Last Sunday morning November 3, 2013, mine was a Dickensian position, the best seat in town, the worst seat in town. I was riding aboard the broadcast wing of the lead men’s motorcycle giving commentary for ESPN2 coverage of the 43rd ING New York City Marathon on a raw, windblown day. From that isolated outpost I had an unobstructed view of the entire race.
With my trusty I-Phone in hand I captured the following pics between TV reports. So here is what the men’s race looked like up-close and personal.
At 11 miles 2013 New York Half Marathon runner up Daniel Meucci of Pisa, Italy runs ahead along Bedford Ave. His gap grew to as much as three-seconds, but it didn’t last last long.
It was a glorious day in the city. Cold as hell, but warmed by the spirit of the people and the grace and majesty of the runners. Hope to do it again next year. Till then, see you on the roads. Next marathon stop, Honolulu December 8th. Still time to join the fun.
New York, New York — Alright, I’ve heard enough, I’ve seen enough, I’ve talked to all the players. And here’s the deal, they don’t have a prayer. Maybe in a best case scenario I might not wish it so, because I like close competitions, but Geoffrey Mutai is your winner of the ING New York City Marathon for 2013 right now. And that’s from someone who has never been much of a predictor. But it is what it is as surely as Al Salazar was the winner before the gun in 1981 – “my goal is to run 2:08 and to win.” So if you find someone that wants to take the field, take Mutai and put whatever money you have on him. That’s the kind of form he’s on, and what I think of his chances. Now all he has to do is pull it off.
With London Marathon champion Tsegay Kebede and World Champion Stephen Kiprotich caught up in the World Marathon Majors drama and the $500,000 that goes with the series win, will either of them take the risk of trying to match a fully blooded Geoffrey Mutai for a chance at the $100,000 first place check? Not likely. In fact, Kebede has come right out and said in a race with 48,000 starters he’s only racing one man, Kiprotich. (more…)
There is even more on the line than usual at this year’s ING New York City Marathon. From the city and New York Road Runner’s recovery efforts after last year devastation and race cancellation due to Hurricane Sandy, to the million-dollar payoff in the World Marathon Majors championship, there are stories of striving and overcoming that will make for a dramatic and emotional Sunday morning November 3rd. Be sure to watch it live 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, and from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. ET on WABC. It also will be streamed online at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app. A two-hour highlights show will air on ABC later in the day.
My focus will be on the men’s race as I will call that competition from the lead TV moto. It’s the first time since 2006 that I will be out on the course rather than at the finish line anchor location. And though I will sorely miss calling what promises to be a compelling women’s race, the men’s lead moto is a wondrous perch, and offers by far the best view of the action.
Two story lines dominate the 2013 New York men’s competition. The question is how, or whether, they will intersect? (more…)
Baseball, in some ways, is like the marathon. Both sports require the ability to endure a long, grueling task, be it months of training and 26.2 miles of racing, or months of a 162-game season, and the intensity of multiple championship series. Both sports take from low two-hours to five-hours plus to complete, and taken in small doses or out of context, can seem incomparably boring. Yet when followed closely throughout a season or a race, the drama of each competition builds to Shakespearean levels, until every pitch, every foot strike takes on the weight of the world, and the glory of accomplishment — sometimes even in defeat — can resonate for a lifetime and beyond.
And so as the baseball season begins its annual fall ritual tonight in Boston with the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals taking on host American League king Boston Red Sox, we await the culminating event of the 2012-2013 World Marathon Majors cycle on the first weekend of November at the ING New York City Marathon with equal anticipation.
This year’s Fall Classic promises to be a beauty, as the Cards and the Sox have proven their mettle — both teams completed their seasons with a record of 97 — 65. Both have excellent pitching, powerful offenses, and legendary support from their iconic fan bases. We can only hope to witness a level of drama at the ING New York City Marathon November 3rd that will approximate what is expected in Boston and St. Louis – America’s Best Baseball Town. (more…)
Make no mistake, in foot racing like war it is axiomatic that the best laid plans rarely survive the instant of engagement. That is also why in today’s Kenyan dominated world of elite marathon racing the competition isn’t limited to a specific race. Instead, as many of today’s giants train together or in close proximity in the Rift Valley crucibles of Iten and Eldoret, competition stretches between and among races, as well.
And so, as we exit today’s TCS Amsterdam Marathon and head toward November 3rd and the ING New York City Marathon, the field there will not simply be competing against one another for the five-borough title, and/or the World Marathon Major cycle title. No, 2011 New York champion and course record holder Goffrey Mutai and the lads will be competing against what has just transpired in Berlin, Chicago and Amsterdam over the last month and a half. In fact, it was Wilson Kipsang’s world record in Berlin which spurred his sometime training mate, Geoffrey Mutai, into supposing that a sub-2:05 is possible in New York given the conditions. (more…)
Its fun to play with statistics, because like the bible, you can use them to support just about whatever position you’d like. So while Spanish statistician Miguel Calvosifts through the splits (via an English translation by my Italian colleague Alberto Stretti) comparing Wilson Kipsang‘s 2:03:23 world record in Berlin three weeks ago with countryman Dennis Kimetto’s course record 2:03:45 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last Sunday, I’m digging into the money game.
As I wrote last week, there is no contest in how running’s money plays out for a Kenyan versus an American runner in terms of impact and purchasing power. But let’s make it more interesting and compare a top Kenyan runner, say Dennis Kimetto, with top business CEOs in terms of value for service. (more…)
(Since 2005 Buffalo-born Mary Wittenberg has been president and CEO of the New York Road Runners, stagers of the INGNew York City Marathon and dozens of other both world-class and local events in the five boroughs. I spoke with Mary this morning about the Competitor Group’s recent decision to eliminate its elite athlete program at its U.S. races.)
WERE YOU SURPRISED BY COMPETITOR GROUP’S (CGI) DECISION?
Initially I was surprised by the immediacy of its impact, rather than say it would begin in the year ahead. But in group dynamics sometimes you see one person say something that someone else takes as personal, but really it’s not about them at all. So I think this move may have more to do with CGI than with the sport itself. What would be a more concerning indicator is if we see World Marathon Majors or major not-for-profit events drop support for pro running. Those are the real bellwethers of the sport.
But what is clear now, and not surprising, is that Elite Racing had a core passion for the sport in Tim (Murphy), Mike (Long) and Tracy (Sundlun). But it’s likely that what the first group (Falconhead Capital) bought from Tim was the Rock `n` Roll series, not the whole of Elite Racing. We’ve been fortunate to have CGI keep some semblance of the sport going for as long as they did.
IS PRIVATE EQUITY COMPATIBLE WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPORT?
Private equity has a piece of Major League Soccer. They can play a role in building ventures, but ultimately they are hard-eyed business people. And professional athletes need to have a return on investment (ROI). (more…)