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Monday, April 19, 2010

2010 Boston Marathon live splits and comments

2010 Boston Marathon coverage

Welcome to The Science of Sport's live coverage of the 2010 Boston Marathon!

The table below shows the splits, recorded as the race unfolded.  Trust me, they don't do justice to the race, especially on the women's side!  In that race, Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia had the race won at 30km, with a lead of 1:19.  Then it fell, and fell and fell and eventually it ended in a "sprint" to the line!

On the men's side, an absolutely outrageous time of 2:05:52 for Robert Cheruiyot (the new!).  The record of 2:07:14 (or Robert Cheruiyot, the old!) was shattered, thanks to an incredibly quick time.

We will do a lot more race analysis (right now, I have a presentation to give, and JD is in lectures).  But consider that the first half of the men's race was covered in 63:27, and the second in 62:25.  A 62-second half in Boston. Just amazing!  Below are the splits, and my comments and thoughts during the race (it's embarrassing how wrong my predictions were!)
Distance Time Interval time Pace for interval Projected time
5 14:53 14:53 2:59 2:05:36
10 30:07:00 15:14 3:03 2:07:05
15 44:48:00 14:51 2:58 2:06:29
20 1:00:11 15:13 3:03 2:06:58
Halfway 1:03:27 2:06:54
25 1:14:58 14:47 2:57 2:06:32
30 1:29:58 15:00 3:00 2:06:32
35 1:44:42 14:44 2:57 2:06:13
40 1:59:21 14:39 2:56 2:05:54
Finish 2:05:52
Distance Time Interval time Pace for interval Projected time
5 17:05 17:05 3:25 2:24:10
10 35:06:00 18:01 3:36 2:28:06
15 53:04:00 17:59 3:36 2:29:10
20 1:11:22 18:17 3:39 2:30:34
Halfway 1:14:52 2:29:44
25 1:27:40 16:18 3:16 2:27:58
30 1:44:31 16:51 3:22 2:27:00
35 2:01:31 17:00 3:24 2:26:30
40 2:18:52 17:21 3:28 2:26:29
Finish 2:26:11

Live comments


They're off - women first.  It will be interesting to see how the race unfolds.  Last year produced an amazing finish that ultimately saw Dire Tune collapse over the line in second, behind Salina Kosgei of Kenya.  Both are running, so hopefully we'll see a competitive women's race rather than a big spread.  Dire Tune has a grand total of 3 seconds separating her from her closest competitor in her previous two races, so if that's anything to go by, the race will be close!
15h43 (13:00 elapsed)

The commentators are wondering whether the smaller athlete, Dire Tune, is intimidated by Kosgei, who is larger.  They have agreed, probably not...

15h48 - 5km reached

5km in 17:05 for the women.  Last year, it took 18:59, so it's much quicker than then.  A big group still together, but you'd expect that.  So far, it projects to a 2:24, but we know that Boston is usually quick early, so don't expect that to hold.

16h00 - Men have begun

The men are off.  Big questions - can Ryan Hall deliver the win for the home fans?  Will the defending champ make it to half-way? My guesses - yes and no!  Time will tell...

16h10 - 10 min into men's race

Ryan Hall is at the front of the men's race.  The same thing happened last year.  It was criticized then, and the commentators are amazed that he's doing it again.  I don't think it's a big deal - the pace doesn't look very quick, but they're almost at 5km, so we'll have some idea then.  I think it's slower than last year even.  No problem so far.

16h15 - Men's 5km

So 14:53 at 5km.  Last year they reached 5km in 14:33, so it is slower.  As I said, i don't think too much can be read into who is out front.  It is surprising to see Hall there, only because we're so accustomed to seeing four 'rabbits' out front.  It won't stay this quick - the wind will change (it's been behind so far) and the course gets much more difficult.


Large women's field, but the pace has slowed, as you'll see in the table above.  The 10km and 15km splits will be much slower.  At 15km, just in - 53:04.  On course for 2:29.  I think there should be some fireworks in the second half.

The men are also all there - Merga is still there, on Ryan Hall's shoulder.  Hall's leading is still the big talking point.


The women's pace seems to have picked up a little - the group has changed shape, it's longer and more "slender", and it's Dire Tune at the front with fellow Ethiopian Teyba Erkesso.  They're probably the two big favourites, so interesting to see them there now.  No one has yet fallen off, but it's inevitable, coming up to 20km.


Big movements on the men's side - the group is spread over the road, as we cut to the women's race, where Dire Tune has surged and three women are now clear - Tune, Yal and Erkesso.  All of Ethiopia.  This is amazingly early to be surging, before halfway.  The next splits will be interesting.

On the men's side, if they'd only show it....Hall is now dropped, and it's Deriba Merga driving the pace.  This is quite remarkable.  Hall is really struggling, about 50m behind, with eight men ahead of him.  Meb Keflezighi has responded a little better than Hall, but right now, it's Merga and Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya out in front.  Still the hills to come, these surges have preceded them by a long way!


Still three women out in front.  Tune, Yal and Erkesso, all of Ethiopia.  The men's race is in a massive shakeup, it split to only two in front, then seemed to be back together again.  But we're getting interviews now.  Is there a men's race this year?  In Boston?  Surely not....

I can tell you that Hall is now making his way back.  They're reporting that Merga ran the 10th mile in 4:34, and perhaps the sting has now left the race and it's coming together.  All together, finally we have pictures.

There are probably 20 men there.  And Hall goes to the front again!  Bizarre...


Tune has been dropped, and it's down to two at the front of the women's race.  Erkesso is forcing the pace, and given her pedigree, she's looking good here.  Yal is a 2:28, so the pace is not the issue, but the pedigree may be.

Meanwhile, the men are together, once again being led by Hall.  Perhaps he figured the pace wouldn't hold and let the "games" go on without him?  I guess the hills will soon show us.  The 20km split is coming up, it'll be interesting to see how fast it was.  The commentators are going on about Hall's "recovery".  I think it's a case that he's run the last 5km in the same time as the previous ones, but everyone else has slowed down considerably.   I'll let you know as soon as the 20km split is in....

Hall looks good to me.  Alert, strong, swung sideways pretty quickly to get water.  If another surge goes in, on the Hills, then Hall's race plan will become apparent.  Until then, I'm reserving judgment!


Another surge in the men's race, soon after halfway.  Once again, we're not getting to see it (I think the director is perhaps new at this).  We're getting great infographics though...

It seems as though the pace was pushed by a Kenyan, Goumri was quick to respond, but not Hall.  Looking at the splits in the table, it's interesting that the last 5km was really slow.  So Hall has run the same pace the whole way, but been yo-yoing off the group, as he is again.  He's given up what looks like 50m to this latest surge.  Merga is there, Goumri is there, Cheruiyot is there.  Six in the lead group, Meb hanging on a few meters behind.

I must be watching a different race to the commentators.  They still think Hall is "recovering", when what is clearly happening is that he is running the same pace and the leaders are going fast-slow-fast-slow.  The group in front is now tightly bunched again, eight men in it and it's considerably slower than it was even a mile ago.


Another surge in the men's race.  Robert Cheruiyot, it looks like.  The group is down to five, in a long line, gaps beginning to appear.  You know what's coming - Hall has been dropped again.  They've just hit 25km, split is 75 minutes, so they've held onto an average of 2:58 min/km for the last 5km.  I suspect it's been made up of 3:05 followed by 2:50.

Now it's slowed down again, the group is together.  The racing really is incredibly fierce.  Meb Keflezighi is still there, at the back of the lead group.


The pace at the moment is on for a 2:06-something.  The course record is a 2:07:14, but we still have to negotiate the hills.  If the group of 7 remain tight, then the record may well be on.

On the women's side, it seems likely to become a procession as Erkesso runs ahead.  She has covered the last 10km in under 34 minutes, and that's over the hilly part of the course.  So it has been a great surge from her.  Unless she falters, she'll win the race by a loIng, long way.  All the other women are running 2:29 pace, which is really very, very mediocre.  The interest is now on the men's side.  At least, it should be...


Oh look, a men's race.  It's happening after all.  Who knew?  Apparently they have technical problems. 
So it's Deriba Merga and Robert Cheruiyot in the lead.  Merga said before that he lacked confidence in this training, and that he'd drop out if he wasn't up for the win.  Gamesmanship, perhaps?  He looks good, along with Robert Cheruiyot.  They're coming up to 30km now, and have a gap of 5 seconds on third (who hasn't been shown yet, sorry).

30 km split coming up...


The men are running 3min/km - 15:00 for the split from 25 to 30 km.  They're on course for a 2:06:32, which is a big course record.  The hills may have the last word though.  Two out in front, Merga and Cheruiyot.  Hall, by the way, is almost a minute down.  Meb Keflezighi is in fourth, 20 seconds behind, but I suspect he'll go backwards even more now.

Erkesso, the women's leader, is starting to falter.  But they're saying that she has a 2 minute lead, with 7km to go.  If that's true, then it's difficult to lose that time, unless the wheels come off like never before.  Her pace over the last five km has been good - still under 17 minutes, and that doesn't suggest she's coming apart.  Her form has deteriorated though.


The women's race has suddenly become interesting - the reports of 2:01 to second were clearly very false, because only five minutes after reporting that, second-place has appeared in the distance.  She must be about a minute down, and it's Tatyana Pushkareva of Russia.  She was 1:05 down at 35km, and 1:19 down at 30km, so the gap was closing, but very gradually.  In the last few kilometers, it's come down a lot more.  I don't know where the 2:01 was coming from.

On the men's side, Merga was, for a short time, clear of Cheruiyot for a while.  But they're now back together.  Merga seems to be hanging a little, and Cheruiyot is driving the pace as they hit 35 km.  The pace is still unbelievably quick - they've held 3min/km over the hills so far, and the record is definitely on now.


The gap on the women's side is closing all the time.  Pushkareva is now about 25 seconds back, at most.  The last 5km split is going to be really interesting (it's also going to mess up my table, because all the splits I have so far are for Erkesso, but anyway...I'll sort that out later).  Either Pushkareva has really picked up, or Erkesso is faltering.

Robert Cheruiyot continues to push.  Whether his aggression is just inexperience, I don't know, but he is driving very hard.  Merga is hanging on now, but may have the experience to dig in.  They have about 6km to go.  Incredible speeds - the last 5km, over the hills, covered in 14:44, at sub-3 min per kilometer pace.  The record is almost certain to go - they're on for a 2:06:13 now, almost a minute better on the old mark.


The women's race is almost back together - 16 seconds with one mile to go.  It will be close after all!  Who would have thought?  At 30km, with a lead of 1:19 at 30km, you would never have called this!


It's all happening - Robert Cheruiyot has earned himself the gap - 15 seconds over Merga, and he's now looking good to claim the title and record.

On the women's side, Erkesso has responded and she may actually hang on.  It will be tight.  Quite amazing racing, completely erratic and will make fascinating reading after the race, when we'll compare her splits to those of Pushkareva.

The women's race is reminiscent of the Chicago finish a few years ago - a large gap within sight of the line, but will it be enough?  Pushkareva is working so hard.  We need an aerial shot here, you can't tell the gap.  It's 6 seconds.  Erkesso is hanging on for dear life.  Erkesso will hold on, only just!  She does!

Erkesso wins, about 3 seconds clear of second.  It cannot get any more agonizing than that for Pushkareva.  Last year was 1 second, the year before was 2 seconds, but this is surely even more agonizing, because for about 5km, Pushkareva had Erkesso in her sites, but just could not bridge the gap...by 3 seconds.  Amazing!


Robert Cheruiyot is on course to break the course record, belonging to...Robert Cheruiyot (no, not the same one).  He's now only minutes away from the line, a solo finish, unlike that which we saw in the women's race.

2:05:52.  Incredible.  The last 10km in 29:23 over the hills.  The time, a massive, massive record, more than a minute off the old time, and a time that was a world record in recent memory!  In Boston!  Deriba Merga has paid dearly for his efforts, he's been caught by Kebede and a host of other runners.  Cheruiyot survived the outrageous pace, Merga did not!

Quite amazing.  There is a lot to be said about this.  I have a presentation to give, soon.  So forgive me for not saying it right now, but check in later, because we'll have detailed post-race analysis for you!



Unknown said...

Nice one guys, looking forward to it!

vikram said...

Is there a live video link anywhere ?


Anonymous said...

Universal Sports has advertised that it is going to provide online coverage for a fee but it is not avaialbe on their site. Universal Sports site is the most unreliable, undependeble excuse for live event coverage. Thanks for sites such as this where they take what they say and promise seriously. Ticked off in Toronto, Canada

Anonymous said...

go to http://www.letsrun.com/ and you will find free live coverage

Vava said...

Can't watch since my work computer does not have the latest Microsloth browser, so thanks for the updates. Looks like you were right about Merga since his split for the 5k interval has not yet been posted. Has he already given up?

Vava said...

Merga's 10k split just came up and he's up with the leaders. Guess his 5k interval got missed.

Unknown said...

Apparently Hall has dropped off significantly....He can't learn his lesson!

Vava said...

I think Hall was holding a steady pace and running his own race, preparing to make a move in the Newton Hills. He may have let the lead group get out a bit too far ahead of him though, but last year's race has shown that he can shift into another gear when seemingly out of gas. Still a long way to go...

Vava said...

Hall is almost a full minute behind Merga at 30k. Ouch.

Adriano said...

Wow!! I should have bet some money on it! On your post "Rotterdam 2:04:47 in a race" I wrote: "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)".
Very little indeed!!

Anonymous said...

Which broadcast were you watching? I watched it on Justin and Larry Rawson was one of the commentators. They didn't seem to have any sense that the leaders were on record pace, and in general coverage of the men's race was inadequate. I hope the London coverage is better. Thanks for your insights as always.

Anonymous said...

1:02:25 (2:57.5/km!!) for second half. Astonishing!!! Amazing.
Please note 29:23 is exactly Gebrselassie's mean WR pace (2:57.3)...

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi all

Thanks for the comments on the post. Sorry I didn't post more during the race, was trying to juggle the times and comments!

To Anonymous at the end there:

Don't get me started on the TV coverage! I was very frustrated - on at least 3 occasions, the split screen that I was getting of the men's and women's race showed very clearly that the men's race was being shaken up by a big attack. But then they cut to the women's race. It was amazing. I feel like I missed 80% of the action, when it was there, begging to be shown.

The commentators did mention the record time a few times, but I felt like the men's race got lost today. I think it's a consequence of the staggered start. I think they should start together.

Worst of all, the same will happen in London, so I hate to say, but don't hold your breath for better. London always misses a lot of the men's race. Not as badly as Boston, but it's still frustrating!


Oliver said...

In terms of coverage you have to satisfy more than one demographic. Sure the fans like us like to see the action in the front, but to many 'just interested' people that would be boring so it has to be mixed up with other shots, cut to females etc.
If females started with men then you would have the femle race 'lost' amongst the men, lots of 2:2x men running with them etc...much less of a 'race'
its not just about the men, its the best compromise and they had to stay with females the last 2 or 3km.
Commentary was so-so...a bit blokey but I liked the fact the one guy (host) was asking sort of silly questions and then the 'expert' gives an answer...its targeted at the not so knowledgeable.
btw assuming that you guys got the same commentary...I managed to upgrade pay TV to pick it up from ESPN.


Oliver said...

ps...when they went through half they were outside record pace but at 30km they were back under, and the commentators noted that...I heard that anyway.

Besides, the 'miles' make things a bit hard to convert...that's a bigger gripe for me, when are they going to catch up to the 1960's?

Anonymous said...

ah, I meant 2:56.3 /WR pace. Sorry

djconnel said...

Have you addressed yet the question of to what degree optimal pacing should be compromised due to tactics? Maybe Hall ran the best race he could run, and responding to surges, or slowing when the will of the others to push the pace was less, would have resulted in an even slower finish. The key issue is wind resistance: following another's pace allows for drafting opportunity.

Motivation is often given as a reason to stay with another runner. I don't buy it: pro cyclists seem to have no problem producing formidable power riding solo in a time trial. The cost/benefit comes down to a trade-off between the physiological advantage of uniform pacing versus the efficiency advantage of having another runner reduce the relative wind.