Endurance: Chicago Marathon

Kenenisa Bekele to run Chicago Marathon

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
2:32
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World-record holder Kenenisa Bekele will run the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12. The Ethiopian is coming off a two-hour, five-minute, four-second marathon debut and victory in April’s Paris Marathon. He holds world records at 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

"Kenenisa Bekele is one of the best, most versatile and exciting athletes competing on the global stage today,” race director Carey Pinkowski said in a press release. “Any time an athlete of Bekele’s caliber lines up to race, course records and world records are in jeopardy. We expect Bekele to put on a speed show, and it’s not out of the question to think that Bekele could bring the world record back home to Chicago.”

Bekele by the Numbers:

0 – No losses. Bekele is undefeated since he moved to the marathon. Although Bekele struggled with hamstring cramps toward the end of his first 26.2-mile race, he held off Limenih Getachew. Bekele's winning time of 2:05:04 was the fastest debut by anyone older than 30 and a Paris Marathon course record.

1 – American road race debut for the two-time Olympian. He has raced on an American track only five times.

3 – Bekele had three pacers during his run in Paris. Race organizers put the spotlight on him as the star of the event. Bekele might see tougher competition from the elite field in Chicago and might not have as much control over the pace for the lead pack.

6 – Bekele had the sixth fastest debut in history. How will he fare in his second marathon?

$75,000 - 2:03:45 is the current course record, set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2013. Bekele aims to lower the time, which also comes with a $75,000 time bonus reward.
MOSCOW -- Three-time Chicago Marathon champion Lilya Shobukhova has been banned for two years for blood doping and faces demands to repay millions of dollars in winnings.

The Russian athletics federation said Tuesday it banned Shobukhova until next January for abnormal biological passport values and stripped her results since Oct. 9, 2009. Shobukhova won three times in Chicago and once in London in that time, also collecting $1 million in prize money as a two-time leader of the World Marathon Majors rankings.

"Any athlete found guilty of a doping offense will be required to repay any prize or appearance money earned at WMM events including WMM series prize money," the race organizers' group said in a statement.

The 36-year-old Shobukhova's time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 20 seconds in Chicago in 2011 made her the second-fastest women's marathon runner behind record holder Paula Radcliffe of Britain.

"Lilya Shobukhova finally exposed as a drug cheat," Radcliffe wrote on her Twitter account. "Action needs to be taken to show cheating not acceptable. Monies won should be returned and rightful winners recognized."

Shobukhova won three in a row in Chicago from 2009 to 2011 and placed fourth the following year. In London, she was third in 2009, won in 2010 and was second the next year.

Those results lifted her to first place in the major marathons series to get the 2009-10 and 2011-12 season titles.

"WMM will continue to hold a stern line and supports all measures to ensure the integrity of the athletes competing in their races," general counsel Nick Bitel said in a statement. "Cheats need to understand that they are not welcome in our sport and that they will be caught."

Shobukhova enjoyed some success as a distance runner on the track until switching to marathons after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In her profile page on the IAAF website, Shobukhova is quoted saying she split with her long-time coach around that time.

Her husband, Igor Shobukhov, took over as coach despite being "most inexperienced -- he had never before coached professional athletes," the profile states.

Shobukhova can appeal the sanction.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press

Five big fall marathon takeaways

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
11:02
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There are marathons big and small still to come this fall, but with most of the mega races having been run, some trends in the sport are clear. Here are five takes on what we've seen this season.

1. Increased security is everywhere
"The new normal" has been this fall's buzzword at marathons, referring to the increased security at races across the country in the aftermath of the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Bag searches, bomb-sniffing dogs, metal detectors, pre-screening, automatic rifles, participant-only areas and other features common to civil aviation are in place at marathons like never before.

By most accounts, runners and spectators have accepted the new measures. Recreational and elite marathoners said after big races they ran without fear. Anecdotal reports from Chicago and New York City were that crowds along the course were as big as ever.

At the same time, races and runners have already started to talk about what level of security is appropriate moving forward. The New York Road Runners spent approximately $1 million on security for this year's race, about twice as much as was typical before Boston.

Runners doing their first marathon since Boston discovered the new procedures add time not only on race day. At packet pick-up the day before the Marine Corps Marathon, the line to get into the expo facility backed up into the hundreds at one point, and tempers flared.

The new measures also affected the larger community. Fences near the start and finish of Chicago made accessing the bike path along Lake Michigan challenging leading up to race day. One resident of Manhattan's Upper West Side reported having to show ID just to re-enter her block on the afternoon of the marathon. With municipalities already starting to push back against the ramifications of races, marathon organizers will need to work even harder to maintain good community relations.

(Read full post)

WMMs announce tougher doping policy

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
2:10
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(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

TOKYO -- Standing shoulder to shoulder on a stage in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building here, directors of the six marathons of the World Marathon Majors announced Friday that they had agreed on tougher anti-doping measures designed to thwart and punish drug cheats.

Contracts awarded to elite athletes competing in the commercial marathons of Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo will now include clauses for both the suspension of payment and repayment of prize money, appearance fees and bonus for doping convictions.

"As a group we want to speak with one voice on the subject of performance enhancing drugs," Boston Marathon race director Tom Grilk told a symposium of race organizers.

Specifically, the new athlete contracts will contain provisions that include the right for the events to suspend payment and to demand repayment of prize money, appearances fees, and performance bonuses for any athlete found in violation of a criminal offense involving drugs, anti-doping rules, or if for any other reason the athlete's result has been nullified by a relevant governing body. These new measures come on top of the group's present policy of not inviting any athlete found guilty of a doping offense to participate in its events.

(Read full post)

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