Five deep thoughts from BMW Berlin Marathon


After nearly three weeks past the exciting BMW Berlin Marathon, which I watched on German TV, and followed on the website, I have some deep thoughts regarding one of the fastest marathons in the world. Read them, and then, tell me what you think. You can always reach me at [email protected].


The pace makers do their work, BMW 2017 Berlin, photo by

The BMW Berlin marathon one of the finest marathons in the world. It is fast, and it nearly guarantees a fast time. This year, the 33 pacemakers involved battled Mother Nature, as well as trying to achieve their goals.

1. We are too obsessed with marathon times.

Cherono_GladysFV-Berlin17.JPGGladys Cherono, 2017 BMW Berlin winner, photo by

Sad thing is, both the fans and could be fans do not get it. We push marathon times, and want faster and faster. The breaking2 event was inspiring to many runners, both newbies and old, because Eliud Kipchoge just ran and ran and ran fast. He nearly touched the sun with his 2:00:25. Yet, the marathon in Berlin was a tremendous battle, and won in 2:03:32, just 40 seconds off world record. It was a great race. Most majors, without pacemakers, should be won around 2:07-2:09. Only exceptional athletes should be able to break 2:06.

2. Eliud Kipchoge is the finest marathoner of his era.

Kipchoge_EluidAA-Berlin17.JPGEliud Kipchoge, the finest marathoner in the world, photo by

After Monza, I met with David Bedford, the man who has given us over two decades of wonderful fields at Virgin London, championed out of competition drug testing, and spends most of his waking hours helping support the sport he loves. When I asked him about Eliud Kipchoge, David Bedford noted, "Simply, the finest maler marathoner, perhaps the best ever.

Eliud Kipchoge is a classic old school marathoner. From cross country, to track, to roads, and the roads took time. Like Haile Gebreselassie, Eliud needed three years to really get to his prime in the marathon. His race in Berlin added to his doxology of races. You are witnessing the finest marathoner on the planet. Eliud Kipchoge runs, eats, sleeps the life of a warrior monk. He is the zen marathoner.

His move to take on Guye Adola was tremendous. It was an epic race.

3. Guye Adole runs best marathon debut EVER.

Adola_Guye-Berlin17.JPGGuye Adole, photo by

Guye Adole made few mistakes in the Berlin Marathon. He let his heart try to defeat Eliud Kipchoge, and he came close. That was not theatrics. Eliud Kipchoge had to call on his inner chammpion to take the 2017 BMW Berlin race. In English or German, the tributes during the race, the lack of certainty, all added to the fine clash between distance titans.

Guye Adole looks like a perfect marathon build. He is an endurance animal and he will run more great races. We look forward to those clashes.

4. Mother nature reminds us, she is always there.

Hahner_Anna-Berlin17.JPGAnna Hahner running in the rain in Berlin, photo by

I recall running my PB in cold and rain for big part of the marathon. Focusing on that, I did not think about my time until midway, so I did not go out too fast. In the crazy fast times now, hitting the half marathon fifteen or twenty second back gives the athlete a bit of comfort. They are close to the red line, but not all the way there. And look at the fields of major marathons. Kenenisa Bekele dropped out, as did Wilson Kipsang. These two men had gone 1,2 in Berlin 2016.

The Weather battled Eliud Kipchoge and Gladys Cherono. The paid their respect to Mother Nature, but found out how to use nature to help them in their race tactics. They did not battle Mother Nature full out early on, and when time came, they ran fast and furious over the final kilometers.

5. Drug testing is taking out many of the cheaters

Doping is a business decision. Many believe that they will not be caught, and without out of competition testing, Integrity Unit intelligence, and more testing in questionable countries (Ukraine, Belarus, Jamaica, Kenya, Ethiopia, Russia, Turkey), we are seeing some positive signs. Fast times are the results of fine athletes training 12-15 years, with strong nutrition, sleep and competition. World Marathon Majors has been testing since 2001 and catching cheats. We applaud them for that.

We also need to remind ourselves that pushing fast times adds to the interest for some to dope. Using draconian punishments, social media shaming and media that recognizes the difference between rumors and the need for proper testing, jurisprudence and time to catch dopers, will make the difference.

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