Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Why women's distance running is so exciting right now, some thoughts on Wilson Kipsang.

What's up y'all! Did any of you guys hear about the weather we had here in Newfoundland? It's not even funny at this point, the town of Gander in central Newfoundland got 122cm of snow in 3 days about a week ago. Winter is finally starting to subside now however and the past couple days have been excellent. After giving it some thought I decided against running the Boston Pizza FlatOut 5k last Sunday, the weather is always questionable for that race and it's hurt my confidence in the past being fit and only running like 15:40. Both times I've run that there I went on to run 31:17 and 31:21 a couple weeks after, so it wasn't worth getting stressed if I did go out there and didn't run fast. If I'm not going to go under 15 I'd rather not bother. Instead I decided to run a 3000 as part of the final NLAA indoor series. I had some tempo on the books for after as well so I got in about 10km worth of quality running on Saturday with 3k at sub 3 minutes/k and another 7k at around 3:10/km. Looking at the Sun Run in a little over a week it served me much better then running a hit or miss 5km. With that said however, the FlatOut was a great day this year and super well organized race, I made sure I was there cheering on everyone and you all looked great. Anyway, in this post I want to talk about a couple of things that I've been thinking about while on the treadmill floating along listening to my boy Phil Collins, those thoughts are how incredibly exciting women's mid distance and distance running is right now and if Wilson Kipsang is getting enough credit as one of the greatest marathoners ever. So yeah, let's jump into that for a little bit shall we?


Women's running is about exciting right now as running gets, period!


This doesn't come solely in the wake of the amazing half marathon WR we saw go down at the Prague half by Joyciline Jepkosgei, which was nothing short of amazing, to go out in 30:04 and hang onto a sub 65 half was something incredible to watch. Now, I know a few days back news broke that Olympic Marathon Champ Jemima Sumgong popped for EPO, but I'm going to refrain from throwing her to the wolves until her B sample is tested. I'm guessing that will come back positive as well but I don't want this to come down to a debate on drug/PED use on the pro scene, because I'm someone who thinks that if the curtain was pulled back and we saw what all the Olympians were really on that most of the world would be shocked at the percentages using some sort of PED's. Being a person who actually enjoys reading up on supplementation and the chemistry of what's currently being worked on and used I know how some people can "cheat/game" the system. Long gone are the days of just taking boat loads of EPO or blood doping. There are ways to use cadaver-derived HGH, you've got microdosing, Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, Peptides, the list goes on and on. So while I know it's being used, I chose to try and focus on what's good in the sport and enjoy the competition and storylines with the hopes that drug testing will eventually catch up and we save samples and test them when we have the proper detection methods.

So, with that out of the way, I do think it's an exciting time for women's running. Look at how epic the 1500m is right now. Dibaba and Fiath Kipyegon who are just ridiculous talents. The world record has been lowered to 3:50 flat, both of those girls can run races hard from the front or close in 1:56 for the last 800 so you know it's exciting. Then a little ways back you have that second tier of great athletes all fighting for a medal with the rising sensation Laura Miur, the always dangerous Sifan Hassan now with NOP and Americans Jenny Simpson and Shanon Rowbury. 

In the other distance events like the Steeple, 5000m, 10000m and half marathon we have women starting to break records all over the place and are exploring the top end of what is possible. For a long time it's been thought that the women's records in those events haven't been on par with the men's WR's but that's starting to change with the times that have been run by Ruth Chibet going well under 9 minutes in the steeple, Ayana and Dibaba giving that 5k record a scare and Ayana smashing the 10000m record in Rio last summer pulling 3 others under 30'. On the roads too we see girls running super fast over the half. I personally can't wait to see someone who can run 64 high like Jepkosgei or 65 flat as a few girls have done take a crack at Paula's 2:15 at Berlin or Dubai. They should in theory have the ability to break it, Jepkosgei for sure as she's much quicker then Paula ever was over every distance.


The greatness of Wilson Kipsang


With all this Sub2 talk I've been thinking about the great marathoners in history. Khalid, Paul T, Haile, Eliud etc, but one that needs to get talked about more is Wilson Kipsang. I was bored at work the other day and started looking at Wilson's IAAF page. Knowing he has gone sub 2:04 an unbelievable 4 times got me wondering just how long has he been killing it in the marathon? I remember what feels like forever ago he threw down a 2:03 in Frankfurt and narrowly missed the then WR of Patrick Makau. Upon further review it's really pretty astonishing what he's accomplished. Below are his seasonal best marathons since 2010 (Also note he ran 59:15 for his half debut in 09' and sub 59 in 2010)

Frankfurt Marathon 2010 - 2:04:57 CR*
Frankfurt Marathon 2011 - 2:03:42 CR*
London Marathon 2012 - 2:04:44 CR*
Berlin Marathon 2013 - 2:03:23 CR* WR*
London Marathon 2014 - 2:04:29 CR*
London Marathon 2015 - 2:04:47 (2ed to Kipchoge)
Berlin Marathon 2016 - 2:03:13 (PB, 2ed to Bekele)
Tokyo Marathon 2017 - 2:03:58 CR*

Tell me that's not a ridiculous string of performances since 2010! How many other guys have been able to run 2:03/2:04 for 8 years? He also threw down some other memorable performances in there I've left out like a bronze medal at the London Olympics, destroying Desisa and getting the win in NYC and not to mention going sub 28 on the roads for 10k from 2009 to 2016. He's being over shadowed by the greatness of Eliud Kipchoge right now as he's won 7 of 8 career marathons with his only loss coming to Wilson himself when he set the WR in 2013. Not only is Kipsang an unreal athlete but he's great with the media which is something a lot of East Africans don't really excel at because of the language barrier. Wilson is an athlete who will be looked back upon when his running is behind him as one of the greatest marathoners to ever live. We are very fortunate to be able to watch him in his prime.


Other random ramblings


So yeah, some other cool stuff has gone down since I last checked in. Brooks just sponsored a hockey player which I was super excited to hear, Halli Kryzaniak who just played in the world champs, and there's another huge signing that we can't talk about until June, but it's going to be HUGE! 

On the SUB2 front the attempt is being billed for the first weekend in May so that'll be fun to watch. Say what you will about the idea and it being a marketing gimmick. I'm still very excited to see just how fast these guys can run or how long they can sustain sub 2 pace. 

Boston is in less then a week!! With Rupp having aggravated his planter in the half he ran a couple weeks back in Prague it's hard to tell where he's going to be but I still like his chances and predict it comes down to he and Lemi Hayle!

The sun run is a little over a week away and I'm super pumped! The fitness is definitely in a good place and is growing each week. I've started to drop the mileage back and hit a great session today. I did a 15' warm up into a mile in 5:00, 3' jog then into 20X1'/1' going 3:00/k on the "on" and 4:00/k on the "off" minute followed by another 3' easy and a 5 minute mile to finish it off before the cool down. I was encouraged by the session and got plenty of good volume in. 

Also of note, I'm coaching a Tely 10 running clinic with 2 other runners, Sharon and Ben for Max Fitness. We already have over 50 people signed up and it's still early bird pricing right now so if you are in the area and want to join check out more details on the max website. (www.yourmax.ca)






Anyway, that's it for me. Now that the spring season is finally here I'm going to get back to blogging once a week and will be writting some nutrition and training based stuff that I'll share here and on the LeanFit site so be prepared for more posts coming fast and furious. I'll get another one up while I'm flying to Vancouver next Thursday. I can't tell you guys how excited I am to get to race out there, see my friend JJ and his wife, hang with my GRE teammate Tyler C and get to take part in a LeanFit shoot to create some content for them. Before I get out of here I want to thank Lindsea at LeanFit for arranging this trip for me, Maurice with BC athletics for putting me up and inviting me to the race and Brooks for supporting me every step of the way. I'm going to make sure I stop by the booth and lend a hand so if you see me there and are a reader of the blog please stop by and say hey!


Have an awesome Easter Weekend friends and enjoy the Stanley Cup Playoff which kick off tonight!

Dave