Who Comes Out on Top in the Marathon: 2007 Ryan Hall or 2017 Galen Rupp?, Bad TV Coverage, Plus Another German Star

The Week That Was In Running – October 2 – October 8, 2017

by LetsRun.com
October 12, 2017

If you missed last week’s edition of the Week That Was, you probably should read it as its publication resulted in Sara Hall getting $10,000.

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If you missed our extensive on-site coverage from a historic 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, catch up now: full 2017 Chicago Marathon coverage.

Stat of the Week I / Rupp’s win was very rare

54 – number of consecutive men’s World Marathon Majors that had been won by someone born in Africa until Galen Rupp won last Sunday in Chicago. Rupp is the first non-African-born winner since Marílson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil won New York in 2008 in 2:08:43.

50 – number of consecutive World Marathon Majors on the women’s side that have been won by African-born runners. The last non-African-born winner of a major was Irina Mikitenko of Germany in Chicago in 2009.

Galen Rupp wins the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in a personal best 2:09:20 (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

Galen Rupp wins the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in a personal best 2:09:20 (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

It’s worth noting that the domination of World Marathon Majors by African-born women is a fairly recent phenomenon. If you look at the last 100 World Marathon Majors starting with the 2001 London Marathon, 31 of them were won by non-African-born winners, meaning 31 of the first 50 (or 62%) were won by non-African born women whereas zero of the last 50 have been.^

On the men’s side, the African born-domination has been going on for longer. Looking at the last 100 World Marathon Majors, only four have been won by non-African-born men (Rupp – 2017 Chicago, Gomes dos Santos in NY in 2008 and 2006, and Stefano Baldini at the 2004 Olympics).

So why have non-African-born women stopped winning?  The crackdown on Eastern European/Russian doping has certainly helped increase the African domination, as has the decline in sexism in Africa.

^The World Marathon Majors series didn’t actually begin until 2006, but we’re for these purposes, we’re counting Boston, London, Worlds, the Olympics, Berlin, Chicago, and New York as “majors” prior to 2006.

Stat of the Week II / How close to the world records are Rupp and Hasay?

5:32 – amount of time that Jordan Hasay‘s 2:20:57 time in Chicago was away from Paula Radcliffe‘s 2:15:25 world record.

6:05 – amount of time that Galen Rupp’s 2:09:20 winning time in Chicago was away from Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 world record.

6:23 – amount of time that Galen Rupp’s 2:09:20 winning time was away from Dennis Kimetto‘s 2:02:57 world record.

Galen Rupp and Ryan Hall square off in a virtual race

After Chicago, we wondered where Rupp’s close in Chicago ranked in terms of fastest closes in history. as tactical races in non-hot conditions are relatively rare:

MB: Was Galen Rupp’s close today in Chicago the 2nd fastest in marathon history?

In that thread, many visitors shared some great marathon closes including Stefano Baldini‘s at the 2004 Olympics where he ran the final 7.2 k in 20:18 as compared to Rupp’s 20:37 thanks to a ridiculous 14:12 from 35k to 40k (The winning time was 2:10:55).

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One friend of LetsRun – Peter Geithner – texted us with an even better comparison to Rupp’s win as it involves an American. Here’s his text:

Have you guys looked up Ryan halls splits from his Olympic trials marathon in ’07? If I recall he closed a 2:09:02 race in 62:45 and, somewhere between 16 and 24 threw in a 5-mile stretch pretty darn similar to Rupp’s this weekend before “jogging it in.” Sure, Chicago was hot, but this was in Central Park and it is super hilly there. I’m honestly not convinced Rupp’s win in Chicago was any more impressive than that run, though admittedly awesome to watch.

Mr. Geithner’s text is a great one. We decided to go back into the LetsRun.com archives and try to get the details of Ryan Hall‘s amazing run at the 2007 US Olympic Trials in New York. Geithner’s memory is right on. Hall won in a laugher in 2:09:02 by going 66:17-62:45. Rupp won in Chicago in 2:09:20 by going 66:11-63:09.

While the finishing times and overall first and second half times were similar, it’s hard to think of two races that featured nearly identical first and second halves as well as overall times that were so dissimilar.

Hall’s quick second half was achieved by running fast for the entire second half whereas Rupp ran quick by really hammering the final five miles. Hall’s second half was largely a solo masterpiece as he was clear of the field by mile 17 — his final 9 miles were an art form — whereas Rupp only was clear of his pursuers starting at mile 24. And Hall’s 62:45 second half came on hilly terrain as it was run entirely in Central Park (the course was not the normal NYC Marathon course — it was basically loops of Central Park) whereas Rupp’s was run largely on flat terrain. Hall’s most brilliant 5k segment came between 30 and 35k when he ran 14:28 whereas Rupp’s best 5k segment came between 35k and 40k when he ran 14:25.

Embed from Getty Images

Here are two charts where you can compare their splits.

Split Hall 2007 Rupp 2017 Cumulative Diff
1st 5k 16:51 15:44 Hall minus 67
2nd 5k 15:35 15:44 Hall minus 58
3rd 5k 15:26 15:35 Hall minus 49
4th 5k 15:12 15:42 Hall minus 19
5th 5k 15:05 15:31 Hall ahead by 7
6th 5k 14:48 15:05 Hall ahead by 24
7th 5k 14:28 15:22 Hall ahead by 1:18
8th 5k 14:57 14:25 Hall ahead by 46
40k to finish 6:40 6:12 Hall ahead by 18

Mile by Mile Comparison (2007 Splits from this USATF recap)

Mile Hall 2007 Rupp 2017
8 4:56  5:08
9  4:54  5:01
10 4:45  5:00
11  4:55  5:02
12  4:59 5:06
13  4:44 5:05
14 4:53  5:05
15 4:53  4:55
16  4:59 4:48
17 4:56 4:48
18 4:32  4:54
19 4:41  5:04
20 4:34  4:57
21 4:40 5:08
22 4:51  4:39
23 4:42  4:35
24 4:52  4:30
25 4:47 4:34
26 4:49 4:33

Finding those splits really made us remember how great Hall’s Trials run was in 2007. Look at the first 5k. He ran 2:09 flat with no rabbits almost entirely in Central Park even though they jogged the first 5k at over 5:20 mile pace.

Hall would have run a little faster but he was so far ahead he was able to enjoy the final mile during which we wrote he “pumped his fist, pointed to the heavens, and waved to the crowd.” Look at the 40k split. Hall hit it 46 seconds faster than Rupp but only ended up 18 seconds ahead of him at the finish. Now some of that is because Rupp was absolutely hammering and Hall was fading a bit, but Hall was also celebrating as well.

The more we think about the two races, the more they fascinate us. The two wins show the contrasting racing styles of the two American greats perfectly. Hall always ran with a free spirit and passion that was visible to see whereas Rupp is/was extremely calculated.

In an absolute sense, Hall’s race was better – he ran faster on a more difficult course – but that doesn’t mean he’d have beaten Rupp if they’d been racing each other last weekend with the help of a time machine. The goal of both races was to win and both of Hall and Rupp did that masterfully.

More: MB: Allright Letsrun – Who wins, Ryan Hall 2007 or Galen Rupp in 2017? 

Archives: LetsRun homepage 10 days after the 2007 Olympic Trials (We don’t have the day after as for more than a week had a black page for Ryan Shay, who died during the race. We also didn’t put up as much content up back then.)

Even a former major champion agrees that the TV coverage of the majors leaves A LOT to be desired

For years, we’ve complained about marathon coverage on TV. It blows our mind that in virtually every single marathon that we watch on TV in the US, the #1 key point of the race is almost always missed and never covered live — THE BREAK.

A marathon is normally all about one thing — the anticipation of when the eventual winner will make his or her break for glory — so it really annoys us when the TV broadcasts miss this crucial moment.

Galen Rupp’s break for glory was missed by NBCSN.

We got a great email from a former US winner of one of the majors who had this to say about the broadcast.

I have yet to find any reviews of the NBC coverage of the Chicago marathon (I scanned letsrun.com and didn’t see any mention of it).  Pretty good overall but …

Coverage near the end of the races went something like this:

1 – We see Galen Rupp and the two other runners drop some others.  Coverage shows the three of them for a while.

2 – Advertisement

3 – Then, we come back to see Dibaba running alone, way ahead, in command, race over, etc. etc., for quite a while.

4 – Then, we switch to the mens race only to see Galen Rupp already maybe 30 meters ahead!  Viewers totally missed the “break” he made!

How it wasn’t obvious that a race was still “on” in the mens race, while the womens race was over,  is beyond me.

NBC does it again …

We have started a spreadsheet where we keep track of whether the breaks were missed by the live TV broadcast. Here it is. The men’s break in both Boston and Chicago were missed this year. In both women’s races, the producers did cut to the women’s race when the leader had about a four-second lead, so that’s ok in our minds.


Ben Rainero Racing Galen Rupp in LetsRun Singlet This Summer

Ben Rainero Racing Galen Rupp in LetsRun Singlet This Summer

LetsRun Goes To Japan

Since above we did a virtual race, we thought it was ok for us to take a virtual trip to Japan. Last week, we unfortunately didn’t actually take a trip to Japan – instead we were in Chicago. But we were in Japan in spirit as Ben Rainero – the Cornell grad whom we sponsored this summer – and the guy who beat Cam Levins and was the last man standing in a 5000 with Galen Rupp – rocked the Izumo Ekiden. Running for the Ivy League team, he ran the 2nd fastest final anchor leg losing only to Japan’s Hayato Seki – the 20 year old who ran 13:35 in Heusden this summer. Unfortunately, he wasn’t allowed to race in the yellow LetsRun singlet but he still looked stylish in his Tracksmith singlet and shorts.

The LetsRun singlet is iconic but unfortunately we lost the matching shorts like more than a decade ago.

The American team finished 10th overall as Tokai University took down two-time defending champs Aoyama Gakuin University.

More: Tokai University Outruns Defending Champ Aoyama Gakuin To Win First Izumo Ekiden Title In Ten Years Cornell alum Ben Rainerothe guy who raced Galen Rupp in the LetsRun.com singlet, had the second-fastest time on the anchor stage to bring the Ivy League Select Team from 12th to 10th. Brett Larner called it “one of the best individual performances in the Ivy League’s history at Izumo.”

Stat of the Week III / The Kenyans ran fast in Eindhoven

5 – number of Kenyans that broke 2:09 last week at the Eindhoven Marathon in the Netherlands. In the end, Festus Talam, who won the event last year after starting the race as a pacemaker, won in a sprint finish over Felix Kiptoo Kirwa in 2:06:13.

Watch the finish below:

Stat of the Week IV / It’s been a nice year for Germany’s Alina Reh

31:38 – 10,000-meter time put up on the roads by Germany’s Alina Reh, 20, at the Great 10K Berlin — the fastest road 10k of the year by a European woman and a new German U23 record according to Race Results Weekly.

Kenya’s Mathew Kimeli won the men’s race in 27:32.

He’s good, but not that good / Epic clock fail

2655-cheptegeiOver the weekend, 2017 World 10,000 silver medallist Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda raced for the first since Worlds and for the first time as a 21-year-old (birthday was September 12). He impressed in South Africa by running the fastest time ever recorded on the roads in that country for 10k. However, his winning time was 27:29 – not the 26:54 that showed up on the clock.

More: Race highlights of 2017 FNB Durban 10-K CitySurfRun

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

#1 Eliud Kipchoge is special

“Eliud is very smart, far smarter than me. He is so organized. If he says dinner is at 7pm, dinner will be at 7pm. If it is time for sleeping, it is time for sleeping. He is always on time.”

Abel Kirui, two-time World champ and 2017 Chicago runner-up, talking to SPIKES about Eliud Kipchoge, with whom he trained for Chicago.

#2 Consistence and passion are key

“I think it comes down to being passionate about running and not necessarily caring about the wins and losses. I haven’t always had the most successful years because in college I wanted to do a lot better than I did but consistency is important. I was looking back at my Oregon career and I never finished less than fourth at an NCAA championship except for my freshman year in cross country, which is kind of expected. I think that’s incredible consistency that shows I can make it count on the biggest stage.”

Jordan Hasay talking to SI.com before her third place run in Chicago.

More: Jordan Hasay Is On Her Way To Becoming America’s Next Great Marathoner

#3 Ato Boldon is enjoying NASCAR

“A year ago, if someone had told me, ‘Hey, you’re going to [be] doing some NASCAR races, and by the way, you’re going to really really enjoy it, and you’re going to start consuming the sport like a fan,’ I’d have said, ‘Get out of here. No way.’

“But I’ve definitely come to enjoy it, and that’s been surprising for everyone who knows me, but also for me.”

Ato Boldon talking to the Charlotte Observer about his new job as a NASCAR commentator for NBC.

Boldon was formerly our favorite sprints announcer for track and field, but since the US was eliminated from 2018 World Cup contention at Ato Boldon Stadium in Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday, we will be putting him on a four-year suspension and not printing his name on this website again.

#4 Getting to the start line is rarely easy

For seven months, runner Kelly Herron has had a singular battle cry: “Not today, motherf***er.” It’s what she yelled when a man attempted to assault her midrun in Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park last March, and now adorns T-shirts.

But as she prepares to take on her first marathon in Chicago, she has a new mantra.

“What I’ll be using [Sunday] is ‘Today, motherf***er,’” she said. “Today is the day that this is not about the trauma anymore, but it’s about looking forward.”

-opening lines of a Runner’s World article on Kelly Herron‘s participation in Chicago. Herron finished Chicago in 5:49:54.

More: Assaulted Runner on the Eve of Her First Marathon: “You Can’t put a Timeline on Recovery”

#5 Training camp in name only

“This was not a camp because where on earth do you have young girls aged between 14 and 16 years being inappropriately massaged by a shameless adult who has bad intentions, pretending to be an athletic coach.”

-Athletics Kenya’s Barnabas Korir talking to The Nation about a private house that was allegedly turned into a training camp, but was really being used to molest young girls in Keringet, Nakuru County.

More: AK raises red flag over girl athlete molestation in Nakuru 

#6 It’s not easy to be a rabbit

“Last year when I decided to pacemake I thought it would be the easiest thing in the world.

“What a great way to transition from 28 years in the sport to finding my feet after athletics. It was a great learning experience, but I couldn’t believe how much I needed to train to be that level.

“It was fun. But it’s actually damn hard.”

-36-year-old Jenny Meadows talking about her year as a rabbit to The Telegraph. Meadows rabbitted at least 14 different races in 2017.

More: Jenny Meadows: ‘I couldn’t believe it – I would run two-thirds of a race and earn more than when I was competing’

Recommended Read

40 Great Moments From 40 Years Of Chicago Marathons

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.

Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post in our forum.

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