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2011 Boston Marathon - The Women
By Sharon Ekstrom
Catherine Ndereba |
Dire Tune |
Teyba Erkesso |
Salina Kosgei |
Kara Goucher |
Tatyana Pushkareva |
Desiree Davila |
Werknesh Kidane |
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer - |
Ndereba at the 2010 Beach to Beacon 10K
PB: 2:18:27, 2001 Chicago Marathon
At thirty-eight years old Catherine "the Great" Ndereba best known on the roads as an unstoppable force has seen an impressive marathon resume spanning twelve years. She has placed first or second at 17 of 23 career marathons - including four wins of the Boston Marathon, two wins of the Chicago Marathon, two silver medals from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and three medals from the 2003 through 2007 World Championships (two gold and one silver) to mention a few.
With so many top performances to her name, Ndereba debuted at the 1999 Boston Marathon, where she placed sixth in 2:28:27, one of her slowest marathons ever. Two years later she set a world record in 2:18:47 at the 2001 Chicago Marathon, the first woman to break the 2:19 barrier and remains one of only two women in the world capable of that feat. (Paula Radcliffe eclipsed her finish time three times since.) Remarkably Ndereba has three sub-2:20 finishes, something that only Radcliffe can once again surpass her in.
Ndereba the strongest female marathoner in history returns to the Boston Marathon for the first time since 2005, when she won for the fourth time in 2:25:13. Despite setbacks due to various injuries in the past few years, Ndereba, one of the fiercest competitors in the circuit, soldiers on. After winning a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Games, she ran a 5th place finish at the New York City Marathon (2:29:14). In 2009 she returned to London for the first time in 6 years. Having never won the race, injuries during her training season had their consequences - a 2:26:22 in a 7th place, the worst finishing place of her career. She ended the year with a 3rd place at the inaugural Yokohama Women's Marathon (2:29:13); but has not run a marathon since. While she has been seen on the road circuit at smaller high profile races finishing in the top ten, her fitness levels are questionable as she heads to the 2011 Boston Marathon. Ndereba has been a favorite of MarathonGuide.com since our inception and we hold high hopes that she will make a comeback and claim a fifth victory of Boston.
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer - |
Tune at the 2010 Boston Marathon
PB: 2:23:44, 2010 Frankfurt Marathon
Dire Tune has proven to be one of the strongest 20-something distance runners; continuing the tradition of other Ethiopian women that has included Derartu Tulu, Berhane Adere and Gete Wami. Tune has proven herself in the most competitive fields and accumulated victories in Hong Kong, Houston and Boston. She was also the youngest champion of the Boston Marathon (2:25:25) at age 23, just three months after winning the 2008 Houston Marathon in a course record time of 2:24:40.
Tune was edged out of a second victory of the 2009 Boston Marathon by Salina Kosgei in the narrowest margin of victory (less than one second) ever seen in the women's event. Tune finished in 2:32:17. In 2008 Tune had experienced the opposite result - she won by way of a finishing sprint against Russian Alevtina Biktimirova, prevailing by two seconds.
In 2010, Tune started the season off well with a 3rd place at World's Best 10K (31:40) and two strong finishes at the Abu Dhabi and Ras al Khaimah Half-Marathons. But when it came to the 2010 Boston Marathon, Tune did not finish despite being a strong lead in the first half of the race. She earned a silver medal at the 2010 Half Marathon World Championships (68:34) losing to Florence Kiplagat by 10 seconds. Two weeks later, she was runner up at the 2010 Frankfurt Marathon in 2:23:44 a personal best, losing to Caroline Kilel in a one second margin of victory. (Kilel will also be in attendance at the 2011 Boston Marathon.)
Going into 2011, Tune has continued a streak of "almosts" - two runner-up finishes at the World's Best 10K and Ras al Khaimah Half Marathon. Tune will be back in Boston seeking to reclaim the victory of the race win that has eluded her since 2008 and to break the streak of "runner-up" finishes.
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer - |
Erkesso winning the 2010 Boston Marathon
PB: 2:23:53, 2010 Houston Marathon
Not only is Teyba Erkesso, the 2010 defending Boston Marathon champion, she is the fastest Ethiopian woman in the marathon - not an easy feat given the number of top female marathoners from the nation in competition these days. For a decade, Erkesso was primarily a competitor in cross country and the half marathon. Her first attempt at the distance was at the dangerously hot 2007 Chicago Marathon which ended in a DNF; but she quickly excelled in the marathon with a win of the 2009 Houston Marathon in course record of 2:24:18. She returned to Chicago to redeem herself, running a 4th place finish at the 2009 edition of the race (2:26:56).
Erkesso returned to Houston in 2010 breaking her previous course record to defend her title in 2:23:53 in a time when women had been running marathons for place rather than time. It was a personal best for Erkesso as well as a national record. She next set her sights on a return to the 2010 Boston Marathon whose roster included a deep field of former champions. Erkesso won in a 2:26:11, beating Tatyana Pushkareva and Salina Kosgei. Her final marathon of the year was in New York City. Although she was one of the favorites in the field, she was 12th place in a 2:31:06.
Erkesso has kept a low profile this year without any races to her name, thus far in 2011. She won't be unrivaled, as she attempts to defend her title in one of the deepest fields that the Boston Marathon has ever seen. As returning to the field will be Pushkareva, who nearly ran her down at the 2010 Boston Marathon and Salina Kosgei (3rd place from 2010) will have Erkesso in their sights. Tune and Ndereba, also previous champions of the event, plus other star performers will not make it easy.
Photo Credit: MarathonGuide.com - |
Kosgei at the 2005 ING New York City Marathon
PB: 2:23:22, 2006 Berlin Marathon
Salina Kosgei, the 2009 champion of the Boston Marathon, will return to reclaim her title. Kosgei has a history of top finishes from other major marathons to her name including victories at the 2004 Paris Marathon, 2005 Prague Marathon, 2006 Singapore Marathon and top 5 performances at London (2007-4th place, 2008-4th place), Berlin (2006-2nd place), Tokyo (2008-2nd place), New York City (2005-4th place, 2009-5th place). While Kosgei is not the fastest woman in the field; she can hang with the leaders until she unleashes her strong finishing kick which will make her deadly competition, especially if the field goes out slow from the start. The best example of her kick was at the 2009 Boston Marathon, with an epic sprint finish showdown between Kosgei and Dire Tune, at which she edged out the 2008 defending champion by a margin of less than a second to take the victory.
This Kenyan half marathon and marathon specialist has had minor injuries that have hampered training in 2010 following a tumble at mile 4 at the 2009 New York City Marathon where she finished in 5th place (2:31:53). This hamstring injury forced Kosgei to take time off marathon and cut into training for her 2010 Boston Marathon return. Although she could not defend her title, she outsprinted Waynishet Girma by one second to finish third (2:28:35). Kosgei ran the Maratona del Piceno one month after the 2010 Boston (2:46:14) and had not raced over 10 miles hindering her to be a top competitor at the 2010 New York City Marathon. While running is how these athletes make their livelihoods, Kosgei did not take time off. She ran the 2010 New York City Marathon finishing 16th in 2:34:14.
On the roster for the 2011 Boston Marathon, Kosgei's fitness will determine how competitive she can be on race day - but having mastered this course once before, one can not predict what will happen on race day.
Photo Credit: MarathonGuide.com - |
Goucher at the 2011 Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon
PB: 2:25:53, 2008 New York City Marathon
Kara Goucher is the top female American marathoner currently racing. Although injuries hampered her earlier track career, by 2006, she set personal bests at all distances on the international circuit, running the World "A" Standard in the 1500m, 5000m, and 10000m. At the 2007 World Championships Goucher won the bronze medal in the women's 10000m event, then continued on to win the 2008 US Olympic Team Trials in 5000m and took second in the 10000m behind American record-holder Shalane Flanagan. Although Goucher competed in the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics 10000m finishing 10th with a personal best time of 30:55.16, and the 5000m placing 9th with a 15:49.39.
Yet, Goucher's focus quickly shifted to the marathon with a debut at the 2008 New York City Marathon where she took 3rd in 2:25:53. All eyes were on Goucher as the next great marathoner, as she confidently eyed a victory at the 2009 Boston Marathon in her second attempt at the distance. Although Goucher came in 3rd in 2:32:25, the disappointed runner coached by running legend Alberto Salazar put aside her plans to have a baby and returned to the racing circuit ready to take on the 2009 World Championships. The warm conditions of the World Championships in Berlin led to a disappointing finish of 2:27:48 (10th place). And she sat out of racing in 2010 to have a baby.
In a true test of fitness having trained as much as medically possible during pregnancy, Goucher came to the 2011 New York City Half trying to gauge her fitness levels. While training is not 100%, her 3rd place finish at the half marathon (69:03) gave her the confidence she needed as she heads into spring marathon season. Determined to race well at the 2011 Boston Marathon, she will have to contend with one of the deepest fields the Boston women's field has ever seen. We shall see if all the hard work and perseverance is paying off.
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer - |
Pushkareva at the 2010 Boston Marathon
PB: 2:26:14, 2010 Boston Marathon
At 25, Tatyana Pushkareva of Russia has just entered the next level of competitive marathoning. Pushkareva's achievements include a third place finish at the Russian 10,000m championships (34:11), victories at the 2009 Country Music Marathon (2:36:44) and 2009 Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Marathon (2:30:30) and a ran to second place at 2009 Baltimore Marathon (2:35:45) which was one month before she winning in San Antonio!
As part of a younger wave of Russian women running faster times, Pushkareva had major improvements in 2010 at the Boston Marathon where she most notably ran strong to finish in second place in 2:26:14, recovering from a 1:20 deficit at mile 18 to nearly catch a fading Erkesso who maintained the win by only 3 seconds. This was Pushkareva's first time competing against such a strong field. While she dropped out of the European Championships in Barcelona earlier this summer, Pushkareva ended the year at the 2010 New York City Marathon where she ran an uninspiring 2:34:05 (15th place). One of the youngest in the field she will rematch some rivals from the 2010 Boston race, namely Teyba Erkesso, Dire Tune and Salina Kosgei; but can she beat her top performance from last year?
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer
PB: 2:26:20, 2010 Chicago Marathon
While the spotlight in American distance running has been on Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan and Deena Kastor, Desiree Davila deserves her time in the spotlight. An All-American cross country and track star at Arizona State University and member of the Hansons-Brooks team, Davila's start in the 5000m soon turned to the marathon distance in 2007 with a debut at the Boston Marathon. She finished 18th in 2:44:56 at age 23. Her second place finish at the 2008 USA Half Marathon Championships led to a spot on the US team to run the 2009 World Marathon Championships. And prior to the championship event, she ran a 13th place finish at the 2008 US Olympic Marathon Trials (2:37:50 in her second career marathon). She also ran a 5th place finish at the 2008 Chicago Marathon in a 2:31:55, lowering her personal best finish by 6 minutes and 20 seconds. She earned the title of top American.
Davila had no expectations as she ran the 2009 World Championships unlike fellow America Kara Goucher who was wrought with anxiety. Davila ran to a 11th place finish in a 2:27:53, right behind Goucher by a mere 5 seconds. She backed off the marathon distance, only to return to the distance at the 2010 Chicago Marathon. Davila stunned even herself as she placed 4th and ran 2:26:20 shaving off over 1 minute 40 seconds from her last fastest finish from the World Championships marathon. With steady improvements, Davila at 27 may surprise everyone in Boston.
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer - |
Kidane at the 2011 Dubai Marathon
PB: 2:27:15, 2011 Dubai Marathon
Worknesh Kidane of Ethiopia has already had an illustrious running career from track to cross country to the roads spanning over a decade. Similar to her husband Gebre Gebremariam, who also will debut in the 26.2 mile distance at the 2010 New York City Marathon, Kidane began in junior level competions in the 3,000, 5,000m and 10,000m; as well as in cross country. Her accolades include five medals at the World Cross Country Championships, silver medal from the 2003 World Championships 10,000m, a 4th place from the 2004 Athens Olympic 10,000m and top 3 finishes at a number of road races ranging from 5K to the Half Marathon.
A jack of all trades, Kidane who had taken time off from racing in 2006, 2007 and much of 2008 returned to the road racing circuit in 2010. Along with some cross-country races, she had four top 4 finishes on the roads. She won the Great Manchester 10K (31:19), finished third at the NYRR Women's Mini 10K (personal best 31:18), finished third at the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon (68:31) and 4th at the London 5K (15:35).
While slight injury kept her from a debut at the New York City Marathon, she ran to a 2:27:15 at the 2011 Dubai Marathon (8th place). To test her fitness for the 2011 Boston Marathon, she ran the 2011 New York City Half Marathon finishing in 5th place in 69:32.
There may not be rhyme or reason behind her training or racing schedule, but Kidane is talented yet off-the-radar enough to give a surprise performance in the marathon and a great story to see the husband/wife duo as champions of 2011 Boston marathon.
Florence Kiplagat, a 5000m and cross country specialist, will be a wild card in the 2011 Boston Marathon field. As with other track and cross country stars turned marathoner, this young Kenyan has acquired a strong running resume most notably beginning with a silver at the 5000m at the 2006 World Junior Championships. Taking 2008 off to become a mother, Kiplagat returned to racing taking victories in every cross country event she ran and winning gold an the 2009 World Cross Country Championships. She also became the fastest Kenyan female in the 10000m from the 2009 meet in Utrecht, consequently becoming 10th fastest in the world.
In 2010 she hit the roads with top performances in the 10k, 15k and half marathon distances. In fact, she debuted in the half marathon distance in Lille winning in a time of 67:40. One month later she won gold at the 2010 Half Marathon World Championships in 68:24. Naturally, her next step would be the marathon - the 2011 Boston Marathon. Perhaps Kiplagat will be able to translate her talents into the distance as some of the top half marathoners in the world such as Mary Keitany, Paula Radcliffe, Kara Goucher and Derartu Tulu. At 24, she is certainly one to watch as she is merely beginning a career in long distance on the roads.