Posted by: Joe English | April 10, 2008

Upcoming: Flora London Marathon leads off big week for marathoning

Flora London MarathonWith three of the biggest marathoning events coming up over the next week, this is going to be one of the most exciting times of the year for marathon racing fans. Three events — the Flora London Marthon, the US Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials and the Boston Marathon — all fall within the nine day span starting April 13th with London and then following up with the Trials and Boston on April 20th and 21st.

As we get set for our coverage of these three amazing events, let’s start with a preview of the Flora London Marathon.

Starting off our dream week of racing, the Flora London Marathon will be held on April 13th, 2008. The London Marathon is known for its fast course and stellar elite fields. The marathon world record has been set four times at London, once by Khalid Khannouchi on the men’s side, twice by Gete Waitz and once by Paula Radcliffe. With that said, it is unlikely that we’ll see a new world record this year as current world record holder Haile Gebrselassie is not in the field and has set the bar (so it would seem) higher than anyone else can attain at this moment.

Women’s Marathon World Record holder Paula Radcliffe has pulled out of the race due to an injury to her foot, as has the USA’s 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist Meb Keflezighi, who will focus on his training for the US Olympic Trials for the 10,000M. Haile Gebrselassie ran in the Dubai Marathon in January, so will not be at London this year either. But, don’t worry, there will be loads of other incredible runners in the field.

New York City Marathon winner Martin Lel and runner-up Abderrahim Goumri will both be in the field. The pair finished 1-2 at both London and New York last year. Lel has won the London Marathon twice and hopes to become only the third runner to win the London Marathon three times. Other top runners in the event will include 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Stefano Baldini, 2007 World Champion Luke Kibet, and former world record holder Paul Tergat.

On the American side, US Olympic Trials winner Ryan Hall will be in the race in a pre-Olympic tune-up. In an article in the New York Times this week, Stefano Baldini said of Hall: “this is an athlete who can win a lot of things, a lot of medals. He is able to read the race and react, so he is the future.” Hall went on to say that he was getting antsy waiting for the Olympics and needed something to focus on in the mean-time since the Trials last November.

Sammy Wanjiru will also be in the field. The 21 year-old Kenyan set the world record in the half-marathon twice last year and then ran his debut at the Fukoka Marathon in December in 2:06:39 — the fastest marathon debut in history. In an article this week, Wanjiru said of his debut at the distance, “it was a very tough race and from 30 kilometres I found it very hard.” He’ll now have the experience under his belt as he goes for race number 2 and he certainly has the speed to win the whole thing this weekend.

On the women’s side, Berlin Marathon winner and runner-up at New York City Gete Wami will try to the victory. In Berlin last September, she quite literally ran away with the race, winning easily. She then declared that she planned to run the New York City Marathon to be held just 34 days later. In New York, she matched Paula Radcliffe stride-for-stride, losing to her in a sprint in the last 800Ms of the race. Wami is a fierce competitor and should be a favorite to win in London.

Last year’s women’s champion Zhou Chunxiu of China will not be in the race this year. Wami admits that when Chunxiu took off with three miles to go in last year’s race, she was unprepared. “I didn’t know who she was, which was a mistake, but I’ve done my homework on everybody for this year’s race,” Wami told the International Herald Tribune this week.

The weather could be a factor in this year’s race, but in a different way than last year. In 2007, the London Marathon saw hot conditions that squashed hopes for very fast times. This year, the weather forecast calls for light rain and temperatures in the mid-55s, which is excellent for marathon running. However, the forecast on Saturday calls for high winds. Hopefully, as predicted, the winds will stay away on Sunday, because windy conditions will definitely slow the field.

London is the perfect international scene to get our dream week of racing underway. You can watch the London Marathon live on WCSN. Follow the link below for information on the broadcast.

Be sure to check back here for complete post-race coverage and for our coverage of the US Women’s Olympic Trials and the Boston Marathon next week as well.

Related Link:
Broadcast Information for the Flora London Marathon

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon, USA
for Running Advice and News
http://www.running-advice.com

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Responses

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