WTW: Jakob Ingebrigtsen The King, Hansons Brooks Dominates, Newbury Park vs the Collegians, & A Legend Passes
The Week That Was in Running, December 6 – December 12, 2021
By Robert Johnson
December 13, 2021
Each week, we try to make the sport more fun to follow by putting the prior week’s action in perspective for you. Past editions of our Week That Was weekly recap 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.
If you missed our coverage of the 2021 Eastbay Cross Country Championships, catch up now as we don’t talk about that meet below.
Tweet of The Week / Can Someone Make This Happen / RIP To A Legend – Al Franken
Last week, famed track and field promoter Al Franken died at age 96. When a track and field guy dies and major newspapers like the LA Times write appreciations about them, you know that person was important and did some pretty neat things. Franken helped make indoor track a popular thing in LA of all places.
Please do yourself and a favor and read the tributes to Franken now.
Appreciation: Al Franken, innovative and entertaining UCLA track and field promoter, made sports fun https://t.co/oBinUMrwaN
— jeffmetcalfe (@jeffmetcalfe) December 9, 2021
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- Los Angeles Times: Al Franken, innovative California track and field promoter, dies at 96
- Orange County Register Obit: Al Franken was track’s master promoter
- The Sports Examiner: RIP: Famed track promoter Al Franken dies at 96
One of the greatest things about Franken is he promoted the sport — rules be damned. What do you mean athletes shouldn’t be paid or dogs shouldn’t technically be in the same high jump competition as Dwight Stones? The fans need to be entertained, so sometimes the rules need to broken. Along those lines, the Eastbay XC Championships would have been A LOT more interesting if Eastbay had extended a last-minute invite to the top four runners from Newbury Park, the school that dominated the RunningLane Championships the week before. Who cares if they didn’t technically qualify? If Al Franken was Eastbay and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the event, he almost certainly would have extended an invite as it would have garnered them a ton more publicity.
That brings us to this week’s tweet of the week. Newbury Park coach Sean Brosnan has indicated he’d like his team to run in the collegiate 4 x mile relay at Penn Relays this year.
They should let us ( Newbury Park ) in the 4xmile !!!
— Sean Brosnan (@RealSeanBrosnan) December 11, 2021
Penn Relays director Steve Dolan, please make this happen.
And there is precedent for this. Penn used to run college and open 10,000s. Now, there is a single race and they just hand out the awards for the different divisions after the fact.
Hansons-Brooks Dominates USATF Club Nats
Last week, the 2021 USATF Club XC Nationals were held on the very same course that hosted the NCAA cross country championships just three weeks ago. Team-wise, the big winner was the Hansons-Brooks team which dominated both the men’s (44 points, 2nd place was 115) and women’s competitions (27 points, 2nd place 63) and had the individual women’s champion in Natosha Rogers, who won by 4.6 seconds in 19:42.0 over TEAM Boulder’s Carrie Verdon. The men’s competition was won by 8:30 steeplechaser Frankline Tonui of Nike/Peak Running Elite in 30:14.6.
The women’s competition definitely was the higher quality race in terms of individuals as all four of the women who broke 20:00 on the course have accomplished some pretty significant things this year. In addition to Rogers (7th Olympic Trials 10k) and Verdon (10th Olympic Trials 5k), the third placer was the BAA’s Annie Rodenfels, who just beat NCAA XC champ Whittni Orton Morgan by running 15:08.80 for 5000 indoors. Fourth placer Katie Wasserman (HOKA NAZ Elite) was the NCAA 5000 runner-up in June.
The times produced by the top women also reflect the fact that the women’s field was of a higher quality than the men’s. Take a look at the following table which shows you where the USATF Club nats top 10 runners would have finished at NCAAs if they ran the same time three weeks ago.
|Club Nats Top 10 Finishers’ Projected NCAA Place|
|1. Natosha Rogers||30||Hansons-Brooks||19:42.0||14th|
|2. Carrie Verdon||27||T.E.A.M Boulder||19:46.6||20th|
|3. Annie Rodenfels||25||B.A.A.||19:48.4||23rd|
|4. Katie Wasserman||23||Hoka Naz Elite||19:57.3||40th|
|5. Maya Weigel||26||Peninsula Di||20:00.6||44th|
|6. Maegan Krifchin||33||Atlanta Track Club||20:10.0||56th|
|7. Olivia Pratt||27||Hansons-Brooks||20:19.0||73rd|
|8. Kathryn Munks||23||Hansons-Brooks||20:20.6||78th|
|9. Melissa Dock||39||T.E.A.M Boulder||20:22.4||80th|
|10. Amy Davis||24||Hansons-Brooks||20:24.7||83rd|
|1. Frankline Tonui||28||Nike||30:14.6||111th|
|2. Zach Panning||26||Hansons-Brooks||30:17.2||113th|
|3. Daniel Soto||25||Hansons-Brooks||30:45.7||166th|
|4. Steven Martinez||27||San Diego Tr||30:46.0||167th|
|5. Tom Anderson||31||Club Northwest||30:49.4||172nd|
|6. Tai Dinger||26||Wisconsin Run||30:52.7||175th|
|7. Mark Huizar||26||Hoka Aggie R||30:53.3||175th|
|8. Alex Ostberg||24||Unattached||30:54.1||176th|
|9. Phillip Reid||36||Hoka Aggie R||30:54.9||176th|
|10. Alec Sandusky||24||Hansons-Brooks||30:58.0||178th|
Now that table isn’t fair as the conditions weren’t remotely the same. It was much hotter on Saturday than it was at NCAAs. When the women started at noon on Saturday, it was 74 degrees with 90% humidity (dew point of 71). And it was even a little hotter when the men started at 12:45 p.m.
At NCAA XC, it was much cooler with temps in the high 50s/low 60s with the humidity in the 65% range (dew point in the 50s).
The point of the table was to show you the Club Nats women’s race was of a higher relative quality the men’s. And we do have a control point. The 10th placer in the men’s race at USATF Club Nats in 30:58.0 was Alec Sandusky. The new Hansons-Brooks team member ran NCAA XC for Cincinnati and he placed 136th in 30:29.6.
Led by Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Norway Takes Home Individual Titles At European XC Champs
The European Cross Country Championships were held Sunday in Dublin. While many American stars hate to compete in anything other than outdoor track and almost never run cross country, the best non-African runner in the world — 21-year-old Olympic 1500 champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen — ran and won the senior men’s race, even though he still has plenty of eligibility left in the U23 category.
Congrats to Jakob. Let’s hope he continues to show up for World XC, as he did in 2019. In our sport, the big events end up being the ones the big names run.
His compatriot Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal, who ran 14:43 for 5000 earlier this year, won the women’s title. France won the men’s team title and Great Britain the women’s although amazingly you’d never know that if you checked out the results page on the European Athletics website as the team results for senior races aren’t listed: MB: European Athletics XC Results page doesn’t even show Sr. team standings. $5 if anyone can find them!!!
After the race, one messageboard poster started a thread that expressed surprise that the NCAA XC championships appeared to be significantly deeper than the European XC champs.
They shouldn’t have been surprised. The NCAA XC championships are the deepest 10k/6k race in the world (the Ageo City Half Marathon is similarly deep at the 13.1-mile distance).
Women’s U20 race
3. Emma Heckel, Germany — 18th at NCAA XC for New Mexico
Julien Wanders’ Forgettable 2021 Comes To An End
Scrolling down the European XC results, one name all the way down in 63rd place caught our attention: Julien Wanders of Switzerland.
Wanders will probably be thrilled to see 2021 come to an end as it’s been a total struggle.
In 2019, he ran 13:13/27:17/59:13 and capped off the year of his life by earning bronze at European XC.
This year, he ran 13:57/28:55/62:42 and then got 63rd at European XC. Though he did lead the first lap on Sunday.
His coach Renato Canova posted on the LetsRun.com forums that Julien had to stop for 30 seconds during the race because of a problem with his liver, but he wanted to finish, so he started back up again.
The good news is Renato reports, “in the last two months it seems he solved the problems he had during all the season (calves, hip rotation, continuous pain in one foot after a strong sprain in February, underestimated, that didn’t allow him to run with a correct balance creating problems in muscles and tendons). Now, it’s finally possible to have normal training, because the body can answer to some stimulus.”
The goal now is to train for the marathon at the 2024 Olympics.
He’s only 25 so let’s hope he can figure things out.
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MB: Jakob Ingebrigtsen wins Euro cross, 30:15, Julien Wanders 63rd, 33:13
MB: Julien Wanders -, 13:57.61, last place in Luzern, Switzerland. Winner Kiplimo, 12:55.60.
MB: Julien Wanders now coached by Renato Canova
Gotytom Gebreslase Stays Hot and Wins In Bahrain
The biggest road race of the weekend came in Bahrain where the lucrative Bahrain Royal Half Marathon with $214,000 in prize money was held.
The women’s race was the more significant one as 26-year-old Ethiopian Gotytom Gebreslase, who won the Berlin Marathon in 2:20:09 in her last race in her marathon debut, continued her fine 2021 campaign. Gebreslase got the $30,000 win in a huge pb of 65:36 (previous pb 67:52) as Olympic 10,000 silver medallist Kalkidan Gezahegne of Bahrain debuted in second in 65:47.
In the men’s race, there was a three-way sprint finish (watch below) for the win. Philemon Kiplimo, the 23-year-old who has six times broke 60:00 and has a 58:11 pb, got the win in 60:01 over 30-year-old Collins Koros, who also was given a 60:01 clocking (prevous pb, 60:06) as 58:43 man Mathew Kimeli was third in 60:05.
Behind Bahrain, the second biggest prize purse last weekend was offered in Australia at Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival where 20,000 AUD ($14,247.30) went to the winners, Millie Clark (2:26:59 pb) and Brett Robinson (2:14:33). Jack Rayner (62:30) and Izzi Batt-Doyle (70:15) won the half marathons.
US 24-Hour Record Falls
When we did our exploration of the ultra world in 2019, we fell in love with the 24-hour record as it markets itself — how far can you run in a day?
Up until this weekend, the farthest an American had ever covered on foot in a single day was 172.457 miles. However, Michael Morton‘s nine-year-old American record is no more as Nick Coury ran 173.015 miles at the 2021 Desert Solstice Track Invitational, and Coury was going sub-6 pace at the very end according to irunfar. For the whole thing, Coury averaged 8:19.4 mile pace for 24 hours. The old record was 8:21.0 pace.
In the women’s race, Marisa Lizak ran 140.18 miles to win as Camille Herron broke her own women’s American 100-mile track record by running 13:21:51 (though that time is nearly 40 minutes slower than her road record of 12:42:30).
John Benner Wins The Mile on Saturday/Gets 2nd In The Marathon On Sunday
The Honolulu Marathon was held last week for the first time since COVID. Congrats to Hawaii for holding its first mass participation event since the pandemic began.
The number of participants in Honolulu was way down (just shy of 9,000 in the marathon and 10k; there were more than 25,000 in 2019) as normally 17,000 Japanese race in Honolulu. Less than 200 Japanese ran this year as most didn’t want to have to go through a two-week quarantine upon returning home. As a result, Honolulu didn’t pay out its normal prize money and the fields were less deep than normal. Nonetheless, congrats to race winners Emmanuel Saina of Kenya, who, after running 2:05:51 for 5th in Rotterdam on October 24, got the win 2:14:32, and Lanni Marchant of Canada, who bounced back from a 2:32:54 11th-place showing in New York and won in 2:41:25.
Both won by massive amounts as second place in the men’s race was 2:35:33 and second in the women’s was 2:52:57.
The second placer in the men’s race, John Benner, had quite the weekend. On Saturday, he made a last-minute decision to hop into the Merrie Mile, which he won in 4:17 (he has a 4:05.34 from 2020 which he ran collegiately for Vermont) and then he got second in his marathon debut.
LRC Was the Course at the RunningLane Cross Country Championships Short? Well… The day before RunningLane nationals, a high school coach wheeled the notoriously fast John Hunt Park course in Huntsville and measured it at 4935m. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. *MB Is the RunningLane Course 5K? Or Is It Short?
50 Years Later: Cheryl Treworgy—Shalane Flanagan’s Mom—Reflects on Being the First Woman to Break 2:50 in the Marathon A great read as for a long time Trewogy, who was coached remotely by Bill Dellinger, wasn’t recognized as the WR holder and Trewogy herself didn’t make a big deal about it. “I think I get too caught up in comparing myself to what women are running now, and I feel my times weren’t anything to get all that excited about. [But we were] challenging the limits of what they thought we were capable of and where we belonged. I often lose sight of that, because I wasn’t trying to prove anything. I was just trying to satisfy a drive from within.”
To see our favorite reads from other weeks, go here.
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