Dear readers, I finished this column before I crashed early on Saturday morning. I just noticed that it did not get posted, so I have just added it up. I will write my story on the race, and a piece on Ryan Shay, later this evening, when I reach home, Fort Atkinson, WI.
Last Pre Race Musings on the Olympic Trials Marathon
It is midnight on Friday, November 2, 2007, and I have returned early from Rosie O’Gradys, the favorite watering hole for the running biz for the past twenty-five or so years. I can no longer stay out until three or four am, as the body does not allow me to get up, write or do a full days work.
Alas, I have digressed. I did want to give you a little view of my past few days here in New York, and then, finish up with some final thoughts for tomorrow. Kudos to the folks at the NYRR for doing such a bang up job on the media center at Tavern on the Green. I will be watching the race on the big screen there, plus jumping around on the course tomorrow to give you our exclusive view of the race.
The large marathons, New York, Boston, Chicago, are the meeting places for the business of running as well during the week leading up to each event. In all three,
the Running Network throws a party for the industry, as a way to thank our advertisers, a chance to catch up with people who we have not seen all year and also, hopefully to keep people thinking good thoughts about the Running Network. At the end of the day, while it is about running, we are still a business.
I spent the last three days juggling ad calls and press events, taking taxi rides up and down the West and East sides of Manhattan from the Village to Tavern on the Green. It is a good time to market the sport of running, even when the local papers cover some inane part of the sport. This is the same story each and every year.
The big story, so you know was that as USATF does not allow devices with earphones that disrupt one’s ability to pay attention to traffic patterns or an emergency, a good rule, that many would not be following the rule on Sunday. Talk about trying to make a controversy out of nothing. Of course, in 35,000 runners and walkers, a third of the crowd will be using such devices, but most will enjoy the crowd and the event and the culture of the marathon.
The real story is how the New York Road Runners Club saved the USOC’s butt and put this event in a world media center. The real story is how no USOC sponsors had the forethought to consider promoting this event as the beginning of the road to Beijing. The real story is how producers at NBC can still forget that with running continuing to grow, that a two hour, live broadcast on Saturday morning would not have kept some few million TV’s on a major network instead of Showtime.
Tonight, sitting with a beverage with a couple of co conspirators from California, who had run the 5.2 mile loop, it was explained to me that this course will be 5.20 mile followed by 4.50 mile and that it is a tough course.
Also tonight, the weather looks like it might play a part. Possible rain plus also wind gusts up to 30 miles an hour! This weather will play into the strength boys hands. My take on the race has always been tactical, now I think even more so. My last minute take on the race is that the half will be hit in 1.07, like Boston and then
a 1.04 and change to make the team. So, it becomes a half marathon. This then,
gives a Josh Rohatinsky or a Khalid Khannouchi a good shot. It also makes Alan Culpepper and Abdi Abdirahman look much, much better.
In the end, the last 10k will be a barn burner and guys with a track pedigree will look good, but the strength guys can always start the push with 15 kilometers to go and push until the crowd is down to three. The top three are the key here.
The silly thing here is how elitest this race is, and how great it is. 134 guys who can run a sub 2:22 marathon. The 20th place could be 2:17-18. This could be the fastest Trials since the 1980 race. Even with the bad weather.
Will it become a cross country race or a track race? The weather gods will tell us in a few hours. See you in eight hours!
For more on the race scene: http://www.american-trackandfield.com