WTW: 2017 London Was The Fastest Marathon In History, A Mother of 7 Runs 2:24 In The Marathon, Clayton Murphy Didn’t Run As Slow As People Said He Did, And Might An NCAA Frosh Be The Greatest 400/800 Guy in History?

The Week That Was In Running, April 17 – 23, 2017 by LetsRun.com April 25, 2017 Past editions of the Week That Was can be found here. Questions or comments? Please email us or post them in our forum. If you missed our extensive coverage of the London Marathon or World Relays, re-live it here: 2017 […]

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The Week That Was In Running, April 17 – 23, 2017

by LetsRun.com
April 25, 2017

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

If you missed our extensive coverage of the London Marathon or World Relays, re-live it here: 2017 London Marathon coverage and 2017 World Relays coverage.

Stat of the Week I / London Lived Up To The Hype

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4:22:49 – combined men’s and women’s winning times at the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon (2:05:48 for men, 2:17:01 for women), the lowest in history, eclipsing the 4:23:14 achieved at the 2002 Chicago Marathon (Khalid Khannouchi, 2:05:56 + Paula Radcliffe, 2:17:18).

That stat, which comes courtesy of statistician Mary Post, certainly shows that up front the 2017 London Marathon lived up to the hype.

Our only complaint is we wish the pacemaking was better on the women’s side. If Keitany had run more reasonably at the start, we believe she would have run under 2:16:00.

Check out her 5km segments – every single 5k split was slower than the previous. Keitany is just so good that she can ‘fade’ to a 70:07 2nd half.

5 km Splits for Keitany:
5 km  0:15:31    15:31
10 km  0:31:17    15:46
15 km  0:47:15    15:58
20 km  1:03:26    16:11
25 km  1:19:43    16:17
30 km  1:36:05 WR 16:22
35 km  1:52:39    16:34
40 km  2:09:38    16:59
Halves: 1:06:54 / 1:10:07


We certainly don’t dislike fast times, but to be honest, we don’t think a total obsession with times is good for the sport.

We’re getting a little tired of seeing at least two-thirds of the elite fields blow up every year. We think it would make for a more interesting race if at least once every four years (maybe in the Olympic year), London was run without rabbits. We’d also like to see New York and Boston use rabbits maybe once every four years.

But the thing we hate the most of all about London is nothing they can really control. We don’t like how people talk about there being two world records in the women’s marathon (Keitany’s 2:17:01 was the fastest ever in a women’s-only race — the elite women started 45 minutes before the men in London — but Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 is the fastest a woman has ever run). And sadly we feel like we will soon have that problem on the men’s side as well. Eliud Kipchoge has no chance of breaking 2:00:00 — he should have been in London defending his crown — but he could still run under the current world record of 2:02:57 next weekend.

Stat of the Week II / A Mother of 7 Just Ran a 2:24 Marathon

7 – number of children that Kenya’s Nancy Kiprop has (5 of her own, 2 adopted. we got that backwards- 2 she gave birth to, 5 adopted). The 37-year-old Kiprop, who had been 2nd in the Valencia Marathon in her two previous marathons, ran a 2:24:20 pb to win in Vienna last week.

More: Mother of 7 Wins In Vienna
*Nancy Kiprop intends to use prize money for family and children

Stat of the Week III / Someone At The IAAF Needs To Learn Math

1:49.18 – official split according to the IAAF for Clayton Murphy at the IAAF World Relays, where he anchored the US to their second straight 4 x 800 gold. That split is just not close to accurate. It’s about one full second off as shown by the screenshots below (note: The time on a TV broadcast is normally the equivalent of a hand time, so you want to add .24 to it, but for figuring out a split it doesn’t really matter).


The start of Murphy’s leg


The end of Murphy’s leg

Last time we checked, 7:12.8 – 5:24.6 = 1:48.2, not 1:49.2.

The World Relays are a great addition to the calendar, and we very much enjoyed attending them in 2014. However, trying to watch the event on the internet this year drove us nuts at times and that’s pretty much the feeling we have whenever we watch any running broadcast. We urge someone at the IAAF offices to do what we’re starting urging the head of the major marathons to do – now that the event is over, go back and watch it on TV and tell us if you’d enjoy watching it on TV (Boston and London Marathon staffers, we urge you to do the same).

The television production of track and field almost always leaves a lot to be desired and this was certainly true for this broadcast. It’s clear to us that many track TV producers don’t really understand track.

Far too often, the guys or gals in the production truck want to show you a really neat shot (whether it’s a close-up of a runner or a shot from the body cameras they had on a few runners’ singlets) instead of showing you the race. And repeatedly at the World Relays, the close-up shots prevented one from watching the race properly.

When a fan watches the NFL live, they don’t show us a closeup of the running back running down the sideline as it happens. No, they show you the wide angle so you can see if he’s going to get caught. The closeup shots, shots from the pylon cam, etc. are almost always shown exclusively as replays. Track and field should do the same.

One other thing. In a pro sport like soccer or the NFL, we always have the score on the screen. It’s on there from start to finish. Yet in running, we don’t always get the score. In our minds, the score is the pace or split. Put it up on the screen regularly – every mile in a marathon and every lap in a track race.

So here are our suggestions for improvement.

  1. Show the race – not neat camera shots. Look, we love some of the cool camera shots. Putting a camera on a runner’s singlet is cool. But don’t show us a singlet shot or a close-up of a runner’s face if it takes away from the viewer seeing who is ahead or behind, particularly if it’s a key part of the race.
  2. Improve the splits. It’s crazy that the splits still aren’t right days after the event, and it is even more ridiculous that the announcers didn’t have someone standing next to them with a watch feeding 4 x 400 splits during the race. If you hire a good timing company, they could probably do it for you during the race.
  3. Promote the stars. The fact that Andre De Grasse’s name wasn’t mentioned during his leg on the 4 x 200 is simply unacceptable. He was one of the biggest stars in the Bahamas. He helped Canada win their first gold in the event. How his name literally wasn’t mentioned during his leg (he ran #3) is beyond us.


One thing we found amazing about the World Relays 4 x 800s: there were a grand total of zero splits under 1:46 in the men’s 4 x 800 and zero under 2:00 in the women’s race. According to the race website (which we know isn’t totally accurate), there was only one 2:01 split in the women’s 4 x 800 (Chanelle Price 2:01.73) and one 1:46 split in the men’s 4 x 800 (Kipyegon Bett 1:46.73).

More: LRC Clayton Murphy Anchors US To 4 X 800 Gold And Reaffirms His Status As The Current World #1
*Full World Relays Coverage


And you thought NCAA indoors was good

And you thought NCAA indoors was good

The 800s at NCAAs Are Going To Be Great

Last week, Penn State sophomore Isaiah Haris ran lowered his pb from 1:45.64 to 1:45.12 to win at UVA and take the NCAA lead. Harris clearly is a bright hope for the US as only 10 Americans have ever broken 1:45.00 in college.

However, Harris won’t be the favorite at NCAAs as indoor champ Emmanuel Korir of UTEP and Kenya ran a 44.67 400 last week.


On the women’s side, the NCAA meet will feature the indoor and outdoor collegiate record holder (Jazmine Fray and Raevyn Rogers). The Eugene Register-Guard had an interesting article last week pointing out that while Rogers may be the NCAA record-holder at 1:59.10, she’s only #3 on the Oregon school list as Oregon counts times run in the summer whereas the NCAA does not. In actual fact, the NCAA does not keep official records for track & field. But two of the most respected bodies that do — the USTFCCCA and Track & Field News — both only recognize marks through the NCAA championships.


Email of The Week

Last week, New Jersey running legend and two-time New York City Marathon winner Tom Fleming died. We received the following email from 1973 Boston Marathon winner Jon Anderson in regards to Fleming.

Hi Robert,

Just learned of Tom’s death. Shocking. We first met at San Blas in 1973 a couple months before we would meet again at Boston. Despite my win and his second, we were together that night celebrating the day. Much of the evening was at the Lenox where the Finns (including 3rd placer Olavi Suomolainen) were ‘camped’. Hadn’t seen Tom in years (and only a few times after our competitive careers were over) until we were last together here at the 16 trials. He was very much the same Tom loving life, excited to be around his peers. RIP Tom my friend, fellow competitor, and gentleman.

Jon Anderson

More: MB: RIP: Tom Fleming -1973 and 1975 NYC Marathon champ – has passed away
*NJ Running Legend And Two-Time NYC Marathon Champ Tom Fleming Dies While Coaching HS Track Meet The 2:12 marathoner won the NYC Marathon in 1973 and 1975 and finished second in Boston twice.

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

#1 Should Siegel Be Investigated?

“I really don’t have enough information to really have an opinion on it … Right now, my position [with Siegel] is I’m comfortable with what I’ve seen. If it comes to the point where I’m not comfortable, I will speak up.”

Vin Lananna talking to Will Hobson of the Washington Post about his feelings on the spending habits of USATF CEO Max Siegel.

Isn’t it the job of board members to evaluate the CEO, particularly when a major newspaper does an investigation questioning whether the CEO’s spending habits, which include private plane usage, are appropriate for a non-profit?

Siegel’s major accomplishment at USATF is almost doubling USATF’s revenue, which he achieved almost exclusively by signing a 20+ year, no-bid contract with Nike, a contract which he paid two former Nike executives $23.75 million to negotiate. Our most basic thoughts on the matter are as follows.

1) When traveling on business, Siegel should fly the same way athletes fly when they are attending a major championship (unless he wants to pay for it out of his $1.7 million salary).
2) USATF’s apparel deal 100% should have been bid out and the commissions should have been capped. A non-profit should not pay two individuals more than $10 million each for anything. It’s beyond ridiculous. The fact that the deal is hyped as Siegel’s #1 accomplishment is troubling.

More: New USA Track and Field president: No plans to audit CEO’s spending
From The Archives: *USA Track and Field CEO has alarmed some insiders with his spending and style
*MB: Breaking: Max Siegel Expose in The Washington Post – It’s going to be tough for him to survive this.

#2 44.67 is Very Fast For An 800 Guy

“I thought he’d run, maybe, 45.8. I didn’t expect this with that wind. He’s an 800 guy, he’s the national champion, but he’s a big talent.

“He’s a big talent, a big talent. No 800 runners break 45 seconds, the best 800 runners in the world run 45.5. He’s running 44 out of blocks.”

-UTEP coach and 1988 Olympic 800 champ Paul Ereng talking to the El Paso Times after Emmanuel Korir ran a 44.67 400 last week. 44.67 is pretty much ridiculous for an 800 guy. For comparison’s sake, David Rudisha‘s 400 pb is 45.50. Nijel Amos‘s is 45.56.

We took a look at the 37 men in history who have broken 1:43 for 800. None of them have ever broken 45 for 400. Of the 270 men in history to have broken 45 in the 400, the man with the fastest 800 PR is American Mark Everett (1:43.20). Also worth noting is Alberto Juantorena of Cuba, who ran 44.26 for 400 and 1:43.44 for 800. He’s also the only man to win both events at the Olympics (he swept them at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal).

More: Paul Ereng Raves About Korir’s 44.67
*MB: Is Alberto Juantorena the only man in history to have broken 45.00 for 400 and 1:43.00 800? 

#3 We’re Not Sure We Understand What This Means But We Like It

“There is a saying: ‘In every maggot, there is a madman or a madwoman’ so I think in sport there are those who are cheaters and those who are clean.

“Most of us in Kenya are talented by nature. I want to end my career clean. I ran an amazing time that I have never run before so I am happy.”

Mary Keitany talking to The Telegraph about doping after winning the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.

More: London Marathon live updates from Telegraph

#4 With Apologies To Nancy Kiprop, It’s Not Easy To Be A Pro Distance Runner And A Mom

“I have had more illness than I would have liked but any busy parent can relate to that. When you’ve got kids there is snot everywhere but you still want to give them a cuddle. But I have trained really hard and I am determined to give it the best I can on the day and go for it really.”

-43-year-old Jo Pavey talking to The Guardian before she ran the London Marathon last weekend. Pavey wound up dropping out of the race with hamstring cramps.

Tsegaye Mekonnen Proves He’s Not A One-Hit Wonder – Wait, He Already Wasn’t A One-Hit Wonder

It was nice to see 21-year-old Tsegaye Mekonnen get back into the winner’s circle for the first time since he won his debut in Dubai at a listed age of 18 in 2014 in 2:04:32. Mekonnen outdueled 2012 Olympic champ Stephen Kiprotich on Sunday in Hamburg in poor conditions (it hailed during the race), 2:07:26 to 2:07:31.

It may have been Mekonnen’s first win since 2014 but it’s not like he’s been totally awful since then. He did run 2:04:46 in Dubai (for third) last year.

Recommended Reads

To see our favorite reads from other weeks, go 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.