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Running notebook: Plenty of news to ponder

A couple of weeks ago, we were a little low on running news. Now we've got plenty of news and notes.

First off, the toughest job in running right now might belong to Western New York native Mary Wittenberg, the head of New York Road Runners. Wittenberg has a marathon to run in New York City on Sunday (it will be shown on ESPN2). It's a tough balancing act to put on an event in New York only a few days after the damage from Sandy the superstorm. The marathon is obviously a huge event in New York, but she obviously doesn't want to divert any of the authorities from their important recovery efforts. Best of luck to everyone involved there.

Speaking of the marathon, Gene McDonough plans to take part. The area runner has gone through a lot to get there, including cancer treatments and a recent stress fracture in his back. He'll join several other area runners who often take part in the annual event.

Elsewhere, I exchanged emails with Christian Hesch, who was the runner who recently turned himself in for EPO use over the last two years. He made a couple of points of clarification worth passing along.

Hesch says his last injections of EPO in 2011 and 2012 came in March, so it's at least arguable how much of a difference that would have made in the Subaru races in Buffalo in July of each year.

He also points out doping issues probably are more common that we think at races such as Subaru. Hesch notes that some competitors at that level have been known to run two or three races per weekend, which can take a physical toll. Meanwhile, runners - some of whom have faced bans for doping in the past - have been known to change their names slightly in order to avoid detection by race officials. It's a difficult area because few races at this level have the budget and capabilities to guarantee a "clean" race.

Hesch seems genuinely disappointed in what happened to him with EPO use, and hopes to return to the ethtical person he says he used to be. I wish him luck in that quest.

Last week in this space, I wondered why the Bob Ivory Run was held a week earlier than normal. It turns out St. Joe's is hosting a soccer tournament this weekend, so the race was bumped out of its usual slot. The field was happy that the rain held off during the actual race.

And now, finally, the weekend schedule from Buffalorunners.com:

* Buffalorunners 10K, Chestnut Ridge Park casino in Orchard Park, 9 a.m. Saturday, 649-1530. It's a nice no-frill race designed to show support for the area's best running website.

* Joe's 5K, 2909 Transit Road in Newfane, 10 a.m. Saturday, 778-4603.

* UAW Veterans Appreciation 5K Run, 524 Walnut St. in Lockport, 12 noon Saturday, 632-1540. I've run this race once before. It's a part of the world I don't see often, and I didn't go away hungry.

* Making Tracks for Families 5K, 2909 south Park Ave. in Lackawanna, 10 a.m. Sunday, 634-1058. The race is held at the Holy Cross Cemetery, so you'd better be good on turns. Plenty of food there, too, for those interested in such subjects.

--- Budd Bailey

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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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