USATF Phidippides award: Rated M, as in Mature and... Masters! - A disclaimer: this post isn't for any audience, but mature runners only! And not any adult, but those serious runners 40-year old or older... ;-) If you fa...
Saturday, November 3, 2007
MEN'S MARATHON OLYMPIC TRIALS
I had to be in New Jersey for work this week and since I had an automatic entry into the NYC Marathon thanks to my SF 1/2 marathon finish time, I took advantage of the trip. As an added bonus, the 2008 Olympics trials for the men's marathon was being held today (Saturday) in central park. Photos here are (again) my Blackberry Pearl photos - better digital ones will go up later, probably Monday when I get a bit more time.
The race actually started at Rockefeller Center and then went on 5th and 7th avenues heading into Central Park At the start I saw marathon legend Ed Eyestone who was broadcasting the race.
The crowds were noisy but not nearly as thick as I expected. Temps were cold - at 7:30am, it was probably around 50 degrees and windy. I happened to overhear 2 guys next to discuss "Tom" and one had a Penn shirt on so I asked if they were referring to Tom McGlynn, a local marathoner, former coach of SF Triathlon Club's track program, coach at Focus n Fly, and a 3 time Trials qualifier. They were and it turned out that one, Jake, ran with Tom in college. We chatted a bit and then saw Tom and wished him luck. Soon, the gun went off and the runners took off.
We jogged over the avenues to catch the runners again before they entered the park. Then we took off after them. Once in the park, we were near Tavern on The Green (finish line) when we saw the runners on their first loop in the park. These guys were flying but they made it look so effortlessly.
We then crossed over the park to catch the runners coming down the next loop. This sprinting back and forth was probably not the best thing for me to be doing 6 days after my 50km and 1 day before NYC Marathon, but it was fun! Soon the runners came by - they were breaking apart into lone runners and packs now.
Former (two time) World Record Holder and present American Record Holder Khalid Khannouchi flies by me in a blur. He is the only person EVER to run sub-2:06 three times!
On another loop, Ryan Hall (a new marathon phenomenon who's debut marathon in London was a 2:08), Dan Brown (2004 Olympian), Dathan Ritzenhein (who would take 2nd), Meb, Abdim and other leaders started to break away.
Khalid stayed close to the lead pack (I know its blurry - but I was using a cellphone and he is FAST).
Hall went on to create a huge breakaway - winning by 2 minutes in a tad over 2:09 (the fastest US Trials time). Hall (who owns the American half-marathon record at 59:43) did a 1:02:45 second half-marathon with these mile splits: 4:44, 4:53, 4:53, 4:59, 4:56, 4:32, 4:41, 4:34, 4:40, 4:51, 4:42, 4:52, 4:47 and 4:49!!!! Remember - this is NOT an easy course. It is constant turns and ups and downs with almost no flat areas.
On a sad note, America long distance running lost a great member. Around the 5 mile point, Ryan Shay collapsed. He was pronounced dead a little while later during the awards ceremony. He was 28.
Overall, it was a great race. I was really impressed with Ryan Hall's speed and with Brian Sell's tactics. Sell held back and then started reeling in runners to grab the 3rd and last spot on the US Olympic Marathon Team. GO USA!!!
Tom McGlynn finished his third Olympic Trials Marathon.
After the race, I got to meet a few elite runners. Here is Meb Keflezighi trying to stay warm. He earned a silver for the US at the 2004 Athens Olympic marathon.
My shoe autographed by Khalid ......and by Abdi Abdirahman (3 time USA 10,000 meter champion and 2:08 qualifier). I'll wear these in the NYC Marathon tomorrow.