WTW: Yohan Blake is BACK, A College Woman Runs 14:51, Why The 2020 Trials Shouldn’t Be In Eugene, Joanie Turns 60 & More

The Week That Was In Running – May 15 – 21, 2017

by LetsRun.com
May 23, 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 in-depth coverage of the 2017 USATF Distance Classic or the USADA doping report on Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project, catch up now:

LRC Matthew Centrowitz Takes Down Mo Farah, Brenda Martinez Impresses – 2017 Oxy USATF Distance Classic Recap

Or you can just watch the Centro vs Farah race:

LRC 6 Takeaways on Full USADA Report on Alberto Salazar, NOP: USADA: “It Appears Highly Likely” That 6 NOP Athletes Including Galen Rupp and Dathan Ritzenhein Violated Anti-Doping Rules 

Performance of the Week

A big thumbs up has to go out to Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen. The 20-year-old continues to raise eyebrows. Last week, the German college student ran a solo 14:51.38 5000 without the help of pacemakers. To put that in perspective for you, if she were in the NCAA (the US collegiate system), she’d have the best time by 37+ seconds and the NCAA record by 10+.

Article continues below player.

Klosterhalfen, who has been referred to by some as “Germany’s Mary Cain” clearly needs a new nickname as Klosterhalfen continues to improve each and every year.

Take a look at how her 800, 1500, 3000 and 5000 pbs have improved each and every year.

2013 2:07.52
2014 2:07.15
2015 2:06.42
2016 2:01.55
2013 4:26.58
2014 4:19.97
2015 4:09.58
2016 4:06.91
2017 4:04.45i
2013 9:39.85
2014 9:39.65
2015 8:53.21
2016 8:46.74
2016 15:16.98
2017 14:51.38
Konstanze Klosterhalfen Winning European Under 20XC in 2016 Konstanze Klosterhalfen winning European Under-20 XC in 2016

We wish we could report there was positive news like that for America’s top young women’s talent, but the 21-year-old Mary Cain hasn’t raced all year. In fact, last week was an anniversary of sorts for Cain. It’s now been more than four years since she PR’d at 1500 as Cain’s 4:04.62 1500 pb was run at the 2013 Oxy meet on May 17, 2013. Her 800 pb of 1:59.51 will turn four on June 1.

Just two years ago, her then coach Alberto Salazar was being quoted in the New York Times as saying he knows Mary Cain can run 3:55. Now Cain’s not competing and Salazar’s being profiled in the NYT for possibly breaking anti-doping rules.

In terms of age, Alexa Efraimson is the better comparison to Klosterhalfen as Efraimson, born on 2/20/97, is just two days younger than Klosterhalfen. And while Efraimson has better PRs than Klosterhalfen at both 800 (2:00.99 vs 2:01.55) and 1500 (4:03.39 vs. 4:04.45), Efraimson’s improvement hasn’t been steady like Klosterhalfen’s. Efraimson’s 4:03.39 PB will turn two in one week as it was set on May 31 at the 2015 Prefontaine Classic. Last week at Oxy, Efraimson ran a seasonal best of 4:10.12. That’s the good news. The bad news is that’s the slowest seasonal best she’s had at this time of the year since 2014.

What does it all mean? It’s hard to say. We know one thing – with the changes that occur with young female distance runners’ bodies, making bold predictions at a young age is foolish. On that front, we highly recommend that everyone read this: Lauren Fleshman Writes A Letter To Her High School Self – “You can be fast and a developed woman.”

More: MB: Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen Runs National 20-And-Under Record Of 14:51
Last Year: Meet Germany’s Mary Cain Teen Phenom Konstanze Klosterhalfen

Go Figure / Stat of the Week I

3 – number of World Championship qualifying times achieved on the men’s side at the USATF Distance Classic held at Occidental College last week.

5 – number of World Championship qualifying times achieved at the Georgia high school state meet last week.

Yes, those figures are correct. On the men’s side at Oxy, the three qualifiers all came from the men’s 1500 (Centrowitz, Farah and O’Hare).* At the Georgia high school meet, there were two sections of a pro 800 and in the top one five guys dipped under the 1:45.90 standard.

On a percentage basis, the Georgia meet did way better as well as there were just 15 finishers in the two races, so 33% picked up the standard whereas in Oxy there were 83 men’s finishers so just 3.6% did.

If you add in the women, then there were more qualifiers at Oxy as 11 women picked up qualifiers at Oxy (four in the 800, two in the 1500 and five in the 5000).

*There may have been three more qualifiers in the men’s steeplechase, but we’re not sure if they will count as the water jump barrier was not set at the correct height for a portion of the race. After reviewing race video, USATF said that the advantage was negligible for the athletes that cleared the lower barrier and that it will accept the marks for USATF Outdoor Championship qualifying purposes. USATF also said it would request that the IAAF accept the marks for Worlds.

Dream 800 – Georgia Meet of Champions – Top 5 Results

800m Section 2:
1. Alex Amankwah, Ghana               1:44.80 NR $2000 + 1000i
2. Drew Windle, Brooks Beasts       1:45.02 PB  1000
3. Erik Sowinski, NIKE                      1:45.23      500
4. Shaquille Walker, Brooks Beasts  1:45.68
5. Jesse Garn, HOKA NJ-NY TC        1:45.82 PB

If you missed our extensive coverage of the USATF meet, catch up here: Matthew Centrowitz Takes Down Mo Farah, Brenda Martinez Impresses – 2017 Oxy USATF Distance Classic Recap

More: MB: Former Alabama runner Alex Amankwah runs huge 1:44.80 pb, Drew Windle also gets pb of 1:45.02 at GA Meet of Champs

Joan Benoit Samuelson Turns 60 & Promptly Runs A Marathon And Says She Wants Another World Record

1984 Olympic marathon champ Joan Benoit Samuelson turned 60 last week and announced she wants to try to become the first 60+ woman to break 3 hours in the marathon in Chicago this fall.

The WR in the 60-64 age group is 3:01:30 and Samuelson ran a 55-59 WR of 2:50:33 when she was 55.

Samuelson turning 60 and her talk of the 60+ world record got a decent amount of fanfare but what didn’t get talked about is that Samuelson actually ran a marathon last week at age 60.

For the first time in her career, she ran a marathon in her native Maine, running part of the race with her old friend Michael Westphal, who has Parkinson’s disease (Westphal beat Joan in the 1979 Boston Marathon). Samuelson’s goal was to raise money for the Michael J Fox Foundation (they haven’t reached their goal, you can donate here), not necessarily run fast. She ran 3:12:21 (7:21 pace) after running the first 16.88 miles at 6:58 pace. It’s possible she slowed down to run with Westphal as he was expected to run the final 15km with her.

3:00:00 marathon pace is 6:51.9 pace.

Samuelson will be in the news some more later this week as Friday night at the Pre Classic has been named in her honor:

More: Sugarloaf Marathon: Samuelson, Westphal running beyond 60, together
*MB: Happy 60th BDay Joan Benoit Samuelson!! Will she soon become the first 60 yr old woman to break 3 in the marathon?
*MB: Joan Benoit Samuelson: 3:12:27 at the Sugarloaf ( Maine) Marathon. May 21, 2017

The 2020 US Olympic Trials Should Not Be In Eugene

Last week, USATF announced the three finalists for the 2020 US Olympic Track and Field Trials. Eugene, Sacramento and Walnut, California (outside of LA – where Mt. SAC is) are the finalists.

We 100% (one of us really likes the summer weather in Eugene and is thinking about where he would rather go) think the Trials should go to California.

We’ve been saying it for years and will continue saying it until we are blue – having every major track meet in Eugene isn’t good for the sport. Yes, Eugene supports track better than anyone (Jesse Squire wrote last year that they basically have double the attendance of anyone for NCAAs) but that, in a perverse way, is a good reason not to give them the Trials as they’ll support USAs in a non-Trials year better than most. Don’t misunderstand us: Eugene should definitely be a regular host of USAs and maybe the Trials once every 8 or 12 years — but not every four years, and we think that’s particularly important in 2020.

It’s alright to close these doors every now and then.

The 2021 Worlds are going to be in Eugene. It’s going to be the first outdoor World Championship ever held in the US. We want the crowds to be as big as possible.

A family that has a few track fans in it often makes trips to big meets part of their summer vacation. A track-crazy family isn’t likely going to make two trips to Eugene in consecutive years, 2020 and 2021, but we easily could see a family deciding to take a summer vacation to California in 2020 and catch some of the Trials and then another one to the Pacific Northwest in 2021 to catch some of Worlds.

Understanding how family vacations are planned makes this an obvious decision for USATF.

Plus the Olympic Trials – America’s premier meet – will be popular no matter where they are held. The Trials in Sacramento averaged 23,338 spectators in 2000 and 21,529 in 2004.

The only people who want every big meet in Oregon are Oregon residents. In 2014, we asked anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to have every big track meet in Eugene to email us. No one took us up on the offer. It still stands.

Update: There are a lot of fans who love going to Eugene in the summer. Check out this thread: Official Eugene 2020 Olympic Trials Thread

Tweet Of The Week 

It’s rare that an American wins an international marathon so thumbs up to American Jeffrey Eggleston for picking up a win at the Maratón de Lima in Peru in a course-record 2:15:25.

More: American Jeffrey Eggleston won the Movistar Lima 42K Marathon

Joe Kovacs Takes Down His Own (Unofficial) Men’s Shot Put World Record

2 – number of 74-foot throws that have been achieved in the men’s shot put in the last 14 years. American Joe Kovacs, who won Worlds in 2015 and was second in the Olympics in Rio, holds both marks as he threw 74′ 0¾” (22.57m) last week in Tucson and he also threw 74′ 0¼” (22.56m) in 2015.

Considering five of the six throwers ahead of Kovacs on the all-time list either served drug suspensions or were linked to drugs, Kovacs’ 22.56m mark was already considered by many to be the clean WR so the 22.57 is the unofficial new WR.

Watch the throw here.



Yohan Blake Runs His Fastest Time in Nearly 5 Years

The men’s 100 is the marquee event in track and field. With this being Usain Bolt‘s last year and him only doing the 100, it’s probably going to get even more attention than normal. Bolt certainly is the favorite at Worlds, but we already know he’s unmotivated (and hence not even bothering to train for the 200), so he certainly could be beaten (however, our prediction is he won’t show at Worlds if he’s having a bad year).

Is 2011 world champ Yohan Blake the man most likely to do it?

One could certainly make that argument as last week he ran a 9.93 for the win in Jamaica – the fastest non-altitude time of the year and equal to Blake’s 2016 season best, which he ran to get 4th at the Olympics last year. Blake hasn’t run faster than 9.93 since August 30, 2012 – the year he earned Olympic silver and ran 9.69 to become the #2 man in history – before injuries nearly derailed his career in 2013 and 2014.

To run that fast this early is a great sign for Blake. His early season up to this point had been a mess as he slipped in the blocks in his only other 100 (and ran 10.88) and Jamaica dropped the baton in the 4 x 100 at World Relays. Blake said after the race he could have gone faster had he not let up once he knew he had it in the bag.

You can watch Blake’s run below.


More: *Yohan Blake Says He Could Have Gone Faster Than The 9.93 He Ran At The Jamaica Invitational Last Weekend
*Elaine Thompson Impresses At Jamaica Invitational Tying The 200m World Lead And Breaking The MR With 22.09

Stat of The Week II

$54,000 – amount of prize money that Kenyan Alex Korio (sometimes you also see him as Alex Korio Oloitiptip) has now won over the years at the TCS World 10-k in Bengaluru, India – the world’s richest 10k in terms of first prize – now that he won the 2017 edition last week in 28:12. For his win, he picked up $26,000. He also won in 2013 ($21,000), was fifth last year ($4,000) and sixth in 2014 ($3,000).

The women’s winner in Bengaluru was World Cross Country champ Irene Cheptai of Kenya, who won in 31:51, but she hasn’t been the biggest winner over the years…

$60,000 – amount that Helah Kiprop has earned in Bengaluru over the years as in addition to winning $10,000 for taking third this year, she also picked up $17,000 in 2016 (2nd), $5,000 in 2015 (4th), $4,000 in 2014 (5th), $3,000 in 2013 (6th), $21,000 in 2012 (1st).

Technically to say they’ve both won that much in Bengaluru over the years would be incorrect as the city was known as Bangalore until late 2014.

After getting the win this year, Korio, who was a pacer in Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:00:25 run, got our attention when he said it was “very windy” during Kipchoge’s run. We certainly don’t think that was the case. MB: Fact or fiction? One of Eliud Kipchoge’s pacers claims it was “very windy” during Kipchoge’s 2:00:25 run

Quotes of the Week (That Weren’t Quote of the Day)

#1 Oregon Certainly Rode Cheserek Hard

“If you get on a horse and just let it ride, it’ll ride itself to death. That’s why you have a jockey put a bit in its mouth and hold it back to keep it from doing things that are dangerous or not productive. Most athletes have that, ‘I want to go, I want to go, I want to go’ mentality. It’s up to the older and the wiser to make good and sound decisions for them.”

-Oregon track coach Robert Johnson talking to the Register-Guard after it was announced Edward Cheserek‘s NCAA career was over due to a back injury.

More: LRC Is Edward Cheserek The GOAT Of NCAA Distance Running? Why The Answer Isn’t That Simple
*MB: Is Edward Cheserek the GOAT for NCAA distance runners?
*MB:  Edward Cheserek’s NCAA Career Comes To A Close – King Ches Scratches From NCAAs Due To Back Strain

#2 Cross Country Was Very Important 30+ Years Ago For Seb Coe

“Sometimes I did one [cross country race] Saturday morning for the school and then [another one] Saturday afternoon for the club and you’d never been allowed to do that nowadays.

“I had a massive physical advantage over other athletes who didn’t do cross country.”

-IAAF head Seb Coe talking to Athletics Weekly about how important he thinks cross country is for the development of runners.

More: Seb Coe Looks Back On His Teenage Running Days When He’d Sometimes Run Two XC Races In The Same Day

#3 Cross Country Is Very Important To Patrick Tiernan Now

“[The 2017 World XC championship race] was unreal. Those guys go so quick at the start and you just gotta find your own way in the middle. It was really tough, but I learned a lot of lessons there so I’m glad I went.”

Pat Tiernan talking to Cathal Dennehy about being the top non-African-born finisher at the 2017 World XC Champs.

More: Pat Tiernan is glad he went to World XC as he says he learned a lot and glad to be training alone under Marcus O’Sullivan at Villanova

Video of the Last Two Weeks

We normally wouldn’t want a doper making money off their transgressions, but this ad is so amazing and the doping infraction was done so long ago and when there was so little drug testing that we are totally enjoying the following ad from Australia.


More: MB: Ben Johnson still drawing in the sponsorship dollars!! Aussie betting firm (AU) complained against by ASADA over it!
*Disgraced Canadian Sprinter Ben Johnson Stars In Video Ad Making Fun Of PED Use The ad for sport betting app Sportsbet features Johnson, a Lance Armstrong look-alike and numerous comical doping puns.

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.

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