The final press conference for the BAA Boston Marathon was this morning. I did not attend. I am recovering from a cardiac catherization at my farm house in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Justin Lagat has written the first piece of our coverage of the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon. I had wished to attend, as I have for the past dozen years, but, as I missed my first Boston since 1986, I must take care of myself so I can write about another thirty marathons in the future.
Justin puts much in perspective for this coming Sunday’s battle of the marathon stars…
Just like the Boston Marathon, London Marathon could as well become historic this weekend, for a different reason:
What will possibly result out of the most competitive fields assembled for this year’s race in both the men and women’s races? What times could we see posted?
The winners of the two big marathons that just happened, the Gold Coast marathon and the Boston marathons had to brave extreme weather conditions to emerge winners. The Gold Coast marathon that saw many athletes drop out and Callum Hawkins of Scotland collapsing with 2km to go was too warm while the Boston marathon, on the other hand, was very cold and wet and saw several athletes as well drop out of the race while those who finished had great tales to tell. The many stories of the resilient winners and finishers, and how they gave their all, have made the Boston marathon trend across the world making a keen observer wonder whether the harsh weather might have been good for Boston after all!
While the just concluded marathons were more of a battle against the weather, the London marathon will most likely be the greatest battles among the most competitive runners ever assembled in one major marathon.
In the men’s race, Eliud Kipchoge, Mo Farah and Kenenisa Bekele are more determined than ever to win this race. Kipchoge will be keen on maintaining his amazing record of being unbeaten in the marathon distance 8 times and only finishing 2nd in Berlin marathon in 2013 in all the nine marathons he has ever run. He also has to prove that his time of 2:00.25 should mean that he is the best marathon runner in the world, that he is still the one to motivate the next generation of marathon runners that anything is possible, including breaking the 2hr barrier in marathon, and perhaps get to officially break the world record.
Bekele on the other hand currently holds the world records over the track 5,000m and 10,000m. He knows and believes that this should translate to great marathon running and places him as one of the best candidates to break the world record having a personal best time of 2:03:03 which is the second fastest time in history.
Farah has had a great success on track in the 5,000m and 10,000m distances which puts him in the same place where Kipchoge and Bekele were before moving to the marathon, only that he is yet to prove that he can be one of the best marathon runners. The home crowd in London and the specific training he has had ahead of this marathon puts Farah as one of the favorites to take the title here.
The battle in the women’s race will be between Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba. Keitany will be going for a very fast time, but Dibaba who has had a very successful career on track and holds the world record in the 10,000m event will be out to cause an upset. This could be a recipe for a new world record.