Why focussing on the marathon might be the wrong thing to do

I was recently at a really cool event called Write This Run – a get-together for running bloggers in Bushey Park. There were 12 speakers at the event, from inspirational characters like Mimi Anderson and Kevin Betts to a running form coach, a personal trainer, some blogging experts and Scott Overall. This post is all about Scott and one of the things he said during his talk.

A potted history of Scott Overall

Scott Overall in Berlin 2011
Scott Overall in Berlin 2011

Scott Overall is an international athlete and Olympian, having pulled on a Team GB vest to represent the country a number of times, initially over 5,000m and then, in 2012 in the marathon. You can find out more about Scott on his website: www.scottoverall.com.

But it was probably Scott’s marathon debut in Berlin in 2011 that catapulted him into the limelight and certainly meant that he was the male winner of the inaugural RESPY awards. He ran 2:10:55 and finished in 5th place overall.

Possibly the most impressive thing about Scott’s debut marathon was that at the end he said that it felt easy!

Easy! 5 min/mile pace… But the reality is that if you are used to training for and racing over 5,000m on the track, marathon pace does feel easy. This is why we all do track training. If you train part of the time much faster than marathon speed and can manage the fuelling issues around the marathon, then the pace won’t be a challenge.

Since Berlin

Since Berlin, things have not gone so well for Overall. He decided to pace other British athletes in the London marathon to try to help them get the qualifying time. They didn’t follow him and he stopped before he had said he would.

Then Scott went to the Olympic Games marathon and ran a disappointing 2:22:37. He followed this up with 2:14:15 in the Fukuoka marathon later in the Olympic year. And then in the London marathon this year he didn’t finish, dropping out just after half way.

Too much focus

Listening to Scott talk at the bloggers meet-up at the weekend, I was really struck by his plan for how to rectify the few poor marathons he has run since the amazing race in Berlin: he is going to focus on track work and training for 5km and 10km races.

The lesson we can all learn

Scott’s comments made me think that perhaps the problem has been that he had been focussing too much on the marathon, both mentally and physically? And I suspect that for many of us the same might be true. It is all too easy to get overly obsessive about marathon training and that can have a negative effect on both body and mind.

In Overall’s case, leaving the marathon to one side while he trains for shorter distances will allow him to get some mental perspective on the 26.2 mile race and also allow him to train in a way that his body is more used to: still likely to be very high mileage, but fewer of the really damaging long runs.

In my case, I think that the launch of the business I run with my wife, meant that I had less of an obsessive focus on the marathon. I missed sessions because of work and possibly through that avoided over-training. I also did other things like a little bit of swimming and cycling. And I felt more relaxed: suddenly my self-esteem and confidence was not precariously reliant on the time that I could run a marathon in. The result for me, was that I went into the London marathon this year relaxed and ready to do my best come what may… and I loved every step of the way to my new PB!

I hope that for Scott the same is true. He is undoubtedly a hardworking athlete and I really hope that he has a great race when he returns, refreshed mentally and trained perfectly, to the streets of Berlin later this year.

And maybe if you have been training consistently hard for marathons for a while now and worry that you are hitting a plateau, a change will be as good as a rest. Try training for 5kms or 10kms or even for a bike race or a triathlon. Mix it up and let me know how that works for you…

New York, new London?

All for one and one for all... again

The Wall Street Journal carried a story today that the three Americans who lined up for the Olympic marathon a couple of weeks ago, will all be racing in the New York City marathon on 4 November. I suppose this is not remarkable news, given that the New York marathon is one of the biggest races in the world – with huge publicity for US runners – and total prize money which now exceeds $850,000 and includes a new pot of $100,000 to be divided between the top 5 American male and female finishers.

But I guess I was slightly surprised that all three of the Olympic marathoners would be there. It is widely assumed that in the lucrative non-Championship races, elite athletes will try to avoid coming up against fierce rivals too often and in addition to that, for at least one of the American trio, this is his third marathon in 2012 (chapeau, Meb!) which is quite a lot of stress on the body at that level.

I suspect that the New York win will again go to an east African runner. But whatever happens on that front, the crowds in New York are in for a treat – their three best domestic marathoners duelling it out for the honour of being the first American to cross the line in Central Park. And for two of them, there is a right to be wronged as Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman both failed to finish in London. That is an intriguing proposition.

Despatches from the front line

I’d done my run this morning (actually my wife, who, being Swiss, is genetically programmed to forgo drink, food and sleep in the presence of snow, had me out running by 7am this morning in London’s first snow this winter) and I had settled down to write a blog post or two and check what the world was up to when I happened to notice that Ben Moreau (@ben_moreau) was online. Ben flew to Iten in Kenya a week ago for a few weeks’ training in advance of his attempt at Olympic qualification at the London marathon in April this year. So I jumped on the opportunity to ask him how things were going. He updated me on what was happening out there and I thought I’d pass on his news.

Ben said that he has finally acclimatised to the altitude and had “experienced one Kenyan training session”. How was it? “It was brutal”. Now coming from a man like Ben Moreau, who I have seen train and race on numerous occasions, when he says it was brutal, that means it must have been massively tough. Ben also said that he is being sensible, but that has to be put in the context of where he is and what he is doing – his sensible and most other peoples sensible are certainly going to be different!

I mentioned to Ben that I’d been out running in the snow and how hard I’d found it and he replied that whilst I was jogging in the snow he had discovered myth #1 about east African runners: that Kenyans always start runs slow. He told me about the long (erm, slow) run that he did yesterday where the 3rd mile was 5.28 min/mile and he was hanging off the back of the group!

Today included a well earned easy 45 minutes run after yesterday’s run and who can blame Ben for taking it easy. The long run was 16 miles in 95 minutes with the last 4 miles uphill.

Ben sent me his Garmin stats for Saturday’s run, just to give me an idea for what a long slow run looks like in Kenya:

Total time: 1hr 40mins
Average pace: 6:10 min/mile
Fastest pace: 4:59 min/mile
Elevation at highest point: 7,845 ft

Ben's splits for his long run in Kenya
It's not flat then...

But whilst those stats tell a story of running in a very different place, some things never change. Ben told me about catching another runner whilst out on that run who appeared to be labouring somewhat. As Ben passed him, the chap in question rushed back past Ben and shot off into the distance… until about eight miles later when Ben caught him again. This time when Ben went past there was no response! Sounds just like the people who hate to be passed on the canal towpath around Victoria Park in east London!

So we had covered training. And seeing as Ben was on Facebook, I think it is safe to assume that he was resting. So what about nutrition? How was Ben getting on with Ugali for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Well, who knows? He told me that he was having… wait for it… spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. What??? He did say though that he loves the chapatis that are served in Iten. At least that is authentic Kenyan cuisine!

Hopefully I will have the opportunity to catch up with Ben again and find out how he is getting on, but for now I think it is safe to say that he is in a great place to train well and come back in the best possible shape to make the Team GB selectors sit up and take notice. I hope you’ll all join me in wishing him luck.

“The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain” Karl Marx

When I started running, pain was something that I understood would be inevitable, but assumed would be temporary and periodic. However as I progressed my training over the years increasing my mileage as well as the intensity of my sessions, I came to realise that pain could be a pretty constant companion. At the moment, as I am logging regular 65-70 mile weeks, I wake up every morning with a very tight, sore right ankle. Following my easy morning run and after an hour at my desk my right knee twinges. By lunchtime there is a pain in my lower back. And before I set out for my session in the afternoon my IT Band feels like a tensioned steel cable. These niggles are a part of being a marathoner.

The regular companionship of mild pain or discomfort has, however, made me think about what it is like for other runners and especially 100+ mile-per-week elite athletes.

Elite runner, elite pain

In Charlie Spedding’s brilliant autobiography, From Last to First, he describes how, when he was training full time, pain was something he had to deal with constantly. This was especially true for his Achilles tendon, thanks to which he almost died after a negative reaction to an operation he was having.

Ben Moreau
Scott Overall

So what about contemporary elite athletes? I had the opportunity to ask Ben Moreau, an aspiring Olympic marathoner, Scott Overall, whose 2:10:55 at Berlin in 2011 secured him the first place on the Team GB marathon team and Alyson Dixon who is also hoping for a place in the Olympic marathon for Team GB.

When I asked Ben about whether he deals with constant pain he said that, thankfully, he doesn’t. However Ben went on to tell me that he has trained through pains that have lasted for weeks and that in fact at the moment – with 13 weeks until his shot for a place on the Olympic team at the Virgin London Marathon – he has a hamstring issue that has been going on since early December (that is for around seven weeks). Ben said that this pain has meant that he has reduced intensity of training somewhat but that his volume of training has remained constant.

Scott Overall was similarly sanguine about pain when I asked him, telling me that

I think the aches and pains that athletes have are natural as I think its quite un-natural to be running over 100 miles per week, week in and week out

and he went on to say that in his experience a pain is often a sign of a problem away from the site of the discomfort. In his case calf pain was due to hip issues:

once I had a calf problem but the cause of this was because my pelvis was out of alignment and the pain was showing itself at the weakest part of the chain. No amount of stretching or icing the calf would help it because the root of the problem was with my pelvis, and it was this that needed to be corrected.

Alyson Dixon

Last weekend I was at a marathon training conference in Brighton and had the opportunity to run with Aly Dixon, who is looking to take the third and final place in the Team GB  Olympic team for the London Games. When I asked Aly about managing pain she laughed wryly, after all Aly has only recently returned from injury having run last year’s World Championship marathon in Daegu with a the double whammy of fracture to the distal phalanx (big toe) and sessamoid (ball of the foot) that she thinks started when she ran the Great South Run in 2010.

Aly is reported as saying that she was in pain during that race “but thought it was because I needed to change my shoes as they were worn out.” Aly went on to tell me that because the pain was intermittent she assumed it was a natural part of having increased her mileage and that it was something she just had to manage. In interviews Dixon described how the physios at Team GB in Korea did a great job at managing the ‘niggle’ to allow her to run after which they discovered the broken metatarsal.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional (according to the Buddha)

So we have established, from some of the best runners in the UK, that with hard training comes pain and niggles. There is of course, quite a challenge in telling the difference between natural soreness or tightness and the start of an injury. So what do the experts say? Well Scott Overall told me that

Elite athletes tend to be very in tune with their bodies and would know why something is sore, it might be my calves are sore because I did a session on the track the night before, or my Achilles is sore because I’d stupidly been walking around in flip flops the previous day. A lot of the time there is a reason for the pain and you can generally narrow it down to what’s caused it.

and Ben Moreau gave me tips on how he manages the inevitable discomfort:

  1. if I feel like I’m changing my running style to accommodate it [the pain], I’m on a hiding to nothing and so will have to rest
  2. if it is getting worse constantly, that’s a bad sign, so I’ll rest
  3. assess rest vs healing and see if a reduced training amount now will impact the end goal vs possible benefits

Aly Dixon, now something of an expert in dealing with pain and recognising (or ignoring) injury, told me much the same as Ben – that she tries hard to recognise when pain is constant or worsening and affecting the way she is running and then decide whether, with a goal in mind, rest is possible and appropriate or whether she simply needs to push on and manage the issue.

How does that affect me?

To summerise, it seems that pain is an inevitable part of being a marathon runner and to avoid all pain would mean that the runner was not able to train enough to really reach his or her potential. The challenge comes when the pain is not a niggle but actually an injury. Scott Overall advises that

It’s important to nip these niggles in the bud before they get anymore serious. Keeping on top of things and getting regular physio and even massage can really help – if those things are not an option then just simply stretching or getting a foam roller to massage yourself.

One thing I have learned from talking to Ben, Scott and Aly is the importance of getting to know your body and recognise the difference between a niggle and an injury. Obviously being overly sensitive will mean that one doesn’t run enough whilst not being sensitive enough means that a serious injury could develop whilst the runner stubbornly refuses to acknowledge it.

I think that my advice would be that if you feel sore before you run, get out of the door and go for a 10 minutes warm-up. If after that the pain goes then it is fine to carry on (but get a physio to check out the area of pain anyway) but if the pain really remains or worsens, go home and immediately book an appointment with your favourite physio!

To conclude this ramble about pain, I think that my coach Nick Anderson of runningwithus, gave me some great advice this morning. We were out running together and I mentioned my sore ankle. I told Nick that the pain subsides within a couple of minutes of waking and goes completely once I have been walking or running for a minute or two. Nick said that this meant that the problem is manageable at the moment, but with three months until my ‘A’ race – the London marathon in April – I should get the ankle checked out by a physio now to avoid problems later as the volume of training continues to increase. I think that this is pretty good advice for all you marathoners out there so please let me know what you think and what you are doing to be the best runner you can be despite the pain!

 

 

Sympathy for the devil?

I don’t pretend to know what drives an athlete – any athlete – to cheat. But then when it comes to my own drive, all I am trying to do is be the best runner I can be. I will never try to make a living from running and I will never have the weight of expectations of a nation on my shoulders. I do know people who are in that situation and I know that the need to earn and the expectations of millions can weigh heavy. But I always feel sad when I hear that an athlete has been caught because I think they rarely turn to drugs for purely selfish reasons, or at least they don’t believe they are selfish reasons – after all, doing the best for your country, making your friends and family proud and so on can easily be twisted into altruistic endevours.

Troublesome guy

So an interview that was published recently in the Irish Times, really stuck a chord with me. Martin Fagan was recently caught, in an out-of-competition test, having taken EPO. Up to that point Fagan was an athlete that many hoped would make a mark in future international competitons, having run 2:14:06 in the Dubai Marathon in January 2008 to qualify for the Beijing Games (although he failed to finish that race and three subsequent races due to recurring injuries) and then ran 60:57 in the Fortis City Pier City Half Marathon in The Hague, Netherlands, breaking John Treacy’s national record. But that race reignited an injury to his left Achilles tendon which he was told would require surgery and up to 18 months rehabilitation.

Fagan found himself unable to compete and therefore unable to earn, single after his girlfriend left him, being dishonest with his coach about how much training he was doing (not much apparently) and depressed to the point of feeling suicidal. He was 28 years old and his life was falling apart. In the interview in the Irish Times, he says it was this state of affairs that lead him to order EPO online, fly to the US and self administer the drug and then receive a visit from the drug testers the very next day. You can read the full piece here.

No quarter given

At the time of the revelation there was quite an out-pouring of sympathy for Mr. Fagan. Sure, no one was suggesting for a minute that his actions could be condoned and everyone was in agreement that he needs to face the consequences of his choices. But I think that a lot of athletes, current and past, could understand the sorts of pressures that Martin was under and how they could have lead to irrational decisions. On Twitter there was some sympathy:

Scott Overall tweeted: Spent this mornings thinking aboutMartinFagan,no excuses he should never of taken drugs-but clearly a friend in need

Ben Moreau wrote: Reading Martin Fagan’s story, I pity the guy. To be in a situation where reaching an Olympics is the only way out…

But for every action there is supposed to be an equal and opposite reaction and today that has come from Eamonn Sweeney in the Irish Independent. He has decided that Fagan doesn’t really deserve any sympathy at all and finishes his fairly devastating critique of Martin’s position with the words:

I wish Martin Fagan good health in the future. But he’ll never really know peace until he accepts that it wasn’t depression or a lack of Athletics Ireland funding or injuries which made him take EPO.

It was the man in the mirror.

So what do you think? Is there a way that athletes can be forgiven if they truly seem to have taken rash steps out of pure desperation. Or is there no sympathy for the devil? Is it simply that the only valid path is the one where, without cheating, we all try to be the best runner we can be? Let me know your thoughts.

Is the Kenyan smackdown coming to London?

I recently wrote about the ‘difficult’ problem that the Kenyan selectors have choosing their marathon squads for the Olympics. It might be amusing for the rest of the world to watch the Kenyan selectors squirm, but there is a serious point here – how do you pick only three when your nation has produced such a massive plethora of incredible runners?

How to choose?

One idea that was mooted was that there should be a US-style smackdown with all the Kenyan runners who hope to be in contention racing one marathon and the first three past the post come to London for the Games. Brutal but arguably fair… and at least it takes the pressure off the selectors. The ideal race for this to happen at, of course, is the London marathon – an iconic race perfectly timed four months before the Olympic marathon and with a field that always boasts a fantastic array of the worlds leading runners.

Well it seems as though, whether the Kenyan selectors have sanctioned this plan of action or not, the smackdown is in fact coming to London. The BBC has reported that several of the best runners from Kenya are coming to the Virgin London Marathon in April (read the piece here) including:

  • Emmanuel Mutai  – defending London marathon champion who won last year in 2:04:40
  • Patrick Makau – world record holder with 2:03:38 in Berlin last year
  • Abel Kirui – current world champion
  • Wilson Kipsang – winner of the Frankfurt marathon in 2011 with 2:03:42
  • Martin Lel – three-time London marathon winner and second place finisher in 2011
  • Vincent Kipruto – world championship silver medalist (behind Abel Kirui, above)

Now if I was in charge of picking a team I might be tempted to say that the first three Kenyans in London in April are in the Olympic team, but life is rarely that simple. In a further twist in the plot two others will also be vying for a spot:

  • Geoffrey Mutai who will be racing Boston on April 16 (and who won last year in 2:03:02)*
  • Moses Mosop who was second in Boston last year in 2:03:06 who will be racing in Rotterdam on 15 April

So I would say that if you are watching the London this year make sure you get there early or turn the television on to catch all the action, because I think this is going to be an incredible race. As Dave Bedford quite rightly has said:

With the Olympic men’s marathon due to be held here exactly 16 weeks later, we expect the battle for podium places to be even more ferocious than usual.

Too right Dave, too right!

* in case you are wondering, Geoffrey Mutai’s blistering 2:03:02 is not the current world record because the Boston course does not conform to the rules that the IAAF set out for an eligible course for a world record. But still… 2:03:02 – the mind boggles!

Marathon Road and what we can learn from it

Tonight I stumbled upon a video called Marathon Road. Lasting just over ten minutes, this is a mini documentary, produced by Ideatap Studios, about a group of runners training for the US Olympic marathon trials race, this weekend in Houston.

The reality of elite marathoning

I think that the video is really well made – very nice shots, great choice of music and I like the style of interviews. But what really struck me was what the runners were saying about training and racing. There was no talk of the paces they are running at or the splits for their intervals. They just talked about the mental approach to the biggest event in their lives. They talk openly and honestly about how tough it is to get through training hard. How the mental effort of keeping consistent training for eight or ten or twelve weeks of a marathon training programme is mental training for the race itself. They talk about how hard it is to get through marathon training without becoming ill or injured. They talk about how difficult the race will be, requiring mental effort, decision making, commitment and the ability to deal with pain. And then they talk about hope…

The spirit of marathoning

The four men that feature in this film capture the essence of marathon running for me – they know the training is tough. They know the race will be tougher. They know that their main aim is to push themselves to the absolute limit and yet one can see that they believe they can do it. They know they will prevail. They are not going to waver for one minute in the face of the massive task they have set themselves.

That for me is the lesson for everyone here, whether you are a seasoned marathoner or a first timer. Whether you are aiming for Olympic qualification or a 6 hour finishing time. Be positive. Stay strong. Commit. Be the best runner you can be.

Marathon Road by Ideatap Studios

Will he, won’t he? The Galen Rupp saga continues

Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian

Since reporting a few weeks ago that Galen Rupp, the US 5,000m record holder and Mo Farah’s training partner under Alberto Salazar, had decided to enter the US Olympic marathon team selection race (here) at the Houston marathon, it has now been announced, by Ken Goe in the Oregonian, that Rupp has decided not to contest for a place in the marathon team for the London Games.

At the time that Rupp announced he would race there were rumours that it was all a bit of a ruse to get under the skin of certain other runners, especially those who might make it hard for Dathan Ritzenhein, a team mate of Rupp under Salazar, to qualify. After all, stress is very disruptive for anyone training for a marathon, not least someone training to beat the best runners the US has to offer and thereby qualify for the greatest athletics competition of them all. The inclusion of an unknown quantity over the marathon distance and an undoubtedly first-rate runner at lesser distances, could be just the thing to create a few sleepless nights.

Nevertheless, conspiracy or not, Galen Rupp is not going to debut at the marathon this weekend because as Goe reports, he is worried that running a marathon would damage his chances of honing his finishing speed in advance of the Games in July. So peace is restored. America’s marathon runners will only have to worry about other marathon runners. And by this time on Saturday we will know who will be coming to English shores in the summer to try their luck over 26.2 miles of our fair city’s streets. Good luck chaps. See (some of) you in August.

A nice problem to have

Patrick Makau of Kenya during the Virgin London Marathon 2011 (Christopher Lee)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today in the Sunday Times there is a very small article about something that is undoubtedly a very big issue in the country in question: the problem that the Kenyan Olympic selectors have in choosing a team to send to the 2012 games in London. The Times reports that Kenya has produced too many of the world’s top marathon runners to be able to choose the maximum three that they are allowed to send to the Games this year.

According to David Okeyo, the head of athletics in Kenya

It’s nothing short of a headache

The list that Okeyo and his team must choose from is really extraordinary and includes:

  • Abel Kirui, two-time world champion
  • Patrick Makau, world record-holder
  • Geoffrey Mutai, winner of the Boston and New York marathons
  • Emmanuel Mutai, winner of last year’s London marathon
  • Wilson Kipsang, who won the Frankfurt marathon

I recently wrote about the way that the USA picks it’s marathon team – get all the leading contenders together and have a race. In the case of the Americans this will be at the Houston marathon in a few weeks. You can read my thoughts on that here.

But the Kenyans use a similar process to many Olympic team selectors, including Team GB. They are supposed to just pick the runners that (a) have met the qualifying standard and (b) they think will give them the best hope of at least one medal. So how do the Kenyan selectors pick? Well this is the most interesting bit. Quite a few of the runners in contention want the Kenyan selectors to let all those who want to be considered for the team have a race and the first three home come to the Games in London in August.

Now whether or not you think this is the best way to pick a team, if that is what the Kenyan selectors decide to do there is a distinct possibility that they will pick a race that is very close to my heart as the trails race – the London marathon in April 2012. Can you imagine? That would have to be the most tremendous smack-down of all time. I’m just disappointed that if they do go down that route, I’ll be too busy with  my own race to see it unfold live!

Is the US becoming a marathon super-power?

There has been much written about the recent emergence of the US as a force to be reckoned with in distance racing. The likes of Chris Solinsky (10,000m PB 26:59.60), Bernard Lagat (5,000m PB 12:53.60), Ryan Hall (marathon PB 2:04:53), Meb Keflezighi (marathon PB 2:09:15), Dathan Ritzenhein (marathon PB 2:10:10), Brett Gotcher (marathon PB 2:10:36) and Jason Hartmann (marathon PB 2:11:06), to name but a few, all point to a bright future for US distance running. But as American coaches and commentators are at pains to point out, becoming a great distance running nation is a slow process (and as an aside I would argue we have not even really started on this process in the UK in any meaningful way yet).

History repeating itself?

Since heroes such as Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsely, Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter lit up the world running scene, there has been something of a lost generation. But now the athletes I have mentioned above are looking like the green shoots of recovery. And from what I understand, these luminaries at the pointy top of the pyramid are being followed by a larger and larger group of hard-working and determined young runners.

But the really exciting news that has been announced this week is that Mo Farah’s training partner, and another star in Alberto Salazar’s group at the Oregon Project, Galen Rupp, is due to run in the up-coming US marathon trails for the 2012 Olympics. This is big news!

US Olympic trials

The way the US picks its athletes for the Olympics, certainly in the marathon, is by holding a race. My understanding is that this ‘do or die’ way of choosing the team for the Olympic marathon is something that US Olympic committee is very proud of, albeit the process has had it’s share of controversies over the years. Indeed the tone of the text on www.marathonguide.com gives some insight into how dear the idea of a one-off smack-down, is held:

Most countries around the world use a selection committee to choose their Olympic Team Members, but not the USA. Prior to 1968, a series of races were used to select the USA Olympic Marathon team, but beginning in 1968 the format was changed to a single race on a single day with the top three finishers selected to be part of the Olympic Team and the fourth and fifth finishers designated as alternates. As a once-every-four-years opportunity to be selected to the Olympic Marathon team, the USA Olympic Team Trials is arguably the most important marathon that many will run.

This year the ‘race for a place’ will be at the Houston marathon. The race’s website excitedly announced the news, thus:

On January 14, 2012, for the first time ever, USA Track & Field and the Houston Marathon Committee will host the men’s and women’s Olympic Trials Marathon on the same day, at the same site. This historic event will determine the three men and three women who will represent the United States in the marathon at the 2012 Olympic Games in London

So back to Galen Rupp. His personal bests are pretty impressive:
Mile – 3:57.72
3,000m – 7:42.40
5,000m – 13:07:35
10,000m – 26:48.00
Half Marathon – 1:00:30

What does Rupp’s entry really mean?

And now he is going to try for the US Olympic marathon team. Or is he? There is talk that he is going to start the race to help pace team mate Dathan Ritzenhein, at the behest of their coach Alberto Salazar. Taking the conspiracy theories one set further there is also talk that there is no intention for him to run at all – that in fact this is a red herring to put other competitors off their training and give Ritzenhein a psychological advantage. Or maybe he has just decided that he wants a crack at the marathon. Whatever the reason for his involvement, if Rupp races and does as well as I and many others think he will, then one of Ritzenhein, Hall or Keflezighi might not be coming to London next year. Which is interesting in itself…

… but not half as interesting to me as the thought that Salazar might be grooming his top runners for marathon super-stardom sooner than many predicted. And his top athlete? Mo Farah. Now his marathon debut would be exciting news!