I share the same sentiments. El Guerrouj and the Moroccan level of involvement at the time…
I know some will say Ngeny must have been doping, but I have not seen the KIM group (or Kim McDonald) truly implicated by anyone besides saying “oh they were too fast to be true” or citing the era. And there’re plenty of threads here with people who worked with the group as well as prominent athletes. The NOP truthfully has a much larger taint based on Magness/Goucher/Mackey et al and then of course the Salazar ban.
That being said, Ngeny’s mark was certainly aided by a doped athlete and perfect pacing/drafting in my estimation then. I think what Jakob did today would be just as impressive almost even with the wavelight/spikes. Having to lead for 650 with a breeze unlike Ngeny who was able to turn his brain off and coast.
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The way I see it, everyone has a "ceiling" to what they could physically achieve in hypothetically perfect conditions (no injuries, no burnout, body can handle all the training you put on it, etc.). But, everyone also has limits that prevent them from necessarily hitting that ceiling: they get injured, burned out, body can't handle the training, etc.
Yes, drugs can be a "shortcut" to reaching this ceiling, but in many cases it may be impossible for someone to bypass their physical "limits" without using drugs.
I really don't know much about the details of El G or Ngeny because I was either not born yet or too young to experience it, but I do know the associations that many people put on athletes like El G. In some ways it does feel like El G must have been doping, and the anti-doping systems in place at the time were simply too weak to stop it from happening. However I really don't know much of any of the details of the circumstances, so that's all just conjecture.
Jakob certainly does have a systematic approach to training that has garnered him a lot of success. I'm not sure if that says anything about whether he's doping or not, but I feel like it's at least fair to say he's not just doping to the gills and hoping for the best. He is very assured about his ability and usually knows exactly whether he can hit a mark or not.
I don't want to give Nuguse a pass just because he's American. Sport in America certainly doesn't have a spotless track record, and one could even argue Nuguse's training setup has suspect associations because of Ritz's past ties to NOP. I don't know much about OAC's setup, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn they might be toe-ing the line on some "gray area" activities. That doesn't mean they are doping, but unfortunately the era we're in has many people doing or taking things they don't need in the hopes it gives them an advantage.
I tend to believe Jakob's mark is the fastest clean mark in history in the mile.
I swear guys like you write stuff with absolutely no thought to what you are writing beyond the surface layer.
What's your point - just because someone is a "tenured coach" it means they are good?
You know who else had no connection to the sport prior to his son becoming a runner and then became referred to as the most genius coach of his era? Peter Coe.
It's the smartest training group because not only are they maniacal with the monitoring of his anaerobic threshold, they have been doing for at least 5 years with him and more importantly they know exactly what to do with the data (which is actually an underrated skill because many people can gather data and not know how to put it into practice). He knows how long and fast he can run for every critical intermediate point in a race without ever putting himself over the line. You think that's common? It's unprecedented.
You think it's coincidence that when the gun goes off and every other runner sprints for position, Jakob doesn't? You think it's coincidence the guy can basically predict what he's going to do then goes and does it? He breaks WR's and says that it wasn't difficult for him and he's actually right?
Re Kim's group? Daniel Komen was pissing straight caffeine after he ran that 3000m record - trust me on that one. Ngeny is such a nice person it pains me to have to contemplate the possibility but this also was an era where some of these guys were so naive to stuff and (this sounds crazy but it's true) terrified of getting malaria that things ended up in their systems that shouldn't have been there. That's not conclusive proof by any means but it has to be taken into account.
It does seem strange to me that our sport went through a ~15 year period where we were barley scratching the surface of approaching the records of 90s-00s. The crowning moment of this “drought” era being Centro’s gold. Now all of a sudden a truckload of talent is demolishing the performances of the best milers of the 2010s and beginning to dismantle som of the “untouchable” records of 90s-00s.
Can we blame it all on spikes and lights? General changes in racing trends? Is there anything deeper going on? I think this is conversation we will be having for years to come.
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The caffeine thing is weird. Was he mainlining caffeine (a foolhardy decision let’s say) or does his body handle it in a bizarre fashion? I have no idea but it’s probably worth noting nobody else in the group/Kim’s history had such a problem. The malaria thing sure I don’t dismiss who knows, there is Rengeruk who appears to have had a similar situation. I think your skepticism is totally fair. You’ve met Ngeny and of course the man literally quit a probably easy emeritus paycheck over Kenya not doing enough to combat doping (well before the problem was so pronounced). Virtue signaling? Possibly. His 1,000 time was awesome and his one-off was as well. But I put him in the class of Coe, Geb, Bekele as in exceptional talents for which suspicion is totally fair but more about their times/feats than their associations.
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I think at that point caffeine was a simple way to provide a momentary ergogenic boost but also to "sweep under carpet" other stuff, if you get my drift. Either way it was Rieti - not sure if Sandro gave too many f--ks what was happening back then as long as guys were running blockbuster times at his meet.
Yeah again it’s a strange one. It’s not even banned any more.
To the poster on this current revolution. It certainly takes exceptional talent to run 3:27 or 3:43. There’s a reason there was a near 4-second gap today. When Morceli reigned, he was alone from ‘91-‘96. I’m sure EPO use was rampant but only Cacho let’s say was in the neighborhood. Whether it was just talent or talent and drugs. El Guerrouj was less alone, but Ngeny’s career was cut short though it seemed to be more of a foil like Nuguse may become than truly that guy able to run 3:26 on a regular basis. Lagat for a bit might’ve been more of an equal given the 3:26s. Since then, the big talents have been Kiprop, Cheruiyot and Jakob. Now maybe Nuguse. But Silas Kiplagat was not but he hit a race perfectly (or doping cycle some might think). Nor was Makhloufi. There’s been the capability to run 3:27/3:44 for Tim but he honestly probably was a big victim of no lights as his pacemaking was typically awful. This era is great, wavelight/spikes help and 3:29 is the new 3:30. But the event did have a dearth of high-end talent for a bit as Lagat got old and only Kiprop emerged. These things can be cyclical.
I barely paid any attention to that era. I'm not a cynic by nature but nothing felt legitimate, for the reasons you described. That's why I've never understood the idolization of El Goof around here. It obviously wasn't backed by confidence, because I remember the lengthy thread in which there was widespread celebration that it was beyond the deadline for his samples to be tested by current science.
I hope Jakob will take down both the 1500 and mile records, among others. Then keep Jakob's urine samples for decades. Likewise Kipyegon.
So when you use drugs so that you can train far beyond what normal humans can do, you dont count that as aiding performance? Got to disagree on that. If you can't do 5 workouts/week without EPO and some roids, you physical limit isn't where you are on 5 workouts. It is back at 3. Getting injured is a limit. Getting burned out is a limit. And so on.
Because El G and Ngeny ran in the full throttle era and since then there have been stacks of busts of their countrymen and both countries are among the handful on the AIU's most likely to dope list. There are also a tonne of specific reasons for both, such as El G retiring as soon as testing came in, and Ngeny suddenly falling off a cliff.
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It is hard to argue that a guy that holds 7 of the top ten mile times (until today) is guilty of doping, especially when those times have been run over a four year span. Most of the cases of doping have been one-offs where suddenly someone who has never run one of the top 50 fastest times runs a world record or near a record. Ngeny seems more suspect given his lack of consistent times. I don't think his second best time cracks the top 100 times. But, without evidence of doping for either, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.