It’s a happy Monday in Boston after the New England Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl title under head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady but that’s totally not what you came to this site for.
Lets catch up on the weekend’s action around the world:
Aliphine Tuliamuk and Leonard Korir win rugged U.S. Cross-Country Championship titles
Aliphine Tuliamuk handily won the women’s race by 48 seconds to cross the finish line in 34:23.5. It marked her fourth USA Championship title since becoming a USA citizen in 2016.
On the men’s side, Leonard Korir was the last man standing from a pack that included fellow Kenyan-born stars Stanley Kebenei, Shadrack Kipchirchir and Sam Chelanga. Korir won in 30:11.8.
Several people took to Twitter to question whether there was anything wrong with the picture of the United States’ distance events now being won by Kenyan-born athletes. It’s not a problem but the question that may be posed is what changes could be made when it comes to athletes switching nationalities. The foreign-born trend is sometimes more obvious to us in weaker race fields or some of the smaller road races.
We’ll have more on this discussion throughout the week and since you’re maybe curious now: Chris Derrick was the top U.S.-born man and took fifth. Laura Thweatt was the top U.S. born woman and was second behind Tuliamuk. Thweatt has opted not to race the World Cross Country Championships as April’s London Marathon is her primary focus.
The Instagram Shot of the Weekend
This one comes to us from Ciaran O’Lionaird, who captured the perfect snap of how slippery and chilly the conditions were in Bend.
Paul Chelimo dominates back on N.C. soil
When we caught up with Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo last week, he mentioned to Pat Price that his goal for 2017 is not to lose a single race.
He is now 3–0 after clocking a 7:45.49 for the win at the Camel City Invitational at the JDL Fast Track facility in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
Laura Muir upsets Helen Obiri with record-setting 3,000m
I managed to hop over to my laptop briefly on Saturday afternoon after Laura Muir ran 8:26.41 for a new European record, world lead, Scottish record and British record. With all of the action going on, I thought for sure we would probably overlook this brilliant upset and record-setting performance as we have in the past with Muir’s 3:55.22.
Only four Ethiopians, including Genzebe Dibaba, have ever run faster than Muir’s time and she stripped the European title from convicted Russian doper Liliya Shobukhova. It’s a remarkable performance by Muir and we’re hoping that she gets more credit and appreciation in 2017 as the sport starts looking for new stars.
The odd Nitro Athletics meet happened in Australia
Innovation is always interesting within track and field but it may be time to go back to the drawing board for the Nitro Athletics meet that took place in Australia. The IAAF is trying very hard to also push it as the next cool thing but some of it would be tough to get a new audience to understand.
The three-minute run was a novel concept but then we just saw too many rules in the elimination mile.
Problems with the "elimination mile"
-Spectators watch the person in last
-Makes for bad pacing/slow
-Someone flew to Australia to drop out
— Kyle Merber (@TheRealMerb) February 4, 2017
The silliest of moments during the meet came from the commentator during the javelin competition, which incorporated targets and led: “This is the first time she has ever competed in a hat. And that’s what Nitro is all about!”
The mixed relays had no set order for men and women to face off against someone of the same gender on their respective legs and just looked messy. I’d much rather see an ol’ fashion distance medley relay but some of these new meets (TrackTown Summer Series, World Relays) are moving away from that. The Great Edinburgh cross country race’s mixed gender relay is the best version of the race model because it’s at least XC so we aren’t pretending times matter
The better commentary came from the mixed relay and putting the spotlight on hurdler Ryan Wilson:
— Paul Doyle (@TrackDiddy) February 4, 2017
Arizona’s Sage Watson breaks collegiate 500 meter record
It’s nice to see some athletes reach the apex of the sport and compete at the Olympics but then return to finish competing for their college (or in Sydney McLaughlin’s case…high school) as opposed to signing a professional contract. Arizona’s Sage Watson is one of those athletes. She took 11th in the 400 meter hurdles semifinal in Rio and was a member of the 4×400 meter relay team that took fourth in the final. 2017 is off to just as fast of a start for her as she set a new collegiate record for the 500 meters by running 1:08.40 for the win at the Armory Track Invitational.
More from the Armory Track Invitationsl
- 16-year-old Tyrese Cooper became the first high school runner to crack 33-seconds for 33 meters as he clocked a 32.87 to finish behind Olympian Lalonde Gordon’s 32.37. He chucked up the three-goggles for a picture with the clock, which is perfect.
— Chris Nickinson (@chrisnickinson) February 4, 2017
- The 600 is super popular this year. Ajee Wilson became the second-fastest American at the distance all-time with her 1:24.48 for the win. Alysia Montano holds the American record with her 1:23.59 from 2013. Sammy Watkins pulled off another strong performance by lowering her high school record from 1:28.67 to 1:27.13.
- I remember seeing Sam Penzenstadler run in person for the first time at the Meyo Invitational three years ago and I was blown away by how not-great his form looked but how he still managed to run under four minutes. He’s also one of the most humble guys so I was happy to see him do well last weekend by upsetting Robby Andrews on the final leg of the 4×800-meter relay. The District Track Club took the victory in 7:22.92.
Missing the Meyo Mile
Speaking of which…for the second year in a row, I have missed the thundersticks party that is the Meyo Invitational at Notre Dame. This year’s race was won by Indiana’s Kyle Mau 4:00.37. The race creates a great atmosphere at the Loftus Center when the winner happens to have an ND uniform on and when multiple people go under four minutes. I definitely miss that.
Now we move on to Millrose Week on Citius Mag so be sure to check back often and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest on one of indoor track’s most historic meets.