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Eliud Kipchoge plots next marathon

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Eliud Kipchoge will race the Berlin Marathon for the fourth time on Sept. 16, seeking again to challenge the world record on the world’s fastest record-eligible course, according to event organizers.

Kipchoge, a 33-year-old Kenyan Olympic champion, won Berlin in 2015 and 2017 and was second in 2013, his only defeat in 10 career marathons.

Kipchoge’s personal best of 2:03:05, set at the 2016 London Marathon, is eight seconds shy of Dennis Kimetto‘s world record from the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

Kipchoge’s two Berlin wins came in 2:04:00 in 2015 (with his soles flapping out from the back of his shoes) and 2:03:32 last year (in rain and humidity).

Fellow Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, who lowered the world record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon and has run four sub-2:04s, is also in the Berlin field.

As is Eritrean Zersenay Tadese, the half-marathon world-record holder whose marathon personal best is 2:10:41, though he ran 2:06:51 in Nike’s sub-two-hour marathon attempt not run under record-eligible conditions (where Kipchoge famously clocked 2:00:25 last year).

Top U.S. men’s marathoner Galen Rupp already chose his fall marathon, defending his title in Chicago on Oct. 7. Former training partner and four-time Olympic track champion Mo Farah is expected to race either Chicago or New York City on Nov. 4.

The world’s other top marathoner, New York City champion Geoffrey Kamworor, has not announced his fall marathon plan.

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MORE: Shalane Flanagan looks to future after last Boston Marathon

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned four years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)