Crazy Huge Base + Drugs wrote:
Yes, they are clearly faster if you add up all of their SB's or PB's. However, those were achieved while racing in a pack. None of them got a PB or SB by leading wire to wire. If they take the lead immediately, someone who is currently in shape to run about 4-6 seconds slower can hang with them if they don't let the gap open up.
Drafting is huge. If the other teams, such as USA are smart, they will tell their guys "Do NOT let a gap open up! If you want a shot at winning, you must never be running with your nose in the wind. Glue yourself to the back of the Kenyans. If you are running one of the first 3 legs and think you can pass them, DON'T! You'll screw whoever you are handing the baton off to. Just stay right on their heels. You don't pass them until 5950 meters into the race." USA should run their fastest guy first to ensure they stay right on them. Once the gap opens it's over.
If Kenya is smart, run Kiprop first and have him totally blitz the first 800, opening up an insurmountable gap. Game over at that point, but Kenya usually runs completely stupid so they'll probably put him last.
Actually, the smarter thing is to NOT run Kiprop first.
Let's say the Kenyans run one of their other guys first. Even if he gets drafted off of and loses the lead in the last 100-200m, the result is another 3:29-3:30 Kenyan who now has a rabbit. The second Kenyan uses the lead runner as a rabbit for 2-2.5 laps, and then crushes him, which shouldn't be particularly difficult, considering no other runners in the field running Leg 2 should have any abilities even comparable to 3:29.
At that point, the necessary gap will be present, and the Kenyans glide to victory. Alternatively, if the necessary gap isn't made, then the runners just stay together until the final leg. At that point, you throw in Kiprop, and it's victory.
Alternatively, the Kenyans can simply let someone else lead and cover each move that's made during the race, which really shouldn't be hard for 3:30 guys running against 3:34 guys. And of course, at the end, you just have a 1500m race with Kiprop running for the Kenyan team.