The 2014 TD Beach to Beacon 10K professional fields gathered at the elegant Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine this morning to be introduced to the media one day before the 17th running of the classic road race founded by local girl made good Joan Benoit Samuelson. Three times in its first 16 years the rolling B2B 10K has produced the fastest road 10K of the year, including in 2003 when Gilbert Okari of Kenya established the standing course record of 27:28. This year the best mark for the distance is held by Wilson Kiprono Too of Kenya while winning the Laredo 10K in Spain March 22nd in 27:39.
With defending champion and 2008 Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist Micah Kogo (28:02) leading another strong east African contingent, depending on how aggressive the field is, that world-leading time may again come under pressure on the rolling, but net downhill layout. Continue reading
Peter, Patrick & Isabella Hangin’ Loose at Pali Lookout
Honolulu, Hawaii — After two days of sightseeing and public appearances, Patrick Makau, Peter Kirui, and Isabella Ochichi will get down to the business end of their trip to Honolulu Sunday morning as the 3rd Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon begins along Waikiki Beach (see start schedule below).
Makau ran the fastest time under 2013’s torrentialdownpour, 65:28, but because The Chase format was in play, where the top pros had to chase down 24 top local runners given head starts, Patrick only crossed the finish line in 16th place.
This year Makau is coming off an injury which derailed the rest of 2013, a year he saw his world record fall to countryman Wilson Kipsang in Berlin. The Hapalua will be Patrick’s first competition since a hollowed out 2:14 at the 2013 London Marathon last April. He’s just now getting back to real training. Isabella Ochichi is on the comeback trail, too, after an endless seven year layoff. With the Honolulu Marathon already on her December schedule, this first visit to Oahu is as much an audition as anything. Strangely, there has never been a Kenyan women’s winner at the Honolulu Marathon. The Hapalua will let her test the tropical conditions. She is healthy now, but being sensible with her return to form.
Coming April 13, 2014
Honolulu, Hawaii – Even as the Virgin Money London Marathon features a fearsome field of contenders for its 2014 edition this Sunday morning, former marathon world record holder, and Sunday London pacer, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia has offered a bleak prognosis for the sport he bestrode for so many years.
“Athletics has to change a little bit, bring in new ideas, new concepts,” said the holder of 27 world records to the assembled London press corps. “Otherwise it’s going to be just a bit boring to watch.”
That’s a little ironic, perhaps, since Haile will play a key role in one of running’s most labored old ideas this Sunday morn, lead pacer in the marathon. New ideas? How about letting the athletes compete over the entire distance? Boring to watch? How about knowing for a certainty that NOTHING will happen for the first half of the race — Unless there is an error in judgement, like we saw in 2013 when they went through the half in 61:34, or in 2009 when they went through 10k in 28:30 on the way to the half in 61:36. Those kind of errors just blow up the race, not the SOMETHING race organizers might be looking for.
Saying the health and well-being of the sport (meaning track & field) has been masked by the over-sized presence of Jamaican superstar sprinter Usain Bolt, Haile wondered what the sport would do in his absence?
“We have to upgrade the situation,” he concluded, “attract more of an audience (and give) what they like. We have to attract sponsors. If the sponsors think nobody cares about athletics, who is going to sponsor you?” Continue reading
Honolulu, HI. — We drove through the Makai Gate at the intersection of Punahou and Wilder Streets onto the Punahou School campus just as classes were letting out for the day. In the warm Hawaiian sunshine kids with backpacks slung over their shoulders walked indolently side-by-side, some toward waiting family cars, many others toward after-school sports practices.
Located perhaps two miles inland from Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu, the Punahou School is a private co-ed primary and prep school celebrated for both its academic and sporting successes. Originally established in 1841 as a school for the children of missionaries serving throughout the Pacific region, these days Punahou is most famous as the alma mater of Barack Obama, America’s 44th president, who graduated (as Barry) in 1979.
Today, Dr. Jim Barahal, president of the Honolulu Marathon Association was bringing former three-time Honolulu Marathon champion Mbarek Hussein and four-time U.S. Olympian Abdi Abdirahman to the campus to visit Coach Todd Iacovelli’s distance running session, where Jim’ son Sebastian is a mainstay.
“You know me,” said Abdi, “If I can help motivate even one kid, not just in running, but life, that would mean a lot to me.” Continue reading
It is no surprise that the dominance of Kenyan runners over the last twenty years has cut both ways in the sport of distance running. While records have fallen with increasing rapidity, the marketability of the sport — and its champions — has also fallen well behind the standard set by the slower champions of the initial running boom. Now, perhaps belatedly, the fastest runners on the planet have begun to acknowledge that their role must extend beyond that of simple performer and include a dash of salesman, too, in the offering of the sport to the public. Continue reading
With the powerhouse fields lined up for the swift Rotterdam and London Marathons this spring, there is no guarantee that current marathon world record holder Patrick Makau (2:03:38, Berlin 2011) will still hold that designation after April 21st. Yet, amidst the scramble to the top of the marathon food chain, Makau has slowly been coming round to the need to step out of his more reserved natural shell and branch out as a spokesman for his sport. We saw evidence of this recently at The Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon where Makau visited a local school to address the eager young track team. Now, Makau is being featured in a short anti-malaria public service video, encouraging his fellow Kenyans to use netting to combat the mosquitoes which carry the disease.
Though spokesman may not be his default setting, one can see the growth of Makau as more than just a runner and record holder. In this he is following in the footsteps of such brethren as Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrselassie, the two men who held the marathon world record before Makau.
Like many of his fellow top Kenyan racers, Makau supports an every expanding array of personal and tribe-based requests. Now, he is using his well-earned fame to take on issues of greater and more expansive social import. For this he is to be applauded.
Hapalua “Chase” champion Steve Marthy with Makau, Muindi & Manza
Honolulu, Hawaii — 25 year-old Army 1st Lieutenant Stephen Marthy of Fort Shafter can forever say that he beat marathon world record holder Patrick Makau in a half-marathon — never mind that he had a 11-minute head start. The Albany, New York native sprinted past his final two competitors in the final quarter-mile to win The Chase competition at the second annual Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon today in Kapiolani Park.
Lt. Marthy’s gun time of 1:12:46 minus the 11:00 head start he was awarded gave him a net time of 1:01:46, good enough for a four-second win over Christina Wong, and 13 seconds over Kim Kuehnert in the handicap format. His time also brought Marthy home ahead of world-class Kenyan runners Patrick Makau, Nicholas Manza and Jimmy Muindi and earned him a cool $5000 first place prize. Continue reading