Week That Was: World Records in Half Marathon and Masters Marathon + Oregon Pulls Upset at Pac 12s and Cas Loxom Retires

The Week That Was in Running – October 22 – 28, 2018

by LetsRun.com
October 30, 2018

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.

Pic of Valencia at World Half Marathon Pic of Valencia at World Half Marathon

The performance of the week undoubtedly came in Valencia, where Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum took advantage of great weather and the superfast (and beautiful) course to break the half marathon world record with a 58:18 clocking. We have a separate story on Kiptum’s run and reveal that it would have never happened had Kiptum had his way. Kiptum wanted to run the Chicago Marathon this fall but his agent said Chicago didn’t have appearance money for him, claiming “his credentials were not good enough.” So instead he just broke the WR at 13.1. Unreal.

LRC Who Is New Half Marathon World Record Holder Abraham Kiptum, And How Did He Run So Fast In Valencia?

This upcoming week should be a big one with the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon.

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Let’s Not Forget The Women In Valencia

While Kiptum’s WR stole most of the attention, it needs to be pointed out that the women’s race in Valencia was of very high quality as well as seven women broke 68:00 and four ran 66:31 or faster. Gelete Burka, 32, led the way with a big pb of 66:11 to get the win (previous pb of 68:18). We don’t think many people properly appreciate the range of Burka. Earlier this year, Burka ran a 2:20:45 marathon in Dubai (6th place). Now she has a 66:11 half pb. And remember she began her career as a 1500 runner. The 2008 world indoor champ at 1500 has a 3:58.70 pb.

Can you imagine Jenny Simpson running a 2:20 marathon or setting the US half marathon record (Molly Huddle owns it at 67:25)? We can’t.

The runner-up in Valencia was Ethiopian-born Alia Saeed Mohammed of the United Arab Emirates, who surprised with a 66:13 debut, an incredibly good time for someone with track pbs of 15:00 and 31:10.

Stat of the Week I

Mark Kiptoo New Masters Record in Frankfurt Mark Kiptoo New Masters Record in Frankfurt

2:07:50 – new masters world record (40+) for the marathon after Kenya’s Mark Kiptoo, 42, ran 2:07:50 for sixth in Frankfurt over the weekend. Very impressive stuff, although the 2:06:00 he ran at age 39 in Eindhoven is equally mindblowing. Winning the men’s race by four seconds in Frankfurt in 2:06:37 was Ethiopia’s Kelkile Gezahegn Woldaregay.

In the women’s race in, Ethiopia’s Meskerem Assefa Wondimagegn got the win in 2:20:36 as four women broke 2:22 and seven broke 2:23. Former Nike Bowerman Track Club team member and Iowa State star Betsy Saina, who won Paris this spring in 2:22:56, was 8th in 2:24:35.

NCAA Conference Action / Transfer-Heavy Oregon Women Upset #1 Colorado At Pac-12s

Last week was one of our favorite weekends of the year — collegiate XC conference weekend. We love it as what drew us to running was the team aspect of cross country and there is nothing better than a highly charged NCAA cross country team battle. In terms of ranked teams, there weren’t any shocking results. In fact, the highest ranked team in the USTFCCCA coaches’ poll won every conference title except for two men’s and women’s conferences. In the SEC men’s race, #21 Ole Miss won its first SEC title over #20 Arkansas. In the ACC men’s race, #15 Notre Dame beat #10 Syracuse (if you missed it, we had on-site coverage from Boston for that one: LRC 2018 ACC XC Recap: #15 Notre Dame Men End #10 Syracuse’s 5-Year Reign; #12 NC State Women Edge #18 Notre Dame By 1 Point). In the Mountain West women’s race, #3 New Mexico beat #2 Boise State. And in the most significant result of the weekend, #4 Oregon put the beat down on #1 Colorado in the Pac-12 women’s race, winning 32 to 48 with #6 Stanford third (81) and #16 Washington fourth (123).

If at the end of the NCAA track and field championships in June, we told you that the Oregon women would lose head coach Maurica Powell plus their two top-25 finishers from last year’s NCAA cross country championships in All-Americans Katie Rainsberger (16th) and Lilli Burdon (21st) and still upset the #1 team in the land at Pac-12s this fall, you probably wouldn’t have believed us. But that’s exactly what happened.

How is that possible?

Well, for starters, they replaced Powell with a very good coach in Helen Lehman-Winters, who guided San Francisco to NCAA runner-up honors in 2017. Lehman-Winters in turn replaced the departing Rainsberger and Burdon with two All-Americans transfers who followed her from USF — Weronika Pyzik (5th at NCAAs last year) and Isabelle Brauer (15th at NCAAs last year).

At Pac-12s, Oregon didn’t miss Rainsberger and Burdon at all, as both of them finished significantly lower at Pac-12s this year compared to last. Rainsberger went from 2nd to 11th, while Burdon went from 6th to 31st.

As for Oregon, it’s worth noting that only one runner in their top seven began their college career as a Duck. The rest are all transfers. And of Oregon’s top seven, only one (their #7 Amanda Gehrich) is American.

Oregon’s Top 5 at Pac-12s
2. Jessica Hull – SR – Australian started at Oregon as a freshman in 2015.
4. Weronika Pyzik – SR – Polish runner ran her first three years at San Francisco before transferring in this year.
6. Susan Ejore – SR – Kenyan was a junior college transfer to Oregon last year.
8. Carmela Cardarma Baez – SR – Spaniard transferred in last year after being Florida State’s #1 for her first two years of college.
12. Isabelle Brauer – JR – Swede transferred into Oregon after starting her collegiate career at San Francisco.
17. Philippa Bowden – GR – Grad transfer from the UK.
18. Amanda Gehrich – JR – Started college at Utah before transferring in for track last year


It also wasn’t a great weekend for the #8 Colorado men as they finished third at Pac-12s. There’s no shame in that as the two teams that beat them were both higher ranked — #4 Stanford (now ranked #5) and #7 Washington — but it was the first time since 1990 that they’d finished lower than second in a conference meet.

More: NCAA Conference XC Recap

Stat of the Week II

Galen Rupp had Achilles surgery last week. Many fans on the messageboard were wondering if it meant the end of his career. We’ll remind you that lots of runners have had Achilles surgery (Haile G had it done twice), and try to cheer up Rupp fans with this stat.

Dathan Ritzenhein’s Marathon PB before Achilles surgery: 2:10:00
Dathan Ritzenhein’s Marathon PB after Achilles surgery: 2:07:47

MB: Galen Rupp Undergoes Foot Surgery, Will Miss 2019 Spring Marathon Season
MB: For everyone sticking a fork in Galen Rupp simply because he had achilles surgery…. 

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

#1 The Valencia Half Marathon race director may be our new favorite guy in athletics

“We are not naïve and we know that there [is] cheating and doping in athletics. But we, as organization, work to be just the opposite. Please, do not confuse us with the bad guys. If tomorrow any athlete is positive in our races, we will be the first to repudiate him. And if in the IAAF remeasurement there is one meter less, we will ask for forgiveness one by one to the 13,800 runners who participated today and we will die of shame.”

– Juan Manuel Botella, race director for the Valencia Half Marathon, talking to LetsRun.com after Abraham Kiptum broke the men’s half marathon world record at his race with a 58:18 clocking.

More: LRC Who Is New Half Marathon World Record Holder Abraham Kiptum, And How Did He Run So Fast In Valencia?
*Valencia race director “(If the) IAAF remeasurement there is one meter less… we will die of shame.” 

#2 Jerome Drayton is not upset that his Canadian marathon record was broken

“I think it’s about time the record was [broken]. I think it should have [happened] about 30 or 40 years ago but then I guess the quality of marathon runners wasn’t that great in those years.” 

Jerome Drayton talking to The Globe and Mail last week after he lost the Canadian marathon record to Cam Levins after holding it for more than 49 years. The article is fascinating as it reveals how much things have changed in the near half-century since Drayton first took hold of the Canadian record.

Drayton downplayed his 1975 Boston win and said his three wins in Fukuoka, which served an the unofficial world champs back in those days, were much more significant.

“Boston, in my years, it wasn’t really that high quality,” Drayton said. “There were only two or three runners that I’d have to worry about in terms of competition. But in Japan, it was usually anywhere from up to about 20 including the Japanese. It was very high quality in those days.”

Financially, things have changed a lot.

“An athletic career was considered to be a serious hobby instead of a profession,” he said.

It’s also worth noting that Drayton, just like Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin a few years back, said he suffered a shoe malfunction when he ran his 2:10:09 pb as the arch support in one of his shoes came unglued. “I must have lost about 30 seconds. I could have been in the 2:09:30-something range.”

More: Jerome Drayton says ‘it’s about time’ someone beat his 43-year-old Canadian marathon record

#3 The Buenos Aires marathon was not short

Hola Robert. Cómo estás? Efectivamente las marcaciones de los km en el circuito presentaban errores. Pudimos identificar una diferencia de 300 metros en los km 20 y 25. 
El 35 creemos que también estaba mal ubicado. 
De lo que si están seguros es que la distancia es 42,195. 

Matias Picasso, the man in charge of timing for the Buenos Aires Marathon, writing us to state that the race was the proper distance. A month ago, we talked about how a guy hardly anyone had ever heard of — Emmanuel Kipkemboi Saina — ran 2:05:21 in Buenos Aires. Since Saina ran a 14:09 5k from 20 to 25k, we wondered if something was wrong with the course. In case you don’t understand Spanish, Picasso said they have determined a number of the split markers — 20k, 25k and 35k — were put in the wrong spot but said they are certain the whole course was the correct distance.

Slovenian All-Comers Record Is 2:04:58

There are so many good marathoners out there in the year 2018. Case in point: the Volkswagen Ljubljana City Marathon, which was held last week. The race only had 1,644 finishers but the fastest of those was incredibly impressive as Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma, 27, ran 2:04:58 in the rain (second place was 2:08:36) to pick up a cool €60,000.

That’s Lemma’s second sub-2:05 on the year as he also ran 2:04:08 for 5th in Dubai. In between, he ran 2:07:02 for second in Prague behind Galen Rupp. Lemma is noteworthy for the fact that he races three marathons virtually every year that he’s healthy — 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (he didn’t race at all in 2014). As a result, he now has 12 career sub-2:10 marathons. Could he potentially catch Tsegaye Kebede, 31, for the all-time mark of 18?

The women’s race in Slovenia only had 328 finishers with the fastest of those being Visiline Jepkeshowho set a course record of 2:22:58.

More: Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma (2:04:58) And Kenya’s Visiline Jepkesho (2:22:58) Shatter Course Records At The Ljubljana Marathon

A Tough Way To Earn €5,000

At the 33rd HUAWAI Venice Marathon last week, the winning times weren’t particularly fast (2:13:23 for Mekuant Ayenew Gebre of Ethiopia and 2:31:30 for Angela Jemesunde Tanui of Kenya) but the two athletes certainly deserved every penny of their prize money. Check out what they had to run through.

Cas Loxsom Hangs Them Up

MB: Cas Loxsom Retires From Track And Field Loxsom wrote a post on Instagram saying, “I can’t believe it’s now, but really there will never be a good time. The decision was made with a very heavy heart, but also with optimism.”

Recommended Reads

LRC Jos Hermens Rips (And Praises) Kenenisa Bekele After Amsterdam Marathon Disappointment

LRC Still Chasing The Dream: Six Years After Moving To Flagstaff, Unsponsored Marathoner Nick Hilton Is (Still) Trying To Get The Most Out Of Himself Not everyone who chases the dream and moves to Flagstaff, AZ is a highly sponsored pro. Meet the unsponsored Nick Hilton who is still chasing the dream as he nears his 30th birthday.

LRC The Rebirth of Des Linden After winning her first major marathon (heck, her first marathon ever), Desi Linden didn’t play it safe. She parted ways with the Hansons-Brooks team and it will be a different Des Linden that toes the line at the New York City Marathon this weekend.

When Your Heroes Overstay Their Welcome – Is It Time For Kenenisa Bekele To Retire?

Catching Up With Shock Runner-Up At Boston Sarah Sellers Ahead Of The NYC Marathon Since finishing 2nd in Boston, Sellers has picked up a sponsor, but is still working full-time as a nurse. She thinks if she has a good day she can run in the 2:30s.
*MB: Sarah Sellers: “No matter what I do next, I’m going to be a disappointment to people.”

To see our favorite reads from other weeks, go here. If you missed our preseason top 10 NCAA XC countdown, catch up now as we’ve got some good insight from many of the top coaches in the land.

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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