Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘irina mikitenko’

I woke up at 4 AM to watch the Flora London Marathon yesterday over UniversalSports.com’s live video stream. While my laptop booted, I brewed coffee and toasted bread. And then, there they were, the elite women, already charging through the suburbs of London, hell-bent and determined to get to Buckingham Palace in two hours and twenty minutes. Irina looked strong, and led with Mara Yamauchi (I somehow missed her sixth-place finish at the 2008 Olympics, and expected her to be Japanese rather than an English Rose) and Olympic bronze medalist Zhou Chunxiu from very early on, with all the lettered vets in a second pack behind them. I was psyched to see Zhou up there for so long–don’t you think she’s kind of like the Terminator?–but this time her cold got the better of her and she finished 12th. Mara’s stunning performance on her home turf was a thrill; she set a huge “pee bee” (as the Brits call our PRs) by 1 minute and 51 seconds. My predictions were crap; I only called the winner (a no-brainer). Kate O’Neill, the top American seed, came in 14th, in 2:34:48. 

Women’s Race (Prediction / Actual)

  1. Irina Mikitenko / Irinia Mikitenko
  2. Gete Wami / Mara Yamauchi
  3. Svetlana Zakharova  / Liliya Shobukhova

The men’s race was exciting, primarily because of the speed. The lead pack went out very fast, at sub-world record pace. I am not quite sure why they asked the rabbits for that, did Sammy really think he was going to set the world record? Maybe this is where my staunch belief in the negative split falls away–at this level of racing, they don’t use such strategies because they are just that good? Or maybe the pacers just screwed up. When the pack of three leaders broke off–Wanjiru, Kebede, and Gharib–I must admit I was disappointed Goumri wasn’t with them. He ultimately finished 6th. Wanjiru broke the course record, and 4 men finished under 2:07. Again, my predictions were el stinko, since I called the winner (again, a no-brainer) but bombed the 2-3.  I do think that Tadese will podium in a major marathon soon–even though he wasa DNF yesterday.

Men’s Race (Prediction / Actual)

  1. Sammy Wanjiru / Sammy Wanjiru
  2. Abderrahim Goumri / Tsegay Kebede
  3. Zersenay Tadese / Jaouad Gharib

I had one misty moment when the cameras panned the starting line for the men’s race. They showed the hordes of runners all packed in for hundreds of yards back, and the announcers went on about “36,000 runners today…” One tear snuck out before I chided myself, Do you think Paula’s sitting at home with her broken foot sniffling into her tea? No! I mean, really, TK: move on! 

One thing that made this spectating experience fun was that I was also logged in to Twitter the whole time. After a while, the chorus of tweets from @PatriceMalloy, @joegarland, @flotrack and others began to feel like we were all sitting around on the ass-magnet couch in my loft, drinking beers, just a bunch of friends watching a big “game” together and talking distance running. Normally, I’d have been emailing frantically back and forth with my girl TS, but she was out on the course with her camera getting some fabulous action shots. Recommended reading: her from-the-curb spectating report , replete with amazing photography.

So let’s talk about pacers. Really, why must the WMM races keep the pacers? These athletes are professionals, they spend every waking hour preparing to race the marathon. Don’t you think they should manage their own pace from the start? New York City has no pacers–and we have had remarkable races here. Not to mention that the rabbits block the view of the runners for those of us watching at home. It just seems like a little too much pampering, too much of an assist tot he elites, especially now when finishing times are faster than ever. The IAAF condones the use of pacers; others do not; and here is some history on how pacemakers came to be common practice.

At 7 AM I shuffled back to bed, satisfied with the knowledge of Sammy’s win and Meb Keflezighi’s 9th place finish (Dathan cramped up, and came in 11th. Poor kid). One of my predictions, though, was spot-on: as I snuggled in for an early-morning nap, Husband grumbled, “What was all that shouting?”

Read Full Post »

….”And who is this upstart wearing a numbered bib? An American… with pigtails and a pink singlet… sprinting past Mikitenko and Wami… they are stunned by this runner they’ve never heard of nor seen before… wow folks, this is the sports story of the century… look at her pigtails fly behind her as she breaks the tape!!”…..

Oops, wrong post. This is my Flora London Marathon predictions post, not my fantasy post.

Yes, I am getting up at 4 AM EST to watch the live stream on UniversalSports.com.

Yes, I will probably sniffle quietly into my coffee cup as I mutter damn adductor brevis over and over again.

Yes, I will definitely wake up Husband sometime around 6 AM as I cheer from the kitchen table.

Men’s Race (updated 6:30 PM 4/25)

  1. Sammy Wanjiru
  2. Abderrahim Goumri
  3. Martin Lel Zersenay Tadese

When Wanjiru first hit my radar, I was a little put off by his boastful nature. But then, I was won over by his audacity and confidence, despite his young age (he’s 22). I was converted once & for all when he won the Olympic Marathon by training for the heat and humidity, and winning as a front runner, leaving WMM champions dropped and broken behind him. I will always root for him to win, unless he’s running against Ryan. I wish I could pick Goumri to win, as I love love the Underdog, but Sammy’s just got too much going on; I don’t know if Goumri is hungry enough to beat him. @6:30 PM–I just scratched Lel as he has withdrawn from the race due to his hip problems (Martin I feel your disappointment!). I’ve put Tadese in his place instead, who makes his debut for the distance but I like the idea of a marathon newbie taking third and leaving everyone else grumbling. I also predict that Meb Keflezighi will finish in the top ten. Based on last year’s top ten finishing times — all under 2:11:44 — Dathan Ritzenheim has a chance to finish in the top ten as well if you consider his PR (2:11:07) and Olympic showing (#9), but that’s if some of the other faster guys in the field burn out and he turns in another PR. (Also, why did I think Khalid Khannouchi was running this marathon?)

Women’s Race

  1. Irina Mikitenko
  2. Gete Wami
  3. Svetlana Zakharova

I like the idea of Irina winning London two in a row; Gete, last year’s WMM Champ, should never be underestimated; and for third place I couldn’t decide between Ludmila Petrova and Zakharova. I ultimately went with Zakharova for third primarily because I think Svetlana is a super name. Do you think her friends call her Lana for short? That’s kind of sexy. Or maybe they call her Zak. Would it be cruel or cool to name your baby girl Svetlana in today’s USA? (Sorry for this strange digression. Blame this.)

Go here for more great info on all the elite runenrs in tomorrow’s race:

Read Full Post »

The Berlin Marathon marked the beginning of the Fall season, it being the first of the three World Majors (Chicago and my NYC follow) that occur in the second half of the year (Boston and London are in the Spring, which you should all already know)… Haile owns this race, having set the world record there last year; and now he’s gone and set another world freaking record while also ensuring himself a spot in history as the first man to run 26.2 miles in under 2:04. Hubba hubba, who needs the Olympics?… I am psyched to see Irina Mikitenko win again, I watched her win London last year on my computer…  The elite field for NYC is nothing short of spectacular, Mary & Corps have really outdone themselves this Olympic year…. As I mentioned earlier, my girl Kara will be debuting her 26.2 mile chops… Also joining will be Paula to defend her title, 2007 World Marathon Majors winner Gete Wami, 2008 Boston Marathon winner Dire Tune, the majestic Catherine Ndereba. Among the male elites, I am most excited about Paul Tergat, Marilson Gomes dos Santos, and Abderrahim Goumri (he came in second after Martin Lel last year)… With each new name the NYRR’s releases, I feel a pang that I won’t be at my usual spot in Queens to watch these inspiring athletes flash by…. I ran my last 20-miler of training on Sunday, actually logging 20.33 miles in 3:09, wow. Ideally October 12th would have been my last 20-miler before taper, but I am determined not only to run the Staten Island Half-Marathon, but to race it… As my training winds down, I can already sense the post-race blues which await me. My friend and colleague EG recommended I read A Race Like No Other to get myself psyched for race day, since oddly I’ve begun to lose enthusiasm for this race I’ve been dreaming about for over a year… Has anyone read A Race Like No Other yet? I know I sent out some free copies… The reviews have been very positive, with an excerpt in this month’s Runner’s World, and an early mention in the New York Post. Library Journal says the book “is poetry for runners; pulsing and energizing in its immediacy, and as raw and persistent as its subject.” Now if only I could get someone to say that about Pigtails FlyingBenjamin Cheever writes in his review in The New York Times that Liz Robbins “packed her book with scrumptious details…” I expect more book coverage as marathon madness heats up in the city; early last week I received my info booklet in the mail, and today I saw my first subway ad as I headed down into the E/V at Fifth Avenue to go to acupuncture… My little G was a perfect running buddy yesterday, it amazed me when I ran past the point in the route I’d always sensed, viscerally, was the 10-mile point. I looked down at little G, who told me: 9.95 miles! See, he and I already have a special connection…One of my industry contacts works support crew in ultramarathons, even though she herself specializes in 5- and 10k’s. She passed me an article by Sunny Blende from the September 2008 issue of UltraRunning magazine that explains why I sweat more now than I ever have before during my runs: “you will sweat sooner and more as you increase your miles and become more fit.” Sweet!… Husband spent the weekend at the Pennsylvania house, leaving me pining away for the mountains’ Fall foliage. Fittingly, Manhattan User’s Guide has raked together all the links we need to get our peep on… And, will someone please give me a massive pile of cash so I can redecorate my apartment entirely from West Elm? Browsing this catalog is like staring at Clive Owen behind glass–he’s right there, and so, so gorgeous, but I just…can’t…touch.

Read Full Post »

What a cool experience, to watch the London Marathon — the whole thing (yes I sat here for three hours working & watching) — over my computer.  Husband quickly wearied of the British announcers’ voices and my cheering, grumpily turning the volume up on his TV to levels appropriate for a nursing home. No matter, I loved every minute of it, and reveled in being able to see those clutch moments of the race when athletes would break away or fall back from the pack.

Three men finished in under 2:06, which is amazing — it’s been a while since any runner’s finished in under 2:06 at all, forget three in one race!  And, they all broke the 2:05:38 course record set by American Khalid Khannouchi (man-on-deck for the Men’s 2008 Olympic Marathon Team). Lel won London for the third time, (he also won the NYC Marathon last year) in one of the most beautiful, smooth sprints to the finish I’ve seen in my few years of avid fandom.  In the women’s race, Mikitenko won in what is only her second marathon ever (she came in second in Berlin, after Wami, last year). Agan: amazing.  Wami finished third after taking a tumble a little over halfway through the race. 

And Ryan Hall ran an exciting race, hanging in the lead pack for the first half, when they were running at world-record pace.  He finished fifth, achieving a personal best time of 2:06:17 by nearly two minutes.  I was thrilled to see him race so strongly, and recognized his even stride from the Trials in Central Park this November. This USA Today coverage & post-race inerview with Hall is good reading.

And, all the athletes finished in the pouring rain.  Even through the pixilated video from WCSN.com I could see how slick and shiny their bodies were as they crossed the finish line and slowed to a stop. 

I’d love to run this race — maybe next year, as part of Team Fox.  The course looks fantastic, as you run through charming outlying neighbrohoods with small gardens, over the Tower Bridge (where they allow crowds to line the perimiter and cheer), passing Parliament, the London Eye, Cutty Sark, and Big Ben and finishing just past Buckingham Palace.

Read Full Post »