Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day #1 - W Marathon, M 10,000m

W Marathon
Kenya and Ethiopia 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 at Boston.

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.

  1. Edna Kiplagat, Ken
  2. Tiki Gelana, Eth
  3. Feysa Tadesse, Eth

M 10,000m
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 gold?
With a 26:51 at Sollentuna at the end of June, he is a major force.

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
I utter these words: world record?

  1. Mo Farah,GB
  2. Dejan Gebremeskel, Eth
  3. Bedan Karoki, Ken

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