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ING New York City Women's Marathon Preview - LetsRun.com
The shortest preview you will ever read for a major women's marathon
by: LetsRun.com's Emory Mort
We're going to keep this simple because really, it's simple. If you recall, the 2008 New York City women's marathon looked like this: Paula Radcliffe pushes the pace with Kara Goucher and Lyudmila Petrova clinging to her for as long as possible until they break in the final miles. In 2009, replace Goucher with Yuri Kano (a significant downgrade) and Petrova with Salina Kosgei (slight upgrade) and and you can already picture the race.
The reason it's down to three major contenders? Late cancellations. From NYRR:
This will be an anxious week for ING New York City Marathon professional athletes consultant David Monti after the worst depletion of the womens field in the events history. Monti is desperately hoping there will be no late withdrawals after five elite signings -- Dire Tune, Lornah Kiplagat, Jelena Prokopcuka, Mara Yamauchi and Tatyana Petrova -- dropped out of the race. [Link here]
The headline of the article calls the women's field "strong but depleted." Is that like Paula after a marathon? She's strong, but she's depleted. No, you're strong when you're NOT depleted. The field is depleted. But Radcliffe makes it interesting.
Radcliffe has won New York three times. She's going for number four and she's a HUGE favorite to get it. She wins every marathon that she's healthy for. She does especially well against so-so competition (i.e., competition that doesn't include Deena Kastor or Catherine Ndereba in their primes). Kosgei is better than so-so. She won Boston in a great sprint finish in 2009 off a slow pace. She did the same thing in the RAK Half Marathon.
The 2009 New York pace will not be slow or easy. Kosgei is going to have a much tougher time kicking off of whatever pace Radcliffe sets. That's what makes Radcliffe so impossible to beat when she's healthy. True, Paula is getting up there in age - she just had tonsilitis and foot surgery and has probably suffered just about every other injury in the books - but Kosgei is also over 30; she's no spring chicken.
So Radcliffe goes for #4 and she has said she wants to get the course record. Margaret Okayo holds the record of 2:22:31 set in 2003. Paula deserves the course record, as she is definitely the best woman to ever run New York multiple times. The win and the record will come if Paula has a good day and her body doesn't fall apart en route. She'll face potentially breezy, sprinkly conditions in typically cool temperatures. Sounds like Radcliffe weather.