Brussels, Belgium – At the 29th Memorial Van Damme Golden League Meet tonight, World and Olympic 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele set a mind boggling World record of 26:17.53 in the 10k. While the speed and power events are my favorites there is something to be said for a guy who can at a pace equivalent to 25 consecutive 63 second laps. What’s even more impressive is that he ran his last 1500m in 3:52! That is just unbelievable.
I rarely watch TV but the other night I turned it on just in time to catch the tail end of Tommy Lee’s (of former Motley Crue fame) new reality TV show where he goes to school at the University of Nebraska. In this particular show, Tommy had the grand idea that he’d like to try out for a varsity sport. To cut a long story short, one of the sports Tommy tried out for was track and they lined him up for a 400m indoor race against what looked to be some of the runners on Nebraska’s great men’s team. Needless to say, Tommy got obliterated. I didn’t time him but I’d venture to say that despite putting forth a good(but untrained) effort he was closer to running 63 seconds for 200m than the full 400m. While his try-out was surely a stunt to add to the show, it wasn’t unusual for a non-track fan from the U.S. to be so out of touch with both fitness and the level achieved by our elite athletes in our sport that they lose touch with just how amazing the performances are. If only the general American public knew how amazing a feat such as Bekele’s was, I think they might have a little more respect (but perhaps not admiration….more on this in my next entry) for Track and Field.