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World Champs marathon

August 22nd, 2009

Just finished watching the marathon from the IAAF World Championships in Berlin. Watched the leaders running live through Internet streaming, and followed the Canadians in real time as they posted 5K splits on the IAAF website. It’s a race I was particularly interested in because of an article I wrote last year about Canada’s marathon standards (which earned a National Magazine Award). In 2008, Canada sent no marathoners to the Olympics; this year, in contrast, they sent four men and one woman. So how would this team fare, with its easier standards?

It was a mixed bag, but there were some very encouraging results. Take Reid Coolsaet — some excerpts from his blog:

I’ve been geeking out looking over results and time splits from the past few World Championships to see different pacing strategies.  Seems like a lot of guys go out too hard and fall off pace, often not finishing and saving it for another day.  For a top 10 finish you almost always have to go out with the lead group but there are numerous examples of top 20 and 30 finishes with more sensible pacing strategies. [...]

Don’t expect to see me in much TV coverage as the cameras will be concentrating on the leaders.  I’m ranked about 95th out of 100.  Expect me to improve on that ranking.

Unfortunately, the results on the IAAF website are messed up right now, so I can’t give as full a breakdown as I’d like. But here are a few details on Reid’s performance:

[split] / [place]

5K / 75

10K /64

15K / 69

20K / 54

25K / 40

30K / 36

35K / 28

42.2K / 26

Fantastic (and very smart) race for a guy who was ranked 95th. Congratulations, Reid! (And also to Dylan Wykes, who executed the exact same game plan until the last few kilometres, where he lost just a few places but still finished in the top half of the field.)

That’s all for me for a week. Tomorrow morning, I fly to Alice Springs for some hiking in the Australian outback. Should be lots of fun, and I’ll be back on August 30.