Chanman's Blog


Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials Preview

Posted in Race/Meet Report,USA Track & FIeld by Andy Chan on October 25, 2007
Tags: ,

It’s just over a week until the Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials.  179 American men achieved the time standard (2:22) to qualify run at the trials.  134 of those 179 will toe the line on Nov 3.

There is some tremendous talent amongst this group.  People with Olympic marathon experience (Meb, Culpepper, Browne), people who wear the hat as the “future of US marathoning” (Hall, Ritz, Sell), and people with some very fast marathon PR’s (Khannouchi, Hall, Abdi).  My pick for a darkhorse is Jason Lehmkuhle (you heard it here first!).  I personally cheer for 4 people in particular: Chris Lundstrom (coached with me at SHC for awhile), Peter Gilmore (local guy who gets it done with no sponsor), Brian Sell (I’ve loved this guy since he threw down the gauntlet and led the 2004 Olympic Trials race for 20+ miles before fading), and Meb (because he’s such a nice guy and we sort of know each other from our UCLA days).

There is media overload on websites like LetsRun (http://www.letsrun.com/), FloTrack (http://www.flocasts.org/flotrack/index.php), and Chasing Glory (http://www.nyrr.org/races/pro/mens_trials/glory/index.asp).  But if you don’t have hours to scour through everything, I recommend two articles from American Track & Field editor Larry Eder.

A review of the past Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials:

http://www.runblogrun.com/2007/10/the_mens_marathon_trialsinfo_y.html

And Larry Eder’s predictions:

http://www.runblogrun.com/2007/10/134_marathoners_will_run_us_ma.html

The sentence from Larry Eder that I like the best is this:

The skills that it takes to win a city marathon around the world, and the skill set that it takes to win an Olympic or World Championship marathon medal are two entirely different skill sets.

I couldn’t agree more.  Running a successful marathon (whether it’s to get a fast time or to win a championship race) requires things like endurance, stamina, etc.  But running fast times at races like the London, Boston, Chicago, and Berlin Marathons, usually involves getting into a fast pace and holding that rhythm.  To win a championship medal, it requires dealing with pressure and having race tactics (the ability to surge, counter-surge, and change gears as the situation requires).  That’s what makes the Men’s Olympic Trials Marathon so intriguing.  The pressure is on and it will require mano-a-mano tactics to determine who finishes in the top 3 to stamp their ticket for the Beijing Olympic Games.

While some of you are lucky enough to be heading to New York to watch the race in person (and then run the NYC Marathon the day after, good luck!!), us stuck here on the west coast can still watch via the internet.  Nbcsports.com is supposed to be carrying coverage of the race online.  Race time is 7:30am EDT so set your alarm clocks!!

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