Monday, March 31, 2008

Re-Grand Opening TOMORROW!

The Shakers Entertainment complex in College Hill (OH) once unfurled a banner that said just that: "Re-Grand Opening." Morons. And, no, not that kind of Shaker.

Teddy tells us the site is ready to relaunch tomorrow with an improved look and better organization. His crew has been hard at work, and he's made some secretive allusions to the enhanced visuals. But when we pressed him for details on our last conference call, he just said, "Ben, Jeremy... trust me: the new look is going to blow you assholes away."

I can only assume that means there will be a lot more photos with a LOT more skin showing.


What They Didn't Tell You: March 31st

World Cross. No 3-athlete limits for the Africans. No short course. Nowhere for the Mazungo to hide. And, set in Scotland - self-described as wild and sexy (note: Scotland, you will be hearing from my lawyers) - you just knew there would be plenty of excitement. So, everything they didn't tell you from this weekend, after the jump...

Kenenisa Bekele lost his shoe yet still threw down king-of-the-mountain-style to win what is essentially running's Royal Rumble. And his wife almost passed out in the excitement. The normally reserved Bekele, though, was overheard commenting to an acquaintance after the race: "Eh, it's really a pretty common sequence in our household. I lose an article of clothing, she almost faints in excitement, but then she rallies, I move to the front and I end up... winning. Oh [deep voice] YEAH."

Jorge Torres took 19th which was a pretty darn solid showing for a guy that generally would squeak into a World-Level track final. This coming after a stretch of less-than-his-best showings, naturally, got pessimists speculating. But rest your minds, as the actual explanation is much simpler than drugs: Torres placed in the top 20 because he is 1/20th East African.

The US Senior team, as a whole, didn't quite have the world-beating showing we all would have liked to see. But, it turns out, that was due in large part because James Carney kept tugging on his teammates singlets and asking them to look in the crowd to verify that his eyes weren't playing tricks, and that he had, in fact, seen DuckTales' Flintheart Goldgrom. (pictured @ R)

Carney had also started his morning with a bottle of Scotch.

The above photo of Bekele has been floating around with the explanation that he celebrated his World Cross long-course victory by "dressing up like an old Scottish dude." Wholly inaccurate. An old Scottish dude had actually dressed up like Kenny Bekele for the race. Which he won. Impressive.


Friday, March 28, 2008

This Weekend in Running: Fearless Predictions

We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those few interests is The Michael Showalter Showalter. The other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. After the jump, a few things that will LITERALLY happen this weekend:

1a) Bekele Wins 12k World Cross Country Championship!!! Oh, is that not "fearless" enough for you? How about this: (Tariku) Bekele Wins (2009) 12k World Cross Country Championship!!!(!)
1b) Tariku and Ed Torres share a knowing glance in finish chute (in 2009).

2) Jorge & Ed Torres take 38th & 39th at World Cross Champs. Jorge, though, actually sacrifices a Top 20 finish by slowing down on each loop to heed their mother's cries of "Get together! Don't be shy! Get together, boys!" as she tries to get a better photo-op each time around.

3) After noteable snow and rain fall all last week, the Edinburgh course is declared a certified "slopstacle course" by IAAF officials. As a result, each team must answer trivia questions or compete in a "physical challenge" before they are allowed to step to the starting line.

4) Alan Webb decides to run the Oak County Libraries 5k mile fun run and walk. Webb: "The timing for this event couldn't be better in my build-up to Beijing. I also never returned that Cat in the Hat book when I took it out in 2nd grade. Mrs. McGuiggen said I owed her one."

5) Xavier makes first-ever Final Four by defeating traditional superpower UCLA.
In light of the program's inevitable financial windfall, Xavier track team immediately petitions AD Mike Bobinski to create more basketball team manager positions so they can keep their scholarships "without having to run injured all the &*@^%# time."


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Familiar Faces in Fedinburgh

Ever since the Marathon Trials, Ben has been saying Out-With-The-Old. Naturally, I tried to remind him how strong someone like Adam Goucher looked as recently as Outdoor Nationals in 2007. You see, I believe that select old farts may still have a trick or two up their collective sleeves. I'm just hoping that trick is not one of my grandpa's personal favorites: namely an old fart, itself... released only after beckoning me over as if he had a juicy secret to tell and had a firm grip on my arm so I couldn't run away from the stink.

Now, my counterpart will gladly say that in any contemporary race, he'd take an Andrew Carlson over an Alan Culpepper... a James Carney over a Dan Browne... a Ryan Bak over a re-animated Glenn Cunningham. I would point out that he also takes no-reach-around over a reach-around as proof that his judgment is often less than sound... but no matter. The bottom line is that the US squad traveling to Edinburgh this weekend is the team that could ultimately show whether there's any weight to the much-trumpeted US distance running resurgence.

This year's group is essentially a team of our Tier 2 guys, at least in terms of track PRs. Consider their lack of world-level accomplishments and I think we can safely call it Tier 2b. The successes Hall and Webb have had the past 12 months will be remembered as nothing but singular talents heating up, unless this new era of ballyhooed depth eventually puts up and shows that the US, as a whole, is in a better place than it was over the past two decades. And thus, Edinburgh is proving grounds #1 as a pair of domestically-brewed NCAA Cross champs with limited international cachet lead a troupe of athletes that the Euros and East Africans could easily mistake for a bunch of guys who bought US kits on Ebay and snuck onto the starting line.

Come Sunday, in addition to seeing whether 2008 is, indeed, Year Zero in American Distance Running Post African Dominance... when you're scanning the results this weekend, here are some other familiar names to look for after the cadre of East Africans up front:
  • Craig Mottram - AUS (Maybe you've heard of him)
  • Andrew Letherby - AUS - (fixture on US scene)
  • Andrew Ledwith - Rep of Ire (cum Iona)
  • Alistair Cragg - Rep of Ire (Arkansas)
  • Keith Kelly - Rep of Ire (Providence)
  • Vinny Mulvey - Rep of Ire (Iona)
  • Marilson dos Santos - BRA (2006 NYC Champ)
  • Dylan Wykes - CAN (Providence)
  • Tom Lancashire - Mediocre Britain (FSU)
  • Andrew Lemoncello - Mediocre Britain (FSU)
  • Cleveland Ford - Guyana (Just 'cause)
Will the US guys be distracted by this Guyanese runner who I'm absolutely certain must look exactly like the same-named character from Family Guy? We shall see. Ultimately, Edinburgh is the perfect chance for us 'Mericans to lose the bally and just start hooing.


Big Things In the Works

You might have noticed that a couple of our regular weekly features did not run this past week. Apologies to both of you.

The good news is that their absence is owing less to ben's cavalier decision to go off on vacation to sunny Kent, Ohio last weekend, and more to the fact that we're in the process of giving the look of the site a good working over. Well, to be accurate, that little tyke pictured above has been the one doing the heavy lifting, but still, we've been stuck in numerous meetings with him (Teddy) and his team discussing the best way for him to translate our vision into reality.

Bottom line, next week will hopefully be something to look forward to, but it's taken time away from our typical production. Owing mainly to the fact that Teddy's computer only has 5 buttons and they are all pictures, and not letters.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

This Weekend in Running: Fearless Predictions (Special March Madness Edition)

We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those few interests is how we're doing in our office pool. The other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. After the jump, a few things that will LITERALLY happen this weekend:

1a) Having beaten Southern Illinois in their tournament game, Herb Sendek's Arizona State Sun Devil basketball team will swagger around campus drinking and disrespecting women... until they receive numerous Facebook messages from their counterparts on the ASU track team, reminding them that it's the NIT.
1b) Basketball team responds by Facebook messaging back: It was indoors.

If you meet someone to go for a run over the weekend, they will bore you with which upsets they "had" and which they "almost had." You will want to kill yourself.

3) The opening rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament generate more interest than the just-past NCAA Indoor Championships. What? It's nice to be right at least every once in awhile.

4) I have to do it, right? ben's Final Four: UNC, Georgetown, Memphis, Duke.

5) Enraged that two of his four picks for the Final Four get ousted in the second round (Stanford and Tennessee), Brian Sell kicks the dry wall in his basement (that he constructed), wall breaks, Sell leaves the house and does an easy 15.


I Know Indoors Values Explosiveness...

And the award for Most Ridiculous Overuse Of A Word To The Point Where It Loses All Meaning goes to..... Athletics Weekly!

Recapping NCAA Indoors, the writer, Steven Mills, clearly seems to have the movie Die Hard on the brain. Or something...
THE star of the championships was undoubtedly the 19-year-old Bianca Knight, who set two world indoor junior records in the 200m. The former world youth champion blasted to a 22.48 clocking in the heats, to shave 0.01 from Sanya Richard’s record but Knight improved on that mark further in the final, blasting to a 22.40 clocking to move to eighth on the all-time lists. This was also a world-leading mark as well as an championships record for the junior.

Returning the very next day, Knight looked very sharp in the 60m heats, blasting to a PB of 7.16, but a hectic schedule looked to have caught up with the youngster, as Knight had to settle for third in the final (7.21), behind Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Alexandria Anderson (7.17).

This was by no means the only impressive performance of the two-day meet. In the men’s shot put, Ryan Whiting blasted to a 21.73m PB, [and] Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson equalled the world-leading 60m mark of 6.51.
Um, excuse me... don't you mean he BLASTED to tie the world-leading 60m mark of 6.51? I'm not joking you: nothing was redacted from that passage. It's a shame there is no race walk at NCAAs, because you know someone would have been described as "blasting home in a blast-tastic final lap of 41 blast-seconds."

Until next time, I'll blast you guys later.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

LTOB Guest Editorial

Less Than Our Best is dedicated to providing the most relevant, intelligent coverage and discussion of the world of running that we care about. Many times our small voice in our small corner of the world is just not sufficient and we are forced to bring in guests from the world of running who have a unique insight or experience. This is one of those times.
Today our guest editorializer is:

2007's Median Male American Marathoner

I would like to start my guest column by thanking the guys at Less Than Our Best for recognizing my achievement and, in a way, the achievement of ALL the great people out there who finished marathons this past year. We did it!

A little background on myself. My name is Ted Higgins. I work as a claims adjuster at Lexington Financial in the great state of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!). I drive a gray 2002 Saturn S-series and have a beautiful wife, Irene, and two lovely daughters, Samantha and Jessica.

As I'm sure you know by now, I was recently named "America's most average marathoner" by for running my pr (that stands for personal record, most runners just say "pr" though, it's like your best time you ever run) of 4:29:52.00.

I know what you're probably saying. "Hey Ted, you have to be crazy to run 26 miles in under 5 hours!" Well, as I always say, "I think all runners ARE a little crazy, myself included" : ) Haha.

All joking aside, though, there were some fabulous people out there who helped me along the way to reaching the elusive 4:30:00 mark. The love and support of my family and coworkers, for one. They had to listen to me always complaining about how much my knees ached.

On the other hand, I think I helped them out by coming in every morning and reminding them that I am going to be running a marathon. I would also tell them how much I have been training and how hard the training is but I do it anyway. It's funny, I remember that they would always tell me, "Hey Ted, you have to be crazy to run all the time like that!" I would always reply that I think all runners are a little crazy, myself included ; )

My training partner, Katie, is one I would especially like to thank. We would meet every Tuesday and Thursday before work to go on a five miler together. I would wake up and peel myself out of bed at 6 in the morning and my wife would say, "Hey Ted, you have to be crazy to run 5 miles with Katie this early in the morning!" But then I would say, I think all runners are a little crazy, myself included ; D

After a while Katie and I started meeting every other week night for some runs and to talk running because I just can't talk running unless it's with a real runner like Katie (btw she's run 4:32:43. She's a Rockstar!!!!!! GOOOO KATIE!!!!!). We would go on our run and then head over to the local Applebee's and, I'll admit it, have a beer with our fettuccine alfredo.

Once we started to get really dedicated, we started meeting on weekends (yeah, if you want to run a fast marathon, sometimes you HAVE to run on weekends!!) to do our "long runs" (these are the runs that are the longest in length compared to your other runs). We would meet in the park, run, and then go out for karaoke at the Bennigan's down the street.

Katie is so much fun. And smart too. We would laugh and talk into the wee hours of the night. Not just joking and runner talk either, we would really help each other out with "life stuff" as we used to call it. That is what having a training partner is all about.

For instance, when my wife left me, Katie was the first one I turned to, mainly because we were sharing a hotel room bed and she was laying right next to me (we had to share a room the night before the marathon because there just were not enough rooms available). But I also turned to her because she was my best friend and lover.

But anyway, thanks America for recognizing me today for my great accomplishment that I worked really hard for. I love you all and my advice to all the aspiring runners out there: as I always say, "you have to be a little crazy to be a runner, myself included : P


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Photo of the Weekend: NYRR 8k

Much was made of Christian Hesch laughing and clapping around the 5k mark at the NYRR 8k/USATF Champs, but who doesn't like a good laugh-and-clap? I often clap while I laugh, and laugh while I get the clap. Now, as you may have noticed, runners in the professional/elite races were allowed to select a cute nickname for their bib, and what we found to be a far more egregious, more brazen flouting of the dignity of our noble sport, was the rouge ragamuffin who selected the following "nickname":


For shame! I suppose we're just giving this guy more pub, but, what to say? Such cheek could not be denied Photo of the Weekend status. Also from the hoopla surrounding this race, comes our runner-up, as the luminous Carrie Tollefson poses with an adoring fan:

photo Steve Starr, via


Monday, March 17, 2008

What They Didn't Tell You: March 17th

A big weekend in racing usually makes for a big weekend in behind-the-scenes drama. This weekend did not disappoint as running fans were treated to a number of big time results including the NCAA Indoor Championships and a stacked 8k in Central Park, NY. With big time stages like New York City and Fayetteville, Arkansas, there were a lot of "news" stories to report. Anybody can do that. We'll bring you everything they didn't tell you after the jump...

The US 8k Championship went to Jorge Torres and the third place finish went to Jason Hartmann. Both runners being oft-overlooked former teammates of American distance running golden boy Dathan Ritzenhein, they each had good things to say about their old teammate who had to drop out of the championship because of injury. However, after the press left, Jason and Jorge went on a quest through the bars of NYC scrawling "DR ducks competition, eats face" on every bar bathroom stall in sight. No word yet as to what that means.

Shalene Flanagan totally dominates American women field...again. Flanagan never looked back en route to comfortably winning over the "b" group of US women ("b" group being everyone who is NOT Deena, Shalene, and Goucher). She was sure to stay humble after the race, commenting that "Maybe that is not exactly what I did today (run with others), but Katie was there a while." On the other hand, only a few people noticed that she did display her signature cocky form during the race when she apparently stopped at the 4 mile mark to high five at-risk NYC youth (see photo at right).

NCAA Distance favorites, Josh McDougal and Bobby Curtis falter and lose out to the relatively unsung Songok and totally unknown Kyle Alcorn. Both athletes were disappointed in their races, but will live to race another day. Bobby Curtis says he will focus on the only thing Villanova cares about: The Penn Relays and McDougal will focus on being as hard core as possible. While McDougal initially played dumb and said he couldn't quite pin down why he had struggled, it came out later that his teammates, as a practical joke, remeasured all of his running routes to be a mile short each, thus putting Josh 10 miles short on his weekly tally of at least 120 miles, thus making him WAY too fresh to run fast on Saturday.

Alan Webb falls ill by food poisoning at NYC's famous Tavern on the Green. Apparently there was some bad sushi making the rounds during the elite athlete press conference held at T on the G. Shalene Flanagan reported some minor stomach cramping and nausea while Alan Webb suffered the worst, completely stopping during the last half of his race and struggling home in 16th place. While on camera, Webb said some of the food was bad, it came out later that he and Flanagan had mistakenly shared a banana shaped decorative candle that was placed amid the elaborate food spread.

Questions? Comments? Email us at


Friday, March 14, 2008

This Weekend in Running: Fearless Predictions

We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those few interests is March Mascot Madness. The other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. After the jump, five things that will LITERALLY happen this weekend:

1) 8k Results:
1. Jorge Torres
Hasn't been relevant for about 3 years, but comes back in a big way in the year of Beijing

2. Alan Webb
Saw him running in the park yesterday, told me it "isn't worth trying if I can't beat on the pipsqueak...again"
3. James Carney
My sleeper for this year's Olympic team, gets started in earnest tomorrow.
4. Andrew Carlson
The plan: More pain. My favorite American runner by far right now.
5. Ed Moran
A lot of people say he's a good sleeper for the team this year, I say "he good, but he ain't THAT good."
6. Fasil Bizuneh
Fasil'll be there. He's always there.
7. Josh McAdams
Are Mormons allowed in New York City? Apparently.

2) Jorge wins with an 800 meter kick, celebrates by ordering a pizza from Sbarro, tells reporters that he hasn't done speedwork yet.

3) Alan Webb loses, deals with it by ordering his signature peach martini in Frau Wittenberg's luxury tent at finish line, tells reporters he hasn't done speed work yet.

4) I struggle to get to the race on time (5 shots for 10 bucks at The Continental is a cruel mistress), deal with it by getting a medium Starbucks coffee, tell myself everything will be alright (it won't).

5) Sam Bair breaks 4 minutes in NCAA final, walks off track, never utters the following words again: "mile" "sub," "four," "track," "dad," or "so close."

6) Josh McDougal wins both NCAA 3k and 5k titles, walks off track, looks at WWJD bracelet, nods knowingly.

**Questions? Comments? Email us at**


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Geb To DNS For Beijing 10k

A week after Haile Gebreselassie announcing that he will probably pass on the marathon at the upcoming Summer Games -- citing Beijing's infamous pollution, and his slightly less infamous exercise-induced asthma -- Geb announced yesterday that he no longer plans to contest the 10k, either.

Details after the...

"Simply put," he said, "I am terrified of coughing up blood on the medal stand and all over my sneakers. Or dying. But mostly, I'm worried about the sneakers. Coughing blood onto them... that would effectively ruin that particular pair of sneakers."

Geb still plans to wear the Ethiopian kit and represent his country, though, but he will try to minimize his exposure to Beijing's pollutants by running a shorter distance.

"After evaluating the potential threats to my health, and to my sneakers, that I would risk in the 10,000 metres, I have finally settled on a plan for competing in the Beijing Olympics: I will be running the 200."

He explained the potential head-scratcher: "Y'all know I can close down a 10k with a fast quarter. So I've started working on my starts for the past week, and I'll be ready to go, come late summer. I mean, do you even realize how few Ethiopian sprinters there are? It's the easiest way onto the team. It's like eating a candied baby. That's the idiom, yes?"

While he would have been the favorite for marathon gold as the world record holder for that distance, and a long-shot dark horse in the 10k, Geb is realistic about his slim chances of medaling in the 200. But missing the gold does not seem to bother him too much.

He waved his hand dismissively. "A shiny coaster. I've got like, six of them or something. I forget."


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Just Another Web Tease

So I saw an IAAF headline declaring that "Tadese is the biggest 'pin-up' for Edinburgh school kids." Fool that I am, I thrilled at the expectation of a story on some new, young, spicy, nubile, and board-game-loving Ethiopian running sensation, along the lines of Ms. Dibaba here.

How wrong I was. The title was a stupid pun! They made a billboard out of the Tadese that we all already knew about - big whoop! And the story on it included a picture of him that wasn't even a proper pin-up!

So to right that wrong, I have provided the picture to the left: a little something for, well, I'm not really sure if it's for the ladies or the menfolk... Either way, feel free to download and set as your desktop.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ritz Out of 8k; Wittenberg Has Plan

It came out yesterday afternoon that Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein has decided to drop out of the USA 8k Championships this weekend citing a sore IT Band. He will also sit out the much anticipated IAAF World Cross Country Championships later in the month.

This news comes in the wake of Mary Wittenberg and the NYRR announcing a star studded field for the annual Central Park-held 8k including Alan Webb, Shalene Flannagan, Jorge Torres, and many others.

At one point, road stud Abdi Abdirahman was on board too but ended up being the first star to withdraw from the race. Just a few short weeks ago, it was the best non-marathon American road race of the year.

All of that went out the window yesterday when Ritzenhein made the announcement from his anti-gravity, anti-pollen, anti-sunlight, anti-hyperbaric chamber in what can only be assumed to be Eugene, Oregon, or the moon.

With the high profile race field significantly diminished, one would assume the NYRR CEO would be a bit down and out. Not so. Apparently she has a plan.

Normally, Mary Wittenberg limits her powers to assembling strong road race fields, but it was reported earlier today that she has decided to actually heal Dathan Ritzenhein's actual IT band.

"Certainly, I wouldn't do this under almost any other circumstance," said Wittenberg on a conference call Tuesday night, "but it's Ritz vs. Webb, baby! This shit is gonna be sick!"

So no need to fret race fans. We are in good hands. Good, solid, healing, German hands.


Photo of the Weekend: USATF 15k

This photo isn't exactly remarkable -- other than that you can gauge the fierceness of the wind in the scrambled running form employed by (L to R) Carlson, Browne, Bizuneh and Coolsaet -- but after winning his first his first USATF title, Andrew Carlson responded to a question about his race plan by saying: "The plan was pain." And that's alright by us.

And, the following didn't win the race, and they didn't win this week's honors... but they were close. The runners-up, also from J-Ville:

courtesy / Team Approach For Sports


Monday, March 10, 2008

LTOB Guest Editorial

Less Than Our Best is dedicated to providing the most relevant, intelligent coverage and discussion of the world of running that we care about. Many times our small voice in our small corner of the world is just not sufficient and we are forced to bring in guests from the world of running who have a unique insight or experience. This is one of those times.

Today our guest editorializer is:

The Tree That Hit Brian Sell at the 15k US Champs

First of all, my name is Bradley and I would have appreciated it if the LTOB guys would have taken the time to find that out. Real crack team of journalists these guys are.

Anyway, they are the only ones who would let me tell my side of the story, so I had to go with them. Letsrun laughed in my face. Trackshark sent me a polite no. Even Flotrack declined, and they put ANYTHING and EVERYTHING up on that damn site.

So here's what happened. I'm chillin' on the side of the road. Beautiful day, a little windy, but beautiful. I'm just standing around, minding my own's when this Brian Sell character is all "look at me! I'm running! I have a handlebar mustache and a humble disposition."

So I'm all "if you're so humble why're you trying to win this race. Why'ren't you letting other people win?"

And he fires back "'cause I work harder than them. I work at Home Depot bitch! You know what that means?"

Me: "Chyeah, I do. It means you're too busy texting on your Sidekick to help me find some fucking blue paint for my garage."

He: "Oh Yeah? I'll side kick your ass"

And he did. Kicked me right in my side by the hole where a raccoon family lives (luckily they were out to brunch at the time so no one was hurt).

At this point in the altercation I am, I think justifiably, pissed. So I decide to smack him. It wasn't even a "hit" really, so for someone to ask "did Brian Sell get hit by a tree?" is just crazy. I gave him a quick back hand slap that would barely hurt a fly. Hardly touched him really. And, of course, no one saw me get kicked, they just saw my (justified) retaliation.

Of course Brian "the baby" Sell sees an opportunity to ham it up for the media, again. He blows things all out of proportion by crying about it to anyone who would listen and, as a result, make ME look like the bad guy. Everybody keeps coming up to me saying "Bradley, why'd you hit that guy?" and " Bradley, I can't believe you hit that guy." and "Bradley. Hit guy. Why?" You can guess how mad it makes a tree when people are constantly asking you why you hit some guy.

So, you can believe me or not running public. I swear I didn't try to "hit" your precious running dandy, just teach him a little respect. It never would have happened if he wasn't being such a jerk and if he didn't kick me first. And it never would have been a story if Brian took it like a man. If you ask me, you runners need to toughen up a bit, or at least Brian needs to.


"Kundun"? Or "Enemy of the State"?

Fear not, good citizens of the world. The Chinese are committed to bringing us a "stable" Olympic Games. And to do so, they know they will have to keep a close eye on this guy:

That's public enemy #1. Don't be fooled by the happy-go-lucky smile. The nebbish glasses. That Nobel Peace Prize? A very time-consuming and well-constructed ruse. (Shades of The Prestige anyone?) Yessir, the Dalai Lama is, according to Olympic organizers in China, nothing but a saboteur, with Molotov cocktails and festering dissent stashed beneath his robes:
"He is even trying to sabotage this important event and spread rumors," said Zhang Qingli, the region's Communist Party secretary, its top official. [...] "If there is an unstable element in Tibet, for example, the sabotage activities of the Dalai clique, then under these special and individual circumstances we will take corresponding measures to uphold stability," he said.
In other words, they are going to strike back against his rumors, by starting a counter-rumor: that the Dalai Lama totally went down on Tommy Herschel in the bathroom at the junior prom.



Sunday, March 9, 2008

What They Didn't Tell You: March 10th

Gate River Run down in J-Ville. IAAF Indoor Worlds in "V-Ville" (at least, that's what I understand the Spanish call Valencia over there). In other words, a big weekend with lots of results, lots of stories, and lots of information to fall through the cracks. What They Didn't Tell You about this past weekend, after the jump...

With an 8:48 clocking in her prelim at Worlds, former WVU runner Megan Metcalfe broke the Canadian national record by 2 seconds for the indoor 3000m. But another Canadian record fell this weekend, and also in a prelim, of sorts: Reid Coolsaet covered 15k faster than any Canadian previous, while scouting the Gate River Run course. Albeit on his skateboard.

Tariku Bekele turned in a dominating performance to win the 3k at Worlds, with a strong push from around 800m out in which he clipped off a bunch of laps in the neighborhood of 29 seconds. But sadly, after the race, Tariku's mother reassured the press that she still loves Kenenisa more.

Christian Cantwell and Reese Hoffa went 1-2 in the Shot Put at Worlds. But also, ben's Fearless Prediction for their Spanish escapades played out exactly to form.

In the women's 60H, the US also made a clean sweep. And, after the race, my Fearless Prediction for LoLo Jones' Spanish escapades -- which ben had wisely censored via omission, asking "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" -- also played out exactly to form. In my head.

Soybeaneva won Indoor Worlds in a WR time (3:57.71) for one-and-one-half kilometers. In the men's 1.5k, Ethiopia's Mekonnen met the tape, was DQ'd (with the title temporarily passing to Dan Komen), then won an appeal and was reinstated as the winner. [ Lame joke about hanging chads ommitted ]

Abubaker Kaki, an 18-yr-old Sudanese up-and-comer, won the 800 in Valencia, the hardest way possible: wire-to-wire. While running backwards. And wearing a blindfold.

Andrew Carlson beat Deena Kastor in the Gate River Run equalizer race, passing the female star even after she was spotted a five minute headstart. Once again, male gender superiority was officially affirmed.

And finally, in the destined-to-be apocraphyl story from the weekend, Brian Sell was hit by a tree and suffered many scrapes, but solidered on, never one to let bodily harm affect his performance. However, what they didn't tell you was that, in the story, "tree" was merely used as synecdoche for a 2x4 which jammed and kicked back in the power saw at Home Depot while Sell was assisting a customer. Gots ta pay those billz.


Indoor Worlds Results Update 2

Drama in the 1500; Americans in the Women's 60H and Shot


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Indoor Worlds Results Update

Noteable results, as of 10am Saturday Morning ('Merican time), after the jump:

-- Fasuba (NGR), Kim Collins, Dwain Chambers medal in the 60. Fasuba's time is a WL of 6.51, while Collins and Chambers are clocked in the same 6.54. Michael Rodgers was 4th. Also Greg Nixon failed to advance in the 400, with David Neville moving through the primary round in 47.43.

-- That, on the heels of Angela Williams putting the rest of the world in its place with a WL win in the women's 60.

--No Americans advanced in the 1500:
H2 4. Rob Myers 3:41.73 (one spot behind qualifying)
H1 7. Russell Brown 3:47.19
Kipchirchir Komen led H2 wire to wire, with Ramzi and Youssef Baba among the other notable finalists.

--Americans are well positioned for 800 semis:
H4 1. Nick Symmonds 1:49.30
H5 2. Khadevis Robinson 1:49:33
Each has the 2nd fastest SB and PB in his heat, though, obviously, only by a matter of tenths. Also, Milkevics advanced, but Moise Joseph did not.

--And, the final big story, Robles did not advance in the 60H.


Friday, March 7, 2008

This Weekend in Running: Fearless Predictions

We here at Less Than Our Best are concerned with very little. One of those few interests is cheering for the Charlotte Bobcats. The other is acting like we have some expertise in predicting things. After the jump, five things that will LITERALLY happen this weekend:

1) Solinsky medals in the 3k. Flexes considerable biceps while crossing the line. Is immediately awarded victory in the unscheduled 5k.

2) Win or lose at indoor worlds, Rob Myers continues to have a hot wife.

3) After both make the 800 finals and race the first 600 meters in contention for a medal, Khadevis Robinson and Nick Symmonds decide they really don't like all the fighting and rivalry business. They both step off the track, shake hands, and decide to never race again for fear of developing animosity in their relationship.

4a) Saturday morning: Ol' Crew Cut shocks Sell & the field (apparently Abdi scratched) in J-ville. Saturday afternon: shows up at our door to kick ben's ass (Army-style... read as: with karate chops), reminds ben of 2007 5k and 20k titles, and administer ben closely-shorn haircut.

4b) Jeremy joins OCC in celebratory ginger ale and both make sure to brush their teeth and get to bed by 8:30 Saturday night.

4c) Browne also wins 15k equalizer bonus, spends the 5 G's on oven mitts for entire women's field, asks them all to "make him a sanwich!"


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Last I Felt Him, He Felt Pretty Old

Pictured above: the moderately terrifying 101 year-old who has stated his intention to run the London Marathon, in hopes of becoming the oldest person ever to complete a marathon.
[Buster] Martin expects to shatter, or at least ease past, the [age] record next month when he runs London's marathon.

My question: isn't living 101 years enough of an accomplishment? A philosopher once said, "Life's not a track meet, it's a marathon. Fuck the cemetery that a nigga get buried on." In that case, isn't Buster Martin winning the marathon that is life?

In short, no. If anything, he's DFL because it's taking him so daggone long to finish. He's like the overweight middle-aged woman who is still out around the 20-mile mark at 6 hours, Gallowalking her way in and thinking, "I can't wait to get my Finisher medal" as volunteers disassemble the chute and think, Hurry the F up, lady. Only this time that volunteer is St. Peter.

Anyway, Martin apparently said he'd like to have a beer and a "fag" (tee-hee-hee) upon completion of the marathon, proving that, once again, he has heeded sage words from our great poet-philosophers:

"We be clubbin' til the day we die. Nigga, ask the bartender if you think we lie."

Indeed. Very indeed.


USATF 15k Champs: A Tasty Treat

With all the confusion and misdirection that goes on in the running world this time of year (some people training, some starting to race, some still wrapping up their indoor season) it's great when a race like this weekend's 15k comes up. It's not even in the forefront of U.S. road racing as the huge 8k championships in NYC has cast a considerable shadow for being more than a week away.

Nevertheless, this weekend's race will be very interesting. If next weekend is all about Webb v. Ritz (v. Abdirahman v. Torres v. a loaded field), this weekend will be all about Abdi v. Sell (v. a crew cut).

Abdi is resurfacing for the first time after dropping out of the marathon trials where he was considered a favorite and Sell will be facing his first real competition of his winter road racing season. I think Abdi might have some proving to do. Sell has been up there on his high horse ever since that fateful day in November and LTOB has heard from reliable sources that Abdi is out for blood,
blue collar blood. I'm pumped.

All the talk last year was about Meb and Ryan Hall trying to break the incomparable
Todd William's course/American record of 42:22. That never got close to happening, and even if it did, I'm sure Todd would have been 200 meters from the finish ready to put them both in a Jiu-Jitsu submission hold.

Who's running and what makes them interesting after the jump.

Abdi Abdirahman
The Black Cactus is angry about 2 things: 1. The patented "Brian Sell Smug" and 2. Shaq is trying to bogart his nickname. He plans to take out his aggression on the mean streets of Jacksonville.

Brian Sell
Here's what I think will happen. Sell and Abdi trade leads the whole way. Sell kicks down Abdi with 400 to go, truns around, and gives him the "double gun shoot, spin and holster," you know what I'm talking about. Wow, this guy has a real attitude problem.

Jason Lehmkuhle
Lemkuhle-hand Luke and James Carney are the faces of a rapidly growing "second-tier" group of runners that are running fast and winning races in America and one of them is bound to break through soon. I would take one of these guys over a Brown, Culpepper, and maybe even a Meb right now at any road distance. Call me crazy, but a shift is definitely in motion.

Fernando Cabada
King Cobra could come out of nowhere. He did break the American 25k record and I could picture him talking shit to other runners, which means I really like this guy and want him to make some World Champs and Olympic teams in the future.

Fasil Bizuneh
He always finishes close, right?

Daniel Browne
'ol crew cut really needs a performance that proves he is still in the upper echelon of American distance running.

Andrew Carlson
Josh Eberly
Matthew Gabrielson
Brett Gotcher
Jason Hartmann
Luke Humphrey
Mbarak Hussein
I suppose these guys might finish as well.

***If you're looking for predictions, tune in tomorrow when we literally tell you how the race will literally go down.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Track Is a Simple Sport...

An article in The Times (UK) reveals that Jenny Meadows, British 800m "star" phoned her countrywoman Kelly Holmes to learn how one goes about beating 800m star (no cynical quotes) Maria Mutola, as Meadows prepares for Indoor Worlds in Valencia.

The article however, never reveals the contents of that conversation, leaving me to assume, naturally, that Holmes' answer was, "Beat her to the tape, bitch."



Rogue Spear, Indeed

There are now hundreds of adult film starlets that moonlight as devoted fans of track and field and subscribe to ESPN The Magazine who are desperately hoping that Breaux Greer quits his day job. Well, maybe there are at least two or three. Or none. Regardless:
[...] The native of Monroe, La., wants you to know that he has a plan in place if he fails to qualify at the trials in July. "I think I'll do porn," he says in a deep, gravelly, Cajun accent. "That's something I know I do well."
Oh my. Above, you can see a publicity still from a homemade audition tape Greer made. (See the camera man?) After that demonstration of the wide range of facial expressions in his repertoire, Greer turned to the camera and growled "You've just been speared."

When reached for comment, a former lover of America's javelin wonderboy DID attest to the fact that Greer, er, "reached completion" with complete regularity only after, ahem, "removing himself." So I guess he IS cut right out for that line of work.

Ultimately though, that quote gets me thinking -- what would make for a good Plan B for some other running pros? I took my best guess, should any of the following fall on hard times with their running:

  • Matt Tegenkamp............... Fitness Video Guru
  • Abdi Abdirahim............... Car Dealer
  • Anthony Famiglietti............... NYC Bus Tour Guide
  • Bolota Asmerom............... Speedsuit Model
  • Bernard Lagat............... Shaft 2.0
  • Xavier Carter............... Trampoline Artist
  • Ryan & Sara Hall............... Barney and Betty Rubble
  • Dan Lincoln............... Scientist (Duh)
  • Amy Acuff............... REDACTED
  • Lolo Jones............... REDACTED
  • Katie McGregor............... Professional Ginger
  • Brie Felnagle............... REDACTED
  • Craig Mottram............... Urologist (Duh)
  • Dathan Ritzenhein............... Med School Test Dummy
  • Walter Dix............... [ snickers ]
Who says there isn't life after track?


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Eugene '08 Update: Big Fat Video Board? Check!

Eugene '08 is really shaping up to be a big event and they are not sparing expenses. This artists rendering of the revamped, space-age Hayward Field v.08 looks really cool. After reading about all the new crap they are cramming into this trials, I'm starting to get really excited to see how well Eugene pulls this off. It is rather obvious they feel that they have something to prove and we all know how hard people try when they need to prove something (fat chicks I'm looking at you).

In related news, apparently Americans like watching them some TV. Eugene '08 has heard you loud and clear America, and they are doing something about it. According to the Daily Emerald article, Nike has "donated" a $1.5 million state-of-the-art video board that will be ready in time for the Trials.

In unrelated news, my boss recently "donated" my paycheck to me.


Photo of the Weekend: Irish XC

Courtesy the Annadale Striders, a photo of race leaders plowing through some intense muck at All Ireland XC, the Irish national cross country championships.

The following photo got stuck in the mud and could only manage Runner-Up honors:


Monday, March 3, 2008

What They Didn't Tell You: March 3rd

When you're reporting on MAC track, you know it's a slow week. You know it's an even slower week than you thought when your co-editor doesn't even rise to your baiting about his former conference. What they didn't tell you about the light-on-news Indoor Conference Championships, after the jump...

Tyson David won the 5k at SEC's in 13:52 over a trio of Razorbacks not named Ken Cormier. But though his name could be backwards in the results and you would never know, you DO know that since Tyson David or David Tyson or Ty Davidson runs distance at Alabama, whatever his name, he's a Kenyan.

Colorado went 1-2-3-4 in the 5k at Big 12's. After the impressive display, Coach Mark Wetmore turned to reporters and said, "Vegas, baby. Vegas." While stroking his ponytail.

51 competitors in the 3000 at Big 12's. One heat.* Very messy.

Big Ten mile won in 4:22. By a girl.*

That Cornell did something good (won Heps) and that they are coached by LetsRun's Rojo. Just kidding: LetsRun always tells you those two things when given the chance.

In non-conference action, the US Men tooled those Special-Bacon-Eating Canadiens at the NACAC cross country championships in Orlando, taking the top 2 spots and the team title. But in a display of international camaraderie, members from each team paired off with their rivals to ride Space Mountain, then slurped down some fried ham on It's a Small World at Epcot.

Alabama's aforementioned David Tyson is the nephew of poultry magnate Lewis Tyson III, and is the one who has been providing Adam Nelson with all that chicken.

*May or may not be totally made up.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

NCAA Conference Meets Results

These are all the big boys from this week. Plus the MAC. Because, beyond all rational explanation, Ben seems to continue to care about these. Seriously, since when did Michigan directional schools matter in sports?

  • ACC
  • Atlantic Sun
  • BIG 11
  • BIG 12
  • HEPS
  • MAC
  • SEC

  • If we report on the MAC we might as well report on the MEAC or Big Sky conferences. I'm drawing a line.