London Diaries: the reality of global marathons in 2016


It is early evening in London, on the Saturday before the London Marathon. The lobby of the Guoman Tower Hotel is loud with many conversations, in many languages.

Wilson-Kipchoge-KimettoR-London15.jpgWilson Kipsang, Eliud Kipchoge, Dennis Kimetto, photo by

Media are busy posting final articles and the technical meetings are over. I have had a busy day, and am preparing for dinner with a friend, but first, some thoughts on the reality of global marathons in 2016.

The talk when I arrived in London was, "Why was Boston so slow?". I had not really thought of it, I was too close. I thought both races were fun to watch and highly competitive.

I am not about fast times. I think that they encourage cheating, so I am focused on the great competitions. One of my media friends said it this way: "The Boston marathon showed that drug testing is having an effect in Kenya. Ethiopia has a bit of a reprieve until November, when their testing has to be in place."

I think it is somewhere in between.

Doping is cheating is sneaking and is done without many people knowing. Many may suspect, but many do not know.

I applaud World Marathon Majors for doing the best testing in the world and doing up to six biologiccal tests for all athletes under 2:10 for men and 2:27 for women. WMM shows their support with their pocket books.

If testing is successful, the days of 2:04 marathons will be far and wide, and the days of two hour marathons will NEVER happen without athletes so juiced up they can kickstart and Airbus 380. Do not insult our sport by saying that two hour marathon is possible by human beings. You besmirch the efforts of my heroes, like Steve Jones and Rob De Castella, and Derek Clayton and Bill Rodgers, among others.

Today, global marathons are moving, living things. The London marathon, like the City of London, remind me of all that is good with the world and the human race. For nearly 24 hours, Londoners smile and cheer on their mates, Sikh, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Agnostic, Manchester supporter, fast, slow, walker.

Being part of the human race is what makes a marathon so special. I ran 18 marathons, and I get excited each time I come to a major race and write about it for our readers.

Looking forward to a wonderful day tomorrow!

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