March 15, 2013
Scandal engulfed the 2013 New York City Half Marathon as the favorites in the race, Kiwi Kim Smith and Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, threw down cupcakes and Cokes, respectively before the media.
Today is Wilson Kipsang’s 31st birthday. To celebrate Kipsang’s bithday, the New York Road Runners brought out an M&M laced cupcake. Wilson did not eat it.
However, Kim Smith did eat a cupcake. We have photo evidence below to prove it.
The New York Road Runners, determined to have an American winner of the race, tried again to sabotage Kipsang. Thirty minutes later, for some unknown reason, a chocolate cake was brought out and Wilson was presented with a second birthday candle celebration.
Wilson stayed firm and did not eat the cake. However he then drank a Coke and acted like it was perfectly normal for a world-class runner to have a non-diet Coke. Kim Smith acted like it was normal for a runner to eat a cupcake as well. Mayor Bloomberg had no comment.
The other news of note on Friday was Kipsang, Smith, and American Jason Hartmann and Janet Bawcom addressed the media in advance of Sunday’s NYC Half-Marathon. (The Americans preparations are discussed here).
Kipsang and Smith talked about their preparations for Sunday’s race (full video interviews below) Both are the favorites and both said there preparations are going well. For Kipsang, the NYC Half is a tune-up for next month’s stacked Virgin London Marathon where he faces arguably the greatest men’s field ever assembled.
Kipsang From Farming in His Early 20s to Top of the Marathon World in His 30s
Last year, Kipsang won the London Marathon, then got third in the Olympics, before winning the Honolulu marathon after the cancelled NYC Marathon. Kipsang’s rise to the top of the marathoning world is an interesting one. He told LRC about how he didn’t get started professionally in the sport until his twenties. He ran with some success in school, but didn’t think of running professionally, as he never even ran year round. After school he was just living as a farmer, doing some business on the side. Some of his friends encouraged him to run and there was a Police tryout a few years after he got out of school, and there was a run with the tryout. With zero training, Kipsang took off his shoes and running barefoot won the race. Soon the Police were taking him to regional competitions.
The rise to the top was not automatic as Kipsang first had to attract the attention of a manager so he could get in races outside of Kenya. Kipsang’s manager Gerard van de Veen had space for three athletes and Kipsang was not one of them. At the last second one got hurt, and Kipsang got his opportunity and quickly had success in Europe. Both Kipsang and van de Veen, said they believed there are multiple runners in Kenya with the potential to break the world record who never get the opportunity to develop their talent.
Kipsang is self coached and sometimes trains with marathon star Geoffrey Mutai. Kipsang said one of the reason the Kenyan men are having such success in the marathon is many of the top men are now being self-coached. He believes that lets them listen to their bodies a bit more than when they have an external coach.
Indications also are that the world record may be the target at the Virgin London Marathon next month. In addition to the races pace makers, Dennis Kimetto, the Tokyo Marathon champion last month, will be there to pace Kipsang and his group.
We asked Kipsang about some of the Kenyan stars being caught in doping scandals recently and he said he did not believe it was a widespread problem and more of an individual problem caused by medical people who got in contact with runners.
Full video with Kipsang below.
Kim Smith Trying to Win Another $100,000 in Boston, But Not at the Boston Marathon
Kim Smith is not running a spring marathon. However, she’ll be in Boston running the 5k, the day before the Boston Marathon. The BAA has a three race Distace Medley series (5k, 10k, and half-marathon) and the runner with the fastest cumulative time in the series wins $100,000. Second place gets $0. It is one of the quirkiest prizes in the sport. Smith won it last year and being one of the best half marathoners in the world she’s got a good chance to win again this year. In addition, the start of the series is the day before the Boston Marathon, so it rules out most spring marathoners. Also, the 10k in the series, is the same weekend as USATF track nationals, so that rules out most American track runners.
The $100,000 payday made it possible for Smith to focus on shorter distance and the track this year before running a fall marathon. Smith was slated to run last year’s ING NYC Marathon. After it’s cancellation she ran 2:27:35 for 6th at the Yokohama marathon.
Smith had no problem being called the favorite in the field as she has the fastest PR in the field. Full video below: