Unidentified and unspecified

January 25th, 2013

Could this be the best doping denial ever attempted by an athlete?

Fatima Yvelain, a middling middle-distance runner from France, tested positive for EPO after competing in the 2012 Perpignan half-marathon. Yvelain was 42 and her best days (she once won three consecutive French national 5,000m titles) were long behind her. Caught out, Yvelain decided to concoct an outrageously improbable explanation, presumably on the grounds that the authorities would refuse to believe that anyone would have the brass neck to try and con them with such an unlikely tale. Like all good shaggy dog stories, it started with a kernel of truth – there had been torrential rain on the day of the race – and then span wildly off into the realm of farce. The water streaming over the road, Yvelain argued, must have washed through "unidentified medical waste" which had been discarded "at an unspecified location" on the course. While she was running, this EPO-tainted water had splashed up from her shoes and soaked her shorts, which had then run off into her urine when she was asked to give a sample after the race.

At this point, I hope that the appeal panel hearing her case rose to their feet and gave her a round of applause. I mean, how do you even start to prove her wrong?

"But of course!" agreed the French Athletics Federation. And then they banned her from competing again for two years.

C'est la vie.

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26.2 Miles, 1 Artist

November 8th, 2011

Christoph Niemann: My attempt at live-illustrating the New York City Marathon.

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Local g

January 26th, 2011

Do not provoke the athletes.

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Raw eggs, brandy, and strychnine

March 9th, 2010

The marathon at the 1904 Olympic games at St Louis must give hope to the organisers of London's 2012 Games. No matter how much they cock things up, they'll never surpass St Louis:

The 1904 Olympics were such a farce that the Olympic Committee were somewhat forced to hold an interim games only 2 years later at Athens.

[Via The Memory Palace podcast, which devoted episode #26 to the story of the 1904 Olympic marathon.]

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Wait until tomorrow

August 1st, 2008

Haruki Murakami on running an ultramarathon:

Have you ever run 100 kilometres in a single day? The vast majority of people in the world (those who are sane, I should say) have never had that experience. No normal person would ever do something so foolhardy. But I did, once. I completed a race that went from morning till evening, and covered 100 kilometres. It was draining physically, as you can imagine, and for a while afterward I swore I'd never run again. I doubt I'll try it again, but who knows what the future may hold. Maybe someday, having forgotten my lesson, I'll take up the challenge of an ultramarathon again. You have to wait until tomorrow to find out what tomorrow will bring. […]

[Via kottke.org]

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