Weekend Race Report: London...and Nashville?
The big running news this weekend was the London Marathon, won by Tsegaye Kebede (2:05:19, nine seconds slower than Samuel Wanjiru's course record) and Liliya Shobukhova (2:22:00 this year in London, and winner of last year's Chicago Marathon). Those champions we mentioned in our last coverage, Wanjiru and Irina Mikitenko? They didn't finish this weekend.
Deena Kastor also didn't have an impressive day, finishing 18th with a time of 2:36:20. For those of you unfamiliar with Kastor's career, that is her slowest marathon to date. Another hope in the women's race from Britain was Mara Yamauchi, who finished 10th among the women in a time of 2:26:29 after last year's second place finish.
More than 36,000 completed London in the general field, including a linked group of 34 that claimed a Guiness world record for the longest "caterpillar" to ever finish a marathon. There was also a record set by David Ross with his finish time of 3:07:34 - the fastest ever by someone dressed as a male cartoon character, in his case Fred Flintstone.
The other running news this weekend came from Nashville, as the Country Music Marathon unfolded in the midst of major storms on Saturday. A few days before the race, as the weather looked inevitable, race officials consulted with the city to come up with a contingency plan and made the decision that the race might be ended after four and a half hours, as opposed to the normal seven hour limit, making this marathon decidedly unfriendly to walkers.
On race day, weather forced officials to begin the race fifteen minutes early and end the race even earlier than expected, directing runners on track for a finish slower than four hours to board shuttles to the finish area to take cover. As many as 2500 runners were diverted and could not cross the finish line this weekend. The winner's of the race were Ilsa Paulson in 2:33:41 and William Najanjo in 2:15:39.