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Since the fun thing to do is talk about the finish placing I'm going to do that.
On the men's side:
1. Ryan Hall for the win. The guy is fast. He pushes international fields from the start. Even though he ran the Chicago Marathon in October, I am sure he will have no problem popping out a 2:09 or 2:10 leading the entire way if he wants to. If he does sit and kick, I still pick him for the win because he has the fastest half marathon.
2. Meb Kerflezgi in second. Meb ran New York in November so he had even less recovery time and training time. He even had to battle a foot infection after New York. However, considering he ran a PR with a nasal strip chaffing in his shoe, and he has a second at the Olympics, and won New York once (making him one of two American who have ever beat Hall), I think he has the experience, aerobic and strength base to run a 2:09.
3. Dathan Ritzenhein in third. While he is slow at the marathon compared to the times he has done at the shorter distances, he has run 2:10 flat, his slowest marathon was a 2:14 debut at age 23 in New York, and he did get 9th in Beijing (making him the other American to ever beat Hall in a marathon).
4. Mo Trafeh is a 1:00 half marathoner, he mentioned Renato Canova in an interview, and he cleaned up this year on the USATF road racing circuit.
5. Nick Archinaga has run 2:11 twice, both times off of less than optimal marathon prep.
6. Mike Morgan has only run 2:14, but he has run some good times in rough conditions and I hear his training is going well so I expect him to get a little faster.
7. Brett Gotcher is still relatively young but he ran a 2:10 after slowing down the last few miles. He hasn't been totally consistent, but I think his coach Greg McMillian knows what he is doing.
8. Jason Hartman has gotten better the last few years after moving up to the marathon. Given his recent consistency and experience he will probably do pretty well.
9. Fernando Cabada, who I believe is the American 25k record holder, is training under Renato Canova, enough said.
10. Tyler Sigl is a huge dark horse, but as a guy that routinely beats me on the roads I think he has a shot. He paced the women in Chicago at 5:18 pace for 20 miles then a week later ran a 1:06 in Des Moine back in October. Considering the great weather the last few months I would assume he is in good shape.
Wow, that was a terrible description of the placing. I left out Jason Lehmkuhle, Jorge Torres, Abdi Abdirahman, and Justin Young to name a few.
On the women's side:
1. Desiree Davilia is the marathon class of the field. She has consistently improved over the last four years and has the best marathon time for an American woman in the last four years of 2:22 at Boston in 2011.
2. Shalane Flanagan has not done much in marathoning but a second place in New York is a good race. She is quite fast and given the larger aerobic base and experience that she has now I estimate her at second.
3. Deena Kastor has not done really well the last few years in the marathon, but with a 2:19 and low 2:20s to her credit she knows exactly what it takes to run a 2:25 and she probably has a pretty large aerobic base at this point.
4. Kara Goucher has the second fastest marathon time at 2:24 this Olympic cycle and she is certainly going to up front if she is not injured.
5. Magdalena Lewy Boulet went to the Olympic the last time and has lowered her personal record since then.
6. Amy Hastings has only run one marathon, but it was a 2:27 and she lives up at Mammoth Lakes with some of the best marathon coaches. Terrance Mahon even calls here "Little Deena"
7. Stephanie Rothstein only in the last year or two figured out her gluten intolerance, and lowered her marathon PR to 2:29. Now that she has that figured out I imagine she can lower it a little more.
8. Katie McGregor has not been in the 2:20s in the marathon and Team USA Minnesota does not have the reputation that the groups in Mammoth Lakes and Flagstaff do for marathoning but she has solid shorter distance credentials and lots of race experience.
9. Jennifer Rhines went to the Olympics in the marathon way back in 2000 I think. Her huspand is Terrance Mahon and now that she is returning I think she will not make many mistakes.
10. Clara Grandt is a relatively young marathoner but it is hard to ignore someone who runs 2:29 and seems to have herself in a consistently working environment.
Again, that was a terrible description. I left out Zoila Gomez, Melissa White, Tera Moody, Blake Russell, Paige Higgins and more. Well, at least I have something out there. I am pretty sure that Ryan Hall and Desiree Davilia will be in the top three. Other than that, we will have to watch the race Saturday.