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Team Tactics: A Short List In Pro Running

Illustration for article titled Team Tactics: A Short List In Pro Running

Getting all pissy that Ryan Hall organized the American men to assist Meb Keflezighi in his Boston Marathon win is just ignorant. It happens all the time, and here are the most blatant examples of team tactics utilized on the world stage.


Hicham El Guerrouj, 1500-meters Final, Sydney Olympics, '00

Guerrouj, who'd already set the world record in the metric mile, had his Moroccan compatriot Youssef Baba take him through the first two laps of the 3.75-lap race. He wanted a fast pace, he got it, and then Kenyans Noah Ngeny and Bernard Lagat (pre-U.S. citizenship) sat on his shoulder the whole time. It didn't even work; Ngeny drove home for the gold in the last 100 meters, and Guerrouj settled for the silver. Baba would finish DFL, an acronym for "Dead" and "Last" with a fun middle word.


Khalid Skah, 10,000m Final, Barcelona Olympics, '92

In a 25-lap race, it's not uncommon for slower runners to get lapped. Common courtesy says they should move to the outer lanes, and competition rules say they can't impede or assist the current race. But that's exactly what Hammou Boutayeb did, a lap behind but surging into the lead and yelling encouragement at fellow Moroccan Skah as he dueled with Richard Chelimo of Kenya. Boutayeb finally got the hell out of the way with a lap to go, but Skah was booed when he won, booed during his victory lap, and then booed some more two days later when he received his gold. Skah said he didn't know why Boutayeb did it. Right.

Every Kenyan In The Steeplechase Ever

This is really just a video of Ezekiel Kemboi, who's done a crazy little dance like this every year since he won the steeplechase at the 2011 IAAF World Championships. He has the energy for this because he, like most Kenyans, are amazing steeplechasers, and it's not uncommon for them to sweep the top three places of the event, like they did in the 2004 Olympics. It's more impressive when you consider they can only have three entrants (sometimes four, but rarely). The Kenyans run in a horde, and if lily-white American steeple hope Evan Jager and his hair ever hope to do anything worth a damn, they're going to need friends. None have emerged.

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