STATEMENT FROM PATRICK MAKAU, MARATHON WORLD RECORD HOLDER
A story has surfaced in the international media, from a minority interest website in recent days, alleging my link to an establishment in Kenya, allegedly providing EPO. The original source is an allegation aired on German television some months ago. I personally have no knowledge if the story has any validity, but I know that nothing in it has anything to do with me.
The story falsely associates me with a particular retail store (located in the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi) and claims that I am a direct customer. This is not correct. I have never been on the premises. The only thing in that shop that suggests that I have anything to do with the store is an old national newspaper clipping with my photo, taped to the wall, together with many other clippings of other athletes’ races.
Absolutely false is the claim that I “patronized” a clinic in Kapsabet. I have never even been in this town.
For the sake of clarity, the shop located in the Hilton Hotel is, to the best of my knowledge, the only shop in Kenya which imported USN brand nutritional supplements (USN is a South African company with offices in Europe, including Germany and UK.). There have probably been hundreds of athletes that have bought USN products there. The USN product that I have used in the past is Recovery Max (a powered isotonic drink mix). From time-to-time I have asked someone going into Nairobi to buy a Recovery Max for me. Of course, before using USN product for the first time, my IAAF AR, Mr. Zane Branson, wrote to USN to confirm their products safety/compliance with WADA List. In addition, an email was also sent to the IAAF medical department asking if they have ever received any warnings and/or complaints about USN products and the answer came back negative, a simple “No”.
I find it surprising that this non-story has surfaced in English just a day before the BMW Frankfurt Marathon and I felt a need to make my case clear, especially as I have vast respect for the organizers, for BMW as a title sponsor, for Adidas, and all joggers, runners, spectators and volunteers and all individuals and institutions that have invested in the BWM Frankfurt Marathon.
I am looking forward to a great event on a proven course and I will be racing with clear conscience.
I know Patrick Makau. I spent time with him at the 2011 Honolulu Marathon where he came to vacation after his world record marathon in Berlin last September. I connected with him again this past June while visiting Kenya. There Patrick took part in testing Pegasus Sports Performance wireless technology in his early training for this weekend’s BMW Frankfurt Marathon (28 October, 2012).
The first thing one notices about Makau is his serious mien. While an athlete like Olympic Marathon silver medalist Abel Kirui is a joker with an outgoing, engaging personality, and New York City Marathon bound Moses Mosop has been described as “crazy as a box of frogs”, Makau, by contrast, rarely breaks his taciturn expression. Some have read it as a scowl or fixed it as a sign of arrogance. But I saw him up close. To me he is simply a man of deeply serious purpose.
A member of the Kamba tribe hailing from the area of Machakos, Kenya, Makau sees himself as a leader following in the footsteps of those who helped him rise as a young runner, men like three-time Boston Marathon champion Cosmas Ndeti, and seven-time Honolulu Marathon victor Jimmy Muindi.
A family man with three young children, including twin boys born this past January, Patrick is self-coached, and trains in Ngong outside Nairobi with a small group of younger athletes. The Patrick Makau I know is not an overly sophisticated man, but he is an overly responsible one, employing as many as 70 people through his running exploits, while pouring up to half his earnings back into his local community.
None of this suggests either innocence or guilt in light of the story out of Germany alleging performance enhancing drug use in Kenya, a story that named Makau as a customer at a store in Nairobi where the red blood cell booster EPO was sold – though the story did not claim Makau had purchased anything beyond supplements there. Still, any linkage with a drug story carries a taint that is hard to wash away, notwithstanding a statement as detailed and precise as the one above.
As I read his statement, I saw the hand of Patrick’s American agent, Zane Branson, in the composition, though in obvious consultation with his athlete. But in my long association with Zane Branson and recent exchanges with Makau, neither comes to mind when talk of duplicity or dishonor are discussed in the close conversations that typically attend such stories among sport insiders. In fact, just the opposite, Zane is considered a true champion of athletes rights and stalwart for rectitude in the sport.
As my previous post INNOCENCE UNVEILED? attests, my years have inured me to protestations of innocence. We’ve heard too many which later have proven hollow. And while I am sure that there is some performance enhancing drug use in evidence in Kenya, I would be surprised – even shocked and disappointed – if it included Patrick Makau.
Finally, there’s this. If all goes well in Frankfurt, the hope is that Makau will run one second faster than countryman Geoffrey Mutai did in Berlin last month (2:04:15) thereby giving Makau the fastest time of the year in the IAAF top-list for the third year in a row. There has been no specific talk of a world record. Such is not Makau’s style.