WTW: Asbel Kiprop Is Dirty, Michael Norman Is Super-Fast And So Is Divine Oduduru, Plus The Quax Family Vs. The Centros

The Week That Was in Running (Minus Boston Marathon Monday), April 16 – 21, 2019

By LetsRun.com
April 22, 2019

The biggest event of last week was the 123rd Boston Marathon, but since we already provided in-depth coverage of that event (you can find all of LRC’s 2019 Boston coverage here), we don’t mention Boston below. Instead, we look at Asbel Kiprop‘s doping ban, the sensational professional debut of 400-meter star Michael Norman, the incredible one-day sprint double by Texas Tech’s Divine Oduduru, the eerie similarities between father-son duos Theo and Dick Quax and Matthew and Matt Centrowitz, and the fast 1,500 at the Bryan Clay Invitational.

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.

Asbel Kiprop’s Ban Stands — The Double Triple Crown of Doping Busts Is Now 5/6ths Complete

What are the three marquee events in track and field? We’d argue the 100, the 1500, and the marathon. Well last week, 2008 Olympic 1500 champ Asbel Kiprop saw his drug ban upheld; he’s banned until February 2022, when he’ll be 32 years old. That means that since the founding of LetsRun.com in 2000, there have been two Olympic 100 champs (Justin Gatlin and Marion Jones), two Olympic 1500 champs (Kiprop and Aslı Çakır Alptekin) and one Olympic marathon champ (Jemima Sumgong) banned for doping. All we need is a ban of men’s Olympic marathon champ to go down and we’ll have completed the triple crown of doping bans times two.

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And people wonder why we harp on anti-doping so much?

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Anyways, the most interesting thing about Kiprop’s appeal was what Ross Tucker wrote about it a few days before it was upheld. This was our favorite excerpt from his article on SportsScientists.com: 

Which brings me to the final course of this “meal”, the biological passport. It appears, based on what Kiprop’s lawyer says above, that he was tested on 22 November, 27 November and 29 November (I’m assuming this is true).

Now, for an athlete to be tested three times within a week, outside of competition, that absolutely screams “target tested”. So the question is, why was Kiprop being target tested?

Was it based on intelligence, tip-offs, knowledge that he may be doping? Or was it based on a biological profile that was so unusual that the authorities suspected doping, but didn’t have enough to proceed with a case, and so instead decided to pursue him intensely with actual testing?

What will be most interesting to me, if this ever comes out, is what the biological passport looked like in the months leading up to the test, and indeed the months after it? If it reveals absolutely no evidence of doping, a biological passport that looks like it comes out of a figure called “Textbook representation of a undoped athlete blood profile”, then Kiprop’s previous arguments, ranging from corruption of officials to the faulty test, gain some momentum.

On the other hand, if his Passport looks like a profile of the French Alps on the Queen stage of the Tour de France, or even just one long climb up Alp d’Huez, going up and up and up at around the same time as the eventual positive test, then the biological passport will have scored a major victory.

Check out Tucker’s whole blog post on SportsScientists.com: Short Thought on Sport: Asbel Kiprop’s “positive test” and a chance for the biological passport to shine (or not).

More: Asbel Kiprop’s 4-Year Doping Ban Upheld By Athletics Integrity Unit *Asbel Kiprop: “I’m innocent.” *Daily Nation: Why Asbel Kiprop’s Multi-Pronged Doping Defence Failed *Capital Sports: Kiprop Insists On Innocence Despite Ban
*MB:Kenyan doper Asbel Kiprop (1500m), banned for 4 years by AIU due to convincingly made out case, can still appeal to CAS

H/T to David Graham leading us to the Tucker article.

Michael Norman’s Pro Debut Went Quite Well

Norman after his 200 pb in Paris last year

Last week at the Mt. SAC Relays, Michael Norman turned heads in his pro debut by winning his flat 400 matchup with training partner Rai Benjamin, the 400 hurdle star, in 43.45 — the fastest time ever recorded in April.

Only five times in history has anyone run faster — in any month. We thought it would be good to go back in time and try to figure out how fast those men opened up in the years that they ran faster than 43.45. The full results of our research appear at the bottom of this section.

The earliest that world record holder Wayde van Niekerk has ever broken 44 in a season is July 4. Previous world record holder Michael Johnson, who went sub-44 in 10 different years, usually waited until June or July for his first sub-44 of the year (three times each), but he did hold the previous April record at 43.75 from 1997, a year in which he never ran faster. Johnson also broke 44 in March once in his career, if you count a 43.9 hand time as sub-44 as he did that on March 31, 2000, in South Africa. That was the year Johnson capped his career in style, with a 43.84 Olympic gold on September 25.

A Look At How Fast Some 400 Studs Opened Up When They Ended Up Running Faster than 43.45

Wayde van Niekerk – 43.03 WR from 2016. According to Tilastopaja, van Niekerk’s 2016 opener came at the South African champs where he ran 47.26, 46.54 and 44.98 in the three rounds. The only time he broke 44 all year was when he ran his WR in the Olympic final on August 14.

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Michael Johnson 43.18 from 1999. Johnson opened his 1999 400 campaign with a 44.51 at Baylor in mid-April. He broke 44 three times on the year, running 43.92 in Lausanne on July 2 and then 43.95 and 43.13 at Worlds.

Butch Reynolds – 43.29 from 1988. Reynolds ran a 45.20 indoors in 1988. Outdoors, the first meet listed by Tilastopaja was USAs, where he ran 43.93 in the final on July 20. He then ran his 43.29 in Zurich on August 17 before running 43.93 for silver at the Olympics in Seoul at the end of September.

Michael Johnson 43.39 from 1995. Johnson ran two indoor 400 WRs in 1995 (44.97 and 44.63). Outdoors, the first resulted listed on Tilastopaja is a 44.25 from May 6. He broke 44 four times that year — 43.66 at USAs in June, 43.86 in Oslo in July, 43.39 at Worlds in August and 43.88 in Zurich in August.

Michael Johnson – 43.44 from 1996. Johnson won USA indoors in 1996 in 44.66 before running 44.41 at Drake. That year, he broke 44 three times, running 43.44 at the Olympic Trials in June and 43.66 in Lausanne on July 3 before running 43.49 to win Olympic gold on July 30.


Speaking of Michael Johnson, his longtime coach Clyde Hart announced last week that this will be his final year as a track coach.

More: LRC Michael Norman Opens Up Season With Sensational 43.45 400 Meters
*MB: Michael MF Norman!!! 43.45!
MB: Michael Norman can break 1:40 in the 800. Change my mind 
*The Great Clyde Hart, 85, Is Finally Hanging Up His Stopwatch After This Season

Texas Tech’s Divine Oduduru Produces The Third-Best Same-Day 100/200 Double in History

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Norman wasn’t the only sprinter to excel over the weekend. Texas Tech’s Divine Oduduru, the NCAA indoor and outdoor 200 champ from Nigeria and Texas Tech, became, according to Jon Mulkeen, the 10th man in history to go sub-10 for 100 meters and sub-20 for 200 meters on the same day. Oduduru ran 9.94 (0.8m/s) at the Michael Johnson Invitational in Waco on Saturday before coming back less than an hour later to run 19.76 (0.8 m/s).

That great run motivated us to rank the 15 sub-10/sub-20 100/200 doubles from the same day in terms of cumulative time.

The research reveals that Oduduru’s cumulative time of 29.70 is the 3rd best 100/200 double in history.

  1. 29.48 – Justin Gatlin (9.77 (.6), 19.71 (0)) – September 5, 2014 – Brussels
  2. 29.67 – Ato Boldon (9.90 (0), 19.77 (.7)) – July 13, 1997 – Stuttgart
  3. 29.70 – Divine Oduduru (9.94 (.8), 19.76 (.8)) – April 20, 2019 – Waco
  4. 29.72 – Ato Boldon (9.97 (-.1,)/9.86 (.1), 19.86 (.4)) – June 16, 1999 – Athens
  5. 29.74 – Ato Boldon (9.86 (-.4), 19.88 (.4)) – June 17, 1998 – Athens
  6. 29.77 – Ato Boldon (9.95 (.6,)/19.82 (1.6)) – July 7, 1997 – Stockholm
  7. 29.79 – Ato Boldon (9.94 (-.3,)/19.85 (-.9)) – July 3, 1996 – Lausanne
  8. 29.84 – Shawn Crawford (9.99 (.6), 19.85 (0)) – April 12, 2002 – Pretoria
  9. 29.85 – Isiah Young (9.96 (1.2), 9.92 (.7), 19.93 (1.5)) – June 9, 2018 – Montverde, FL
  10. 29.87 – Walter Dix (9.98 (0), 19.89 (0)) – May 8, 2010 – Tallahassee
  11. 29.87 – Akani Simbine (9.92 (2.0), 19.95 (1.7)) – March 4, 2017 – Pretoria
  12. 29.92 – Ato Boldon (9.95 (1.0)/19.97 (.3)) – July 5, 2000 – Lausanne
  13. 29.95 – Femi Ogunode (9.98 (-.4), 19.97 (-.4)) – September 11, 2015 – Brussels
  14. 29.95 – Christian Coleman (9.97 (.6), 19.98 (.6)) – May 13, 2017 – Columbia, SC
  15. 29.96 – Calvin Smith (9.97 (1.6), 19.99 (.6)) – August 24, 1983 – Zurich
Ato Boldon via @AtoBoldon

A special shout out needs to go to our favorite sprint analyst in track and field, Ato Boldon. He is the only man to have done the sub-10/sub-20 100/200 double more than once and he’s done it six times. Additionally, he’s one of just two men that have ever gone sub-10 twice on the same day as well as sub-20. He did that back on June 16, 1999, in Athens. Isiah Young also did that last year but Young did it in Monteverde, Florida, with the help of a nice wind (1.5 m/s) in the 200.

More: MB:Texas Tech’s Divine Oduduru 9.94/19.76 double today
LRC Ranking The World’s Sub-10/Sub-20 One-Day 100/200 Doubles
*LRC Archive from 2014: Justin Gatlin Runs 9.77/19.71 to Pull Off Greatest Single-Day 100/200 Double in History

Like Father, Like Son x 2?

Last week, Northern Arizona freshman Theo Quax of New Zealand, 19, ran 3:39.94 for 1500 at the Bryan Clay meet in California. That’s a huge improvement from his 3:47.54 personal best, which he ran last year in HS.

We know what some of you old-timers or track historians are thinking. Quax isn’t exactly a common name. Yes, Quax is the son of the 1976 Olympic 5000 silver medallist, the late Dick Quax.

The son of an Olympic 5000 runner excelling at the 1500 at the NCAA level reminds us of the Centrowitzes, Matthew and Matt. So we thought it would be fun to compare the families. The comparisons are kind of scary. Dick Quax ran 3:36.7h and 13:12 for 1500 and 5000 and Matt Centrowitz ran 3:36.70 and 13:12. In terms of the younger generation, Matthew Centrowitz’s 5000 pb at age 19 was 13:49 — which is exactly what Theo Quax ran earlier this year.

Father Comparison 1500 PB 5000 PB 10,000
Dick Quax 3:36.7h 13:12.87 28:32.7
Matt Centrowitz 3:36.70 13:12.91 27:41.95


Son Comparison 1500 PB at age 19 5000 PB at age 19
Theo Quax 3:39.84 13:49.38
Matthew Centrowitz 3:36.92 13:49.15

Ok, we feel kind of bad for Theo now. We hope people don’t view his career as a failure if he doesn’t win Olympic silver like his dad or Olympic gold like the younger Centrowitz.

As for Matthew Centrowitz at age 19, it should be pointed that was his second year of college whereas this is Theo’s first.

How did Centrowitz do at NCAAs that year? He failed to make the final in the 1500. Making the final for Quax could also be tough as he only placed 9th in his heat (and third on his team) at Bryan Clay as a ridiculous 11 collegians broke 3:40 in the top heat. That’s got to be the deepest 1500 in NCAA history, right?

MB: Last week, 11 collegians broke 3:40 in a single heat at Bryan Clay. What’s the deepest 1500 in NCAA history?
MB: Freshman Theo Quax (son of Dick Quax) from NAU runs a 3:39.84 at Bryan Clay??? 

Olive Hoare Gets Revenge & Returns To Winning Ways

Speaking of the top heat in the 1500 at Bryan Clay, it was totally loaded. The race featured five of the top six finishers from the mile at NCAA indoors plus winning DMR anchor Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame.

The win went to NCAA 1500 champ Oliver Hoare of Wisconsin in 3:37.20 — just .02 ahead of Arizona’s Carlos Villarreal who fell at the line, who was 4th indoors in the mile. Those two were a class above everyone else as Nuguse was best of the rest in 3:38.32. The surprise winner of the mile at NCAAs, NAU’s Georgie Beamish, was 7th in 3:39.15.

Stat of the Week I / Are You Ready For Relays Week?

Considering that this week is relays week, with both the Penn and Drake Relays taking place in the US, we though this stat was a good way to get you in the mood to enjoy some relays.

3:34.78 – time run already this year by Jamaica’s Hydel High School, who will be looking for a third straight Penn Relays HS girls 4 x 400 title this week.
12 – number of NCAA D1 college teams that have run faster than 3:34.79 this spring.

More: Jamaica’s Hydel High School is primed to win 3rd straight Penn Relays 4 x 400 girls title

Administrative News of Note / We Tell All West Coast People When To Vacation in 2020

In case you missed it, the track schedule for the 2020 Olympic Games came out last week. For US viewers on the East Coast, the schedule is pretty good as all distance finals will start between 6:45 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. ET except for the marathons, which are at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday. So East Coasters should be able to watch all distance finals without having to miss any work or getting up incredibly early. For West Coast viewers, we suggest you go on vacation that week, August 3-7, and get to more conducive time zone.

European and Kenyan visitors that can watch from work will be in heaven as most of the distance finals will be mid-day. Kiwis and Aussies shouldn’t have any problems at all as their time zones are very similar to Tokyo’s.


Can someone explain to us how the IAAF can deny the Kenyan men’s 4 x 400 team a spot in the upcoming World Relays? The Kenyan team last year ran 3:00.92 at the African Champs and the qualifying time is 3:05.00. Yes, we know the track for the African champs was never certified according to the IAAF, but there is no way it could be more than four seconds short for 1600 meters, is there?

If you know, email us.

More: LRC Want To Watch Olympic Track And Field In 2020? We Hope You Like Getting Up Early Before Work
LRC How Will The Tokyo Weather (And A 6 AM Start) Affect The 2020 Olympic Marathons? Should The Start Be Moved To Night?
*MB: IAAF won’t recognize times from last year’s African Champs because the venue wasn’t “certified by IAAF”
*AK shelves plans for some relay teams

African U18 and U20 Champs

The results for last week’s African U18 and U20 champs held in the Ivory Coast are hard to come by (if you subscribed to Race Results Weekly, you’d have the key results like we do) but we have three highlights to report:

  1. Edward Zakayo, the world U20 and African senior 5,000 champ, also won the African U20 title in a world-leading 13:13.06 pb.
  2. The U20 10,000 winner was Bravin Kipkogei — the younger brother of Rhonex Kipruto, the world U20 10,000 champ — in 28:17.06.
  3. 2019 world U20 XC champ Beatrice Chebet won the women’s 5000 in 16:02.66.

Road Races of Note

Speaking of world U20 XC champs, the winner of the men’s U20 race in Aarhus this year, Milkesha Mengesha of Ethiopia, picked up the first big road race win of his career on April 22. He beat fellow Ethiopians Telahun Bekele and Muktar Edris, the 2017 world 5000 champ, to win the 35th Giro Media Blenio in Switzerland:

Grand Prix MEN (extended gun times)
1. Milkesa Mengesha, ETH          27:46.7
2. Telahun Haile Bekele, ETH      27:52.5
3. Muktar Edris, ETH              27:56.5


At the 41st Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans, two steeplechasers showed that at the very highest level, steeplechasers need to be good runners, not just good hurdlers.

7:58 steepler Jairus Birech won the men’s race in 27:52 while 8:58 steepler Celliphine Chespol won the women’s race in 31:40.

8:58 Steepler Celliphine Chespol Wins Women’s 10k Title In First-Ever 10k In 31:40
*7:58 Steepler Jairus Birech Wins Men’s Crescent City Classic 10k Title In 27:52
*MB: CELLIPHINE CHESPOL: her potential at 17 yrs old, greater than Kenenisa Bekele – 
*MB: Parker Stinson goes for broke but still ends up top American

Ultra Result Of The Week

RRW Bongmusa Mthembu and Gerda Steyn Bring Home Both Two Oceans Titles To South Africa For 1st Time Since 2000 The men’s race featured come-from-behind drama while the women’s race saw one of the quickest times in history.

Recommended Reads

We loved the Ken Stone article on Carl Lewis from Mt SAC. Lewis was his normal candid self and had great opinion on everything from the USATF relay program (really bad) to the IAAF’s decision to kill off the 5000 (also really bad) to mixed relays (“clown show”): Olympic icon Carl Lewis holds court at Mt. SAC.

Other reads that caught our eye:

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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