2008 London Marathon
The Men's Race Complete Recap/Commentary
The Women's Race Complete Recap/Commentary
On Demand Race Video on WCSN
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Preview & Elite Lineup
Previous Elite Athlete Matchups
Race Day Viewing Guide & 2007 Recap
Men's Pre Race Press Conference Notes
Women's Pre Race Press Conference Notes
Video (pre-race, live video and post-race):
Watch: London Marathon Videos - What It's All About (available Now)
Race Day: Live and On Demand on WCSN (starting 3:55AM ET on Sunday)
London Marathon - Men's Pre Race Press Conference
Favorite Pre-Race Quotes:
Baldini about Hall: "He is the Future"
Ramaala [who has run 23 marathons]: "You can't stop learning in this game of the marathon."
Baldini on his chances at the Olympics: "I think in these kind of weather conditions - a bit humid and pollution - I can be competitive."
Lel: "Let the road decide the winner."
With the 2008 London Marathon approaching, MarathonGuide.com caught up with some of the top elite men on the roster - Martin Lel, Sammy Wanjiru, Luke Kibet, Felix Limo, Stefano Baldini, Hendrick Ramaala, Abderrahim Goumri and Ryan Hall. The men spoke about race day, training amidst the violence in Kenya, selection for the Olympic team and more.
What are your levels of fitness going into London? How have your preparations been?
Lel: I can hopefully say that I am in the best shape and as a defending champion, i'll have a rough time this race; but I'll be trying my best.
Hall: It would be really exciting to push my limits. I've been doing some training and would like to see how it plays out.
I've been doing a lot of tempo runs. Nothing different than before the trials, but a lot faster. I'm really excited to get out there and compete.
Are you in the best shape of your life?
Limo: It's very hard for me to tell you if I'm in great shape, but I believe in myself.
You are the least experienced of the bunch, are you going into this race confident?
Wanjiru: It's a good competition due to the strong people here. You can see how far you can go.
How has your training been?
Ramaala: Training is going very well. (After the 2007 London Marathon) Lel had finishing power and I found out I still need speed.
Is that why you ran three 10ks?
Ramaala: Yes, two 10,000 meter and one 10K road race. All under 28:00 and at altitude.
This will be your twenty third marathon, I guess you never stop learning?
Ramaala: You can't stop learning in this game of the marathon. You may be in the best shape for the marathon, but you may not finish.
Wanjiru: After the World Championships, I rested for a few weeks and started training again. This was in December after the presidential election business.
How is training been in the wake of the violence in Kenya?
Lel: I trained on tea plantations to keep from trouble. I went to Namibia to continue training for one month. [Lel trained with twelve other top elite Kenyans, including Boston Marathon defending champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot.]
Did you train with Martin Lel when you were in Namibia?
Baldini: Well, I was there at the same time as Lel, but they had a different training program. They get up very early. They run the same course a (trail) road in 2,000 meter altitude. I prefer to stay on asphalt. In altitude I prefer to jog.
How has training been going?
Lel: I picked up a slight injury in Namibia here [indicates arch of his left foot]. The foot was swollen a bit, but I didn't lose time or cut back in training.
Have you raced since your win of the 2007 NYC Marathon?
Lel: I did one race [Montefortiana 10.6km] earlier this year and nothing more due to troubles in Kenya.
I hear you were attacked in the post-presidential violence in Kenya. Were you badly injured?
Wanjiru: I have a scar on the back of my head. I prefer to forget about it.
You also had a minor running related injury?
Wanjiru: I had an Achilles injury in March and lost training for twelve days.
You have never run a world championship race?
Lel: In 2004 I had shin problems and didn't make the Olympics.
What are your thoughts being selected for the Kenyan Olympic Team?
Limo: I don't want to put the Olympics on my mind. It's very hard because you become obsessed and get disappointed. I want to put it in the back of my mind.
Are you given any guidelines on the selection process for the 2008 Kenyan Olympic Team?
Limo: They don't communicate with us. I don't know when anything will be announced.
Would you prefer if there was a clearer selection process?
Limo: For the best and the best selection there should be a guideline.
How do you feel being an Olympian once again in Beijing? And what are your thoughts of Beijing?
Baldini: I am four years older. I think in these kind of weather conditions - a bit humid and pollution - I can be competitive. Normally, I can close the gap between the strongest Africans and in these conditions the gap is closer.
What are your thoughts on the Olympics?
Hall: I am super pumped about the Olympics and trained for a long time. I learned a lot in races and this will be a good opportunity to learn more.
Have you asked Baldini for tips?
Hall: Yeah, we were both signing autographs last year and he taught me a bunch.
What do you think of Ryan Hall?
Baldini: He was smiling at the last 3K of the US Olympic Trials. He is able to read the race and react. He is the future.
Do you think you'll run a quick time or is victory at the London Marathon enough?
Lel: I usually don't like to predict what/how a race will go. It's due to the weather and the day. It could be too hot or too cold. I couldn't say if it will be fast or slow.
Do you have a strategy for Sunday's race?
Baldini: I will go out with the second group of pacemakers. A 2:09 rather than a 2:06. In Beijing I want to run fast and will, but I have to motivate and stay healthy.
Do you expect a sprint finish?
Goumri: In past years, the winner was decided at 35K. Since about 2000-01 in the London Marathon it has always been a sprint finish.
Do you have any goals for the 2008 London Marathon?
Wanjiru: Everyone is strong. Normally I try to win. For me now, I want to run a personal best. [Wanjiru's His current PR is 2:06:39 at Fukuoka in 2007)
Limo: Let the road decide the winner.