© Copyright – 2017 – Athletics Illustrated
Two American distance runners will be interesting to watch during the 2017 B.A.A Boston Marathon, Jordan Hasay will be running her debut and Galen Rupp will be taking in his third marathon.
Rupp and Hasay, both run for Nike under the guidance of the legendary Alberta Salazar, a three-time winner of the New York City Marathon. With his vast experience, there is no doubt he will have his athletes well-prepared to take advantage of the long downhill sections and favourable weather conditions on Monday.
The forecast calls for mild-to-warm temperatures at 17-21 degrees Celsius (64-70F) and a tail wind of 25-40/Kph throughout. The winds may provide a cooling effect.
Predicted finish times
Marathon predictions are always set with the caveat: if nothing unusual happens. There are often factors that are out of an athlete’s control that can dramatically change the outcome of the marathon.
Saying this, Athletics Illustrated predicts that Hasay will finish the race in 2:24:00 and Rupp will finish in 2:05:30.
The predicted times will sway with the wind conditions and temperatures. Being that the Boston Marathon is run in one direction, a tail wind will be of great benefit. Boston is notorious for producing big swings in weather conditions on race day.
It will be Hasay’s debut at the distance. She is coming off of a strong half-marathon performance in Prague, Czech Republic on April 1, with a finish time of 1:07:55, on a fast course. She finished in sixth place while Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei won in the time of 1:04:52, which is the new half-marathon world record.
Hasay’s Prague performance suggests a potential of 2:23:00, depending on who’s calculator you are using (McMillan, VDot-Daniels) to predict her finish time. On the right day, on the right course with the right wind conditions 2:23:00 is possible. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) performance tables indicate that Hasay could finish in the time of 2:23:30.
While the above times are apparently doable for Hasay, with Boston being her debut, she will have to be cautious of running in the warm temperatures and going out too fast. Heartbreak Hill is only a heart break for those who run the first 18-20 miles too aggressively.
She appears to have a level head about the race telling Ken Goe of the Oregonian, “We’re not really focused on winning. We know what winning is for me, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
It is a common belief that an athlete can run their best ever marathon starting with their third attempt. So many more things come into play during a marathon that doesn’t happen in shorter distance races including fuelling issues, judgment errors and exploring the new distance in terms of muscle fatigue – it’s all new territory. Even if Hasay ran a marathon time trial in advance, she likely ran it much slower than race pace. Pace plus distance are what gets the athlete in the end, not one or the other exclusively.
There is no doubt that the meticulous Salazar will have her well-prepared for the distance, it is only because of this that we are not predicting a 2:26 to 2:28 finish time – something more appropriate for a first-time marathon runner.
Boston will be Rupp’s third marathon. He has run the Rio Olympic Marathon in warm temperatures in the time of 2:10:05 for a bronze medal performance. He also ran the LA Marathon in February 2016 during the USATF Olympic Trials. He won that race in the time of 2:11:13, also in warm temperatures.
It may be time for Rupp to break out; however, he has recently suffered an injury, which he claims to be 100% clear of now. Hopefully it doesn’t rear its ugly head during the marathon. Marathons have a nasty habit of bringing to the surface old niggles.
He suffered foot pain as recently as April 1 in Prague and complained about Plantar Fasciitis bugging him during the winter.
Running the Prague half-marathon in the time of 61:59 looks suspiciously like he was running at goal marathon pace: 2:04:00, which is conceivable, especially in a tail-wind year. Was he playing his competitors with the foot issue? It is entirely possible.
Prague and his 1:01:20 half-marathon performance from 2015 suggests that Rupp would run another 2:10-2:11, however, his 10,000-metre best of 26:44 suggests otherwise, especially if there is a tail wind – it is very possible that Rupp could better Ryan Hall’s best Boston performance.
Hall’s best on a non-Boston course took place in London where he finished in 2:06:17 in 2008.
His best in Boston was 2:04:58 during the tail wind year of 2011. That was the year that Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop ran the first and second fastest marathon times ever with their 2:03:02 and 2:03:06 performances.
Hall’s best 10,000-metre time is 28:03, while his half-marathon best is 59:43. Comparing the two athletes, it is clear that Rupp hasn’t raced a half-marathon to his potential and Hall didn’t race a 10,000-metre event to his potential.
Don’t be surprised if Rupp goes for 2:04:00, but we are sticking to our guns.
The world records are 2:02:57 by Dennis Kimetto from 2014 on the Berlin course. Paula Radcliffe owns the women’s record time from London 2003 with her 2:15:25.
The men’s American record is still held by Khalid Khannouchi with his 2:05:38 from London 2002. Deena Kastor currently holds both the American half-marathon and marathon records at 1:07:34 and 2:19:36.
The IAAF doesn’t count Boston performances because the course is point-to-point which provides a benefit in a tail wind year like in 2011. The IAAF specifies that the start and finish points of a course, measured along a theoretical straight line between them, shall not be further apart than 50% of the race distance.” [i.e., 13.1 miles (21.1 km) for the ~26.2 mile (~42.2 km) marathon distance].