The Spider Web

By David Yon


The 100th fastest men’s marathon time this year is now 2:15:44 seconds, while the fastest is 2:07:15. For the women the time is 2:40:54, just a little bit faster than Karl Hempel’s PR, and the fastest is 2:22:19. (Yes, Karl’s PR was a long time ago.)

The US women did fantastic at the World Cross Country Championships, winning the bronze medal in the long event. The World Cross Country Championships are, arguably, the most competitive event in the world. There are only two races for all of the distance runners to compete at, the 4K and 8K, unlike the Olympics where the opportunities run from the 800 meters to the marathon. First place was worth $40,000. The US women might have done even better if not for a really strange occurrence. Deena Drossin, the US women’s cross country champion and a contender for a top overall finish at the Worlds, was running with the leaders when a bee flew into her mouth and stung the back of her throat. She ignored it for a bit, but after her throat started swelling passed out during the third lap of the four-lap course. She managed to get back up in time to finish twelfth, but was disappointed at not finishing higher. Now, I would call her one tough lady.

Breeda Dennehy-Willis performed well finishing 27th in the 8K or long race. Her time of 27:32 was 1:50 behind the winner. She was the third Irish finisher and first GWTC finisher. Here’s wishing her luck as she goes after an “A” Olympic qualifying time of 15:35 this weekend.

For those with calendar fetishes, Suzy Hamilton ran a 15:06.48 5K at the Long Beach State Track Classic, making her the 6th fastest US runner at that distance. Maybe that is why her calendars are all sold out. Suzy is just returning from an injury and this is her first serious attempt at a 5K. Her best event has been either the 1500 or the 800 meter races. She and Regina Jacobs (the silver medallists from the World Championships of Track and Field) have a pretty intense rivalry going and, along with Drossin, make the US women a real force in the middle distances. Regina has broken 15:00 minutes in the 5K and holds the American Record at 14:52.49. In the men’s world, look for Michael Johnson to go after the 300 meter record on Friday in South Africa. He opened his outdoor season with a 19.71 for 200 meters. The world record holder for the 200 and 400 meters looks ready to defend his Olympic 200/400 double in Sydney.

Wow! Sounds like the Sunday Meyers Park social was a huge success. Sarah Docter-Williams reported around 100 people showed up. I hope this is a good sign for a big Springtime 10K turnout. These socials have become a phenomenal success. Ann Bowman has jumped in to help Sarah out this year. Tell them both you appreciate their efforts. And don’t forget the silent auction that is coming up soon. Saturday is the Azalea Trail 10K in Mobile. Tim Unger has put together a men and women’s team to represent GWTC. So far he has Garthe Grumme, Jerry Ongley, Bruce Moore, Fran McLean, Mary Jean, Lisa Dapko and me joining him in representing GWTC. There will be a lot of club members heading over there this weekend. Hopefully, we will be able to update you on what happens. Don’t forget that April 8 is the date for the Capital City Invitational Track and Field Classic. GWTC is a major sponsor so come out and help or watch. Or run the open 5K on Saturday morning.

A great quote from a recent Runner’s World collection of quotes sums up running well: “No matter your ability, there is a level of intensity that will challenge you.”

Track and Field News is perhaps my favorite magazine. It is true to the sport of track and field and has a lot of integrity. I was pleased to see Jessie Owens named its “Trackster of the Century.” Two days opened the door for Owens to move from “great athlete” to “legend.” The first day occurred in 1935 when he set five world records and tied a sixth in 45 minutes. The second day (or set of days), of course, was the Berlin Olympics in 1936, when he won four gold medals, despite the racist glare of Adolph Hitler. Owens to paced Ohio State University at the Big Ten Championships by setting world records in the 220 yards and the 200 meters straightaway, 220-yard and 200-meter low hurdles on a straightaway and the long jump. He also tied the world mark at 100 yards. His mark of 26-8 1/2 in the long jump was to stand for the next 25 years. During the 1936 Olympic Games he won the gold medal in the 100, 200 and long jump and ran on the winning 4 x 100-meter relay team.

Good luck getting your miles in this weekend and watch out for those spider webs.