My dinner with the champions


Every once in awhile, the track geek gets a treat. After the Chicago marathon day, I was invited to dinner with Berhane Adere, Robert Cheruiyot and Patrick Ivuti by John Capriotti of Nike. Here was a bit on our evening....

After writing for seven hours, one does get tired. So, after two p.m., I head back to my hotel, a nice mile walk to the Palmer House, and took a nap. About five in the evening, a call came on my mobile. It was John Capriotti, the Nike Athletics Director. Cap wanted to invite me a dinner that evening. He said, this is your once in a lifetime opportunity, so be at a very famous Brazilian steakhouse at 8 p.m.

I arrived a bit early and was checking my voicemail as Frederico Rosa, and two of his athletes, Berhane Adere, the 2006-07 marathon champion and Robert Cheruiyot, the 2006 winner and fourth place in 2007. A few minutes later came Patrick Ivuti, the 2007 Men's winner, and Josh Rowe and John Capriotti from Nike. Our final two guests were Dr. Rosa, Frederico's father and Tracy Sundlin, the VP of Elite Racing.

It was truly a treat to sit down with Robert Cheruiyot and Berhane Adere. Robert was very talkative and told me about the hot water he drank on the course and how the hot
water suprised him at 40 kilometers. He had to stop for a few moments, then started running again. Robert told me that he looked forward to resting for a week, then training for a marathon next spring, either Boston or London. I asked him if he liked Boston's course, and he said he really liked it!

Berhane Adere is much quieter, but a very thoughtful person. I complemented her on her superb finish. She smiled and said she had felt bad, but started running hard after her bad stretch. I asked her if she would run cross country next spring, and she said no, she would concentrate on the marathon. When I asked her about the track, she smiled and said no more track and field. With her last 300 meters, she can still run the 10,000 meters, in my mind.

Dinner was relaxed and jovial. Lots of talk about track and field. We congratulated Patrick Ivuti, who won the men's race in the last meters! The picture at the finish shows how close the race really was-.05 of a second. Patrick told us that he was not sure he would win until just before the finish. With one hundred meters to go, Patrick thought he was second!

Track minutae came out, including alleged pictures of Tracy Sundlin, who has coached t least two countries' Olympic teams, with an hairstyle in the seventies known as an Afro. This writer is looking to offer monetary prizes for such an alleged picture.

The discussion got interesting about the World Majors Marathon, and Frederico started teasing Robert and Berhane about running ING New York. I thought Robert would jump out of his chair, but Berhane smiled, and looked like she was interested! Frederico then made it known he was just kidding.

Just having a little time with the champions, and their coach an agent was a treat for any track geek. A fitting end to a day of astonishing marathon races, and astonishing weather conditions.

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