Monday, November 13, 2006

And the Winner is …

… #7, Running a Marathon, by a mile :-)

Seven times champion of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong, did turn in a solid sub-3 hour performance at New York last Sunday, especially considering he did not train seriously for it. It is even more impressive that he stayed on pace during the final miles when the going got tough.

Even though Armstrong was paced by four running celebrities (Alberto Salazar, German Silva, Hicham El Guerrouj, and Joan Benoit Samuelson), who have five NYC Marathon titles and three Olympic Gold Medals between them, it was still a strong effort by Armstrong that got him to the finish line and achieve his goal of finishing under three hours.

Here is what Armstrong said afterwards:

"Given the level of my condition, this was the hardest thing I've ever done. Considering all my Tours, even the worst days, nothing was as difficult or left me with such a sense of fatigue and so much soreness as the marathon today.”

“…when I had 3 miles to go, even though I knew I had a chance for a sub-3-hour race, which was my goal, I was so tired I just didn't care. If you had told me I was going to finish in 3:05, I would have said, 'So what?' I don't care."

Armstrong had this to say about the top marathon runners:

"I'll tell you this. This is a very tough event. I don't know how the 2:10 guys do it. This is a special event."

Speaking of the top marathoners, the Ethiopian runners did not have a particularly strong showing in New York. Hailu Negussie (2005 Boston Marathon Champion) finished in 8th place while Kassahun Kabisso and Leteyesus Berhe both finished in 18th place.

Both Kassahun and Leteyesus are New York based runners who gain very little from running but still run for the love of the sport while holding other full time jobs. Stories such are their’s are inspiring and sometime receive coverage from the media. Here is what the International Herlad Tribune wrote about Kassahun and his friends about a year ago. I did have a chance to see Kassahun run in the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2003 and the opportunity to say few words of support the night before that race.