Tuesday, April 14, 2009

6 Days to Boston Marathon: The Fast Pack

The Boston Marathon website has been updated with all things related to race day. Runner's World has enough Boston information to keep runners and lusters--me included--visiting 24/7 until Monday with weather reports, interviews and blogs. And I'm convinced that searches are starting to pick up online related to this famed race. So with all the talk surrounding this marathon that has kept people training all winter, slogging through snow, ice, chilling winds and subzero temperatures, just which elites will be toeing the line come Monday morning?

With the marathon Olympic Trials being held for the U.S. women the day before Boston last year, the home-soil talent was a little shallow, which makes this year even more noteworthy to have Kara Goucher gunning for a victory lap. I know it probably sounds like we're ga-ga for Goucher, but how can you not be when she has a chance to win a race that an American woman hasn't won since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985? Aside from Goucher, some other names to note among the women's field include another American, Elva Dryer from Colorado, and 2007 winner Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia. Dire Tune, the 2008 winner, is back as the top seed, along with two other female runners who hail from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Bezunesh Bekele and Atsede Habtamu.

When it comes to top runners on the men's side, especially foreign runners, you're either a Cheruiyot or from Addis Ababa. Tekeste Kebede and Deriba Merga round out the Addis Ababa crew. Robert K. Cheruiyot is back to defend his title while Evans and Robert are the Cheruiyots trying to topple him. Meanwhile Olympians Ryan Hall and Brian Sell will be vying to bring the Boston title into U.S. hands.

On a side note, I was hoping that last year's top U.S. female would be back to race, but I didn't see Ashley Anklam's name among the entrants. I say this because Anklam ran a blistering 2:48 last year and finished in 15th place overall thanks to both her fast feet and many of the Americans too sore from Trials to run the following day. And I had the luck of meeting Anklam briefly last year although it was really our mothers who carried on the small talk. I was cleaning up postrace in a room set aside for runners at the Westin and Anklam used the shower after me to clean up for a press conference. I'm not as lucky to run with Deena Kastor so this was my glory moment, especially since it was by chance. OK, enough already....

Look for some of these names come Monday. One of them should be leading the race at least at some point, maybe even running away as the victor. We shall see. Photo of 2008 winners, Dire Tune and Robert K. Cheruiyot, grabbed from sports.gay.com. Posted by Kate

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