Friday, November 5, 2010

The Mzungo New York Predictions

1 Meb Keflezighi
Markus - He surprised everyone last year. Without any pressure and in true road racing style he shifted the 5 boroughs with his PB race to win in 2:09:15. This year will be completely different as all eyes are on him. He won't run in a group. A group will be with him. In Boston he ran reasonably well and came in at 2:09:26. NYC is slower so that fitness level won't help him to win. He may be able to pull out another one but surprised the most when the focus was on other runners (NYC 2010 & 2004 Olympic Marathon). I see him coming in on 6th place!

Uli - Meb knows how to max out his abilities in NYC like few others. Enough to repeat this year? I doubt it. But he'll be solid as usual.

2 Haile Gebrselassie
Markus - Another one for the man that never gets old. He is officially 37 years and still hungry. Hungry for wins or hungry for appearance fee? His last NYC attempt ended badly with a DNF at the half. I can't see it happen in the marathon. DNF – Sorry Haile!

Uli - Haile will win, hands down. Only injury can stop him. Pressure is not part of his vocabulary. He's going to shut up people for good who say he can't race.

3 James Kwambai
Markus - Who doesn’t remember that Rotterdam 2009? In a tremendous finish James got out sprinted by Duncan “Jamaica” Kibet to lose in 2:04:27! Since that day the third-fastest marathoner of all time is the favorite in every race. He did not proof his performance. No solid race this year. His last NYC attempt ended in a 2:12:25 in 2007. Should have learned from last year’s NYC nutrition mistake but got caught with fuel issues at Rotterdam earlier this year again. His 2:24:07 hike home proved that he is in that marathon thing with the heart. DNF – Again!

Uli - The big favorite last year faltered to a DNF on 5th Avenue due to stomach sickness that started two days earlier. Whoever gets to Central Park South with him will be in trouble.

4 Abel Kirui
Markus - Abel is a guy for a championship race. He knows how to win a race as shown in a time of 2:06:54 and in a hot WC race in Berlin in 2009. His 2:08:04 in London this year is a little setback for the man from Nabkoi. I still believe in his strength and see him coming in 2nd.

Uli - Abel no doubt has the goods to win a race like New York. When talking to him though, I heard too much "luck" and "we will see". A hesitant Kenyan warrior is wounded before the gun goes off. But Abel is a smart fella and may just play the game better than others. I'm torn between good for gold and barely Top 10! 

5 Abderrahime Bouramdane
Markus - Nothing new here. He'll be there. He'll be with the leaders as long as possible. His relentless ability to cover moves and read the race and will bring him onto 5th avenue with the leader. Then it's over and another 12 months until the 42nd edition of the Big Apple Race. Jogs home in 11th place.

Uli - Will be in the mix but missing the final punch to win. As a strength runner with determination he'll show a solid performance and take a decent check home.

6 Emmanuel Mutai
Markus - I still remember his strong 2:06:23 performance in London this year. He was the last guy dropped by Tsegaye Kebede. In NYC he is just one of many talented Kenyans that can win the race. 3rd place!

Uli - Ridiculously fast. Will he get a chance to use his speed on New York's hills?

7 Jorge Torres
Markus - Surprised me last year with a more than solid race. Should be up to speed as he kept it quite throughout this years racing season. Might be not sharp enough to respond the moves as he misses the racing miles. 10th overall!

Uli - Will be fresh coming off a low profile racing season. But when the going gets tough, he'll miss the toughness you only get through racing. Plans to hit it harder this year after being cautious last year. I love a front running attitude but he won't be able to pull through and fade away. 2011 will be his year.

8 Abderrahim Goumri
Markus - Showed with a 1:01:33 at this year’s Philly Half that he is fit. If he did his homework, he's in the mix. Knows the course and raced everyone in the field. Smart into 5th place.

Uli - Kept a low profile in 2010. Twice so close to the win in NYC. Over the hump though.

9 Gilbert Kirwa
Markus - What a race in Frankfurt in 2009! He won Mainhattan in 2:06:14 and proved his speed with a 2:06:59 to win Seoul in March this year. His 1:11:58 in this year’s Berlin 25k was another big one for the CV. He has the kick but what is he going to do in such a world class field? 4th place – Great NYC debut!

Uli - Only in NYC a two time marathon champion of 2009 (Frankfurt and Vienna, no less) could be called a dark horse. We'll have to see what he can do on a non-autopilot course like NY. I'm popping a bubbly bottle of France's finest if he wins. Go Iten, go Gilbert!

10 Marilson Gomes dos Santos
Markus - Runs a 2:08:46 in London – runs a 1:02:57 at the NYC Half - Hides away half the season and then jumps in a plane to NYC again. Nobody knows what he is doing all year and that his big bonus. If he is there on 1st avenue he can win it a 3rd time. I see him up front but at the end he will be in on 8th place.

Uli - One should never underestimate a two time winner keen to erase his 2009 DNF but he's not my pick. Why? I don't know. Done?

11 Arata Fujiwara
Markus - Arata is another Japanese face in an overseas road race. Good to see the boys travelling out of Japan again. He shows up with a pb of 2:08:40. Not enough for the win but enough for top 15. Japanese racing style in a NYC interval race? I can't see it happening.

Uli - I love seeing Japanese athletes compete in marathons. In few countries people live and breath running like in Japan. Arata will work for dear live to get a single digit, fighting all the way to the line. And I bet you can read everything around Arata on Brett Larner's JapanRunningNews. 

12 Dathan Ritzenhein
Markus - One of the best pampered athletes in this field. Is there anyone who has better facilities than him. Better support? Better coaches? No! After running a 1:02:35 in this years Great North Run he complained "I guess I'm not as fit as I thought I was". This time on home soil over the full distance the media and sponsor pressure is on him. Can he handle it? DNF – Sorry!

Uli - Needs to improve big time on his PR performance to be in contention. If he does, Top 5.

14 Gebre Gebremariam
Markus - This guy is highly impressive. Wins whatever he wants to win! His list of road race wins gets longer every year. Ran a very strong 1:00:25 at the Philly Half and knows the crucial parts of Central Park from his Healthy Kidney 10K win this year. With his xc background there is no doubt that he can handle the potholes and the bridges He'll be there in his first marathon and I take the risk and put a rookie down as my man to win the race! Do not disappoint me Gebre – the money is on you boy! 1st marathon – 1st win!

Uli - A fierce, almost untouchable road racer on his marathon debut. Sounds familiar? Could rise to the occasion in the shadow of his uber countryman Haile. However, I think he will pull a Zersenay Tadesse and be broken by the time the race hits the park. Prove me wrong Gebre!

15 Viktor Röthlin
Markus - What can I say. Too much unanswered questions and a PB list that does not make sense at all. 18th place. Fastest Swiss Men!

Uli - Who?

16 Peter Kamais
Markus - 59:53 at this years NYC Half! Impressive. Now twice the same? I doubt it as this race will be his first hit on the 42k distance. Still strong enough for the front. Hell be cruising in at 9th place!

Uli - One for the glory, two for the show, three to get ready? His next race will be it. DNF this time.

17 Hendrick Ramaala
Markus - NYC wouldn't be NYC without him. He is a passionate legend and an ambassador for drug free marathon racing in style. His performances are all over the shop! After a 2:11:44 at London 2008 he is running a 2:07:44 on the same course a year later. At Lake Biwa he comes home with a 2:15:29 earlier this year. You never know what he pulls out of the hat! We need more Hendricks - we need more style and fearless racing. He won't deliver it anymore. The only thing that's left is hope! I hope he gets another big one in the big apple and then delivers some first class south African marathoners and several comrades wins as a assistant administrator of Athletics South Africa! Will lose battle for 6th place to Meb.

Uli - He's the spice in the soup. If you're not able to cover the Ramaala move on First Avenue, game over. Hendrick will use his experience to snatch yet another podium. Go Hendrick!

18 Tim Nelson
Markus - He is the man! Finally a road racer in style and one of the fastest guys you never heard off. To show up in NYC for the first marathon ever is style. A 1:02:11 half in Houston is promising and the track speed he has is obvious with a 13:20.33 over 5.000 meter in Heusden this year. This guy grinds a sub 2:12 debut marathon! Do it!

Uli - Will lose his virginity in a painful way. Maybe London would have suited him better? If he pulls some TV time off the bridge, he'll be gone by the time Hendrick starts the afterburner.

Markus Top 10

1 Gebre Gebremariam (2:08:25)
2 Abel Kirui (2:08:59)
3 Emmanuel Mutai (2:09:20)
4 Gilbert Kirwa (2:09:25)
5 Abderrahim Goumri (2:10:00)
6 Meb Keflezighi (2:10:20)
7 Hendrick Ramaala (2:10:21)
8 Marilson Gomes dos Santos (2:10:56)
9 Peter Kamais (2:11:10)
10 Jorge Torres (2:11:55)

Uli Top 10

1 Haile in 2:07:29 (course record)
2 Kirwa
3 Ramaala
4 Kwambai
5 Mutai
6 Kirui
7 Fujiwara
8 Bouramdane
9 Meb
10 wildcard