MARATHON WOMEN : EDNA KIPLAGAT CONFIRMS HER TITLE, VALERIA STRANEO SURPRISING SILVER
Looking at the time of the start, and at the temperature (34° Celsius in the air, and probably about 44° on the road), the most part of coaches and athletes supposed it could be a tactical race, like in other editions of WCh already happened.
But in the race there was the Italian Valeria Straneo. Already 37 years old, at top level from 2011 only, she adopted the same tactic used during the OG of London : going in front from the beginning, controlling the pace at the targeted speed.
Knowing she doesn’t have the ability to produce fast accelerations, Valeria decided to make the race hard for the other best competitors, African especially.
On the contrary of many people think, African runners are not very good in very hot conditions. In Moscow, fortunately, humidity was not very high, and the problem regarded the temperature only. But in those conditions, the winner is not the strongest, but the best adapted at that situation among the strongest.
The talent, and good general training too, in this case are not enough, and this is the reason because many times African runners are not able to produce in the Championships, normally in the hottest period of the season, performances of the same level of their Personal Bests, obtained during some Marathon in Spring or Autumn, and with the aid of pacers.
In this conditions, considering the full field of Kenyans (Edna Kiplagat, Lucy Kabuu and Valentine Kipketer) and Ethiopians (the Olympic Champion Tiki Gelana, Meselech Melkamu, the WHM champion Meseret Hailu, Tasese Feysa Boru and Aberu Kebede), only the experienced Edna Kiplagat, defending Champion from Daegu, was able to be competitive.
Tiki Gelana was out of competition from the start, not going in the leading group, showing a bad condition, following some injury. She dropped out after 10 km in 36:28, when already was 2:15 behind the leading group. Edna Kiplagat remained with her, for the first 5 km, remembering what happened in the OG, and this fact (after 7 km she was behind of 33 seconds) almost affected her race, because, when she understood Tiki Gelana was not competitive, had to run alone for some km, specifically when was informed she had 28 seconds of gap after 10 km. About the 12th km, Edna decided to go alone for joining the leaders, running 5 km between 10 and 15 in 16:43, but specifically 3 km between 12 and 15 in 9:48.
While the Ethiopian Aberu Kebede and Meseret Hailu never where in the race, Melkamu, Tadese Feysa, Kabuu and Kipketer remained together with Valeria Straneo till HM, when Tadese suddenly dropped out.
Valentine Kipketer lost contact after 23 km, and stopped running after 28 km ; Lucy Kabuu suddenly was not able to follow the pace after 24 km, but wanted to finish the race ; Meselech Melkamu tried to stay in contention for a medal till 35 km, but at 36 km was reached by Fukushi, and after 300m dropped out.
At that point, only 2 athletes were in contention for Gold : Valeria Straneo, from the start always in front till 40 km, and Edna Kiplagat, who showed to have some more speed, increasing the pace in the last 2 km, for going to confirm her title with a fast final of 7:22 for the last 2195m.
Edna was the strongest in the race, also able to make up for the tactical mistake at the beginning of the race.
But Valeria was the moral winner of this competition, staying in front for 40 km, with unbelievable strength in her mind, and a perfect interpretation of the race, in order to achieve the best possible result.
Valeria was in Kenya this winter, for a period of 3 weeks of training, together with Emma Quaglia (today number 6, another wonderful result for the Italian movement). At that period, she was not in shape, coming from some rest after a very tough season 2012. Speaking about WCh, we explained Moscow was very hot in August (especially running at 2pm…), and this is the best condition for a not African runner for hoping in some medal, following a detailed training built according to the weather conditions we have to face.
This is something African runners don’t do. The same happened in Osaka 2007. The best Kenyan and Ethiopian don’t want to change their traditional system, consisting in running at 6:00 in the morning (when there is fresh temperature), and in many cases refusing to drink, thinking the adaptation to run without water can be a good training for a race in hot conditions.
Of course, European and American coaches have more care of particulars during the preparation, coaching the athletes in different ways, according to the different situations there are in the competition. There is not one training for marathon, but one specific training for “that” marathon.
Training for a marathon cold or hot, with o without humidity, flat or hilly, with o without many turns, is not the same, and under this point of view African coaches are not specific like European or American.
That’s the reason because many times athletes without big Personal Records are able to be competitive for a medal in those conditions, while when the situation is more normal (such as in Daegu 2011 or Edmonton 2001 or OG last year) they are able to look for all the medals.
About the recovery after a marathon, more the marathon is fast, easier is the recovery, because when you run very fast the weather conditions are perfect, and the physical stress is not very high. So, athletes need some day for refueling, but their body doesn’t have any damage to repair.
Instead, when in a big Championship (when everybody wants to run fast) there are conditions like in Moscow, the consumption of fuel is very higher, and without specific adaptation is not possible to run with the right hydrosaline balance. For that reason, athletes go to “eat” themselves, using fatty acids they can find in the membrane of their cells, and this kind of “self-cannibalism” provokes damages inside the muscle fibers, which need long periods of time for fully recovering.
In the next table, it’s possible to see the splits (every 5 km) for the first 3 at the end, and for all the Kenyan and Ethiopian runners.
From this analysis, it’s possible to see how (Edna Kiplagat apart) all the African didn’t have any specific adaptation for a situation like this, so their defeat depends in the most part on mistakes in their training.
SPLITS EVERY 5 KM
Edna Kiplagat (1)
Valeria Straneo (2)
Kayoko Fukushi (3)
Aberu Kebede (13)
Lucy Kabuu (24)
Tadese Feysa Boru
10000m MEN : MO FARAH AND JEYLAN WIN THE TWO MEDALS AGAIN, CHANGING THEIR POSITIONS
Everything as expected : Mo Farah in the last lap over Ibrahim Jeylan, the silver and the gold two years ago in Daegu, with the difference they changed their position. But, honestly, it was a boring competition, without any attempt of some solution far from the finish line.
The reality is that today this event doesn’t have specialists of top class, apart Mo Farah.
When we think of Paris 2003, with a second half in 12:57 for the 3 Ethiopians leaded by Haile Gebrselassie (the other were Kenenisa Bekele and Sileshi Sihine), we have to accept the idea the event becomes worse every new edition of WCh and Olympic Games.
The talent of the athletes competing in 10000m is lower than years ago, and their training is not focused on the distance for the right period of time, because the event is practically out from the calendar of important meetings.
Kenyans continue to think possible to win gold in this event, but don’t have athletes fast enough for beating Mo Farah or Jeylan (or Gebremeskel with more experience), till when the winners of Trials are specialists good for Half Marathon and Marathon.
The Personal bests of Kenyans competing in Moscow, in 5000m, are the following :
Kipkemoi 13:03.37 ; Tanui 13:04.66 ; Karoki 13:15.76. The only tactic they can try is to have a very fast race from the start, but for athletes with 13:15 of PB what does it mean “very fast” ? Today they went for the first 5 km in 13:50, and the second half was 13:31. How somebody can suppose there are chances to beat Mo Farah ?
The real big disappointment today comes from Gebremeskel and Imane Merga.
How to explain their counterperformances ?
Thet didn’t compete too much : 3 races for Imane Merga (10000m in 27:12.37 behind Bekele in Eugene on 31st May, 5000m in 13:09.17 in Rome on 6th June and again 10000m in 26:57.33 in Sollentuna on 27th June), 2 races of 10000m for Abera Kuma (Eugene in 27:13.10 and Sollentuna 26:52.85), and 2 races for Gebremeskel (5000m in NY in 13:31.02 on 25th May and 10000m in 26:51.02 winning in Sollentuna). But the problem was to try to reach the best shape before WCh, due to the Ethiopian system for selecting the Team. It’s not a case that Ibrahim Jeylan, who didn’t run any 10000m in the season having the Wild Card because defending champion, was the only Ethiopian in good shape in Moscow.
Paul Tanui was the one trying to push the pace, of course inside his possibilities, and was able to win a medal with a good last lap, but never can be considered a winner in an international competition with Mo Farah and some Ethiopian.
Galen Rupp is not in the same shape of last year. He ran slower during all the season, and in Moscow his finish was not very good.
Looking at the times in the last 400m, we can see how nobody was really very fast : 54.70 for Mo Farah, 55.2 for Jeylan, 55.3 for Tanui and 57.1 for Rupp, very much slower than in Daegu.
Dathan Ritznehein tried to push the pace with one km to go, going in front after 9 km, but his lack of speed was obvious, looking at his finish in 10th position in 27:37.90, 16 seconds behind Mo Farah. Going to Marathon, Dathan can be still able to maintain a good pace, but not to change speed during the race or in the final km (his last km was 2:42.4, not very different from the previous).
I think that, in spite of the interviews on several newspapers before the race, at the moment who runs with Mo Farah in a race of 10000m pays some subjection with the Olympic Champion. This can be clear looking at the splits per kms, where we cannot see any serious attempt to attack for creating some gap :
1000m : 2:45.73 2:45.73 Tanui
2000m : 5:35.42 2:49.69 Tanui
3000m : 8:19.95 2:44.53 Kuma
4000m : 11:03.14 2:43.19 Kipkemoi
5000m : 13:49.95 2:46.81 Tanui
6000m : 16:37.52 2:47.57 Tanui
7000m : 19:26.23 2:48.71 Tanui
8000m : 22:11.40 2:45.17 Tanui
9000m : 24:55.48 2:44.08 Ritznehein
10000m : 27:21.71 2:26.23 Farah
TOPIC OF THE DAY
One of the most unexpected situation we had during the first day of WCh is the general downfall of Russian atlete.
Normally, when there is some Championship the athletes of the organizing Country are able to reach the best results of the season, because of the great motivation, personal and of the Federation, to represent their Country.
F0r that reason, what today happened with the most part of Russian athletes can be considered unusual, and there is one explanation only for this fact.
Today 10 athletes were not able to qualify for the next step, in different events, and in the only final interesting Russians (marathon women) they finished the race in very bad positions.
This is the list :
100m men : Brednev (the only Russian athlete entered) 10.52 (7sf) (PB of 10.33)
PV men : Gripich 5.40 (NQ) (PB 5.75, Seasonal Best 5.60)
Hammer men : Korolyov 69.69 (NQ) (PB 79.36, SB 78.19)
Zagorniy NM (NQ) (PB 83.43, SB 79.26)
3000st W : Gorchakova (2nd heat) 9:42.12 (9th) (PB 9:35.55)
Lebedeva (1st heat) 9:50.64 (11th) (PB 9:39.98)
LJ women : Kolchanova 6.53 (NQ) (PB 7.21, SB 6.89)
DT women : Ganeyeva 58.37 (NQ) (PB 64.30)
Strakova 57.85 (NQ) (PB 63.80)
Saykina 56.62 (NQ) (PB 63.42, SB 61.09)
Marathon W : Mayorova 2:41:19 (21) (PB 2:23:52)
Leontyeva 2:42:49 (22) (PB 2:31:57)
Biktimirova 2:45:27 (26) (PB 2:25:12, SB 2:30:02)
Aryasova 2:45:27 (27) (PB 2:26:13)
This situation means one thing only : Russian Federation, after a lot of athletes banned for doping, informed of the more effective system used for the antidoping controls, decided to clean the ambience, putting in the Team only clean athletes (many of them without international experience, and also without big talent). Secondly, being athletes with no chances for some medal in WCh, they preferred to peak for World Universitary Games in Kazan, like the women discus throwers, losing their shape after the Games.
What is surprising is the low level of athletes of “second line” in a Country as Russia. Also without the World Champion Zaripova, it was difficult to think that Russia, with a long tradition of World Records, World Champions and Olympic Champions (Gulnara Samitova Galkina, Volkova, Zaripova), could put in the team athletes for 9:40 in steeple, or were not able to present a Hammer thrower in the men competition.
The good thing is that finally also Countries with a bad tradition for doping try today to clean their situation.