Posted by: Joe English | April 14, 2008

Commentary: Putting the 2008 London Marathon into context

The 2008 Flora London Marathon is now in the books. But before we put this speedy joy-ride behind us to move on to the Boston Marathon next weekend, I thought I would take just a moment to comment on what we saw out at the front of the race.

First of all, this race was nothing short of IN-SANE (emphasis added!). It was unbelievable, incredible, unstoppable, insurmountable, and totally ridiculously replete with awesomeness to the n-th degree.

Did I get my point across? No? Well, then I will continue.

The headline that I wrote for the London Marathon re-cap included this statement: “three top finishers come in under 2:06:00.” That’s the incredible part. So let’s look at what’s so incredible about this:

– In running 2:05:15 to win the race Martin Lel had to run the fifth fastest marathon time in history.
– Even running the fifth fastest time in history, Lel only won the race by nine seconds, all of which came in the last 200M of the race.
– Sammy Wanjiru, in second place in 2:05:24, ran the sixth fastest time in marathon history.
– Finishing third in 2:05:30, Abderrahim Goumri ran the seventh fastest time in marathon history.
– That means that the top-three finishers was each faster than the previous fifth fastest time in marathon history (2:05:38 run by Khalid Khannouchi on the London Marathon course in 2002).
– If the race had been run just six months ago, the three first finishers would have run the third, fourth and fifth fastest times in history. The first and second fastest times in history were run in September 2007 and January 2008 by Haile Gebrselassie.
– When Ryan Hall blistered the course in 2:06:17, the 15th fastest time in history, it was only good for fifth place.

– Ryan Hall’s fifth place time would have been the second fastest time in the world last year, behind only Haile Gebrselassie’s world record breaking run in the Berlin Marathon (2:04:26).
– Ryan Hall dropped two minutes and six seconds off his personal best set one year ago at London.
– Sammy Wanjiru dropped one minute and fifteen seconds off of his personal best set only four months ago in his debut in the Fukuoka Marathon.
– Of the top five finishers in the race — Wanjiru, Goumri and Hall — this was only either the second or third marathon in their respective careers. Hall and Goumri run three. Wanjiru has only run two.
– Sammy Wanjiru is only 21 years-old. In running his two first marathons, he has run the sixth and 35th fastest times in history. He has set the world record in the half-marathon twice.

Now do you see why I’m so excited! That was one fast race.

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


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