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Archive for January, 2010

So the little emperor arrived, talked up storm, didn’t deliver a WR but gosh darn if he didn’t throw together another stupid-fast time.

The low-down: he snagged a 2:06:09 in this morning’s Dubai Marathon, picking up a tidy $250k for his troubles.

Educated running folk all over the cyberglobe are going to be saying this is the beginning of the end for the big guy, calling it almost a “disappointing performance” which of course is bullshit.

He is 36 and he ran a 2:06. Get back in your box naysayers.

My man on the scene, we’ll call him Chris, snapped these pics with his very own point-and-shoot on or shortly after the halfway mark. Cheers for the photos mate!

Lead car

Lead pack - Geb tucked right in there

Chasing pack

Lead women - pretty well obscured by the surrounding male athletes

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but here’s one anyway.

south africa’s most successful road runner of all time. twice world half marathon silver medallist. NYC marathon winner, closest ever battle for victory a year later.

not the little emporer - the guy with the bandana

rolling with the big dogs

not the guy in red. he’s decent though. and he OWNS london. not the little emporer either – see yesterday’s link for his greatness. the guy in the bandana. the big H-man. the one and only…

watch this space…

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oh yes he does

geb

21 years in the pro game, still kicking ass. 

and as barrow reminds me every chance he gets, he marked this youngster for greatness in the 93 world champs.

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London calling

I shouldn’t be this excited about London this early.

We booked our accommodation last week and that kicked it to the next level.

You’d think this was my first London or that I’d had awesome runs there in the past.

You’d be wrong though. I’ve run it 4 times, and none of them have been PB-shattering performances. My first taste of it was actually a PW which still stands. 4:27. In my defence it was a week after the Two Oceans Marathon (a 35 mile Ultramarathon in Cape Town). Since then I’ve had a trio in the 3:10 to 3:20 range, pretty disappointing really.

But somehow the race gets under your skin. The occasion is immense. Almost certainly the most globally watched marathon. You can feel it on race morning. The eyes of the running world are on you.  A mass of teeming running energy. Pointy at one end with super-athletes from another planet running at speeds we can’t maintain for a single mile.

Sharing the road with those guys is a childish thrill for me that I’m not ashamed to admit.

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Two weeks into 2010 and my lofty target of 50mpw is still on the cards, just about.

Week one was 50.7 and week two 49.0 for a tidy average of 49.8.

God gave rock and roll to you

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murky depths

In a good way.

Last Saturday’s cross country race (16 Jan, Birmingham League, Division 1, Meeting 3, Coundon Park, Coventry) brought it home for me yet again. The depth of high quality competitive club runners in just one region of the UK, on a cold January afternoon, is truly something to behold.

Our club’s top marathon runner, we’ll call him Martin, ran a pair of 2:29 marathons last year and a 2:30 on top for good measure. On Saturday he could only manage 79th. Our top cross country runner, who incidentally won the U17 Intercounties championships, last year, didn’t break the top 50 on Saturday. Granted he had a bad day out, but even so…

This is a high quality field.

It makes me ponder (again), on what happens just beyond the very sharp end of these fields. I assume the other district cross country leagues are of similar levels and depths. Certainly at the intercounties championships our divisions don’t clean up the medal table. So it would appear as though the standard of our league, whilst it may be above the county average is not head and shoulders above it.  

There’s a lot a top quality runners just bubbling beneath the national level and sooner or later a group has to burst through and make the leap to national class and beyond.  

The chap who won on Saturday incidentally, did so by a comfortable margin (somewhere around 20 seconds from memory) and is still a junior. By all accounts he was a class apart and made that clear pretty early on. Personally I was engrossed in a battle of trying to finish in the top half of the field – I failed – and so only have the word of some educated spectators as to this youngster’s class. There is a chance that he will bridge the gap to the next level – lets hope so, achieve national success and then perhaps onto international competitiveness in the years that follow. 

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