Two Worthy Video Series To Get You Pumped For Sunday's ING NYC Marathon

November 3, 2010

As everyone knows, things are bigger and better in Texas New York. Well, that's what a New Yorker will tell you.

When it comes to internet video, that is true with the 2010 ING NYC Marathon.

Currently, there are two different video projects going on in association with Sunday's ING NYC Marathon. Adidas and Flotrack went to Ethiopia and have produced a series on the Emperor, Haile Gebrselassie, in advance of his much-anticipated NYC debut. The NYRR and Kimbia Athletics have their own series: "Rookies vs. the World" that is chronicling the marathon debuts of Olympic bronze medallist Shalane Flanagan, Canadian 10k record holder Simon Bairu, and American hopeful Tim Nelson and has cameos from Chris Solinsky.

Both projects are professionally done and worth a watch if you have time. It's definitely worth realizing these aren't amateur videos that are so often associated with the internet. Snippets from both could make the television broadcast.

The series are very different due to their subject matter.

The Adidas/Flotrack series has some stunning videography and you get a feel for Ethiopia and Haile G. The series is solely about one person, Haile Gebrselassie, and the Great One is the only person who speaks in the series, except for an adidas shoe designer. Haile's personality is naturally so charming and charismatic that if you ever wanted to watch just one guy speak, he'd be the one.

The "Rookies vs. the World" series does not have the headliner in Gebrselassie, but it has more characters and thus the ability to create more storylines, more along what you might see on a reality television series.

We'll now try and give you some of the highlights of each series and hopefully entice you to watch some of them. That's what we did yesterday to present you this review.

Haile Gebrselassie Comes To NYC

Overall Synopsis:
If you're going to do a series on one distance runner, Gebrselassie is the one to do it on. In fact, Disney did a whole movie on Haile - Endurance. We've been waiting ten years for a DVD of the movie to come out so we can watch the scenes of him running over and over but it's still not out. Watching anyone else run might be boring but we loved seeing him run in Ethiopia. Not only are Haile's accomplishments legendary, but his personality is infectious, and Gebrselassie's sincerity and smile have captivated us for 15 years. This series helps you get a better understanding of the Great One and know more about life in Ethiopia. Gebrselassie is a success on and off the track and much of his advice is very wise. Now for an Episode-by-Episode Recap. The episodes are 4-6 minutes long. If you've got time, we defintiely recommend that you watch them all. If you've got time for one, episode 3 is our favorite, followed by episode 1.
Pros: Haile Gebsrselassie, Haile Gebrselassie, Haile Gebrselassie, Stunning Scenery In Ethiopia, Haile's Personality, Seeing Haile Up Close
Cons: Not Enough Footage Of Gebrselassie Running (we wouldn't say that about many people), It's Tough To Attempt To Do A Series Where Only One Person Speaks, The Adidas References Become Tiresome

Episode I: His Life (6:08):

Synopsis: Gebrselassie talks about when he took up running: "When did I start running? When I was 5 ...," adidas: "for me there is no other shoe company," managing his running career and his business empire, and gives life tips for success "if you want to do something, win something, then win yourself first."
Highlight: Episode is a nice introduction to Geb, Ethiopia, and Geb's can-do attitude.

Episode II: His House And Medals (4:21)
Synopsis: Haile is in his mansion showing you his amazing collection of running medals. The medals alone remind you how truly incredible his running career has been (we forgot, until Haile shows off a gold falcon he received, that he won $1 million for breaking the world 10k record).

Highlight: Haile's smile when he thanks the viewers at the end of the tour of his medals, seeing some sort of ram tied up in Gebrselassie's yard.
Lowlight: Hearing again how his brother's first shoe was adidas (we heard that in episode 1).

Episode III: Ethiopia (Our Favorite)
Synopsis: Haile talks about the tough life in Ethiopia and what can be done to help the country escape its poor existence. Haile has political ambitions and you see how he wants to empower the people to a better future. You also see his fierce pride in Ethiopia and what it means to be an Ethiopian.
Highlights: Geb's wisdom and belief in people: "What is the most important part to eradicate poverty? - it is education."  "You cannot help people for ever. You cannot give a fish every time. Show him how to fish and then people can help themself."  "Money itself does not give you everything." "I have a responsibility. I can live a nice life anywhere in the world." "You cannot take his blood from his body and change him to a different country." Flashbacks to Geb beating Tergat in Olympics.

Part IV: Haile's Gear For NYC (4 Minutes)
Snyopsis: Haile is up in the mountains and we see a stunning view to start. We were hoping it was going to be African scenery and Geb running, but for much of the episode Geb is talking to a Japanese adidas shoe designer about adidas and his shoes. Geb talks a little about his training and there are snippets of him running, but he's working out in a gym as much as he is running outside.
Positives: He does discuss his training briefly, he plays the flute, and flashes his $1 million smile.
Negatives: We wanted to see this episode end up being Endurance for the internet (where we'd really just get to see Geb run) and didn't get it. This episode disappointed us the most. Talk to us directly about the shoes or show us more of Geb and his running. Don't try to do both.

Editor's Note: A Fifth Part of the Series was posted yesterday. We haven't had time to watch it. Info below:
Episode 5: Haile G Gym Workout
Episode Recap from Flotrack website
: A day after Haile Gebrselassie ran 59:33 to win the Great North Run in Gateshead, Flotrack met him out in his home of Ethiopia. While he was recovering the days we met, we were able to follow him through his typical strength routine in the gym.

(There is one more episode to come this Saturday)

Rookies vs. The World Review

Overall Synopsis: The series follow training partners Shalane Flanagan, Simon Bairu and Tim Nelson as they prepare for their marathon debuts in New York City. We see them in different settings: checking out the course in NYC, in Seattle at a Seattle Mariners baseball game, and training at altitude in Mammoth. Each episode has a different purpose and setting, and is interesting in its own right, but combined they are a series and you get a good feel for the group. Now for an Episode-by-Episode Recap. If you've got time for only one episode, episode 1 plays well on its own, followed by 3.
Pros: Each Episode Is Interesting On Its Own But Contributes To The Whole, Diversity Of Characters, You Get A Good Feel For The Portland Group, But Also The Universal Challenge Of The Marathon
Load Times, Hit Play And Then Pause To Start Loading The Videos As They Didn't Buffer Well On Our Connection; No Geb Or Ritz May Stop Some From Watching

Episode 1: The Rookies Take On NYC

Synopsis: The "rookies" start off on the NJ transit train as they head into NYC to run the NYC course for the first time. During the train trip and while seeing them in the city running the course, they talk about the unknown of the marathon, the challenge of the marathon, and the big stage that is NYC.
Highlight: Did a nice job of using visit to NYC to present the universal challenges of the marathon and in particular first time marathons. Shalane Flanagan may have a bronze medal around her neck, but she has many of the same fears as all first time marathoners and that comes across. The challenge of the marathon applies to everyone: Bairu: "If you're going to win it, you've got to earn it."
Lowlight: Load times. As is the case with a lot of internet video and not a super-fast connection, hit play and then pause to let the thing load so you won't have to get interrupted for it to buffer.

Episode II: Team Portland: The Rookies (And Chris Solinsky) Go To A Seattle Mariners Game (5:51)
Synopsis:  The rookies - plus American record holder at 10k, Chris Solinsky - go to a Seattle Mariners baseball game. Former Wisconsin XC all-American Scott Jenkins is an executive VP of the Mariners and got the runners VIP treatment (it looked like they were taken onto the field and introduced before the game) in Seattle. The trip to the game is used as a means to show the camaraderie of the training group, and you leave the episode feeling the group really is close to one another. "One of the keys to success is we know when to train hard and when to let go and relax." Simon Bairu: "It's like a family, that's probably the best way to describe it."
Guest Star: Chris Solinsky
Highlights: Scott Jenkins of the Mariners saying, "These guys are just as good as Ichirio ... at what  they do. I wish more people would recognize that." Leaving the episode really believing the group is a "band of brothers."
Lowlights: There's a scene where Solinsky is making fun of Bairu calling him the "airport shuttle" but we thought it didn't come off well (plus, Chris Solsinky says he's not a baseball fan. How un-American is that?).

Episode III: Climbing The Mountain (6:25)
Synopsis:  The rookies go to Mammoth (the home of rival training group Mammoth Track Club (Deena Kastor, Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi)) to train at altitude. Ryan Hall's ex-coach Terrence Mahon is interviewed and talks about group training and training in Mammoth. The episode spends a lot of time on a real live bear that disrupts the fishing activities of Alistair Cragg and Simon Bairu.
Guest Stars: Mammoth Track Club Coach Terrence Mahon, Irish Star Alistair Cragg
Highlights: The bear and Terrence Mahon are what we remember.

Note: A Fourth Episode Posted Today. It's four minutes long but since we're traveling to NY, we haven't had time to watch it.
Episode IV: Checkpoint Philadelphia (4:13)
Synopsis From Kimbia Website: The Rookies take on a world class field at the Philadelphia Half Marathon as they look to tap their competitive juices, check their fitness and get in a "competitive workout." Watch them go toe-to-toe with the world's best over 13.1 as they get ever closer to their date with 26.2!

So there you have it. Everything is bigger and better in NYC. You can watch the episodes above or the Geb series here, and the Rookies segment here. Hopefully, you'll have time to watch some of the series and get pumped for Sunday's ING NYC Marathon.

Speaking of internet video, the NYRR is streaming live its press conferences all week long and using Toni Reavis as the host with a television-looking set. Gebrselassie speaks Friday at 12 noon Eastern if you want to watch. Also, the ING NYC Marathon has an iphone app so you can cheer your runner on in person and still watch the leaders on your phone. Yes!

More: *Geb Comes To NY
*Rookies vs. The World

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