Berlin Marathon and the Marathon Goat.
Well Berlin may not have produced a new WR with the wet conditions but that was a barn burner ladies and gentlemen. Who the heck is Guye Adola and how have I not heard of a guy who pushed Eliud Kipchoge to the edge of his abilities in his debut over the distance? When I was reading some of the press releases, Letsrun.com break downs and "expert analysis" I figured it wouldn't be close and that what we would end up with was a finish similar to the London Marathon of 2015 when Kipsang and Kipchoge were side by side at 24 miles and Eliude dropped a 4:24 to break away in devastating fashion. Now I know that Bekele is always a wildcard, but when he said he was at 90% I figured there would be a chance he would DNF. But Wilson Kipsang had looked amazing this year in Tokyo and had run his last two marathon in an average time of something like 2:03:30. So, needless to say when he stepped off at 30km after taking his fluids on board I didn't know what was going on. Then when the announcers started talking about Adola having 59:13 credentials I figured he might stick around until 35, but never did I think he would try (and succeed) to open a gap on Kipchoge. Those last 7km were amazing to watch and I truly hope Adola is guided and handled in the right manner moving forward so he's not just a star that burns bright for a year or two, but one that has staying power. I always thought GK (Kamwroro) would be the future of the marathon when he made the permanent move to the distance and would eventually hold the WR, but he may have some company as the next generation over 26.2. In the end however, Eliud did as Eliud does.....he wins and when you saw the slight smirk on his face after a 2:51km split from 40-41 we knew the GOAT of marathoning had Adola's number. The record he has posted is simply unreal and despite 9 marathons (including his Sub2 attempt), he doesn't seem any worse for wear. In a lot of cases you see guys knock out a few unreal performances like Geoffrey Mutai but then you see a very harsh decline, the same holds true for Kimetto, but with Eliud he shows time and time again that his simple lifestyle of diligent training and attention to detail pay dividends as he always comes out on top and with fast times. Let's hope we see him line up in either Dubai or London and lower that WR which is the only thing missing from an otherwise unrivaled marathon resume.
The next stop in the fall season of the world marathon majors. Now, on paper you have some fast guys, but the top two on the list, Kimetto and Stanley Biwott aren't the 2:02/2:03 guys they once were in my mind. So I don't see them being factors at all in this race. That leaves 4 contenders and a whole lot of pretenders. The 4 to keep an eye on are Olympic Silver medalist, Fayisa Lilesa, Bronze medalist, Galen Rupp, two time world champ and 2012 Olympic Silver medalist Abel Kirui and (I may get flack for saying this) Zersenay Tedese. Now, I say Tedese because I think the Sub2 attempt really helped him, he had no success in the marathon before that but managed a 2:06 going out at WR pace, also in the build up he ran a half in 59:47 looking smooth so that's my thinking for having him up there with the other 3.
Now, if all of these guys had perfect prep I'd put my money on Lilesa, he's looked great over the last 2 years and beat Rupp in Rio, but from what I've read he hasn't had a perfect build and he's been jumping from location to location with him not returning home after his political protest in 2016. It's that reason why I'm taking Rupp for the win here, I was on the fence about it but JJ also likes Rupp and with Tedese still being an unknown in a tactical marathon and Kirui being very hit or miss despite training under the legendary Renato Canova I'll take Rupp for 1st followed by Lilesa and Tedese. (Also keep an eye out for Ezekiel Chebii, he had a big breakthrough in 2016 going 2:06 flat in Amsterdam)
Things are clicking along nicely for me. As you know I ran the MTL Rock and Roll half last weekend in the craziest heat I've ever experienced, and that includes having run a 5km in Florida in July before. At 7:30 the temperature was 30 degrees with 100% humidity and feeling like 39. The organizers cancelled the marathon and put all the elites in the half (The 5km was won in 17 and the 10km in 35). At the start I spoke to Phil Viau-Dupuis and he told me the the last time he ran the course he went 69 mid and later that fall ran 67:22 and a 2:20 marathon so even on the best day with the hills after you leave the island it's a tough one. So after hearing that I figured we were all in for a rough day and that I should find someone to work with and keep Phil and Emmanuel Boisvert (30:12 for 10000m in June) in my sights and hope for the best. After the first mile I settled in with Jacques-Sylvain Lecointre who's a great athlete (31:44 in hot conditions in Ottawa this May and training for a sub 2:25 marathon). We worked together well and came through 10km in 33:30, about 30 seconds back from Phil and Manny, from there we took turns leading and stayed side by side until I luckily pulled away at 19km going up the hills. I ended up finishing in 72 minutes which granted is pretty slow, was a great placing as Phil and Manny were 71 and Jacques came in 73. I've still got almost 4 weeks until Scotia and plan on hitting a 10km here on October 8th. It's generally a great race and Colin Fewer will likely be there and should help drag me to a 30:XX as he's always good for that kind of time. So yeah, the goal is to keep working away and take things one day at a time.
Here are the specific links and a picture of the PaceBreakers;
OK Guys, that's it for me, I'll make sure to update after my next race and keep you all in the loop, this is going to be a great fall. Scotiabank is going to be unreal this year with so much depth in the half and full marathons. I'm especially looking forward to seeing Josh Bolton's full debut, Paul Rochus in the half, Jeff Costen, Aaron Cooper, John Mason, Trevor Hoffbauer and Rob Winslow all running the full. Look for all of those guys to run lights out, it's going to be spicy and a fun weekend all around.