Posted by: Joe English | April 4, 2007

Commentary: April 2007- Could it be the best ever?

April is shaping up to be a marathon month of all marathon months.

While most marathon runners think of the Fall as marathon season, a couple of the most important races are held in April. And these races are shaping up this year to be supreme battles between the best marathon runners in the world.

April 16th is the 111th Boston Marathon: the world’s best women take it to each other.

Boston always serves up a great race, but this year in addition to its already monumental importance to the world of running it will also serve as the USA national women’s marathon championship. And the women’s field is simply out of this world.

The top three women in the world will be racing and six of the top ten women ran their personal bests in 2006. Deena Kastor, who has been one of the top American women runners for years and who won the Bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Athens will lead the field. Deana will be challenged by 2005 and 2006 New York Marathon winner Jelena Prokopcuka and last year’s Boston champion Rita Jeptoo, who ran the 4th fastest 20K of all time last year. The one super-power that won’t be in the race is women’s world record holder Paula Radcliffe. She will not be racing at Boston (or London) as she just had a baby girl on January 17th, 2007. But even in the absence of Paula, the women’s race should be one of the best we’ve seen in a long time.

Oh, and the men’s field is packed as well. The field includes 2006 Boston champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, who last year became the first man to win both the Boston and Chicago marathons in the same year. Also in the field is Robert Cheboror who notably has run a 2:06:00 marathon. (Yee ha!)

Boston’s course is tough so we won’t likely see a world record there, but it should shape up to be one of the most exciting races of the year. Having been a huge Deena Kastor fan since back in the day when she was Deana Drossin, I hope she can pull out a great race and win this one for the USA.

April 22nd is the Flora London Marathon: the world’s best men go for the world record.
London meanwhile is where one of the classic men’s road duels is set to unfold. Haile Gebrselassie who set a half-marathon world record last year at PF Chang’s Arizona will go head-to-head with his long-time rival and current marathon world record holder Paul Tergat. Gebreselassie has stated his goal to break the world record in the marathon and has been focused on achieving that goal – with the half-marathon record as a step in that direction last year. Haile ran a 2:05:56 last September in Berlin. Paul Tergat set the current world record (2:04:55) on the Berlin course back in 2003.

If that weren’t enough, our own American men have two formidable contenders in the mix. Former world record holder Khalid Khannouchi, who has struggled with injuries the last few years, could be a dark-horse that storms back to the front of the pack. And Athens silver medal winner Meb Keflezighi will be running too. It’s almost too much to handle!

The question that I have is could we see a new world record in the marathon this April? I think so. If the weather conditions cooperate we might just be updating all of our web-sites with a new world record on April 23rd.

By the way, in case you missed it, the half-marathon world record was broken not once, but twice last month. According to “On March 17, 2007, just over a month after setting the half-marathon record, Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya knocked 18 seconds off his [own] record by running a 58:35 to win the Fortis City Pier City Half-Marathon. Wanjiru’s record beats his 58:53 time set on February 9th, which just beat the previous record of 58:55 set by Haile Gebrselasie on January 15, 2006.”

It’s getting exciting out there folks!

Coach Joe


  1. […] If you missed my earlier post called “April 2007: Could it be the best ever?”, check it out for my commentary on the Boston and London Marathons. Click here to link to it. […]

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