ESPN Pardon the Interruption’s Mike Wilbon thinks that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is “ruthless” and “will crush you”, as if it were a personal thing. His remarks came in the wake of the Patriots’ 43-0 drubbing of the Miami Dolphins last Sunday in week two of the NFL season.
But the Patriot Way of “playing 60 minutes” and “doing your job” have been the hallmarks of Belichick coached teams for nearly two decades now. And it is those mantras that explain why when his teams get to the Super Bowl – as they have nine times with six wins – they’re already so steeped in the culture of playing 60 minutes and doing their job irrespective of the situation, that the Super Bowl becomes just another situation in which the Patriot players say, “I’ve been here all year. I’m more prepared.”
This is the backdrop for last Sunday’s shutout of the Miami Dolphins in which the Patriots blitzed on the final play of the game to preserve the 43-0 snooker. Pundits like Michael Wilbon were convinced it was further evidence of Belichick’s cold-cold heart – to borrow from Ken Burns’ excellent series Country Music currently airing on PBS – while I would see it more as Belichick’s relentless preparation and mindset.
This has always been the backbone of distance running training, the daily attention to detail. ‘What I do today has no value outside the context of what I did yesterday and what I must do again tomorrow’. It’s that continuum that breeds success, not the single killer workout or waiting for the Big Game to knuckle down. Continue reading
After Galen Rupp’s 59:47 win at the Huawei Rome Ostia Half Marathon last Sunday, 11 March 2018, I combed through the IAAF.org all-time half-marathon performance list to see what I could see.
To date, there have been 317 “official” sub-60:00 half marathon performances dating from Moses Tanui‘s 59:47 win in Milan in April 1993 (366 when we add what are/were considered the *aided courses like Lisbon ‘98). Rupp’s own 59:47, though ineligible for record purposes due to Rome’s net downhill, point-to-point course, nevertheless was an excellent prep for next month’s Boston Marathon, as Rome mirrored the p-t-p, downhill Boston layout.
Historically, his 59:47 half-marathon PR places Rupp equal 211th best all-time (258th on all courses), but equal-fourth with New Zealand’s Zane Robertson on the all-time non-African related breakdown. (Again, noting Mo Farah, GBR, has a 59:22, 59:32, and 59:59 to his credit)
- 1 Marilson Gomes Dos Santos – BRA – 59:33 – 7th, Udine, Italy `07 – equal 137th best performance ever
- 2 Antonio Pinto – POR – 59:43 – 1st, Lisbon `98 = = 226th best (all courses)
- 3 Ryan Hall – USA – 59:43 – 1st, Houston `07- =185th best ever
- 4 Zane Robertson – NZL – 59:47 – 2nd, Marugame `15 – =211th best
- 4 Galen Rupp – USA – 59:47 – 1st, Rome-Ostia `18 – =211th best
- 6 Sondre Nordstad Moen – NOR – 59:48 – 4th, Valencia `17 – = 221st best
- 7 Fabian Roncero– ESP – 59:52 – 1st, Berlin ‘01
- 8 Dathan Ritzenhein – USA – 60:00 – 3rd, Birmingham `09 – =318th best
- 8 Callum Hawkins – GBR – 60:00 – 1st, Marugame `17 – =318th best
- 10 Jake Robertson – NZL – 60:01 – 1st, Lisbon `17 – =326th best
(This January Jake Robertson won the Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 60:01 against a loaded international field to equal his 2017 PR).
The half-marathon world record has stood since 21 March 2010 when Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese won the Lisbon Half Marathon in 58:23, breaking his own previous mark by eight seconds set the year before on the same course (which had been slightly altered to comply with record standards from the layout that Pinto ran his sub-60 on in ‘98).
To show the rapid improvement in – and scheduling of – half-marathon races, it is interesting to note that only six of the 317 (366) sub-60 half marathon performances to date were set in the 20th century: Continue reading
New York, N.Y. – He may or may not actually be the 20 years of age that his passport declares (birth dates are often less precise in some parts of the world). But that didn’t stop Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie from frolicking like a young colt through the five concrete boroughs in the 46th running of the TCS New York City Marathon.
Ghebreslassie galloping in Central Park on his way to a 2:07:51 victory.
Showing no signs that he was competing in his third big time marathon in seven months time, the long-named strider put an exclamation point on his 2016 campaign, adding the New York City title to fourth place finishes in the London and Rio Olympic Marathons.
Under azure blue skies and clement mid-50s Fahrenheit temps, Ghebreslassie took charge as the lead pack climbed the Pulaski Bridge at halfway in Queens (1:04:25). His decisive move splintered the 12-man pack and led eventual runner up Lucas Rotich of Kenya and eventual DNF Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia on a clean breakaway. From that point forward the man from Asmara, Eritrea just kept turning the screw tighter and tighter until Desisa then Rotich gave way up the Willis Avenue Bridge at 20 miles.
Thin as a miser’s smile, the 2015 World Marathon champion in Beijing was only 34-seconds off the course record pace at 20 miles. But once free from Rotich, the recently married Gheb cantered home in 31:01 over the final 10K while Mutai had pressed his margin with a 28:36 in 2011 to set the record at 2:05:06.
In the end Ghirmay G. added a shiny Big Apple to his growing display case with a convincing 2:07:51 win, third fastest winning time in New York history and just five seconds off his PR run this spring finishing fourth in London. Continue reading
New York, N. Y. — When you are riding a full load, when training has gone right and you carry a certain tonnage, baby, “let the games begin!”
At those rare times the race comes to you any way they want it, from the front, the middle, or sit and kick. What’s more, the uber well-prepared are usually anxious for engagement. Bring it on!
New York, N. Y. — Well, here we are together again, New York, New York with two huge races looming ahead. One we can’t wait for, the other we can’t wait to be over.
One pits fields of finely tuned athletes against one another in a long 42 km grind through the five boroughs of the city. The other pits two BMI challenged pols in a death match march through the electoral map of 50 states.
Personally, I feel like a runner in the final kilometers of a marathon on a bad day. I am psychologically blistered, emotionally cramping, and I have election year chafing in places that gentlemen just don’t speak about. And I fear that the bleeding nipples of despair may lie just around the corner.
Thank God, the 46th TCS New York City Marathon (40th for five-borough course) arrives first on Sunday to grab our attention and tire us out a bit. Continue reading
Life is rarely black and white, all one thing and not somewhat another. Take for instance high school football.
I say high school football, because in America that is usually the first time we get truly associate ourselves with my school, my team.
So it’s Friday Night Lights, and out on the field are 22 young men exchanging energy in a game of offense against defense and vice versa. On one side of the field a group is watching that interaction and they are cheering, smiling, and clapping, it’s wonderful. On the other side of the field another group watches that same exchange of energy and mutters, clenches their fists, and pouts.
So which is it, a happy thing or a sad thing? Or does it all depend on the bias with which you entered the stadium?
As we prepare for the TCS New York City Marathon in just over a week’s time, we are once again presented with a men’s competition featuring top athletes from East Africa, with American stars Dathan Ritzenhein, Abdi Abdirahman and some talented rookies thrown into the mix for good measure. Continue reading
Cape Elizabeth, ME. — North Yarmouth, Maine native Ben True lessened the sting of not making the 2016 U.S. Olympic track team last month, unleashing a final kilometer sprint to pull away from fellow American Dathan Ritzenhein and debuting road race Kenyan William Sitonik to become the first American to ever win the prestigious TD Beach To Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Over the event’s previous 18 years, 15 Kenyans, one South African, one Moroccan and one Ethiopian had turned the trick, and True himself had finished third two years ago. But this year in the event founded by Cape Elizabeth native and 1984 Olympic Marathon champion Joan Samuelson, True took the measure of the entire field. His winning time 28:16 bested American marathon star Ritzenhein by 11 second with 22 year old Kenyan Sitonik taking third in 28:31. Continue reading