WTW: Some Guy You’ve Never Heard of Was on Pace to Break the 2 Hour Marathon But Came Up Short, NAU > Stanford

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The Week That Was in Running, September 16 – 22, 2019

By LetsRun.com
September 24, 2019

This week’s weekly recap is short and to the point as not a whole lot happened last week and we have to get ready for Worlds, which start on Friday. We’ve already started pumping out previews and will be on-site in Doha starting Thursday with wall-to-wall coverage. Check out all of our 2019 Worlds coverage here: LRC 2019 World Championships special section.

Past editions of the Week That Was can be found here. Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post in our forum.

Northern Arizona University Reloads And Doesn’t Miss A Beat

Last week, we presented our Top 10 NCAA XC countdown and then a day later the #1 and #2 teams in our men’s rankings — Northern Arizona and Stanford — faced each other in Terre Haute, the site of this year’s championship.

NAU dominated in 2018 (Check out our 2018 NCAA Cross Country Men’s Photo Gallery)

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At the conclusion of the 8k race, the results were NAU 31, Stanford 51. NAU, which has won the last three NCAA titles, definitely has to be considered the favorite to win its fourth straight, and that’s despite losing their top two from last year’s title team and three of their top five.

While the score wasn’t close, the good news for Stanford was as follows:

  1. Thomas Ratcliffe, their star runner who was 3rd in the NCAA 5000 last spring and who ran 4:01 in HS as a part-time runner, is healthy and finished second overall.
  2. Their 5-man average of 24:07 was only 10 seconds off of NAU’s at 24:17, and that didn’t include NCAA steeple champ Steven Fahy, who had a lot of trouble late in the race and staggered home as their 7th man.
  3. Some other potential scorers for Stanford either didn’t run or didn’t score, including Michael Vernau (75th returner/14:02/29:06) and Connor Lane (13:42 pb) who were both listed as DNF, and NXN champ Liam Anderson, who didn’t start the race.

The bad news for Stanford and the rest of the NCAA:

  • Even if you put Fahy up ahead of Ratcliffe as Stanford’s #1 man, they still would have lost to NAU 36 to 41.
  • NAU held out two of its All-Americans from last year NCAA title team in Blaise Ferro (12th returner from NCAA last year/ 13:50/28:22) and Geordie Beamish (#22 returner, NCAA mile champ).
  • The class years of NAU’s scoring five at Indiana State: junior, freshman, freshman, freshman, sophomore. With youth like that, if they win their fourth straight this year, the streak could easily go to five or six. No team has ever won more than four in a row, which was accomplished by both UTEP (1978-81) and Arkansas (1990-93).

Messageboard Discussion: Hand them their 4th straight title right now? NAU holds out two runners, still DESTROYS Stanford in Terre Haute

The Fourth Time Is A Charm

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It’s not easy being a marathoner in 2019, when there is so much talent running the 26.2-mile distance.

Prior to Sunday, Kenya’s Evans Chebet had run 2:05 three times but never crossed the line first in a marathon. That changed on Sunday as he ran 2:05:00 to win the Buenos Aires Marathon to break the South American all-comers record. Unheralded Reuben Kiprop Kipyego got second in 2:05:18.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Rodah Jepkorir Tanui won in a course record and pb of 2:25:46.


Can we amend what we wrote in the previous section? We guess it’s just not easy being a road racer in 2019. At the Dam tot Damloop 10-miler in the Netherlands, 21-year-old Kenyan Evaline Chirchir won just the second road race of her career by clocking 50:32 — just one second off of Ingrid Kristiansen‘s course record, which has stood since 1987. Chirchir has pbs of 15:09 (split in a 10k), 30:43 (road), and 66:22 and yet she’s won just two races since first showing up in our results database in 2016.

Solomon Berihu of Ethiopia, who ran 13:02 and 27:02 this year in two different races in Hengelo, won the men’s race in 45:51.

More: Kenya’s Evans Kiplagat Chebet Smashes Buenos Aires Marathon CR With 2:05:00 Victory
*Evaline Chirchir Wins Dam tot Damloop 10 Miler In 50:32, One Second Off The 31-Year-Old Course Record

The 2-Hour Barrier Isn’t Broken, But It Easily Could Be

While an official half marathon split was never given out for Eliud Kipchoge in his 2017 Breaking2 event, he definitely entered last weekend holding the world record for fastest split in a 26.2-mile race as it was right around 1 hour.

That record was smashed last weekend at the World’s Fastest Marathon in Spain. In the first edition of the race, which features a massive 6,506-foot elevation drop, Kenyan’s Anthony Karinga Maina ran the first half in 59:30 but slowed dramatically in the second half to 70:08 to win in 2:09:38. Not bad for a guy who has a marathon pb of 2:22:38.

Earlier in the year, we said the two-hour barrier could be broken if some 2:06 types tried it on a downhill course and think this result confirms it.

Here’s a promotional video for the course, which must destroy your quads.

Eliud Kipchoge‘s second sub-2 hour attempt on a flat course — but with illegal assistance — is scheduled to take place on October 12 in Vienna.

More: Downhill Sub-2 Hour Marathon Attempt Fails After 59:30 First Half

Stat of the Week

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50,000 – total number of tickets sold for the entire 10-day IAAF World Championships, which start on Friday in Doha, according to Sean Ingle of The Guardian (just to be clear, that’s 5,000 per day). Ingle reports that workers are already “blanking off the top section of the 40,000” seat stadium to make it look good on TV and that “migrant workers and children will be bused in to stop the stadium appearing more than half-empty on TV.”

More: Migrant workers and children to pad out crowd for World Championships

Recommended Reads

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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Posted in: Week That Was, LRC