Irina Mikitenko winning Virgin London 2009, photo by PhotoRun.net
The press conference today just added to my confusion. Deena Kastor was there, Olympic bronze medalist, US record holder, who is back in shape after her tragic injury at three miles in Beijing in 2008. Deena told the assembled media today that she has had five great weeks of training, and she feels ready to race.
Irina Mikitenko, the London Champion, in 2009, and 2008, and champion in real, -Berlin in 2008, and in second in 2007. This past summer, Irina’s father died, and she took four weeks off of training in July , and withdrew from the World Championships. She also said that her father ” is the most prominent person in her life.” Mikitenko is running for the memory of her father, a very powerful impetus.
Then we have Lidiya Grigoryeva. Lidiya ran her first marathon in 1997, in 2:51:21, and by 2006, she had improved to 2:25:10. Her wins in Boston in 2007 and Chicago in 2008 were hard fought. Her first win was in Austin, Texas in 1999. Lidiya knows how to race in tough crowds: tactical races are her specialty.
For Sunday, what will the Bank of America Chicago Marathon reveal? I think the race will be run, at the fastest, about 2:23-2:25. In that kind of race, in the cold, all three should be well matched. A close women’s and men’s race will show what is best about our sport–the competition!
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