Posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 at 9:04 am and is filed under Archive | 0

Well, you certainly find out who your friends or, more particularly, your enemies are when you write what is considered to be a contentious piece.

My thanks, nevertheless, to everyone who responded on the tortured subject of Boston as a viable marathon course.

But I am particularly taken by the response from a relatively recent acquaintance, Prof. Dr. Helmut Winter, who is a member of two of the most illustrious institutions of Physics/Natural Sciences in the world, Humboldt University and Max Planck Research School, in Berlin.

Incidentally, I’ve always loved the acknowledgment of Alexander von Humboldt’s breadth of knowledge and research – ‘The last man who knew everything’.

Von Humboldt deserves to be remembered as much as Charles Darwin, and indeed Darwin is alleged to have said of him, “I’ve always admired him; now I worship him”.

Forgive the digression, but….. great men!

And so to Prof Winter. As well as being a scientist of repute, Helmut is a great fan of long distance running, and an even greater fan of Haile Gebrselassie, and has provided us with loads of stats on Haile’s record-breaking runs, in Berlin and Dubai.

But like many a scientist, Helmut doesn’t let his profession get in the way of his sense of fun, witness the accompanying photo of your scribe and colleague, Andy Edwards pacing the great man Geb to another fast marathon time….

Joking apart, Helmut’s response to the Boston ‘problem’ bears some reflection, as befits a suggestion from the serious side of Prof. Dr. Winter. Here’s what he wrote to my previous blog.

Until two years ago when Boston times were in the 2:07 or slower, nobody did care about the Boston “problem”. Now things have changed. There is not too much to be added. I discussed the Boston problem on the German road races website:

My suggestion is a “soft” solution. Everbody should follow tradition there, except the elite. If the elite would start at the half way point in Wellesley, run against the course for a 1/4 marathon and turn around to complete the rest 3/4 as before, then you follow to a major extent tradition …. and you follow ALL RULES (the elevation difference from Wellesley to Copley Square is 41m!

Now, there’s a good idea.

Unfortunately, Helmut’s piece on German Road Races (link he gives above) has not yet been translated into English. But you get the gist of it from his other few lines.

OK, friends…. and enemies – over to you!

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