WTW: An American Wins a Marathon in Japan, Mo Farah Gets Knighted and Joshua Cheptegei Does What Sir Mo Rarely Did and a 2nd Team Blows Off Conference But Rocks NCAAs

The Week That Was In Running

By LetsRun.com
November 22, 2017

After a brief hiatus so we could recover from the NYC Marathon and get ready for NCAAs, the Week That Was is back. If you missed our blowout 2017 NCAA cross country coverage from Lousisville, catch up now: complete 2017 NCAA coverage.

Past editions of the Week That Was can be found here. Questions, comments, or a tip? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post on our forum.

Stat of the Week I

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7:37.6 – pace per mile that Camille Herron averaged when she smashed the women’s 100-mile world best by running 12:42:39 to win the Tunnel Hill 100 Miler, smashing the old record by more than an hour.

25:38.8 – pace per mile that  Sandra Villines averaged when she ran across the country (3,126.52 miles) in 54 days, 16 hours, and 24 minutes to smash the previous Guinness World Record for women by more than two weeks.

Another way of thinking about Villines’ record is to realize she covered 57.175 miles per day for 54+ days straight.

The messageboard thread on Villines’ attempt was extremely popular, generating over 5,000 posts.

MB: Sandra Vi going for record across America

Stat of the Week II

$210,392.42  prize money offered at the AirTel Delhi Half Marathon. There is $178,000 in prize money for the top pros and then another $32,392.42 (2.1 million Indian rupees) for Indian athletes.

Berhanu Legese winning at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2017

Berhanu Legese winning at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2017

The big winner in the men’s race was 23-year-old Berhanu Legese of Ethiopia, who got the $27,000 win in 59:46. Legesse’s career race history is fascinating. According to the results databases we subscribe to, he hardly races the half marathon but when he does, he’s been winning big of late. This was his first half of the year. Last year, he’s only listed with one half marathon and that too was a win at the RAK Half last February in 60:40 — which offers the second most half-marathon prize money in the world behind Delhi. And that came three months after he won the Delhi Half in 2015 in a crazy race where the top five all broke 59:30.

So Legese is clearly great at the half marathon as he’s won three huge races in his last three tries at the distance. But it’s odd that he rarely races the half, has never run a marathon, and that he’s never run a 10,000 on the track even though he does still race on the oval. This year, he twice raced Diamond League 5,000s — he was 5th in Lausanne (13:26.40) and 9th in Zurich (13:24.89) — and has a 13:08.88 pb from 2014. You’d think he’d either try a 10,000 on the track (he has a 27:34 road 10k pb from 2013), give up the track entirely and load up on half marathons, or move up to the marathon. Maybe he’s been battling injury?

If you know Legese’s story, email us and we’ll post an update next week.

The big news on the U.S. front was that American Leonard Korir finished third in 59:52 — joining Ryan Hall as the lone Americans to break 60 in the half.

All-Time US Half-Marathon List
1. 59:43 Ryan Hall (Asics) 01/14/07
2. 59:52 Leonard Korir (Army) 11/19/07
3. 60:00 Dathan Ritzenhein (Nike) 10/11/09
4. 60:11* Todd Williams (adidas) 01/24/93
5. 60:29* Abdi Abdirahman (Nike) 08/05/07

*= aided course

In the women’s race, 10,000 world record holder Almaz Ayana got the win in her debut in 67:12.

Joshua Cheptegei Runs 41:16 15k, Barely Misses WR

Embed from Getty Images

The big money may have been in India, but 2017 world 10,000 silver medallist Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda put up the performance of the weekend (non-marathon division) in the Netherlands where he ran a largely solo 41:16 15k  at the Seven Hills Run (NN Zevenheuvelenloop 15-K), which he won for the third straight year. That was just three seconds off Leonard Patrick Komon‘s world record. 15k is an odd distance, so think of it this way — go run a 27:30.6 solo 10k and then add on another 5k at that pace and you’ve got a 41:16. John Kellogg‘s conversion chart says it’s worth about 26:53 for 10k.

What we like about the result is that it confirms we already knew — Cheptegei has no problem hammering things by himself. We saw that at World Cross this year when he hammered it so hard he ended up blowing up in the final 800. Still, it greatly excites us as we think it means he’ll have no qualms about doing something we haven’t seen in years on the men’s side — chase fast times.

Performance Of The Week — Sammy Kitwara Runs 2:05:15

On an absolute scale, the performance of the weekend came in Valencia, Spain, where Kenya’s Sammy Kitwara, the two-time Chicago runner-up, broke the Spanish all-comers record and ran 2:05:15. Kitwara, who dropped out of Boston this year, got ready for Valencia in a bit of an unconventional way — by rabbiting in both Berlin and Amsterdam this fall.

Kitwara at the Philly Half in 2011, where he ran his pb of 58:48

Kitwara at the Philly Half in 2011, where he ran his pb of 58:48

Kitwara’s win is noteworthy for reasons other than it being the fastest time ever run in Spain. This is the fifth time in Kitwara’s life that he’s broken 2:06 but it’s the first time he’s ever broken 2:06 and won a race. That shows you how hard it is to win a big-city marathon.

Sammy Kitwara’s Career Marathons
2:05:54 – 4th Chicago

2:07:22 – 3rd in Rotterdam
2:05:16 – 3rd in Chicago

2:06:30 – 3rd in Tokyo
2:04:28 – 2nd in Chicago

2:07:43 – 6th in London
2:09:50 – 2nd in Chicago

2:16:43 – 6th in Boston
2:05:45 – 2nd in Amsterdam
2:09:59 – 1st in Taipei

DNF – Boston
2:05:15 – 1st in Valencia

If you want to run fast in the fall and need a few extra weeks as you aren’t ready for Chicago, Berlin, or Amsterdam, we suggest you hop on a plane and get to Spain as the course is fast. The depth of the fast times on the men’s side was impressive. Two men broke 2:06, four broke 2:07, six broke 2:08 and nine broke 2:09. We sure hope the race paid out some appearance fees or time bonuses; if what Race Results Weekly reported below is accurate, then we feel sorry for guys like Julius Tuwei who officially won only $700 for running 2:08:06.

 Valencia Men’s Top 10 With Prize Money
1. Sammy KITWARA, KEN                2:05:15 ACR/CR* € 15,000 + 10,000*
2. Evans Kiplagat CHEBET, KEN        2:05:30 PB         7,500
3. Deribe Robi MELKA, ETH            2:06:38            4,000
4. Aberu Kuma LEMA, ETH              2:06:44            2,500
5. Eliud KIPTANUI, KEN               2:07:25            1,500
6. Samuel Tsegai TESFAMARIAM, ERI    2:07:34            1,000
7. Julius Kipkorir TUWEI, KEN        2:08:06 PB           700
8. Said AIT ADDI, MAR                2:08:11 PB           400
9. Bernard Kiprop KOECH, KEN         2:08:32              200
10. Elijah Kiprono KEMBOI, KEN        2:09:56              100

Get detailed results and prize money like that for every big race by subscribing to Race Results Weekly.

The women’s race in Valencia was won by Aberu Zennebe of Ethiopia in 2:26:17.

More: MB: Sammy Kitwara – phenomenal pacemaker
Sammy Kiprop Kitwara Cruises To A 2:05:15 Spanish All-Comers’ Record At The Valencia Marathon

Quick Turnaround / American Maegan Krifchin Wins International Marathon

It’s not a common occurrence for an American to win an international marathon so kudos to Syracuse alumn Maegan Krifchin, who won the Kobe Marathon in Japan last weekend in a new course record and pb of 2:33:14.

What is common, however, is for Krifchin to run 2:33. Just six weeks before her win in Japan, Krifchin ran 2:33:46 for 7th in Chicago. Krifchin, who now runs for Mizuno, also ran 2:33 (2:33:28 to be exact) and finished 7th in her previous marathon before that — at the 2016 US Olympic Trials.

Morocco’s Khalil Lemciyeh won the Kobe men’s race in 2:12:49.

Adams State Gets Trounced at Conference Meet / Wins Nationals

Portland isn’t the only college team in America this year that didn’t run its best guys at its conference meet.

Last weekend, Adams State won both the men’s and women’s XC crowns at the NCAA DII champs for the 9th time in history. However, a few weeks ago, the Adams State men were trounced at conference by Colorado Mines, 26 to 80, as Adams State didn’t run two guys who ended up being their #1 and #5 guys at nationals.

Portland got the last laugh at NCAAs (click for an NCAA photo gallery)

Portland got the last laugh at NCAAs (click for an NCAA photo gallery)

At the DI meet, Portland ended up 2nd, one spot of BYU who went 1-2-3-4-5 on Portland at their conference meet. Because of that result, some Pilot alums think they have been vindicated for getting swept at their conference meet. We do not think that.

The fact of the matter is neither Portland nor BYU won the NCAA title and both of them ended up on the podium at NCAAs. Only one of them perfect-scored their conference meet. And only one of them got perfect-scored. We think nearly every college coach in the land — in any sport — would prefer to have BYU’s season over Portland’s. The Cougars earned a big regular-season win (they won Pre-Nats), crushed it at conference, and still made it to the final 4. The Pilots also made it to the final 4, but had no signature regular-season wins and were embarrassed at their conference championships.

That being said, now that we got a chance to talk to Portland coach Rob Conner, we don’t have a huge problem with what he did at conference. He didn’t have his guys jog it. He ran his top two guys, and they ran all-out. They just got trounced. Yes, he did hold out a few guys that got a late start and really needed to train but we understand the sentiment. He examined the situation and ran enough guys to make sure he’d at least get second. So he did as well as he thought they could at that point in the season. It’s not that much different than a football coach holding out a left tackle who isn’t quite ready for the conference championship game when he knows they already will be in the playoffs.

When you get perfect-scored, it’s just going to bring a lot more scrutiny.

Speaking of the podium/final 4, can we please only put three teams on the podium at the NCAA cross country championships? Top three is what is celebrated as being on the podium worldwide — why should it be top four at NCAA XC?

MB: Portland ruins sport, gets 2nd at NCAAs
MB: I thought we had seen it all, but did Portland just tank their conference meet?
RC What About the Sport? Portland, You Shouldn’t Be Tanking Your Conference Meet

Molly Seidel’s Comeback Continues

Four-time NCAA champ Molly Seidel didn’t end her Notre Dame career the way she wanted in the spring as she was injured and missed NCAAs, but her comeback from injury has been going great this fall and continued to pick up steam last week.

Last week, Seidel ran a pb on the roads of 33:03 to win the Flanigan’s Rockin’ Rib 10-K in Florida, breaking her 33:18.37 track pb from 2015. So far this fall, Seidel has done the following since joining Saucony’s Freedom Track Club coached by Tim Broe.

October 22 – 1st Mayor’s Cup XC (5k) in 16:18
Nov 4 – 2nd at US 5k champs in Central Park in 15:35
Nov 19 – 1st at Flanigan’s Rockin’ Rib 10-k in 33:03

In the men’s race, former Virginia Tech star Tommy Curtin picked up $2,500 for winning in 29:21.

Props To The Anthem Richmond Marathon Organizers

The race organizers of the Anthem Richmond Marathon have a rule that bans any athletes from using an agent who has had “two or more athletes suspended or banned for the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the previous four years.” This year they noticed agent Larisa Mikhaylova, who has worked with a ton of banned athletes, in the crowd and one of the athletes admitted she was her agent. As a result, the race DQ’d the men’s marathon winner — Julius Koskei, 35, KEN, 2:19:44 $2500 — as well as the first and third women’s finishers in the half marathon — Firegenet Mandefiro, 24, ETH 1:14:05 $1000 and Gadise Megersa, 25, ETH 1:14:50 $250.

Read all about it in the Richmond Times-Dispatch which broke the story.

Email of the Week

We got the following email from a high schooler in Wisconsin.

Hello, I just read your article titled “Editorial: What about the fans? The NCAA needs to treat non-revenue sports equally when it comes to pay-per-view streaming” and wanted to comment on it. As a high school student who has a chance at competing in college in a few years, I do not want my family and friends to potentially have to pay to watch my race online. I, personally, did not watch today’s D1 championship race because of the fee. If this meet had been available to watch for free, I know numerous people who would have watched but did not because they did not want to pay $20….

Thank you for writing this article and I hope the NCAA realizes that they are quickly losing fans. 

More: LRC Editorial What About The Fans? The NCAA Needs To Treat Non-Revenue sports Equally When It Comes To Pay-Per-View Streaming Volleyball, field hockey and water polo parents and fans don’t have to pay anything, so why do cross-country parents and fans? If the NCAA wants to go PPV, it a) should treat all non-revenue sports equally b)  have a one-off payment option c) have a parents’ pass.

Tweet of the Week

Sir Mo Farah received his knighthood last week from the Queen.

More: *MB: Mo Farah is awarded knighthood by the queen, meanwhile in America, Rupp is accused of doping/hated, HOW?
*Video: Mo Farah Receives His Knighthood *2nd Video Interview With Farah

Recommended Reads

To see our favorite reads from other weeks, go here.

Shalane Flanagan Still Keeping Her Options Open As She Contemplates What’s Next Flanagan says it’d be hard to pass up Boston, but wants to start a family. “It’s so important for me to weigh what races I’ll run if I continue, with what is weighing on me to stop. There is the chance to start a family. I’m open to all sorts of families – foster care, adopting, or my own.”

Lolo Jones’ Olympic Odyssey Nears Its End As She Is One Of Six Fighting For Three Bobsled Push Positions For The 2018 Winter Olympics In tears Jones said, “There’s so much frustration and so much pain. I try not to be jealous of other people, but there’s been so many people I’ve beaten along the way who have gone on to get medals. What have I done wrong? Why can’t I finish this? And then I get teased for it. It’s very frustrating.”

The Daily Orange: Justyn Knight Looking For His First Individual Title Talking about last year Syracuse assistant coach Adam Smith said, “Sometimes you have your day, and that day was [Patrick] Tiernan’s day.”

Arizona Daily Sun: “NCAA Showdown With BYU Ahead For NAU” Head coach Michael Smith: “It was our first time being in the same place as [BYU], the hair on the back of my neck was up and I am snarling, I am just feeling all competitive.”

Shalane Flanagan Talks About How Life Has Changed Since Her NYC Win “I’ve been sent a lot of random little gifts and notes from people I don’t know, which I really appreciate. Some company contacted me and wanted to send me a new mattress. I’m like, ‘Okay? Thank you.’ Things like that, you’re just like, “Okay, when you win a marathon you get a mattress too?”

Athletics Weekly Profile On GB’s “Comeback Queen” Perri Shakes-Drayton Shakes-Drayton was a 400 hurdler, but multiple injuries and surgeries kept her out for years and ended her hurdle career. Now, she’s reinvented herself as a 400m flat runner and made GB’s 2017 4×400 squad for London 2017.

Arizona Daily Sun: Remembering Marathoner Ryan Shay, 10 Years Later (Part 1 And 2) NAU head coach Michael Smith writes about the “shocking, heartbreaking event that sent [the Flagstaff] community reeling.”

A Woman With Dystonia (A Movement Disorder Related To Parkinson’s) Ran The Entire NYC Marathon Backward Justine Galloway has a 3:16 PR, but can no longer run forwards. However, determined not to stop running, she now runs backwards and finished NYC in 6:06.

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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