Consider that 35 years ago in the Fall of 1980, Rupp's coach had just run 13:22/28:06 in 1979 and had taken the Spring off from college competion to train for the Olympic Team, his training didn't go very well (due to injury) and on a reduced program and DMSO he ran 28:13 on March 15th and made the team behind Virgin at the top of his powers (27:45 MR) and Greg Fredericks (the only American to beat Shorter in a 10k) in 28:03. Salazar was 3rd in 28:10.
He then went on to run a standard European track season with 5ks of 13:27, 13:24, 13:23 (8/27) in late August. He ran a PR 27:49.3 at Brussels on August 22nd. He took about 5 days off because he was having trouble with the hamstring, he treated it with DMSO, ultrasound and stretching and then (just 8 weeks before the October 26th NYM) he declared his intentions to run his fist marathon at NY that Fall. He had just turned 22.
Now, at this point, Rodgers was the world's top marathoner and Moscow was not able to prove he wasn't, and Rodgers had won NY FOUR straight times. When asked what he thought he would run, he replied that he was running to win. Rodgers had run 2:10, 2:11, 2:12, 2:11 and won four times in four tries. When reminded of this Salazar said, "If someone runs 2:10, I have run with them before and beaten them before, I will run 2:10."
He was obviously referring to Rodgers, whom he had beaten at shorter distances recently and was clearly confident in his 13:22/27:49 ability that he had shown the last two years. Times that Rodgers (who was nearly 33 at the time) had never approached in his track races. Also realize that Rodgers was regarded as the World's best road racer hands-down in 1978-79, he won nearly everything he entered.
So, on a steady diet of ...
AM: 7 miles at 7:00 pace
PM: 10 miles at 7:00 pace
... for the first 5 weeks he set out on marathon training. In the last 5 weeks he did the Fifth Avenue Drill every Saturday (interacting taking drinks at speed) and he did some 1320s on trail at 4:50 pace and the 880/330y drill on dirt at 10k pace and racked up weeks around 105-115 miles. He also ran his regular runs at 6:30 pace and a slow 20 miler each week mostly around 2:10 and once the hamstring was feeling better he sped it up to 2:02 or something like that.
After just 8 weeks of training (including taper week) He entered the NYCM and dominated it winning in 2:09:41. He beat Gomez by 32 seconds and a bunch of other established marathoners including the great Rodgers (who placed 5th in 2:13:20).
Salazar was just 22 years old and in 13:20/27:40 shape most likely. He had experienced an injury that affected his training, had been training expressly for the Olympic 10k since the first month of the year, and had run 4 of them that year so far (one in March, 2 in June, one in August) and at least three 5k's that year, though I believe he ran the 5000m at the OTrials as well. He had just 8 weeks of not-so-scientific training before the race and he ran the fastest-debut-marathon in history and a CR on what people called a fairly difficult course.
Rupp will be 30 years old for the Olympics (and 29 at the marathon trials) and conservatively will be in 13:10/27:20 shape next month. Depending on when they took the blood out and when they put it back in.
What do you think is the likely outcome?
If he doesn't tackle the marathon now when will he? Do you think he should wait until after NEXT year's World Championships when he is 31 to run a Fall marathon? The only reason he hasn't run the marathon sooner is the authorities have been circling him and his coach the last two years, tightening the noose. Also, he only races about 12 times a year and three of those races are at outdoor Nationals that are required to make the team for the WC.
Why do you think he has been tested more than any other American athlete? More than Gatlin? They know things that we don't, they just have been working on ways to prove it.