran the 1500 at World Indoors this year, she must be totally thrilled, correct?

Not exactly. The Swedes have their own Olympic standard of 31:50, so it doesn’t look like she’ll be going to Rio. But get this: Lahti’s representatives begged for her to be in the fast heat as they knew she needed to run sub-31:50 and they thought she was capable of doing it.

Her coach told the Swedish press, “We fought as much as we could to get Sarah moved to the A-race, but it did not help.”

Stanford refused to put her in the top heat and now she may not go to the Olympics as a result.

Sarah Lahti did the following indoors. She ran 4:11 for 1500, 4:30 for the full mile, 9:01 in the 3000. If she was an American collegiate, she’d be a superstar as she would have been ranked #2 in the mile and #4 in the 3000. Her 3000 time was better than Michigan’s Erin Finn (9:01.16 versus 9:01.25) indoors and Finn ended up in the fast heat. Ok, so maybe you are unsure how the young 1500/miler would handle the longer distances. Well, Lahti ran 15:38 on the road for 5k at Carlsbad on April 3.

Clearly, Lahti belonged in the fast heat.

We don’t get how anyone could look at the stats objectively and say she didn’t belong in the fast heat. It only takes a few minutes to realize there are quite a few women less qualified than Lahti. Canada’s Rachel Hannah somehow got into the fast heat, where she ran 34:29.55, despite having only a 15:50 5000 pb and having only run 16:45 at the BAA 5k a few weeks ago. Boise State freshman Brenna Peloquin, who didn’t even make NCAA indoors and has a 15:55 pb, somehow was put in the top heat as well and ran 33:03.48 (why the coaches at Boise would want her in the fast heat is another matter). New Mexico’s Alice Wright, who only has a 15:45 5000 pb, got into the fast heat and ran 32:36 (though to be fair, Wright was 5th at NCAA XC and didn’t race indoors).

Lahti belonged in the first heat. Her marks for 2016 are actually better than those put up by Jordan Hasay (who ran 31:58.33) this year: 4:49, 9:03 and 15:46. Do you think anyone even dreamed of putting Hasay in the second heat? Of course not.

With that said, drawing up the heats for a meet like this is a difficult and thankless job, like an NFL referee. No one will ever say after a meet, “Wow, the meet director did a great job seeding those heats!” And no matter what decision you make, you’re going to anger some people. It’s especially hard in an event like the 10,000, where athletes don’t run the distance frequently. You can estimate what kind of shape people are in by looking at results, but you’ll also have a dozen coaches all telling you that their athlete is in good shape and needs to run in the top heat.

But Lahti had just run 15:38 for 5k.

Some of you may not like this idea, but maybe meet directors could save the last few spots for athletes willing to pay more if they completely bomb in the race. Sort of put your money where your mouth is. Considering Lahti was racing thousands of miles from home, she likely gladly would have paid $100 to run the “A” heat.

Steve and Sara Slattery with their kids. Photo via http://www.saraslatruns.com/

Finishing third in the women’s B heat in 32:13.03 was former Colorado runner and two-time NCAA track champ Sara Slattery. The 34-year-old mother of two, who hadn’t even competed on the track at all since 2011 until April 15 when she ran 15:49 at Mt. SAC, dipped under the 32:15 Olympic standard just over a year after giving birth to her second child, Cali. She’s come a long way in a very short period of time as in January Slattery missed the Olympic Marathon Trials standard of 75:00 for the half marathon by seven seconds.


In the men’s “B” race, Bernard Lagat‘s younger brother, Robert Cheseret got the win in 28:31.

Cheseret, now 32, was a superstar for Arizona at NCAAs. Back in 2004, he fell down in the NCAA 5k and still got back up and beat NCAA runner-up Dathan Ritzenhein by 2.28 seconds and third-placer Matt Tegenkamp by 21.60 – yes 21+ seconds. We always thought it would be a fascinating story to ask coach James Li, Cheseret and Lagat why they think one brother got way better after college but one regressed. That’s one of the things that fascinates us about the sport. Some athletes like Alan Webb (hopefully not Mary Cain) peak early. Others like Nick Willis or Lagat seem to get better with age. Is there any way to know who will continue to improve?


Other Results of Note

At the adidas Steve Scott Invitational at UC Irvine on Saturday, Brandon Johnson, who ran 1:43.84 in 2013 but hasn’t broken 1:46.67 in the last two years, remained undefeated on the year as he beat Charles Jock with a 1:47.70 clocking (Jock ran 1:48.53). Johnson has run three races this year counting indoors, the first was 1:49.28 (Jan. 28), the second 1:48.66 (April 23) and now he’s run 1:47.70 (April 30).


Kudos to Craig Lautenslager, the eldest son of Greg Lautenslager, who competed at the 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials and had pbs of 13:33 and 28:08, and Debra Lautenslager (nee Elsmore), who represented New Zealand in five World Cross Country Championships, for winning Penn Relays 10,000 title in 29:18.13. He’s now topped his dad, who was the runner-up in the 5,000 at Penn in 1980. Of course, Craig, who is redshirting this spring for UT-Arlington, has a ways to go to catch his dad’s PRs. Craig has PBs of 13:52 and 29:18.

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

#1 Motivation For Mo Farah

“If all goes well for Kamworor, though, I think he is the athlete to beat at the Olympics.”

-coach Patrick Sang talking to Cathal Dennehy last week about the men’s 10,000 in an article on RunBlogRun last week.

More: Cathal Dennehy profiles Patrick Sang – the man who coaches both Geoffrey Kamworor and Eliud Kipchoge

The article really is full of great quotes. You need to read it now. About Eliud Kipchoge, Sang also said, “The unique thing about Eliud and all great athletes is they really love the sport to begin with. When you love something, you always do your best.”

About women’s world steeple champ Hyvin Jepkemoi, he said something similar. “She’s not the most talented athlete, but she’s well focused. Some athletes are so talented but they don’t give their best. I always try to tell the athletes to give their best, no matter what level – always give your best.”

Stat of the Week II

Here are the 10 dirtiest countries according to WADA positive tests for the year 2014. The good news is that even though WADA did 1,000 more tests than in 2013 (217,762 total), there were 1,000 fewer positives.

  1. Russia (148)
  2. Italy (123)
  3. India (96)
  4. Belgium (91)
  5. France (91)
  6. Turkey (73)
  7. Australia (49)
  8. China (49)
  9. Brazil (46)
  10. South Korea (43)

And that’s with the lab in Russia being dirty.

MoreWADA positives down 13% in 2014 even though they did 1,000 more tests There were 1,462 anti-doping rule violations taken from 217,762 samples  *Surprise, surprise (not): Russia led all countries in doping in 2014

A New World Record Was Set At Penn / Recommended Reads

One of our favorite stories was one we didn’t put up on the homepage last week. It actually came out the week before last, but since it was Penn Relays-related, we were saving it for last week but forgot to put it up. It’s a profile of a 100-year-old sprinter Ida Keeling, who ran the 100 meters at Penn: “At 100, Still Running for Her Life.”  After surviving the great depression, Keeling lost her husband to a heart attack at age 42 and then two sons to drugs. Running saved her at age 64.

At Penn, Keeling set a new WR for 100+ by covering 100m in 1 minute and 17.33 seconds. She then did some pushups to celebrate.

You can watch the race and a post-race interview with Keeling below:

LRC Chris Solinsky Retires And We Rank The Five Best Moments Of His Career – Sub-27:00, A Dominant Foot Locker Title And The Epic 2011 USA 5,000

Teleconference Highlights Catching Up With Christian Taylor Taylor got a lot of attention for switching take-off legs due to injury, but he now says that his “weak leg” is his best leg. Taylor is in a training group that includes 200m world champ Dafne Schippers and he admits to making sure he runs faster than in her out of pride.

Q&A With Richard Askwith, Author Of “Today We Die A Little,” The New Emil Zatopek Biography Coming Out This Month

85-Year-Old Ed Whitlock Wasn’t Satisfied With His Recent Age Half-Marathon Record Whitlock ran 1:50:47 (8:27 pace), but said he was shooting for 1:45 as he aims to not get more than 1% slower on the age-grading tables each year. Whitlock had several gem quotes including: “Even though I set the world record last weekend, I was not that happy about it, because I didn’t run as well as I thought I ought to. I only get antsy about getting slower when I’m getting slower faster than I ought to.” “About 15 years ago, when I was having trouble with my knees, I did go see a doctor. I went to a specialist and their diagnosis was nothing could be done and [my] running days [were] over…So I’ve done a lot of running since then.” “If somehow or other, I could race well without doing any training, that would be ideal. I find this training a bit of a drudge really … It’s all a bit of a chore, really, but I have to [put in a lot of time running] if I want to run well.”

Ex-NFL players Randall Cunningham and Michael Carter talk about coaching their daughters to World Indoor gold

Erik Sowinski Says As An Iowa Native, Winning A Drake Relays Title Would Be “One of the highlights of my career”

After Finishing 11th In Boston (2nd American) Sarah Crouch Blogs About The Battle She Went Through Just To Make It To The Starting Line A procedure called “dry needling” got her healthy enough to run Boston and she promised that if she could get through the race healthy she “wouldn’t take one step for granted.”

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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