Not too snappy a game in Chicago last night as the NFL’s “nobody-plays-preseason-games-anymore-and-it-shows” 100th season kicked off with a 10-3 snoozer between the league’s oldest rivals, Da Bears (3) and the Green Bay Packers (10). Hopefully, there will be more action in six weeks when the Bank of America Chicago Marathon starts its 43rd running.
When it was first announced that Kenya’s remarkable Eliud Kipchoge would forego another Abbott World Marathon Majors season to make a second attempt at a solo sub-2 hour run over 42.2 kilometers – staged as an exhibition under non-record eligible conditions – I expected that the AWMM men might be less than thrilled. After all, Kipchoge already tried this gimmick two years ago in Monza, Italy rather than defending his London Marathon title from the year before. And of course he got close at 2:00:25.
At the same time, the six Abbott events are trying to build a brand. And so far they have done a pretty good job of it. But when the unquestioned top athlete in their field decides to take his talents off their grid and perform in a pure exhibition instead — Like if Serena Williams decided not to play the U.S. Open in order to stage a Billy Jean King-Bobby Riggs type exhibition, how would the WTA feel about it?
Chicago Marathon Ex. Director Carey Pinkowski
So when I called and asked Chicago Marathon executive director Carey Pinkowski what he thought about the possibility of having Eliud Kipchoge make his 1:59 attempt near the same date as his Marathon, I expected some pushback. Instead, the kid that still exists deep in the DNA of the onetime sub-9:00 high school two miler out of Hammond, Indiana and Villanova All-American came through. Continue reading
Let’s just consider running shoes for a second, shall we? I mean, the name itself, not just their brands or models. “Running shoes”, as opposed to shoes that we wear while running. But doesn’t it seem like we are getting closer to the reality of that literal description with each passing marketing season?
The way modern running shoes are being designed it won’t be too long before some built-in flinging device will be inserted to take the nasty little requirement of generating our own power out of the equation.
Soon we will begin to hear about the first sub-1 hour marathon before Eliud Kipchoge has a chance to fully recover from his first sub-2. And everyone will applaud but like the proliferation of home runs in Major League Baseball this year, the performances in one era will be impossible to compare against another and something fundamental will be lost. Continue reading
The clock is ticking, or at least liquid crystals are silently reforming. And with that inexorable progress, time is running short for Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge – as it is for all of us now, all who came before, and all who may come after.
At age 34 (5 Nov. 1984) the marathon world record holder and 2016 Olympic champion has no time to waste. We are only in our prime for so long. Thus, even as the 2:02;37 effort from London this April 28th still lingers, Mr. Kipchoge is already planning another assault on the sub-2 hour marathon. for this fall
This new attempt will not take place in Berlin, the Abbott World Marathon Major where the last six men’s world marathon records have been set – including Eliud’s 2:01:39 last September. Instead, Kipchoge will attack sub-2 at a special event staged somewhere in London sponsored by INEOS, a large London-based manufacturer that has recently entered into the world of sporting sponsorship by taking over cycling‘s Team Sky.
It was in the spring of 2017 that Kipchoge first attempted to run sub – two. That effort was conducted on a Formula One race track in Monza, Italy that was closed to the public. The production was famously staged by Eliud’s shoe company sponsor Nike.
That attempt came tantalizingly close to its historic goal, just 26 seconds shy of the magical sub-2 mark. However, his finishing time of 2:00:25 was not record-eligible because the event used a rotating squad of pacers when only pacers who start with the record attempter are deemed valid.
The understanding is that for this 2019 attempt in London, Kipchoge will again be set up behind a phalanx of rotating pacers. Continue reading
The praise for Eliud Kipchoge continues to pour in from every corner. His masterful performance in London last weekend cemented his place as the preeminent marathoner of this and perhaps any era in most peoples eyes. But can we slow down for just half a second?
Greatest of all time?
Are we really ready to hand the title of Greatest of All Time to a man who has only run flat, paced races in near ideal weather along with one lab experiment in Monza, Italy? Certainly, Master Kipchoge’s Olympic gold medal in Rio 2016 was won without the aid of pacers on a warm muggy day. And his previous life as a track runner – especially in Paris 2003 at the IAAF World Championship 5000 – proved he can race with anyone. Nobody is suggesting otherwise.
But since he moved up to the marathon in Hamburg 2013, where is the variety? Where is the new challenge? Where is the ‘throw anything at me, I’ll take it on’ mentality?
In his 12-marathon career, Kipchoge has run four Londons, four Berlins, and Chicago 2014. Rotterdam 2014 was his other non-major. Yet we just read today that Mr. Kipchoge said, “I trust that before I see the sport out that I will run all six major marathons.”
While that is wonderful to hear, there’s a difference between running all six and racing all six. Continue reading
Was it even a contest? Or should the rest of the marathon world simply call, “No mas.”?
Today, in London, England Kenya’s marathon master Eliud Kipchoge constructed another dominate performance at one of his two home courses (Berlin is the other) at the 39th Virgin Money London Marathon.
On a breezy but cool morning in the English capital, the now four-time London Champion controlled the race from starter Andy Murray’s airhorn onward.
Taking his time as if a country gentleman out walking his dogs, Kipchoge put away his final three Ethiopian challengers along the Thames River in the final two miles and crossed the line in 2:02:37. It marked a London course record and second all-time performance over the marathon distance behind his own 2:01:39 world record in Berlin last fall.
At age 34, the former world track champion at 5000 meters some 16 years ago now has won 11 of 12 career marathons, and holds the two fastest times ever run, plus his unofficial 2:00:25 exhibition in Monza, Italy two years ago.
For all the hype the race generated, in the end it was business as usual. Kipchoge undisputed world #1, everyone else vying for #2.
From afar, does Mo seem skittish to you? Could be that he’s never been more prepared, and is just raring to go. Or, does the prospect of staring down Eliud Kipchoge, the Kenyan master, have him unsettled?
Eliud v Mo (AP)
After four Olympic gold medals and six world titles, you’d expect an athlete of Mo’s experience to be beyond such considerations. But Eliud Kipchoge is deep, deep water. There is a serenity about him, a regal presence that Farah, for all his Olympic and World Championship hardware, doesn’t naturally posses. Very few do.
There’s just an aura about certain people, and Kipchoge has it. Maybe 10 wins in 11 marathon starts, including the world record and the Olympic gold medal, develops such grace.
In contrast, there was Mo over at the London Marathon expo slap-dashing around trying to jump on the moving treadmill belt set at WR pace and flopping like a fish while an average Joe alongside in the next lane looked over startled by the tomfoolery. All in good fun, or a sign of nerves?
This, you could say, is truly a mano a mano contest between two of the highest profile runners of their era. The kind of potential crossroads match-race we rarely see in this sport. Continue reading
All we tend to hear about in this crazy backwater sport are all the drug and corruption problems. Every great performance is just as likely to raise questions as applause (sadly). But there’s one thing you had to give the sport of athletics, we never heard much in the way of other Premier League/Hollywood/Washington DC hi-jinx amongst its athletes, at least publicly, until now.
Mo and the Emperor exchange accusations
No sh*t. Multiple time Olympic track champions Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie have clashed in a Don King like pre-fight boxing feud before Sunday’s London Marathon. Except Haile isn’t racing against Mo, Eliud Kipchoge is.
But not to worry. We are still new at this. We’ll get it right soon enough, don’t you fret.
Still, Mo v. Haile is better than nothing. Bad blood, ill will, and stolen money, it’s got all the bases covered except sex. And as in life, you can’t have it all. Continue reading