Kenyan Olympic Marathon Teams Announced, by Toni Reavis, note by Larry Eder

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Keitany_MaryFV1-London12.jpg
Mary Keitany, 2012 Virgin London Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net


Kipsang_WilsonFV1a-London12.jpgWilson Kipsang, 2012 Virgin London Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Mary Keitany and Wilson Kipsang won their divisions of the 2012 Virgin London Marathon in a convincing fashion. And, then, it got muddy. So, when Athletics Kenya named its' men and women's Marathon teams, Toni Reavis, our running man of letters, went to work. What follows is Reavis' thoughtful assessment of the Kenyan team.

My thoughts go in a very different direction. I believe that the Kenyan and Ethiopian federations know that they are very close to the point, where the herculean effort it takes to make their teams lessens their chances of a medal in the Olympics or World Championships.
 
Kipsang and Keitany are two of the best marathoners on the planet. The issue is how many very fast and challenging marathons one can run in a year. The London 2012 marathon course will be very technical, with lots of turns and few places to hide.

Mary Keitany showed her maturity as an athlete. Instead of the impetuous run we witnessed at ING New York, we saw a calculating veteran, who wanted that first position, and negative splitted on the roads of London, running a new Kenyan record. How good is Mary Keitany? Not in the Olympics, but Mary Keitany can run 2:16 or better.

And then, there is Wilson Kipsang. A 2:04.57 in BMW Frankfurt in 2010, followed by a 2:03:42 in 2011 at BMW Frankfurt. Still, few gave him credit.
Kipsang took on Lilesa, Lel, Tadese and the rest, and churned them up.

I have to admit my sadness with Geoffrey Mutai and Patrick Makau not being named. Sharon Cherop could have been argued for as well. And then, my fave, the man with the kick, is Martin Lel; Martin is the kind of guy who outkicks three guys for the silver with 600 meters to go. He is one of the most under-rated marathoners and athletes in the world of athletics. But, then, I am not a Selector. A tough job, any way one looks at it.

A marathon in an Olympic environment is a crap shoot. There are always the favorites, and then, someone, from somewhere, who quietly, gently, put in those 130 mile weeks, with good quality, under the watchful eye of a coach with a dream, shows up, and puts it all together on the day. Someone will surprise. More than likely, this time, he or she will not be Kenyan or Ethiopian.

One final point: Toni Reavis and I are from the River City: St. Louis. St. Louis is a combination of the German, Spanish and French influences that abound in the area. Reavis has all of those. In his writing, there is the care of someone who loves his topic, and who is at great pains to show you why you should love it. A voice in the wilderness, Reavis has offered more cogent ideas on how to change our sport for the better than anyone I know. Toni Reavis is one of our sports' great resources and important voices.



KENYAN OLYMPIC MARATHON TEAMS ANNOUNCED

by Toni Reavis

     Well, the word has come down from on high.  At a packed news conference in Naiobi, Athletics Kenya today named their highly anticipated Olympic Marathon squads.

Men: Wilson Kipsang, Abel Kirui, Moses Mosop...

Women: Mary Keitany, Edna Kiplagat, Priscah Jeptoo...

"We have selected the athletes based on their individual performances after the major Marathon races they have participated in this season with a lot of emphasis on experience," AK President Isaiah Kiplagat told the gathering.

 

The women's selection was a no-brainer, top three at London, all of whom have performed well in recent performances before that, including reigning World Champion Edna Kiplagat and silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo. Two-time London champion Mary Keitany is, of course, the lioness herself. The only other candidate might have been Boston champ Sharon Cherop, the bronze medal winner in Daegu. But even her own team knew her Olympic chance came and went in Dubai in January where, though she ran a PR 2:22:39, it only harvested seventh place.  Regardless of her win in Boston, AK was not going to put someone on the team whose third marathon of the year would be the Olympic Marathon.

Men's team was always the more intriguing selection.  But of the six provisional picks, only Wilson Kipsang performed at his best this spring, winning London handily.

M. Mosop 2:05:02 - 3rd, Rotterdam
G. Mutai DNF, Boston
W.Kipsang 2:04:44 - 1st, London
A. Kirui 2:07:56 - 6th, London
E. Mutai 2:08:01 - 7th, London
P. Makau DNF, London
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