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800m On Up In the US

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  • 800m On Up In the US

    Johnny Gray, Steve Scott, Sydney Maree, Alberto Salazar ......

    James Robinson, Jim Ryan, Marty Liquori, Pre, Craig Virgin, Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers......

    These guys must be crying these days. The ground work they laid is shot. The question in most races 800m or over (with an occasional exception) is not whether the US will place but whether the US will qualify anyone (or have anyone invited). And when we do, it usually with a guy who was not even in the country 4 years ago.

    Thought Alan Webb might be different? He's as much a mental basket case as Holman and Falcon where. Although I must admit at their age I was too.

    Where my spikes... I didn't realize being a 3:50 1500 runner made you in contention for a US Championship. How sad.

    When are we going to get another runner with the pure guts of a Ryan, Pre or Shorter?

    Any men want to stand up and take the challenge.... Please!

  • #2
    Re: 800m On Up In the US

    Well, if you look at just the last three years, there HAS been an upsurge in prep miling, and of the interviews I've read, most are fans of Pre's 'style.' That a good thing.

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    • #3
      Re: 800m On Up In the US

      Don't blame the runners, blame the coaches. The current crop of collegiate coaches, who are so afraid to mention the C-word (competition). No scoring dual meets, resistance to regionals, get your Q times in setup races. Pre and company didn't necessarily have more balls; they had them forced on them by compassionate dictators like Bowerman.

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      • #4
        Re: 800m On Up In the US

        I'm not sure I titally buy that coaches are to blame. I think you are right we sure need more Bowermans but Shorter coached himself mainly, and Pre would have been animal under anyone's coaching. I think the difference is that US runners are soft in alot of respects, they worry alot about thing on the peripherals. "How much sleep did I get, am I completely hydrated, is this show an ounce to heavy, what about this new interval workout some guy in Austrailia came up with." Not that that stuff is not important but it's often to highly over rated in the monds of US runners. Shorter was mentally tough, Pre was mentally tough. They didn't care what got in the way they overcame it. No sleep, have a cold, too damn bad, suck it up and go.

        Back in the 60's Mr. Clarke from Great Britian worked a 50 hour a week factory job, slept 6 hours a night at best, ran 140 miles a week and ran a 2:08 marathon World Record that stood up for nearly 20 years in what by today standards looks like penny loafers. He didn't care about all that fancy training ideas someone else came up with, he just ran and ran hard and took it personal when someone passed him. If memory serves me, he did not have a coach he was just a man about it and ran faster than any natural born American has in the past 15 years.

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        • #5
          Re: 800m On Up In the US

          I don't know about any Mr. Clarke (were you talking about Ron Clarke?), but Derek Clayton set a WR of 2:09:36 in 1967 and 2:08:33 in 1969 that lasted until another Aussie, Rob de Castella ran 2:08:18 in 1981.

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          • #6
            Re: 800m On Up In the US

            My apologies I was indeed talking about Mr. Clayton, although Mr. Clarke was another favorite.

            My memory must be getting rusty, i though Mr. Clayton was from GB.

            I stand corrected

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            • #7
              Re: 800m On Up In the US

              I know a 1500 runner who can blow all these guys away. Stay tuned you track trekkies.

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              • #8
                Re: 800m On Up In the US

                >I know a 1500 runner who can blow all these guys
                >away. Stay tuned you track trekkies.

                Aren't we trakkies?

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                • #9
                  Re: 800m On Up In the US

                  >I know a 1500 runner who can blow all these guys
                  >away. Stay tuned you track trekkies.

                  Unless his name is Krum, I doubt it. Elsupremo said:
                  Except for Stember @1:47 (unless I missed someone) - no finalist in the 1500m had broken 1:49 at 800m this year. That is sad. These guys are NOT kickers at 1:49-1:50 shape. David K. moved up with great success last year, yet none of the current 1500m bunch took notice at how his 800m speed allowed for this.

                  Spivey, Scott, Holman, Ryan, etc. ran 800m consistently. How can a guy in 1:49 shape go through in 1:53 in Europe - he can't. Suzy, Regina both drop down to 800m, and T. McWilliams has run 2:02 this year.

                  Until the 1500 guys get faster we can't expect much more than 3:34-3:37.

                  I agree. The mile is more-or-less a sprint now, and we're running it like a 5k. Prep milers look ok, but these are guys that are eventually going to move up in College. They're strong, but no real speed(from what I can see...maybe I'm wrong).
                  That's why Webb looked so good and so promising. He looked/was/still is? fast(for 18). World class is 46/1:45-6/or so speed. Who has that for the U.S. now? Nobody. Yet races are run w/ the sit and kick method...w/ no kick. Maybe someone else can chime in.

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                  • #10
                    Re: 800m On Up In the US

                    You are right, our milers need to more 800 work. Seb Coe could do a high 44 in the 400 and his 1:41 800 is legandary. S. Ovett was a 1:43 - 1:44 half miler with reported 21 + second 200 speed. Jim Ryun ran a 51 second last lap in slower mile race back in the mid 60's on a sorry track and still ran alot faster than our 1500 US Championship this year.

                    I wish George Kersh would have moved up from the 800 to the 1500 in the early 90's, he had good endurance and should have/ could have been a great miler.

                    Any of the existing crop of milers have any good 800 backround?

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                    • #11
                      Re: 800m On Up In the US

                      Coe a "high 44" ??!! He was fast but not that fast. Does he have documented PR in the 400 ?

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                      • #12
                        Re: 800m On Up In the US

                        I seem to recall a 46 point 400m for him. Also remember a quote from him where he said he felt he could always lace up his shoes regardless of the time of year and run 1:45-1:46 or he felt he had lost too much speed. Imagine being in your "base" phase and running 1:46.

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                        • #13
                          Re: 800m On Up In the US

                          My take on the sad state of US distance running is this: fewer people with the tools for success (both physical and mental) are choosing to compete in the sport. While the numbers of athletes participating are high, I get the feeling that there aren't as many in distance running as there used to be who have what it takes to be truly great. By comparison, most Kenyan and Ethiopian young men with achievement orientation and athletic talent at least think about running at some point.

                          For example, my college coach, Sid Sink (steeple AR in 1971) stumbled into running when his high school basketball coach made all the hoopers run cross country. Nowadays, they'd spend the whole summer and fall in basketball camps instead.

                          Another thing: it sure seems like a lot of college runners used to run Boston while they still had eligibility left. Now they're chicken of the marathon distance, and don't even try it until they're 25 -- by which time the top Africans have been at it for five years.

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                          • #14
                            Re: 800m On Up In the US

                            >Coe a "high 44" ??!! He was fast but not that
                            >fast. Does he have documented PR in the 400 ?

                            his personal best was 46.8, although he once ran a 44.9 relay leg. I think ovett once had the british junior 400 record.

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                            • #15
                              Re: 800m On Up In the US

                              The high 44 400 comes from an article in Sports Illust. back in the early 80's about Coe and Ovett in which his coach said he had high 44 400 speed and could probably be one of the best 400 guys in GB if we had wanted to.

                              Sound pretty iffy until you consider that how effortlessly he would go through a 49 or 50 sec split in the 800.

                              The thing is the article also said that Ovett probably had better speed? Is that possible?

                              Either way, those two guys were incrediably talented, unfortunately that they ducked each other so much in competition, often making meet promoters run a seperate 1500 and mile so they wouldn't have to race each other.

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