King Ches Wins with a Lean, How Good was Abu Dhabi? Bye Bye To One of Ed Whitlock’s Records and Janet Bawcom

The Week That Was in Running, x2 – December 3 – December 16, 2018

December 19, 2018

Near the end of the year, we often go to an every other week schedule with the WTW as there is less to comment on. If you missed our extensive coverage of the Foot Locker (US high school) Cross Country Championships, which featured one of the greatest girls’ races in meet history, catch up now:

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LRC 2018 Foot Locker XC 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.

The Inaugural Abu Dhabi Marathon Was Great — A Little Too Great

Last week, as we worked to prove that the inaugural ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon was actually slightly less than 26.2 miles, we skipped the Week That Was. We’re still working on proving Abu Dhabi, which was held on December 7, wasn’t the proper distance; if you missed our latest article on the matter, catch up now: LRC German Expert Helmut Winter Believes The Abu Dhabi Marathon Was Between 120 and 130 Meters Short. Or if you are more of a visual person, go to Google Maps and see for yourself how the 30 to 34k segment was clearly less than 4k. We have been corresponding with the race director and hope to have a response from them soon.

Regardless, the race in Abu Dhabi was a nice addition to the calendar and a high-quality and very entertaining affair, particularly in the men’s race. As the race neared its conclusion, we expected half marathon world record holder Abraham Kiptum to kick to victory, but that’s not what happened. In the final 1k, he moved to the lead only to suddenly slow. Just as he did that, Marius Kipserem made his own decisive move. Read our recap here: LRC Marius Kipserem Upsets Half Marathon WR Holder Abraham Kiptum In 2:04:04 At Inaugural Abu Dhabi Marathon, But Was The Course Short? or watch the drama of the final 1k in the men’s race below (Kiptum is #2):

Stat of the Week

.0076% – percent of finishers at the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon that broke 2:10 (4 out of 52,812 finishers)
.82% – percent of finishers at the 2018 ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon who broke 2:10 (5 out of 612 finishers)

Unless you are good at math, those numbers may appear to be similar — they are both small — but they are not. Compared to each other, it means that a runner in Abu Dhabi was 107.9 times more likely to break 2:10 as someone in New York. And yes, we know that we are arguing the Abu Dhabi course was short. But if the course was the proper distance, we still think 4 of the 5 sub-2:10 finishers would still have broken 2:10 in Adu Dhabi, meaning that a runner in Abu Dhabi runner would still be 86.3 times more likely to break 2:10 than a runner in New York. Yes it’s a meaningless stat, but we still like it.

Edward Cheserek Wins Road Mile in 3:54; Or Does He? / Some Free Coaching Advice For Leonard Bett

Two weeks ago, Edward Cheserek‘s comeback stayed warm as he picked up another victory. After setting a course record at Manchester on Thanksgiving, this time he was in Hawaii running the mile at the Kalakaua Merrie Mile in Waikiki, which he won in 3:54.83 to 18-year-old Leonard Bett‘s 3:54.89. Pretty impressive times for an out-and-back race run in windy and rainy conditions. The runners clearly had to slow down when they made the hairpin turn on the wet pavement as shown in the race video here.

If you are wondering who Bett is, he was the World Youth champ in the steeple in 2017 and this year he did the unthinkable at World Juniors — at least for a Kenyan in the steeple — as he lost to an Ethiopian. Bett earned the silver in 8:35.39 but lost the gold in a lean to Ethiopia’s Takele Nigate, who ran 8:35.35. Bett’s steeple PB is 8:16.97.

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Regardless, Bett appears to be a big talent and his 3:54 mile speed should make him tough to beat in the steeple. That being said, he needs to work on leaning at the finish as he’s lost two big races by the tiniest of margins. We’ve watched the end of the race replay of the mile in Hawaii and still aren’t sure how he lost as he appeared to be ahead of Cheserek until maybe right when the race finished as shown below:

That finish line needs a little work. Do the runners even know which mat is the real finish?

We made that slow-motion replay after watching a full race highlight on Vimeo, which is shown below.

2018 Kalakaua Merrie Mile from West9 on Vimeo.

Considering he’s already in 3:54 mile shape, we sure hope Bett runs the 2018-19 indoor circuit. We know most Kenyans don’t run much at all indoors but one would think an up-and-comer would want to earn some extra $$ in the winter. With Worlds not starting until late September, we’d want to run a huge indoor campaign, then take a break and skip the Diamond Leagues in May and June before getting ready for Worlds.

It’s CRAZY that half of the Diamond League meetings next year are in May and June. While the DL schedule was not pushed back at all (in fact, the 2019 start date of May 3 will be the earliest in the DL’s 10-year existence), at least USATF moved their national championships back for 2019. USAs next year will be July 25-29.

More: RRW: Edward Cheserek Wins Fast Kalakaua Merrie Mile In Photo Finish Cheserek defended his title from last year with a 3:54.83 victory over Leonard Bett (3:54.89)

The US women’s version of Yuki Kawauchi and the US men’s version of Ed Whitlock

2012 US Olympian Janet Bawcom turned 40 on August 22. Since then she’s run four marathons, including one in each of the last two weeks. Yes, that’s right. Here are her results, according to Tilastopaja, with prize money as reported by Race Results Weekly:

September 16 – 2:46:38 for 6th in Sydney
November 11 – 2:52:30 for 13th in Hefei, China.
December 9 – 2:50:02 for 7th in Guangzhou – $2,500
December 16 – 2:48:37 for 6th in Shenzhen – $2,000

We sure hope she’s getting paid a lot more behind the scenes as that’s a tough way to make a living.


If you think that’s a lot of racing for a 40-year-old, then we imagine you’ll be even more impressed by 70-year-old Gene Dykes of Pennsylvania.

In October, he ran the Toronto Marathon in 2:55:17, just missing Ed Whitlock‘s legendary world 70+ record of 2:54:48 (6:40 mile pace). Then, on December 1, Dykes ran the Vista Verde Skyline 50k with his daughter in 6:51:14. Admittedly, that’s only 13:14 mile pace but he needed to take it easy as the very next day he ran a marathon — Cal International — in 3:23:58 (7:47 mile pace).

Then this weekend, he broke Whitlock’s 70+ marathon record by running 2:54:23 (6:39 mile pace) at the Ameris Bank Jacksonville Marathon.

So the 70-year-old has done three races at a minimum of 26.2 miles already in December, with the fastest being a 2:54:23 marathon. Very impressive.

More: RW: 70-Year-Old Sets World Age Group Record for Marathon

Video of the Week / A For Effort

At the Malaga Marathon two weeks ago, Kenya’s Eliud Kibet Too was just meters away from a second-place showing when this happened:

Most Depressing Messageboard Thread of The Month

New study shows micro-doping can boost performance nearly 5% and impossible to detect 

Recommended Reads

LRC Q&A, Part II: Marc & Joan Hunter Explain Loudoun Valley’s Supplemental Work & Respond To Claims That They Recruit Transfers

LRC Q&A, Part I: Marc & Joan Hunter, Coaches Of Back-To-Back NXN Champions Loudoun Valley, Discuss Their Training Philosophy & How To Build A Champion

LRC Floyd Landis On Life After Cycling, Runners Vs. Cyclists, CBD Products, Running A Business, And Donald Trump
*Floyd Part 1: Is There Any Hope For Anti-Doping? Floyd Talks Doping Then, Now And What Can Be Done

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

Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages

To see the 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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