Tuesday, October 15, 2019

V 9 N. 32 A Marathon Winner's Diary Eric Finan

I met Eric Finan when he was running for the University of Cincinnati about 10 years ago.
He was a Big East Cross Country Champion and an All American in that sport and a fair to
middlin' track runner. One of our regular readers, Bill Schnier was Eric's coach at UC.   Post college he managed to run a sub four minute mile.  After school the former Bearcat now an engineer moved to Minnesota to further his running career and then turned west to the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest where he now lives in Eugene, OR.  On Saturday Oct. 13, this year he won the Goodlife Fitness Marathon in Victoria, British Columbia.  Had I known a bit earlier, I'd have gone to watch the race, but Eric has been kind enough to supply us with his own account of how he managed a win in this race.  Admittedly he is not yet a great marathoner but his 2 hr 17 minute effort is still something to write home about.  It was his third marathon, his first win, and his times have shown consistency with 2:17, 2:16, and 2:17 in his resume.  He's qualified for the US Olympic Trials in February and will start getting ready.  What I find fascinating is Eric's insight and planning for this race and his attention to detail in describing the various stages as the race progressed.  He is modest almost to a fault, but he also has a lot of confidence and a great sense of humor.  George

Here is his account of his race in Victoria.

Andrea Lee, Black Creek, BC womens' winner and
Eric Finan, men's winner
photo from Victoria Times Colonist

8:00am - Victoria Marathon

Daniel Kipkoech had won this race for the 5 previous years in a row, so I had done a little research beforehand and graphed out his splits by the 10k (because I'm an engineer) to evaluate how he liked to race over the years. Even though his best finish time of the past 5 years was 2:20:04, the trend was obvious: he liked going out fast (fastest 10k split was 30:30) and then slowing down.

After talking with Tim (Coach? ed.) about it before the race, we decided it would be the best learning experience for the Trials to go out with the leader(s), hang with any surges, stay patient, makes moves after 20 and try to win.

Late entries into the race:
Jonathan Kipchirchir Chesoo, PB 2:10:27 (2010)
Kip Kangogo, PB 2:15:26 (2015)

****Race Recap****
[4:59, 5:11, 5:07, 5:23, 5:08]
Getting off the line was pretty easy as there weren't too many people fighting for the starting mat, even though it was a combined start for both the full and half marathon. The defending champ, Daniel Kipkoech, got off the line like a freshman trying out for a track practice. Looking good for those starting line photos, but once we got to the 1k mark the top 6 of us ran right by him and his respiration rate was like he just finished an all out....well, kilometer. He eventually dropped and reported to the press he "pulled his hamstring". It quickly settled out to being three guys in front (racing the half), a small gap, and then Chesoo, Kangogo, and me in a line. We cruised through the first 5 miles without much fanfare. Lots of turns, a decent bit of undulating elevation changes, but I was lucky that Chesoo didn't make any indication that he didn't want to lead and I just got to relax. At about the 5k mark, Kevin Colon (hailing from Missouri, ran at OK State, friend/teammate of infamous Max Storms, aka mstorms, aka Steve Megahorse) caught up to us on the uphill in Beacon Hill Park. He was running the half and didn't know what he was quite capable of that day (goal was sub-70), so I encouraged him to just jump on the train, relax, and don't even think about making any moves.

[5:06, 5:03, 5:15, 5:16, 5:14]
This section of the race I don't have much to add. We still ran plenty of turns. Ran up some hills, ran down some hills. Chesoo threw in a couple of light surges on the downhills, but nothing serious enough to raise any alarms. At the 13k mark (~8 miles) the half marathon guys split right and full marathon left. In the leading couple of miles up to it, two of the half marathon guys ahead of us had fallen off the leader and we were slowing making ground. Encouraging Kevin with, "the guy is oragne and the guy in yellow are coming back--they're yours," I wished him well and then it was just Chesoo, Kangogo, and me with a lead biker and pace car.

[5:19, 5:04, 5:04, 5:16, 5:17]
We clipped the 11 mile split in 5:19 (net 0ft elevation change) for one of our slowest miles so far in the race and I was getting a little anxious. I knew it was early in the race and wanted to be patient, but coming through miles 9-11 I was feeling pretty good and chilling through some nice neighborhoods as we clipped along. At the beginning of mile 12, we started up a decent incline and Chesoo (who had been solely leading up to this point), started running ~5:35 pace and it was just slow enough for me to want to make a move because I was feeling good. I struck on the opportunity, cresting the remaining ~200 meters of the hill, and then kept the pressure on for the remainder of the mostly downhill mile, resulting in the 5:04 split. This cracked Kangogo, but Chesoo was not deterred and stuck right with my surge. I slightly weaved on a few turns with a few more ~5 second surges to test Chesoo after this mile, but he rode right with me through each of them. Much to my delight when I slowed on a turn and went wide, he took the inside to gain the lead and let me back into his slipstream before the halfway mark and I was determined to get back into relaxation mode. At miles 13 and 15 he threw in 20 second surges of ~4:40-50 pace and I knew I just had to hang in there because it was becoming increasingly evident to me that I had a good chance of being the victor of this duel, based upon his respiration rate on the uphills and his pace between surges.

[5:20, 5:17, 5:28, 5:14, 5:36]
Chesoo continued to lead and I matched his only surge right after mile 18 at the crest of a hill. Looking at the clock I was getting hungry, but I reminded myself that I would be more pleased with a 2:18 and winning than a 2:16 and dragging another guy along to wind up 2nd. Primary goal was to win, secondary goal was a PR. With this mantra on my mind and looking at the bottle support station mile marks that I had written on my arm with a sharpie, I had figured that my best shot would be to make a move after the last bottle support station at 22.3 miles, thinking that I would take a couple sips, recover from the gulps and then try to break Chesoo. But then the 20th mile split of 5:36 (5:25 for the Strava generally accepted pace to account for the uphill) convinced me otherwise, especially as I recognized I was feeling much better than Chesoo on the uphills.

[4:59, 5:08, 5:14, 5:29, 5:22, 5:27, 1:24]
We made a left after 20 miles up a short steep hill and I saw my opportunity. I quickly shot past Chesoo up ~150 meter hill to try and create some separation, crested the hill and kept the gas on because I was feeling pretty good. The remainder of that mile was downhill (total ~50 ft) and I estimate I put ~60 meters on Chesoo. I kept the accelerator down on account of wanting to make clear separation to break Chesoo and followed up with another two strong miles and by 40k I had a 2 min lead. That being said, my final 5k was nothing to write home about. Even though I was in the lead and had nothing else to lose, I just couldn't find any more motivation (or umph) to fight off a significant drop in pace. Since the half marathon and full marathon had started at the same time, the road was littered with 2 hour plus half marathoners being diverted to either side of the road by the lead motorcyles and pace car. Despite their constant encouragement (or surprise, typified by, "holy sh!t!"), I couldn't muster the effort to even maintain pace and left ~30 seconds out on the course on those last few miles. That aside, coming into the file mile, having convinced myself that the win was mine to lose, I reminded myself to enjoy this experience thoroughly, as it is possible that this will be the only competitive marathon I ever win. Coming down the homestraight I gave plenty of waves, points to the crowd, and my cheeks almost cramped from smiling. So thankful for that experience and I will never forget it for the rest of my life.

****Lessons Learned****
1. Don't drink as much fluid the morning of the race. I had a cup of coffee 3 hours out, followed by 16 oz of gatorade. Then 20 oz of GenUCAN with 300 mg of caffeine added 2 hours out. Next time try reducing gatorade consumption to 10oz and GenUCAN to 16oz to prevent sloshbelly.
2. The marathon is a long race. No need to respond to moves like a 1500 runner, but probably good to make them like one.
3. Even if I don't want to take fluids at each station, at least swish my bottle contents in my mouth at each station. This was a good strategy later in this race as my stomach became less accepting of additional fluids.
[Side note: swishing has legit performance benefits, see below:
-Study by Grant, Turner, et al. showed that swishing around Carbs enhanced neural activation network. It increased activity in the motor cortex and “regions involved in reward processing.” This explains why swishing around carbs and spitting them out seems to work.]
4. Leading into the Trials, higher volume will benefit me. This was the latest in a marathon to date that I started to break down, but it was still too early.

****Pace Distribution****
Split | Time |Pace
0-10K | 0:32:01 | 5:09
10-HM | 1:07:58 | 5:13
HM-30k | 1:37:17 | 5:18
30k-40k | 2:10:25 | 5:20

I think this was ~90-120 seconds slow of an equivalent effort on a flat and evenly paced race. That gives me some encouragement, but also tells me that I need to change some things to have a respectable showing at the Trials.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

V 9 N. 32 Eliud Kipchoge 1 hr 59 min 40.2 sec

                                                                                                    October 12, 2019

Last night a monumental human achievement, the first sub two hour marathon, was completed by Eliud Kipchoge.  My first thought was 'Thank goodness he is not associated with the Nike Oregon Project'.   I'm sure much joy was felt in the streets of Nairobi and on the dusty roads around Eldoret in the western Rift Valley of Kenya.   Next Monday some schoolboy in Kakamega will be running  the six miles to school  thinking, 'I can do that'.  And he will,  just like his sister will also be thinking along those same lines about a sub 2 hr 10 min marathon.

Some will say will say this run is on the same pedestal as  other milestones like Roger Bannister's sub four minutes mile at Iffley Road on 6 May 1954 or Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon in 1969.  The difference in the two other achievements compared to Bannister's feat is the support of corporate finance and technological development.
At this point the technological support in shoe, design, route selection, pavement preparation, pace setters with wind tunnel data, and a vehicle showing everyone the pace with a laser played a significant role in this achievement.   If any major physical performance was ever a forgone conclusion, this was it.  There was only one runner who we thought might do it.  With Bannister, there were also John Landy and Wes Santee pushing human performance levels in that global race to break four minutes.  In space the Russians were competing with  the US in the Cold War, although I don't think they were directly working on putting a man on the moon.

Technology played much less a part in  Bannister's race.  An old groundskeeper or coach was said to have rubbed graphite on his spikes so the cinders would not cling to them and weight him down.  But that was about it for tech assistance.   And once he broke four minutes, that performance quickly became more and more mundane.   Today a group of moderately read high school kids have more scientific information about training and human limits at their fingertips than Bannister had in his medical studies at Oxford in 1954.  Today the kids have better tracks, better shoes, maybe not better coaches, but certainly more opportunity to break four minutes, and they prove that by doing it.

Bannister and Kipchoge were both in a race against time.  There was no one in either of their runs who was trying to break the tape ahead of them.  Kipchoge has demonstrated that the unthinkable is possible.  Thank you Eliud Kipchoge for showing us the possibilities of human performance.   Now let the racing resume.

George Brose

Bruce Kritzler

Sun, Oct 13, 1:34 PM (21 hours ago)
to me
A great training run. That's all it is. Like any other wind-aided or downhill performance in track and field.  Bridget Kosgie's performance more impressive today, even with her two wind-breaking pacers.   Bruce Kritzler.

When I first heard of this amazing break through my sentiments went exactly as Rich Mach. Roger Bannister used what technology was available at that time to his benefit. One of the hardest hurdles any athlete in any sport has to overcome is the mental barrier along with the physical barrier. Kipchoge's run was not only amazing on a physical level but more important, he helped others to mentally realize it can be done. It has been done, therefore, it can be done again. Breaking through the sub 2 hour marathon barrier was just as much a mental race as it was physical. on V 9 N. 32 Eliud Kipchoge 1 hr 59 min 40.2 sec  Susan

Geoff Pietsch of Gainsville Florida has written the following about the event and inspired my effort above.

I did not think this was humanly possible at this stage of our evolution. I never thought I would live to see it. And it is hard to know what to make of it. Remarkable, of course, though the word seems inadequate. 
Eliud Kipchoge is clearly a very nice guy - as the delight of all of the pace-setters after the run showed. What was almost stunning was that he picked up ten seconds in the last couple of hundred meters. Even the enormous elation for the achievement doesn't fully explain his lack of any signs of strain or fatigue afterwards. By contrast, Kenenisa Bekele, after his great 2:01:41 in Berlin two weeks ago - missing Kipchoge's record by two seconds - was obviously exhausted.
For me.... I am vaguely disappointed. I did not want anyone to do this under these circumstances. To me the artificialness of it detracts from the extraordinary accomplishment. Not just the shoes nor having pacesetters - though they are a factor. But
the whole technological effort that made it possible - and made it less the phenomenal effort of one man. If you have not followed this, I am thinking, for example, of the wind tunnel studies which led to the pace setters running in a V in front of him, instead of him inside an upside down V, with two pace setters deliberately trailing on each side to somehow effect the wind flow. And the scientifically determined nutrition and fluids during the run. And the pace car programmed to go at exactly 2:50 per kilometer speed. And the ideal course with the shortest path painted on the road.  
When Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile (yes, with a couple of pace setters, but also in the rain and wind on a cinder track) I was 16. But I did not see it. No one did except those at the venue. Later that summer Bannister beat John Landy of Australia, then the only other to have broken 4 minutes, in the British Commonwealth Games in Vancouver. I did see that. It was televised. Both broke 4:00. Although I was disappointed that Landy, the strong front-runner, was outkicked by Bannister, it was an inspiring effort by both men. I wish Kipchoge's great feat had elicited a similar reaction from me.
Yes, my time is past. I would compare Kipchoge's sub-2:00 to Neal Armstrong landing on the moon. And Bannister and Landy to Lewis and Clark crossing the continent, exploring the unknown, and reaching the Pacific. I would much rather have been with Lewis and Clark than with Armstrong.

Geoff Pietsch, Gainesville, Florida   In the wee hours of Saturday, October 12, 2019

G - 
104 x 440 under 69
26 x 4:34 miles
8 x 14:12 5k's
Kind of makes Jim Ryun's 40 x 440 workout mundane

We live in a time of super heroes.
The USA has Batman, Superman and Donald Trump
Kenya has Eliud Kipchoge

Get some sleep...R

This came in from a friend in Canada-  How many know of Alexander Mackenzie?
Hi George
Thanks for the link.  Yes, I was aware of the attempt, and its result.  Have to say, having run a few marathons, it is a remarkable achievement, because all else being equal the man had to be properly trained and then expend the effort, and actually do it to achieve it.  But, with 20 seconds in the balance, there is still for me a nagging doubt that he could have done it on his own, in a race, and without all that help, and all those factors accounted for in his favour.
Another point, although it may be petty, is the reference made by Geoff Pietsch to the achievement of Lewis and Clark “exploring the unknown and reaching the Pacific”.  While most certainly not a small feat, I see this reference is for the benefit of the American public, who apparently don’t know much about any other history than their own.  I know a thing or two about covering ground in the bush, and I can tell you unequivocally that what Lewis and Clark had to contend with getting across the continent to the Pacific was child’s play compared to what Alexander MacKenzie had to deal with.  What Mackenzie had to get through in terms of topography, crossing the hitherto unexplored and unknown BC cordillera, was at least the equal to that of Lewis and Clark, but in terms of brush it was way tougher.  Way tougher.  And Lewis and Clark weren’t the first to cross by land.  MacKenzie successfully completed his expedition eleven years ahead of Lewis and Clark.  I would be very surprised if Lewis and Clark had embarked upon their expedition without the knowledge of what Mackenzie had done and might have been buoyed by the fact that if someone else had already done it once, that it could be done again.  The point is that MacKenzie did it first, just as Kipchoge.  Yet there is no recognition of that feat by anybody in the States.  It seems to have been overlooked.  I wonder why.
Les Disher,  Courtenay, BC

MacKenzie is not a petty concern.  I think history is full of forgotten heroes and saints and devils.  Each nation creates its own and often fails to look beyond its borders and sometimes even  within.   It is only in recent years that Tesla is being remembered on a somewhat grander scale than his contemporaries, Edison and
Graham-Bell.  Some become heroes without merit like George Armstrong Custer.  Esp. in wartime when a nation needs a hero to sell war bonds or the like.

Okay if I put your comments on the blog?  They might inspire a Yank to look up Mackenzie including myself.  Speaking of running achievements, I met a guy
in May down in Ohio running East to West across the States.  100 km per day.  Assisted by a van and his wife driving and a bike rider occasionally with him. After getting to L.A. they drove up to Vancouver and headed back across Canada and completed the run.  Patrick Malandain, look up his blog.   George

Truly amazing, to run 26 miles faster than my admittedly slow best mile ever. After all the fanfare for Bannister's sub 4 it seems odd that even a casual track fan like me never knew that Daniel Komen broke 8 minutes for 2 miles and no one has done it since.

Thanks George enjoyed your article. I think this will be one of those “ where were you when” moments. but somehow lacking in the romance we attach to the first Four Minutes.  I was very interested to read Richard Mach’s response as i did not know those details about Bannister .  Somehow that does not seem to me to diminish Roger’s transcending magic.  Nothing can take away from Kipchoge the glorious achievement of being the first to break 2 hours but it is rather like a laboratory experiment and one thinks “sterility” rather than “magic”.  What it will do of course is show the top marathoners that it is physically possible and before long we will have a legitimate sub2 record.  You I am sure have seen the efforts by racing cyclists to achieve unexpected speeds by travelling behind a shield towed by a motorcycle.
I bet Pheidippides would have loved to have this kind of support-it may have changed history.
( although this is just to you George-if you feel it appropriate you have my permission to put it in under “Comments”)

Geoff Williams

It was 50 years ago this year that Ron (Hill)  and Derek Clayton were the first to break 2 hr 10 in the marathon, 
so the record declined at an average rate of 12 sec (0.15 %) / year. And that’s with the benefit of technology,
 probably less to do with changes in physiology!
How’s my math..?  A painfully slow decrease!
Dave Costill

George Brose irathermediate@gmail.com

Tue, Oct 15, 10:00 PM (9 hours ago)
to David
Dave,   .     Clayton's 2 and   1/2 minute jumpwas incredible for its day.    His first one was 52 years
 ago, and  his second was 50 years ago but looks like that course might not have gotten certification.
 You're in the money.
   10 min x 60 sec = 600 sec  div. by 52 yrs.    = 11.8  bloody seconds per year.  George

Do note Richard Mach's commentary in the Comments section below.  George

The Guardian Oct. 12, 2019 by Sean Ingle   clik here

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

V 9 N. 31 Salazar Busted

                                                                                                       October 1, 2109
                                                                                                       Courtenay, BC
Alberto Salazar along with his endocrinologist associate Jeffrey Brown, got busted today for illegal, and I will add unethical use of his Gilbert Chemistry set to enhance performance of athletes who were not named in the action by the US Anti Doping Agency (USADA). Should I have phrased that opening sentence to read   "finally" got busted?  It seems like this has been a train wreck waiting to happen for a long time.  But the well and powerfully placed often have a way of insulating their actions from the general public and escaping reality and the law for a long time until they eventually crash and burn.  Some even choose to openly flaunt their lies.   We could generalize about that regarding national politics in a number of nations these days.  But we are a track blog, not a political blog.  We believers have to understand, but not accept,  that you can cheat your way to stardom and stay at the pinnacle, but eventually  you will fall and fall hard.  Lance Armstrong is a case in point.  Albeit it can be said that Lance did some good with his cancer foundation.  In fact a good friend argues very passionately that she would not be alive today if it were not for Lance Armstrong and the assistance his foundation has provided to her.  What can be said of Alberto and his band of merry men?  Is anyone avoiding that final lap of life thanks to them?

I may be wrong on this but I think the lads were tinkering with testosterone levels in certain athletes.  It was alleged a few years ago that they may have been experimenting on their own family members to find how much testosterone can be added to a person to bring them  to just below the max levels that are permitted to be carried in the human body during athletic competition.  Now is that a reasonable morality?  It seems that many famous scientists in the past experimented on human guinea pigs including themselves and even their unknowing house guests in the quest for knowledge and scientific breakthroughs.  See "A History of Just About Everything" by Bill Bryson.    I would suspect that if Salazar and his associates were doing this, they had to be testing the amounts and delivery methodology in all their athletes, because each person reacts differently to drugs administered to them.  To get it 'right' you have to experiment and dial it in to pass the testing protocols.   If they went over those limits in the 'lab' then they would need to hold back the athlete  from competition and  testing or tell them to avoid at all costs being tested by USADA or WADA agents who are lurking and looking for them for random testing.  Armstrong and other cyclists were known to keep very irregular schedules and multiple residences all over Europe and thus their whereabouts were often unknown when the collectors were trying to find them for a random sample. If you tell the athlete what is the testing schedule, it makes it easier to manipulate their levels pro tem.     We know that Christian Coleman recently  missed some testing but was eventually cleared to compete, but exactly why I haven't understood.  I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now, because if someone of this high a profile was cleared at the last minute, there must have been some valid reason and the authorities took a serious look at the situation.  At least I hope so, because if not, our sport might as well pack it in and go to the next tiddly winks contest.

We've been dealing with this kind of behavior for a long time.  In the 1960's and  70's certain throwers were cheating.  In 1984 a number of American champions were known to be using masking drugs to hide their use of illicit drugs.  It was not secret to the USOC that this was going on.  But if you went back to the turn of the previous century ie. the 19th century, trainers were juicing their athletes quite openly with such drugs as strychnine.  In the 1970s all of us were drinking coffee before long distance races, because we understood that caffeine would liberate free fatty acids into the blood stream as an alternative energy source.  It wasn't illegal, but was it immoral?  Today nutrition is a much bigger part of distance running than it was thirty years ago.   What we were less aware of was caffeine's diuretic effects that could produce early dehydration, and water stations were rare in those days compared to modern times.  So we often ended up hurting a potentially good  performance out of ignorance.  At that time blood doping was also a popular thing to be doing, but was recycling one's own blood to increase the number of red blood cells immoral? It would seem that if something was taken out and put back in, the morality question became rather fuzzy. It eventually was outlawed, and certain Finnish runner(s) were strongly suspected of using this technique, though it was very  hard to prove.    Today one can have the same effect of boosting red blood cells  by injecting erythropoetin, also an illegal practice.  RBC levels are now part of the monitoring protocol and RBC count histories are kept on international class athletes.  If your RBC count varies too much especially around time of competition, you may get a 'red card'.

What does it mean to cheat to win?  You can't make a lot of money in track and field these days compared to other sports.  Not like you can in football or international soccer, basketball, or professional cycling.   So reasons for cheating seem to be mainly to be perceived as a winner, an Olympic Champion, a World Champion, a World Record Holder, so long as you don't get caught.  Maybe a few dollars will come your way with some endorsements if you are pretty or have a nice personality.  I honor and respect the clean athletes, losers and winners, because I know that they know themselves.  Unfortunately I don't know who they are.   Well I guess the cheaters may know themselves as well,  but they are probably in major denial.   Today and in the future, will anyone ever think of Armstrong as a winner?  Life is fleeting, fame is even more fleeting.  I've sometimes advocated that we run two races for each event at a track meet.  One heat, no one will be tested. You can put whatever you want into your system.  The other heat will be for self declared 'clean' athletes.  It might seem like declaring virginity at a whorehouse convention.  But the testing will be heavy on those athletes who declare themselves clean, and a violation would condemn the  cheaters to life in the other lane.

The next question is will the public pay to see a clean race or a juiced race?

Waiting for your comments.
George Brose

Salazar and Brown Busted   clik here for AP Story.

Coe Orders NOP Athletes to Dissociate from Salazar The Guardian Oct. 2, 2019

Suspicion From Former Runners Led to Salazar's Suspension from Eugene Resister Guard Oct 2, 2019  here is listed what at this time appears to be the full story on why the suspension was made.

IOC Calls for Review of ALL Salazar's Athletes The Guardian Oct 3, 2019

Comments from readers:

Very interesting George !  Until around  1970-1980 nothing was really systemically done at international level for disqualification of cheaters  

                                          of Eastern  part of Europe ... Jose Sant

Mr Brose--I hope you are doing  well. I have taken a very hard stance on the use of performance enhancing drugs in all levels of competition in track and field!  If a competitor  is found  to be using  the drugs they (he or she) should be banned for life from the sport. There should be no appeals at all. The USADA does a great job of testing. 
Why you ask about my stance on this subject ?  Because 50 yrs ago jumpers and weight men from the Univ of Kansas  started using steroids and their performances dramatically increased  over a year's time frame.  For me who saw it first hand,  there is no wavering about the penalty of a life time ban from track and field!  
Mike Gregory

I read your article last night and it has been on my mind all day. 
It is a tragedy that people, and organizations, in their single-minded winning-at-all-costs mindset, can get so preoccupied with the need to win, that they lose all perspective of the costs to them associated with the risks they are taking. 
I think it was Julius Caesar who said “All glory is fleeting”, but I don’t know if anyone famous has been quoted saying “All disgrace is everlasting”.
I don’t want to get into what Salazar did, or what the athletes he coached did, or what the ruling bodies did or did not do.  I just think everything to do with it is stained, and I see it as a tragedy, especially for the athletes and coaches that do play by the rules.
I hope you are doing well.
Les Disher

ed. note  Les is 60-64 age group Canadian record holder for the marathon.

Whatcha think bout’ all this ? Were you suspicious all along or just the last few years ?
Gawd, I hate this.

Steve Price

George and friends

Well Alberto S. is not alone. I noted on my Facebook Friends that Wilson Waigwa of Kenya and El Paso, who was a faithful Tiger Shoe and equipment wearer from about 1972-1976 ……...
commented that this is a serious problem in Kenya too; but, difficult for drug testers to make appropriate contact and take action in the remoteness of the Rift Valley.                            (Maybe hide and seek! - Kind of like USA sprinter, Christian Coleman)

I have often wondered whether the Jamaicans are ingesting more than just sweet potatoes.!

Organized Track and Field is just chasing it's tail in many places and with many athletes.
My. Guess is that Alberto Salazar is just that much easier to track and track down than many users.
His persona of arrogance, may make him more desirable to target as well????

John Bork
(What do I know)

One of the problems in Kenya is the state can't afford a testing lab locally.  Then many of the local 'officials' are milking the athletes of their winnings to stay eligible for representing Kenya at the WC and Olympics.  Fortuately these men and women are still able to get out to other competitions and make money, but it in no way implies that they are staying clean.  In fact illegal additives may be more rampant there than elsewhere as it is the only way seen out of poverty for so many of their athletes.  George

Nice job George he is destroying the sport that has already changed enough.  Marc Arce

I hated writing about this issue, especially after posting the obituary of a man like Tom O'Hara last week.  He was such a modest, humble person and a true asset to the sport.    This is 180 degrees the opposite.    George

Well written commentary on the news that broke out on Salazar. I don't like the chemicals used to enhance performance but where is the line, as you wrote about coffee, when athletes drink certain drinks to replenish their electrolytes or take supplements like whey or anabolic recovery drinks/pills?  There's pre-workout and post-workout. I never thought blood doping was cheating. To me it is reusing your body - similar to these recovery or pre-workout enhancements. Your own blood - if you are healthy - is a more natural way to recover or prepare your body for competition than these chemicals that meet the thumbs vote.
I think long gone are the absolute pure athlete. There is so much science, technology, big data and analysis on performance and ways to improve that performance. I can imagine competitions where you have to distinguish humans verse robotics within a human body - something we're closer to achieving than we realize!

Susan A.  

Sure makes you wonder about any athlete associated with the program.  If the coach is rotten how come no athlete has been found  rotten?    Probably because there was some admission or hint of guilt by Salazar or disgruntled former athletes during the arbitator's inquiry or at least a suggestion of having done something that can be associated with an illegal act. .   About two years ago I attended a conference of sports arbitrators and mediators in Vancouver.  There were  speakers from WADA and one of them said in reference to athletes who get caught with too much illegal substances in their bodies, "There are only two types,  cheaters and dumbasses."    George

No real surprise since he has been suspected for some time now.  I think the long arm of Nike has kept him from punishment but evidently that has ended.  Several have quit the NOP, allegedly for unnamed reasons. 
Bill Schnier  

Throws a bad light on everybody who has been near him except Dick Beardsley.  George

Salazar sounds just like Trump in his response. Bruce Kritzler

I understand Rudy Giuliani will take a break from his present client to represent Salazar.  Roy

Very well-played this.  Does this now mean that Al Sal will join the whereabouts protection program?  Paul O.

With the IAAF World Champs meet being contested, the exposure of all this came at such a bad time...
 .with everything draping over the next Olympic Games. We may never see the return of a “clean” environ. 
Someone will always be looking for drugs et al that will aid their performances. It’s been this way for a long 
time I am sorry to say. Tell me more bout’ Jared Ward.  Thanks   

Steve Price
 I definitely hear you about the poor light it shines on the sport.  But he's a cheat and his athletes have been
 going along.  I do believe there are athletes sitting in the wings that have achieved things legitimately 
deserve this.  Most of all, I think it continues to shed light on Nike (which you know how I feel about them) 
and the fact that they are also supporting the "win at all cost" mentality of Alberto and the NOP.  

Maybe I'm too "dreamy" about it all, but when there are guys like Jared Ward facing guys like
                        Galen Rupp and Mo Farrah.......I'd prefer to see the latter guys get nailed.

Ryan King
Jared Ward is a marathoner at this point.  Went to Rio and finished 6th.  Been behind Rupp the last few years after he started running marathons.  Squeaky clean guy.  I've gotten to know him and have been a huge cheerleader of his........because he's fast and competitive, but mostly because he's a fantastic human being.  He's spoke to our XC kids a couple of times and he's simply a great role model.
(Although he did get himself in trouble for running a fun run in a costume when he was at BYU, shameful)

Whether it's Allison Felix as of late, the Gouchers, or many of the other "ex-Nike" athletes, they almost all have a story of how Nike wasn't looking out for the sport.  So as far as I'm concerned, busting them is welcomed.  I just wish the report would have also named some athletes.

When Euliod Kipchoge tries to run a sub 2 hour marathon, Nike doesn't talk about drug testing......they focus on the shoes he's wearing.  Is that supporting the sport, or supporting their marketing interest?  Don't get me wrong, I'm as much of a capitalist as anyone, but Nike has corrupted our sport, bought and paid for the USATF, and encouraged people like Alberto to exist.  

George's question in his blog post was interesting.  "Would people still pay to watch a clean race?"  I think they would, if it's all clean.  There are still phenomenal athletes out there, who work hard and accomplish big things.  But if Castor can't have inflated testosterone levels as a female, then neither should a male athlete, especially if there are rules about it.  

Ryan King

George – a well written article on a very testy subject.  Who else will be dragged into this one?  I fear for our new Canadian Marathon record holder Cam Levins but do not know any details whatever.  Keep the good stuff coming.  Have passed it on to a couple of people.
Best wishes.
Geoff Williams

I think Cam Levins may have left the NOP.   George

Good article, George!   Bill Blewett

And in Alberto Salazar's Defense:

It is hard to believe that Alberto Salazar was busted on doping charges to athletes. He is a Christian. 

When I was on medical leave in the U.S. I was fund raising for shoes and running apparel for my athletes in Sierra Leone, When I called Nike, I was directed to Alberto. Hell of a nice guy. He arranged for me to get some out dated running apparel donated to my runners. 


When it was mentioned that NOP might have been using a cream based testosterone it reminded me of the case of Barry Bonds using a cream as well.  Here's what I found on a quick google search.
See text in red below.
Warning!!! Do not try this at home.

As detailed in Game of Shadows by Mark Fainaru-Wasa and Lance Williams

by Mark Zurlo

Winstrol (Stanozolol)
In their book Game of Shadows, Mark Fainaru-Wasa and Lance Williams allege that Barry Bonds used a number of different steroids in his pursuit of the all-time homerun record, ranging from common steroids used by many bodybuilders to designer steroids specially created for Bonds to be undetectable in tests. Bonds was indicted on five felony charges in November 2007. These charges, the result of a four-year federal investigation, include perjury and obstruction of justice. The indictment says the government can prove that blood seized in a 2003 raid of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and tested positive for steroids belonged to Bonds.
Following the 1998 season, Winstrol was the first steroid Bonds allegedly used. It is popular with bodybuilders, but Bonds felt inflexible and had trouble with shoulder tendons while on the drug. It is best known to have been used by disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson.
Also popular with bodybuilders, Bonds reportedly used the drug in injection form. It is often used to treat anemia.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
According to Game of Shadows, Bonds used HGH, an undetectable steroid, as a cocktail with a number of other performance-enhancers. HGH is known to strengthen joints and tissue, and allowed Bonds to maintain muscle without any heavy lifting during the season.

The Cream
A testosterone-based substance reportedly given to Bonds by Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Lab Co-Operative (BALCO).

The Clear (Norbolethone or THG)
Also reportedly supplied by Conte, the Clear was used by many of the world's top Olympic sprinters, including former 100-meter world record-holder Tim Montgomery. The drug was developed for medical reasons during the 1960's but never mass produced because of safety concerns.

Known to increase the effectiveness of using HGH
Also known as "Mexican beans," these steriods take effect and leave the user's body quickly.
Steroid normally used to improve the muscle quality of beef cattle.
Bonds allegedly used this drug, prescribed to women for infertility, to regain the ability to produce natural testosterone. Bonds often ignored his trainer's advice to take time off between cycles to allow this process to occur naturally.
Another way a coach and athlete can get around over or under some of the doping hurdles is 
if they follow some of the following protocol regarding infusion therapy for 'legitimate' illness.
 I am transcribing this advisory note.

                                   International Association of Athletics Federations

                                                        Advisory Note
                                            Infusion Therapy of Athletes
                                         IAAF Medical & Anti-Doping Commission

Intraveous infusions are prohibited in- and out-of-competition.  The 2007 Prohibited
List.  M2.  Chemical and physical manipulation , 2., states:  "Intravenous infusions are
prohibited, except as a legitimate medical treatment."

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has established several criteria for defining
"a legitimate medical treatment."  The IAAF Meical and Anti-Doping Commission
supports these criteria, and will apply them for evaluating whether IV treatment is 
medically legitimate or not:

(1) The medical treatment must be necessary to cure an illness or injury of the 
        particular athlete;
(2)  Under the given circumstances, there is no valid alternative treatment available,
         which would not fall under the definitionof doping;
(3)   The medical treatment is not capable of enhancing the athlete's performance;
(4)   The medical treatment is preceded by a medical diagnosis of the athlete;
(5)   The medical treatmentis diligently applied by qualified medical personnel in an
          appropriate medical setting;
(6)    Adequate records of the medical treatment are kept, and are available for

There have been suggestions that at least one of the NOP  athletes was treated for
asthma using potentially performance enhancing medication as way of side stepping the 
intent of this note.  This allegedly went on from teenage years to adulthood.

Number 6 may be where the NOP got nailed.

Let us just hope that athletes who have previously bailed and those who are under advice to
dissociate from Salazar's influence are able to find new coaches, new quarters and get their
heads together to move on.  In four years most will probably be beyond their best years.

V 9 N. 32 A Marathon Winner's Diary Eric Finan

I met Eric Finan when he was running for the University of Cincinnati about 10 years ago. He was a Big East Cross Country Champion and an A...