April 17, 2007

Dog bites man and Kenyan wins Boston Marathon

Today was the 15th time in the last 17 years that a Kenyan man won the Boston marathon. Kenyans really aren't that good at the marathon, overall Their best events center around 3,000 meters in length, while the marathon is 42,000 meters. But the Kenyans make sure to show up in force for the Boston marathon each spring, which during Olympic years serves as their Olympic qualifying race. Professional marathon running is rather like heavyweight championship boxing -- you can only go all out about twice per year. The Kenyans have a tradition of making Boston their spring showcase, while other nationalities focus more on other marathons.

In recent years, their northern neighbors, the Ethiopians, have been doing particularly well in the marathon and 10,000 meters. Most racial groups have a relative sweet spot length for running, with West Africans and their diaspora most competitive at 100 to400 meters, Kenyans at 800m to 10000m, Northwest Africans at 1500 to 10000, Ethiopians at 5000 to the marathon, Mexicans at 10,000 to the marathon, and Northeast Asians in the marathon. Whites, however, appear to be about the same at most distances, but do the best in the 800m, 1500m, and marathon because those distances fall outside the strong suits of the West Africans and East Africans running superpowers. This suggests that culture can only have a partial effect on world class running success because runners try different distances. If you start out at 800m, you naturally try 400m and 1500m, and if you are better at one of those, you then try 200m or 3000m/5000m, respectively.

My account of why the Kenyans are such good distance runners is here. During the last Olympics, there was a most amusing shoe company commercial starring a Kenyan runner, who reviewed most of the more politically correct theories for Kenyan success with a bemused look on his face. He didn't think much of any of them. He concluded that he doesn't need these expensive shoes to run well, but you do. Then, he turned and joyfully ran off with a breathtakingly hyper-efficient stride.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Running is an area where the "LA LA LA" sung by the politically correct with fingers in their ears is at it's very loudest.

It's amusing to see the lineup of finalists in the Olympic 100m dash. Invariably, there are men from Africa, the West Indies, North America, Europe, wherever -- but they all have same west African appearance.

Anonymous said...

Who can forget the glory of Allan Wipper Wells? I still don't know if he was juiced up, but the only runner of that time to have more developed muscles was Jarmila Kratochvilova.

Anonymous said...

"Northeast Asians (are most competitive) in the marathon"
What about Liu Xiang? I'm sure Beijing 2008 will show east asians in a more athletic light.

Anonymous said...

white runners are as good at 400 meters as any distance.

interest level still plays a big part in sports. australia and poland can beat nigeria at 400 meters.

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget the ladies! At one time they were barred from entering the Boston Marathon. With extraordinary work and training,they have relentlessly progressed to the point where they are now second only to men! Good work,ladies! :)

Anonymous said...

Man eats dog...Steve, give us a thread where we can beat up on the Koreans.

Anonymous said...

i would wait on the facts before dealing with the south korean school shooting business. in the mean time, here's some hilarious public television:

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't you wait on the facts before suggesting we wait on the facts? Maybe, the facts just aren't worth waiting on. And even if one does wait on the facts, how does one decide when that waiting should stop, in case more facts that should have been waited on, come along.

And so on, and, so forth.

Ross said...

" I'm sure Beijing 2008 will show east asians in a more athletic light. "

Chinese athletes tend to only set records when the drug testing regime can be controlled by China, see all the Women's middle to long distance records they set in the mid 1990s for examples.

Steve Sailer said...

Right, the 400m is a length at which white runners from Europe and Australia have done well, but black Americans long dominated in part because the 4x400 (mile) relay was the closing event of American track meets so it was a point of pride to do well in the 400. But, now the two best American quarter-milers are white. So, the 400m really falls in that gap between where West Africans are super-dominant (100m and, to a slightly lesser extent, 200m) and where the East Africans take over. (Kenyans have won a few Olympic medals in the 400m, but it's really a little too short for them.)

Anonymous said...

during the michael johnson era, roger black was second fastest guy in the 400, and britain regularly has white runners on the 4x400 relay. australia beat nigeria in the 4x400 at the 04 games with 3 white runners.

this leads me to wonder how much interest white americans have lost in sport. two of the best basketball players are foreign whites, but there is not a single major white american star in basketball.

there are 220 million white americans, but the US is now losing international basketball tournaments to white teams from medium sized nations with 40 million people. so you might think the media would be calling loudly to mobilize that talent pool to produce more players like barry and eaton and mchale and stockton to help the US dominate basketball again.

instead, we get "Why isn't baseball 100% black like it should be? Every sport should be 100% black, so what is the problem with baseball? This is big problem that warrants a national news story. It could be more hidden racism. It could require millions of dollars of federal money for an outreach program. This seems to be turning into a national crisis."

the media does not even count black players from latin america as black. it goes directly to spinning things in favor of the group that it worships: black american men in sport. that has to have a powerful effect on potential white athletes. everywhere the message is strong: you can't play, so don't bother.