January 25, 2008 at 3:02 pm #6992
Hi , for those who have had the opportunity to see the central park course and the ing NYC marathon course. Which one is tougher the central park course (olympic trials course , the marathon that won Ryan hall) or the ING NYC marathon course (the one that Martin Lel won) ??those two marathons were won in almost the same times 2:09:02 and 2:09:04.
January 25, 2008 at 7:26 pm #24546
I was in NY this year and watched both the trials and then I ran the ING NY Marathon the next day. All reports were that the central park course was an extremely tough course. Where I stood there was a quarter mile uphill. There are three substantial hills in the ING , but the overall course is not nearly as rolling as the central park course. And then too boot, the course through the park was mentally challenging in that it was a loop repeats….whereas the ING is quite an enjoyable run through all of NY with large motivational crowds.
to benchmark the difficulty of the trials course, consider the high level of talent that didn't even finish, as well as the veterans and thier times. Culpepper dropped out as well as Abdi. Khalid finished a distant 4th @ 2:12 and Meb pulled in a disappointing 8th place finish @ 2:15. Hall, who admittedly said he was more prepared and in better shape than London, ran slower. It was a tough course all the way around.
ING was challenging, but I would not say to the extent of Boston.
January 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm #24547
It is impossible to say. I have seen no reports outside of an article quoting Kevin Hanson as saying: “The course, honestly, I don't think it's as tough as we thought. We've been told the horrors of Central Park, but we came away feeling good about it.” Having the OT record run on that course certainly contradicts the notion that it is that tough of a course. What happened to Culpepper, Abdi, Keflezighi, and Khannouchi is hardly indicative of anything about the course itself. Hall was running solo for the last 10 miles, he did not have others around him like in London. If anything, it allowed Hall to run much more relaxed than if he had other runners with him the whole way, as he would have had in the ING NYCM. Loops are no more “mentally challenging” to runners racing at that level than any other course configuration and motivation should not be an issue for anyone running in the Olympic Trials. Also, BAA is an aided course and PR's should come more easily there (everything else being equal) than at ING NYCM.
January 26, 2008 at 8:55 pm #24548
On the topic of the multi-loop course, I have always considered that an advantage. I don't know why it would be mentally challenging for one who is racing. What it does give you is the advantage of knowing exactly what is coming up, complete with current conditions/winds/etc. You know everything that is coming all the way after the first loop, which is a great advantage. Also, it allows one spectator to become essentially multiple fans, as one fan may only be able to get to a couple of points on an NYCM-type course but can get to several points on a loop course.
January 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm #24549
As I read this, and other posts you've put up it is hard to take anything you say with a degree of seriousness. I'm sorry, but when 5 or 6 of the top american runners are dropped during a race, it may be indicative of the course itself. Maybe not, but i too had heard about the difficulty of the course.
Regardless….it has been my experience that one who over analyzes running and racing….is better at doing that than actually racing itself.
January 27, 2008 at 3:25 pm #24550
Ryan Hall, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Brian Sell each ran a defining marathon race today in Central Park, and each clinched a spot on the USA Men's Marathon Team that's headed for Beijing in 2008. In cool, breezy conditions that were close to ideal, Hall broke away at 16 miles, running the second half in 1:02:45 to cross the line in a stunning 2:09:02. Ritzenhein contained cramping calf muscles during the last of five Central Park loops to finish second in 2:11:07.Sell, the slow guy who supposedly couldn't kick with all the young, fast legs in the field, simply outmuscled and out-confidenced many as he roared into third on the last loop and finished in 2:11:47.
The Marathon Trials jubilation was dampened by the death of veteran runner Ryan Shay, a USATF National Marathon Champ in 2003, and friend to all the other marathoners in the field. Shay apparently collapsed at the 5.5 mile mark, and could not be revived at Lenox Hill Hospital. He was married just two months ago to elite 10,000 meter runner Alicia Craig. “Any of us would give up our Olympic team positions to have Ryan back,” said Sell.
Khalid Khannouchi ran gamely to finish fourth. Jason Lehmkuhle was fifth. Meb Keflezighi, the reigning Olympic Marathon silver medalist, placed eighth. Alan Culpepper and Abdi Abdirahman were notable dropouts from the competition
Here is a quote from Dan Brown, arguably the man would could have finished third…on the difficulty of the Central Park Course….
“But the strain got to Browne a mile later, and just before the 21-mile mark he stopped suddenly to stretch his legs against a course-side barricade. He lost only 7-8 seconds, but his momentum was gone, and his legs were rebelling. “I tried so hard today, but I just didn't have enough,” he said later. “At 19 miles my calves started doing funky stuff. That was the toughest thing I've ever done in my running career. The course was tough. It was all hills for 24 miles.”
January 27, 2008 at 6:49 pm #24551
Running is something I do for fun and I happen to feel a passion for it. Being a fan of the sport really is not indicative of anything beyond that, it is odd to try to suggest anything else. Surprised to find a fan of the sport posting on a running site's message board? Really?
Anyway, those who follow the sport might have noted that there were key clues in each of those runners' lead-up to the OT marathon that were at least as much of a factor in their races as the course itself. Looking a little beyond post-race quotes, Dan Browne was out with injury for a significant part of the span between Athens and the OT marathon in NYC. Inarguably, he did not have the level of consistent training that Hall, Sell, or even Ritzenhein had in that time span. I honestly was not surprised to see him start cramping in the late miles. His great sub-marathon races prior to the OT at New Haven and elsewhere aside, he did not have the seasoning in his legs from training and racing the past two years that guys like Sell, Ritzenhein, and Hall did. Same for Khannouchi, who had also been suffering injury off and on for much of 2004-2007. Khannouchi's lead-up races before the OT indicated that he might not be his old self at all in racing. Culpepper and Keflezighi had been having sub-par performances in the marathon in the year or so prior to the OT, it should have come as no surprise that their best marathons were likely behind them come November 2007. Abdi had been injured in his training build-up before the OT, as well. I thought Abdi would do better, too, and believed that the nature of his injury was not as bad as it turned out to be. The best performers on paper in the qualifying period do not take into account what happened in their training and racing between when they ran those performances and the OT itself. I did not claim that the course was a non-factor, just that it would be impossible to say that it truly was tougher than the ING NYCM course.
Also, in a qualifier race such as the OT marathon, those who make a living at the sport will be apt to cut their losses if a legit shot at the top 3 or 4 is clearly out by a certain point in the race and save themselves for a better payday. I do realize that most mid-packers consider it a badge of honor to gut out a race on an off day to finish, but it is not a mindset that is necessarily shared by the pros. With the specialization at the professional level of the sport those who earn a living from their performances have to go into a race understanding just what they stand to gain or lose by finishing a marathon in a certain position. If, for example, Culpepper stood to finish 6th or worse, he would have earned $10,000 at best from that race. If he instead stepped off the course at 18 miles then he could recover more quickly from the race and get back to training and racing again sooner and command more on the order of 5 times that amount in just an appearance fee at his next marathon, not to mention greater prize money, or start preparing to attempt to make the Olympic team for 10,000m. At Culpepper's age, he has few big performances and big paydays left in him and so has to be even more strategic than he typically has been with his efforts.
Run well. 8)
January 28, 2008 at 12:17 am #24552
January 28, 2008 at 2:34 pm #24553
Just to clarify my other post, I guess I mean that in my Opinion the Central park course was tougher. Personnaly, I am not a fan of loops, esp in a distance such as the marathon. I find the repetition to be mentally challenging. If there is a difficult part of a loop repeat course, I tend to focus on the fact that I have to repeat it (in the central park course, 4 – 5 times) rather than a course like ING,where once you are past a difficulty, you can put it behind you. Most of my running club memebers feel same, but I can appreciate both sides of the argument.
as far as the course, I will say this and then leave it alone. We arrived in NY a week before ING this year. The city was abuzz with the hype of the combo trials, ING. There was a lot of media discussion there about the challenging central park course.
We did a ten mile tune down in central park several days before racing the ING. We were careful to stay below tempo – never breaking a 6:30 pace as not to overdo it. Afterwards I felt that I regretted doing it before toeing up to the start line of the ING in 3 days, because even at the slow pace it was a relatively gruelling run. We are all 2:30 – 2:45 marathoners that were out there. 3 days later we ran the ING.
IN MY OPINION, and nothing more, the central park course was very challenging. I did not feel that the ING course was particularly difficult. If you take the race element out of the scenario, I would be of the opinon that the central park loops were difficult. All of my club members agreed on this while we were there.
However, running in a sport of individual prefrence, and I am sure there are some out there who would have excelled in the CP course.
January 28, 2008 at 4:44 pm #24554
If you take the race element out of the scenario, I would be of the opinon that the central park loops were difficult. All of my club members agreed on this while we were there.
If you take the race element out, I would likely agree with you and your fellow club members. While I do it more often than I'd like, especially in the winter when my routes are more limited, I hate multiple laps around the same loop. However, this question as I read it at least was posed strictly as a question of which race would be harder, which would mean the race element is clearly a part of the question.
I obviously have no point of comparison as I've never raced on either course. However, I know KK is not the 2:05 marathoner he once was and his race did not surprise me at all. Meb, likewise, has been struggling recently and his performance was not all that surprising to me. Culpepper, Browne, Abdi, and others who had a tough day all had reasons for those tough days. Nothing was all that great of a surprise. Hall ran a fair bit slower than he did at London. Martin Lel also wasn't setting a PR in the open race the next day. Both of these courses offer challenges that make them more difficult than a barn burner course like London or Chicago.
If the question is could Hall have won the open race the next day if not for the OT race the previous day, unfortunately we'll never know and any speculation on whether he would is an exercise in futility as there are too many variables that just can't be measured. What I think it is safe to say we know is that Hall is one heck of a runner and his future, at this point at least, looks very bright. He will have his chances to face world class fields and I wouldn't discount his possibilities of winning at least a couple of times.
January 28, 2008 at 5:33 pm #24555
well put Ryan…..
Here is something to think about…. Martin Lel and Gourmi who went first and second in ING were also first and second in London 2007 when Hall ran it, Lel beating him by 43 sec's. Some form of a benchmark. The only skew, it was Halls debut marathon. I will be very interested to see future races by both Hall and Ritz in the upcoming 3 years or so….
January 28, 2008 at 9:40 pm #24556
One thing I read, and I forget who said it, was that the rolling nature of the Central Park course prevented runner's from slipping into any kind of a “rythym” for any lengthy period of time. Theoretically, the ING course offers long flat stretches where runners can lock into pace and “cruise.” But given the way the ING race was run, without pace setters, nobody seemed to be “cruising.” Especially not with Ramaala out there surging like a madman.
In the end they were two very different races run over very different courses.
January 30, 2008 at 9:29 pm #24557
I've run Central Park as a half marathon it was the most challenging half I've done–sans my first, and that would include 2 trail marathons. Looking back, I don't think the hills were that bad, it was a mental thing.
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