Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Butch Cassidy and Duck Confit

Butch Cassidy

Caroline Rotich and Meron Simon get my nods as distance running athletes of the week.

Throughout Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Butch and the Kid are astonished at the persistence of their pursuers, and Butch asks repeatedly, "Who ARE those guys?"

Caroline Rotich pulled off her Boston Marathon upset win in classic underdog style: stay with the favorites long enough to sow seeds of doubt, then use your best weapon - her remarkable withering kick - to seal the deal on the upset. No one will be asking who she is anymore.

An interesting note from David Macharia in the Daily Nation, an online news source from Kenya that focuses on East and Central Africa: Caroline Rotich attended high school in Japan - which one?

What else but Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School, which counts among its many illustrious alumni Sammy Wanjiru, 2008 Olympic marathon gold medalist.

Rotich graduated in 2002.

Duck Confit
Meanwhile, continuing to get way too much attention is Oregon's French import, Tanguy Pepiot. If you don't know his name, surely you have seen him in the media somewhere this past week, including ESPN. He infamously started waving to his hometown Ducks on the finish straight at the conclusion of the Pepsi Team Invitational steeplechase on April 13.

Well, not quite the conclusion. He was oblivious to fast-closing Meron Simon of the University of Washington, who applied what we learned in junior high and got to the finish line first.

This makes Simon the real hero of this race. He never assumed what Pepiot did: that the race was over. He left himself in position to win and took full advantage of the exceptional opportunity presented him.

On a silver platter.

Recipes for Duck confit are widely available online; the video of this race, increasingly less so. The more popular the video, the more imperious the Pac-12 has become about enforcing its rights to the tape.

Nonetheless, the videotape, too, remains widely available, and this is good news for Pepiot: it's one tape he's been able to find!

All credit to Rotich and Meron for executing so well the essentials of distance running we teach and learn in Middle School.

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