US Women's Marathon Top 10 Rankings - 2009
LetsRun.com's year-end rankings evaluate the best US runners in every event from 800m to marathon - easily the most interesting summary you will find anywhere in the media.
LRC #1 Kara Goucher • Nike • Age 31 • 3rd, John Hancock Boston Marathon • 2:32:25 • 10th, IAAF WC Marathon 2:27:48 • 68:05 Half Marathon (1st, Chicago)
Kara Goucher ran two marathons in 2009 after her debut in New York in 2008, where she finished 3rd in what is still her personal best 2:25:53. Her first 2009 marathon was a much-hyped Boston Marathon attempt that followed a win in the Lisbon Half Marathon. Running into a prevailing headwind without the benefit of pacemakers, the women's race was very slow and ended up being led by 45-year-old (albeit the fastest 45-year-old in modern running) LRC #5 Colleen De Reuck.
Goucher stepped up the pace late in the race to attempt to burn the kicks out of Kenyan Salina Kosgei and Ethiopian Dire Tune, but to no avail. The Oregonian got burned in the end and was crying at the finish.
Announcing through the press that she would start a family after Boston and therefore take a break from competitive running, Goucher changed her plans after her frustrating Boston experience. There was talk of even running the Flora London Marathon a mere six days after Boston simply because the pace was so slow in Beantown. Her coach Alberto Salazar and she decided against the London idea and instead announced she would race the Berlin IAAF World Championships Marathon in August.
Dubbed a medal contender in Germany, Goucher had her worst marathon of the three she has run in her career, finishing 10th in 2:27. The time isn't terrible (no US woman ran faster than her in 2009), but the place and the feeling out on the course was far below what she hoped for.
Now taking a break with plans on a pregnancy with husband Adam, it looks like the earliest we'll see Goucher in her next marathon will be the spring of 2011.
Photo: Hansons-Brooks' Desiree Davila finishes 2009 as the 2nd-ranked US marathoner by LetsRun.com.
LRC #2 Desiree Davila • Hanson's • Age 26 • 11th, IAAF WC Marathon • 2:27:53 • 72:24 Half Marathon (4th, Houston, US Champs)
Brooks-Hansons runner Desiree Davila became the first woman poster child for the Rochester Hills marathon group when she finished right behind US star Kara Goucher for 11th at the Berlin WCs in a new personal best 2:27:53. Davila also had a nice performance on the track over 10,000m and a solid 4th-place showing at the US Half Marathon Championships in Houston (72:24).
At age 26, Davila is one of the few top woman marathoners in America to still have a good number of prime running years left.
LRC #3 Deena Kastor • Asics • Age 36 • 2:28:50 • 6th, LB Chicago Marathon • 73:48 Half Marathon (NYC)
American record-holding Deena Kastor came back to good health in 2009 after an injury-plagued year. The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist and sub-2:20 London Marathon champion did not have a great year, however, by her own impressive running standards. Still getting back in shape and battling injury, Kastor had a miserable go at the New York City Half Marathon in September when she ran 73:48 in the humid conditions. When the Chicago Marathon came around, American eyes were on Deena, but things didn't go well in the Windy City either, as she finished a decent 6th and wasn't a factor even in a relatively slow race.
After Chicago, Deena talked about having to take a pit stop during the race as the pains from running with an un-emptied system got too unbearable. It's hard to say whether Deena has simply been unlucky in her few shots at racing or if her body is totally through with running races at or near her 2:20 best. We think, based on the recent results from other aging greats, that Deena can approach her old performances, but maybe only once out of every 3 or 4 tries.
LRC #4 Ilsa Paulson • (age 21) • 2:31:49, Twin Cities Winner • 73:20 Half Marathon
At the age of 20, Ilsa Paulson took it to the field (and De Reuck) in Minnesota to win the US Marathon title in 2:31:49. She is now 21 and one to watch in the future.
LRC #5 Colleen De Reuck • Age 45 • 8th, BAA Boston Marathon; 2:35:37 • 2nd, Twin Cities Marathon (US Champs); 2:32:37 • 72:16 Half Marathon, 3rd, US Champs
Photo: Back in 2002, the world's running stars looked oddly similar to the stars of 2009 as Paula Radcliffe, Deena Kastor and Colleen De Reuck were on the podium at the IAAF World XC Champs.
USA Masters Runner of the Year Colleen De Reuck continues to redefine what is possible for women in their 40s. De Reuck's first major performance of the year came in Houston, where she was third at the US Half Marathon Championships. Next, she got a ton of face time as she led a huge chunk of the crawling, windy Boston Marathon.
De Reuck finished out her big year at age 45 by finishing 2nd at the US Marathon Championships at the Twin Cities Marathon, where she ran her seasonal best of 2:32:37.
LRC #6 Magdalena Lewy-Boulet • Saucony • Age 36 • 6th, ING NYC Marathon • 2:32 • 71:46 and 71:47 Half Marathons, US Champ
Also age 36, Magdalena Lewy ran 2:32 in New York to finish as the top American. She also finished as the top American at the Houston Half Marathon, which served as the US Champs.
LRC #7 Tera Moody • 9th, Chicago Marathon • 2:32:59 • 73:37 Half Marathon
Moody was four seconds behind LRC #8 Melissa White in Chicago to finish as the 3rd American finisher on the cold day in the Windy City, but she also represented the US in the Worlds in August, so we put her ahead of White.
LRC #8 Melissa White • Hanson's • 2:32:55 • 8th, Chicago Marathon • 72:40 Half Marathon
Hanson's Brooks Melissa White was the 2nd American across the line in Chicago.
LRC #9 Sally Meyerhoff• 2:35:49 • 5th, Twin Cities
Meyerhoff was 5th at the US champs and she also was 5th in Arizona in nearly the same time in January (2:35:52).
LRC #10 Kristin Price • 2:36:11 • 1st, Pittsburgh
Price won her only marathon of the year.
LRC Honorable Mention Kristen Lemkuhle • 2:35:06 • 3rd, Twin Cities • 72:41 HM
Kristen Lemkuhle earns our highly subjective Honorable Mention for earning a podium spot and personal best at the American championships in Minnesota this year. We'd rather have a win in 2:36 (Price in Pittsburgh) than a third in 2:35.