2016 TCS NEW YORK CITY MARATHON – MEN’S PREVIEW

New York, N. Y. – The Marathon is a what – have – you – done – for – me – lately kind of sport. And in that sense tomorrow’s men’s competition in the 46th TCS New York City Marathon reminds me of the classic Game 7 of the Chicago Cubs – Cleveland Indians World Series. Continue reading

2016 NEW YORK CITY MARATHON – THE LOOK

New York, N. Y.  —  When you are riding a full load, when training has gone right and you carry a certain tonnage, baby, “let the games begin!”

At those rare times the race comes to you any way they want it, from the front, the middle, or sit and kick. What’s more, the uber well-prepared are usually anxious for engagement. Bring it on!

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LINING UP FOR THE TWO BIG RACES AHEAD

New York City Marathon Logo TCSNew York, N. Y. —  Well, here we are together again, New York, New York with two huge races looming ahead. One we can’t wait for, the other we can’t wait to be over.

One pits fields of finely tuned athletes against one another in a long 42 km grind through the five boroughs of the city. The other pits two BMI challenged pols in a death match march through the electoral map of 50 states.

Personally, I feel like a runner in the final kilometers of a marathon on a bad day. I am psychologically blistered, emotionally cramping, and I have election year chafing in places that gentlemen just don’t speak about. And I fear that the bleeding nipples of despair may lie just around the corner.

Thank God, the 46th TCS New York City Marathon (40th for five-borough course) arrives first on Sunday to grab our attention and tire us out a bit. Continue reading

WHILE MUCH HAS BEEN GAINED…

Life is rarely black and white, all one thing and not somewhat another. Take for instance high school football.

I say high school football, because in America that is usually the first time we get truly associate ourselves with my school, my team.

So it’s Friday Night Lights, and out on the field are 22 young men exchanging energy in a game of offense against defense and vice versa. On one side of the field a group is watching that interaction and they are cheering, smiling, and clapping, it’s wonderful. On the other side of the field another group watches that same exchange of energy and mutters, clenches their fists, and pouts.

So which is it, a happy thing or a sad thing? Or does it all depend on the bias with which you entered the stadium?

As we prepare for the TCS New York City Marathon in just over a week’s time, we are once again presented with a men’s competition featuring top athletes from East Africa, with American stars Dathan Ritzenhein, Abdi Abdirahman and some talented rookies thrown into the mix for good measure. Continue reading

A DAUGHTER’S JOURNEY, A MOTHER’S PRIDE

They say there are eight million stories in the naked city.  But on marathon day in New York the spotlight shines brightest on a mere (though still mighty) 50,000, a colorful collection of explorers bound on a magical tour through the five-boroughs in search of life in all its glory, while chancing a measure of some of its disappointments. And while my perch at the head of the pack reporting on the elite competition has long been the focus of my professional attention, I too am moved by the courage and resolve of the everyday runners who make up the rank and file of this vast army of dreamers. Continue reading

NEW YORK CITY 2015: A RESULT TO BELIEVE

New York City Marathon Logo TCSThe 2015 TCS New York City Marathon produced an outcome that satisfied logic.  It was a race and a result you could believe. And thank God for that.

Despite overcast skies and a steady southerly tailwind past 20 miles, the men’s splits essentially mirrored those of 2014 when the runners were confronted with a cold, brisk 20 mph headwind.  Even up First Avenue, Thunder Alley, between 16 & 19 miles where the crowds are so thick and boisterous that splits free wheel in the low to mid-4:30s, this year saw one 4:49 and a 5:03.  Instead of a string behind a scalded leader, we had eight men abreast at a rocking chair pace.

So what was the difference? Well, there was that little competition in late August in Beijing, China, the IAAF World Championships, where four of New York’s top guys represented their countries in the marathon. Yes, big-time marathoning takes a lot of preparation, and even then history suggests that repeating is way more difficult now than it once was when Bill Rodgers reeled off four straight New York wins from 1976-1979, or Alberto Salazar followed with a three-peat from 1980-`82.  The last man to win back-to-back years in NYC was Kenya’s John Kagwe in 1997-`98.

So the fact that the one A-list guy in Sunday’s field who didn’t run the World Championships Marathon, Stanley Biwott, the one guy who came in with a full tank of gas from training went on to win the race, and the second least compromised contender took runner-up honors in the person of World Championships 10,000 meter silver medalist Geoffrey Kamworor, actually made all the sense in the world.

Imagine how would it have looked if one of the World Championship marathoners — Kipsang, Tsegay, Desisa or Meucci — had doubled back and won in a quick time?  In this new age of guilt that would have certainly raised another red flag, not exactly what the sport needs after the damage from the flood of drug positives in recent times has all but drowned the sports’ image. Continue reading

PREVIEW: TCS NEW YORK CITY MEN’S MARATHON

New York City Marathon Logo TCSNew York, New York — Every marathon is a universe of one, particular to itself and its time. Yet in New York City 2015 the after effects of the IAAF World Championships Marathon still linger.  Because so many of New York’s top male contenders raced for their countries in the heat and humidity of Beijing at the end of August, they had to reduce their recovery time while compressing their training for New York.

As a consequence each has a fuel tank perhaps a little under filled, which may lead to a less than aggressive first half to two-thirds of the 45th TCS New York City Marathon.  That means the real fireworks of speed may be left to the latter stages in Central Park. And wouldn’t that make for an exciting day for all who live for such moments of gut-clenching glory? Continue reading