Week That Was: Marion Jones Makes Us Sick, Preparation For Matthew Kisorio's Marathon Debut, Lots Of Anti-Doping News, And Two Things We Learned X Two
October 26, 2011
To be honest, last week will be remembered for very little in terms of actual action as very little happened. Haile Gebrselassie running a 61:29 half marathon would MAYBE have been newsworthy back when he started his career in the 1990s, but even then it really wouldn't have been all that newsworthy. Currently, it's certainly not newsworthy as something like 1,200 times in history people have run under 61:30. As a result, we try to learn a couple of things on two different occasions and try to look forward to the 2011 ING New York City Marathon.
2011 ING New York City Marathon Field Is Finalized - Matthew Kisorio Is Added
Last week, the 2011 ING New York City Marathon Field was finalized and in our minds, one of the big late additions was the #3 half marathoner in history - Matthew Kisorio. Kisorio has all the credentials of a future star and is the perfect example of how all of the top talent is going to the marathon early in their careers. Kisorio is a guy who is just 22 and has run 12:57 and 26:54 for 5,000 and 10,000 and twice finished in the top 10 at World Cross. 10 years ago, he'd be a track star until he moved up to the marthon late in his career. In the year 2011, he's moving up to the marathon before he even turns 23.
At LetsRun.com, we've long had an affinity for hyping the marathon debuts of guys who have great half marathon PRs, as the stats reveal that a super-fast half marathon almost always EVENTUALLY equals a super-fast marathon PR. In 2008, we hyped Evans Cheruiyot's debut in Chicago and in 2009 we hyped Patrick Makau's debut in New York. In Cheruiyot's case, we were immediately rewarded with a 2:06:25 win and while Makau dropped out in New York, our faith in him has certainly be justified as he now holds the world record.
Well, there is therefore little reason to not hype Kisorio. Kisori ran 58:46 in Philadelphia this fall and is the 3rd-fastest half marathoner in history. Of the 10 fastest half marathoners in history that have finished a marathon, 5 of them have run UNDER 2:05 for the marathon. A 6th is a guy with the name of Sammy Wanjiru, who was arguably the greatest marathoner in history and had a 2:05:10 PR. A 7th is Cheruiyot, who won Chicago in 2:06:25. 70% of them have been TOTAL studs in the marathon. Only three have been subpar.
Half Marathon PR Marathon PR 1 58:23 Zersenay Tadese 2:12:03 2 58:33 Samuel Wanjiru 2:05:10 3 58:46 Mathew Kisorio ????? 4 58:48 Sammy Kirop Kitwara ????? 5 58:52 Patrick Makau 2:03:38 6 58:55 Haile Gebrselassie 2:03:59 7 58:56a Martin Irungu Mathathi ????? 8 58:59 Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich 2:04:57 9 59:05 Evans Kiprop Cheruiyot 2:06:25 10 59:06a Paul Tergat 2:04:55 11 59:07 Paul Kosgei 2:09:00 12 59:08 Jonathan Maiyo 2:12:45 13 59:09 James Kipsang Kwambai 2:04:27
Two Things Track & Field Bureaucrats Should Learn From Last Week
1) Age group records should be strictly enforced. If there isn't ample proof of someone's age (and a passport from certain countries shouldn't suffice), then they shouldn't be given an age group record.
Last week, it came out the Guinness World Record people won't accept Fauja Singh's Toronto marathon finish as a world record for the oldest marathoner in history because he can't produce a birth certificate from India even though he has a passport stating his birth occurred in 1911 and the Indian government has said no birth certificates existed in 1911. In our minds, this case might be a little extreme, but it reminded us that without strict enforcement, the track and field age group records are totally meaningless. And in our minds, they are currently totally meaningless.
If you believe that Isiah Koech was actually 17 years old when he set a new junior 5,000 record by running 12:53 indoors earlier this year, then we don't think you are very smart. When that happened, LetsRun.com got a call from a Kenyan runner who is in college in the US currently, who said enough was enough and he wanted to help put a stop to the age cheating as he knew Koech wasn't 17. Unfortunately, he and we here at LetsRun.com never followed up on it and now age cheating has apparently happened again.
Eric Ndiema ran 2:06:07 in Amsterdam earlier this month to supposedly set a new junior marathon record as his age was listed as being just 18. Well, LetsRun.com received an email from a very well-connected person in the sport who has spent a lot of time in Kenya and he/she had the following to say about Ndiema's new record via email:
The guy who broke the world "junior" record in Amsterdam is probably about 25 ... He finished high school several years ago.
The IAAF does not seem very concerned about stopping age cheating. Last year Paul Lonyangata finished 3rd at the World Juniors in the 10,000m as a 17 year old. The only problem was 4 years previously in 2006, he competed at the NXN meet as a 16 year old. What did the IAAF do? Nothing. And don't think age cheating doesn't have victims. The cheats discourage kids of the real age from thinking they can compete with the best.
2) There Is Nothing Wrong With Differentiating Between American High School Records And International High School Records
This year, Kenya's Edward Cheserek has been obliterating course record after course record as he competes in high school cross-country races in the US. Well, the same thing happens all the time in Japan, where a slew of Kenyan runners are now attending high school.
And in Japan, we've learned that there is no shame in calling any record set by a Kenyan there a new "High School International Student Record." There should similarly be no fear of the PC police in the US.
Two Things We Learned Last Week On The Anti-Doping Front
There was a lot of anti-doping news last week which made us have the following two revelations.
1) People Actually Do Produce Positive Tests From Contaminated Food
With so many made-up excuses always coming out after positive tests, it's hard often times for the public to believe someone's excuse for a positive test. But last week, it came out that more than half of the people tested positive for steroids at the U-17 World Cup due to contaminated beef.
LetsRun.com considers itself to be a leader of the anti-doping movement, but this episode should hopefully remind everyone that suspected dopers have to be treated like suspected criminals in the US. The benefit of the doubt must go to them and they only can be convicted if there is no reasonable doubt.
2) While We Believe Most Governing Bodies Do Now Finally Want To Clean Up Their Sports, We Still Believe Most Are More Worried About A Public Relations Hit If It Got Cleaned Up Quickly, So They Tread Slowly
The following two articles made us think this:
It seems time and time again that whenever new drug tests come out, their presence is always leaked ahead of time so that the cheats can clean up their act or drop out (as was the case with the EPO test back in 2000). In our minds, the sports should surprise everyone with the new tests and bring the big fish down. However, many sports would suffer a huge PR hit if this happened, so the tests are repeatedly leaked.
Also, if Conte had served as an informant, he likely could have brought down a lot of people. But this also would look bad for a few sports - mainly track - so he never was brought on.
More Drug News: More
Than Half Of Tests At Under-17 World Cup Tested Positive Due To Contaminated Meat, May Help Tour De France Champ Alberto Contador
*Contaminated Meat Could Be A Problem At Pan Am Games
*New HGH Test That Goes Back 21 Days Will Be Ready Before London 2012 Currently, the test goes a maximum of 72 hours back.
*Victor Conte Wanted To Act As Informant To WADA But They Never Got Back To Him
Other Drug-Related News:
*IOC Disappointed, But Accept Merritt Ruling And Will Not Appeal However, they plan on amending the "wording" of the rule so it holds up in the future.
*Spain's Former World Steeple Champ Marta Dominguez Returns To Competition With A 10k In Madrid Oct. 30th "On December 9th last year I was a bad person, very bad, the worst, and later they cleared me."
11 Quotes Of The Week (That Weren't Quotes Of The Day)
#1 - Victor Conte Says Usain Bolt & The Jamaicans Plus Mo Greene And Others Are/Were Dirty
"At the 2001 World Championships, athletes from a Caribbean country, not Jamaica, told me how a doctor from their team supplied them with testosterone, EPO (erythropoietin) and other kinds of steroids. I know, because I went to him and he gave me EPO. The same informer tells me now that before Beijing (Olympic Games in 2008) that the Jamaicans were applying the same protocol that I created at BALCO."
"I don't have proof, but all you need to do is look at the results: I strongly suspect (Usain) Bolt, and the others (Jamaicans)."
- Victor Conte talking last week in an AFP article which also included the following excerpt: "Conte claims all eight finalists from the Sydney Olympics 100m final in 2000, won by American Maurice Greene ahead of Trinidad's Ato Boldon and Obadele Thompson of Barbados, were also using banned products."
#2 Olympic 200m Silver Medallist Darren Campbell Talking About How He Was Repeatedly Offered PEDs But How He Found The Courage To Continually Turn Them Down
"He went, 'you need to do what the others are doing, get on the juice,'" Campbell recalls. "I went 'the juice?' He went, 'yeah, the juice.' I went 'right, OK' and that's one of the reasons I retired." Dismayed by the evidence of widespread cheating in athletics, Campbell turned his back on the sport for two years, got a job with an insurance company and played semi-professional football. But a couple of years later, watching Toby Box and Jason John finishing second and third behind Linford Christie at a televised meeting in Sheffield, he felt the urge to race again. "I thought 'I need to go back, I used to beat those guys.'"
He asked Christie if they could train together, but at first was turned down. Christie didn't think he was serious enough about athletics, yet Campbell turned out to be sufficiently serious to make the 1996 Olympic squad, and in Sydney four years later, to win the 200m silver medal. Then came the second invitation to cheat. "I was training in America, and a chiropractor I was seeing said to me, 'look, there's this new thing out. What they do, they inject out of the embryo of an unborn baby.' In my head I thought, 'that sounds like growth hormones.' I went 'OK, I'll let you know.' I never went back."
"Because my mum had told me that the day I felt I needed drugs to be successful, was the day I should stop. I only fear my mum and God, so that was enough. When you grow up in a council flat watching your mum do three jobs to feed and clothe you, when you listen to her crying at night because of the stress, and then you find yourself earning a good living, in a legal way, you know you're more blessed than you were at the beginning."
- The quotes and text come from a great Independent article on Campbell.
#3 Maurice Greene Saying Bolt Can't Be Beaten In London
"If Bolt runs like he did in Beijing, he cannot be beaten. He remains the best in the world.
Usain knows how good (Yohan) Blake can be and it will definitely be in his mind, but he will not be fearful about facing him. There will be nerves, of course, but Bolt still has the edge.
Bolt and Blake train together, so there will not be any fear between the pair. When they are on the world stage together, it is more comfortable for them because they know everything about each other. Bolt knows what he has to do to win."
- Maurice Greene talking in a Eurosport interview.
#4 Roger Black, The Man Who Once Thought Anyone Who Said They Could Beat Michael Johnson At 400m Was An Idiot (And He Would Know As Black Won Olympic Silver Behind Johnson), Says Bolt Can Be Beaten In London
"The majority who race Bolt will think they're running for second, but the difference now is that there are two people in the world who can beat Usain Bolt.
Three years ago if Bolt was 90%, he'd win. I don't think that's the case now. In Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay - if he gets back - you have two guys with whom, if they are 100% and Usain is 95%, it's not a given. With Michael (Johnson), the margins were greater. There was a gap that nobody got close to filling. No-one really threatened him over 400. He always had more in the tank. He only ran it flat out, hard, on two or three occasions. I think the gap between Michael and the rest of us was actually greater than between Usain and the rest of the world now at 100.
I had to make a choice: do I go out to race and beat Michael - in which case the chances were I would blow up and maybe finish sixth - or run my own race? I could not do what he could; nobody else could. I did not have 19.3 for 200 in my legs, so I focused on running my perfect race, and it took a lot of effort blocking him out in the lane outside me."
- Roger Black talking in a Scottish paper last week.
#5 Phil Hersh Writing About Why He's Upset That Convicted Felon Marion Jones Servicing As A Diplomat For The US State Department
"What Jones has chosen is to tell some of the truth. And the doping she did admit not only corrupted results but cheated other athletes of a chance to bask in the spotlight of receiving Olympic medals before a full stadium. Not very diplomatic on her part.
I feel the same way about her admissions as I do about those Mark McGwire made when he wanted to get back into baseball as a coach: if they had confessed everything, it would be alot easier to be forgiving about their past.
Even then, I would find it rather unusual for the State Department to use Jones as an emissary.
Is an ambassadorship next?"
- Phil Hersh reacting to the news last week that Marion Jones is now being used as an overseas diplomat by the US State Department. If that doesn't make you sick enough, then realize that the Jones image makeover continued in Pennsylvania on Tuesday of this week, as she was one of the guest speakers at the eighth annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women in Philadelphia. In anticipation of that appearance, she had breakfast with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Patricia Sheridan, who totally bought Jones' bait, hook, line and sinker: Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... Marion Jones. What people need to realize that Jones' whole makeover attempt is in itself a lie itself. Her whole new message according to the flap of her own autobiography is that "When you make a mistake, you admit it, you accept the consequences and you move on, you make the wrong a right."
The problem is Jones has admitted to very little. She still claims that she only unknowingly doped when multiple people say that's simply not true. Moreover, Jones is lying in our minds when she says she didn't need to dope - she would have won anyway. That's what she told Sheridan at breakfast this week.
Sheridan: Do you believe you could have won as many medals without the drugs?
"Yes, yes, yes. No doubt. I don't have a doubt. And people who know the sport, who are sports people, they'll tell you the same thing. So that's why it's so unfortunate that I got caught, caught up. You just get caught up and I didn't take a break and it just cost me so much. I tell people the medals can be gone, the fortune can be gone but in my heart I know I would have won. I would have been Olympic champion."
More: Phillip Hersh Analyzes US State Department's Decision To Use Marion Jones As Diplomat
*Marion Jones Tells Kids To "Think Seriously Before Making Big Decisions" Someone should tell her this is common sense for most people.
*Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... Marion Jones
*Marion Jones To Represent The US State Department Abroad Respected Olympic writer Alan Abrahmson said it best: "Marion Jones is a liar."
*On The Boards: This is Not a Joke: Marion Jones to Represent US State Deparment Internationally
#6 Kenyans Beware - Bouabdellah Tahri Says He Was Only 80% Fit This Year
"But I was only at 80 per cent in Daegu.
I have been suffering for some time with a growth on one of my tibia bones, I suffered for about 18 months. I have had injections for a long time but, finally, that became untenable."
- Daegu 4th- placer in the steeplechase, Bouabdellah Tahri, talking about why he's optimistic about medalling in London in 2012 now that he's had surgery on September 13th to correct the problem.
#7 Last-Placed Racewalker At Pan American Games Talking About The Standing Ovation He Received
"I honestly didn’t realize the Mexican people would be cheering for me so extremely loud. That was an amazing experience. They kept me going considering I was pretty much solo most of the race.
The biggest bonus of this trip, other than representing this country, equally would have to be meeting people from other countries who are just wonderful and had big hearts for other people and were a total positive experience to be around. They believed in me and didn’t even know me and were supportive. There are no words to describe what kind of experience that is."
- US racewalker Mike Mannozzi talking after finishing last in the 20km racewalk.
#8 Agent/Coach Nic Bideau Explaining Why He Thinks Bodies Like Athletics Australia Should Send The Maximum Number Of Entrants That They Can To Events Like The World Championships & Olympics
"I think the IAAF make the rules as to which athletes they will accept entries for. I don't see why we need to place the bar higher than the IAAF set it at. We don't make our tracks longer down here do we! If we want to encourage people to put their lives on hold to pursue this sport we should be selecting them if we can."
#9 Words Of Wisdom From The World's Oldest Marathoner - 100-Year-Old Fauja Singh
"I'm not really interested in all the rupees, I give it to charity. Money can be saved and spent and lost and made. At my age it's nice just to do this. Come on, who wants to talk to this old man? Everyone now! And it's because of the running that all these people keep showing me so much love. Look how blessed I am. What's not to be happy about?"
- Singh talking to The Guardian.
#10 US Olympic Hopeful In The Steeplechase, Travis Mahoney, Talking About Whether He Ever Dreamed He'd Be This Could When He Was A Modest HS Runner
"Get the heck out of here," Mahoney said, referring to his humble beginnings in high school athletics.
"I think about that sometimes. My teammates bring it up to me and are like, 'Could you imagine that you would run like this?' It's insane."
"I was very immature in high school. I didn't take it that seriously. I just did it for the fun of it."
#11 Ryan Hall Saying He Loses Money By Running In The Olympics
"It's a huge issue. It's kind of a bummer. I love the Olympics, but we take huge (financial) hits to run in the Olympics."
- Ryan Hall talking in a New York Times article about how hard it is to try to run two marathons in short period of time - which is needed if one isn't going to lose money after/before the Olympic Trials or Olympics.
More: Two Marathons In Two Months Is Too Much For Many
On The Boards: Does Ryan Hall Take a Hit Running in the Olympics? We say short-term, yes. Long-term? No way.
*An Inside Look At The Oldest Man To Ever Finish A Marathon - 100-Year-Old Fauja Singh: "I lost my speed in this race." He seems like a great guy.
*Alan Abrahamson: USATF boldly does something right
*Meet Notre Dame's And New Mexico's 1st Sub-4 Miler, Chuck Aragon Amazingly, Chuck, who broke 4 within 6 weeks of moving to the mile, still has the ND 1,500 record from the 1970s. His daughter Alexa runs for the Irish currently.
*Famed Physio Gerard Hartmann Is Coming Out With An Autobiography This Week The book is just as much about the stars he treats - Radcliffe, Bono, Travolta, Wejo - as it is about Hartmann. The Wejo bit is a joke, but he did visit him in 2002. *Amazon: Born To Perform: How Sport Has Shaped My Life
*Runners Tribe Interviews Coach/Agent Nic Bideau, Who Has 9 Athletes With A Qualifiers Nic rips the IAAF for not the new women's world record and Athletics Australia for not sending B qualifiers to Daegu.
*Meet Marathon Man Michael Wardian, Who Is An Olympic Trials Qualifier & Has Run 225 Races In The Last 5 Years & Trains On A Treadmill While Babysitting His Kids
Quotes Of The Day From The Last Two Weeks:
- UK's 200m Olympic silver medalist Darren Campbell, talking about what Ato Bolden said to him after he lost the Sydney 200m to Konstantinos Kenteris, the Greek sprinter made famous for staging a motorcycle accident at the Athens Games. Kenteris was forced to withdraw from the 2004 Games, but Campbell's 2000 silver medal was never upgraded, although we know he probably should have won the gold.
- In case you don't know what Mr. Bideau is referring to, it's the ridiculous women's world records all over the map that were likely the results of drugs. Check out the women's world records and look at how many of them are suspect and came from the Eastern Europeans in the 1980s or Chinese more recently. When's the last time anyone came close to 47.60 or 1:53.28 or 3:50.46?
Saturday 10/22: "I realized that I like training, I like to be fit. I like the everyday satisfaction of having done something that most people can't do. It was something I missed a whole lot. So I really do enjoy the training. I don't particularly like it when I'm out there doing quarters (400s) and it's super hard, but I like the satisfaction of having done it every day."
"That's what sometimes separates people who always run and always train and people who maybe move on in life and do something else. I think I'm a lot more likely to be someone like Joan Benoit (Samuelson), who keeps going forever, just because I actually really like it, as opposed to someone who stops and never runs again."
- Dathan Ritzenhein, talking about his injuries and time away from training and how it made him realize how much he really enjoys the process. Too many people take training for granted until they can't go out and do it anymore.
Friday 10/21: "I was patient. Everything has to be controlled. Every aspect, all the elements around you. To run the perfect 100 metres, then you absolutely have to be in control. When I did that, I felt more relaxed than anywhere. I was more comfortable out on the track than I was in my bed. It was the place I came alive."
- Former Olympic champ Maurice Greene, in an article where he talks about many things, including his feelings about Dwain Chambers, being offered drugs by BALCO, Usain Bolt's dominance, and the US's chances (or lack thereof) for sprinting medals in 2012.
Thursday 10/20: "Has anything you wanted ever been easy?
- Fauja Singh, the world's oldest marathoner at age 100, talking after setting the world record.
- Amby Burfoot, Runners World editor at large and winner of the 2011 George Hirsch Journalism Award talking about running in the 1960s.
Tuesday: 10/18: "Wait. What's this? USA Track & Field, arguably the most dysfunctional of all major American Olympic sports federations, maybe getting something not just right but possibly taking an ambitious step to profoundly reshape the future direction of the sport in the United States and even worldwide?
In announcing Monday that it had retained Indianapolis-based Max Siegel Inc. as part of a wide-ranging plan to restructure its marketing and communications efforts, USATF boldly steps into the 21st century."
- The opening three paragraphs of a column by Alan Abrahamson writing about USATF's decision to hire Max Siegel Inc. to handle its marketing.
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