Americans Laura Thweatt and Kellyn Taylor Are Racing The 2017 London Marathon – How Fast Will They Go?

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by LetsRun.com
April 21, 2017

Two elite American women have taken the bold move and flown over to the UK to compete in Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon – which may be the greatest marathon ever run in women’s running history: LRC The Greatest Women’s Marathon Ever? London 2017 Is Absurdly Loaded; How Fast Will Mary Keitany Go?

We talk about their goals for the race below.

Kellyn Taylor, 30 years old, 2:28:40 pb (2015 Houston), 71:01 half
Recent marathons: 6th 2015 Houston (2:28:40), 6th 2016 Olympic Trials (2:32:56)
Prep race: 3rd at USA XC Champs on February 4; 32:16 for 5th at Stanford Invite 10,000 on March 31

London will be Taylor’s third career marathon and she looks poised to record a nice personal best. She’s run more miles in this buildup than her previous two, logging five consecutive weeks of 99+ miles in February and March, something she had not done in the past.

“Obviously her first two [marathons] also went very well but I do think that the training seemed to come a little easier this time,” Ben Rosario, Taylor’s coach, told LetsRun.com. “I think it wasn’t so much that she hit way faster times than she did before the Olympic Trials, but I just think the times came easier and more efficiently. And she was actually better at hitting the splits evenly than she has been in the past.”

Kellyn Taylor win Houston in 2016

Kellyn Taylor in Houston in 2015

In particular, Rosario was pleased with a 16-mile tempo Taylor ran on March 25. Taylor averaged 5:50 pace for that workout at 7,000 feet, which came in the middle of a 103-mile week and just three days after a tough 20 x 400 track workout. You can check out the log of Taylor’s entire buildup here.

Taylor has raced three times this year. Her 73:13 at the Houston Half in January came in muggy conditions after a limited fall of training. Then she took third at USA XC in February before running ran 32:16 for 10,000 on the track on March 31. That time was well off her 31:40 PR from last year, but she also had far more volume in her legs as she ran 90 miles that week and had a heavy block of training in the weeks beforehand.

Rosario thinks Taylor can run 2:25 or 2:26, and that seems like a reasonable expectation given Taylor’s improved fitness, London’s fast course and the good racing conditions in the forecast.

Laura Thweatt, 28 years old, 2:28:23 pb (2015 New York), 71:02 half
Recent marathons: 7th 2015 New York (2:28:23)
Prep race: 2nd at USA XC Champs on February 4; 49:54 for 4th at US 15K Champs on March 11

Thweatt and Taylor are similar runners in many ways. Both are based at altitude. Neither were big stars in college. Their half marathon and marathon PRs are nearly identical, but both should be capable of much faster for 26.2 miles in the right situation. They went 4-5 at the Olympic Trials last year in the 10,000 (Taylor beat Thweatt by 15 seconds) and 2-3 at USA XC in February (Thweatt finished 25 seconds up on Taylor).

Thweatt showed terrific marathon potential by taking seventh in her debut in New York in 2015 (only 10 seconds slower than Molly Huddle ran in her debut the following year). She’s battled osteitis pubis (inflammation of the tendons that attach above the pelvic bone) on and off for the last 12 months, and though it hampered her training last fall, she told us she has managed to get it under control recently. Thweatt said her buildup went “as well as I think any marathon buildup can go” and she ran well in both her tuneup races. If Taylor is capable of 2:25 or 2:26, we expect Thweatt could run the same (Thweatt told us she’d be happy with anything at 2:28 or faster). In fact, considering how similar the two are, it may make sense for them to work together, especially if there’s no dedicated rabbit running 2:26 pace.

For more on Thweatt and Taylor, read David Monti’s article on them here: RRW: American Elites Kellyn Taylor, Laura Thweatt Ready for London Debuts The 2:28-women both will run their first marathon in over a year as Taylor last raced at the Olympic Trials and Thweat hasn’t run a marathon since her debut at NYC 2015.

Talk about the race on our fan forum / messageboard. MB: Official 2017 London Marathon Live Discussion Thread.