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Message from Andy Milroy:

The press release below was sent out to well over 500 members of the world's
media, Distance road race directors and statisticians. Both members of the[IAAF Road Running & Cross Country Committee and the Executive Council of
AIMS have been alerted to the issue as well.

The events at Alphen (NED) 20K on the 12 Mar 2006 have raised a very
important issue with regard to the management of road races. Starting a
shorter race to coincide with the arrival of the leading runners of a longer
race means two separate races with different starts and start times
operating on the same course at the same time.

I can think of no sport which would sanction that. The two events have to
interfere with each other and affect each other's results.

It also conflicts with IAAF rules on receiving pacing/assistance from a
runner/runners not participating in the same race. Both races are affected.

Approval of the Alphen 25km mark as a world record would set a potentially
very damaging precedent. In an extreme case, it would be perfectly possible
for a runner to run faster than an existing world record, and claim the
world record without once taking the lead in the race, being drafted by a
series of pacemakers, first in longer race and then in the shorter event.

Runners in the shorter race, being in a different race, would be able to aid
the lead runner/s in the longer race without being able to beat him/them.

Best wishes,

Andy Milroy



At the Alphen (NED) 20K held on 12 Mar 2006, Haile Gebreselasie ran a
1:11:37 for 25 km, well under the previously fastest reported time of
1:12:45 set by Paul Kosgei (KEN) at the Berlin (GER) 25 km on 09 May 2004

How can a runner set a record for 25 km in a 20 km race? The 25 km "race"
was started prior to the start of the 20 km race with a small group of pace
makers plus Gebreselasie covering the additional 5 km over a two loop
course before joining the 20 km course.

A narrow passage way allowed Gebreselasie to pass by the mass of runners
awaiting the start of the 20 km race. As Gebreselasie passed the start
line for the 20 km race, the 20 km race was started. i.e., at the 5 km
mark, Gebreselasie acquired a new set of pace makers.

Gebreselasie was paced. There is no question of that. In this case, there
were TWO sets of pace makers. The first set was entered in the same
competition as Gebreselasie and started at the same time.

However, the second set of pace makers was NOT entered in the same
competition as Gebreselasie and did NOT start at the same time. The bottom
line is that Gebreselasie was paced by runners NOT entered in the same
competition as Gebreselasie.

This might seem a minor issue, insufficient to invalidate the mark as a
record. However, it is both a very important issue and also is a very
dangerous precedent.

This strategy, if accepted, could be extended to provide a half marathon
race in a marathon that would utilize the last half of the marathon
course AND would be started just as the lead pack passed the starting
line for the half marathon, thereby providing fresh pace makers for the
second half of a marathon.

This strategy alters entirely the basis upon which pacemakers operate in a
race. A pace maker is normally entered in the race and starts at the
start. He/she is also a potential competitor, regardless of any
proclamation that he/she is simply a pace maker. Such pace makers have
gone on to win the competition that they were supposed to merely pace.

A pace maker under this new strategy cannot win the competition since they
did not start at the start line for the competition, i.e., Salim Kipsang
(KEN) was NOT a competitor in the 25 km since he did not start at the start
of the 25 km and did not run the full 25 km course. And yet, in this case,
he clearly paced Gebreselasie for part of the 25 km race. How far he paced
Gebreselasie is irrelevant, any illegal aid invalidates a potential record

The only conclusion is that the 25 km race violates the rule on bona fide
competition and marks from this "race" cannot not be recognized as
legitimate for world record purposes.

Contact: Ken Young :
Andy Milroy
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