Vol. 7 No.2 March/April 2002




As many of you know, Ireland just hosted the World Cross Country Championships on March 23-24. At that meet the American womens team took second place, along with second and third place individual finishes by Deena Drossin and Colleen DeReuck. Many observers predicted that this was a team to watch. This group of women was loaded with talent, experience and a lot of motivation. If you read what these ladies said before and after the meet, it is obvious that they understand that the very best runners on the planet, with only a few exceptions, appear each year at the World Cross Country meet. A medal here is just as prestigious as one at any track and field championships, and tougher to get owing to the availability of only two races.

So much has been written and said about the lack of distance talent in the United States that I have grown very tired of hearing the same refrain. The womens 8K team proves we are amongst the best in the world at that distance, but it is important to look a little closer at all of the US team finishes.

The mens 12K team placed a slightly disappointing fifth. Alan Culpepper, though, stayed home with his pregnant wife. Had he been able to attend, the difference would have likely netted the team a third place finish. The womens 4K team, missing trials winner Regina Jacobs, placed sixth. With her they would have also been bronze medalists. The mens 4K team was also missing the trials winner, Tim Broe. With him it would have been close, and possibly they also could have collected a bronze. The really impressive factor here, though, was that a very young group of college age runners, led by Colorado standout Jorge Torres, placed fifth in an international competition without any superstars.

Regina Jacobs took a good deal of heat for deciding not to compete at the Worlds, much of it from Suzy Favor-Hamilton who placed fifth in the 4K event. Part of the frustration here is that top American runners want to show the world that they really are a force to be reckoned with. We have a great deal of distance running talent in the United States. I have yet to talk to an elite runner who isn't sick of answering questions about what is wrong with American distance running. It's basically a slap in their face.

Don't get me wrong, American distance running on the elite level still needs help. Our top runners still need strategic aid, coaching, sponsorship and training facilities that they aren't always getting. Do me a favor, though. If you meet up with Deena Drossin, don't ask her what's wrong with American distance running. In case you missed it, she just set a new world road record of 14:54 for 5K at Carlsbad on April 7.

- WG

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MARATHON & BEYOND MAGAZINE - Marathon & Beyond, the only magazine that focuses on the specific needs of marathoners and ultrarunners. M&B offers in-depth articles on training, race strategies, injuries, nutrition, race profiles, running history, and more. Visit their web site at: http://www.marathonandbeyond.com

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Mr. Nobody was our winner last issue! That's right, NOBODY won!!! What's the matter with you guys? The questions weren't that hard! You could have gotten a free issue of Marathon & Beyond and fame! Just email your answers, for Pete's sake.

When answering, email your answers to: runnersniche@toucantrackclub.net. The FIRST person to answer all of the questions correctly wins. If nobody answers each question correctly, we will award the prize to the person who answers the most questions accurately. Trivia contest entrants are limited to one prize per calendar year. Good Luck!

This month's questions:

1. Who recently set a new womens World Record for road race 5K at the Carlsbad 5K? (Hint: She was second in this year's World Cross Country 8K championships race. Hint 2, read the Editor's Notes from this issue.)

2. Which nation was second in the womens 8K World Cross Country Championships? (You did read the Editor's Notes, didn't you?)

3. Which nation placed second in the mens 12K World Cross Country Championships?

4. 50K is longer than a marathon, true or false?

5. 20K is longer than a half marathon, true or false?

6. Elite track racers never wear spiked shoes for distances longer than 1500 meters, true or false?

7. The New York Marathon is the oldest marathon event in the United States, true or false?

8. The fastest womens marathon time for the year of 1997 was 2:22:07 by Tegla Loroupe. Who had the second fastest time that year?

9. Superstar Haile Gebrselassie had only the second fastest 10,000 time on the track in 1997, Who ad the fastest time for the year?

10. A top distance runner for many years, Domingos Castro comes from what nation?


Last Month's Answers:

1. Where will the USA National Cross Country Championship race for 2002 be held? - Vancouver, Washington.

2. Where was that same race held last year? - Also Vancouver, Washington.

3. Who was the winner of the 2001 USA Womens 8K Cross Country Championship race? - Deena Drossin

4. Who was the last USA woman to win the World Cross Country Championships? - Lynn Jennings

5. In cross country, what is the area that is marked off for a certain team at the starting line called? - Box

6. In the World Mens Cross Country Championships, the athletes race at 12K and what other distance? - 4K

7. The women race at 8K and what other distance? - 4K

8. Which University won the Womens Division I NCAA Cross Country Championships for 2001? - BYU

9. Which team won the mens division of the same race? - Colorado

10. Van Cortland Park, the site of many historic cross country races through the years, is located in which New York borough? - Bronx.





Tradition rich, great world class runners, a course that can kill, that's the Boston Marathon. Catch it on TV if you can get ESPN2. The race is Monday, April 15 and coverage begins at 11:55 eastern time. Good luck to you lucky folks who are running!



BOOK REVIEW: "I Run, Therefore I Am Nuts"


By Woody Green

Humor is, perhaps, the most difficult type of writing to undertake. One person's punch line is another's inane comment. What makes one person laugh will make another roll their eyes and sigh. Such is likely to be the case with Bob Schwartz' new book "I Run, Therefore I Am Nuts." I found myself alternating between laughter and shrugging my shoulders as I turned the pages. It is clear, however, that he has the runner's psyche targeted quite well.

Schwartz attacks many sacred territories in his book. He spoofs running streaks, flexibility, and finding the right shoes. Scrutiny into how we deal with injury or "hitting the wall," and a truthful examination of runners as junk food consumers provided several laughs.

Many of us look for the latest running innovation, and Schwartz makes fun of searching for the best cross training machine or energy replacement gel. Most of the book rings true, and he has provided some keen insights into the world of running. Other times, though, I felt he was either reaching a bit, or perhaps off track completely.

Cartoon style illustrations for each chapter were provided by B.K. Taylor, and these were quite well done. Again, I suspect that many will enjoy the illustrations, while others may find it a little too much like "Mad Magazine" for them.

Each chapter is short, and this is a great book to thumb through when you have a few spare minutes. Sounds like a great "bathroom book," doesn't it? All in all I would recommend this book as a good, lighthearted read.

Runner's Niche Book Rating: 3 out of 5 winged feet.




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