Busted: Rita Jeptoo Fails an A-Sample Doping Test

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I wasn’t going to post today, but WOW. Thanks to my buddy John Pierz who sent this one my way. Earlier today, the website RunBlogRun reported that an A-sample provided by Jeptoo during out of competition testing in Kenya tested positive for a banned substance. According to the website, the B-sample has not yet have been tested.

The World Marathon Majors has postponed its awards ceremony – Jeptoo was set to receive $500,000, having already locked up this year’s title with wins at Boston (course record) and Chicago. She is the first athlete in the history of the race series to claim the maximum points available.

The president of Athletics Kenya stated:

“I’m aware of the online reports about Jeptoo, but until IAAF and WADA inform us officially, we cannot comment on the matter since it is a very serious issue. We don’t want to pre-empt anything and once we receive official communication, we shall address the issue.”

The Boston Athletic Association released a statement that is available here.

The Chicago Marathon recently stripped Liliya Shobukhova of the titles she won in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Now, the race has to deal with Jeptoo’s wins in 2013 and 2014. Ouch.

Jeptoo’s time in Boston was the eighth fastest ever and it made her the 5th fastest women’s marathon runner of all-time.

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Mendon Trail Run 50K (Before)

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The Mendon Trail Run is on Saturday. It will be my last race of the year. In fact, it will be my last race for the next six months!

The course is tough. It boasts about 5,000 feet of elevation change. Cole Crosby, last year’s winner, described it as “deceptively challenging.” The course is a little different, but I suspect that description still fits.

The weather is still up in the air. The temperature is going to be in the low 40s and the winds will be between 15mph and 25mph. It’s going to feel cold! As an added bonus, there may be rain showers or snow showers. Welcome to western New York!

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For a local 50k, the field is pretty stacked.

Daven Oskvig signed up in the 11th hour. He holds the third and fourth fastest times ever on the course. While he is certainly one of the favorites, he did run a trail 100-miler only three weeks ago (he won Oil Creek in 18:18:58).

There are also some outstanding local runners. Andrew Bucci has run 3:08 for a trail marathon. Aaron Mulvaney completed the Philadelphia Marathon in 2:33:40. Michael Hoffman ran 2:43:03 at the Boston Marathon. Dan Nix broke 1:20 at the challenging Lake Placid Half Marathon.

I think Aaron has to be the favorite. 2:33 is a legitimate marathon and Daven will be running on tired legs, whether he admits it or not.

On the women’s side, Nicole Virdone ran 4:41:51 for 50km earlier this year. She’ll be up against Sarah Wilcox, a sub-four hour marathoner. She’ll also have to deal with Michelle Mckamey, who just ran 3:27:47 at Wineglass.

I think Nicole is the favorite. However, she ran Can 50 less than a month ago, and she might still be feeling it. I’d say the women’s race is too close to call!

The full list of entrants is available here.

As far as my own race, I’m hoping to be somewhere in the 3:45 to 4:00 range. I think that’s realistic if the course isn’t too muddy and the weather cooperates. I’m not sure what Aaron and Daven have in mind, but I think this thing will go out quick. I’m inclined to stay back early and run hard late in the race. I’ll be sporting bib #70. Hopefully, I can finish off the year on a positive note.

Also, for me and a few others, there is a race within a race! This is the final event in the USATF Niagara Ultra Series.

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I’m currently trailing Michael Bray by just a little bit for the overall men’s title. I need to run 4:12 or faster in order to win the series. However, if Michael runs under 4:40, then I need to go even faster! He ran 4:53:04 last year, so this should be interesting!

Check back early next week for my recap!

Apologies if I omitted your name or messed up your time – let me know and I’ll fix it!

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NYC Marathon Predictions

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Overall Men:

1) Geoffrey Mutai
2) Wilson Kipsang
3) Meb Keflezighi

The entire elite field is available here.

Overall Women:

1) Buzunesh Deba
2) Mary Keitany
3) Deena Kastor

The entire elite field is available here.

American Men:

1) Meb Keflezighi
2) Ryan Vail
3) Stephan Shay

American Women:

1) Deena Kastor
2) Des Linden
3) Kara Goucher

Men’s Wheelchair:

1) Ernst Van Dyk

Women’s Wheelchair:

1) Tatyana McFadden

Celebrity Men:

1) Billy Demong (Nordic Skier and Olympic Gold Medalist)
2) Tiki Barber (Former NFL)
3) Joe Bastianich (chef and MasterChef judge)

Celebrity Women:

1) Katrina Bowden (30 Rock)
2) Caroline Wozniacki (Tennis)
3) Adriana Henao (wife of Indy racer Helio Castroneves)

What do you think? Any predictions?

Who is your favorite athlete that is competing?

Will you be watching Sunday morning?

(The race will be televised on ESPN2 beginning at 9AM EST on Sunday – also, be sure to check out ESPN3 for additional coverage)

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NYC Marathon: The Footnotes

Meb Keflezighi: This will be Meb’s first marathon since his win at Boston.

Kara Goucher: Kara will be racing in the GOmeb Speed 3 (in custom colors to match her Oiselle race kit). She hopes to break 2:28.

Amber Sabathia: CC’s wife will be running to raise money for the PitCCh In Foundation. Tiki Barber will be racing for the same cause, as will Angie Martinez and Alexis Stoudemire (Amar’e’s wife). Diddy donated $26,000 to the cause – I suspect it was a payoff so he wouldn’t have to run.

Teri Hatcher: Teri (49 years old) will be trying to complete her first marathon.

Caroline Wozniacki: As mentioned in a previous post, Caroline Wozniacki will be running her first race ever!

Stephan Shay: Stephan will be running his first NYC Marathon since the death of his brother Ryan in 2007. As you may recall, Ryan collapsed on Cat Hill during the Olympic Trials Marathon in NYC and was pronounced dead a short while later. Stephan’s primary goal is to run under 2:18.

Deena Kastor: Deena made her marathon debut in NYC 13 years ago – she ran 2:26:59. On Sunday, she is trying to run under 2:25 (the current U.S. Master’s record is 2:28:40).

The One Millionth Finisher: Somewhere between 4 hours and 4 hours and 10 minutes, the NYC Marathon will have its one millionth finisher. That lucky finisher will get a photo with the winners, a $500 shopping spree and guaranteed entry for life.

$500,000: The World Marathon Majors jackpot is up for grabs. Dennis Kimetto is currently in first, but Wilson Kipsang can catch him with a strong performance.

West Africa: While East African countries will be well-represented, there are no runners from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone.

Tatyana McFadden: Tatyana has been unstoppable of late. However, she does not have the fastest personal best in the field – that belongs to Wakako Tsuchida of Japan. Will someone finally beat Tatyana?

Check back later in the week for my NYC Marathon predictions!

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Urban Zemmer Goes Vertical.

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The vertical kilometer in Fully, Switzerland is the fastest vertical kilometer (VK) in the world. Just like the Manitou Incline, the Fully VK is an old funicular route. Here are some more details on the course:

Vertical: 1000m
Course Length: 1920m
Average Grade: 52%
Steepest Grade: 60%

As I’ve mentioned in the past, VKs are popular in Europe. They are just starting to get some attention in the United States. Unfortunately, we don’t have the Alps to “practice” on, and VK courses end up being much longer than the European courses.

photo credit: Didier Ançay

photo credit: Didier Ançay

On Saturday, many of the best mountain runners assembled in Fully, and the conditions were excellent. Urban Zemmer (ITA) shattered the old world record and became the first person ever to complete a vertical kilometer in under 30 minutes. Check out the video below to watch Urban powering up the climb.

Not to be outdone, Christel Dewalle (FRA) took a record of her own, completing the vertical kilometer in 34:44.

Full results of the vertical kilometer are available here.

*** Mike Short (SUI) finished the VK in 38:51. He is 66 years old.

Just to put it in perspective, three Empire State Building climbs would still not equal a vertical kilometer.

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A vertical kilometer is 3,280 feet – what is the biggest “hill” you’ve ever gone up in a race?

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8 Days.

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My last race of the year (and for a while) is only eight days away. The weather has been so-so of late. Cool (but not cold). Drizzly (but not rainy). This morning, I took a quick look at the forecast for next week.

Tuesday: 74. Wow, not bad!
Wednesday: 57 and sunny. A beautiful fall day!
Thursday: 56 and sunny. Perfect!
Friday: 57 with showers. Well, it could be worse.
Saturday (race day): 47 and… snow?! WTF?!

Now, I know what you folks from around the country are thinking. If it’s 47 degrees, it can’t snow.

Laughter.

First of all, it’s going to be 37 on Friday night, which is plenty cold enough for snow. But central/western New York is special. There are magical forces at work. It can snow at 30. It can snow at 35. It can snow at 40. It can snow at 45. And yes, I’m nearly certain it can snow at 47.

Am I concerned? Not really. This isn’t my first rodeo. Am I looking forward to it? Oh, hell no! After 74 degrees on Tuesday, 30s/40s/rain/snow will feel… brisk.

Stay tuned.

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Ultra Runner Podcast: Errol “The Rocket” Jones

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I’ve posted before that I’m a big fan of Talk Ultra. However, I’ve just been getting caught up on another great running podcast.

If you have an hour today, I encourage you to listen to the Ultra Runner Podcast featuring Errol Jones. “The Rocket” is hilarious and offers some great inspiration. Sure, it’s a couple of years old, but it is exellent entertainment!

The podast is available here.

What podcasts do you enjoy?

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