Travel Geoffrey Mutai – 2:03:02

    Geoffrey Mutai – 2:03:02

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    Geoffrey Mutai -NYC 2011 Based on my London experience in April I applied for press credentials at the New York City Marathon this November.This was truly exceptional. I was able to meet Geoffrey Mutai (world’s fastest marathoner from Boston this year 2:03:02) and he blew away the course record in NYC in November this year ( 2:05:06)
    The Marathon Press area (which was located in Central Park near the finish line) has wireless connections, television screens and access to the elite men.

    The Friday press conference had  George Hirsch (pb 2:38) make a special writers presentation to Amby Burfoot.(winner Boston 1968 in a time of 2;22:17)
    I spoke briefly with Mary Wittenberg (President and CEO of the NYRR -New York Road Runners)on how the entire world wants to run New York and what an amazing feat it is  to organize  an event of this magnitude.In 1987, Mary  won the Marine Corps Marathon in a time of 2:44:34)
    I also met George Hirsch (publisher of Runners World /Rodale press) and now Chairman of the Board for NYRR.  He and I  spoke about Ed Whitlock , one of the famous elite Canadian runners. After turning 80, Whitlock held  the world record  of 3:25:43 at the 2011 Rotterdam Marathon on April 10, 2011.He then further improved on his age category world record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16, 2011, lowering the record to 3:15:54 !!
    I mentioned the new running expression “Getting Whitlocked.”. …being passed in a race by an old guy”
    And later I talked with   Amby Burfoot was to meet later that day with another Canadian  writer Alex Hutchinson.
    There was a short break and then the elite men came out to be seated at various tables for press interviews. There were no prior arrangements, you simply sat at the table with the athlete of your choice.
    Imagine being the same space as
    Geoffrey Mutai (2:03:02-winner Boston 2011)
    Emmanuel Mutai (2:04:40-winner London 2011)
    Victor Rothlin (2:07:23 PB)

    Gebre Gebremariam (winner of 2010 NYC Marathon 2:08:14 and 3rd in Boston 2011 2:04:53 )
    Stephen Muzhingi – Comrades Marathon winner 2009 ,2010 and 2011
    Jaouad Gharib (2:05:27)
    Tesegye Kebede (2:05:18- won London 2010)
    Meb Keflezighi (winner NYC 2009- 2:09:15)
     

    You can become quite giddy in the presence of these runners. At least I did.

     
     At first I was in awe of how approachable these elite runners are. Some do require interpreters and others are very soft spoken.

    Most of the runners began their earlier careers as youngsters running cross country for their schools and some of them “finished far back in the field”.

    I was able to get my picture taken with a few of them, but was not able to get to all of the tables to listen to their stories and to get pictures. So I sent in the iRun hat for the pictures.

    One of the reporters conducting some of the interviews was Katherine Switzer,(NYC Marathon winner in 1974 -3:07:29 and then second in Boston 1975 2:51;27) You will remember her as being the first female runner in the Boston Marathon) whom I have met a few other times in Toronto. So I was able to get my picture taken with her too.

    Most of the reporters congregated with Geoffrey Mutai , and Gebre Gebermenme (last years winner).

    Finally there was space at the table with Geoffrey Muati so I got to sit next to him. Most of the reporters wanted to know if Geofrey would be invited to be part of the Kenyan Olympic team( if you read the running news you know how difficult it will be to chose only 3 to represent their country) Geoffrey said he wanted to run and win New York and that was his only focus now.
    I presented him with an iRun hat (but for sponsorship reasons, he could not wear it) and I had my picture taken with him (see above)

    Surprizingly Stephen Muzhingi was sitting alone at a table so I asked him for his autograph and chatted with him for while. He runs 250 miles a week in training. He ran 2:29 in New York, However his claim to fame is that he was the Comrades Ultra Marathon winner in 2009, 2010 and 2011 , and recorded the second fastest time in 2009, 5hours 23 minutes over 89.17KM. (56 miles) WOW.

    Next post I will tell you about some other extraordinary runners who are not fast but determined.

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