Track is my field: Mark Cullen's international track and field blog featuring storytelling, commentary, and predictions and event analyses for the Olympics and World Championships. I'm writing from Rio de Janeiro and the 31st Summer Olympic Games. I'm active on twitter: @trackerati
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Day #1 - W Marathon, M 10,000m
have remarkably deep teams and the medals will likely come from these two
teams. Tiki Gelana (Eth) won gold in London in
Olympic record time, but was injured by a collision with a wheelchair
marathoner in this year’s London
race. Edna Kiplagat, the defending Worlds champ, was second in London. Paris
produced two contenders in winner Feysa Tadesse (2:21:06) and Merima Hasen
(2:23:14). Meseret Hailu won the world ½ marathon championship and then was 2nd
It could look like a replay of Athens as gold and bronze medalists Mizuki
Noguchi (Jpn) and Deena Kastor (US, now a masters runner) toe the line once
again. Noguchi ran a 2:24:05 in March, and Kastor has said (perhaps a bit too
loudly) that she is in top 5 shape. Wouldn’t that be terrific?!
Priscah Jeptoo won silver in the London Olympics and silver
as well as part of the Kenyan sweep in Daegu, and she leads the yearly list at
2:20:15… but I am not finding her on the entry lists! She won the 2013 London
Marathon with Kiplagat second. Tatyana Arkhipova (Rus) won bronze in London; she intrigued me
as a possible winner here with 9:09 steeplechase toughness and speed, but she is not showing up on entry lists, either.
Mo Farah is a prohibitive favorite to win this race. With an
astonishing European record of 3:28.81 in the mile and a withering last 800m in
the London Diamond League 3,000m, Farah can win at any distance he wants –
including a charity match race he has proposed vs Usain Bolt at 600 or 800m.
Meanwhile, Kenyan Olympic 4th placer Bedan Karoki has been speaking
atypically publically about Kenyan strategy that he expects to execute with
teammates Paul Tanui and Kenneth Kipkemboi. He says the way to take the sting
out of Farah’s kick is to set a ‘searing pace’ (Saturday Nation) and then see
who’s fastest over the last 400m. However, in recent iterations of this
strategy, the Kenyans have tended to burn themselves off rather than others.
Yet a memorable photo of the Daegu 10k shows Ethiopia’s
Ibrahim Jeylan passing Farah just before the finish of the 10K as Farah looks
startled – the “Oh, no!” moment of his race. Jeilan has run only 3 5ks this
year with 3-4-8 finishes.
Dejen Gebremeskel (Eth) won bronze Daegu and silver at 5k London; is he on track for
With a 26:51 at Sollentuna at the end of June, he is a major
Galen Rupp sizzled indoors with 7:30.16 and 3:50.92 but has
been searching for a return to top form before Worlds – not that a 3:52.11
suggests that he’s falling apart, mind you. But with US nationals run in the
heat and humidity of Iowa,
it’s hard to judge exactly what kind of distance shape he’s in. Remember who
his coach is (Alberto Salazar). I think he’s a more likely medal candidate at
5k this time than 10k.
With a fast pace by the Kenyans and Farah’s withering kick,
this could be the defining race of these championships. With no qualifying
rounds and everyone on fresh legs on Day #1… dare