Two Weeks in Running: June 1-13
Running Warehouse may have skipped a week but the running world has certainly not slowed down with elite athletes taking to all corners of the globe.
This blog begins about as far away from our San Luis Obispo office as possible with South Africa’s Comrades Marathon. The race, which links the 56 miles between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban is the oldest ultra marathon in the world. The course alternates directions each year and this years race was a “down run” meaning it finished in Durban, the lower altitude of the two cities resulting in a net downhill, but the competition was in no way down.
On the men’s side, South African Bongmusa Mthembu crossed the tape first in a time of 5:28:34 beating the defending “down” champion Ludwick Mamabolo by almost 5 minutes. The ladies’ competition was equally exciting with Brit Ellie Greenwood besting Russian twins Elena and Oleysa Nurglaieva, which is no small feet considering that the former of the twins is a defending 8 time champion. It was a slow year for the ladies as Ellie’s time of 6:18:15 was almost 24 minutes slower than Frith van der Merwe’s course record. I mention that mostly as an excuse to acknowledge the existence of someone named Frith van der Mewre.
Also competing was legend and barefoot-runner-before-it-was-cool Zola Budd (apparently the 56 miles is a bit long to go barefoot and she did cover her feet for this one). Of course, no Zola Budd race is complete without some controversy, and she was apparently stripped of her age group win for not wearing the right tags.
There was far too much track over the last two weeks to cover here, with major meets in the Netherlands, Italy, and Norway, and notable performances happening in countless smaller meets. Out of all the great meets, the one that garnered the most attention from Americans and from Running Warehouse was much closer to home in Eugene, Oregon.
The Prefontaine Classic featured mind-numbing races from 100m to 10,000m in this year’s rendition, undoubtedly living up to its reputation. Shannon Rowury and Galen Rupp set American records in the 2-mile (9:20.25) and in the 10,000m (26:44.36), respectively. To close out the meet, Ayanleh Souleiman ran the fastest mile ever run on American soil with his 3:47.32 to win the Bowerman, while former Buffaloes Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn continue to be fast with personal records in the 1500m and steeplechase, respectively.