Statement from Patrick Makau, Marathon World Record Holder, note by Toni Reavis, note by Larry Eder

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Thumbnail image for Makau-GebrselassieLed-Berlin11.JPG
Makau on a mission, 2011 Berlin Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Lance Armstrong fiasco is just another example of how far we have come from celebrating athletic performance as part of one's life, instead of, in todays' lexicon of reality shows and celebration of the notorious, making sports performance the end all and be all. Sports athletes have become personalities, which is both good and bad. 

As a child, I was a huge baseball fan. I loved stories of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. I even tried to catch one handed like Willie Mays. In 1967, going to see Cardinal games, with my Aunt Patty, I saw Bob Gibson, Curt Flood among others play. In 1972-73, I remember going to games with my Mom, with most of the games being extra innings. Baseball was amazing. 

Years later, learning about Babe Ruth and his carousings, made him more of a real person to me: a great athlete, with the failing and travails of a normal human. 

This past weekend, while having a beverage of an adult nature with a few friends at one of my locals, I was asked by an American football fan what I thought about Lance Armstrong. I told him, that while I was sad, for the sport and society, I had little sadness for Mr. Armstrong. I have a hard time shedding a tear for Mr. Armstrong as, while his cheating was hugely complicated, at some point in one's life, one must pull their head out of their proverbial backside and put a line in the sand. At some time in one's life, one must "Man up", to use the vernacular, and take responsibility for the bad and good one has done. Armstrong did not do that: USADA, WADA and UCI brought him back to reality. 

I am firmly convinced that Lance Armstrong was a tremendous athlete, perhaps a cyclist who was a once in every fifty years phenomenon. Without any drugs, he might have won three or four Tour de France titles, a tremendous feat. However, we will never know now, as UCI, WADA, USADA, in showing him that he is responsible for his actions, played into the little ignorant secret that is thought worldwide: Drugs made Lance the best. Drugs did not make Lance the best, they gave him the recovery to train at a level never seen before. He got this, HOWEVER, from cheating. He was a tremendous athlete, using EPO and a drug cocktail, put him into super human status. 

I am reminded of a skit on Saturday Night Live during the 1980s, where the All-Drug Olympics skit was shown. A skit highlighting a former Soviet bloc weightlifter who was, per the announcer, using every drug available plus some animal tranquilizers, had both of his arms torn off trying to life some ungodly weight. A funny skit, but gets one to thinking, how close are we to this? I must get a note a month about just throwing out all bans on drugs and let sports fall where they may. I believe that is the wrong approach. 

In the case of Patrick Makau, I am disturbed. In this day and age, anyone who sets a record in the sport I love, track & field, is considered, at least for a moment, to have used some type of enhancement. 

Like Toni Reavis, I will be greatly surprised if Mr. Makau ever tests positive for an illicit drug. I will find great sorrow in such a result as well, because, Mr. Makau obviously possesses huge ability and huge drive. His performances have inspired us, and I hope, will inspire us in the future. 



STATEMENT FROM PATRICK MAKAU, MARATHON WORLD RECORD HOLDER

by Toni Reavis

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.

Patrick Makau

 *****************************************************

I know Patrick Makau as I spent time with him while visiting Kenya in June. Patrick took part in the testing of Pegasus Sports Performancewireless technology in his training for the BMW Frankfurt Marathon.

The first thing one notices about Makau is his extremely quiet nature, his serious mien. While an athlete like Olympic silver medalist Abel Kirui is a joker with an outgoing, engaging personality, and a guy like New York bound Moses Mosop has been described as "crazy as a box of frogs", Makau, by contrast, rarely breaks his contained, stoic expression. Some have read that stoicism as arrogance, but I saw it close up more as a deep seriousness.

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, 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 listed 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.

Zane Branson & Patrick Makau in Kenya

To be honest, the above statement by Makau reads more like something Patrick's American agent, Zane Branson had composed.  But in my long association with Branson and recent up-close involvement 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.

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 I am sure that there is performance enhancing drug use in evidence in Kenya.  But I guess I would be surprised - and disappointed - if it included Patrick Makau.

END


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