The Week That Was In Running, May 14 – May 20, 2018
May 22, 2018
Stat of the Week I
150 – number of fans we estimate were in attendance at the adidas Boost Boston Games on Saturday night, an event that featured Olympians like Robby Andrews, Ajee Wilson, Nick Willis, and even a world champion (Muktar Edris). Yes, we know the weather wasn’t great (50s and rainy) but the event was free of charge and held in America’s 10th largest metropolitan area. It proves our point that it’s very hard to make non-championship track meets popular. (We asked meet director Mark Wetmore for an official attendance number but had not heard back from him as of Tuesday afternoon).
The crowds may have been thin, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and wrote a 2,500-word recap of the action.
The crowd photo reminds us a bit of the crowds at the Payton Jordan Invite this year:
This was the crowd for the 10,000s last night. The section to the left was about 2/3 full for the 5000s. pic.twitter.com/6apjahbNik
— Dan Lilot (@Lilot1TrackMind) May 4, 2018
To make non-championship track meets appealing, you need more than names. You need storylines — or at least beer. The attendance figures weren’t totally depressing all weekend long. Lots of fun was had at the Night of the 10,000m PBs in Britain:
— Helen Hood (@parkrunhelen) May 19, 2018
— Highgate Harriers (@HighgateHarrier) May 20, 2018
Even IAAF head Seb Coe allowed himself to crack open a cold one:
Always great to see these guys, watch some fantastic athletics & share some good laughs! As Seb said "This is my manor! " @jopavey @wendyslyrun @sebcoe @TimHutchings1 Gavin Pavey #OnceAnAthleteAlwaysAnAthlete #AthleticsCommunity @NightOf10kPBs @HighgateHarrier pic.twitter.com/J9E99r0MFi
— SMART Way Forward (@smartwayforward) May 19, 2018
Of course, the Night of the 10,000m PBs has it a little easier as it is following what we call the “Penn Relays” attendance model. If you have a ton of entrants, you are bound to have somewhat decent attendance. Counting pacers, there were more than 300 entrants (303) in the various heats of the Night of the 10,000m PBs races. If every racer’s parents show up, you are close to 1,000 for attendance if you count the competitors as spectators.
- The Night of the 10,000m PBs has the perfect formula to engage the masses
- Germany’s Richard Ringer Wins European 10,000 Cup Title At The Night Of 10,000 PBs Ringer ran 27:36.52 to beat out France’s Morhad Amdouni by just .28. Also noteworthy was the fact that three Brits broke the 28-minute barrier in the same race for the first time in 35 years with 20-year-old triathlete Alex Yee (27:51.94) beating out Andy Vernon (27:52.32) and Chris Thompson (27:52.56).
*European Athletics Recap: Judges It Brilliantly To Win Euro 10,000 Cup Title
*MB:20-yr old British triathlete runs 27.51 for 10k in his debut (on a track)
- Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter WIns European 10,000m Cup In World-Leading 31:33.03 Romania’s Ancuta Bobocel was 2nd (31:43) and GB’s Charlotte Arter 3rd (32:15).
*European Athletics Recap
Stat of the Week II
31:33.03 – new Israeli 10,000 record after Lonah Chemtai ran that time to win elite women’s race at the Night of the 10,000m PBs (which also served as the European Cup 10,000).
Chemtai broke her own 10,000 record of 31:39.63 which she set at the Israeli Championships on April 26. In that race, Chemutai broke both the Israeli 5,000 and 10,000 records in the very same race as her first 5k split of 15:26.8 was well below the Israeli 5,000 record of 16:07.03.
A 2:40 marathoner who ran for Israel at both the 2016 Olympics (DNF) and 2017 Worlds (2:40:22, 41st place), Chemtai has massively improved her PRs over the last two years. Coming into last year, she had pbs of 4:28 for 1500, 16:27 for 5,000, 35:01 for 10,000, and 74:11 for the half and now the 29-year-old has pbs of 4:17, 15:26.8, 31:33, and 68:58.
Her story is a fascinating one as the Kenyan-born Chemtai moved to Israel in 2008 to serve as the nanny for the Kenyan ambassador. She met and eventually married Israeli running coach Dan Salpeter and decided to get serious about running. After giving birth in December 2014, she initially focused on the marathon but has really thrived at the shorter distances of late. One reason she struggled to run fast prior to the last two years was because she suffered a shoulder injury while training for the Rio Olympics — she was still breastfeeding, and it was hard to run with an extra two kilos of milk on her body. The injury caused her to drop out of Rio and some on social media ripped her. At the time, her husband Dan Salpeter correctly predicted to Forward.com, “Lonah’s just starting out … and she’s hungry to succeed. I believe that soon, she’ll make a lot of people shut up.”
Lonah Salpeter Chemtai, ISR, won the @EuroAthletics cup 10,000m in 31:33.03, photo by David Wearn, May 19, 2018, Night of 10,000m PBs, Hampstead Heath, #nightofthe10kpbs, #europeanatletics, #runblogrun, #theshoeaddicts, #highgateharriers, #highgate10k, pic.twitter.com/o5viuGsnxB
— RunBlogRun (@RunBlogRun) May 20, 2018
Stat of the Week III
Many track meets may be free of charge to watch in person but they certainly aren’t free of charge to watch online with the various pay-per-view options like RunnerSpace PLUS+ (USATF.TV), Flotrack, and NBC Sports Gold.
Did the math, it costs $339.86 (including a discount going on right now) to watch track and field per year between three digital subscriptions.
— Lauren Fleshman (@laurenfleshman) April 29, 2018
Meanwhile, USATF is paying ex-Nike employees more than $23 million for extending the USATF sponsorship deal with Nike for 23 years (so roughly a million per year). Without that extra expense, streaming of USATF events could probably be free and USATF would come out ahead of what they’re doing now.
Is David Rudisha Update?
Double Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha was supposed to make his season debut in Shanghai on May 12 but wound up withdrawing, which means it’s now been over 10 months since Rudisha’s last race (July 4, 2017). We ran into Rudisha’s agent Michel Boeting at the adidas Boost Boston Games, and he told us that Rudisha is currently dealing with an injury to his upper hamstring muscle.
Boeting said Rudisha’s injury actually stems from 2016, when Rudisha won Olympic gold in Rio, but it went undiagnosed for a long time and because he was constantly training, it did not have time to heal properly. Rudisha has finally taken the time to let the injury heal, and hopes to return to training in June. It is uncertain whether he will race this year, but if he does, Boeting said it would likely not be until August.
Some might question why Rudisha, as the double Olympic champ, world record holder, and undisputed greatest 800 runner in history, would want to continue in the sport as there isn’t much left for him to accomplish. Boeting said there is one thing that still motivates him: “If you want to see his eyes light up, mention Tokyo,” Boeting told us.
The 800 is traditionally a young man’s event, and no one has ever won three Olympic golds. If Rudisha could pull that off in Tokyo, when he would be 31 years old, it would rank among the greatest feats in the history of athletics.
PR Of The Week – Male
At the Georgia Meet of Champions high school meet last week, there were once again a few sections of professional 800s and the results were amazing for the Atlanta Track Club’s Brandon Lasater. Lasater, 25, entered the meet with 1:47.09 pb and left with a 1:45.85 pb and win as he totally skipped the 1:46s.
Not too shabby for the former Georgia Tech walk-on who ran 1:59 and 4:29 in high school and never made it to NCAAs. One more thing about Lasater. He ran 3:59.24 for the mile in 2015 to become the first Georgia-born athlete to break 4:00.
PR Of The Week – Female
Charlene Lipsey, the fastest US woman ever indoors at 800 (1:58.64), didn’t have a good indoor season this year as she got a late start due to an Achilles injury but she’s opened up well outdoors. She started last week with a 4:10.68 1500 pb but lowered it to 4:07.73 at Swarthmore on Monday before lowering it again to a US-leading 4:04.98 at the adidas Boost Boston Games on Saturday.
Email of The Week: “I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve even been aroused while on the boards.”
Last week, we put a post on the messageboard asking if anyone out there on the West Coast might want to help us cover the 2018 Prefontaine Classic. We got a lot of responses, including this one, which blew us away:
The email comes from Oregon State student Miles Rouches. We asked Miles for a quick bio to add to his email and his response was just as good, if not better than the original email.
Video of The Week
At the Plymouth (UK) Half Marathon, a woman was late to work and decided she’d just drive through the half marathon. One runner wasn’t too happy and tried to stop her. Amazingly, others were so focused on the race they didn’t even appear to notice the car.
A Few Random Observations
It didn’t take long for Kenenisa Bekele (2:08:53, 6th), Mo Farah (2:06:21, 3rd), and Tirunesh Dibaba (DNF) to get over their London Marathon performances on April 22 as all three raced last week just four weeks after London. Bekele won the Grand Prix von Bern 10 miler in Bern, Switzerland, in 46:46.2 (2nd place was 48:23.9), while Farah and Dibaba both won the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run 10K in the UK in 28:27 and 31:08, respectively.
We know 2018 isn’t a Worlds year but if it was we’d say don’t write off Justin Gatlin quite yet. The 36-year-old, who was only 7th in Shanghai (10.20), ran 10.06 (-0.7 wind) last week to win in Osaka. Last year, it should be remembered that Gatlin also started off slowly and didn’t break 10 wind-legal until USAs on June 23. And remember it only took a 9.92 to win Worlds.
Quotes of the Week (that weren’t quote of the day)
Note: Some of these quotes weren’t published last week but we only found them last week.
#1 Centro Jr. isn’t a young chicken any more
“Now I’m 28. I’m not 22 where you can jump out of bed and go run a quick race. My body’s just coming around a little bit longer. Today was a great step forward.”
– Olympic 1500 champ Matthew Centrowitz talking to David Monti after winning his heat of the 1500 at Oxy last week about why he struggled in some 800s earlier this spring. In addition to his age, Centrowitz normally runs a big indoor season but missed indoors this year after battling injuries in November and December.
#2 Nick Willis says even if Asbel Kiprop did dope and it cost Willis an Olympic gold medal, that he’s not the biggest victim of all
“People say but you’re a victim, you might have missed out on such and such and such. And I say if a Kenyan is doping, do you know who the real victim is? It’s the Kenyan who didn’t get to make the team all of those years, that never got to get out of Eldoret or Iten. They’re living in poverty. There are incredibly talented Kenyans out there, but many of them never get to realize that potential because their places on teams — which is their ticket to getting a visa to travel and race on the grand prix circuit — are stolen from them. So when locals from Kenya or whatever country are saying, oh they would never do that, they’re a hero. You’ve gotta remember, they’re robbing their fellow countrymen first and foremost.”
#3 Callum Hawkins on what he did after being put in the ambulance after collapsing in the Commonwealth Games marathon
“The first thing I asked (was) did I win because I thought there might have been a chance that I went on autopilot and finished it.
“But nobody answered me and I knew straight away, eh that’s a no.”
– Hawkins’ quote appeared in The Guardian. He will race for the first time since that collapse in a 10k in London on Monday (Memorial Day in US, spring bank holiday UK) against Mo Farah.
#4 Virginia Tech’s star pole vaulter explains why she quit gymnastics immediately at age 12 after watching her country’s best gymnast (Jonna Adlertag) finish 39th in the London Olympics
“I said, ‘[I quit.] I’m not spending all this time to only get 39th.’ I had seen Jonna training so much, so hard, she was always in pain, and I decided it’s not worth it – I’d rather do something else.”
– Lisa Gunnarsson, Virginia Tech’s star freshman pole vaulter from Sweden talking to Spikes about why she quit gymnastics in 2012 after watching the Olympics.
Gunnarson, the best youth pole vaulter in history, who has lived in five countries and speaks three languages fluently, finds track and field way easier than gymnastics, which she practiced 30 hours a week at age 12. “I have never come close to 30 hours a week in athletics,” she says. “I feel more healthy.”
#5 The high from coaching is like a drug
“It’s like opium. Being active in athletics as a coach and previously as an athlete – it’s something I cannot do without. It gives me a big high when I see an athlete perform, especially one who went from nothing to something.”
– coach Patrick Sang talking last month prior to the London Marathon to Spikes about the high he gets from coaching. Sang’s quote is reminiscent of what LetsRun.com co-founder Robert Johnson used to say about college coaching, “What do you really rich people do? They buy racehorses or a sports team to get a huge adrenaline rush. As a coach, you get paid to get that same adrenaline rush.”
In the same article, Eliud Kipchoge gave Sang the ultimate compliment, “He has taught me the morals of life, how to really concentrate and be happy and not go off course,” said Kipchoge. “He’s a mentor, a sports coach and my life coach.”
In the article, Sang offers up his one key to coaching success, “The biggest teacher to me is the feedback mechanism from the athlete. It can take a few months, maybe even just one month, to learn that.”
More: Spikes: The Mastermind
- LRC 30 Years Of Sub-3:00 Marathons: Despite A Setback In Boston, Mark Cucuzzella Is Looking To Extend An Epic Streak
- Article From February Where Bershawn Jackson Explains His Decision To Come Back For One More Year Jackson says he spoke with Bernard Lagat, Mo Farah, Sanya Richards and Justin Gatlin when seeking retirement advice.
- Profile On Shanghai 800 Winner Wycliffe Kinyamal Kisasy Who Plans To “Run Under 1:43 This Year” Interestingly, Kisasy started track and field in the high jump (PB around 2.00m) and actually started running to help his jumping.
- The Guardian Obituary For GB Runner Bruce Tulloh Who Famously Won The 1962 European 5000 Title Barefoot Tulloh, a sub-4 barefoot miler, had a very interesting running career as he broke the record for running across the United States by 8-days, taking 65 to complete the journey and spent time living with the Tarahumara Indians (made famous by the book Born to Run).
- IAAF Profile: “Poland’s Men’s 4×400 Relay Quartet – When The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts” A look at the team that upset Team USA to win World Indoor gold in a WR setting time this past winter.
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.