Galen Rupp talks training with Mo Farah, marathons, weird drug test story

Galen Rupp
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Galen Rupp likes to say he pretended the 80,000 deafening cheers were for him while running the London Olympic 10,000m final, and not just for Britain’s Mo Farah, his training partner in Oregon.

Perhaps the illusion didn’t vanish immediately after Rupp eclipsed the finish line in second place, a half-second behind Farah. Rupp had become the first American man in 48 years to earn an Olympic medal in the East African-dominated event.

Thirty seconds later, the noise had not diminished.

Rupp hunched over lane nine, hands covering bloodied kneecaps, and pulled the 127-pound Farah up from the curved track upon which Rupp had just spit.

Then Rupp looked out into Olympic Stadium, raised his right hand and extended the index finger. No. 1. Rupp’s eyes shifted, and, less than a second later, he extended a second finger. No. 2, actually.

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Less than two years before the Olympics, Rupp had questioned coach Alberto Salazar‘s plan to add Farah to their training group, leery of a rival gaining from Salazar’s finely tuned programs and Nike’s resources.

As the race turned out, the only athlete that stood between Rupp and Olympic gold was that training partner, a Somalian-born Londoner with similar interests (soccer, not just running). It’s not uncommon in Olympic sports.

Sydney Olympic 100m gold medalist Maurice Greene was the best man at silver medalist Ato Boldon‘s wedding. Just in Sochi, the Olympic gold and silver medalists in women’s bobsled were training partners from different nations.

It was about four years ago that Farah decided to move to Oregon, and the trek toward the London one-two began. Now, Rupp, at 28, knows his best shot at Olympic gold may come in Rio de Janeiro (he remembers talking with Salazar while in high school about his prime Games years being 2012 and 2016).

Rupp spoke with OlympicTalk in New York on Friday, about 16 hours after he worked out at the Armory, where he was approached over and over again by other runners and fans for pictures (here and here and here and here and here). Rupp will compete in the Armory Track Invitational on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra (4:30-6:30 p.m. ET) on Saturday.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

OlympicTalk: You’re an Oregon guy. Were you stunned by Doha getting the 2019 World Championships over Eugene?

Rupp: I wouldn’t say I was stunned. I think Doha was always the front-runner going in. But I was disappointed. I was involved with it. It would have been a dream for me to be able to compete on home soil, basically my hometown.

(Interestingly, Rupp enjoyed an Oregon football tailgate with Qatar’s biggest track star, high jumper Mutaz Barshim, clad in Oregon green one month before the IAAF chose Doha over Eugene and Barcelona.)

OlympicTalk: How is it going to be different racing at a World Championships in Doha versus Eugene?

Rupp: Obviously, the weather is going to be a huge factor. Eugene is perfect at that time of year. Occasionally, you get some rain. For me, it just feels like fans are so great in Eugene. They get behind everything so much. It’s just a special place to run. They know everything about every athlete competing.

OlympicTalk: Mo Farah has been training in Africa, when was the last time you trained with him?

Rupp: November/December. He’s always gone over there. I think he just doesn’t want to change anything. It’s obviously worked for him in the past. I’m sure we’ll get back together and train, hopefully, in the spring.

OlympicTalk: I know you’ve got a family now, and kids, but have you thought about going with him over there?

Rupp: That’s too far for me. I’ve never been over there, so I guess it would be cool to see once. But I don’t really have any desire to go over there. I’m plenty content training in Portland in the winter, or for me to go to altitude, there are plenty of good places in the U.S. as well.

OlympicTalk: You’ve talked about moving up to the marathon at some point. Did watching Mo’s adversity in trying a marathon last year affect you?

Rupp: Nah. In all honesty, I’m really excited for whenever it is that I choose to move up. Right now, my focus is on the track through the Olympics. After 2016, I’ll be able to start looking at when a marathon might fit in. It was a good reminder how tough it is [seeing Farah]. A lot of times, you just think about something going really, really well. It’s a big jump. It’s a big change. It’s so different training from 10K to a marathon. I’ll be the beneficiary from him, learning what worked and what didn’t, advice he might have for whenever I choose to move up. But I’m still excited for it. The marathon, there’s something special about it. That, the mile and the 100 meters are the three biggest events.

OlympicTalk: Did you wake up early to watch Mo run the London Marathon?

Rupp: I watched the last little bit of it. But I didn’t watch the whole thing.

source: Getty Images
Galen Rupp broke the American record in the 10,000m at the Prefontaine Classic on May 30. (Getty Images)

OlympicTalk: Does it put a little bit more pressure on you thinking that 2016, given your age, might be your best shot at an Olympic gold medal?

Rupp: It does a little bit, yeah. Now that we’re here, there’s definitely a little bit more of a sense of urgency. But, to be honest, as far as pressure, the Olympics are enough pressure in itself. They only come every four years. You never know, an injury tomorrow and you can never run again.

OlympicTalk: Can you sense being closer to Mo in training? Where do you see yourself in comparison with him?

Rupp: I’m not so much just concentrated on him. Obviously, he’s been the best. But there’s a ton of good guys. It seems like every year, there’s another few of them that pop up that are going to be right up there. He’s a few years older than me, so I’ve got that working for me (smiles). We’ve always been really close in training. It’s never been like we just try to beat the hell out of each other. We’re never competing like that at the end of stuff. We’ve always been really close. That’s been one of the great things about being able to train with him, that we’re able to get so much more out of each other when we’re running together. I was pretty close in London.

OlympicTalk: What was going through your mind during the Olympic 10,000m medal ceremony? What’s the silver medalist’s mentality?

Rupp: Silver was such a blessing. I was so happy to get it. A lot of people will say, well, are you disappointed you didn’t get gold? My response is usually more like I was thrilled to get the silver medal. Then afterwards it hit me that I’m really close right now. I know I can make that step. I was thisfar away. I really wanted to take some time to enjoy what I did there. Definitely, the day after, it was, what do I have to do to get better. Weaknesses that I have, areas that I need to address. I’ve got four years to get it right. Ever since then, that’s been my total focus.

OlympicTalk: Do you still have the “Stop Rupp” T-shirt from the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials?

Rupp: My mom definitely has one. I think I still have it somewhere in a box. I’m terrible with all that stuff.

(Rupp’s avatar on the Twitter account he hasn’t posted from since 2012 is of him wearing the shirt. Mysteriously, Rupp follows Alan Webb on Twitter. Webb didn’t join Twitter until 2014.)

OlympicTalk: You get drug tested more than anybody else. What’s the weirdest setting you’ve been called on for an out-of-competition test?

Rupp: One time in college, I was driving back from Portland, something like that. I got a call. You’ve got to be tested. I met them at a truck stop off the side of the highway. I went in there, and of course, they have to watch you go to the bathroom and stuff. Of course, we got a lot of weird looks from truckers walking along, wondering what the heck is going on. Then we put everything in the bottles and the paperwork on a picnic table outside.

Russian Olympic, World track and field champions get doping bans

Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago.

The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet in Kenya’s Rift Valley, often hauling by bike several gallons of the family’s milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a nursery school teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.

At 18, he upset legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 World 5000m title on the track. He won Olympic 5000m medals (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then moved to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final