A Staten Island triathlete and endurance coach ventures into the ultramarathon realm where there are seemingly no limits to human endurance. In 2013, he successfully finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (picture of 2013 Grand Slam finishers above; I'm second from right), becoming only the 282nd person (since its beginnings in 1986) and only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thoughts - April 18 - All About Boston!

Today is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts, and we runners know what that means...

Yes, I definitely watched the whole thing, and yes, I was glued to the TV throughout the race. Both the men's, women's AND the men's wheelchair divisions had exciting finishes.

This is the first time I EVER gave kudos to NBC for their broadcast. Yes, hell is definitely freezing over.

Granted, this was their small Universal Sports Channel, but it's still NBC here. The same NBC that shows more tear dripping human interest stories than the competition itself, whether it be the Olympics or the Hawaii Ironman.

I mean, omit all the human interest and commercials from their 2 hour Ironman broadcast and you'll probably get only about 10 minutes of racing highlights. Not a very good ratio in my opinion.

But in today's Boston Marathon, they nail it good! This is one of the best sporting broadcasts that I've actually seen NBC pull off. I definitely give them an A+ for this broadcast; they deserve it. 

Yes, they had a bit of background for some of the professional runners, but they kept it limited and focused on the race at hand. And yes, the actually race had 3 exciting finishes, which might lend to my praise.

But NBC covered how each of the races UNFOLDED. I was pleasantly surprised on how they even covered how the wheelchair division unfolded also, and the exciting finish in that race.

Now I understand that a marathon takes 2 hours while the Hawaii Ironman takes 8 hours and that they can fit a live marathon broadcast into a 2 hour slot. But it's really not hard to cut and paste the highlights of the much longer Ironman into a 2 hour show and make it as exciting as a live Boston Marathon broadcast. Limit the tear jerker human interest stories, and they should have a kick-ass Ironman show that might match the drama we saw today.

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As for the race itself, we had some world records that were sort of being "broken" (since the Boston Marathon is not a certified world record course due to its net downhill and point-to-point nature, they cannot officially declare world records here).

We have Geoffrey Mutai from Kenya who shattered the course record at 2:03:02. Wow, that is fast.

We have the USA's Ryan Hall who smashed his personal record and clocked in at 2:05:37.

We had a pleasant surprise in the women's race. All USAs eyes were focused in on Kara Goucher, but it turns out that another American, Desiree Devila gave the eventual winner Caroline Kilel (Kenya) a literal run for her money in the final blocks of the course. Desiree actually gave the Kenyan two hard surges and forced her hand in the final few feet.

Desiree Devila is definitely a name that will be going around in American running circles in the future, that's for sure.

And don't forget the 53 year old Joan Benoit Samuelson. She still has it! Her impressive time of 2:51:29 beats out more than 90% of the other people in the race. She won her age group, of course.

And in the wheelchair division, Masazumi Soejima (Japan) unseats 9 time Boston winner Ernst Van Dyk (S. Africa) by coming from behind in the last miles and overtaking him at the end.

Oh, and congratulations to everyone else who finished the Boston Marathon today. Hopefully most of you got PRs on this perfect running day.



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