WTW: Valencia AMAZES, Fast Times at BU, and a Shock Upset at NXN

The Week That Was in Running, November 24 – December 4, 2022

By Robert Johnson
December 6, 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.  

This week I start with some thoughts on the amazing 2022 Valencia Marathon, where we had on-site coverage for the first time. Thanks to all of the SC members for their support.

The 2022 Valencia Marathon By The Numbers

0 – number of absolute world records set in Valencia.

1 – number of record second halves produced in Valencia. Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum ripped the second half in 60:15 — the fastest in history in an actual marathon (Kipchoge did faster in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge).

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2 – number of debut records set in Valencia as Kelvin Kiptum’s 2:01:53 SMASHED Getaneh Molla’s old debut record of  2:03:34 from 2019 Dubai. Valencia third placer Alexander Mutiso also debuted faster than Molla at 2:03:29 (Moses Mosop debuted at 2:03:06 on the aided Boston course in 2011). In the women’s race, Letesenbet Gidey’s 2:16:49 broke Almaz Ayana‘s 2:17:20 debut record set earlier into this fall in Amsterdam.

Until recently, the women’s debut record had stood for 20 years — Paula Radcliffe‘s 2:18:56 from 2002 London. That changed when Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw ran 2:17:23 in Hamburg in April. Then Ayana ran 2:17:20 in Amsterdam and now Gidey has run 2:16:49.

The women’s marathon has been broken in 2022. When Yehualaw ran 2:17:23 in April, she was the sixth-fastest woman in history. A few months later and she’s just the seventh-fastest woman of 2022 (10th-fastest all time).

3 – place on the all-time marathon lists where the men’s and women’s Valencia winners now sit.

7 – number of women who broke 2:19 in Valencia (and 2:20; no one ran between 2:19 and 2:20), eclipsing the previous record of five sub- 2:19s set at the 2021 London Marathon. Prior to Valencia, the most number of sub-2:20s in a race was six, set in London this year and Valencia in 2020. All told, in the women’s race new all-time marks for place were set at position 2 (2:16:49), 3 (2:17:29), 4 (2:17:36), 5 (2:18:11), 6 (2:18:47), 7 (2:18:52), 8 (2:20:03), 9 (2:20:40), 10 (2:21:01), 11 (2:21:34), 12 (2:21:34), 15 (2:23:54), 19 (2:26:14), 20 (2:26:26), 21 (2:26:28), and 22 (2:28:09).

8 – number of national records set according to Race Results Weekly. Six of those came in the women’s race: Amane Beriso (2:14:58, Ethiopia), Majida Maayouf (2:21:01, Morocco), Sinead Diver (2:21:34, Australia), Bomana Bjeljac (2:23:39, Croatia), Marta Galimany (2:26:14, Spain), Marie Perrier (2:34:35, Mauritius). Two came in the men’s race: Gabriel Geay (2:03:00, Tanzania) and Isaac Mpofu (2:06:38, Zimbabwe). Geay, who sort of came of age on the US road circuit between 2016 and 2019, lowered his Tanzanian record from 2:04:55 to 2:03:00.

18 – number of men who broke 2:08 in Valencia, breaking the previous record of 17 set at 2020 Valencia and Tokyo as well as 2021 Amsterdam. All-time marks for place were set for 16th (2:07:18, tying 2020 Valencia), 18th (2:07:40), and 19th (2:08:00).

24 – number of men who broke 2:10 in Valencia. If you are wondering if that’s a record, the answer is not even close. 24 people broke 2:09 at 2020 Tokyo and 2021 Lake Biwa. That 2021 Lake Biwa race — the final Lake Biwa marathon in history — was legendary in terms of depth as 42 people broke 2:10, breaking the previous record of 30 at 2020 Valencia.

80 – number of men who broke 2:20 in Valencia this year.

84 – number of men who broke 2:20 in Boston in 1983.

87 – total number of people who broke 2:20 in Valencia this year as seven women also did it.

More: Complete 2022 Valencia Coverage

2022 Cal International By The Numbers

The US marathon championships were held on Sunday at the downhill (105m) California International Marathon in Sacramento.

10 – number of US men that ran faster on the downhill CIM than Amane Beriso in Valencia.

41 – number of American men who ran under the 2:18:00 US Olympic Marathon Trials standard.

43 – number of American women who ran under the 2:37:00 US Olympic Marathon Trials standard.

The winner on the women’s side was Paige Stoner, the 26-year-old former Syracuse runner who now runs for what’s left of the Reebok Boston Track Club, as she got the win in a course record of 2:26:02. Praise also needs to go to another Syracuse alum, Maegan Krifchin, who was 7th in a pb of 2:29:21. What’s crazy is that it was 34-year-old Krichin’s third marathon in 29 days. As reported by Syracuse.com, Krichin ran 2:40:52 at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, followed by 2:31:41 at the Philly Marathon on Nov. 20, before Sunday’s PR in Sacramento. Not bad for someone who ran the 1500 in college (4:22 1500 pb) but was 7th in the 2016 US Olympic Marathon Trials.

The men’s winner was Futsum Zienasellassie, the former NAU star who runs for HOKA NAZ Elite, who ran 2:11:02 in his debut. Zienasellassie got the win after last year’s champ Brendan Gregg blew up after going out in 1:04:51 and building a 43-second lead. Gregg ended up 36th in 2:17:22.

The BU 5000 By The Numbers

Track & field isn’t the same thing as cross country. That’s why when I’m in a GOAT discussion, I always value people with XC success on their CV. If you are lacking it, you are like a tennis player lacking success at the French Open. Want proof? Check out table below comparing leading results of the BU 5000-meter races last weekend to the runner’s NCAA XC finish two weeks earlier.

Men NCAA XC Finish
 1. Ky Robinson (AUS), Stanford, 13:11.53 PB/NCAA leader 10th
 2. Eduardo Herrera, Under Armour/Dark Sky, 13:11.75 N/A
 3. Alex Maier, Oklahoma State, 13:11.80 5th
 4. Drew Bosley, Northern Arizona, 13:13.26 3rd
 5. Nico Young, Northern Arizona, 13:15.25 2nd
 6. Sam Prakel, adidas, 13:15.96 N/A
 7. Neil Gourley, Under Armour/Dark Sky, 13:16.24 N/A
 8. Brian Fay (IRL), Washington, 13:16.77 13th
 9. Casey Clinger, BYU, 13:17.36 7th
10. Amos Bartelsmeyer (GER), Nike Bowerman Track Club, 13:17.71 N/A
11. Graham Blanks, Harvard, 13:18.45 PB/school record 6th
12. Alex Ostberg, Unattached, 13:18.55 N/A
13. Parker Wolfe, North Carolina, 13:19.73 9th
14. Barry Keane (IRL), Butler, 13:21.57 17th
15. Sam Gilman, Air Force, 13:25.64 57th
16. Isai Rodriguez, Oklahoma State, 13:25.84 8th
17. Acer Iverson, Harvard, 13:26.11 50th
 1. Annie Rodenfels, BAA HP, 15:08.22 PB/WL N/A
 2. Katelyn Tuohy, NC State, 15:15.92 PB/NCAA leader 1st
 3. Hilda Olemomoi (KEN), Alabama, 15:17.97 PB 6th
 4. Mercy Chelangat (KEN), Alabama, 15:18.12    16th
 5. Susan Ejore (KEN), Under Armour Mission Run, 15:18.58        N/A
 6. Aisha Praught-Leer (JAM), Puma/NYAC, 15:19.21 PB N/A
 7. Natalie Cook, Oklahoma State, 15:24.26 PB/school record 7th
 8. Kelsey Chmiel, NC State, 15:27.83 3rd
 9. Elise Stearns, Northern Arizona, 15:33.74    4th
10. Lauren Gregory, Arkansas, 15:34.61  N/A

Those times were the top times from the fast heat. I must admit my prediction that we’ll definitely see the first sub-15 NCAA women’s 5,000 during this track season took a temporary hit as no one was close.

The slow heats in Boston were pretty fast too. Did you realize that 73 guys broke 14:00? In December?

And how about some love for the winner of the men’s third heat, where Loyola-Chicago’s Ryan Martins ran 13:33.45 for the win. Is he the most improved guy in the country? When I was looking up his stats, I was wondering to myself, “Why in the hell is a guy who was All-American in XC (29th) in the third heat? That’s disgraceful.” Then I looked up his track credentials.

His 5,000 pb before last weekend was 14:06. He just PR’d by 33 seconds.

Martins, who ran 4:16/9:23/9:26 steeple in high school in New Jersey, is in his sixth year of college and is a grad student at Loyola-Chicago after transferring from Nebraska where he did next to nothing as an undergrad. At Nebraska, he never came close to scoring at Big 10s on the track where his PBs were 9:21st/14:06/29:44 and he was 48th at Big 10 XC last year. But he still had the dream, decided to use his extra COVID year of eligibility at Loyola and now he’s an All-American and 13:33 guy. Well done.

There were some quick 3000s as well in Boston. The women’s race was won by West Virginia’s Ceili McCabe, who quickly got over her disappointing 24th-place showing at NCAA XC by running 8:50.44. The men’s race was won by Oklahoma State’s Fouad Messaoudi, who was 12th at NCAA XC, in 7:44.26. The second- and third-placed men also deserve mention. The runner-up was Butler’s Jesse Hamlin, who bombed at NCAAs and was just 119th in XC but ran 7:44.69 in Boston. And the third placer was pro 1500-man Craig Engels, who PR’d at 7:46.16 (previous pb of 7:50.79) and showed his coaching change to college coach Ryan Vanhoy is paying dividends.

More: LRC Natalie Cook (15:24) and Parker Wolfe (13:19) Break US U20 5000m Records at BU, Katelyn Tuohy Runs 15:15 for 2nd, Nico Young 5th

Let’s Give Some Praise To…..

Some other action around the globe caught my eye.

  • Thumbs up to Yared Nuguse.

    Yes, one’s fitness in December doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot but his runner-up showing at the FitnessBank Cross Champs was impressive. For a miler to be the top American in a field with a slew of NCAA XC/5k/10k champs (Edwin Kurgat, Morgan McDonald, Olin Hacker, Patrick Dever, Sam Chelanga, etc.) as well as reigning US 10k champ Joe Klecker is a good sign.

    Thumbs up are also in store for the meet’s promoter Jesse Williams for adding a fun new event to the US circuit. Let’s hope a bunch of the Americans at the Cross Champs run World XC in Australia. Who wouldn’t want a free trip to Australia in February?

    LRC Alicia Monson and Edwin Kurgat Win 2022 Sound Running FitnessBank Cross Champs 

  • Thumbs up to Benard Kibet Koech. The 13:11/26:55/59:57 Japanese-based Kenyan ran a world’s best of 44:04 for 10 miles on a point-to-point course at the Kosa 10 Mile in Japan. For the record, World Athletics doesn’t recognize an official world record at the 10-mile distance and at least a few people must have split faster in half marathons as 44:04 is 57:46 half marathon pace.

  • Thumbs up to Stephanie Cotter of Adams State, who won her second NCAA DII XC title last week by a ridiculous 42 seconds in 19:45, leading Adams State to a record 20th team title. That type of domination is amazing. Cotter won the 2019 title by 23.5 seconds. On the track, she’s unbeatable at the 1500/mile distance at the DII level as she won the indoor mile and outdoor 1500 titles in both 2019 and 2021 before transferring to NAU last year. She didn’t do much there (4:59 in the mile when her 1500 pb is 4:14) and then went back to Adams State and is better than ever.

    In the guys’ DII race, Dillon Powell, who has track pbs of 13:33 and 28:22, won the individual title in 29:28 for Colorado School of Mines, which won the team title with the largest margin of victory ever, 43-177 over Wingate University.

    MB: DII superstar Stephanie Cotter won NCAA XC last week by 42 seconds. Did you know she ran at NAU last year? 

  • It was great to see the Fukuoka Marathon return as the unofficial former world championship race was supposed to be no more after last year. But the race is back under new management and Israel’s Maru Teferi got the win in a national record of 2:06:43 as Brett Robinson overcame his side-stitch problems to set a new Aussie record in 2:07:31 for 4th.

    MB: Both Australian marathon records smashed on the same day. Brett Robinson 2:07:31 and Sinead Diver 2:21:34

NXN Goes Largely According To Form Except….

At Nike Cross Nationals last weekend — the US high school nationals in cross country — most pundits expected West Virginia’s Irene Riggs to dominate the girls’ individual race and for Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) to win the girls’ team title. That’s exactly what happened as Riggs won by 13.7 seconds and Saratoga Springs won by 28 with 81 points, adding to the team titles they won in 2004 and 2019. In the boys’ race, pundits expected Newbury Park (Calif.) to win both the individual and team titles and that’s what happened, with NP setting an NXN record-low score of 66 points.

The only shock was that one of the Young twins, Leo and Lex, didn’t join older brother Nico as an NXN individual winner. Instead it was Newbury Park’s #3 man, Aaron Sahlman, who hadn’t won a cross country race since middle school, who joined his older brother Colin as a high school national champ with a course-record time of 14:44.5.

Aaron Sahlman wins 2022 NXN

The Young brothers were up front for much of it. California state champ Lex Young started to fade in the second mile and ended up 35th but Leo Young had a three-second gap on the field with 400m to go but ended up 11th as he totally hit the wall.

How did that happen?

It’s pretty simple. LetsRun has learned the Youngs both had been battling illness heading into the race but had a positive attitude and tried to run aggressively like they normally would even though it was super windy. Things caught up to them and they didn’t get the individual glory but they still helped Newbury Park get a dominant team win.

Sahlman is headed to XC powerhouse NAU next year where he’ll be on the team with his big brother, but it will be interesting to see if he even runs XC next year. NAU coach Mike Smith told me at NCAAs that Aaron has repeatedly told Mike he’s a mid-d runner (he has a 1:48.91 800 pb). I didn’t believe for a minute that Colin might not run XC this year — an idea Smith floated to Jonathan Gault in September — but am open to the possibility it might actually be the case with Aaron next year.

NC State Followed Laurie Henes’ Coaching Plan Perfectly 

With Thanksgiving coming right after NCAAs, this is my first WTW column since the 2022 NCAA DI Cross Country Championships in Stillwater so I briefly wanted to go back in time and give some love to the NC State women who repeated as champions (the first women’s team to do so since Villanova in 2009-10). Katelyn Tuohy and Kelsey Chmiel got lots of deserved praise for going 1-3 in the race, but what Samantha Bush and Nevada Mareno did at #3 and #4 was super impressive.

Remember, NC State only won by 26 points over New Mexico. From 4.93k to 6k, Bush passed 20 people to go from 35th to 15th. Mareno passed six women in the last 1.07k, going from 36th to 29th. For Mareno to finish 29th in the country is incredible given her previous results in college. Prior to NCAAs, she had finished 47th at Notre Dame, 35th at Wisconsin, 19th at ACCS, and 12th at the Southeast Regional this season. In five years of college prior to this year, she had only run NCAAs twice and never finished higher than 131st. Many former prep superstars (Mareno was 3rd at Foot Locker in 2015 and 2nd in 2016) would have quit and moved on to other things. Not Mareno, who came back for her sixth year and came through super-clutch.

NC State’s #5 Brooke Rauber was also pretty clutch as she went from 107th to 90th in the last 1.07k to seal the deal.

NC State coach Laurie Henes told me after the race that everyone talks about how the last 1k in Stillwater is so hard but she feels that’s because the course is really hard from 4k to 5k. So before the race, she reminded her women to “meter your effort” and “be a little careful from 4 to 5k.”

Her team certainly listened to her as they all slammed it home as Katelyn Tuohy and Kelsey Chmiel were also great in the last 1k.

As for the men’s race, writing about the clutchness of Brodey Hasty may be not enough. NAU should look into building a statue of the guy in Flagstaff. Last year after finishing 37th at Oklahoma State and 39th at regionals, he ended up 39th at NCAAs as NAU won the team title. This year, after finishing 137th at Wisconsin, he ended up 25th at NCAAs where he went from 35th to 25th in the last 1.07 km as NAU won the team title on a tiebreaker. He was also their 5th man in 44th when they won the team title in March 2021.

More: Full 2022 NCAA XC Coverage

Recommended Read

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