WTW: Is Katie Rainsberger The Second Coming Of Jordan Hasay? The Most Incredible Long Jump Ever? Comparing Josh Kerr To Drew Hunter

The Week That Was In Running, April 10 – 16, 2017

by LetsRun.com
April 20, 2017

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

Last week was an incredible week of action with much of our attention focused on Boston. Below we don’t talk too much about the 2017 Boston Marathon or the 2017 BAA 5K. If you missed our extensive on-site coverage from Boston, re-live it here: 2017 Boston Marathon Coverage.

Maybe The Most Amazing Track and Field Video We’ve Seen / Might This Be A Way To Make Track and Field Popular With The X Games Crowd?

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Ok, we’ll start with a confession. The oldest person at LetsRun.com was born in 1973. So our knowledge of track and field history, particularly before 1980, isn’t nearly as good as it should be. But did you know that there used to be really good long jumper who long jumped by doing a front flip into the sand? Yes, a front flip into the sand. And no, it wasn’t a joke. He claimed that it was way better than the standard technique and that it would revolutionize the event and lead to history’s first 30-foot jump. New Zealand’s Tuariki (John) Delamere used the technique at the 1974 NCAA championships and eventually went 7.79 meters using the technique before the IAAF banned it. Take a look at the technique here:

Delamere certainly didn’t invent the somersault long jump as he first learned about it from Bruce Jenner, who was trying it out, but Delamare helped make it a brief craze in the sport. At the 1974 Pac-8 meet, Delamere used it to tie Olympic champion Randy Williams. Sports Illustrated wrote a lengthy article on the technique in 1974 and wondered if it could make the long jump very popular as they wrote, “Whatever its ultimate fate, there is no denying that the flip is more fun to watch, and that the long jump, often one of the least-noticed events in track and field, could become one of the most popular.” The SI article is definitely worth a read as it talks about the history of the flip, which may have been invented as early as 1925. In 1971 coach and biomechanics expert Tom Ecker wrote the book Track and Field Dynamics, where he explained why he felt a somersault long jump would be superior to the traditional one. As explained by SI:

Ecker claims the flip has undeniable dynamic advantages over conventional jumping, not the least of which is reduced wind resistance, because of the compact manner in which the jumper tucks his body together. The biggest plus, however, is that the flipper utilizes forward body rotation, while rotation is what most hinders the “normal” jumper…

Because a long jumper’s foot is stopped on the board for about .12 seconds while his upper body is still moving, the forward rotation will dump the juniper on his face unless he compensates with the hitch kick, the hang, or some other counteracting body movement. Even with those techniques, which are difficult to learn, rotation is diminished only temporarily…

In contrast, Ecker points out that the flip enables the jumper to take off from the board almost at full speed and at a more desirable higher angle. When he tucks and rolls into a somersault, wind resistance is cut. And since rotation is working with him rather than against him, his feet will land—assuming correct execution—well ahead of his body, and the latter should follow on through so that he does not fall back in the pit. In practice, the hardest part of the new technique to learn is landing. “Wiping out in the flip,” Delamere says painfully, “is coming down butt first.” To preclude that dire end, the East Germans reportedly have theorized that a half-twist should be added to the flip so that the jumper lands facing the board.

We learned about the flip as we were reading a New Zealand Herald article on how Delamere is now competing once again as a master in track and field — but only in the throwing events as it hurts his knees to jump. Delamere is still a big fan of the somersault long jump as he told the Herald, “I think it’s a better way to jump. The world record would now be about 31 feet (9.45 meters) with someone who knew what they’re doing. It’s way more spectacular and probably no more dangerous than, say, the pole vault.”

More: NZ Herald: Masters Games: Former MP Tuariki Delamere transforms himself from jumper to thrower
Sports Illustrated 1974: *
The flip that led to a flap 
*MB in 2009: Long Jump Technique _ What is Physically the least demanding Technique?
*TFN In 2009: Flip during the long jump

Stat of the Week I

– 19 years, 194 days – age, as of Thursday, of New Mexico sophomore Josh Kerr, the 2015 European junior/2017 NCAA mile champ who ran 3:35.99 last week at the Bryan Clay Invite.

– 19 years, 227 days – age, as of Thursday, of Drew Hunter, who has a 3:57.15 mile pb (which equates to a 3:39.54 1500) and was given a huge amount of money to go pro by adidas last year.


Stat of the Week II

20 – number of years that had passed since a non-African-born runner had won New Orleans’ Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic 10-K until last weekend. Kiwi Jake Robertson (who lives in Africa) showed his 60:00 half-marathon was no fluke by winning in 27:55 after leading from gun-to-tape, defeating Kenya’s Edwin Rotich (28:10). Robertson won $6,900 for his efforts. American Todd Williams (1997) was the last non-African-born athlete to win the men’s race.

The second-biggest winner in terms of cash in the men’s race was 45-year-old Kevin Castille of the US, who picked up $5,000 by finishing 5th in a new age-45 national record of 29:49.

The women’s race in New Orleans was won by Mamitu Daska in 32:17.

More: Crescent City Classic winner breaks African streak, but not without his own Kenyan roots

The fastest road 10k last week took place in Germany, where unheralded Bernard Kimeli (born 1995) won the International Paderborner Osterlauf in a world-leading 27:18.


PPP Absconds From Cuban Training Camp in Germany

Triple jump star Pedro Pablo Pichardo has finally had enough of Cuba. Last week, Pichardo, the silver medallist at Worlds in 2013 and 2015, went missing from a training camp in Germany. This article in Spanish on ElPeriodico.com says that he’s got offers from many countries, but that he won’t be going to Spain, which is where many thought he’d go. The same article also says the breaking point for PPP was the fact that Cuba held him out of the Olympics.

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

Before we list our favorite quotes from the last week, we want to give a shoutout to veteran track and field journalists Scott Reid and Pat Butcher. They were so good last week, they both appear twice below.

Katie Rainsberger was the Gatorade High School XC Athlete of Year in 2015

Katie Rainsberger was the Gatorade High School XC Athlete of Year in 2015

#1 Comparing Katie Rainsberger To Jordan Hasay / Katie Rainsberger Rooted Against Kara Goucher

“You know, when she was maybe 11 or 12, Kara Goucher was running the Boston Marathon and she (Katie Rainsberger) would say, ‘Mommy, I really love Kara, but I don’t want her to win.’ And I said why would you say such a thing? She looked at me and said, ‘Because I want to be the next American to win the Boston Marathon.’ It was so sweet, but now if you ask her if she’s going to run a marathon, she’s like oh good gravy, no way.”

-1985 Boston Marathon winner Lisa Rainsberger, the last American woman to win in Boston, talking in a Q&A with the Boston Globe about her daughter, Katie, who is a star freshman at Oregon this year.

Kaite may have no current dreams of being a marathoner — after all, she did run a world U20 lead of 4:13.25 for the 1500 last week at Mt. SAC – but you never know. It certainly wouldn’t surprise us if she ends up being a marathoner given how good her mom was and this stat:

1500 PRs at age 18 
Katie Rainsberger – 4:13.25
Jordan Hasay – 4:13.85

More: Fascinating Q&A with Lisa Rainsberger, the last American woman to win the Boston Marathon and mom of Oregon star Katie Rainsberger Rainsberger only took up running after the US boycotted the 1980 Olympics and she quit swimming.

#2 Rivalries Are What Push Us To Greatness

“Thanks for setting the bar so high.”

-text message that Olympic bronze medallist Clayton Murphy sent to Donavan Brazier (according to Scott Reid of the Orange County Register) before Murphy ran his 800 at Mt. SAC last week. Motivated to beat the 1:44.63 that Brazier had run the week before in Arizona, Murphy blitzed to a 1:43.60 – the third-fastest time ever recorded in the month of April.

In the ‘B’ heat of Mt. SAC, David Torrence was the winner in 1:47.01 — which is a new Peruvian national record.

On the women’s side of things at Mt. SAC, Raevyn Rogers took down Suzy Favor Hamilton‘s collegiate record of 1:59.11, which had stood since 1990, by running 1:59.10 to win.

Speaking of Favor Hamilton, if you live in the Chicago area, you can listen to her give a speech in Cook County at a gala for the National Alliance for Mental Illness this Saturday.

More: Clayton Murphy raises the bar with blazing 800 meters at Mt. SAC Relays
*MB: Clayton Murphy Runs 1:43.60 At Mt. SAC
Centro or Murphy over 1500?

#3 Is Mileage Overrated?

“I don’t know [how much I run], a lot of people ask that and it’s just a weird question. I think it’s an irrelevant question, the mileage someone does. I don’t do a 3-mile warmup and a 3-mile cooldown at 8:00 or 9:00-minute pace. My mileage is hard and it hurts.”

Donavan Brazier talking in a Q&A with Track and Field News.

More: T&F News Q&A: “Donavan Brazier Adapting Well To Being A Pro” Brazier reveals he wanted to run World Relays but despite his recent 1:44 wasn’t selected.

Click for LRC Story: "My Trip To A Possible Doping Camp In Kenya: What I Saw When I Spent A Day With Olympic Champion Jemima Sumgong"

Click for LRC Story: “My Trip To A Possible Doping Camp In Kenya: What I Saw When I Spent A Day With Olympic Champion Jemima Sumgong”

#4 The Africans Are Already Too Good – Let’s Hope They Don’t Start Doping

The recent positive test for Rio Olympic marathon champ, Jemima Sumgong only underlines the problem in Kenya.

As we used to say 20 years ago, the Kenyans and Ethiopians are already too good; if they ever start doping, then it’s the end of the sport. Well, welcome to the present; and we are hurtling towards the abyss.

Pat Butcher writing about the positive drug test of Jemima Sumgong on his blog globerunner.org.

Relate LRC Content: My Trip To A Possible Doping Camp In Kenya: What I Saw When I Spent A Day With Olympic Champion Jemima Sumgong

#5 An Explanation For Why Mondo Duplantis – The Pele of The Pole Vault – Is So Popular

But it’s more than just eye popping vaults that has the sport on a first name basis with Mondo, like Pele, another one-name only superstar who also first took the world by storm at 17. For a sport that seems to only appear on the front of the sports section for its endless doping scandals and where world records are greeted with as much skepticism as admiration, Duplantis gives track and field someone it can truly believe in.

“That’s part of his appeal — you know he’s 100 percent clean,” Peter said. “We’ve watched him grow up as a young kid. And while he’s always been this phenom who has had these jumps that are mind-blowing there’s never been anything to suggest anything wrong and he’s been drug tested all the time.”

“Armand always liked pole vaultin’,” said Greg Duplantis, who speaks with an unmistakable Cajun accent. “It was kind of like when you see kids go out and play pitch and catch or ride skateboards. Mondo would go out and pole vault. When he was a little kid as little kids do, he would go out and might jump three times a day. He might jump a little bit and then come inside, eat a little snack, go back out and jump again, come in and then go out and jump again. He’d do it all day.”

-Excerpt from an article by Scott Reid in the Orange Country Register on the appeal of 17-year-old pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis.

More: ‘Mondo,’ the Pele of pole vault, headed to Mt. SAC meet

Hasay in Boston

Hasay in Boston

#6 Was It Good or Bad That It Took A While For Alberto Salazar To Realize Jordan Hasay Was Made For The Marathon?

“Some people have a sweet spot. All of a sudden, I think we’ve found out what she is gifted for…

Part of me is kicking myself for not figuring this out earlier. Part of me is saying, ‘It’s lucky I didn’t figure it out earlier.'”

Alberto Salazar talking to Ken Goe before the Boston Marathon about how he realized that Hasay, a former 1500 runner, is really made for the marathon. Hasay lived up to all of the pre-race hype she got by finishing third in 2:23:00.

More: The Nike Oregon Project’s Jordan Hasay has broken through after some tough years

#7 Is Fame Overrated?

“It’s kind of an interesting thing about life is that you go somewhere really cool, you do something really cool and your world and other people’s worlds revolve around that for a minute and then life goes back to normal.”

-2016 US Olympic marathoner Jared Ward talking to the Salt Lake Tribune about what happens after you compete in the Olympics. Ward got a taste of anonymity in Boston (he finished 10th in the marathon) when he asked unsuspecting runners for marathon tips in a video piece for Runner’s World. Several of them did not realize they were talking to a guy who finished sixth in the Olympic marathon.

#8 Don’t Overthink It

“People who’ve dabbled in sports psychology, they say, ‘Well, the kid who’s the better performer, they think differently.’

“The reality is not that they think differently. It’s that they don’t think. It’s the absence of thought that defines sporting excellence, the absence of cognition, the absence of emotion. That really is the advantage.”

Dr. Stan Beecham, talking in a Forbes.com article. We were reminded of the quote, which we saw referenced in a column by Toni Reavis, after 2017 Boston Marathon winner Geoffrey Kirui admitted after the race that he didn’t know who Galen Rupp was. Clearly, Kirui wasn’t overthinking things.

More: MB: Geoffrey Kirui had no idea who Galen Rupp was – he just asked him what his name was in the press conference
Forbes: A Sports Psychologist Reveals The Secrets To A Powerful Mindset
Reavis: The Questions Of A Great Marathon 

#9 Russia Deserves To Be Ostracized From The World’s Sporting Community

“I’m no mouthpiece for the IAAF, past or present. But I am mightily impressed by this tough stance; and whatever you might think about doping, and I am increasingly ambivalent about the parameters and indeed efficacity of dope testing, Lord Seb is on a roll. He made himself a hero in setting close to a dozen world records and winning back-to-back Olympic 1500 metres titles (the only man in history to do); he hit the heights again, when fronting the enormously successful Olympic Games in London 2012; and it seems that London 2017 is well on its way to being another smash hit, with the highest ticket sales thus far in the championships’ 34 year history. But being prez of the IAAF might prove the toughest task of them all.

“There used to be a UK comic book character nicknamed the Tough of the Track. With his bully-boy track tactics, Coe’s arch-rival Steve Ovett used to be lead candidate for that sobriquet. But it looks like Coe has co-opted it himself; and given his parliamentary background, he is also following in the footsteps of a famous statesman, US President Theodore Roosevelt, one of whose most enduring pieces of advice was, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’.

“Lord Coe is not even bothering to speak softly! And the IAAF is all the better for it.”

Pat Butcher praising Seb Coe for being tough on Russia.

Tweet of the Week

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.