Monday, July 30, 2007
Breaking Webb News
The Washington Post finally got on the Alan Webb Bandwagon, albeit a little late, with a good write-up by Jim Hage in THE EXTRA MILE column that occasionally appears. Hage, at one time the dominant force in the DC road-running scene, once dueled this blogger for about a mile in Rock Creek Park after our paths crossed. I was in great shape (for me), but Hage, without saying a word, reminded me that Giants Walk the Earth, accelarating just enough to make me toast.
The trouble with the article is that the day it was printed it was out of date -- Webb had run another race, leaving Loosen Up Sandy Baby a few steps ahead on the web, if not on the track.
The scene shifts to Belgium, suddenly the centre of the sports world, and a very cool place to move!
Alan Webb dropped down to run the 800 meters at a meet in Heusden-Zolder, one week after setting a new American record in the mile (3:46). Before this season, Webb had been a strength runner, running a 10,000 meters in the 27:30's last year. But this year he has focused on speed, bringing his 800 PR down from a decent 1:48 to a very fast1:45.
On Saturday, Webb ran the first 400 in a blistering 49, then dueled with Canada's Gary Reed before finishing in 1:43.85.
1:43 is a whole lotta fast, and a whole 'nother world from 1:45.
Webb becomes the 8th fastest American ever at the 800, which just a few months ago wouldn't have been considered a race he could run at the elite level.
Flocast video [ http://www.flocasts.com/flotrack/coverage.php?c=74&id=4544 ]here. Filmed from the stands (WCSN has a more professional video but it requires a fee).
#7 on the all-time American list is current runner Khadevis Robinson, who will also try to earn a medal at August's World Championships in Osaka, Japan.
The American record-holder is the immortal Johnny Gray, who ran 1:42.6 in 1985. Gray's style was bold and gutsy -- crush the first lap, see who would dare to come with him, then hold on for dear life during the final 400 meters.
The world record is 1:41.11 by Wilson Kipketer, a Kenyan wunderkind who was a Danish citizen.
Now the question is what does Webb do in the month before World Champs to sustain and sharpen his training without losing it?