WTW: Boston Vs. London – Who Has The Edge? Is Nike’s 4% For Real? Is Mo Farah 2.0 Already Here? And Free Coaching Advice for Paul Ereng
This week we wonder if we’ve already found Mo Farah‘s replacement, prove that life isn’t fair, compare the 2018 Boston and London Marathon fields, beg Paul Ereng to let Michael Saruni do the World Indoor/NCAA double, rave about the domination of the Nike 4%, introduce you to Ethiopia’s budding 1500 star, and bemoan the fact that hardly any American women run the marathon before they are 25.
The Week That Was In Running, January 22 – 28, 2018
January 31, 2018
After a perfectly timed two-month paternity break, the Week That Was is back. If we had to miss two months, we picked the right two months as December and January feature the least amount of action of the year. In this piece, we’ll look back at just the last week in running.
However, some interesting things did happen over the previous two months — like Foot Lockers, a new European/white man’s marathon record, year-end rankings, etc. — so come back on Friday at 1 p.m. ET and listen to our podcast when we do an audio version of the Week That Was (or should we call it “The Last Two Months That Were”?). We’ll take a quick look back at December and January and the look ahead to what we are most excited for in 2018 and preview this weekend’s amazing action at Camel City, Millrose and US XC. We’ll even give you the scoop from our “Boots on the Ground” in NYC about the 2018 NYRR Millrose Games as the pre-meet press conference will just be finishing up.
If Only They’d Run That Fast In London
As you almost certainly know by now, last week’s 2018 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon was sensational — both on the men’s and women’s side. If you missed our extensive pre- and post-Dubai coverage, catch up now: 2018 Dubai Marathon coverage.
After the race, we lamented the fact that someone like men’s 5th placer Sisay Lemma, who broke the old course record of 2:04:11 by running 2:04:08, only took home $13,000 in prize money.
We decided to figure out how much official prize money he would have won had he run 2:04:08 and finished 5th in each of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors. It should be pointed out that he’d make even more than the estimates below at an AWMM as the Abbott World Marathon Majors all pay out appearance fees. Dubai focuses on prize money, not appearance fees.
London – $110,000*
New York – $60,000**
Chicago – $25,000***
Berlin – $12,403 (10,000 Euros for 5th)^^
Tokyo – $6,892^^^
*5th place in London pays out less than it does in Dubai — $10,000 versus $13,000 — but there is a $100,000 time bonus in London for all runners breaking 2:05 ($75,000 for breaking 2:06 and $50,000 for 2:07)
**That’s assuming he runs 2:04 on the hilly course as there is a $50,000 time bonus for breaking 2:05:30 but it would be reduced by $5,000 once more than two people do it. 5th place pays out $15,000 in NY.
***It’s worth pointing out that Dubai 6th placer Berhanu Legese, who ran 2:04:15, would get $0 in prize money as Chicago only pays for top 5 and has no time bonuses unless you break the CR.
^That’s what 5th pays out in Boston. There are no time bonuses unless you beat the 2:03:02 course record.
^^Berlin only offers time bonuses for the first two under 2:05.
^^^ 5th place pays out 750,000 Japanese yen. It’s possible there are time bonuses but we couldn’t find a media guide. If you know of time bonuses in Tokyo, email us.
Doing this research reminds us that a) life isn’t fair (which is true in all walks of life — did you know a McDonald’s worker in India makes 50 cents an hour versus $21 an hour in Denmark?) and b) time bonuses in London are unreal.
Of course, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there was some ridiculously easy money handed out in Miami last week at the FitBit Miami Marathon. There, Hillary Too picked up $4,500 for running 2:23:03 to win the men’s race. Doper Lyubov Denisova, 46, won $5,000 in the women’s race for running 2:40:54.
Should We Put An * Next To All Nike Marathon Wins As The 4% Shoe Provides An Unfair Advantage? / Oh, Never Mind
There was an interesting thread on our fan forum/messageboard last week the day before Dubai asking if the new Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% shoes won every single major marathon: Has the 4% lost a race to a non-4% shoe?
If you don’t follow things closely, you are probably thinking, “It sure seems like it,” but in reality, it’s not true. Mary Keitany, for example, is the best female marathoner in the world. She is an adidas athlete and she won London in 2017 — in the second-fastest time in history.
We decided to go back and look at photos of the shoes of the 2017 marathon major winners to see what type of shoes they were wearing. While some athletes, such as Galen Rupp and Eliud Kipchoge, have been using a prototype of the 4% since 2016, the 4% wasn’t officially out early in 2017 so not very many — if any — of the runners battling Wilson Kipsang in Tokyo, for example, were wearing them as shown here. Technically, they didn’t go on sale until July 20 and since then the 4% has only lost once.
|Shoe Brand of Major Marathon Winners Since Release of 4%|
So the new shoe has been winning at a 90% clip since its official release and even includes a win over Mary Keitany in NYC by the 4% shoes worn Shalane Flanagan. A stat like that is bound to put doubt in a non-Nike athlete’s mind and is a marketer’s dream.
Now before you say “Oh my God, that’s not fair. Put an asterisk next to Shalane and Galen Rupp’s wins,” please realize that Nike sponsors a ton of very good athletes.
We decided to go back and look at a previous year to see how many majors were won by Nike athletes. We chose 2015 and not 2016 as a prototype of the 4% existed in 2016 and we didn’t want to try to figure out if a winner was wearing the prototype or not. In 2015, before the 4% existed, Nike athletes won 11 of the 14 majors held — that’s 78.6%.
|Shoes Won By WMM Winners in 2015|
|Total Nike wins||7 / 7||4/7|
Is it possible that the 4% shoe is so good that it boosted Nike’s win percentage from 78.6% to 90%? Yes. But this remains a small sample size. Flip just one of the results in the first table and the 4%’s win percentage goes from 90% to 80%, which is almost identical to the 2015 rate. The fact is, as long as Nike continues to sponsor the majority of the world’s best marathoners, the majority of major marathons will be won by Nike athletes and whatever shoe they happen to be wearing.
Have you run in the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% shoes? Share your experiences in this thread, and if you’re feeling generous, we’d love for you to submit a formal review of this shoe or any shoe for our new shoe review site (the first 1,000 reviewers will be entered into a raffle to win one of 10 free pairs of shoes). See here for more details: MB: 4% – Your Experiences
Young Japanese Women Impress / Stat of the Week
Most of the attention last week went to Dubai but the 37th Osaka Women’s Marathon was fantastic and should not be ignored. The winner in Osaka was 22-year-old Mizuki Matsuda. The Japanese 10,000-meter champ (31:39 pb, 19th at Worlds) had a near-perfect debut as she won by 64 seconds thanks to a negative-split 2:22:44 (71:59, 70:45) during which she ran the 5k from 30 to 35k in 16:19 according to Brett Larner — that’s 2:17:42 pace. The runner-up in the race was Matsuda’s old high school teammate, Honami Maeda, who is just 21 and ran 2:23:48.
The third placer in the race in 2:27:37 was 23-year-old Yuka Ando, who ran 2:21:36 last year in Nagoya at age 22.
So in one race last week, the Japanese had three women who have all run under 2:24 in the marathon before they turned 23. That certainly blows away everything that has EVER been done by young American marathoners, which brings us to our Stat of the Week.
After an afternoon of research, we’ve determined that the American record for the marathon by a woman under the age of 25 is just 2:29:38 set by Cathy Schiro O’Brien, who ran her pb at age 23 in 1991. Only one other American has ever broken 2:30 before turning 25 — Clara Santucci (nee Grandt) ran 2:29:54 in her debut in Boston in 2011.
If you are unfamiliar with Schiro’s story, it’s a fascinating one as she debuted in the marathon at age 16. She also won a Foot Locker title and still holds the Van Cortlandt Park high school 5k course record of 16:46 from way back in 1984. For a fantastic profile of O’Brien, check out this article from newhampshirecrosscountry.com.
One reason why the sub-25 American record isn’t faster is very few Americans have even attempted a marathon before turning 25. According to the results database Tilastopaja.org, of the 39 Americans who have broken 2:30 in the marathon, only seven of them even debuted before the age of 25 (it may be slightly higher as the database doesn’t have all races from the 1980s; if you know of a mistake in the list below, please email us).
The debut ages of America’s 39 sub-2:30 marathoners.
- Deena Kastor – 1st marathon at 28.
- Jordan Hasay – 1st marathon at 25.
- Shalane Flanagan – 1st marathon at 29.
- Joan Benoit – 1st marathon at 25.
- Desi Linden – 1st marathon at 24 (2:37:50 pb when she turned 25).
- Kara Goucher – 1st marathon at age 30.
- Laura Thweatt – 1st marathon at age 26.
- Magdalena Lewy Boulet – 1st marathon at age 27.
- Julie Brown – 1st marathon at age 27.
- Kim Jones – 1st marathon at age 30.
- Serena Burla – 1st marathon at age 28.
- Amy Cragg – 1st marathon at age 27.
- Marla Runyan – 1st marathon at age 33.
- Renee Baillie (Metivier) – 1st marathon at age 30.
- Sara Hall – 1st marathon at age 31.
- Francie Larrieu-Smith -1st marathon at age 37.
- Patti Catalano – 1st marathon at age 27.
- Olga Appell – 1st marathon at age 29.
- Colleen de Reuck – started running for US at age 37.
- Molly Huddle – 1st marathon at age 32.
- Lisa Rainsberger – 1st marathon at age 26.
- Christine McNamara – 1st marathon at age 30.
- Annie Bersagel – 1st marathon at age 26.
- Libbie Hickman – 1st marathon at age 33.
- Kellyn Taylor – 1st marathon at age 28.
- Lauren Kleppin – 1st marathon at age 24 (2:42:17 pb when she turned 25).
- Maria Trujillo – started running for US at age 29.
- Deeja Youngquist – 1st marathon at age 26.
- Kristy Johnston – 1st marathon at age 28.
- Blake Russell – 1st marathon at age 28.
- Lindsay Flanagan – 1st marathon at age 23 (2:33:12 pb when she turned 25).
- Jen Rhines – 1st marathon at age 28.
- Stephanie Bruce – 1st marathon at age 24 (2:40:07 pb when she turned 25).
- Cathy O’Brien – 1st marathon at age 16 (2:29:38 pb when she turned 25).
- Allie Kieffer – 1st marathon at 28.
- Janet Bawcom – started running for US at age 32.
- Margaret Groos – 1st marathon at age 29.
- Jenny Spangler – 1st marathon at age 19 (2:33:52 pb when she turned 25).
- Clara Santucci (Grandt) – 2:29:54 in her debut at age 24 in Boston. That’s her pb to this day.
In other Osaka news coming from the other end of the age spectrum, 42-year-old Mari Ozaki ran 2:30:03 to place sixth and set a new Japanese masters record (40+).
Comparing The 2018 Boston and London Marathon Fields
Last week, the organizers of the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon announced their elite fields in a new way. They dropped out a few names every day so it’s quite possible you never saw the full elite fields. To save you the time, we’ve pasted them together in their entirety below.
The women’s field, which includes Americans Allie Kieffer, Stephanie Bruce, Alia Gray, and Liz Costello, is led by Mary Keitany, who will go after Paula Radcliffe‘s 2:15:25 world record with the help of male pacers. Tirunesh Dibaba is also in the field. The men’s field is unreal as well, as in addition to defending champ Daniel Wanjiru, it includes Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele, and Mo Farah. Americans Sam Chelanga and Fernando Cabada also are running.
The full elite fields are as follows.
|2018 London Elite Women’s Field
Mary Keitany, Kenya
Age: 36 | Marathon PB: 2:17:01
Three-time Virgin Money London Marathon & New York City Marathon championTirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia
Age: 32 | Marathon PB: 2:17:56
Multiple Olympic and world champion, 10,000m & 5,000mGladys Cherono, Kenya
Age: 34 | Marathon PB: 2:19:25
2014 world half marathon champion
Mare Dibaba, Ethiopia
Brigid Kosgei, Kenya
Tigist Tufa, Ethiopia
Tadelech Bekele, Ethiopia
Rose Chelimo, Bahrain
Vivian Cheruiyot, Kenya
Charlotte Purdue, Great Britain
Stephanie Bruce, USA
Allison Kieffer, USA
Tracy Barlow, Great Britain
Lily Partridge, Great Britain
Anna Holm Jorgensen, Denmark
Tish Jones, Great Britain
Alia Gray, USA
Liz Costello, USA
Rebecca Murray, Great Britain
|2018 London Elite Men’s Field
Daniel Wanjiru, Kenya
Age: 24 | Marathon PB: 2:05:21
2017 Virgin Money London Marathon championKenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia
Age: 35 | Marathon PB: 2:03:03 2
016 Berlin Marathon championEliud Kipchoge, Kenya
Age: 33 | Marathon PB: 2:03:05
2016 Olympic champion
Guye Adola, Ethiopia
Stanley Biwott, Kenya
Abel Kirui, Kenya
Lawrence Cherono, Kenya
Tola Shura Kitata, Ethiopia
Bedan Karoki, Kenya
Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, Eritrea
Amanuel Mesel, Eritrea
Mo Farah, Great Britain
Alphonce Felix Simbu, Tanzania
Fernando Cabada, USA
Ihor Olefirenko, Ukraine
Tsegai Tewelde, Great Britain
Jonny Mellor, Great Britain
Samuel Chelanga, USA
Aaron Scott, Great Britain
Taher Belkorchi, Morocco
We decided to compare the 2018 London and Boston fields. While Boston has three of our top six men’s marathoners from 2017 in it, London is stronger. Here is the men’s comparison:
|2018 Boston||2018 London||Edge|
|# Sub-2:06 (cumulative)||6||8||London|
|# Sub-2:08 (cumulative)||10||10||Even|
|# AWMM/Dubai Champs in Field & Races Won||5 / 9||6 / 13||London|
|# 2017 LRC Top-10 World Ranked Marathoners||3||5||London|
When it comes to the women’s field, London beats Boston as well. And for good reason. The 2018 London field has five of our top seven marathoners from 2017 in it.
|2018 Boston||2018 London||Edge|
|# Sub-2:22 (cumulative)||7||7||Even|
|# Sub-2:24 (cumulative)||10||9||Boston|
|# AWMM/Dubai Champs in Field & Races Won||5 / 12||6 / 13||London|
|# 2017 LRC Top-10 World Ranked Marathoners||4||5||Londo|
^We’re not counting Deena Kastor as she’s well over 40.
Ethiopia’s Rising 1500 Star?
The Japanese women weren’t the only young talents to impress last week. At the Meeting Elite en Salle de l’Eure in France last week, 18-year-old* Ethiopian Samuel Tefera ran a new world U20 record of 3:36.05, defeating Olympic bronze medallist Abdalaati Iguider in the process. The old record was 3:36.28 (set by Belal Mansoor Ali in 2007). The Ethiopian men certainly aren’t known for their 1500 prowess, but that could change with Tefera.
*Tefera is officially listed as 18, though the usual scrutiny with Ethiopian birthdates applies
It should be noted that it was the first indoor race of his life — and he produced a new world U20 record. Last summer Tefera did extremely well in his first European race ever, as he won the Ethiopian Trials in Hengelo by running 3:33.78 in what was also the first race of his career outside of Ethiopia. His first appearance at Worlds didn’t go as well, however, as he went out in the first round in London. He didn’t run all that bad. He just got put in a really ridiculous heat — let’s call it the Heat of Death.
Running in heat #1 with eventual gold medallist Elijah Manangoi as well as global medallists Asbel Kiprop, Iguider, Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, Ayanleh Souleiman, and Matthew Centrowitz, he finished just .29 behind Manangoi but didn’t advance. There was a nice consolation prize, however, as he’s undefeated for his life against Olympic champ Centrowitz, whom he beat by 2.12 seconds, as well as NCAA champ Josh Kerr, whom he beat by 1.13 seconds.
Paul Ereng, We Hope You Are Reading This
Last year, the brilliance of UTEP freshman Michael Saruni‘s campaign was missed by many for two reasons. One, he was overshadowed by his own freshman teammate Emmanuel Korir, who won NCAA indoors, outdoors and the Kenyan Trials. Secondly, Saruni got DQ’d at NCAA indoors and then tripped at NCAA outdoors (had he not been tripped outdoors, we are convinced he would have been second at worse). While Korir was better, Saruni had a pretty otherworldly 2017. The results databases we subscribe to show zero 800 results for Saruni before 2017, so if he’d run the 800 before it was only in low-key meets in Kenya. Yet, when the year was over, he had run 1:44.61 and finished 3rd at the Kenyan Trials, only to get screwed and left off the Kenyan team (Kenya could have entered four men at Worlds but only entered three and Saruni wasn’t among them).
Saruni has started off 2018 just like he ended 2017 — on fire, opening at 1:45.92 on an oversized track two weeks ago before running the second fastest NCAA indoor time ever last weekend, 1:45.19, on Texas Tech’s scorching fast track. In between, he broke the world record in the indoor 600 (1:14.79).
Since Saruni is so good, we have an idea.
We think he should go for the World Indoor/NCAA Indoor double.
World Indoors are the first weekend in March and NCAA Indoors are a week later so it’s definitely doable. Saruni’s coach, Paul Ereng, who is the NCAA indoor record holder at 1:44.84, was a two-time World Indoor champ so we hope he lets Saruni do it.
With no World Outdoors in 2018, there should be no worry about burning Saruni out. Plus, they did a masterful job of not burning him out last year, as he ran a 1.21-second pb in his last race of the year at the Kenyan Trials in July.
And picking up a World Indoor title will only greatly increase Saruni’s endorsement potential.
Mo Farah 2.0, Here We Come
Last week, Chicago Marathon champ Galen Rupp raced an indoor 5000 on the oversized University of Washington oval. Alternating the lead with new Nike Oregon Project teammate Yomif Kejelcha, both men ran 13:34. However, Kejelcha technically got the win and then came back and won the mile in 3:56.95 and we couldn’t help but think, “My god, Kejelcha is going to be Mo Farah 2.0.”
With the USADA investigation of Alberto Salazar there likely will always be suspicion of his athletes, but if Kejelcha ends up being like Farah and becomes a world beater under Alberto Salazar (and that world domination includes repeated beatdowns of Rupp as Farah is 21-1 against Rupp and Kejelcha is 4-0 against Rupp), it may come with a little less suspicion as, unlike Farah, who was somewhat of an afterthought on the world scene prior to joining the Nike Oregon Project, Kejelcha, 20, has had the “Future Star” label attached to him throughout his career. He was the world youth champ at age 15 in 2013, the world junior and Youth Olympic champ at age 17 in 2014, and 4th at Worlds in 2015 at age 18 (he also won World indoors at 18).
At the same UW meet, Sifan Hassan ran 8:34.45 for 3000 and Shalane Flanagan ran 8:43.28. The 8:43.28 in the midst of a 110-mile week is pretty impressive for Flanagan. Any thoughts that she is resting on her laurels after her New York win should definitely be thrown out the window as her pb at 3000 isn’t all that much faster (8:35.25 from 10 years ago indoors).
A Hopeful Sign for Leo Manzano?
The third-place finisher in Saruni’s 800 last week was notable: 2012 Olympic silver medallist Leo Manzano. While Manzano was trounced by Saruni, the good news is he ran an indoor 800 pb of 1:48.81 for third. Now 1:48.81 for 800 isn’t blazing fast but it’s encouraging for Manzano (especially considering Clayton Murphy and Robby Andrews both failed to break 1:50 at the Armory last weekend), who really struggled in 2017.
We should get an idea of where the 33-year-old Manzano really is this weekend when he races a stacked mile at the Camel City Elite meet in North Carolina. To say that Manzano has struggled since finishing 4th at the 2016 Olympic Trials would be an understatement. He basically did nothing all of last year. His 1500 seasonal best was just 3:41.68. And his mile races were even worse.
Here’s a stat for you: Leo Manzano has failed to break 4:00 in the mile the last 14 times he’s raced it on the track, dating all the way back to July of 2015 (he did break 4:00 once during that timeframe, running a 3:54.4 downhill mile at 5th Avenue in 2016). Now that’s hard to believe. In those 14 races, he’s had some real clunkers as he’s failed to break 4:05 six times, including a 4:12.06 that he ran on January 19 this year in Birmingham.
At 33, Manzano isn’t necessarily too old to be good. He’s younger than Nick Willis.
We’ve Seen This Before / World Indoors Needs To Change Its Qualifying Standards/Procedures
While we are talking about indoor 800s…. Last week in New York at the Dr. Sander Invite, Erik Sowinski utterly dominated the men’s 800, which included the likes of Olympic bronze medallist Clayton Murphy and Robby Andrews, by winning in 1:46.98. The only problem is the World Indoor standard is 1:46.50 (or 1:44.00 from the previous outdoor season).
History seems to be repeating itself as in 2016, Sowinski had a great indoor campaign but also didn’t have the World Indoor standard. The IAAF wound up filling the field and invited Sowinski to run Worlds anyway, and he ended up snagging the bronze medal.
He — and the majority of the field, actually — may need another invitation from the IAAF to get in in 2018. Only five men in the world last year broke 1:44.00 so that’s basically a non-starter. And 1:46.50 indoors is too stiff of a standard. We are just more than a month away from the champs (March 1-4) and a grand total of one man has hit the standard this year. What about last year? Only three athletes worldwide broke 1:46.50 last year indoors on a legitimate 200-meter banked indoor track.
We understand why the standards are extremely stiff as with a six-lane track and six-person final, you at most want to have 24 entrants. The IAAF accepted 15 men in 2016. If that’s the case again this year, just do what the NCAA does and say you’ll accept the 15 fastest entrants.
The IAAF should also accept recent outdoor times. With the 2018 Commonwealth Games coming up April 4-15, World Indoors would be a great competition for every Commonwealth athlete. Everyone should be gearing up trying to do both, but we’re not sure that’s happening as people in our sport rarely work together or care about any event that isn’t in their own country. Aussies Luke Mathews, Jeff Riseley, and Brad Mathas all ran under 1:46.50 last week outdoors at the Australian Capital Territory Championships. They are clearly fit, and if they want to run World Indoors, they should be allowed to do it. The timing works perfectly as the Aussie Champs are Feb 15-18, World Indoors are March 1-4 and the Commonwealth Games in Australia are April 4-15.
Similarly, if there is a Kenyan athlete getting ready for CGs that runs fast outdoors, that time should count. Accept recent outdoor times maybe with some sort of small penalty — half a second or something compared to the indoor standard. That way the real studs can still get in using their 2017 outdoor times but guys who are in shape now can use their current outdoor marks to qualify.
And lastly, something needs to be done where the US (and other countries) can send the athletes it wants to Worlds — not just those with the standard. If at the US champs, whether it’s this year at USA Indoors or in 2020 at the Olympic Trials, if someone without the standard wins or is top three, they should go as long as at least three Americans total have the standard. So make the qualifying standards apply to the country and then the country can send whomever it wants based on its national championship results ie if the US has 3 people with the standard in the 800, then it can send the top 3 from its championships to Worlds. It makes the sport much easier to understand for the casual fan watching the champs on TV.
If you are into World Indoors – this article should interest you: LRC World Indoors Is A Month Away; Which Americans Have The Standard?
Donavan Brazier Looking Towards World Indoors After Putting A Disappointing London 2017 Behind Him Poor tactics cost Brazier a spot in the final and he says, “It’s sickening. What happened in London was disappointing, but when you get that feeling you never want to feel it again.”
IAAF Profile: Determined Sondre Nordstad Moen Plots His Own Path To Success After his breakthrough 2017, Moen wants to become the first European to win the World Half Champs in the last 22-years.
The Guardian: “Double First: The Twin GB Sprinters With The Tokyo Olympics In Their Sights” The twin sisters used to be dancers/volleyball players, but after only five years in the sport, Cheriece and Shannon Hylton are eyeing the GB Olympic team.
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.