In the last seven days, a man ran 26:11 for 10,000 meters, a woman ran 14:06 for 5,000 meters, and Eliud Kipchoge was beaten in a marathon. Pretty quiet week, huh?
The running world is still trying to make sense of the first two performances. World records that stood for 15 and 12 years, respectively, were brushed away on one night in Valencia. And while Joshua Cheptegei and Letesenbet Gidey are undoubtedly enormous talents, the celebrations had barely begun before the questions started -- about the Wavelight pacing technology, which allowed them to rip off mechanically precise splits, and, more pressingly, about Nike's Dragonfly spikes, which have produced a swarm of fast times despite the COVID-shortened season.
Those are fair topics of discussion, of course. But, to extend last week's analogy a little further, it feels a little like a kid complaining about the present they just received on Christmas morning. We were just given a gift of a world-class track meet with two remarkable performances, beamed live around the world for free on YouTube. That's a major accomplishment for a sport that too often shoots itself in the foot.
We're not here to silence opinions -- it seems likely that the benefits of Nike's Dragonflys will be a hot topic of discussion as we head into an Olympic year. But it's possible to hold such discussions while also acknowledging that Gidey and Cheptegei are special runners, and what went down on Wednesday in Valencia was a special night for the sport. We hope you enjoyed it.
Minnesota alum John Simons '14 explains why the cuts at Minnesota could be the tip of the iceberg for collegiate track if the Board of Regents votes to confirm the school is cutting men's track on Friday.