After three marathons, I really should know what to do by now. There is simply no substitute for plenty of training when running a marathon. But this Sunday I will be pounding the streets of my hometown Brighton, southern England, having done almost no preparation. So how will I fare?
Before they can bask in glory, Boston Marathon runners on Monday will first bake in abnormally high temperatures -- so warm, in fact, that race organizers are taking several steps to warn participants and allow those concerned about the heat to instead run next year.
NEW YORK -- Apolo Ohno turned into Central Park to a wave of screams Sunday. Arms reached over barriers to clap, holler and hold signs for their friends, family, and for the familiar face under the bandanna.
NEW YORK -- At Sunday's New York City Marathon, Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai detonated the men's course record by over two-and-a-half minutes in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 6 seconds -- with the second and third place finishers also under the course record -- and Ethiopian Firehiwot Dado won the women's race in a swift 2:23:15, the sixth-fastest time ever in the five boroughs. It's been that kind of year.
On Sept. 25, Kara Goucher went out for a morning run before heading to the gym to lift some weights. Nothing unusual or especially taxing there. You would expect as much from one of the country's top female marathoners. Then later that evening she gave birth to her first child. This is really going the extra mile. "My doctor was a runner and she told me I could run through the pregnancy," says Goucher, 32. "I was three centimeters dilated and so I was pretty careful. And pretty slow."
I remember the first time I met Haile Gebrselassie, the 37-year-old Ethiopian distance running legend who shocked the running world Sunday when he announced his retirement after dropping out of the New York City Marathon at the 16-mile mark. I was among a throng of journalists leaving a press conference at the 2008 Beijing Olympics about Liu Xiang, the Chinese hurdler who had won the gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles in '04 and subsequently shouldered the expectations of a billion Chinese fans.
An 18-mile run for the average person might sound like driving the streets of New York City during rush hour. Eventually you will reach your destination, but you might be better off avoiding the frustration. But runs of six miles, 10 miles and even 18 miles have become routine for Boston Breakers defensive midfielder Leslie Osborne, who will run the New York City Marathon on Sunday.
On Sunday, the New York Marathon will feature a superb, elite field of Olympians and prospective champions, including defending champ Meb Keflezighi of the U.S., Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie, Boston Marathon winner Teyba Erkesso, world half-marathon champ Mary Keitany and a slew of other international runners. But the field is also loaded with stories. Even the well known are no more or less steeled than the unknown on race day. Here are some of the stories that make marathon day the best day in New York every year.
If you're 34-year-old Meb Keflezighi, what tribute could you possibly come up with that would be a fitting honor for your friend and training partner Ryan Shay, who collapsed and died in November 2007 during the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in New York City?
On an election week when runners-up often lay claim to moral triumphs, the first three female finishers of the New York City Marathon on Sunday -- Britain's Paula Radcliffe, Russia's Ludmila Petrova and Kara Goucher of the U.S. -- each had ample context to declare victory.
Six Maasai warriors have journeyed thousands of miles from their remote village in Tanzania to compete in the London Marathon. Their mission is to raise awareness and money for their village of Elaui, where two out of three babies die of water borne diseases.
It's the race before the race that sticks with Ryan Hall. It wasn't supposed to be a memorable run, just a simple stroll through the park with his wife and friends before the biggest race of his life. That race, the one he'd constantly been dreaming about, was supposed to be the one etched into his memory forever, but our mind doesn't always follow our plans.
"Live like a clock," were the words of famed Villanova running coach Jumbo Elliot. So who set Khalid Khannouchi's clock such that the former marathon world-record holder was tearing around the Central Park reservoir each night at 1 a.m. from mid-September through the first two weeks of October?
For most of us taking on a marathon is enough of a mental and physical challenge, but for a growing number of athletes wanting to push themselves to the limits, 26 miles is a mere warm-up for an ultra-marathon.