Korir and Hartmann Talk About Prevailing in the Heat, Geoffrey Mutai Not Too Upset About Dropping Out

By Jess Barton and Tom Davis
April 16, 2012

The big story today in Boston today was the heat, with temperatures rising into the upper 80s by the end of the race with the "on the road" temperature measuring 102 degrees.  Champion Wesley Korir and 4th place American Jason Hartmann were two guys content to run their own races in the heat and it paid off very well for them. They talk about their strategies and success below.

Korir From 2nd in Chicago in the Heat to First in Boston
After the race champion Wesley Korir talked about how seriously he took the task of staying hydrated and well fueled, "I knew it was going to be hot and one important thing that I had to take care of today was the fluid," said Korir, who could hardly keep the smile off his face the whole time he was on stage.  "As the race went by, I knew I had to hydrate as much as possible...My biology degree kicked in today... I knew that my cells needed a lot of fluid to survive.  I cared more about my hydration than the position I was going to be."

Korir had shown he runs well in the heat in Chicago last fall where he came from behind to get second. Today he did even better getting the biggest victory in his career.  Korir further attributed his great run today to his support system.  He made sure to include everyone from his family, God, the race directors, the volunteers, to the Kenyan ambassador taking him and the other Kenyan athletes out to dinner this week.  Interestingly, all of the water bottles that Korir had in the race had his wife (Tarah) and daughter's name (McKayLA) written on them, "every time I ran with it (the bottles) I looked at it and said 'thank you,'" said Korir.  The community support made Korir feel at home here in Boston, "I always say the marathon is 90% mental and 10% physical," said Korir, citing that having a strong support system helped him significantly to do well mentally. 

Korir has been doing some good training leading into today, including a lot more speed work than in the past, which made him confident that he would do well if the finish was close.  His speed work was not on his mind though in the final minutes of the race as he passed both Kipyego and Matebo, "I was focusing on taking one step at a time," said Korir.  "I really didn't think about my speed work at all, at that moment it is a battle of the fittest."

Hartmann Moves Up to Fourth: "all you can do is prepare yourself as best you can... Some people will worry about the heat and lose sleep over it, and they are already beat."  
Jason Hartmann was always present in the main pack and he ran a smart and steady race to finish as the top American in an impressive fourth place.  Hartmann briefly ran in the front of the race for a few minutes going into the halfway mark, at which point he was passed and the breakaway of five runners then occurred. Of those five runners, Matebo and Mathew Kisorio broke away, with Matebo almost hanging on for the win.  Hartmann kept an eye on all of these moves, and one point fell out of the top ten, but knew that he should just run steady. "I felt pretty confident that not every one of those guys was going to stay with that group," said Hartmann. "I passed a couple guys all the way to mile 25.  I didn't even know what place I was until I crossed the line." 

Like Korir, Hartmann paid close attention to his hydration and his efforts to stay as cool as possible in the rising heat.  Hartmann, who is now self-coached and not sponsored, wore a hat in the opening miles to keep his head cool.  He also tied to drink as much water as possible and to splash a lot of water on himself.  Hartmann made sure not to let the heat get to him mentally both before and during the race, saying, "I think I just don't let it affect me...all you can do is prepare yourself as best you can... Some people will worry about the heat and lose sleep over it, and they are already beat."  

Hartmann was especially pleased with his race after his disappointing performance at the Trials. "This was a redemption race for me," said Hartmann.  "I circled this on my calendar and every day this is what I prepared for.  I wasn't gonna fail today. I came here to do something, fortunately for me it worked out, and sometimes it doesn't.  You have to look at yourself and say 'Am I gonna sit here and dwell on this negative performance or am I gonna use this as motivation?'" 

Mutai Talks About Dropping Out
Defending champion, and world's fastest marathoner, Geoffrey Mutai, shockingly dropped out nearing the 30k mark.  "You cannot plan everything," said Mutai.  "For me I am still happy." At the press conference he said he was forced to drop out after experiencing sever stomach cramps, and does not have any idea how today will effect his chances at being selected to the Kenyan Olympic Team


Women's Reaction
The women's race was close yet again, 2 seconds, with Sharon Cherop getting the win in 2:31:50 over fellow country-women and friend, Jemima Sumgong.  After a pedestrian pace for the first miles of the race, the pace slowly began to drop from low six minute miles to sub-6 miles and then down to 5:30 miles by the end of the race.  The runners dropped off the pace one by one as either the pace, the hills, heat, or the combination of all those factors took their toll. 

Sumgong and Cherop battled over the last miles of the race, running shoulder to shoulder and occasionally checking back on Georgina Rono, who finished in third in 2:33:09.  Cherop, who finished in third place last year, made use of her knowledge of the course to time her finish right to ensure victory.  Cherop, third last year, threw in a slight surge at the top of Heartbreak Hill and she attributes that to her experience on the course. "It is my second time being here in Boston, so last year I realized there was more downhill than uphill," said Cherop. "This time around I was training going downhill running." 

Cherop clearly had a plan in her mind because when she made the final turn onto the long finishing straightaway she surged and immediately dropped Sumgong.  Sumgong appeared to be broken, but in the final meters of the race she dug extra deep and came within two seconds of the win.  Sumgong was surprised with her second place finish, saying that she knew her competitors had better credentials than her.  Sumgong said the race was especially hard for her because she has never run in a hot and humid race, whereas Cherop had experience after her third place finish at the 2011 World Championship marathon in Korea. Despite not coming away with the win, Sumgong was not at all disappointed, "I lose it, but I am very happy," said Sumgong with a huge smile. 

More Boston: *Wesley Korir Comes From Behind for Shock Victory
*Men's Top Finishers With Splits
*Video highlights here.

Women's Recap: With Late Surge, Sharon Cherop Claims 2012 Boston Marathon Title
*Winners photo gallery here.

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