Races — London Marathon Uneven at the Front, But as Always Interesting

running-advice-bugAlthough today’s London Marathon produced slow times from the elite runners, at least it was an interesting race to watch. And here’s a headline for you: the first Royal finished the marathon, tied together with 34 runners at that.

Let’s start with the men’s elite race. Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia took home the win, improving on his second place performance from last year. In doing so, he topped an amazing field of runners that included Sammy Wanjiru and Duncan Kibet. But something was amiss today. Wanjiru dropped out of the race and others fizzled, before Kebede won the race in 2:05:19. Kebede was one second faster than last year, when we ran 2:05:20 to take second place. Last year, the winning time came from Sammy Wanjiru in 2:05:10.

Now, if you’re asking how I could call these a “slow” time, we’re talking relative to other performances. If we put this in context, the Boston Marathon was won less than a week ago in 2:05:52, just half a minute slower on an incredibly hilly course. London is flat enough to have produced many world marks. It’s been awhile since London has produced a world record, but to see such a fast time in Boston goes to show that London should be producing faster times than what we saw today.
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Broadcasts — 2010 London Marathon Television and Internet Coverage

running-advice-bugThe Virgin London Marathon will be held on Sunday April 25th, 2010. With the London Marathon’s flat course, it produces some of the fastest times in the world every year. You can watch the marathon unfold live on television and the Internet. Here is what you need to know to watch the big race unfold as it happens.

Virgin London Marathon 2010 Television and Internet Broadcast Information
Race date: Sunday, April 25th, 2010
Start times:
— Elite Women Start: 9:00AM London Time (BST)
— Wheel-chair Start: 9:20AM London Time (BST)
— Elite Men & Mass Start 9:40AM Eastern Time (BST)

London time (BST) is five hours ahead of US Eastern Time and eight hours ahead of US Pacific Time. So the races will start at the following times in the United States for the purposes of watching live coverage:
— Elite Women Start: April 25th 5:00AM Eastern / 2:00AM Pacific Time
— Elite Men Start: April 25th 5:40AM Eastern / 2:00AM Pacific Time

National Television Coverage: Universal Sports Network
Internet Live Streaming: Universal Sports Network (www.universalsports.com)
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Races — Wanjiru wins London Marathon in new course record

LONDON — Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya continues to be the stunning rising star of marathon running as he wins the 2009 London Marathon in a new course record and personal best time 2:05:10. The race start out on pace to beat the marathon world record through the first-half, but slowed in the second. Wanjiru finished second at London last year in just his second marathon and then went on to win the Olympic Marathon in Beijing last year.

The top three men were the same men that took the podium at Beijing, but in just a slightly different order. Wanjiru finished 10 seconds ahead of Ethiopisa’s Tsegay Kebede (2:05:20), who finished third in Beijing. Jaouad Gharib the Beijing silver medallist came in third in 2:05:27.

Wanjiru, 22, was always a comfortable distance ahead of Kebede, but admitted it was not until the line was in sight that he felt assured of victory.

“It was a very tough field but it wasn’t until the final 150M I felt I would win,” Wanjiru told reporters. “It’s fabulous to have broken the course record, but my main aim was always to win.”

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Video — Haile Gebrselassie gives marathon running advice

It isn’t every day that marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie gives marathon running advice to the rest of the mere mortal runners of the world. In this interview Haile talks about running through the pain at 35KM and how hard a marathon really is.

With the London Marathon just a couple of weeks away, the reporter also asks about his plans to run the London Marathon. Definitely, says Haile, for the 2012 Olympics . . . and maybe before. He says he’d like to add a win of the London Marathon to his resume.

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Races: Radcliffe, N’Dereba, Wami all to run London Marathon 2009

2009 London Marathon

2009 London Marathon

LONDON — Paula Radcliffe will return to London this April to try win her fourth Flora London Marathon on April 26th, 2009. She’ll come up against one of the strongest fields she’s ever faced in doing so.

The world marathon record holder will line up against defending champion Irina Mikitenko, all three Olympic medallists and five of the first six finishers in Beijing, plus two former London winners and two World Marathon Majors champions.

After winning in 2002, 2003 and 2005 Radcliffe aims to emulate her mentor Ingrid Kristiansen, the Norwegian who won the London Marathon four times between 1984 and 1988.

“I’ve missed the last three years through injuries and it was frustrating not to be fully fit for the Olympic Games this summer,” said Radcliffe. “But after my victory in New York last month I’m hungry to win back my Flora London Marathon title and join Ingrid in the record books.”

Radcliffe has set world records in all three of her previous appearances on the London course. But such is the depth and quality of the 2009 field, she is likely to be racing the opposition as much as the clock next April.
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Races: Martin Lel heads all-star field for 2009 London Marathon

2009 London Marathon

2009 London Marathon

LONDON — Reigning champion Martin Lel will return to defend his Flora London Marathon title on April 26th, 2009 against one of the strongest fields ever assembled for a big city race.

After victories in 2005, 2007 and 2008, Lel is aiming to become the first man to win four London Marathons and only the second man to win three in a row, following the Mexican Dionicio Ceron who had three straight victories between 1994 and 1996.

“It’s wonderful to be coming back to London,” said the 30-year-old Kenyan. “I have great memories from my last three victories and will be doing my best to put my name in the record books with a fourth win.”

Last year Lel set a superb course record of 2:05:15, making him the fourth quickest marathon runner ever.

But with all three Olympic medallists from Beijing, a former world record holder, the first four from London last year, two other previous London champions, and a much-fancied debutant in the field, this could be the Kenyan’s toughest test yet.

Chief among his challengers will be Sammy Wanjiru whose victory at the Beijing Olympic Games was described by some as the greatest marathon performance of all time. The 22-year-old Kenyan will have high hopes of improving on his second place last year when he finished just nine seconds behind his older compatriot.
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London Marathon takes on new sponsor; becomes Virgin London Marathon in 2010

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money has signed a five-year deal worth £17m to become the official sponsor of the London Marathon from 2010.

Virgin Money take over from long-term sponsor Flora for an event which is the world’s most popular marathon.

Branson said: “It’s an inspirational event and raises a fantastic amount of money for great causes and we want to make it even bigger.”

Press accounts report that Branson plans to run in the event as well.

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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.
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Racing: Martin Lel wins London Marathon; top three finishers come in under 2:06:00

LONDON — In a race that saw scorching pace from wire to wire, Martin Lel wins the Flora London Marathon in a new course record of 2:05:15. Lel and the other leaders were well under world record pace for much of the race and for the first time in history, three runners finished a marathon under 2:06:00.

Martin Lel wins the 2008 London Marathon

Joining Martin Lel under 2:06:00 were the sensational young Sammy Wanjiru and Abderrahim Goumri finishing in 2:05:24 and 2:05:30 respectively. American Ryan Hall finished a strong fifth in 2:06:17.

On the women’s side, Irena Mikitenko of Germany won a surprise victory in 2:24:12. Mikitenko beat a crowded field of elite women in just her second marathon. One of the pre-race favorites, Gete Wami took a fall in an aid station, leaving her injured. Although Wami challenged into the last miles, she didn’t have her trademark closing speed and she finished third in 2:25:35 behind Mikitenko and Svetlana Zakharova (2:24:38). Liz Yelling ran a stellar race to finish as the top British female athlete in 2:28:33.

The story of the day was the pace of the men’s race. Pace setters took a small lead group of about 10 men out for a speedy joy ride that led to the trio of sub 2:06:00 times. In early running, the leaders were on 2:03:00 pace. At the half-marathon, the leaders were still ahead of Haile Gebrselassie’s world record pace, clocking 1:02:13 here. Haile had run 1:02:29 in Berlin when he set the world record back in September in the Berlin Marathon. This blistering pace should have been suicide, but for the strength of the leaders in today’s race.
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Live London Marathon Coverage update part 3

This is the continuing play by play with running coach Joe English as the race unfolds at the London Marathon. Make sure to hit the refresh button and check back frequently as the race unfolds.

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

We’re just about 1:25:00 through the men’s race now. The lead pack has dwindled. The pace runners are gone. The only men left up front are all Kenyans now. There’s Lel, Wanjiru and Mutai in the lead pack. The last two miles went through in 4:39 and 4:38, which is miles 16 and 17. The leaders are still flying, competing for spots on the Kenyan Olympic team.

It has started raining lightly out on the course, keeping the temperatures cool.

With 2KM to go, Mikitenko has pulled ahead. Zakharova is in second place 8 seconds back. Wami has really fallen off the pace and is 21 seconds back. I’m wondering if that fall at the aid station has hurt Wami. In any case, Mikitenko looks to be heading for the solo win now. Kosgei is in 4th and Petrova in fifth. Mikitenko’s spilt at 40KM was 2:17:07.

Martin Lel just set an African all-time record at 30KM. The pace is still blistering at the front. We’ll be back to that in a minute, but first the women are just finishing.
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