Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member


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Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby preston » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:50 am

I guess the distance runners can stop saying that they're losing (they've lost) interest in track because of doping by sprinters. Rash of MD and LD positives over the years, though.

http://running.competitor.com/2012/10/n ... ping_60364
For many years I chose the proper direction, but two years ago I made a choice that will disappoint, sadden and, perhaps anger you. I chose to use EPO.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby gh » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:57 am

in the "law of unintended consequences" department, am I the only one who thinks that this tale, rather than scare off potential users will actually increase the number who choose to go the EPO route upon hearing of its miraculous properties?
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby br » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:37 pm

gh wrote:in the "law of unintended consequences" department, am I the only one who thinks that this tale, rather than scare off potential users will actually increase the number who choose to go the EPO route upon hearing of its miraculous properties?


I agree, GH. Hesch wasn't 'caught' in the conventional manner. He was getting away with it mainly because he was an under the radar, national class runner who wasn't making a dent on the international scene. Winning local and/or very low key races and collecting pocket change prize money would not look suspicious.

Going off EPO in a fair amount of time prior to a 'tested' event would not be that difficult. It just shows that had his teammate not found a vial in his jacket, Hesch would probably still be racing.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby Ned Ryerson » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:04 pm

gh wrote:in the "law of unintended consequences" department, am I the only one who thinks that this tale, rather than scare off potential users will actually increase the number who choose to go the EPO route upon hearing of its miraculous properties?


I don't know. Maybe. But you're going to be relegated to never making it to the big time. I imagine it's like a lot of crime: it's a lot easier to get away with the small stuff than it is big ticket items.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby 18.99s » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:08 pm

Did he run his only sub-4 minute mile(s) in the past 2 years (i.e. since he started taking EPO)? If not, his sub-4 time would stand, so the "sub 4 club" would not lose a member.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby aaronk » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:47 pm

What's "meaningless" about being a sub-4:00 miler??
To those who have done one (or more), I'm sure it is NOT "meaningless"!!

Tell me, will we think the sub-10.00 100 club is meaningless when a certain number of sprinters have dipped under that mark?

Or the sub-13:00 110 or 100H clubs??

Or the sub-13:00 or sub-27:00 5K and 10K clubs??

Or the 70 foot SP club??

Or the......well, you get the idea!!
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby ed gee » Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:13 pm

13 August, 2011

18.99s wrote:Did he run his only sub-4 minute mile(s) in the past 2 years (i.e. since he started taking EPO)? If not, his sub-4 time would stand, so the "sub 4 club" would not lose a member.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby Mighty Favog » Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:25 pm

Ned Ryerson wrote:
gh wrote:in the "law of unintended consequences" department, am I the only one who thinks that this tale, rather than scare off potential users will actually increase the number who choose to go the EPO route upon hearing of its miraculous properties?


I don't know. Maybe. But you're going to be relegated to never making it to the big time. I imagine it's like a lot of crime: it's a lot easier to get away with the small stuff than it is big ticket items.
If you're going to spend the money on dope to make $20,000 a year in prize money, have at it -- that's how much he says he won, and I have serious doubts about the veracity of that claim. I agree, this guy reminds me of Johnny Hooker before he met up with Henry Gondorff. The dopers who upset me are the Doyle Lonnigans of the sport.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby gh » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:16 pm

who gets to play Salino in this little mini-drama?
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:37 pm

aaronk wrote:What's "meaningless" about being a sub-4:00 miler??
To those who have one (or more), I'm sure it is NOT "meaningless"!!
Tell me, will we think the sub-10.00 100 club is meaningless when a certain number of sprinters have dipped under that mark?
Or the sub-13:00 110 clubs??
Or the sub-13:00 or sub-27:00 5K and 10K clubs??
Or the 70 foot SP club??
Or the......well, you get the idea!!

Tiny problem - FAR fewer people have done better than those marks than have broken 4:00 (which is well over 1000!)
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby 26mi235 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:56 pm

ed gee wrote:13 August, 2011

18.99s wrote:Did he run his only sub-4 minute mile(s) in the past 2 years (i.e. since he started taking EPO)? If not, his sub-4 time would stand, so the "sub 4 club" would not lose a member.


Probably not a member -- I thought he had a road mile; could be downhill, might be short, etc.

As for meaningless, it is a Preston-type comment meant more to be a pain in the rear than a discussion. It will be many decades before it is meaningless. There are some pretty good high school runners in the US and there was about third of a century between sub-fours. Sub-four has something that no other mark in track and field has -- recognition well beyond track and field as a number. If you say sub-four it has a completely different ring to the rest of the world than sub-13 (5000m, 110h), sub-10, sub-22, sub-11. Those are better marks in an athletic sense but not in terms of a term.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby ed gee » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:03 pm

362. Christian Hesch (unattached) ...3:58.68*...(10) Falmouth...August 13

http://trackandfieldnews.com/images/sto ... ssub4s.pdf
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby aaronk » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:30 pm

Just remembered a cartoon I saw in an issue of Playboy many years ago!

Two gorgeous gals are sitting in the stands watching a guy speed around the track.
One says to the other,
"Running a mile isn't the only thing he does in under four minutes!!" :D
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby preston » Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:06 am

26mi235 wrote:...If you say sub-four it has a completely different ring to the rest of the world than sub-13 (5000m, 110h), sub-10, sub-22, sub-11. Those are better marks in an athletic sense but not in terms of a term.

The rest of the world? Oh, I get it, your world is Wisconsin high schools and MAYBE the continental US? Now, the rest of the planet, on the other hand, could give a rat's *** about sub-4. Sub-4 is so far removed from actual racing and competition that it's the equivalent of the 3-legged 2-man race or egg and spoon. It's an anachronism; only some of us ... have moved on with the times. It's not a goal that real athletes do - or even aspire to. It's about as significant to the rest of the world as "America the Beautiful". But, you go further. You claim that it's more significant to the rest of the world than sub-10? (I would insert an emoticon but I think GPS coordinates to your wherabouts so that you could be committed would be a more humane act.) Sub-10? Sub-10 is so universal that whether you're talking about yards or meters...it's a milestone to somebody. Oh, I get it, you're talking about 2 miles...for a high school kid? Again, when your world is Wisconsin there's not a whole lot we can agree upon.

And, aaronk. Nearly every one of those marks that you've listed has fewer than 100 people to ever best them. Only 14 people have run sub-13.00! Elite clubs are supposed to be exclusionary. There is no way that you can have almost 1000 members of "club" and it still be ELITE. An "elite club" ...for an event ... with a 1000+ members ... in athletics terms ... is ... by ... definition ... meaningless.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby Marlow » Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:54 am

preston wrote:Sub-4 is so far removed from actual racing and competition that it's the equivalent of the 3-legged 2-man race or egg and spoon. It's an anachronism; only some of us ... have moved on with the times. It's not a goal that real athletes do - or even aspire to.

TAFNY! - Best Hyperbole of the Year!
Why do you think T&FN still makes a special mention of every American who breaks it?
Because it's Track & Field News!
In the Anglo world (admittedly the USA and GB) it is INDEED a big deal (yes, beyond it's intrinsic 2012 equivalency merit).
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby gh » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:04 am

preston wrote:.... (I would insert an emoticon but I think GPS coordinates to your wherabouts so that you could be committed would be a more humane act.) ....


enjoy your vacation
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby Daisy » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:31 am

Marlow wrote:In the Anglo world (admittedly the USA and GB) it is INDEED a big deal

Hold on, don't drag us into this! ;)
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby br » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:38 am

26mi235 wrote:
ed gee wrote:13 August, 2011

18.99s wrote:Did he run his only sub-4 minute mile(s) in the past 2 years (i.e. since he started taking EPO)? If not, his sub-4 time would stand, so the "sub 4 club" would not lose a member.


Probably not a member -- I thought he had a road mile; could be downhill, might be short, etc.


http://www.flotrack.org/coverage/239528 ... mouth-Mile
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:52 am

gh wrote:in the "law of unintended consequences" department, am I the only one who thinks that this tale, rather than scare off potential users will actually increase the number who choose to go the EPO route upon hearing of its miraculous properties?


I had the same thought myself. It reminds me of Ben Johnson getting caught, going clean and being lousy, as a perfect advertisement for PED use. Especially since getting and using EPO is a lot easier than I thought possible.

But on the other hand, I wonder how widespread it will be. Sticking a needle in you on a regular basis is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I suppose it depends on what is satisfying to you. I could see it scaring off race promoters at smaller races. Who wants to put up a few grand just so some EPO guy can get it?

And finally as to the silly use of 'meaningless' in the title. A stupid point that we have argued over and over here. A sub four mile is something. It is still a pretty rare accomplishment. I am much more impressed with that, than say, climbing Everest, which these days, only requires a lot of money and free time.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby TN1965 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:08 am

Mighty Favog wrote:If you're going to spend the money on dope to make $20,000 a year in prize money, have at it -- that's how much he says he won, and I have serious doubts about the veracity of that claim.


This $20,000 figure presumably includes money he earned as a pacer. And I assume pacers are not tested for PEDs.

This raises a question. If you achieved a WR with pacers on PED, is the record "tainted"? One difficulty with women's only marathon is that there are not enough pacers who could lead sub-2:20 pace into 35K or even 30K. (If they are good enough to run the sub-2:20 pace for 35K, they probably wouldn't become pacers.) But using "juiced" pacers would solve this problem.

This could also work for a WR attempt in women's 10000m. No one who could "legitimately" sustain a sub-30 pace 7000-8000m into the race would be willing to serve pacers for others.
But juiced pacers could lead the pack to 8000m in 23:40 and let the real runners fight for the record.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby br » Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:05 am

Pacesetters are tested regularly, just as much as the racers, but it also depends on the quality of meet. You are less likely to be tested if you only run in low key meetings where the stakes aren't very high. I doubt Hesch was a regular pacesetter who depended on that mode for his income.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby Master Po » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:55 am

I agree w gh's comment, up there somewhere in this thread, and I agree w most of the comments on it. I assume that actual elites (i.e., those in competition for national titles, and slots on international teams, and international competition) already know all this stuff. No assertions here about who/which %s do or don't cheat -- just assuming that these are things they know of/about.

Hesch's case might well appeal to certain of "sub-national" class or other competitive age-group & other regionally competitive runners. We all know of cases where athletes have cheated when $0 was at stake, so the desire to do that seems to operate in some people, independent of any calculation of earning potential. Even if this guy actually had $40k in earnings the past two years, he likely had significant expenses -- both legal and not -- for his athletics pursuits. So, I guess the motivation is recognition, matching his current self-promotion.

A bit more analysis of his case is also instructive, at least in a small way. Going through his history of results back to 2000 that are on all-athletics.com, and focusing on the three distances at which he has competed most (1500/mile, 10km, 1/2 marathon), basically what his two years of doping did -- if I take 2011-2012 as the cheating years -- is get him back to the level he was at in his early-mid-20s, at the two shorter events, and it let him slightly surpass his pre-doping PB in the 1/2M. Here are the stats:

1500/mile
His best times were in 2001 (age 22), when he did 3:40.73 (=3:58.38) and also did 2 @ 3:42.xx. Over this period from 2000-2012, he has a lot of sub-4:10 & sub-3:50, but only got as close as 4:02.85 (2003) to his PB, until 2011 (age 32) when he ran 3:58.68 at the Falmouth Mile. (He also did 3:57.5 road mile, which I take to be about the same). So, as a miler, EPO got him at age 32 back to where he was at age 22.

10km
His best seasons were 2002-2004 (age 23-25), when he ran 2 @ 29:xx each season, with his PB being 29:03 in 2004 (age 25). After that, there are times on his resume in the 30-32 minute range, until 2011-2012 (age 32-33), when he has run 3 @ 29:xx, with the best being 29:24 (2011). So, as a 10km runner, EPO got him at age 32-33 back to about where he was at age 23-25. Not quite as fast as then, but in the same range.

1/2 marathon
From 2003-2008, he ran a 1/2M a year, more or less, with most of them being around 1:06 or a bit slower. In 2008, at age 29, which I take to be pre-EPO, he ran more at this distance, and ran his PB, 1:04:56 (plus one other @ 1:05). Then, in 2011, at age 32, he ran a bunch of 1/2M races, including 2 @ 1:04 and 2 @ 1:05. So, as a 1/2 marathoner, EPO got him at age 32 to a point comparable with -- slightly better, actually -- than he was at age 29, presumably pre-EPO. On the other hand, he was racing this distance regularly, so it would stand to reason that a 1:04 guy might do that again, with some practice.

this long post concludes below...
Last edited by Master Po on Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby Master Po » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:58 am

...concluded from above...

So, an interesting case study of self-medication, and now, an interesting case of self-promotion.

But, as with so many news stories, less here than initially meets the eye. Not really an elite runner, even in USA-limited contexts, and EPO didn't really make him any better than he ever had been (though it did return some of the "glories of his youth," which is always appealing...)

I suppose I'm to think he's being really noble or something by coming out like this, but I'm not buying. Even at his nationally-uninteresting level, he still competed under false pretenses and accepted earnings and honors under false pretenses. If a person cheats on his spouse or steals from his company, and then decides to tell about it later, that person is still a cheater. (And I don't have to be a moral saint to figure this out. I'm as flawed as anyone -- more than most -- but this guy is a cheater, and now is doing the next best thing.)
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby ExCoastRanger » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:44 am

Master Po wrote:...I suppose I'm to think he's being really noble or something by coming out like this, but I'm not buying.


That is what Hesch seems to be selling.
Runnerswolrd.com has another take on the affair that offers perhaps a more complete picture and a little more history. Looks like he confessed only when it was obvious word would get out anyway.

http://news.runnersworld.com/2012/10/15 ... acing-ban/
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Re: Meaningless sub-4 club loses a member

Postby BBTM media » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:39 am

preston wrote:
26mi235 wrote: And, aaronk. Nearly every one of those marks that you've listed has fewer than 100 people to ever best them. Only 14 people have run sub-13.00! Elite clubs are supposed to be exclusionary. There is no way that you can have almost 1000 members of "club" and it still be ELITE. An "elite club" ...for an event ... with a 1000+ members ... in athletics terms ... is ... by ... definition ... meaningless.


Perception is everything, and the sub-4 minute Mile - thanks to the historic chase and Roger Bannister - still resonates with the track fan and casual fan, the general public and the media, particularly in the United States. And many top runners still aspire to break 4 minutes because of this perception (including their own). In this sense, the sub-4 club is hardly meaningless.
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