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Brenn describes his close, but no cigar marathon (3:01:04) at NYC, with a nod to prior guests Uli Fluhme and Angela Ortiz, while Gregg highlights stellar performances by our listeners. Brenn and Gregg look optimistically to next year’s races, making a call for stronger butts and hips.
We’re joined by Desiree Linden in episode 31, just days after her fifth place finish at the New York City Marathon. The uber-cool elite describes her windblown NYC race and outlines the Hansons-Brooks training approach that turned the 2:44 debutante into a 2:22 runner and one of the world’s best. Elsewhere, we recap pros who took flight in the fall marathon season, those whose wings were clipped, and a few missing in action. Brenn details his NYC race where the proof was in the pudding, and Gregg gets on the soapbox to draw inspiration from a race walker.
The elite running scene shifts from Mondo to asphalt this weekend with two marquee events. Many of America’s best will be either at the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Fla. on Saturday, or the NYC Half on Sunday, headlined by internationals Mo Farah and Geoffrey Mutai.
The Gate River Run doubles as the U.S. 15K Championships. Ben True is the defending champ and told us in a recent podcast that he’s fit, but a bit tentative after skipping indoors with a balky hamstring. Expect to see Chris Derrick, coming off X-C victories both at Edinburgh and in the U.S. Cross Country Championships at Boulder, mixing it up with True. Bobby Curtis, who was runner-up to True last year, should also be in the hunt.
Shalane Flanagan, prepping for Boston, is the class of the River Run women’s field, which also features Janet Bawcom, Amy Hastings, and Amy Van Alstine, coming off an upset win over Jenny Simpson at XC Champs at Boulder. Look for Shalane to roll early, in patented fashion, and also hold off the lead men in the “equalizer” competition, which gives the elite women a six-plus minute head start.
At the NYC Half Farah and Mutai, the clear frontrunners, will give us a sneak preview of next month’s London Marathon. Mo won the NYC Half in 2011 and has a PR of 1:00:10 in the distance. Mutai has a 58:58 personal best in the half (on a faster course) and ran 2:03:02 at the wind-enhanced Boston marathon. Mo is the world’s best 10k runner, and Mutai is the world’s best marathoner. We give the edge in this race to Mo, since we think the half marathon is closer to a 10K than a marathon. For Mo to win, he needs to stay close to Mutai and then unleash his superior kick; whereas Mutai would need to work harder to gap Mo and then hold Mo off. We suspect Mutai would gladly trade a loss in NYC for a win in London.
Besides those two, Meb Keflezighi is back in form having just won the U.S. Half Marathon Champs in Houston with a 1:01 in January. Matt Tegenkamp will be making his half marathon debut.
The women’s side is tougher to call. The two best PRs in the field are Hilda Kibet (1:07:59 last year at the Roma-Ostia Half) and Caroline Kilel (1:08:16 at the World Half Marathon Champs in Birmingham, U.K. in 2009). There are at nine women just behind them with 1:09 or 1:10 PRs, including Desiree Linden (formerly Davila). Molly Huddle, the American record holder in the 5,000 meters, is making her half marathon debut, as is Sally Kipyego who won silver in the 10,000m at the 2012 Olympics. Huddle showed great form at the end of 2013 and recently ran a 15:13 5,000m indoors.
Among runners we’ve interviewed in our podcast, True, Nick Arciniaga, Jeannette Faber, and Tyler McCandless are racing in Jacksonville, while Reid Coolsaet, Jeffrey Eggleston, Jason Hartman, and Lisa Stublic are in the Big Apple.
The Big Apple is buzzing over the return of the marathon, and in Episode 16 we get multiple perspectives on the race. Sam Grotewold, who manages the pro field for New York Road Runners, gives us his inside info on the elites and a few sleeper picks. He even tells us who’ll be on “Mary’s Truck” mulling a marathon debut in the years ahead. Local legend Alan Ruben of the Central Park Track Club talks about his amazing string of 25 straight NYC marathons, the last 23 of which were under 3 hours, and offers tips for the course he knows so well. Later on, Brenn discusses Tony Reavis’ blog entry on keeping up with the Kenyans, and Gregg gets on the Soapbox to say enough to all the advice for Ryan Hall.