WTW: How Did Rupp and Tuliamuk Win? How Did Kipyego Hold Off Linden? USA Drug Cheats and Japanese Marathoning

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The Week That Was in Running, March 2 – 8, 2020

By Robert Johnson
March 10, 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.

The 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials were two weeks ago, but we start off this week’s weekly recap by taking another look at them. I spent some time diving deep into the mile-by-mile splits and a few things fascinated me. Let’s start with the women.

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How In The World Did Sally Kipyego Hold Off Des Linden To Secure The Final Olympic Spot?

The most interesting thing I learned from looking at the women’s splits was coming to the realization that Sally Kipyego and Des Linden were both running extremely slowly at the end of the race when they were battling for the final US Olympic spot.

Imagine if we offered Linden the following scenario at the start line:

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At mile 23, you will find yourself in 4th place, 16 seconds back of Sally Kipyego in third. Kipyego will run 5:56 for mile 24, 5:59 for mile 25, and 6:10 for mile 26. If you can close at 5:55 pace for your final 3.2 miles, you will be an Olympian.

Linden would have taken it in a heartbeat and likely would have called her travel agent to tell them to book her trip to Japan.

The crazy thing is, the scenario I described above is exactly what happened, but Linden was unable to catch Kipyego; Linden ran her final three full miles in 6:01, 5:59, and 6:00.

Here are their final splits, starting at mile 24.

Mile Kipyego Linden
24 5:56 6:01
25 5:59 5:59
26 6:10 6:00
26 to finish 1:11 1:13

To be fair, the final three miles are all big net uphills. John Kellogg estimated mile 24 was slow by 7.1 seconds, 25 by 11.2 seconds and 26 by 5.3 seconds. For comparison’s sake, race winner Aliphine Tuliamuk ran those miles in 5:39, 5:36, and 5:44 before taking 1:11 for the final 0.2.

MB: Tactics, not fitness cost Des Linden a 2020 Olympic team spot

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How Galen Rupp Won The Trials – He Ran The Equivalent of 2:04:00 Pace for Miles 15-24

Galen Rupp‘s win at the 2020 US Olympic Trials was the only thing about the top three of the men’s and women’s races that wasn’t at least a little bit surprising. It is worth a deep-dive into his splits to see how he did it.

Adjusting for the impact of the hills, Rupp ran every mile between 15 and 24 — save for 19 and 22 — at a 4:40s effort. That’s fast. He covered the 10 miles from 14 to 24 in 48:03 (4:49.3 mile pace). But remember, it was really hilly. The net impact of the hills was supposed to slow him by 45.7 seconds over that time frame. If you subtract 45 seconds, it means he ran those 10 miles in the equivalent of 47:18 — that’s 4:43.8 pace. 4:43.8 mile pace comes out to 2:04 flat in the marathon (technically 2:04:01).

Mile Rupp’s Split John Kellogg’s Hill Adjustment Adjusted Split
1 5:14 + 6.1 secs. 5:08
2 4:45 – 5.8 secs. 4:51
3 4:48 – 8.8 secs. 4:57
4 4:59 + 9.0 secs. 4:50
5 5:11  + 12.4 secs. 4:59
6 4:56  – 8.5 secs. 5:04
7 5:05 + 7.1 secs. 4:58
8 5:19 + 15.9 secs. 5:03
9 4:59 + 6.1 secs. 4:53
10 4:52 – 5.8 secs. 4:58
11 4:52 – 8.8 secs. 5:01
12 5:01 + 9.0 secs. 4:52
13 5:13 + 12.4 secs. 5:01
14 4:51 – 8.5 secs. 4:59
15 4:51 + 7.1 secs. 4:44
16 4:57 + 15.9 secs. 4:41
17 4:50 + 6.1 secs. 4:44
18 4:40 – 5.8 secs. 4:46
19 4:48 – 8.8 secs. 4:57
20 4:52 + 9.0 secs. 4:43
21 4:52 + 12.4 secs. 4:40
22 4:44 – 8.5 secs. 4:52
23 4:50 + 7.1 secs. 4:43
24 4:56 + 11.2 secs. 4:45
25 4:58 + 5.3 secs. 4:53
26 5:07 + 6.3 secs. 5:01
26.2 1:05 – 4.0 secs. 1:09

The splits also reveal that Rupp was running faster for every split up to mile 25 than even Jake Riley, who waited until mile 20 to come from behind to grab second. Riley closed incredibly hard over the final 10k as he was 39 seconds back of third at 20 miles. And while he was reeling in Abdi Abdirahman et al., Riley didn’t gain any ground on Rupp until after mile 25. Riley ran seven seconds faster than Rupp from 25 to 26 and then eight seconds faster from 26 to 26.2 to claw back 15 seconds.

Mile Rupp Riley Abdi
1 5:14 5:13 5:13
2 4:45 4:47 4:47
3 4:48 4:49 4:48
4 4:59 4:57 4:58
5 5:11 5:11 5:10
6 4:56 4:57 4:58
7 5:05 5:03 5:03
8 5:19 5:20 5:18
9 4:59 4:59 4:59
10 4:52 4:52 4:53
11 4:52 4:52 4:52
12 5:01 5:01 5:00
13 5:13 5:12 5:13
14 4:51 4:55 4:52
15 4:51 4:55 4:52
16 4:57 5:09 4:57
17 4:50 4:51 4:47
18 4:40 4:48 4:40
19 4:48 4:55 4:49
20 4:52 4:57 4:57
21 4:52 4:59 5:02
22 4:44 4:46 4:58
23 4:50 4:52 5:01
24 4:56 4:59 5:08
25 4:58 4:58 5:01
26 5:07 5:00 5:00
26.2 1:05 0:57 0:58

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Aliphine Tuliamuk Crushes Miles 19-24 To Win

For the record, up ahead of Linden and Kipyego, Aliphine Tuliamuk got the win by closing hard over the final 7.2 miles. Only three of the first 19 miles were run under the equivalent of a 5:30 effort, but that all changed late in the race as Tuliamuk ran the equivalent of 5:24, 5:18, 5:25, 5:18, and 5:28 for miles 19-24 to lay waste to everyone not named Molly Seidel.

Mile Tuliamuk’s Split John Kellogg’s Hill adjustment Adjusted Split
1 6:13 + 6.1 secs. 6:07
2 5:40 – 5.8 secs. 5:46
3 5:39 – 8.8 secs. 5:48
4 5:44 + 9.0 secs. 5:35
5 5:42  + 12.4 secs. 5:30
6 5:31  – 8.5 secs. 5:39
7 5:36 + 7.1 secs. 5:29
8 5:56 + 15.9 secs. 5:40
9 5:39 + 6.1 secs. 5:33
10 5:27 – 5.8 secs. 5:33
11 5:36 – 8.8 secs. 5:45
12 5:35 + 9.0 secs. 5:26
13 5:47 + 12.4 secs. 5:35
14 5:32 – 8.5 secs. 5:40
15 5:41 + 7.1 secs. 5:34
16 5:51 + 15.9 secs. 5:35
17 5:34 + 6.1 secs. 5:28
18 5:25 – 5.8 secs. 5:31
19 5:32 – 8.8 secs. 5:41
20 5:33 + 9.0 secs. 5:24
21 5:30 + 12.4 secs. 5:18
22 5:17 – 8.5 secs. 5:25
23 5:25 + 7.1 secs. 5:18
24 5:39 + 11.2 secs. 5:28
25 5:36 + 5.3 secs. 5:31
26 5:44 + 6.3 secs. 5:38
26.2 1:11 (5:27 pace) – 4.0 secs. 1:09

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Stat of the Week / Depressing Tweet of The Week

1 – number of times that the three members of the Olympic women’s marathon team were tested out of competition by USADA, combined, in all of 2019 and 2020.

Just a reminder that drug tests aren’t cheap and everyone can’t be tested all the time.

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The Japanese Olympic Marathon Team is Set Thanks to a Switch in Shoes

We’ve long argued that all countries should select their Olympic team with an Olympic Trials. The drama is unbelievable, and it takes the bureaucrats — who consistently seem to screw things up — out of the process. The Japanese finally got in on the fun during this Olympic cycle as they held their super-selective (31 men’s qualifiers, 12 women’s qualifiers) Marathon Grand Championship (MGC) last September.

The men’s race at the MGC was amazing, but the entertainment didn’t end there. The Japanese trials race was more accurately a series of trials races, as the Japanese came up with a pretty brilliant selection system. The top three at the MGC were nominally on the Olympic team, but only the top two finishers were guaranteed. If, during the 2019-2020 Japanese winter marathon season (Fukuoka, Tokyo, and Lake Biwa for the men, Saitama, Osaka, and Nagoya for the women), any Japanese man or woman ran faster than the #1 time achieved during the qualifying window for the MGC (2:05:50 for the men, 2:22:23 for the women), they’d be on the team, replacing the third-placer at the trials.

At Osaka on January 26, 24-year-old Mizuki Matsuda, the 4th placer at the MGC, did exactly that as she ran 2:21:47 to temporarily punch her ticket to Sapporo.

Then Matsuda jinxed herself as she declared, according to Japan Running News’ Brett Larner, “There’s nobody else in the country who can beat that time.”

Matsuda’s Olympic status only lasted six weeks. Last weekend in Nagoya, in the final winter marathon of the year in Japan, 22-year-old Mao Ichiyama ran 2:20:29 to get the win and her ticket to Sapporo, setting a women’s-only national record in the process. Once again, Matsuda, who watched the Nagoya race on TV surrounded by family, finds herself as an Olympic alternate.

At just 22, and with a track 10,000 pb of 31:34.56, Ichiyama is a talent. What’s interesting about her big breakthrough is this was her fourth marathon in the last 53 weeks.

Mao Ichiyama’s career marathons
March 3, 2019 – 2:24:33 – 7th place in debut in Tokyo
April 28, 2019 – 2:27:27 – 15th place in London
September 15, 2019 – 2:32:30 – 6th place in MGC
March 8, 2020 – 2:20:29 – 1st place in Nagoya

What changed this time around? Well in addition to having a full six months to train for this one, she also ditched her normal adidas shoes. Ichiyama’s Wacoal corporate singlet has an adidas logo on it and she has historically raced in their shoes, but not this time. The Alphaflys from Nike were on her feet, and the result is she’s on the Olympic team. She clearly didn’t wear the Vaporflys in the MGC or London as shown below, but she wanted a super shoe in her final Olympic bid.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Larner says Ichiyama credited her training in Albuquerque for her success. One key workout was 8 x 5000 at 3:20 per km for the first six where she had a pacer and then she ran faster without a pacer.

There’s one more interesting thing about Nagoya. Ichiyama, her corporate sponsor, and teammate Yuka Ando (2nd in 2:22:41) are supposed to receive approximately $171,000 in bonuses (17,500,000 JPY) for how well they ran. The only problem is the Japanese don’t have $171,000 left in their Project EXCEED budget — because of the super shoes, they paid out more than $1.6 million in bonuses after the Tokyo Marathon (more on that below). Only 8 million Japanese yen remain in the budget, and they are supposed to pay out 17.5 million. The rule book does address the situation, and it says that Ichiyama should get 2/3rds of what remains with her corporate team getting 1/3rd and Ando getting zero. It remains to be seen if they’ll get the full amount after a public uproar.

 More: JRR: Ichiyama Credits Quality Training for Nagoya Success, May Only Earn Half the Bonus Paid to Men in Tokyo Last Week
*JRR: 22-Year-Old Mao Ichiyama 2:20:29 To Land Final Place on 2020 Olympic Team
*2020 Nagoya Marathon Full Race Video

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The 2020 Tokyo Marathon By The Numbers

Speaking of Japanese marathons and marathon bonuses, the 2020 Tokyo Marathon was held on March 1 and we didn’t get a chance to talk much about it as we were so focused on the US Olympic Trials.

Check out these crazy stats from the men’s race.

$1,023,854 – Amount of prize money and bonuses won by Suguru Osako for breaking his own 2:05:50 Japanese record by running 2:05:29. Most of that money — 100 million yen (currently equivalent to $963,700) — comes from Project EXCEED. Remember, Osako also won another 100 million Japanese yen when he broke the Japanese record in Chicago in 2018.

18 – number of men that ran 2:08:00 or faster, a record for any marathon

10 – number of Japanese men that broke 2:08

5 – number of American men that have ever broken 2:08 in a marathon

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EPO Cheat Gets US Citizenship, Wins US 15k Title — Just The Guy We Want To Win $12,000 at a US Championship

Embed from Getty Images

There was some easy money for the taking at the the US 15k championships for men and women over the weekend in Jacksonville at the 43rd Gate River Run as nearly all of the top US distance runners sat it out as they recovered from the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials.

The men’s title went to EPO cheat Ridouane Harroufi, who actually ran the Trials but dropped out after 21 miles. The ex-Moroccan athlete was able to gain US citizenship despite getting popped for EPO in 2013 and serving a two-year ban. One would think with billions of humans happy to take US citizenship if offered that such a conviction might be a disqualifier, but apparently that’s not the case.

The 38-year-old Harroufi, who has run 2:10:14 in the marathon and won* iconic road races such as Bolder Boulder (twice), Boilermaker (twice), and Bay to Breakers, got the win in 44:42. That’s the slowest winning time in all but the very first Gate River Run (back then it was called the Jacksonville River Run) when Bill Rodgers won in 44:46.

MB: Why wouldn’t testing positive for EPO be an automatic disqualifier for US citizenship? EPO cheat Ridouane Harroufi gets citizenship, win US 15k title

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Marielle Hall Wins Women’s Gate River Run

The women’s winner in Jacksonville was the Bowerman Track Club’s Marielle Hall. Her 15k debut was a big success as nine days after she ran 15:20 for 5000 indoors, she won in 48:52, netting $17,000 ($12,000 for the win plus an equalizer bonus). 48:52 is actually a pretty good time for Gate River. It makes Hall the fifth-fastest woman all-time at Gate River and the women ahead of her are royalty in American running — Flanagan, Kastor, Huddle, and Larrieu Smith.

The Four Women Faster Than Marielle Hall at Gate River
47:00 –
Shalane Flanagan in 2014 – NYC Marathon Winner, Olympic silver medallist in 10,000 in 2008
47:15 – Deena Kastor in 2003 – London and Chicago Marathon champ, 3-time Olympian (bronze in 2004), US marathon record holder
47:20 – Kastor in 2007
47:50 – Molly Huddle in 2018 – US record holder at 10,000 and half marathon, 2-time Olympian
48:43 – Francie Larrieu Smith in 1991 – 5-time US Olympian in everything from 1500 to the marathon. Flagbearer in 1992.

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Now This Is What We Call Sucking It Up For The Team

At the NAIA champs over the weekend, two athletes — Aspen Dirr and Hannah Stoffel — ran five events each to lead Huntington (Ind.) University to the women’s team title. What makes this more interesting is at the NAIA level, there are prelims in every event. So all told, according to messageboard poster “GBohannon” they ran 19 races over three days, leading to 72 of their team’s 77 points.

Dirr won the 1000m (2:50.10) and the mile (4:53.72), finished second in the 5000m (17:12.59), and ran on both the 4 x 800m and DMR squads (she didn’t run in the DMR prelims). Stoffel took third in the 600m (1:32.09), won the 800m (2:08.98), and took second in the mile (4:55.21). Like Dirr, she also ran on both relay teams, where Huntington won the 4 x 800 (9:06.20) and DMR (11:46.71).

MB: Decathlon?! Easy! Two distance athletes combined to run 19 races over 3 days to lead their team to the NAIA title

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Chaos in New York at the New Jersey Meet of Champions

At the high school level, there was confusion last weekend in the boys’ 1600 at the New Jersey Meet of Champions. The bell rang a lap early, which meant everyone ran seven laps instead of eight. The two leaders clearly were kicking it in at that point — so it’s not as if the mistake impacted who the winner was, even if it was just a 1400-meter race — but then the crowd went crazy so everyone added on a lap. Whether it was seven laps or eight, the winner both times was Liam Murphy, who managed to still run 4:17.35 despite stopping briefly after seven laps and taking roughly 40 seconds to cover his final 200. Murphy also won a thrilling 3200 by .03 over Jack Jennings, 8:58.16 to 8:58.19.

One other oddity: the meet wasn’t actually held in New Jersey. It was held in New York, at the Ocean Breeze facility on Staten Island.

*MB: Yikes at the NJ Meet of Champions- Bell was rung a lap early in boy 1600m
*MB: New Jersey Meet of Champs is ONE FOR THE AGES!
*For Whom Did The Bell Toll? Boys MOC 1600 Results In Doubt

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Quote of the Week (that wasn’t quote of the day)

Usain Bolt, responding to a Track & Field News question about what he’d think if a 4% spike improves Christian Coleman’s 100m to 9.32 and Noah Lyles’ 200m to 18.87:

“Let’s wait and see. If it happens, it happens, but 9.32 and 18.87 in any spikes is not easy.”

More: Track & Field News: 10 Questions With Usain Bolt Bolt answers questions about his favorite race, why he never broke the WR again, soccer, the NFL, will he ever run a marathon and the Nike shoe controversy.

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Recommended Reads

Our favorite reads from last week:

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

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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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