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Lopes vs Geb
RE: Mr. Renato Canova: Could You Please Answer a Question About Effective Ways to Improve the Lactate Threshold?
Lopes in his prime would have shown Geb a clean pair of heals in cross country AND the marathon (going by Geb's career so far in the marathon).

Watch a video of the 1985 World Cross and you will see why. Lopes was "one of the best in history" to use your term. If we say that cross country was not Geb's speciality as some sort of excuse, then we can say that track and field was not Lopes' speciality - a ridiculous excuse if we are trying to look at things objectively.

Lopes' Rotterdam marathon WR 2-07-12 in 1985 was a solo effort having drunk a bottle of wine and eaten a steak just two hours before the start. Geb by comparison was talking about not drinking enough energy drinks as the reason for why he lost to Khannouchi and Tergat in London 2002 to show the difference in resources athletes have at their disposal these days. If you think that he could not have run much more than 1 minute faster with an army of pacemakers and proper preparation then you are very much mistaken. Look at his run in Los Angeles a tough course, horrible heat and humidity and horrible pollution (look at what the condontions did to Ovett)- NO ONE has run faster in the Olympics since.

I am a Geb fan but I doubt that he will ever produce such an Olympic performance in the marathon.

As I said before, Lopes was a lot better than you realise.

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