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Boston Marathon 2010 - The Preview
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by Sharon Ekstrom
Each year, the Boston Marathon presents a host of possible story lines and outcomes. In our pre-race writeups, we try to predict some of those and describe the runners who will most likely be part of the final, published, story. For the 2009 race, we expected the stories to include the eventual return of an American to the winner's circle at Boston and/or the continued dominance of the four-time champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot. At the end of the race, we saw neither as the Americans came through in third place on both the men's and women's sides and as Cheruiyot dropped out.
Beyond the expectation of a fast race for 2009, the expected story line once again includes the possibility of an American winner at Boston, as America's top two marathoners - Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall - will both be in the Boston field and both have shown strong recent results. A slew of past champions will also be in both the men's and women's fields, but in the weeks that preceded the Boston Marathon, both the man and woman with the greatest number of recent Boston Marathon victories withdrew from the starting field - changing the complexion of the race.
The Men's Race
The last American to win the Boston Marathon was Greg Meyer in 1983 and prior to that was running legend Alberto Salazar in 1982 with a 2:08:52.
Coming off his New York City Marathon victory - the first American win at New York since Salazar's in 1982 - Meb Keflezighi stands strong to attempt to break the American drought at Boston.
Ryan Hall, arguably America's fastest contemporary marathoner, also has the speed to make a challenge for the top spot at Boston and can put what he learned at the 2009 Boston Marathon to good use in 2010.
Of course we're biased. Like everyone else, we have our favorites: favorite runners, favorite runs, even favorite flavors of ice cream. But for reporting, we try to be as unbiased as possible.
With the above disclaimer, we'll admit that while some in our office are particularly fond of Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot; with his absence from the 2010 Boston Marathon, our entire office is hoping that Meb Keflezighi can pull off the win at the 2010 Boston Marathon. We'll say this again: Meb is the embodiment of sportsmanship, hard work, ethics, family. He runs to elevate running and not for himself and he has an internal fortitude that has enabled him to succeed. If you know Meb, you love Meb, what can we say. And now that we've embarassed the guy enough, we'll continue.
The men's race at the 2010 Boston Marathon will be particularly exciting (and yes, we say that every year, but...). For the first time in years, we can't say that we'll expect Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot to contend - he's out. But for the second time in two years, we will say this will be USA versus the world - and we'll mean it.
Ultimately, the USA versus the world theme will be the top story. Ryan Hall with a 2:06:17 on his record is the second fastest man in the field, behind only Abderrahim Goumri's best (2:05:30). And while Meb Keflezighi is not the fastest runner in the field, he has continued to set personal bests through his most recent races - and most importantly has continually shown that he can compete against the best based on his mental toughness: a skill that garnered him the Olympic Silver Medal in 2004 and let him beat the very deep 2010 New York City Marathon field winning a direct battle with four-time Boston Champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot who finished second in New York. While in 2009, Ryan Hall was the American hope, for 2010 there are two legitimate American hopes for the win.
Running at Boston will be seven of the top ten finishers from the previous year:
Deribe Merga (ETH, 1st in 2:08:42), Ryan Hall (USA, 3rd in 2:09:40), Tekeste Kebede (ETH, 4th in 2:09:49), Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (KEN, 5th in 2:10:06), Gashaw Asfaw (ETH, 6th in 2:
10:44), Evans Cheruiyot (KEN, 8th in 2:12:45), Stephen Kiogora (KEN, 9th in 2:13:00). That is perhaps the largest number of returning top finishers that we can recall. Any of this crew can do well, but beyond those we are singling out in this article (Merga and Hall), we'll note that Evans Cheruiyot has incredible speed and that Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot is young and improving steadily.
Deriba Merga won the 2009 Boston Marathon in commanding fashion and we can expect that tough competitor to fare well in the 2010 race. For Merga, the 2009 Boston win was sweet redemption after he narrowly missed the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Marathon - nearly collapsing at that race and being passed in the final heart-wrenching yards.
In some ways similar to Merga's need for the Boston victory, we'll note that the fastest man in the field, Abderrahim Goumri, has been runner-up at the London Marathon, Chicago Marathon, New York City Marathon... but has never won a major marathon - he should be hungry for this win.
Anything can happen in a marathon - and we'll expect that anything will. Can an American win America's most famous marathon - we shall see.
The Women's Race
The 2010 Boston Marathon women's race includes a strong field including ten women who have run sub 2:26 marathon finishes, including four champions from the recent past returning to vie for the win: Salina Kosgei (2009), Dire Tune (2008), Lidiya Grigoryeva (2007) and Catherine Ndereba (2005, 2004, 2001, 2000) [editor's note, Ndereba, our favorite to win her 5th Boston title, was forced to withdraw due to injury to her piriformis].
2009 Defending champion Kosgei (KEN) has 13 career marathons to her name, eleven of which are top five finishes on noteworthy courses including London, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Tokyo and New York City. At the 2009 Boston Marathon, Kosgei edged out Tune (ETH) to win with only one second between them - the closest margin of victory in the women's race in the history of the Boston Marathon. Two-time Houston Marathon winner Tune cannot complain since she used a similar strategy to win the 2008 race. Having sat back to let others pull the pack for most of the race, Tune left it to a then victorious sprint finish crossing the line 2 seconds before runner up Alevtina Biktimirova (RUS), who has not returned to Boston since. Will Tune change her strategy and outwit Kosgei to win in 2010? Or will the victory be in the hands of another stellar athlete in the field?
Returning for her 4th Boston is 2007 Boston Marathon Champion, Grigoryeva (RUS), who tends to be a wild card able to put in noteworthy performances when conditions are challenging. She won the Boston race during a nor'easter and ran to victory in the sweltering heat of Chicago in 2008. Grigoryeva has also won the Los Angeles Marathon (2006), Paris Marathon (2005) and Austin Marathon (2003), which is proof of her talent and that even on a good day she can take down a competitive field. She is also one of only two non-African champions to win the Boston Marathon in 13 years. (Fellow Russian Svetlana Zakharova was the other, wining the 2003 edition of the marathon.) Grigoryeva at 36 will take on a field of notably 20-something African women. Also worthy of mention is Mexican national record holder Madai Perez (MEX) who is the fastest woman in the field having run a 2:22:59 from the 2006 Chicago Marathon. This will be Perez's first marathon since childbirth, and her first marathon since she finished 3rd behind Grigoryeva at the 2007 Boston Marathon.
Other notable entrants include Cross Country star Teyiba Erkesso (ETH), the two-time winner of the Houston Marathon and the new course record holder from the 2010 edition of Houston unseating Tune's previous record in a personal best of 2:23:53. Erkesso raced the 2009 Chicago Marathon taking 4th place. Chinese rising star, Weiwei Sun (CHN) at 25 years of age is a veteran of the marathon distance with 22 marathons to her name. She debuted in the distance at 17 at the 2002 Beijing Marathon which incidentally is her fastest finish to date in 2:25:15. This prolific runner averages 3-4 marathons per year and will be racing for the first time in the United States. Sun is joined by 21 year old Chaofeng Jia who is a 5,000m and 10,000m specialist whose only marathon to date is a 4th place finish at the Zhengzhou Marathon where at 18 she took 4th.
Prize money - Overall
Prize Money - Masters Division
World record bonus of $50,000 for men breaking Haile Gebrselassie's time of 2:03:59 from the 2008 Berlin Marathon and women breaking Paula Radcliffe's time of 2:15:25 from the 2003 London Marathon.
Course record bonus of $25,000 for men breaking Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot's time of 2:07:14 set at the 2006 race and women breaking Margaret Okayo's time of 2:20:43 set at the 2002 race.
There are also Masters world record bonuses of $10,000 for men breaking 2:08:46 set by Andres Espinoza at the 2003 Berlin Marathon and 2:25:43 set by Ludmila Petrova at the 2008 New York City Marathon. Masters course record bonuses of $7,500 for men breaking 2:11:04 set by John Campbell in 1990 and 2:27:58 set by Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova in 2002.
|Male Elite Athletes|
|Deriba Merga (29)||ETH||1||2:06:38, London, 2008|| History |
|Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (31)||KEN||2||2:07:14, Boston, 2006|| History |
|Ryan Hall (27)||USA||3||2:06:17, London, 2008|| History |
|Abderrahim Goumri (33)||MAR||4||2:05:30, London, 2009|| History |
|Gilbert Yegon (21)||KEN||5||2:06:18, Amsterdam, 2009|| History |
|Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (21)||KEN||6||2:06:23, Frankfurt, 2009|| History |
|Evans Cheruiyot (27)||KEN||7||2:06:25, Chicago, 2008|| History |
|Chala Dechase (25)||ETH||8||2:06:33, Dubai, 2010|| History |
|Elijah Keitany (26)||KEN||9||2:06:41, Amsterdam, 2009|| History |
|David Kipkorir Mandango (31)||KEN||10||2:06:53, Paris, 2009|| History |
|Benjamin Maiyo (31)||KEN||11||2:07:09, Chicago, 2005|| History |
|Tekeste Kebede (28)||ETH||12||2:07:52, Fukuoka, 2009|| History |
|Gashaw Asfaw (31)||ETH||14||2:08:03, Paris, 2006|| History |
|John Kipkorir Komen (32)||KEN||15||2:08:06, Reims, 2008|| History |
|Samuel Mugo (23)||KEN||16||2:08:20, Beijing, 2009|| History |
|Stephen Kiogora (35)||KEN||17||2:08:24, Frankfurt, 2008|| History |
|Mebrahtom Keflezighi (34)||USA||18||2:09:15, New York City, 2009|| History |
|Moses Kipkosgei Kigen (27)||KEN||19||2:10:12, Nairobi, 2009|| History |
|Abdellah Falil (34)||MAR||20||2:12:37, Turin, 2009|| History |
|Jason Lehmkuhle (32)||USA||21||2:12:54, New York City, 2007|| History |
|Cutbert Nyasango (27)||ZIM||22||2:13:19, Berlin, 2009|| History |
|Alejandro Suarez (29)||MEX||23||2:13:33, Torreon, 2009|| History |
|Josh Rohatinsky (28)||USA||24||2:14:23, New York City, 2008|| History |
|Antonio Vega (26)||USA||26||2:15:45, Minneapolis/St. Paul, 2009|| History |
|Mohammed Amyn (34)||MAR||27||Debut|| History |
|Female Elite Athletes|
|Salina Kosgei (33)||KEN||F1||2:23:22, Berlin, 2006|| History |
|Catherine Ndereba (37)||KEN||F2||2:18:47, Chicago, 2001|| History |
|Madai Perez (30)||MEX||F3||2:22:59, Chicago, 2006|| History |
|Teyba Erkesso (27)||ETH||F4||2:23:53, Houston, 2010|| History |
|Dire Tune (24)||ETH||F5||2:24:40, Houston, 2008|| History |
|Lidiya Grigoryeva (36)||RUS||F6||2:25:10, Los Angeles, 2006|| History |
|Bruna Genovese (33)||ITA||F7||2:25:28, Boston, 2006|| History |
|Albina Mayorova-Ivanova (32)||RUS||F8||2:25:35, Chicago, 2003|| History |
|Yurika Nakamura (24)||JPN||F9||2:25:51, Nagoya, 2008|| History |
|Agnes Kiprop (30)||KEN||F10||2:26:22, Turin, 2009|| History |
|Nailya Yulamanova (29)||RUS||F11||2:26:30, Rotterdam, 2009|| History |
|Koren Jelela Yal (23)||ETH||F12||2:28:41, Venice, 2009|| History |
|Michelle Frey (28)||USA||F17||2:35:51, Minneapolis/St. Paul, 2006|| History |
|Waynishet Girma (24)||ETH||F14||2:29:50, Amsterdam, 2009|| History |
|Tatyana Pushkareva (24)||RUS||F15||2:30:30, San Antonio, 2009|| History |
|Meseret Legesse (22)||ETH||F16||2:31:37, Padova, 2009|| History |
|Mestewat Tufa (23)||ETH||F18||Debut|| History |
|Weiwei Sun (25)||CHN||F19||2:25:15, Beijing, 2002|| History |
|Chaofeng Jia (21)||CHN||F20||Debut|| History |