This week is a great time to be fans of distance running. While much of the sporting world came to a sudden hiatus, runners were one of the first to successfully and safely organize small bubbles among themselves as early as spring to keep training. Sure, the Olympics was postponed, gyms were closed & traveling became restricted, but runners are always aware of the big picture, and the downtime became an opportunity to reset the body, get back to no-frills grassroots training, and build fitness over an extended period not possible during a typical racing calendar.
Pros and college groups retreated to their own camps to train. At first there were no real goals in sight, but runners racked up the miles quietly and tirelessly. Soon enough, race organizers quickly figured out ways to set up safe environments for racing, and runners around the world started to see their fortitude and dedication pay off in huge PRs in Diamond League races in Europe as well as time trials held in various professional training camps in the US. We got to see pros raced in distances they normally wouldn't attempt in a normal season. It was inspiring to see the best in the world get back to just being pure runners racing for fun, without any pressure of specializing in a specific event. Just last month we saw Joshua Cheptegai set a new 5k world record in 12:35, Mo Farah & Sifan Hassan set the 1-hour distance record on the track, and this week, already dubbed King's Week, we are treated to two great races.
This Sunday, 10/4, the 40th London Marathon hosts the two fastest marathon runners ever in Eliud Kipchoge & Kenenisa Bekele. Their best times are only separated by 2 seconds, that's less than 0.03% difference over the entire marathon! The most exciting part is they ran these times in 2018 & 2019 respectively on the same course. We did not see Ali & Frazier nor Mayweather & Pacquiao at their peak, but this Sunday we get to see the top two marathoners ever in their prime going head to head. Check the websites for more streaming info:
Taking the Throne
On Wednesday, 10/7, Joshua Cheptegai will attempt to break the 10k world record in Valencia. Given his 5k world record & the aforementioned extended base training phase, it looks promising that we will see a fantastic 10k race.
IXC runners also have been diligently training remotely on their own, some since early in the summer. While we currently still don't have a racing season scheduled, high school organizers are starting to host virtual races online where runners can upload a verifiable time (e.g. GPS watch) within a submission window. While it's no ILH nor state championship, it is great to see opportunities for runners who trained diligently over the last few months to see some results from their dedication & hard work. One such race is the Woodbridge Classic. This is typically one of the biggest high school cross country invitationals with top teams from all over the country. Our own Devin Pang is currently in second place out of all 9th graders with his time of 16:36 in the 3-mile race. Devin is only one second behind the leader, and we look forward to seeing the final results at the end of this week as well as future virtual races in the coming weeks.
Until then, stay healthy & keep running!