WTW: Bernard Lagat’s Sister is Fast, False Starts in the Half-Marathon, And More Vaporfly Talk?

The Week That Was in Running, February 17 – 23 2020

By Robert Johnson
February 24, 2020

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.

In case you missed any of our coverage of the 2020 RAK Half Marathon, catch up now: LRC Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh Upsets Brigid Kosgei And Smashes Half Marathon World Record At 2020 RAK Half Marathon.

Stat of the Week I / It Was A Costly 18 Seconds For Brigid Kosgei

$124,142 – total amount of prize money, including bonuses, that Ababel Yeshaneh received from race organizers for setting a world record of 64:31 at the RAK Half Marathon last Friday.

$47,000 – total amount of prize money, including bonuses, that Brigid Kosgei received from race organizers for finishing second in 64:49 (the old WR was 64:51) at the RAK Half Marathon last Friday.

Article continues below player.

Both figures are courtesy of Race Results Weekly.


One more note on the RAK Half: there were some serious issues with the start of the race, as shown by the video below.

There is a countdown timer on the start-line structure counting down the seconds until the start of the race; with nine seconds to go, several runners take off, but are shepherded back to the start line…only for the men’s and women’s elite runners to take off again with three seconds to go on the countdown timer (as noted in the video, the clock on the broadcast did not start until well after the first runners had crossed the line).

German timing expert Helmut Winter emailed us about the situation and said that “the times at finish are correct, if you trigger the video to the instant when the first runners leave the start line.” So this may be a case of no harm, no foul (though it’s a good thing Yeshaneh broke the world record by more than a few seconds). False starts should be avoided, but in a half marathon, common sense should prevail. Add a few seconds to everyone’s “gun time” to correct for the mistake (which Winter suggests RAK already did) and move along. Yeshaneh shouldn’t have to lose her world record over this.

Stat of The Week II / We Have A New World Leader In The Marathon

21 – number of marathons completed by 29-year-old Mekuant Ayenew of Ethiopia before last weekend.

2:09:00 – Ayenew’s PB before last weekend.

2:04:50 – world-leading time by Ayenew at the Seville Marathon. Ayenew was decked out in an adidas singlet (though agent Malcolm Anderson points out he is not sponsored by adidas) but he made the smart choice in footwear — he used the Vaporfly technology.

In the women’s race in Seville, the Ugandan record was DESTROYED as 31:39 10,000 runner Juliet Chekwel ran a course record 2:23:13 in her marathon debut. Believe it or not, the Ugandan women’s marathon record before this weekend was just 2:32:53 (Linet Toroitiche — 2019 Hamburg).

MB: Guy decked out in adidas gear, ditches adidas shoes for Vaporflys. Runs WL 2:04:50 – a 4+ minute pb in 22nd marathon


Speaking of Vaporflys, it’s worth noting that a high school sophomore in the US recently wore them in an indoor track races to break 9:00 for 3200.

MB: Two sophomores sub-9:00 indoors at CT state open

Stat of the Week III / Bernard Lagat’s Sister Has Been In The Wrong Event For 15+ Years

1:06:47 – half marathon personal best for Viola Cheptoo, Bernard Lagat‘s sister, who ran that last week in her half marathon debut at the Napoli City Half Marathon.

67:25 – US half marathon record held by Molly Huddle (Kara Goucher ran 66:57 on a point to point course).

Cheptoo, who until recently was known as Violah Lagat, has been a miler for most of her career. She had a pretty successful career at Florida State, where she was 11th at NCAAs in XC and 8th in the 1500 during her last year in 2012, when she also ran 4:13.30 for 1500. Post-collegiately, she stuck to the 1500 and improved to 4:04.10 and made the 2016 Olympics for Kenya. However, after only finishing 7th at the Kenyan champs in the 1500, she tried her hand at some longer road races last fall and immediately found big success. She ran and won her first road 10k in October in Berlin in 31:37 before improving to 30:55 in early November.

A few months later, she moves up even more and runs 66:47. Remarkable.

She reminds us of Ryan Hall — someone who wanted to be a miler but should have been in the longer stuff all along.

It’s clear: the longer she runs, the better she gets. Her 1500 pb is worth 1173 points on the World Athletics scoring table, her road 10k is worth 1197, and the half marathon 1225. According to World Athletics, her half marathon equates to a 3:57.6 1500.

It will be interesting to see if Cheptoo gets US citizenship. She is 30 years old; Bernard Lagat switched over to representing the US at age 31.

MB: Bernard Lagat’s sister and FSU GRAD Violah Lagat 66:47 in Half Marathon Debut

Video of The Week

A big thumbs up to both Yulimar Rojas for setting the triple jump WR of 15.43m and for the announcers: a) immediately knowing it was a BIG jump and b) immediately showing their excitement. We only wish the same thing happened in all the time on track & field broadcasts. Watching this winter, we’ve far too often seen: a) a delayed reaction and/or b) muted reaction.

Tweet of the Week

Both Notre Dame and Wisconsin — anchored by the last two NCAA 1500 champs in Yared Nuguse and Olli Hoare — easily qualified for NCAAs in the DMR last weekend. Nuguse split 3:54.5 to Hoare’s 3:54.1 to hand reigning NCAA champs ND a narrow victory.

Nuguse could very well play a critical role in who wins NCAAs in 2020. Notre Dame doesn’t have a shot to win the team title, but if he wins the 3000, it will greatly hurt Northern Arizona’s chances. Nuguse, who elected not to run the mile at NCAAs last year to focus on the DMR, will likely be doing the DMR-3000 double at NCAAs in 2020; he doesn’t have a qualifier in the mile but is seeded #5 in the 3000.

MB: Alex Wilson DMR

Getnet Wale’s Indoor Season Finishes With A Bang

Steeplechaser 19-year-old Getnet Wale had a breakout season in 2019 as he lowered his pb from 8:12.29 to 8:05.21, picked up wins in Rabat and Brussels, and got 4th at Worlds. He seems to be building on that success early in 2020, as after losing to 12:43 man Selemon Barega earlier in the month, he picked up wins over Barega in the 3000 last week in both Lievin (7:32.80 world leader) and Madrid (7:39.96) to capture the World Athletics Indoor Tour 3000 crown.

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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