April 23, 2006 - London Marathon

This past weekend Trent and I had the opportunity to travel to London to see the great London Marathon. Thanks to a good friend and famous race announcer from NYCRR, Ian Brooks, who I have gotten to know well from racing at the New Balance Games, we saw the marathon in luxury! We were invited to the VIP breakfast and then had passes for the grand stands. Many thanks to Ian!

What a weekend. Since Trent had never been to London we went early and spent the day Saturday touring on the Big Bus and seeing the spectacular sights such as Big Ben, Parliament, Tower of London and the London Eye. Although I’ve been to London a few times, I had never taken the time to tour around and I must say that I do have greater appreciation for the city after seeing it more.

Now on to the real reason we were there – the marathon. Sunday, April 23 – 7am: 10 degrees and rainy. Perfect marathon weather! Although I don’t yet desire to take on the marathon at this point in my running career (when I do, I have told Ian my first will be NYC), the London course featured some great sights and was ideal for fast times (as has been shown with having two previous world records set on the London course). As well, this year’s marathon featured one of the best fields ever. On the men’s side: Haile, Limo, Lel, Rammala, Khannouchi, Baldini, and many more. And, it would have been even stronger if Tergat didn’t have to pull out the week leading in due to calf problems. Although the women’s side wasn’t quite as strong, especially with Paul Raddcliff out, it did feature a group of talented women who would give each other a good run: Kastor, Okayo, Chepkimi, Kosgei and more, but I have to admit I'm not so good with the names!

The women’s race was the first to go at 9am and Deena Kastor showed she meant business from the start. With the pace-setters aiming for a sub-2:20, only two Kenyans went with her. She broke them around mile 20 and was all alone (aside from the pacers) for the last 6 miles. Deena did a superb job holding poise and getting the job done -- finishing in an American Record of 2:19.36.

The men’s race was a bit more tightly back right til the end. The pace setters got the men off to a good start and they hit the half marathon on world record pace (1:03:30), but after most of the pace setters dropped no one wanted to take the lead and the pace slowed. With only a few miles to go a couple Kenyans (Limo and Lel)) made a big move and broke up the field. Early favourite, Haile, along with many other top runners, did not go with the lead group. In the end, it was Limo and Lel fighting in an exciting spring finish, with Limo taking the win in a time of 2:06.39. Both men ran outstanding races and showed they are at the top of marathon running. And, not to discredit their achievement, but I would like to note Geb's take on what he claimed was one of his worst days of running since he become professional. He said that the rainy weather and slipper surface caused him a lot of cramping, which eventually took a toll on his legs, thus we did not see the typical Geb-style of racing, which would have been to take the lead and go for a record and the win. Nevertheless, he finished the race and, as usual, came in smiling.

For Trent and I personally, there were highs and lows of the marathon, as spectators. Seeing Deena win was a big high and motivating to watch. While seeing Geb faulter was difficult. As well, it was disappointing not to have Tergat in the race. BUT, we did get to meet him, which was one of the highlights of the weekend. I must say, he is a very personable guy – even though he was getting lots of photo requests, he took some time to talk with us and take a picture with Trent.

Overall, it was a great weekend and definitely worth the trip! Next major marathon on our list (to watch!) is likely Berlin because we may have a crew of Canadians coming to race.























Links Home