Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Annals of Marathons

In case you haven't heard, this year's Chicago Marathon was a total disaster that may have implications beyond the one fatality, numerous hospitalizations, and scores of runners who needed to be helped to the finish line. Jay Mariotti looks on in horror at the possible consequences:

Honestly, would you award a Summer Games to a city where one runner dies, several more end up in hospitals in serious to critical condition and hundreds of others have to be helped through heat-related ailments and exhaustion by a large fleet of ambulances? As it is, U.S. Olympic Committee chief Peter Ueberroth thinks Chicago ranks as low as fourth on his perceived pecking order of 2016 candidates, urging a groundswell of politicking before savvier groups in Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo gain insurmountable leads.


This civic black mark comes only days after Ueberroth, who badly wants the 2016 Games in the U.S., implored Chicago's business and political leaders to start making inroads with influential Olympic people worldwide. "Politicking doesn't have, in my view, the right connotations,'' Ueberroth said last week. "You have to care about and develop real friendships globally if you're going to be successful in the Olympic movement. The USOC, for a number of years, ignored that.

Chicago can't hold all the games in it's city limits. Camp Randall would likely be used for something (soccer, anyone?), given that it's one of the biggest stadiums in the relative area. Walworth County is trying to get a piece of the action, lobbying to get mountain biking in Kettle Moraine and sailing at Lake Geneva. Then there's the hotel rooms in Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, et al. that would be gobbled up for the games.

In other words, Wisconsin has a lot at stake in the Chicago Olympic bid. Cities that win the games usually use them as an excuse for transforming infrastructures and creating a better highway route to Chicago -- and maybe even, dare I say, a train of some kind between Milwaukee and the Windy City -- would be a welcome addition to the Midwest.

On a brighter note, here's an interesting marathon-related story:
After a humiliating defeat in Mexico's presidential election last year, Roberto Madrazo appeared to be back on top: He'd won the men's age-55 category in the Sept. 30 Berlin marathon with a surprising time of 2:41:12.
But Madrazo couldn't leave his reputation for shady dealings in the dust. Race officials said Monday they disqualified him for apparently taking a short cut -- an electronic tracking chip indicates he skipped two checkpoints in the race and would have needed superhuman speed to achieve his win.
According to the chip, Madrazo took only 21 minutes to cover nine miles -- faster than any human can run. "Not even the world record holder can go that fast," race director Mark Milde said.

That's 2 minutes 20 seconds a mile for 9 consecutive miles.

The world record for the a single mile is 3:43:13 (the American record is 3:47:6).

Which might make now a good time to remind the kids: The object of cheating isn't to win, it's to not get caught.

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