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The 110th Boston Marathon: Will Meb Come Out on Top?
April 17, 2006
Monday: 11:30 am easten on OLN TV

It's been 23 years since Greg Meyer was the last American to win the Boston Marathon in 1983. That could change in 2006.  American Meb Keflizighi is the pre-race favorite, and another American, Alan Culpepper, is back after last year's 4th place finish.

Culpepper has shown he can run well at Boston as he placed 4th last year. But there is a big difference between 4th and first. Plus, the knock on Culpepper is he sometimes seems to take the conservative route instead of going for the win. But he has had success against Keflezighi as he defeated Meb at the 2004 Olympic Trials.

Keflizighi, the pre-race favorite in the race, has shown a great consistency in the marathon, but has never won a marathon. However, he's been very close 3 times. He got the silver medal in the Athens Olympics, was 2nd in New York in 2004, and followed that up with a 3rd last year in NY hanging with Paul Tergat and Hendrick Ramaala until the final mile. Clearly Keflezighi has shown he can run with the best marathoners in the world. But can he come out on top?

Another question mark surrounding Keflezighi is how he will respond to the difficult Boston course. Keflezighi did great on the hilly Athens marathon course. But in our minds until a runner has proven him or herself at Boston with its long downhills at the start and uphills in the later miles, it's always impossible to predict exactly how they will fare in Beantown regardless of what shape they are in.

Two runners for which the Boston course is not a question are last year's champ Hailu Negussie of Ethiopia and 2003 champ Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot. Negussie has struggled since his Boston win, but Cheruiyot appears to be entering Boston in excellent shape. As a past winner, Cheuryiot has shown he can run the difficult Boston course.  Considering he recently ran a 59:35 for second in the Lisbon Half Marathon, he clearly is in top form so he should be very hard to beat.

But the marathon, especially Boston, is always difficult to predict. There are a slew of other runners besides those mentioned above who could contend for the Boston title. John Korir, road racer of the year in 2005, is making his marathon debut and actually is the #2 pick, according to LetsRun.com.

One thing that may make the race go a little more according to form (and make predicting it's outcome easier than in some years) is that good marathoning weather that is predicted. Monday should be a great day for marathoning as the runners will not have to deal with the heat that has plagued Boston in recent years. The forecast is for a high in the 50s with partly cloudy skies.

The greatest thing about Boston for US marathoning fans, is its tradition, and that tradition includes being the only marathon in the United States that features live national television coverage every year. London is the top marathon in the world and takes the top stars away from Boston, but Boston has a special place in every American's hearts, and this year hopefully more Americans than usual will watch because a few Americans have a shot at winning. So take the day off from work and watch the coverage that begins with the women's start at 11:30 a.m. eastern on OLN.

LetsRun.com Predictions
You've got to look at this like a golf tournament. Tiger Woods may be the favorite, but you've got to take the field over him. So we'll do the same with Mr. Keflezighi, and say someone else will beat him.
1) Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (We actually think this guy is the favorite)
2) Meb Keflezighi

3) Wilson Onsare
(he's got the fastest marathon pr in the field and was second last year)

Women's Race:
We swear we're not sexist pigs but the women's race at Boston is lacking in star quality and does not have the American angle that the men's race has, so we're not going to talk about it much. It features 0 women who have run under 2:22 and only 2 who have run under 2:24. The good news for the women is that the winner still picks up the $100,000 first place prize that the men do. The women should be grateful for this.

Reiko Tosa of Japan is the top seed on the women's side and a Japanese woman despite their tremendous success in the marathon has never won Boston. So here's hoping the Japanese end the Boston jinx.

*Boston Prize Money here
*Preview from Boston Marathon Website