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March 26, 2018

Examining Geoffrey Kamworor’s Swagger Levels & More

We’re always experimenting on CITIUS MAG dot com on ways to recap all the weekend’s action before the news gets stale so we’ve decided to come up with a weekly running commentary post between the two stats nerds on this site to crown the weekend’s two most impressive winners and losers of the weekend. The outdoor season is quickly approaching so we figured we’d give this a test run this week. So let’s get to it!

Welcome to Lane 9: Opinions you didn’t know you wanted to have (from Chris Chavez and Scott Olberding)


Scott: Is it cool of me to say that Geoffrey Kamworor had one of the best weekend’s that anyone will have all year? He ran 60:02 to win his third straight World Half Marathon gold medal. There was a huge tailwind but the splits were insane.

Chris: I think that’s exactly where everyone would expect us to start since the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships were the biggest event of the weekend. It wasn’t even just him. Netsanet Gudeta Kebede pulled away from world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei to win in a women’s-only world record of 66:11.

Scott: Looking at Kamworor’s marathon PB; he ran 2:06 in Berlin when he was 19. That’s some Kipchoge-level swag. Kamworor’s IAAF profile has his 5K PB at 12:59! He closed the half marathon in Spain in 13:01 from 15K to 20K!!!

Chris: As the No. 1 Eliud Kipchoge fan on the internet, if Geoffrey the runner who you would start rooting for, once Eliud is done? Eliud kind of made him seem like the next in line for the throne when they hugged it out at the NYC Marathon.

Scott: Yes, I think it is permissible. I’d like to see Geoffrey’s thoughts on space and self-discipline, but he seems like the next in line of international distance running senseis. Sidenote: David Rudisha’s Twitter account is making a run for my money as well.

Chris: This weekend’s winner for me is longtime track and field writer Ken Goe of The Oregonian. He wrote a detailed story on the Hayward Field renovations and the mess that they’ve become ahead of the 2021 World Championships. The best part of the story came a little bit toward the end with a eureka moment. The current seating capacity of Hayward Field is currently listed as 10,500 but “a recent hand count by The Oregonian/OregonLive revealed there are actually about 8,500 permanent seats.” Then Jon Gault of LetsRun noted on Twitter that Oregon Track and Field tweeted that 12,992 people attended the fourth day of the 2017 NCAA Championships in June. So what’s going on here? CITIUS MAG’s own Jesse Squire noted that they usually count people by “ticket distributes” and that counts people who have a access to attend whether they’re actually present or not. Just something I found pretty interesting from over the weekend.

Scott: Regarding the Hayward debacle, why not just have that meet in Autzen Stadium? Is the viewer experience that much enhanced by having some announcer yell “and here they come around the Bowerman curve” seventeen times in an afternoon?

Chris: It would result in less “HISTORIC Hayward Field” references on the broadcasts.

Scott: I think I am okay with that.

Chris: If you’re looking for some actual track and field performances that I found crazy, The Jamaican National Youth Boys & Girls Champs are always a source of records. I’ll bend the rules for my winners this week and pick the most impressive boy and girl from all the action in Kingston.

  • 16-year-old Kevona Davis ran 22.72 for a Jamaican national youth record in the 200 meter final. She also ran 11.35 (-0.5 m/s wind) for the 100 meters in the semifinals before lowering that mark to 11.16 (0.9m/s wind) in the final.
  • 18-year-old Christopher Taylor has been a familiar name for years now on the Jamaican scene. If you don’t know who he is, get familiar with him. He won the U20 boys’ 200 in a personal best of 20.36. The Calabar relay team that he was part of popped a 39.17. You’ll hear about them again at the Penn Relays.

Scott: I’m a big fan of these Jamaican teens. We should check to see how many times Davis’ time win NCAA nationals. I love any geographic region that has an enormous over-representation of athletic ability in one event. Like the rift valley for distance running or the Dominican Republic for baseball. It is unreal how many pro-level guys that country pumps out for its size. Which of the three I mentioned do you think has the highest representation in their respective sport per capita?

Chris: I can’t wait for baseball season to also start up this week. It’s got to be the Kenyans in distance running. I think I did the breakdown of the marathons last year and 63% of the top 100 men’s marathon times were Kenyan. I think Latin American Baseball players hover around the 20s and 30s for percentage of Major League Baseball Players so that’s not all Dominicans when you account for Puerto Rico and Mexico. And then with Jamaica, I think for a while they’ve been head-to-head against the U.S. for years and now we’ve got the South African boom so it could be more diverse.

Scott: What I also learned from this: Apparently Usain Bolt already has a track named after him in Kingston. That’s pretty magnificent. Did Babe Ruth have a field named after him before he died? I don’t think so.

Chris: According to Wikipedia, Babe Ruth Field was a ballpark in Ventura, California and now it’s the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Scott: Maybe that park was named after a different Babe Ruth? Hard to say

Chris: My big disappointment of the weekend?

NO FINISHERS AT THIS YEAR’S BARKLEY MARATHONS

If you haven’t watched the documentary on this race, do so. It’s on Netflix. It’s a 100-mile race (roughly) with about 60,000 feet of elevation gain in Tennessee’s Frozen Head State Park and it’s considered one of the toughest ultramarathons in the world. Runners have to complete five loops of about 20 miles.

So this race drew a lot of attention last year because of the controversy surrounding runner Gary Robbins and how everyone believed that he finished six seconds past the cut-off time. In reality, Robbins ran off the course after getting lost and did not run the proper route back to the finish. This year, Robbins was one of two runners who made it to the third loop but both went over the 36-hour limit and was unable to advance to a fourth loop. Robbins’ time was 36:12:12:54, according to Keith Dunn on Twitter. Robbins is now 0-for-3 in attempts to finish the Barkley Marathons.

This is the first time since 2015 that no one has been able to finish the race. Only 15 runners have ever completed the race in its 32-year history.

Scott: Honestly, I’m surprised that more people aren’t finishing Barkley Marathons.

Chris: Well usually only 40 people get in!

Scott: I feel like it has become popular enough that it ought to be reaching an inflection point. Killian Jornet would crush that course. Maybe since there isn’t prize money? Here’s a potentially bad take – the fella who administers that race doesn’t want many people to finish. It is one of the more outrageous sporting events in existence. It’s pretty perfect. Do you think that the Robbins fella needs to finish the Barkley now? That dude must be haunted every day? Maybe it’s kind of like finishing fourth at the Trials two cycles in a row. Must be absolutely gutting.

Chris: The “third time’s the charm” cliche doesn’t even work. I don’t know. It’s so brutal. You’ve really gotta be crazy for this race to mean so much to you. If anything, take a break. Give your legs a year off from it and then go back to it. There’s people who seem to be content just completing one lap of it. If I were to ever do it, I doubt I would, that would be my goal and even that’s tough.

Scott: Alright, my disappointment is actually someone who has been on my hot seat for a while. It’s Wilson Kipsang. So this weekend, Kipsang won the Tokushima Marathon in Japan in 2:19:35. It’s crazy how poorly he’s been performing recently. He was a DNF at the Berlin Marathon, ran 2:10 for second in New York and then was a DNF at this year’s Tokyo Marathon. Not really a great trend.

Chris: My thing with Wilson Kipsang is that it’s so hard to stay at the top for as long as he has that I don’t think he deserves any flak for slowing down because it happens to the best. He’s run under 2:05 eight times in his career with the first being in October 2010 and the most recent coming in Feb. 2017. That’s a seven-year window of very, very good marathons!

Scott: (LOL. His listed track 10,000m PB is 28:37.) True, true. He’s also 36. I just wanted the showdown for the WR to happen between him and Kipchoge this past year at Berlin. When he dropped out, I knew the WR probably wasn’t going to happen.

Chris: You’ve been holding onto this feeling for too long, I’m glad you got them out.

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