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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Osaka Marathon Preview

Picking these kinds of races are always damn near impossible. Marathon careers are so short that once someone proves themselves a consistent big-time winner they're almost over the hill. And unlike the big-city invitational marathons, every dark horse is here. So I'm not doing it.

Instead, I'll look at how the race might affect the World Marathon Majors standings.

Abderrahim Goumri (Morocco) is the only athlete in the top ten of the 2006-07 standings even entered in the race. This is only his second marathon ever. If he did win, he'd move up to a tie for second, which pays out...nothing. However, he'd take the lead in the 2007-08 standings and put himself in a very good position for next year's payout. The only athletes I could see outrunning him are the Japanese.

Zhou Chunxiu (China) is T&FN's favorite and currently seventh in the 2006-07 standings, and even with a win she could only get to second. Galina Bogomolova (Russia) is also entered (currently third, could move to second by winning). So there's nothing on the line here for this year's championship.

As far as next year's championship goes, though, there is a lot on the line. Zhou won in London and another win here would put her in the driver's seat. Noting that she's completed twelve marathons in the last four years, I'd say she's approaching the downside of her career so she'd better not waste any opportunities she has. No one else who has scored any points in the '07-'08 competition is entered.


Scott Bush said...

How do you think the U.S. marathon crews will do? I think the men will get fourth overall as a team and the women will get sixth. Someone on the guys side will surprise and finish top six.

The Track & Field Superfan said...

Considering that the US is sending it's men's B-team at best due to the Oly Trials situation, I'd be surprised if they finish that high. US marathoning depth isn't as bad as a lot of people think, but when you consider that we're only sending one guy with a PR under 2:12 you can't get too optimistic. While I wouldn't rule out a top-ten finish for any individuals, let's just say I'll be primarily paying attention to other athletes.

The women's team also lacks our very best runners. They'll be beaten by the Japanese, Chinese, Kenyan and Russian teams for sure. After that, I'm not sure which teams have much depth.

Albert Caruana said...

The best US marathoner (Deena Kastor) is competing in the 10000m. Should set her up very well for the Bejing Olympics.