WTW: Max Siegel Is a HYPOCRITE, Francine Niyonsaba Is Back and $86K For a 2:25

The Week That Was in Running, December 12-18, 2022

By Robert Johnson
December 20, 2022

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.  

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Recommended Read / Confirmed: Max Siegel is a hypocrite

Off the track last week, there was an interesting story published by Sarah Lorge Butler in Runner’s World. She had previously reported that even though USATF’s Board of Directors unanimously recommended Chattanooga to host the 2024 US Olympic Marathon Trials, the USATF national office ignored this recommendation and awarded it to Orlando.

Last week, Butler wrote a second story providing an explanation as to why USATF did this: USATF CEO Max Siegel ruled that the Chattanooga bid had to be disqualified because USATF board member Jim Estes was paid less than $8,000 to consult on the Chattanooga bid.

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Siegel wrote: 

“It is not disputed that Jim Estes, a sitting member of the USATF Board of Directors was a paid consultant of your local organizing committee with obligations specific to this bid. That fact on its face impacts the credibility of your submission to such a degree that consideration of it as a viable bid risks the integrity of the process.”

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What Siegel’s statement doesn’t acknowledge is that Estes very openly disclosed he was part of the Chattanooga bid team. As a result, he recused himself from all Olympic Marathon Trials discussions with the board. So in effect, as far as the Trials are concerned, he might as well not have been on the board.

It’s also worth noting that USATF was aware of Estes’ role in the Chattanooga bid months before the bid was awarded. Estes said he declared the conflict of interest in a form he submitted to USATF in May. USATF became aware of the conflict of interest in August, at which point he spoke with USATF COO Renee Washington, USATF board chair Mike Conley, and USATF general counsel Norm Wain. Estes said none of them told him that his role with the Chattanooga bid could cause the bid to be DQ’d.

What Estes did is called total transparency. I’d go a step further and say what he did was good for the sport as he’s an industry veteran who knows what makes a successful Trials work. So Chattanooga’s bid would be better than it otherwise would have been. Yet Siegel claims this was a reason why the Chattanooga bid had to be DQ’d, even though Estes played no rule in the awarding of the bid?

That’s rich considering in the past Siegel has had no qualms about not recusing himself when he’s set to benefit and in fact does the opposite of that. He is a man who according to the Washington Post awarded a “six-figure, no-bid contracts to Indianapolis marketing firm Matchbook Creative, a marketing firm that previously billed itself as ‘a Max Siegel company.'”

So Siegel can directly award himself or his former company six figures’ worth of business, but a board member can’t recuse himself and take $8,000? That’s crazy.

Even if you believe Estes’ involvement in Chattanooga’s bid should result in disqualification (I don’t), USATF’s actions are at minimum gross mismanagement. They allowed those involved in the Chattanooga bid to waste months of their time preparing the bid.

More: MB: USATF CORRUPT, ignored recommendation for 2024 Trials location.
*MB: Max Siegel does it again – Siegel was paid $3.8 million in 2021 to run USATF
*MB: Max Siegel lashes out defending his $3.8 million pay: “Have you seen one gold medalist in there that’s been critical of me?”

Hellen Obiri quickly returns to action / Ethiopian wins $86k for a 2:25 marathon

42 – number of days between Hellen Obiri hitting the wall at the 2022 NYC Marathon and fading to a 6th-place showing and her next race. On Sunday, Obiri ran and won the Bangsaen21 Half Marathon in Thailand, picking up $5,220 for a 67:45 showing a according to Race Results Weekly (RRW).

If Obiri’s goal was to maximize her paycheck by racing in Asia over the weekend, she picked the wrong race. Admittedly, if she wanted to make way more money, she would have had to run another marathon, but check this out.

At the Taipei Marathon, Ethiopia’s Alemtsehay Asefa won $86,667 by winning the marathon in a pedestrian 2:25:55 course record. The race paid out $26,667 for the win and $60,000 for a course record according to RRW. If you are wondering what the weather is like in Taiwan this time of year, it was nearly ideal for marathoning. The temperature at the start of the race was 46 degrees Fahrenheit and less than 50 at the finish, although it was a little windy (10 mph with gusts up to 18 or 19). The 24-year-old Asefa has road pbs of 31:39, 70:51, and 2:24:42.

Presumably, there was a $60,000 bonus for a men’s course record (2:09:18 by Paul Lonyangata, currently serving a ban for furosemide) but that didn’t fall in Taipei as 33-year-old Lani Rutto of Kenya got the win 2:09:42. Rutto has a 2:06:34 pb that dates to 2015 but that was the only time in his 12 career marathon finishes that he’s broken 2:09.

*Kenya’s Lani Kiplagat Rutto (2:09:42) And Ethiopia’s Alemtsehay Asefa Kasegn (2:25:55) Win Taipei Marathon


At the 4th ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon on Saturday, Olympic 7th placer Eunice Chumba of Bahrain picked up $80k ($50k for win, $30k for time) for getting the win in 2:20:41 as Worlds 6th placer Angela Tanui of Kenya was second (2:21:12) and 2015 world champ Mare Dibaba third (2:21:25).

Timothy Kiplagat won $55k for DOMINATING the men’s race, winning by 4:12 in 2:05:20 ($50k for win, $5k for time). Making the feat all the more impressive is he started the race as the pacemaker with a 2:07:01 pb.

*Pacemaker Timothy Kiplagat Ronoh Decides To Finish And Wins Abu Dhabi Marathon In 2:05:20

More Road News: *Kenya’s Leonard Barsoton (1:12:49) And Bahrain’s Desi Jisa (1:21:04) Win Tata Steel Kolkata 25k In Course Record Times
*Japan Weekend Road Race Roundup

Francine Niyonsaba wins her first XC race

You may have forgotten it now but one of the biggest stories during the first half of 2022 was Francine Niyonsaba. At the time, it looked like Niyonsaba, the XY athlete from Burundi, might be unbeatable in the women’s distance races, racking up wins in the Doha 3k and Pre 2 mile after claiming four straight Diamond League wins to close the 2021 season.

Barred from the 800 as she’s DSD, Niyonsaba had really come into her own this year on the track before an injury derailed her Worlds chances. Over the weekend, Niyonsaba raced for the first time since winning the Lausanne 3k in August. This time it was on the grass in XC and she won again — the first XC win of her life — in Spain where she captured the 42nd Cross International Venta de Baños in 30:44 (2nd place was 30:55).

Josh Kerr debuts in the half in 63:45, Chad Hall Runs 62:45

Two surprising names showed up in a half marathon result last weekend. 

Olympic 1500 bronze medallist Josh Kerr made his half marathon debut at the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon, finishing 4th in 63:45. Chad Hall, the 2006 Foot Locker XC champion (and Ryan Hall‘s little brother), was even faster as he was second in 62:45.

What’s going on here? Well, the course is extremely downhill — 711 feet downhill, in fact — and that type of elevation drop is worth 2+ minutes according to John Kellogg‘s formula. Tilastopaja lists a few other half for Hall this year including a 64:39 for third in Long Beach on October 9.

Kerr’s Brooks Beasts teammate, Henry Wynne, the 2016 NCAA mile champ, also debuted in San Diego in 65:04.

MB: What is up with Chad Hall? 

Other Results of Note

The Zatopek 10,000 was held for the 62nd time over the weekend (and for the second time in 2022) and once again it served as the Australian 10,000 champs. Here were the top 5 results for each sex.

 1. Jack Rayner (VIC), 28:46.30
 2. Andre Waring (VIC), 28:49.32
 3. Jack Bruce (QLD), 28:54.57
 4. Sam McEntee (VIC), 29:05.17
 5. Jordan Gusman (MLT), 29:05.44

 1. Leanne Pompeani (NSW), 32:20.35
 2. Izzy Batt-Doyle (SA), 32:26.02
 3. Rose Davies (NSW), 32:35.53
 4. Amelia Mazza-Downie (VIC), 32:45.70
 5. Aynslee Van Graan (NSW), 32:48.52

Other News of Note

Two-time Euro Cross winner Aras Kaya tests positive for EPO

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.


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