To OP: I had a similar problem earlier this year - apparently the trick to speak to an actual human is to press the relevant option number (re car tax/docs or whatever it is) for the first menu, and after that press a number that isn't offered in the next option menu.
A work colleague gave me this tip and I found it worked. I tried it - it told me the number I entered was't recognised the first time, but the second time it connected to a proper human being.
Hope this helps - I noticed the options don't actually give you an option to speak to a proper person and it seems to be a Chinese whispers technique passed on by random people who happen to have thumped the number pad on their phone in frustration!
Agreed that in the men's race the pacers were used to protect the athletes which could allow them to conserve more energy for the later stages (not an uncommon occurrence in top road races) and increase the chances of a WR. But, in order to break a world record the winner needs to do the last part on their own, as no one else in the world is capable of running that fast. Whereas in a female athlete's case there are other people (men - not many of them) who are capable of running a mara in 2.15, so if they run in the race with her, she will likely have athletes around her right up to the finishing line,unlike a men's WR marathon run. Doesn't seem like a massive difference, more a sliding scale, but still... I think single sex races makes comparing performances between male & female athletes more accurate.
I can see the logic in the rule change - in the men's race, someone who breaks the world record will have to run the last bits on their own (depending on how tight the race is). No other man is capable of running that fast. In Paula's case, no other woman was (or is), therefore if she (or anyone else) was running at world record pace she would have to be out front, alone, for at least some of the race, in an all female race. But if men are used, who can run at WR pace, it does lend a slight advantage to women, as they will have someone race, and pace themselves against even in the final miles, which can make the difference.
However it does seem churlish to take that record away from her now, especially as the IAAF approved it.
There's a programme on C4 on Monday about football clubs and the FA suppressing positive drugs tests of top flight footballers, though judging by the advert it's more to do with recreational drugs (ad looks like someone doing a line of coke).
Remember when the Balco scandal broke - it only happened because a rival coach (was it Marion Jones' ex coach?) sent a sample of the new steroid to the American doping bod, so they were able to invent a test for it. If that example tells us anything it's that there are enough people willing to invent new, undetectable drugs and enough athletes willing to take them to ensure that there will always be an unknown percentage of sportsmen/women who are not playing by the rules. Flo Jo never returned a positive drugs test either yet there's significant circumstantial evidence to suggest not all was above board there - so her records still stand, perhaps unfairly.
In some ways I feel it would level the playing field to get rid of banned substances in sport - let athletes take what they want and watch someone run a mile in 2 minutes... it would be one hell of a spectacle! But then it becomes more about which lab is 'supporting' the athlete, and more of a freak show (bearded lady anyone?) than a proper athletic competition.
As for lifetime bans, I'd give them another chance on the provision that they are required to submit to drugs test on a significantly more regular basis.