Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Feb 14 - News & Notes

Welcome back for another rant on Going Pro!

Happy Valentines Day... get ready to fall in love with Track and Field! I wish I could spend more time here with this disgustingly romantic introduction but there are wayyy too many incredible races and results from this weekend to talk about - with a lot of Canadian content!

Also this week,
* why you should never celebrate until AFTER you cross the finish line
* why running a 63 minute half marathon is not good enough

Since I started writing this blog I was wondering when I would get to introducing you all to the top 2 American runners (arguably at any distance): Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat. What these two men achieved this weekend is almost inconceivable, but given their outstanding careers I'm not even remotely surprised! Lets begin this lovefest....

Galen Rupp
Galen Rupp - Potentially my hero.

The 25-year old Portland, Oregon Native is quite simply the best American runner at the moment (based on his age and his potential over the next 10 years).

Rupp has been coached by the famous Alberto Salazar for the last 10 years and together they have literally set track running in America on fire.

Before we get to what he was up to this weekend, here are some of the ridiculous highlights of his career (remember he's only 25!):

- In high school, he ran 13:37 for 5,000m (4:23/mile or 2:43/km) and 29:09 for 10,000m (4:41/mile or 2:55/km)
- He ran for the University of Oregon during his collegiate career where he racked up a multitude of awards: Winner of the 2008 NCAA XC championship, breaking 4 American records in various distances, and being a 14-time All American.
- In his first half marathon ever, he ran 60:30 (4:37/mile or 2:52/km) - the 3rd fastest American half marathon time!
- Last summer, he became the fastest American, and non-African (i.e. white man), when he ran 26:48 for 10,000m (4:19/mile or 2:41/km)
- By far, Rupp's most impressive quality is his incredible range, from 1 mile in 3:57 to a 60:30 half marathon! I can't wait until he runs a marathon! By then it will take him like 20 minutes!

Before we get to Rupp's result this weekend, allow me to introduce his fellow countryman and fierce weekend competitor...

Bernard Lagat
Bernard Lagat - The man.

The 37-year old Kenyan emigre is, believe it or not, still getting faster.

Before becoming a naturalized American citizen in 2004, he competed for his native Kenya in the Olympic 1,500m event winning the bronze in 2000 and silver in 2004.

Since wearing the red, white, and blue Lagat has been a 2-time world champion in the 1,500m & 5,000m (in the same year no less), 2-time silver medallist in 5,000m at world championships, indoor world championship at the 3,000m, AND has set SEVEN North American records (two of them occurred after the age of 35 making them World Masters records).

Oh right, I was so mesmerized I forgot to mention some of his personal bests:
- 1,500m in 3:26.4 (2nd fastest ever)
- 1 mile in 3:47.28
- 3,000m in 7:29 (4:01/mile or 2:30/km)
- 5,000m in 12:53.6 (4:09/mile or 2:35/km)


Now lets get to what happened this weekend. First off, these two superhumans didn't compete against each other in person BUT they did race against each other's American Record.

Saturday night at the USA Track and Field Indoor Classic at Madison Square Garen (MSG), NY, Rupp hoped to break Lagat's current 2-mile American indoor record, 8:10.07 (4:05/mile or 2:32/km) set last year .

Just moments before Rupp started his race, Lagat was chasing after Rupp's 5,000m American indoor record of 13:11.44 (4:15/mile or 2:38/km) literally up the road at 105th Millrose Games - which was moved to another NYC location after 97 years at MSG (a bone of contention for the die hard trackies)!

Lagat and Rupp had two very different races. Lagat's 5,000m record attempt had him up against some of the fastest collegiate runners (Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu) in the world and the fastest American high schooler in Edward Cheserek. Throughout the race, Lagat exchanged the lead with Lalang on numerous occasions but when it came down to the last 400m there was no question that it was Lagat's race AND Lagat's record. He crossed the finish line 4 seconds faster than Rupp's previous record in a time of 13:07.15 (4:13/mile or 2:37/km)!!

*Note #1: In this race the Galen Rupp's American collegiate record was lowered by 10s by Lawi Lalang, in the process also lowering the 33-year old World collegiate record by 0.2 seconds to 13:08.2.

*Note #2: The American high school record of 14:06 was also annihilated, thanks to a ridiculous 13:57 Edward Cheserek!

Video of this race: (I suggest you watch the introductions and fast forward to the end!)

Now, back at MSG, Rupp, not knowing that his 5,000m indoor record was just destroyed, set off in basically a solo attempt at Lagat's 2-mile record, as none of the other competitors could come near such a pace. Rupp and a pace maker went through the first mile in 4:06.7 which meant to break the record he needed to run the last mile in 4:03! That would be a huge negative split... Not to mention when you are running entirely by yourself. Rupp didn't disappoint as he ran the last 200m in 28.5s to secure his new...
No video yet! I can't wait to see this!
Absolutely an amazing weekend in racing... Up next is the Canadian Content!

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