Posted by: Joe English | April 1, 2008

Racing: Kenyan marathon dominance tarnished slightly in first three months of 2008

It’s no secret that Kenya produces the best and deepest marathoners in the world. But coming into 2008, we wondered whether we might see some impact to marathon running from the ethnic strife back at home in Kenya — perhaps due to factors such as travel restrictions or limits on training at home. As we end the first three months of 2008, we can see that Kenyan dominance was diminshed a bit, but we think that’s about to change.

Looking across American and some international contests in the opening months of the year, we see a different pattern in the winner’s circle than in some other recent years. Take a look at some of the major races that were won by runners from countries other than Kenya:

Men’s Champions Nationality (Jan-March 2008):
2008 PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona (New Zealand)
2008 ING Miami Marathon (Guatemala)
2008 Dubai Marathon (Ethiopia)
2008 Austin Marathon (USA)
2008 LA Marathon (Russia)*
2008 ING Georgia Marathon (Russia)
* Challenge format winner was from Russia. First male finisher was Kenyan.

Men’s Champion from Kenya (Jan-March 2008):
2008 Seoul Marathon (Kenya)
2008 Rome Marathon (Kenya)

Now don’t get too excited. This is a bit of an off-season for Marathon running, coming after the big Fall marathons and before the big Spring races. In fact, I’d go out on a limb (not a very big one) to say that in April, we’ll see Kenyan victories at both the London and Boston Marathons.

In the mean-time, this is an interesting bit of data that might reflect on the impact that the situation in Kenya has had on marathon running so far this year.

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