Last week, I got the chance to do some runs at sea level for the first time without being injured in over a year. It’s interesting to see just how much of an effect altitude has on running abilities. Just by moving to a different altitude, I was able to go around 30 s / mi faster than in Colorado without even trying too hard. I could also run longer distances without feeling tired.
This is supposed to be why so many professional athletes train at high altitudes. If they are trained to do well at high altitude, they will do even better at sea level.
It’s been reported today that Rita Jeptoo, the winner of the women’s competition in both the Chicago and Boston marathons last year, has been banned from competing for two years after failing a drug test. Prior to this, she had been credited as the winner for three Boston Marathons and two Chicago Marathons.
It’s very disappointing that someone who had been doing so well at distance running for the past few years was actually cheating.
This year’s ColderBolder 5k was held this morning at CU in Boulder. The ColderBolder is run by the same group that runs the much larger Bolder Boulder 10k on Memorial Day and is a winter race through the CU campus. Luckily, the weather was quite nice this year and it was around 40°F for most of the start times and at least above freezing for all of the races. While the Bolder Boulder can attract up to around 50,000 runners, the ColderBoulder is only a few thousand. It’s not a particularly large event, but is nice since there aren’t that many races during the winter. You can find this year’s results here.
Over the weekend, the Colorado men’s cross country team won the NCAA Division I championship for the second straight year. The race was a 10k course in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Colorado team ended up with 65 points although the top two runners were both from Oregon, with the best finishing with a time of 30:19. Stanford came in second with 98 points. The northeastern region sent an all-Ivy set of individual qualifiers with two from Columbia and one each from Harvard and Yale. The Colorado women’s team also did quite well, ending up at #7 out of 31 qualifying teams. For some reason, the women’s course is only 6k instead of using the same 10k as in the men’s race.
The world record time for the marathon was broken over the weekend by Dennis Kimetto at the Berlin Marathon. He finished the race in 2:2:57, 26 seconds lower than the previous record. This is quite a large improvement and the record time is now closing in on 2 hours.
World records for road races like the marathon are rather strange since courses and course conditions can vary greatly. Some notable marathons like the Boston Marathon don’t count for world records because the courses deviate too much from what’s considered the standard. According to Wikipedia, the 7 fastest marathon times are all at Berlin in recent years, which suggests that the Berlin course may just happen to be one of the faster courses available. Nonetheless, this is an impressive accomplishment by Kimetto.
Deadspin has a link to a video of one of the worst race finishes I’ve ever seen, with the top two runners both celebrating too early. The eventual winner is passed by the #2 runner who then also starts celebrating and is himself passed by the person he just passed. These are some of the best runners in the world, so they should really know better.