Jock in his Salon de Rubdown in the old Boston Garden
To say that his office was tucked away in the labyrinth of the old Boston Garden is to understate the quest to find it. Yet to say that his office was the heart of the Boston Marathon would not be to overstate its importance. Jock Semple’s Salon de Rubdown had been upstairs, past the gauntlet of the North Station bottle-in-bag regulars, and down the hall from the offices of the Boston Celtics for more years than most can recall, and to more thousands than chose to remember where the work horse of the Boston Marathon was stabled.
“Well, I’ve been a willing work horse, so it’s OK,” said Jock of 80 years in 1984, a step slower if no less zeroed in on the task at hand.
Just the month before he worked with the Scottish team as they competed in the world cross-country championships in New Jersey. That was in March. I visited his office in early April as the Marathon neared. Continue reading
TD Beach to Beacon 10km start line
Photo: Victah Sailer@PhotoRun
We see a version of the honor system every weekend at road races across the globe where thousands of strangers align themselves into a solid grid behind posted pace signs. But while runners might consider themselves an honest lot compared to the general population, there are less than honorable types mixed in as well, ranging from small-time PR fibbers to major event thieves who utilize performance enhancing drugs to claim what others rightfully deserve.
Asking human beings to self-regulate is to welcome disappointment, as any IRS agent or local priest hearing confessions can attest. But from a purely physiological standpoint, bad behavior can in part be attributed to hardware. The area of the brain responsible for self-regulation is the frontal cortex, which is a late-bloomer. It develops gradually over adolescence, though in some cases never at all. Accordingly, we must protect ourselves against the lesser angels within.
From the Ten Commandments on down men have attempted to regulate behavior through laws and their consequences. But here we are again and again, and again and again, and maybe once more
THE DRIP, DRIP, DRIP OF SCANDAL
staring at a headline announcing another positive drug test that tears the guts out of this sport, leading us to wonder at what point does the insanity definition kick in: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?
It is with this question in mind that we absorb the news of Olympic Marathon champion Jemima Sumgong‘s positive doping test for the banned blood booster EPO announced this past week by the IAAF. Continue reading
Honolulu, Hi.- The Hapalua Half Marathon crowned a new champion today in sunny Kapiolani Park, and celebrated a new course record, too.
Winner Philip Tarbei at the Hapalua Half Marathon Sunday, April 9, 2017, in Kapiolani Park in Honolulu. Photo By Eugene Tanner
In the sixth running of the Honolulu Marathon’s spring sister race Kenya’s Philip Tarbei chased down all 21 Team Hawaii runners and bettered his three pro challengers, as well, to post a winning 63:27 course record, taking down the 64:08 set by countryman Peter Kirui in 2015.
Team Hawaii rookie Ryan Tsang of Maui finished second with an adjusted time of 64:05, based on his 12-minute head start. Kenya’s other RunCzech Racing runner Abraham Kipyatich took third in 65:29, as he was off form still recovering from a 61:03 half marathon last weekend in Prague in the Czech Republic. Continue reading
Honolulu, HI. – Over the first five Hapalua Half Marathons, Team Hawaii runners are up 3-2 against the pro chasers. Tomorrow morning, the sixth running, The Chase will on again.
The Chase is the unique racing format designed by Honolulu Marathon President Jim Barahal. 22 local Team Hawaii athletes will be given a series of head starts ranging from six to 22 minutes. Then they try to hold off the four professionals charging from behind. The first runner across the line wins the $5000 first place check, with an additional nine places earning paydays.
Hapalua pro Chasers Abraham Kipyatich and Philip Tarbei with Toya and Team Toya runner Buddy Russell from San Diego
This year’s pro chasers include Kenyans Philip Tarbei and Abraham Kipyatich of Run Czech Racing, along with 61-minute Yuki Yagi of Japan, and 2013 IAAF Women’s World Championships Marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi also hailing from Japan.
The men will run scratch while Fukushi will light out six minutes in front along with Team Hawaii runner Ben Wilson who finished third in 2015. Last Year Kenya’s Isabella Ochichi had seven minutes in hand and won by 1:01. Continue reading
Honolulu, Hi. – With the continuing domination of East African runners, the task of connecting today’s pro runners to thousands of citizen runners is more challenging than ever.
This Sunday The Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon will contest its sixth running. Between 8500 and 9000 runners will participate, a bump up from the 7600 who ran in 2016, marking the fifth straight increase from the original 2000 who ran in the inaugural 2012 race.
But from its inception The Hapalua has established itself not just as another jog-a-thon following in the wake of a professional foot race. No, The Hapalua has been an industry innovator in the tricky sphere of athlete connectivity.
With its unique Chase format pitting four invited professionals against 22 of the islands’ top runners The Hapalua has found a way to make the competition world-class and locally relevant all at the same time. Continue reading
Watching Bill Burr‘s hysterical bit on the Conan O’Brien show four years ago when he dissected Oprah‘s big reveal interview with Lance Armstrong – during which the disgraced Tour de France cyclist finally copped to the drug use that everyone had suspected for years – it dawned on me, if Lance was always assumed to be guilty though he passed every drug test, why hasn’t the public made the same assumption about the biggest names in athletics? Or maybe they have.
I’m not suggesting anything, just wondering out loud how the public mind works. (Really, this is just an excuse to post Bill Burr’s take on Oprah and Lance, which is funny and insightful at the same time, no easy task.)
So let’s look at the situation with athletics, especially in light of German ARD TV‘s recent investigation alleging the IOC covered up positive Jamaican test results from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing where the sprint juggernaut won eleven medals.
First, both cycling and athletics have been awash in performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) for years, to the gills. And while people all around them get popped, the top guy who produces historic performances continues to sail along testing clean while whooping all the dirty boys.
That was the glory for Lance, right, how the one clean guy who had overcome cancer was able to beat all the drugged up guys. Isn’t that Usain Bolt, minus the cancer? Or is the difference in public outlook simply a matter of personality? Continue reading
Carlsbad, CA. – In the battle of Olympic 5000 meter silver medalists, Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel who won silver in London 2012 took on America’s 2016 Rio silver man, Paul Chelimo in the 32nd Carlsbad 5000, dubbed “The World’s Fastest 5K”.
Competitor Group matchmaker Matt Turnbull and I mounted the press truck while our intrepid camera man Rich Jayne clung to the back of the lead moto. Here is how the race played out on a perfect Southern California day.
Carlsbad 5000 – Results