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2008 Flora London Predictions
Predicting a marathon is impossible for a number of reasons. 1) Many guys don't race coming into a big marathon so there is no way to judge their fitness. 2) Even if they do race, what one does in a shorter race isn't all that significant for a marathon.
Thus you are basically left to analyze their past performances coupled with an educated guess as to how their training has been going based on incomplete race results or vague press conference statements.
This year, things are even harder because with the Kenyans it's hard to know how much the political instability in their country disrupted their training.
Women's Race - Adere or Wami?
LRC Prediction - 1) Wami 2) Adere 3) Mikitenko. Wami is focused on this race. Adere already got her big pay-day.
Men's Race - So Many Options
America's hope Ryan Hall is rightfully generating a ton of buzz and he is the #1 choice picked by LetsRun.com visitors in our on-line poll. We love Hall, we want desperately for him to win but there is no way he can be considered the favorite.
People forget how good the Kenyans are. Admittedly, Hall has only run two marathons and the second won was on a challenging course but there are 11 Kenyans at the Rotterdam marathon this week alone with better PRs than Hall.. Rotterdam is the NIT; London is the NCAA. Hall has his hands full.
When you have to choose between a young Kenyan phenom and a young American phenom, intelligence says to go with the Kenyan. .
If Hall is a special once in a generation type talent for America, Wanjiru appears to be that way for Kenya.
Wanjiru clearly would be our pick if we weren't worried that his buildup for this race was less than ideal. Consider this: When Wanjiru ran 59:26 in early February in a half-marathon, he admitted the violence in Kenya had greatly hindered his training. How scary is that thought? He can run 59:26 with less than ideal training. However, you can fake fitness a bit at the half-marathon distance but not the full marathon distance.
Look a minute at Wanjiru's training. He ran Fukuoka on somewhat limited marathon training on December 3rd. Let's say he takes two down weeks. After two weeks down, he trains for just 7 weeks and he's running and winning a half marathon in 59:26. And those seven weeks weren't seven weeks of great training as he admitted the violence in Kenya hampered him. Then just 3.5 weeks later he's winning the world's richest half-marathon in 60.33. He's probably got to taper a bit for that as the payday is so big. Now 6.5 weeks after that he's racing London. He probably had to start tapering two weeks ago. Not a lot of time to really just train and pay proper respect to the 26.2 mile distance.
Lel probably should be the pick but asking someone to win three straight World Marathon Majors in this day and age of totally loaded Majors seems like a bit too much to ask. With the marathon, it's almost impossible to have it go right every time. The marathon by it's very nature is unpredictable. Lel did a good job of getting away from the unrest in Kenya but going to Namibia to train, but changing one's environment isn't ideal. He's sooner or later going to have a less than ideal race as he's due for a downer if he's human at all.
Morocco's Abderrahim Goumri is a real threat given his track credentials and his early success in the marathon. He finished 2nd in sprint finishes to Lel at both Chicago and New York last year. We're not sure why, but Goumri is being totally overlooked by most people (only 1.8% of the visitors have picked him). The weird thing is, we agree with the average LetsRun.com visitor. We arenít picking Goumri either. For some reason, picking a Moroccan to win just isn't sexy when we could pick a Kenyan or American sensation (Wanjiru and Hall) or the current marathon king (Lel).
LetsRun.com Predictions: For no particularly reason, we'll go with raw talent even if it hasn't necessarily properly trained.
LRC Picks: 1) Wanjiru 2) Lel 3) Hall
Also note: what we predict and what we bet on are totally different. We've got a nice sum riding on Hall to get the win. Should keep things interesting at 5 am.
In our minds, Hall will run either totally amazing or have a total disaster as it's clear his expectations coming in are sky high. We don't anticipate a ho-hum 2:10 out of him. Why? Because generally when an athlete goes into an event really expecting great things, they either do exactly that or totally bomb. If they go in with big expectations and find themselves just a little bit off, then a subpar day can easily turn into a total disaster as it just wasn't expected.