Boston, Ma. – Boulder Wave sports agent Brendan Reilly is back on his old home turf. The former Greater Boston Track Clubber from the 1980s and his athlete Edna Kiplagat went out to the 20 mile mark of the Boston Marathon course on Saturday morning to scout-run the last 6 miles.
Edna is the two-time World Marathon Champion (2011 & 2013) and did same scouting run in 2010 before New York City, going out to Willis Avenue Bridge and running in the final miles. Turns out that’s where she, Shalane Flanagan and another woman got away from the rest of the field. Shalane is doing TV with me today on WBZ locally. She said Edna is a “sneaky” racer, meaning it as a compliment to her racing savvy. “I didn’t even know she was there until she announced herself as she went by me.”
Also, Edna’s two children came on the trip after originally not securing travel visas. Carlos 13 and Wendy 9. Husband Gilbert Koech did not get his visa, so Edna is here with the kids alone. Brendan wasn’t really up for it, because the only two races before when she brought the kids with her she didn’t run well. But what are you gonna say? That was London Olympics 2012 and another London Marathon, the year she defended her title in 2011.
Was American deb Jordan Hasay right running the Prague Half Marathon just two weeks out a good idea? 67:55 minutes, long travel, half marathon? Won’t that take something out of you? Why not run the New York City Half instead? Cherry Blossom 10? Because, said Jordan, by running in Prague April 1 she could do a single taper. Plus, she had run (and won) the Gate River 15K in Jacksonville in March and that meant she couldn’t do the NYC Half. Jordan is eyeing the possibility of a solo run today, not ready to mix it up if the race goes out at 2;20 pace. But she’s confident she can go solo if she needs to. She’s been training on her own since August, and has gone as far as 26 miles in one run.
The weather will be warmish with a tailwind, making it feel even warmer. Galen Rupp was fearful of a chilly day, because the cold can trigger his asthma attacks. Happened at the Manchester Road Race last Thanksgiving in Connecticut when he was wheezing like a dog and wearing his mask. Didn’t race well, either. No such worries today. Just a matter whether his plantar fasciitis stays away. It was “killing me” at three miles in Prague. He got a cortisone shot the Monday after and it settled down. But Boston’s downhills will put a strain on it for sure, especially that big downhill out of Wellesley into Newton Lower Falls at 25k.
Gladys Cherono is a name to watch closely. World Half Marathon champ in 2014, then close second in 2:20:03 in her debut in Dubai 2015, followed with a win in Berlin in 2:19:25, seventh all-time for a woman. She had mechanical issues last year (sacrum), and withdrew from London and New York City.
But she hasn’t withdrawn here, which leads me to believe that she’s on for a good one. She tuned up with a 67:01 half marathon in Rome in March. Plus, she’s coached by Gabriele Nicola who brought Sharon Cherop to the victory stand in 2012.
Also Diane Nukuri could make the podium. She is happy being a couple these days with everyone’s best friend, Abdi Abdirahman. They’ve known each other since the 2000 Olympics when Diane was only 15 years old, and the only runner from Burundi in the athletes village. Abdi and Bernard Lagat knew that every guy in the village was going to hit on Diane. So they took her under their wing and protected her. They’ve been friends ever since, and only recently have extended that friendship further.
Diane has been living in Flagstaff for 2 1/2 years, She beat Edna Kiplagat at the New York City Half in March, running third to Edna’s fourth. It was the first time she had ever beaten Edna in a race. She was top five in New York City Marathon last fall. She is on a good roll psychologically and physically.
Another happy contender on the men’s side is Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay. He just had his first child, name is Heran, meaning “God is excellent”. Yemane got married in January, then Heran was born March 17. Time for him to win a big one. He took the 70th Fukuoka Marathon title last December over Patrick Makau by nine seconds in the cold and rain. Had a bit of a calf issue, too. Said he was shooting for 2:05, but conditions slowed him by three minutes. His calf is fine now, and he’s been happily walking around the Copley Plaza Hotel showing pix of his little girl with a big smile on his face. He has been on the podium here the last two years, 3rd in 2016, 2nd in 2015, and was also silver medalist in Beijing at the World Champs 2015, too. Time to step up.
Dr. John Coyle, of the BAA board of governors informs us that 10 medical students from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland have come over to run the Boston Marathon. This marks 18 years in a row that medical students from that facility have been coming to Boston under Dr. Coyle’s auspices. Some are now professors in the United States who always remember their experience here at Boston.
Meb Keflezighi’s brother Merhawi said Meb is doing well. Had a hiccup before NYC Half in March, as he tripped in training in San Diego and strained his right calf. Ran conservatively in 64:55 in that tune up. But the last month in Mammoth, Ca. has been great. Wife Yordanos and their three girls, plus Meb’s parents snd one sister are also coming for what will be Meb’s final competitive Boston. One indicator, though, is that Meb has been very busy around town all race week, not turning down any appearances. That may well indicate this is more of a farewell tour than an eyeballs-out race. But after winning in 2014, the cherry had already been set atop his fabulous career.
That’s a few snippets as the big race is set to begin its 121st running. Enjoy, and if you are in Boston watch our coverage on WBZ-TV.