FLORA London, Update 2-Two Very Different Races


The 2008 FLORA London marathon is shaping up, in its second hour, as two very different races. The women's race was a very consistent, 2;25 pace, and it looked to be lining up for the kickers. The men's race, after having been sub world record, lined up as a good shot at the course record and as the athletes tired, they knew that they were still running fast...Ryan Hall had some problems, but came back...could the leaders hang on?

35,013 started the race this morning.

The women's race is being run at just around 2:25 pace. Constantina Dita, winner of
B of A Chicago, Helsinki medalist, is leading the pack in 1:12.52. Irina Mkitenko of Germany, Svetlana Zakharova of Russia, Ludmila Petrova of Russia, Everline KImwei of Kenya, Berhane Adere of Ethiopia, Souad Ait Salem of Algeria, Gete Wami of Ethiopia, Salina Kosgei of Kenya and Adriana Pirtea of Romania are all together, within four seconds.

The men's race is absolutely insane! Hitting the 5 kilometers in 14:21, the 10k in 29:10 (14:49), 44:00 at 15k (14:50).

The pack includes Martin Lel of Kenaya, Ryan Hall of the US, Hendrick Ramaala of South AFrica, Yonas KIfle of Eritrea, Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya, and Felix Limo.

Ryan Hall is running well, staying out of trouble. Seems to be able to get his liquids. Wearing sunglasses, and staying out of trouble, that is the key right now for Hall.


In the Canary Wharf area, the same area where Haile Gebreselassie dropped out last year, Geta Wami of Ethiopia, the -real, Berlin winner and ING New York second placer, fell very hard, and was knocked out of the top pack, but she took two miles and caught up with the pack!

Irina Mikitenko of Germany is leading. the 20 kilometer was covered in 1:09:09, and hit the half way in 1:12.52 and 25 kilometers in 1:25.49. The pack has been running consistently for the women. Ludmila Petrova in 1:43:23, with Salina Kosgei of Kenya, Berhane Adere of Ethiopia, Irina Mikitenko of Germany, Svetlana Zakharova of Russia, Souad Ait Salem of Algeria, Gete Wami are in the pack. Dita is back about twenty seconds, but she was definitely banged up.

Irina MIkitenko of Germany has been leading the race for most of the second hour, cutting the pack down to seven. Between 30 and 35 kilometers, MIkitenko continued to run a consistent pace, and it was hurting her competitors. Hitting 35 kilometers in 2:00.26, it was only Svetlana Zakharova of Russia and Gete Wami of Ethiopia who stayed with her.

By 35 kilometers, Salina Kosgei of Kenya was six seconds back, Ludmila Petrova of Russia was three seconds back. Also in the pack still, but farther back was Souad Ait Salem , Berhane Adere, Constantina Dita and Adriana Pirtea. By 35 kilometers, Liz Yelling of Great Britain continued to excel, running the hard way, by herself since about 8 kilometers, only 24 seconds behind Mikitenko.


The men's race has benefitted from the excellent pace making of the first pacemakers, who were to take the leaders through in 63:30.

The leaders, Yonas Kifle of Eritrea, Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya, Deriba Merga of Ethiopia, Martin Lel, the 2007 winner of Flora London, Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya, Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco, hendrik Ramaala of South Africa and Ryan Hall were all in the front pack. The pack hit the halfway in 62:13. Then, the pace makers dropped off.

In the second group, Luke Kibet, the 2007 World Champion was on a 2:11 pace and Stefano Baldini of Italy, the 2004 Olympic champion and Dan Robinson, the top British runner, were running about two minutes back.

The pace was consistent 4:50 to 4:52 per mile, and in the lead pack, there was some change in the leaders.

The meteorologist at the BBC was right. The weather changed,and there was a period of rain. The rain started to affect the men, as it had over the last half hour of the women's race.

The mens' pack hit the 25 kilometer mark in 1:13:47 with Wanjiru, Lel,Hall, Kifle, Merga, Goumri, Mutai and Ramaala still in the game. Felix Limo, the 2006 winner had dropped back and Luke Kibet was nearly two minutes back at 25 k.

The pace was no longer world record pace, but very close. The 2:05 pace continued to challenge even the most elite of runners. At 30 kilometers, Martin Lel led, setting an African record in 1:28.29. Samuel Wanjiru is in second, Emmanuel Mutai, Deriba Merga, and Goumri following. Ryan Hall of the US seemed to be having some problems and dropped back by six seconds. Yonas Kifle, Hendrick Ramaala were also off the back of the back and Felix Limo continued to fall back.

The weather was playing a part, as the miles and the strong early pace began to take its toll. Ryan Hall was able to catch up with the lead pack again, joining Martin Lel, Samuel Wanjiru, Deriba Merga and Abderrahmin Goumri in 1:43:54 at 35 kilometers. By this time, it was also evident that the pace for the men's race was building up for a very fast series of finishes and perhaps a new course record......

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