Takes Like Coffee: Is The Greatest Marathoner Of All-Time Title On the Line In Berlin?
Hope everyone had a great weekend. I’ll start off with a question that someone emailed me last week. Dave shot me a note that asked: “Do you think that the title of greatest of all-time is on the line at the Berlin Marathon depending on who wins?” I thought it was a solid question because everyone loves to participate in G.O.A.T. debates no matter if it’s sports, pop culture or any arena of discussion.
I’ll say yes and it gets a little interesting depending on who would win. So let’s assume that Eliud Kipchoge, Wilson Kipsang or Kenenisa Bekele win in world-record fashion.
Kipchoge’s case for the GOAT: This one is the strongest. Now he has the world record, five wins at three marathon majors (Chicago, London 2x, Berlin 2x), an Olympic gold in the marathon and proven he can run 2:00:25 under optimized conditions. Cynics are going to hate the fact that I included the Breaking2 time trial in there but you have to admit that it was very impressive. The victories and the times all check out. At this point, why even keep going? Why put your body through another marathon cycle? The answer here is probably the money, which is fair. Let New York Road Runners slide a blank check for you to fill out and add a victory in the biggest marathon in the world, if you feel so compelled. Winning in New York is just a cherry on top of the best career that anyone could ask for.
Wilson Kipsang’s case for the GOAT: I’d say he’s got the next best scenario. He’d set the world record for a second time in his career and it would come against the strongest field that he’s possibly ever faced because top dogs – mainly Kipchoge – are coming in at the highest level. At 35, this might be the best way to go out on top. Kipsang’s got the victories in London, Berlin, Tokyo and New York with course records run at three of them. Maybe he’s like me and just wants to run all the Majors but this quite the resume over a period of seven years. We don’t usually see top marathoners do this for very long.
Kenenisa Bekele’s case for the GOAT: This is one’s not super strong. He’d have two wins in Berlin. He’d finally have the marathon world record in addition to his track marks (which we’re not considering in this argument – marathon only). There’s a couple blemishes on his record that would still maybe even give the advantage to Kipsang or Kipchoge in a bar argument. He’s only got one Marathon Major victory so if he decides to keep going after 35, he’d have to add a couple titles to keep the GOAT crown on his head. I think there’s also the a case that Bekele isn’t even the best Ethiopian marathoner ever. If we consider how good Haile Gebrselassie was over the marathoners of his era, that’s more impressive than anything Bekele has accomplished at this point in his career.
Here’s a couple headlines to catch you up on the latest happenings of the track and field world as you sip your coffee:
Usain Bolt may be gone but another legend is already planning her return to the track after giving birth to a baby boy named Zyon Pryce. That’s a damn fast-sounding name. The baby already has a faster 100 meter time than me. I’ll admit that it was a little weird not hearing her name during broadcasts this year. It was also the first year since 2010 that the world top 10 list for the women’s 100 meter dash didn’t include her name.
“BAH GAWD! Is that Rita Jeptoo’s music!?!” Here’s a quick report from Kenya, where the convicted doper testified that her coach Claudio Berardelli and a doctor did not giver her EPO before she tested positive in November 2015. Jeptoo added that she does not know how the drugs entered her system. She is currently serving out her four-year ban and can not return to competition until Oct. 29, 2018. She’ll be 37 years old. The trial continues on Wednesday.
The NorCal Distance Project is no more
Hate to close out with some unfortunate news. Coach Drew Wartenburg announced the news on Twitter and Instagram with a brief statement that said, “Back to basics, but heavy hearted that this chapter of the NorCal Distance Project has come to a close. I’m ready to move on with renewed perspective to what awaits. Good fortune to the athletes that have been part of this team’s accomplishments.” Leah O’Connor, the two-time NCAA individual champion from Michigan State, has moved back to Michigan to train there.
Catch up on the regional XC rankings from the USTFCCCA
The National Coaches’ Poll comes out tomorrow. We’ll try and get some reactions from Isaac Wood of The Wood Report. Follow him on Twitter.