Abdi Talks Olympics As He Helps Launch 2012 Bank Of America Chicago Marathon Registration
February 1, 2012
Registration for the 35th Bank of America Chicago marathon opened up Wednesday and Olympian Abdi Abdirahman was in Chicago to help launch the registration. According to Robin Monsky, Director of Media Relations for the marathon, as of 4pm Chicago already had 18,000 entrants. Last year they "only" got 16,800 after 24 hours. If you want to enter, click here.
Abdi finished 3rd at last month's US Olympic Trials Marathon to make his fourth-straight Olympic Team. No other current American distance runner can say that.
Abdi talked to LetsRun.com's Weldon Johnson via phone and the full 11 minute audio is embedded at the bottom of this article.
Abdi: "Now it's time to get ready for London."
Abdi said while he fully expected to make the Olympic team, making the team was a relief. "It feels great. It's a lot of pressure off my shoulders. These days it's, 'What have you done for me lately.' I'm glad to have made the team and things are going well for me. ... Nothing was guaranteed. It was a tough race. I wish I could say it was easy but it wasn't easy. ... Now it's time to get ready for London," he said.
Abdi has not mapped out the rest of 2012 yet but his competitive focus will be on the Olympic Marathon in London. He plans to run the Olympic Track Trials at 10,000m and has not ruled out the Olympic double, but said, "My main focus will be the marathon. These days to run a good marathon you've got to be able to run a fast 10k. The faster I get the better it will be."
Abdi has always been based out of Tucson, Arizona (he went to the University of Arizona) and Tucson is currently a hot bead of distance running. In Tucson are Abdi, American 5,000m record holder Bernard Lagat, the "two best distance runners in college" according to Abdi, NCAA XC champ Lawi Lalang and 2010 NCAA runner-up Stephen Sambu, 1:42.95 800m runner Boaz Lalang, plus Aussie David McNeill and Mexico's Juan Luis Barrios. Most of the group is coached by Arizona coach James Li, although Abdi's long-time coach is former Arizona coach Dave Murray.
Abdi jokingly said of himself and Bernard Lagat, "I think we're the father figures for the group. We try to be good role models of the kids." Abdi thinks, however, the "kids" will make him faster, saying, "That is why I like my chances at 10,000m because I'll be chasing those guys."
Abdi On Drug Cheat Martin Fagan: "I accept his apology as a man."
Abdi also spoke of Irish drug cheat Martin Fagan. It was announced last month that the Irishman tested positive for EPO. Fagan claims depression and thoughts of suicide drove him to EPO use and that he was tested the day after he first ever used EPO. Immediately after the Olympic Trials, LetsRun.com was the one who unknowingly broke the news to Abdi about Fagan's positive in this interview. Abdi said Fagan was training in Tucson and then one day mid-run, he just turned around and disappeared, never to be seen again.
Abdi still has not spoken to Fagan, but Abdi said that Fagan had apologized to him via their mutual agent Ray Flynn and via email. "He sent me an email apologizing. ... I wish he had asked for help from other athletes. ... At least he admitted he did something wrong and he came clean with it. There are people in this world who have done worse than he did. I'm sad for him. He ruined his name and reputation. He wrote me and he was sincerely sorry. ... I accept his apology as a man. ... I feel sorry for him as a person."
Adbi noted there is a lot more to life than running. "This is just running. You have a life to live. We're runners. That's what we do, but we're more than runners. ... Running is going to come to an end ... for everybody."
Before running comes to an end for Abdi, however is the London Olympics and as Abdi said, "anything can happen in the Olympic marathon."
Full audio below, if you'd like to download it, click here.
Abdi And Bank Of America Chicago Marathon Launch Photos
Photos Above from Robin Monsky of Chicago Marathon
Good Read Past his prime? Abdirahman just keeps running Fox Sports
*Interview Where Abdi Finds Out About Martin Fagan's Positive
Good Editorial We Just Found In Irish Paper On Martin Fagan: (link fixed) "On one level I have a lot of sympathy for Martin Fagan. And on another I have none at all. ... I wish Martin Fagan good health in the future. But he'll never really know peace until he accepts that it wasn't depression or a lack of Athletics Ireland funding or injuries which made him take EPO."