p pol The Adventures of Carboman: Fantastic Race At Boston

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fantastic Race At Boston

After the somewhat predictable outcome of Sunday's US Women Olympic Marathon Trials in which Deena Kastor emerged champion, Marathon Monday at Boston was much more exciting. A few of my forum friends ran the race - Scott Cameron, Matt of the Dump Runners Podcast and the famous Steve Runner of the Phedippidations Podcast - and through messages posted from around the world, I found out that the race was being streamed live over www.wcsn.com. Not hoping for much, as the previous year's NYCM and the recent London was not streamed to countries outside the US, I was very surprised that the Boston coverage was more inclusive! The race had me hooked as with the mail exchanges between the forumites.
With Steve's son, John, busy updating the Twitter board on his Dad's progress, the whole experience was surreal. Steve and John were in touch via cell phone and Boston had one of the tracking services for runners. Us around the world cheering the runners on, put us right in the thick of action. While our friends were engaged in their personal battles in the middle of the pack, the elites were hammering at the course record, the men at least. Defending champion Robert Cheruiyot was always involved in the lead pack of 6 then 4 runners. I was very impressed with the 2 Moroccans in the pack. They ran very strongly and it was nice to see Moroccans competing at this level again. The last time they were at the forefront was when Khalid Skah and Hammou Boutayeb were still "touring" the XC and track circuit. Skah, of course, was the winner of the 10,000m at the '92 Summer Olympics and also the silver and bronze winner at the distance at the '95 Gothenborg and '91 Tokyo World Champs respectively. He wasn't a popular character and he had the rather bullish look - but I supposed racing track is like that.
I was wondering when the breakaway for the men would happen - Cheruiyot is afterall a battle-hardened warrior - when it came. He put in a 4:37 mile to drop the rest at the hills. He was always under control and when he made his burst, I need not watch further. As it turned out 2 Moroccan men finished in the top 3.
Then the focus shifted to the women. What a thrilling race! At that point I didn't know of the nationalities of the 2 leads as I had my Mac speakers on soft (the kids were asleep) and I only recognized Yelena Prokupcuka (2nd placed the last 2 years in Boston and winner of '06 NYCM) who was dropped from early on (she would eventually finish 4th). The first 2 women were locked in stride for stride. Only this morning I learnt that the 2 were Alevtina Biktimirova and Dire Tune of Russia and Ethiopia respectively. Biktimirova was holding position just a stride in front while Tune pursued and pressured doggedly. Too bad I couldn't stay up longer as I missed a sprint finish! Tune prevailed with her speed after exchanging leads a few times. She's only 22 and even though her name isn't well known, she recently broke Ingrid Kristiansen's Houston Marathon course record of 23 years. There's plenty to come from this young woman!
Dire Tune - Eth  2:25.25
Alevtina Biktimirova - Rus 2:25.27
Robert Cheruiyot 2:07.46
Abderrahime Bouramdane 2:09.04
Khalid El Boumlili 2:10.35
Race Report and photos at the official website.

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