Posted by: Joe English | April 13, 2008

Live London Marathon Coverage update part 1

Here’s the play by play with running coach Joe English as the race unfolds at the London Marathon. The play-by-play continues: click here.

[Be sure to hit refresh to get the latest play-by-play]

The women’s race is underway. The lead women are running together in a large group. Constantina Tomesca-Dita is one of the early leaders. There’s a lot on the line today as many of these athletes are either trying to qualify or make decisions about their plans for Beijing.

The first mile pace was a little slow, right around 6:00 minutes or so. Just after the mile marker an athlete with bib number 142 (Michelle Wasco?) has jumped out as the solo leader, looking to drop the pace a bit. The front pack has stretched out to bring her back in with Dita coming up and running next to her. Liz Yelling is bridging the gap. I can see Gete Wami right at the front of the pack behind the two leaders as well.

The pace has definitely quickened coming down a slight hill. Mile 2 was covered in 5:41. Demidenko is leading with Wasco.

The 5K split went by in 17:34. It looks like some of the elites are feeling like the pace is too slow. Dita, Adhere and Wami have all now moved to the front coming up a small hill and are starting to push the pace.

It feels a little disorganized at the front. We have about 20 women in the lead group and there doesn’t seem to be a really clear leader setting the pace. Without Paula Radcliffe in the field, no one is driving the hammer to the floor like we saw back in New York in November.

The wheelchair races are getting underway now.

Post-continues as the race unfolds.

Dita is still leader at 28:00 minutes into the race. Gete Wami is right behind her. Hayley is off to Dita’s left, but not running with here. There’s a gap of maybe 15 feet between the two runners side-to-side. The splits in mile 4 and 5 were 5:08 and 5:32 respectively.

It looks like we’re down to maybe 15 runners in the lead group. Dita is still in charge. Svetlana Demidenko.

Mile 6 is came through in 5:25. Liz Yelling is now moving to the front right around the 10K mark with Demidenko.

The elite field just about took a wrong turn as the motor-cycles were sent off on a side-street. Now they’re back on track and running around the Cutty Sark on a narrow path.

We’re forty minutes into the race and Dit and Wami are now clearly at the front setting the pace. There are 14 runners at the front, stretched out in a line. The seven mile split was 5:36.

Tomesca-Dita and Wami are coming off the front and are starting to set themselves apart from the rest of the race.

The men’s race is about to get underway.
On the men’s side, there is so much going on. This is the Olympic Trial for Kenya as well as Great Britain. Pretty much everyone is here. Martin Lel, Luke Kibet, Sammy Wanjiru. The list goes on.

The race is underway. The masses are crossing the line just behind the men. I think the count is 38,000 runners in the race in total.

The men have taken off like a shot. The pace looks really hot at the start. We’re just three minutes into the race and it looks like we’ve got maybe 15 guys at the front. Two pace runners in at the front and then I see Sammy Wanjiru right behind them in a red and blue singlet. Wanjiru said that he wants to run in the 2:05s today to get a spot on the Kenyan Olympic team. This is going to be a really fast race.

Wanjiru ran his debut in Fukoka last December in 2:06:39 and has twice set the world record in the half-marathon. At 21 years-old, he’s one of the brightest young runners in the sport. I think he’s going to be in contention here today, even as this is only his second marathon.

Back over to the women’s race, Wami is leading by a slight margin. She looks to be on about 2:22:00 pace right now, which would be very quick. Just watching her for a second now, she looks like she’s holding herself back a bit and maybe adjusting the pace. Dita and Wami have moved across the road, perhaps trying to get out of some wind. Liz Yelling is back in 13th place.

Back with men, the lead pack is really small. Along with the two pacers, I see Martin Lel in there and Wanjiru and I think Ryan Hall is back there in the back of the pack. Stefano Baldini is there too. I don’t see Luke Kibet, but I think he’s in there. There are only ten runners in the lead pack, including the two pace setters. I’m not sure what pace the pace setters are working on, but it looks like maybe 2:06ish.

Now I see Luke Kibet in the lead pack. Kibet was the world champion in the marathon in 2007. The elite men just took their bottles. One of the pace runners handed his bottle to a police-man and seemed to surprise him. The lead pack is really pulling clear of everyone. We’re not getting many splits from the course, but they are just burning it up and pulling away from the field. We’re 17 minutes into the race and hopefully we’ll get some splits for the first four miles in a few seconds.

The women are 1:05:00 through and the lead pack now looks like 10 runners. I see Adhere in the pack, running in about fifth position. The wheelchair leaders have just passed the lead women. Miles 8 and 9 were 5:28 and 5:29 respectively.

I’m going to start a new post now, so look for Live Marathon Coverage #2 now as you come back.

The play-by-play continues: click here.

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon, USA
Running Advice and News



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