Re: Re: It’s Time to Make the Olympic Marathon More Competitive. Here’s How

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not to burst your idealistic bubble but I think you know as well as anyone that's not how the current Olympics works. Qualifying times, political division of the field via nation-based participation limits, financial (sponsorship primarily) and publicity incentives for winning or placing high….

Joe Sixpack sees, at most, two marathons every four years. Is he even going to watch those if the entire top 20 in the race is made up of Kenyans and Ethiopians?

I am idealistic…Joe Sixpack will watch whatever is broadcast, to some extent… the networks truly control what we see anyway. But the marathon, no matter who is winning makes for great “theater”…100 meters is over in 10 seconds but when you see minutes (you rarely see hours) of the front runners, the best at that moment, struggling… well, even people who have only laced up their running shoes to sit in front of a TV can get a glimpse into the difficulty of the sport and maybe gain an appreciation of the tenacity of the runners, whatever country they are from. It's like a reality show for the viewers… but for the runners, there's something to consider also. How many people would bother running marathons with the Olympics in mind if they knew that they had to make the top 30 times in one year, for example, in order to go to the Olympics? Amby might wish to make the Olympics more competitive but instead it might discourage more people then INSPIRE, which is what it is to us idealists.

Can you imagine how hopeless it would seem to the middle tier runners who's goal is to make it to the O.Trials and now had to run a time trial instead. On the other hand most would be able to quit at 13.1 miles as it would be painfully obvious that they would never break 2:10. Take a look at, they have a 'top 200' performances, you can sort by date…Hall, dos Santos and one UGA and one MAR runner make the recent under 2:10… the rest are from KEN and ETH…I know that it is near impossible to train at the level needed to get there now, econimically… add the time trial element and you wipe out the glimmer.

I'll stay idealistic, hope for miracles and follow the Olympics, flawed as they are… you just never know when you'll see someone break out of the pack wearing 'USA' even if he/she isn't one of the top 20 in the world in time trials… in 26 miles almost anything can happen.