As both faithful readers of this humble blog know, I have a few recurring themes here. One is that cheaters aren't my favorite people. The second is that the NY Times' health coverage sometimes leaves something to be desired. So imagine my excitement when I saw a recent Times article on the high incidence of exercise-induced asthma among athletes that combines both of these themes.
According to the article "exercise-induced asthma has been diagnosed in as many as half of tall elite cross-country skiers and almost as many world-class ice skaters and hockey players." The author quotes Dr. Christopher Randolph, a clinical professor at Yale University who sees patients at the Center for Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Dr. Randolph suggests intense exercise in a cold environment may contribute to the problem. He suggests that the "squeezing and loss of moisture prompt certain cells within the bronchial tube to release allergic chemicals that initiate an inflammatory process, slowly closing your throat."
Our own Dr. Horne is far better qualified that I am to determine if this hypothesis has any medical merit, so far be it from me to argue against it (or the Times' for including it.) However, the author ignores the fact that the rate of EIA in athletes in a variety of warm weather events including track and field and swimming is also higher than that of the general population.
Perhaps the reason that so many of these athletes are claiming to have EIA is that such a diagnosis gets them prescriptions to potentially performance enhancing drugs such as Albuterol, Clenbuterol and other drugs that are on the banned substance list unless prescribed by a physician. It's possible that Dr. Randolph's take makes sense. But why ignore the obvious answer that some of these athletes are lying in order to get a competitive advantage?
It looks like the NYRR schedule has been posted. Among the highlights is the always mysterious Brooklyn Half Marathon. It;s set for 5/22, and it will once again begin in Prospect Park and finish at Coney Island.
In addition, the Run/Walk for Haiti, a 4-miler co-sponsored by NYRR and the Parks and Rec. Dept. is set for Central park on 2/20. According to NYRR "all entry fees will go directly to the NYC's Haiti Relief Fund, administered by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City,
Thanks to our faithful readers who have brought this story to my attention. Apparently Chinese college applicants were offered extra credit if they ran sub 2:34 at the Xiamen International Marathon. According to the BBC, over thirty runners were caught using a variety of cheating methods. They used a variety of creative methods including using impostors, having one runner with multiple chips, and the tried-and-true method of using a vehicle to speed things up.
Nice season opener by Kevin Starkes at the Manhattan Half today. Despite the fact that we worked him like a rented mule this week, he was still able to finish in 11th place with a PR of 1:13:39. It's gonna be fun to see what he can do with a taper one of these days.
Every year, the very cool folks at Improv Everywhere organize a No Pants Subway Ride in an effort to elicit a reaction from unsuspecting straphangers. While we're not quite as edgy as all that, some of us have added a little twist to our Nike Run NYC Monday night runs. While everyone is toughing it out and running through the cold as part of our Winter Warriors program, a few of us have decided to run in shorts every Monday regardless of how cold it gets. Last week was decidedly unpleasant and tonight's not looking much better. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Luckily for you, there's no pants prohibition for the masses, and you're all welcome to join us. The Winter Warriors meet every Monday at 6:30 at the NY Running Company in the Time Warner Center. Bag check and shoe trials are available, plus there are frequent runner incentives for those who come regularly.
According to The Biz Runner, which is fast becoming one of my favorite blogs, NYRR is offering an appearance fee of $100,000 to entice 98-year old Fauja Singh to run the NYC Marathon in 2011, at which time he will be 100 years old. At present the record for the oldest marathoner is 98-years old. (At the 2008 marathon, Buster Martin claimed to be 101 years old, but that claim was never verified and his record is not recognized.)
In case you were wondering, Mr. Singh – who began running again at age 89 (after a 50 year hiatus) – has a PR of 5:40, which he set at age 92.
Mr. Singh's representative says that all prizes and appearance fees that Mr. Singh gets go to a charity for premature babies. "I think it is a good thing for the oldest person in the race to run for the youngest people in our world" said Mr. Singh
***UPDATE*** According to Biz Runner, NYRR denies the story. “While we have heard of Mr. Singh and his amazing achievements, there is no truth to the report that any officials from the ING New York City Marathon have offered him money to run in our race. We wish him well in his running and applaud all of his efforts and accomplishments at his age.”
Now that the season is over, I'm finally catching up on what important to me, like all the epsiodes of America's Top Model I have on DVR, and reading back issues of my favorite Scottish newspapers. I was flipping through the Scotsman today and I noticed a story about the Edinburgh Marathon held this past June. Seems that two runners (one male, one female) decided to swap numbers. Problem is that he ran fast enough to be one of the top-10 women. That raised some eyebrows among their running club, who reported them to the organizers.
Apparently the Scots don't appreciate cheating any more than I do, as both runners have been banned for life from the marathon. "We decided to take action by banning them for life because otherwise Scottish Athletics were going to take action and we thought it would be better if they were banned from our race rather than every race in Scotland." In a statement, the Marathon organisers said: "Edinburgh Marathon Limited has issued an indefinite ban for the Marathon and races organised by GSI events to a male runner who completed the marathon wearing a race number that was issued to a female competitor. The female athlete has also been banned. The action was taken in conjunction with Scottish Athletics."