WTW: Meet the fastest loser in history and the two 17-year old 800 phenoms, plus what do the US women’s soccer team and US men’s marathoners have in common?
The Week That Was in Running, June 17-23, 2019
June 25, 2019
In Addition To Being A Two-Time Olympic 100 Champ, She’s Now The Fastest Loser In History
Last week, the sprinters took center stage and the biggest result came at the Jamaican Championships, where Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce both ran 10.73 in the 100, with Thompson getting the win. Fraser-Pryce is now the fastest loser in women’s sprinting history. Coming into Friday’s race, the fastest a woman had ever run in a 100-meter dash and lost was 10.75 — which Kerron Stewart ran at Worlds in 2009 in Berlin, losing to Fraser-Pryce, who ran 10.73. Now that honor is SAFP’s.
Despite the loss, SAFP was thrilled with the run as it was her fastest since giving birth in August 2017. In fact, it was her fastest time since the 2013 Diamond League final in Brussels.
With seven career races at 10.75 or faster, SAFP is now just one shy of the all-time record, held by doper Marion Jones. 10.75s aren’t recorded very often — only 10 women in history have ever done it.
Most 10.75s or Faster
8 – Marion Jones (convicted doper)
7 – Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
5 – Elaine Thompson
4 – Florence Griffith-Joyner
3 – Carmelita Jeter
2 – Kerron Stewart
1 – Christine Arron, English Gardner, Merlene Ottey, Sha’Carri Richardson
In Ostrava, Shaunae Miller-Uibo ran the fastest women’s 300 in history (34.41) and Andre De Grasse and Christain Coleman both broke 20 for the first time since 2017, with De Grasse getting the win in 19.91 (De Grasse’s sub-20 in 2017 was wind-aided, so this was his first wind-legal sub-20 since the Rio Olympics).
Stat of the Week I / Reminder That Life Isn’t Fair
The US women’s soccer team may be upset at that they don’t get equal pay compared the US men, but we imagine some US men’s marathoners are upset that about this one:
43 – number of women that qualified for the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials last week by running under 2:45:00 at the 43rd Grandma’s Marathon.
22 – number of men that qualified for the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials last weekend by running under 2:19:00 at the 43rd Grandma’s Marathon.
The near 2 to 1 ratio of women to men in terms of qualifiers at Grandma’s is appropriate as MarathonGuide.com lists 340 female qualifiers and 181 male qualifiers for the 2020 Trials overall.
While 2:19:00 is 14.26% off the men’s world record and 2:45:00 is 21.85% off the women’s world record, the two marks aren’t all that different according to the IAAF scoring tables. The IAAF scoring tables give 1006 points for a 2:19:00 men’s marathon and 990 points for a women’s 2:45:00 marathon. 1006 on the men’s scoring table is 2:20:00 — which is what we think the men’s standard should be.
The Grandma’s course is net downhill and point-to-point (and there was definitely a nice tailwind this weekend), however it’s not so downhill that it can’t be used for Olympic Trials qualification and the IAAF allows it to be used for Olympic qualification.
Like Father/Like Daughter
The winner of the women’s race at Grandma’s was Nell Rojas, 31. The former NAU Lumberjack hit the Olympic standard by taking 3:16 off her pb in her second marathon and running 2:28:06.
Rojas was far from a star in college as she finished 224th and 165th in her two NCAA cross country appearances and made it to NCAAs just once on the track (eliminated in the heats of the steeple). Her collegiate pbs were 10:17.88 for the steeple and 16:28.11 for the 5000. Then she spent some years as a professional triathlete but is now back running.
Nell is the daughter of former pro Ric Rojas, who won the US Cross title in 1976 and set a world record at the Gasparilla 15k in 1981.
Rojas is one of the few people in the world that has negative-split her first two career marathons.
At CIM in December, she ran 76:35 for her first half and then 74:48 in her second half. At Grandma’s she ran 1:15:08 for her first half and 1:12:58 for the second.
The men’s winner at Grandma’s certainly didn’t run a negative split. Instead, the men’s race featured one of the biggest positive splits we’ve ever seen for a race winner. Kenya’s Boniface Kongin ran the first half in 62:51 and the second half in 69:05. In the end, that was good enough for him to win by 14 seconds in 2:11:56 as American Andrew Colley ran 2:12:13 for second.
In terms of pace per mile, Kongin averaged 4:46.9 per mile for the first half and 5:16.7 in the second half. At halfway, he led by 3:26. At 25 miles, he still led by 89 seconds, but that was nearly all gone at the finish as he ran 6:15.8 pace for the final 1.2 miles.
It ended up being a nice “hometown” victory for Kongin, who has been living in the Duluth area since April and paid his own way into the race.
“It means more because it’s the nicest city I’ve ever been to. I’ve met so many people here. Everyone is so friendly. So this one means a lot. It’s like my second home. I’m so happy,” said Kongin to the Duluth News Tribune after the race.
More: MB: Winner of Grandma’s Marathon had to pay his own entry
*American Nell Rojas Dominates Women’s Race And Gets Olympic Standard (2:28:06)
*Boniface Kongin Buys Own Bib, Runs 2:06 Pace For 19 Miles Then Holds On For Narrow Win Over American Andrew Colley
Reminder, Jazmine Fray Will Run For Jamaica
In her first race since winning the NCAA 800 title, Jazmine Fray was second at the Jamaican champs last week in 2:03.01 (three-time NCAA champ Natoya Goule won in 1:59.50). While Fray was born and raised in the US, she decided she’d represent Jamaica internationally in 2017 when she was selected to their Worlds team but didn’t get to run as she had visa issues (which makes no sense to us as she should have just used her US passport to get into the UK).
Fray hasn’t run the 2019 Doha standard of 2:00.60, but her 2:01.30 seasonal best is 30th-best in the world when you cap the descending order list at three per country and the IAAF will take 48 athletes in the 800 at Worlds.
Speaking of the 800, at the USATF U20 meet last week in Florida, 17-year-old Athing Mu got revenge on 14-year-old Roisin Willis. When Mu tied up at the New Balance Nationals Indoor meet, Willis got the win, but Mu had no problems batting Willis at the USATF meet, winning in 2:05.59 to Willis’ 2:06.99.
Ho-Hum, Another 17-Year-Old Runs 1:45
Last week in this column, we praised 17-year-old Max Burgin for breaking Steve Ovett‘s 47-year-old British U18 record of 1:47.34 by running 1:46.80 in his 2019 season opener. Well, this week Burgin is in store for even more praise as at the British U20 champs he ran 1:45.39 to break the 33-year-old UK junior record of 1:45.64 held by David Sharpe.
Both Sharpe and Ovett are good people to beat. While Ovett is vastly more famous, having won Olympic gold in 1980, Sharpe, the 1988 European indoor champ, has the better lifetime pb at 1:43.98 compared to Ovett’s 1:44.09.
If you read last week’s column, you likely now believe that Burgin is the fastest 17-year-old in history as age-records.125mb.com listed David Fiegen of Luxembourg as the world age-17 record holder at 1:45.96 from 2002 (Fiegen’s lifetime pb is 1:44:81). However, we remembered that Mo Aman of Ethiopia ran 1:43.37 at age 17 in 2011 — though the usual caveats about East African ages apply.
We bet most of you don’t realize that Burgin is not the first 17-year-old to run 1:45 this year.
In March, South African Ntando Mahlangu, also 17, ran 1:45.47. Please take a look at Mahlangu in action from another race this year in the video below as it’s unbelievable how far back he comes from when he races:
In case you didn’t watch the video, Mahlangu is a double amputee runner.
While the video above is amazing, it’s proof positive why we 100% believe Paralympic athletes should not compete internationally in able-bodied competitions. It’s not the same sport.
Just as we don’t have wheelchair racers compete against Formula One drivers or able-bodied runners compete against wheelchair racers, we shouldn’t have blade runners racing able-bodied runners either.
Quote of the Week (that weren’t quote of the day)
# 1 Our word of the week: orthorexia
“My non-scientific definition of orthorexia is someone who can’t eat apple pie at Grandma’s at Christmas time because it isn’t a clean food. The actual definition is really, really grey. There’s such a huge contextual element to orthorexia.”
-Physiologist Trent Stellingwerff talking to Canadian Running last month about orthorexia — essentially, an obsession with healthy eating. Stellingwerff’s quote came up again in a separate piece by Canadian Running that shared athlete diet advice from Jennifer Sygo, the performance nutritionist for the NBA champion Toronto Raptors.
#2 We couldn’t have said it better if we’d had a week to think about it
“If the wheels aren’t coming off, he’s losing tire pressure.”
-Radio analyst Charlie Mahler talking about the “tenuous state” of Grandma’s Marathon winner Boniface Kongin late in the race according to the Duluth News Tribune.
#3 Gabe left a legacy
“She didn’t care about her legacy. She cared about the here and now. … For someone with no interest in her legacy, she sure is leaving the greatest one of all: her faith, hope and love.”
–Ladia Albertson-Junkans, a long-time friend and former teammate of Gabe Grunewald, speaking at Grunewald’s funeral. Albertson-Junkans wore “a sequined jacket during the eulogy, because ‘Gabe would be real annoyed if I didn’t put some levity and humor into this.'”
- Tim Layden For SI: “Is High School Sprint Phenom And Viral Star Matthew Boling The Future Of Track?”
- IAAF Profile On Refugee Runner Jamal Abdelmaji Eisa Mohammed, Who Fled The Violence In Sudan To Earn Money To Help His Family At age 17, Mohammed traveled by foot for over a week, including three days crossing the desert, to reach Israel. Now he’s a 28:47 10,000m runner and dreaming of the 2020 Olympics.
- Former Swedish National Champion HJer Erika Kinsey Talks About How She Quit The Sport When She Was Young Due To Burnout From Obsessing Too Much She says moving to the US for college taught her she didn’t have to be so serious and “could go have McDonald’s” after meets. She’s still competing at DL meets, but does fun things like playing in a weekly hockey game.
To see our favorite reads from other weeks, go here.
Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages
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