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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rotterdam 2:04:47 in a race

Rotterdam Marathon - a 2:04:47 for Patrick Makau

It's too early to produce any meaningful analysis of the Rotterdam race - Universalsports.com are showing it at 12pm ET, and I am hunting for splits and gaps as you read this, but just to update those who are interested, the race has been won by Patrick Makau of Kenya, in a time of 2:04:47 (unofficial).

I'll do my best to post our usual analysis later today if I can pull together enough information, but for now, it seems that the early pace was very fast - perhaps too fast, as we have seen reports that at 15km, the time was 43:56, and at 20km, 58:37.

Those times project to something in the range of 2:03:35, which would have seen the world record fall by a big margin.  The pace then slowed, however, because we have a split at 30km of 1:28:55, which means the 10km section had been covered in 30:18 (which is 2:07:51 pace).  It is interesting that they should slow down in this interval, because usually, the pace in a tactical race will slow only after 30km, when the pacemaker drops out (as we saw for Paris, only a few hours ago).  So to slow between 20km and 30km suggests that maybe an instruction came (race director, favoured athletes?) to back off a little. 

That is where the shot at the record fell away, though the racing in the last 10 km seems to have driven the pace right down again, and I have the final 12.2 km being covered at about 2:56/km. 

So ultimately, Patrick Makau triumphed with Geoffrey Mutai in second, also sub-2:05 (2:04:53) and Kipruto in third.  Four men went under 2:05:30, while the pre-race favourite, James Kwambai, was walking at one point.

We'll see in the footage later how all this unfolded.  For now, any more detail would be way too speculative to be valuable!

Join us later for (hopefully) more splits and thoughts from Rotterdam!



Anonymous said...

Win van Hemert (for the IAAF) suggests the wind could have been a key factor.
Nonetheless a very good race by one of the finest half marathoners!
No less than four racers below 2:05:30 (with Mutai equalling the former Tergat-WR-time)!! Great.

Oliver said...

Comments on the footstrike? ;-)


Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Oliver

Good pick up!

I guess in theory, he could still land mid or fore-foot, but there'd have to be some serious angular acceleration around the ankle!

I wonder "how much faster he would have run" had he been a forefoot striker? Joking, of course...


John W said...

All this talk of men consistently challenging the world record makes me wonder what is going on with the women. No one has come close to touching Paula's record and even a sub 2:20 is a rarity.

I don't mean to diminish the efforts of women marathoners (all the elites can beat me by a solid 40 minutes)but why isn't there a steady improvement seen on their side? Were the planets so perfectly aligned for Paula's record (fitness, conditions...) that it is just to far out of reach?

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi John

You make a really good point. Men's marathon running is in a golden era right now - every big race is competitive, it's faster than ever before, we're seeing outrageous performances all the time. In Rotterdam for example, they may have missed the world record, but we still got a record of sorts - the fastest ever time for a 4th placed athlete (2:05:23), which would have broken the world record recently.

I don't know what's wrong on the women's side. The races are neither fast nor competitive. They're actually pretty boring, with one or two exceptions in the last half a dozen years.

I suspect that in the next 5 years, that may change, because some of the track runners will come up, like Defar and Dibaba, and then we may see fireworks. It would be interesting to see if this happens, and also whether improvements on the men's and women's side tend to go in cycles - on the men's side, there was a long time where the record was unchallenged too - 1988 Dinsamo's time, for example.

Let's hope the new generation come through, because it would be great to have sensational running on both sides!


HA said...

I did the race and the slow -down from 20-30 was due to strong head winds in that part of the course. It's hard to tell how much you lose in the head wind but I saw a big drop in my pace in that period of the race. (from about 3.43 to 3.50 per k)

Thomas (NL) said...

Indeed the wind also caused me problems at a Half Marathon in Den Helder (about 150km north of Rotterdam) the same day. It was from North to Northeast - southwesterly winds are much more common in the Netherlands, and race tracks in Rotterdam and Amsterdam are "optimized" for such average conditions.

A Dutch newspaper quotes Makau: "Imagine I had broken away from the field already after 30 kilometers [exactly when the track makes a turn and head winds were no longer a problem]. Then I would have run a much better time today." So he blamed his conservative race strategy and "lack of awareness of his own talent", and the headline of the article states that "that world record is just a question of time for Makau".

Adriano said...

This is the script we are seeing more and more at flat course races: at least a dozen young Africans (Kenyans and Ethiopians mostly) go on schedule for the world record. In the end 3 or 4 maintain the high pace and post a very good time (2:04 or 2:05 low). Another 3 or 4 can’t keep up from 30k onwards but still hold for a 2:07 or 2:08. The rest fade to a 2:10+ clocking or DNF. The second group (best from the rest, some non Africans) collects the pieces to finish in something like 7th to 10th place.
Ross, honestly, I think is only about (very little) time we start seeing a young Kenyan or Ethiopian go in New York or Boston for a 2:06 AND succeed. Is like the next frontier after what Wanjiru did in Beijing (battling the pollution and the heat and still going fast). In fact in the big picture, I think the African dominance at the road race scene is only grow because is where the big money is.
Now is commonplace to see a 20 or 21 year old Kenyan very few even heard before post a 59:20 (or better) half marathon and upgrade 2 years after to the marathon. They dream now about the road races and NOT the track (where times did not improve much, we are not seeing too many faces and races continue to be won in the 12:50 range). Maybe the better talent is now just flowing to the marathon (in the absence of a Bekele or a Tadesse, even giving some chances to other nations in the 5k or 10k event).
Now I know is not proven (so maybe is not truth) but some says Linet Masai was prohibited to debut in the half marathon in the beginning of the year by the Kenyan federation. In this context, only makes sense: she and Vivian Cheruiyot are the ones capable of challenge the Ethiopian domination on the track. Maybe the Kenyan federation could not afford to lose one of these two (it will ever happen in the man side if track depth goes down?).
Anyway my prediction is this: African dominance will continue (or even grow) in the half marathon and marathon. If all the talent goes to these events, it could even diminish somewhat in the 5k and 10k event giving some space to Americans and Europeans.
Keep up the good work!