Bekele Scratches From London Marathon Upending Race

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Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele has scratched from Sunday's Virgin Money London Marathon, organizers reported this morning.  Bekele, 38, picked up a small injury in his left calf in the final weeks of preparation for the hotly-anticipated showdown between the Ethiopian star and marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya.  The men are the two fastest marathoners of all time.

"I am very disappointed that I cannot race on Sunday," Bekele said through a statement provided by London Marathon Events, the race organizers.  "It has been a tough preparation time with lockdown when I couldn't have my NN team around me.  I was in good shape but then I picked up a niggle in my left calf after two fast training sessions too close together in the last weeks of preparation."

Race Results Weekly was informed of Bekele's withdrawal yesterday by an individual inside of the marathon's biosphere at a hotel outside of Central London, but was unable to confirm the story. Another person inside the biosphere observed Bekele and his long-time manager Jos Hermens in an intense conversation over a meal yesterday, but did not know the subject of the conversation. "Jos doesn't look happy," the person said.

Bekele has struggled with injuries in the waning years of his career. In his last four marathon starts, Bekele has dropped out twice, including at the 41-kilometer mark of the 2018 TCS Amsterdam Marathon. However, in his last marathon (Berlin, 2019) he was brilliant running the second-fastest time in history, 2:01:41, just two seconds off of Kipchoge's world record.

Bekele appeared at the organizers' press conference on Wednesday and did not mention his injury. He said later, however, that he was trying his best to be ready for Sunday.

"I have been having treatment every day since then and I truly believed I would be ready," he said. "But today it is worse and I now know I cannot race on it."

Without Bekele, Kipchoge still faces a formidable challenge from five excellent Ethiopians: Mosinet Geremew (2:02:55 PB), Mule Wasihun (2:03:16), Sisay Lemma (2:03:36), Tamirat Tola (2:04:06), and Shura Kitata (2:04:49). Kipchoge has won the race four times and holds the event record (2:02:37).

It's hard to say at this point whether Bekele's marathon career is over, but he is clearly disappointed not to be able to start on Sunday.

"This race was so important to me," he said. "My time in Berlin last year gave me great confidence and motivation and I was looking forward to show that again, I have worked so hard for it. I know many people around the world have been looking forward to this race and I am sorry to disappoint my fans, the organisers and my fellow competitors. I will take time to recover and become fit again and I hope to be back in London next year.

Salwa Eid Naser Avoids Whereabouts Ban Due To Apartment Snafu

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The whereabouts case brought by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) against 400m world champion Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain has been dropped by the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal after a filing failure was backdated and a missed test reversed, allowing the sprinter to avoid three whereabouts failures within a 12-month period.

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Jepchirchir & Kiplimo Take World Half Titles In Fast Races

Jacob Kiplimo

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All Eyes On Cheptegei At Saturday's World Half Marathon Championships

Joshua Cheptegei

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Three Big Questions Ahead Of The OSU Invitational

Ryan Raff

In a year in which the NCAA indoor, outdoor and cross country championships have been canceled due to COVID-19, it’s safe to say that a mid-October invitational cross country meet has never been more anticipated than Saturday’s OSU Invitational in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

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Which Of The 2020 World Records Is Best?

Joshua Cheptegei, Mondo Duplantis

For a year in which both the world indoor championships and the Olympic Games were postponed, 2020 has seen its fair share of world records. (Of course, one could argue that those events being postponed aided in world record achievement, particularly in the cases of Joshua Cheptegei and Letesenbet Gidey.) A season with so much history has begged a question: which among these world records is the best? 

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Michigan Pro Ekiden And Half Marathon Born Out Of Necessity

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Joshua Cheptegei Topples Bekele Again With 26:11 10,000m WR

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For the second time in less than two months, 24-year-old Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei has taken a world record from Kenenisa Bekele. After breaking Bekele’s 5,000m record on August 14 in Monaco in 12:35.37, Cheptegei on Wednesday ran 26:11.00 in Valencia, Spain, to dismantle the 26:17.53 Bekele ran in 2005.

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Letesenbet Gidey Crushes Women's 5,000m WR In 14:06.62

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22-year-old Letesenbet Gidey smashed fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba’s 5,000m world record on Wednesday night in Valencia, Spain, by running 14:06.62. Gidey, running in the NN Valencia World Record Day, took down Dibaba’s 14:11.15 mark which had stood since 2008.

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How to Watch: 2020 NN Valencia World Record Day

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The 2020 NN Valencia World Record Day starts on Oct 7, 2020 LIVE on FloTrack

Kitata Prevails As Kipchoge Falters, Kosgei Dominates In London

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(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

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