Was it even a contest?Or should the rest of the marathon world simply call, “No mas.”?
Today, in London, England Kenya’s marathon master Eliud Kipchoge constructed another dominate performance at one of his two home courses (Berlin is the other) at the 39th Virgin Money London Marathon.
On a breezy but cool morning in the English capital, the now four-time London Champion controlled the race from starter Andy Murray’s airhorn onward.
Taking his time as if a country gentleman out walking his dogs, Kipchoge put away his final three Ethiopian challengers along the Thames River in the final two miles and crossed the line in 2:02:37. It marked a London course record and second all-time performance over the marathon distance behind his own 2:01:39 world record in Berlin last fall.
At age 34, the former world track champion at 5000 meters some 16 years ago now has won 11 of 12 career marathons, and holds the two fastest times ever run, plus his unofficial 2:00:25 exhibition in Monza, Italy two years ago.
For all the hype the race generated, in the end it was business as usual. Kipchoge undisputed world #1, everyone else vying for #2. (more…)
Cape Elizabeth, ME – The 21st TD Beach to Beacon 10k presented the 7000 starters with the dreaded double of heat and humidity today, making for wet-banklet-like conditions over the rolling 6.2 mile run from Crescent Beach to Fort Williams Park. Despite the oppressive conditions, New Zealander Jake Robertson arrived from his training base in Iten, Kenya anxious to take on the 2003 course record 27:28 set by Kenya’s Gilbert Okari in the first of three straight B2B wins. Here are a series of photos from the lead men’s vehicle documenting the effort of Mr. Robertson and his followers.
As I watch World Cup quarterfinal action from Russia, I can’t help but think how well an American team comprised of all the great NFL slot receivers or running backs, or someone like Julio Jones the Atlanta Falcons wide receiver, would do – given that they grew up playing futbol instead of American football.
Or think if you put NBA center Anthony Davis in goal? Imagine trying to score on that level of athleticism in that outsized body.
I suggested the same thing before regarding athletics, in that the very best athletes in the USA don’t play futbol as they do in almost every other nation except China, which is also missing from World Cup action.(more…)
Tampa, FL – Warm Florida hospitality was matched by warm sub-tropical conditions at today’s Publix GASPARILLA Distance Classic Half Marathon and 8K, day two of a weekend fitness festival now in its 41st year.
US Army sergeant Elkanah Kibet and Redding, California’s Sara Hall took top honors in the two main races. But both had to battle all the way home to take the $8000 first-place prize. Kibet out kicked University of Oregon grad Parker Stinson 1:03:39 to 1:03:41, while Hall nipped defending women’s champion Stephanie Bruce of Northern Arizona Elite by one second in 1:12:01, stripping 33 seconds off Jen Rhines’ 2015 course record.
“I was going for a breakthrough in the heat,” said Sara in the VIP tent afterward. “We went out easy. I learned my lesson last year in Houston (11th place). Now it’s up to Mammoth Lakes for some altitude training before the World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia (Spain) in four weeks.”
Both Hall and Bruce are ramping up for a major spring marathon in April, Sara to Boston and Steph in London one week later.
“Anytime I can go toe to toe with Sara it’s a good day,” said Steph who was coming off a third place finish at February’s USATF Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee. “I’ve never beat her, but this was the closest I’ve ever been. I’d say the times were incredible in very oppressive conditions. I feel like I’m knocking on the door.”
The men’s race proved just as closely contested with four men locked together as they looped off Davis Island onto Bayshore Boulevard at mile 5. Leading the way was 26 year-old Oregon grad Parker Stinson making his debut run in Tampa.
In his slipstream were Elkanah Kibet, WCAP army teammate Haron Lagat, and Team Run Flagstaff’s Kiya Dandena, a 1:03 half-marathon man from 2017.
Miles along the flat, bayside course began tumbling in the 4:52 – 4:55 range in the still, dark conditions. But throughout the morning, Parker kept surging like an unkinked garden hose, opening a stream of pace before closing back soon thereafter.
“I wasn’t worried about him,” said Kibet, who finished fourth here last year in 64:51. “I was worried about my teammate Haron Lagat because he had the fastest time (61:01 at January’s Houston Half). But I never imagined I could win. I thought number three, but when we dropped the other guy (Dandena), I said maybe number two.”
The Kenyan-born soldier stationed in Colorado Springs came into Tampa off so-so races at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee earlier this month (13th place), and an 18th place in January’s Houston Half Marathon (62:29).
“I changed my training after that,” he said, specifically adding more fartlek sessions, which helped him withstand the surges thrown in today by Colorado-based Parker Stinson.
After Stinson’s blows dispatched all others on the homeward run up Bayshore, it was Kibet who made a move at 12.5 miles with the finish line approaching fast. Stinson responded to move number one, but the next charge by Kibet proved decisive, opening the margin of victory.
Next up for the champion is next month’s Gate River 15K in Jacksonville before a date with the Boston Marathon in April.
In all, 32,000 runners took part in GASPARILLA 2018, many running Saturday’s 15K and 5K then quadrupling back for today’s half-marathon and 8K.
Sitting in 27c on the aisle with a nice magazine-reading lady on the window. The stream of fellow travelers continue to board the flight for Houston. I chat with one of the flight attendants about general passenger comportment, as she tells tales of one lady too persnickety to accept help in placing her roller bag in the overhead bin. It’s this way with air travel these days, fun for those that don’t do it.
So I’m just waiting for the final section 5 boarders, hoping for someone small and quiet to fill 27b, the middle seat. Then, magically, the head attendant announces over the PA that the front door has closed and locked, and “please direct your attention the TV monitors for an important safety demonstration.”
My row-mate and I glance over at one another with a sly grin betraying our feelings.
“You believe this?” We bump fists. “Here I was hoping for someone small and quiet, and instead we get vacant and non-corporeal.”
Travel as those of only a certain age can remember. Before air travel began to resemble bus travel. Now if only the young guy in front of me in 26c doesn’t lay back into my sternum, I may remember this United flight fondly.
Lahaina, Maui – In 2003 Michael Lewis published Moneyball, his book telling how the Oakland Athletics baseball team implemented a more efficient and cost-effective way to evaluate players and strategize game situations based solely on data analysis. This approach led the Athletics to player acquisitions that other teams had overlooked or disregarded, but more importantly, led to success on the diamond.
When the book came out, many a baseball expert was dismissive. But at some point they couldn’t argue with the success the A’s were having using their new methodology.
In the ensuing years, people in many other fields took up the Moneyball example to reevaluate their businesses, positing that if the old ways of analyzing baseball were in error, couldn’t other suppositions be open to reexamination, as well? (more…)