Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kastor Wins U.S. Women's Marathon Time Trials

Little-known runner Magdalena Lewy-Boulet jumped out to a big early lead in Sunday's women's marathon in the U.S. Olympic Time Trials, but favorite Deena Kastor picked up the pace late in the race to claim the victory. Lewy-Boulet took second place, while Blake Russell held off several fast-finishing challengers to claim the third and final slot for the Beijing Olympics this summer.

There was a surprisingly large crowd watching the event along Memorial Drive in Cambridge near to the Harvard Bridge. Most of the spectators I spoke with were out-of-towners here to run Monday's Boston Marathon (or cheer on a family member or friend). Many spectators knew one or more of the runners through their home town's local running club.

Lewy-Boulet (#43) was already in the lead at mile three -- surprising everyone -- and opened up a gap as large as 1:45 at mile 15 over the small pack of the top contenders, including Kastor (#1).

Kastor, one of the top marathoners in the world, increased her pace by mile 21 and was less than 30 seconds behind. By mile 23, Kastor passed Boulet and never looked back. Kastor finished in 2:29, around one minute ahead of Boulet -- who managed to shatter her qualifying time of 2:42 with a 2:30 performance that is close to her personal best.

The clear audience favorite was Joan (Benoit) Samuelson, gold medalist at the first time the Olympics held a women's marathon -- at the 1984 Los Angeles games. Everyone saw her coming from a mile away and cheered for "Joanie". Samuelson appears to have broken into the top 100 in today's event, only 20 minutes behind the winning time.

1 comment:

RacyKacy said...

Women should never be underestimated in what they are capable of achieving. Proof in these runners show we are not just pretty faces.