Geoffrey Mutai: No on Daegu, by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

Goeffrey Mutai, 2011 BAA Boston Marathon champion, 2:03:02,
photo by

Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosep, battling, over the final miles for first place in the 2011 Boston Marathon, made marathon history. Ryan Hall, pushing the pace, from mile 1 to 30k, kept the pace, "honest". A ten mile an hour headwind helped along the course, but, at the end of the day, the 2:03:02 to 2:03:06 marathon victory of Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosep will go down in history as the best marathon ever, under all conditions.

That Mutai and Mosep are amazing athletes should not be in dispute. That the Boston Marathon course is a tough course should also, not be in dispute. Conditions had not been like that at Boston since 1974, when, runners of that era will agree, it was the perfect storm.

I believe, that the pushing of records is the worst thing that we can do for our sport. Also, specialists rules, that only geeks can understand, undermine the ability of our sport to be popularized. Do we want to be soccer (or football, as my friends in Europe and UK call it)? Nope. However, the right for our sport to forge its path as a popular sport which everyone does sometime in their lives, is hampered by rules that are hard to explain without a sixpack of an adult beverage, a slide rule, chalkboard and two hours.

Let's figure out how to build our sport, not confuse people when they get interested....

TAICANG (CHN, Apr 22): IAAF Race Walking Challenge weekend started in China with 20 km races. Weather was very good for the walkers, around 13 degrees, cloudy and very low humidity. Home walkers dominated. Wang Zhen won the men´s race in personal best of 1:18:30 ahead of Chu Yafei 1:18:45 and Chen Ding 1:18:52 (also PB). Australian olympic medalist Jared Tallent was best non-Chinese as fourth in 1:19:57 just edging Korean record holder Kim Hyunsub (1:20:10) and Mexican world medalist Eder Sanchez (1:20:19). German Christopher Linke improved as 7th to 1:20:51 and qualified for Daegu. Russian Pyotr Trofimov ended 9th (1:22:05). World medalist Liu Hong fulfilled her favorite role in women race after fast 1:27:17. Second Shijie Qieyang 1:28:04 ahead of Li Yanfei 1:28:43 and Gao Ni 1:29:38 with Lu Xiuzhi 1:30:06 (for all 2-5 personal bests). Best non-Chinese German Melanie Seeger as 6th (1:31:19) ahead of Australian Regan Lamble who qualified for Daegu with 1:31:39. In national women race Sun Huanhuan achieved 1:29:46. Impressive times also by best juniors, Hu Wanli 1:23:46 and He Qin 1:30:13 (life-time best). Saturday national junior races will be staged at 10 km and on Sunday starting 7.30 local time the 50 km will be held.

MOSCOW (RUS): Top Russian female marathoners Liliya Shobukhova, Inga Abitova and Nailya Yulamanova are not planning to run the World Championships marathon in Daegu. Instead they are planning to run a fall marathon to qualify for London 2012 Games. Council of Russian Athletics Federation decided on its last meeting that marathon runners will qualify already in autumn and not in spring 2012 which will be too late. It was also confirmed that the final preparation before Daegu will happen in Vladivostok. Next meeting of the council will be in July when the final composition of the Russian team for Daegu will be confirmed.

NAIROBI (KEN): Sensational Boston winner Geoffrey Mutai confirmed after arrival to Kenya for home media that he is not planning to bid for the place in the World Championships team in Daegu. On the other side female winner Caroline Kilel plans to run in Daegu if selected by Kenyan federation. Her next aim is also to run sub 2:20.

VILNIUS (LTU): Marathon runner Zivile Balciunaite has launched a legal challenge to her two-year competition ban for doping. "We have submitted an appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport because we believe the decision was unfair," Aivaras Zilvinskas told AFP in Lithuania's capital Vilnius. Balciunaite was banned for two years by her national federation and if confirmed will lost her European gold medal from Barcelona 2010 and unable to compete in Daegu 2011 or London 2012.

VOLGOGRAD (RUS): Double olympic winner Yelena Isinbayeva is back as member of Dinamo Club in Russia. "Everything is ok in training, we are working hard with coach Trofimov. We are still using indoor facilities in Volgograd, but plan to change to outdoors early May," said Isinbayeva. Her first meet of the summer season is not known yet, but it might be as late as July. She also confirmed that her parents are happy that she is back in the town. Isinbayeva also met with fresh mother Tatyana Lebedeva and already saw her daughter Aleksandra. informs.

BRUSSELS (BEL): Olympic high jump champion Tia Hellebaut might consider making a comback after giving birth to her second child Saartje. Hellebaut's coach and father of her children Wim Vandeven told Belgian media that he has a plan in place should the high jumper want to return to competition ahead of the London Olympic Games. Hellebaut joined in with Vandeven's training group while on training camp in Valencia and is happy she already has lost the weight from the pregnancy.

PRAGUE (CZE): For the Prague International Marathon on May 8 three men with sub 2:08 and three women with sub 2:30 were announced. Important to notice is also the debut for Samuel Kosgei the 25 km world record holder from last year and 59:36 half runner. The top marathon runners are Ethiopians Yemane Tsegay with 2:06:30, Gudisa Shentema with 2:07:34 and Kenyan Kenneth Mungara 2:07:58. Kenyan Lydia Cheromei is the top women who just recently clocked Prague Half-Marathon course record and is hoping to break the record also in the marathon (2:25:29 Helena Kirop in 2010). Her competition will include Russian Olga Glok, who was the winner in Prague in 2009 when she ran her PB of 2:28:27. Ethiopian Yeshimebet Tadesse has 2:27:45. Serena Burla of the US has an amazing story, as she overcame cancer just one year ago, having undergone surgery to remove a Synovial Sarcoma in her right leg in February of 2010. She has very quickly and successfully returned to competition with strong performances, most recently running 1:11 in the half marathon in January, 2011. Unfortunately for the men's race, both favourite Kenyan runners Nicholas Kipruto Koech and Duncan Kibet have withdrawn due to health reasons. Organizers are saying in a release.


URBANA (USA): Helsinki 1983 high jump silver winner Tyke Peacock is at age of 50 admitting that he faked an injury to avoid the Olympic trials 1984 and hide his drug addiction. Currently he is still having problems as local media are informing. Soon Champaign County Circuit Judge Tom Difanis will decide whether Urbana-native Peacock must surrender to a six-year prison sentence for burglary or if he can finish recovering from his cocaine addiction at the Men's Substance Abuse Free Environment House, a 12-month rehabilitation program run through the Canaan Baptist Church in Urbana. "I need rehabilitation, not incarceration," Peacock said. "I have been praying that I can remain here in the SAFE House."

YANGZHOU (CHN): IAAF reports that the Yangzhou International Half-Marathon will have Ethiopian favorites on Sunday. RAK winner Deriba Merga and on the women side 1:07 runner young Mare Dibaba. In the race also Kenyan Jonathan Maiyo with 59:08 best and Kiplimo Kimutai with 59:44. In women category to note also Kenyans Joyce Chepkirui and Jacqueline Kiplimo with Eunice Kales.

TOKYO (JPN): Japanese record holder at 5000 m and in half-marathon Kayoko Fukushi is thinking about running marathon again. Fukushi went out with very ambitious pace in 2008 Osaka Ladies marathon, only to hit the wall very hard and finished 19th. She is thinking about running a Olympic qualifying race next year. Fukushi will run 10 000m in Palo Alto on May 1. On the men's side Kensuke Takezawa will also run 10 000m in Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto. On the other note, Asami Tanno, 400m national record holder, is pregnant and thus will miss this season. The baby is due in fall, and thus she will resume training next winter and will aim for the Olympics.

LONDON (GBR): Jamaican sprinting star Asafa Powell said for BBC the world's three fastest men should line up in a race together before August's World Championships. But as the things are now, they will not meet before Daegu. Only clashes of two of them are planned. For example Powell with Usain Bolt in Rome or two duels Powell with Tyson Gay in Birmingham and London.

BRUSSELS (BEL): European bronze triple jump medalist Svetlana Bolshakova announced to Belgian media she is aiming to win a medal at this year's world championships in Daegu. The Belgian athete, who grew up in Russia, has planned 3 Belgian competitions with a meet in Lokeren on May 26th, the KBC night on July 16th and the Brussels Diamond League in September. Her first international meeting will be the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Rabat on June 5th, after that she might also add the Diamond League of Paris and London to her schedule.

LAUSANNE (SUI): New world junior record holder in the javelin Zigimunds Sirmais confirmed for European Athletics that his main focus for this season is winning the European junior championships. After that, he might also compete in the IAAF World Championships in Daegu and he added that he wants to keep improving on his junior world record, to about 85 meters. Sirmais has been training for the javelin throw for three years now and even though he has received a lot of offers from American Universities the Latvian athlete will stay in his home country to train with his long time coach Valentina Eiduka. He is also confirmed for men´s javelin at 50th Ostrava Golden Spike Meeting on May 31 where he will meet with Andreas Thorkildsen, Tero Pitkamäki, Sergey Makarov and Czech elite.

LONDON (GBR): Olympic 400 m champion Christine Ohuruogu will be ready to compete at the highest level again after having missed last year's European championships and Commonwealth Games. Ohuruogu has been training in Jamaica under the tutelage of Coach Glen Mills and although she is still 3 to 4 weeks behind on her training schedule she believes she will be ready for the Daegu word championships, reports the BBC.

TOKYO (JPN): Dai Tamesue, bronze medalist in the men's 400-meter hurdles at the 2001 and 2005 world championships, has returned to competition for the first time in more than two-and-a-half years in a bid to make the Olympic Games for the fourth consecutive time. After the Beijing Olympics, Tamesue experienced pain in both his knees and his Achilles tendons. The pain got worse in subsequent training sessions. Tamesue was forced to use a treatment used by golfer Tiger Woods which involved injecting blood platelets into the affected area. Tamesue has been pain free for over 3 months now and his immediate goal is the all-Japan championships in June, which will determine who will represent Japan at this summer's world championships in Daegu, South Korea writes

MOSCOW (RUS): Walking Olympic, World and European winner Olga Kaniskina and high jump Barcelona gold medalist Aleksandr Shustov were among top Russian sports personalities 2010 getting the "Silver Doe" award. Russian sports journalists are voting yearly for 10 best and Kaniskina with Shustov were only track representatives beeing in this company. The special awarding ceremony was held in Moscow.


LAWRENCE (USA, Apr 21): Jamaican Nicholas Gordon won downtown long jump at Kansas Relays with 768 (762) on count back over Eric Babb 768 (743).

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